Hurt Hearts Hurt Humans… Healed Hearts Heal Humans!


broken_heart_8220916All us good folk living our lives the best we can have one thing in common. We’re all carrying around some bullshit we need to get rid of! We have all been hurt. We have all been mistreated. We have all made mistakes; lots and lots of them (multiplied by our current age). We were brought up by parents who made mistakes. They were raised by people who made mistakes. Our teachers taught us things that weren’t true. Employers may have used us. Others abused us. And, while we may not be psychopaths, we are all damaged goods in some capacity. We are imperfect creatures in an imperfect world living among other imperfect creatures. And sadly, knowing the futility and insanity of our own thoughts at times, we insist on demanding from others that which we don’t even get from ourselves. Hurt hearts can only hurt other people.

If you will really think it through, none of us want to do things that are wrong or hurtful. None of us. But our pain, our unresolved issues really aren’t centered on others, they are centered on ourselves. Our frailties, our weaknesses, our issues pave the way for the foolish things we do. We say horrible things to people not with intent to hurt them, but to salve our own wounds. We gash and tear and bash other people because we are gashed and torn and bashed ourselves. Couples fight, inflicting verbal wounds on one another’s hearts in a misguided attempt to protect their own hearts. Wounded hearts wound other’s hearts.

Oh how compassionate we would become if we ever got past our own bullshit long enough to see and feel the other person. But, we cannot see past the bleeding wounds of our own souls. A compassionate heart is one that is completely and thoroughly in touch with its own absurdity and as such is willing to easily look past the absurdity in another. A person with a compassionate heart forgives freely because they remember how and for what God has forgiven them. People often compliment me personally on how non-judgmental I am, never considering the heavy judgments I cast on myself. A compassionate heart helps people heal.

In order for people to actually get past their baggage and their bondage and their bullshit, they have to be made whole. But, they can’t be made whole without God. All the counseling and positive thinking and affirmations in the world can’t repair the breach because the real source of the breach is always spiritual; a spiritual enemy, ever veiled from view, yet ultimately behind both the suffering we experience and the suffering we inflict. All healing is first spiritual as all pain is first spiritual.

There but for the grace and mostly mercy of God, go I. We are all the same. We all have hopes and aspirations and dreams. We all endure fears and pain and suffering. We all need love, compassion and understanding. We’ve all hurt and damaged and messed others up. We’re in this boat together and though it appears others are awful and we are saints, wrong is still wrong is still wrong. The damage caused by the jaded heart is the same as the hurt caused by the gentle heart. Our life’s work is not to exhaust ourselves in improving ourselves but rather to expend ourselves getting to know and understand the One that heals us.

How does God heal our hearts? If anyone has the right and authority to judge us, it would certainly be Him. But, as One not subjected to the deception of evil, He heals not by pointing out our absurdities and faults; not by seeking to punish our foolishness and frailty, but by knowing who we really are and remaining faithful to treat us in that light. He sees behind the smoke screens and facades and clearly discerns what got us; why it got us; and how the heck He can get us out of it. With Him we can only succeed and without Him we can only fail. Life is too big; too tricky; too perilous to figure out this thing on our own. God heals hearts and healed hearts help others heal.

Once God heals our situations spiritually and trust me, He does, it’s still up to us to put it on in our minds. And though our earthly minds will never reach His perfection, we can still get so repaired of a lifetime of bullshit that we can actually heal. We can become so blessed, so forgiven and encouraged that we become a source of valuable help to others. We have no difficulty looking past the so-called egregious errors of other people because we finally understand why. And once you know why, you never have trouble with the things people have done. Sure some things are worse than others, but underneath it all lies a human just like you. Healed people forgive others.

Simple logic tells you that a broken machine doesn’t work like it should. When it finally blows up and breaks stuff, you get why it damaged things and instead of blaming and accusing and assaulting it, you seek to get it repaired. Humans are no different. We may have free-will and minds and thoughts and decision-making ability, but when we break down we tear stuff up. The solution is therefore to help it (them) get repaired. A child, guilt ridden for the wrong he did doesn’t need a lecture, he needs forgiveness and an approving, unconditional loving response. That’s what God gives you. That’s what you give to others. A healed heart sets people free!

We find ourselves all lined up in the same boat on a similar journey. Don’t allow the wrongs you have suffered to make you a cause in the suffering of others. Instead accept and love yourself for all the foolishness that you are and be grateful for your perfect God that saves you and saves us all! Healed hearts love the unlovable until they become lovable too.

Just some good, healing thoughts…

Stuck in Your Story?


134170985_istockphoto_thinkstockYou are presently starring in a melodrama whereby you are the leading actor. You own all creative rights to the story because you are the playwright. You are also the director demanding that every infinitesimal part of your story be portrayed in detailed accuracy. So the grand question is, does your story suck or is it awesome?

Whether we ever realize it or not, all of us are living out our lives in a story of our own making. That bears repeating! The life we presently live is the out-working of the story we have told ourselves with enough regularity that it has become real. Life isn’t something that happens to us, life is something we make happen. If your current life really sucks or is not what you expected or is not fulfilling or is not successful or has even become a hideous torture chamber, maybe you have gotten stuck in a bad story; a story you wrote, nonetheless.

Everyone has a story. Your story is the one that you tell yourself. It is your badge of identity. No matter what happens in your life, it all funnels back to your story; who you “think” you are. If you were fortunate enough to have developed a marvelous story, God bless you. But, I’m guessing, many people if not most people have a story that aint so good. For clarity’s sake, let’s say your story is one of a victim. I’ll use this example because it’s a story I used to tell myself. In the victim story you always hold the position of a saint. You do the best you can; you work hard; you’re kind and considerate; you give to others unreservedly, but somehow others don’t appreciate it and take advantage of you. No matter how hard you try to do the right thing, it goes unnoticed and those in positions of authority try to take from you all the good you have earned! It’s just not fair to you because you deserve those things you do not get. So, life story firmly in hand, you trod through life waiting for people to take away the good things you have coming. Oh you may eventually win in the end, but you have to fight damn hard for what is rightfully yours.

Surprisingly, in the victim story, you have failed to acknowledge something significant. Namely, that you only get exactly what you expect to get in life with breathtaking accuracy and a precision that rivals even the finest Swiss watchmaker. But, you are loathe to recognize that unsteady linchpin because to do so would force you to admit a portion of the blame. You are a saint after all. Alas, but tis all true my friend. The reason you have held on to the story for so long is because you get something from it; most likely freedom from responsibility for your own life. And so it goes with every story you told that ever held you back.

Stories like this are often developed in childhood or following some traumatic event and for a while probably served to protect you from some difficult situation. But, there comes a time when that story no longer fits the adult version of you and therefore needs to be discarded. You may well have been a victim when you were younger or even in adulthood, but that story does not define who you are. It simply defines something that happened to you.

The stories you tell yourself, though long accepted by you as true, are not true at all. They were never true if they characterized you as lacking in some capacity. You just got lulled into accepting them and allowing them to run your show from that point forward. And like any good melodrama, the more you rehearsed those stories, the better you got at acting out the part. Then everything around you began to mold to fit that story, further convincing you of its veracity. The trouble is that you forgot it is your story that you are acting in and at any moment, you as the director you could change the direction of the scenes.

A simple way to recognize your story is to think what it is you tell people as the reason you don’t get something that you desperately need or want. What is that grand limiting factor that you were apparently “born” with that gives you an unfair disadvantage in life. Is it that “nice” guys finish last? Or that money is “hard” to come by? Or is it that all the “good” guys are taken? Or is life “unfair?” If you are honest with yourself, you must know deep down that those things aren’t true; they are just an excuse for failure in a play that you are writing. Owning all rights to the story means you can simply take out your pen and write a new script! Stop rehearsing that nonsense and for goodness sakes take responsibility.

“The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors, which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.” ~ James Allen

Your limited number of days on terra firm ought to be sufficient evidence to realize you only have so much time to accomplish your hopes and dreams. Don’t waste another moment wrapped up in some old, tired story you have been telling yourself, but instead make use of your thoughts to live in a world you have heretofore only imagined. Your life can only be as good as the story you are telling yourself, so make your story amazing!

Just some good thoughts…

The Endless Chatter of Yesterday and Tomorrow…


living in the now 1I just finished reading Jen Sincero’s book, “You are a Badass…” and yes that is the title. One of the best books I have read in a long time! I could go on and on about what I loved, but we aint got that kind of time! Suffice it to say, she speaks of our conscious mind (you know, the one that never shuts up) and our subconscious mind (called your heart in the Bible). So this lil’ diddy is all about learning to silence that endless chatter in your conscious mind so you can finally get some long sought after peace…

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say most people walk around in a fog of their own inner dialogue. They sit down to speak with you and they’re half in and half out, if you know what I mean. They watch their favorite TV show and their cell phone offering Facebook, Twitter, Vines, Snapchat, Instagram and LinkedIn. At work, they stare at computer screens lost in this thought and that one. It’s no wonder peace is a lost commodity. People’s minds are all over the place like that last episode of the Goodwife!

The strangest part of the whole deal is that most thought time is dedicated to dredging up the past or forecasting the future, in realms we cannot directly affect at this time. Trying to make sense of the things we did and said in the past is absurd because we aren’t even in the same place we were when we said and we did. The future is similar. Chances are we aren’t stressing over a present reality, but instead some future reality that may or usually will not come. But there we sit entrenched in thought, babbling and chattering away with thoughts and ideas that aren’t relevant to the moment we live in. If we are honest, we aren’t rehearsing the past to get better, we’re reliving it to find some way to make us okay. We don’t picture the future to properly plan for it, we envision suffering and pain and loss in this capacity or another. The grand what if… Ugh.

The real beauty and simplicity of life is always, always, always found in the moment called now! God, the eternal One, is an ever-present now! For Him there is no time. He is presently in your past, your right now and in your future. Time is something us human folk think in terms of because God made us that way. But for Him, nada… So with that being said, the Eternal One designed life so that we would function best living in the present moment. And amazingly, when we stop that endless rama-lama we find a quietness we weren’t expecting.

So how do you squelch that mind-boggling noise in your head? Simply by bringing your mind back to the moment you are in. If you are driving home from work, get out of your head and look around you. Is it sunny outside? Are there cars around you? What is on the side of the road you never saw before? When you get home from the drive, who is at home? Your spouse, your significant other? What would happen if you actually engaged them with something significant instead of racing to get on Facebook? What if you really stayed in the present moment and let all that frivolity going on in your head, go? What if, huh? You see the mystery of a peaceful mind is solved when you move your mind to the moment that is, rather than the moment that was or will be. The reason we rejoice over a Saturday or a vacation is because for some reason we allow ourselves to live right now in those circumstances. Well my friends, we can always live in the ‘right now’ if we really want to.

As Jen beautifully pointed out, our life doesn’t spring forth from our conscious mind. It comes out of our subconscious mind. And we will never get to what is really going on in our hearts while flailing around, lost in conscious thought focused on yesterday and tomorrow. But, when you slow down a little and stop churning your butter, you begin to get in touch with how you really feel. You start to see the things you have been missing and become oh so grateful. Being all pissy and whiny and ungrateful is a symptom of a conscious mind on overdrive! (Took a whole lotta striving, just to get up that hill! Shameless Jeffersons reference)! Life isn’t fraught with striving and straining to get what you want and need. Instead, the ideal life is found in allowing God to take care of you like He said He would and just living for now. But what if I lose my job and blah blah blah? Most likely you would find another one and not die! You see? It’s silly…and a colossal waste of time!

Your real life comes forth out of that heart of yours and until you begin to change your heart, you’ll find yourself fighting with your conscious mind against circumstances proceeding from your own heart! Silence the chatter and listen. Pay attention to what is all around you. Be open to learning and open (re-open) that heart of yours. God desires your inner happiness more than you do and He can show you how to find it if you are willing to see it. Be willing!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace coming down from the Father above…

Just some good thoughts…

How to Get a Man (By… a Man)!


reality-potentialBefore you get suspicious about and endless stream of sexism involving high heels, lipstick and bedroom antics, rest assured I’m not going there. Instead I was pondering what I think are some common mistakes women make in dating. Of course, I’m no expert but I am a man old enough to get past the usual sex-crazed silliness. I got married at the tender age of 22 while my bride was only 18 and while I wouldn’t recommend getting married that early (i.e. starving college kids have no cash), I did learn some valuable insights.

If you had the fortune or misfortune of meeting me when I was 22 you would have immediately discovered that I was a work in progress; in fact, a huge work in progress. I had no job; no ambition and no clear plans about who I wanted to be. (Funny, I look back on that with fondness) I digress… If my wife’s goal was financial stability, she got the wrong dude (then anyway). If she was looking for a guy who had his stuff together and was going places, she would have to wait awhile to do that. Instead she got a bundle of raw potential and of course, stunning good looks (Hey, it’s my blog!). My actual proposal was laughable (read former description). My plans, nonexistent. But doggone it, she married me anyway. She must have seen something that I couldn’t see.That brings me to the point!

It seems like many women nowadays are looking for the perfect guy. You may have seen him on the Bachelor or on a reality show or somewhere else, compliments of the media. But sadly, unless you are actually marrying Jesus, he doesn’t exist. The TV and movies present this mythical creature that is non-existent; he’s smart, funny, brilliant, successful, accomplished, chiseled and hot. He adores you, even worships you and still has time for business acumen, poetry, playing the guitar and romantic pursuits. Sadly, that’s not the reality of us dudes. At least, not in the beginning.

Finding a good man is sort of like making a business investment. Your betting heavily on something you believe in with the grand hope it pays out later. But trust me on this one, if he’s not all the things you want now, try giving him a minute. Womenkind is sometimes neglectful of the impact they have on us dudes. You know, you can actually get him to stop doing behaviors you don’t like. You can gently nudge him into something called ambition by simply expressing your belief in him. Now obviously you can’t change the total loser, but sometimes, oh sometimes you can. I should add that I’m not saying us guys are like some sort of trainable horse that can eventually be made to do anything. What I’m saying is that you have to look for potential. Look for a kind heart. Look for what can be, over what is. Look for, as my daughter aptly says, love!

I’m reminded of a friend I had on the east coast who was part of our Bible fellowships. She was having trouble dating guys and it never seemed to work out. One day she told me about her last date. She said, “He was trying to talk to me and get to know me and so I told him, (loud voice inserted here) I’m all about the Word of God and if you want to be with me you better be about the Word!” Gasp….LOL Can you imagine? When I met my wife I was already about the Word (foolish, but loved God) and she was already my girlfriend before I brought that up. Us dudes are easily freaked out and that statement would have sent me running as well! Again LOL.

My advice to you, though I know it’s not always this simple, is stop looking for the perfect guy. Sometimes manners and respect still need to be learned. Maybe, just maybe that guy you like who, as the saying goes, aint doing sh*t, just hasn’t gotten started yet. Possibly there is something you see there that no-one else could see. You can’t trust your parents or your friends on this one. What you can trust is your heart, so listen to it even when the circumstances strongly disagree. Treasures of gold aren’t found without much digging.

Enough on us bumblers… How about you women? What should you do? Be yourself, be yourself, be yourself. If you don’t like sports, you don’t have to. Who made up the rule that good couples have to have everything in common? How absurd! My wife and I have lots of things in common, but we didn’t always. You couldn’t bribe my wife to watch a football game when we first got married. Now she not only watches them, but even gets it! (She has the t-shirt to prove it) What I’m getting at is that lots of things change as time moves forward and just because he does something today that annoys you doesn’t mean he always will. And here’s the bonus thought ~ even though I have a lot of my sh*t together now, I still have absurdities that would require a saint to look past. Yeah, I think I married a saint!

Do yourselves a favor and don’t make it harder than it really is. Even after you get married and have been married for many years, you’re still going to hate his ass at times! LOL That’s just how life is. Just find yourself someone that floats your boat and has at least, the potential to one day add a motor!

Disclaimer: That one guy who is hell bent on making your life a misery aint the one!

Just some good thoughts…

The Saga of the “Inflated” Facebook Status…


161859632Facebook-LikesOn more than a few occasions recently, my attention has been drawn to a bit of upset in one form or another regarding potentially “inflated” Facebook statuses. I know it’s an odd topic and what I’m about to write certainly isn’t an indictment against anyone (and I mean that). I just started thinking about it and well, here comes a blog.

When we go out in public, we normally put on nicer clothes; fix our hair and generally do our best to make a nice appearance. No-one thinks we are being fake or takes issue with our best presentation, but rather typically applaud our efforts. At work, we may be having a terrible day or having marital issues at home and we still try our best to put on a brave face and at least appear to be happy.

So, if you really think about it, Facebook is a public place. Folks really don’t want to know how such and such did you wrong or any inference to you somehow being a victim. In fact, most folks will encourage you but still add a precaution that the public space of Facebook isn’t really the format for your delicate personal issues. Really, when you get right down to it, Facebook isn’t a safe place to share your most intimate feelings as there are people on your friend’s list that aren’t necessarily your friends and have been lying in wait to stab your tender underbelly! Haha you know it’s true. The problem is that we often forget that and soon find ourselves embroiled in other people’s judgments, despite them having only a fraction of insight into who we really are. Live and learn I guess…

So, here’s the thing. If someone paints a picture of their life that maybe isn’t 100% true, do we really care? If it’s not true, don’t the people involved already know it? And, if they know it and their life isn’t so great, aren’t they the ones living that life? Further, who wants to promote their problems; their difficulties and their weaknesses? Who even wants to read that? It seems that if someone feels a need to glorify their life, let them glorify it. Maybe it’s fantasy? Maybe it’s the life they have imagined? Maybe it’s an empty wish? Well, good Lord, join the grant a wish foundation and let them say it! Right? People are suffering. People are hurting inside. People struggle. If she is putting on her lipstick and smiling anyway, let her smile. If he just added two zeroes to his paycheck, let him add it on. Hey, maybe if he keeps saying it enough it might actually happen.

I guess what I’m really talking about is compassion. Compassion is sort of like seeing through the story and pretending like you believe it’s true, not for honesty’s sake, but for the other person’s sake. And you do it with the hopes that one day they will trust you enough to let you see the real them. Why do folks inflate their Facebook status? They’re afraid to let you see the real them… A good friend once taught me that at first people are afraid to show you their heart. Picture clasped hands opening very briefly to let you see inside. Then, when trust is established, the hands open a little more and finally they stay open. An open heart is hands that stay open. Until that moment, you don’t get to see the real person. But, funnily enough, they would find that the real version of them is wonderful and really doesn’t need revision.

Some people aren’t really inflating their status, but choosing rather to only share the good bits! If I’m selling you a car, I don’t start with everything that is wrong with it. I tell you all its virtues, then maybe throw in a few needed repairs. On Facebook, because we are all people after all, we are selling people our hearts. Sure, everything in our life isn’t perfect, but for the good Lord’s sake, why would we tell everyone about that? LOL Personally, I don’t mind speaking of my challenges and mistakes because I know deep down you are just like me and I’m okay with that.

I think if you are really honest with yourself, feeling upset about the possibility that someone’s life isn’t as great as they say it is, is really more about you than it is about them. Otherwise, why even care? There are enough blessings and good things in life for all of us to have a healthy share! If I’m enjoying God’s abundant blessings in my life, I want you to have them as well. If you make 5 times more money than I do, God bless you and good for you! We have all felt a twinge of envy on occasion, but really, feeling that way points more to our feeling inferior than having genuine love. It also reveals that we may feel a need to be above others rather than stand shoulder to shoulder with them. I’m proud of my accomplishments in life, though I feel sometimes like I’ve earned 7 stars but am capable of 10 (smile). But, even in my accomplishments, I don’t want to be above you!

Since these are just some good thoughts, I hope I didn’t make you mad. Instead I say, live and let live. If I don’t approve of your life and think you are headed for trouble, then if true the trouble will come. But, with God everybody has a chance to turn anything around and if God did it for me, He will do it for you as well. Life is too short to demand an accurate portrayal of everyone’s life. I just ironed my jeans, you know what i mean?

Just some compassionate good thoughts…