Hoping…for a Change!


maxresdefaultAs a self-proclaimed wordsmith, I have a tendency to over~analyze semantics. Words have distinct meanings ya know, but sometimes the way we use them reveals scads about how we think. It has oft been said that what you believe in the depth of your soul is what you actually manifest into your life. So, what do you believe? The answer will be found not only by what you say, but how you say it…

The word “hope” is one such example. If you want to be semantically accurate (and, who doesn’t?), hope is defined as “wanting something to happen (as a verb) and optimism towards future events (as a noun). In other words, when you say you hope so, you really mean, “you hope so.” You want something to happen. You may even want it to happen very badly! But, will it actually happen? I hope so (smile)…

“Believe” is another contestant in the semantics sweepstakes. “To believe” at its root means to have confidence in something or to accept something as true. So, if you believe something is going to happen, then it is going to happen, right? Haha, not so fast, my friend. Let’s say I ask you if you are going to get that job you are pursuing. Seems like the “believing” answer is “yes!” But, how do you really answer? “I believe so…” Which means, if you are being honest and are analyzing the semantics, “I hope so!” LOL, yeah, we are back there again!

You see, the words you choose and how you use them, tell you something about how you think. In the world of truth, yes is yes and no is no! Believing so and hoping so are cute expressions reflecting a strong maybe. And sadly, as long as your answer is “maybe” your results at best are only maybe! Maybe is just fine if you’re talking about things you cannot control like the Dallas Cowboys winning the Superbowl, but “maybe” sucks in making positive changes in your own life. Are you going to lose that weight? Maybe. Are you going to get over those weak spots that have been holding you down? Maybe. Are you going to finally earn the amount of money you need in order to live how you want to live? Maybe.

I’m sure you can think of those times in your life when you got damn serious about changing something! You probably said things like, “I’m not spending another hour living like this!” Or, “This crap stops today!” Or, “I’m going to figure out how to do this if it kills me!” Well, that kind of hyperbole makes something happen. You not only mean what you say but you have taken it a step further attaching life and death to it!

One of the greatest mysteries of human nature seems to revolve around waiting (and hoping) for something good to happen. I call it a mystery because YOU want it to happen and GOD wants it to happen, yet there you sit impatiently waiting for someone or something other than you to make it a reality. Now, I’m smart enough to know that there are many variables involved with making things happen and as a human being, most of it you don’t control. But, there is always, always, always, (yes, I said it 3 times) one thing you do control and that is what you believe! The naysayer may scoff and say that you cannot just sit around “believing” something is going to happen and expect something to happen… And they would be most accurate in that assertion. But, if you really believe and aren’t just playing the semantics sweepstakes, your actions will absolutely follow your beliefs. Look, if you believe the roof is going to cave in, you already stopped reading and hightailed it out of the house! (Hightail, to exit rapidly like a whitetail deer escaping a predator ~ semantics analyzation in progress.)

Unless your life is absolutely perfect, there is probably something you want to change, right? Well, ask yourself how you talk about the things you want to change. A great man once said, “What you think about the situation with which you are presently confronted will determine the outcome.” Man, read that again! Assuming you’re alone, try it out for yourself. Go ahead, do it. Ask yourself out loud. What do you think is going to happen? How you answered is what is going to happen, at least at this moment in time anyway…

Assuming your answer; your real honest answer, wasn’t what you want, you now have a choice. You can work on changing your honest answer and get serious about it, or you can keeping on hoping so and believing so without result, indefinitely. Contrary to popular belief, there is no power in the human mind, with one exception ~ you have the power to choose what you will and will not believe! If you can ever get around to believing, you enlist the power of something far greater than you, called God, the ultimate fixer of everything that ever went wrong with you!

Don’t waste another second of your life drifting along the debris ridden stream of hoping and wishing. Take charge of your mind and take charge of your beliefs. They’re your beliefs so you may as well make them something you actually want in your life, right? We can change anything and everything about our lives if we ever get around to really believing. Seems like that is the only logical thing to do.

Words are great fun; semantics are fascinating, but until you can get your mouth lined up with the beliefs in your heart, nothing is going to happen! Get clear on what you want, then answer yes and only yes to the question of whether or not it is going to happen! I really hope you figure this one out…

Just some good thoughts.

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Why is Life So Hard?


Life-is-Really-SimpleI just sat down to write a little blog in the comfort of my living room. I poured myself a nice glass of Cabernet and stared at the screen wondering what to write. Just then my son Chris popped in and in a moment of impulse launched a pillow into the table that formerly housed my wine glass, shattering the glass and splattering red wine on the recliner, the brand new upholstered, khaki colored dining room chair and the white cloth lamp shade. We did our best to clean up the mess, including locating all of the glass. It seems the chairs are fine, but the lampshade may have suffered a fatal loss! And in that frenetic moment it came to me, why is life so hard, or maybe, is it really hard?

Maybe us humans make the mistake of assigning meaning to things that have no meaning and focusing on the material things while never really regarding the vital and necessary things. Maybe we have been deluded into putting such high importance on our stuff; maintaining our stuff and getting new stuff and neglecting those parts of life that have true meaning. As a functioning and ambitious member of the rat race, I like to be somewhere near the front of the line. Oh I don’t do it on purpose mind you, but this old world sucks me in at times. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s something else but I like my things to be a certain way. I clean, I organize (Lord knows I organize) and I get indignant when someone dares to mess up my stuff. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your stuff, in fact it is a quality, but sometimes the people should come before your stuff. Is that a justification for pillow slinging? Of course not! But maybe, just maybe, my obsession with stuff takes precedence over the people and when that occurs, I may have missed the mark! I’m sure when I’m on my death-bed I’d rather have Chris there than all of the upholstered chairs and lamps in the world! Why is life so hard? Well, sometimes it seems hard because you are focusing on the wrong stuff!

If you lived any amount of time on earth you are well aware of the many challenges and pitfalls that are right around the corner waiting for you. Life can seem to be real scary. There’s a multitude of things that can go wrong at any time. Oh sure, you plan and prepare and do your best, yet still things go south on you and before you can even recognize it, you find yourself faced with stress producing situations. You just want to control what you can and, by God, you do your utmost. Yet, they still appear. Hopefully somewhere along the line it finally dawns on you that you just cannot control everything. And, I’m loathe to admit, you really control an infinitesimal amount of stuff. Take, for example, your adult children (yes, this includes Chris). When they were little it was duck soup. You watched over them like a hawk and decided exactly what they did and when. Now, however, you are no longer in control. You see them heading south (no, not Chris) and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. You have to rely on them to make good choices and like you when you were their age, they don’t always choose right. You don’t want them to suffer but they will and in that suffering sometimes learn a thing or two. Why is life so hard? Often it gets hard when you’re trying to control things you cannot control.

Now comes perhaps the greatest single factor in making life seem so hard. Recently I attended a birthday party for one of my closest friends. I was sitting next to another old friend and proceeded to lament about this and that and how I so wanted this to happen and wouldn’t it be great if that happened etc. In his one of kind manner he quietly commented, “Isn’t that God’s job…” There in 5 words or less was the answer to all of life’s apparent complexities! Life is hard because you and I are busying ourselves into oblivion trying to do God’s job while neglecting our own job, namely trusting Him. We are so smart, ya know? So smart, in fact, that we have become experts in what oughta happen and dumb dumbs in regard to how things really happen. Life, absent a true belief in God’s abiding goodness, is frightfully hard. You can figure it out, you say? No you can’t! The proof of that? Your thinking that life is hard! It’s hard because you are determined to do it all by yourself.   You think, I don’t need God, I will just make a lot of money. Well, the money you made comes from God whether you ever choose to acknowledge it or not! He is just that good! The trouble is that the same world that has you wrongly focused on your stuff and trying to control everything yourself is also extremely persistent in talking you out of who God is! If you knew who He really is and what He really does you would never have the audacity to utter that life is hard. Yes, you would face your share of challenges and even maybe more than your share, but in the end you would have still overcome because Gods job is to teach you how to overcome!

Life is hard my friends, but only because you’ve been talked into trusting in yourself and not in the One that made you! Stuff gets messed up; new stuff is always out there; you want to control everything but cannot control hardly anything; you’re tired and frustrated and anxious and afraid, yet amidst all that you can learn who God is and in a moment of time change your mind and realize, life isn’t really hard but instead it is my heart that has gotten hard. Ask God to teach you something new and in the process enjoy that new, tender heart He will give you! You can bet your entire, hard life on that one!

Just some good thoughts…

The Elusive Quiet Mind…


imagesThe world lives and moves amidst a persistent and pervasive low-level anxiety that permeates every thought, every action and almost every decision. You have been living with “it” for so long that “it’s” hardly recognizable. It’s sort of like this hidden specter in the background of your life, quietly, secretly whispering, ever whispering “trouble is coming” “trouble is coming…” When it first appeared, when you were a child, you recognized it as an aberration and did whatever you could to escape it. But then, as you got older, it happened so regularly that it no longer seemed unusual. In fact, you got so habituated to it, you gave up all hope of ever having a quiet mind again. You can’t concentrate; cannot sleep; need prescription meds, drugs and copious amounts of alcohol just to make it through the day. What the hell ever happened to your elusive quiet mind?

I’ll tell you what happened to it! Someone stole it from you. You had it at one time. But, as you got older it sort of dwindled away. You didn’t see it making an exit, you only experienced what it felt like after it was gone. Here’s a macabre thought, you never see the good things being taken away until it’s almost too late and you can apply that to unlimited situations. You can’t detect it because of its subtlety. All error works that way. No one grows up dreaming of being a junkie or a prostitute. They just get swept up and away to a strange land located who knows where.

So, here’s the rub… It’s your mind, quiet or restless. Your mind produces or replicates your own thoughts. You think and therefore you are. All throughout the day you are thinking and processing and feeling. You are doing it almost subconsciously, but make no mistake you are doing it. And, if you are like most folks, you are receiving a plethora of information every day. It’s like you are laying in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV of cable television, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest of the Internet. Info, info, info, feed, feed, feed! All of that ‘so necessary’ information going in and taking root. Snippets of scary health information, fearful predictions, hatred, division, greed and a vast army of endless negative possibilities. All going in; all upsetting; all producing non-specific feelings of anxiety. And you wonder what happened to your quiet mind?

There was a time when people didn’t have access to so much information. There was a time when everyone didn’t know everything that is going on in the world. But that time is no more, so you have to do something to protect yourself. You wouldn’t think of eating poisonous food or drinking arsenic, yet give little thought to the daily onslaught of deadly toxic thoughts that are entering your noggin.

Worse than the external environment is the things you say to yourself on the inside. You being the only you, you have got, it seems you should always be on your own side! But instead, you say all manner of insults and think nothing of it. And, at the top of the list is that whole, “I’m not worthy thing!” Feeling unworthy and guilty is the precursor to anxiety. You know why? Because anxiety literally means divided and when you aren’t okay with you, you are most divided. You have got to come to terms with that right away quick, pronto! If you want to measure yourself accurately, know this ~ we are all unworthy in its truest sense. Who exactly is good enough for this life? No-one that’s who! So give yourself a break and stop vomiting on yourself! All that “I don’t deserve good things” nonsense serves only one purpose. To make you better? Hell no! To divide you against yourself and to defeat you before you ever get started!

So, how might someone like yourself get your quiet mind back? Well, here’s the shortlist:

1. Take control over the things that you are allowing into your mind.

2. Control your thinking and stop entertaining thoughts of fear and defeat. (They only gain power over you when you entertain them!)

3. When an agitating thought shows up, take the time to resolve it in your mind. Refuse it. Say it aint so! Challenge it (don’t argue with it!)

4. Practice being quiet. Quiet down, settle down, pursue peace like your life depends upon it.

5. Stop accepting anxiety as a normal part of life. Fear is not natural or normal no matter how long it has been going on. Your true natural state is one who is at rest, like you were when you were 7.

6. Begin to recognize triggers and sources of unrest. Then, find ways to avoid them. Unrest is ALWAYS a sign that something is not right. (Let the peace of God rule [umpire] in your heart..)

7. Stop verbalizing negatives and complaints. By verbalizing you are simply strengthening the things you do not want. Complaining just confirms your victim status and you are NOT a victim!

8. Take the time to learn about God and His ways. Be honest with yourself and recognize that you are afraid of life and NEED some assistance figuring this thing out. Caution ~ don’t pursue religion because it derives control from your fears!

Your quiet mind is not as elusive as you think. It is already there waiting for you to take back control and get back the booty that was stolen from you. The God of all peace wants you to be peaceful. However, you aren’t ever going to find it if you continue mindlessly trudging down all of the same paths you walked before. Instead of running from that specter promising you trouble,  listen for the true voice saying, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ~ Psssst “This is the way; walk ye in it.” There is just no other way my friends… Be quiet.

Just some good peaceful thoughts…