Be Good to Yourself…


imagesHave you ever had the experience where you think you are doing something the right way only to find out later that you’re not? We humans get so caught up in our systems about how things work and it seems to get worse as we get older. We already know, ya know? It’s like we stumble into a methodology that worked a couple of times and start replicating it out over a thousand situations. That’s all gravy if you got it right, but if you didn’t…life gets crappy in a hurry.

One such system, well rehearsed and approved as right, is the universally accepted notion that one can improve on his weaknesses and faults by analyzing himself. While ‘thinking’ is always encouraged (another forgotten aspect – smile), I’m talking about that dreadful analysis that only leads to one thing…the conclusion that you are not okay!

To understand this better, you need to understand certain realities. Everything that man does and is, is flawed. Not by design, but by some things you can read about in your Bible sometime. The more closely you inspect man’s accomplishments, even masterpieces, the more imperfection you will discover. In stark contrast, everything that God does is perfect. You can put it under the highest power microscope on Earth and the intricacy and perfection just multiplies. But, I don’t have to tell you that, right? It is literally (and beautifully) all around you!

So, how does this have anything to do with you and what you are doing to yourself? Well, almost everything really. In life you cannot really progress beyond what you think about yourself. If your opinion of yourself is poor, your results in life will be poor. Conversely, if you think highly of yourself and respect yourself, your results will be off the charts. So, what is one of the chief components that faithfully and regularly holds people back? Not being good to one’s self!

You are by your very nature an imperfect being. You were born into this world with imperfection in your blood. You get it? You started out that way! You didn’t start out all rosy and brilliant only later to botch it up with all of your misdeeds. No! You began imperfect and you will remain imperfect until some future day when God sets it all back in order again. This is so vitally important for you to understand. The great Apostle Paul said (by revelation) that he knew that in himself (his physical nature or his body and mind) dwelled no good thing. Nothing, nada, zip! So let me ask you another question. When you dwell on yourself and analyze yourself and deeply probe yourself to learn why you behave the way you do, what are you going to find? No good thing! You are only going to discover your imperfection again and again and again! The old familiar end will be that you are going to conclude that you are not so good; not deserving of good things and basically woe is you. You cannot reach any other conclusion. That old trick has been whooping mankind’s behind since the beginning of time. But, and get this my friends, it is always a trick!

The only way out of your messes is to stop dwelling on your messes! You want to teach a child how to be successful? You cannot persist in his mistakes, but instead capitalize on his accomplishments. Seek out what he does well and laud it to the heavens. Build him up, build him up, build him up until he finally starts to believe he is worth something. Once that’s in him, he is off to the races for success in life. If that works with children, (and believe me it does) then how about with adults? How about using that principle when you are dealing with you? Does that harsh taskmaster referred to as yourself, ever lead you anywhere good? You know it doesn’t! It just makes you feel like sh*t and then you are ripe for the next set of errors.

Getting you to deeply analyze your faults and your failings is the oldest trick in the book. It’s a rabbit hole with no rabbits inside. It’s a black hole of epic proportions that leads surreptitiously to more and more darkness. And, dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light, as I love to say again and again! Now, lest you get all righteous on me here, of course doing “bad” things is wrong. There’s no free pass for hurting and damaging things. But logically, unless you’re planning on doing some evil, I’m assuming your failings are in the past tense. They done already been done and done already got did! So, to stay in that dark place is categorically insane if you’re trying to get to the light.

God’s simple solution to help you out of your “no good thing” state is by giving you an opportunity to get His “every good thing” spirit on the inside. You don’t have to work for it or change for it or become “good” for it. You simply believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10) and you get it. Probably one of the greatest things God ever did! So profoundly simple, yet missed a lifetime by people. Once you get His spirit on the inside, He makes you every good thing. He does it! His son paid the price for every ‘effed’ up thing you ever did and ever will do. It’s over, you win, you will live forever!

Make up your mind not to spend another millisecond analyzing your imperfections because as long as you have a body, your imperfections will always be right there. Instead, focus on what is the best about you. Focus on who God says you are and not what your old worn out mind says you are! There’s a new road for you to travel on if you decide you want it.

Be good to yourself. Love yourself. Accept yourself. Respect yourself. Focus on all that’s good in you knowing that in your flesh or anyone else’s flesh for that matter, dwells no good thing! Life is too short and fraught with too many dangers for your own mind to be your personal enemy. Become real good to yourself because it is the only way…

Just some “good” thoughts…

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Do You Approve…of Yourself?


226ASP6179944780The world we live in is an approval machine! From birth forward we were all taught suggested behaviors, traits, personality types to help us gain the approval of others. As we matured, we started getting additional messages from the ‘system of things’ on how to continue garnering approval. I suppose it makes sense, in some respects, that if you are going to live in a society then you have to abide by certain societal expectations to be accepted. You generally have to wear clothes and you’re not allowed to pick your nose in public, for example. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong with wanting to be accepted. I mean who doesn’t like receiving approval from others? But, there’s something infinitely more important that being approved by others and that is being approved of yourself. Do you approve of yourself? That’s a question worth answering!

You being the only you, you have; begs the question, do you like yourself? I’m not talking about publicly where we’ve all been taught to develop a cheery public persona. I’m talking about you, home alone, staring in that mirror. Do you love and accept how that guy or gal acts? Or are you pissed at that image for its apparent failure to live up to…wait for it…what everyone else thinks he or she should do?

You may not realize it, but all of us were conditioned very early on to seek the approval of our parents. It wasn’t such a bad idea because we were children and didn’t have the wherewithal to make good choices yet. Some parents gave you unconditional approval. Some parents provided you with conditional approval or said another way, “If you obey what I say, you are good. If you disobey what I say, you are bad!” Some parents gave you very little or no approval no matter what you did. And finally, some parents were just not there! If you were unfortunate enough not to get the unconditional love parents, as many people were, then you learned very early on in life that you needed other people’s approval to be okay. Then your life mission became, what do I need to do to be approved by others?

So, here’s the rub. Assuming you are an adult now, you have to learn to get approval from that person staring back from the glass:

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

~ Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr.

You see, us humans are a peculiar breed. We all have our own weirdness, quirks and undesirable characteristics. We all make mistakes. We’ve all zigged when we should have zagged! We are all imperfect and have all been broken in some respect. The trouble is we don’t want anyone to know it. So we parade around in our masks literally hating the person we are or have become. Our love and acceptance of ourselves is conditional and we don’t meet the conditions. It may have worked to shape your behavior when you were five, but it doesn’t work now!

You have to get to the place where you approve of you, no matter what. “He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest, for he’s with you, clear to the end. And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test, if the man in the glass is your friend.” Make your mind, your friend!

Now track with me here for a minute… Let’s say you’ve done some pretty gnarly deeds. Let’s imagine you’ve hurt people in catastrophic ways. Or maybe you just haven’t lived up to what you know in your heart you should be. In any case and in every case, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever doing better or being better or getting better if you don’t love that person in the mirror. No one beats themselves into becoming something admirable. Instead, self loathing and self hate only issue in more awful results. The past is passed and cannot exist in the present unless you make it so (including your upbringing). What is in the present is you, with all of your faults and failings and human frailties. Love that guy anyway! Love that gal anyway! Approve of yourself anyway!

You just make the decision that you are worth something. You matter. You do have value. You’re not of value because you do everything right. You have value because you are a living, breathing human being, formed and made by God Himself.

Step out of the ‘wheel of things’ and finally recognize that you don’t need other people’s approval to be okay. Stop masquerading, it’s exhausting. Cease changing colors to match the whims and fancies of every person you meet. Do you, be you in all of the glorious you, you can possibly be. The world doesn’t need another me, one is enough ;-). What the world needs is you; the real you; the true you; and nothing but the YOU!

Just some good thoughts…

Why Aren’t Your Tomatoes Growing?


tomato-tips-380-1In the Spring I planted a garden. Last year’s garden sucked, so this year I took the time to make up the chemistry of the soil in detailed proportions. After proudly planting my tomatoes and telling them I loved them and so forth, I turned them over to God. (Well, sort of…) I planted them in full sunshine and faithfully watered them every day. After about 6 weeks of growing time, I noticed that my tomatoes were decidedly puny. Their leaves were yellowing like they needed more water, so I added more water. This went on for several more weeks with less and less results. So I did what everyone does that is at a loss for answers, I Googled that sh*t! (smile) Mr. Google gladly informed me that the most common reason for stunted growth in tomatoes is “too much” water. Imagine, water makes them grow, but you can get too much of it. Yet, this blog isn’t about moderation, it’s about roots; deep roots.

Apparently that guy on TV that talks about watering your lawn less, was right. The more you water something, the less the roots have to dig down. The more shallow the roots, the weaker the plant. The deeper the roots, the more robust the plant. So, I got to thinking, humans grow also, but only if they have well-developed roots. So the question that begs becomes, how deep are your roots in the things that are most important to you? Do you take the time to understand why things happen or do you simply grab for more of the things you think will make you happy?

This precious life we live is all about understanding. Not understanding how things really work is the cause of all of your difficulties. When you are challenged with some circumstance of life, do you quickly grab the next clichéd bottle of water or do you look for the well where the water never runs out? The truth is ever the truth and it shows itself in a million combinations. Error only offers a quick fix that doesn’t really fix at all, but serves simply to salve the wound in the moment. Men’s theories, men’s ideas, men’s philosophies always fall short because man is woefully unaware of all of the variables. Most of the time, the effect wasn’t produced by the cause you had in mind, but another cause of which you remain ignorant. Understanding is therefore, getting to the true cause.

In every field of life we devote ourselves faithfully to understand, especially in those things we deem most important. Except for one. We have failed to understand life and the One behind it. And, it’s no wonder because there are more false ideas about God than about anything else! (By design I might add…) It’s like my son said to me today, “If something feels bad and unpleasant, it probably is…” Things that are contradictory and inconsistent beg for further inspection. If someone teaches you that God is love, yet also tells you He sometimes, randomly kills the people you love, I would think that deserved some further inspection. But no, what do you do? You try to accept it by faith or explain it away as a mystery or something. Turn the sprinklers on, you just need more water.

Life is not random, my friends. Every effect does have a cause and although you don’t yet understand it, doesn’t mean you can’t understand it if you really want to know! Just think about your life for a moment. Think about the earth and all of the things in it; the perfection, the symmetry, the beauty. Why does that forest or that beach cause you to feel tranquil? Why doesn’t the skyscraper do that for you? Why do you have nerve endings in your fingers and not in your hair? How can you see images in your mind? Well, it’s actually a chemical reaction! Okay, but a damn complicated one, don’t you think?

The reality behind this life is spirit. You can’t detect it by your five senses, but you can get to it by your heart. Every one of us have something in us that beckons us to understand; to find and love its Creator, until the old world talks us out of it. Every one of us recognize the truth, even if we can’t always explain it. It’s in the lyrics of a song, the words in a poem, a line in a movie and on it goes. But, when you’ve heard it, you know it even if you cannot express it in words. Truth is unchanging but it’s not always on the surface. You have to dig for it. You have to want it and expend the effort to get it. You have to sink your roots down in something substantial if you really want to grow. But, like a tomato, you can’t make yourself grow. You simply get the conditions right, sink your roots down deep and the One who causes the tomato to grow will cause you to grow as well.

People spend their whole lives giving themselves to everything and everyone and never get to the true cause. We get so busy, so preoccupied, so caught up in our present dilemmas, that we forget to seek out the cause. We get scurried away with false causes and things we cannot possibly effect. We wrestle with intangible concepts like making sure the earth has the resources we need to keep living, never imagining that the One who created the earth may have thought that through!

Instead of wasting away your life; your one precious life with endless and pointless activity, take some time and serious effort to understand. Ask God to teach you! Ask God to make it plain. Ask God to get someone on your path that can help it make sense for you. He invented eyelashes for goodness sakes, don’t you think He might have something for you? Oh He does and He wants you to get it, even more than you want to know it! And, He’s been looking for you for years!

Well, I did something crazy. I stopped watering those tomatoes and made ’em dig. I still loved them but they had to do their own work. They did their job and now we got ‘maters for days! Do you need tomatoes? I got more than I can handle…

Just some good thoughts…

The Death Spiral of the Negative Mind…


shutterstock_80347894A great man once said, “Negatives are like mosquitos on a blood hunt!” The world in which you and I live is ruled by negativity. The media is negative. Facebook is negative. The news is negative. Living in the world, we almost cannot help but become negative. So you have to ask yourself, is all this negativity the natural way to be? Does being negative simply mean you are being realistic? Is it better to be negative and thus avoid getting your expectations dashed? Does negativity actually motivate you to become something good? Have you, my friend, become negative yourself?

What does it even mean to be negative? In math terms a negative is a number less than zero. To answer in the negative means to say no! A negative attitude is characterized as disagreeable. It closely ties to criticism and refusal. In photography it means to have the light and the darkness inverted. Now just stop right there for a moment. Deciding to be negative means less than nothing. You choose to say no rather than yes. You tend towards being disagreeable rather than promoting harmony. (Facebook anyone) It enjoys criticism and refuses rather than accepts. It means you’ve got your light and darkness mixed up. Indeed, your light and darkness are mixed up.

Remember when you were a youngster? How long did your negativity last? 10 minutes, when Mom said no? Then you got back to your pursuit of happiness as quickly as you could. You somehow chose, with your innocent processor, to let disagreeable stuff go and change your focus back to the good. Then the world starting mixing you up. It convinced you that you were less than zero. It taught you to say no to everything and be suspicious of anything good that showed up. People tried to tell you but you disagreed because you knew better. You got real critical of everything and everyone and mostly with yourself. Finally, you started to confuse the darkness with the light and even preferred it. You refused the goodness as fanciful and believed the darkness is what is real. Thus you entered the death spiral of negativity with no hope on the horizon. Is this not true? How many people just expect things not to work out? How many folks are afraid of good things happening because they won’t last or something is going to take them away? How many good people spend their lives looking over their shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop? How many kind hearts live in perpetual fear of what might happen, hasn’t happened yet, but is surely going to happen one day? The Death Spiral…

Once you allow yourself to become negative, your focus shifts to the negative. You start looking for the negatives. You’re just looking for trouble and almost always find it. Then, one negative event leads to another negative event and the cycle is in full effect. The problem isn’t life and the reality that bad things happen. The problem is that you got talked into shifting away your focus from what you want to what you don’t want! Your dreams and your prayers went from, “I want” and “I need” to “Please don’t let” and “Please take this away from me.” Instead of being thankful; so extremely thankful, you dwelled on what you don’t have and why you don’t have it. Negative…less than zero, can you see it? Here’s a newsflash that you might find unsettling. Your life will continue on the death spiral until YOU decide to change your thoughts. YOU have to get YOUR head out of the garbage can and look up. Look to where you want to go and go there! Stop looking back and rehearsing the hurts of the past. Stop dwelling on the things that didn’t go right. Stop blaming, criticizing, refusing and ruminating, and just move your mind to a positive place. Until you do, this old world will just eat you alive….every day…until you die.

The opposite of negativity is being positive. Now, because people have their light and dark messed up, they want to chastise you for being positive. You stick out like a healed thumb! You’re not being realistic. You’re not thinking maturely. You’re being all Pollyanna and foolish. LOL! As if expecting the worst of everything makes any sense. As if the reality of life is suffering and never blessings. As if grown ups are supposed to be miserable. As if being lighthearted and jolly is worse than feeling melancholy and depressed. As if…

People that say those things don’t yet understand life. Life isn’t some predestined ride ending in a destination you don’t get to choose. God does not have the dice loaded against you. If anything is loaded against you it is your misunderstanding of the control you have in your life. It is you, not clearly recognizing that your tendency toward negativity actually produces bad results as your tendency toward positivity actually produces good results. It is YOUR life and YOU are producing something. Seems only reasonable that you would want to produce something good.

Why not separate yourself from the herd and start expecting good things? Look, do the math! If you expect something good 75% of the time and the good only happens 50% of the time, I’d say that beats the hell out of below zero! I’ll bet many of you would pay good money for something positive happening 10% of the time. And, while you are separating yourself from the herd, start separating yourself from the negativity. Stop watching the stupid news. Stop getting caught up in racial, political and economical debates on Facebook. Stop letting people and friends and relatives convince you of things that aren’t true.  Choose the light. Choose the things that encourage you and help you. Choose to believe that there is another way; God’s way and He is the one who dreamed this whole thing up…

Once you start smacking at the mosquitos they start to overwhelm you. Just go inside, it’s easier…

Just some good thoughts…

The Beauty of a New Day…


The right path to a new dayThere was time when I was so mired in my own bullsh*t I couldn’t hear a solution to my problems if it was injected into my eardrums with a syringe. I complained, I whined, I did a lot of stupid stuff all in an attempt to get out of the mental prison in which I found myself. Being a praying man, I prayed and prayed and prayed. But, no matter how much I prayed, I could not help but feel as if heaven was brass as the saying goes. And honestly, I spent more time in that state than I care to admit. But one day; one beautiful new day, I escaped. So, this is all about how…

If you are like me, you assume that when you involve God, He is supposed to do something. You figure, you have a problem, you need help, and you are asking Him to help you. So why sometimes does absolutely nothing happen? Before you foolishly say something like, “it wasn’t the right time” or “maybe there is something I’m supposed to learn from this” or “sometimes God doesn’t answer your prayers because His ways are often mysterious,” let me offer another explanation, but not until I first explain why I called you foolish… 😉

When us humans don’t know what’s going on, we tend to make guesses. We just hate not understanding. So maybe my illustration will be a little more clear if we think in terms of a parent/child relationship. Imagine your kid is suffering and you have a way to end the suffering. So you explain the time just isn’t right… Or, in the midst of their agony you think, this is a good time to teach you something??? Or worst of all, continue in your torture as long as it takes, because I have a purpose; a deep purpose you don’t get!!! Doesn’t make sense to you does it? Well, it doesn’t make sense to anyone else either, especially the Source of all goodness!

Maybe something else is going on of which you are not yet aware. (Why can’t sentences end in prepositions again? I digress…) I discovered, albeit the hard way, that God dwells in the light. In order to tap into His greatness and His power, I too have to find a way to get myself to the light. As my favorite teacher used to say, “dwelling on the darkness won’t being forth the light.” Being all negative and despondent, hopeless and distraught is the darkness and it’s just not where God abides. In order to get out of a mental prison, you first have to change your mind. Can you see it? God is always, always, always willing to show you the solution to your dilemma. But, and this is a helluva big BUT, you have to change your mind! You have to let go of your own egotistical idea that you can somehow figure it out, as if wandering in darkness can actually get you somewhere and change your thinking. You have to think the good. You have to think there actually IS a solution that you just haven’t gotten to yet! You must decide to become positive, expectant, joyful and exuberant.

Have you ever been mired in some scenario; feeling exasperated and then had a change of heart? It’s like suddenly it dawns on you that what you have been doing isn’t getting you anywhere. You start to consider that before you can even hope for a change you have to at least entertain the thought that it can happen. So you purposefully add some happiness; some expectation that things are going to finally change. A new day has dawned in your heart and it’s a beautiful new day!

People get all upset with God because they expect Him to work things out, with or without their own consent. But, it just does not work that way. You have a part and God has a part. Before you can ever expect God to do His part, you have to do your part! God does not possess. He does not overtake your free will. His spiritual hands are tied until you change your mind to line up with what He says over and above what the circumstance looks like. He doesn’t come down to the level of “ever-afraid” man, He informs that you must come up to where He is, in the light! When you can finally get to the place where you are willing to think what God says about your situation, then you are finally on the right track! And once you reach that place things happen in a hurry!

At least a portion of the pain you are experiencing, I too have felt. I’ve been there, hated it, and done that. I’ve whined, bitched, got angry, blamed God and all the other stuff normal people do. But, just as you can’t get grapes from potatoes or figs from peach trees, you cannot get light from darkness. You have to initiate the change by first wanting it, then, then, then going where the solution resides, not in the darkness, but in the light.

A wonderful thing happens to you when you get to the light. You discover that every day is not just a new day, but a beautiful new day!

Oh my friends, God exists…

Just some good thoughts…