Real Life is the Absence of…


12109017_906397282785691_8569625912449202360_nOne of the most grand, important and hugely significant realizations of our times seems to center on life; a REAL LIFE! Let’s face it, we are all trying to get a life. We want a life filled with happiness and love. We want variety and vibrancy and delight. We want to wake up in the morning excited for the day, with our hearts full of love and joy and peace. And all of us, yes every single one of us, are seeking the exact same thing in infinite variations. So, the million dollar question is, is the real life we so ardently desire something we can get or rather the absence of something we’ve been getting?

The cheap answer would appear to be finding that special “something” out there that promises to heal all of our wounds; solve all of our dilemmas; straighten all of our crookedness and infuse us with lasting vitality! But, the vastly more costly answer is found on the other side, in the absence of…

Life, behind all of the senses coverings, always boils down to two things, good and evil. But, here’s where it gets interesting. Life’s greater realities are not really two distinct entities, but rather one true entity and one illusory entity. The illusory entity is not anything in itself except the absence of the true entity. Wow, crazy talk, huh? Let me explain… The opposite of life is death. Death is simply the absence of life. Darkness is merely the absence of light. Fear is the absence of love, or to put it another way, love is the absence of fear. Peace is the absence of trouble or the end of the struggle. All of life’s negatives represent the absence of something good; something we were designed to have!

As I mused this idea, I thought about how many of us are seeking and toiling and searching for that special something, never considering that, that “special” something is already here for us. It’s quite literally all around us. It’s found in the mighty oak tree and in the most delicate orchid. It’s in the warmth of the sunlight and the sound of the ocean. It’s in the eyes of your grandchildren and the smile from your mother. Life, beautiful life, real life just is and requires no help from you or me. And when you see life, there is no mistaking it for what it is, that is unless you’ve allowed the darkness to hold sway!

The other side of life, the absence of it, seeks to blind your eyes from the real life God intended for you. It makes you afraid and anxious about life. It steals away your peace by introducing agitation and unrest. It robs you of your enthusiasm and energy by getting you to dwell on its negative illusions. It works to occupy your mind with nothingness and pointlessness and would, if allowed to, reduce your life into one useless travail on an empty road leading nowhere! It’s behind every sickness, every sorrow, every lost hope, and every miserable thing. It’s work is displayed in every murder, every suicide, and every rape. And all of it, every single piece of it, is nothing more than the absence of goodness and love and light!

Maybe then, the best way to get that real life, you’ve been pining away for, is to stop seeking it so exhaustively and work rather on getting rid of the stuff that’s taking it away from you. Instead of searching the world over for love, get rid of your fear. Love comes from life who also goes by the name, God! And, before I continue let me give you a sidelight which is really the whole light. You are not going to find that real life you are after without God’s help. You know how I know? Because you haven’t found it on your own yet, have you? Oh you can try, and you can fill your mind with endless theories, but in the end you won’t find life because you haven’t yet found God!

Instead of doing all kinds of shenanigans to find peace, why not work on eliminating the agitations and the trouble. Trouble cannot exist without your cooperation because it’s a parasite feeding off your thoughts. To become agitated or maybe stay agitated, you have to continue entertaining the evil thought. Thinking it, or often in my case, analyzing it, only serves to permit its entree that much longer. The solution isn’t to clear your mind of all thought, but rather to replace agitating thoughts with thoughts of peace.

If you feel depressed or bored or just plain weary, begin to track down which thoughts are sucking away your energy. Your energy comes from the life force and is always there for you. However, certain thoughts, certain activities steal away that precious energy and leave you life-less! There’s almost nothing more energizing than to begin a new day with new thoughts and a renewed anticipation.

If you don’t know what to do or where to go or how to navigate your way, turn on the light (God’s Word). Dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light because darkness is and always will be, the absence of light. The reason so many people are profoundly stuck in life is because they spend almost all of their precious days dwelling on everything that isn’t right. Dwelling on sickness won’t bring forth health. Dwelling on problems doesn’t engender solutions. Dwelling on lack never forces prosperity.

At the end of the day, to the end of your life, you have one thing you can control and that is your mind! Your mind is where all of the good things live. You should no more allow evil to permeate your thoughts than you would allow a poisonous snake to hang out in your living room. The only way to make your house safe again would be to get rid of the “thing” making it unsafe. It doesn’t require long prayers or voodoo doctors or snake charmers, it requires a decision in your mind ~ no more snakes!

The one and only “real life” is already there, waiting for you. It is infused into everything that life is… To find it you only need to once and for all rid yourself of everything that is blinding you to its reality. The time is short my friends, so short. You’ve got one shot at this thing. Learn how to get rid of everything that holds you back. You know how to do it? Ask God to teach you. If this made any sense to you, just imagine how good it would be to get it from the Source!

Real life…man, what a concept!

Just some good thoughts…

The Good Thoughts Pledge…for Yourself


download-1I’m going to tell you something tonight that may come as quite a surprise to you. It’s not really a part of mainstream thought. I would even go as far as to say that you may be besieged by thoughts to the contrary. It seems so irresponsible; so laissez-faire; even reckless. It sounds ostentatious; lacking forethought, presumptuous. It may quite threaten the way the western world thinks. Nevertheless, here it is…there is no profit or value or benefit or lesson or good outcome in thinking negatively or critically about yourself.

On the surface, you probably agree in premise. But, can you agree in practice? Can you do it? Should you do it? Do you feel there is a value in chastising yourself or that critically evaluating your behaviors helps you get better? I think most people do and as a result take themselves through endless loops that never end up at – good. I’m not talking about honestly evaluating what you could have done better. I’m talking about rehearsing mistakes you made or reliving negative scenarios. I’m discussing that all too familiar human tendency to berate yourself for saying that dreaded thing or performing that shameful act. Do the people you berate transform themselves? Does feeling ashamed prevent poor choices in the future?

I’m sure you’re curious, so let me explain myself. When you do something wrong, you know it is wrong. Wrong things have a way of communicating a painful message to you and it happens rather quickly. Stubbing your toe may hurt like hell, but is nothing to be compared with willfully stubbing it over and over again. Well, how about your thought life? Will rehearsing that negative scenario make it go away? Is there a remedy or benefit to be found in the rehearsal? If you dutifully replay the event on the VCR of your mind, will you somehow arrive at a place where it now makes sense? Oh, if you could just go back in time, right?

Maybe it will help you to think in terms of the physical. Let’s imagine that you just put your hand on the hot stove. You weren’t seeking to bring pain upon yourself, but because of distraction or ignorance or some competing idea, you set it down on the burner. And as burners do, it burned you! The lesson is immediate! Ah shiiiiiiiiiiii*! You briefly contemplate what happened and then quickly seek a remedy. You most likely won’t ever do it again. Now again, imagine that three days later you are still going through the painful scenario in your head. People would rightfully conclude that you are nuts. But, isn’t that exactly what you do with the other mistakes you make in your life and most likely you did for similar reasons? (Distraction, ignorance, competing ideas) I’m here to tell you today that there is absolutely no profit in it. In fact, there’s grave danger in it.

Dwelling on past mistakes is almost a surefire guarantee that you are going to make the same mistakes again. And, even if you are smart enough to avoid them, dwelling on them only serves to reinforce the idea that something is definitely wrong with you. Not your behavior, you! What possible chance could you ever have of succeeding or overcoming if down deep something is wrong with you?

I’ll put it in terms of the spiritual. Let’s say that there is a force in the world that seduces or deceives you into doing things that are bad. So that force, that the world is woefully unaware of, tricks you into doing something evil. I would say that in itself is bad enough. But, what if you could derive a greater damage to a person by getting them to rehearse the matter for the rest of their lives? I would say you have done an excellent job of defeating that person for a lifetime! Well folks, that is exactly what is taking place when you innocently or ignorantly hold your mistakes; your faults and failings in your mind. It’s insane. No manner of self-chastisement atones for the wrongs done, but instead only hurts you in the process.

This notion of incessant focus on your shortcomings, or more importantly perceived shortcomings is epidemic! It’s a cancer that eats away at all that is good. When a child makes an error he immediately seeks forgiveness. He doesn’t try to undo the wrong. He doesn’t evaluate what might be wrong with him to cause such a thing to happen. He doesn’t review the matter in his mind for two years. He simply seeks forgiveness from his parents and once he receives it, as he knows he almost always will, he moves on – quickly and emphatically. Well, the same is true for you and me. When you hurt people or damage things or hurt your own heart, you make an effort to immediately seek forgiveness and then move on. Refuse to rehearse it or think about or give it space in your mind. If it’s God’s forgiveness you need, get it as He is faithful and just to forgive you, every time!

So, I’m asking you to make a pledge to yourself, for yourself. Do not give the mistakes you made or your faults and human failings or your shortcomings (perceived or real) another thought. Don’t allow them to take up residency in your mind. Put an end to all negative evaluations of yourself. Just stop it! There is no profit or value or benefit or lesson or good outcome in doing so. Being critical of yourself will never make you a better person. Being critical only serves to weaken you from being everything you really ought to be in this life!

Will you take the pledge? I hope so…

Just some good thoughts…

A Beautiful Mess…


beautiful-messI was talking to a family friend not too long ago and he was asking me about relationships. Long story short, he was looking for the secret. The secret is, there is no secret. In fact, instead of spending another moment seeking out the “perfect” person, find someone you like! The highly publicized media version of a true love relationship isn’t true. What’s true is that every relationship is really a hybrid, unique mess; a beautiful mess.

Jason Mraz, musician, singer, performer, explored the subject quite profoundly with his song, from which I named this blog. And, every time I hear it, it touches something deep inside of me that, for the life of me, I cannot put into words. But, it’s worth the attempt.

Every person you meet is a complex combination of a million variables, all meeting together at a certain point in time. All have a degree of strength and all have elements of weakness. Sometimes the weakness is the strength and often the strength is also the weakness. Some love to touch and be touched, others abhor touching except for those times they need to touch. A few are silly in their seriousness and a few are serious in their silliness. Extraverts become introverted and introverts show extraversion. The pure get corrupted and the corrupted find purity. It’s called being a human being. And, the only way that two human beings can come together is by accepting and learning to love the unique combination that “is” the other person. Undesirable characteristics are as much to be expected as having one ear slightly lower than the other, or certain hairs that refuse to move in a uniform direction, or a random assortment of moles. To foolishly assume that your future life partner will hit all 50 of your desired characteristics is to seek after an image that doesn’t exist.

A relationship with another person is really about the other person. Your mistake is making it all about you. You have to take the good with the bad (I guess). That person you’re seeking that represents everything you want in a companion is doing just that, representing (smile). If you stick with them long enough you’ll begin to see stuff you don’t like. So what, love them anyway. Everything about a person that makes them undesirable can also make them desirable. Those million variables we came from are a combination of good and bad. The good should be encouraged and the bad can be overcome. If my wife really knew who I was while I was “representing” she never would have said yes. But, she did say yes and I’m as far from that guy as the east is from the west.

Quit complicating the thing and find someone you like. Find someone whose ways bypass your mind and touch something in your heart. Find a person whose company you enjoy. Don’t go on a date with your evaluation checklist in hand. Don’t look for the qualities you seek in a marriage partner. That’s like trying to turn your old clunker into a Mercedes. It takes time, effort and quite a bit of cash to get the Mercedes and right now you’re still clunking around (haha)! Love always has been and always will be a decision. You don’t fall in love, you just get enamored by some high priority checklist items. To love another person is to accept (not like) all that they are and love them anyway.

When you get older (and you will) you will discover that your A-List items weren’t really your A-List at all. I mean who doesn’t want hot and sexy and gorgeous and handsome? But, and trust me on this one, it’s hard to stay hot and sexy and handsome! 😉 Age finds a way of doing that to you… Instead, what you really want is companionship. You want someone who gets you and whom you get. And, how in the hell do you ever expect someone to “get you” at the beginning? Shoot, I don’t even “get myself” at times and I’ve been around for awhile! A good relationship requires a lot of work, but out of that mess in the beginning, emerges a beautiful mess if you’ll just stick with it. Couples don’t split up because of the things that go wrong, they split up because somewhere along the way one or both “decided” to stop loving and especially forgiving the other person. What’s the ultimate sin to you is not the ultimate sin to me and they’re all the same to God, anyway… Sin means simply missing the bullseye and which of you hasn’t missed the bullseye?

You see my friends, the ultimate goal of a relationship is companionship. Someone who knows that you will become hostile and insecure when you’re afraid and loves you anyway. Someone who sees the love behind your verbal barbs. Someone who feels your sadness when you are sad and rejoices with you when you rejoice. Someone who endures your lengthy discourse about how your day went and someone who expects you to do the same. Someone who not only knows your hot buttons, but even pushes them on occasion, only to promise (again) not to push them anymore. Someone that just loves you for you and could care less about your receding hairline or the size of your butt! Someone whose presence you require, though no words are being spoken. Someone who, with you, took the time to make the mess…beautiful!

You want to enjoy a great relationship? Find someone you like and get to work. Who is to say that your mess won’t one day turn out beautiful as well? Indeed, who is to say???

Just some good thoughts…

The Masked Masquerader…


miHBCkTxAbhSSNLndoSF7mgThere is a mysterious force moving and thriving in the world today. That force works behind the scenes to bring about frustration, unhappiness and misery. It comes in many facades and generally goes about undetected. Almost unbelievably, it has the ability to thwart and negate even the promises of God from coming to pass in a person’s life (Yes, it’s that big). If you ask a man if he is affected by it, his answer will almost always be, “No!” He doesn’t see it because it wears a mask and behind the mask lies the greatest masquerader of all time. It’s name you ask? Despite a thousand confusing disguises, it’s name is always FEAR…

When people think of fear, they quickly point to the feeling you get when you are being chased by a rabid dog. Or maybe the rumbling that occurs in the pit of your belly when a jumbo jet experiences heavy turbulence. Or perhaps that call you get from the hospital concerning one of your children. While all of those things are a clear representation of fear, the reality is that it is usually much more subtle than that. If it was obvious, you would quickly take the steps to remedy the situation. Run!!!!!!!!! But, it’s seldom obvious and for that reason, holds a man in bondage his whole lifetime.

You’ve heard me say before that believing is what brings things to pass in your life. But, did you know that fear is also believing? Fear is negative believing and brings negative things to pass with the same efficacy as it does on the positive side. What you fear, you get! Fear is the only thing that ever defeats the promises of God because man’s decision to be afraid rather than trust absolutely negates God’s ability to save him from his dilemma! Oh, say it aint so! Well, it is ‘so’ and to be otherwise would require God to completely rewrite the rules of life. Instead of bucking up against what is, why not learn to recognize and eliminate fear everywhere and anywhere it shows up?

In order to defeat fear, you must first recognize how it presents itself in your life. It shows up as depression, which points to something sucking away your life and energy. It appears as frustration, which falsely presumes there is no solution. It masquerades as worthlessness, implying you have to become a better person before God will bless you (predominately found in religion). It goes by the name “stress” which quietly contemplates a negative outcome. It wears a mask called “anxiety” which reveals an underlying and misplaced fear of life itself and all of its potential pitfalls. It goes by the misnomer “concern” which attempts to legitimize its existence. It is found in every unfulfilled and unsatisfied life and, in secret, is the cause of it. It is the polar opposite of love from which it rightfully has no place.

It enters your life through doubt, then gains ground by worry and finally reveals its ugliest head of all…FEAR.  It brings your life to a standstill. It is “sand in the machinery of life.” It impedes your progress and once it catches you, closes the prison doors all around you. It shouts there is no way out, which is a lie from the father of lies (there is always a way out!). It brings about disaster and chaos. It is trouble to your soul and with its agitation, steals your peace. It is the root of everything you don’t desire and the force that has tried to thwart your every move. It is evil and must be overcome!

Logically, the first step to overcoming fear is to recognize that you have it. There’s no room for John Wayne bravado because the proof is in the pudding. Depressed? …Fear! Frustrated? …Fear! Unfulfilled and dissatisfied? …Fear! Life not turning out how you dreamed it would? …Fear! Things going south on you on a perpetual basis? …Fear! You just have to get honest with yourself. If you are agitated and restless and bored, you have some fear back there you haven’t yet seen. To hell with its disguises, it’s fear and the sooner you own up to it the better. There’s no shame in being afraid. It’s wrong, but all of us came from the factory born with it. The shame is in parading around with “no fear” bumper stickers, while sitting on the couch of your mind in quiet, desperate misery!

Once you finally get honest (and praise the Lord for that day), you will begin to see (if you want to) just how much fear has been ruling your life. And, like any demolition project, you just have to start working away at it, one brick at a time. Now, removing bricks alone won’t make it happen. Instead, you have to replace those bricks with truth (found in over 900 promises in your Bible). Find and speak truth to that old, liar fear knowing that truth; truth believed, is the only thing that can defeat it. It won’t happen overnight, because you didn’t become ruled by fear overnight. But, and trust me on this, it will happen. You’ll be encouraged along the way by this weird, odd feeling called “peace and contentment.” You’ll get better at detecting its presence. You’ll actually start to see through the mask and spot that old masquerader behind it.  You will once again begin to experience life in all of its grandeur; it’s excitement; its pregnant possibilities. And best of all, you’ll find the love that has been waiting there for you all along!

For God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND.            II Timothy 1:7

It doesn’t really matter how long you have been living in the prison-house of fear. What matters is that you find the way to escape. You aint gonna do it without God, so don’t try it. Just get real soul-honest and reach up to the One who made you! Hey, He hears you and this blog is from Him to you (and me)!

Fear not my friends. Fear not!

Just some good thoughts…