Make Yourself a Priority…


make-priorityI know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking here comes another admonition to make yourself number one in a culture already deluged in narcissism and love of self above all else. Forget about other people and their needs because it’s all about you! Yeah those people do exist, but I don’t think they are a majority. In fact, I think most of us are the exact opposite. Recently I had the most unusual insight concerning our personal happiness and incredibly it involved making yourself a priority.

I know it sounds selfish and swims uphill against all we’ve been taught about sublimating our needs for others. It definitely challenges our well-worn “Christian” virtues suggesting we always place ourselves last in line. But, I think there’s some honesty to it we may not have considered before, mainly because of what we have been taught. And, while selfishness is naturally frowned upon, making your own needs a priority isn’t really selfish at all.

You my friend are the only you, you have got. You’ve got one you. There’s no two you’s requiring that you share you. When it comes to you there is just you. When you do things that make you unhappy, you are doing it to “you” alone. When you make choices based on what other people think and what other people say that disagree with what you think and what you say, you are lying to “you.” When you endeavor to live up to other’s expectations for you while not honoring your own expectations for you, you are not taking care of you. When you try so hard not to hurt other people’s feelings and to protect other’s feelings, while running roughshod against your own feelings or worse denying your own feelings, you are only hurting you. You are the only you, you have been given and you have a sacred responsibility to so love and care for you, that you will naturally and willingly love and care for others.

When it comes to serving God I think people have gotten it all wrong. God does not require that we give until it hurts or that we burn ourselves out in service for other people. Nor does He expect us to sacrifice ourselves and our own happiness to make sure others are happy. Religion may have told you that, but God never did. Instead the natural order is that God blesses us and in proportion to that blessing, we bless others. The happier and more well taken care of I am, the more likely I am to help you. Oh sure, I can help you when I have needs too, but the real joy and love behind it will be missing. Think about it in terms of giving. The more I have, the more I have to give. Yes, I can give when I have little but when I have been abundantly blessed, I want to give abundantly. The same principle applies to speaking God’s Word. The proportion of how blessed I am will directly correlate to how much I want to tell other people about God. You don’t have to tell super blessed and joyful people to go out and witness for the Lord. Their joy already got them out there. But, unhappy, unblessed folks will need to be prodded and goaded before they will they go. Do you see it? Get yourself blessed first and stop acting like it’s an imposition on God or something and something you dare not believe for in your life. It’s not selfish, you are the only you, you have got!

Making yourself a priority is about slowing down from your busy and frenetic pace and daring to get back in touch with yourself. (See, even that sounded selfish…) Deep down who are you and what do you need to be happy? What things in life paint a smile on your face and add energy to your steps? In your interactions with others are you with people you genuinely love and care about or are you “making it work” with drinks and fake smiles, playing the role until they go away? What goes through your mind on your way to work? What sadness or frustration have you been ignoring for years? What life flashes through your mind on those rare occasions and why can’t you live that life now? What drastic change or revolution might occur in your existence if you stopped being afraid to allow yourself to matter at least as much as you make everyone else matter?

The difference between being selfish and making yourself a priority is that you are not the only vote, but your vote counts as much as everyone else’s does. It’s not giving and loving and kind to get to the place where your vote doesn’t count. With God everyone wins. They matter and you matter. Their happiness is important and you do all you can to ensure it, but your happiness matters just as much. If you can supply their needs, whatever those needs are, you do it. But, you also have needs and they do not rank any less in priority. Every mother knows that although her infant is helpless without her, she will offer no help if she doesn’t get what she needs to thrive as well. You don’t always have to occupy first place in the line, but you don’t need to step out of the line completely.

Maybe it’s time you rethink your worn-out ideas about service usually imposed upon you by people who needed some work done, and recognize that you are the only you, you have got and if you fail to care for you, you won’t be taken care of. God will always supply your needs but only if you are willing to believe for them for yourself! Life is short my friends. Don’t spend your whole life trying to live someone else’s dream. You matter. Your needs matter. Make yourself a priority.

I love you!

Just some good thoughts…

 

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Clear Eyes…


images.jpgThere are times in our lives when we see with such unremitting,  unobscured clarity; so grand and beautiful in its detail, so positively helpful and inspiring that we find ourselves awestruck, grateful and wishing for more. The sudden jolt of an unexpected answer to a long-held question or being at last able to slice through the morass of confusion and pinpoint the direction to proceed, has no parallel in our minds or equal. Yet we sojourn most of our lives in lack of it, fainting and eventually surrendering ourselves from its absence. We begin to think not seeing and not knowing is normal, concluding that no-one else can see either. Or, to our own demise we trust ourselves to a false clarity, failing to even consider otherwise. In the end we grope blindly, victims of whatever will. We must find our clear eyes…

The trouble with not seeing is not seeing. When you cannot discern objects at night, you seek a light. When you cannot see things in the light, you need more light. It’s the light that makes the hidden things visible. It is light in your mind that illuminates solutions, that clarifies obstacles, that lifts the scales as it were. Only the light can accomplish this and without the light it cannot be accomplished. Our job when faced with challenges, fears persisting, frustrations and befuddlement, is not to press harder or think better or work smarter, but instead get light, pure light. “Dwelling on the darkness [problems] won’t bring forth the light [true solutions]!” Clear eyes require great humility and the disciplined ability to set aside all of our plans and our solutions and our remedies until we become first clear on our problem. Our human nature, our self-serving ego will send us around the hamster wheel, sometimes for years, scouring the planet’s wisdom for a solution we will never find. Life is spiritual and spirit is light! Every undiagnosed issue, every lost solution, every corruption, every disease, every painful misstep has at its base darkness, spiritual darkness reigning supreme absent spiritual light. We must find the light…

The problem with darkness is the darkness. Darkness promises a thing, but gives you another thing. Every offer presented by darkness carries within it more darkness. As darkness is indulged, in thought preceding deeds, it mystifies and clouds, producing more darkness. Fear of some dreadful event or circumstance, persisted in, invites the darkness in ending always in blindness and the inability to perceive it further. Now numbed by its effects, the victim no longer feels the pain of his wrong choices or the consequences of her unplanned decisions. It’s the ultimate deception! It’s a fools game. It is an inescapable reality absent the light that reveals it. Trapped within it, man flails and flaps, desperately trying to break free only to find more chains with each disparate and uncoordinated action to escape. It never quite dawns on him that the effect is manufactured by a cause he cannot see. He remains buried in a riddle his human mind will never solve. We need to be illuminated!

The issue with man is the man. If he ever dares to step off his high horse, his so-called science and mathematics, his false sense of reality, his insatiable need for physical proof of spirit in a material existence, he would find the clarity he seeks is not where he has been searching. And in the place of foolishly concluding that man’s wisdom is the end of all wisdom, trusting only what he can see, hear, smell, taste or touch, denying the great dwarfing, magnificent, miracle of creation, and instead using his suffering and frustration as a sure guide, he would at last reach upward for the light that reveals and clears up. And in seeking he would find as the door opens when knocked. And instead of finding a little man parading behind a curtain as that Great Wizard of Oz, falsely promising help and safety, he would discover the dust-covered Bible in his bookshelf waiting as it has always waited for the curious seeker to find the delights therein. We need to discover God’s Word!

The light that God gives, is God. Man’s benefactor, His creator had the foresight to write a book. In that book He placed words from Himself, infused with the light to see, as the guide, the solution, the source of His help. As a man considers those words and listens to those words and dwells on those words, he illuminates himself. He shines a spiritual light no darkness can extinguish. He feeds himself pure words with no loopholes nor crevices nor breeches an enemy can exploit.  As he remains in it, he finds himself healed from his maladies, built up strong where he was weak and repaired wherein he had been broken. The brilliant light, the only true light, the spiritual light he encounters reassures his restless soul and offers him peace. And as that light races into every deep recess of his mind, he finds the answers he needs, the solutions he craves, the reasons and all of the real causes. He finds himself delivered! We need the light that saves us!

You may have just stumbled upon that which you have been stumbling upon. How incredulous in a vast world of knowledge and self-help and scholars, counselors, doctors and lawyers, the solutions you sought in many a weary and churning night, with unparalleled effort and commitment and tears, would be found nearby in a book you have heard about from long ago. Learn about that book. Seek help to comprehend that book. Find out what to think according to that book. Understand how to live in line with that book. Experience God’s life and power and infinite razor precision to cut through and discern between truth and error, between a blessed life and a miserable life, between all that is light and all that is indeed darkness. You need to understand that book…

No matter how many years you may have travailed, no matter the distances you may have traveled, no matter how many attempts you may have tried, there is one true way that when found will make your blind eyes finally able to see. And you will then proclaim fondly, “God has never forgotten me…” You need to find your clear eyes!

Just some good thoughts…