Divided You Fall…


When it comes to your life, you’re it! You are the only you, you have to work with. You can only be you and never another you. You are incredibly unique, unrivaled in your ability to be you. And, while you are busy being you, you only have one chance, one shot at your life. You only have one grand, relatively short opportunity to be the best, most blessed, happy version of you, you can possibly be. Given this all encompassing, unchanging reality, how could be ever be persuaded to be against you? How could you ever let anything come between you and you? How could you have come to accept an internal existence where you are your own worst enemy? Indeed, divided you fall…

It probably should have dawned on us a long time ago that something takes place between our ears day by day, not working for us, but actually working against us. We were all born with this inner critic who refuses to give us a break. It is relentless in its conviction to talk us out of who God made us to be and to make us into something else; something weak and defeated instead. According to this perilous maleficent, you are usually wrong, don’t measure up, deserve bad outcomes and will likely never get the things that are most important to you. It works to derail you and push or pull you off course. It is your old nature and it arrived shortly after the fall of mankind. It resides in your blood stream as an unintended corruption and is passed down from person to person, to everyone born into this world. And as such, it is the negative counter to every positive. It is indecision and self-doubt. It is error and it must be overcome. It is always a lie.

As a thinking being, don’t you find it strange that the voice inside your own head is so often negative? As soon as you gain some ground and begin to develop some confidence, the voice speaks up and reminds you that you are actually fraudulent and that it is only a matter of time before you are found out. You learn something new and helpful; you receive some flash of insight and then that dark specter goes to work persuading you against your own best interests. It seeks to make you afraid and threatens you repeatedly with some awful doom waiting just around the corner. Even the good you enjoy is portrayed as short lived with an end date looming on the horizon. And sadly, the whole world is subject to its work, seen in the faces of defeated people, worn out, miserable and without hope. Its primary work is done in your thought life and without recognizing and changing those thoughts you are destined for failure. It was never God’s will for you to live this way as His will was characterized by paradise. However, it arrived as a result of man’s free will choice and continues or is overcome in light of those important choices.

The only way for you to win in the great competition of life is to learn how to think properly; to think things that are actually true. God does not work to tear you down in order to build you up. God does not engender doubts and fears. God does not threaten you. God does not assault your mind with an endless stream of negativity in order to humble you. God is always for you. He heals you and teaches you and helps you. He wants you to understand what the heck is going on. What you have been experiencing is not natural. It’s not just how life is. It is an aberration and its consequence is felt within your own experience of life. God seeks to make you whole. God wants to fill in your rough spots and make your way smooth. God is for you and never against you! Knowing this truth, your job is to be for yourself.

Remember, you are the only you, you have got. As such, you have to take care of yourself; be kind to yourself; be patient with yourself. You have to stop thinking or speaking cruelty to yourself. Stop berating yourself and give yourself a break. You are a human being and you came into this world attached to an old man nature you are not going to be finally rid of until God gives you a new body and a new mind. Until that blessed future day, you have got to learn to defeat your internal opponent. It’s not just you opposing you. How could that be? You are your only you. If you aren’t even for yourself, how can anyone else be for you? And, why would you be against your very own self? Can you see the logic involved here? How could you look in the mirror and not like the person staring back at you? Who could have gotten you to the place where you don’t even like your own self, your own flesh? Who convinced you that you are so worthless, so stupid, so incapable? Who talked you into the fact that you don’t deserve anything good; that life won’t work out for you; that you are somehow destined to lose? Absent this wicked taskmaster, you would be free to think the best of yourself; to expect great things; to succeed in your every endeavor, to be and do everything you ever wanted in this life and God would be blessed with you for so doing. It doesn’t matter how long this has been going on (and we are all subject to it), what matters is what are you going to do about it!

Life is hard enough (thanks to this same opponent) and you don’t have to cooperate with it for another moment. Give yourself a break. Forgive yourself and learn to love yourself again. I think if we could see all the spiritual influence behind our wrong choices and mistakes, we would be a lot more compassionate with ourselves than we are. But, God sees it and made a way for you and me to win. Our job is simply to begin thinking how He says to think. The next time your old man nature maligns you or seeks to make you less than you really are, confront it; challenge it; take it on! You cannot be all divided against yourself and expect to win at life. You have to be for yourself, not because you have a big ego or are somehow selfish, but because you are the only you, you have got!

One life. One opportunity. One chance to be the best version of yourself you can possibly be. Don’t spend another moment as a cooperator in ignorance, but choose instead to vote for your own happiness and blessings. God would have it no other way!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Change Your Script and Fix Your Relationship…


Your successful relationships with other people form the basis of one of the most needful, necessary elements in your life. Your happiness, your personal feelings of fulfillment, your peace, your love, your joy, all rely heavily on your ability to successfully navigate your relationships. So, what can you do when your relationship lacks some of its original luster? Is there a way to escape the mundane and rekindle the once present emotional availability? Can you somehow steer the ship off the rocks and back into the deep water? Is there even anything you can do about it? Is it really all about your partner, or is it maybe about you?

Any couple who have been together for many years can tell you that things change over time. Goals change. Priorities change. People grow. People regress. The hopes and dreams you held in such high regard in high school are barely recognizable in middle age. Your body ages and things you once took for granted don’t come as easy as they used to do. You’re generally smarter and a little more assured about how things work. And, like anyone that has done the same thing for a number of years, you develop habits; many, many habits. Habits are built for efficiency. But, not all habits are good for you. Habits tend to be morally neutral. In other words, you can engage in certain habits for a lifetime and never feel they need any revision because of how long you’ve been holding on to them. Relationship habits can make for heaven on earth or make life a living hell. But, at the end of the day, they are your habits!

In order to have a successful relationship, you have to embrace the reality that people change. Your spouse is not the same person they were when you married them. Chances are they have grown, evolved and need different things to be happy. You also have changed, grown and evolved. Your needs are now different as well. To hold your partner in some sort of time-lock is categorically insane. To continue to think and rehearse that same old, tired, irritating version of them is also insane and entirely unfair to them. To perpetually strengthen and maintain in your mind all the things they have not done that they should have done or the things you didn’t like about them when you first met or the person you wish they were when you were first building your negative pictures of them, is to drag about a weight of epic proportions! In life, every day is a new day. Every moment is a new moment, unique and one that has not existed before. Your partner is also afforded the opportunity of a new day, a new moment. You have to be able to give them the same chance at doing better that you give yourself. You have to accept the reality that they, like you, can change. You see, things start going south not because of your relationship reality, but instead because of your rehearsed, mental reality! Things become worse and worse because your thinking has become worse and worse. You couldn’t see the things you so desperately want if they slapped you in the face, because you are stuck, trapped in rehearsed negative feelings and memories from the past days! In order for things to get better you have to get better.

Many, many people like to play the victim in their relationships. Poor old, unfulfilled me. “I just need someone to love me.” “I just need someone to accept me for me.” If only they were nice to me, then I would be nice. If they ever took time to offer me love and affection, then I would offer them love and affection back. But, they never do that for me and they’re not going to, so poor, poor me living my life in misery. The problem with this mentality is that you are playing a role in a drama that you are writing. You are acting in a play as the main character that you and you alone have assigned as the victim. And, as the victim it feels good to dredge up all the wrongs done to you and to fantasize about how good life could really be. But, would it really be good for you? How could it be? In order for your role to ever change, you have to change the script. You have to write a new story. Look, if you found a new relationship you would likely change the script and start thinking and acting like the person you wanted to be, which in turn would probably return to you the feelings you wanted to feel as well. Well, your solution is that you can do that now in your present relationship. Change your script. Edit your character. Stop rehearsing and ruminating and harboring and cleaving to every single thing you haven’t liked for the past twenty years and start fresh. Give your partner a chance to be someone else as well. I can assure you that they have some tremendous qualities waiting to be shared with you in your life once you finally give them the opportunity to do so. Don’t remain stuck in yesterday, live today.

One of life’s strangest dichotomies is found in relationships with other people. When you change towards them, they change towards you. You have to give love to get love. You have to show kindness to receive kindness. Waiting for the other person to change is a perilous waiting game. You might be waiting for a long time. Maybe you don’t feel fully accepted for who you are because you are spending so much time rejecting who they are. Maybe, just maybe you don’t feel like they like you because your behavior says you don’t like them! You cannot make other people do anything and you know that. The one person you can control and change is you. Are you doing for that person you are so upset with, what you would like to be done for yourself? Are you willing to let them be something other than the negative picture you have made them to be? You can become so accustomed to your habitual way of thinking that you don’t even recognize it anymore. Change your mind. Change your script. Change your bad habits of negative thinking and negative expectations.

Relationships take work to be successful, but it’s not the kind work you need a vacation from. The work is in learning to think properly. The effort is in refusing to harbor and maintain negative stories, likely only partially based in reality. Your energy is used to build and bless and help and warm which is always reciprocated when done from your heart. You can recover any relationship that has gone astray if you want to, but most of the work to be done will involve yourself first. That’s not to say that every relationship is worth preserving or repairing, as some relationships need to dissolve. In those scenarios there will be no doubt. But, it’s still worth your time to work on yourself to avoid it the next time.

It certainly takes two to tango, but the only dance moves you can improve are your own. Life is short and your chances at happiness sometimes fleeting, but a loving, warm, mutually committed relationship is worth every ounce of your effort! Decide to live love, it’s irresistible… Decide to forgive, it’s refreshing. Decide to make every day a brand new day, it’s life changing…

Just some good thoughts…

What are You Looking for in Life?


Have you ever asked yourself exactly what it is you are looking for in life? What are you after? What do you want? Where are you going? Deep questions indeed, but are they? Some people, it seems, aren’t looking for anything at all. Others are looking for something, but in all the wrong places. And some blessed individuals are looking for and seeing clearly what they want and how to go about getting it. Which one are you?

Life in its basic essence is all about movement. Nothing that God has made stays the same. It is always in a state of flux, always growing or dying, always thriving or decaying. Nothing remains the same and it is impossible to stand still physically or mentally unless of course, you are dead. And sadly, some people die long before they are dead. Oh I get it! I know what happens to you, if you’ve lived long enough. The system of things sort of gets to you. You can get terribly disillusioned and disheartened by how things have turned out. Lost hopes, dissolved dreams, little or nothing to look forward to, mar the portals of your mind. Pretty soon and unbeknownst to you, all the doors and windows have been shut, leaving you alone in some empty, dark place with seemingly little opportunity for change. So there you sit, exasperated and done with it all. You’ve checked out. You’ve cashed in your chips. You’ve played your hand and lost. But, have you really lost? Has life really stopped for you or have you stopped doing life? Are the doors and windows of your soul been barricaded shut forever or is it just an illusion? Has your fire been snubbed out or is there still a flicker waiting for you to fan it? The system, the wheel of things may be iron clad, but there is still, and always will be a greater force, waiting for you to ask the right question, make the sincere request, and seek solemn help outside of yourself to recover your missing life. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It matters what you believe and do…

Many people, busied, harried and distracted by things in life, are looking for their precious life in all the wrong places. They haven’t stopped moving, but instead are moving in the wrong direction. They are seeking things that aren’t true, were never true and will never be true. They have believed the Hollywood version of life; a life where you can have your cake and eat it too; a life where your personal decisions and actions carry no weight; a life where you can do what you want, when you want, however you want without any regard for anyone else involved. They have foolishly put themselves first, second, third and every place thereafter. They think the “good life” is found in money and fame and fortune, which they pursue to their own demise. Oh, I understand them as well. The deception they follow has been artfully crafted. It is paraded on the television, promoted in social media, wished for and worshipped. It is a life of ease and good times. It’s a life where you no longer have to work and produce, but instead can tell your soul to take its ease and simply enjoy. But, can you really enjoy it? Like the poor folks that have stopped moving forward, seduced and deceived, you too will stop moving forward. Once you stop producing, however small, you will find yourself miserable and unhappy. The joy of life is found in the pursuit. You do not ever arrive to remain forever. You get to your destination to discover your next destination. There is nothing wrong with the money or the fame or the fortune, unless they become your end point, unless they become about you and about you alone. All of us know how easy it is to get pushed or pulled off course and all of us have done it. The measure of your life is not found in how many mistakes you made or didn’t make, but rather in your willingness to get back on track; your willingness to find the right path; your willingness to admit you have gone astray. You too can find it if you really want to find it…

Finally, we have all encountered that one guy or that one girl. They know exactly what they want and are busy about making it happen. We admire them, we feel jealousy towards them, we laud them and we revere them. We think they must have something special or enjoy favor we don’t enjoy. We don’t see that they are people just like we are people. We don’t see their doubts and fears, we just see their results. We don’t see their dogged persistence, but instead call them lucky. We don’t regard their efforts, but instead conclude they must have had advantages we didn’t receive. Their success comes because they move forward. They have setbacks, they have disappointments, they fail, but they keep moving forward. They have learned by trial and error, by steadfast endeavor, by strong beliefs, that the way to achieve; the way to acquire your dreams; the way to reach every goal is simply to never allow yourself to stop moving towards it. Oh they might pause, may be pushed off track, may feel disheartened, but they get back up and get themselves moving again! They don’t have access to the secret or to some inside track, it is more simple than that. Any worthwhile thing in your life will require effort and sacrifice on your part to bring it to pass. Life requires effort, not thought alone, effort! You make no moves, you get no results. How many people are waiting for something to happen without doing anything to make things happen? How many people wish and dream and fantasize, but never get around to any concrete action? Life is about movement and effort, however small. Believing without any action is dead. If you want anything, anything at all, you have to act on it. You supply the effort. You don’t get to see the second step until you take the first step. You don’t start at the top, you start at the bottom. But, you have to start! God is so good that even if you make all the wrong moves trying to reach a goal, your movement will be rewarded with learning, leading to the right moves. But, make no mistake, you have got to move! It’s there for you, it’s there for me, but we have to make the moves.

What are you looking for in your life? What are you after? What do you want? Where are you going? The answers to these questions may not always be clear, but one thing is clear! If you want anything in your life, you have to supply the effort to get it. You have to move. You have to act. You…you…you! If you have been broken down and defeated, God can heal you, but you have to move. If you find yourself woefully off-track, God can get you on track if you are willing to move. Keep moving, keep acting, keep taking steps, even baby steps because life, your life, will always be found in movement. If you are still alive, you always have a chance to win. Just move forward…

Just some good thoughts…

Just Walk Away…


You’ve probably been a part of a situation where someone wanted to draw you into their drama or to get you to fight about something. Then, because of the advice of a trusted friend or maybe through your own thought processes, you decide it’s not worth it and maybe you should just walk away. Many situations in life draw far more than their fair share of our attention and our focus when perhaps the best option might just have been to walk away. And sometimes even considering a situation or someone’s words or words bouncing around in your own head becomes your problem when you should have just walked away from those thoughts. Just walk away…

It has oft been repeated that where you place your attention, your life moves. And life, if you haven’t noticed by now, is chock full of little life suckers that appear like mosquitos nibbling away at your flesh, one irritation at a time. They don’t represent life threatening scenarios or circumstances demanding your full, focused attention. Instead they are most often represented in annoyances, aggravations and frustrations carefully placed to rob you of minutes and hours, then days and years. They surreptitiously steal your energy, your vitality, your life force. They are raindrops at your picnic, the blowing wind while you are fishing, the clouds at the beach. They move with such subtlety that you rarely see them coming, only to recognize them after their work is done, leaving you depleted and lacking your original enthusiasm. They contradict life by occupying it and busying it until there is no joy left in it. They are not worthy of your attention or your time and are best dealt with by refusal or simply your decision to walk away.

While life demands at times that we must fight, not every fight is worth fighting for. Some fights serve only to draw you into the mud also where both parties have to get dirty. Some fights don’t represent your cause, but another’s cause. Some fights are grounded in frivolity, not engendering sufficient reason. There is a fight worth your effort, unless that is, your energy has already been squandered on things that do not matter. How much time do we invest into things that do not matter? We allow words and opinions and judgments to push us off center, desperately defending ourselves against an idea or a concept that didn’t accurately represent us to begin with. Yet there we remain, rolling around on the pavement getting scuffed and bruised, wrestling with someone or something that didn’t really matter at all. Negative opinions and their associated judgment have never helped one person get better and never will. The only fight worth your time and effort is the fight between good and evil, whereby you do your part to choose the light and love and goodness in oppostion to a whole world full of darkness. The rest exists only to waste your precious time. Just walk away.

The great competition of life takes place in your mind. The great fight is fought between your ears. You win and lose by the thoughts you choose to entertain. Wrong thoughts, negative thoughts, contrary thoughts, fearful thoughts, condemnatory thoughts, self deprecating thoughts, accusatory thoughts, guilty thoughts, threatening thoughts, all carry within them seeds of failure, that in order to grow must be held onto and cultivated. Your consideration is the cultivation. They appear as reasonable in an appeal to your reason. They display themselves as truth but only have a kernel of truth in them. And no matter their appearance, their poison remains within. The more you sip, the more poisoned you become. And if you drink enough of them, they will kill you. These thought enemies appear harmless and beg for further inspection, consideration. And like the cat that curiosity killed, they clamor for your attention. They itch and ask you to scratch them. They tempt you and seduce you for the opportunity to remain, to exist, to have a place. Once you have given them a place they spread out and occupy, fixing little strongholds, seeking stronger attachments until eventually they bring down the entire edifice. And all along while you fight and struggle and reason and worry, desperately trying to figure it out, their hold is strengthened and permitted and allowed. It never dawned on you that your solution was simply just to walk away. Let them go. Stop your consideration of their potential reality and just walk away.

Your time on Earth is limited. Your opportunities for an impact are finite. You have one and only one shot at this thing. You have got one life and not for very long. You owe it to yourself to maximize your existence. Your life demands that you learn where to place your efforts and when to walk away. There are a million worthy causes, but for you only one worthy cause. At the end of your days, you won’t remember all of the petty aggravations and frustrations. You won’t think of all the time you spent in useless worry and consideration over some awful thing that never appeared. You won’t wish you had fought more and challenged more and set people straight. Instead you will reflect on all the good things you enjoyed and the time you spent rightfully on the things that really mattered. You will remember the people you loved and the people that loved you. You will rejoice over those times you got it right and helped people and lifted them up; your time spent on worthy efforts and the time you invested that impacted lives. You will hoped to have left a legacy of love and kindness and goodness that no-one will forget. And finally, you’ll be so eternally grateful for the times you had the good sense to just walk away and no longer squander your precious life on the things not worthy of your time and effort. Thank God you had the good sense to just walk away!

Just some good thoughts…