Stop Surviving, Start Thriving…


survival modePeculiar things can happen to you while you’re on the journey of life. You can lose the things you once possessed. Your path can imperceptibly become more difficult. The joy and the happiness you once enjoyed can be stolen from you and replaced with something less. Incredulously, you can even begin to work against your own best interests. What happens to a man or a woman that leads them to survive instead of thriving? It’s time to stop surviving and to start thriving!

No person alive would willfully choose to oppose themselves or work against their own best interests. Even animals instinctively know they have to fight for themselves; for their own lives. Yet this is what happens to people. They can become so broken down, so defeated internally that their only reasonable option seems to be survival. The reason this happens is because their opponent, who works in secret, develops and builds strongholds of error into their minds. These mental fortresses occupy and overrule their logic and paint pictures of life that aren’t actually true. Yet, because they appear true, their devastating effect is realized. People are defeated within the confines of their own heart. It’s no wonder God admonishes us to guard our hearts above all that can be guarded. Once these errors of thought take root, gain momentum and build strength, they render you as a drunken man, unable to discern with any clarity of thought. They rule with the iron fist of fear to the point that it seems more reasonable to limp along in life terrified of some potential outcome, more so than to take life on with its multiplicity of challenges and win. It’s the textbook definition of getting punked out; accepting failure and loss without even fighting back. Logic would seem to dictate that you only need to survive in life when you are out of all available options. Yet those in survival mode always have options as the the things they seek to escape aren’t actually a part of their reality, but rather a part of their imagined reality.

Once people find themselves in these self-made prison holes, it becomes very difficult to extricate themselves. They have been caught in the snare of the adversary and are taken captive by him at his will. In this they are captured alive like a bird that once had freedom of flight. They are not dead, thank God, but they may as well be in comparison to the misery they endeavor to survive day by day. A great teacher once remarked, “Choose your ruts wisely, for you may be in them for a long time.” Ruts are formed in the road by repeated travel down the same path to the point where a groove has been carved into the road. Try as you might, you just keep getting sucked back into the groove. Thus, the solution isn’t to keep going down the same paths over and over again hoping to jump up and out of the rut, but rather to stop traveling down that road altogether. The rut was developed within your own thoughts and you have to decide to make a new road. The reason we get trapped, myself included, is that we persist in thinking the same things that brought us down to begin with. If those things we continue to consider are a lie, our consideration of them, over and over and over, is not going to make them true. Rather, we strengthen the edifice; we build higher and stronger the opposing stronghold and suffer greatly as a result. There is no shame in recognizing that you have been captured, but rather in surrendering and choosing not to fight for yourself. God will always provide a way out, but you have to stand up for yourself and take it.

The only way to tear down those great citadels of error that exist in your mind is to begin to stand against them; to oppose them. It is the truth of the Word of God that sets you free and there is no other way to do it. You stop surviving by your refusal to go down those same paths. It is your human nature, your ego, your well nourished system of logic that is keeping you bound. Humility is the willingness to admit that you might be doing something wrong; that you might be working against your own best interests. The enemy of all goodness is counting on you to make the wrong choice by working on your ego, by those things you think that you already know. By the time you reach the rut; by the time you have become imprisoned by your own self, by the time that fear is the dominating factor in your life, you have already been captured. You’re in the trap! No amount of introspection will open the locks on the trap as it is your (and mine) incessant focus on yourself that got you there in the first place. Who told you that you were not good? Who convinced you that you have no power against the evil that has been threatening you night and day? It was a lie from the father of lies and the only reasonable escape is to stop your consideration of the lie! Stop surviving!

You can only begin to thrive when you rid yourself of the hinderances to your growth. You must cast down those reasoning thoughts against what God’s Word says is true and every exalted thing that stands in opposition to the truth. Once you stop going down the same path the rut will eventually fill back in. The smooth, flat road of the truth will encourage your forward movement. The truth considered and cleaved to will open every lock; break every chain or fetter the adversary has ever put around you and you will once again soar the heights of life where there is no fear. But, the starting point is your humility to God and the things He guarantees are true. Once you escape the false confines of self-made prison holes you can begin to recover yourself and return to sober minded thought that has no basis in fear, only love. And, as God lovingly and graciously gives you a change of heart to the acknowledging of the truth, you will be set free. You will be free to dream and expect and love and enjoy. You will be free to live your best possible life with accomplishment, success and exploits for God. You will stop listening to and acting on those damnable lies and will walk the new road of high endeavor. You will be the man or woman that God always wanted you to be, free to love, free to give, free to serve.

All of us are going to reach a point in our journeys where we have been deceived and suffer as a result of it. All of us are going to fall short. All of us are going to find ourselves in impossible ruts at times. All of us will find ourselves in despair, in survival mode. But the only good God of eternity is always willing to help us find the way back. God’s will is that we thrive. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Stop surviving and start thriving. It is God’s highest good for you. Thrive!

Just some good thoughts…

Imagine…


Girl

Do you remember when you were a kid and imagined yourself in a variety of different scenarios? In those pictures you made up in your mind, you were always the hero or the movie star or the famous athlete, weren’t you? You never actually saw yourself in some mediocre role living out someone else’s dream, did you? You could have never pictured yourself enduring some boring, predictable existence waiting for payday or some other event that made you feel alive even if only for a brief hiatus. Children simply don’t think that way. For them, life is still fully open to infinite opportunities for their own personal happiness and success. Their hopes and dreams exist on the high road of success and plenty as a hope and a dream should. Adulthood, conversely seems to bring with it a requirement to settle down to life’s realities; code for letting your hopes and dreams go. It’s not that your age or level of maturity made you do it, but rather that somewhere along the way you decided to abandon those ideals that lived in your imagination and opted for something else; something safe instead. You forgot the importance of your imagination. Imagine…

When was the last time you pictured yourself as something different than who you actually are, or at least who you think yourself to be? As a living being, do you really have to remain whatever it is you have already assigned yourself to be? Do you make decisions in life and then become chained to those decisions forever? The ideas and beliefs you carry about yourself, are those ideas fixed and unchangeable? Are they even true? It seems the older I get, the more evident it becomes that the person we have decided we are is more based on our continued thinking than it is based on any reality. It seems at some stage in life we have gathered enough information to form some conclusions about ourselves and we are loathe to change those conclusions. In so doing, we cut ourselves off from any further learning and exploration. We cannot imagine life any other way. There is nothing new to discover; no feeling we don’t already understand; no new way of being that we might have access to simply by deciding to change our thinking. We walk the same tired paths day after day, bored and unfulfilled, while refusing to change the thoughts that got us there. It’s as if our destiny is set, there is no turning back. In this we have been deceived. We have been habituated to our habits and manners and customs. Once insecure, always insecure. Once lacking confidence, always lacking confidence. Once incapable and inexperienced, always incapable, always lacking what is required to master anything. We live amidst old wineskins that served a purpose once when they were new, but no longer serve us now that they are old. Our thoughts have gotten old. We lack imagination.

Imagination is the unique human capability to see something that isn’t yet a part of our reality. It is the ability to picture something we wish for ourselves or some person we would like to become. The image isn’t based on reality, so called, nor on any present circumstance. Instead it is a picture we initiate, if we dare. Imagination is having the audacity to not accept what is in favor of what could be. The more you carry with you the images of what you want, the more those images become a reality for you. The starting point has nothing to do with your current position or status or whatever other measure you have used against yourself. The starting point is your mind and the images that you feed your mind. Imagine that. Most people, and I often fall prey to the same dilemma, carry with them images of everything they don’t want in their life. They harbor fears and worries about their health, often picturing themselves in hospital rooms getting lifesaving treatments. They see themselves as weak and defeated. All the things they do not want, dominate their thinking and they wonder why good things escape them; why the blessings are not showing up. They imagine the worst in life and continue to live out that existence. It’s no wonder people settle for the mundane and safe as it appears to be better than all the things they have wrongly pictured for so long.

The solution is very obvious. We have to make the effort (and yes effort is required) to change the pictures we have been carrying around inside our heads. Just because you think a thought, even a thousand times, does not necessarily make that thought true. People believe too much of their own baloney. They hold on to and trust images that work against their own best interests. No amount of confessing you are stupid will ever make you smarter. Indeed every negative word you say or negative image you carry about yourself is an indictment against your very own being wherein you are the only judge. Instead, recognize what has been going on and try something new. Picture yourself exactly as you would like yourself to be. See yourself as already in possession of the things you would like to possess. Dream it. Imagine it. It’s your mind and it’s your life! No-one changes their life without first changing their mind. God gave you an imagination. Learn to use it for your good. You are not a child anymore, you are something better. You have an unlimited capacity to imagine good things. Imagine…

Just some good thoughts.