In Need of Repair?


Stop-trying-to-fix-yourselfHave you ever confessed that you have been working on yourself as if you needed some type of repair? Or, have you used phrases such as, “I’m trying to be better, or I’m a work in progress?” Well, these things may actually be true in some sense. We all could benefit from some revisions, some adjustments I suppose. After all, we are all imperfect creatures in one way or another. But, have you ever considered that you might be just fine exactly the way you are? Behind all of our noble and sincere efforts to be better, hides an enemy whose goal is to make us feel less than who we actually are. He assaults our hearts with accusations and endeavors to write a narrative about our lives that isn’t true. He seeks to point out what is wrong with us instead of all the things that are right. And, in the end, we end up feeling bad about ourselves and searching for ways to improve. So the question is, are you really in need of repair or have you simply been focusing on the wrong stuff?

Almost since the beginning of the world we have all been subjected to an enemy that works in secret. Our opponent knows that in order to defeat us, he has to convince of things that are not true. In his hatred for God and all that is good, he takes his anger out on God’s creation and does so by working people over in their thought life to the point that they start to believe those wrong things are true. It is not by accident that most people feel unworthy before God and do all sorts of things in an attempt to improve their standing. People have magnified their faults and their failings above God and have in error taken those false ideas unto themselves. Nobody feels good enough and almost no-one maintains a healthy view concerning who they are. Instead people become consumed with themselves and drive themselves to the brink to be better, to get better, all the while being ignorant of the truth that God, in the work of His son, has already made them better. People, good people, have learned to accept the falsehoods, not knowing any better, and in so doing carry around a perpetual need for improvement in their hearts. Instead of accepting the value God has given them, they seek to earn their value by the things that they do; by their accomplishments; by their societal standing. Meanwhile, deep down in their hearts, they still feel inferior and act as if something is always wrong with them. It never dawned on them that the things they are thinking, the words they are considering, the ideas they hold about themselves have been manipulated and twisted. People are not inherently evil, the adversary is evil. The wrongs that people do are always due to the influence of evil in one capacity or another. If there were no evil there would be no sin, no error, no mistakes. But, there is evil and it is that same evil that accuses you of being something you are not. Evil accuses you of being what it is. You are not broken and in need of repair.

The function of evil is perhaps the most misunderstood thing in the world. God does not convict you of sin, evil does. God does not exist to point out your shortcomings and remind you of your failures, evil does that. God is not behind all of that self-focus and sin-consciousness that plagues you day by day, evil is. In not knowing or understanding the nature of God versus the nature of evil, mankind is forever subjected to lies and deceptions aimed at breaking him down first in his mind, then later in his heart. Once those falsehoods have been inculcated into your heart, you will struggle to believe God for even the most simple things in life. Your so-called unworthiness will render you afraid and helpless against an opponent that only wants to hurt you, steal from you and ultimately defeat you. The spiritual competition that rages demands that you pay attention and recognize what is going on. People spend their entire lives plagued by the mistakes of their past accepting full and complete responsibility for them. They learn, by endless repetition, to focus on their shortcomings and foibles never actually considering that all that was ever wrong with them has been remedied by God in the perfect life of His son. In this, though they may have been deeply broken, they are broken no longer and in need of no revision whatsoever. Sure there will always be more to learn, adjustments to make, but in their heart and in their spirit they have been completely repaired and made pure. What a revelation to the heart of man. My friend, you do not have to try and fix yourself, you have already been fixed.

From your heart, as the Bible says, proceed the issues of your life. Your life will be both blessed and cursed by those things you carry in your heart. When you spend your days dragging around all that is wrong with you; all of your shortcomings; all of your past failures, you weaken and damage your own heart. You look for and expect bad things because you have been convinced that you deserve it. When good happens upon you, instead of enjoying it, you look askance waiting for the trouble that will surely follow. In this you have been deceived. The deception will always drive your focus back to yourself; to the things you may be doing wrong and to things you should be doing that you are not doing. Instead of looking at God with great gratitude and humility, your focus will be squarely upon yourself and your imperfections. And by doing so, you have been artfully tricked into looking in the wrong places. And sadly, the more you delve into the imperfection of your human flesh, the more things not to like will you discover. This is not God’s will for your life. God has given you complete and perfect freedom and He did it by the works of another man. You are not in dire need of repair as you have been told (often), you need to change what you have been looking at instead. Focus on God’s perfection!

The idea that humans have great need of repair is a plague that assaults all of mankind. Have you ever thought that maybe you aren’t so bad? Maybe the mistakes you have made pale in comparison to all of the good things you have done. Maybe you aren’t secretly evil and looking to do bad things or things that hurt other people. Likely, you are just the opposite. The fact that you actually care about what is right informs you that the former cannot be true. Yet, the accuser, your personal adversary, seeks to convince you otherwise. The solution to this dilemma isn’t to work harder on yourself, garner more discipline, exert more effort. Doing so simply admits the error of your starting premise; namely that something is wrong with you. Instead of working harder on yourself, the remedy is to turn your attention away from yourself. Stop analyzing yourself; your motives; your every move. Stop it! Every time you consider and entertain the thought that God hasn’t made you perfect, you will feel the need to add to God’s already finished work. And, you cannot get more finished than finished! Put your focus on God and what He says is true. Embrace who He has made you to be, no matter how much of a stinker you were. Stop judging yourself, comparing yourself, and berating yourself. There is something behind every wrong done and that someone isn’t you. Thank God you have already been repaired.

My dear friends, it is time to step off the treadmill of the world and start living how God wants you to live. You have been made free in every conceivable sense. Live your life and enjoy your life, even the bad days. Accept and embrace your imperfections knowing that you are just like the rest of us. Put an end to your consideration of the false narrative and believe who God says you are instead. Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrifice for you. You may as well enjoy what he did. After all, that is what he died for! Are you in need of repair? I should say not. You are wonderful just the way you are…

Just some good thoughts…

Live Your Own Life…


living-your-own-life2In this country and perhaps other countries, people have been forced into a performance based existence. The message, all have been asked to conform to is a message that purports your value is based upon the things that you do. The higher your achievements, the more your success, the more superior person you must be. Professions are ranked whereby doctors and lawyers are notably above teachers and laborers. In this, people have been pressed to do better and be better leaving themselves perpetually disappointed and chronically discouraged often falling short of societal expectations. Folks even endeavor to add performance measures to their relationship with God and end up doing all sorts of things they really don’t want to do in the name of being good and acceptable before Him. Namely, the harder you work to be approved, the more of God’s favor you will enjoy in your life. And this, as can be found in all performance based systems of the world, leaves a man or a woman fractured and broken in terms of their value and ever in need of remedy and repair!  Thus knowing, we ought to have the manhood to make our own choices and in the end, live our own life. Are you living your own life?

Where did we ever get that idea that our persistent need to perform well was to be so closely aligned to the value we have as people on the earth? The value of a person has been assigned by God who views all of His creatures with the same love and acceptance. We need not prove ourselves to anyone. Neither should we allow ourselves to fall prey to people’s judgments and requirements for their approval. The things we choose to do in life; the direction we purpose to go; the decisions we make, the thousandfold decisions we must make, should always rest squarely with ourselves alone coming directly from our own volition and blessed free will. Trying to live your life in accordance with other people’s expectations leads only to a miserable life. Accordingly, every time you judge yourself, every time you lower your opinion of yourself, every time you reduce your value in comparison to another, you do yourself and the great God that made you a disservice. You are saying, in effect, that God somehow made in a mistake in the crafting of your own life, else left you without some advantage others freely enjoy. And in your confusion you task yourself with all manner of requirements you must fulfill in order to be acceptable both to men and to God, neither of which has been required of you. You will never please all the people and you never need to please the God who is already pleased with you. Live your own life.

Every man, every woman that is among us is absolutely unique and unmatched in terms of their individuality. Each has something to offer that they and only they can provide. Each person’s taste is wholly different, though similar in places, and every person’s pleasures and aversions are distinct. To try and live your life chasing other people’s desires or to perform in accordance with what another thinks is right for you is certain destruction of every chance at happiness. Happiness can only be obtained by choosing your own path and even then by first basing your value not on what you do but who you are. You need not further consume yourself with an endless list of duties required to be performed or any other activity that steals away your repose. People, maybe even you, drive themselves to exhaustion in order to check all the boxes and finish all the lists. You must strive to be the best mom, the best professional, the best wife and add to that the best looking, the most fit infinitum at all times in all ways. You have to be the most successful, have the biggest house, drive the best car while adorning yourself with the muscles of a twenty year old, a full head of hair and the ability to fix all that might be broken, knowing all that must be known. Perform, perform, perform, do, do, do… The things you might like, the areas of life that turn you on, the experiences you secretly wish for all must be sublimated under the mighty hand of accomplishment and success. In this, we don’t actually live our lives but live someone else’s life, hoping somewhere down the road the paths might cross. It’s time to live your own life…

Living your own life requires that you be honest with yourself. It suggests you take back what is yours instead of playing to the crowd, trying to please the crowd, seeking the approval of the crowd. The problem with performance is that it suggests you must perform at all times in all ways. You never quite have time to take off the mask, to get off the stage, to cease from performing and just be. You feel as if your quiet time must be filled with noise and your unproductive time (so called) be filled with productivity. The job requires forty or fifty hours per week and when the job is silent, the remaining time must be filled with to do lists and other work to be done. And while work is always noble and necessary, just how much of you want to do has always been up to you. Somewhere someone tricked us into believing that the majority of our efforts must be concentrated on the things we enjoy less leaving a small percentage of time for things we enjoy more. We chastise ourselves for sleeping in, for being ill, for not giving one hundred percent even when all we have left is maybe fifty percent. We measure and evaluate and scrutinize ourselves assigning negative motives for pursuit of things we like and dogged responsibility for the things we must simply endure. It is no wonder we remain exhausted and unenthused. We need to get off the treadmill and refuse to get back on it. The things we actually must do are far less than we may have assigned. In order to live our best life, we must live our own life. We have to protect and guard our free will and make choices not out of the fear of what we have to do in favor of things we want to do that we chose and that we support. God has made us free to choose without fear of retribution as error carries within it its own lessons. To live your own life is to choose for yourself!

Perhaps at the very heighth of performance behavior is the behaviors people have falsely associated with God and morality and whatever it is you want to call the things that plague our souls begging to be completed by the power of our own hands. They act as if God maintains a giant ledger anxious to collect owed money and funds in arrears. They seek improvement where improvement is not possible and reject God’s grace for the life they must perform now. They work the works of hypocrisy assuming God is unaware of the behavior absent their hearts. They say words they don’t want to say, do things they do not want to do, perform works they would rather not perform all in the name of pleasing God; God who is already pleased with them. The harder they work and strive and say no and deny and hold back and refuse, the more they fail never considering that their behavior exposes the lack of value they feel in their hearts. They work to be approved never considering the futility of the task. They dishonor God not by doing unworthy works but by thinking they can outwork grace; God’s unearned and unmerited divine favor in their lives. And most sadly of all, they think their value before God is based on their behavior in this life, behaviors that can somehow be shaped into holiness before Him. They ignore the sacrifice of their Savior and count his finished work unfinished and needing further revisions. It would be better for them to choose nothing at all than to work with hearts that are not in it; doing works they neither endorse or enjoy. Living your own life is not to live at cross purposes with God, but to live honestly and authentically, being true to yourself and true to those with whom you might encounter. It’s about loving God first and loving yourself also. It’s about knowing your value and not allowing it to be dwindled away on things that do no matter; things that do not count. Live your own life with God. He meets you where you are!

It is certainly not easy to break the chains of bondage and fear based requirements, but it can be done and do it you must. Your happiness depends upon it. The world with its endless checklists and comparisons will exhaust you. You will never measure up in the world’s eyes no matter how hard you work. Instead you must decide to remain true to yourself and stop breaking and folding yourself for others. Your ideas, your thoughts are not always wrong and the direction you secretly dream of is the direction you must go. Your value before God is estimable and it is your job to act like it. Stop performing. Get off the treadmill. Give yourself a break and just be the person you want to be. It doesn’t need to be any harder than that! Live your own life, my friends.

Just some good thoughts…

Hey Happiness, Where are You?


Jan21_12_525848907Happiness is probably the most sought after thing in the world. Thus, the sum of all questing can be found in successfully answering the one simple question, “Why am I not happy?” People attribute a myriad of reasons for not finding happiness ranging from not having enough money to not having the right relationship yet often they fail to find happiness while enjoying both. Is it really the absence of something you want that thwarts or retards your efforts in finding happiness or is it something else? Is happiness something that just sort of falls upon you when the circumstances are favorable or is there more to the story you have thus far failed to consider? What if the pursuit of your long lost happiness is not based on any of these things at all? Is it possible that the happiness that is your birthright eludes you because something or someone is stealing it from you? Oh hey happiness, where are you?

In order to be truly happy you first have to become free. Wherever and whenever you enjoy freedom your happiness will be evident. Your mind, your heart functions best when it is unencumbered or held back by any constraints. Think back to those times in your life when you experienced abundant happiness. It is safe to say that in those times of almost unending happiness, you were also virtually carefree in your approach to life. You were not dragging around a litany of complaints concerning your situation, nor were you full of fear concerning your future. You enjoyed who you were and where you were in life. You didn’t fill your mind with expectations about what you should be and you were not comparing yourself to others. In those times, your heart was not burdened or overloaded with cares and you just expected things to work out. In fact, you didn’t give the possibility of things not working out any space between your ears. You refused entree’ to the dark side of life and trusted that good things were probably preparing for you. In this you lived as God would have you to live! And in unity with that type of thinking your happiness overflowed and filled your soul. Then, as time marched on, imperceptibly at first, your thinking began to change. You recalled your early years as fanciful and lacking the mature thought that accompanied adulthood. You regaled thoughts of seriousness and responsibility and concerned yourself with “realism” more in accordance with the mechanisms of the world you observed, convincing yourself that adult thought must also take into consideration all of the multitude of pitfalls that could befall a person in life and in so doing unknowingly traded away your happiness for fear.

The number one cause and in many instances the only cause for your complete lack of happiness is fear. Look no further. End the research project early. It is fear that manages to suck the life out of God’s creation and it is fear that is impeding you today. Oh it doesn’t look like fear or seem to fit the accepted definition of fear, but it is still fear. Unresolved fear and its myriad companions work behind the scenes to put limits on your existence and to freeze you in your tracks. Fear impedes and thwarts your forward progress. Fear adds clouds to your sunny days; steals your energy for doing; casts dispersions on your good enjoyed and threatens your future. Fear locks you into a prison, a prison you cannot easily discern yet confines you just the same. Fear adds a “yes, but” and puts a question mark where an exclamation point belongs. As fear’s prisoner, you are no longer free to enjoy your life in the moment or your accomplishments. You have a difficult time enjoying anything because of the carefully crafted restraints that have been built into your thinking. You are or have become a prisoner in a self-made prison hole. You perpetuate the lie that fear is by your persistence in giving it entree’ into your mind. You think fear; look for fear; believe fear and live a life controlled by fear! You are not happy because fear has gained ascendency in your life. Instead of doing what you would like to do, pursuing things that make your heart sing, living as a truly free man or woman, you live a life controlled by fearful thinking threatening to break up and destroy all that is beautiful and good. In this you have become a slave, a slave to fearful thinking and subsequent fearful actions. Every move you make in fear produces more fear and it seems as if there is no escape. In this you are unhappy and will remain unhappy until you can finally understand what is going on! Fear is a liar and is the cause behind every unhappiness there is.

Whether you like it or not or believe it or not, fear is the veiled intruder you have overlooked. Fear must be challenged and overcome. Every happy person you know has overcome at least some if not all of its claims. In order to be a free person you have to be free from fear. As long as there is some aspect of life that frightens you or has the power to stall your efforts, you will remain bound. You have to take it on! And the number one method for defeating fear is not found in your bravado or recklessness or unrelenting discipline, it is found in your resolute decision to stop giving it access to your life. Stop entertaining it, playing with it, considering it and giving it space. How quickly a pleasant day or pleasant time is cut short by the entrance of some unreasonable fear thought left unchecked. How miserable a life becomes when fear puts its shackles around your free will and stops your enjoyments and your fun. The absence of your happiness alone is sufficient evidence that fear has its claws on you, grasping you and robbing you of all of your joy. The escape you seek; the freedom your heart desires; the happiness that eludes you is found on the other side of that fear that has been controlling your life. Take your life back!

The number one enemy that you must contend with in this life is fear. You don’t have to work hard to produce happiness, happiness comes naturally as a result of your freedom. Once you begin to finally escape the tyranny of things and extricate yourself from the clutches of fear, you will find your happiness returns like the carefree smile on a child’s face, unencumbered by the innumerable illusions concerning what can go wrong and why. God has called you and I to freedom whereby He can bestow all manner of goodness upon us as any loving Father would desire. Seek God’s help to overcome your fear and, for goodness sakes, be honest with Him about how you have been living. All human beings will be confronted with fear and the good Lord knows that. But enduring happiness is found in them obey God’s great command to “fear not” and choose love instead. Do you want to find your missing happiness? Get rid your fear…

Just some good thoughts…

Trust Thyself…


0DC96196-7988-42E6-8455-28A57F00DEC8One of the great hallmarks of a confident person is their ability to trust themselves. In order to be successful at anything, you have to learn to trust yourself; your judgments; your feelings and to maintain that trust in the face of opposition and the naysayers. Prosperous businessmen and women are so because they had an idea and also had the holy boldness to see it through to a positive, profitable end. Good parents are those that know and understand their children and also know what is and isn’t good for the child, regardless of what anyone else seems to be doing. In our world of endless information and advice, people have relied less and less on what they think and have instead defaulted to what everyone else thinks. People have stopped thinking for themselves and severely limited themselves in the process. It would seem to make the most sense that you, living in your own body, experiencing your own life, knowing what turns you on and what turns you off, having your own unique and personal background, would serve as the expert of things pertaining to your own soul. Do you trust yourself?

The mistrust of yourself and your own ability to make proper judgments isn’t a new phenomenon, but rather came as a result of the overload of information available to all of us today, literally at our fingertips. Information, Google, WebMD, YouTube videos can be a tremendous blessing if we take them for what they are, information. As humans, our job is to gather information and then make informed choices. But, not all of our choices are purely fact based or, for that matter, in accordance with what “experts” think. We bring so much more to the table than a capacity to research information. We have complicated feelings, intuition, gut feelings, our own experiences and background all available to aid us in making the right choices, and by right I mean the right choices for ourselves. Taking a certain job in a certain place may appear to be the most logical thing in the world and still not be the best choice for us. Something may look right, feel right, be logically right, yet something inside says it’s wrong. I often think that God working in us is much more individual than we may have considered. How God works in me with all of my personal attributes and weaknesses may vary vastly from how He works in you. Certain things communicate both immediately and clearly to me that would be completely lost on you and vice versa. Trusting thyself is learning how God works in you always for your good and also learning how other things try to work in you to get you to doubt yourself and your ability to choose.  For example, people erroneously conclude that the nagging voice inside finding fault with everything they might enjoy comes from God, yet fail to consider that the constant criticism comes from another place; one hell bent on keeping them unsure. Trusting yourself means that you believe in yourself and your capacity to know what you need to know when you need to know it. Trust thyself.

The artists and painters and poets and writers are successful only by trusting that voice inside more than the voices that surround them. Emerson aptly penned, “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.” That is not to say that every thought in our heart is truth, but rather the belief in ourselves and what we can offer to the world when applied with conviction, that is genius. Doubt is the great enemy to be vanquished. Doubting and hesitating and second guessing ourselves is a disease that carries with it all future failures and defeat. How often did we already know the right course of action, yet failed to heed it? And, every time it occurs we are reminded that indeed we already knew it. How could we ever consider that other influences would better know the best course for us never actually having been us? When we live in constant doubt of ourselves and our own decisions, we work against our own best interests and diminish ourselves in our own estimation. We make ourselves less than what we are and subjugate ourselves to the opinions of another. Then, when we are unhappy and afraid and lost, we finally get honest with ourselves and seek again according to who we are and not according to who everyone else appears to be. And, at last, we find access to the happiness and blessedness that already existed for us, working within us when we begin to trust ourselves. Indeed, trust thyself.

In the same way that we can trust ourselves and our decisions, we can also trust ourselves when we know we are making the wrong choices. Typically, we recognize when our wants and our desires are leading us down the wrong paths masquerading as fun and as pleasure. We know, if we are honest, when there is such a thing as too much and as such know how to begin to regulate ourselves without unnecessary criticism and judgment. Life is rarely all or nothing, but instead a series of necessary adjustments like the tacks of a ship sailing in the right direction. Choices are neither all or nothing, but instead modifications required to keep us in the center. All things in moderation is our safe place. To live in constant denial of things is to be a prisoner awaiting escape and finally having escaped, gone mad. Similarly, the allowance of all things without restraint or control is also a prison; one being subjected to mastery by another. Sometimes the best option is a modification that takes into account both extremes. Life is such a fluid and dynamically changing enterprise and as such requires constant adjustments which we can trust ourselves to accomplish. The notion that someone we love is heading down a spurious path without any knowledge of it is always wrong. In reality, the person suffering always knows they are suffering but has not yet come upon a solution for it. In such cases, our advice serves only as confirmation of a reality the sufferer is already experiencing. We serve our fellow man more by helping to reestablish his trust himself than in offering endless ways in which he might finally escape from his plight. In the end, it’s not until a person’s trust in their own capacity to make good choices is restored, will they be finally able to recover themselves from the snare. Relearn to trust thyself.

There is no stopping the man or the woman that finally begins to trust themselves and their assertions. Such a creature is a magnificent spectacle, confidently striding through life assured and clear and focused. Such a creature is the epitome of God’s creation, created by God to live with God and for God, assured of God’s working in his or her own soul in every situation and circumstance. Everyone admires a resolute man, even if he is wrong. There is no profit in skulking through life terrified of making a wrong choice; afraid of your own feelings; doubting your every inclination and idea. Instead, stand up and be counted. Take your place in the world on equal footing with all around you. Make your own decisions and make your own choices. Choose what you know, the best you know, when you know and stick with it. If you are wrong, you will also know. But, along that path you will have done resolutely and courageously and with that garnered the spoils of victory and success. “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” (RWE) Trust thyself!

Just some good thoughts…