Anxious for Nothing…


There’s a thing going around in the world today called anxiety and almost everybody has it in one capacity or another. The question isn’t whether or not anxiety exists, but rather can you do anything about it. Feeling anxious and troubled is not just a normal part of life, but instead is a learned behavior. You may never find yourself completely free from anxiety’s assaults, but you can learn how to overcome it and its effects over your life. Be anxious for nothing!

It likely seems incredulous to you that you could live today without any anxiety about anything. Imagine getting to a place where feeling anxious was the exception rather than the rule. Anxiety in its lowest common denominator is fear. However, it’s not an overt fear that is in your face threatening you with some negative outcome. Instead it is a hidden, veiled fear. It is fear misplaced. It’s a foreboding feeling of doom based on nothing you can put your finger on. It is feeling unsettled or uncomfortable with something, somewhere, somehow. At best it is unpleasant and people do all kinds of things to minimize its effects. Anxiety leads to avoidance and procrastination. Anxiety, the child of fear, promotes inaction! Anxiety suggests it is better to do nothing about something that is troubling you rather than to take it on. Anxiety presumes defeat or hardship in advance and proclaims loss before the contest starts. Anxiety is not the negative result, it is the threat of a negative result. And sadly, for many it is debilitating.  Feeling anxious is “just” a feeling. It’s not a reality, it is a feeling. It is internal dread about something that has been cleverly designed to frighten you. But, like any feeling, it can be overcome similar to boredom, discouragement or any other feeling that we wish to avoid at all costs.

If you were to carefully and thoughtfully trace back your thoughts that led to anxiety, working though the layers and the subtle promptings; the pieced together misinformation; the false connections and associations, you would see it for what it really is – a lie. It doesn’t seem untrue because of how you feel when you experience it. It can be very, very convincing. But, it isn’t pointing to some pending reality heading your direction. It is highlighting something you have let go. Anxious feelings are always an indicator of something you have let go. The first step in overcoming anxiety isn’t to dig through the confused spaghetti bowl of feelings and sensations. It is to confront the negative possibility the first time it shows up! By the time you are experiencing anxiety, the seeds have long since been planted. It happened long before you started feeling anxious! In the midst of anxiety, you have to ride it out; changing your thinking with perseverance until your feelings catch up. We are so schooled to revere our feelings that we accept them as truth rather than as indicators. Anxious feelings communicate that you have let something go.

The cure for anxiety is action. Take action on whatever it is you are letting go! What’s the point of all of that thinking and analysis if you aren’t going to do anything about it? You can think yourself into a full on panic attack! What things in your life are you ignoring? What do you need to handle that you have been putting off? And, why the hell are you putting it off? It will not go away on its own… Take it on! Solve it. Try to solve it. Bring it up. Handle it. Be honest with yourself! Be honest with other people. Take the time to get “it” fixed. Resolve it in your own mind. Answer the damn question once and for all. Quit drifting. Stop putting up with it. Cease waiting around for something that isn’t going to happen. Put an end to endless prayers that have no action on your part involved. Get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Have the conversation you have been avoiding. Make a move. Pay the bill. Look for the job. Go to the doctor. Do something! Otherwise, you will find yourself living in a riddle that will never be solved on its own. You don’t have to know what to do already. But, you do have to do something!

It is not God’s will for you to be anxious all the time or for that matter anytime… God, His Word, His love is the only real lasting solution to your anxiety. Look, life is big and chock full of scary shit! There are a multitude of things that could go wrong. You and your human mind are no match for what you are really up against. You are not smart enough or strong enough to measure up to the fight! You will not be able to reason or logic your way out of the potential downfalls. You won’t be able to do it. As long as you think your victory is all on you, you are guaranteed to lose. God did not design life that way. You can’t pull up enough bootstraps to get the job done! The solution, the best solution for anxiety is to stop trying so hard to figure it all out and give all of that crap to God to figure out. Just hand it over. Tell him about your situation (that He already knows about) and leave it with him to solve. Then, get busy living and doing and taking actions. 90% of your defeat lies within your persistent consideration of the dreadful outcome. Read that sentence again! Your problem isn’t what is going to happen, your problem is what you think (fear) is going to happen! Hand it over and make some moves. What is the worst that could happen? Have you ever met anyone that worried themselves out of their problems? Be anxious for nothing (no thing), but in everything (every thing) let your requests be made known unto Him (God) and enjoy the wonderful peace that follows!

Be anxious for nothing. That is living your best life…

Just some good thoughts…

You vs. You…


After enduring another disastrous morning on the golf course, a good friend remarked something that really struck me! He said, “You are only competing against yourself.” How profound… Golf, seemingly more than any other sport, is a mental game and you win or lose right between your ears. Life is like that. The one you are really competing against is your own self. I know that life is spiritual and there is something behind what we see, but in its basic essence the most important struggle to win happens right inside your own mind. Will you win the battle of you versus you?

Inside all of us, a gigantic dichotomy plays out. We are literally two different entities living inside one body. One nature wants to seek out the good while the other nature seeks out the bad. It’s the old adage of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. And while that is not literally true, that scene plays out in a million variations. On the one hand we want to enjoy the best things in life and on the other hand we habitually settle for far less. One side of us knows the value of working hard while the other side seeks a quick fix. One part of us acts out of love and the other part acts out of fear. Almost instinctively we know the man or the woman we ought to be, but we cannot seem to get there no matter how hard we try. We know what we should do to be successful, but we fall short of it. Instead of using words that are uplifting and encouraging, we blurt out hurtful words and wound the hearts of others. We find ourselves in a perpetual conundrum. When the opportunity to do good presents itself, we don’t do it. But the things we hate, we do all the time. In the battle of you versus you, you have to fight. But, you are not fighting the world, you are fighting your own self based on the influences of the world. As human beings, it is our most important fight.

The reason we struggle to gain superiority over our own selves is because doing so requires that we learn to control ourselves. Self mastery requires control. How quickly we lose ground when victory is assured because we give in on some principle. We don’t see things through to their logical conclusion. We live inside bodies we no longer like, but are loathe to exercise the control necessary to set them right again. We fall for the false illusions of pleasure, offering us something they cannot give, then hate ourselves for doing so. We want to find the quick route, the shortcut, the workaround. We ignore the cautions because they don’t apply to us, only to suffer the consequences down the road. We have the hardest time in the world learning that the wrong choice leads to the wrong result in every case, though it may not be readily apparent. We so desperately want to be happy but don’t do the things that make for happiness. We want to have our cake and eat it too. We seek to blend the good and the evil and make them companions, hoping we can find a way to play in both leagues. The answer to our plight is only found in control, self control.

Learning to control yourself is a difficult task. Yet the failure to do so accounts for most of the misery that is in the world. Every failure that ever thwarted man has its roots in some failure concerning self control. Fear is a failure to properly control your thinking concerning some circumstance. Obesity is a failure to control what you eat. Alcoholism is a failure to control how much liquor you imbibe. Every character flaw, every weakness, every obnoxious habit comes about from a failure to control some aspect of your thinking and thus your life. Nothing is evil of itself. Things become evil in excess or overuse. Every aspect of life is to be enjoyed and it’s our job to recognize when our enjoyments are taking control of us. Anything that seeks to control you must be rigorously avoided at all costs. Once evil gets its foot in the door, it won’t be long before it moves in bringing more and more hurt and loss. Yet, your mind being the only thing you can actually control holds the key to every situation you find yourself confronted with.

The good news is that you can learn to control yourself. But, in order to do so, you have to learn how to control your thinking. The temptation to do wrong, which comes as easily as weeds growing in the garden, is resisted not with so much discipline, but more by refusal to think in certain directions. You cannot tinker with the wrong ideas, but rather immediately reject them. You have to think about what you are thinking about. If you feel miserable, chances are you are thinking thoughts that lead to misery. You cannot get a good life from bad thoughts. You cannot win a race by looking back. You cannot win the next moment fixated on the previous moments. You cannot learn and grow and change by adhering to the same thoughts which you have been cleaving to in the past.  You cannot win if you think you cannot win. You, my friend, have to stop saying the things to yourself that defeat you. You have to get off your own back. You have to dwell on your good and not your evil. We all have some combination of good and evil going on inside us, but we win in proportion to how much we can minimize the evil and emphasize the good. (God has already graciously covered the evil).

This is a lesson that you have to learn for yourself. Try it out. Begin controlling some aspect of your life you feel has gotten away from you and see how good you feel about yourself. See how quickly your joy and enthusiasm for living come back. Self control is not something to be avoided in order to live a fun life, it is the very essence of a truly fun and enjoyable life.

Even your golf game will improve if you can get ahold of yourself in the midst of going astray. If it works for golf, it will certainly work for you…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Inside Out…


Did you know that the outer conditions of your life are an exact reflection of what goes on inside your head? What you are on the inside that no-one else can see forms the basis for the circumstances you encounter most frequently. Your life is lived from the inside out. You cannot be successful in the outside world without first being successful in your mind and you cannot fail in the outside world without first failing in your mind! Your mind; your heart is the starting point and from it the issues of your life pour forth! Life is truly lived inside out…

Most people think that life happens to them and that they are powerless to change it. They feed their minds with negatives all day and night. They speak negatives, read negatives, harbor negatives, look for negatives, expect negatives and spread negatives. They rehearse situations in which they are always being done wrong in some capacity. When opportunity presents itself they discount it immediately. They are suspicious and wary ever waiting for the axe to fall, the apparent good to prove itself untrue, the catch that’s lurking just out of view. They become convinced their scenario is going to turn out badly and when it does (as it necessarily must) they say, “See there? I told you so!” They never consider the important role they play in the outcome but instead attribute it to luck or fate or worse as being somehow a part of God’s will. Thus, and forgive my bluntness, if your life sucks, it’s because you suck, at least as far as your thinking is concerned! You cannot keep planting weeds and wonder when your flowers are going to show up! You cannot continue to dwell in darkness while searching for the light. You cannot think one way then expect to live another way. Your life is lived from the inside out…

Your life, be it wonderful or miserable, follows the patterns you have established. Where you see yourself is where you live. If you don’t expect much, you don’t get much. If you think you must struggle, struggle you will. If you believe that life is something you must endeavor to survive, survival will be the height of your achievements. If you believe you will always be poor, (for whatever reason you have manufactured) you will always be poor. If you fear sickness, dwell on sickness, think incessantly about sickness, you will most assuredly be sick. Conversely, if you expect good things to happen for you, good things will happen for you. If you believe you will prosper, you will prosper. If you are convinced that every obstacle you face can be overcome, you will find a way to overcome no matter how much the circumstances may appear to disagree. Assigning your fate to God or to life or to the world without taking any responsibility for your thinking is not taking responsibility for your own life. We all know instinctively that life works like this but discount it when it comes to what we think. If you are going to catch fish, you have to use the right bait. If you are going to hunt elk, you have to go to where the elk live. If you are going to make a lot of money, you have to go to work. You cannot fish with the wrong bait then get mad at God because you aren’t catching any fish. You cannot hunt for elk where elk do not live then curse the heavens for your bad fortune. You cannot refuse to work or offer your employer your absolute minimum effort, then blame the world for your poverty. Likewise, you cannot possibly expect to have a good life while all the time convincing yourself (through negative considerations) that your life will turn out badly. Your life is lived inside out…

What you think matters. Where you go in your mind in life’s situations matters. The things you feed your mind everyday matter. The outcomes you rehearse for yourself over and over and over matter. What you say about yourself and your life matters. And ultimately, what you believe in the depths of your heart matters. If you want a different outcome, you have to think in a different way. Wherever you are today, your thinking has led you there. Life is not unfair. Circumstances are unfair. Certain challenges you may face are unfair. People can be unfair, but life is not unfair. God has given you a way to overcome whatever you are up against, but it all starts with your thinking. Pay attention to your thinking.  Control your thinking.  Change your thinking. Stop allowing the world to dictate what you think about the most. Stop allowing circumstances to determine what it is you will believe. Put an end to any influence that leads your thinking away from God’s best for your life. Your life is lived from the inside out…

Your life is a direct reflection of your own expectations. Change your expectations. You change them! Quit dwelling on “what is” and dwell on what you want. See yourself successful. Expect things to work out. When you find yourself challenged, (and you surely will) look for the solution. With God there is always a solution. Separate yourself from the thoughtless herd ever plunging headlong into the abyss. Step out of line. Stop going with the flow, the majority, the world! Form your own opinions. The reason you think the way you think is because that is how you have been taught to think. You have been led astray. You’re a victim in a vicious cycle in which you are doing the spinning. Spin the damn thing in the opposite direction! You have already suffered enough hurt, enough disappointment, enough lack to know something isn’t right! It isn’t life, it is you. It isn’t God, it is you. It isn’t just the way life is, it’s the way you think (believe) life is. Sooner or later you have to realize life is lived inside out. MAKE YOUR INSIDE RIGHT!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Buried Feelings…


As far as I can tell, projections you may put upon your pets aside, human beings are God’s only creatures that came from the factory equipped with feelings. That alone should have arrested our attention! Human beings have feelings and those feelings are vast and complex. There are more feelings than there are descriptions for them. Some people say you should honor your feelings, while others say to ignore them. Some folks are described as emotional, yet others appear emotionless. Men attribute feelings to women and women demand more feelings from men. Have you ever wondered why people have feelings? What is the purpose for your feelings? Can you feel too much or too little? And most importantly, why would God have given you the capacity for all of those feelings if they didn’t have any value in your life? You feel how you feel for a reason. But, have you taken the time to figure out the reason? Or, have you learned to bury your feelings instead?

The feelings that you experience are a barometer of your soul. And, like any good barometer, they provide you with important information concerning your internal weather patterns. Sometimes your feelings are sunny and warm and at other times your feelings are gloomy and foreboding. Some feelings are turbulent and agitated while other feelings are peaceful and calm. Feelings provide both warnings and confirmation. Certain feelings have no clear description associated with them like when you feel something is right. Other feelings are painful and inform you something is very wrong. You can feel anxious and apprehensive. You can experience feeling afraid.  But, you can also feel confident and assured. Strangely, sometimes your feelings point out a lack of meaningful activity (boredom), yet also signal an overload of activity defined as stress.  With all of the vast world of feelings at your disposal, there must be some intention behind them. Though infinitely complex, to you they are always understood, though sometimes needing further examination. Do you understand your feelings and receive the message they contain for you or have you learned to not give them much credence and go on about your merry way?

Feelings have been described as being no guarantee for truth. And while that is certainly true, feelings do represent the truth about where you are in your journey. Your feelings, both fleeting and long standing, exist to act as a compass to guide you in the right direction. Feelings are not the “truth,” but do indicate your position in relation to the “truth.” When you are off track, you feel miserable and defeated. When you are right on, your feelings are light, pleasant and enjoyable. Feelings of apprehension do not necessarily indicate something is wrong, but do indicate more thought and understanding may be required. To consistently ignore your feelings is to run headlong into the unknown, risking life and limb. You are feeling what you are feeling for a reason! Learn the reason. Most people don’t feel their feelings because they have no feelings, but rather because the world has succeeded in numbing their feelings. A callous isn’t formed from being tender, but instead from repeated rough treatment. Thus, having strong feelings isn’t an indication of weakness, though it is reported as such, but rather points to a heart that is still tender, soft, pliable. The more you understand your feelings and acknowledge them, the more successful a human being you will become. This insulting notion that a real man is devoid of feelings is an affront to his Creator. A man is a man because he feels and a woman is a woman because she feels, though their feelings be as different as night and day.  Burying your feelings as an act of self-preservation provides a completely opposite result than was intended!

Human beings are social creatures. Yet each creature feels independently. In order to get along, each others feelings must be considered. Relationships do not end because of bad feelings, but rather because those feelings eventually go unexpressed. Every time you ignore the feelings that well up inside you, and do not express those feelings where appropriate, you do yourself a disservice. While seeking harmony with another, you cause disharmony within yourself. To play a role as an actor or a politician while being untrue to your own feelings, is to live a fraudulent life. You feel that you may know and you know that you may grow. Even anger, while feeling unpleasant and toxic, simply acts as a signal that something needs an immediate remedy. Anger ignored comes back with greater velocity until the pressure builds to a breaking point. How much destruction could be avoided simply by faithfully speaking up and expressing honestly how you feel?

To feel is to be human. Not feeling may aid a business endeavor, but eventually the one not feeling will have to come to terms with himself. You cannot be successful and prosperous while ignoring your feelings. Oh you can for awhile. You may garner for yourself much wealth and riches, but you will have paid the price with your very own soul. Listen to what your feelings are telling you. Feelings of boredom inform you of activities left undone, meanings ignored. Agitated feelings point to disturbances and call for a calming solution. How good we feel when we find the answer! Feelings of satisfaction point towards completed efforts. While feeling unfulfilled indicates greater purpose to be discovered. Use your barometer! Pay attention to the weather. It may be stormy today, but storms do not last forever. See your feelings for what they are – indicators, and adjust yourself accordingly.

Our great God equipped you with those feelings to help guide you on your way. Don’t ignore them! Don’t discount them as petty and meaningless. They are not your truth, but will certainly help you discover it. Trust yourself. Trust how you feel though the whole world disagrees with you. Don’t live in a world governed by other people’s feelings. Instead live in a world where you honor your feelings, right or wrong and adjust yourself accordingly. You feel that you may know and you know that you may grow! Don’t bury your feelings! Feel them, experience them and see the message they have been communicating to you. It’s never too late. Feel…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Pull Your Weeds!


Being an avid gardener and a lover of all things growing, I’ve pulled more than my fair share of weeds. No matter how much you endeavor to stay on top of them, they always come back. You take a little vacation hiatus and they’ve already taken over the entire garden. Life is like that. No matter how hard you work at it, there’s always going to be challenges to overcome. Sometimes those challenges can get ahead of you and overwhelm you. No matter how big of a mess you may find yourself in at times, the only solution is to get back out there and pull those weeds one by one until they are all gone.

It seems awfully unfair that the weeds of life, the negatives, the personal problems, the difficulties, the challenges,  the bad habits, seemingly appear overnight while the good things take so much time and effort to build and preserve. Evil is truly relentless. It picks away at you day by day ever seeking to take away some good, some happiness. Little things left unchecked quickly assemble and begin to strangle you. Unfinished business is the blight of mankind. Man, while endeavoring to enjoy good things, yet letting stuff go and overlooking things that need attention, garners to himself difficulties that could have been easily handled early on. As such, it is important to pull up the weeds as quickly as they appear. Waiting for a better time simply compounds the problem. The effort required to stay on top is significantly less than the energy required to dig out of the disaster. Pull your weeds.

Everything in life that you let go eventually turns back on you. The little issue you started recognizing, the thinking errors you haven’t resolved, the vices you have employed, your tendency towards procrastination with its associated stacking up and compounding, all stand as beacons calling out for you to act. Inaction, appearing as a viable alternative, simply works behind the scenes to bury you with worries and undue concerns. The elephant in the room remains and you are left off the worse because of it. You aren’t preserving precious time, you are squandering your future time. Fix the leaky pipe. Handle your overdue car registration. Pay the ticket. Replace your wiper blades. Pull your weeds. If you don’t do it today, you are going to spend a lot more time doing it with its consequences tomorrow.

The origin of all of mankind’s difficulties is found in the spiritual realm. (There was a time when there weren’t any weeds!) The way that darkness gets on top of you occurs systematically, day by day, night by night. It chips away at you one weed at a time counting on your inaction. Eventually, you find yourself so marred and overwhelmed that the solution is no longer apparent. Enter the method for every apparently unsolvable problem you have ever had. By the time you become aware that you are in trouble, you are already in deep. Thus the solution for spiritual problems is to chip away at them one by one until they are gone. You cannot clean them up all at once, no matter how determined you are. They were unsuspectingly built into you over time and they may require time to be resolved. Overcoming these kinds of problems will require God’s help and loving assistance. Often, the problem you seek to address isn’t the problem at all, but rather is an extension of another problem on top of another problem, masking another problem. You cannot clearly discern the problem (on your own) and that’s why the problem persists. But, with God’s help you can begin recovering yourself, pulling one weed at a time, weed by weed, until the issue is at last resolved.

The weeds of life exist as the worries and fears that you unknowingly harbor; the negative outcomes you faithfully rehearse and consider, the resultant inaction and lack of energy they produce. Thinking is not an action, it only precedes an action. In other words, you have to make up your mind to do something about the things that are bothering you. Do something! Take a step forward. Stop going down certain paths either mentally or physically or both. Challenge your bad habits. Cease (or pause) doing something you are so desperately clinging onto as a need which isn’t a need at all. The problem with bad habits is that they always begin as small and insignificant, yet gather power by your insistence in repeating them. After a time, as was secretly designed, you pursue your bad habits almost automatically until they develop enough steam to bring your entire life down to some terrible outcome. Fear produces inaction. The anecdote to fear is action, not more analysis. Once you begin to act, you will find more clues, more insights, more valuable information about where and how you are being defeated. Until then, you will continue as business as usual, suffering, churning, wishing for the answer. Get up and start pulling the weeds!

Life was designed by God and He already knows where you stumble and why. His Word already had the answer but you might not know that yet. So, better than any good parent, He knows exactly how to rescue you. He sees all and cuts right through all of the facades and trickery. As you act, He acts. As you take believing steps, however small, He will provide you with glimpses of truth and flashes of light to guide you on your way. It doesn’t matter where you came from or how you were brought up. It doesn’t matter how bad your problem appears to be. What matters is that you decide to act, then act. What has been bothering you lately or for the past year or even the last twenty years? What garbage can of crap assaults you day by day? What recurrent issues seem to keep popping up over and over again? That thing or those things are a good place to start! Start pulling the weeds up until you get back to the beautiful you, alive, thriving and unencumbered; the real you! Act!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Why So Damn Critical?


The world, the people in the world, maybe even you have become so damn critical about everyone and everything. All day long it’s what you don’t like, who gets on your nerves, who did you wrong, what you didn’t get, what drives you nuts, what makes your blood boil and on and on and on. It seems the world as we know it has officially gone crazy. That criticism; that ever-present fault finding doesn’t come from nowhere, it comes from you. It is developed within the confines of your own mind and the things you are saying to yourself. Criticism towards others always begins with criticism towards yourself. Why so damn critical? Take a look within…

I think that people being critical of themselves has been around for as long as people have been around. But, it seems someone has added an accelerant; something is fueling the fire. Never before have people had so much access to information. There’s a YouTube video for everything. You can self-diagnose, self-administer, self-study and self-start. You can literally learn anything you want to learn simply by owning a computer and having access to the Internet. However, there is another dark side to the information machine. The same system that offers you help also offers you standards, artificial standards about how you should look, how successful you should be, where you should live, what toys you should own, what credentials you should possess and how popular you should be. The system measures your likes, your comments and defines your level of acceptance in the world. But, like Hollywood it is ultimately an illusion. It’s a false portrayal of life. All day and night you are being fed images of successful people without any real problems or challenges, living a life of luxury, planning trips, having plastic surgeries, being made beautiful and slim and sexy. They are called influencers who influence your life, not to enhance it, but rather to carefully and subtly point out what is wrong with you, what you lack, what you need to be happy, what you need to purchase to achieve your life dreams. Buy the makeup. Buy the weight loss package. Buy the skin cream. Buy the hair restorer. Buy the medicine. Buy something damn it and buy it now. Ultimately it is all a carefully crafted lie.

There is nothing wrong with you! Your life is not defined by how slim you can become. You are not failing at life because you are not yet rich! (Have you ever noticed how we equate a successful life with how much money a person has, despite whatever else they have going on.) You are not weird, odd, a failure, incompetent or dumb. You are not falling behind. (Behind what?) You are allowing the world, the media, other people, to define who you are and what you should be. How could someone else possibly define what your life should be? You are uniquely you! What is important to you may not be important to me. How insane it becomes to try to live your life according to another person’s priorities. How much money you need should be how much money helps you to be happy. I’ve often said that if you had about $50,000 in your checking account (not millions) you would feel like you were rich. Good Lord, how much stuff do you want to buy? Seriously! And, all of this absolute madness concerning being slim. How slim do you have to be? And, what is all the slimness going to get you? What nirvana state accompanies being slim? Look, at the end of the day there is nothing wrong with getting healthy and there is nothing wrong with being wealthy. But, if getting something important to you means sacrificing your own well-being and happiness, it’s not worth it! If the goal you seek does nothing but make you perpetually down on yourself or causes you to  insult yourself in the bathroom mirror, something is amiss. People ultimately do the things that are most important to them. Maybe that goal you never seem to reach really isn’t that important to you after all.

If you really think about it, what happened to you that led to you being so critical concerning yourself? You only have one self with which to live. As far as you are concerned, you are it! What dastardly treachery convinced you not to like your very own self. What evil, rotten being talked you into being in a battle against your own self; your own best interests? Who convinced you that you are not worth anything; that you cannot trust your own judgments; your own opinions? Indeed who? The things you say to yourself that no-one else can hear, ghastly! How quickly and easily you are thrown off center, shook up, full of doubt. Someone doesn’t like your shirt or your shoes and you never wear them again. Someone dismisses your great idea and you cast it aside like a dirty diaper. Can’t you see what is going on? You are being led astray. You are getting perpetually talked out of who you are and what you have to offer the world. You worship and harbor and cleave to your shortcomings and failures like religious relics instead of focusing on all of your excellent parts! You don’t think the people you admire have their share of shortcomings? I can assure you that they have just as many as you do, the only difference being in their refusal to allow them to hold such a place of high esteem!

Do you want to really help the world? Do you want to have a positive impact on people? Do you want to win at life? Then get off your own back! Decide today that you are going to stop saying negative things about yourself to yourself and to other people (even if cloaked in jest). Be kind to yourself. Nurture yourself. Give yourself a break. Learn to love and respect yourself again and see how differently you will feel about other people. People need your love, not a lecture. People need someone who believes in them until they can believe in themselves. Don’t be so damn critical. Be kind and it starts with you…

Just some good thoughts…

What I Learned Playing Golf…


I had the privilege this past weekend to host our annual golf challenge for the Utah brothers and sisters. The challenge was renamed the Steven B. Kelly Memorial Challenge to forever memorialize by brother in law, Big Steve, who is gone from us way too soon. Having finally gotten serious about learning the game, I had been taking some lessons and felt like I might actually escape the beginner phase and play some legitimate golf. Boy was I wrong! I was arguably almost the worst player out there. One brother suggested that I might want to get my money back from the golf pro! (smile) But, I learned something on that fateful day and it’s worth writing about here…

Golf is only as hard as you tell yourself it will be. You cannot take lessons and commit yourself to a game and at the same time verbalize repeatedly how much you suck; how unlikely it is that you will make the shot; how challenging the damn game is and on and on and on. What you think is what you say and what you say is exactly how it is going to play out. No sport, upon your early encounters, is easy and to assign yourself failure before you fail is to work against your own best interests. Golf, like any sport, has fundamentals you have to master. Once you have mastered the fundamentals, which never happens overnight, you will gain confidence in your abilities to do it right. But, dogging yourself for not having mastered them yet is foolish and serves only to ensure you will continue to lose. The reason you do so much better at the driving range is because you have not assigned the same importance to every shot and instead relax and swing the damn club! Life is very similar in that you are only going to learn when you decide to just swing the damn club!

The things you tell yourself have a huge impact on how things are going to play out. When you are learning something new, things will be difficult and feel uncomfortable. You are going to flub up and foul up and f*** up! That is how life works. You may have spent your whole life thinking something is true or reliable, that isn’t true at all. It’s not knowing how everything works that matters, but rather your ability to adjust, change and learn something new. The real measure of your success is not how well you do in the things you have mastered, but how willing you are to learn something new and master that as well. The best things in life aren’t the things you may have thought they were. There are principles and mindsets and behaviors that accompany the best life and those things are not at all what the world says they are. The world’s offerings are shiny toys that glisten and shine and promise, but fail to deliver. They are sparkling bundles of nothingness that leave you hungry, empty, unsatisfied. You have to persevere with right principles (the right swing) until you have mastered them, leading to unending joy and happiness.

In addition to the affliction you put upon yourself is the affliction you allow from others due to your over reliance on their opinions of you. Once you become concerned about what others may think about you, you quickly lose sight of what you think about yourself. You become a performer in someone else’s contest. The moment you look for your competitors, you lose the race. You don’t play for the crowd, you play for yourself. You are competing both for and against yourself. Once you have entertained the mistake, the mistake is about to occur. Your job, your responsibility, your necessity is to not play against yourself. You have to prove to you that you can do! Your challenge is not with others, it is with yourself. Your job is to win yourself. If others ridicule you or take shots at you or doubt you, you don’t endeavor to prove them wrong, you prove yourself right! You own your own failures and mistakes fully and completely. You allow yourself to not know yet while committing yourself to know eventually. It’s not where you are now, but where you end up. You seek for the mastery of yourself and whether the crowd approves or disapproves matters little. You have to answer to yourself!

You will find, if you are paying attention, that you are not fighting the world, you are fighting what it is you are thinking about yourself. The world cannot make you into anything without your consent. It’s the man staring back at you in the mirror whose opinion counts most. Do not allow circumstances or situations to define who you are what it is you are capable of in life. It’s not the crowds or your best friend or your husband or wife who decides who and what you are, it is you! Fight for you. Believe in you. Stand for you! You can do or be anything you want no matter what has gone on in the past. The only limitation is you…

Life, like golf, can be a very challenging game. You are going to hit some balls into the water. You are going to whiff on some of your drives and the ball will only travel about fifteen feet. You are going to sail some ten foot chip shots into the abyss. You are going to three putt and four putt and have a scorecard worthy of the garbage can. But, the real essence of life isn’t found in your failures, but rather in what it is you learn from your failures and where you go from there. Golf is only as hard as you think it is and you owe it to yourself to recognize your progress and determine in yourself to finally figure it out! Don’t be seduced into working against your own best interests. The enemy you are fighting against is you! Win the fight.

See you on the links…

Just some good thoughts…

Getting Out of Your Funk…


If you’ve spent enough time dwelling on terra firma, you know that at certain times in your life you find yourself deeply entrenched in a funk; an americanism for feeling down in the dumps; which is related to a dutch word meaning a mental haze; and in German a word for gloomy or depressed. No matter the language or the usage, all you know is that it sucks. It sucks away your life and enthusiasm for living. It’s no happiness, no inspiration, nothing to look forward to, blah, blah, blah…Blah! But, there is something you can do about it! No matter how far down the rabbit hole you are, there is always a way out…

The place to begin when attempting to understand your feelings is first to examine your thoughts. Thoughts precede feelings. You don’t wake up in a bad mood. Your bad mood follows where your mind has been. Most folks pay very little attention to their thoughts. They sort of let them come and go like the weather. They consider themselves blessed when their mental environment is sunny and cursed when it is gloomy. The weather never stays gloomy and you don’t have to either. However, you do have to take some initiative with your thoughts. Letting your thoughts run makes you a victim to whatever circumstance is being engineered against you. Please read that sentence again! There are forces at work in the world plotting and scheming, persuading and manipulating to lead you and your thoughts to a certain place. You cannot see them, but instead only register their effects. They gain access to you by the thoughts you allow and encourage. They cannot overtake your freedom of will (at first), but they can get you off track; way off track! They begin by getting you to consider some negative aspect of life, then work out circumstances and situations that corroborate your wrong thinking.  And, if you remain stuck there long enough, you find yourself submerged and engulfed in heaviness from which it becomes very difficult to escape.

Life is spiritual in nature. It is not made up solely of the things which do appear. Ignorance concerning this will mire you in futility chasing your own tail, searching yourself and your own feelings for a remedy. Yet, you won’t find your solution in your own thoughts because the problem didn’t originate in your own thoughts. You are not fighting against yourself, though it may feel like it, you are fighting against a negative spiritual opponent working behind the scenes to control you. To defeat this spiritual foe (behind all of the misery of mankind) you have to learn how to compete spiritually. You have to learn how to fight back. And, amazingly, the arena of competition is in your mind. You see, it’s not as simple as deciding to be happy, though that is a good start. It is learning how and what to think and holding on to those thoughts though a monument of resistance be placed in front of you. If you find yourself today steeped in misery or unending gloominess, it is a good indicator that you are not winning the fight. You never want to get comfortable with those negative emotions or embrace them as some incredulously purport. Instead you fight them and you fight them and you fight them with spiritual words that negate and overpower their authority. Refusing to fight back only leads to defeat. Or worse, explaining away those insidious attacks with man’s wisdom will only serve to prolong the fight. You only win a fight by being stronger or tapping into something stronger than whomever or whatever you are fighting against. Evil has power but it is no match for God’s power.

It certainly doesn’t make for light conversation to learn about standing against evil. It probably won’t be found in the self-help section of the bookstore. Public opinion poo poo’s the notion of evil altogether or portrays it as a construct of man. The movie media displays it as frightening and ghastly. But, no matter the babblings of the naysayers, it does exist and it is your problem. God does not want you to be ignorant concerning evil, nor does He want you to be afraid of it. Instead He wants you understand what is actually going on so you can direct your efforts appropriately and with great and lasting impact. People are stuck today ensconced in difficulties because they no longer understand or acknowledge spiritual realties. When Jesus stood against all the forces of hell, he did so simply, though not easily, by quoting and cleaving to what God’s Word said. It is God’s Word quoted on the lips of believing that defeats the powers of darkness. It is the only way.

You can be delivered today, rescued, set free by learning how to tap into God’s power for your life. It doesn’t matter how low you may have sunk or how entrenched you may have become. All you need is a little humility and a willingness to learn about spiritual realities. You can escape any of the chains that have been binding you; break free from any bondage; break out of the bands and fetters that have been controlling your life. You can learn again how to live and enjoy and be blessed. You can return to happiness and joy and peace and love. You can escape from the prisons that have been holding you in. Stop thinking that something is wrong with you or that you are somehow deserving of the misery you have been living. Stop settling for less than the best in your life. You don’t need more medicine or more treatment or more of the expertise of men. You need God and His Word.

Finding yourself in a deep funk; down in the dumps; in a mental haze; gloomy and depressed is a horrible way to experience life and you do not have to live that way. There are answers and solutions for any malady that challenges your life. Won’t you be willing to find your way out of your funk? I sure hope so…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Let’s Talk About God…


I recognize the obvious audacity in attempting to consider such a vast, important, indeed life changing topic, but I will focus on what I know for sure. God is very likely not who you have been taught He is. You can learn who He really is according to His Word, but that’s not a book you are just going to pick up and immediately understand. But, make no mistake, you can understand and that is the purpose of today’s one thousand words, give or take…

The largest point of misperception seems to center around this notion that God is somehow the moral police whose job it is to point out your sins and faults. I vividly recall taking some marketing clients to a college basketball game in Philadelphia, when the topic of God somehow came up. I explained I was a part of a local Christian fellowship. Immediately, both of them apologized for ordering beers and seemed distraught over how many times they may have cussed. What a shame! (I was buying – smile). You see, how silly? As if God would somehow be opposed to having beers? Or, was God really offended about how they communicated with me? Really? I think we need to give God a little credit here. You don’t think He understands the creatures he made? You think your use of an expletive is beyond God’s tolerance level? It may surprise you to hear this, but all of that accusation and judgment you experience both inside your own head and at the hands of other people does not come from God. It comes from His opponent the adversary who has done a spectacular job of convincing you otherwise. God has already seen your whole life through, so what surprises do you have for Him? God is not the moral police. God is not reminding you about  your sins nor pointing out where you come up short. God sent His son to die for your sins so the subject would never be brought up again. That is love. That is who God really is…

Another great error in thought is the idea that you can be accepted before God according to your good works. In other words, if your good can somehow outweigh your bad before death you will “make” heaven. Or, if you can work hard enough to be accepted by God, maybe, just maybe He will help you out in life. You may not realize it, but that is a dangerous trap you will find it very hard from which to escape. Let’s say something makes you afraid. Maybe it is fear that your children won’t be okay. So, in order to earn a little protection from God you resolve yourself to “clean up” your life. “From now I’m not doing this or that anymore!” Then, because you are a human you are going to mess up again (trust me). You are going to feel real, real bad about messing up and resolve yourself to work harder to make God love you; to protect you. The harder you work, the more you will fail. Enter vicious cycle! In reality, God doesn’t protect you because you are so good, but rather because He is so good! He is a loving Father. Don’t you love your kids? Well, what shenanigans do they have to perform for you to love them? To watch over them? I’m guessing none! God isn’t after your fear based love, He is after your free-will love! You love Him because He first loved you!

Our God is a God of grace; unmerited, unearned divine favor. He is the God of all mercy! He already knows you are going to come up short on your own and has made a way for you to win and that way doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with how good or bad you are! That’s grace my friends. God isn’t your problem, He is your solution. He is the answers you’ve been searching for your whole life. He understands what you are up against in life and wants you to know how to do life successfully. And, by successfully I sure as hell am not referring to all of the heaviness and misery associated with trying so damn hard to be good! Don’t let anyone put you on that treadmill! All that behavior and wrong thinking does is force you to dwell on the world of sin and wrong and as such have no opportunity to change. It’s a deception of unparalleled proportions. No-one ever gets better or does better by focusing on everything they do wrong. Instead more and more wrong is produced. You do not have to live that way no matter how much you were taught otherwise. God has already forgiven you!

How we ever let the enemy convince us that all fun and enjoyment in life is reserved for evil and that God’s way is a way of perpetual boredom and avoidance of life, is beyond me. Where do you think the notion of enjoyment and happiness came from? From evil? From darkness? From error?  I can assure you that life with God is chock full of happiness and freedom and peace. God’s job is to help you get rid of fear, not be the source of it. God wants to heal you, not make you sick or abandon you when you when you need Him the most. God does not want you to run from life, but rather embrace it and enjoy it to the full. Life with God produces joy! It is error and evil that is the source of ALL of your misery. God wants you to understand that and will lead you in the best way; the way that avoids it. Like any Father worth his salt, God wants you to know what’s going on in life. He is willing to teach you if you want to learn. Don’t spend another moment under the opinions and ideas of men, but rather seek the truth. The truth really will set you free.

God is life…

Just some good thoughts…

Relationship Rescue…


Nothing can get you more twisted up than being in a relationship that isn’t going well. People talk about falling in and out of love as if love involves gravity. In some homes the tension is so thick you can feel the chill in the air. What happens in a relationship that makes it go so terribly wrong? What changed from the original proposition? What the heck happened? And, how can you rescue it from the danger of failing altogether?

In order for any relationship to work successfully there has to be some underlying form of goodwill; a willingness to make it good. Spending all that time engaged in pitiful diatribes about what the other person isn’t doing to make you feel a certain way is a frightful waste of time. Although your feelings are no doubt sincere in every way, it fails to address the real issue. The real question is why is your partner acting the way they are acting? Why are they ignoring you? Why don’t they want to talk with you? What thoughts and feelings are they carrying around concerning you? You began on the sound footing of goodwill; a sincere desire to make the other person happy, then something happened to change the dynamic. You need to find out what changed the dynamic. It always amazes me when engaging in relationship counseling how clear and obvious the issues are when completely alien to the people involved. Somewhere along the way, each person began developing a narrative about who or what the other person is (or became) and they are loathe to let go of their narrative. And, the narrative they have created for the other person always, always, always fails to include the part they are playing in the story! Step one in rescuing your relationship is acknowledging the part you personally are playing! You can’t send out rejection vibes and expect love vibes to return. You can’t discourage honest conversations by getting all outraged and angry then complain that your partner won’t talk! If you want love you have to give love. If you want kindness you have to give kindness. Waiting for your partner to go first will be a very long wait…

Warm, loving feelings follow warm, loving thoughts. Dragging around the world history of everything your partner ever did that you don’t like or how they wronged you or don’t get you (whatever that means…) or how different they are than you is a surefire recipe for disaster. People do wrong things, ever notice? Surely you have done a few blunders in your days, haven’t you? Rehearsing the time they did this to me or when they said that to me is relationship poison. It was evil enough the first time it happened, was it not? So, why on earth would you drag about that corpse of a memory with you now? Forgiveness means stop bringing that bullshit back up! Further, if you really want your partner to get you, you have to do a good job of communicating who you are to get. Feeling like they should somehow instinctively know who you are is madness. Say what you love and do not hide your aversions. If you spend your days modifying yourself for others; hiding the real you, the real you will be real hard to get. Get it? Surprisingly, relationships thrive more on differences than on similarities. Fretting over not having all the same interests is equally insane. Relationships aren’t about turning into each other. How weird? Relationships are about two people with different backgrounds and different upbringings coming together to form a union that works together. Relationships compliment each other by one strong area compensating for one weaker area in the other and we all have both involved.

Love is not something you fall into or fall out of over time. Love isn’t some magical spell someone casts on you that is only as good as the spell lasts. Love is a decision. Your soul-mate is simply someone who meets most of the expectations you have set for yourself. I’m certainly not trying to take away the beauty or the romance of love. Rather I’m trying to point out that true love is a decision you make and keep making. When things go south it isn’t that mythical love has left the situation, but rather you have left the situation. Instead of good thoughts towards your partner, you harbor wrong thoughts. You are no longer focused on making them happy or helping them feel good, but focused instead on how you are feeling and where you suffer lack. Your feelings are valid and matter much, but harboring the wrong thoughts about your significant other are making the decision to love no longer. You may proclaim the magic is gone, but it wasn’t magic to begin with. If you want to rescue your relationship, get back to your decision to love.

I often muse that any relationship could be brought back to life if both people simply acted as if it was brand new again. Instead of carrying around all of those preconceived notions, start fresh. I can assure you, just because you have been together for twenty five years does not mean you already know where the other person is coming from. You barely know where you are coming from, right? How often do you allow yourself the privilege of changing? Can you not put aside the undesirable parts of yourself and go another direction? Well, can’t they as well? Don’t you see it? We all need the opportunity of a new day. We all need the chance to reinvent ourselves. We all need a fresh start; many, many fresh starts. Just because your wife always does such and such doesn’t mean she always has to do such and such. Just because you struggled early on with such and such doesn’t mean you have to struggle with such and such now.

Maybe you can’t rescue every relationship given whatever may have occurred, but you can surely rescue yours if you really want to do it. Take your long time partner on a date and find out what they like. Hey, they may just surprise you! Put some love in the air, it just feels better.

Just some good thoughts…