The Madness of the Mediocre Life…


mediocremajorityLet me start by acknowledging that every person is completely unique in their personal desires and aspirations. What success is for me isn’t success for you. That being said, there’s a huge difference between success in life and the madness of mediocrity.

No-one ever grew up dreaming of being mediocre. Nobody foresaw a life of quiet desperation, feeling stunted, stymied and held back? You sure didn’t start out that way, did you? You began, as we all began, with stars in your eyes and grand thoughts of who you could be.  Then you grew up. The world didn’t change, you did.  You settled. You negotiated for average. You exchanged your A level life for a C level existence. You did it because it was safe. It wasn’t everything you ever wanted but it was some of the things you wanted. When it comes to your one and only run through, and because you have the exact same right to pursue your happiness as every other person, you can still choose the best! You can go for the Olympic gold instead of rejoicing in that you made the team!

Now, don’t get it twisted. I’m not claiming some type of superiority over you. I’ve spent my fair share of time in the misty flats… (Well, it’s not really fair, but that’s how clichés work.) Yet, I have a great advantage that I’m ever privileged to enjoy. Someone lovingly taught me about God a long time ago and I’ve never stopped learning about Him to this day. You see, this whole notion of living an abundant life came from Him. This aint self-help rama-lama, this is real life. God’s plan for you isn’t a litany of rules or pervasive condemnation from failure to follow them. The master plan goes back to the original plan – which is you (men) and some cute gal or you (women) and some hot guy living in paradise. You ever been to Hawaii? Well, that aint Eden! People started out in Paradise, spent many years in the misty flats (see I’m not alone) and then God made available the paradise experience anew. The paradise experience is life in all of its varied and splendid manifestations. It’s life without fear. It’s life with answered prayers. It’s life where Someone a lot smarter than you knows how to get you to live out your full potential. Nothing about God is ever mediocre. Religion is damn mediocre because it’s focused on not doing (living) more than doing!

Lest you conclude that life’s not fair, think about how people typically function. I’ve managed people for many years and am always amazed by an interesting phenomenon. It’s only a matter of time before the workers reduce their job down to the most minimal level possible to still get paid and not get fired. Except of course that one guy. This blog isn’t to him because his life isn’t going to be mediocre. But for the majority, that’s how it seems to go. Now you know, if you are honest, that you have a little something inside of you that says there is so much more. It whispers in your relationships. It beckons you at work. Its inspiration flashes across your mind oh so briefly with glimpses of how your life could be. It’s not only possible, it’s what your life is supposed to be.

How you get there is a whole different story. You don’t get there until you get there. You won’t arrive until you arrive. It’s not a ship coming in, it’s the ship you’re already steering. The cause must precede the effect. You have to first recognize that it is even possible, then (the hardest part), you have to convince your old obstinate; C grade getting; settling for less mind that you both can and will have it. It’s God will already, so you’d be sorta crazy not to make it your will!

Now here is the greatest irony of all ironies. It takes the exact same amount of believing to achieve greatly as it takes to achieve the mediocre. Not the same amount of work, but the same amount of believing expectation. If you expect more, you will do more. You’re not so much lazy as you are misguided. How many people do you know slaving away for some company accepting whatever they get and convincing themselves they’re still blessed? Abundance means abundance and mediocre means mediocre. I remember someone once telling me that I didn’t need a fancy car, just something that ran and got me to work. Now you can sell yourself that story for a while, but in the end you know you want more for yourself. And don’t you go telling me I’m greedy. Greedy people never consider that notion. The ones that think it are usually the ones not getting their needs met; the ones settling for the mediocre life.

There’s no need for me to tell you that life isn’t all about money and possessions. Life is about fulfillment and satisfaction and joy. Are you fulfilled, satisfied and joyful? Then you do the math and figure that one out. The abundant life God promises is available to you if you really want it. But, make no mistake, you’re going to need God’s help to find it. Oh it’s right in front of you, but you won’t see it without some help from the (good) spiritual side. Trust me on that one.

Look brothers!  Listen sisters! This thing is damn short, this run through on earth. Your time, my time is finite (for now). You already know what you want; what you dream of; what turns you on. So learn about our God and get it; do it; experience it. Your only limitation is what you can persuade your mind to believe.

Your success is not my success and my success is not your success. But, success is success and surely that beats the hell out of the madness of the mediocre life!

Just some good thoughts…

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Heaven’s Brass and Unanswered Prayers…


Heavens-of-brass...-300x252I was thinking today about how many people there are that pray for things and how many people don’t seem to get any results. I’m not talking about hopeful, casual utterances, I’m talking about sincere people with real needs who pray heartfelt prayers about vitally important issues. You know what I’m talking about, right? Heaven’s brass; nothings happening…nothing! So the crucial, vital question is why!

What I’m about to tell you may clash with your theology. It may smack up against your preformed ideas. It may even make you get a little angry, so just hear me out, okay?

There may be a multitude of reasons why your prayer life feels like an exercise in psychology, but those reasons really center around a few main points that I hope to make abundantly clear.

First, let me clarify some general truths that you need to understand. The answer to your prayer or lack thereof isn’t a function of God’s decision. God isn’t answering with a resounding “NO” because He has another idea or a better idea or anything else that moves the believing responsibility from you to Him. Sure Father knows best, but Father, the perfect One, doesn’t make your decisions for you. He can enlighten you, teach you and help you, but He isn’t going to decide for you. That always was and always will be your job. If my son wants an Xbox, and let’s face it they’re expensive, I do my best to get him an Xbox. Imagine me giving him a board game and explaining why it will be better for him with some ethereal reason that doesn’t make sense to me or him. Side-note* Nothing is too costly or too expensive for God!

Next and almost as important centers around the confused and erroneous notion that God answers your prayer based on your good or bad behavior. God is not Santa Clause;  a fictitious story we make up to appease our children during the holidays. (I’m not mad at Santa and perpetrated the same stories…) Do you really think you could become good enough to somehow earn God’s goodness? Lord, if that was the standard we all would have forfeited answers to prayer yesterday! And, even if you are feeling particularly righteous today, how much further do you have to go to get to God’s perfection? That, my friends, is a hamster wheel of epic proportion! (Trust me…)

The final “biggie” is entirely composed of your actual expectation. In your heart of hearts, what do you think is really going to happen? I mean the real you, not the Facebook advertisement version of you. Can you even conceive that God could actually do something about your dilemma or are you simply throwing the words out there in hope that maybe, just maybe the stars would align; your ship would come in; you would finally catch a break and whatever else goes along with happenstance and luck!

The truth concerning answered prayers and softening your relationship with heaven is found in alignment and agreement. You have to align your prayers with God’s promises to you and agree with Him about it coming to pass. It’s not a question of His will (no matter what such and such told you), it’s a question of your belief. I’ll say it another way. Do you know what God says He will do for you? (Seems logical to find out if you are praying to God) If you know what His promise is to you, do you believe God can do it? If you believe God can do it, do you believe He will do it for you? In order for you to get an actual, tangible, solid, real answer to prayer, your response to all of those questions has to be a resounding “YES!” Not God’s answer, your answer! God’s answer is already yes!

Whenever and wherever your prayers do not come to pass, the answer will always be found in you (not in God); namely are you in alignment with Him and are you in agreement with Him. I should clarify that by alignment I mean are your thoughts lined up with what He said? If you aren’t careful, you take a statement like that and turn it into a religion. You start preaching that being in alignment means always doing everything right and before you know it you have the 1st Church of the Aligned Order. See above truth concerning earning God’s blessings!

In order to receive anything from God, you have to somehow get your old noggin lined up with the promise of God and become absolutely convinced that it will come to pass. What the situation looks like or what people say is possible or what has been scientifically proven to be true doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with it. God’s power and ability are unlimited! With God nothing is impossible. If He can raise someone from the dead, what can’t He do about your dilemma? I’m assuming you aren’t dead yet, are you?

I don’t know how to say it any more clearly. Answered prayer is predicated upon your fully persuaded belief that God both wants to and has the ability, to do it! If it didn’t come to pass (in terms of your life and not other people’s lives) then you weren’t yet fully persuaded! But, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet because you still have time to get your old, obstinate mind fully persuaded. Your work in prayer doesn’t involve becoming righteous, it involves working to become convinced. You have to get to the place where, in your mind, it has already happened. Begging, pleading and bargaining simply means you still have doubt and as such you still have some mental work to do. Welcome to the human condition. Welcome to the fight where you choose spiritual realties over five-senses appearances. When it comes to choosing to believe God, you cannot count on the senses evidence or signs or indicators. You just decide and joyfully see for yourself!

Believing God is simple, but not always easy. But, alas it’s how it works and the system isn’t changing anytime soon. Believers believe and if you are going to invest in prayers, you may as well learn how to do it effectively.

It may surprise you, but God wants you to learn this even more than you want to learn it. Would you expect anything else from the God of love you have been communicating with so persistently?

Get your prayers answered folks! That’s what God wants for you in every situation. He’s God people. He’s cool like that! 😉

Just some good thoughts….

 

 

 

Genuine Self-Help…


Sri-Lanka-OrchidThe term “self-help” has fallen out of favor in recent years. I guess the notion that you were reading a book because you needed some assistance, made you into a weak person, ever in need of help. So, they changed the name to “self-development” which is actually the exact same thing, but whatever works to sell books, I suppose. And boy, do they ever sell books! So, I mused… Why would a person read a self-help book? I think, if you are honest, you are reading it because you perceive that something needs to change in your life. Or, you might feel that something is wrong with you and that you are in need of repair. In either case, I’m not sure why that would be considered shameful, as all of us need fixing up at times! But, here’s the crucial question. Does self-help really help? Do the avid self-help readers really change for the better? And, if the people who invest their hearts into the literature don’t change, why is that?

I recall a time in my life when I was an avid reader of self-help literature. I mean, I read everything there was to read. As soon as I finished one, I went and got another. Looking back, it was a time in my life when things had sort of gone south on me. Through wrong teachings, harsh associations and mega doses of fear, I had morphed into someone who I hated. I just couldn’t stand myself. How in the hell did fun-loving, carefree Tony turn into “that guy?” I had become hard and callous and critical and worst of all, religious! I needed help and sought comfort from the self-help literature. And wow, did it ever comfort me! But, after quite some time, I noticed a pattern. While I was reading the literature I felt awesome, but it quickly faded and necessitated purchasing a new book. And you wonder why the self-help business is booming?! In most cases there was nothing wrong with the information. The books were loaded with principles and valid suggestions, but knowledge alone doesn’t get the job done! In order to transform your life, you need wisdom otherwise known as “knowledge applied!”

My wife and I have a dear friend named La Detra, whom we greatly admire. She is very successful and lives a dream life. When she has an idea, she pursues it to the full. Yes she is very intelligent and yes she went to Harvard. She is a critical thinker in the highest sense of the word. She is always in pursuit of the knowledge. But, what separates her from the pack is her determination to “do!” When she wants to make something happen, she analyzes the necessary conditions and then takes action to make it a reality. The reason so many equally intelligent people don’t realize their goals is their failure to actually launch! They think and study and read and think and study and never actually apply! Nothing happens, nothing changes, nothing ever gets better until you turn your knowledge into action. Self-development literature is loaded with time-tested principles that will always work in your life. But somewhere along the line you have to change from an avid reader to an avid “do-er!”

Our life dreams, our goals, our heartfelt desires are only realized when we decide to turn our thought into action. I know, I know, it seems so intimidating, so impossible, so huge! But, I submit that it’s only so arduous because it has not yet left your imagination! Have you ever woke up in the morning afraid of something, only to discover it loses its grip on you once you finally decide to get up? Action cures fear and inaction strengthens fear! As long as you remain in research mode you may feel better but you won’t experience real change! Genuine change comes about only when you begin to act. The path to your desired outcome only reveals itself when you finally get out of your mind and on the path! Take a step. Make a move. Begin!!!

No-one experiences success in life overnight. No flower starts off by blooming. Instead it is first planted, then struggles through the soil, continues growing until it is at last a beautiful orchid. So you too, my friend, must first plant that glorious picture of the “new you” in your mind, endure the struggle of change, and continue growing until you become, at last, what you always knew you could become! And incredibly, once you embark on your journey, you’ll discover that all of life is voting in favor of you. Your answers will reveal themselves like glittering gold in the murky riverbed. What once abruptly halted your progress will fade away like the morning mist. You will rise and fight and overcome and nothing shall, by any means, stop you. That is, if you can persuade that old obstinate mind of yours to take an actual step!

As you are thinking this through today, ask yourself this question… What idea, what dream, what goal have you actually applied yourself to with full effort and still failed? You know and I know, those things you call failure are actually “you not taking action” or “you stopped taking action!” As long as you are still alive, you still have a shot at achieving your dreams no matter how many times the fat lady has already sung!

What change do you so desperately need in your own life? What do you need to do to stop hating that guy or gal in the mirror? Take some time to get a clear picture in your mind of your “new” self, find the knowledge that appeals most to your heart and then take the action the knowledge suggested! You will be greatly challenged in the beginning because someone or something wants you to remain defeated. But, there’s an infinitely bigger Someone or Something that wants you to succeed! The life you’ve always wanted is there for you, my friends, but you have to get out of bed, dress up and show up!

Just some good thoughts…

PS If you need a great book (that you promise to apply), I highly recommend:

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Too Damn Sensitive?


giphyHas anyone ever told you that you are too damn sensitive? Personally, I’ve heard it for as long as I can remember. Someone insults you and you react to it and you’re too damn sensitive. You finally bring up an issue that has been bothering you for some time and you’re too damn sensitive. You cry when watching a TV show that resonates with your heart and you’re too damn sensitive. Is sensitivity a weakness that must be overcome? Is being sensitive an indictment against your manhood? Is it a preferable to live as one who is insensitive or callous? Or better, does the cruelty and hardness of the world necessitate insensitivity in order to survive?

Before we go any further it is important to understand that I’m not equating sensitivity to low self-esteem or a poor self-image. There’s a big difference between being assertive and speaking up versus retreating into a cocoon the first time someone says something negative about you. In fact, if you feel pretty good about yourself it would seem you would be more likely to say what needed to be said. But, hey that’s just me. So to be clear, I mean sensitive in terms of having feelings and not in terms of having a wound.

If you look up the word sensitivity, you sort of get the idea where the confusion comes from. The primary definitions speak of a tendency to get upset about things said or done to you. Now call me crazy here, but I’m assuming those things said or done to you aren’t good. Not being bothered by the things people negatively say or do to you is supposed to met with indifference ? Oh and I’m the crazy one? Haha… I would call that being desensitized towards things matter. And, this old world specializes in getting you to be desensitized to things that matter so that you can fall in line with the rest of the numb herd. How many wacky things go on in the world today and we don’t so much as flinch about it? Methinks insensitivity aint so good.

The secondary definition of sensitivity defines the word as an awareness and understanding of the feelings of other people. Thus if we’re being logical here, insensitivity would have to mean not having an awareness or understanding of the feelings of other people. Hello to the times we live in today. Nobody cares. Eat crap; shut up and again fall in line with the “who-cares” herd!

Here’s an apt analogy of our feelings as they relate in the human body. All throughout our bodies, except maybe  our fingernails, toenails and hair, we have nerve endings. Those nerve endings serve to alert us to changes and influences on our skin. Without those nerves, we would burn, crush and maim ourselves without ever being the wiser. (When your feelings are numb you burn, crush and maim people without ever knowing it) However, when things are working as they were intended, you can feel even the slightest breeze on your arm. If you are rough on your skin you develop a callous. Your skin no longer hurts, but the callous makes it no longer feel either…

Sensitivity means your feelings are alive and well. It means your heart (figuratively speaking) is capable of not only feeling, but feeling things on a deeper level. And if you are in the business of helping people, you just gotta have it! Otherwise, you develop what the Bible calls hard-heartedness. Everyone, everywhere; in every case that rejected the truth, did so because they got hard-hearted. You see why the world works so hard to harden your heart? A hardened heart is no longer sensitive to the subtle line between truth and error. A hardened heart becomes blinded to the truth. Blinded literally means a blunted mental discernment. You can no longer see or feel the things that are  hurting you. Oh, they are still hurting you but you are wholly unaware of their existence. In your confusion and pain, you end up hurting others as well.

Some of the strongest men that ever lived were men of great passion. To think that being a man means being insensitive to feelings is to discredit the Creator. Men were made with hearts with which to feel and the Word of God was given to deepen their sensitivity. The spiritual men and women of the Bible were tender-hearted, else they would have never recognized God’s call. Just as you cannot give love unless you have love, you cannot empathize with others feelings unless you have some feelings yourself.

Yes, this old world may have rabbit punched you a couple of times, but never make the mistake of thinking the solution is to harden your heart. Instead seek to tenderize your heart so you are better able to recognize and block those punches when they show up next time. God Himself is tender-hearted and there is no greater power than His.

Are you too damn sensitive? Am I? I sure hope so because that’s where true life can be found.

Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for out of it are the issues of life. ~ Proverbs 4:23

Just some good (feelings) thoughts…

Living Your Reflection…


reflection_28Here’s some food for thought… The life you are presently living is a direct reflection of your most dominant and habitual thinking. Read that again! Up to this point you may not have made this connection. Most folks don’t. Instead people think that life is happening to them and they are simply reacting to whatever life does next. People that live in a perpetual struggle falsely conclude that circumstances are working against them and probably even long for the time when the struggle will end. But, they remain unaware that their habitual thought forms the basis of their expectations and as such they are living in a world of their own making.

Habits are, in themselves, useful. On the positive side they free your mind of the unnecessary thought required to complete mundane tasks. However, habits also have a dark side. Negative patterns of thought, rehearsed over and over again lead to negative expectations, which manifest themselves in negative circumstances. And, to make matters worse, the habits become invisible to you because of their habituation. And, once darkness has become invisible to you, it is allowed to perpetuate within you to bring about those struggles you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.

I’m sure you’ve heard people complain to God about why life is so hard and why there is so much struggling going on. And, let’s be honest, there is some heavy-duty struggling happening. But, what you may not know is that God has given you control over those struggles once you know how to go about turning things around. God hasn’t left us without a remedy and surely doesn’t condone pain and hardship. But, until you finally learn that your life is “your” life and that you can exercise control, things will go on as they’ve always gone on since the beginning of time.

Just so you don’t think this is “crazy” talk, let me ask you some questions. At this very moment in time, what do think about life? Do think it is a struggle? Do you think it is hard and random and filled with the unexpected? Do you think that is always hard for you to get money and that it always will be? Do you think that disease just happens and that you are powerless against it? Your honest answer to those questions is the life you are presently living. Your expectation; your belief is precisely what you are experiencing and will continue to experience as long as you keep thinking the way you are thinking. Life won’t turn around for you and your ship won’t come in. It cannot because it is a direct reflection of your inmost thoughts. Change your thoughts; change your expectations; change your beliefs and your life will change.

In order to right the ship, you have to become keenly aware of what was formerly invisible; namely your thoughts. You have to start recognizing your negative thought habit patterns. You have to see where you have become your own worst enemy. You must clearly discern that negative chatter, ever providing reasons why you cannot succeed; why you cannot get ahead; why you cannot win. And once you finally hear it, you have to start forcefully challenging those false assumptions. Those assumptions are not “just life” but instead are lies you have been worn down into accepting. There’s no shame in being led astray because the whole world has been led astray, on purpose, by the evil that lies deep behind it, hidden. The real shame comes when you see a glimpse of the light and refuse to heed the lesson.

Have you ever noticed how people set goals for themselves? They set goals with tiny incremental increases as if one can only progress with baby steps. They don’t realize that the larger the goal; the larger the expectations, the larger the result. It is like that with your thoughts. Once you have begun to see and challenge a series of thoughts, your responsibility is to change your thoughts and expectations to something you actually want. It takes the exact same amount of effort to think something good as it takes to think something bad. But make no mistake, you are choosing by what you “choose” to think and hold onto.

I should add, because I know what you’re thinking, that sometimes you “find” yourselves in a challenging situation that you didn’t necessarily bring upon yourself. Sometimes people are under attack; in bad environments and feel that they are being tested. Well, they are being tested but never by God. The test is in how you respond to the challenge. Will you accept what it “seems” like or will you remain stedfast in your beliefs and overcome? You would be surprised how quickly things turn around when you make your mind up! But, if you succumb to what “appears” to be real, you end up down the same blind alleys you traveled before.

As living, breathing, thinking human beings, we always have a say in how things are going to turn out. Always! The key lies in refusing to accept the information that comes to your mind via your five senses, and trusting instead what God says is true! Obviously you can ridicule this notion and demand that what it seems like, is true, but with that you can resign yourself to your usual, perpetual struggle.

Your life, my life is a reflection of those things we think about the most. Change your thoughts and your life will change. It isn’t about being naively positive, it’s about choosing what you will and will not accept in your life. You have more control than you ever thought. God would have it no other way! Really!

Just some good reflections…

 

If You Care About Answered Prayers…


man in praiseI thought long and hard about how to say what I’m about to say. This happens to be a very touchy subject. It’s touchy because people have many beliefs and ideas about prayer and it is not my intention to thwart or set back anyone that prays. Instead, my hope is to answer the question of answered prayers in a way that is simple and easy to fit into your heart. After all, it’s your heart that is the key to answered prayers and unanswered ones also for that matter.

Most folks believe that God is the wild card when it comes to answered prayers. They have concluded that there’s a system involved with God and that it is based on good behavior. If you are good enough, He comes through and if you aren’t, He doesn’t. Others think that God decides in advance what you can and cannot have and unanswered prayers simply means what you wanted/needed/requested just wasn’t in the cards or necessary for you. Understandably, many of you have become quite pissed off at God, though you don’t like to say it out loud. If the aforementioned was true, I would be right by your side in the angry department, believe me!

How many people do you know that needed God’s help; loved God, but somehow didn’t get it? How many wonderful, kind-hearted people do you know that suffered, while praying to God, and never got the result they so earnestly sought? How many? On the surface it’s clear there’s something we don’t quite understand and God wants us to understand! How much must it hurt God’s heart to hear your prayers yet remain unable to help you, despite His own passionate desire to do so? How much?

So you might think, “If God wants to help me and there’s no-one that can stop God from doing something, then why doesn’t He help me?” Well, incredibly there is one thing that can stop Him from helping you and that is you. In order to receive anything from God, you have to believe that He both can and will. Believing means being fully persuaded of God’s promise over and beyond what it looks like in the senses realm. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how good or “bad” you are. Read that again, because that little “mind-eff” has been stopping people from believing to receive from God for thousands of years! The requirement to receive from God or to actually get your prayers answered is to believe Him and have NO doubt. Here’s a simple test. Ask yourself what you think is going to happen concerning the situation you find yourself in and you will have the answer to what you believe. Not what you hope or wish, but what do you actually expect?

Now take heart my friends because what you currently think is not your final answer! Rather it just shows you where you are today and where you need to go tomorrow. The real work of believing is in persuading that little ol’ mind of yours to believe what God said over and above what you think based on what it looks like today. The Bible is laced with this message. Sarah had a child when she was past child-bearing age. Daniel overcame lions. People were raised from the dead, healed of incurable diseases, were born blind but somehow could now see, were lame but now could walk. All of the aforementioned, and that was a tiny sample, did the impossible. It was not possible according to their senses minds, but with God NOTHING is impossible. The key? They believed. You can too!

What God is able to do He is willing to do. It’s never a question of God’s willingness, so get that out of your noggin forever! God requires one thing to answer your prayers and that is believing. Believing in specifics, not generalized believing in Him. You know what you need, so believe for exactly what you need. What if it doesn’t work simply means it won’t work. Believing is full persuasion. God in His perfection and with His perfect justice, will not overstep your freedom of will. He simply cannot do it. In order for God to answer your prayer without your believing, would mean He was overstepping your freedom of will and He just cannot do that. Trust me, I’ve tried that one myself!

All of us humans struggle at times and some of us face very dire and scary situations. The solution is to somehow get your mind off what it looks like and what seems so true and instead take God at His Word for what is really true. You have to persuade yourself. If you can do that you will find that God is right there for you, passionately desiring to take away your pain and misery and restore you whole in every way!

My heart breaks for people who have needs and don’t get those needs met. God has answers for everything that ever plagued you. He is all-knowing and knows what to do to help you, if you can only somehow believe Him.

I care about answered prayers and believe that you do as well. Why even have an Almighty God if nothing can be done when faced with life’s serious problems? Well something can be done and a little bit of believing goes a long, long way. Stop listening to the world and their rationalizations! Stop limiting God by what seems possible and impossible. With God all things are possible!

Man, it’s right there if you want to take it!

Just some true thoughts…