Walking in the Mud…


Cog Railway

“Some days you’re the bug and some days you’re the windshield.” “Some days you’re the dog and some days you’re the hydrant.” “Some days you’re the hammer and some days you’re the nail.” I’m sure we have all felt like that at times. Some days for some inexplicable reason everything feels hard and laborious compared to days when everything feels effortless and easy. Just what exactly is going on when we feel hindered and pressured and annoyed? Is there some cause we are unaware of? Is something conspiring against us? Is it all in our minds? What makes us feel, at times, like we are walking in the mud?

Our minds, leading to the great citadel of our souls, serve as information registering machines. Whether we can appreciate it or not, whether we are conscious of it or not, our minds are not only thinking thoughts (which we will address later), but are also reading and analyzing cues in our environment and seeking to make sense of them. Our mind picks up every audible word said or sung even if we aren’t aware it is happening. Behind everything we watch and observe are messages to be interpreted and understood. All day long, you and I are being fed a steady stream of opinions and ideas about life and about how the world works. The mediums that man controls are chock full of man’s concepts and notions and things that have an appeal and things that are distasteful to man. Some things are good and useful, while others are subtle, evil and hurtful. Conversely, the mediums that God employs (think nature) contain messages that calm us and set our minds at ease. Even the colors God has chosen elicit a certain response. You cannot stare at a flower for very long without feeling a sense of wonder about how it came to be; how so much intricacy could be contained in something so small and so temporary. Years ago, our sources for information were far less complex and limited in scope. We still had access to bad news, but it wasn’t all around us. Today, through the marvels of modern technology, we are consumed with a perpetual stream of things to peruse and read and to consider. Many of the messages we receive seem to escape our reasoning altogether, yet their effect is felt in our hearts. There are images concerning what we should look like, where we should live and the kind of fun we should be having. There are more philosophies than there are stars in the sky, happy to inform us of some supposed truth concerning our existence. In this, we find ourselves bogged down without apparent cause. Due to the speed and variety involved, we missed the message, the one that served to assault our happiness and led us astray. Sometimes you find yourself walking in the mud because of the codes you were not able to crack; the ones that escaped your reasoning mind. There’s a reason people feel the need to take a break from social media!

Much of what mires us in the muck comes from the thoughts we are knowingly or unknowingly entertaining. We think so many thoughts in a day, the prospect of controlling them all feels impossible. Yet those thoughts we fail to control; to accept or reject, often lead us to a dark space. Thoughts of sickness and disease are so subtle, so slippery, so hard to perceive, that we miss them altogether. It’s not that we weren’t conscious of the thought, but rather that we let the thought go without feeling the need to challenge it. A funny feeling in your stomach here, an odd pain in your side there and before you know it you are feeling glum and despondent. It’s not that you’ve stumbled upon the precursor to a disease, but rather the fear of its potential existence has entered your awareness. Maybe it isn’t something to do with your health, but rather your finances. Maybe it’s some pending trouble or difficulty reportedly on the horizon. Whatever it is, however it gained access, it is still a thought, not a reality, and what you choose to do with it leads to how you will begin to feel. If your habit is to let things go, those things you let go will mount up and gather momentum. You likely don’t realize it (yet) but something or someone has stolen away your peace of mind and feelings of assurance and safety. With all of that going on in the background of your thinking, it is no wonder you feel tired and despondent. Behind all of the trouble, just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, will be some fear, small or great, seeking to take away the happiness that is and replace it with the threat of what might be. It isn’t that bad things are preparing for you, but instead your interpretation that bad things are preparing for you. Some poor folks have only ever lived this way. You find yourself walking in the mud by your failure to pay attention to and to challenge your thoughts; those thoughts that predict or promise loss for you in some capacity. You have to hear it in order to do something about it. That’s what controlling your thinking is all about!

As unpleasant as it is to consider, there is evil working behind the systems of the world to bring you hardship and pain. All of us find ourselves confronted with this reality. Man has brought this evil upon himself by the choices he has made. Yet, God has not left us without remedy. In the same way that a loving parent warns their child of impending danger, God warns us concerning what is at stake in our day by day existence. The reason He asks us to control our thinking is because our minds are the battleground of the great competition. The way that evil gets involved in our lives is by the thoughts we consider and then unknowingly hold on to.  The more you cleave to and consider some great fear, the more the likelihood of “its” appearance in your life. Conversely, the more quickly you recognize and refute the fear, typically by refusing to consider it any further, the less likely it is to have any impact in your life. That is the fight we all find ourselves in. To think that God has already assigned us some dreadful fate or for that matter some great benefit, is to take away our sovereign free will and our ability to choose. For God’s goodness to be fully realized in our lives it must first be held on to then deeply considered until it enters our heart (that great citadel) from whence our lives flow forth. In order for some catastrophic fear to play out in our lives, it also must be held onto and deeply considered until it enters our heart. Choosing properly what you will and will not think is the crux of the contest, the great competition in and for our minds. Sometimes, you find yourself walking in the mud because you are under attack by things you cannot see, but if you hold fast to what is true, not what might seem true, you’ll find yourself moving out of it.

Do you feel like you have been walking in the mud? Are you stressed and annoyed and agitated? Has the spring gone from your step and the things you used to enjoy become hidden from your view? Don’t despair for another moment. Take some time and get yourself quiet on the inside and think about what you have been thinking about. What is going on back there, looming on the horizon of your thoughts? What fearful considerations have you knowingly or unknowingly entertained? What have you been feeding your mind? What are you watching and staring at and observing so intently? And, if it still remains completely buried from your view, ask God to show you what it is. God is faithful and all clarity of heart and soul comes from Him.

We all find ourselves walking in the mud at times, but we don’t have to stay there.

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…

 

The Cart Before the Horse…


AAEAAQAAAAAAAAK6AAAAJGNiODlmM2Y5LWRhM2YtNGY1YS1iODViLWI0ZDg1YjExODU0YQOne of the great tragedies of life comes from confusing your cart and your horse. The world, which is not confused, has convinced you to put your cart before your proverbial horse. It does so by persuading you that your life just “is” and that you are simply responding to it. So, this is for all of you who feel your life isn’t fair. This is for the unhappy souls. This is for the one that just can’t seem to catch a break. This is the remedy to every unpleasant circumstance and the release from anything that ever held you back!

When you take inventory of your life and I mean get really honest with yourself, there are probably things you “wish” were different. Maybe you don’t have enough money. (*Important side note – it seems the biggest proponents of money not being important are usually people who don’t have enough of it.) Money is very necessary, don’t you kid yourself. Maybe you aren’t experiencing satisfying relationships. Perhaps you don’t have enough friends. You might feel stuck; at a dead-end; purposeless or bored. You’re tired of being sick, facing setbacks, trying to surmount seemingly insurmountable odds! Whatever your issue is it can briefly be summed up in one sentence. Things just aren’t working out!  And with all that comes the shocker of all shockers. It is your fault…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Your life, the one you are presently experiencing, is exactly, unequivocally, precisely the sum of all you have expected it to be. Read that again! Obviously you aren’t responsible for every other person’s outcomes, but know this and never forget it. You are responsible for your own outcomes. You are, you are, you frikkin are! It’s not the world, the environment or your circumstances. It’s not your upbringing, your social status or your bank balance. It just isn’t and if you think it is you have fallen prey to the persuasion and your cart is pretending to pass your horse. Your horse pulls your cart and you are choosing the destination. Oh, you don’t think you are, but you are.

Lest you say I’ve gone mad, I get it. Life isn’t all peaches and roses. Sucky staff happens. Negative circumstances occur. People screw you over and everyone doesn’t start out on equal footing. At times you are an unsuspecting victim and other times you just didn’t see it coming. No-one’s life is exempt from the world’s shenanigans. We all have stuff to overcome. We all find ourselves in fights we don’t want to fight. There are reasons for that, but that is another blog. The point is, we can all get to anyplace we decide to get to once we finally learn how to get our horse before our cart.

The circumstances of your life are shaped by your beliefs. Your beliefs are formed by what you think about the most. What you think about the most is completely within your control and subsequently indirectly shapes the circumstances and events of your life. For example (warning this might piss you off), the amount of money you earn is exactly the amount of money, in that moment of time) you believed you could earn. The amount was determined by you. The limit was defined by you. If it isn’t enough it is your fault. To think that God decides how prosperous you are is to not understand God. The same applies to health and relationships and everything else under the sun. God simply laid out the rules. The rules have no limits, but they do have conditions. The conditions are, what you can believe for is what you will receive. Your believing, in your heart, ultimately a product of your thoughts, determines your results. Your beliefs are the horses and your carts are the results. Ya get it?

The liberation from negative outcomes comes when you decide to your change your thoughts. It happens when you step outside the hamster wheel and say, no more! It happens when you locate and destroy those self-defeating thoughts and (a very important and) you replace them with new thoughts. “It’s always been this way” is just a lack of understanding. It’s always been that way because you have always been that way and you can be any way you decide to be. It doesn’t matter how long you have suffered or under what austere circumstances you began. What matters is whether or nor you accept full responsibility for your life and in so accepting, do something about it.

People get forever stuck in the riddle of looking at what is and believing it is what will be. Today is just a reflection of all of your yesterdays. Tomorrow will be the mirror image of all of your todays. So, for God’s sake (literally), change your todays. Get outside of your well-worn ruts and picture something different; something better! Picture it; see it; live it in your mind today and as sure as the sun is coming up tomorrow, it is going to come to pass. It’s your horse, by God, and it is completely in charge of your cart.

You may think this fanciful; Pollyanna or pie in the sky, but at the end of the day, it is still your life. If you want to make a change, what do you have to lose? if you want to remain in your misery, keep chasing your cart around, foolishly dismissing your horse and the control God gave you over your life.

You can change anything and everything in your life if you can believe it! You can…

Just some good thoughts…