Do Hard Things…


hard thingsI think it sort of dawns on you over time that you have aspects of your life that need some revision. If you look up hedonistic in the dictionary, you may find a picture of me. Nobody likes to have a good time more than I do. But, sometimes with your good times you discover excesses that require modification and those modifications aren’t always easy. Excesses can appear in any category of life and you recognize them by their impact on your life. There’s a reason God says all things in moderation. Whatever fun stuff you enjoy that may have become too much fun requires a change in your behavior and more importantly your thinking. Vices are called vices when they replace the real you with some added activity you need in order to function normally. That’s not to say that you must give up all vices, but rather those vices that no longer assist you but instead seek to control you. If you can’t have a good time without adding something else in, you may be getting tripped up. If you have lived any length of time, you know this is true. With life comes an expectation of control, not servitude or slavery, but rather setting limits and sticking to them. In this, you sometimes have to do hard things.

All people love liberty and freedom to do as they please. This is part of the foundation of the American way of life. But, when your personal freedoms begin to impact you and other people negatively, a change will be required. No-one sets out to become a drug addict or an alcoholic. Yet both result from a lack of control. No-one chooses a life of obesity and the litany of related health issues that accompany it, but those consequences remain hidden in the pleasure of consumption. No-one plans on ending up a workaholic, until that satisfaction from always working ruins family and health and the future. It doesn’t really matter which areas of your life have excesses; too much; a lack of control, what matters is being able to discern them before it’s too late, then take steps to modify and choose new pathways. This will require you to do hard things.

On the other end of the spectrum of control is over-control. There are people that deny themselves all pleasures. Some even go as far as to say that they are doing it for God. I can assure you that God who invented pleasure isn’t opposed to pleasure. Yet, He also sees through the deception of pleasure excesses. Emerson aptly stated, “Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure which concealed it.” Pleasure and pain both have the capacity to deceive you or at minimum influence your decisions. In this, man always seeks to add rules such as taste not, touch not, handle not, yet God was not behind it. Instead He said, “Prove all things and hold fast to the good.” In life we are free to experience our lives in all of life’s manifold variety and stick with those things that are the best. Some things begin well but end poorly. Other things appear to be good but have poison hidden in them. And many, many things are good as long as you enjoy them in moderation. But, lest I put chains on you that are difficult to extricate yourself from, you and you alone must make that choice. It is your life and you are the one that best knows what works for you and what does not. Some people choose not to eat meat and it’s their mouth, not yours. Others abstain from alcohol, but that doesn’t mean you must. Some people require ten hours of sleep and others only six. All of us have free will, unless we surrender it by excess. If there is something you do that is too much for you and begins to hurt you, you may have to do some hard things.

Even the term “hard things” is really a misnomer. Control is no harder than making a firm decision. What becomes hard for us is changing habits that have solidified over time. Habits are great for useful endeavors, but habits spell disaster when connected to our excesses. Worse, habits become invisible to our awareness and we are forced rather to experience some pain or consequence before they come into view. Doing hard things is really more about making hard decisions. It’s about proving to yourself that you can. I think one of the most important aspects of our own mental health is in sticking to the decisions we have made. Nothing like following your plans for needed improvements to boost your self esteem to record levels. Conversely, there’s nothing like saying one thing and doing another to bring you down into the dumps. If it’s going to improve your life immeasurably, do hard things.

Finally, in some cases, certain things or harmful activities have gotten away from your control . Maybe you have traveled too far down a certain path. Perhaps you got caught up in something that was bigger than you are. Certain aspects of life have forces working behind them that exceed your personal ability or strength to overcome them. In these unfortunate, but common cases in human beings, you will need God to help you escape; God, the Higher Power. God who sees all, knows all and is over all is well able to rescue you. All that is required on your part is some humility; some willingness to admit it (whatever it is) has gotten away from you. God has not left you without remedy, nor will He ever. It doesn’t matter how hard your hard thing is, with God nothing shall be impossible.

My friends, we all need help at times; we all get tripped up; we all end up at places we never thought we would end up. There’s no sin in getting tricked. But, when you know what you have to do, you must require of yourself that you do it. Make the change. Modify your behavior. Cut back. Limit yourself. Control yourself. You will be so incredibly happy on the other side. Change doesn’t happen overnight, especially when dealing with well grooved habits of thought, but it will happen and God will make sure you are real blessed along the way. Try it for yourself. Do hard things.

Just some good thoughts…

Your Thoughts to Energy Ratio


2d illustration Human Male Muscle BodyThoughts, like anything living and real, have energy behind them. They carry within them an inherent vigor and vitality or a pervasive lethargy and drag. One philosopher put it this way, positive thoughts and emotions emit a higher frequency while negative thoughts and emotions produce a lower and slower frequency. One manner of thinking adds liveliness and the capacity to do while the other thought form adds weariness and stagnation. People nowadays are so tired and worn out yet never equate their energy levels with their own thoughts, but instead blame lack of sleep and an inferior diet. While the former may be contributing factors, the true culprit may be more easily found in the thoughts we are choosing to think. The question then begs, what is your thought to energy ratio? 

If you find yourself struggling with a lack of energy or perpetually medicating yourself in order to get your work done or just to make it through the day, you have to ask yourself what it is you have been thinking about. The time you spend worrying about some future thing, be it what it may, not only is futile in terms of changing the outcome of the thing you are afraid of, but actually works against your best interests by using up your energy store thereby eliminating your energy to do something, the real remedy to your worries. Only action cures fear. Worry and fear serve only to steal away that precious energy. Surely you have noticed these effects in your own life. At one moment you are happily plugging along and in the next moment you feel exhausted and weary. What happened to you? Chances are you started considering some negative possibility and with it lost something along the way. You can trace this negative effect in every aspect of your life. All negative thinking, be it worries and fears or critical self judgment or rehearsing the mistakes from your past or anxiety about the future, leads quickly and easily to a lack of energy to do. Stress, the silent killer, functions along these same lines. Stress, an epidemic in the USA, is just another name for fear; fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of some negative outcome. These are in fact the reasons you feel so tired, indeed so worn out. 

Positive thinking, by contrast, produces an opposite effect. Positive thinking does not mean you try to turn bad things into good things. Positive thinking isn’t a pollyanna approach to life whereby you refuse to acknowledge challenges and trials. Positive thinking simply refuses to allow fear to define the narrative. We are always confronted with a choice in terms of what we are going to consider given a certain scenario, but positivity suggests we don’t have to consider the potential negative outcome. It is the consideration of evil that allows it entree into our lives and we greatly limit that entree by what we decide we will think about. Once evil, that which is always back of all worry and fear, is entertained, it steals away our valuable life source and enthusiasm for living. It closes our minds off to opportunities and possibilities and instead falsely predicts our hurt and loss. Being positive is often more about what we don’t do than it is about what we do, do. Positive thinking expects good things to happen and actively seeks out those good things. Positive thinking doesn’t dismiss good things as anomalies and as such doesn’t resort back to negative expectations. Man, what a job the enemy of God’s people has done on the collective group think of society. Negativity is running the place. Wrong thinking and thus wrong belief are the reason good things aren’t happening, not the wheels of fate or God or any similar superstition based more on guessing than sound reason. If you find yourself just sort of trudging along, it’s not because that’s how life is, but instead because of where you have allowed your thinking to go. You must learn how to think positively and continue to think positively to turn this thing around. Your energy for living, your enthusiasm, that pep in your step will all return once you stop the energy drain that goes on day by day by your refusal to give negatives anymore space. Your thoughts equal your energy ratio. 

If you think about it, the reason people struggle so much is because they are trying to do this thing alone. They have access to all the data, Google and a whole world of other people offering good sound advice about how life works. Yet, for all their good intentions, the world and its so called solutions are not going to get the job done. God never intended that people would have to figure out life on their own. Instead, God planned that people would learn how to rely on Him like a child relies on its parents. Children rarely worry and when they do it’s usually because a parent is failing to do their job. God never fails to do His job. The reason you can choose to keep your thoughts in a good place is because you can hand over all of the unknowns to God. Woe unto the man or woman carrying around all of the unknowns alone! You have gotten worn out by life by your reliance on self over reliance on God. The reason the fearful consideration has so much power of you is because you are trying to take it on alone. Your opponent, my friend, is much too wily and powerful for you to take him on alone. Absent God, you are no match for your enemy. He uses tactics that have worked on human beings for thousands of years and continue to work. With God you are assured success. His Word tells you how to think and what to believe and what not to believe. There is no need for guesswork or a Google search. He is the source of life and energy and enthusiasm for living. You want your life and energy back? Do you want to get off the treadmill of endless defeats and the subsequent exhaustion that follows? Do you want your energy to thought ratio raised to never before experienced levels? Then, get God involved with your life. 

It’s no criticism to you that you have been suffering in silence all these years. You have been worn out by “life” so called and have suffered the same deceptions and lies we have all experienced in one form or another. We compete with a common opponent. We are all subject to his bullshit at times and we have all suffered loss. How you used to live and what you used to do are not the matter here. What matters here is that you begin to recognize that there is another option available to you. That option does not guarantee you won’t still get defeated at times or find yourself trudging along aimlessly with the rest of the deceived world. What the other blessed option offers you is a relationship with the one true God who knows all, sees all and is powerful over all. No-one can answer your heart questions like God can and He withholds no good thing from His children. He will show you exactly where your enthusiasm has gone, why and how to get it back. He will show you what life can be with all of the blessings that go along with it. You have nothing to lose and literally everything to gain. 

You want to improve your thought to energy ratio? Get God involved…

Just some good thoughts… 

A Fresh Start…


 

The past version of you no longer exists, except in your memory or someone else’s memory. The only moment you can occupy is the moment called, “now!” Everything you have ever said or done is passed away making way for today. Your mistakes, your failings, your errors, your missteps gone…all gone. Your successes, your victories, your triumphs are also gone, though you savor fond thoughts of them. You cannot live in the past no matter how sublime it may have been. You cannot change any elements of the past, no matter how much you wish you could. Life was designed with an ever present opportunity for a fresh start! We need it…

We all develop this idea about who we are and we cleave to that image be it good or bad. Inside you are still that awkward teenager worried about his place in the world. Some of you are that guy that usually fails in his endeavors because he has always failed in his endeavors. Some of you are still that little girl masking her insecurity and working feverishly to appear confident to others. Some of you are unlucky and never catch a break. Some of you struggle with relationships and they just never seem to work out. Some of you never have enough money. Some of you are always sick.  And no matter what, some of you cannot stop struggling and never seem to figure things out. The question that begs is why? Is it your destiny? Were you chosen by God to suffer the most in order to make you better? Is life unfair and out to get you? Again, the question is why? You’ve been carrying around some false image of yourself for years and years, desperately cleaving to it and not recognizing the things that no longer serve you. You need to give yourself a fresh start!

Have you ever considered how foolish it is to hold on to the things of your past? You did whatever you did when you did it because that is where you were at the time. We are all at some point on the learning spectrum and we all have more to learn. Holding on to some negative aspect of yourself as if it is truth is in reality insanity. It’s insanity because it fails to take into account where you have changed and where you have grown. It is being falsely affixed to some past moment in time, not by anything other than your own thinking and your own images of yourself. You have not been chosen for failure. You fail because you keep making the same choice. You cling to sparks and specks of your existence that represent only a minute portion of your experience. You have the exact same opportunity to be the polar opposite of what you are experiencing as you have to be a carbon copy of that same experience. You are living in and living out days gone by. You are not making any modifications but expecting a different outcome. As a great man once remarked, “You cannot solve your problems with the same thinking that caused the problems in the first place.” Each day is a brand new day and you need a fresh start!

When you give yourself a fresh start, you refuse to keep yourself held down under the burden of your past. Just because you did something a thousand times does not mean you have to keep doing it or keep thinking it or keep accepting it as true. If it hurts your life, if it limits your opportunities, if it holds you back in any way it is simply not true. It is error skillfully using your own thoughts and memories against you. They are false conclusions, false assumptions, false pictures of reality that are not your reality at all. They remain only as your past realities in which you foolishly participated and continue participating perhaps. When you give yourself a fresh start, you get to breathe in the fresh air of opportunity. You begin to challenge those assumptions you have held onto for many years. People live in a misery of their own design. They are entrenched in a script they are writing for themselves. They beg and plead for a change, yet wait for the change to come from somewhere else. Change in your life only happens when you change. What is it that you are habitually thinking about yourself that hinders your progress? What sad, defeated stories are you telling yourself about yourself? What failures and losses do you persist in imagining? It’s your head and it is your heart from which proceeds all of the issues of your life. You have to change your heart and then the circumstances will change. Until then you will be thwarted by a monster of your own making; of your own choosing. Grant yourself a fresh start!

I often think the reason God made days to be separate 24 hour periods is because He wanted to give us endless fresh starts. Every day is a new day pregnant with chances for something good. When you awake in the morning, the day is brand new and never existed before. Anything can happen in that day; things that change your life and heart and your experience forever. Your job, my job, is to embrace the day. It’s not the same old – same old, it’s new and fresh and exciting. It’s a day for you to decide who you really are and be now done with that skeleton of a past. It’s a day for you to look forward, not backward. It’s a day for you to decide and no longer have your choices made for you. It is the day the Lord has made for you to rejoice and be glad in it! What a glorious fresh start that is…

My dear friends, it does not matter what happened to you in the past as that time, however frightful, is gone forever. What matters always is today in the moment called, “now!” Start fresh and stay fresh and see if your life won’t change for the better. God is giving you a perpetual fresh start!

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…

 

 

Change Directions…


All of us get stuck sometimes in life. We are such creatures of habit and those habits develop so deeply that sometimes they are difficult to change. At times, you might feel like you’re sick of yourself; tired of struggling with the same issues, month after month, year after year. Maybe you’re in a relationship that is heading nowhere fast. Perhaps you’re weary of your job and your co-workers or the hierarchy and the politics. You can feel mired down in circumstances, smiling when you aren’t happy and playing a role in a production you do not enjoy. Maybe you wish you were something that you are not and the distance between the two is widening. No matter what has happened in the past, what is going on today, or your unhopeful prospects for the future, don’t fret my friends, you can always change directions…

No person living hasn’t experienced this in some form or fashion. In happens to us all. You get a few years under your belt and things dry up a bit. What was once gloriously hopeful and full of possibility can be eroded away through life and experience, especially negative experiences. You get sort of grooved into certain paths and it becomes hard to extricate yourself from the trail. It hasn’t occurred because there is something fundamentally wrong with you. Despite the multitude of your private, negative self talks, you are not the primary cause. There are forces at work in the world whose sole purpose is to beat you down. They convince you to do the things you hate and prevent you from doing the things you love. They skillfully drag you down the same rotten roads where you end up at the same rotten place! They promise you liberty then enslave you. They use you against you. You are living in a spiritual world heavily influenced by things you cannot discern. Instead of settling into the mediocrity and the misery; instead of becoming angry with God; instead of giving up and giving in, you need to simply change directions…

Not understanding what is going on spiritually in life is your number one problem. You need to understand. You need spiritual understanding so you can finally see what has been happening to you. It’s no coincidence that the whole world suffers from this as the whole world is being subjected to it. It’s certainly not God’s fault and it is definitely not God’s will. God, the God of life, is the answer to all of your questions. He is the satisfaction to your frustration. He is the fruitfulness to your futility. He is the forward progress to your feeling stuck. He is the way out, indeed the only way out. He is not chastising you. He is not judging you. He has not sentenced you to a crappy life. He is the polar opposite of all the pain and suffering, in ignorance, you have endured. But, we haven’t always learned that just yet. We are on a journey and we have to learn it for ourselves. We have to be, at last, willing to learn. Our lack of progress, lack of results, lack of fulfillment is always the first clue that we are chasing the wrong things and heading in the wrong direction. But don’t let the apparent complexity of error cause you to faint. Truth is clear and simple and in the end it requires that you simply change directions…

No change can occur in life unless it is preceded by a decision. It doesn’t first require discipline and force of will as you have already long proven to yourself. You don’t need a sudden stroke of luck or a miraculous circumstance to turn your life around. You need to simply decide. “You have to become sick and tired of being sick and tired.” (Thank you Fannie) You have to finally consider, “Why sit we here until we die?” (Thanks Bible) In other words, you have to make up your dang mind! Stop waiting for the circumstances to change before you decide. Stop waiting for full understanding before you decide. Stop waiting for retirement, for your kids to grow up, until you find your person, (Thanks Grey’s Anatomy), until you’ve earned your first million, until you feel better and on and on and on. Change is only and always preceded by a decision. Then, the strength of your efforts match the strength of your decision. Strong, resolute decisions naturally supply the energy to carry them out. Weak “hope so” or “I’ll try” or “I’ll give it a shot” decisions will not be accompanied by any determination of will and will naturally fail. You’re not stuck because there is no way out, you are stuck because you have not yet decided! Once you take the time to make the decision, you can simply change directions…

You will encounter tremendous opposition, of course. The same hidden forces that trapped you are going to fight like hell to keep you trapped! They are going to offer you counterfeit, alternate directions that sound so good and hopeful, but still end in misery and defeat. In truth there is only one direction that leads only to victory and God is more than willing to show it to you. “This is the way, walk ye in it…” Changing course is not about becoming super religious and swearing off booze and cigarettes, sex and anything else that feels good (smile). That route, often followed, and worse believed, is yet another alternate route that reduces God down to how good is man’s behavior or how little he uses cuss words. How silly and insulting to God who invented mankind. Religion does nothing but salve the ego of man convincing him that he can affect spiritual realities with human efforts. Changing directions happens first in your mind. You have to stop thinking and considering and entertaining the same old garbage that tied you up in the first place. You have to do something different. You have to learn to think differently. You have to simply change directions…

Don’t fret my friends, you can always change directions…

Just some good thoughts…

Lift Up Your Thoughts…


The other day, a close friend (brother) of mine posted a quote from one of my favorite authors, James Allen, that truly resonated with me. “A man can only rise, conquer, and achieve by lifting up his thoughts. He can only remain weak, and abject, and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts.” If you want to do life like you would like your life to be done, you have to learn to lift up your thoughts.

If you lived a little and experienced some things, you’ve begun to learn that the mindset you maintain is entirely within your control. Oh crappy things still happen to you. Things go south inexplicably. Circumstances marshall together and bite you on the ass. But, what you do with your thoughts is always, always up to you. Sometimes you want to stay in your funk. Playing the victim has its own reward in absolving you from all personal responsibility. The reality that life is often unfair seems justification enough to stay down in the misty flats. But, at the end of the day my friends, you know deep down that you are refusing to lift up your thoughts. Thoughts and emotions change at such a frequency that you might forget whatever clouds are blocking your sunshine, forcing you to willfully recall the source of your trouble and get back to acquiescing to it. In such cases, you are refusing your own happiness and reaping the results of your own decision.

The difficulty involved with lifting up your thoughts is not a matter of discipline or self control, but rather a matter of being afraid. You’re afraid that it won’t matter what you do and that no matter what you do things will continue as they are. You doubt the outcome. Fear has you ensnared and trapped. You wish and pray and beg God to change the circumstances but refuse to own the part for which you alone are responsible. You want to win the lottery or for some other miraculous event to solve your problems in one fell swoop. You want to lose the weight by taking a pill and still eating bad foods in excess. You want the happiness you have hoped for without doing the things that happiness requires. In short, you are not cooperating with your own solution. In stubborn rebellion, you want good from bad and blessings from cursings (your own mental cursings). In the immortal words of Emerson, “We need only obey.”

Your thoughts connected to your mind, connected to your heart, form the basis of the life you live. If you want better you have to think better. You have to change your mind. You are waiting for God and God is waiting for you! God’s part is to provide all that you need to be successful. Your part is to think accordingly. You can’t hang around in the darkness and expect to see the light. God doesn’t change. He is not found in the darkness. He lives in the light. You have to march your mental butt over to the light, where He is, and then you can finally see. Lifting up your thoughts means to take your thoughts to the light. You don’t walk over to the light because everything looks good or feels good or because things are finally looking up. You walk over to the light in order to see the good and experience the good and then and only then do things begin to start looking up. Do you understand what I’m saying? You act first. You take the initiative. You make the right move! Change your mind! Refuse the abject negativity and doom predictions and get yourself to the light!

Lifting up your thoughts is not blind faith or anything that cannot see what’s ahead. Instead it is a mental decision to think something different and stop thinking in accordance with the presentation engendered by the darkness. You may not realize it, but thinking negatively is actually a form of obedience also, but you are obeying the wrong source. You are cooperating knowingly or unknowingly with the wrong source. Cooperation with evil, even if you have never considered it that way, is a recipe for a life of abject misery! It is not how life is or being realistic or any other bullshit you have rehearsed in order to justify your wrong thinking. Instead it is deception artfully crafted to make your life suck! And, if your life sucks, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Look, you cannot control the events of the world. You cannot control the economy. You cannot control the evil things that happen to people in this life. But, you can control your thinking. You can decide to lift up your thoughts and you owe it to yourelf to do so!

It is an absolute shame what happens to people in this life. It is awful and painful and terrible. People are blown about from pillar to post by an enemy they can neither see nor discern. They feel helpless and lost and defeated. Yet, they fail to recognize the one thing they can control, their minds. They do not see or understand the connection. They wrongly assume that thoughts are just thoughts and as such don’t put much stock in the importance of controlling those thoughts. God has not left you without remedy. Jesus was always successful because he controlled his thoughts, perfectly and at all times. You and I will not accomplish that incredible feat, but we can sure as hell make an incredible impact on the lives we live on Earth today.

Lift up your thoughts! When you recognize that you are dwelling in the darkness, change your mind. Stop it! Stop rehearsing every wrong done, every thing that isn’t right, every problem that confronts you. Stop living in and getting comfortable with evil. Instead, choose light, choose love, choose good thoughts. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 and I didn’t write the book!

You can lift up your thoughts and every good thing you have ever imagined can be found there! It’s your mind and your thoughts. Cooperate with God! Obey!

Just some good thoughts…

Why Am I Struggling?


There are times in your life in which you just don’t feel right. And if you are like most humans it drives you nuts. It encompasses you. It engulfs you. You find yourself drowning in it. In response to it you do what you’ve been taught to do. You analyze it and you analyze it and you analyze it some more. You think about it all day and you can’t find an answer of peace though you’ve searched your mind from pillar to post. The more you seek the solution the worse you feel. Instead you discover more bad feelings and more logical causes for your dilemma. You just cannot seem to get there no matter how hard you try. Yet, you dutifully persist, confused and dismayed tunneling further and further underground. The deeper you go the darker it gets and you find no relief. Eventually you have to ask yourself in your futility, “Am I doing something wrong? Is there something else I do not know? Is there a solution to my private nightmare?” The good news is yes my friend, you are doing something wrong.

Life in its basic essence is spiritual. There are spiritual causes for the things that plague you. However, spiritual problems cannot be discerned by your five senses reasoning. Accordingly, you are NEVER going to find your answers by searching the senses realm, though you search diligently night and day forever. Instead all you will find is heartache and loss. All you will discover is more darkness; more obscurity; more things that serve to cloud your mind and render you helpless, hopeless, lost… Darkness works most effectively by garnering your consideration. It presents an inscrutable form of bait designed to appeal to your human reasoning. And evil knows it can easily defeat your human reasoning. Oh yes, it is evil! It is at work in the world to steal, to kill and to destroy and it does so by capturing your attention. And, like every worthwhile bait, behind it is a hook from which you will find it hard to escape.

You are struggling because you are being led down the path of unhappiness. It’s a well worn path because of the millions that have tread it down. And depending upon how long each person traversed on that path, the more misery they have encountered in their life. But, it does not have to be this way. There is a way out but the way out is not what you thought at all. The way out seems to stand in absolute defiance to what we have been taught to do. It is very, very difficult to turn that thinking machine off. It is even harder to resist the temptation to track it like a hound and follow it wherever it may lead. But, resist it you must. Temptation, though always veiled and hard to discern, works by finding a way to get your attention and later keep your attention. You escape by your lack of attention. You break free by deciding to change your focus. You make up your mind to look at something else!

The problem you face today is an insatiable drive to get you to focus on yourself. Everywhere and in every way you are being driven back to yourself, your feelings, your thoughts. “Take time for yourself!” “Focus on yourself!” Self, self, self! “You are most important!” “You are number one!” You, you, you! Obviously your needs are important and of course you want to be happy, but your happiness is most fulfilled when your focus isn’t yourself! I’ll say it again. Your happiness is most fulfilled when your focus isn’t on yourself! It’s a trick. It’s a trap. It is a delusion on a grand scale. It is a lie. It seems right and sounds good, but it is still a damnable lie. When your focus is yourself, all you will find is yourself with all of your faults, failings and imperfections. You have to learn to look at something else.

Have you ever noticed how you can be feeling super crappy about yourself or your problems, imagined or real, and then something demands your focus and takes you away from yourself for a bit? Suddenly you don’t feel so bad or your problems aren’t that big anymore. Your issues didn’t get any smaller, but your focus changed enabling you to see things for what they really are instead of what you imagined them to be in your obsessive focus on yourself. Few things feel as good as a full day of work where you actually focused on the work instead of yourself. Or, maybe the grandkids came over and you focused on blessing them for a while! Wow, suddenly things don’t seem as bad as you thought. These little delights serve as valuable clues. You weren’t designed to focus on yourself, save yourself, or fix yourself. You were made to function best when your focus was on others, expecting God to take care of you! Self-focus is a struggle from which you can easily escape. 

Stop, cease, quit looking inside of yourself to find something good. End the endless stewing and churning and burning. Make up your mind to get out of your own mind and live a little. Stop being so damn cerebral! Cease from living in a world where you are encased with an obsessive focus on yourself. Quit it and for God’s sake let it go! Let it go! You haven’t yet been successful in solving you, have you? Well, you aren’t going to, so I will save you a little (or a lot) of time! Instead move that lovely mind of yours towards something else besides you. Help someone. Build someone up. Do something nice for someone! However or whatever you do, move your focus away from yourself because self-focus sucks and leads you down a miserable path! Outward focus, helpful focus, anything but me focus, leads you to something beautiful and worthwhile. It leads you to life and all the wonder and beauty it entails. 

Choose life, choose others, choose to struggle no more!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

Asking Yourself the Right Questions…


Max-Dixon-Blog-Post-Featured-Image-1100x400.jpg

With the New Year upon us, we often find ourselves making goals and plans for some new and improved version of ourselves. At its core, is a fundamental belief that something is not right about us. We have some fault or failing we need to remedy. And from that erroneous starting premise we desire to make repairs. The whole world seeks to fit itself within this system, yet continues to fail year after year after year! The fundamental reason for this persistent, pervasive, cancerous approach is that we are failing to ask ourselves the right questions.

Life is spiritual, not religious, spiritual. Behind everything that you experience in your life is a spiritual cause or influence. The only two spiritual options are good and evil. Sounds simplistic but it’s true whether you believe it or not. Good only seeks to influence you for a good end; happy, healthy and fulfilled.  Evil seeks to influence you for something less than desirable and in most cases things that take your life away from you in part or in whole. The end of evil is always death. Short of killing you, evil seeks to “eff” your life up!

At your core essence as a human being there is nothing wrong with you. Persevering with questions about what is wrong with “me” are always the wrong questions. The right question is what are you allowing to influence your life?  You have difficulties in your life and can easily see where and how the same things seem to defeat you year after year.  You can tell by noticing how many times you have written the same goals, in earnest. You are frustrated because you ‘should’ know better and choose better. The wrong that you and I do is not because we are bad people, yet that is quite hard for us to believe. The wrongs we do are because we have been influenced by evil in some form or fashion. We have accepted something that isn’t true. We have too often taken the bait promising us something that we want only to find out later that’s not what we are getting. In short, we have succumbed to evil influence.

No-one would ever choose evil if they saw it for what it really is. Evil always comes with some deception, some guise, some hard to detect cover. Yet there it sits working behind the scenes on everything that has ever gone wrong with your life. Everything! “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn’t exist.” (The Usual Suspects, circa 1995) Because of this, many, many people attribute things that go wrong to God, the source of all goodness. In catastrophe they seek meaning instead of looking for the evil influence and how it gained access. Absent an answer, again from asking the wrong question, they make up fables concerning God’s greater purpose etc. Goodness cannot do anything but goodness and His influence is always preservative and safe.

Being influenced by evil doesn’t just consist of pursuing lustful pleasures but also encompasses sin, guilt, unworthiness and all unnatural preoccupation with oneself. Feelings of not being worthy, perpetuated by churches and religion, always leads to the most powerful weapon in the adversary’s gun belt – fear! Once the enemy has convinced you that something is wrong with you, you have already been defeated. Once you get on the hamster wheel of making mistakes, feeling badly and doing good works to atone for your sins, get ready because you’re going to be spinning on that wheel for a long, long time. When you arrive there fear is at the threshold!  Most of what has gone south on you in life is due to fear. Fear is the number one evil influence to extricate yourself from.

The right question to ask yourself in the New Year is what am I afraid of? Where am I unknowingly allowing evil in the door? What influences in my life are leading me astray? If you really want to see you can see and God will make sure of that. All humans are susceptible to these influences and true goodness will never put you in bondage to some religious behaviors you don’t really want to do. Escaping evil influences isn’t about focusing on your behavior and all you do and shouldn’t do. That poison will only put you in deeper. Instead the better question is what things have I allowed into my life that end up bringing me pain? Why have I allowed them and what false promises have they offered me that really aren’t true?

Detecting and discerning evil influences require a spiritual standard outside of yourself. What feels right only works on occasion. Many things that feel right or that you have no problem participating in, only feel right because you have long been systematized into their error. In this winning at life thing you cannot always trust your feelings. Instead you have to learn spiritual realties from the spiritual book called the Bible. Before you discount that for your life, you have to ask yourself do you really know what it says or have you made some snap judgments about it? I think it makes sense that the same influence messing your life up will also work to keep you away from that book! The Good Book is why we know that evil does exist no matter how many thousands of voices in the world shout disagreement.

The New Year, like any new year offers the promise of a better future. Gain access to your better future by learning to discern evil influences in your life. Quit making it all about you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you! What is wrong is your failure to see what is behind all of your difficulties and challenges. None of us are good by our own merits. Thinking so is a dangerous game heading for disaster. See life for what it is spiritually and then pursue the good influences. The good influence will only help you and bless you and as is often needed, repair you! The Good Influence loves you no matter what you do. Isn’t that what you need the most? Sure it is and you know it…

Have a happy and prosperous 2018.

Just some good thoughts…

The Spin Cycle of Error


spin_cycleHave you ever found yourself caught up in a negative spin cycle of error that ever picks you up and drops you off at the same place repeatedly, eventually draining all the life right out of you? Have you ever found yourself plagued by the same issues year after year? Have you ever decided to make a journal entry and as you read some of your former entries from ten years ago realize you are writing about the exact same crap? If so, you might be trapped in the spin cycle of error…

It goes without much thought to recognize that error is always complicated. At its base it is simply a lie you’ve been talked into believing and subsequently experiencing day after day. However, its simplicity is masked and befuddled with extraneous data like the Tax Code rendering its victims unaware of what is going on or how to ever change it. The only way that error can gain a foothold in your life is by getting you to cooperate by repeating and rehearsing certain thoughts, words and behaviors.

As a person thinks in their heart, they are, whether their thoughts are good, constructive and useful, or wrong, defeated and debilitating. Wrong thoughts or thoughts containing error hide alongside many other thoughts. In the milieu of thought, it is very difficult to discern what is going wrong or to isolate rogue thoughts that bring negative results. However, if you find yourself experiencing negative results i.e. all mashed together in a damp heap, spinning and spinning amidst an ocean of the same crap, you have got some error going in your thinking that you must repair.

You can almost always tell what thoughts you are harboring in your mind by the stuff that spews out of your mouth. What negative views of yourself can your friends predict you will say? What line of self-deprecating humor is your go to laugh line? Are you disappointed with yourself or the person you have turned out to be and as a result say bad things about yourself to yourself? Those harsh views, jokes and negative self-image all point to some errors you have been holding onto inside.

Although always preceded by thoughts, certain behaviors serve only to thwart you and retard your progress. Certain pleasures conceal the poison contained within them which is only discovered once the poison has taken effect. Some activities promise you fulfillment in one area only to pay a heavy tax in another. Behaviors the run at cross purposes with the Laws of Love always demand payment in pain and suffering.

In order to stop the murderous spin cycle of error, you must attach yourself to something that doesn’t move around day by day. You must affix your purpose to something that is true and immovable. You finally find the hidden error by focusing on the truth. Focusing on the error; the why didn’t I see this coming of the error; the how did this happen to me of the error; leads only to, and trust me on this one, countless journal pages dedicated to and salaaming error, inadvertently and unknowingly worshipping the evil one! You are not going to see your way out playing that game. The treachery isn’t in presenting you with wrong choices and getting you to choose them. The deception is in what you’ve been talked into focusing on! If you’ve lived a little you already know that stepping aside or missing a step is easy. Everyone you have ever met has come up short in some capacity. The test for success is in getting back up, dusting yourself off and walking in a new direction leaving all of the past behind you.

Error holds sway by wearing you out on the inside. In order to wear you down and eventually out, it must have access to your head and heart. It doesn’t flourish by mistakes you have made here and there, even the egregious ones. It flourishes and tightens its grip   by getting you to shift and keep your focus in the wrong place. Maybe you made a heinous mistake twenty years ago that ended up defining the life you live right now. How can something that happened twenty years ago define your present existence? It does so because you have held onto the damn thing like a cherished guest for twenty frikkin years. The fact that you did something wrong twenty years ago and still insist on bringing it to mind is the larger error.

God’s way out of these mental prisons that thwart and defeat you is by you making the decision to no longer hold onto and cleave to the error! If your life isn’t what you want it to be today, get busy changing it into something you like. Lamenting on what’s wrong with it is just getting suckered into more of the same! If you’ve made some bad mistakes, you have beaten yourself up enough already. Jesus Christ paid for the sins, not your insistence on suffering and self-condemnation! (Do you really believe God wants you to suffer?) If you have some gnarly thoughts concerning your self-image, it’s up to you to change those concepts and start seeing yourself like God sees you.

At the end of the day, just know and understand that you are doing it to yourself. Sure, there is an evil one and yes, life can be very challenging at times, but you are only responsible to live this life one day at a time, forgetting all that is past and refusing to be afraid of the future. Change your life by changing your subject of focus! Get out of the spin cycle and move on over to the warm dryer where life is oh so good…

Just some good thoughts,…

 

 

 

Consider Your Ways…


thinkThe aforementioned title, borrowed from a verse in the book of Haggai (in the Bible), has oft been associated with condemnation from God for having bad behaviors. This of course fits with the common erroneous notion that God is uber-interested in your behavior and somehow takes pleasure in monitoring it and finding you, wait for it…… unworthy! Well, God already solved the bad behavior issue once and for all, for all of mankind! Instead, considering your ways has more to do with your allegiances and the subsequent results of those allegiances. Considering your ways leads to positive results, if you’re willing to consider. Are you willing?

Life doesn’t suck! To think that life sucks is to be ignorant of the forces behind life and rather than discover them, draw negative conclusions about life itself. Life doesn’t suck! Your viewpoint towards life sucks. Your lack of willingness to learn and consider sucks. Your presumed understanding and subsequent refusal to look any further is what sucks. But life, as God intended it to be lived, is the polar opposite of things that suck! It’s sort of maddening how humans with all of their analytical skills; who can figure out why tomato plant leaves turn yellow; when a combustion engine is only functioning at about 70% power; how to calculate the mathematical trajectory of an object flying at thousands of miles per hour in space, cannot discern why things are not going well in their lives! Indeed it is time, if things aren’t going so well, to consider your ways!

Life at its foundational level is spiritual. It is not made solely of the things you can see, hear, smell, taste or touch. Your life, whether you choose to believe it; choose to accept it or outright deny it, is spiritual. Your spiritual allegiances lead to the results; blessings or consequences you are experiencing today. Not getting what you want out of life isn’t life’s fault. Life was not designed to be arduous and hard. Life becomes arduous and hard again based on your spiritual allegiances. Pared down to the smallest level, there are only two choices. No sane person would choose the bad option, so the spiritual forces behind all negativity and pain must employ some trickery to gain allegiance; the greatest treachery coming from promoting ignorance concerning that which is good. Deciding not to choose is also a choice and sadly, not a good choice. Again, consider your ways…

Absent holy spirit and a knowledge of God’s Word (spiritual words), you will not be able to discern the differences between your choices. Oh you can recognize the blatant stuff, but the more subtle choices will escape you. It’s in the subtle choices where you find defeat and worse aren’t able to even know it is occurring. God is well aware of your limitations and offers instead for you to consider your ways or said another way, consider the results or lack thereof you are presently experiencing in your life! Have you planted with much effort yet only brought in a small harvest for your efforts? Have you eaten much but still don’t have enough to eat? Have you had plenty to drink yet still find yourself thirsty? Do you have adequate clothing but still you’re not warm enough? Does the money you make feel like it goes out faster than it comes in, like your purse or wallet has holes in it? Consider your ways…

The singular, most important maxim in life centers on who or what holds first place in your life? When God is first, as He rightfully must be, then He promises to supply your every need in every category and phase of life. When you or some other thing holds first place; when you take it upon yourself to supply your own every need; when you seek to the world or the things of the world to meet your needs, you will find yourself increasingly unsatisfied and unfulfilled! True satisfaction comes from God and from God alone. Other things promise us satisfaction, happiness and fulfillment, yet often leave us empty or seeking more and more. In our quest for more, we receive less and less not because we don’t work hard or aren’t trying, but because we have allowed our priorities to get out-of-order. Considering your ways is simply an admonishment to check your priorities and to realign yourself with those things that are the most important, indeed God alone who is sovereign! Consider your ways…

Once you get things back in order, which is purely a decision, you’ll find the sunshine where you used to find storm clouds. You’ll find an abundant harvest far beyond your efforts at sowing. But most importantly, you’ll find deep-seated satisfaction and fulfillment in terms of your hungers, your desires, your thirsts, because you will have finally discovered the meaning of your life and its originator’s intentions for you! The world will keep telling you that you don’t need God and that you can figure it all out, and you are certainly within your rights to keep doing just that, but the measure will always be found in your satisfaction meter (heart) and on the inside you always know whether your needs are being met or not. Unfulfilled heart needs are simply the result of seeking to get fulfillment from the wrong place!

Consider your ways my friends, not to find yourself unworthy, but to discover who you really are and how your life needs will always be met…

Are you willing to consider?

Just some good thoughts…