Getting Rid of the Hurt and Dirt in Your Life!


You know, if you’ve lived long enough, there are things in life that serve no other purpose than to hold you back! No matter how hard you work to be successful and happy, these things are guaranteed to severely retard your progress. We don’t hold on to these things on purpose, but somehow they manage to stick around and thwart our every move. It behooves us all to figure out how to get the hurt and dirt out of our lives.

All of us have been hurt by someone or something in some capacity. Maybe you were raised as part of a beloved organization that really let you down in your later years. Maybe someone you cherished left you for someone else. Perhaps you gave your all for some important job only to discover that your value was fleeting and transitory. Perhaps you suffered some tragedy involving your loved ones that you are still scratching your head to try and figure out. No matter what has happened to you, and some things are frightfully dreadful and incredibly painful, you have to find a way to move ahead.

Holding on to wrongs done and the multiplicity of injustices you’ve experienced does nothing more than to stymy and squash your current enjoyment of life. Your heart, in response to the hurts you are holding onto, has no choice but to resort to hardness to protect itself. And, once your heart gets hard and calloused, you no longer have the capacity to feel the things you are supposed to feel. The whole world suffers from this malady… People wander aimlessly their whole lives through searching and tirelessly pursuing that heart they remember with great fondness. Yet, they fail to realize that they themselves are doing the very thing that keeps their own heart hard! You absolutely must do whatever it takes to move ahead and let those things go. You have to move past the hurts in your life.

In similar fashion, we all have those parts of our lives we wish we didn’t have. We are all human beings and as such are often easy to beat. We like things and then we like them too much! We cleave on to the very things that make our lives miserable. We know our excesses and propensity for more than enough, yet on we go traveling down the same roads over and over and over again! Certain behaviors, certain activities always turn out bad, no matter how they seem in the moment. Yet so goes humanity swirling and boiling in its passions leading wherever it gets led, never really taking the time to consider and thus choose.

If we really want to soar; if we really want to travel the high roads in life, we need to get rid of our dirt. We need to rid ourselves of those things both subtle and obvious that always return us woe. Why stagger we between two opinions? We know those choices that bring us peace and we also know those choices that cause unrest. It behooves us to simply recognize what is going on and change it. All humanity wrestles with this same conundrum. We want our cake and to eat it too! We seek to travel the roads of high endeavor with pockets full of sand, rocks and debris. We think we can somehow fool the system; straddle the fence; commingle truth and error. But, we cannot. We have to make a choice. We have to finally rid ourselves of our dirt!

In order to live life; to really experience all that God intended for you, you have to rid yourself of the hurt and all the dirt. Both, though very cleverly disguised, are thorns in your flesh, oil in your water, sand in your machinery. They are distractions and they are lies. Often your solution isn’t to do something, but to stop doing something! Life can be more about the things you choose not to do rather than the things you should do. Holding onto hurts and wrongs done chokes and suffocates your life. Insisting on doing things you know always turn out wrong buries your heart in bad feelings and remorse. Both are crucially important and both are matters of the heart.

In order to win at the game of life, you have to protect your heart. You have to make choices that encourage tenderness of heart. A tender heart; a heart that feels and loves and gives, is the heart of God. Once you rid yourself of the poisons your heart begins to recover. Remove the cause and the body heals!

Decide now to get rid of the hurt and dirt in your life. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to do your part… You deserve to fly!

Just some good thoughts…

 

A Real Marriage…


I posted a beautiful little expose on marriage the other day and it was well received. It was sort of the ‘real deal’ if you know what I mean. But, despite all the kind words towards me, it was written by someone else! So, ready or not, here’s my version.

Having been married now for over 35 years, I can let you in on a few dirty secrets. Marriage isn’t about feeling happy all the time with your spouse. It’s about figuring out when it’s your turn to add the happiness back in. You can’t always control where your partner is in their mind, but you can sure control where your mind goes. What you want so desperately, you have to give. You can spend a whole lifetime mired in that mud. You wait and wait and wait to receive the kindness, yet refuse to share any of yours first! Marriage is a reciprocal deal, but you always have to go first. How you feel about your spouse is a decision you make and make and make. Choosing not to love someone anymore is also a decision. You don’t feel the love because you aren’t thinking any love. Rehearsing everything you don’t like about someone is a fool’s game. The trick isn’t to struggle to find something good. The trick is to stop thinking evil!

If you’ve been married any significant amount of years you can fall into the “cycle.” The cycle is a perpetual, spinning narrative where no matter what you say or what you do, ties back into some former thing you said and some former thing you did. When couples get to this place, and it doesn’t take long, their communication virtually ends. Instead of listening to each other anymore, the communication quickly dives into the rabbit hole of “I already know where this ends.” In this disastrous scenario, neither party has any opportunity to be anything else. No-one can change. No-one can modify their behavior because you “always” do this and “always” say that, thus I already know where you’re going and am not listening anymore. God I hate that! Each day is a new day! Every moment is new in time. The stupid stuff you did three years ago no longer applies unless you’ve been in a coma for three years! Stop and truly listen to what your spouse is telling you. You don’t have to like it or agree with it, but you do need to hear it. The great marriage killer is the silence that follows a resignation from speaking up!

Speaking of speaking up, if there is one thing I can tell you that almost stands above everything else, it is to keep speaking up. Keep communicating what is bothering you. You serve no-one by keeping silence for your marriage’s sake! Keeping silent runs at cross purposes with your marriage, or at best, delays the inevitable. In marriage, as in life, you have got to be honest with yourself. I don’t mean negative and miserable. I mean honest. You have got to be able to have honest conversations with your spouse. In some areas, you will be tempted to quit speaking up as you perceive nothing is changing, but speak up anyway. Any anger you feel towards your spouse is a sure-fire sign there is something that needs to be resolved. So hey, have the damn fight! Do some yelling, add a little screaming and get it straight once and for all. Simmering within yourself or rehearsing every past injustice is emotional cancer and it is going to kill you! But one caveat, you have to fight fair. Your emotions can help you, but not when they resort to attack mode. The stuff you say in attack mode lasts long after the fight is over. Fight fair…

A common mistake in marriage involves compatibility. People think that in order for the marriage to work well, there must be many common interests. The only required common interest is the other person. Marriage isn’t two people turning into one person (usually the more dominant one). Marriage is two, separate, distinct people figuring out how to head in one direction (while remaining distinct). The more difference between you the better, as long as you come together on the important stuff. (This is why married couples need two TV’s – smile) You also have the joy of figuring out your own arrangement. Don’t copy Mom and Dad because you aren’t married to either one of them. Do individually what you’re good at individually. You already know and you may as well make it work for you!

If I could diagnose one shortfall where people go south today concerning marriage, it would encompass one word – commitment! You have to decide first to remain married, then work out how to make it all work. You don’t remain married because everything feels good, the sex is fantastic and your spouse maintains their ideal weight. You don’t stay married as long as there are no fights, no difficult circumstances or no challenges. (Two people can kick much more ass in a challenge than one can) You don’t remain married with an expectation that your spouse won’t change or grow or evolve. What turned you on at 25 is going to feel ridiculous at 50. Side note – no-one really gives you any insight into the weird stuff that happens as you age, you just sort of have to arrive there together. Okay back to the point! You stay married because, by God, that is the decision you made! You may want a divorce today, but as long as your spouse doesn’t want one on the same day, you will be okay!

In the final analysis, the reason my wife and I have remained married so long is because we both love God and rely on Him to help us get our stuff together when it has fallen apart. We need Him to heal our hearts and make them tender wherever they got hard! We need someone bigger than ourselves to lead the way. Marriage was designed by God for His people. That’s a union you cannot easily dissolve. That is a real marriage…

Just some good thoughts..

15 to Life…


Courtroom Scene.jpgI found myself seeking to lose that same 15 pounds I’ve been working on for about 15 years. I lost all of it once and some of it many, many times. Yet, it always seems to creep back on. Funny thing is it’s only 15 pounds. That got me thinking, why is it that my body would regulate itself just slightly higher than I would want? In fact, why do we seem to get certain things in our lives, yet often feel like we need a little bit more? The house is nice, but I wish it didn’t have bricks. The Ford Explorer works, but that Escalade is bangin’! If you receive in life exactly what you have believed to receive, then why would our believing stop just short of what we really want? Or maybe, are we stopping short of what we really want or always wanting more and more? These are worthy questions for those serving 15 to life.

It was 1982 when I first took a class called, “Power for Abundant Living” where I learned that what a person believes in their heart is what they will manifest into their lives. I’m not referring to the reported “magic” outlined in “The Secret.” Life wasn’t designed for things to just appear out of nowhere, but instead the results we are pursuing show up naturally in direct accordance with our firm expectations! The Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” And, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows forth the issues of your life!” Thus your life, whether you like it or not, is a direct reflection of what you believe deep down in your heart. Similarly, the image that you carry of yourself is what you are. How have you been picturing yourself for the last year, five years, ten years? The image that you carry of yourself with clearness and concern is what you are. And the kicker? This law of believing works for positive and negative thinking alike!

A good friend complimented me yesterday on the back-splash I put up in the kitchen. I responded with thank you, then quickly pointed out that there were some flaws in the job and that I made some mistakes. Do you see where I’m going? Instead of just enjoying the positives, I felt the need to add in a “yes, but.” Often, we limit ourselves in this life with our “yes, buts!” Somebody tricked us into believing that we have to take the good with the bad. Someone convinced us that we can’t have it all. Something weaseled its way into our thinking and talked us into considering that we have to give darkness its place. Doubts, worries, fears, stressors and anxieties are the “yes, buts” in our lives.  They represent a form of believing in the negative with just as powerful and specific results.

If you want to learn how to believe rightly; how to get positive results in your life, or how to get rid of the life sucking negatives, the question to ask yourself involves your subject of focus. What is your subject of focus? What do you see most consistently? Does your good always have some “bad” in it? Would your friends describe you as positive or negative? Those thoughts you rehearse most consistently eventually find their way into your heart, determining how your life proceeds. You don’t live how you want to live because you don’t believe that you can! You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you are on the inside. In order to change the outside you have to change the inside. You can change every circumstance of your life if you are willing to invest a little time in changing your thinking. Develop and build a crystal clear image of something you need or someone you want to be, and hold fast to that image. Don’t let anyone or anything change it! Keep your subject of focus.

At this point you may be wondering, “How does anyone know what is in their heart?” The answer is simple, what do you talk about the most? Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. What does your communication consist of? Are you quick to notice and point out the negatives? Are you critical of other people? Do you use words that associate themselves with lack and struggle? Is your favorite topic the things that aren’t right in your body? (If so, I’m guessing you have lots and lots of things not right in your body) Or is your conversation pleasant, expectant, looking for the good in life? What you have been saying is what you have been believing and is exactly how you have been living! Good or bad, positive or negative, joyous or disastrous, are all your choice and within the realm of something you can control!

When it’s all said and done, the reason I’m serving 15 to life is because my focus, the picture I carry of myself with clearness and concern, my expectation and believing has been completely centered on something I don’t want rather than on something I do want. When I see myself in the mirror, I hone in on what isn’t right rather than focusing in on everything that is right! And, you cannot do something for 15 years without being pretty damn consistent! The first place to make a change isn’t addressed on the outside, but on the inside instead.

15 pounds doesn’t rank very highly on the life importance scale, that’s for sure. But 15 years certainly does. Any time spent living life stuck in a cycle of something not being right is too long, especially since you have the ability, by your belief, to change it. Don’t settle for life’s potluck or justifying your negatives by comparing them to other people’s negatives. Choose the life you want to live leaving no caveat for negatives, evil or wrong. You deserve that much because God gave you the much! Believe rightly! Choose life!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Indecision Trap…


aaeaaqaaaaaaaabfaaaajduzmdzhotc1lwexztutndhjmy05nwvjltfkytdmmwjhnzfinqHave you ever had that nagging feeling that there is something else you need to do? I’m not talking about the time you left the iron on or forgot to close the garage door. I’m talking about the larger decisions you make; the ones that define your life and your contribution to the world. All of us have that special something that we alone can give and that won’t come into evidence unless we give it. Well, that feeling has besieged me lately and seemed worthy of further exploration…

None of us climb the hill to success without first making a decision. Before anything worthwhile can take place in your life; before any real overcoming; before any victory over the things that formerly held you down, of necessity comes a heartfelt, fully persuaded decision. Absent a decision, your life will continue to flounder around somewhere between distraction and mediocrity. Sure, you’ll be very busy and have little time for extra activities, but you will end up missing the mark; the only mark that ever truly mattered. So, with all that is at stake, why don’t we make the decision?

One slippery tentacle in the indecision trap is the old familiar “waiting for a feeling!” It seems in America, the land of feelings, we’ve all been mesmerized by the promise of strong passionate feelings clearly marking the way that we should go; some grand purpose that causes our eyes to well with tears. Some folks call it inspiration and while we all need to be inspired, we might be surprised to learn that feelings follow our decisions and not the other way around. The stronger your decision, the more powerful your emotions that accompany it. While you are so patiently waiting for your ship to come in, your ship is out at sea waiting for you to decide! Decisions don’t need to be accompanied by feelings, they just need to be adamantly decided!

Often indecision appears not because we cannot see the value of making a decision, but because we are stuck with too many different choices. We would like this and we would like that. This would make us happy and shoot, so would that! Remember when you were looking for a new job? Chances are you broadened your options to sort of increase your chances for success. You started enumerating things that “could work.” At its core, this also is a trap, albeit a subtle one. The odds are hugely in favor of you getting what you want the VERY most! Otherwise, you scatter your forces on a giant dartboard hoping to stick somewhere with something that could work… And because you aren’t God and don’t know the future possibilities contained in different circumstances, you certainly make application broadly, but in your heart you hold fast to what would be the best for you. Minus all of the fear and doubt, you know what is the best, because you know you, don’t you?

Now, there is one area in decision-making that encompasses all of the rest of the tentacles and maybe the mouth full of sharp teeth as well. At its root, indecision is always based on fear. Let’s say you know you have something special just waiting to be capitalized. You know when it comes to such and such, you got it going on! Yet, you don’t take action. You vacillate on making the decision. You rationalize with, maybe I won’t be successful and it is far easier to just keep quasi-planning and dreaming and scheming without ever really making a choice. If you don’t make a wholehearted decision, you can delay and delay and delay. Put it off. Maybe next year. Perhaps when I get this other thing worked out first. After I’ve finished such and such. One day when I have enough… (money, free time, energy, lack of stress, warm weather, ideal settings etc., etc.). This is the definition of indecision. It feels (there’s that word again) so much more safe. It’s like having one foot on the bridge and one foot in the water. It’s hedging your bets. It is doubt, hesitation, wavering and vacillating. It feels painless but it guarantees you one thing and one thing only. You aint going to get what you really want to get! It’s not going to happen! It aint in the cards! In order to win in your life, in your way, with your own results, you have to either get all the way in the water or all the way on the damn bridge. Don’t you see it?

When it comes to this decision-making process, there is a great possibility of you making the wrong choice. Well, so what! Indecision is also a choice and unlike a wrong choice it won’t provide you with the learning you need to make the right choice! Just imagine how great your life could be if you made a habit of deciding what you want and by God, sticking to that choice! Picture your life being lived on your terms, with you being the leading actor! Have you ever watched some movie star or famous athlete that seems to have it all and secretly thought, I wish that was my life. Well, I submit the only difference between your life and their’s is that somewhere along the line they made some choices that you, heretofore, haven’t yet made…

The good life isn’t reserved for the lucky or the fortunate or the blessed. The good life is waiting for the people who make decisions and there’s no limit on the choices you can make. Don’t spend another day lost in indecision and fear of the future. Get busy designing your ideal life, then make some decisions about how it is going to turn out. Don’t wait and see. Don’t wait on God, God is waiting on you! Decide!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Life Doesn’t Happen to You, You Happen to Life…


arrow-out-of-a-circle-outline-pointing-to-right-direction_318-37548Have you ever found yourself in a rut? You didn’t see it coming. You didn’t perceive the steps along the way. All you really know is that life isn’t working for you anymore. Or maybe you suffered through some negative event and now you can’t seem to snap out of it. In fact, things keep getting worse and worse. It’s like you’re stuck in some type of negativity spin cycle with each day offering another reason for you to give up all hope. Maybe, in order to cope with it, you’ve been self-medicating for so long that you don’t even know what unmedicated feels like anymore. And in your despair you ask God, what the hell is going on? Why is my life not happening the way I thought it would? Well, there’s an answer to that question you may have never considered…

The vast majority of people are convinced that life just happens to them and that they are powerless to change it. They feel as if there’s some big cosmic plan they’re unaware of, which doles out in random fashion, good things and bad things at whim. In their troubles, they search their souls looking for causes inside themselves for the hardships they’re experiencing. In high times, they call it luck and good fortune.

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! When we allow the circumstances of the world to move us to a negative space, we unknowingly begin to expect negative results. Tragedies, hardships, difficulties, or unresolved frustrations work first in our minds and then in our hearts to lower or even reverse our expectations for our lives. They jolt us or imperceptibly drag us into a doubtful position whereby we begin to question our views of how life truly works. They open the doors and our hearts to possibilities for difficulty we never contemplated before. And, each day honors our beliefs by presenting more information to corroborate those beliefs. Once the cycle starts, it’s very hard to stop.

God, the author and designer of life, did not devise His creation by whim. He ordered it beautifully with breathtaking precision, replete with all conceivable love and goodness. He made his man, his precious man, to have full access to His instruction book on life! He’s not a capricious God hidden away in the expanse doling out blessings and punishments by the same hand. He is only good, always, in every circumstance, every condition and all the time. He gave man complete control over his life by that which he (the man) chooses to believe. Absent the truth of God’s Word, man is subject to the circumstances of life, never conceiving that he, the man, choosing and thus believing, is subconsciously working to bring about the circumstances he is experiencing. Your life, be it blessed or frightful, is the cumulative product of your own thoughts. When you find yourself in a rut, though difficult to get out of, the rut is the consequence of long persistence in negative thoughts unchecked. The shocks and jolts of unexpected tragedy, though not part of your own responsibility, serve not only to severely or mortally wound the sufferer, but also all those associated with that person. Difficulties and hardships, never from God no matter how nobly explained, are a temptation; tempting you to come to the dark side and stay awhile. And, the longer you remain in the darkness, the worse your life becomes.

In this way, your life isn’t happening to you, you are happening to it! You’re not a victim in a grand drama playing a part you never chose. You are the lead in a play that you are writing. For this reason, you can change your character’s role whenever and however you see fit. I don’t care who you are; what you’ve done or what circumstance you find yourself in, arduous and severe or simply irritating and annoying, God has already heard your prayer! He will help you when and only when you begin to change your mind. There’s no negative circumstance you cannot escape, no situation that cannot be resolved or healed if you will change your mind. Dwelling on the darkness will not bring forth the light. The light comes as quickly as you turn on the switch! That is your one and only great power in this life; the power to choose what you will and will not believe.

Nothing about your life is happenstance. You are where you are that you may learn and that you may grow. The negatives and hardships you are experiencing are not the way it is. It’s not just life. Instead it’s life infected by darkness and like any virus, can be eradicated if the conditions are right. This isn’t a simplistic view of life, it’s the only true view of life. Truth is always simple. It’s error that’s complicated.

So how can you finally get out of the ruts in life? How can you escape from difficult and trying circumstances? How can you overcome and prevail against any challenge that comes your way? How can you live and realize your life’s dreams and endless possibilities? How can you finally become the man or woman you always thought you could be? Change your mind! Change your thoughts from darkness to light. Stop confessing the negatives and confess the positives instead. Stop looking for and living in the trouble and walk out into the clear light of God’s heavenly pastures where you will find your rest. This life is too big and too fraught with difficulties for you to go it alone. Just because something looks true and sounds true and has every indicator that it is true, doesn’t make it true. What’s true is what God says is true and you can bet your entire life on that!

Come out and join me in the sunshine where God has first place and see for yourself if your life isn’t revolutionized in dramatic and delightful ways! Everything you ever wanted in your life resides in the light where God is! Won’t you come and meet me there?

Just some good thoughts…

Everything You Ever Wanted…


decision-analysisWhat if you found yourself sitting in your living room with God and He told you that you could have anything you ever wanted in your life. And then He casually offered, “What would you like?” Could you answer that question? What if the only restriction was that you could only choose one thing? Could you choose one, most important thing? Or would you quickly default to lots of money, the big house, fame and fortune?

It’s sort of mind-boggling to think that us humans with all of our complicated hopes and dreams find ourselves unable to answer such a simple question. And, not being able to answer that question may explain why you are living the way you are. If you deeply contemplate your own life and if you are honest, you already know the things that are most important to you. You know what you want, but thus far haven’t been able to see a way to bring it to pass. Why?

There’s a world-wide delusion going around about God. The delusion is that God chooses the good things in your life. And similar to that is the erroneous logic that God has already decided ahead of time what exactly you can and cannot have. It’s simply not true. The reality is that God already knows what good things you want as a “free-to-choose” human being and desperately wants to give it all to you. Second, God has not set a limitation on your life. You have (I have) by your failure to clearly answer that question and take the necessary action to make it a reality.

People spend an entire lifetime waiting for a sign or for their ship to finally come in, never realizing that their ship is their own thoughts and beliefs and that signs follow people who believe and not the other way around. There is no waiting required. If anything you’re waiting because you have not yet decided! Deep down you know, but hey that cannot be. How will it happen? Where do I start? You perhaps haven’t even considered that the how and the where aren’t the starting point. The starting point is your decision. Once you finally choose, you will have answered the question, “What would you like?” Once you answer, it then becomes the responsibility of the One who asked you the question, to supply what you need!

When I think about my own life, it’s rarely a question of what it is that I want. Instead it’s an insidious belief that everything must be perfect before “it” can happen. And, waiting for the perfect timing or perfect idea is just another form of waiting in disguise. The reality or perhaps my hypothesis is that you should decide, then start and then modify and adjust and adjust. Starting is everything as the saying goes. Waiting is nothing as you already know!

Any belief that you have, true and untrue, is a byproduct of a decision you have already made. If you believe that God does not love you or worse, even know you, it is a decision you have made based on some faulty thinking or negative circumstances you have already encountered. Yet it’s not true. But for you it is true because of your decision and that leads to more erroneous beliefs such as God not being in favor of you getting everything you ever wanted. Conversely, if you believe that God wants you to have everything you ever wanted, you will have no trouble making the decision that you can have those things and will wholeheartedly pursue them. People call that fanciful thinking, yet have no trouble deciding they aren’t worth the things they want. But can’t you see it? Both ways of thinking are choices and decisions, but only one side is actually supported by God’s Word! So you decide huh?

How sad it must be to end this journey one day with regrets about who you are and what you could have been. How heart wrenching must it be to die with your dreams still trapped within your heart. Why not decide right now, while you are still drawing breath to once and for all do “it”, by God (literally), with no looking back; no hesitating or doubting, balls to the wall until it finally comes to pass. Why not?

There’s no time limit on reaching your hopes and dreams, as long as you reach them. The real fun in life is always found in the journey, so just make sure you are traveling wisely. Even a small amount of faithful, dedicated time will one day add up to your grand finale. Just stop sitting there waiting for some mythical day when it all magically comes to pass. That great day only comes for those courageous souls who dared to act regardless of the naysayers or circumstances.

You CAN have everything you ever wanted in life if you will just muster up the courage to decide!

Just some good thoughts…