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…

Closed Doors and Fear of the Future…


door-closed-w-little-boy1There are so many people living today who aren’t really living anymore. Sure, they wake up in the morning just like we do. They shower, get dressed, eat breakfast and go to work. When you see them at work they look just like everyone else. They pause at lunchtime for a sandwich and nothing seems amiss. After work they make their commute home and once at home they change clothes, eat a little dinner and hit the couch for a night of mindless television. It’s just a typical day in the midst of a typical life. Nothing is particularly wrong but nothing is particularly right either. The fire on the inside still burns, but hasn’t been ablaze for years. The lights are on, someone is home, but there’s precious few reasons to open the door. Something went wrong, but not anything you could put your finger on. Slowly, imperceptibly something closed all of the doors and now it seems there’s no way out.

Here’s a thought. When was the last time you woke up excited for the day and what it might bring? Can you remember when you last had solid objectives; not vague, ill-defined goals, but a real plan for your future? How about when you last felt the energy of your convictions and looked forward to making a difference in the world? If those things have become strangers in your house, you’ve been stolen from and I bet you don’t even know it. No-one knows it because if they did they would be on the look-out. The trouble never just shows up one day, it happens over time; lots of time and finally reveals itself in lost hopes and broken dreams.

I’d be the first to promote living in the moment and not wasting time in the past or the future, but have you ever thought how both rob the life you live right now? Despite your lingering bad feelings, the past is already passed, but fear of the future stops your movement today. Fear pulls down the shades one window at a time until the whole house is dark. Once it gets dark enough, it starts locking all the doors. Your options narrow, your energy slows, your pace grinds to a standstill. Your interests dwindle, your motivation wanes, your desire fades. You wonder what’s the matter with you. You can’t pinpoint the cause because it happened long ago. All you know is that you don’t feel like doing anything but settling in for a long dull ride.

Fear is at the root and eliminating it is your only option. You have to figure out what you are so afraid of. It shows itself in a million disguises but it only has one purpose; to stop you and your life in its tracks. Life is fluid and full of movement and activity and change and growth! You can spy fear out when you become settled and stationary, static and the same, day after day after day. You’ve stopped progressing and instead of staying the same, you are digressing, albeit very slowly. The things you used to do when your future was free no longer make sense because your future is no longer free. It’s like traveling down the freeway of life and noticing way up in the distance that the road is closed. There’s just no point in driving then. Have you stopped driving?

So, I ask you again. What are you so afraid of? Is it that you won’t be successful? Is it not having enough money? Is it not making a difference in the world? Is it mediocrity? Is it some looming disease or sickness that will cut your life short? Is it being found out as a charlatan? Is it in not reaching your dreams? Is it too late for you? Is it the loss of a good job or maybe not getting a good job? Are you not smart enough, strong enough, liked enough? Are you too fat, too thin, not pretty enough? Are you too old, too young, too inexperienced? You see, all those stupid things are fear; fear talking you into to being something less than what you really are; less than you know you can be! And every one of those fears takes you away from the things you really want. At best they serve simply to stifle your movement, guaranteeing you won’t actually get anywhere. To get anything in life you have to move towards it. I’ll say it again! To get anything you want in life you have to move towards it! Fear has got you on the couch…

It’s time for you to start living again! It’s time for you to wake excited for the day because the day is filled with unlimited possibilities if you’re looking for them. It’s time to make real plans, extravagant plans to be someone incredible, not just successful. It’s time to stop making excuses and procrastinating and get out there and make something happen. It’s time to give the TV a break for a minute and make productive use of your time. It’s time to look your fear in the eye and do something about it! You didn’t start life with that fear and you don’t have to live with it now!

Once you figure out how to get rid of your fear, you’ll see all of your doors opening again; swinging wide open with latent possibility!

Just some good thoughts…

Are You Getting Fat?


5094d6cced1e1fc4a99337a616fcbff0Remember when you were 18 and ate everything that passed your way and never gained an ounce? Yeah, me too, but those days are long gone. Like you maybe, I recognize that the struggle is real. So I started thinking, besides the cruelty of a snail’s pace metabolism, what else is different? In complete honesty I have to admit, I’m doing some things that contribute to the problem. I sit at a desk all day long (almost). I have the resources to eat whatever I choose to eat and it’s been said that I occasionally overindulge in the wine (smile). When it comes to eating and drinking and other enjoyable activities, my natural tendency is to let loose as I suspect many of you do as well. It’s so easy to just let go and seems so hard to control yourself. But control is where the good stuff lives and this blog has nothing to do with your physical body!

Your mind is equally capable of getting fat. And much like your body, the fat doesn’t show up from too many nutrients, but rather from too much junk. It comes from complacency and inactivity. It shows up in the form of uncontrolled thoughts and unchallenged ideas. It comes from letting go and just accepting whatever comes along. This may surprise you but your mind can get lazy. It was never designed to be that way. It was intended to be alive and vital, dynamic and energetic. It was pre-loaded to have a sincere love of learning; learning that never stops throughout a lifetime.

The popular notion of living an intentional life is the antidote to a chubby mind. Intentional means on purpose. An on purpose life is a life lived by decision rather than reaction. The world is entirely circumstance controlled. People decide they’re having a good day by a few positive events and a bad day is born from a couple of negative ones. A problem at work morphs into a potential lost job and a snow prediction for the morning commute spells disaster. Sunny days equal happiness and gloomy Mondays are the worst thing ever. A pain in your side signals cancer even though you forgot you moved furniture yesterday. This is no great surprise because we have been trained to think that way. Negativity is all around us. The news is negative. Facebook is negative. The people you interact with are negative. And sadly, negativity is considered the norm. If you are positive you are called naive. You just don’t get it. But, I submit that no matter how much negativity you experience, it’s not the way of truth. It’s a grand deception on a monumental scale. It gets to you when you give in to it, like a bacon double cheeseburger at midnight. Intentional living chooses to “just say no” to negativity.

How many people do you know who have lost that spark in their eye? How long has it been since you felt alive and that life was worth living? I’m not talking about choosing life over death, I’m talking about overflowing and abundant life. Yet, we acquiesce and think that’s just how life is… We traded in our value for something cheap. We’ve been riding the bike with the crooked handle bars for so long that we think they’re straight. We fail to see that we adjusted to the wrong instead of fighting for the right. Even more spurious is the lack of thought employed in our choices, most evident during an election season. The media propaganda makes our choices and social media directs our minds. We believe the last thing we read and accept as true whatever someone shouts the loudest. You know why? Because our minds have fallen into decay from fast food logic and pre-processed understanding. We don’t think anymore because we got fat!

So, how can you shed the pounds from your organ of mental perception? The simple answer is to learn again to think. The more arduous answer is to practice living in the moment and controlling yourself. Recognize what is going on in your head. What emotions are you experiencing? Which emotions do you no longer acknowledge? Have you worked around that broken door handle for so long that you fail to see it is broken? What aint right? Where have you settled for less than you deserve? Which illness or sickness are you living with because a doctor said you have to when God has no limitation on what He can heal? What words have you stopped voicing in your relationship that you used to speak without hesitation? What? This is your one life, my friends, and you owe yourself the custom package!

Sometimes you fail to see what you need to see because you are living in the darkness. Turn on the light. Find out what God (who actually invented life) says. Unearth that dust-covered Bible and discover something you can depend on. If you don’t know what to read, ask God for some help. That person will show up faster than a Jimmy John’s sandwich! Get your mind back. Get your vitality back. Get your life back!

Being fat only lasts as long as you let it last. And again, I aint talking about your body. Embrace your chubbiness and love yourself, but most of all take care of your heart, for from it proceeds all the issues of your life! (hcG for the soul!)

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

The Beauty of a New Day…


The right path to a new dayThere was time when I was so mired in my own bullsh*t I couldn’t hear a solution to my problems if it was injected into my eardrums with a syringe. I complained, I whined, I did a lot of stupid stuff all in an attempt to get out of the mental prison in which I found myself. Being a praying man, I prayed and prayed and prayed. But, no matter how much I prayed, I could not help but feel as if heaven was brass as the saying goes. And honestly, I spent more time in that state than I care to admit. But one day; one beautiful new day, I escaped. So, this is all about how…

If you are like me, you assume that when you involve God, He is supposed to do something. You figure, you have a problem, you need help, and you are asking Him to help you. So why sometimes does absolutely nothing happen? Before you foolishly say something like, “it wasn’t the right time” or “maybe there is something I’m supposed to learn from this” or “sometimes God doesn’t answer your prayers because His ways are often mysterious,” let me offer another explanation, but not until I first explain why I called you foolish… 😉

When us humans don’t know what’s going on, we tend to make guesses. We just hate not understanding. So maybe my illustration will be a little more clear if we think in terms of a parent/child relationship. Imagine your kid is suffering and you have a way to end the suffering. So you explain the time just isn’t right… Or, in the midst of their agony you think, this is a good time to teach you something??? Or worst of all, continue in your torture as long as it takes, because I have a purpose; a deep purpose you don’t get!!! Doesn’t make sense to you does it? Well, it doesn’t make sense to anyone else either, especially the Source of all goodness!

Maybe something else is going on of which you are not yet aware. (Why can’t sentences end in prepositions again? I digress…) I discovered, albeit the hard way, that God dwells in the light. In order to tap into His greatness and His power, I too have to find a way to get myself to the light. As my favorite teacher used to say, “dwelling on the darkness won’t being forth the light.” Being all negative and despondent, hopeless and distraught is the darkness and it’s just not where God abides. In order to get out of a mental prison, you first have to change your mind. Can you see it? God is always, always, always willing to show you the solution to your dilemma. But, and this is a helluva big BUT, you have to change your mind! You have to let go of your own egotistical idea that you can somehow figure it out, as if wandering in darkness can actually get you somewhere and change your thinking. You have to think the good. You have to think there actually IS a solution that you just haven’t gotten to yet! You must decide to become positive, expectant, joyful and exuberant.

Have you ever been mired in some scenario; feeling exasperated and then had a change of heart? It’s like suddenly it dawns on you that what you have been doing isn’t getting you anywhere. You start to consider that before you can even hope for a change you have to at least entertain the thought that it can happen. So you purposefully add some happiness; some expectation that things are going to finally change. A new day has dawned in your heart and it’s a beautiful new day!

People get all upset with God because they expect Him to work things out, with or without their own consent. But, it just does not work that way. You have a part and God has a part. Before you can ever expect God to do His part, you have to do your part! God does not possess. He does not overtake your free will. His spiritual hands are tied until you change your mind to line up with what He says over and above what the circumstance looks like. He doesn’t come down to the level of “ever-afraid” man, He informs that you must come up to where He is, in the light! When you can finally get to the place where you are willing to think what God says about your situation, then you are finally on the right track! And once you reach that place things happen in a hurry!

At least a portion of the pain you are experiencing, I too have felt. I’ve been there, hated it, and done that. I’ve whined, bitched, got angry, blamed God and all the other stuff normal people do. But, just as you can’t get grapes from potatoes or figs from peach trees, you cannot get light from darkness. You have to initiate the change by first wanting it, then, then, then going where the solution resides, not in the darkness, but in the light.

A wonderful thing happens to you when you get to the light. You discover that every day is not just a new day, but a beautiful new day!

Oh my friends, God exists…

Just some good thoughts…