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…

 

 

The Madness of the Mediocre Life…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts…

It’s All About Me?


Organ-Donation1-1024x392If you’ve spent any time on Earth, you’ve probably realized that life seems to have its ups and downs. There are high times when you feel on top of the world and everything is working out well for you. Then, there are the low times when nothing seems to work and you drag your tired butt around all day looking for an answer. Well, recently I learned a valuable lesson and it wasn’t all about me.

Life is chock full of paradoxes! It’s better to give than to receive, is one such example. If you were a betting person, the safe money would seem to center on receiving. I mean, the more you receive, the more you have, right? But, noooooo… The more you give out of the goodness of your heart, without obligation or restraint, the more you receive back in a cycle that never ceases. Conversely, the more you hoard and cling to what you have, the less you actually have. Just the opposite of what you expected! Who would have thought it?

Ever since people came into being with the unique ability to think and choose, they have been on a quest for happiness and fulfillment. However, unlike your pet dog or cat, you actually know if you are happy or unhappy. When you are feeling good, you naturally get out of yourself and the time just flies by. But, when you feel down or depressed, your focus turns inward. And, the greater your perceived need, the more likely you are to dwell on that need because it isn’t met. Then, sadly, the days just drag on and on offering little promise for the future. You seek, you think, you analyze but nothing seems to work. Why? Because again, you have entered into one of life’s little paradoxes!

Although in our day and time focus on one’s self is lauded to the heavens, it’s actually the wrong way to think. I know, I know, you only have one life to live. If you don’t focus on yourself, then who will? Your needs come first. You need lots of “me” time. You first, others second, if you have opportunity! Enter a life paradox and now you are barking up the wrong tree. As long as life is all about you, the life you are seeking will elude you. Hey, don’t get mad at me! Someone smarter than me created this thing called life! I’m just trying to convey the rules of the game.

The reason we humans get so stuck on certain problems in life is because the real solution escapes us. Things have to fall in line with our logic and the older we get, the worse “it” gets. We promote selfishness because it seems entirely logical from a “caring for yourself” standpoint. Obviously you have to take care of yourself, but that, like many things, has an end point! All of us have certain needs at times, but try as we might, there are some needs we simply cannot solve on our own. Some things require something bigger than yourself. Enter the Creator of life that built-in the clever paradoxes! In His unsurpassed wisdom, He ordered life to not always be about you (or me). I suppose that would be something you’d expect from Someone concerned about all life!

So, the solution you weren’t expecting? Cease your fanatical obsession with yourself and reach out to help someone else! Some of the most joyful, happiest times of my life have been the times when everything wasn’t about “my” life. In stark contrast, some of my most distressing and depressing times came as a result of getting tricked into focusing on myself; my lack of abilities and my unsolvable problems! I say tricked because, if you are honest, whenever your focus is solely on yourself it is because of fear. The reason you are so laser focused on what you don’t have (yet) is because you are afraid you won’t ever get it. The true reason you only think about yourself isn’t because you are inherently a bad person, but rather because you are afraid you won’t get something you need! Fear always torments, always hurts you, always ends in defeat.

Love, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Love knows it will always be taken care of and sees no fear. Love doesn’t seek its own. Love extends itself to others; forgives others; bears the burden of others. Love is kind and patient. Love speaks words that build and encourage. Love gives and gives and gives. Love never fails. That’s why the way out of your “unhappy, unfulfilled” dilemma is to stop making it all about you! Stop dwelling on yourself; your unhappiness; your lack and reach out to someone else. Not to get something, but to get out of something!

It’s funny (peculiar) how the world so easily deceives us into not doing what we should do to get the things we want. We need more money, so we cling to what we have. We desperately want to be happy, so we cling to ourselves in order to find the happiness within us. Yet, all the time, the true riches of life exist on the other side of the paradox! The great Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Good ol’ Zig knew who buttered his bread!

Like all paradoxes in life, the outcome doesn’t appear to match the required activity. Well, do it anyway! Get outside of yourself. Be present with people and listen for what they need. Deeply invest in others with your love and encouragement and do it from your heart. Then, watch and see what happens inside you. You’ll be so full of love and joy that you’ll have to tell God to cool it! 🙂 Your needs will be met before you can even bring them up. Your life will just flow and glow and effervesce!

Is your life all about you? No, my friends, it’s all about someone else! Won’t you join the “life party” with me? I know you will…

Just some good thoughts…