Trust Thyself…


0DC96196-7988-42E6-8455-28A57F00DEC8One of the great hallmarks of a confident person is their ability to trust themselves. In order to be successful at anything, you have to learn to trust yourself; your judgments; your feelings and to maintain that trust in the face of opposition and the naysayers. Prosperous businessmen and women are so because they had an idea and also had the holy boldness to see it through to a positive, profitable end. Good parents are those that know and understand their children and also know what is and isn’t good for the child, regardless of what anyone else seems to be doing. In our world of endless information and advice, people have relied less and less on what they think and have instead defaulted to what everyone else thinks. People have stopped thinking for themselves and severely limited themselves in the process. It would seem to make the most sense that you, living in your own body, experiencing your own life, knowing what turns you on and what turns you off, having your own unique and personal background, would serve as the expert of things pertaining to your own soul. Do you trust yourself?

The mistrust of yourself and your own ability to make proper judgments isn’t a new phenomenon, but rather came as a result of the overload of information available to all of us today, literally at our fingertips. Information, Google, WebMD, YouTube videos can be a tremendous blessing if we take them for what they are, information. As humans, our job is to gather information and then make informed choices. But, not all of our choices are purely fact based or, for that matter, in accordance with what “experts” think. We bring so much more to the table than a capacity to research information. We have complicated feelings, intuition, gut feelings, our own experiences and background all available to aid us in making the right choices, and by right I mean the right choices for ourselves. Taking a certain job in a certain place may appear to be the most logical thing in the world and still not be the best choice for us. Something may look right, feel right, be logically right, yet something inside says it’s wrong. I often think that God working in us is much more individual than we may have considered. How God works in me with all of my personal attributes and weaknesses may vary vastly from how He works in you. Certain things communicate both immediately and clearly to me that would be completely lost on you and vice versa. Trusting thyself is learning how God works in you always for your good and also learning how other things try to work in you to get you to doubt yourself and your ability to choose.  For example, people erroneously conclude that the nagging voice inside finding fault with everything they might enjoy comes from God, yet fail to consider that the constant criticism comes from another place; one hell bent on keeping them unsure. Trusting yourself means that you believe in yourself and your capacity to know what you need to know when you need to know it. Trust thyself.

The artists and painters and poets and writers are successful only by trusting that voice inside more than the voices that surround them. Emerson aptly penned, “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.” That is not to say that every thought in our heart is truth, but rather the belief in ourselves and what we can offer to the world when applied with conviction, that is genius. Doubt is the great enemy to be vanquished. Doubting and hesitating and second guessing ourselves is a disease that carries with it all future failures and defeat. How often did we already know the right course of action, yet failed to heed it? And, every time it occurs we are reminded that indeed we already knew it. How could we ever consider that other influences would better know the best course for us never actually having been us? When we live in constant doubt of ourselves and our own decisions, we work against our own best interests and diminish ourselves in our own estimation. We make ourselves less than what we are and subjugate ourselves to the opinions of another. Then, when we are unhappy and afraid and lost, we finally get honest with ourselves and seek again according to who we are and not according to who everyone else appears to be. And, at last, we find access to the happiness and blessedness that already existed for us, working within us when we begin to trust ourselves. Indeed, trust thyself.

In the same way that we can trust ourselves and our decisions, we can also trust ourselves when we know we are making the wrong choices. Typically, we recognize when our wants and our desires are leading us down the wrong paths masquerading as fun and as pleasure. We know, if we are honest, when there is such a thing as too much and as such know how to begin to regulate ourselves without unnecessary criticism and judgment. Life is rarely all or nothing, but instead a series of necessary adjustments like the tacks of a ship sailing in the right direction. Choices are neither all or nothing, but instead modifications required to keep us in the center. All things in moderation is our safe place. To live in constant denial of things is to be a prisoner awaiting escape and finally having escaped, gone mad. Similarly, the allowance of all things without restraint or control is also a prison; one being subjected to mastery by another. Sometimes the best option is a modification that takes into account both extremes. Life is such a fluid and dynamically changing enterprise and as such requires constant adjustments which we can trust ourselves to accomplish. The notion that someone we love is heading down a spurious path without any knowledge of it is always wrong. In reality, the person suffering always knows they are suffering but has not yet come upon a solution for it. In such cases, our advice serves only as confirmation of a reality the sufferer is already experiencing. We serve our fellow man more by helping to reestablish his trust himself than in offering endless ways in which he might finally escape from his plight. In the end, it’s not until a person’s trust in their own capacity to make good choices is restored, will they be finally able to recover themselves from the snare. Relearn to trust thyself.

There is no stopping the man or the woman that finally begins to trust themselves and their assertions. Such a creature is a magnificent spectacle, confidently striding through life assured and clear and focused. Such a creature is the epitome of God’s creation, created by God to live with God and for God, assured of God’s working in his or her own soul in every situation and circumstance. Everyone admires a resolute man, even if he is wrong. There is no profit in skulking through life terrified of making a wrong choice; afraid of your own feelings; doubting your every inclination and idea. Instead, stand up and be counted. Take your place in the world on equal footing with all around you. Make your own decisions and make your own choices. Choose what you know, the best you know, when you know and stick with it. If you are wrong, you will also know. But, along that path you will have done resolutely and courageously and with that garnered the spoils of victory and success. “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” (RWE) Trust thyself!

Just some good thoughts…

Do No Harm…


firstdonoharmI was talking with a doctor friend of mine the other day and she reminded me of the sincere oath that all doctor’s take, namely, “First, do no harm.” Contained in that little phrase applied to all would be doctors, is the key to living a successful Christian life. It is interesting to think that of all the shenanigans people may have attributed to God in terms of rituals and required behaviors and the giving up of something, the thing God values the most is how you and I treat other people. Love other people as you love yourself. On that principle hangs all the law and the prophets. Brothers and sisters, it behooves us to do no harm.

Many years ago, while sitting in a one-time revolutionary class about the Bible called, “Power for Abundant Living,” the teacher of the class made a statement I will never forget. In summarizing the beauty of the Grace Administration and demonstrating the freedom we all have in Christ, he remarked our whole duty simply by stating, “Love God, love your fellow man and do as you dang fool please!” That small declaration literally changed my life. I learned that life with God wasn’t about man-made rules and regulations, but rather a relationship with God based not on fear, but on love and with it an additional request that we love other people. To love God and to love my fellow man was something I could handle. This idea that being a Christian means everything is somehow wrong and everything is evil in some way, was something I could never reconcile in my mind and heart. The people I saw endeavoring to live this way were not happy people at all, skulking around all whipped, wounded and guilty. If life with God is harder than life without God, why would someone choose it? Why would anyone want to subject themselves to living life in this way? Further, how could we possibly love our fellow man by making his life harder than it was before he began to know God? In doing no harm to our brothers and sisters, we have a duty to offer them all the freedom and love that God has offered us. God loves us into doing good things and we do so in response to the love He has given us. In this, we do no harm.

Perhaps the best way to live your life is with the freedom to do as you dang fool please. Everything you and I do with compulsion, of necessity, because something bad will happen if we don’t do it, is not freedom, but rather religious bondage. Bondage demands of us certain behaviors that will please God; behaviors we must do in order to be okay; in order to be safe, to be protected. Yet, the harder we try to please God by our good works, the more we fall short, the less pleasing we become. In this we don’t live, but only half live. We become consumed with our shortcomings, our weaknesses, where and how we fall woefully short. We comb through our days and nights evaluating where we went right and where we went wrong, always ending predominantly in where we went wrong. Instead of enjoying the freedom God purchased for us in the life of His son, we reduce ourselves to less than God’s best and work out all kinds of schemes and plans to prove our value and our worth. In this we go astray and subject ourselves to misery, all somehow in the name of God. Yet, this is not what God asks of us. God said all of the commandments in the Old Testament could be summed up in one simple phrase, generally, love God and love your fellow man. Love, not rituals is what God is after. Kindness and a willingness to help others is what blesses God’s heart, not behaviors done out of fear. To do no harm we must have love in it.

This may surprise you, even shock you perhaps, but God has released those of us who believe from the curse of the law. The purpose of the law wasn’t to make people right, but instead to clearly identify what sin was in order that there would be a standard God could use to redeem His precious man. If there was no law, you would be free to do as you dang fool pleased without fear of consequences and trouble. You would actually be free to make decisions, not based on fear, but instead based on love with no compulsion in it. Just as any parent seeks freewill love from their children, God seeks free will love from us. Can you even imagine your children doing things in order to gain your love when they already had it from the onset? Would it bless you to observe consistent, good behavior from your children because they feared what you might do to them if they didn’t do it? If it is so obvious in the natural realm it must be equally as obvious in the spiritual realm. We do no harm to our brothers and sisters when we do things free of any compulsion or requirement.

Doing no harm to other people means that we love them like God loves them. However, we can only love people in this way in response to the love God freely showers upon us. Absent God’s love and gentle work in our hearts, we could never get the job done. As long as our relationship with God consists of rules and regulations in order to be successful, we will at best convey the same to our fellow man. Yet, this will never help him because it never helped us. That so-called Christian lifestyle never helped anyone. People don’t need more stuff to do or more reminders of where they fall short. We do a good enough job of that on our own. Instead people, our brothers and sisters, need freedom, freedom only God could give them. People need to be able to choose on their own. Only one choice is not a choice. I think folks would be surprised at the freedom God has given us if they only knew it. God said, all things are lawful for me, but not everything I can do is going to bless me or build me up. Amen, but all things are lawful for me. I am free, you are free as a human to experience life and prove all things, holding fast to the good. Sitting behind closed doors in fear of sin and evil and destruction is not life at all. How many Christians have stopped living out of fear when all of life remained open to them? Do no harm by telling your brothers and sisters the truth!

Absolute freedom to make your own choices is the very essence of life. Only when you are free yourself can you offer that freedom to another person. Only engulfed in God’s undeserved love and compassion can you offer love and compassion to other people. You cannot give what you do not have. You love your fellow man by loving him how God does without any compulsion or constraint. He or she does not have to be or do anything to deserve that love, but instead receives that love freely in the same way that you received it. To do no harm means simply that you do not do things that wound your fellow man or hurt him. You seek only his good, her good and have no other motive in it. When you love people like God loves them, you have finally let go of self and all that may be wrong with self and have decided instead to focus on the goodness that God is and is in Him and Him alone. Love God, love your fellow man and do as you dang fool please.

Just some good thoughts…

Stop Being Such A Little B**ch


Depositphotos_4682824_l-2015Forgive my title, but something has happened to us as a people; as a nation. Whether it be the media, politics, cancel culture, the Internet, too much access to too much information, or whatever, something has moved in and caused us to be afraid of literally everything. There was once a time, it seems, when people made choices about their lives and decided exactly how they were going to live. There was a time when good folks were strong and resolute concerning how they wanted to be; what they were going to do. Then mass fear took hold and instead of seeking to be the individual God made them to be, people opted instead to take their place in line and, God forbid, not do anything that someone else might not approve of in some capacity. Yet ironically, being politically correct and refusing to be politically correct are two sides of the same coin. One side condemns all people for not having tolerance for all things, while the other side hurts everyone by having no tolerance for anything. And behind it all is a bunch of unbridled fear, terrified someone is going to take something from them or make them into something they don’t want to be or do things they don’t want to do, while at the same time having things taken from them, being made into something they don’t want to be and doing things they don’t want to do, driven by the fear of what might be unless they organize and stand against it. People are afraid of the virus and afraid of the vaccine. They don’t believe the government, the doctors, the science or the results. People are actually dying standing for some supposed, eroded freedom rather than doing whatever it takes to survive. When did we as a nation become so damn terrified of everything? Indeed, we need stop being a nation of little b**ches!

Fear is much more complicated and has many more faces than we have actually considered. As with anything the adversary of mankind has manufactured, there are a multitude of hard to discern layers and levels. You can be fully engaged in a fight for what you think is right while at the same time fighting an illusion leading you down a false path. You can stand adamantly against your fear of something bad that might happen and simultaneously act out of fear in your stance. Fear is the only explanation for how a political belief can supersede your common sense logic, make wrong into right and call the light darkness and the darkness light. Of course we Americans are sensitive when it comes to our personal freedoms, it is the highlight of what we represent. Yet there is a vast amount of difference between matters concerning our personal liberty and matters founded in fear, distrust and blind attitudes and opinions based upon that fear. Somewhere, somehow, someone got to you and that someone’s name is fear.

Similarly, people today have become so afraid to trust their own judgments and make their own calls. Instead of trusting what they know to be true, they have opted instead for group think whereby the group decides what is right. Yet, that is not how God made them to be. People are generally successful when they go the way of their own choosing, not in rebellion, but in being the sole authority of what is right for them; for their lives. The wrong way and the wrong choices sooner or later show themselves in failure, as they necessarily must. Much failure experienced; much unhappiness; much lack of contentment is found in going ways that someone else decided for you either directly or indirectly via the mass of public opinion. After all is said and done, you must win the battle inside your own head and you alone must learn what is right; what works, what leads you in the right direction. And, you alone must overcome fear and all of its disguises whenever and wherever it shows up. You have to stop being such a little b**ch!

As a great man once said, fear is our only enemy. It is fear that is thwarting you at very turn. It is fear that has made you terrified about losing your job, your money, your livelihood. It is fear that has you following all the rules, whether they make sense to you or not. It is fear that steals away the joy of your day as you contemplate what you can possibly lose and how. Sometimes I think we need to break a few rules. Sometimes we need to challenge the assertions made by others concerning what we need to do to be okay. Sometimes we need to turn back to our own hearts and release it from the chains of what it reportedly must do and instead let it decide what we want to do. If you’re not careful this old world and the fear built into it will reduce your life into a shadow of what it once was. You (and me) are too damn afraid of what might happen. “If you aren’t careful this might happen!” “Watch out because if you go too far you could be headed for trouble!” What happened to trusting in your own heart to know what is too far or being able to accurately discern the trouble if it is coming or if it is not? You see, that is how people and ideologies and governments control you. Instead of landing squarely on what is, the argument is always based on what could be. You don’t think that you have the wherewithal to know what is happening in your life? Or do you need someone else to make that decision for you? I submit to you that all conjecture concerning what might be and not on what is, will always be based on fear in some capacity. Sometimes you need to travel down a few wrong paths to know what sucks. It seems better that you went down the road and learned than if you stayed home timid and afraid, to prove it to yourself.

This is certainly not a criticism of people and the affect that fear has on people’s lives. Instead it is an exhortation to stop being so damn afraid and get out there and live. Stop being such a little b**ch! Stop letting the world and people and even those closest to you, make all of your choices for you. What do you like? What do you want? What turns you on? Do those things. Do something new! Get up and off the fear couch and live. If something bad happens, so be it. If you get a bad result, that’s one thing you now know for sure. You cannot really discover and live and experience if you allow fear to define all of your parameters. You may actually find something new that you never knew before. You may find yourself experiencing a freedom you have not tasted yet. In the final analysis, God freed us from the bondage of fear in what He did for us in His son. He made us free so that we could live and love and experience and learn! Get out there and experience life! All of it! Quit being such a little b**ch! I love you…

Just some good thoughts…

The Money Myth…


od9i7c-b88788077z.120160909171642000gfpiob79.10It seems much time and energy has been spent convincing people with the least money of the lack of its importance in their lives. You hear it all the time from well-meaning folks busy explaining away money by either discounting it entirely or else demonizing it as a source of evil. However, when you observe people with plenty of money, it sure seems like a much more enjoyable existence compared to those justifying their apparent shortage while simultaneously implying the lack of its necessity for them. With money being the chief method of exchange in our culture, methinks someone has been getting their leg pulled on a massive scale. It’s as if those with the money must perpetuate the lies about money in order to keep if for themselves. There is no nobility in not getting your needs met, no matter what you may have been taught. The reality is that you need money in order to prosper and there is nothing wrong with pursuing it unless of course you have bought into the money myth.

The world we live in literally runs on money. The things you want in your life cost money. The better the things, the more those things cost. Yes, loving and worshipping money is going to bring you a lot of pain. Yes, being consumed with greed is going to tear you apart from the inside out. But, is that really the choice you are making? Who convinced you that your desire for good things is somehow evil or a contradiction to God and His goodness? Who worked it into your soul to feel as if you should have less than others have or that you cannot enjoy nice things? For most of us, and I think you will agree, the idea of actually pursuing money feels wrong as if we have been deceived by the world. But, is it wrong really? Chances are, if you are reading this, you aren’t working on your second hundred million. Instead you are more likely trying to climb up that rung from lower class to middle class or middle class to upper middle class. No matter where you find yourself, I think you have to agree, that having plenty of money unloads your life of a multitude of burdens. Money fights rarely appear from having too much, but instead from not having enough. The money myth works best on those who do not have enough. Is it you?

If I could go back in time, I would tell that younger version of myself to figure out the money thing sooner. What good is it to live your whole life preparing for a financially stable future only to be limited by your advanced age and diminishing energy levels. Why would it make sense to spend your most vital years going without the good things; the things that make you happiest? And while it is true that things cannot bring you happiness alone, having resources opens to you a world you may have never knew existed. Family vacations cost money. Nice homes cost money. Sharp, clean dependable vehicles cost money. Having more than enough in order to help others requires money. That’s not to say that all those things aren’t available with less money, but what is it that you want for your own life? That’s the real question. It’s not what it takes for you to survive, it’s what it takes for you to thrive. The less you have the more you owe and the less you are going to be able to experience life and you know it. Constantly defending your own lack of resources by your incredible ability to enjoy life with less really isn’t honest. Maybe you don’t need much and maybe I don’t either, but that’s not the question. The question is what do you need in order to thrive? Don’t allow the money myth to limit and define your possibilities.

If you think God is behind the limited resources game, you are mistaken. What conceivable difference could it make to God whether you make $50k a year or you made $200k a year? It seems that would be a decision you are making. And further, what would God’s purpose be in withholding something good from you? What lesson does lack teach you other than a constant source of consternation until you get it solved? If you are a parent, you know how important it is for you to be able to supply anything your children need and in most cases almost everything they want! Well, if your love for your children produces that response, imagine God, who is love, and His response towards you? With God, you are only limited by the poverty of your expectations! As a Christian myself, I know how screwed up you can be about money. But, those false concepts do not originate with God. To expect God to prosper me or supply me with plenty of money is the exact same thing, but God forbid I confess the latter! Can you see what I am trying to say? Money isn’t evil and for God’s sake you need it; plenty of it! You have to rid your mind of the money myth and think clearly about what it is that you need. If you lived in another time and had 15,000 sheep and 50,000 cattle you would be considered rich, not because of the livestock but because of the money the livestock represent! Praying for an abundant crop is the same thing as praying for higher pay. I’m not advocating living above your means, I’m advocating raising your means without feeling all effed up about it! God wants you to prosper and is well aware that our means of exchange is money! You do the math on that one!

I guess what I’m trying to say, if you can look past my obvious disdain for the lies we have been fed, is that you owe it to yourself and the people you love to believe God for His abundant supply. Don’t put limits where there are no limits. Poverty and lack is not noble or pleasing to God anymore than seeing your children struggle would bring you any joy. You know what makes parents of grown children happy? It is in seeing them succeeding on their own and getting to the place where they are no longer limited by lack!  Having more than enough isn’t the entire answer, but it is a great start! If you have suffered at the hands of the money myth, my prayer for you is that you would have the audacity, the boldness to believe for much; a true abundance! The world around you is evidence alone that you can get whatever it is you want to get, including more money, more resources, more than enough. Don’t spend another day living under the spell of the money myth! Think soundly without fear and prosper! That is always God’s will for your life!

Just some good thoughts…

Money, Money, Money…


This topic, the subject of this little blog, is decidedly abstruse, recondite, and arcane. We all want it, the more the better it seems, but the mystery concerning it is monumental. It’s the dirty little secret we don’t discuss in public. It’s something we think we understand, yet fail to understand. It can be the source of abundant pleasure as well as the source of copious amounts of pain. It’s a perplexing riddle that is both easy to solve and impossible to solve. It seems to represent both status and power, yet actually personifies neither. It appears to be elusive and reserved for a small, closed group, yet once you have it seems to replicate itself. It is the apparent cause of most people’s problems yet portrays itself as the solution to most people’s problems. It is the promise of the lottery ticket and the curse of having too much. Is it simply a means of exchange or does it symbolize so much more?

In our culture today, money represents a means of exchange for goods and services. We usually don’t have some cows for trade or bushels of wheat and barley. But, in America, we have money, cash in fist, dineros, dough. Money pays for the things that we need and want. If we do not have enough money, then we struggle in getting our needs met. Food costs money, homes cost money, cars cost money. Even our beloved fun and good times often cost money. Yet recognizing the vast impact money has on the quality of our lives, we fail to give it the priority it deserves. We harbor these confusing views concerning it. We have all heard the stories of the people that seem to have a lot of it and how reportedly difficult their life has become. Yet is it really the money that causes the problems or the failure on the part of the possessor to control themselves? In the United States we have an abundance of food, readily available and relatively cheap. And for this reason, we also have trouble with obesity. We can literally eat ourselves to death. We eat beyond our need or maybe beyond three people’s needs and lament our sluggish and diminished state. It seems then again to point more toward the mindset of the possessor than the availability of the resource.

It has been said that money rules the world. But, does it really? I think it would be more fair to say that money as the means of exchange determines in a large way just how happy you are going to be. Oh sure, we can all cling to the old adage that we don’t need it, usually said by people that don’t have it, as a sort of self-righteous stand against what it represents. But, I would submit that you still have to get your needs met. If you always have to say no to an activity or opportunity to do something, not because you don’t want to but because you cannot afford to, you are doing yourself a disservice. You are erroneously concluding that money is something you cannot obtain or shouldn’t obtain because of its so-called reported evils. But, what evil could be associated with a means of exchange? If you owned a chinchilla farm and paid for your needs with chinchillas, could someone accuse you of having too many chinchillas? Would anyone give you a solemn warning concerning the evils of having too many chinchillas and demand a reduction? You see, we got it all wrong in this regard. The love of money is the root of all evil not because money is evil, but because the love of it is and loving it as the source (not a means) in your life leads you down a path replete with pain, suffering and misery. Like the rich person that cannot say no to things because they can afford them or the obese person who cannot say no to food because it tastes good, the issue isn’t the money, it is the control you have over yourself. God is the source of our lives and the source of the money we need to buy things. Thinking He is opposed to you having more than enough money to get your needs met, to get your wants satisfied, to be able to bless and help others get their needs met, is not thinking soundly.

The point, if you haven’t gotten it by now, is that it is your responsibility, with God’s help, to crack the money code. Figure it out and figure it out quickly. Don’t live out your existence with a growing list of unmet needs. Stop acting like it is noble to go without all the time. If your Daddy owns the cattle on a thousand hills, do you think He would be the one opposing you? And for God’s sake, get it out of your head that you are somehow being greedy. People that are truly greedy never entertain the thought that they are being greedy. Instead wonderful people like you and me are the ones that entertain it. Those of you who are parents, how do you handle getting your kid’s needs met? I would submit, as a parent, that you would do whatever it took to get your child something they really wanted, let alone what they actually needed! You would spare no effort in figuring out a way to bless them. Well, how about God? Do you really think he is checking and stifling you to live below par; to settle for less; to go with your needs and wants unmet because the fulfillment of those things requires some dough? Hardly! Again, we have been sold a bill of goods…

Money is simply a means of exchange and while you don’t always need the money, but instead need the thing, there is absolutely nothing wrong in believing God to get the money. Money isn’t evil, loving it and trusting it and worshipping it more than God is evil. I would guess that most people, not all people, have less money than they need and are selling themselves short in settling for less than what God, as The Loving Parent, would want them to have. Raise your expectations. Cease from considering that your lot in life is to be meager and limited when God is unlimited! You already know, right now today, if you don’t have enough, right? Well, there are lots of people that have more than enough; way more. The limit isn’t God, the limit is you! Money, money, money! Get some! You need it…

 

Are You For or Against Yourself? (That is the question…)


Okay so you have one life, one shot, one go round, one opportunity to live your life. Your life here on earth has an expiration date and each day that passes brings you that much closer to your end date. Once you reach the final paragraph of your story only one question remains. Were you for or against yourself? Did you vote for you or did you vote with the public opinion? Did you consistently think the best of yourself despite your foibles and absurdities or did you regularly draw the wrong conclusions and come up short because of those conclusions? Who you think you are in the depths of your heart is who you are whether you choose correctly or not. Your limitations, your failures, your struggles are largely self imposed, not because of fate or God or life, but because you failed to recognize a vast array of assumptions you have been making about yourself. Are you for or against yourself?

It is incredulous to me, amidst the same weaknesses and foolishness I likewise entertain, how easy it is to think poorly of yourself. Something your dad told you a hundred years ago frightfully maintains the power to live on in your thoughts long after your father has departed. Some early failure or difficulty somehow casts a spell on your future existence forever etching in your mind what you can and cannot do. Once you were labeled insecure or shy or weak or dumb or average, persists despite a thousand pieces of evidence to the contrary! In that I submit to you that those things continue only because you allow them to continue. You have failed to challenge the false beliefs and as such drawn disastrous conclusions about who you are and worse what you can accomplish with your life.

Us humans are thinking machines, running a myriad of things through our heads every day. Much of what goes on in our minds is pure nonsense heavily influenced by the things we see and experience around us. And like sheep that have gone astray, we sort of fall in line with the story. We blindly accept our thoughts as if they contain some type of magical truth serum from which we cannot escape. It’s no wonder we think this way as we have long heard erroneous idioms preaching the heart knows all, implying truth preexists in our hearts. That could not be further from the truth! Your heart knows only what you have been feeding it and if you’ve been feeding it lies about yourself, that becomes your truth. And though it be miles from the truth, it still becomes your truth…

Your defeat and mine comes from a failure to recognize the hundred-fold falsehoods assaulting our minds from sun up to sun down. Our human conclusions are completely devoid of logic. Stealing some item once or twice does not make you a thief any more so than making a good play on the sports field makes you a premier athlete. If you could add up the time encompassing your life, you would see that your mistakes; your lapses in judgment make up a fraction of your total life. Yet, we can spend a lifetime assigning ourself future misery for errors that occurred in milliseconds by comparison. And, we are quick to breeze past our successes though they took many years to produce. Any scientist would quickly point out the illogic of those conclusions. This alone should reveal to you that there is something behind our thoughts, ever working to bring us down to some fate or shame.

Your responsibility (and mine) is to recognize and confront those wrong beliefs. In other words, when you hear the tape playing that says you will never overcome that weakness or will never have any money because all your relatives are poor, or you will never amount to much or you cannot maintain a good relationship, or what the hell ever else, challenge those erroneous assumptions! It doesn’t matter if you have been failing in that area for 50 years, it’s your job to rewrite the tape! It’s not who you are for God’s sake, it’s what you have been believing and you can always change what you believe, that is unless you’ve assigned yourself some harsh fate and refuse to stop voting against yourself!

In the final analysis, you have only one life with which to succeed or fail. You have only one heart, one mind, one shot at this thing! Make the decision; one of the best potential decisions of your life, to cease from being your own worst enemy! Stop telling yourself and rehearsing all that stupid, awful shit! Stop dredging up the “long-dead” past! Stop allowing the terrible things people have said about you, even the people you love and respect, to define you or forever entomb you in negative self-judgment. Some sad people have been carrying around some dreadful thing someone said about them 25 years ago. Back then you may have been a complete jackass. You may have been selfish and self-centered and even caused a tremendous amount of pain, but you don’t have to be that person today! You are not defined by your past, you are defined by what you think about today…

I’m certainly not casting judgment on you or implying I’ve got it all figured out. Like you, I can get caught up in mountains of self-doubt and insecurity, but I thank God for the days when I can see it all so clearly. I thank God for patiently teaching me and shining the light so brightly that I can finally recognize what I’ve been saying to myself and to stop it in that very moment. That same God will do likewise for you if you want it and trust me, you want it!

It’s not selfish or self-centered to vote for yourself! It is simply acknowledging that God gave you the same privilege to control your thinking as He gave to everyone else. Think and say things to yourself that you would say to someone you deeply love because after all, before you can love others you have to love yourself! Love yourself… Vote for yourself!

I love you…

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..

Birthday Blog #57


31577004_10216052592129486_1231818185523593216_oAs I reflect back on another trip around the sun, I cannot help but be filled with great thankfulness and joy for the sweetness that surrounds me in this life. As a youngster in college, a generous and loving man reached out to me and introduced me to God. I should say more formally introduced me, as God and I had many conversations in the past, but back then I only hoped He was all that I thought He should be. Since that immortal day, my life has never been the same.

Back then I, like you, was full fear and trepidation about life. And although I had all the vim and vigor that surrounds youth, I was still pretty shaky about how it would all turn out. I mean let’s face it, life can be pretty scary with loads of potential pitfalls. In college, I had some run-ins with a couple of religious groups and I knew I didn’t want that! I didn’t want anything that seemed designed solely to make me feel bad about myself! Shoot, I didn’t even know I was looking for something, but apparently I was.

Then I took this class called PFAL (Power for Abundant Living) and learned the Bible for myself. Holy shit, I found the holy grail. I found a congruous whole that didn’t cause me to sneeze, cough or sputter! I found out that God was not only all I had hoped He would be, but He was even better than that. I learned that He is only good and never changes in His views towards me. My life took off like gangbusters as I began to shed fears like old skin. I was living on the high road and the sky literally was the limit. (Cliche junction)

Some years later as my children got older and my purpose became less clear, I, like you, sort of lost my way a little bit. I forgot about how good God was to me and began to see Him in a different light. Oh, He didn’t change, I did! I learned from certain folks that the Way I knew and loved so much, wasn’t really as easy and free as I thought. I was taught rules and regulations and requirements that accompany maturity – so-called. And, apparently all those days I was living the high life were really just a figment of my youth and real life, life with God was damn arduous and fraught with the danger of “blowing it” or worse. Welcome to the life suck club.

I found out the hard way, that once you get captured by religion, the way back is difficult. That stuff attaches to your brain like oil and you can’t just wash it out overnight. In fact, it likely will claim years of your life. However obnoxious it begins, it seems less impactful as I imagine you get used to its claims. All you know is that you now have fear where you used to have love. In your desperation, you try to do good works hoping the Lord will start to like you again like He did before. The harder you work, the less He seems to care and you start morphing into those people you hate; the ones filled with self-righteousness, but miserable as f*ck! You’re struggling, but God is still bigger than your malarky!

Then, not suddenly but surely, something or someone gets you back to God’s Word; the Word that saved you and changed you and blessed you. And in your private quest, you, like me, begin to discover who God is again. You read what it says and you study what it says and you begin to relish what it says and just like that it dawns on you! The light at first flickers then glows into full flame. All this bullshit you have been thinking and regretting and worrying about God is not true and it was never true. You were taught incorrectly. You were led off course. You got sucked down a rabbit hole and lived there for way too long!

As you shake off the last vestiges of error, your heart wakes up. Your sleepy, numbed, slightly wilted heart wakes back up. You understand the profound significance of keeping your head in God’s Word and putting nothing ahead of the truth of God’s Word! You see, glory heallelujah, that it’s not famous charasmatic men that saved you, but God in the sublime accomplishments of His son, carefully outlined in His Word. You catch glimpses of not only who you are, but who you have the potential to be! You feel like you got some power going on inside and you need to let it out to help set others free; the free you cherish so dearly!

You may now be thinking this a sad story or a warning for how you live your life.  It’s not. What this is – is an ever-growing thankfulness and joy and blessed love between a son and his Heavenly Father. It is a deep, heartfelt, inexpressible gratefulness for having a God that never gives up on you even when you sort of give up on Him. It’s indescribable joy that comes from the pure truth minus the religious admixture. It is 57 glorious years of life on earth with God as my backbone, my rock and my fortress. It is, “Life – you don’t frikkin scare me anymore!” It’s just the greatest ride ever and I wouldn’t change one piece of it!

You, like me, should learn about God and not allow the promoters of religious sacrifice to rob you of one of the greatest experiences you could ever have, not just now, but throughout all eternity! God is not too good to be true, He is so good He is true! He is your first love that makes all your other loves that much sweeter… Choose God! Choose love!

I am one blessed individual…

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…

 

 

On the Right Track…


5b1ea610177297.5602f76c6f380

I was on Legacy Parkway the other day when I noticed the Front Runner train approaching parallel to me in the distance. As he got closer, I heard him whisper, “Do you want to go?” I replied out loud, “Ahh yeah, let’s do this!” I got to about 70 mph when I remembered the speed limit on the parkway was 55. I let him go because I already got him. As he whistled off into the distance, bright red and blue on a pristine carriage of sparkling white, I thought, that train is a powerful beast as long as he stays on his track!

If you’ve taken time to notice, everything in the natural realm has a right environment in which to function. As long as it stays in its rightful lane, it does what it was designed to do and does it effortlessly. When it gets out of it’s lane, it ends up as roadkill. Birds fly and no obstacle is too tall for them to fly over. Fish swim but flounder on the bank. Snakes slither in the underbrush and are damn hard to corner. However, humans are a little different. Their domain is all domains because they’ve been blessed with the ability to think. And because they can think and rely less on any natural programming, they have a responsibility to keep themselves on track; the right track.

How can you determine if you are on track? Well, how do you feel? So simple, yet profoundly true. My dogs sometimes poop on the unfinished basement floor because it feels like the outside. But you’re not a dog and know where you are. All people know where they are. They may not like it and they may not want to stay there, but they always know where they are. Unhappiness, discontent, distress and worry serve to show you that you are off track. When it doesn’t feel right it usually aint right and no amount of liquor is going to change it. When you are about to make a bad move you know it’s a bad move because your central nervous system makes you nervous! Having sex with your wife has no down side. But notice how you feel after sex with that woman you just met last night!

The right track has no downside either. It feels good because it is good. The choices you make while at peace will never lead you astray. But, make a decision based on fear and you’ll soon recognize your error. And even if you’ve gotten used to feeling numb, the sting of the wrong track will always make its presence felt. The trouble is we have gotten so used to ignoring our feelings and succumbing to this person and that collective idea, that we fail to operate our greatest weapon, our thought. What is true for you is true and those subtle urgings that command your greatest attention are your way to go; your only way to go. Not to worry, the system is flawless, replete with checks and balances. If, in your immaturity, you choose badly, you will learn it. If your motive was bad, that won’t escape you either. You know; you always know because of how you feel.

Life is lived best in its subtlety. It’s not found in grand decisions like where you’ll live or what profession you will choose. It’s found in a thousand seemingly insignificant choices that surround you every day. Just as a small departure from the tracks spells disaster for a speeding train, subtle compromises from good add together to ruin a life. It’s not the 85% you get right day by day that troubles you. It’s the 15% you are getting wrong. It’s the bad habits, the distractions, the time thieves, the hours spent in worrisome thoughts, the fears, the compromises, the apathy, the letting go. It’s wrong motives and selfish desires that strong-arm away your happiness. It’s not saying “no” when you know the answer should be no! We feel sublime on a diet not from immediate weight loss but from finally exercising self-control!

The right track is you feeling how God always intended for you to feel. There’s a reason we call delightful things – heaven! It’s the contented, peaceful, joyful you, minus all the bullshit. It’s you making the right choices in a 24 hour period and then having the opportunity to start all over again tomorrow! Looking forward on outstretched tip toes is as deleterious as craning your neck back to rehearse afresh the past. Life is to be lived on the right track today while letting tomorrow bring what it may. How much precious life have we wasted struggling to get to some place that has been struggling to get to us? How many mistakes that occurred in a microsecond of time live on and on, imprisoned in our memories today?

Your hopes, your dreams and every good thing you have ever envisioned is still there for you. To find it you must only get yourself on the right track. There is no requirement to be any smarter than you already are. The only requirement is to keep yourself in that place called “good” and cleave to it as if your life depended upon it. You don’t need laws and commandments and rules to do it. All you need is a willingness to listen to your own heart and even more willingness to make the necessary changes to stay the course. The fool will continue in reckless abandon and defy the bad feelings to his own demise. The wise soul will find sooner or later that all he needs to do is obey.

Don’t spend another moment of your life in endless prayers and questioning. Cease searching for some mysterious intruder wreaking havoc on your life. Instead slow your roll and pay attention to what’s happening all around you. Take note of how you feel and trace it back to some thought, some decision, some thing you just did and garner for yourself its lesson. Don’t beat yourself into religious submission to rules and dogmas that make no sense to you. The right choice always feels right and no so-called expert can dispute it. The converse holds true as well, though the whole nation calls it right!

You’re no Front Runner train my friend, and your choices are almost unlimited. The right track has a million destinations but there is always only one way to get there. Choose good! Choose the right track!

Just some good thoughts…