Love… Why Don’t We Express it?


I had a great conversation with my grown son Joshua (Yoshie) this weekend. We talked about how people, especially people that are close to one another have such a hard time expressing their love, or for that matter expressing all types of good things they probably should be saying. What is about being kind and tenderhearted that causes us to take pause instead of moving forward? Why would we wait until people are sick or dying before we endeavor to communicate years of wonderful feelings we haven’t ever shared, or at least haven’t shared with any meaningful consistency? Why would your love for someone be left unspoken?

I remember some years ago adapting a Dale Carnegie principle regarding building people up, to my immediate family. I called it, “I love you because…” The object of my little experiment was to make an opportunity for our family to say things to one another we may have never said before. Basically, each of us wrote on a 3 x 5 card the family member’s name with the phrase, “I love you because…” to be filled in with some meaningful reason we loved that particular person. We chose one person to be the receiver of our words and went around the table expressing why we loved that specific family member. Then, each person expressed verbally why they loved their sister or mother etc. Once each person had shared to the family member, we moved on to the next receiver. Little did I know at the time, there would be such heartfelt emotion behind those words. Between the wine and the words there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. We didn’t just shed a teardrop here and there, but took part in some full on crying in our deeply felt love for one another. In that moment, between tears, I realized something profound. We all loved each other so much, but rarely felt permission to openly share those feelings. The love was always there and the tears weren’t sad tears at all, but we simply rarely said things like that to each other. Thank God we did it! (And for being the biggest part behind that little idea.)

So, if we feel it so strongly, why won’t we say it? Is it because it makes us feel vulnerable? Do we fear it won’t be reciprocated, ridiculed or made fun of in some fashion? All of us had a different upbringing. All of our parents had their own upbringing as well. In some homes, expressions of love flowed freely like water. In other homes those words were hard to come by. But, if those words were rare, it’s hardly fair to blame your parents. Chances are those words were scarce in their homes as well. Imagine trying to feel comfortable expressing your love for someone if hardly anyone ever expressed those words to you. It’s such a conundrum because though not expressed, we know that the love is there. So, we wait for some dire situation to force us into saying the things we haven’t said before. It’s like there is no time left to wait. But, here’s a thought. The people you love so much need to hear those words now, and later, and often in-between. You cannot really lose by saying those things. Even if the person you love makes fun of your heartfelt notion, inside in their heart, underneath all of that cover and pretend toughness, they needed to hear it from you, right when you said it! Just say it!

It’s so odd that in the world today, feelings of tenderness and kindness and love are shunned as if they represent weakness or perhaps aren’t manly or appropriate. It’s like to be a man you need to withhold your love in favor of toughness as a sort of preparation for the things your offspring (namely boys) might experience in the world. I can assure you, the best way to build someone up to face the challenges of life is with your love. You want your son to be strong? Shower him with love and acceptance. Ironically, few people have any trouble expressing their love to young children. Young children are safe recipients of our love. But, what about being a teenager or young adult negates that principle? Your 30 year old daughter needs that expression of love as much, if not more now, than when she was 5. We all need it desperately. Your brother you grew up with, who drove you absolutely nuts, needs your expressions of love. Your father who didn’t treat you right (God bless him as he was trying to figure it out also) needs your heartfelt expressions of love. Don’t wait until they deserve it, do it while they don’t deserve it. Do it now.

The only way to break the negative cycle is for you to break it. It really doesn’t matter if you receive it first. You be the first to break the cycle. Shower people with your love and kindness of heart. Have you ever ran into a truly kind person and left the better for it? You know what it did for you, right? So, you do it. Tell your wife you have being quietly residing beside for 30 years, how you feel. Tell her she is beautiful. Tell her what living with her has done for you over the years and the better person you are as a result of it. Tell her! Yes, I know she knows, but you tell her anyway! Your friend who always has your back and stands with you despite all your bullshit, tell them as well. It’s not weird or out of place. It’s weird not to tell them. You see, you and I have to be the initiators of the love. Take the first step. Don’t make it odd or difficult or risky. There is no risk in loving someone. The risk is found by not saying what you feel when you feel it. That’s the real tragedy.

Don’t love in silence even though you both know the feelings are there. Love outloud! Say it, express it, do it. I love you because…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Spread a Little Sunshine…


The Corona Virus pandemic has certainly done a fine job of screwing with everyone’s minds in various proportions. Some folks have taken to buying one hundred toilet paper rolls guaranteeing unlimited wiping for the foreseeable future. Others have seen fit to hoard bread and soup and even the spices. Salt anyone? Oddly, bottled water has reached an epic peak as preparation for Armegeddon marches on! Some geographic locales have locked the populace down entirely for fear of an increased spread. Whatever the reactions, ranging from mild annoyance over lost conveniences to abject terror, ye old virus has done a dandy on the minds of Americans. So, what the hell can you do about it?

First, it is important to put things in their proper perspective. Things like this have been happening in the world almost since time began. There have been world wars and rumors of wars. There have been plagues and other health vexations for centuries. There have been catastrophes of unparalleled proportions. The threat of nuclear annihilation only just recently fell out of fashion. In short, there is always something going wrong, somewhere, to some people. It is all a million variations of the same threat, namely fear. Fear has no logical endpoint, because as soon as one fear is overcome, another pops up to take its place. Fear doubles down on bad circumstances and invites more and more disaster. Fear seeks to convince you there is nothing you can do about a situation; severely limits your options and boldly asserts that God is dead! But, God is not dead my friends and He is inifintely bigger than any dreadful thing that rises up against you. Fear is a liar from the father of lies. Remaining in fear you cannot hope to win. Fear is negative outcomes accepted and believed before they come to pass. Fear is truly your only enemy!

In the midst of trying circumstances, you really have only one responsibility. Stop being afraid. Fear not! Fear will have you engaged in all kinds of crazy shit! (toilet paper anyone? – pun intended) Decisions made in fear are not decisions at all, but rather forced behaviors you neither chose or agreed to. Fear is a bully taking advantage of your mind and your human tendency towards futility. I mean, how much control do you really think you have over world events? What could you possibly do in your little reasoning machine to effect any change over what is going on? You cannot wish away negative circumstances, but you can sure as hell refuse to participate any longer. Do you really think that you or a scientist or the medical profession can have any serious, lasting impact over things that are based in the spiritual realm? The only thing that defeats spiritual negativity is spiritual positivity! In other words, instead of furthering the spread of negativity and fear, you must learn how to spread a little sunshine instead. Literally, shed some light on the subject. Be part of the solution. Wake up, stand up and get out there expecting something good to happen. You may not change the world, but you can change how things are going to work out for you. You are the only thing you can control. Instead of falling in line with the other sheep heading towards the cliff, turn around. Go the other way. Decide, “not me boy” and get out there and live.

It has been my experience that God can turn anything around if enough people can get behind that notion. I’m quite sure God is very familiar with what is going on right now. I’m also sure He loves your loved ones at least as much as you do. If you got sick, I’m quite sure He could heal you. Nothing that ever happens comes as a surprise to God. He has foreknowledge which means He already knows. And because He knows, He also has a solution for you. Your job is not to try and wrangle with fear, but instead trust God and find the solution. The alternative is almost certain defeat. God is infinitely bigger than anything you will ever come up against! Trusting God means making a decision to stop being afraid. Then, in response to that, let that shit go Elsa! (Peloton reference) Walk away from it. Let it go! Don’t worry yourself over it for another second. If there is nothing God can do when faced with a world pandemic, He certainly wouldn’t be much of a God, would He? Well, there is something He can do, but you have to learn to trust Him and let Him do it! Start spreading a little sunshine…

This too will pass. One day you will look back on this time and wonder how you let it get you so shook up. But, you will have wasted a lot of time in churning and stressing over something you had no control over. If you think about; I mean really consider it, nothing you have ever feared was ever within your realm of control. At some point, hopefully, you decided to let it go. Trusting God is always about letting it go. Just as you have enjoyed a beautiful day basking in the sunshine, put that sunshine on in your mind today. Inject some light into your thinking. Stop reasoning with potential catastrophes and walk in the light. Walk in the sunshine feeling the warmth of the One that invented sunshine. There’s a reason sunny days make you feel so happy. It is God, don’t you see it? It is God enlightening and uplifting your life. Sure, we may have some hardships to endure, but just as there are rains and storms in life, the sun always comes back out. It has to…

I, like you, am not sure what lies ahead. I have also considered economic collapse, sickness and mass misery in the days ahead. But, I haven’t considered it for very long! I decided I am going to continue spreading the sunshine, no matter how dark it gets, because my life isn’t based on what things look like, but rather on the promises of God. You too, my friend, can spread the sunshine. Help somebody else out and get your mind off yourself. Bless people, love people and remember God is bigger, much, much bigger… There will always be a way out for us. Believe that and spread a little sunshine instead…

Just some good thoughts…

Connecting the Dots…


Life in its basic essence is spiritual. It originated from a spiritual source (God) who embodies love in every capacity possible. The creation is infused with order and laws that do not change. There are principles that cannot be altered. When the proper chain of reasoning is applied, you cannot fail. But, in order to be successful, you have to connect the dots.

The main reason that people suffer is from not knowing nor understanding the truth. In not knowing, they fall prey to a wicked despot working through the systems of the world to bring heartache and loss. He succeeds by introducing error, which when believed and practiced brings defeat. Though immensely intricate and well thought out, it can be summarized simply as those things that contradict the truth. Fear, which rules the world, is always error. Though it be justified and rationalized and even accepted as part of the human condition, it is man’s basic enemy which must be defeated. In the proportion that men overcome fear, they enjoy health, prosperity and success. In those areas where fear is permitted to remain, they suffer loss. Fear is the primary weapon the adversary uses to control and enslave people. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it is fear. In order to connect the dots, you have to recognize those areas where fear prevails and defeat it.

Fear feeds on and works according to principle; an unchanging principle that God set up for mankind; namely that those things a man believes in his heart will come to pass in his life. When operated positively, a man can overcome any challenge, achieve any result and see the impossible come into reality in his existence. However, believing also has a dark, negative side called fear. Fear is wrong believing. Fear is believing in reverse. Fear is becoming persuaded of some negative, potential outcome and holding onto that imaginary outcome until it too comes to pass in your life. The enemy parasitically leeches off this basic principle to bring evil and pain upon all people. The reason it has worked so successfully is because of man’s ignorance of the truth. Worse, many people aren’t even cognizant that they are afraid as fear has many, many disguises. It shows up as procrastination, as anger, as settling for less than the best, as a loss of enthusiasm and energy. It produces stilted actions, shame and all manner of ingenuine behaviors and hypocritical stage acting. It is life that has stopped moving forward, frozen in place and unable to move freely. It is the antithesis of love and as such is only overcome by love. Properly connecting the dots means to choose love.

Of all of the principles a man can employ in his life, love is the most powerful. God is love. Love activates believing; positive believing which yields phenomenal results. The actions you take in love cannot fail. Love is the great overcomer, able to heal and deliver and rescue from any situation you find yourself in. Love, when properly applied from your heart, melts fear away exposing it for the illusion it always was. Love isn’t just warm feelings but more so warm actions directed towards other people and yourself. Love is a decision made not from repayment but as a free-will offering expecting nothing in return. Love is the truth exemplified in actions. God so loved that He gave! We so love that we give. All men need God’s love and until they receive it are unable to fully love themselves. God loves us into loving ourselves. He looks past our foibles and our failings. He loves us unconditionally without any merit on our part to earn it. He forgives the unforgivable and sets us free from guilt and condemnation. He gave us His son, the perfect for the imperfect, forever liberating mankind from a cruel and hateful opponent. In this life you triumph as you connect the dots that God is love, the source and the originator of it.

Connecting the dots in your life means opening your heart to the truth. It means applying God’s system of logic rather than the world’s dog eat dog logic. It is refusing the endless pursuit of number one in favor of the pursuit of helping meet the needs of number two and three and four. It is shifting your focus away from yourself, your unmet needs, your problems, your difficulties and frustrations and turning them over to someone else; namely God. It is choosing to give instead of always trying to get and then receiving because of it. It is the polar opposite of how the world propounds things work! It is unselfish because it isn’t terrified its own needs won’t be met. It places its trust in the hands of another instead of always trying to figure out everything for itself. Connecting the dots means doing things God’s way, with God’s heart of love and concern for all people.

In these tumultious times we find ourselves in today, don’t fret and get anxious or worry how things are going to turn out. Learn to connect the dots spiritually and see for yourself that God is love and that in Him is no darkness at all. In so doing, not only will you enjoy the life that now is, but also the life that will never end. Connect the dots!

Just some good thoughts…

All I Want for Christmas is Love…


Christmas and the holidays in general bring back fond memories of times gone past; times filled with love and happiness and joy. It reminds us of the warm times we spent with our families; times when the people we ran into had a little more love, a little more kindness in their hearts. And yet for others, the holidays sometimes trigger sad feelings of loss and memories of loved ones who are no longer around. Or, they remind us of a better time; a time when things were simple and our lives were going the way we wanted them to go before we grew up and had to face a world that wasn’t always on our side. Whether our memories are pleasant or painful, what we all really want for Christmas is love…

We can all remember those precious times when we were young when we excitedly anticipated the big day when the mythical Santa came to visit and brought us the things that made us happy. Those days were all about ourselves and we didn’t take time to consider that someone was behind the scenes diligently attending to our happiness. We were completely unaware of the sacrifices someone was making to buy us the thing they really couldn’t afford or how many stores they searched to locate the last remaining big hit, popular thing that every child had to have. And why did they go to all of the trouble? They did it simply to bless us. They did it for the smile on our faces. They did it out of pure, unconditional love…

Flash forward thirty years and now we find ourselves the ones responsible for manufacturing the joy. Now, we are the ones expending the effort, carefully planning for the big day, worrying that maybe we missed something or that maybe someone didn’t get enough. And although we love a nice gift like anyone else, our real joy was found in the giving. Our true expression of love; indeed any expression of love always involves giving. And so we gave out of the love in our hearts and revelled in the joy that followed. Nothing brings a parent or a grandparent as much happiness as the happiness on the faces of those little ones. And in giving we found out what Christmas was all about. We learned that it is more blessed to give than to receive. And all that we gave, we gave out of love.

But, as we grew older with a few years under our belts and we no longer had to get up at 5:00 in the morning, we began to see a greater lesson. When our family starts to show up at our house with their parcels and merriment, excitedly bustling around, talking more loudly than usual with laughter abounding, we look at their smiling faces and we finally get it. These precious people, young and old, are what we really want. We treasure being around the people whom we love so dearly. We want to capture the moments forever. It’s the people, can’t you see it? It’s the love we share expressed in mutual smiles and warmth in our hearts. It’s the touch on someone’s shoulder or the clasp of a hand. It’s the laughter and goodness that follows our close associations. It’s the hugs and the tenderness of families and friends that is expressed in mutual affection. It’s your love and their love and shared love! It’s the love…

If you find yourself unhappy at this time of year, or just don’t seem able to capture the Christmas spirit, remember Christmas is just a day like any other day. It’s not magical or blessed, it’s just one day among many other days. The magic comes when you decide to stop making it about yourself; what you have and don’t have; what you’ve lost and where things went bad, but instead make it about someone else. We all feel that pang at times of simpler days long gone, but don’t let that discourage you. Living in this world, we all have access to other people, whether it be our family or our friends or that lonely lady who lives close by. So, you gather yourself up, set yourself aside for a minute, wipe the tears from your eyes and go love someone else. It’s not so important what you give, but that you give even if all you have to offer is some warmth and good intention from the heart. I think you’ll find that what everyone really wants for Christmas is love, love, love. Give love!

With the big day looming on the horizon, remember to give love. Whether you spent a fortune on someone special or made all your gifts yourself, what the people will fondly remember is your love. Our great God is a God of love and as such made His love the priority of our hearts; of all people’s hearts. Decide to love someone this Christmas. Decide to go out of your way to express that kindness and love. Get along with the difficult ones and give the sour ones a heartfelt pass. Love someone else with all that you are and see for yourself how wonderful love is. God is love. All I want for Christmas is love…

Just some good thoughts…

How to Get Back Your Tender Heart…


The number one reason people feel unhappy and unfulfilled in their lives is due to hardness of heart. Hardness of heart is subtle in that when your heart has gotten hard you are no longer aware of it, much like a callous on your hand. You can no longer discern you are getting poked! Today we focus on what you can do to get back your tender heart. I say back because your heart started out very tender, like the heart of a child, but the world and circumstances, disappointments and failures, as well as error believed then practiced rendered your heart hard and lacking feeling. It left you desensitized and numb to the true realities of life; those realities God wants you to experience. So, how can you get back your tender heart?

If you strip away all of the trimmings; get beyond all external appearances; get down to the very heart of things, all of us are the same. And although people are as varied and unique as the stars in the sky in multitude, we all want the same things. We all need love and acceptance; to belong and to feel needed. We have similar fears and dreads as well as similar aspirations for good health and prosperity. We all seek to get our needs met and the needs of those we love. Keeping this in mind is a good starting point for maintaining a tender heart. No matter how someone appears to be, whether abrasive and apparently heartless, aggressive and inflammatory, behind the facade is a scared, helpless person. At any given moment in time, all you may be exposed to is a version of that person, completely dependent upon where that person is coming from at any given time. Fear, which is error (also called sin or literally a stepping aside), is the number one hardener of your heart. Fear attempts to puff you up with a foolish disregard for things or people in an effort to protect you. Fear stops you from displaying the kindness and tenderness that is inherent inside. Fear of rejection or fear of not fitting in with the group leads you to all sorts of things that aren’t really you at all. Getting rid of fear with all of its associated lies is the first place to go to get back your tender heart. There was a time when you weren’t afraid of everything, that is until someone or some people taught you otherwise. Fear is a lie and like every lie believed, hardens your heart. Get rid of your fear…

Error in its most basic essence is the polar opposite of truth. The only sure way to discern truth from error is to know and understand God’s heart for His people, which can be found in His Word. Error, though almost always appealing, carries within it the seeds of error that damage and corrupt the vessel. Something can look good and feel good; be completely accepted by society, but if it’s basic essence is based on error it will only serve to hurt you. It will degrade and blunt your sharpness leading to more error and more heartache. All of us succumb to error in one capacity or another, but what matters most is what is in our hearts. Your heart will always respond favorably to goodness, to kindness, to love. And accordingly, your heart will always respond negatively to evil; to those being mean-spirited, to hatred. Thus your responsibility is to make love your basic response. As a great man once said, “Love sees more but is willing to see less.” Love covers a multitude of sins, because love comes from your heart. You want your heart to be more tender? Give people love! Bathe them in it. Love anyway… Practice kindness with absolutely no fear of a lack of repayment. Be tender in your approach and don’t reserve that tenderness solely for your children or grandchildren. If you think that through a little, the reason we can be tender with a child is because we have no fear of our love being rejected. Well, here’s a newsflash, no matter how that adult responded or how they behaved in the moment, they appreciated your expression of love at least as much as that child did. Trust me on that one. You want a tender heart, give out love to everyone. Once you know something is error, get rid of it. Love is at the basis of every good thing, so get rid of error and live love…

So let’s be honest with each other now. The reason your heart has gotten hard is because you have been damaged. You’re not weak or too sensitive, as many would purport, but rather, living in the world today, chances are you have been assaulted many times by an enemy you can neither see nor discern. You have been assailed often unfairly by a system setup to hurt you and break you down. Your adversary seeks only to steal from you and as such he steals away your happiness, your tenderheartedness, your true feelings of love and compassion and he does so because he hates God and all that is associated with God. God isn’t your problem ever, but his opponent is. Thus what you need most is God’s healing. You need Him to right the ship. You need God to make your crooked places straight. You need God to heal your broken heart. God is able to restore your heart and teach you how to feel again. You need God’s unconditional love. You need to know in His sight you are worthy and worth something, not because of what you do, but because of what He did for you. God and God alone can restore your heart and make life worth living again. God can open the eyes of your heart to the greater realities of life and make your path clear and obvious. Then, filled with His love and goodness, you can reach out and help all those other poor souls suffering and navigating a miserable existence. You want your tender heart back, get God’s healing for your life…

A tender heart is the best kind of heart. Get yours back my friends…

Just some good thoughts…

Do You Love Yourself, Flaws and All?


The other day I was listening to a teaching from my good buddy Mark Wallace. He told a story about an experiment where people were asked to describe themselves to a criminal sketch artist. Then, those same folks were also described to the sketch artist by their friends. Amazingly, the friends’ description of the person looked much more like the person than their own description! Why, you ask? Because when people described themselves they overly focused on their perceived flaws, resulting in an image not even close to how they really looked. So the question that begs is, do you love yourself, flaws and all?

People tend to be brutal in their own estimation of themselves. They have been caught up in a culture that falsely represents who people are and as such have been talked into focusing on everything they are not instead of everything they truly are. They have forgone any recognition of all that makes them unique and wonderful in favor of an obsession with having to be something the world deems acceptable or beautiful or admirable. They magnify their “wrong behaviors” out of all proportion in comparison to their “right behaviors.”  In short, they have believed lies and accusations concerning themselves; failed to recognize them as such, and landed at a place where they don’t even like themselves much less love themselves.

The root of this dilemma stems back as far as there have been people to trip up. The enemy of mankind knows that if you can divide people against themselves, they become weak and easy to defeat. If you can progress deep enough into their psyche they eventually become their own worst enemy hurling internal insults at their own selves and perpetually shaming themselves, the end point of which is self-loathing and a complete loss of self-respect. Oh no-one is going to tell you this, much less admit it to themselves. But, it is a distinct reality of the human condition. There’s so little love in the world because people don’t even love themselves. Or worse, love does not prevail because people have a distorted view of what love is. They think love and self-respect accompany financial success or having a “perfect” body, marrying the right person or getting into the right school. They wrongly assign love worthy acts as something they must do or be in order to be worthy of love. And, in never being able to fully realize those love worthy acts or become, by their good behavior, love worthy people, they eek out love to themselves as if it was a scarce commodity.

Loving yourself is a decision you make about yourself in the same way it is a decision you make about other people. When you have a new baby, no-one has to remind you to love them. When you meet a potential life partner, though you hardly recognize it, you have made a conscious decision to love that person. You didn’t “fall” in love, you chose love based upon certain criteria you already decided. In the same way, you make a decision to love yourself! You cannot say, as some falsely report, that you choose love as long as the behaviors are right or the conditions are right or the time is right. Love, real love, exists above behaviors. It is not fleeting, flitting around based on whether or not the sun is out or the vibe feels good or if that certain someone says the right things. Love is so much bigger and so much more important than that! Love is the most necessary ingredient of the human condition and you need it more than anything else you could ever need!

Do you know where I learned this? I learned it from God. God loves me unconditionally, past, present and future. He loved me into finally loving myself. He continues to love me despite me and for that I am forever grateful. He taught me that love isn’t something you reserve for good behavior, but rather something you decide to do no matter what. Love does not change and alter itself according to the ebb and flow of life. It is not dependent upon conditions. It is persistent and determined and never ending. It is to be freely and liberally shared with others. In so doing, it finally persuades your stubborn heart to apply it to yourself; to love yourself!

You must learn to love yourself, not in a conceited or inflated way, but in the true depths of your being. You decide to love yourself, not because you are so good or so righteous or somehow have achieved perfection, but rather because you are imperfect and not always good and maybe seldom of your own works, righteous. You love yourself despite your frail humanity and weakness. You love yourself even when you falter and fail. You love yourself because your Father in heaven loves you and wants nothing less for you…ever!

You would be surprised to find that the weird stuff you do and think is the exact same weird stuff we all do and think. We are all in this thing together. Your secret sins are no worse than my secret sins. Your propensity towards error is no greater than my propensity towards error. We are all people, wonderfully flawed and unique, seeking in unending revolutions, endless expressions of love. Be yourself! Express yourself. Love yourself, not because you deserve it but rather because you need it. No-one is worthy of love as love chooses its object first and not after.

Decide today to stop entertaining the accusations about everything you are not. Stop focusing in on what isn’t right about you or what things you foolishly have concluded need revision. Instead embrace who you are; who God made YOU to be and give every bit of that loveliness to a love starved and dying world. You are a wonderful, unique masterpiece formed, made and created by God to help other people love themselves too!

Oh my friends, God is love…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Have Things Gotten Bitter Between You? (Relationships with Sugar Added)


Relationships are often complicated because people are complicated. When a longterm relationship begins to dissolve, it’s not usually due to a big mistakes made or some epic past failure, but rather in response to a multitude of minor slights adding, multiplying and blending into one large, bitter whole! Relationships fail due to words not said, important things not remembered, genuine care and concern not demonstrated. It breaks up and splinters first in the mind, then in the heart from too many missed opportunities to communicate love. And despite all of its associated complexity, can be repaired quickly by adding a little sugar.

The problem with us humans is that we tend to hold on to the negatives and easily forget the positives. How many people still rehearse the cruel words spoken to them by their partner during a big fight from five years ago? How easy it is to compile a list of a spouse’s failings, then read those failings into future scenarios that soon become present? How many of you have simply made up your mind about who your significant other is and as such offer zero possibilities for a new way in a new day? Your boyfriend, your girlfriend has little chance to demonstrate proper behavior while being chained by you to the mistakes of their past.

Understanding relationships is understanding how each of us grow and evolve. People can and do change even after they may have shown you who they are. The point being that who they are isn’t always defined by who they were. Priorities change. Desires change. Happiness and contentment are based on varying stages of life. Change is good unless it is met with a refusal to see the person through a different lens. Maybe your ex-husband is so happy with his new wife because he finally was afforded the opportunity to be someone else. Maybe you needed to get away from your ex-husband so you could be someone else. Wherever you are or whatever you may be facing, you must have some capability to modify your thinking; to get out of your rut; to reframe your expectations.

I think if you are honest, you have to recognize that relationships require commitment on both parts. I’m not referring to your decision to commit yourself to the relationship, but rather your decision to commit yourself to stop drawing negative conclusions. You have to change your own mind, your own beliefs, your own long-held preconceived notions. You have to cease from being mired in perpetual negative expectations. No matter your justifications, your righteous rights, your standing up for yourself and your other stories you’ve made up to justify your shitty approach, you have to flip the script. You have to realign your “self-defense” mentality to one of alignment and loving mutual respect. You cannot make someone else be something else, but you can damn sure make yourself be something or someone else.

In order for a relationship to thrive there has to be some element of love involved and love is best characterized by sweetness. To think that sweetness is somehow weak or pitiful or acknowledging inferiority is to be deluded in regard to the essence of human relationships. Now I recognize that people have hurt you and maybe done and said all manner of terrible things to you, but that doesn’t negate your ability to be kind; to be tender; to be sweet. The alternative is simply to keep living and reliving the same nightmare over and over and over again. Your escape isn’t in finding the perfect guy or the ideal woman, but rather in relocating your heart; the one you had before the damage occurred. The real you wants to give love and receive love no matter how far down you got knocked. It seems risky but in reality there is no risk because love never fails!

Real love; true love; abiding love requires a new beginning, a fresh start. Just as you forgive yourself for your own absurdities and foolishness, you have to be willing to offer your love interest the same privileges. You have to learn to make your evaluations and draw your conclusions based on today in the moment called now. Today is always a new day and carries with it unlimited new beginnings. Sure stuff is going to happen that drags you back to yesterday, but in like fashion you pull your own self back to today. You treat your partner like someone you love in spite of yourself. Just as a soft answer turns away wrath, a soft approach can remedy a whole world of failings. If your love is always based on proper behaviors and the right words you are setting yourself up for a misery that cannot be overcome.

Decide right now to be that warm, loving person you know you really are already. Stop with your defensive approach, your self preservation, ever hedging just in case.  End your failure planning and plan to succeed. In spite of what is going on and what you are experiencing, be sweet; so lovingly, genuinely sweet. In doing so you will find that sweetness and kindness are irresistible and almost impossible to slight. You will find yourself on the high road, unshaken and unaltered in your thinking. You will find yourself living love and giving love from which there is never any need to retreat. You will be loving people how God loves you, unconditionally and without a change of heart.

No matter how bitter or jaundiced you may have become towards him or her, know that there is something you can do. Don’t go to the counselor with an expectation of confirmation for the things you have seen for years, but instead with an open heart regarding what you can do with you to effect a change. Maybe, just maybe it’s you! And if it’s not you, you still have the solemn responsibility to guard and nurture your own heart which is never accomplished in anger, fighting and bitterness of soul! Oh my friends choose sweetness! Add some sugar and see how much better it all tastes!

Just some good thoughts…

 

The Love Factor…


There is one thing the whole world needs and there is one thing the whole world seeks and that is love. Love is the unifying power of the universe. Love is the answer to every heartfelt question. Love is an unstoppable force. Love is the reason and motive for every human life. Love never fails and God is love. When your life feels off-track or unfulfilled or empty the cause is always a lack of that love. In order to live a real life you need much, much love. You need to employ the love factor!

Life absent love is not a real life. Days spent earning and churning to succeed and get ahead; to outwork and outproduce; to lead the pack; to be the top dog, when lacking love as the motive, end only in a material gratification amidst an empty soul. Rewards gained through arduous effort and toil without love behind them leave a man desolate and unfulfilled. The ambitious drive for success is not wrong, but becomes so in the heart and life of the man without love as the only alternative to love is fear. Fear motivation, though powerful, cannot help but produce more of the same.

People today exist in a world that repudiates love. Love is somehow viewed as soft or weak. Love is considered too vulnerable and is reserved only for the closest of family and friends. Love freely given seems to come with a risk, the risk of possible rejection, ridicule or shame. In order to properly insulate your tender heart you think it plausible to armor your heart with hardness, a tough exterior impenetrable to outside jabs and assaults. You wrongly conclude that a hardened heart cannot be reached and in so doing close yourself off to life’s greatest reality. In your hardness and calloused response you fail to recognize the true sensitivity of life and in no longer feeling, miss everything. On your deathbed all that will matter to you is the people that you love and the people that love you. Your life begins and ends in love.

God in His basic essence is love and accordingly, if you lack love, is the sole thing missing from your life. You don’t need more relationships, you need ONE relationship from which ALL relationships take shape and blossom! Your relationship with Him is not one of faultfinding and bondage under the hand of the moral police, but instead one of unfathomable love, unlimited forgiveness and unending, unearned, divine favor allowing you to at last prosper and thrive! God is the life you once dared to imagine unfolding in infinite variety and blessedness. God is love without conditions. God is tender and kind and able to warm your soul, demonstrating in your life a complete and unquenchable restoration. God loves you first so you can love Him next, ending in your love being extended to the world.

Life on Earth has not gone south because of poor presidents or liberal agendas or the lack of a more simple time. The world has gone astray because of the victory of fear over love. The more you allow the world to make you afraid and conclude there is no solution, the more you help perpetuate the same. You remain powerless to shape the course of the world, but your true power resides in your decision to love. Every deliverance from bondage, every healing, every setting a captive free was done so in love.  In fact, every good thing you ever did, every lasting impact, every difference you made, only did so because of your love. Love never fails and is the antithesis and antidote to fear. Love properly exercised and freely given brightens the hearts of men and adds light to a world engulfed in darkness.

The love factor is an unstoppable force. But, to have a true imprint in the hearts of men, must be initiated and given by you. Love the unloveable. Offer people kindness. Be that sweet soul for people. Decide to care about them and be the one among a thousand that helped them. Don’t give them all your money, give them all your heart! Don’t concern yourself with what the world says. Concern yourself with what God says and in so doing set people free. People don’t need unlimited riches, they need the right words at the right time from a heart of love; from your heart of love. Love has no complexity in it, no wrong motive, no pretense. Love not to be known as a lover, but because you already are…

Living love, working your love factor, you will find that life begins to take on a glow that encourages and refreshes your heart. Things begin to settle down on the inside. Peace will reign where anxiety once ruled. Your concerns will be that of others and you will finally be able to let go of almighty self. And God working in you as the ultimate source of love, will ensure that everything you need will be there before you can even ask for it. Odd as it seems, that is the true design, the Master’s ultimate plan!

Are you unhappy, unfulfilled and empty? Does it all seem so futile and pointless? If so, it does so because your heart has been hardened and the softening is found in love. Get yourself directly to the source. Talk to God and tell Him how you feel. Open your heart to Him. Believe that He is and see if He will not reward and bless your decision. Everything you ever wanted to experience in life is found in love; in God who is love! Don’t be afraid anymore. Use the love factor! Choose love!

I love you.

Just some good thoughts…

 

Where’s the Love, Man?


Evolution+Love1How absurd it is to think that man is on the earth as the last stop on the evolutionary chain! Do you really believe that you are simply an offshoot from a gorilla, with less hair and the ability to process? With all of our intellectual ability, sometimes we aint so smart! Not only do you have the ability to think, but more importantly you have the profound capacity to feel. Dogs are affectionate, but you get the privilege to love. Love is the greatest thing in the world and without it life would screech to a halt. So, I ask you, where’s the love, man?

Love isn’t something that happens to you, love is something that you choose to do. It always amuses me when people act as if love just happens to your heart, because, you know, the heart knows… Your heart is you, you silly rabbit. When the conditions are all lined up, you choose to do it. So, what should you do when the conditions don’t line up? You should love anyway. I don’t have to tell you how wonderful  life becomes when love is involved, right? Well, imagine choosing that experience at all times.

I can remember sitting through a class called, Power for Abundant Living. PFAL, the initials of the class, gained a permanent place in the form of a tattoo on my left forearm. That’s how life-changing the class was for me. Above everything else, the class taught me about God’s love and incredibly for maybe the first time, I learned to love myself. Even more incredulously, I learned that I had to love myself before I could love other people. But, here’s where it gets tricky. Loving other people wasn’t something that just happened to me because I felt a certain way. Love was something I had to choose to do, just like I chose to do with myself. And because I was so filled with God’s love (which is synonymous with being filled with His Word), I did it like it was my job! I chose to be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving. I chose to build people up rather than tear them down! I was on the high road baby and everything started working out.

As the years rolled on however, I sort of forgot the most important part of my former success. Oh I still knew God’s Word, but I forgot the love part. God’s Word without the love part is still true, but became hollow and empty in terms of my personal happiness. I had become religious. I did all of the behaviors minus the love. And when I reflect back on those empty years, I realize that instead of choosing to love, I was waiting to feel the love. And I waited for a long time… While you are waiting to feel the love (something the whole world participates in), life becomes all about you. Love is never all about you. God so loved that He gave, right? Well, I think God knows a thing or two about love. God is love.

You can choose to love at any moment in life. What does love look like? Easy, just think of someone you know who loves you. Well, what do they do with you? Do that! Love is interested in the object of its affection. Love notices and responds to what it sees. Love seeks the other’s happiness and not its own, but always receives its own because you receive back what you give out. The more you choose to love, the more love you will receive. When you are choosing love, you are living where God lives. And within that wonderful, tender haven, you never have to fret and worry about getting your needs met because your needs start getting met before you even have to ask. Love is life on steroids.

So many, many people are wandering the earth desperately seeking that elusive love when it is already in their heart waiting for the opportunity to come out. I don’t care what your background is or how difficult your life has become, love is there waiting for you to choose.  Choose love. But, and you can trust me on this one, do not wait for the feeling unless you have a lot of years to burn. Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a decision; a decision that produces a wonderful feeling. How crazy is it that the thing you seek so ardently, you already have. It’s not the absence of love that has been screwing your life up, it’s the absence of giving what you already have that’s been doing it to you!

If you want love (and who doesn’t?), you have to give it. Build, build, build. Bless, bless, bless. Stop being afraid and open your heart. We’ve all suffered while experiencing life to some extent because of the darkness that has prevailed at times. We’ve all gotten hardened and calloused. We’ve all been jaded, sadly increasing with age. But that wall you’ve constructed around your heart isn’t protecting you at all. Instead it’s preventing you from the experience called life that God intended for you. Yes it’s scary. Yes, people will still run roughshod on it, but open your heart anyway. The rewards of love not only heal every hurt, but they offer the promise of a fantastic life; true power for abundant living!

Don’t you dare wait for tomorrow to try it out. Do it right now! Give it to the person you see in this very moment. Shower it on your wife or your husband. It doesn’t matter if they don’t deserve it. You deserve it. Damn it man; doggone it woman, you deserve it! Pour it on your children and your grandchildren. Lavish it on your friends. Heap it on your co-workers. Overflow it on your boss. Love, love, love like your life and happiness depends upon it because it really does.

You are not an intellectual gorilla that manscapes, you are a wonderful human being with a heart. Open it! You are the top of the food chain not because you evolved over millions of years but because you have a heart of love from a God of love. Choose love! Give love! Open your heart…

Just some good “love” thoughts…

 

 

The Yoke’s on You…


slavery-tmFear is the silent epidemic that thwarts all hopes and dreams. Fear is the great hold-back and reason you procrastinate. Fear is the imposing wall between you and everything you ever wanted. Fear rules the entire world and few escape its grasp. Fear is your worst and most pervasive enemy. Fear is a yoke of slavery and the yoke is on you!

Nothing in life retards your progress like fear does. Fear stops you dead in your tracks. Fear will make you turn back when you need to move ahead. It works to silence the voice that is truly yours and ever seeks to make you into someone you are not. And although all these things are probably very obvious, folks just march on frustrated and working hard, pretending and faking; trying and trying; hoping and wishing, with little or no results.

You would think that the hardest thing in the world was actually getting what you want given the amount of energy you have spent trying to arrive. Now, I don’t mean getting some needs met here and there. I’m talking about being and doing everything you ever wanted to do. I’m referring to that “more than abundant” life God promised His children. I’m getting at the A+ life! That dream life, however it looks to you, is waiting around for you; not to figure everything out but to get rid of the obstacle, the blocker, the real effin’ problem…fear! Funny (peculiar) everyone denies its existence and everyone lives under its yoke. Again the yoke is on you!

It’s time to get honest folks. It’s high time to recognize the real issue. It’s not the economy, racism; where you live; your upbringing, the police; your education level, climate change, the terrorists, politics, money or lack thereof; your IQ, EQ or Ps and Qs, it’s you! Just let that sink in for a minute… Everything you really, really want but don’t have is because of your fear.  Obliterate the anxiety ridden doubt. Cast off the heavy burden, worry. Kill off every semblance of fear and you will find every good thing you desire. You’ll find it because it is already there, well hidden by the obscuring, deadening clouds of fear.

If you really want to live the A+ life and find the contentment and fulfillment you know deep down you desperately need, invest yourself in eliminating fear. Nothing good can come from bad no matter the disguise. Bad begets bad and fear is bad. If your motive is fear, for anything you do, the result can only be more fear. If you work hard out of fear, you won’t succeed. If you give to others based on fear, you won’t enjoy a harvest. Fear is an illusion. Fear is an expectation of defeat. Fear, through deception, brings negative results into your life. Fear is always about you. And, the only lasting solution to fear is love.

Love is the light that illuminates your path. Love isn’t blind, it’s just willing to see less. Love nurtures and encourages and builds. Love is never discouraged or impatient or frustrated. Love heals and revitalizes. Love warms and softens. Love removes every yoke. Love knows that what it seeks always comes to pass and there’s no power on earth greater than it. Love never fails. God is love.

The only possible way you can finally escape from the yoke of fear is by making the decision to love. So simple, yet so profoundly difficult. Real love isn’t all about you, it’s all about everyone else. Love doesn’t have time to sulk and brood and feel sorry for itself. Love doesn’t take what it already has for granted. Love doesn’t judge and criticize and condemn. Love seeks to relieve the suffering in others. Love wants to lend a helping hand. Love gives and gives and gives expecting nothing in return. Love speaks lavish words of kindness. Love forgives everything and everyone, knowing the true source of the wrong done. Love is tender-hearted and not afraid of revealing itself, for there is nothing wrong in itself. Love is the only enduring answer.

When you head out into the world tomorrow, instead of bracing yourself to be bold and brave and courageous; taking on fear wherever it shows up, do something different instead. Stop making it about you and make it about someone else. Quit pursuing your life’s dreams and help make someone else’s dream a reality. Love those people around you that you take for granted everyday. Love those people all around you. Just love them. Speak words of kindness and encouragement. Let your real heart out without fear of someone hurting it. Give your goodness to those folks at work. Have compassion on them and forgive them. Look deeply into their eyes and honestly seek their good. Heal them, help them, love them. Perfect love casts out fear.

The funny (peculiar) thing about love is that when you do it with all of your heart, all that you ever wanted for yourself comes to you without effort and striving and trying so hard. The door will open without you knocking. The opportunity will arise from the place you least expected. Your place, your purpose will find you because you finally found it, by deciding to love. So “funny” that getting everything you ever wanted was never based on pursuing everything you ever wanted, but rather by changing your focus to someone else.

The yoke’s on them, so why not help remove it?

Just some good thoughts…