Hey Hopes and Dreams, Where are You?


Whatever happened to your hopes and dreams? You remember, those things you thought about when you were younger? Those grand ideas you had about being famous or changing the world in meaningful ways, what happened to those plans? Maybe the words “hopes and dreams” are just too big for you. Perhaps it’s easier to think about the direction you wanted to go or where you saw yourself later, capable and successful. Why do those good things we carry in our hearts get stolen from us, or at minimum become greatly obscured? Can you even get your dreams back? Here’s to looking for and finding your lost hopes and dreams!

Maybe the best place to start is to consider what it even means to have hopes or dreams for yourself. Hope always refers to something you cannot have right now. Hope is looking out beyond the horizon of your present and expecting something pleasant in the future. Dreams always have an air of sleepiness in them. A dream is often hazy, nonspecific, cloudy. When we speak of a dreamer, we mean someone with their head in the sky, always reaching out for something good, but never finding it. Maybe we are starting out with the wrong words! Maybe our trouble in locating our hopes and dreams is centered in the vagueness of those terms.

More accurately, we are discussing the goals and plans you had for yourself at one time in your life. If you are anything like me, you have made lots and lots of plans about the future, and like me, carried very few through unto fruition. Why is that? What stops us from following through on our plans? We begin so excited and enthusiastic, but then our excitement fades and back we slink into the mundane. I think it’s deeper than simply being distracted. But, distraction does play a part. We get so caught up in things that don’t matter. We toil and strive, day after day, getting basic things done, leaving little room for the things we value most. We’re earning a living, fulfilling responsibilities, doing life and sadly, there’s little time left over. The world has tricked us into expending our efforts on things that matter, but not the things that cause the biggest impact; the things that matter most.

All of us, being incredibly unique, have something to offer the world. What we have, our gift, is always exhibited in the things we love the most. Those things we do that come easy for us, which when we pursue them, we have no rival. Pursuing a career that offers the most pay and promise, if it doesn’t align with our hearts, at best provides some money, but no satisfaction. We chase the American dream, but it’s not our dream. Our dreams offer not only a blessed future, but the opportunity to live out our full expression. We don’t chase money, we pursue our passion and then the money will follow. Every great person became great doing what they already loved, not what they decided to love to earn success.

Those things that resonate with you and cause a sparkle in your heart, are the things you must follow after. Your task isn’t to become famous or of world renown. Instead, your life work is to follow after the things that make you shine. Seek after the things that make you happy, for in those things your dreams are built! Your task isn’t difficult or vague. You’ve already touched on them and caught glimpses of them as you passed by. They’ve called out to you and in your heart you understood. Honor those feelings and inspect them further. It doesn’t matter if people think they matter. What matters is what they mean to you. Chase them! Track them down! See where they lead you! You become great first by being pretty good, then good, then very good, until finally you arrive at excellent. It’s in excellence your impact is felt. Don’t dog yourself in trying to figure out what is your thing, for your thing already exists in you. What makes your heart beat a little faster? What thing, when you do it, makes time stand still. What work isn’t work at all when you do it? That’s what you have to offer and offer it you must!

Your hopes, your dreams for the future aren’t lost as they live on still in your heart. Your age doesn’t matter. Your position in life doesn’t matter. Your past successes do not matter. What matters is if you will have the courage to pursue them. Deep down you already know what you love. Do what you love. Give what you love. Honor and exalt what you love. Don’t suppress what’s most important to you! Don’t hide it under a bushel. Start small and move from there. Don’t try to plan forever, just plan today. Move on what blesses you today. Start! Start! Start today!

In God’s infinite wisdom and love, He devised a way whereby men and women could help and give to others doing what they themselves loved doing the most! God, who knows you better than you know yourself, put those dreams in your heart because He knows your heart and in pursuing them, you will find joy unspeakable! Don’t make this harder on yourself or add human complication. Choose what you love and chase it, try it, work it, give it, do it! Do you boo! Indeed do you!

As long as you are still drawing breath it’s not too late for your dreams. Live your days in service to others doing the things which you and only you can do the best! Look to help other people and pick them up. Offer them warmth in a cold world. Give them shelter when they are exposed. Give them happiness when they are sad and healing when they are broken. Give them all you have to give, your best things, your gift… And give it to them now…

Just some good thoughts…

Are You Getting Fat?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Real Life…Keep Your Head Up!


inward-to-upwardOver the years, I’ve been up on the mountaintops of life and down in the valleys. I have experienced joy unspeakable and heavy duty agitation. And while God has never failed in His goodness towards me, I have often forgotten the secret to living real life with God. Interestingly, the difficult, frustrating times have always seemed to follow a distinct pattern whereby my focus shifts (or gets shifted) away from God and His goodness back to myself and all of my inadequacies. In light of this dilemma, I offer this beautiful work called, “The Secret to a Holy Life.”

The secret to a holy life is to get your eyes off your own inadequacies and onto the Father and His glory.

Our service is first and foremost to God and with God, not always to man.

To walk worthily is to walk with thanksgiving to God first and foremost.

The secret to a holy life is not the labour we do but just to love Him first and foremost.

Then the work we do is not to be well pleasing to Him but because we already are!

~ Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille

Religion persists in getting man to focus on his sins and shortcomings under the guise of helping him to live a better life. It is rife with judgment and an ever growing list of labels identifying good an bad… The focus is always about people and their behavior. And, if you have been a person long enough you are well aware that your behavior sucks at times. Since your heart wants to do what is “right” you chastise yourself and berate yourself with demands to get better and do better! Perhaps you need more discipline! Maybe you just need to work harder; get stronger; purify yourself more; stop doing this and start doing that. Maybe you are just evil! Maybe God is very upset with you! Maybe… The not so obvious problem with this line of thinking is that it drives you further and further away from God and the “real” life He has given you. It subtly turns your focus inward, not upward. Life basically becomes about you. Welcome to the deep valleys and the strangling agitation.

Try as you may, focusing on what you do “wrong” (so called) will never, ever get you to what is “right.” Again.. Focusing on what you “think” you do wrong, will never get you to what you “think” is right! You see, the issue isn’t really about doing right and doing wrong, the issue is about your focus and who/what is number one in your life. Religion has convinced us that a relationship with God is all about doing what’s right. The problem with that logic is figuring out what is “right.” One group says you can’t smoke. Another says you can’t do frontal hugs until you’re married (thanks Duggars). The enemy makes a clever appeal to our ego by promising us that we can do something to make God do something. In reality, we never have to make God do anything as He is already everything we could ever want. And to take it a step further, God sent His son to pay the full price for everything you and I ever did wrong, so we would never have to try and pay that price ourselves again!

Let’s say you had a child that continued to misbehave (according to what you thought was right). You scolded him, chastised him, threatened him, took things away from him and grounded him. Did those behaviors on your part make him do right? Of course not! If anything he simply did what it seemed like you wanted until the trouble stopped. Real change in a child only happens when the child chooses his own behavior without compulsion from others. It’s no different for us adults. We can modify our behavior; exercise discipline and everything else when it comes from a heart that is choosing freely without compulsion. God has done that for us. He has completely set us free in every regard so that we could truly be free to choose right. You get it? Free is free. No law is no law. Nothing you could ever do or not do will change God’s opinion of you! Nothing.

So the secret to real life is to get off your own back and stop making life and happiness all about what you do. Stop looking at your imperfection and focus on God’s perfection instead. Serve God not by clinging to approved behaviors, but by cleaving to God’s love for you and your love for Him. Thank Him for making you worthy no matter what the whole world says to the contrary. Then, you’ll find that you no longer have to work to earn His love and blessings, but will do what you do because you’re well pleasing to Him already!

True life; real life was never about choosing all the right behaviors to stand approved before men. Instead it’s about choosing to keep God first and foremost in your heart and life. Take a deep breath and let go of all that work and stress and anxiety you’ve amassed killing yourself to earn God’s love and protection and safety and a good life. Relax and breathe in the pure reality that He already gave all of that to you!

You are just fine, just the way you are…

Living in the Sun…


SunshineForestFall in Utah is perhaps my favorite time of the year. The sun is shining, but unlike the summer, the sun is sort of lowering and producing shadows. The grass looks greener, the mountains look more brown, everything just looks so wonderful! Bliss… So, I’ve learned over the years that God often teaches us valuable lessons in the physical realm that apply most vividly to the mental and the spiritual. With that in mind, so I write…

Our mind has been compared to a garden and we have the glorious privilege of choosing the environment in which it grows (or doesn’t grow…). Sunny thoughts encourage it to thrive and produce a bountiful harvest. Dark, negative thoughts choke the life out of it. But glory hallelujah, we decide! So have you ever wondered why, when we get to choose our thoughts, we would ever choose darkness? Why, when we cast the final vote, would we ever pick dark thoughts?? I know, I know,  mentally you are challenging me right now. After all, life isn’t always positive, is it? Bad stuff threatens and some times actually happens. The world is negative; the Internet is negative; the people surrounding you might be negative. Darkness literally surrounds us. All of this is true, but we don’t have to acquiesce to it unless we choose to.

Hey, I’m a person just like you are. I don’t live in a fantasy land and am oh so aware of the challenges of life. I would be lying if I said otherwise. I feel pain, discouragement and defeat just like you do. I know where you are coming from. But here’s something you need to consider deeply. Maybe, just maybe you and I have been trained in the ways of the world. Maybe we have been unknowingly practicing error for so long that it just feels natural now. Maybe we simply assumed that everyone lives this way and it is just part of being a human being. Maybe? Have you ever learned how to do something incorrectly like swinging a golf club or shooting a basketball or typing with two fingers (which I am doing as we speak)? If so, you know how difficult it is to retrain your mind to do it a different way. You have to consciously work at it! It is hard work; very hard work! But amazingly on those rare occasions when you do it properly (thinking of golf swings now) how effortless it feels. There it is man! Effortless and simple is right, arduous and complicated is wrong. How many times have you heard that life is complicated? Well it is, but only because we have been trying to grow flowers in an unlit closet.

Now, back to what you habitually think. Imagine this scenario… Life is going well; you are happy and good things are happening. Tadaaaaa, the sun is shining! Then you pause to think about it and suddenly you find yourself wondering what could go wrong and just when it is going to happen. Enter the clouds and goodbye happy times. Here’s another… You go to the doctor because something hurts. You aren’t sure why and you go to get some help. Since you don’t know what is going on, you now have two choices about what you are going to think. Which thoughts did YOU choose? You chose terminal disease didn’t you? You see, you have been trained to think that way. It isn’t reality you are considering, it is a choice you are making. And while that choice is ongoing, you spend hours and days worrying about “your reality” that isn’t even reality. A week later, after the labs come back, your diagnosis is a minor infection and you are prescribed some antibiotics. You get better, but you can never get that week back you wasted in the shadows. Play that scenario out much longer and you end up never being able to get back the last twenty years you lived mired in fear. Do some folks get diagnosed with terminal diseases? Sure they do. Bad stuff can still happen. But, you my friend can greatly influence what happens by what you choose to think and thus believe.

This might sound silly to you, but I would rather live 50 years expecting the best and being surprised by a bad thing happening than live every day in fear of that one bad thing happening. To go one step further, in the spiritual realm there are also two choices. One is the eternal sunshine and one is a temporary darkness. How you think; what you think; what you choose decides which spiritual influence gains access to your life. Living in a perpetual cloud of negativity, knowingly or unknowingly, introduces you to a world where tragedy and suffering are the norm. Living in the sunshine doesn’t guarantee it won’t ever rain or storm, but when it does you’re still connected to the Source that always makes light shine out of darkness! And, along the way, you are going to get a helluva good tan and produce a bumper crop!

Please make up your mind today that you are going to step out of the shadows and into the eternal sunshine. Start now. Take your mind (get it..your mind) to task and get it into the light. Don’t do it alone though. Talk to the One that worked in me to write this and ask some questions; lots of questions. He will show you what to do in specifics. Heck, He tells me and I’m nowhere near as good as you! 😉

There’s nothing comparable to living life in the sun… Nothing!

Just some good, sunny thoughts!

How to be Happy…Ending the Incessant Focus on Yourself!


me-me-me-md1We are all on a quest to be happy, right? Happiness is the one of the most talked about topics in life and for good reason. We all want it so very badly! Yet strangely, pursuing happiness as your object of focus tends to lead away from and not to… happiness. Happiness is defined as an emotional state characterized by varying pleasant emotions. Happiness is something we experience. We can certainly choose to be happy and in so choosing greatly increase our odds of being happy. But sometimes we sort of get it wrong. We start looking for it and while we are waiting for it we realize we aren’t experiencing it. So we try a little harder to get it and experience it less and less. Hmmm what’s wrong with that picture? What’s wrong is our subject of focus!

Life is supposed to be lived full on. Full on means being fully invested in whatever is going on at the present moment. “Clear eyes, full heart!” When we become totally invested in the present moment something interesting and wonderful happens. We experience happiness! Okay, so imagine yourself in this scenario. You have a very busy day at work. Many things are clamoring for your attention and you have important things to accomplish. So you make up your mind to focus on the work at hand and give yourself fully to it. You are locked in man! Suddenly you realize, “holy smokes” it’s 5:15 p.m., I’m supposed to be off now. So you pack up shop and head home. And while you are driving home it dawns on you that you feel pretty dang good. You feel satisfied and happy! How did that happen? You weren’t even focused on happiness and there it came out of nowhere. The secret? Full hearted focus on what you were doing at the moment! Hmmm…

No what about the converse? You are sitting on your couch thinking about yourself. Why am I so unhappy? I mean what is the matter with me? I used to be happy and now I’m not. Why??? Maybe it’s my job or my wife or the weather or the economy or the neighborhood I live in or that all my friends on Facebook sure seem so happy… Maybe I should go on a diet? I am getting pretty fat, after all. I sure wish I was slim like such and such. I have no discipline. Maybe I just need to exercise more. And look at my clothes. I used to have nice clothes. I mean I have really let myself slip. What is wrong with meeeeeeee? The clue to your unhappiness is found in that one little word, “ME.” Me, me, me… That incessant focus on yourself is your problem! You have temporarily stopped living your life and sat down to examine it. And like anything that man does, it always leads to an acknowledgment of imperfection. You’ve been tricked out of living an experiencing and exchanged it for analyzing; as if that type of analysis ever led to anything good!

Happiness, remember, is something we experience. You don’t will it into existence! Give it try…I’ll wait! No, instead what you need to do, what we all need to do, is put our focus 100% into the present moment. Focused thought, wholehearted thought, is happy thought. Otherwise your thoughts become divided and divided thoughts are anxiety. Anxiety is literally trying to think two thoughts at once. Half in the moment, half in your thoughts. Anxiety! Focusing on “me, me, me” is only going to lead to feeling anxious and won’t get you to what you are really after. God tells us to put our whole heart into things. Maybe He knows a thing or two about happiness, huh?

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men… Colossians 3:23 AMP

That, my friends is the answer to what ails you! One of the great oxymorons of life is that the more you focus on making yourself happy, the less happy you will be. But, the more you focus on others and what the moment you are in calls for, the happier you become. Try it out for yourself. Instead of trying to answer that age-old question, give yourself completely to whatever it is you are doing (or supposed to be doing) right now. Get your mind off of yourself and onto the moment you are in. Fully, completely, unequivocally!

The world we live in is constantly encouraging us to think about ourselves and to be consumed with ourselves. But, it is a trick! It won’t lead you to where you want to go. Instead it leads to antidepressants and other medication that tries to help you “feel” good. Why not decide to stop that incessant focus on yourself and experience the life you have been waiting for all along? That glorious, happy life is right there waiting for you; waiting for you to change your focus.

Life aint all about me, well, a happy life anyway!

Just some good thoughts…