Hey Happiness, Where are You?


Jan21_12_525848907Happiness is probably the most sought after thing in the world. Thus, the sum of all questing can be found in successfully answering the one simple question, “Why am I not happy?” People attribute a myriad of reasons for not finding happiness ranging from not having enough money to not having the right relationship yet often they fail to find happiness while enjoying both. Is it really the absence of something you want that thwarts or retards your efforts in finding happiness or is it something else? Is happiness something that just sort of falls upon you when the circumstances are favorable or is there more to the story you have thus far failed to consider? What if the pursuit of your long lost happiness is not based on any of these things at all? Is it possible that the happiness that is your birthright eludes you because something or someone is stealing it from you? Oh hey happiness, where are you?

In order to be truly happy you first have to become free. Wherever and whenever you enjoy freedom your happiness will be evident. Your mind, your heart functions best when it is unencumbered or held back by any constraints. Think back to those times in your life when you experienced abundant happiness. It is safe to say that in those times of almost unending happiness, you were also virtually carefree in your approach to life. You were not dragging around a litany of complaints concerning your situation, nor were you full of fear concerning your future. You enjoyed who you were and where you were in life. You didn’t fill your mind with expectations about what you should be and you were not comparing yourself to others. In those times, your heart was not burdened or overloaded with cares and you just expected things to work out. In fact, you didn’t give the possibility of things not working out any space between your ears. You refused entree’ to the dark side of life and trusted that good things were probably preparing for you. In this you lived as God would have you to live! And in unity with that type of thinking your happiness overflowed and filled your soul. Then, as time marched on, imperceptibly at first, your thinking began to change. You recalled your early years as fanciful and lacking the mature thought that accompanied adulthood. You regaled thoughts of seriousness and responsibility and concerned yourself with “realism” more in accordance with the mechanisms of the world you observed, convincing yourself that adult thought must also take into consideration all of the multitude of pitfalls that could befall a person in life and in so doing unknowingly traded away your happiness for fear.

The number one cause and in many instances the only cause for your complete lack of happiness is fear. Look no further. End the research project early. It is fear that manages to suck the life out of God’s creation and it is fear that is impeding you today. Oh it doesn’t look like fear or seem to fit the accepted definition of fear, but it is still fear. Unresolved fear and its myriad companions work behind the scenes to put limits on your existence and to freeze you in your tracks. Fear impedes and thwarts your forward progress. Fear adds clouds to your sunny days; steals your energy for doing; casts dispersions on your good enjoyed and threatens your future. Fear locks you into a prison, a prison you cannot easily discern yet confines you just the same. Fear adds a “yes, but” and puts a question mark where an exclamation point belongs. As fear’s prisoner, you are no longer free to enjoy your life in the moment or your accomplishments. You have a difficult time enjoying anything because of the carefully crafted restraints that have been built into your thinking. You are or have become a prisoner in a self-made prison hole. You perpetuate the lie that fear is by your persistence in giving it entree’ into your mind. You think fear; look for fear; believe fear and live a life controlled by fear! You are not happy because fear has gained ascendency in your life. Instead of doing what you would like to do, pursuing things that make your heart sing, living as a truly free man or woman, you live a life controlled by fearful thinking threatening to break up and destroy all that is beautiful and good. In this you have become a slave, a slave to fearful thinking and subsequent fearful actions. Every move you make in fear produces more fear and it seems as if there is no escape. In this you are unhappy and will remain unhappy until you can finally understand what is going on! Fear is a liar and is the cause behind every unhappiness there is.

Whether you like it or not or believe it or not, fear is the veiled intruder you have overlooked. Fear must be challenged and overcome. Every happy person you know has overcome at least some if not all of its claims. In order to be a free person you have to be free from fear. As long as there is some aspect of life that frightens you or has the power to stall your efforts, you will remain bound. You have to take it on! And the number one method for defeating fear is not found in your bravado or recklessness or unrelenting discipline, it is found in your resolute decision to stop giving it access to your life. Stop entertaining it, playing with it, considering it and giving it space. How quickly a pleasant day or pleasant time is cut short by the entrance of some unreasonable fear thought left unchecked. How miserable a life becomes when fear puts its shackles around your free will and stops your enjoyments and your fun. The absence of your happiness alone is sufficient evidence that fear has its claws on you, grasping you and robbing you of all of your joy. The escape you seek; the freedom your heart desires; the happiness that eludes you is found on the other side of that fear that has been controlling your life. Take your life back!

The number one enemy that you must contend with in this life is fear. You don’t have to work hard to produce happiness, happiness comes naturally as a result of your freedom. Once you begin to finally escape the tyranny of things and extricate yourself from the clutches of fear, you will find your happiness returns like the carefree smile on a child’s face, unencumbered by the innumerable illusions concerning what can go wrong and why. God has called you and I to freedom whereby He can bestow all manner of goodness upon us as any loving Father would desire. Seek God’s help to overcome your fear and, for goodness sakes, be honest with Him about how you have been living. All human beings will be confronted with fear and the good Lord knows that. But enduring happiness is found in them obey God’s great command to “fear not” and choose love instead. Do you want to find your missing happiness? Get rid your fear…

Just some good thoughts…

It’s Your Fruit…


oranges-1117628_1280.jpgWhenever I see someone really living the life riding in the high places of the earth, after I change my mind to stop ‘hatin’ a little, I have tremendous admiration for them. I admire them because I know they have believed to be who they are and where they are and have received the results of their believing. LeBron James believed to be LeBron James. Sure he came from the factory gifted with size and natural ability, but this whole “King James” business was his own idea. You can apply this with breathtaking accuracy to any successful person you see. You can also apply this with the same mathematical exactness to any failure you might observe, even your own. The life that you are living at this very moment in time is the result of those thoughts and beliefs you have held dear. Your frustrations, your sufferings, your pains have all come about as a result of what you have believed and continue in accordance with those beliefs. The results in your life, good or bad, are your fruit and by your fruit you are known!

It’s such a tragedy that so many people limp through life reacting to circumstances for which they have unknowingly believed. They do not want those circumstances but their thoughts and beliefs encourage them instead of thwarting and slaying them! The world, with all of its negativity, works you over day by day, without your consent or even your awareness. It’s feeding you messages of struggle and defeat while at the same lauding celebrities famous for being famous. It looks like the things you so desperately need are too hard or too far away. The goal? Talking you into settling for less than the best and accepting mediocrity and failure. Here’s a simple experiment. Read the following statement: You deserve the very best in life. Say it out loud to yourself! “You deserve the very best in life, Tony!” Now, be honest and observe your reaction to that statement. Where did your mind trim that back a little? “Well, I don’t need the best, but pretty good will work.” Or maybe you don’t feel you deserve the best. Or is it too late now for you to receive the very best? Whatever your mind came up with in opposition to that statement, is a lie; a wrong belief, that limits your success. Why wouldn’t you as the only you, you have, deserve the very best expectations from you for you? Don’t make this about God. This is about you in the realm that you control!

While you may find yourself a bit defeated in this life or maybe you have had some wind taken out of your sails, be encouraged and comforted in this, namely that you can change your thoughts and thus change, remedy or repair your life. You’re going to need God’s help, but trust me, His first expectation from you is for you to change your thoughts. He’s really, really, really good at His job, but He isn’t going to do your job no matter how much you pray! Change your mind. You determine the speed and pace in which your life transforms. Radical life changes require radical thought changes. You see, this thought thing is so much larger than you may have imagined before. I’m not talking about thinking something positive from time to time, I’m talking about monitoring and reshaping your thoughts throughout a day, day after day, one day at a time. Find something true from God’s Word that you can use to counter the darkness. Then seriously and diligently work on it!

Circumstances are not lined up against you, they’re lined up against all of us. The difference lies only in what you will and will not accept as true. Things are not true because they look true or seem true or are factually true, they are true if God says they are true. In similar fashion, you are not who you might see in the mirror, chubby or slim, or the results you have obtained in this life, or your successes or your failures, your mistakes or your good deeds. You are who God says you are, no exceptions! The only way to break the chains of previous results and former losses is to view yourself and your life in an entirely new light. No matter how it may look, you have control over those circumstances, albeit indirectly.

The fruit evident in your life at this very moment, delightful or rotten, is of your own making and owned entirely by you. Your life is like a full feature movie with you as the producer. You are the one deciding upon the beginning, the middle and the ending. You can write a dramatic success story or you can write a sorrowful saga. But, make no mistake, you are the writer, the editor, the producer! You may choose to modify your story or you can choose to ride the waves of circumstance. If you just go with the flow, then the flow may take you places you didn’t want to go. How many times have you heard someone say, “I didn’t think my life would end up this way.” The only way your life ends up in a place you didn’t choose is by turning over the reigns of choice and control to someone or something else. No action, no directed and focused thought is also an action, a passive one leading away from and not towards your dreams.

This incredibly short life with all of its ups and downs is one vast classroom whereby you may decide to learn how it works and modify yourself to fit within the existing framework or you can continue to fight against the circumstances you created and blame God, the culture, the economy, your momma or whatever else neatly takes away responsibility from yourself! The choice is yours my friend. The choice has always been yours…

Just some good thoughts…

Why Aren’t Your Tomatoes Growing?


tomato-tips-380-1In the Spring I planted a garden. Last year’s garden sucked, so this year I took the time to make up the chemistry of the soil in detailed proportions. After proudly planting my tomatoes and telling them I loved them and so forth, I turned them over to God. (Well, sort of…) I planted them in full sunshine and faithfully watered them every day. After about 6 weeks of growing time, I noticed that my tomatoes were decidedly puny. Their leaves were yellowing like they needed more water, so I added more water. This went on for several more weeks with less and less results. So I did what everyone does that is at a loss for answers, I Googled that sh*t! (smile) Mr. Google gladly informed me that the most common reason for stunted growth in tomatoes is “too much” water. Imagine, water makes them grow, but you can get too much of it. Yet, this blog isn’t about moderation, it’s about roots; deep roots.

Apparently that guy on TV that talks about watering your lawn less, was right. The more you water something, the less the roots have to dig down. The more shallow the roots, the weaker the plant. The deeper the roots, the more robust the plant. So, I got to thinking, humans grow also, but only if they have well-developed roots. So the question that begs becomes, how deep are your roots in the things that are most important to you? Do you take the time to understand why things happen or do you simply grab for more of the things you think will make you happy?

This precious life we live is all about understanding. Not understanding how things really work is the cause of all of your difficulties. When you are challenged with some circumstance of life, do you quickly grab the next clichéd bottle of water or do you look for the well where the water never runs out? The truth is ever the truth and it shows itself in a million combinations. Error only offers a quick fix that doesn’t really fix at all, but serves simply to salve the wound in the moment. Men’s theories, men’s ideas, men’s philosophies always fall short because man is woefully unaware of all of the variables. Most of the time, the effect wasn’t produced by the cause you had in mind, but another cause of which you remain ignorant. Understanding is therefore, getting to the true cause.

In every field of life we devote ourselves faithfully to understand, especially in those things we deem most important. Except for one. We have failed to understand life and the One behind it. And, it’s no wonder because there are more false ideas about God than about anything else! (By design I might add…) It’s like my son said to me today, “If something feels bad and unpleasant, it probably is…” Things that are contradictory and inconsistent beg for further inspection. If someone teaches you that God is love, yet also tells you He sometimes, randomly kills the people you love, I would think that deserved some further inspection. But no, what do you do? You try to accept it by faith or explain it away as a mystery or something. Turn the sprinklers on, you just need more water.

Life is not random, my friends. Every effect does have a cause and although you don’t yet understand it, doesn’t mean you can’t understand it if you really want to know! Just think about your life for a moment. Think about the earth and all of the things in it; the perfection, the symmetry, the beauty. Why does that forest or that beach cause you to feel tranquil? Why doesn’t the skyscraper do that for you? Why do you have nerve endings in your fingers and not in your hair? How can you see images in your mind? Well, it’s actually a chemical reaction! Okay, but a damn complicated one, don’t you think?

The reality behind this life is spirit. You can’t detect it by your five senses, but you can get to it by your heart. Every one of us have something in us that beckons us to understand; to find and love its Creator, until the old world talks us out of it. Every one of us recognize the truth, even if we can’t always explain it. It’s in the lyrics of a song, the words in a poem, a line in a movie and on it goes. But, when you’ve heard it, you know it even if you cannot express it in words. Truth is unchanging but it’s not always on the surface. You have to dig for it. You have to want it and expend the effort to get it. You have to sink your roots down in something substantial if you really want to grow. But, like a tomato, you can’t make yourself grow. You simply get the conditions right, sink your roots down deep and the One who causes the tomato to grow will cause you to grow as well.

People spend their whole lives giving themselves to everything and everyone and never get to the true cause. We get so busy, so preoccupied, so caught up in our present dilemmas, that we forget to seek out the cause. We get scurried away with false causes and things we cannot possibly effect. We wrestle with intangible concepts like making sure the earth has the resources we need to keep living, never imagining that the One who created the earth may have thought that through!

Instead of wasting away your life; your one precious life with endless and pointless activity, take some time and serious effort to understand. Ask God to teach you! Ask God to make it plain. Ask God to get someone on your path that can help it make sense for you. He invented eyelashes for goodness sakes, don’t you think He might have something for you? Oh He does and He wants you to get it, even more than you want to know it! And, He’s been looking for you for years!

Well, I did something crazy. I stopped watering those tomatoes and made ’em dig. I still loved them but they had to do their own work. They did their job and now we got ‘maters for days! Do you need tomatoes? I got more than I can handle…

Just some good thoughts…