Live Your Own Life…

living-your-own-life2In this country and perhaps other countries, people have been forced into a performance based existence. The message, all have been asked to conform to is a message that purports your value is based upon the things that you do. The higher your achievements, the more your success, the more superior person you must be. Professions are ranked whereby doctors and lawyers are notably above teachers and laborers. In this, people have been pressed to do better and be better leaving themselves perpetually disappointed and chronically discouraged often falling short of societal expectations. Folks even endeavor to add performance measures to their relationship with God and end up doing all sorts of things they really don’t want to do in the name of being good and acceptable before Him. Namely, the harder you work to be approved, the more of God’s favor you will enjoy in your life. And this, as can be found in all performance based systems of the world, leaves a man or a woman fractured and broken in terms of their value and ever in need of remedy and repair!  Thus knowing, we ought to have the manhood to make our own choices and in the end, live our own life. Are you living your own life?

Where did we ever get that idea that our persistent need to perform well was to be so closely aligned to the value we have as people on the earth? The value of a person has been assigned by God who views all of His creatures with the same love and acceptance. We need not prove ourselves to anyone. Neither should we allow ourselves to fall prey to people’s judgments and requirements for their approval. The things we choose to do in life; the direction we purpose to go; the decisions we make, the thousandfold decisions we must make, should always rest squarely with ourselves alone coming directly from our own volition and blessed free will. Trying to live your life in accordance with other people’s expectations leads only to a miserable life. Accordingly, every time you judge yourself, every time you lower your opinion of yourself, every time you reduce your value in comparison to another, you do yourself and the great God that made you a disservice. You are saying, in effect, that God somehow made in a mistake in the crafting of your own life, else left you without some advantage others freely enjoy. And in your confusion you task yourself with all manner of requirements you must fulfill in order to be acceptable both to men and to God, neither of which has been required of you. You will never please all the people and you never need to please the God who is already pleased with you. Live your own life.

Every man, every woman that is among us is absolutely unique and unmatched in terms of their individuality. Each has something to offer that they and only they can provide. Each person’s taste is wholly different, though similar in places, and every person’s pleasures and aversions are distinct. To try and live your life chasing other people’s desires or to perform in accordance with what another thinks is right for you is certain destruction of every chance at happiness. Happiness can only be obtained by choosing your own path and even then by first basing your value not on what you do but who you are. You need not further consume yourself with an endless list of duties required to be performed or any other activity that steals away your repose. People, maybe even you, drive themselves to exhaustion in order to check all the boxes and finish all the lists. You must strive to be the best mom, the best professional, the best wife and add to that the best looking, the most fit infinitum at all times in all ways. You have to be the most successful, have the biggest house, drive the best car while adorning yourself with the muscles of a twenty year old, a full head of hair and the ability to fix all that might be broken, knowing all that must be known. Perform, perform, perform, do, do, do… The things you might like, the areas of life that turn you on, the experiences you secretly wish for all must be sublimated under the mighty hand of accomplishment and success. In this, we don’t actually live our lives but live someone else’s life, hoping somewhere down the road the paths might cross. It’s time to live your own life…

Living your own life requires that you be honest with yourself. It suggests you take back what is yours instead of playing to the crowd, trying to please the crowd, seeking the approval of the crowd. The problem with performance is that it suggests you must perform at all times in all ways. You never quite have time to take off the mask, to get off the stage, to cease from performing and just be. You feel as if your quiet time must be filled with noise and your unproductive time (so called) be filled with productivity. The job requires forty or fifty hours per week and when the job is silent, the remaining time must be filled with to do lists and other work to be done. And while work is always noble and necessary, just how much of you want to do has always been up to you. Somewhere someone tricked us into believing that the majority of our efforts must be concentrated on the things we enjoy less leaving a small percentage of time for things we enjoy more. We chastise ourselves for sleeping in, for being ill, for not giving one hundred percent even when all we have left is maybe fifty percent. We measure and evaluate and scrutinize ourselves assigning negative motives for pursuit of things we like and dogged responsibility for the things we must simply endure. It is no wonder we remain exhausted and unenthused. We need to get off the treadmill and refuse to get back on it. The things we actually must do are far less than we may have assigned. In order to live our best life, we must live our own life. We have to protect and guard our free will and make choices not out of the fear of what we have to do in favor of things we want to do that we chose and that we support. God has made us free to choose without fear of retribution as error carries within it its own lessons. To live your own life is to choose for yourself!

Perhaps at the very heighth of performance behavior is the behaviors people have falsely associated with God and morality and whatever it is you want to call the things that plague our souls begging to be completed by the power of our own hands. They act as if God maintains a giant ledger anxious to collect owed money and funds in arrears. They seek improvement where improvement is not possible and reject God’s grace for the life they must perform now. They work the works of hypocrisy assuming God is unaware of the behavior absent their hearts. They say words they don’t want to say, do things they do not want to do, perform works they would rather not perform all in the name of pleasing God; God who is already pleased with them. The harder they work and strive and say no and deny and hold back and refuse, the more they fail never considering that their behavior exposes the lack of value they feel in their hearts. They work to be approved never considering the futility of the task. They dishonor God not by doing unworthy works but by thinking they can outwork grace; God’s unearned and unmerited divine favor in their lives. And most sadly of all, they think their value before God is based on their behavior in this life, behaviors that can somehow be shaped into holiness before Him. They ignore the sacrifice of their Savior and count his finished work unfinished and needing further revisions. It would be better for them to choose nothing at all than to work with hearts that are not in it; doing works they neither endorse or enjoy. Living your own life is not to live at cross purposes with God, but to live honestly and authentically, being true to yourself and true to those with whom you might encounter. It’s about loving God first and loving yourself also. It’s about knowing your value and not allowing it to be dwindled away on things that do no matter; things that do not count. Live your own life with God. He meets you where you are!

It is certainly not easy to break the chains of bondage and fear based requirements, but it can be done and do it you must. Your happiness depends upon it. The world with its endless checklists and comparisons will exhaust you. You will never measure up in the world’s eyes no matter how hard you work. Instead you must decide to remain true to yourself and stop breaking and folding yourself for others. Your ideas, your thoughts are not always wrong and the direction you secretly dream of is the direction you must go. Your value before God is estimable and it is your job to act like it. Stop performing. Get off the treadmill. Give yourself a break and just be the person you want to be. It doesn’t need to be any harder than that! Live your own life, my friends.

Just some good thoughts…


The Wilderness Walk…


I believe that all people embarking on their spiritual journey through life can relate to the wilderness walk at times going from bondage and suffering to freedom and happiness. The wilderness walk refers to those periods in our lives where we wander about lost and confused, lacking clear direction on the way in which we should go. And, although the promised land may be much closer than we imagine, we can spend inordinate amounts of time, even lifetimes, walking in circles, continuing with our own attempts at finding happiness and generally trying to figure life out on our own. The wilderness walk is extremely difficult and painful and leaves us worse off rather than better, robbing us of years of valuable time to live and enjoy our lives. Are you on a wilderness walk in your life? Are you tired of expending tremendous effort with very little results to show for it?  Have you finally arrived at the place where you recognize that what you have been doing isn’t working and need to do something different? Maybe it’s time to find the promised land.

I realize fully what can happen to a man or a woman on their journey through life as I have experienced it for myself. I know how hard it can be to go from happiness and freedom to bondage and suffering. And, as I look back on those arduous days, those trying times of frustration and defeat, it becomes readily apparent that the reason it happens is because somewhere, somehow, we have been deceived into practicing error. Error is a particularly tricky animal in that once we are engaged it we often do not recognize it for what it is. If our trajectory is altered ever so slightly, we find ourselves miles from our desired destination. And usually it happens because we have developed error in our logic and are thinking and doing things that we think will help us, but instead lead us further down the rabbit hole. The harder we try, the more we fail, not because God doesn’t love us anymore or has abandoned us, but because we are no longer thinking properly and subsequently no longer believing rightly. Right believing leads to right results. Wrong believing, no matter how sincere or draped in error, leads to wrong results.

The reason anyone gets into bondage is because something or someone has made them a slave. When you are a slave, you are no longer free to do as you please, but instead have become subjected to requirements you must fulfill in order to be okay. Religion is like this. Religion tells you things you must do in order to be approved by God. Because you want to please God, you willingly go along with it not realizing or being clear on what God actually asks for you to do. Many times, the things people say God expects from you are wholly different than anything recorded in the Word of God. Yet, religion maintains they are truth. Bondage enters in when you have, unbeknownst to you, become a slave needing to fulfill certain requirements for God to love you or protect you. The first clue to the error behind the scheme is whenever you feel compelled to do things or feel required to do things for God. I can assure you, God does not want you to do anything you do not want to do, much like you do not want your children to obey you out of necessity. Once you get on this track you have officially entered the wilderness and things won’t get better until you break free from the taskmaster behind it, masquerading as God. God does not want your empty behaviors or your false subjection, He wants your heart. He is not the one judging you, condemning you or accusing you, though many report otherwise. Once you accept the sacrifice of God’s only begotten son for you, you will never enter into judgment from God, both now and in the future. Knowing this sets you free and allows you to enter the promised land.

You and I, by our good works and discipline, can never make ourselves good enough to deserve God’s goodness in our lives. No one can. God’s goodness in our lives comes as a result of His grace, His unearned, unmerited divine favor towards us. The righteousness of God is something God gave to us as a free gift. We didn’t earn it, we believed unto it. We believe that God gave His son for us, the perfect for the imperfect. God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. In the life of His son, God covered and paid for every stupid thing we ever did in our lives. And in that sacrifice, we are free. Whenever and wherever we attempt to add to that by good works or rules and regulations, we fall from grace, leave the promised land and go right back into bondage. We subject ourselves again to the wicked taskmaster, hell bent on ruining our lives. And, because our attempts are based in error, we cannot attain that for which we seek, though we kill ourselves in the trying. Bondage is slavery and God has set us free.

No matter where you are in the journey of life, suffering and misery exist for one sole purpose, to inform you that something is wrong. Like a pain in your body alerts you to a problem, pain in your soul; a lack of enthusiasm and energy; depression and heartache are alerting you that something has gone wrong for you, something is amiss, you are believing and accepting things that are not true. And like those believers wandering in the wilderness for many years, you need for God to lead you in the way that you should go. God desires for you to get to the promised land and He knows the way. Religion is not the way. Anything you do out of fear and obligation is not the way. Once you begin to believe properly and adjust your thinking accordingly, you will find the things that have long held you down will melt away leaving you free to experience, free to live and free to serve. God has already set you free, if you only knew it.

The promised land is the land of milk and honey and it is here for you today. You have wandered and suffered long enough, haven’t you? You have already proven to yourself that what you have been doing and believing is not working for you. You know there is something better for you and you are not wrong in thinking that. Oh how good it feels when you finally escape from bondage and return to that place of absolute freedom where God is… Absent your good works and human efforts. The wilderness walk has no more place in your life because you have been made free. Simply learn to accept what God has done for you.

Just some good thoughts…

What Do You Do With Your Mind When No-One is Watching?

self-confidenceI’m sure you’ve heard older people say, “I may be older, but inside my mind is still the same!” Well, I can attest to this in terms of feeling young inside, but I can assure you, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Your current mind is a beautiful, jumbled composite of a million thoughts, feelings, experiences and ideas. Your mind, in all of its magnificent glory, is just that…your mind. And from your private, mental sanctuary proceeds your life, happy or sad; vital or depressed; inspired or glum; blessed or cursed. So, the million dollar question is, what do you do with your mind when no-one is watching?

If you think about it, when it comes to your mind, no-one is ever watching, well, except you that is… You are watching, listening, initiating, processing, discussing and even arguing. The experience of your life, the manifestation of it is in direct proportion to your thoughts. If your thoughts suck, you suck. If your thoughts thrive, you thrive. Your life isn’t a mess and then you have to think about it. Your life is a mess because of what you think about. The converse is just as true.

You do realize that the starting point for change is always an acknowledgment of the part you play in your life drama. As long as the responsibility for change rests with something (anything) else, your life will never change. As long as you allow your thoughts to stink is as long as your life will stink. It’s that big. It’s that important. If you are willing to at least consider that, then please keep reading.

Hmmm… Okay, here’s a thought. What kind of things do you say to yourself? What do you tell yourself about yourself? What do you say? Are you critical? Do you spend your days pining away condemning yourself, immersed in self-evaluation? Really? Does anyone who engages in that type of self-evaluation ever come up with a favorable outcome? When you look in the mirror, do you like the image that you see? Or, are you ugly? My brief experience on earth has taught me that pretty really is an inside job and when the inside is sweet, the exterior finds a way to follow suit. Do you doubt yourself? Do you entertain thoughts of inferiority? Are you not smart, sexy, funny? Are you boring, lackluster or lacking energy? You pick the negative, the oddity, the flaw. The point is, you chose the thought or at least to entertain it. You allowed it to live. You did. It is no more true than any other thought is true. But, for you it is true.

You may have never seen it before, but those thoughts you allow; that you live your life by are all the difference between heaven and hell. The world and all of its wonderful inhabitants are all living or not living in accordance with the same rule. No-one is exempt. School didn’t teach you this. Your parents probably didn’t know it. It’s a jewel of inestimable value. Within it lives the life you have always imagined, but not yet realized. Knowing it and thus cooperating with it will give you all you ever need; to be everything you ever wanted to be. It’s not fate or a decision God made without your consent. It isn’t your upbringing or environment or socioeconomic status. It’s not your college degree or lack thereof. It’s you and what you choose to think about. Oh you can hide it from the world. You can buck up and put on a smile. You can hide it, mask it and cover it, but you can never escape it, for it is you and what you’ve chosen to believe about yourself.

You talk about riddles… You determine how your life turns out by what you think about and your life turns out without you even thinking about it. Well, you do think, but what you think isn’t what you want.

I know I sound like a broken record, but you have to figure this out. Life isn’t happening to you, you are happening to life. You’re choosing the result! Stop waiting and watching and hoping and wishing. The life you want so bad will not show up without your consent. Your consent follows your thoughts and beliefs, not your wishes. You are not going to win the lottery. No ship is coming in. The opportunity, the life changing event, happens not by chance but in accordance with your expectations rehearsed in your mind, faithfully over time.

Nothing about your life (and mine) is unchangeable, unless you think otherwise. No obstacle cannot be overcome, unless you already made up your mind. No goal is unattainable, unless of course, you know better.

The thoughts you have grown so accustomed to and accept as your reality may just be the fly in your ointment. What you worked so hard to convince yourself of as true, may not be true after all. Your estimation of who you are and where you fit, may be woefully misguided. If it’s true that your life follows your thoughts, then the least you could do is think thoughts that actually help you rather than hinder you. How sad that you could go through life and not even be on your own side, when you only have your own one life. How very sad…

Stop berating yourself and condemning yourself and devaluing yourself. Stop lowering yourself to second and third class citizen status. In God’s sight, your life matters just as much as every other person’s life matters. And, if you want to make Him smile, start seeing yourself as He does. There’s a whole world waiting for you on the other side of the self-doubt and when you find it, you’ll be thankful for a lifetime…

Just some good thoughts…