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…

 

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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…

 

There is No Fear in God…


God-is-loveIt seems to me, in my casual observance of what people say and promote, that there is a lot of fear involved in their relationship with God. So many folks live how they live from fear of what God will either do to them, or allow to happen to them, if they don’t behave in a certain way. Some load themselves up with obligations in the name of God. Many engage in empty rituals, almost superstitious in nature, to potentially garner God’s favor in their lives. Others spend countless hours in regret and apology towards God for self-acknowledged violations of His will. So, I have to ask the question, is there supposed to be fear in your relationship with God? Is that what the Bible teaches? Does the fear-based approach take away from a believer the joy and happiness he/she is reported to experience with God?

In my opinion, and you can take this to the bank, there is no-one or nothing more understood than God. Sure, He has written a book to prevent this kind of thing, but how many folks actually read it, or worse, understand it? Most people’s knowledge, and you know this is true, is based on a fleeting verse here and there or the generally accepted consensus of who God is supposedly. Most, it seems, have been taught that God is a vengeful God perpetually engaged in examining your thoughts and behaviors like the inspector in an assembly line searching for defects. I vividly remember having some beers with prospective clients at a basketball game, who when I told them I taught the Bible, insisted on not only not having another drink, but recalling out loud what they had said earlier that might have been offensive. Are you kidding me? I bought the beers! But sadly, that’s where people’s heads go when you mention God. And not only because I  want to drink beers with you, but also because I’ve been taught otherwise, I’m going to show you that people have it all wrong about God in epic proportion!!!

The Bible clearly states that God is love. He isn’t just prone to behave in a loving way, He actually is love. The reason that love is the most powerful thing on the planet is because God, the most powerful being anywhere, is love. The Good Book also says that, “There is no fear in love.” Fear and love cannot co-exist together. If you have fear then you have no love and if you live God’s love you cannot possibly have fear. Fear, not hate, is the antithesis of love. And this whole planet is running on a steady diet of fear. Fear takes away the joy of a relationship with God because it takes away the love in the relationship, not on God’s part towards you, but on your part towards Him. God knows everything there is to know about you and still loves you. To think that you can fool God by engaging in obligatory behavior discounts His vast intelligence and reduces Him to the level of a man. The Bible also says that God is light and in Him, is no darkness at all. No darkness means no darkness. It would require God to have darkness in Him to do evil things to you, or for that matter, purposely allow evil things to happen to you. Evil things would include making you ill, killing the people who you love, putting obstacles in your path to teach you lessons, and allowing bad things to happen to you because your behavior didn’t quite measure up. Imagine one of your children not quite measuring up to behavior standards you set up and then not protecting them from danger because of that behavior. Pretty cruel wouldn’t you say?

God is more interested in your happiness, health and prosperity than you are! He wants to answer your prayers infinitely more than you want to pray them. The trouble is that God will not overstep your freedom of will. He requires fully persuaded belief on your part to bring your prayers to pass. When you fail to get your prayers answered it is generally because you don’t fully believe what you prayed for would come to pass. And, the number one believing blocker is fear. When you hold onto a fearful mindset towards God, greatly influenced by so-called preachers and religious people, you are going to have no confidence towards God. You will be full of doubt and unbelief. And, after experiencing that for long enough, you are going to end up doubting God’s existence in its entirety! The problem isn’t with God, His ability or His love. The problem is you and the wrong beliefs you’ve been entertaining in your head. When the phrase “fear of God” is used in the Bible it refers to reverence and respect; the same thing you are supposed to learn with your parents. You learn to respect what they have been telling you if you’ve been hit in the head by life enough times for not listening. You then become a parent and the cycle continues. God tells us to respect Him and believe what He says to believe. When you choose not to believe what He said and instead choose to believe what the world says, you end up getting smacked in the head, not by God, but by the One He is trying to protect you from! All of your difficulties; all of your pain; all of your heartache and loss is orchestrated and carried out by the adversary; your adversary, hell-bent on keeping you from the only One who can really love and protect you! You get it?

God is love in every conceivable form and facet. You never need to have even an ounce of fear with God. No matter how much of a stinker you have been; no matter how jaded your mind towards God has become; no matter how low you may have fallen, you cannot get underneath the everlasting arms of God’s love! Get out of that fear and obligation and enjoy your relationship with God stemming only from love. There’s nothing you have to do to please Him except humbly believe what He says is true. Doing so not only revolutionizes your life and finally gets your prayer answered, but will lead you to a place of indescribable joy, where no fear is allowed to remain…

There is no fear in God…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Love is the Only “Why…”


“I’m in all of it. … I was there in her laugh but I’m also here in your pain. I’m the reason for everything. I am the why. Don’t try to live without me, Howard. Please don’t.” ~ Aimee Moore, Collateral Beauty. Last night I watched a beautiful movie about a man (Will Smith) searching for answers following the death of his child. In his quest, he sought answers from death, time and love. Love’s apt response for life was, “I am the reason for everything. I am the why…” Love will always be the only “why.”

Behind every heartbeat in life is love. It is the life-giving solution to a world lost in emptiness and pain. It is the light that shines in the darkness. It is in the warmth of a sunny day. It refutes fear and is the only motive that is always right. It is sought for by all and obscured for so many. It is ever-present and waiting behind very corner. It can make all it touches beautiful and can soften even the hardest heart. It will always be your only “why.”

For all of the negative events that can happen in your life; for all the things that can go astray; for all of your sorrow and losses and pain, nothing takes away the joy of living more than the absence of love. You began your life full of love, both in receiving and giving. As your mother poured her love into you, you poured your love back into her. As your father’s love flowed through his hand into your hand, your love flowed back from your hand to his hand as well. Living life with love was for you as natural as breathing. If you didn’t receive the love you needed, you found others that would give it to you and you back to them. Love was your only “why.”

Sadly, as you aged, you found that love wasn’t as plentiful in the world. The people you interacted with had hearts that were hardened through difficulty and rejection. And, as they built up walls around their hearts in an attempt at self-preservation, you built up walls around your own heart as well. Like a callous on your hand, your heart became desensitized to love. Many find themselves groping through life looking for the love that already lives inside them, behind self-made barriers. In their numbness, they seek love in alcohol, in recognition, in admiration, in romance after romance. They aspire for wealth, extreme fitness, plastic surgery and anything that promises them the love they’ve been searching for all along, unable to see because of the hardness of their hearts. They forgot love was their only “why.”

Your hardness of heart wasn’t something you intended, but rather a response to your own experience of life. As the world gnawed away at you, you couldn’t perceive what was happening. You internalized its messages of guilt and shame. You accepted responsibility for every weakness and shortcoming and falsely concluded that there was something wrong with you. You became afraid to express who you really are and opted instead to portray yourself as someone else; someone you felt people would love. You carried around your failings like sandbags, refusing to set your own self free. You just couldn’t imagine that you deserved any better. You never understood that your feelings are universal feelings and in even in moments of rejection, the people rejecting you needed the love as much as you did. For all people, love is the only “why…”

Finding the love that you feel has been eluding you, isn’t in doing better, being better or working harder. It’s not a function of discipline or reading books or in finding your soul mate. Love is manifested in giving. True love gives of itself freely and unreservedly, not by pretense, but in truth. You give out your love to other people and to yourself. You give love to yourself by giving yourself a break. You love yourself by deciding to no longer think disparaging thoughts about yourself and accept yourself for who you are. You cease giving love conditions to maintain and love yourself unconditionally. You love yourself by changing your focus from yourself, your stuff, your hangups, your frustrations, to other people’s stuff and hangups and frustrations. You offer them love and unending forgiveness. You speak kindness and tenderness and sweetness and you refuse to speak otherwise. You remind them that love is their only “why!”

As the gentle, spring sunshine and moisture encourages all living things to grow, while melting away the harshness of the long winter, you melt away the hardness of your heart by returning to love. You don’t need a wall to protect your heart, you need a heart that’s full of love. Love is the life-giving source of the universe. God is love. Love climbs the highest mountains and swims the greatest depths. Love chooses the object of its adoration by decision, not a feeling, and thus gives and gives and gives. As you give, you receive back a thousandfold, for love is a generous giver. Love is the only “why.”

Love is all around you, my friends, seeking life-giving expression through you. Don’t refuse love its entrée to your heart, nor stifle its flow from your heart to others. In love you will see again the wonder that is all around you. It is in your grandson’s eyes, your wife’s laughter and your mother’s touch. It’s on the pages of a good book, in the walls of your home and under your feet in your own backyard. It’s in the wag of your old dog’s tail and the embrace of a good friend. Love is forever the only “why” so be sure to notice her collateral beauty…

Love is the reason for everything…

Don’t try to live without it.

Just some good thoughts.