Win the Day!

FBHave you ever felt worn down like maybe you have run out of energy? Or maybe you are having a good day and something comes up apparently out of nowhere that seems to zap away your strength? Perhaps you just feel bored with life and can’t seem to find anything that turns you on. These sorts of things are common to human beings and we usually dismiss them as a product of certain circumstances such as not getting enough sleep or maybe being a little dehydrated. And while these types of things may be a factor in how you feel, what if there is more to it than that? We are all in a competition in life between good and evil and because of that truth, certain things are working behind the scenes to shape our existence and convince us of things that are not actually true. These forces work in the circumstances of life to discourage us and steal away our happiness. This competition takes place in our minds. When given access to us, in particular our thoughts, we begin to lose in the competition. For this reason, we need to win the day!

What does it mean to win the day? God designed life to be lived in day-tight compartments. In particular He said, you will have enough trouble with the difficulties of today that you don’t need to start rashly adding on the cares of tomorrow. The troubles that accompany today are the competition. Winning the day means taking the time to focus on the day at hand and not allowing yourself to be taken down the wrong paths in that day, ending in defeat. In other words, take the time and make the time to get things straight. When you feel good and suddenly find yourself agitated, something happened to you. Don’t dismiss it. When you feel as if life has lost its purpose and you are just going along to get along, something has gotten into your thinking (usually fear) and is calling aloud for remedy. These mental assaults which can be incredibly subtle, are endeavoring to work you over. Like thieves that creep in unawares, these thought bandits are hell bent on interfering with your experience of life. People waste days and months and even years wrapped up in some lying notion always predicting something dreadful in their future. But, they are lies from the author and originator of lies. These forces have been so successful in robbing people of life because most people don’t take the time and effort necessary to take them on. Unfortunately, most people aren’t even aware of where their thoughts are going and as such, live according to the dictates of another. Winning the day means first hearing the foul thoughts, then countering them with something that is true. You can do this and you must do this in order to win the day. It doesn’t so much matter where you have been, but instead where you want to go. When you find yourself miserable and defeated, chances are you have been losing and it is incumbent upon you to take a pause and set things in order. Win the moment, win the day.

It seems that people as a whole have been sort of tricked into looking inward when things go south on them instead of looking outward. Thinking you are the sole cause for every negative you encounter is a fool’s game. There is nothing wrong with you, despite your endless considerations. What is really wrong are the forces of evil working behind the scenes to bring you down. You are in a fight man. You are in a contest woman. It is neither neutral or benign. And it is certainly not just a matter of your perceptions which serves to remove the absolutes of good and evil and replace with them some kind of moving target no one can accurately identify. If you think it through a bit, thinking there is something wrong with you every time you feel down or lost or confused, negates the existence of spiritual forces that have surreptitiously led you to that conclusion. How can you be on top of the world yesterday and dazed and confused today? Indeed, something happened to you right between your ears and you didn’t catch it or address it. But, lest you lose all hope, there is something you can do about it. Win the day!

Sometimes I think we all need to slow down and get back in touch with our thoughts. Step off the treadmill where the rats are racing and slow yourself down. You owe it to yourself. When you are feeling off, give it some thought time and track down the culprit. Figure out what is assailing your thought life. I guarantee you behind the obvious there is something nagging at you, threatening you, accusing you and leading your mind away from the goodness of God to some other alternative. Take your mind and your thoughts back! Quit just accepting every ‘nutso’ thing that runs across your brainwaves. In the end, I think you will quickly discover some fear threat, some outlandish accusation about who you are, some rationale attempting to justify why you deserve whatever negative things are going on in your life. The claims of your personal adversary and mine are never true. You know, if there were no such thing as evil, something to look forward to in the future, your days would move along delightfully and with ease. You would feel good, do good and be full of joy and peace. But, today evil still exists and our duty in the competition is to fight back. God will help you my friend. Win the day!

If you want to live a good life you have to learn how to win in the competition. You win as you control your thinking and when you find it has gone south, you reign it back in again to where the blessings are. There is no sin in getting yanked off course, the sin is found when we refuse to fight back. Fight back and win. First win the moment you are in, then the next moments and eventually the day. Don’t add in the cares of tomorrow and for goodness sakes don’t waste time looking back. At the return of Christ, I wonder how much time God will spend showing us what was really behind our bad days and our good days. Slow down a bit and grab that unruly mind of yours and reign it back in. Find the promises of God that refute the lies and think those things instead. Your life, your happiness depends upon it. Win the day!


Slow Down and Pay Attention…

how-to-slow-down-time-1_0ce709aLogic would seem to dictate that the faster you go, the further you would travel. However, life doesn’t really function that way. It seems we have all gotten it into our heads that speed equals progress. We fly through our responsibilities in an incessant effort to get more things done. We but half recognize what is going on as we add more and more to our “to-do” lists. We don’t enjoy the present moment because we are always looking down the road for the next set of requirements. In the end, we pay a price for our lack of focus, no longer able to detect important details. We miss life; our only life and trade away the beauty of the moment for some future day when we will finally be able to relax. In this, we need to slow down and pay attention.

Often when we get in a hurry at work, we miss important details; things we would see if we weren’t moving too quickly. We botch the project of the week by trying to get it done too fast. At home, we skip through important responsibilities or necessary tasks in favor of doing something else. We fail to see what the situation requires of us and barge ahead oblivious. All of these missed items take a toll on us and before we know it, we find ourselves worn out and dissatisfied. It never quite dawns on us that everything we let go, presumably from an absence of enough time, remains behind nagging at us and taking away our peace of mind. All of us have enough time to do what we really need to do, but we allow our time to be stolen away by frivolity and endless distractions. It is no wonder the people of today are so full of anxiety and distress. Their minds are a literal battlefield of unfinished business, so much so that they don’t know where to start to set it aright.

Life was never intended to be lived so fast. Living too fast and adding in too much extraneous activity leaves our minds threadbare and exhausted. This usually leads us to more distractions and attempts at medicating ourselves through a variety of means. Eventually our minds, overloaded and confused, feel the weight and begin to skew our emotions rendering us agitated and upset, easily provoked and manipulated. We have trouble problem solving and even the simplest of requirements overwhelm us. The solution isn’t to work harder and drive ourselves further. The solution is to take the time to slow down and handle the things we have, in ignorance, let go. We have to give ourselves an opportunity to relax and recover. We must take time to rest. It’s not noble to work so frenetically that we have little time left for ourselves. Otherwise, the obvious consequence will be found in the distress we are feeling. Internal distress informs us of the need to slow down and recognize what is actually going on. We need some time to think about what we have been thinking about. Bashing forward like a bull in a china shop does nothing but leave us damaged and in a worse state. When things are bugging you, you don’t overcome them by charging ahead no matter the cost. Instead, you have to give yourself some quiet time to begin discerning what is actually going on. As you endeavor to look back at where you have been, you will find clarity and begin to understand what you let go; what you failed to handle; where you brushed past something important and will be able to secure the remedy so much more easily.

We live our lives through our minds. No matter the reality of a circumstance, you live that circumstance through your mind. Life becomes miserable or enjoyable by what you put through your mind. Negative thoughts, fearful thoughts burden your mind down adding weight artificially. Self condemning thoughts convince you, you are something you are not and as a result, hamper your ability to process things properly. Everything you let go, that needed to be properly addressed, stacks on top of itself rendering you confused and distraught. It’s not one problem or difficulty that is defeating you, it is compound difficulties, multiple agitations, numerous unresolved slights banding together to overwhelm and overtax you. You wouldn’t feel so confused if you were only dealing with one marauder. And, the only reason this happens to us is because we have failed to take the time we needed when we needed it, to get things straight. To be your best self, you need to keep things straight. That voice in your head that never has anything good to say about you is only silenced one good thought at a time. Letting it speak unchecked and unchallenged is why you feel unhappy and why you are not at peace. You have to slow down and pay attention.

There is something marvelous about doing things properly and in the right way. We don’t have to be perfect, but we do have to apply our full hearts and our full focus. And focus only comes as we eliminate the distractions, one by one until they are gone. We owe that to ourselves. Some folks spend their whole lives entertaining negative thoughts about themselves that were never true to begin with, yet they persist year after year living in a prison of their own making; living amidst a refusal to challenge the thoughts; a distracted, unfocused, perpetual continuance in error. My friends, this does not need to be.

If you find yourself agitated and confused, distracted and distraught, take the time you need to get things straight. Slow yourself down and begin to think. Cut off, at least for while, the endless stream of distractions and give yourself time to think. And, for goodness sakes, stop letting things go. Be in the moment and live in the moment. Look around you and really see. Notice the people you have been blessed to interact with and look for the needs you can help supply. Pay attention to the people you love most with open eyes, listening ears and open hearts. Stop fretting over next month or next year or when you plan to retire and instead live right now. Live the day you are in and only the day you are in. That will be enough to handle on its own. The recipe for future happiness, peace of mind and a blessed life is to slow down and pay attention…

Just some good thoughts…

Chase the Appeal…

Have you ever considered why some memories remain in your mind out of all proportion to other memories? (I’m not talking about the things that scared you or that time you got in big trouble.) Certain smells, a song from the past, a phrase or expression, carry with them some wonder; a warmth you find difficult to describe. Similarly, particular aspects of life like an abundant flower garden or a freshly mowed lawn seem to speak to something inside of you. Or maybe it’s the feel of a hardbound book cover or the thin rim of your favorite coffee mug. Whatever it is in this world of infinite possibilities, those things are what they are and where they are for a reason. They make their appeal to an important aspect of who you are and your responsibility is to pursue it. Catch the message. Chase the appeal.

Often, it seems, we fail to recognize our individuality and instead opt for conformity. It’s like we cannot fathom our uniqueness and do our best to like what everyone else seems to like. We so desperately want to fit in to our own detriment; to the sacrificing of everything we and only we can bring to the world. We don’t trust ourselves. We don’t believe in ourselves. When our bodies try to tell us something, we don’t listen. We do not follow our own hearts, but instead chase after whims and passing fancies. Ultimately, we should have the courage to choose our own paths. We should not be so afraid to upset the herd. In every situation of life there is one right way to go and we can always find it if we pay attention. Yet, the circumstances of life are so loaded with distractions and alternate courses that we miss it almost every time. And afterwards we often find painfully that we already knew. In order to be consistently happy, you are going to have to learn how to be you; how to do you; to become the best version of you. There is only one you and no-one else can bring what you alone can bring. What is appealing to you?

Emerson said, “The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray.” As such, there is a distinct uniqueness to the things you experience, though they be quite similar to someone else. The words of a certain poem, the feeling you experienced seeing the woman laughing on the beach, the high view of the lush valley below, all contain within them something specific for you. Follow after them. They are God’s little clues for your greater experience; for your own abundant life. Don’t lump them all together and chalk it up as oddity. Don’t be so hurried and distracted that you miss them. The more you are willing to see, the more you will see. God is a God of specificity. Haven’t you noticed? The One that made your eye with all of its complexity, made your mind as well with all its complexity and as such knows in great detail how to appeal to you. Follow the appeals.

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages.”  (RWE) There are things in your experience that brighten your mind and fill and fulfill your heart. Similarly, there are things that serve to darken your mind and numb you to life’s greater realties. Get yourself to the light. Notice the things speaking to your heart and investigate them further. They are not random and not happenstance. They lead you directly to the things that are for you. The appeal carries with it some deeper reality, some hidden truth for you, that you need. Darkness also carries with it an appeal, but that appeal will always promise to satisfy some desire and damage you in the process. It’s interesting to consider that God is not limited to church meetings or conventional settings, while absent from the grand majority of life. As the Author of life, He is in every aspect of life without limitation. Yet, many seem to think He is separate from the other aspects and as such miss the messages. Perhaps God wrote that line in the poem you can’t seem to stop reading. Why does that song make you feel warm inside? What is that vivid flower communicating to you? All around you everyday is intricate and unlimited beauty trying to tell you something, if only you remained willing to hear. Track down the appeal.

Life today is so hurried and frenzied that we miss it. There is so much at which to look. Things are confusing and distracting, overloading us with information and more things to do. But, one thing is needful. Return to the one thing. Live the day and the day only. Don’t rush through the days trying to get to another day. Live the day. Experience the moments you are in. Be fully present. In so doing, you will begin to understand (again) that you aren’t supposed to just get through life or reach some acceptable age before you die, but actually live life. There’s happiness and fulfillment out there waiting for you to come upon it. Life is to be a period of discovery, ultimately discovering the One who made it all. Hold on to the good things. Savor those memories that stand out for you and make you that much better. Pay very close attention to those aspects of life that speak to you directly, even if you cannot fully understand them yet. There is something glorious behind it looking to care for and love you. Slow down a little bit. Trim back all those activities. Turn off all the noise makers. Look around you and listen intently, for the best parts of life are right there seeking you. Chase the appeal!

Just some good thoughts…

On the Right Track…


I was on Legacy Parkway the other day when I noticed the Front Runner train approaching parallel to me in the distance. As he got closer, I heard him whisper, “Do you want to go?” I replied out loud, “Ahh yeah, let’s do this!” I got to about 70 mph when I remembered the speed limit on the parkway was 55. I let him go because I already got him. As he whistled off into the distance, bright red and blue on a pristine carriage of sparkling white, I thought, that train is a powerful beast as long as he stays on his track!

If you’ve taken time to notice, everything in the natural realm has a right environment in which to function. As long as it stays in its rightful lane, it does what it was designed to do and does it effortlessly. When it gets out of it’s lane, it ends up as roadkill. Birds fly and no obstacle is too tall for them to fly over. Fish swim but flounder on the bank. Snakes slither in the underbrush and are damn hard to corner. However, humans are a little different. Their domain is all domains because they’ve been blessed with the ability to think. And because they can think and rely less on any natural programming, they have a responsibility to keep themselves on track; the right track.

How can you determine if you are on track? Well, how do you feel? So simple, yet profoundly true. My dogs sometimes poop on the unfinished basement floor because it feels like the outside. But you’re not a dog and know where you are. All people know where they are. They may not like it and they may not want to stay there, but they always know where they are. Unhappiness, discontent, distress and worry serve to show you that you are off track. When it doesn’t feel right it usually aint right and no amount of liquor is going to change it. When you are about to make a bad move you know it’s a bad move because your central nervous system makes you nervous! Having sex with your wife has no down side. But notice how you feel after sex with that woman you just met last night!

The right track has no downside either. It feels good because it is good. The choices you make while at peace will never lead you astray. But, make a decision based on fear and you’ll soon recognize your error. And even if you’ve gotten used to feeling numb, the sting of the wrong track will always make its presence felt. The trouble is we have gotten so used to ignoring our feelings and succumbing to this person and that collective idea, that we fail to operate our greatest weapon, our thought. What is true for you is true and those subtle urgings that command your greatest attention are your way to go; your only way to go. Not to worry, the system is flawless, replete with checks and balances. If, in your immaturity, you choose badly, you will learn it. If your motive was bad, that won’t escape you either. You know; you always know because of how you feel.

Life is lived best in its subtlety. It’s not found in grand decisions like where you’ll live or what profession you will choose. It’s found in a thousand seemingly insignificant choices that surround you every day. Just as a small departure from the tracks spells disaster for a speeding train, subtle compromises from good add together to ruin a life. It’s not the 85% you get right day by day that troubles you. It’s the 15% you are getting wrong. It’s the bad habits, the distractions, the time thieves, the hours spent in worrisome thoughts, the fears, the compromises, the apathy, the letting go. It’s wrong motives and selfish desires that strong-arm away your happiness. It’s not saying “no” when you know the answer should be no! We feel sublime on a diet not from immediate weight loss but from finally exercising self-control!

The right track is you feeling how God always intended for you to feel. There’s a reason we call delightful things – heaven! It’s the contented, peaceful, joyful you, minus all the bullshit. It’s you making the right choices in a 24 hour period and then having the opportunity to start all over again tomorrow! Looking forward on outstretched tip toes is as deleterious as craning your neck back to rehearse afresh the past. Life is to be lived on the right track today while letting tomorrow bring what it may. How much precious life have we wasted struggling to get to some place that has been struggling to get to us? How many mistakes that occurred in a microsecond of time live on and on, imprisoned in our memories today?

Your hopes, your dreams and every good thing you have ever envisioned is still there for you. To find it you must only get yourself on the right track. There is no requirement to be any smarter than you already are. The only requirement is to keep yourself in that place called “good” and cleave to it as if your life depended upon it. You don’t need laws and commandments and rules to do it. All you need is a willingness to listen to your own heart and even more willingness to make the necessary changes to stay the course. The fool will continue in reckless abandon and defy the bad feelings to his own demise. The wise soul will find sooner or later that all he needs to do is obey.

Don’t spend another moment of your life in endless prayers and questioning. Cease searching for some mysterious intruder wreaking havoc on your life. Instead slow your roll and pay attention to what’s happening all around you. Take note of how you feel and trace it back to some thought, some decision, some thing you just did and garner for yourself its lesson. Don’t beat yourself into religious submission to rules and dogmas that make no sense to you. The right choice always feels right and no so-called expert can dispute it. The converse holds true as well, though the whole nation calls it right!

You’re no Front Runner train my friend, and your choices are almost unlimited. The right track has a million destinations but there is always only one way to get there. Choose good! Choose the right track!

Just some good thoughts…



Get Your PhD in Subtlety…

PhD-graduate-007You know, for as much as we focus on the pursuit of our personal happiness, you’d think we would be a lot smarter in the chase. We want and want and want, yet we don’t always think. When we think, it’s sloppy and haphazard. It’s laced with expediency and self interest. We are easy prey. We grab the first offering. We listen to our thoughts as if they were outsiders and adjust ourselves accordingly. Something touches us but we are too numb to feel it. It’s subtle, oh so subtle, and we need some education to perceive it…

If you were orchestrating, even manipulating the minds of people, how would you do it? Would you approach their minds with catastrophe? Would you go for the jugular on the first try? No, you would be smarter than that, wouldn’t you? No hustler accomplishes his hustle if he tips his hand. Instead he exercises caution and leads his unsuspecting vicim along, until the time is ripe; until he’s already appealed to his victim’s selfish tendencies and base greed. Then, and only then is the ‘mark’ ripe for the score.

If life; a happy life, comes about from a contest that takes place in your mind, (your mind is the arena) then the assailant isn’t you, it’s outside of you and shows up in the form of thoughts. However, like the hustler behind it, it’s very quiet and surreptitious. It cannot show all the cards or you would awaken, startled and see the slight. Instead it’s skulks beneath in subtlety just below the surface, perceptible, yet imperceptible. It whispered to you a message and you heard it but you didn’t hear it. You were feeling good. Your were alive and vital. You were on top of the world and something changed. You questioned your sudden, inexplicable temper and your irritation level rose. Subtlety happened…

Like any art done well, we tend to be enamored by the big picture, yet fail to see the detail behind it. And, even if you peer closely, you’ll never see the drafts, the rough attempts, the entries that made it only to the garbage. Indeed, the devil is in the details because the details are where the life resides. Even one day consists of a multitude of thoughts. And amidst the thousands, which one caused you to stumble? What slippery, false prediction of the future took the wind out of your sails? What secret utterance raised your anxiety quotient and robbed you of the joy that is today? Which stealthy reminder of your past failures stole away your confidence and convinced you to settle for a mediocre existence. It’s that minuscule and it’s that grandiose!

In order to win at the game of life, you have to learn to pay attention. The world is fraught with distractions and causes you cannot affect. You spent the evening espousing racial inequality and succeeded in changing no-one. You fought for a cause that is no cause and neglected the only life you could change. In your passionate protest, you volunteered to fight the enemy, but failed to recognize the foreigner within. Your life demands your full attention both in the mundane and in the highlights. Your feelings; your built in receptors are conveying a message and you have to learn to hear it. You must learn to isolate the intruder and challenge its assertions. The peaceful life; the happy life; the exquisite life requires it!

Life itself is a frightfully short proposition. There just isn’t enough time. But, the time that is begs for control. It urges you to maximize the moment and revel in the present reality. Your joy exists right here, it says, fumbling distantly through the fog of your own making. It’s not the money or the successes or the status, it screams, it’s more simple than that. And like the flower that knows it must bud before it blossoms, it asks that you settle yourself patiently in order to master the moment. A happy life doesn’t come about from a single, glorious moment, but instead the mastery of a million moments in between. Master your moments.

Like any artist that has given themselves to their craft, you must, in humble submission, give yourself to your life. The joy of living is not a theory that eludes you but instead a reality that you already possess. And your bank balance would be very obvious to you if ever you tracked down the thieves that attempt to break through and steal…

Control, like discipline isn’t something you have to avoid. Both feel good unless they are motivated by fear. What you fail to control, controls you and the world is already full of sheep.

Cease your whining and feeling bad and complaining. Put a halt to your haphazard pursuit of the good life. Slam the brakes on the fruitless analysis of circumstances and events. Instead, put your hand firmly to the helm of thought and finally see what you never saw before. Anyone who wants to know, will know and you can bet your life on that.

So, how can you move beyond elementary school in discerning the subtlety that besets your life? You can do it by slowing down and paying attention. You achieve it by recognizing and controlling your thoughts. Your victory comes when you’ve earned your PhD in subtlety and the evil that lurks behind it.

You only have this one shot, right? You aren’t getting any younger. Wake up, get up and see what you, deep down, knew was going on all along… PhD folks; get your PhD!

Just some good thoughts…