Holiday Musings…


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The holidays are always the most interesting time of the year. All of us grew up in the enchantment of Christmas; a time where for a short period it was about the other people and not ourselves. People were a little nicer; a bit more compassionate; more kind to their fellow man. As children, most of us experienced the magic whereby we could hardly sleep in anticipation of the gifts we would receive on Christmas day. It was the one day when all of our dreams might come true. As we got older, we rightfully accepted our duty to produce that same feeling in our children and the people whom we loved. How glorious! How beautiful! How grand! No matter your beliefs, no matter your background, no matter your upbringing, Christmas was always a special time reserved for families and dear friends. Then, just like that, the holidays were over and we grudgingly returned to life as usual. The time for giving had eclipsed and it was back to the pursuit of number one. Maybe there is a lesson in Christmas? Holiday musings are in order.

What is it concerning Christmas that works so powerfully to change our views about people? Many say that Jesus is the reason for the season. But, is he? Most bible scholars will freely admit that the birth of Christ did not occur in December at all. More appropriately, Jesus is the reason for all seasons. The very idea of a man that lived for others; that sought the good of others above himself; the determination and drive to bring about God’s will in all situations; the enduring love and willingness to heal all that were oppressed under the burdensome hand of the devil, this was the life of our savior, this was God’s perfect man. In many ways, he exemplified the concept of Christmas in that his focus was the happiness and deliverance of others. He didn’t live this way for a month or so according to tradition, he lived this way his entire adult life. He was God’s representative on earth and as such he came only to do good for all that needed him, both in his present time and throughout the future. Perhaps the good feelings of Christmas, whether based on the pleasant memories of our past or based on a change of our perspective in the present, remain to teach us a valuable lesson; continue to exist to offer a small taste of the life that God intended for us, a time where everyday is Christmas at our house.

Christmas is a time when we finally let our preoccupation with ourselves go and turn our focus outward. We joy and rejoice in the intended effect our gifts will have on those we love. We think of all the people we embrace and look for ways to express our love for them. Instead of carelessly glossing over and taking for granted those we hold most dear, we seek rather to honor them no matter the cost, so that our love for them is increasingly evident. For us, it’s not about the money, the expense, but instead it’s about actively seeking their good, their blessing; their hearts. In this, we taste the goodness of God and experience for ourselves the true intention and heart of our Creator. We learn, even if for a relatively brief time, that it is more blessed to give than receive and that in giving from the heart our hearts are satisfied and blessed. We touch on the grand design and for a short respite forget ourselves. Oh the blessing and delight that Christmas represents.

Christmas is a time when we draw back from the hustle and bustle of life and recommit ourselves to our people. We finally take a break, a much needed break from the rat race and endless striving for something we don’t have, and settle down to our base, our foundation, our happy place of family. And,  though far from perfect, our place of safety, blessings and love. We stop trying to make our family into something they are not and instead embrace them for who they are, good and bad, because we love them. We share our fondest memories and remember how we all waited in gleeful anticipation for the great day that was on the horizon. In some way, we all tasted and felt how good life could be and we embraced it with all of our hearts. Christmas, steeped in tradition and a conglomeration of many ideas and beliefs, still served to teach us a different way; a way based on looking for the good in others instead of the bad in ourselves. And, every year we are blessed with that same pleasant reminder of how good life can be.

This Christmas, no matter your beliefs or upbringing, let yourself experience the love and blessings that your family and friends supply for you. Don’t let the moment escape you. Don’t fret yourself over something you cannot afford or worry yourself with meeting every demand. What your children will remember most is not the Xbox or the the new car, but instead the love you shared with them during the season of goodness and love. The love you felt and recall so fondly is the love they will remember as well. Put the Christmas music on. Watch the Hallmark movies. Serve up the hot chocolate in your pajamas reserved for the holiday season. Drink wine, bake cookies, make the place as festive as you can for in so doing, you encourage the love and goodness you enjoyed that lives on until this day. Ahh it is Christmas time and the love of God is all around you. Embrace it. It’s Christmas…

Just some good thoughts.

Dealing With Your Feelings


feelingsIt is peculiar to me that something that affects our life as much as our emotions do, would be the subject of greater education and study. It’s like we all grew up with this menagerie of feelings, yet seldom have we learned to understand what those myriad feelings are communicating to us. Most people, it seems choose rather to try and escape certain emotions while encouraging the existence of others. But, what if our feelings are communicating important messages to us? What if we took the time to evaluate our emotions; why they occur; when they occur and used them to help us move in a more beneficial direction with the promise of a better future. Do you know what your feelings are saying to you? Are you aware of what is behind your emotions and where they originate? Are you dealing with your feelings?

We humanoid units are incredibly sensitive creatures and by sensitive I mean have the capacity to experience a wide range of emotions. Some folks whole existence is based upon their emotions, while others seldom give their emotions much thought. It would seem that both scenarios are lacking. Our emotions are easily manipulated, if you haven’t noticed already, and to place your sole trust in them as the citadel for decision making would be foolish. Conversely, excluding all emotions as pointless or frivolous would serve only to rob your life of its richness and blessings. The wiser option would be to seek understanding regarding what your emotions are communicating to you. We have all had that experience whereby suddenly we feel a sense of dread or become agitated in place of the peace we had a few moments ago. Usually a little thought regarding what you were just thinking about reveals the thief; usually some vague fear or concern about a thought you just processed. The point of your emotions was to alert you to some change inside your head that needs to be addressed. All anxious or nervous feelings point to the same reality. Ignoring those thoughts with their subsequent feelings; medicating those thoughts; distracting yourself away from those thoughts leads only to more of those feelings. Your job in that instance was to deal with the intruder! By the time you are experiencing anxiety, it is a sure sign that you have been letting something go and now suffer from misplaced fears labeled as anxiety. Anxiety is only a common phenomenon today because people have stopped paying attention to their thoughts and to their feelings. We have become a nation of letting stuff go. We move too fast; try to do too much; endeavor to live up to impossible and unrealistic standards. We are quite literally led about by our noses staring at images and words and opinions lacking in any conceivable substance or help with our lives. We compare ourselves, measure ourselves, recognize our so-called deficits and lack and from there try to carve out a peaceful and happy existence. We are told when we should be married, when we should make our first million, what we should already have by now, where we should live and on it goes. It’s no wonder our feelings are trying to tell us something. They are telling us something isn’t true! 

Have you ever tried an experiment where you simply allow your emotions to be what they are and not try to escape them? How about when you are feeling bored? What are those dreaded boredom feelings trying to say? Is it really just a lack of activity? Or, have you entertained a series of thoughts that succeeded in taking the wind out of your sails? Boredom says you have nothing to look forward to, but is that really true. If you simply stopped running from those feelings with endless activity you might find that you don’t need more activity, but maybe need to reframe your thinking. Perhaps you need to stop trying to live in your future and embrace what is happening right now. Whenever you travel back in time or attempt to future travel, your emotions won’t cooperate and will bring you something you need to deal with today. In this way, your feelings are these fantastic barometers for your soul. They are ever pointing you to something, somewhere in the million details of your existence. Unpleasant emotions call for immediate action. Pleasant, joyful emotions encourage your continuance. In this is the only time that “if it feels good do it” was ever true. Trusting your feelings only falsely presumes everything you ever feel is an indicator of truth; that something is actually true. Then you spend your entire life waiting to feel good about something that may not feel good now, but has a huge payout in the future. The point is to pay attention to your feelings! Don’t cut yourself off from their messages, but instead investigate them without fear and follow their subtle promptings. Those experiences you have that bring joy to your heart are to be welcomed and repeated often.  Helping others, being kind, having great compassion, loving and forgiving others lead to immeasurable bliss. Don’t forsake them.

The next time you are feeling out of sorts, unhappy or down in the dumps, think about what you have been thinking about. Have you perhaps been focusing on what you don’t have or where you fall short? Have you been spending too much time thinking about life instead of actually living it? Or, have you fallen into perpetual self focus which leads only to more and more recognition of what isn’t right or needs repair. If you want to know, you can know as they are your emotions given to you by God’s wisdom to help you live your life that much better. Don’t ignore your feelings or write them off as foolish, but instead pay attention to the message and if needed take the necessary action. Sometimes our emotions are simply trying to get us to take some action we know we need to take, which as soon as we do it, opens the windows to a flood of positive feelings. The message, “handle your business!”

It is always your choice whether or not you take the time to deal with your feelings. But, you owe it to yourself to do so. You’ll know when you’ve got it right by the peace you experience inside. Feelings of peace and contentment are the ultimate measure of right thought. Peace is the end of the fight when you, at last, prevail. Deal with your feelings. You won’t be truly happy until you do. 

Just some good thoughts…

Take Your Needed Respite…


respiteThere are times in your life when you find yourself confused, bewildered, worn out. Most people let time sort of glom together and before you know it, an hour turns into a day, a day turns into a year, a year turns into a lifetime. Instead of taking control of the minutes, handling the issues of the moment, wrestling with the unrest, we let things go hoping difficulties will pass and peaceful feelings return. What we fail to see is the necessity to take on every challenge, every threat, every false word that is whispered in our ear. In so doing, our troubles mount up and gather strength. Simple changes become complex changes. Peaceful thoughts become agitated and agitation clouds our vision further. All this could have been avoided if we only took our needed respite.

The challenges that confront human beings are similar for us all. We all get pressed and pressured. We all have to contend with fearful considerations. We all face circumstances that portray loss in some capacity and threaten our future. The key involved in being successful isn’t to finally get to a place where we are no longer attacked, but instead making the decision to take on every mental assault, as it happens, when it happens, every time it happens. There is a reason God exhorts us to live one day at a time. The day you can handle. Endeavoring to live in the past and in the future you cannot handle. When you let things that are bothering you go, eyes fixed upon some future day, you miss the moment that is now and more importantly the fight that is now. And like a fighter, every shot absorbed adds up blow by blow,  until finally you go down. The situation demanded something of you now, not later. You were provoked and prodded and you needed to act. You needed to take it on when it was occurring. You needed to take a respite and get back in control.

Incredible as it seems, you can only live your life right now. You experience now, you feel now, you live now. You cannot live in your future and trying to do so is exhausting. Real life is found in your experiences which you might miss a lifetime if your focus isn’t on now. You are either happy or unhappy today. You are enthusiastic or miserable today. And, you are either peaceful or distressed right now. If you are distressed, unpeaceful, agitated, take some time and figure out why. What are you thinking about that is causing your distress? What threats have entered your awareness that you have failed to confront? What are you so afraid of? Answer those questions successfully and your peace will return. One of my favorite things I tell myself when I feel unrest is that I have nothing to be afraid of in any capacity and that my God is over all. There is no value in acting like you don’t feel something that you are feeling. It’s not healthy or honest to act as if things aren’t what they are. If you are bothered in any way, large or small, take it on and for Lord’s sake, stop running away from it. Fear only takes advantage of you when you retreat! Stop running from whatever it is that is after you! Turn and take it on. Challenge it. Refute it. Quote God’s Word concerning the situation. In essence, win the fight that is happening now. Your peace will return at the end of the conflict. Wishing there was no conflict or trying to escape the conflict will not work. You are in a fight. Sometimes the fight is easy to win. At other times, the fight is intense. But, no matter the form, it is a fight. When it dawns on you, you have been knocked off center, take a brief respite and get it straight. Don’t just move ahead or ignore it. Take it on, all comers, at all times.

The absolute beauty and joy of life comes after you have taken on the challenges that oppose it. Don’t get lulled into the illusion that your life is a collective effort and as long as you finish well, you win. No, my friends, life is a continuous series of right nows, with your experiences and enjoyments happening right now. You don’t need to concern and fret yourself with winning at life. You must needs concern yourself with what is going on right now, today, the only day you can live. Win the moment, win the hour, win the day. Take on those things that have plagued and hampered you. Challenge the stories concerning how your life will turn out. Do whatever it takes to get back to being peaceful and live there. When you find yourself frazzled, take the respite you need and get back to your abundant life, right now, today. There simply is no other way.

Just some good thoughts…

Unpack Your Bags…


When you return home from a vacation, you know one of the first things you need to do is unpack. Oh you can leave the bags sitting there with plans to fish out the toiletries in the morning, but you won’t be very comfortable until you supply the effort necessary to unpack. Leaving your stuff in the suitcases leads to feeling unsettled and becomes exacerbated with every passing day. The dirty clothes start to smell and you become aware of things you are missing, at least for a little while. Your mind, your thoughts about things, your conclusions formed also need to be unpacked at times in order to get back to happy living. You have to take some time to unpack.

Have you ever taken the time to contemplate how many things enter into your thinking in a day? One solitary thought leads to another thought and before you know it you are starting to form some conclusions about certain situations. Some thoughts seem centered upon your inadequacies while others pick at your capabilities or areas where you struggle. Mistakes you may have made are somehow compounded and joined with other mistakes leading to unsavory opinions of yourself and your motives. Before you know it, outside of your awareness, you have unknowingly arrived at a destination concerning yourself that is neither true nor substantiated. And, similar to the lazy traveler, you have to give yourself time to unpack it all and get back to what is right.

Failure to take the time you need to digest life’s experiences and your thoughts concerning the same lead to packing around baggage you likely need to unload. Unbeknownst to you perhaps are hundreds if not thousands of microscopic bits of unguarded and unwatched thoughts littering their debris on your mind and heart. That which you fail to control seeks to control you. At first blush, you clearly recognize the errant thought and its effect upon your tranquil state. But, those thoughts not dealt with and confronted lead to more thoughts stacking and adding and conglomerating until at last you find yourself distressed. Many, if not all, of our agitations in life come from these deftly planted ideas and notions that have been left to themselves to blossom and to grow. They grow and multiply because they have been ignored or glossed over and never challenged for the lies they actually represent. When you find yourself troubled, as you necessarily must, your task isn’t to simply move on and let it go, but rather to give yourself time to unpack it all until you get back to the equanimity that is your birthright.

Human beings as a whole have failed to take seriously the importance of right thought and as such get blown about with every wind of doctrine, afraid of this new threat, terrified of some unknown possibility, batted around to thing to thing to thing. In the helter-skelter of confused and disparate thinking, anxious, divided and distressed, they run and stagger and halt and keel never actually taking the time required to sort out the mess and settle upon some real conclusion. It never dawned on them the importance of taking back control of their organ for thinking by allotting the necessary time to unpack it all and get it straight. They must needs pull out the stinky garments one by one until all are gone, the threat dismissed, the situation resolved, the peace returned. Unpacking is required for all that would seek to live in peace.

In order to unpack you must first recognize that which you have packed. You thought the thoughts and you entertained the possibilities. No matter what may be going around you, you are the one thinking the thoughts. It is your mind and it is the one thing you have complete control over. Oh, you may not be the author of every wild beast that flashes across your awareness, but you are the gatekeeper who determines if it is allowed to remain. The competition for your happiness, for your peace of mind, for your overall well being, takes place within the confines of your own mind. We are all assaulted, we are all attacked, we are all subject to seemingly endless accusations and annoyances, but we don’t have to lose the fight. We lose not because we have been harangued but because we supplied no effort to fight back. We fight back by taking the time we need to get things straight. It is not a matter of how much time it takes, but instead have we taken the time we need. Enough time is defined as the rest returning to your soul. Unpacking leads to the promised rest.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of prayer is the opportunity to unpack all of our nonsense and foolishness with Someone far greater than us in terms of insight, understanding and ability. As such, we lay it all out there with great honesty of soul. We tell of our hurts and our troubles, our pains and our dysfunctions. We elucidate our vexations and sources of discomfort with an expectation of answers of peace that help our souls return to the reverie we need so dearly. We talk things over. We get things straight. We sort it out. We clean it up. We start fresh. We get back up. We resolve ourselves to win next time. We learn what we can learn and are that much better off in the next fight. We don’t pretend something is what it is not, but instead we say exactly what it is believing it does not have to remain that way! We lay it all at the feet of our Master and in so doing relieve ourselves of a whole world of burdens and pain.

Do you find yourself troubled about many things? Do you feel confused and divided inside, knocked about from pillar to post? Are you suffocating in the effects of wrong thought and wrong believing? Do you find yourself underwater and barely able to breathe? Start today by making the time to unpack your baggage and get to the clean, fresh air where you can breathe in new life with all of its limitless possibilities… They’re your bags, after all. Unpack them!

Just some good thoughts…

Settle It. Solve It. Resolve It…


There are times in life, when you are an avid believer in God and His Word, that God will open the eyes of your understanding and show you something that will absolutely change your life! Just such a thing happened to me this weekend. The subject of the teaching was accessing God’s peace in your life and how, in order to experience and enjoy that peace, you have to take the time to settle the things in your heart that remain unsettled, unsolved and unresolved.

Peace typically occurs at the end of a conflict. It has been referred to as the absence of strife. Peace can follow accomplishment or a job well done. Peace is also defined as undisturbed well being. It is knowing that everything is going to be okay. Peace is something God gives to us as His children. Yet for all the magnificence that God’s peace is in our lives, we often fail to access it. We fail to access it because we go about obtaining it in the wrong way. We tend to believe that peace is something we have to work for by “living right” or by giving up something; by adding something; or by abstaining from something. Such is the life of the typical Christian believer, ever condemned and guilty, never measuring up, always unworthy! I cannot tell you how many Facebook and Instagram stories promote how unworthy we are before God, implying that if we only “did better” or worked harder we would arrive. Well, here’s newsflash for your weary soul – there will never be anything you can do that will make you worthy before God! Making you worthy is something God had to do for you! The sooner you come across that realization, the closer you are to enjoying God’s peace in your life. What a cruel, dreadful, awful trick the enemy of God has placed on God’s people since the world began. Who the hell wants to worship and serve a God that is perpetually unhappy and displeased with His children? Are you perpetually displeased with your children? Don’t you have a little forgiveness for their foolishness? Do you not extend them some mercy at times? Don’t you just love them for who they are irrespective of their behavior? Well, it’s fair to say the God of love can do even better than that! When you find yourself caught in that arduous trap it isn’t God that you are serving anymore, instead it is the commandments and doctrines of men, made by men in an attempt to access a God they neither know nor understand. There is no peace in living that way (and definitely no love).

Peace is something that God freely gives to His children. In order to access that peace in your heart you have to settle things in your heart. You are not going to be able to settle all the things that aren’t right in the world, but you can settle them in your own heart. You do so by believing and accepting what God says over what everyone and everything else says. You remain unpeaceful because you (and I) have all these things going on inside of us that are not resolved. God says that He gave us His son as a payment for all the sins we may commit in a lifetime, past, present and future. Accepting Jesus Christ’s finished work for you leads to peace. BUT (and it’s a helluva big but), your failure to accept that reality in your heart leads to a lifetime of dwelling on and living in every stupid thing you ever did throughout your life! Of course the sin and error is wrong and leads to pain, You don’t need me to tell you that. But, remaining in it is worse, especially when God, the only true judge, has already forgiven you in the life of His son. God solved your sin problem and mine forever. Our Savior’s work is finished, it’s done. Until you resolve that in your own heart, you won’t enjoy the peace God has freely given to you.

Another way believers get talked out of the peace God so dearly wants for His children is by living under the negative judgment of man, including yourself. You do not have the right to judge yourself. When you negatively judge yourself, you reject God’s plan of redemption already enacted for you. Judging yourself and allowing yourself to be judged by other people is wrong. It is not humble to refer to yourself as a worm for God, lowly and defeated. Thinking this way not only robs you of God’s peace, but it serves to work the purposes of your insidious enemy, the accuser of the brethren before God night and day. Similarly, living in the past, rehearsing and cataloging your every mistake, remembering and cleaving to your lowest moments, denies God’s true opinion of you as His child and crucifies afresh His son that died for you. You may not be able to forget all the dumb stuff you have done throughout your life, but you can resolve to settle the matter in your heart. Leaving it unsettled and undone leads only to fear and an incessant focus on what is not right about you!  (Have you ever been there?) Settle it in your heart. Forgive yourself and let it go. Let it ALL go and simply move ahead. Walk out a new man, a new woman, fresh, alive and vital for the day at hand. Walk out with your head held high, a son or daughter of the most high God! Once you really decide to let it all go and refuse to unearth it, you will find yourself living in the peace God has already given you. Resolve it in your heart once and for all.

The good life you dream of is not found in riches and cars and houses and more and more stuff. It is found when you know and understand Him, the God who so loved you that He gave His only begotten son for you. It is found in the joy and love and peace that only God can provide for you. It’s not about you, for goodness sakes, it’s about Him. You don’t have to spend your life feeling like you don’t measure up before God which leads only to increasing fear and doubt and defeat. You have not been found wanting and there is literally nothing you have to do in this life to be at peace other than fully accept all that God has already done for you. Settle the matter in your own heart. Resolve the matter in your own heart. Solve the matter in your own heart by believing what God says is true in every situation that ever confronts you. You will surely be challenged in this life, but God will make sure you always win! Always…

Get peace…

Just some good thoughts…

Annoyingly Annoyed, Agitated and Angry!


Have you ever found yourself just completely and unapologetically annoyed with people? Have you ever spent the day angry about everything? What is it that happens to us on certain days or maybe even for certain weeks when we have literally no patience left for circumstances and situations? What burr got under our saddle? Who are those thorns in the flesh? What has gotten us so pissed off? And, from whence does that agitation originate? Indeed, how did we end up so annoyingly annoyed, agitated and angry?

If you are anything like me, you know that sometimes people and situations just bug the living shit out of you! Oh try as you might to return to your positive status quo, you just can’t seem to locate it. Something happened to you. Something somewhere somehow got to you. Are you just grumpy or hungry or sleepy, or is there another variable involved? Your emotions, as varied and complex as they are, are still fed by the thoughts and feelings you are accepting or confronting. Your mind does not function in a vacuum. Words and opinions and experiences all work to take you somewhere be it good or bad. Words carry with them tremendous power to shape your mindset and encourage or discourage you. Opinions, though always personal in nature, work with you when you share them and work against you when you disagree. Experiences must be interpreted and they are done so in the light of what you are thinking at the time. Some days we want to write off as bad days, close up shop and start fresh tomorrow. Other days we feel we have energy unlimited and can do anything we desire. Just what exactly is going on?

Every single thing you put into your mind has some kind of effect on you. Every. Single. Thing. There are no such things as benign thoughts. Every Facebook post, every Instagram meme, every so called news report or article, every conversation, every skillfully crafted advertisement, every text string, every email, every LinkedIn posting, every single asinine campaign ad, every reality television program makes some type of impact on your mind. You see it, you read it, you rehearse it, you contemplate it, ending in some type of effect on how you are going to feel. If you are not careful, soon you find yourself swept away and annoyed. For me, it’s not differences in opinions that bother me, it’s the general absence of any fathomable logic or common sense. It’s group think. It’s all or nothing processing where all choices are centered in either A or B. How absurd? There is good and evil and a whole world of choices in between. Americans in particular seem to have been lulled into non-thinking largely based on the cheap effects of social media. Empty words, empty ideas, completely illogical concepts and gross generalizations based on some bullshit someone else came up with. Reading it and considering it absolutely fries my soul! But, as has been the case since time began, the problem isn’t all the outside influences trying to captivate and capture our minds, the real problem is in our consideration of those irrational concepts and lies. Lies, lies, lies all craftily designed to dull and diminish our God-given capability to think for ourselves.

The solution to our dilemma is not to fuss and fume and fret ourselves over the latest line of insanity to assault our minds, but instead refuse it. This precarious notion that being an adult means having to patiently sift through the garbage bin, politely agreeing to disagree, trying to find logic in illogic or acting as if everything is true just a different kind of true, is abject delusion and nonsense! It was the consideration of evil that led to the first man’s demise and it will, without doubt, lead to yours as well. Your job, my job is to separate ourselves from it. Stop listening to it. Get away from the people that promote it. Well, you can scroll past it they say. Yes, I can but I’m worse off for having done so. Every small piece of poop you leave on your shoe is part of a collective larger piece of poop on your shoe, you will be left with in your mind. Stop arguing with them! Quit trying to interject something logical into something that isn’t logical to begin with. Nuts is nuts is nuts is nuts! Walk away from it. The reason you are feeling so agitated is that you keep giving the source of agitation access to you and isn’t your former friend that is behind it! Clean up your friends list! Better, stay off the feed for awhile. Figure out what it is that is upsetting you and remove its access to you.

Finally, recognize what it is you are saying to yourself or worse, what you are saying about yourself. No one in their right mind is opposed to their own selves. By the time you are angry with yourself and no longer like that person staring back at you from the mirror, something has already worked you over. Something has succeeded in diminishing your worth to the point where you remain perpetually angry with your very own self! You are a human being and like all humans will find yourself unknowingly participating in some absurdity from time to time. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to blow it, miss the mark, fail in your efforts and generally fall short of the person God called you to be. The nature of error preexists in your bloodline. Instead of being angry with yourself, figure out what it is that you are telling yourself about yourself. If it is causing you unrest it is probably not true. God, like any good parent, doesn’t make you better by pointing out your flaws but rather by pointing out all that is right about you. He graciously provided the ultimate solution in the life of His son. God isn’t mad at you, you are mad at you! After you clean up your friends list, take some time to clean up your own mind as well. Purge your thoughts of every accusation, every consideration of something being wrong with you.

These days we live in feel like the pinnacle of annoyance, agitation and anger, but they don’t have to be. There’s a better place to live. Calm yourself down a little bit and figure out what you have been feeding your mind that has you so pissed off! Anger and agitation do nothing but diminish your soul! Get above it on the high road where God lives. I don’t know about you, but I feel better already!

Just some good thoughts…

Escaping the Agitation…


We live in a crazy world, in a crazy time. If you are remotely in touch with your feelings you know that agitation is running amuck. Facebook has succeeded in getting you heated. The news is deeply under your skin. The President continues to tweet and you continue to read it. People you thought you knew are not the people you thought you knew at all. The masses, at least the American masses, have become so polarized and entrenched that they are conveying messages they don’t really believe, agreeing with arguments they don’t really support in defense of a team of which they aren’t really a part. Madness. Agitation. Confusion. You know you don’t like it; how you feel; the battle lines you are drawing. There has to be a way out of it. There must be a solution. Surely there is an answer! Well, there is, but it is going to take a little humility on your part. You are going to have to set that massive human ego aside and do something different. Can you escape the agitation? You better believe it!

Agitation at its core is the absolute opposite of peace. In a war, you cannot expect any modicum of peace while you are still engaged in the fight. In life, conflicts will always appear; will always challenge your thinking; will ever be right around the corner quietly awaiting your arrival. And once you arrive, it’s on like the break of dawn. Some things in life are worth fighting for, but sadly many things are not. They key is found in being able to discern the difference. Perhaps the most worthless fight in life is earnestly trying to make someone do something or agree with something or support something they do not support. When you are fighting for justice, there is no value in trying to convince those of injustices done when their aim is not justice. You are not going to educate someone out of racism. And although racism is born of ignorance, you cannot teach a student who is not yet ready to learn. Instead, you have to let that sleeping dog lie. Align yourselves with the people who do what is right and give not another second to those who do not. You cannot change evil. You can’t work hard to convince evil. Evil will continue to be evil and good will continue to be good. Work with those on the side of good. Otherwise, you will continue to find yourself in a fight you cannot win. You will continue to experience agitation and nothing will change as a result of it. The only loser will be you. Walk away from the evil and cleave to the good.

You cannot get peace from agitation anymore than you can get potatoes from onions. If you keep planting onions you are going to keep getting onions. Expecting your onions to turn into potatoes when they are onions is absurd. If you really want potatoes, the only logical course of action is to plant potatoes. Likewise, if you want peace you have to plant peaceful thoughts. Spending your days rehearsing and sharing the wrongs done to you will only lead to more wrongs done to you. How could they not? Every wrong thought repeated is a wrong result received. Maybe you went through some really shitty things. Well, God bless you. But listen, the way out of those things is to move in a different direction. Remaining in the crap, rehearsing the crap, lamenting the crap, complaining about the crap simply serves to keep you in the crap! Step out of the shit hole! Wipe the remains off your shoes and move ahead. Really move ahead. Let it go! Learn what you can learn, make some promises to yourself and move ahead. You cannot expect to dutifully remain in the agitation and hope for some peace. The peace isn’t found in the agitation. Your peace is always there for you, but you have to cooperate with it and center your focus on thoughts that bring you peace. Step away from the agitation and move towards the peace.

You can literally, unless you are on acid, only think one thought at a time. So, what are you thinking about? Are you cussing out your boss? Are you still fighting with your wife saying all the things you wished you would have said in the moment? Are you dwelling on everything you don’t have? Are you rehearsing all the things you don’t like about your life? If so, you are wasting your time! Worse, you are working against yourself to bring more and more trouble towards yourself. If you are honest, you are just fighting with your own thoughts. Crazy huh? Fighting against your own thoughts, when they are your thoughts… Change your thoughts. Stop thinking about the stuff that makes you nutty and puts you on overdrive! Stop letting Facebook and stupid memes and lying conclusions, run your life. Quit letting the media tell you how to think. Stop agreeing with senseless, idiots promoting opinions they neither originated nor understand. Just quit it! You are on a treadmill from which you have the freedom to step off. Don’t fret. Don’t fume! Don’t swear yourself to revenge. Step off! Get on track with something good and kind and useful instead.

The world we live in today has unparalleled access to our hearts. In the old days, you just read about this garbage in the paper. In the old, old days someone had to tell you these things in person. You never had access to the heinous opinions of other people because they would never tell them to you in person. But today, everyone has a voice; everyone has an opinion, everyone has something to say but most of it is just bullshit, rehearsed, repeated, undigested bullshit. And there you are reading it and allowing it to transform who you are! It has been said the greatest thing the devil ever did was to convince the world he didn’t exist. I would say the greatest thing he ever did was to invent social media, damaging souls and spreading division by the millions.

Unplug, check out, do whatever it is you have to do to stop feeding on what’s wrong with the world. It’s not choosing to be uninformed, it’s choosing to be informed by things that are actually true. Brothers and sisters, let it go! Walk away. Don’t look back! Don’t let agitations and tumult cut your life short. God’s peace is there for you if you want it but in order to receive it you have to let something go… Escape the agitation!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Anxious for Nothing…


There’s a thing going around in the world today called anxiety and almost everybody has it in one capacity or another. The question isn’t whether or not anxiety exists, but rather can you do anything about it. Feeling anxious and troubled is not just a normal part of life, but instead is a learned behavior. You may never find yourself completely free from anxiety’s assaults, but you can learn how to overcome it and its effects over your life. Be anxious for nothing!

It likely seems incredulous to you that you could live today without any anxiety about anything. Imagine getting to a place where feeling anxious was the exception rather than the rule. Anxiety in its lowest common denominator is fear. However, it’s not an overt fear that is in your face threatening you with some negative outcome. Instead it is a hidden, veiled fear. It is fear misplaced. It’s a foreboding feeling of doom based on nothing you can put your finger on. It is feeling unsettled or uncomfortable with something, somewhere, somehow. At best it is unpleasant and people do all kinds of things to minimize its effects. Anxiety leads to avoidance and procrastination. Anxiety, the child of fear, promotes inaction! Anxiety suggests it is better to do nothing about something that is troubling you rather than to take it on. Anxiety presumes defeat or hardship in advance and proclaims loss before the contest starts. Anxiety is not the negative result, it is the threat of a negative result. And sadly, for many it is debilitating.  Feeling anxious is “just” a feeling. It’s not a reality, it is a feeling. It is internal dread about something that has been cleverly designed to frighten you. But, like any feeling, it can be overcome similar to boredom, discouragement or any other feeling that we wish to avoid at all costs.

If you were to carefully and thoughtfully trace back your thoughts that led to anxiety, working though the layers and the subtle promptings; the pieced together misinformation; the false connections and associations, you would see it for what it really is – a lie. It doesn’t seem untrue because of how you feel when you experience it. It can be very, very convincing. But, it isn’t pointing to some pending reality heading your direction. It is highlighting something you have let go. Anxious feelings are always an indicator of something you have let go. The first step in overcoming anxiety isn’t to dig through the confused spaghetti bowl of feelings and sensations. It is to confront the negative possibility the first time it shows up! By the time you are experiencing anxiety, the seeds have long since been planted. It happened long before you started feeling anxious! In the midst of anxiety, you have to ride it out; changing your thinking with perseverance until your feelings catch up. We are so schooled to revere our feelings that we accept them as truth rather than as indicators. Anxious feelings communicate that you have let something go.

The cure for anxiety is action. Take action on whatever it is you are letting go! What’s the point of all of that thinking and analysis if you aren’t going to do anything about it? You can think yourself into a full on panic attack! What things in your life are you ignoring? What do you need to handle that you have been putting off? And, why the hell are you putting it off? It will not go away on its own… Take it on! Solve it. Try to solve it. Bring it up. Handle it. Be honest with yourself! Be honest with other people. Take the time to get “it” fixed. Resolve it in your own mind. Answer the damn question once and for all. Quit drifting. Stop putting up with it. Cease waiting around for something that isn’t going to happen. Put an end to endless prayers that have no action on your part involved. Get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Have the conversation you have been avoiding. Make a move. Pay the bill. Look for the job. Go to the doctor. Do something! Otherwise, you will find yourself living in a riddle that will never be solved on its own. You don’t have to know what to do already. But, you do have to do something!

It is not God’s will for you to be anxious all the time or for that matter anytime… God, His Word, His love is the only real lasting solution to your anxiety. Look, life is big and chock full of scary shit! There are a multitude of things that could go wrong. You and your human mind are no match for what you are really up against. You are not smart enough or strong enough to measure up to the fight! You will not be able to reason or logic your way out of the potential downfalls. You won’t be able to do it. As long as you think your victory is all on you, you are guaranteed to lose. God did not design life that way. You can’t pull up enough bootstraps to get the job done! The solution, the best solution for anxiety is to stop trying so hard to figure it all out and give all of that crap to God to figure out. Just hand it over. Tell him about your situation (that He already knows about) and leave it with him to solve. Then, get busy living and doing and taking actions. 90% of your defeat lies within your persistent consideration of the dreadful outcome. Read that sentence again! Your problem isn’t what is going to happen, your problem is what you think (fear) is going to happen! Hand it over and make some moves. What is the worst that could happen? Have you ever met anyone that worried themselves out of their problems? Be anxious for nothing (no thing), but in everything (every thing) let your requests be made known unto Him (God) and enjoy the wonderful peace that follows!

Be anxious for nothing. That is living your best life…

Just some good thoughts…

What I Know for Sure… (Birthday Blog)


As I reflect on another trip around the sun, there are, in the words of Oprah, some things I know for sure. For one, life is short. One day you are 30, then suddenly you’re 50 and before you know it, you’re 80. You live the day and the days keep on moving forward. Days turn into months, months turn into years and years become a lifetime. Early on you’re figuring out children and finances, struggling to find your place in the world. Then, your kids are grown and you are no longer so focused on your money or your place. Now you are someone’s grandpa and the grey haired manager at work. You’ve got more money and more time and you find yourself contented with less. Words like retirement start popping up and although you aren’t as old as your dad was at the same age, you have to give it some thought. Curiously, you find yourself considering your legacy; what you would want your children or other people thinking about when they remembered you. Did you ever answer the question of who you were?

With the passing of time comes wisdom. You’ve lived long enough and screwed it up often enough to finally consider your ways. Yet, you recognize all that time you spent judging yourself was wasted time. You see things for what they are and understand that life always has choices and though you chose wrong a thousand times, you can always choose right. And, it dawns on you that you also chose right a thousand times and maybe didn’t recognize it at all. Instead of measuring and evaluating yourself by your mistakes, you can put those mistakes in perspective and see how little a part they played in the grand scheme of your life. Once you finally stop judging yourself, you find you stop judging other people as well. You understand that they, like you, are also learning and developing and you are viewing them at only one place along their journey.

Instead of seeing life as a whole, you see it in all of its parts. There are good parts and bad parts, exciting parts and boring parts. There are times of rejoicing and there are times of sorrow. You succeed and you fail. You fall down and you get back up. You get your ass kicked for a time, then you kick some ass yourself. You long to live your life in perpetual comfort, but learn that much of life is uncomfortable, at least for a little while. You wish for life without challenges, but acknowledge that the challenges help you grow. You know you have an opponent in life and obstacles, but you figure out how to make sure the enemy isn’t you. Simple things become the best things. Complexity belongs to error. You can finally admit you have some weak spots and in so knowing can finally build yourself up. It also dawns on you that you have some gloriously strong parts and you can figure out how to tap into them as often as possible. Don’t discount the value of being able to make someone smile or lift them up and out of their misery. You see the power of your words and how you wield them, and thus use them to bring light and not darkness. You can appreciate the pain you have endured, not for having it, but for how it forced you to find the way out of it.

Life is full of change and nothing stays the same, except for God. No matter how low you have descended, or how far down the rabbit hole you may have ventured, He will give you the same love when you return. One thing is faithful and it is Him. He loves you when you do not love yourself. He provides help when you aren’t asking for help. He is the one great constant in life. He doesn’t change His nature. He does not do people harm. He is the polar opposite of the world’s portrayal of Him. He is not following you around pointing out your moral deficiencies. He is not judging you. You experience those things at the hands of His opponent, who is ever portraying himself as something he is not. God doesn’t make you feel bad ever. He makes you feel good. He is the goodness you have always dreamed of and He always will be. My life today would not be the life it is without Him. The times He has answered me, rescued me and picked me up out of life’s gutters, I cannot count. The insights, the inklings, the tips and clues are without number. He loved me into loving myself and did it again and again and again. One thing I know for sure is that God is only good always…

Life, this life always has the promise of good things. Pretty soon you find yourself more clear on how to access those good things. You discern your own cooperation with the madness and stop cooperating. You at last see the part you play and make better plays. Sure, you still fumble at times, but you don’t let your head stay there. You stay clear on all of your touchdowns and let the missteps go. In short, you love yourself and continue to love yourself, bulges, sore knees and all. You become adamant not to be against yourself any longer. You know God loves you and you walk out with that love. And, you get busy healing and helping and lifting and loving. You see humanity surging with pain and grief, disappointment and loss, and you get in there and offer them something different; something wonderful instead. This, my friends, is a life well lived.

I’m not done yet of course and have a lot left to learn and to do. No regrets at all… Looking forward to another trip around the sun and more time to love and to bless.

Life is good.

Just some good thoughts…

Finding Your Missing Peace…


Life can be a topsy turvy affair. You are definitely going to experience your share of ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and bad times. Sometimes things work out for you and other times they may not. Some circumstances are going to challenge you down to the very core of your being. Chances are you will experience pressures, stress, negativity and downright agitation. But, did you know that the turbulance, the unrest, the feeling unsettled, the churning inside is all an indicator that something is not right and needs to be changed; to be remedied; to be fixed. It’s not something you must learn to accept or live with, nor is it a necessary part of being a human being. In its basic essence it is the absence of peace. You need to find your missing peace…

Children do not live with agitation in their hearts. When something is bothering them, they instinctively know they need help to get it cleared up. They don’t put up with it for very long. It’s only adults that try to acclimatize themselves to the unrest or worse find things that cover up the distress. When people are suffering inside, it’s only reasonable to seek the source of those feelings. But instead, people just sort of move on or ignore it. They wait for a new day or for some length of time to pass hoping something will change and bring their peace back. They think that peace is something you need to attain, rather than a natural state that has been tampered with and manipulated. They never consider that there is something they are doing or choosing, knowingly or unknowingly, that invites in the agitation. Wrong thinking and wrong behaviors steal away your precious peace. They promise something good, but fail to deliver on the promise. Error in all forms cannot produce good, no matter the adornment or appeal. Darkness wears many disguises, but regardless of the costume still brings in darkness. In order to find your peace, you have to learn what is wrong, what is error, what is darkness. You cannot go by what people say or the masses or the so-called experts. You’ve got to go by what God’s Word says…

There is a verse in the Bible that states, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts…” The Greek word for “rule” is brabeuó which literally means “to umpire.” It (the peace) let’s you know if you are safe or if you are out. Things you think about that cause you agitation are out! Thinking fearful, worried thoughts cause you to churn inside. The churning, the unrest, is the umpire telling you, you are out! If you continue to stay your mind on those wrong thoughts your peace will not return until you stop thinking those wrong thoughts. Some behaviors you engage in cause you to feel good about yourself. Other behaviors cause distress. Behaviors that cause distress are the wrong behaviors or you have some wrong teaching concerning those behaviors. If someone taught you years ago that dancing is a sin, then every time you dance you will feel agitation. However, the error is not in the dancing, it is in your thinking. You are believing something that is not true based on wrong teaching. The world is chock full of wrong teaching and it has been tying God’s people up for centuries. It’s hard to find someone who feels worse about themselves than the average Christian. Yet, it’s not their sin that is defeating them, it is holding on to wrong thoughts about themselves, condemning themselves, focusing on themselves, that’s killing them. You can multiply this scenario out indefinitely. Yet, for all this, you already have the solution within yourself. Does what you are thinking about cause you to be at rest or unrest? Do you have some behaviors you engage in that always leave you feeling bad? The peace inside is your umpire and that umpire never misses a call.

If you are unpeaceful as hell, you have to ask yourself what have you been feeding your mind? What are you dwelling on and focusing on and concentrating on? Where does your mind naturally go? All of that fear and worry you have been dutifully entertaining has never, ever led you to anything good. It’s not good information that helps you feel better. Has it ever helped you feel better? Does contemplating your or your loved ones demise help you to live? You see, you have to get it out of your mind that fear has any useful purpose! Fear thoughts, worry thoughts, anxious thoughts, doubtful thoughts are all error and will take away your peace faster than a speeding bullet! The key to overcoming fear is found in your refusal to consider the thoughts. Oh I know, you think you can figure it out if you just invest enough churning. But, you aint going to figure it out! Instead, you will just become a big mess inside, drinking liquor and taking pills to make it stop. Your mind is feeding on something and you are the one responsible for what you feed it. The crippling negatives of the world are everywhere and have been ever since the first man went astray. But, just because they surround you doesn’t mean you have to perpetually contemplate them. Don’t let them in…

Do you want that wonderful peace inside that assures you everything is right and nothing is in need of repair? Do you want that inner calmness that makes life sweet and beautiful and tender? Do you want to find that long lost feeling of repose and know that you are safe and protected on every front? Then, you have got to do something different with your mind. You have got to change how you have been thinking. You have got to alter what you have been feeding your heart. Life will still be full of ups and downs, but you won’t be. You will still have to face pressures and stressors and threats, but you don’t have to remain agitated by them. There will still be hard times and hard days and hard circumstances, but inside you can remain at peace because you know who ultimately has your back. I hope you find your missing peace…

Just some good thoughts…