Get to the Bottom of It!


I sometimes wonder if we have some of the problems that we have because we just haven’t gotten to the bottom of the things that plague us. We’ve been so trained, so influenced, so led to knock around on the surface of things for a little bit, then quickly move on to the next thing that demands our attention. We have so many things to do and so little remaining time to get it all done. We lack focus and what little focus we do have is squandered on a multitude of things that really don’t matter; that really have minimal consequence in our lives. Instead of endeavoring to hone in on a solution, we sort of take a stab at it, try googling it, then move past it after Goggle satisfies our need to know. We endure the same troubles, the same difficulties, year after year, because we never actually get to the bottom of the problem! We fail to see it through. We stop short of our goal. We give up. We get distracted. We move on. We owe it to ourselves to get to the bottom of it!

The only way to solve a problem is by working through the apparent complexity of it until you reach the underlying cause. The cause of our problems will always be simple. If we became aware of the actual cause, we would take the necessary steps to reach the solution. However, in order for our problems to gain permanence, many elements of complexity must be layered over the top of the true cause. People spend their whole lives swatting away at false causes like trying to swat at annoying flies in their immediate vicinity. Then, like people in uninhabited places and undeveloped regions, eventually they simply acquiesce and learn to coexist with the flies. The solution isn’t to learn to live with the annoyances, but rather to learn to rid yourself of them once and for all. Human beings, by nature, will be forced to deal with challenges and obstacles in life. There’s simply no way around that reality. However, it was never God’s intention that people should be overcome by those challenges and live a miserable life as a result of them. Instead, the intention was that we would seek solutions to our difficulties and after having them, live that much more abundantly a a result.

Problems remain in our lives because of our failure to see them until they have become deeply entrenched into our psyche. The deeper the issue, the more difficult it will be to extricate and uproot the source. And, like any pervasive threat, it usually is not going to happen overnight. Ill health, for example, is generally not resolved upon the body’s recognition of its loss, but rather health follows after a number of clearly defined steps practiced faithfully and persistently over time. Troubles, generally inculcated and dug in, must be chipped away at piece by piece until dissolved. Thus, solving problems depends more upon persistence than quick fixes and shortcuts. It’s not logical to expect a rapid repair of a long standing issue. In fact, the expectation of a miraculous, rapid repair is the reason people give up on finding a solution and as such, cease their efforts immediately towards it. If God would resolve it overnight, let Him. Otherwise, keep doing the best you can until more light becomes available. The sooner you give up on your own ability, the better. Instead keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking until your answer appears. The most important thing is not the timetable, but instead your ultimate deliverance.

Where we fail and why we fail is because we stop short of the goal. Your life, your happiness is more important than the transitory circumstances of life. Your issue is not how long it might take. Your concern is that you might have enough clarity to affect real change at the root cause level of your dilemma rather than slapping around on the surface of the water hoping to dive deeper underneath. When your problems persist and worsen, the cause is down lower, underneath. You cannot expect to arrive at any solutions for your troubles employing the same thinking and logic that got you there in the first pace. How glorious is the day when you finally admit you need some help and at last seek outside yourself for the answer! There is Someone who has all the answers and earnestly awaits your request. But, you have to ask, you have to seek, you have to keep knocking on the door until you get an answer.

It is error to think that you have to live with problems or that some problems are not solvable or worse, the false notion that beckons, ‘that is just how life is.” And, while many, many people live that way, that is not how life is! The sooner you resolve your issues, the better your life will become. We all struggle in certain areas. We all have aspects of life that cause us difficulty. We all have weaknesses and we ALL fall short. We are in this thing together and we face a common foe. But, none of us win in life by choosing to ignore the issues that plague us. If you have a problem you cannot seem to resolve, implore God for help and solve it. Don’t move on. Don’t allow yourself to be frustrated. Do not be discouraged that it is not resolved yet. Instead set in your heart a willingness to take it on and not stop until you have gotten what you need. If you stay at it. If you persist. If you refuse to move on and ignore it. If you will continue pursuing the answer until you get it, you will not only get it, but you will be that much better as a result of it. You can get to the bottom of the things that have been defeating you, but you are not at the bottom until the real cause becomes apparent. It is worth your effort, my friends, and you deserve to be happy! Get to the bottom of it already! You will be so thankful on the other side.

Just some good thoughts…

The Happiness Quotient


HappinessImage-1Husbands just want to make their wives happy. Mothers wish above all things that their children would be happy. Therapists advise their clients to pursue the things that make them happy. Work performed by people in harmony with their heart’s desires makes them happy. Overcoming great challenges, winning in conflict, improving and succeeding all generally lead to happiness. As thinking and feeling human beings, happiness is always near the top of our priorities and when we aren’t happy, nothing serves as a substitute for it. Gobs of money, grand successes, glorious homes, exotic cars and fancy yachts are no reward for the person who isn’t happy. Happiness is such a primary part of our human existence that we cannot survive long without it. Some folks seem to be happy in every type of circumstance while others cannot seem to find happiness in anything.  Happiness is always subjective and varies from person to person, yet despite the variety involved is universal in its application. Why are some folks happy consistently, while others seem unable to locate it? Is happiness something that can be measured and analyzed to be improved upon or is happiness rather an internal interpretation present whenever we decide it will be? What is your happiness quotient?

Anyone who has lived any length of time will tell you that happiness isn’t something you can purchase. Lots and lots of people with lots and lots of money are quite miserable to say the least. Yet strangely, some folks with truckloads  of money are very happy. Conversely, some folks with very limited resources are sublimely happy, while others spend their days cursing their existence. On the surface alone, it’s obvious that material resources don’t contain the lynch pin for happiness. But, those same resources can certainly contribute to or when absent, detract from one’s happiness quotient. It seems it’s not the things that are responsible for your happiness, but rather your interpretation of those things. Objects have no meaning outside the meaning you have assigned them. Thus, the first step in figuring out your own, personal happiness quotient, to produce more of it, is to figure out just what is going on in that mind of yours. How are you interpreting the events that make up your life? If your interpretation is wrong or perpetually negative, your happiness will be limited no matter what else is going on. If you have been so schooled to see the wrong in everything, cynical, critical and wary of any good continuing, you cannot reasonably expect happiness to follow. Complaining of not being happy while thinking and doing things unhappily is an absurd proposition. Similarly, waiting for happiness to appear unwelcome by pervasive foul thought is an exercise in futility. Happiness won’t suddenly one day show up at your door, it already dwells inside. 

When you really try to break down the components of happiness, one thing is very clear. Happiness is present when unhappiness is not present. You cannot be happy and unhappy at the same time. You have to choose one or the other. However, you cannot somehow choose happiness and happiness will appear. That sounds good, but it lacks the proper substance. The irony is that choosing to be happy does not really make you happy. Instead true happiness appears when you have successfully eliminated the causes of your own unhappiness. Happiness isn’t a treasure you stumble upon and find. Happiness is the reality behind the things that are obscuring it or hiding it. When you feel as if you are not safe or not okay or are powerless against the perilous dangers of the world, you won’t be happy until you find the solution to that problem. Happiness isn’t about floating along mindlessly oblivious to the things that are happening all around you. Happiness is problem solving or at least being willing to entertain the notion that there might be something you don’t already know! For all of the complexity involved with us as human beings, we are incredibly simple when it comes to how we feel. And despite our many differences, we all need the same basic things. Happiness comes when we learn how to get those uncomplicated needs met. 

If you are honest, you know when you are not happy and you know why. Even when our happiness is being stilted and we don’t think we know why, a little reflective thought will usually reveal the answer. However, sometimes the answer is not something we are willing to entertain. But, if it is blocking your happiness, it is worth thinking about. One great thing that generally happy people have in common is their willingness to work towards solutions to their problems, knowing there are always solutions for their problems. People spend half their lives unhappy with their spouse, yet adamantly refuse to do anything about it because, after all, it’s them and not me.  Such refusals to see things for what they really are serve only to perpetuate unhappiness. At the end of the day, it is your job to believe to find the solution to your problems, no matter what they are. Living with and accepting problems is a guarantee for unhappiness persisting. The more you can eliminate the causes for your unhappiness the happier you will be. The more you assign outside causes as the source of your unhappiness, the more unhappy you will remain. 

Happiness in its stripped down reality is really a sense of contentment and safety and assurance that our needs will be met. It is the soul of a person that has ceased from his own works and learned to rely upon another. Happiness is no longer trying to be the sole source of your own needs being met and trusting someone greater than yourself to supply those needs. God is that someone greater than yourself.  God never intended for you to figure out life on your own and your resultant unhappiness is the measure of where you fit along that scale. Again, if you are honest, most of the big problems of life you aren’t going to be able to solve by yourself. Trying and working and toiling to do so won’t get the job done. You can be sincere and a hard worker and tireless in your endeavors, but the things you need the most don’t come from your own efforts. True happiness resides in the heart of a man or a woman who has relinquished their endless fears and worries to someone who can actually do something about them. Real happiness comes when you stop fighting against the reality of things and line yourself up with what is rather than foolishly trying to do it your own way, with your own limited human logic, within the confines of your own mind! Happiness reveals itself after the obstacles to its existence have been removed. Joy appears following a complete and absolute trust in your Heavenly Father to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. The happiness you so desperately seek comes from doing what God said to do, which is simply summarized by believing what He said and thereby thinking and acting in the way He recommends. He won’t ask you to give up anything but your fear, the one and only great hold back impeding your happiness. 

I find myself the most happy when I simply trust God to do the things for me He promised He would do. No matter how things look or whether dark clouds are lining up, throughout it all I know that God will do whatever He needs to do to take care of me and in that I can rest, content, assured and excited about my future with Him. You want to maximize your happiness quotient? Then get out of your own way and learn about the One who invented happiness and knows exactly what you need in order to experience it. Oh my friends, God exists for you…

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…