Loose Threads…


Quotation-Marilyn-Brant-day-rest-Meetville-Quotes-143182You know what you need to do with those loose threads, right? Snip ’em, burn em’, yank ’em, do something, just don’t leave them there dangling, annoying you all day. Funny how something so small and insignificant can make such an impact on your mind. Similarly, loose thoughts; thoughts that we sort of let hang around, dangling, uninvited yet apparent, impact our lives in a profound way. We often find ourselves out-of-sorts, anxious or restless with no earthly idea why. We know we don’t feel peaceful, satisfied or assured, but the cause escapes us. And to make matters worse, we start looking for the cause in our surroundings or in our spouse, job, house etc. But in so doing, we miss the mark by a hundred miles. The real cause is likely a loose thought or number of loose thoughts we failed to snip, burn or yank out.

Assuming you’re not drunk, it’s likely you are somewhat aware of the thoughts going through your mind. I mean you are the one doing the thinking after all. And, for a thought to have any type of impact on you it has to have registered at some level. So, it’s not so much what you thought but rather what you did or failed to do with those thoughts. Intentional living is all about doing something with those rogue thoughts. Amazingly, three or four unchecked vagrant thoughts can alter your mind and your mood in a subtle yet powerful way. Imagine you just woke up and a number of ill-defined thoughts are running through your mind. Your throat has been sore lately and since you smoke cigarettes it’s likely to be throat cancer. I mean you saw that Terri lady talking through that talk box. Randomly leading to, “It’s good that we have the money to make our patio an awesome place and wow, once all the flowers and bushes are inside the curbing it will be a showplace. But, it won’t matter much because shortly after you start inviting people over to enjoy it, you will be dead.” Followed by, “Things have been going very well lately. It’s shame that such a tragedy is coming!” As strange as this sounds, this was me yesterday morning. When I finally got up I was irritated. I drove to work talking to God about why I “always” seemed to feel restless and pondering why I couldn’t relax. I arrived at work still melancholy, still restless and wondering if something at work was bringing me down. And I began to work. Several hours later, while taking a mental break, it hit me like lighting a candle in a dark room. “Remember this morning Tony? You pretty much assigned yourself a death sentence. Who is happy and relaxed if they think they are going to die soon?” Ahhhhh, loose thought, unsnipped! So, I snipped that mutha******* with some good thoughts (that always involve God)!

As incredible as it sounds, it really is that simple. But, when your living the unsatisfied life, it never seems that way. Some folks have been victim to their own unchecked thoughts a lifetime. And worse, some will even argue adamantly that “we don’t need no thought control!” Well, you do need thought control my friend, at least enough control to kick out the occasional intruder. You do realize that just because you thought something doesn’t make it true right? Thoughts, even incredibly believable, strong thoughts are still just thoughts. And when those thoughts are against your best interests; your happiness, they must always be annulled. Failure to check them; failure to address them leads to stolen days and ultimately stolen lives. It’s that serious and it matters that much.

I think, if you are honest with yourself, you will recognize that whenever you let your thoughts “run wild,” or have one of those days when you take a mental vacation, you are never the better off for it. Ever have a weekend where you had absolutely nothing to do and did absolutely nothing? You know that a weekend like that was stressful at best. It’s not that you needed to be busy or overloaded with activity, but rather that you still needed to pay attention to your thoughts and still needed to check them if needed. Ha…you thought you were just feeling bad for being lazy. Lazy in activity maybe, but lazy in watching your thoughts, that’s what got you!

All of us, no matter what has happened in the past; no matter how we thought and what we let go and didn’t let go, can only live in the time period called, now! Now is always all we have folks. So, why not decide right now to pay better attention to those troubling thoughts. Decide that when you are feeling bad, no matter how that shows up, you will take the time to track down those rogue thoughts and handle them as the lies they always were! Your life; your day to day existence is worth that my friends. Contrary to the philosophers you don’t have to give up your happiness for even one minute. Life isn’t full of ups and downs, it’s full of thoughts, checked and unchecked.

Chickety check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Peace…the Absence of Fearful Considerations.


PeacefulI don’t think you would find it a stretch if I said that everyone is after peace of mind.  We make more and more money in attempt to find peace.  We buy life insurance with the hopes of ensuring peace for our loved ones.  We take trips into nature to enjoy the peace that we believe we will find there.  And for good reason, right?  Who doesn’t enjoy a sense of calmness on the inside.  Who doesn’t appreciate the wonder of undisturbed, untroubled waters within?  Who could possibly be against having “ease of being?”  Well, there’s something very simple, yet profound in its effects, namely that peace is simply the absence of fearful considerations.  I remember writing not too long ago that often success and happiness in life come not so much from the things we do, but more from the things we don’t do.  So, I’ll get back to that in a minute.  First indulge me in a short rant about fear…

Contrary to what you may have been taught, fear is your greatest enemy.  Fear isn’t healthy!  Fear isn’t natural!  Fear isn’t normal!  The first man Adam didn’t have any fear.  Maybe you should read that again!  Adam didn’t have any fear in any way for any reasons, that is until he went against (in typical human fashion) the one thing God told him not to do!  And by doing so, introduced the great enemy of mankind with fear following closely on his coat-tails.  Fear had an origin.  But don’t get it twisted, fear is never right.  Fear is unhealthy in every way.  It is decidedly unnatural and abnormal.  But, we don’t think to be true.  You know why?  Because this whole world we live in runs on fear; feeds on fear; brings fear and promotes fear!  Advertisements make you afraid so you will buy something.  Politicians scare the hell out of you with made up stories about pending disaster; to protect you?  Never!  To get more votes and power and influence; always!  Fear, fear, fear…  We wonder why people are deluged with anxiety.  We’ve been completely overun by fear.

So, what exactly is the solution?  Not what you might think, I fear (pun intended).  With all of that talk about facing your fears and feeling your fears; there’s another way to go.  Refuse your fear.  Fear at it’s core level is a weapon used by the enemy of righteousness to enslave people.  When you are afraid , not much happens.  Fear slows life down to a snail’s pace.  Fear, which issues in unbelief or negative belief, is the only thing that cuts you off from receiving God’s help by causing you not to believe and thus get defeated. But here is where it gets tricky on you.  Fear is actually a temptation; a temptation to do something contrary to God’s will – fear.  And like any temptation, it gathers power by your consideration of it.  Think about the last time something made you feel afraid.  Chances are you had the thought, it scared you and then you felt like you couldn’t let it go.  By God, you were going to solve it by analyzing it from every angle frantically searching for a solution.  Did you solve it that way?  Nope!  Chances are you gave away x-amount of time until some other consideration came along and maybe you let it go.  But, while you were in that period of fearful consideration, your life was officially on hold.  That’s how fear and its source gains power over you.  In order for fear to defeat you it needs your help or your vote if you will.  And you give it entrée by considering it.  Notice the next time something makes you afraid how difficult it feels to simply let it go.  Yet trusting God is all about letting it go.  And if you’re honest, doubt, worry and fear don’t prepare you for some pending doom, they just catastrophize things in your mind.

So like I said earlier, when it comes to fear it’s all about what you don’t do or refuse to do, more than what you do-do.  Refuse to give those fear thoughts any consideration.  I mean get really serious about it.  Stop running all of that disaster through your mind.  Stop counting up and cataloguing everything that can go wrong and just live.  Don’t give those thoughts your attention.  That’s not Pollyanna, that’s belief.  Like 50 Cent once said so eloquently, “It seems kind of insulting to God to pray about something then spend all your time worrying about how it won’t happen for you!”  (And you thought he was just a rapper!)

And here is something that will happen that will absolutely blow your mind.  If you got real serious about refusing those thoughts, you will start to experience this really, really odd feeling – peace.  You will have a calmness on the inside that you have always dreamed of.  You will catch of glimpse of how God always wanted you to feel.  But ya gotta do it, to get it.  You have to take your mind by the ears and make it obey.  Sure facing your fears is effective.  Absolutely deciding to keep moving despite feeling afraid is good for you.  But, nothing is as effective as simply refusing to do it.  REFUSE!

So the next time the enemy whispers some fearful consideration in your ear, don’t take it on by considering it.  Take it on by adamantly refusing it.  God will always, always come through for you, but He needs you to obey.  Life can become pretty scary, especially when others depend on you, but fear always was and always will be a grand illusion.  What can’t God repair or heal or restore?  What?  (I’ll wait…)

At the end of the day, peace is the absence of fear…

Just some good thoughts…

The Y.O.L.O. Effect…


images  Forgive me for overworking the YOLO cliché, but I’ve got something to say that I know will help you live a little better.  If you think about how many times people use that cliché and it’s context, you’ll find something very interesting.  Almost every time we say it, we are making some reference to getting rid of our fear of doing something with a complimentary urge to “do it” right now.  We are saying that life is too short to not do the things you really want to do.  So, as you can imagine, that got me thinking

How much time do you spend doing things you really don’t want to do?  Or, how many things do you do because you think they are what others expect you to do?  Or, stated in the positive, do you spend most of your time doing the things you enjoy doing; have passion about and want to do?  And of course closely related to those questions, why are you doing the things you are doing?

As I’ve said a hundred times prior, this ol’ world funnels us into well-worn grooves of expectations!  The subtle and not so subtle message is to get in line; shut your mouth and don’t buck the system.  Do acceptable work; make acceptable comments; have acceptable opinions (not your own opinions, but the popular ones) and for goodness sakes, don’t start questioning things.  If a thing doesn’t make sense to you, it’s not because it doesn’t make sense, but rather because you don’t understand it – so again, close your mouth and get in agreement (now!).  The problem with that “go-along to get-along” mindset is that you no longer get to be “you” in the process.  Now on the surface, you may not think this applies to you, so I ask you, give it a little more thought.

People are employed in a line of work they hate, for decades.  Folks are suppressed in unhealthy relationships or subjecting themselves to unhealthy family members for a lifetime.  We laugh when it’s not funny.  We say the food tastes good when it doesn’t.  We nod in agreement to insane political ideas when those views couldn’t be further from our own.  We don’t play the music we like when others are around.  We get college degrees in subjects we cannot stand.  We tip waiters for poor service.  We devote time to reading books we don’t enjoy.  We trudge ourselves to tired church services and participate in nonsensical observances and even pray to a God we are grossly unfamiliar with!  Why?  Because we are afraid, that’s why!  Fear, often confused with terror, is a subtle beast.  We can all recognize the fright we feel when we see a tiger, but do we acknowledge the slipperier version that causes us to do all of the above?   Why would a man work in a job he loathed for twenty years?  He’s afraid that he can’t do anything else?  He’s afraid what his family would say if he quit?  He’s afraid what society might say if he stepped out of line!  Why do folks put up with family members that are toxic and discourage their growth?  Because they are afraid what everyone would think if they stopped coming around.  Fear.  (disclaimer – this does not refer to my family- 🙂 )  We agree, we cajole, we acquiesce, we agree because we’re so friendly?  Probably not when you get right down to it.  Fear drives a multitude of things we feel obligated to do.  Then there is obligation’s close companion – guilt.  Guilt is just another form of fear manifesting itself as something you need to do because of something you didn’t do; should have done; or to avoid something because of what you did do (or perceive you might have done)!  Fear…

I’m certainly not advocating morphing into a self-centered douche, parading around town looking out for number one only!  I’m suggesting rather that you take the time to consider why you do the things you do.  There really are only two great motives in life – love and fear.  Love works no ill to its neighbor (or to you either for that matter)  Fear starts bad, proceeds bad, and ends bad.  Working out of fear leads to misery.  Working out of love fans the flames of passion.  Saying how you feel out of love leads to understanding and agreement and resolution.  Saying how you feel out of fear leads to arguments and conflict.  Doing things for other people out of love is the very heart of service.  Doing things for people out of fear leads to slavery and bondage and all kinds of mistreatment.

So the simple acid test is to ask yourself why you are doing the thing that you are doing.  Do you want to do it?  If you had a million bucks would you do it?  I’m sure we all have the fantasy of all the wonderful things we would do if we just became rich enough to do it.  And the reason we cannot do it now?  Fear…  And while you are asking yourself these things in the solemn privacy of your mind, take solace in the truth that you can change anything you want to change.  Sure folks will deride you and chastise you and demand you get back to being who you are supposed to be!  But what you owe yourself is to be the “you” you really want to be!  Don’t you think?  People live frustrated, defeated, unsatisfied lives because they spend their precious lives living as someone else. Don’t let that be you, my friend.

Cliche’ alert – At the end of the day, we all have only one life to live and we all only live once (on earth anyway).  Start today by asking yourself why and then get busy modifying and changing what needs to change.  You oughta be able to be “you,” doing “you” in the ways that make “you” the most happy!  YOLO my friends, YOLO!

Just some good thoughts…