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…


Is There Such a Thing as Too Much?

CaptureAdmittedly, I have never been a fan of restrictions or anything that puts people under bondage.  I guess you could say I’m a liberal if liberal means “stop trying to live everyone else’s life and just do you!”  You know how annoying it is when you run into those people who insist on telling you how much is too much based on some standard they ascribe to, yet remain wholly unaware of what your personal decisions are based upon.   And usually, if they’re honest, they are just judging you for some enjoyment they feel they can’t enjoy but really would like to enjoy.  I remember when I was the Battery Commander in the Utah Army National Guard, one of the Sergeants once told me that my approach to life would “get me” one day!  Well, I’m still waiting…

So, with my aversion to religion and religious practices aside (religion being defined as man-made restrictions on enjoyment, seldom bible based or taken out of context etc), I began to ponder the question, “is there such a thing as too much?”  I mean if you really enjoy something, shouldn’t you do it as much as you can?  And how could doing something you really enjoy cause you hurt or difficulty?

It seems the answer is yes and no.  God says (not that dude on Facebook) that we are to do all things in moderation.  Well, moderation like discipline tends to illicit a negative reaction from most folks.   Again maybe that feeling comes not so much from the principles that the words convey but rather more of how people have used those words to beat us down!  So with that little caveat included, why moderation?  Why try to temper and control when “it feels like” less control is better?

Hmmm… This is where it gets interesting.  In order to understand, let’s consider the alcoholic.  At first the budding alcoholic has a drink because he enjoys it; maybe it masks some pain; maybe it softens hard feelings.  Soon, however, a few drinks no longer does the trick.  A few drinks turns into a lot of drinks which turns into a multitude of drinks.  And now, what once seemed to serve as a suitable medication now becomes an addiction which is never satisfied.  Okay maybe that example was too dramatic for you.  Let’s apply it to having fun.  Perhaps no-one loves fun more than I do.  In college, Eddie called me a “hedonistic bastard!”  (Yeah, Eddie swears…)  Yet can there be too much fun?  Again, yes and no.  If your pursuit of fun overrides your desire to work, you will soon find yourself no longer having fun.  Seems like the promise of having fun on the weekend maybe serves as a motivation to keep working during the week.  So what if you are retired?  Again, doing nothing isn’t fun for anyone, so there is such a thing as remaining productive even though you have retired from work.  Warning!!!  If you find yourself no longer productive it won’t be long before your time off work will morph into a misery that has no end point!   How about food?  No-one loves the taste of food more than me (see Eddie’s explanation earlier).  My Pops will tell you, I’m a great guy to cook for because I can appreciate some good tastes.  But, if I indulge my tastes without constraint, I soon find my food love turns into some anger over that fat guy staring back at me from the mirror.

Obvious results from over-indulgence aside, there’s something else to think about…  Us humanoids crave unique and exciting experiences.   A trip to Hawaii (or paradise rightly called) is a wonderful experience.  Yet, if we decide to move there it maybe loses some of its splendor.  Oh it’s still beautiful, but it is no longer unique!  Going to the club with friends and having drinks is great fun.  But going every night soon turns into monotony and before you know it you are forcing yourself to have the same fun you had when you didn’t do it so often.   Drug users quickly learn that it takes more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect.  (Yeah, you’re right, God probably wasn’t applying – all things in moderation – to drug use 🙂 )  But, I trust you get the point, right?

I often think that moderation refers not so much to quantity as it does to frequency.  When you get the nagging thought about not doing such and such so much, it probably follows frequency more so than occasional over-indulgent use (just preserving Thanksgiving folks!).  Have you ever found yourself in a setting that you wish would never end?  You know what I mean.  You’re just having the perfect time with perfect friends.  We have all been there, right?  But consider, that perfect time was for you at that perfect time, to be enjoyed in that perfect moment.  What made it a “perfect moment” was its uniqueness for you and your life.  If it happened every day it would soon lose its perfection.  Life is like that…  A lot of day to day requirements always leading up to the potential for “perfect moments.”  So savor the perfect moments, but not too much!

So, is there such a thing as too much?  Absolutely!  Moderation helps you to appreciate the beauty that this life is.  The absence of moderation, while promising you good times, will soon begin to afflict you and before you know it, will own you.  Anticipation is often just as pleasant as the actual event.

You have one precious life to live, my friends.  God desires the best of everything for you.   But (sorry there is a but), He is also smart enough to recognize that there is such a thing as too much (love excluded for sure).  So live it up; pursue your dreams; follow your heart, but every now and then put the brakes on and make sure that what you are desiring isn’t desiring you (to take you over)!

Just some good thoughts (in moderation 🙂 )…


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…

The Perpetual Stomach Ache of the Restless Mind…

walgreens    Have you ever visited the digestive aids aisle at Walgreen’s?  Man, there’s more stuff for your stomach than almost any other ailment, except cold medicine, but that’s another blog.  Heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, gas, bloating, diarrhea, upset stomach, constipation and on and on it goes.  (Oh Mylanta!)  Sure, we eat weird foods nowadays but John the Baptist ate locusts (spiky legs and all).. And, yes we are in a perpetual hurry so we eat fast, drink fast, work fast, talk fast and think fast; so fast we don’t think.  We all know we need to slow down, don’t we?  But a better question might be what has us moving so dang fast?  What in the world happened to us that made us need an endless supply of Tums?  Rolaids spells relief, but only addresses the symptoms, never the cause.  So, I’m thinking (burppp) we better find out the cause.

One predominant idea centers on our minds; specifically our thoughts.  Have you ever really gotten serious about what thoughts you are revolving around in your head?  Here’s a shocker for you – you are 100% responsible for the thoughts that you think, whether consciously or subconsciously.  Shocker #2 – you can control your thoughts!  Shocker #3 – you can control EVERY thought.   Shocker #4 – most folks see no connection between the thoughts they think and the perpetual need for antacids!  In case you just stopped reading  and reached for your Tums, here’s some spiritual insight:

Overthrowing reasonings and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God, and leading captive every thought into the obedience of the Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5 (Darby Version)

Shocker #3 revealed!  God surely wouldn’t tell us to lead captive every thought if He only meant some of our thoughts.  Plus, I love the words, “leading captive” meaning sometimes those ol’ thoughts just seem to appear, but you don’t have to let them stay!  So now back to Shocker #2 (waiting while you go back to read it…)  A mind may be a terrible thing to waste, but even more specifically, a mind is a terrible thing to just let drift where it wants to drift.  An open mind is a beautiful thing indeed, but not open to whatever or whomever, whenever!  Okay, back to your thoughts…  What are you saying to yourself throughout a day?  Are you being kind to yourself?  Do you give yourself a break and allow yourself to be a human?  Do you forgive yourself?  Or do you spend most of your “private” thought life mercilessly beating yourself to death?  Oh you don’t do that?  Really?  I can assure you, unless you have been taught otherwise, (and who the heck ever teaches this stuff?) that, if you take the time, you will make a frightening discovery!  I would surmise that no-one is meaner to you, than you are to yourself!  You think Daddy or Mommy didn’t say nice things to you?  Haha trust me, they got nothing on what you say to yourself!  Most humans (and yes I am also human) spend their days comparing themselves to others (and coming up short); evaluating themselves (and coming up short); judging themselves (and coming up short); dwelling on themselves (and coming up short); and just flat-out hating themseves because they aren’t this or that or don’t have this or that or don’t earn this or that or don’t look like this or that!  Come on admit it!  Why the obsession with earning money or dressing in style or losing weight or having this kind of hair or getting some work done (an odd expression meaning body reconstruction?) or driving this car or living in that house etc., etc.  There’s nothing wrong with ambition or nice things, but there’s something wrong with having that perpetual stomach ache!  In short, we just don’t pay attention to that gnarling, persistent, attacking, insidious, agitated, never satisfied inner voice that we have mistakenly confused with ourself!  And, we wonder why we have indigestion again?  If someone sat across from you and hurled insults your way all day long, chances are (unless you are really passive or on the football team) you would get up and leave.  I mean, really, you don’t have to take that!  But when it’s you talking to you somehow it must be truth!  Well it aint truth folks!  It’s “drifter mind” being let loose on itself.  The enemy of mankind has a real slick trick up his sleeve and that trick is your own thoughts.  He takes advantage of what you let go or don’t maintain.  Have you ever seen a house that is abandoned?  It doesn’t take long for the place to start decomposing.  Well, how long does it take for your mind to start decomposing?  Well, let’s see how old am I?  (I’m kidding!)  But, I trust you see my point!  In life, whatever you can control, that you don’t control will soon start controlling you!  Have you ever wondered why you don’t get the big break?  Make the serious cash?  Get into the wonderful relationship?  Well, what do you think about all of those things?  “I just don’t get any breaks!” thought enough times IS your reality!  “Making serious money is really hard!”  and we wonder why it seems so elusive?  “All men are assholes!” hmmm and those are the ones I keep running into!  It’s you and it’s me folks!

So, do you want to get out of the digestive aids aisle at Walgreen’s?  Would you rather visit the candy aisle?  Then, you have to learn how to control your thoughts.  Some of those thoughts that now define you are in reality well-worn tapes that YOU play over and over again!  Pop the tape out and buy a CD (it’s 2013)!  CD=change direction… (Clever huh?)  Notice what nasty thing you just said to yourself and start changing it around.  You’ll never get to the Skittles unless you are willing to give it a shot.  (Hey maybe you like Tums!)  You see, the reason we are so restless and dissatisfied isn’t because our lives suck so bad but rather because what we think about our life sucks so bad!  Change your thoughts, change your life!  No, not by tomorrow morning, but eventually.  And hey, the life you are living in the present will get better immediately!  Challenge those old stories because they were never who you really are anyway!  The real you is satisfied, happy and contented knowing that everything you will ever need will show up when you need it, once you get out of the stomach ache trap.

So, at the end of the day remember, the reason I know about the digestive aids aisle at Walgreen’s is because I was there…  I, like you, am a work in progress but I’m okay with that.  I hope you will be okay with that as well…

Think…just some good thoughts!