Hey Hopes and Dreams, Where are You?


Whatever happened to your hopes and dreams? You remember, those things you thought about when you were younger? Those grand ideas you had about being famous or changing the world in meaningful ways, what happened to those plans? Maybe the words “hopes and dreams” are just too big for you. Perhaps it’s easier to think about the direction you wanted to go or where you saw yourself later, capable and successful. Why do those good things we carry in our hearts get stolen from us, or at minimum become greatly obscured? Can you even get your dreams back? Here’s to looking for and finding your lost hopes and dreams!

Maybe the best place to start is to consider what it even means to have hopes or dreams for yourself. Hope always refers to something you cannot have right now. Hope is looking out beyond the horizon of your present and expecting something pleasant in the future. Dreams always have an air of sleepiness in them. A dream is often hazy, nonspecific, cloudy. When we speak of a dreamer, we mean someone with their head in the sky, always reaching out for something good, but never finding it. Maybe we are starting out with the wrong words! Maybe our trouble in locating our hopes and dreams is centered in the vagueness of those terms.

More accurately, we are discussing the goals and plans you had for yourself at one time in your life. If you are anything like me, you have made lots and lots of plans about the future, and like me, carried very few through unto fruition. Why is that? What stops us from following through on our plans? We begin so excited and enthusiastic, but then our excitement fades and back we slink into the mundane. I think it’s deeper than simply being distracted. But, distraction does play a part. We get so caught up in things that don’t matter. We toil and strive, day after day, getting basic things done, leaving little room for the things we value most. We’re earning a living, fulfilling responsibilities, doing life and sadly, there’s little time left over. The world has tricked us into expending our efforts on things that matter, but not the things that cause the biggest impact; the things that matter most.

All of us, being incredibly unique, have something to offer the world. What we have, our gift, is always exhibited in the things we love the most. Those things we do that come easy for us, which when we pursue them, we have no rival. Pursuing a career that offers the most pay and promise, if it doesn’t align with our hearts, at best provides some money, but no satisfaction. We chase the American dream, but it’s not our dream. Our dreams offer not only a blessed future, but the opportunity to live out our full expression. We don’t chase money, we pursue our passion and then the money will follow. Every great person became great doing what they already loved, not what they decided to love to earn success.

Those things that resonate with you and cause a sparkle in your heart, are the things you must follow after. Your task isn’t to become famous or of world renown. Instead, your life work is to follow after the things that make you shine. Seek after the things that make you happy, for in those things your dreams are built! Your task isn’t difficult or vague. You’ve already touched on them and caught glimpses of them as you passed by. They’ve called out to you and in your heart you understood. Honor those feelings and inspect them further. It doesn’t matter if people think they matter. What matters is what they mean to you. Chase them! Track them down! See where they lead you! You become great first by being pretty good, then good, then very good, until finally you arrive at excellent. It’s in excellence your impact is felt. Don’t dog yourself in trying to figure out what is your thing, for your thing already exists in you. What makes your heart beat a little faster? What thing, when you do it, makes time stand still. What work isn’t work at all when you do it? That’s what you have to offer and offer it you must!

Your hopes, your dreams for the future aren’t lost as they live on still in your heart. Your age doesn’t matter. Your position in life doesn’t matter. Your past successes do not matter. What matters is if you will have the courage to pursue them. Deep down you already know what you love. Do what you love. Give what you love. Honor and exalt what you love. Don’t suppress what’s most important to you! Don’t hide it under a bushel. Start small and move from there. Don’t try to plan forever, just plan today. Move on what blesses you today. Start! Start! Start today!

In God’s infinite wisdom and love, He devised a way whereby men and women could help and give to others doing what they themselves loved doing the most! God, who knows you better than you know yourself, put those dreams in your heart because He knows your heart and in pursuing them, you will find joy unspeakable! Don’t make this harder on yourself or add human complication. Choose what you love and chase it, try it, work it, give it, do it! Do you boo! Indeed do you!

As long as you are still drawing breath it’s not too late for your dreams. Live your days in service to others doing the things which you and only you can do the best! Look to help other people and pick them up. Offer them warmth in a cold world. Give them shelter when they are exposed. Give them happiness when they are sad and healing when they are broken. Give them all you have to give, your best things, your gift… And give it to them now…

Just some good thoughts…

Consider Your Ways…


thinkThe aforementioned title, borrowed from a verse in the book of Haggai (in the Bible), has oft been associated with condemnation from God for having bad behaviors. This of course fits with the common erroneous notion that God is uber-interested in your behavior and somehow takes pleasure in monitoring it and finding you, wait for it…… unworthy! Well, God already solved the bad behavior issue once and for all, for all of mankind! Instead, considering your ways has more to do with your allegiances and the subsequent results of those allegiances. Considering your ways leads to positive results, if you’re willing to consider. Are you willing?

Life doesn’t suck! To think that life sucks is to be ignorant of the forces behind life and rather than discover them, draw negative conclusions about life itself. Life doesn’t suck! Your viewpoint towards life sucks. Your lack of willingness to learn and consider sucks. Your presumed understanding and subsequent refusal to look any further is what sucks. But life, as God intended it to be lived, is the polar opposite of things that suck! It’s sort of maddening how humans with all of their analytical skills; who can figure out why tomato plant leaves turn yellow; when a combustion engine is only functioning at about 70% power; how to calculate the mathematical trajectory of an object flying at thousands of miles per hour in space, cannot discern why things are not going well in their lives! Indeed it is time, if things aren’t going so well, to consider your ways!

Life at its foundational level is spiritual. It is not made solely of the things you can see, hear, smell, taste or touch. Your life, whether you choose to believe it; choose to accept it or outright deny it, is spiritual. Your spiritual allegiances lead to the results; blessings or consequences you are experiencing today. Not getting what you want out of life isn’t life’s fault. Life was not designed to be arduous and hard. Life becomes arduous and hard again based on your spiritual allegiances. Pared down to the smallest level, there are only two choices. No sane person would choose the bad option, so the spiritual forces behind all negativity and pain must employ some trickery to gain allegiance; the greatest treachery coming from promoting ignorance concerning that which is good. Deciding not to choose is also a choice and sadly, not a good choice. Again, consider your ways…

Absent holy spirit and a knowledge of God’s Word (spiritual words), you will not be able to discern the differences between your choices. Oh you can recognize the blatant stuff, but the more subtle choices will escape you. It’s in the subtle choices where you find defeat and worse aren’t able to even know it is occurring. God is well aware of your limitations and offers instead for you to consider your ways or said another way, consider the results or lack thereof you are presently experiencing in your life! Have you planted with much effort yet only brought in a small harvest for your efforts? Have you eaten much but still don’t have enough to eat? Have you had plenty to drink yet still find yourself thirsty? Do you have adequate clothing but still you’re not warm enough? Does the money you make feel like it goes out faster than it comes in, like your purse or wallet has holes in it? Consider your ways…

The singular, most important maxim in life centers on who or what holds first place in your life? When God is first, as He rightfully must be, then He promises to supply your every need in every category and phase of life. When you or some other thing holds first place; when you take it upon yourself to supply your own every need; when you seek to the world or the things of the world to meet your needs, you will find yourself increasingly unsatisfied and unfulfilled! True satisfaction comes from God and from God alone. Other things promise us satisfaction, happiness and fulfillment, yet often leave us empty or seeking more and more. In our quest for more, we receive less and less not because we don’t work hard or aren’t trying, but because we have allowed our priorities to get out-of-order. Considering your ways is simply an admonishment to check your priorities and to realign yourself with those things that are the most important, indeed God alone who is sovereign! Consider your ways…

Once you get things back in order, which is purely a decision, you’ll find the sunshine where you used to find storm clouds. You’ll find an abundant harvest far beyond your efforts at sowing. But most importantly, you’ll find deep-seated satisfaction and fulfillment in terms of your hungers, your desires, your thirsts, because you will have finally discovered the meaning of your life and its originator’s intentions for you! The world will keep telling you that you don’t need God and that you can figure it all out, and you are certainly within your rights to keep doing just that, but the measure will always be found in your satisfaction meter (heart) and on the inside you always know whether your needs are being met or not. Unfulfilled heart needs are simply the result of seeking to get fulfillment from the wrong place!

Consider your ways my friends, not to find yourself unworthy, but to discover who you really are and how your life needs will always be met…

Are you willing to consider?

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

The Madness of the Mediocre Life…


mediocremajorityLet me start by acknowledging that every person is completely unique in their personal desires and aspirations. What success is for me isn’t success for you. That being said, there’s a huge difference between success in life and the madness of mediocrity.

No-one ever grew up dreaming of being mediocre. Nobody foresaw a life of quiet desperation, feeling stunted, stymied and held back? You sure didn’t start out that way, did you? You began, as we all began, with stars in your eyes and grand thoughts of who you could be.  Then you grew up. The world didn’t change, you did.  You settled. You negotiated for average. You exchanged your A level life for a C level existence. You did it because it was safe. It wasn’t everything you ever wanted but it was some of the things you wanted. When it comes to your one and only run through, and because you have the exact same right to pursue your happiness as every other person, you can still choose the best! You can go for the Olympic gold instead of rejoicing in that you made the team!

Now, don’t get it twisted. I’m not claiming some type of superiority over you. I’ve spent my fair share of time in the misty flats… (Well, it’s not really fair, but that’s how clichés work.) Yet, I have a great advantage that I’m ever privileged to enjoy. Someone lovingly taught me about God a long time ago and I’ve never stopped learning about Him to this day. You see, this whole notion of living an abundant life came from Him. This aint self-help rama-lama, this is real life. God’s plan for you isn’t a litany of rules or pervasive condemnation from failure to follow them. The master plan goes back to the original plan – which is you (men) and some cute gal or you (women) and some hot guy living in paradise. You ever been to Hawaii? Well, that aint Eden! People started out in Paradise, spent many years in the misty flats (see I’m not alone) and then God made available the paradise experience anew. The paradise experience is life in all of its varied and splendid manifestations. It’s life without fear. It’s life with answered prayers. It’s life where Someone a lot smarter than you knows how to get you to live out your full potential. Nothing about God is ever mediocre. Religion is damn mediocre because it’s focused on not doing (living) more than doing!

Lest you conclude that life’s not fair, think about how people typically function. I’ve managed people for many years and am always amazed by an interesting phenomenon. It’s only a matter of time before the workers reduce their job down to the most minimal level possible to still get paid and not get fired. Except of course that one guy. This blog isn’t to him because his life isn’t going to be mediocre. But for the majority, that’s how it seems to go. Now you know, if you are honest, that you have a little something inside of you that says there is so much more. It whispers in your relationships. It beckons you at work. Its inspiration flashes across your mind oh so briefly with glimpses of how your life could be. It’s not only possible, it’s what your life is supposed to be.

How you get there is a whole different story. You don’t get there until you get there. You won’t arrive until you arrive. It’s not a ship coming in, it’s the ship you’re already steering. The cause must precede the effect. You have to first recognize that it is even possible, then (the hardest part), you have to convince your old obstinate; C grade getting; settling for less mind that you both can and will have it. It’s God will already, so you’d be sorta crazy not to make it your will!

Now here is the greatest irony of all ironies. It takes the exact same amount of believing to achieve greatly as it takes to achieve the mediocre. Not the same amount of work, but the same amount of believing expectation. If you expect more, you will do more. You’re not so much lazy as you are misguided. How many people do you know slaving away for some company accepting whatever they get and convincing themselves they’re still blessed? Abundance means abundance and mediocre means mediocre. I remember someone once telling me that I didn’t need a fancy car, just something that ran and got me to work. Now you can sell yourself that story for a while, but in the end you know you want more for yourself. And don’t you go telling me I’m greedy. Greedy people never consider that notion. The ones that think it are usually the ones not getting their needs met; the ones settling for the mediocre life.

There’s no need for me to tell you that life isn’t all about money and possessions. Life is about fulfillment and satisfaction and joy. Are you fulfilled, satisfied and joyful? Then you do the math and figure that one out. The abundant life God promises is available to you if you really want it. But, make no mistake, you’re going to need God’s help to find it. Oh it’s right in front of you, but you won’t see it without some help from the (good) spiritual side. Trust me on that one.

Look brothers!  Listen sisters! This thing is damn short, this run through on earth. Your time, my time is finite (for now). You already know what you want; what you dream of; what turns you on. So learn about our God and get it; do it; experience it. Your only limitation is what you can persuade your mind to believe.

Your success is not my success and my success is not your success. But, success is success and surely that beats the hell out of the madness of the mediocre life!

Just some good thoughts…