Living Your Reflection…


reflection_28Here’s some food for thought… The life you are presently living is a direct reflection of your most dominant and habitual thinking. Read that again! Up to this point you may not have made this connection. Most folks don’t. Instead people think that life is happening to them and they are simply reacting to whatever life does next. People that live in a perpetual struggle falsely conclude that circumstances are working against them and probably even long for the time when the struggle will end. But, they remain unaware that their habitual thought forms the basis of their expectations and as such they are living in a world of their own making.

Habits are, in themselves, useful. On the positive side they free your mind of the unnecessary thought required to complete mundane tasks. However, habits also have a dark side. Negative patterns of thought, rehearsed over and over again lead to negative expectations, which manifest themselves in negative circumstances. And, to make matters worse, the habits become invisible to you because of their habituation. And, once darkness has become invisible to you, it is allowed to perpetuate within you to bring about those struggles you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.

I’m sure you’ve heard people complain to God about why life is so hard and why there is so much struggling going on. And, let’s be honest, there is some heavy-duty struggling happening. But, what you may not know is that God has given you control over those struggles once you know how to go about turning things around. God hasn’t left us without a remedy and surely doesn’t condone pain and hardship. But, until you finally learn that your life is “your” life and that you can exercise control, things will go on as they’ve always gone on since the beginning of time.

Just so you don’t think this is “crazy” talk, let me ask you some questions. At this very moment in time, what do think about life? Do think it is a struggle? Do you think it is hard and random and filled with the unexpected? Do you think that is always hard for you to get money and that it always will be? Do you think that disease just happens and that you are powerless against it? Your honest answer to those questions is the life you are presently living. Your expectation; your belief is precisely what you are experiencing and will continue to experience as long as you keep thinking the way you are thinking. Life won’t turn around for you and your ship won’t come in. It cannot because it is a direct reflection of your inmost thoughts. Change your thoughts; change your expectations; change your beliefs and your life will change.

In order to right the ship, you have to become keenly aware of what was formerly invisible; namely your thoughts. You have to start recognizing your negative thought habit patterns. You have to see where you have become your own worst enemy. You must clearly discern that negative chatter, ever providing reasons why you cannot succeed; why you cannot get ahead; why you cannot win. And once you finally hear it, you have to start forcefully challenging those false assumptions. Those assumptions are not “just life” but instead are lies you have been worn down into accepting. There’s no shame in being led astray because the whole world has been led astray, on purpose, by the evil that lies deep behind it, hidden. The real shame comes when you see a glimpse of the light and refuse to heed the lesson.

Have you ever noticed how people set goals for themselves? They set goals with tiny incremental increases as if one can only progress with baby steps. They don’t realize that the larger the goal; the larger the expectations, the larger the result. It is like that with your thoughts. Once you have begun to see and challenge a series of thoughts, your responsibility is to change your thoughts and expectations to something you actually want. It takes the exact same amount of effort to think something good as it takes to think something bad. But make no mistake, you are choosing by what you “choose” to think and hold onto.

I should add, because I know what you’re thinking, that sometimes you “find” yourselves in a challenging situation that you didn’t necessarily bring upon yourself. Sometimes people are under attack; in bad environments and feel that they are being tested. Well, they are being tested but never by God. The test is in how you respond to the challenge. Will you accept what it “seems” like or will you remain stedfast in your beliefs and overcome? You would be surprised how quickly things turn around when you make your mind up! But, if you succumb to what “appears” to be real, you end up down the same blind alleys you traveled before.

As living, breathing, thinking human beings, we always have a say in how things are going to turn out. Always! The key lies in refusing to accept the information that comes to your mind via your five senses, and trusting instead what God says is true! Obviously you can ridicule this notion and demand that what it seems like, is true, but with that you can resign yourself to your usual, perpetual struggle.

Your life, my life is a reflection of those things we think about the most. Change your thoughts and your life will change. It isn’t about being naively positive, it’s about choosing what you will and will not accept in your life. You have more control than you ever thought. God would have it no other way! Really!

Just some good reflections…

 

The Absence of Complexity…


10565034_10152182433042175_6989850727931467430_nThe trouble with man’s relationship with God and his unattained happiness is the complexity of his belief system. There’s the do-good crowd that believes they can earn God’s favor by a series of righteous acts. Then, there’s the religious crowd that seeks to wear God out with rituals. There’s the “hodgepodgers” who try to work things out with an eclectic blend of a variety of beliefs. There’s an increasing number of “we’ve got our own book” groups. There’s the pity seekers who feel that if they suffer enough maybe God will throw them a bone and the ‘do what you want’ fellas because the Universe always answers… There’s the energy seekers, the sun worshippers, the nature worshippers, the prosperity worshippers, the Christian Scientists and the witches.  Mash that all together with the world’s countless theories for success and pretty soon you figure it’s too damn exhausting to find happiness, let alone find God. But…what if it’s not that complex? What if it’s so simple we’ve been missing it for a lifetime? What if it’s all right there waiting for us, if only we could see it? What if, huh?

The irony is that the older we get, the more confused we become. We’ve gotten so smart, you know? We’ve been reading the instructions for so long we have forgotten how to live. Have you ever taken the time to observe how a child lives? Children in all their simplicity know how to live life, that is until the world talks them out of it. Their little minds and hearts are wide open to learning. They are information absorbing machines. They live 100% in the moment. For them there is no future and no past. They forget their mistakes within seconds of making them. Each moment is a new moment and each moment offers the promise of delight. They expect their every need to be met and become quite indignant when their needs aren’t met. They have complete trust that they will be taken care of at all times. Complete trust! In their purity they remind us how to live. Have you ever thought back to how simple life was when you were a child? So what happened to you and to me? We got too dang smart, that’s what. Instead of growing up and transferring that simple mindset to our adult lives with God, we chose instead to figure out a system. We already know the stupid system isn’t working but we’re adults by God and we can figure it out. And in our desperation, we started listening to every idea under the sun. Somebody done got us fooled folks; somebody!

Life with God is incredibly simple. If we believe, we receive. But, that a mighty big “if!” The reason we don’t believe is because we’ve added a multitude of complicated layers to our relationship with God. It can’t be that simple, we exclaim. When someone comes along and tells us it’s that simple, we don’t believe them. If we are honest we hardly believe anything anymore. We’re entangled in a giant spaghetti bowl of theories and uninformed beliefs. “Someone said once…” and “I heard you have to…” and “What I’ve always done is…” All of it guesswork, all of it complicated, all of it pointless. In order to get closer to that life we have always imagined, we have to get back to the heart of a child.

I remember when I got my first Mac computer. I stumbled around for weeks trying to figure out how to do things. Then someone finally clued me in. They said, think simple; what’s the simple way it “should” work? Then lo and behold, they were right. I was so schooled in the Microsoft world that I had a hard time learning the easy way. Life with God is like that. We have been so schooled in religious beliefs and illogical ideas that we can’t see the forest for the trees. As a great man once said, “We’ve got too much complicated theology and not enough simple believing. We make God too hard!”

If we are ever going to see the true, breathtaking beauty of God and His magnificent provision for us, we’ve got to get back to simplicity. We’ve got to be willing to see things from another viewpoint. We have to view the world with fresh eyes; eyes that don’t already see, but are willing to see. Maybe what you have been looking for, for the past five years has been sitting there right by you, all along. Maybe the big break you have been waiting on for the last twenty years, is waiting for you to finally decide it’s going to happen, so it can actually happen. Maybe you are only one thought away from everything you ever wanted. Maybe. (You are already arguing with me, aren’t you?) Stop analyzing probabilities. Stop trying to figure out how it’s all going to work and just believe, like a child would do. Stop evaluating your behaviors. Stop beating yourself with guilt and condemnation. Stop rationalizing and applying your grown person logic and get back to what is simple. Expect it; believe it; see it.

God loves you and I more than we could ever imagine. God is the greatest provider that ever was and ever will be. God wants you to get your needs met infinitely more than you want it for yourself. He wants to teach you. He wants to show you. He wants you to know! He’s not hiding anything from you, ever. If something is hidden, it’s hidden because of the complexity you have bought into as an adult.

Throw that world of complexity to the side and get back to that guy or gal you once were…You knew all of this stuff at one time, really!

Imagine the exciting adventure that awaits you, when once again you become willing to see. Imagine…

Just some clear, simple thoughts…

The Tyranny of the Self-Made Life…


Self-Made-Man1There I was writing down my goals again and realizing that I have been writing the same crap for years! Same goals, same never-ending list of steps required to reach my goals. I’m going to stop doing this and start doing that, and ease up on this and cut back on that…Requirements, discipline, blah, blah, blah. Of course there is nothing wrong with writing down your goals and even better writing down steps to achieve those goals, but man, what a drag! What a freaking hard way to live. Never satisfied, never enjoying the moments called now. Perpetual work (mental work) towards some future day when… Add to that the mental consternation that goes with figuring out all of the complexities of life with your own little brain and you have a formula for misery. Can you even fathom how many variables life contains and the insanity of trying to control those variables? How many things need to line up with a multitude of other things for you to get what you want most out of life? And further, do you really, honestly think that your little plan, devised by your little mind could, by will power and determination, get a handle on all of the factors that must come together for you to be successful? Really?

I thought these thoughts and asked myself the same questions and, in all honesty, had to admit that my complicated plans with all of their required tasks, while offering the promise of securing “that life” were in reality complex wish lists that did little more than satisfy my intellect that I had devised “the plan” to get where I wanted to go. The tasks, unpleasant. The disciplines, undesirable. The probability of me carrying them out, zero. So, how do people reach their goals? How do some folks attain the unattainable? The so-called fortunate ones who seem to be living the life, what did they do so differently?

I think it’s safe to say they worked hard. That goes without saying. It’s obvious they were clear about what they desired. But, I’m willing to wager a lot of money that on the way to arriving, they were enjoying the journey. No-one does anything well that they don’t enjoy doing. Yes it’s work, but work you love isn’t really work (and if you have managed to touch on that you know what I mean). But work for work’s sake is drudgery and even more so when it doesn’t get you where you want to go. Oh try as you may, discipline your discipline, but in the end you’ll see (hopefully) that the path “you” chose for the fulfillment of your dreams isn’t the path to get to your dreams.

In the most simple terms, the first step to attaining your dream life is believe you can attain your dream life. I will say that again! The first step to attaining your dream life is to believe that you can. Until you get that step down, you are destined to work harder and get less. Your efforts, your energy to do, must be backed by the passion to do and without the first step, you can never get to the second step. Decision always, always, always precedes desire (passion). That solid, sold out, convicted decision produces the energy to do in exact proportion to the decision. A “hope so” decision; a wishy-washy decision; a maybe-maybe not decision can only produce a meager, so-so, half-hearted passion that neither has the energy or the will to accomplish anything. For real!

Doing first things first by whole-hearted decision gets God involved in your life. God, who happens to be aware of every variable, can work with decision. And, by His very nature, cannot work with indecision. Your lack of decision almost guarantees a lack of result and I don’t care how hard you work or how hard you try! It’s not your sincerity that gets the job done. Many sincere people have taken their dream to their grave. It’s your belief that gets the job done and without your cooperation, God Himself can do nothing! Conversely, making the strong decision to accomplish something leads to the strong passion (energy) required to do something which leads to the necessary details and finally to the required result!

How much time have you spent pursuing hopes and wishes? How much effort have you wasted on idle dreams that you don’t believe will really happen nor truly expect to obtain? My advice? Be like me. Recognize that you are tired of your lists and your requirements and your plans. Accept that what you are doing isn’t working and thinking that something magical will happen later is only a fantasy. Instead, take the time to decide exactly, precisely, clearly and emphatically what it is you want to accomplish; what legacy you wish to give to the world. And once you finally get that clear, act with the passion that accompanies your decision. It will be there. It must! And, along the way, give your poor, tired mind a break and cease trying to figure it all out. How you get there matters none, but rather “that” you get there. Let God do His job by “you” making a decision and then just enjoy the day that is today! Enjoy this day and give it all you’ve got. I mean really, if you truly believe that God is getting you where you want to go, you don’t have to spend another moment agonizing on how it is going to happen! You just live and move and expect and see…

Trying to figure out how to live a “self-made” life is a tyranny that will wear you out! You aren’t big enough for that fight. Trust me. But you certainly are big enough to make a decision and let God figure it out. Then, life becomes what it supposed to be – a joyful journey of discovery that ends in victory!

Just some good, clear, free thoughts…

The Slippery Slide of the Vegetable Mind…


1337256000000_cached(2)Log on to Facebook. Check notifications. Reply to comments. Check Home. Scroll down, down, down looking for content. Click like. Keep scrolling, scrolling. Click on Home again. Repeat. Searching, searching for something to read and add a response. Keep glancing at notifications. (2) Click and read. Accept mystery friend because he knows three other mystery friends. Respond to private message. Back to Home page. Repeat.

Close laptop and stare at the TV. Watch mindlessly for eight minutes, then commercial comes on. Open laptop, check Facebook. Repeat.

Grab cellphone. Respond to text. Write LOL a lot. Check emails. Click on Sturhling watch ad. Check other emails. Repeat.

Electronic media has truly changed our world. We are inundated with brightly lit screens to stare at. But, at what cost?  What is the payment that is being exacted for our obsession with our devices? Most folks would say it’s the lack of human interaction. But I think it’s deeper than that. Facebook for example, is all about human interaction in an electronic format. The greatest toll paid comes in the form of time. Wasted, wasted time. Time for conversations that matter, gone. Time to think about your life and what you want in it, slipped away. Time to work on personal projects, evaporated. Time to pursue your dreams, vanished. Time to get refreshed and rejuvenated, obliterated. Time…

We have become a collection of people distracted and divided. Things are coming at us a hundred miles an hour and we don’t have time to take them on. Have you ever noticed how great you feel when you go camping? Or for that matter, anytime you go somewhere that forces you to disconnect from electricity. Is it the serene surroundings? Is it the dirty campsite? Or is it having the freedom to just sit down and think?

Human beings need time to think. We need a separation from the sounds and images and the clutter so that we can process what is going on and how we need to respond to it. It sounds mystical perhaps, but we need our time for meditation; for prayer; for the quietness that helps our hearts find peace again. We need the space required to recognize what’s been bothering us and time to hear our solution.

Without all of the distractions we have time to talk to one another. Not about the weather and the economy, but about the things that are the most important to us. We need an opportunity to bring up our griefs, our hassles, our challenges. We require a chance to clear the air; to resolve our differences and to find the sweetness we once knew. We need it…

I would submit that many people are defeated for the day, before they even get up. They lay there enduring a cascade of thoughts about what’s wrong with them and how fat they are and all of the worries and cares of life, without offering the slightest resistance. Then, up and out of bed they go; hurrying to shower and get ready, while slurping down some coffee and arriving at work slightly frazzled. They’re pissed off but have now forgotten why… The day passes quickly and it’s time to get home, eat dinner and participate in the electronic media dance ’til bedtime. Tomorrow is a new day to start it all over again.

Our stressed, frenzied world has succeeded in talking us into the illusion that we haven’t got enough time. We are so busy everyday and it never stops. Then one day, we wake up and we’re 5o and haven’t accomplished a fraction of the things of which we used to ardently dream.

Thankfully there is a solution. The answer lies in making the decision to take back your time; your life! Take the time you need to find your peace (It’s there for waiting for you). Plan spaces in your daily routine to give that old processor a chance to turn back on and come back to life. Turn something off. Unplug… Silence that notification sound. Shut it all down. Being overly busy isn’t a sign of success, it’s a sign that something is using your precious time with or without your consent.

Now there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to relax and stare at the TV or to play on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We all need a break to relax and veg out. The key is to set a predetermined limit on any activity that takes more time than it’s worth. And when your life remains exactly the same year after year after year, it’s not worth it!

Your precious life is shorter than you may have imagined. Those dreams, those ideals that remain in your heart and beckon for attention need to be given space for expression or they will go to the grave with you as something you wish you had done. Get off the slippery slide of distraction and awake your vegetable mind to the life, your life, that now is…

Those Facebook comments; those Housewives of Atlanta; those emails will be there tomorrow or whenever you decide to give them space again. The only difference will be that you can now entertain them with your happy, satisfied mind, pleased with the decisions you made to take back your life!

One life my friends, one life…alive!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

The Santa Clause Effect… (Trying to Earn What Cannot Be Earned)


santa-claus-arrested-black-friday-walmartAs a kid, I remember joyfully anticipating Christmas Day! Somehow this dude named Santa Clause traveled the world  in a single night depositing presents under people’s Christmas trees. He must have been all-knowing because almost everything you asked for was right there waiting for you. This Santa fellow was pretty awesome. But, he had a dark side. You had to be “good” in order to get his blessings. If you were naughty you might just get a lump of coal. (I know, pretty random bad gift, right?) Some of his commandments were: 1.) No pouting 2.) No crying 3.) Do not be naughty 4.) And the all encompassing, you better watch out! Why you ask? Because he knows if you are sleeping and he knows if you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. Add to that, he keeps a detailed list of what you do and even checks it twice before deciding to give you things! And the final clincher? We teach this to our children.

I’m sure you noticed there are some strikingly obvious comparisons between Santa Clause and God. In fact, many people believe God functions the exact same way. He’s up there somewhere watching every move you make. And, He’s not only watching and judging, He’s also keeping track on a list. If your good doesn’t outweigh your bad, He is not going to bless you and might even curse you with something awful and black! So, my friends, you better watch out!

Have you ever noticed how people pray? They say things like, “Oh Lord let me get this new job.” Or, “God, let me win this lottery.” The not so subtle implication being that God is somehow stopping good things from happening in your life, presumably because you have been very naughty. And because He is all-knowing you figure you better behave properly if anything good is going to happen in your life. The evil behind this pervasive concept is two-fold. First, what exactly is good and second what are the degrees of bad? Some folks say it is a sin to drink alcohol. Others say there are hierarchies of sin including “little white lies” all the way to murder or something. How can you know? Well, you don’t know and if you’re honest you simply conclude that you’re not very good. I mean after all, didn’t you just watch Cinemax (Sex-a-max) last night?

In the words of a famous man, “I can assure you, God doesn’t bless you because of how good or bad you are, but rather because of your believing.” Read that again! In order to receive anything from God you have to believe. You must be fully persuaded that God can do it AND will do it for you! Now back to Santa. If you have bought into the notion that God will only bless you because you are the very nebulous “good,” then chances are you aren’t expecting Him to bless you. Actually, you are so convinced of your “badness” that you now have to pray for God to “NOT” do something or worse, allow something you want to happen. This concept could not be further from the truth!

Everything we have in this life we have because of God’s grace. Grace is unearned divine favor. You cannot earn something that cannot be earned. Read that again! Now, think of it this way. If you have children, I’m sure you do your best to make them happy. You not only supply everything they need, but you actually go out of your way to do things that make them happy. Yet, how do they measure up on YOUR naughty list? Pretty dang naughty, aren’t they? They disobey; break your expensive stuff; injure themselves; get in trouble at school; mess up the house etc., etc. And despite it all, you still want them to be happy… And you are a parent that sometimes pouts, cries and other things on the forbidden Santa list of commandments. Can you see how foolish that idea is?

God is not an ongoing list of moral requirements. You can be plenty moral with or without God. You can be so damn tightly wound that you squeak when you walk. And mid squeak you’re still begging God to “not let” something happen! Nah man, you gotta get that insanity out of your mind. God never wanted you to live that way. Even the Old Testament laws, all 86 million of them, weren’t designed to make people good. They were designed to provide a written standard of “good” someone could fulfill later in order for God to end that crazy logic once and for all. (I would say read that again, again but I’m over my limit!)

The truth is that God won’t withhold anything good from you…ever. Quit measuring your sins and remembering your mistakes and cataloguing your misdeeds. God knows all about you and still loves you! You can receive every blessing God intended for your life if you’ll just get rid of that Santa Clause logic. Don’t ask the preacher… Read it in God’s Word.

You better watch out, you better not cry… Ah shut up Santa! My God reigns supreme!

 

Cleaning Out Your Closet, One Thought at a Time…


pohlig_builders_clean_closet_art_career_wardrobeDid you know that your mind (emphasis on YOUR mind) is not supposed to be full of fear, anxiety and stress? Oh sure, most people are living that way, but it’s not supposed to be that way. The problem is that we have become so accustomed to living that way and feel like it must be the norm. If you notice we say things like, “welcome to life” or “life happens” and even, “shit happens!” And, by saying that, we are openly declaring or admitting that we have accepted something, namely –  that’s just the way life is… Well, what if that’s not the way life is? What if you have been seduced into a mindset that, once setup, goes on defeating you for years and years? What if there is something out there operating within a vast network, secretly, to convince you and me of a gargantuan lie?

Believe it or not, that something or other does exist and is presently working within the systems of the world to do just that. Everything around you is negative with subtle fear trappings behind it. And, the more you buy into it, the more fear you experience; the more anxiety; the more stress, which are all more or less alternate names for the same thing.

If you have ever taken the time to monitor those wieldy thoughts of yours, you’ll see just how consistently this is occurring. But hey, who has time to monitor their thoughts? I mean life is sooooo busy, right? Well, I submit to you that it’s so busy because you have bought in. How much of that crap you do day by day do you really have to do? Look at our obsession with health (in America of course). You have to eat this and ingest that and add this and supplement that. After all, you don’t want to get cancer, right? You see, you bought in man. You became convinced that your only shot at living a long, healthy life was to do what the TV and Facebook and the media told you to do. And the clincher? You are doing it all out of fear. Now this doesn’t even account for the requirements to exercise. Gotta get your cardio; your weight training; your Pilates; your yoga or else you will surely die! The Bible says that bodily exercise does profit you of course, but the real source of your good health is God. Absent God, get on the fear train!

You can’t eat this or have too much of that. Sugar is outlawed and everything must be low fat. Butter kills, bacon kills, red meat kills, fried food kills, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and on it goes. Generations of people ate those things before us, but we are so much smarter now. I’ll bet you never considered that all that advertising wasn’t designed to make you healthier but rather  to make you buy something. And bought it, you did! (And I did)

So it is high time to get off the fear train and start cleaning out your closet. You feel the need to clean out your closet because it has become chock full of crap. So what about your mind? Chock full of crap. And like with your pesky closet, you can only start clearing it out one thought at a time. But even before you can start cleaning, you have to decide you want to. How many things in your life are sitting out there unresolved, cluttering up the background? It’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed. So why don’t we resolve things? We haven’t got enough time between the gym and Pilates and healthy food shopping and getting stuff done! No, I mean getting everything done! Today! Bought in…

Healthy thinking involves getting problems resolved. It means taking the time necessary to get on top of whatever is on top of you. If it takes a week, so be it. If it takes 6 months, so be it. Why put up with problems? You put up with them because you think you have to. I often wonder just how many health issues we face come directly from our own frenetic minds being pushed and pulled all over the globe and back.

Next we need some time to get quiet. Just get quiet. Whether it’s prayer or meditation or simply turning off electronics, just get quiet. You will be amazed how many thing come up when you give your mind a chance to get quiet. You may just find that thing you have been doing for the last ten years because you are disciplined really gets done because you are afraid. Here’s a test. Try to stop doing it. Just let it go… Seems to me that God can do His job pretty well without all my incessant meddling! When you stop doing all of that crap it is like you are saying, “Here I am and I have stopped running!” Indeed…

My good friend once remarked, “I find that my mind is at peace when I focus on right now and whenever I start to feel stress it’s because I have either gone back into the past or moved ahead to the future.” So, try to live just for today. Or better, try to live just for right now. Did you know that God designed life to be lived in 24 hour compartments? (God, not Dale Carnegie…)

In order to even have a chance of living that “good life” you have often imagined, you must first get control of your mind. Take the mental time you need to get things straight. If there’s something you need to say, say it! If something is undone and driving you nuts, do it. And, for goodness sakes, stop being afraid of everything! So, what if a disease shortened your life? Well, what if you are shortening your life by living in fear? You can only do what you can do, right? And the way I see it, the only thing you can ever totally control is your mind; or more specifically, your thoughts!

This short little go round the sun doesn’t offer you enough time to live another moment that way. Get God involved and stop trying to be so smart. He’s infinitely better than your best thinking and worth checking into (unless of course you are content right where you are…).

The “normal” way to live, though long hidden, is to be unafraid. The absence of fear introduces you to a world you only thought existed in childhood. But, as a kid, you knew you weren’t that smart. Hmmm…

You are worth the time…

You vs. You… Are You Winning?


Its_You_vs_You_151-3Who is your real enemy anyway? Some folks might say it’s the devil. The general population thinks it’s the government. The Liberals say it’s the Republicans and the Republicans say it’s everyone else. Racists ignorantly claim it’s every race that isn’t their own. Capitalists, communists, socialists all have some thoughts about what holds people back. But I submit to you that the only thing that can hold you back is you! Sure there is a devil working behind the scenes to screw you up, but even he can’t beat you without some cooperation on your part.

When you peel away everything external; every circumstance; every outside influence, all that is left is you and what you believe about yourself. You tell me what you honestly think about yourself and I’ll tell you whether or not you are going to be successful in life. Oh you can argue! You can talk about luck and favor and chance. You can whine about good breaks and bad breaks. You can blame your upbringing, foolishly concluding that someone, somewhere had a perfect one… But in the end, it’s you and what you think!

Don’t think for a minute that anything I’m saying excludes God or spiritual realties. Of course not. Rather, in the spiritual realm whether it be God’s wonderful goodness or the adversary’s despicable badness, both require your cooperation to either help or harm.

So, back to you… What do you think about yourself? Really! If you didn’t have to censor yourself to be socially acceptable, what is your truth concerning you? Do you think you’re smart? Do you think you deserve goodness in your life? Do you think you will live a long life? Do you see yourself living with abundance or struggling to get by? Those ideas you have in your mind; those beliefs ultimately define your life with minute accuracy and precision. Don’t think for a second that something outside of yourself defined those limits for you! You might have heard those limits; been schooled in those limits; been inundated with those limits, but those limitations only limit you if you cooperate with them and believe them. Write that in stone because it’s always true!

Here’s another way to look at it. What kind of things do you say to yourself? What goes on in that inner dialogue of yours? Are you kind with yourself? Are you patient with yourself? Do you love yourself or better, do you even like yourself? I went through a rather rough patch in my own life, religion induced of course, where I honestly couldn’t say that I liked myself anymore. Egads, right? I was so consumed with doing everything right; everything someone else said was right, that I no longer even liked myself. The problem with that garbage is that the people consumed with pointing out my flaws were just like me. And as long as I gave them a hearing was as long as I lived under their control. I didn’t realize that behind all of that judgment was the enemy, with whom I unknowingly cooperated. Was I a better person? Hell no! I was a defeated, miserable wreck. And there but for the grace of God I might still be.

My good friend Mark Wallace taught that we should never say anything negative about ourselves. Let that simmer for a moment. Imagine never saying anything negative about yourself… Think now, does saying negatives things about yourself to yourself ever help you get better? Really, does it? How could a focus on what’s wrong with you ever lead to what’s right with you? Let’s say you just did something bad.  (Haha let’s say…) Often your defeat doesn’t come from the mistake but rather your decision to linger on your mistake for days or even years. You vs. you and you lose! When you make a mistake you should immediately move on past it and not allow it another second of residence in your mind. The Bible backs this up, even though that religious guy told you otherwise.

So, how can you win? How can you turn this thing around and end in victory? You have to win the battle of you vs. you. You are the only you have got. You have one life, one opportunity, one chance to come out on top. Choose you. If you aren’t on your side, you cannot win. Decide that you are okay just the way you are. Sure you have weak spots. Sure you make mistakes and choose badly at times. But, I think if you are honest, the goodness that is you far outweighs the moments that you behave badly. Farrrrrrr outweighs! So again, choose you! Stop saying those horrible things to yourself. Stop voting for evil! Choose good. Change your mind; thought by thought until your thoughts favor you, the only you, you have! That’s not egotistical for goodness sakes, that’s truth!

We all want to live prosperous, healthy, love filled lives. All of us! Give yourself a break by getting off your own back! You don’t do anyone a service by hating yourself. In fact, it’s a disservice. You end up rejecting the awesome beauty that God gave you by giving you a life. Instead, decide right now that you really are a wonderful person. Decide that you can change the ending of your personal drama by changing what you think about yourself. It’s your one life and you are worth that!

That enemy you have been wrestling with isn’t the government or the communists or your parents. The enemy you are fighting is your own self and the things you have been believing about yourself. Choose love. Choose God. Choose you. If God be for you, who can be against you?

Win in the great competition of life!

Just some good thoughts…

Handling Lemons, Grapefruits and Other Annoyances in Life…


when_life_gives_you_lemons____by_timotei_chan-d3f9o30Things often happen to us in life that annoy the bejesus out of us. Whether it’s harassing lemons or gigantic grapefruits; small irritants or life threatening situations, life aint always easy street. Now if you are a member of random life club; believing that life is only what you can see etc., and that there is nothing behind it all, this blog will make no sense to you. But, if you have the good sense to recognize that the design of things is way too complex to swallow that story, then you may wanna invest the 3 minutes and hear what I have to say!

Life is spiritual and behind it all is One wonderful loving God who only gives good and One rebellious lesser being who only gives evil. Those two never intertwine. God doesn’t do evil ever, no matter the plethora of insane reasons people give to explain why He does. The things that drive you “batsh*t” crazy are by design and planned. They come from your personal adversary who is ever watching for things that might defeat you and supplying a healthy dose of them on the regular. Not believing that and opting rather for the random life theory makes no difference. It is what it is and putting on blinders won’t change it.

Now this may surprise you but, God never promised that life would be easy or that you would not have to deal with lemons and sometimes grapefruits! That’s right. Often people are afflicted because they have no idea what is going on in life and as such become afflicted. Are they bad people? Of course not, rather they just don’t understand. It would be like playing tennis with a spoon. Until you learn that you need a racquet you are going to get your butt beat! Other folks have their racquets in hand and still have to deal with annoyances. Why? Because that’s how it is. Getting mad at the game doesn’t change the game. What God did promise is that you can win and overcome anything that comes your way.

The great Apostle Paul prayed to God three times that those annoying, irritating, always in the way people would go away once and for all and let him do what God called him to do without the annoyances. But God told him that His grace was sufficient for him. He further said that His great ability was made perfect in Paul’s inability to handle the situation. When Paul was weak in his own strength, he was strong in God’s strength.

Often we feel the same way don’t we? We tell God, if you would just solve this thing, life would be good. We know He will help us solve it, but He doesn’t just “magic” the problem away. You see, life just doesn’t work that way. Imagine how stupid we would all become if every time we prayed God just fixed everything on the spot. I know I would be lounging on the couch praying for God to bring in money, food, wine and maybe someone to serve them to me. God doesn’t violate the laws of life. He is going to help us solve it, but it doesn’t always work on our timetable or in the manner we choose. Here’s a thought…maybe God wants us to actually learn something. Maybe He wants us to learn how and why so we can be stronger next time. Maybe He is after our ultimate good! Now don’t go south on me and conclude God is allowing us to suffer. Never! Instead He is working with us, where we are, and teaching us the things we need to know. The difficulty, the annoyance, the dilemmas put us on our mental toes, don’t they? Nothing like a problem to get your mind focused and serious about a solution! Did God send the difficulty? NO! But He is at work within the difficulty to help us win. Does God want to help us solve it yesterday? Of course He does. But He has the fantastic ability to know exactly where we are; what we believe and how to get us to where we need to be!

If you live long enough you are going to have some problems. You are going to be faced with situations that you cannot solve on your own. You are going to be tested (not by God)! The test, the problem, the annoyance isn’t the issue. The issue is what you choose to do about it; where you go for help and how the thing ends! God’s promise is that you can beat every dastardly, evil challenge that comes your way. You can! But in order to get the victory you have to be willing to learn something new. For example, God designed your body to heal itself once the cause (problem) is removed. However, you need God to remove the cause. Oh you can analyze it and spend all your money on physicians, but God is always the one that removes the cause. He just needs some believing cooperation on your part!

So, the next time you find yourself challenged with some impossible dilemma, remember God specializes in things called impossible! There is always a solution and I don’t care what the doctor/the world/your friends/ science says! Your job is to believe. Believe that God has your solution and that it is coming your way. Work with yourself where you are and be willing, at least, to learn something new.

This isn’t Fantasy island, my friends. This is real life; life with God, kicking ass and taking names!

When you find yourself holding lemons and grapefruits, give them to God and see if He doesn’t send you the recipe for a victorious life!

Just some good thoughts…

Finally, the Right Move…


chess-make-the-right-move-708x317Sometimes I think we search all over the world and back looking for that one key or principle that once discovered will change our lives forever. It’s a weird quirk of human nature to assume that the thing we need most is always somewhere over “there.” So I ask, what if what you need the most is close at hand? And, what if it isn’t gaining something but instead giving something up? Hmmm?

Everything God has made has life in it. The life is already in it. But, if you tamper with the life in it, it stops growing and in some cases even dies. If you take an animal out of its natural environment it will begin to struggle. If the animal does something it isn’t designed to do it will suffer as a result. All living and growing things have a specific design and when they function within their original design they thrive. An absence of thriving doesn’t necessarily mean something should be added. Often thriving resumes when something is taken away.

Have you ever found yourself struggling with some repetitive issue or chronic situation? All of us have weaknesses right? We have those categories of life where we struggle consistently. Or maybe we are good at controlling ourselves until it gets to that “one thing” and we always give in to that one thing. And we know, if we are being honest with ourselves that the one thing isn’t good for us and after we do it, we seldom feel good about ourselves. Yet onward we march rationalizing and making excuses because we only have one life and we only live once and the like… You can generally spot that one thing because you have been doing it for years and for years it has been “doing you!” You know in your heart that, that one thing is holding you back, yet to this point you haven’t bolstered enough courage to see it for what it is or worse consider finally taking it on. But take it on you must and take it on, you can!

I know that your mind automatically went to alcohol or casual sex or smoking (or maybe you thought that’s where I went – smile). But vices, as useful as they seem, aren’t generally the cause, but rather a symptom. They are indicators of some unresolved situation, some great fear or some previously un-dealt-with emotional state. You started using “it” most likely in an attempt to deal with a painful situation you felt you couldn’t handle. Now many years later you still persist in avoiding the issue and filling your life with anything else you could find that took your mind away from the pain.

So here is a sage piece of advice. Let it go! Let that thing go once and for all. Don’t put it on hold or temporarily suspend it. LET IT GO! The hurt you felt when your husband left you in 1982 ~ let it go. The anger you felt towards your Dad for treating you so poorly ~ let it go. The accident you had; the thing you lost; the mistake you made; let them all go. In other words give up that tired, worn out story that is the first thing that pops into your mind when you meet someone new. It’s not your life, it “was” your life and your job is to decide to move on. Stop giving it space. Stop worshipping it! Stop bowing down to it and let it go. You see, your core issue; the root cause is your pain and the wound cannot heal when you keep ripping off the scar again and again. Living things are designed to heal themselves when they are wounded, but all of our heartfelt attempts at healing ourselves only delay the process. Let go and let God.

Once you finally become willing to “feel” the pain and see it for what it is, it will no longer have mastery over your life. When you decide to take something on you are completely willing to observe whatever there is to observe; the good, the bad and the really ugly! Hey it may even be hideous but it is what it is already and doing ten shots of whiskey every night won’t ever change it. There is always a reason you drink too much; eat too much; escape into drug induced states; or obsess over sex or money or your appearance or the future. Find out the reason. Find out the real cause. Be willing to see what was formerly unthinkable or too painful to even contemplate. Ask God to show it to you. God always comes through for you and He is smart enough to do it in a way you can digest comfortably without jumping off a cliff.

Sometimes your miraculous solution; your master-key; your golden orb answer comes simply by your decision to finally let something go. And anything that controls you or has mastery over you, is something you need to let go. You may not want to, but you need to. Your natural environment, your original design is to thrive! Enjoyment and happiness and excitement for life aren’t supposed to be occasional, they’re supposed to be the norm. They only stop being the norm when we allow something else to come in and exert itself over us and control us.

And how can you tell if you’ve made the right decision? You will know immediately by how you feel inside. The moment you decide to “just say no” to whatever would control you is the moment you begin to break free and experience the life you were specifically designed to experience… Try it out for yourself. You’ll be feeling so blessed because you finally made the right move… I guarantee it!

 

 

Analysis Paralysis Dialysis For Your Brain…


rubiks_cube_by_alexandrelandry-d4p8s17Adults are fantastic problem solvers. In fact, if you want to appeal to adult learners (ala Dale Carnegie training) you have to give them a problem and allow them to solve it themselves. In short, we are ‘problem solving’ machines. But, with our keen ability to analyze comes our problematic ability to over-analyze, solve problems that aren’t problems yet or simply drive ourselves completely batty along the way. It’s like that damn Rubik’s cube!  The best I could ever do was maybe get one row all the same color. Not that I didn’t invest enough time, but rather the time I invested wasn’t productive because there was a pattern or a logic to the solution that I wasn’t aware of, yet… Often in life, the questions that paralyze us are the ones we attribute either to the wrong “cause,” or represent the wrong “time” to deal with it. So today I’m offering you some dialysis for your brain. Yes, you need this!

If you looked inside your brain during extended periods of churning over some event or situation, you would find a skinny hamster running fast on his wheel; working hard, getting nowhere. It’s not his lack of effort that is defeating him. It’s the reality that his chosen method of problem solving cannot possibly end with a good result because his starting premise is faulty. The wheel he is on doesn’t lead anywhere; never did; never will. But, he doesn’t know that it leads to nowhere so he persists hoping to breakthrough to a new area based on past analysis. If he knew in advance that the wheel led to nowhere he wouldn’t bother traveling on it, but doggone it, it sure seems to be leading somewhere! And oh my Lord, he can’t just let it go, he has to solve the problem so he can relax. You do realize that the hamster is you, right?

Enter scenario number two:  Usually triggered by something, you start to imagine some dreadful possibility in the future. Maybe you read something on WebMD. The more you think about it (hamster wheel, hamster wheel) the more real it becomes. “Oh my gosh! I have been feeling warm and my leg has been aching — I’m dyingggggggggg!” Now you hop back on to your hamster wheel and start cranking out a solution. Faster, faster; more analysis, more analysis – whatever will I do now that I know I’m dying? In effect, you’re not only spinning on a hamster wheel, you are spinning on a hamster wheel of the future; a future you haven’t arrived at yet.

Before we get to the dialysis for your brain, I’d like to clue you in on something you may not ever have imagined. All of that churning and spinning and exhaustion (yes, it is exhausting) is nothing more than a grand distraction from the life you are living now. How many days, weeks, months or years have you spent on that topic, always with the same futile lack of result? The problem isn’t solved or else you wouldn’t keep working your exercise wheel! The only real result is your life being wasted away on something. Enter misery, frustration and depression! If you could remove all of the shrouds you would see it for what it is; a grand illusion designed to steal your precious life away from you. The source of it has just three motives; to steal, to kill and to destroy! Numbers two and three haven’t happened yet, but number one is in full operation.

So how can we introduce some new blood into your system? By offering new problem solving techniques or better research tools? Nope! By suggesting that you work harder (run faster) get more sleep, take medications or drink wine? Again nope! Instead I’m offering Plan C… let it go! (Disney movie soundtrack playing in the background…) Let go and let God! Stop being so smart; so logical; so intellectual. Humbly admit to God that you do not know the answer; that you are sorry for being such a wise guy and that you need for Him to get you to the real cause and show you the real solution. This option presupposes that you are now done with your wearisome trek and ready for an influx of new life. Then, once you have done this from your heart, do not allow yourself to take it back again. Oh you are going to feel heavily tempted to get back on the hamster wheel because if you could just_____, or maybe find _____, surely you would see the solution! But do yourself a favor and remember that this issue you have been struggling with for the past ten years hasn’t gone away despite your incredible analytical mind. Remember the old adage, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.” ~ Albert Einstein.  Thus, it’s clearly time to get on dialysis!

Once you finally let that “thing” go you are going to feel something wonderful. It’s called peace. Peace of mind is God’s way of showing you that you are on the right track. Formula: Agitated = off track, peace = on track. Get on track. And, in that peaceful state you are going to start seeing things you haven’t seen before. You will begin to recognize destructive thinking and its effect on you. Often you will find that your solution wasn’t even remotely connected to all of your analysis. Isn’t God grand?

Hamster wheels are for hamsters, not humans. Analysis is good to a certain point, but perplexity indicates something else may be involved which is a cue for you to get “Something Else” involved. Your life, my life is very short by comparison. Live out your days with alacrity of mind; in the present; in peace. Live your life in peace!

Just some good thoughts…