You are Good Enough!


e61575f6ba345c0d95694deee5f23d5fToday I had the privilege of attending the funeral service for one of our fallen law enforcement officers. As the speakers came up one by one, each one clearly a person who truly loved God, all offering heart-warming stories about their relationship with the officer, all had one common theme; namely concerns about not being good enough. These weren’t people living on the fringes of society, committing crimes and taking advantage of their fellow-man. These were people deeply concerned about doing the right thing, setting a good example and leaving behind a lasting legacy. Yet, they all echoed the same fear, one of not being good enough. So my question for you is, are you good enough?

Ever since the beginning of time, man’s heart has longed to be righteous before God. The true nature of man is goodness and though he often struggles to accomplish it, his heart yearns to do right and to be right. It doesn’t matter if a man loves God or rejects God, the wrongs he commits pain him and the good he does, rejoices his heart. It is a universal condition and because of that, the enemy of mankind works hard to exploit it. Imagine working hard day by day to please God, only to be left with a feeling that you somehow don’t measure up. Therein is the rub… You don’t feel like you measure up because on your own you could never measure up. Likewise, you don’t feel good enough because of your own works you could never be good enough. God knows this and has made a way out for you and me!

Each of us was born into the world with the nature of wrong built right into our blood stream. It was never intended that we start that way, but it is the way we ended up. Your very own life blood carries within it the seeds of error, sickness and death. You fall easy prey to temptation and wrong choices because the seeds of wrong live within you. But God, who did not intend this condition, made a way for you and I to live above it.

The way above it to make the decision to get born again (Romans 10:9-10) and to accept God’s free gift of righteousness; to accept Jesus Christ as your savior from sin; to accept his perfect walk before God to atone for your imperfect walk.  True humility rests in understanding that you cannot lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. A humble heart is one which knows that it cannot of its own accord do anything! There’s nothing humble about perpetually feeling bad about yourself. Humility isn’t found in condemnation and feelings of inferiority. You certainly wouldn’t want that for your children, so why on Earth would you believe that God wants that for His children? The reason people think this way is because that’s what they have been taught. They have it drummed into their minds and scorched into their hearts that their walk before God, indeed their happiness before God, depends on what they do and do not do. And, while we all know that doing wrong makes us feel bad, we fail to realize that attempting to do good or to do better has no natural end point. How good is good enough? How many good works are required to earn our own righteousness before God? Again, therein is the rub. It is the enemy behind this false logic, ever working to bring us misery and frustration.

In order to do good you first have to believe you are good. The boy who believes he is a good boy will do good works because of his goodness. The boy who feels he is a bad boy will continue to do bad because of how he feels about himself. Oh he may work to make himself good, but his good won’t ever be good enough and as a consequence his good works will end in resentment. God tells us that we are good, not from any works we have done, but because of God’s goodness towards us. It’s the goodness of God that leads a man to a change of heart. God created His righteousness within us when we got born again leading unto good works. The good works we do aren’t to be loved by God but because we already are loved by God! That’s the truth…

In this short life, you cannot allow yourself to get trapped into the fallacy that you can, by your good works, make yourself good enough. All that belief will do is make you a slave, and not to God, for that matter. You’ll spend your life rehashing some mistake you made twenty years ago. You’ll dwindle away your days in self-evaluation and heart hardening condemnation. You’ll be chock full of criticism and judgement towards others because of how damn hard it is to be you! It’s not God’s will for you to live that way. Life with God was never intended to be a checklist of requirements to accomplish before your little stamp book is full enough to earn a ticket into heaven. Instead, life with God was intended to be sublime, with you never having to earn anything from God, but rather living in the greatest freedom; free to love; free to give and free to serve!

I know the people I listened to today are wonderful people with a heart full of love for God. I just wish I could share with them a better way; a way where the focus of our lives is on God and His goodness, not on ourselves and how we might strive to be good enough…

You are good enough. You know how I know? Because God said you are…

Just some good thoughts…

Ps To that brother and comrade that gave his all, you were good enough!

 

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…

 

WTF? (Fear)


WTFDid you know that your number one enemy in life is fear? Fear is the killer of all your hopes and dreams. Fear takes away all opportunities for success. Fear steals your happiness and anything else that is important to you. Fear destroys your life! WTF? And, although the number one admonition in the Bible is to “fear not,” fear continues to work its hardship on all of us everyday. Why? Why and how does fear access our minds so easily? Fear gains easy entrée because we don’t see it for what it really is – False Evidence Appearing Real!

Fear and its companions are much more subtle than you may have imagined. In fact, most folks would tell you that they aren’t afraid. But, when they speak of fear, they’re usually referring to its obvious side. The kind they feel when a snarling Pit Bull is running in their direction or what they experience while teetering on the edge of a cliff. Yet fear is involved in many other facets of life. The stress you feel at work is fear. The overwhelm you experience because you have a lot to do is fear. Worrying about not having enough money is fear. Choosing to do things you know you shouldn’t do is fear. Every addiction, everything that holds you captive is fear. Agitation, restlessness and boredom is fear. Chronic indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome…fear. The massive industry of pharmaceuticals comes from fear. Health issues, mental issues, exhaustion, all fear. Fear, fear, fear rules the world.

The peace of mind you so desperately seek is not found in money, or the right job or the perfect partner. It’s found right inside your own head when all the fear is finally gone. Some folks live their whole lives and rarely get to experience it. Maybe you found it during that family vacation or during a particularly happy time in your life. In reality it wasn’t the vacation or the pleasant circumstances, it was found because you momentarily let go of the fear. Fear is epidemic, my friends, and it’s after you everyday! If it’s not a deadly disease, (Ebola) it’s an Earth that’s getting too hot. It’s a struggling economy or the loss of your job. It’s every disease and every sickness. It’s the news and the media and your friends and your family. It literally surrounds you and it’s all a damn lie! A lie that rules the world!

In order for fear to get a foothold in your life it needs a willing host. Fearful suggestions don’t hurt you. But, when you accept those fearful suggestions, that’s when the trouble starts. Fear rules your life because you cooperate with it everyday. Instead of dismissing those fretful ideas you take them on with the false hope that you can figure it all out. Well, you can’t figure it out. They’re an invitation for disaster. They (those fears and their source) are counting on you and your ego to take the bait. How much life have you already wasted on some unreasonable proposition? How many hours have you dedicated to worrying about that job of yours? What if you fail? What if they fire you? What if the business goes under. What if you fail to get a project done on time? What if you aren’t a success? What if don’t have what you need and you are reduced to suffering and shame? What if? Feel free to apply that scenario to every aspect of your life. What if? What if is FEAR!

This is why I can’t understand how people live their lives without God. If I didn’t have a relationship with God, I would be a miserable wreck! This life has just too many scary variables to take them all on with my little ol’ mind. The only way to defeat fear is to learn about God; His omnipotence and His power. There’s nothing God can’t fix and that is the end of all fear. God’s love is the antithesis of fear and the knowledge of God is the only way you’ll understand that fear is always a lie. I took a class in 1982 called, “Power For Abundant Living” and for the first time in my adult life experienced the complete absence of fear…peace. How sweet it is!

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done in the past, God is there for you. With Him you can only succeed and without Him you can only fail. Fear is the most destructive force in the universe and it’s not easy to overcome. You’re not going to beat it with your human logic and rationality and smarts. Fear is spiritual at its roots and requires spiritual insight to defeat. As darkness is simply the absence of light, fear is simply the absence of love, God’s love.

This life is just too precious and way too short to spend your days living in fear, in all of its subtle forms. How much would it be worth to you to finally stop all of your striving and your worrying and your fretting? What price tag can you put on uninterrupted peace? Once the fear is finally gone your life can take off how God originally planned it to do. Without fear you’ll find that everything you have been seeking has really been seeking you. Yet, you don’t find it by pressing harder, you find it by letting go! FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL…

WTF? The only way to rid yourself of WTF is by getting serious about getting rid of fear, once and for all. Talk to God; get to God; find God. God and His Word will expose every form of fear to you and in that marvelous light, everything else that has ever bothered you as well. You owe it to yourself, don’t you think?

Just some good thoughts…

Peace.

Just Who Exactly Do You Think You Are!


who-do-you-think-you-areThat little title says more about your life than any other thing I can think of! Who you think you are is exactly who you are in stunning detail and ultimately determines every success, every failure; your results or lack thereof. If you think of yourself as a victim, you will be victimized on every turn. If you think you are always the one that comes up short, then you will always come up short. If you think the “good life” is reserved for others, then don’t be surprised that your life ain’t so good.

To this point you may have underestimated the result  “what you think of yourself” has on you, but it is perhaps the largest cause for the effects you experience. But, it happens with such subtlety that most folks miss it for a lifetime. Despite what you may have heard, no-one’s life is predetermined or destined. The idea of being born with a certain destiny absolves you of responsibility for your life. And trust me, whether in ignorance or just plain laziness, you are responsible. The Good Lord gave you something that can make your life whatever you wish it to be. That thing is the ability to think and subsequently believe. Believing knows no boundaries and overcomes all difficulty, no matter the severity. But always before believing comes thinking…

Have you ever tried to track down the things you are saying to yourself throughout a day? Once you start actually paying attention, you may be horrified at the result. You are going to hear yourself criticizing yourself. You are going to recognize your own negative expectation. And you will find your internal chatter has something to say about every situation you find yourself in. Most of the time it’s negative. It’s not negative because that’s how life is, it’s negative because that’s how you have become in response to life. The test? You didn’t think that way as a child!

Like anything that breaks from the status quo, at first it’s hard to get a handle on. You may even feel like you are lying to yourself. But in reality, up to this point, that’s all you have been doing – lying to yourself. Things don’t always have to turn out badly. Symptoms and indicators don’t always lead to negative results. What it looks like and what it ‘seems’ like are not the end result. The end result is what you accept as the end result before the end result shows up. (Read that again…) In order to get your unruly mind under control you have to first challenge those offending thoughts. Have you ever had an anxiety attack? Anxiety attacks are result of many unchallenged thoughts, now misplaced and coming back in a generalized form. You have to slow down and pay attention to your thoughts. Just because you thought something doesn’t make it true. Wait, hear that one again with volume. JUST BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT SOMETHING DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE! You see, web as a society have become so trained that we falsely conclude that everything we think is true. (And everything we read for that matter).

Once you have gathered the energy necessary to pay attention to your thoughts, next you must challenge the negatives. You do this by telling yourself, “that’s not true” and then saying what is true. “Well, that doesn’t feel right!” So what! Neither did riding a bike the first time you did it. Once you develop this new habit, you will be successfully modifying your thoughts, which modifies your believing; which leads to the change you desire.

Believe it or not, your mind is neutral. You give things the meanings they have for you. Take, for example, the circumstances you find yourself in. Those circumstances are not your destiny. They are simply an accurate reflection of what you have already been thinking/expecting. Thus your circumstances are no indicator of what you can be, but rather a reflector of what you used to be. As James Allen once said, “Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.”

As someone who has practiced these principles for a very long time, I can tell you that it is not easy to see your life differently than it is today. But to make any real change you must! And the easiest way to do it is by starting today. In fact, start right now. Watch your thoughts and begin the process right now. Thankfully God had so ordered life that we only have to concern ourselves with the present day. So begin today. Deeply reflect on what I’m sharing with you and begin to make the change. Rid your mind of negatives and defeat. Put behind you all of your judgments and condemnations. Lay aside that thinking that drives you bonkers and choose life. Harboring and dwelling on negative ideas doesn’t prepare you for things to some, it only serves to keep open the possibility that those things may come! Deny the possibility!

Just who exactly do you think you are? It should be everything you ever dreamed and hoped it would be. It is YOUR life and you have only one short life my friends, to learn this lesson. Learn it and apply it today!

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…