Mental Health Musings…


mental_health_jpg-10Mental health has become a popular topic nowadays. People are becoming more and more aware of the importance of their mental health and how it positively or negatively affects their lives. It might surprise you to know that as long as there have been human beings, mankind has endured mental health problems. As thinking beings and the only thinking beings as we know it, man is forever impacted by the thoughts he chooses and the thoughts he entertains. To separate the mental health issues that plague mankind and his thoughts serves only to make man a victim and not someone that has control over his thoughts and thus his mental health. A healthy mind must be fed healthy thoughts and the thoughts that contradict health always lead to sickness, first in the mind and later in the body. Have mental health issues got you down? If so, listen to my mental health musings and see what you think.

As free-will beings with complete free agency over what we choose to think about, I think you would agree that most folks’ thinking is downright awful. It’s not negative here and there, it’s awful, if not cruel. We berate ourselves, judge ourselves, analyze our every move and generally pick ourselves apart. We are often our own worst enemy. We focus on everything that might be wrong with us. We chastise ourselves for not being thin or attractive enough or sexy or handsome or pretty. We level unfair and unjust criticism regarding anything and everything. Instead of embracing who we are and who God made us to be, we look for flaws and imperfections. And that encompasses our flesh only. We focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves or at minimum the things we have foolishly decided we don’t like about ourselves. It never dawned on us that all of the negativity we have assigned to ourselves did not come from us first, but originated elsewhere. No man or woman naturally dislikes themselves. Instead, they have been talked into those thoughts by forces seeking only to steal and to kill and to destroy. This kind of thinking is sick and only serves to further the sickness. We wonder why we have so many mental health issues yet never consider the cruelty we level upon ourselves day by day. No one forces us to think the way we do, but instead we are choosing what and how we think. We cooperate with it and often without a fight. If you are not for you, how can you expect anything else? How could you ever win in a world that opposes you if you do not support your own self. Yet onward you march clinging to falsehoods and lies because someone told you so. Are you really that bad? Or is it something you have been persuaded of either by public opinion, or social media or those people closest to you?

If you want to have a healthy body, you have to choose the things that promote good health. You cannot carry around loads of excess weight, nor can you feed your body poisons or substances that make you sick. To get your body healthy you have to take the steps that promote good health. If you don’t do anything, nothing will happen. That doesn’t make you a victim, it means you decided not to exert the effort required. Similarly, your mental health requires the same level of attention. It does matter what you think about. Carrying around the thousandfold baggage of yesterday impedes your progress. Feeding on angry thoughts, frustrated thoughts, critical or condemnatory thoughts doesn’t make you better, it makes you ill. You have to change what it is you have been feeding on. What are you watching on TV? What information have you been digesting into your soul? What you read, what you see, what you look at does matter. That’s not to say that all of TV is bad or everything you see online is evil. But, you still have to pay attention. Most of the deception that occurs happens day by day during mindless and empty thinking. If you aren’t willing to direct your thinking, something else will. Change what it is you are thinking. Stop opposing yourself. Stop cooperating in opposing yourself by drawing terrible conclusions and thinking the worst about yourself. You are the only you, you have and to constantly participate in opposing yourself is crazy and makes you crazy.

As I muse on the importance of mental health, as someone with a similar mind and similar tendencies, I can’t help but to lament on how easily you and I have been led to to the wrong assumptions concerning ourselves. Not everyone cares about what is right and in doing right, so how insane is it for us to find ourselves unworthy as members of the group that cares? Surely something else is involved, something that seeks that which is wrong over that which is right. How slow we have been to realize what is behind that persuasion. You and I are in a fight and we can only win when we make the effort to think as God says to think. Contrary thoughts and contrary feelings are no guarantee for what is true. We are all imperfect creatures and God does not require perfection from us. Instead He requires that we control the one thing we can control and that is our thoughts. Think healthy thoughts. Allow yourself to be a human and as such experience your humanity. When you are wrong it is always apparent. Learn from it and let it go; for goodness sakes, let it go. Every wrong thing you and I ever did we did because of the influence of evil and we would not have done so otherwise. To allow evil, the source of our errors, to accuse of the evil it engendered is the ultimate deception. Likewise, to persist in thoughts that serve only to oppose us, coming from us and directed to us is insane. They are your thoughts and they are my thoughts. We can control them and we must control them if we want to protect our mental health.

It really does not matter where you have been or what you have done in the past. It doesn’t even matter what you did yesterday. What matters is what you choose to do with your mind in the moments called now. If you want to have a healthy mind you have to feed it healthy thoughts. Quit dragging around in the misty flats and get up on the high road. Stop feeling sorry for yourself or lamenting your life choices up to this point. God functions in the now and can help you in the now. Take control of that unruly mind of yours and see how quickly things turn around for the better. It is your mind and it is your life. These are mental health musings worth thinking about. Live who God made you to be.

Just some good thoughts…

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Be Good to Yourself…


shutterstock_1392252401Recently, while enjoying a glorious weekend away playing golf in Palm Springs during my first ever men’s trip, I had an astounding epiphany. On the inside, in the quiet place where nobody goes but you, you are having a relationship with yourself. I know it sounds weird, but your capacity to think and consider means the ability to draw conclusions about yourself, both good and bad. You weigh evidence, listen to people’s opinions, estimate your place in the world, evaluate your own behaviors and actions and finally arrive at some end point wherewith you consider your own worth and value. Maybe it is better described as your self-image. But, no matter how you get there, you are making decisions about how you should treat yourself, what you should say to yourself and what it is you deserve from yourself. Ultimately, you are choosing how you should interact with yourself. And in that vein, from personal experience and a multitude of interactions with other people, I’m guessing those interactions are not always good. In fact, if someone could actually hear your private thoughts, I think it is safe to say you are saying anything but good things to yourself. Oh my friends, you need to be good to yourself.

How could a man or a woman get to the place where they are treating their own selves poorly? Having only one precious life and one shot at this thing, how does a person become convinced to function as their own worst enemy? What must take place in our minds day after day, that leads us to the place where we are at odds with our own selves; where we need constant validation and affirmations; where we cannot trust own assertions and opinions about important things? How do we sink to the low places whereby every negative, outside opinion concerning ourselves sends us reeling into self-doubt and second guessing? It is not just how life is and everybody doesn’t do it to the same degree. As crazy as it seems, we are doing it to our own selves. We are actively opposing our own best interests. Every parent learns eventually that they have to love the negative behaviors out of their children rather than attempting to beat it out of them with threats and punishment. Yet, here we are as adults approaching ourselves with contempt and even disgust for who we are or for what we have done or maybe not done. Something has gone awry in our thought processes. Something or someone has worked us over. Something or someone has broken us down inside, in our own hearts and in our minds. We have listened to and considered influences outside of ourselves and have drawn conclusions that guarantee our perpetual defeat. We need to learn or relearn how to be good to ourselves.

It’s interesting to think that children do not naturally draw negative conclusions about themselves, that is until they learn to do so. In fact, children don’t give much thought concerning themselves at all. They just move along nicely, anxious to get past troubles and return to enjoying life. It is not until they get much older that they learn to chastise themselves and beat themselves up. If you think about it logically, what value is there in thinking poorly about yourself? When you chastise and berate yourself, who is the winner? Has any of your self loathing ever led you to a better place? Does constant criticism and fault finding lead anyone to a better place? Further, does mental self-abuse or self-torture change any of the mistakes you may have made or erase painful memories? Yet here we are mature adults continuing to play in a game we cannot win, doing things that only promise us defeat. These issues are indeed part of the human condition, but they are not inherent in human beings. We all have the ability to change our opinions of ourselves and we all have the right to stand up for ourselves. Our failure is not in failing to think positively, but instead failing to recognize what is really going on. We have become blinded to our own reality by habituation and repetition. Something isn’t right or true because you have done it a lot. Your opinion of yourself may have been forged over decades of time, but that doesn’t make it a reality unless you have concluded it so. Thus your job, my job is to gain some clarity about what is going on and make the necessary changes. You have to learn to be good to yourself in the same way you know to be good to someone else whose struggles you are trying to alleviate.

Being good to yourself means being willing to give yourself a break. If you listen to the devil long enough, you will end up thinking you are more evil than he is. He will drive your mistakes, your shortcomings down your throat until you arrive at the place he chooses. Then, your days will be spent judging yourself and confirming his negativity until you die. Well, why sit we here until we die? For God’s sake, are you really that bad? Are you truly the personification of evil because you have a few areas where you fall short? Isn’t it even possible that you continue to fall short because of what it is you are thinking about yourself? Maybe, just maybe you are bringing the trouble on your own self because of how you have been “trained” to think. I can assure you that the things you do are what most people do and we aren’t all that dissimilar at all. We are human beings and at best limited in our scope and understanding. And to take it step further, maybe the things you think are wrong with you aren’t wrong with you at all. Maybe you are a human being with all of the myriad thoughts and feelings that accompany being a human. Maybe you are functioning just as God intended for you to function requiring some adjustments that make sense as you learn and as you grow. My friends, being a human being means you have to learn to forgive yourself. It means you have to learn how to love yourself and continue to love yourself. It means you have to get past this preoccupation with your self and your sins and just accept what God did for you in the life of His son. You will never overcome the weaknesses of your humanity on your own, so you may as well cut yourself some slack along the way. The devil is a liar. Learn to think properly concerning yourself. Make your mind your friend. Speak to yourself like you would speak to your friend whom you love. Be kind to yourself. Love your self. Offer yourself some compassion and some empathy. Lord knows it’s hard enough to be a human without adding brutal scourging towards your own self. And most importantly, stop judging yourself. Negative self-judgment is the entire basis on which all self deprecation; all internal defeat is built. And negative self-judgment is the one thing God did away with in Christ Jesus. (That’s how big it is!) Refusing to judge yourself is as simple as refusing to continue considering all that appears wrong with you and choosing instead to consider all that is right with you; whom God made you to be; what God did for you that you could never do for yourself! Self judgment comes from the accuser and as such must be discarded at every turn.

At the end of the day, you only have one life to figure some things out. If your days have been less than the best, chances are you are not thinking properly about yourself. Chances are you are entertaining evil conclusions about yourself that did not originate with yourself. Chances are you have been deceived. Well, not to worry. You always have the opportunity to turn things around and our great God will help you to do so. Get off your own back. Give yourself a break. Forgive yourself for being so negative and get back on the path of life. Decide today to be good to yourself and to be kind in your dealings with yourself. Be on your own side for a change and see how much sweeter your life will become. Let God do the hard stuff. Be good to yourself…

Just some good thoughts…

Humans Ain’t Static!


Stuck-ImageHuman beings are not static, meaning not fixed nor unable to change. Yet, how many people live that way? You can literally be anyone you want to be, without limit or holdback. You are not defined by anything you have done or have not yet done. You always have the capacity to change. The very hallmark of living things is their ability to change. Yet, that is not how things usually play out. We tend to get stuck in these narratives about who we are, most commonly generated from within. We are fed this negative concept of ourselves, typically based upon our weaknesses or past foibles, and then act as if that notion of our existence must be our destiny and something from which we are powerless to change. We accept various monikers and cannot quite seem to extricate ourselves from them. We have to be the “funny” one and then are loathe to disappoint our audience. How silly it is to consider that some characteristic of ourselves could possibly encompass the totality of who we are. Or worse, that some negative aspect of ourself would become the key component in understanding who we are. As humans, we are absolutely free to change anything and everything we want to change, no matter the opposition. You are not stuck, my friend, because human beings ain’t static!

If you have lived long enough, you know how hard it can be to redefine yourself. People like to assemble you neatly into tidy little categories and keep you there so you can be understood and properly handled. It becomes a source of distress when you begin to act in ways that are not congruent with your predetermined definition. I can recall a friend once saying, in the midst of a cleverly supplied string of my admittedly funny comments, that he could not picture me being a manager in an organization, as if I lived for the joke or could not exist without it. Once my wife suggested I stop posting comments on Facebook about excellent red wine because pretty soon, all I became was the guy who drinks wine. Do you see where I’m going with this? People don’t define who you are, you do. When you allow other people to define who you are, you will be stuck with some limited version of yourself seen simply from one narrow angle. Growing up you may not have been very good “at school” but that doesn’t mean you lack intelligence or a willingness to learn new things. Maybe you weren’t good at sports, but here’s a secret, no one is at first! It may have escaped your conscious attention, but the world seeks to define you every single day. There are literally a million angles capturing your attention in a day; helping you to define yourself against some fictitious standard. You are probably not as fit as a fitness model because your full time job isn’t fitness model! Yet, there you are perusing the pictures and comparing yourself woefully, wishing you were something that you are not. That doesn’t mean you can’t be that, but the larger question is do you want to be that? When it comes to your life, it is your opinion of yourself that matters most. Why continue to define yourself as something you do not like when you are the one doing the defining?

By now, in my writings, it probably comes across as a broken record, but the culprit in this dilemma is the thoughts you are thinking about yourself. When you make mistakes, as you necessarily must, it is one thing to err but another thing altogether to allow those errors to define who you are. You are not the sum total of your behaviors, as a modern philosopher surmised, but instead a growing, living, thinking organism with unlimited capacity for change. We all have these parts of our lives that privately plague us, whether admitted or not, yet those places are not the total of who we are, nor can they ever be. Problems, weaknesses, troubles remain only because we refuse to let them go. We carry them around with us like a badge of honor (or dishonor) and are far too quick to assign them as a part of who we are. For some folks, the thought of past mistakes, though they perhaps be many, come to represent the totality of that person and render their precious lives perpetually defeated in the process. Change is certainly not simple, but can only become a reality with a conscious decision to change; held onto and perpetuated daily. If you find yourself hating who you have become, you have unknowingly allowed negative thoughts to permeate your being. You have allowed someone or something to define the narrative of who you are. I can assure you that whatever evil you may have done was not done alone. No person does wrong or evil on their own, but instead has been deceived in some manner. Forgive yourself as God forgave you the first time you asked Him to and let it go. Be the person you want to be, one that you love and think of yourself in that light. You don’t get a child to change by harping on their bad behaviors, but by highlighting their good behaviors instead. Change the way you think of yourself and you will have taken the first steps towards real change. Keep thinking properly and your change will absolutely follow.

Many folks spend their whole lives waiting on some favorable circumstance to magically change the way they think of themselves. In futility, they await some stroke of good fortune to rewrite a story only they alone can write. It’s not the outward trappings of success that define who you are, but rather those powerful changes you have made from within; deep inside your heart. You remain stuck in life for just about as much time as you want to remain stuck. Once you at last tire from the constant pain and decide ‘no more!’ – your wish is granted though not by a genie, but from a decision that you decided to make. Your life, my life, is a series of decisions we are making throughout our days. Be careful, very careful about what you decide. Be careful concerning who you think you are!

My dear friends, being a human being guarantees you the constant possibility of change. None of us have been destined or predetermined to be a certain way, no matter how long we may have been that way. Change yourself by changing the way you think about yourself. Think in terms of being the best version of yourself and no matter what setback you may face, you will move closer to that ideal. You define the narrative instead of relying on others to do it for you. Let your foolishness and absurdity go as we all wrestle with that same ghoul! Start each day with a fresh, clean slate and for goodness sakes, stop being so hard on yourself. Your life can be anything you want it to be and you can be whomever you desire! Accepting yourself as stuck or defeated is always a lie. Always! Humans ain’t static, not as long as they are alive.

Just some good thoughts…

The Self-Focus Trap…


Assuming you are a logical person, it would appear the more you focus on yourself, the happier your life would become. So much is written concerning the need to take care of yourself, refuel yourself and make time for yourself and most of it is probably good. But, what if incessant focus on yourself produces the exact opposite results than you intended? What if your focus on self can actually be detrimental? Is it possible that your sincere focus on improving yourself actually impedes you from making any progress? Are you looking in the right direction or have you unknowingly become distracted? Is perpetual focus on self a trap?

Most things in life that cause us to stumble do so because we are unaware of the true cause and effect relationship at play. We spend our lives trying to rid ourselves of some negative effect by focusing on the wrong cause. In so doing, our efforts are squandered away chasing apparent realities that are not realities at all. We exert tremendous efforts to remedy our situation but find no remedy, not because life is too hard, but because we have the wrong focus. This is the very essence of deception. We fall prey to it so easily because we trust what people say and laud those opinions over the truth. We trust our always self-centered logic and conclude we can figure it out. We are loathe to admit that we cannot! If you have a problem and let’s face it, we all do to some degree, it is so because we have not yet touched upon the right solution. In earnest, we seek for a solution and subsequently apply a hundred-fold recommendations, never entertaining the idea that the solution escapes our comprehension. In this, we waste our lives and our time caught up in an endless cycle of error, working harder, trying harder, exerting more effort towards something that will never yield the right result. In short, our starting premise is wrong as evidenced by our inability to find the answer; the real cause of our problems.

It has been said that the things man produces always reveal the imperfections of man, while the things God produces have no flaws in them. No matter the human masterpiece, closer inspection reveals imperfections. Conversely, the things God makes not only have no flaws in them, but the closer the inspection the more perfection is discovered. Similarly, the more you seek to understand God, the more His perfection becomes apparent. Yet, the closer you inspect corruptible man and his ways, the more imperfections you will find. When you spend your time dwelling on and investigating your human ways, no matter how noble your motives, the more you will find your own imperfections and flaws. You will never find perfection within yourself, no matter your sincere efforts and arduous labor. Instead, you will find more and more not to feel good about and more areas of your life in need of revision. You think it is noble and pleasing to God that you spend your life trying to make your imperfections righteous, but your starting premise is already wrong; namely that you by your human efforts can make your imperfections perfect. In this, you waste your time and in this you waste your life. How many Christians spend their days in endless self examination, ever condemned and disapproved, ever conscious of their human flaws and shortcomings, ever defeated by an insidiously wrong starting premise? To the mainstream Christian, every action is wrong, every thought corrupt, every motive questioned. All enjoyments are to be examined and all concepts of fun are to be rigorously discarded and rejected. Yet, in this they persist to their own misery and lack of true fulfillment all based upon a starting premise that isn’t true; that was never true.

God’s job is to fix the things we cannot fix for ourselves. We were all born with a sin nature that is easily corrupted. Our natural tendency, after the fall of man and the introduction of sin to mankind, is towards error. It is in our blood. The more you search within yourself, the more apparent it becomes. Yet, instead of investing so much effort to fix it, we need to let God fix it for us. God’s solution for us was to provide a perfect man, without sin in his blood, who by the freedom of his own will, walked and lived God’s Word perfectly. He is our savior who saved us from ourselves. He ended the need for us to fix ourselves; repair ourselves and SPEND All OF OUR DAYS FOCUSING ON OURSELVES and everything we do and don’t do right. He made it possible for us to stop dwelling on what isn’t right with us and change our subject of focus to Him and what He did for us. We are right because He (not we by human efforts and hard damn work) made us right in His sight. And as contrary to human logic as it appears, our focus is to no longer be on what isn’t right with us, but rather on who God and what He made us to be.

Sounds so simple because it is true. Our job, your job is stop focusing on yourself and stop working so hard to figure out your own problems. Read that again! You won’t figure out these life dilemmas; these life suckers by your human intellect and strength of will! How has it been working for you thus far? Instead, give your issues to God, one by one and let Him do God’s job by getting you to the real solution. He already knows the real cause! In so doing, now you are beginning to think how God designed you to think! Self-focus and dwelling on self do not produce the results you desire. They just steal away your life and enthusiasm and energy on false causes you cannot truly effect. Get your focus off yourself and your issues and get God involved with your solution. Self focus is a trap from which God will gladly help you escape… Free yourself!

Just some good thoughts…

Escaping the Agitation…


We live in a crazy world, in a crazy time. If you are remotely in touch with your feelings you know that agitation is running amuck. Facebook has succeeded in getting you heated. The news is deeply under your skin. The President continues to tweet and you continue to read it. People you thought you knew are not the people you thought you knew at all. The masses, at least the American masses, have become so polarized and entrenched that they are conveying messages they don’t really believe, agreeing with arguments they don’t really support in defense of a team of which they aren’t really a part. Madness. Agitation. Confusion. You know you don’t like it; how you feel; the battle lines you are drawing. There has to be a way out of it. There must be a solution. Surely there is an answer! Well, there is, but it is going to take a little humility on your part. You are going to have to set that massive human ego aside and do something different. Can you escape the agitation? You better believe it!

Agitation at its core is the absolute opposite of peace. In a war, you cannot expect any modicum of peace while you are still engaged in the fight. In life, conflicts will always appear; will always challenge your thinking; will ever be right around the corner quietly awaiting your arrival. And once you arrive, it’s on like the break of dawn. Some things in life are worth fighting for, but sadly many things are not. They key is found in being able to discern the difference. Perhaps the most worthless fight in life is earnestly trying to make someone do something or agree with something or support something they do not support. When you are fighting for justice, there is no value in trying to convince those of injustices done when their aim is not justice. You are not going to educate someone out of racism. And although racism is born of ignorance, you cannot teach a student who is not yet ready to learn. Instead, you have to let that sleeping dog lie. Align yourselves with the people who do what is right and give not another second to those who do not. You cannot change evil. You can’t work hard to convince evil. Evil will continue to be evil and good will continue to be good. Work with those on the side of good. Otherwise, you will continue to find yourself in a fight you cannot win. You will continue to experience agitation and nothing will change as a result of it. The only loser will be you. Walk away from the evil and cleave to the good.

You cannot get peace from agitation anymore than you can get potatoes from onions. If you keep planting onions you are going to keep getting onions. Expecting your onions to turn into potatoes when they are onions is absurd. If you really want potatoes, the only logical course of action is to plant potatoes. Likewise, if you want peace you have to plant peaceful thoughts. Spending your days rehearsing and sharing the wrongs done to you will only lead to more wrongs done to you. How could they not? Every wrong thought repeated is a wrong result received. Maybe you went through some really shitty things. Well, God bless you. But listen, the way out of those things is to move in a different direction. Remaining in the crap, rehearsing the crap, lamenting the crap, complaining about the crap simply serves to keep you in the crap! Step out of the shit hole! Wipe the remains off your shoes and move ahead. Really move ahead. Let it go! Learn what you can learn, make some promises to yourself and move ahead. You cannot expect to dutifully remain in the agitation and hope for some peace. The peace isn’t found in the agitation. Your peace is always there for you, but you have to cooperate with it and center your focus on thoughts that bring you peace. Step away from the agitation and move towards the peace.

You can literally, unless you are on acid, only think one thought at a time. So, what are you thinking about? Are you cussing out your boss? Are you still fighting with your wife saying all the things you wished you would have said in the moment? Are you dwelling on everything you don’t have? Are you rehearsing all the things you don’t like about your life? If so, you are wasting your time! Worse, you are working against yourself to bring more and more trouble towards yourself. If you are honest, you are just fighting with your own thoughts. Crazy huh? Fighting against your own thoughts, when they are your thoughts… Change your thoughts. Stop thinking about the stuff that makes you nutty and puts you on overdrive! Stop letting Facebook and stupid memes and lying conclusions, run your life. Quit letting the media tell you how to think. Stop agreeing with senseless, idiots promoting opinions they neither originated nor understand. Just quit it! You are on a treadmill from which you have the freedom to step off. Don’t fret. Don’t fume! Don’t swear yourself to revenge. Step off! Get on track with something good and kind and useful instead.

The world we live in today has unparalleled access to our hearts. In the old days, you just read about this garbage in the paper. In the old, old days someone had to tell you these things in person. You never had access to the heinous opinions of other people because they would never tell them to you in person. But today, everyone has a voice; everyone has an opinion, everyone has something to say but most of it is just bullshit, rehearsed, repeated, undigested bullshit. And there you are reading it and allowing it to transform who you are! It has been said the greatest thing the devil ever did was to convince the world he didn’t exist. I would say the greatest thing he ever did was to invent social media, damaging souls and spreading division by the millions.

Unplug, check out, do whatever it is you have to do to stop feeding on what’s wrong with the world. It’s not choosing to be uninformed, it’s choosing to be informed by things that are actually true. Brothers and sisters, let it go! Walk away. Don’t look back! Don’t let agitations and tumult cut your life short. God’s peace is there for you if you want it but in order to receive it you have to let something go… Escape the agitation!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Striving Above Negativity…


No matter how gloomy the day is, above it all the sun still shines faithful and sure. In similar fashion, no matter how gloomy our minds feel, no matter what circumstances we are facing, no matter how things appear to our senses minds, we must continue to strive until the sun reappears faithful and sure.

The world lives and thrives on negativity. The systems of the world have all been craftily designed to submerge us in negativity. Whether it be the news reports or any number of the fear crazed people of the world, our primary job is to endeavor to live above it. If we acquiesce to what things look like or if we hang on the sincere words of the so-called experts, we will find ourselves miserable and defeated. Life is not good because it always seems so, but rather because we know the goodness and blessings are there, despite what things appear to be. We aren’t defeated until we accept the forecast. Don’t accept the forecast.

What happens in your life, whether it be good or bad, happens because of the things you choose to believe. You decide what it is you will and will not believe. However, your beliefs must be founded upon something true. To base your beliefs and actions on the appearance of things leads only to being blown about by every wind of doctrine! Sadly, this is exactly how most people live. If the world says it is hard to find a job that pays good money, thus believing the people settle for less money. If the news report predicts tough times ahead, expecting so the people anticipate difficulties and find them. If the doctors and scientists say this activity leads to this disease, people curtail the activity and still get the disease. You simply cannot believe everything that you hear! Health and prosperity come from God and the truth has no caveats or exceptions.

The problem with negativity is that it fashions and forms your expectations. Being negative, with the rest of the huddled masses, leads you down a predictable path that always ends in defeat. Just as nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing can come from negatives but more things to be negative about. You can’t keep wrapping your mind in darkness then wonder why you can’t see what’s going on. You aren’t being realistic or responsible or whatever other rationalization you’ve been talked into using! But instead, you are simply being deceived. You have become a cooperator with ignorance, working against your own best interest under the guise of being “realistic” or in today’s terms, “real!” What is real or actual or true is what God says is real and actual and true. To consider otherwise is to slide down the same greased path with the rest of mankind to your own destruction, hurt and loss.

Positivity isn’t fanciful or foolish or whim. Positivity is the basis on which your whole life has been conceived. What is foolish is to look around and draw wrong conclusions based on appearances. I can tell you this with all certainty and confidence, the things that mean the most to you, those aspects of life wherein you seek success, will never look as if you are about to get them until you actually overcome and get them! This is the contest and the mystery of life. The whole world lives and suffers amidst frustration because of their learned negativity! Being positive; being determined to think positively, expecting the best no matter appearances is the very portals of heaven lived upon the earth in the moments of your life right now.

In order to be a positive person you must strive. You have to fight for what is right. You have to contend in order to get the things God wants for your life. If you had no spiritual opponent, the things you ardently seek would come to you easily, effortlessly. All that you pursued would turn into gold with limited effort on your part. However, you do have an opponent and the way he steals from you is by convincing you of things that aren’t true. He sours your disposition and leaves you cynical and bitter. Through the systemization of error, he makes the right ways seem wrong and the wrong ways seem right. He convinces you that your attitude, though negative, is proper and fitting given the circumstances that surround you. He persuades you to expect the worst and even when good happens to view it tentatively as fleeting and bound not to last. Add to that all manner of superstition and rituals that mean nothing and do nothing to preserve your happiness. Yet on you go, knocking on wood and modifying your expectations, hoping good things will last and bad things will stay away.

The only sure way to secure your own happiness and refute negativity is to determine in yourself to be a positive person. People flock towards a positive person like they seek out the sun. Drowning in negatives, people need good words and good deeds to restore their beliefs. They need an alternate viewpoint. In continuing to be positive, not ignorant but positive, you set a pattern for the things you do want in your life which serve to root out the things you don’t want in your life. Just as a room doesn’t become fresh until you freely admit air and sunshine into the room, your mind won’t become fresh and alive until you admit sunny thoughts and blessed expectations into it. Life works out better for the positive person, not because everything always goes well, but becuase despite what is going on now, in the end it will all be well.

Whatever storm you find yourself besieged by, know this, above the clouds of doom and despair the sun is still shining, ever shining for you as you strive against the negativity and find the Love and Goodness that has always existed for you…

Just some good thoughts…

Driving Ms. Daisy… (Are You Directing Your Thoughts or Are Your Thoughts Directing You?)


There’s a little known secret in the world today and it involves what you think about the most in the privacy of your own mind. Your day to day thinking forms the basis of how your life turns out. What you consider, what you dwell upon, what you incubate in the chambers of your mind turns into your experience of life (not simply your reaction to it, but your actual experience). As such, and this is why it remains a secret, you have a duty to control your thinking. You are responsible to actively direct your thoughts as opposed to having them direct you! Are you driving Ms. Daisy going where you are instructed or are you driving your own life?

Many, many people feel that their thoughts are something that just happen as they navigate life. They unknowingly just sort of let their thoughts run wherever the wind takes them. They wrongly assume “good” days and “bad” days are predetermined with their responsibility being simply to make it through the bad days. They hope tomorrow will be better. And in thinking this way, they become victims, cruelly tortured by an opponent they cannot see or discern. They are victimized because no-one ever taught them how to control their thinking, much less any reason to seek to do so. A life lived with uncontrolled thinking is a life being directed by someone outside of yourself. It’s a life filled with misery.

Your heart is the great citadel of your soul. Your heart must be guarded above all that you can ever guard because from “it” flow the issues of your life. Those things you have in your heart, be they wonderful or disastrous, will come to pass in your physical reality if they are allowed to remain in your heart. Your heart is made up collectively of the things you think about the most. The way that you guard your heart is by controlling what you will and will not think about. Failure to control your thinking, a human epidemic, leads to a heart filled with things you do not want, put in there by something that seeks to bring harm, defeat and loss into your life. Think about it for a second. If you aren’t driving, who is? God doesn’t do the driving for you, no matter how much you wish He would. Instead, God admonishes you to guard your heart. He tells you to control your thinking. He asks that you, by your freedom of will, make the decision to think how He says to think. Committing to controlling your thinking and thinking in terms of the things God says to think about, leads you directly to the abundant life He promised you!

Please allow me to clarify what I’m offering you in terms of your life experience! There’s a whole world of goodness and love and blessings awaiting you if you are willing to do your part! But, you have to do your part! I’m certainly not suggesting that you walk around trying to find the good in bad things or simply putting a smile on your face when things go terribly wrong. Nor am I asking you to ignore negative events or act like things are okay when they are not okay. Instead, I’m suggesting that you fight to remain positive in your expectations. Allowing the world to define your experience and decide for you whether or not you are going to be okay leads only to more and more defeat. As such, your duty, your solemn duty is to not stake your existence on what things look like or seem like, but rather on what God’s Word says is right; what God’s Word says is true. Holding fast to what the Word says; to what God has promised you is the only way to escape your present circumstances and turn things around for the better. Your expectation for the future is just that, “your expectation!” You can expect for things not to work out or you can expect that they will, no matter what is going on in your present experience. If you’re honest you already know how negative the world is and the people and the circumstances. Controlling your thinking means knowing the preponderance of negativity, you still remain positive, because God is bigger than any circumstance!

Controlled thinking isn’t walking around all day holding onto a certain thought as life doesn’t work that way. You aren’t a robot! Instead, you go about your day to day experience and pay attention to what you are thinking about. When you notice you are afraid, for example, you think about some promise from God that counters that fear. Then, as your duty in controlled thought, you decide not to entertain those fearful expectations. Oh it’s not always easy as you will find yourself real tempted to consider those negatives, but controlled thinking refuses it. All of your reasoning and mental ability are no match for what’s behind that stuff. You take it on by not taking it on! Refuse it. This pattern applies to every negative thing that limits and tarnishes your life. If you will commit yourself to doing as I suggest, you will begin to experience a joy and happiness you have not ever experienced before. You will find the peace that passes understanding and find yourself right in the middle of all of God’s goodness, available for you…

Determine now that you will begin trying to control your thinking. Think about what you are thinking about. Thoughts that give you agitation or unrest are sure indicators you are thinking about things you need to stop thinking about. Don’t overcomplicate things with your human reasoning. Simply refuse the negatives and replace them with the positives of God’s Word. Do this faithfully moment by moment throughout your day. As you become more accustomed to it, it will get easier to do and you will experience for yourself the blessedness.

Are you driving Ms. Daisy to destinations you didn’t choose? Direct and control your own thoughts and arrive at the place where all your dreams come true…

Just some good thoughts…

 

To Do or Not To Do…


not-to-doThere’s a false assumption circling the earth that life is basically a neutral experience, meaning that if you do good, good will happen and if you do bad, bad will happen. If you want to be happy you have to do the things that make for happiness and if you choose badly and select the wrong things, you will garner unhappiness instead. It seems very logical and straightforward especially if you got convinced that humans arrived as part of a chain immediately following some intelligent apes. Life absent creation would of necessity have to function that way. But, and this is the mother of all buts, if humans beings were actually created by God, they would of necessity have the seeds of happiness and goodness built right into them. Then that elusive happiness for which the whole world seeks would emerge naturally by not doing those things that hindered it from happening as opposed to wearing yourself out in fruitless endeavors that never lead to the real McCoy! Truly then life is about what not to do instead of what to do…

God, in His word, is very clear about what not to do. I aint talking about not cussing and drinking and going out with girls who do. That sadly, is a surface level view of life made up by men who are wholly ignorant of spiritual matters. How silly and foolish would it be to think that life and happiness hinge on whether or not you had a glass of wine or said an occasional swear word or made mistakes of which the whole world is guilty. Religion and its multifarious rules for living produce the exact opposite of life. And, if you have been unfortunate enough to have learned to live that way, you know what I’m saying is true. Instead life, spiritual life is much deeper than that. It is more what you believe is true in your heart than it is your behavior and the sum total of your human foibles and missteps. Happiness follows obeying what God says not to do which leads ever naturally to life and fulfillment and growth, the pattern displayed by all living things.

For example, God says that because of the accomplishments of his son, He has made you righteous before him. As such, there is nothing you can do to add to that divine favor God has given you. It has already been freely given to you. Each time you seek to do good works to increase God’s favor towards you, you are now engaged in something God said not to do. Try as you will, you will never arrive at the place you are seeking because what you are seeking is a lie. Doing good works does not make your life happier. Believing what God said He did for you makes your life happier. Refusing to try to earn something from God makes your life happier. Have you ever noticed that when you are afraid of something, your behaviors improve a little as if you can somehow force God to take care of you? “If you get me out of……I will never…….again!” But doing so, you miss the point. God taking care of you is natural and to be expected. Being afraid He won’t is the perversion. If you want to be happy, do not try to earn favor with God. You can’t!

In a similar vein, God’s desire is that you accept the sacrifice of His son to cover every misstep you have ever made. Jesus Christ paid the price for every looney tunes activity you ever got caught up in. Because of that sacrifice, you remain sinless in God’s sight. You have a right to stand in God’s presence with no consciousness of sin, guilt or your shortcomings. That’s who you are and that is what you have. Spending your life in futile attempts to atone for your errors is the wrong approach. Again, it’s not what to do, but what not to do. Do not maintain a running consciousness of your shortcomings and mistakes. Do not catalog and consider your errors thinking it makes you humble. It doesn’t make you humble, it makes you weak and susceptible to more and more errors. No-one is weaker and more miserable than a perpetually condemned Christian! No-one! Thus your task, your challenge, once you get things straight with God (i.e. I’m sorry Father) is to immediately engage in the process of forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those things which are ahead. If you can do this and not do what God says not to do, you will find yourself overwhelmed with joy and happiness.

Life is supposed to be a joyful experience, not an arduous hanging on or surviving. If you are barely keeping your head above water I can assure you, you are doing something God said not to do either from ignorance or willful, stubborn rebellion based on your easily defeated human logic. It doesn’t matter how you feel, it matters what God said is true. Sin is simply missing the mark or the bullseye. When you miss the bullseye you lose instead of winning. BUT, you don’t hit the bullseye by never sinning again, you hit the bullseye by accepting God’s savior from sin. God knows you and He knows me. He sees through all of our foolishness; all of our rebellion; all of our human tendency to step aside and loves us anyway. He knows we are going to blow it and has already made provisions to cover us. Your man-made provisions will only leave you empty and defeated. It aint about you, it’s about Him!

Your best chance at happiness and peace and love is to learn for yourself what God says not to do. Get rid of the hindrances, the obstacles, the chains that drag you down and see if you, like a pretty flower won’t grow and blossom into something beautiful. Living things thrive when the obstacles to their growth are removed!

You are God’s created being and as such are due all of the happiness and blessings that you can handle, not because of how good you are but because of how good He is… Learn what not to do!

Just some good thoughts…