The Great Balancing Act


live-unbalanced-1080x670There is such a thing as having too much of a good thing. Every want and every desire carries within itself the potential to turn into an obsession. The discipline that checks can devolve into cruelty. Adherence to rules and standards can lead to peace but also to the bondage of servitude. In order to live successfully and enjoy the ride, you have to learn to find the balance.

It seems God rewards common sense. Intuitively we know when we are out of harmony with ourselves. We know that what starts good doesn’t always end well. We can exercise the muscle and damage the joint. As we traverse through the thrilling peaks of life, we know we cannot sustain them and soon fall headlong into the valleys. What blesses us most is the level ground, the flattened hills, the filled in depressions, the balance. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Yet excitement and enjoyment only, like the delusion of drugs, leads ever to some future collapse. Exhilaration must be followed by some settling or else your heart blows up. But if nothing ever spikes your heart you may as well be dead. You have to occupy the middle territory.

It seems God made the world a metaphor for proper thought. All around us nature teaches us balance as abundant foliage in the summer drops off in the fall to make way for the spring.  Holes soon fill in and high spots eventually get smoothed out. The tide rolls out and rolls back in again. The enjoyments of life follow the struggles and without the struggles there is no satisfaction. Every weekend is preceded by its weekdays. Waking and sleeping, working and playing, accepting and rejecting, all choosing, all deciding part of one and part of another resulting in a balance. And life, it appears, offers itself to the one willing to seek until eventually located, only to be required again later on.

It seems God has designed our bodies and our minds to require a balance and if not indulged, though working out of balance for extended periods, eventually breaks down and wears out forcing its owner to stop until the balance returns. If you have too much going on and you are working too long and too hard, at some juncture the machinery fails and a short bout with illness or some other malady forces you to reconsider. You can drive yourself to extremes in acquiring great wealth yet have no-one left to enjoy it with because the journey drove them all away. You can have so many resources that you can live in perpetual play, until your play turns into a drug addiction or obsession or any unhealthy overindulgence in something fun. Your vessel was designed for equilibrium.

It seems God endorses moderation. The developed world is consumed with the symbols of youth, with the top of the chart being physical fitness disguised as leanness, code for being thin! The trouble being that generally the thin ones are also the youngsters. The older you get, the heavier you get, the less desirable you become. It is the “thin culture.” Enter a vast population of people virtually starving themselves to achieve some artificial level of fitness reserved for people whose full-time job is fitness. That’s not to say there is something wrong with fitness, but when the fitness exceeds logic and good sense or is so extreme that it requires a fourth of your waking hours, it is functioning as a compensation for something else. Every diet craze is solved by the watchword – moderation. Perpetual dieting, the bane of rational activity, always requires a period of deprivation followed by a period of bingeing on everything forbidden during the deprivation phase. The question isn’t how thin you are, the question is what are you really after with your thinness? You can enjoy all things in moderation, which is more of a mindset than a restriction. Level your mindsets…

The great balancing act of life is more about you being in control than any other factor in a life of a million variables. You, being the boss of your own butt, decide just how much time and energy you will give to a thing. If the effort required overwhelms you, it is likely too much. If the effort required is barely noticeable, it is probably too little. Continuing to work at your job long after you have left for the evening may get lots of work done, but it will work you over in the process. Your enthusiasm and commitment may be rewarded until you slip a little and find out rather harshly that you are in fact replaceable if the need so requires it. Working hard certainly isn’t the issue but rather why you are doing what you are doing and whether you are controlling it or “it” is controlling you. The balance of life is found in control.

In the profound humanity of our existence, we all find ourselves pushed and pulled to one extreme or the other. We all traverse mountains and then fall into our self-made valleys. We all like our likes too much and discover ourselves controlled by something we used to control and enjoy. It is part of our human condition and all of the emotions and joy and disappointment and sadness that goes along with it. Yet, our humanity is one of the best things about us. We feel and thus we act. And in our honest feelings we make fine tuned decisions and subtle adjustments ever seeking that which makes us feel the best about ourselves. The built-in balance mechanism a gift from God.

The question to ask yourself is, “How do I feel?” If you feel out of balance, rushed and harried, you are, so honor your feelings and make the change. This isn’t a decision other people make for you, it is a decision you make for yourself. It’s your life my friend, so pursue the balance only you can demand for yourself and enjoy your ride. It’s not being egotistical. It’s being responsible.

Just some good thoughts…

 

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Power for Abundant Living…


advanced-intermed-pfal-class-syllabus_1_511ebb705420de7d6d9ed68e3e37889d-3In the Spring of 1982, I was a young college student when I first experienced the class that would change my life forever called, “Power for Abundant Living.” Having grown up with no religious training, I was fortunate not to have any compulsive, well schooled creeds to unlearn, except for one – fear. And, like most people, you would never know this by observing me. I said all the right things and generally made sure it appeared like I had it all together. However, underneath that deliberate facade, I was afraid of everything.

One of the first lessons from this class about the Bible was that fear is always wrong. (If you just mentally rehearsed some scenarios where fear is good, you need the class!) Fear has defeated more people’s lives than any other thing in the world. Fear always encases, always binds, always limits what you can and cannot do. Fear steals away your energy. Fear lowers your vitality. Fear produces inertia and eventually stops your life from moving forward as it should. “Fear is sand in the machinery of life.” Accordingly, “fear not” is the number one admonition in the Bible.

Fear is not simply an emotion or a sense of healthy caution that keeps you from walking off a cliff. Fear is a negative form of believing. What you believe in the depth of your being is what you receive or experience in this life, including that which you fear. The fears you unknowingly cling to either from wrong teaching or ignorance serve only to limit and thwart your life. When and where you have fear you have defeat in your life. Just as a person positively envisions some goal with the expectation of achieving it, fear is negatively envisioning something bad with a fearful expectation of receiving it. No-one would purposely expect bad things for their life and that’s why fear is always wrong! If you look for it and if you are honest, the places where you struggle the most have some fear interspersed in there. However, just as you began life without all of these fears, those fears can be overcome!

Fear, like any negatives that assault your life, doesn’t just show up overnight. Rather it begins as a process from which you are likely unaware. (If you knew it you wouldn’t participate…) Fear always begins with a doubt. Doubt appears following an uncertainty concerning some aspect of your life. The uncertainty you are experiencing leads to feelings that you have to “figure out” the source of your uncertainty. (This is a typical human response and why the technique is so effective.) As you begin in earnest to figure out the source of your uncertainty, you have to mentally entertain the troubling thought while you try to figure it out. Entertaining the troubling thought, though you are sincerely trying to solve a problem, now transitions into worry. Worry is dwelling on difficulties or troubles, always following uncertainty. “Dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light!” Dwelling on and considering “potential” troubles doesn’t actually help to solve those troubles, but rather serves to entrench those troubles into your thinking. Entrenched worries now turn into fear. Fear means the devil is already inside the door. Fear is a hole in the hedge of God’s protection around your life. Your fear has now become a strong expectation for your life and if persisted in, will bring that negative potentiality into your life. Then you may exclaim, “I knew it!” and you would be correct but before it happened you had another choice! Get rid of fear in your life!

As frightening as this all sounds, it has been going on almost since the earth began, when another power gained access and began bringing fear into people’s lives. It continues to this day because it works wholly by deception. The reason you cannot solve the sudden uncertainty you are experiencing in your mind is because the uncertainty wasn’t true to begin with! You begin your attempt with a wrong starting premise. By entertaining the wrong idea, no matter your good motive, you are acknowledging it as true; as a real possibility for your life. In that you have already been defeated! If you start wrong you will end wrong. Instead of allowing the doubt to persist, leading eventually to worry and finally issuing in fear, you have to learn to control your thoughts and refuse to entertain the negative possibility! This is not an easy thing to do. You are going to feel real, real tempted to take that thing on in your mind. You’ll feel as if you cannot let it go and have to think about it. Well, it’s a trick and will always end badly. It’s not your job to protect yourself from all negatives and evil, it’s God’s job. Let God do His job while you do your job…

Power for Abundant Living taught me how, for the first time in my life, to completely rid myself of worry and fear. The class focused on the greater (greatest) power – God! It taught me how to understand the Bible for myself including those things written for my learning and those things directly applicable to my life. Ultimately the class taught me how to “receive” God’s power into my life via holy spirit and begin utilizing that power in my life, leading to power for abundant living! As vividly as I recall receiving God’s power into manifestation in my life, I also vividly recall and embrace being fear-free for the first time in my life! And although fear would continue its assaults on my mind and at times gain a little access, I continue to feel monumentally grateful for having learned these principles and to now experience my life as a son of God!

I encourage you my dear friends, no matter which path you may take, to learn for yourself the truth of God’s Word; to learn how to receive God’s power into your life; and to learn how to rid yourself of all fear in every category of life!

Life without fear is just the sweetest thing ever and God would have it no other way…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Be…….. Present.


todayIt seems of all the futilities possible in this life, there is one futility that tops the list. It is the futility of trying to live in a moment that isn’t now. Think about that for a moment. (No, really think about it…) The only moment you and I can live is the moment called, ‘now.’ But, we don’t do that, do we? We spend all of our ‘precious now’ living either in the past or in the future.

The past exists only in your mind. Those moments, good or bad, are gone forever. Sure, you have memories, but in reality that time is gone forever. And, whatever happened that lives on so vividly in your mind is no longer anything but a memory. Humans are a very peculiar bunch. You may have spent years doing good things, yet you foolishly cleave to those fragmented times when you didn’t do so well. It seems if you played the odds, you would give yourself a little credit. But, you don’t. And, to make matters worse, you rehearse those fragments and feel the hurt and pain all over again. Those annoying ghosts serve no purpose but to make your present life miserable and distracted. Instead of rejoicing in the possibility of today, you exercise your demons again and again and wonder why you aren’t happy or why your life feels unfulfilled.

The flip side of the equation is trying to live in the future. How many times have you discarded five days while waiting for two? Or pushed to make it through several months while waiting for that dream two-week vacation in the summer? And how about the “put-off” epidemic? Once I get done with college… Or, when I get that dream job… Or, when I find that special person… And that doesn’t even account for those times you feel afraid! You are so sure that such and such a bad thing is going to happen, that you waste days on end only to find out it either didn’t happen, or when it did happen you could actually handle it?

The ultimate problem with not living in the moment is that you miss your life that is happening now. Life is pregnant with possibilities waiting to be born, but you will never see them until you slow that monkey mind down and learn to live in this moment. Otherwise, you won’t see it. Here’s a thought. How many of you feel restless and anxious? Now ask yourself, is your restlessness or anxiety based on now or is it based on your past or on your future? Again, we humans are a peculiar bunch! We are so worried about the long gone past and not yet arrived future, that we can’t even relax and enjoy right now. What if I’m not successful? What if my life goes to hell and I spend my latter days in misery? Really? Really? Call me crazy but it seems that my success in life depends on what I do right now! Misery, like happiness doesn’t just show up unexpected. It shows up based on what preceded it. And, what precedes it is the moment called, ‘now.’

Life really isn’t as complex as we have imagined. You’re worried about your relationship because things have been bad lately (the past…). You think that things may be going to hell in a hand basket (the future…). But, in truth, you have 100% control over yourself in this very moment. You want happiness. You want love. You want warmth. You want harmony. So… Do happiness now. Do love now. Do warmth now. Do harmony now! Yeah, but what about the hurts of the past? (Memory) What if things don’t work out? (Imagination of the future)

This may come as a surprise to you, but God really designed you to live in the present moment. His instruction book clearly tells you to forget the past and quit worrying about the future. And, because He knows all about how your mind works, He tells you that He has forgiven your past (and paid for it – take that karma!) and promises you a wonderful future. But neither promise can be fulfilled while you persist in that dastardly past and future focus.

Children are the best example of being in the moment. When my grandchildren come over, Braylon sits on the couch next to me and plays with my iPad. (He said I’m the Grandpa that likes to sit down – smile)  Wherever I move to, he follows. He doesn’t say much. He doesn’t need much. He just wants to sit next to his grandpa, feeling the love, in the moment.

In microcosm form, that is what life is really about. It’s about people being fully present in the moment and sharing love with one another.  Don’t you see it?  We are all the same.  We all want the same stuff.  It’s not about chasing this and avoiding that; running from this and trying to hold on to that. It’s about being present; living fully in the present moment. And when you finally get it, you are going to find that everything you ever wanted is going to show up, right at the perfect moment; not a minute too soon or a minute too late. The reason it hasn’t happened so far is that you aren’t here yet.

Just be… present and see if things don’t appear out of nowhere, because they have been there all along…

Life is soooo good my friends, in the present moment…