Waiting on Sunshine…


20071104182814_waiting-borderI imagine that all of us like to feel good.  All of us want to experience happiness, right?  Yet feeling good and being happy appear to be somewhat elusive and mysterious, don’t they?  So that got me thinking (a dangerous proposition I know).  How many Facebook memes give advice on being happy?  Happiness is ___________ (you fill in the blank)!  Happiness is reported as being a sunny day; a loving family; your dog; the beach; solitude; a son, a daughter, a Mom etc., etc.  With so many ideas; so many choices; so much disparity out there, maybe it’s time to look at things from another angle.

It seems that the general consensus is that feeling good or being happy are emotional states that just sort of happen.  You know what I mean.  “I feel good today!”  “I’m feeling really happy right now!”  Yet those apparently inexplicable mental states are more a rarity than the norm for most folks.  According to my highly unscientific best guess estimates, people seem to be happy about 20% of the time and seeking happiness the other 80% of the time.  Maybe that’s the old 80/20 rule again?  Is it plausible to consider that maybe life is supposed to be like that?  Were humans created to enjoy a few good times and spend the rest of their lives pursuing good times?  Is it really about the chase or the wait; the long, long wait?

Cliche’ man says, “I think we’ve got the cart before the horse!”  Feelings are really emotional states.  Emotions come and go, have you noticed?  While feelings are wonderful, they aren’t any guarantee for truth (said a great man once).  Our emotions are really barometers; internal sensors that react precisely to what we are thinking or were thinking or think about the most.  Feelings aren’t reality checks, they are thought checks!  Your emotions reflect back to you your mental climate.  If your mental weather is stormy, you feel unsettled.  If your mental climate is sunny and calm, you feel pleasant and peaceful.  Now get this!!!  You don’t feel first, you think first!  Okay, I will say that again with volume.  YOU DON’T FEEL FIRST, YOU THINK FIRST!!!  The real trouble is that most of us aren’t really very clear about what we are thinking about.  Thoughts sort of hit our minds and we go with them.  And worse, we have learned to accept our often fleeting thoughts as truth!  So, here’s a shocker, just because you thought something doesn’t make it true!  Your current thoughts or prevailing feelings may have absolutely nothing to do with reality, but since you are an insider looking out, you beg to differ.  For example, suddenly (it appears) you feel discouraged.  The feeling is very real.  No future, no hope, no sunny days ahead!  And, in your discouraged state you long for happier times; times when you felt hopeful and encouraged about life and its infinite possibilities.  Ya feel me?  Okay now slow your roll for a minute here…  What thoughts preceded those discouraged feelings?  What little snippets of mental picturing led you and of course your feelings to that conclusion?  Trust me, something did.  The problem is that you were woefully unaware of those thoughts and where they led you.  Now all you’ve got left is discouragement.  Do you see what I’m getting at here?

Waiting on good feelings or waiting on happiness is like waiting to eat.  The sooner you decide to put the food in your mouth, the better you are going to feel.  Can you imagine having a banquet at your disposal; starving and yet still waiting for the right time to eat it?  Waiting until the sun comes out…  Waiting until the conditions are perfect for eating…  Waiting until you get your new job; new boyfriend; new car…  Seems the simple solution is to decide right now to eat!  So you say, cleverly, “Yes but what if there isn’t any food to eat?”  Well, if I were a betting man, I’d say that once you have decided to eat in your hungry state, you are going to find some food!  However, happiness and good feelings (despite my thrilling analogy) are always available to you if you will decide to take them!  But, you don’t decide to take them.  You know why, because you are waiting for them (your feelings) to decide for you.  And in that perpetual ruse, you will be waiting a very long time (80/20)…

Our great God Who created all there is, wants you to be happy and feel good always!  I know that sounds fanciful to you, but it’s true.  Sure there’s a time to cry, a time to mourn, a time to overcome, but God wants you to be happy!  And good feelings follow good thoughts, so you got to learn how  to control your thoughts.  You’ve got to challenge that malarkey that enters your brain!  (Remember just because you thought it doesn’t make it true!)  The good book says, “leading captive every thought to the obedience of Christ (like he controlled his thoughts).”  God wouldn’t have asked us to control our thoughts if it wasn’t possible, right?  The endgame of controlled thought isn’t bondage it’s happiness and joy and love and peace.  (Man, I felt good just saying that!)  You learn to rein in that thinker and stop letting it get dragged down the path!  The whole world is afraid of disease, but God heals!  (But what about the C-word?  Yeah that too!)  The economy is in dire condition, but God promises prosperity!  Good feelings flow forth from good thoughts like water flows over Niagara Falls!

So, stop waiting for the sun to come out in your life.  Stop waiting for the stars to align.  Stop waiting for anything to happen.  Decide right now, today, at this moment, that you ARE happy.  Decide that you feel good, even if you are a little under the weather!  Decide you are going to live the life God promised you instead of the one the world keeps telling you is available.

Try walking on sunshine instead…

Just some good thoughts…(and feelings :-))

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First World Problems…


first-world-problems-milk-500x500 I woke up this morning with one prevailing thought, “You’re acting like a spoiled little brat!”  The more I pondered that thought, the more I began to understand its application to my life.  Enter first world problems.  I thought back on my recent past and realized that I spent a lot of my time engaging in mental complaining.  I also suddenly recognized that I spent an inordinate amount of my prayer time complaining to God about this difficulty and that obstacle.  And interestingly that reminded me of Jim Rohn who eloquently pointed out that , “Life seems to say to us – Here are the raw materials — your creativity, and 24 hours to use it. What splendid things can you produce?” You see, you and I all have at our disposal the exact same things that everyone else has at their disposal, the question is what will we do with them?  All of us have to function in the same world.  All of us face similar difficulties and challenges.  All of us have good days and bad days.  All of us have hopes, dreams, desires and fears.  All of us wish it could be easier.  All of us wonder why things don’t always go exactly how we want them to go.  All of us…  So what can we do about it?  What should we do?

Living life how we live it in America makes it very easy to forget the all of the wonderful things we take for granted.  We enjoy so many conveniences; so many luxuries, that we often forget and behave like spoiled children lamenting and complaining because we don’t get everything we want at the moment that we want it!  Crazy huh?  I mean, God forbid if the Internet goes out or the computer is running slowly or dread of all dreads, our iPhone gets broken!   Or how about being upset over having to drive this “piece of sh**” car (that runs well but isn’t pretty) or being tired of this “ridiculous little 47″ TV.”  First world problems for sure.  You do realize that most of the world would consider what you and I take for granted to be living the good life, right?  Yet here we are distraught over not having enough variety in our shoe game or that we look fat in our clothes (fat because we enjoy the luxury of having to ‘stop’ eating).  We take the good we enjoy for granted, my friends.  We have forgotten that some folks are dealing with real problems, problems with dire potential consequences.  Some people face life and death decisions and here I am angry that there’s no half and half for my coffee!  Spoiled brat…

And as I further pondered how I might be behaving like a spoiled brat, I remembered that God never promised life would be without difficulties or challenges.  Oh we like to think that, but it isn’t true.  Life is chock full of challenges and difficulties because there is an opposing spiritual force working as hard against us as God is working for us.  But (and there is a but), God did promise that He would always make a way for us to win!  ( If God be for us, who can be against us?)  Yet to win requires effort and effort is the last thing we want to apply to the situation.  We want God to drop prosperity from the sky like manna and then get pissed off if we have to walk some distance to find it.  We want the new job that offers the promise of increased earnings and responsibility yet lack the desire to supply the necessary preparation to make it a reality.  We want the new BMW in the driveway, but we want it to show up on Christmas morning with a ribbon on it, from Santa.

I’m guessing that we probably live in one of the greatest eras of mankind.  So many people have access to so many things and yet here we are complaining and whining that life is too hard or that we lack sufficient opportunity.  First world problems are not problems they are distractions; distractions that persuade us to complain and to not be grateful for this glorious life we are privileged to live.  Gratitude, true gratitude takes a pause to recognize all of the wonderful things we enjoy.  Being thankful doesn’t mean thanking God for the obstacles and challenges of life (because they didn’t originate with Him), it means taking time to remember all the good stuff He already gave you which encourages you to believe that He is going to give you more good stuff.

So, as a former spoiled brat, I spent the day today looking at all of the fantastic things God has already blessed me with.  I recognized just how good I have it.  And in silent repose I thanked God.  I thanked Him that He was able to look past all of my petty whining and complaining and still lovingly provide everything that I needed and many, many things that I simply wanted!  I acknowledged that I faced no real issues other than an incessant desire to have everything I wanted exactly when I wanted it…and decided to stop that, right now!

A spoiled little brat?  Yeah, that’s what they used to call me… 😉

Just some good thoughts…

The Generation that Forgot How to Think…


Having recently survived an election season, one thing has become alarmingly clear, our generation has forgotten how to think for themselves.  Sure, we are still thinking, but how much are we thinking for ourselves?  Lest you get defensive, allow me to explain what I mean.  With the advent of the media machine, social networking and 350 cable television channels, we are told what to think for the majority of our waking lives.  And, since we cannot seem to detach ourselves from the electronic information flow, we unknowingly succumb to ideas we don’t agree with and beliefs that are not our own.  Someone “in authority” says something and we quickly, without hesitation accept it as true.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a good passive television watcher.  I just can’t seem to let things go that strike against my beliefs and so I make comments; annoying comments, much to my wife’s dismay (haha God bless her!).  Politics is an excellent example of what I mean (I know, I know, it’s just politics…or is it?).  The President makes a statement about something such as finding a way to control the gun violence that plagues America.  The news media interprets that as a ploy to rid the American people of weapons; Facebook gets on board and before you know it, a million frightened people start stock piling assault rifles; posting insanely slanted slogans about the President taking away our constitutional rights and so on.  My point however, isn’t that everything our President says is true necessarily, but rather, “what do you think about what is going on?”  …You, yes you personally!  Not Fox News, not Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh etc., etc.  That, of course doesn’t mean that you cannot totally agree with what someone says, but have you really given the subject any thought?  (Maybe you have, right?)  You see most of the time, if not all of the time, the media just scares the hell out of you and thus you start making decisions based on fear or mass hysteria.  I mean really, some states seriously entertained seceding from the union.  (Oh my lanta!)

Maybe that political topic is just too heated for you to hear what I’m saying here, so I will use another example.  What is your personal belief system?  I mean really, what do you believe?  When people ask me what “religion” I am, I hesitate to even answer because the words even used to describe a belief are so emotionally charged.  Personally, I loathe religion because it represents the ultimate in “non-thinking” activity!  (Yeah loathe is a strong word!)  If I say I’m a Christian, off go the minds to images of crackpots burning abortion clinics or picketing funerals; attributing evil to God by “somehow” concluding that God “hates” such and such and thus brought about catastrophe…(????)  As if…  Do you see what I’m saying?  No thought, just assumption and generalization.  When I ask people what they believe, they can scarcely even answer the question.  Not because they don’t know necessarily, but rather because what they say might not be the right answer… Yet, your right answer would be your honest answer to the question, don’t you think?  And let’s not even talk about using logic in this scenario.  Religion is fraught with illogic, yet maintained as truth.  Again, I don’t know about you, but I can’t get with illogic, especially when it comes to God.  Hmm..let’s see, He makes me sick to heal me?  He can without warning or reason kill off entire families in terrible accidents because it was their time; or because He called them home?  Have you noticed that even when people pray they say things like, “please let me get this job or please don’t let my children get hurt” as if God is working from the other side and we are beseeching Him  “NOT” to do something.  Illogical wouldn’t you say?  Now I get it, most often people don’t understand and thus accept what others say as truth, but wouldn’t you want to understand?  Or at minimum wouldn’t you want to say that it just doesn’t make sense, at least?  I believe that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (Because that’s what He says about Himself!).  I also believe that He is pure love.  So call me a zealot, but I can’t get with the idea that He does evil sometimes for some reasons.  Yes, that’s what I think!  (haha) You may disagree entirely, but you cannot argue with the logic.  Most times logic is explained away with catch phrases such as, “you gotta have faith brotha” which is code for I don’t understand either!  You can’t believe in things you cannot understand.  How could you?  You have to have at least some understanding in order to believe anything.

So there, I successfully discussed politics and religion!  Hey, maybe that’s why people say you cannot discuss either topic because neither one is generally based on any logic!  But lest (yes I used lest again) you miss the point of this blog, we as a generation need to recognize how this old world is seducing our minds over to the land of Nod.  We have so much information available at our finger tips, that we tend to think less and parrot more.  So I say, why not think for yourself and say what you think?  If you don’t agree, say so!  Don’t you admire that rare, select breed of people who tell you they disagree and why?  (I know I do!)  However, I don’t always admire those folks who tell you what they think and then fail to have a “why…”  (That’s why they invented the delete option on Facebook…I digress)  So, we need to get back to good old-fashioned thinking.

And finally, if you will indulge me, these days we have so much division when it comes to race, or at least that division has been brought to the forefront.  Race relations or the lack thereof can also be a product of the non-thinking masses.  Here’s a fascinating fun-fact!  A black person’s needs, wants and desires are generally the same as a white person’s needs, wants and desires, just as black labs tend to behave like white labs (haha).  To conclude that black people are lazy and love getting welfare means you have turned off your thinker somewhere.  People are people folks with the only real differentiating quality being skin color and hair styles.  Sure we have cultural differences, but to feel like you have to shake someone’s hand a certain way or speak with a high-pitched voice and mention Hennessy a lot is justifiably nutso.  Do you, be you and you will be able to relate.  Do the stereotype and expect annoyance.  And, if you must post that emotionally charged Facebook postcard that you thought was so funny, just be sure it represents what you really think because that’s how it will be taken.  I have often said that a down side to Facebook is that it lets you know how people “really” think and sometimes that aint so good!  The same logic rightfully applies to “Mexicans” “Polys” and every other group folks are quick to negatively characterize.

The solution?  Slow down a bit and give things a little thought.  Don’t get swept away in rhetoric or manipulated public opinion.  Be a person that considers and be willing to admit when you may have gotten something wrong.  Lord knows I’ve lived long enough to admit being wrong more than I’ve been right, but at least I’ve tried to employ a certain level of thought.  Have a “why” behind your belief or at least be able to say you are undecided.  Democrats aren’t always right; Republicans aren’t always right; Black folks aren’t always right; White folks aren’t always right.  Only God is ALWAYS right and He wants us to think!  Afterall, we are the only species with that capability!

Let’s wake up to the beauty that is this life and ‘think’ how we can make it that much better! 🙂

Just some good thoughts…