Enthusiastic Living!


enthusiasmLife requires energy to live it and your level of energy is connected directly to your thoughts. Children seem to have an almost unlimited amount of enthusiasm, but children also don’t waste too much time thinking about the wrong stuff. Adults do that. There is a competition that rages daily and that contest is for the allegiances of your mind. You spend or reserve your energy by the thoughts you are choosing to entertain. Positive thoughts, happy thoughts, hopeful thoughts, anticipating thoughts and indeed all “just some good thoughts” lead to the energy to do, which life is requiring. Negative thoughts, fearful thoughts, anxious thoughts of the future and anxious thoughts of the past serve only to deplete your energy culminating in you not having the energy you need to do you; to live your life successfully. Have you found yourself lately not having the energy or the enthusiasm that your life requires? Have you been running on empty, as the saying goes. Have you lost some or all of your enthusiasm for living? Does your life sometimes feel pointless? Well, not to worry my friends as there is always a solution if you are willing to hear it.

One of the things I enjoy best about my relationship with God is that He faithfully provides me with little insights and clues about how to live my life. He does not condemn me, nor does He judge me. Instead, He answers my questions and makes my cloudy spaces clear. Energy and enthusiastic living happens to be one of those private lessons. At one point in my life, I recognized that I just felt like I didn’t care about anything anymore. Nothing excited me and honestly it felt like I didn’t have anything to look forward to in my life. I had more resources than I had ever had before and also had all of the things you would expect to make up an excellent existence. But, I wasn’t blessed and I knew I needed some answers. Don’t get me wrong, the answers I needed didn’t show up overnight, like many things in our lives, as typically it has taken some time to bury us in our dilemmas. But, one thing was immediately clear to me. Something or someone was interfering with my day by day happiness and in doing so was robbing me of the blessings God wanted me to have. The first and usually most insidious blocker of happiness is fear. Fear sucks the life right out of you. Fear, which is almost always future based, paints unpleasant pictures of loss and defeat. Fear tells you that perhaps you will never get the thing you so desperately need. Fear proclaims that the pain you are experiencing will last forever and that you must resign yourself to some chronic, severely limiting condition. Fear threatens you and accuses you and just sort of sits there mocking your life, stealing from you and ultimately blocking your forward progress. If you have a profound lack of energy and enthusiasm for living, the odds are that you are harboring some fear in your life.  Oh trust me, it’s there. You simply have to take the time, be honest with yourself and recognize what it is that has you so afraid. Banishing and eliminating fear is step one! Fear, as crazy as it seems, is a choice you are making. You are giving it space, mind time (lots and lots of mind time) and you are refusing in some capacity to let it go. Trust me I have been there. But, I have to say this, nothing is going to change until you finally let that shit go. People live today chock full of anxiety trying all sorts of things to mitigate the feelings without ever getting to the bottom of it. Anxiety is fear also and it is blocking your enthusiasm for living.

Next on the learning train, you have to get back to living one day at a time. Deal with all of today’s assaults while it is still today. Take it on today. Don’t skip past it, move ahead, ignore it or let it go. If you think about it, you aren’t afraid and anxious about today. You are afraid of tomorrow and the things you cannot see yet. Failure to take it on today leads, just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, to deeper and deeper problems inside your head. Wrong thinking carves a groove in your thought processes and like any good rut, will drag you back in as soon as you endeavor to venture out. A general sense of malaise and depressed, tired thinking is the direct result of not taking on the things regarding your life that you needed to address. But, hey, who hasn’t been there? Your job, my job is get back to living in the day and only in that day. You cannot live in your future and you cannot live any longer in your past. One hasn’t arrived and the other is long since gone from earth, existing only in your memory. You can take on the requirements of today. You can go for a drive or go for a walk and get things straight. Take whatever time you need to get things straight. Think about whatever is bothering you and get it cleared up, resolved. It is an epidemic in good old America for people to let things go in favor of the next thing to distract us. Get things straight. If you find yourself unhappy about how you are acting or what you are choosing to do, make some adjustments in the day you are in. Save your long self improvement lists for another lifetime and master the day you are in. I get up and write my, “Morning Pages” every morning where God and I take time to get things straight. I unpack, He whispers clues. Enthusiasm follows those answers!

Finally, there is another little secret for enduring happiness and enthusiasm that you may have not considered. You have to choose to be enthusiastic in your mind. You have to treat other people with enthusiasm and a happy perspective. Think of those times in your life when you were so absolutely blessed and excited about living your life. It may have been circumstances that spurred it on, but even then you chose the enthusiasm. Can’t you see it? You chose the enthusiasm based on your perception of what was going on. In the same way, you can choose enthusiasm no matter what is going on. Once you have settled on your enthusiastic mindset, notice what little things come up to steal away your new decision. Pay attention to your mind’s reasons why you cannot be enthusiastic. There, right there is your fight. The opponent’s lies never center on today, but always on some pending future doom or difficulty to talk you out of today. People are defeated one day at a time as well. I hope you really, really think through what I am telling you. You can choose enthusiasm for living as you refute those things trying to take it away. And the best part, God is right there in your enthusiasm and right there rewarding your excited anticipation. Once you finally let the negatives go, not in naivety, but because they are usually future based and temporal, you walk right into the light where God has always wanted you to live your life. In that place, your enthusiasm will know no limits and all of your paths will be peace.

Things got you down in this life? Are you struggling to find your joy? Do you wish you were the man or the woman you used to be? If so, take the time to learn the lessons. Eliminate all fear. Live today and today only. It is your thinking, your mind where the arena of competition is waged. Win the fight, not by cursing the darkness, but by cutting it off instead. Get your brain over to the light and stay there. Refuse the illusions and decide what or who you are going to be. Enthusiastic and excited living is God’s will for your life. Prove it to yourself.

Just some good thoughts…

Living Your Best Life…


5-30-people-jumpingI’m sure you already know this by now, but our time on the earth is frightfully short. What seems like forever when we are twenty quickly turns into forty, fifty, then enter our sixties and beyond. And even though us believing types can look forward to the opportunity to live forever, life on this planet is short, damn short. We have a finite number of days to live this life and more importantly to enjoy our time here. For this reason alone, we owe it to ourselves to live our best lives now. What will it take for you to be living your best life now?

It seems near the top of our pursuits is built into us the desire to be happy. We all know and love how happy feels, yet we aren’t always happy. We let circumstances and people and unresolved situations get on top of us and rob us of our enjoyment. We get caught up in things that don’t help us nor lead us to our own personal fulfillment. We waste days and months and years being afraid of things and doubting ourselves from sunup to sundown. In short, we don’t cooperate with our own selves to do the things that bring about our best lives, being the best person we can be in each category of our experience. Instead, we work at cross purposes with ourselves and work against our own best interests. We don’t properly honor ourselves nor give ourselves a chance to get it right. We judge ourselves, berate ourselves, punish ourselves and hurt ourselves. We live amidst a perpetual state of seeking, yet not obtaining; striving, yet not making progress; attempting, but failing and never actually arriving at the place we see so clearly in our hearts. And, the million dollar question is why?

I think the main reason this happens to us is because we refuse to take on the central issues of our lives. We know we desperately need more money, but don’t do the things required to make more money. We live with some negative aspect of our personality, yet never take it to heart and resolve ourselves to repair it. We settle for less than we deserve across a multitude of spectrums. We know the changes we need to make in our relationships, yet spend a lifetime playing the victim, instead of speaking up and saying what it is we really need and want. We know very clearly the changes that are needed, yet are loathe to make the changes. We have all the excuses in the world and we stand by them. And, if we are honest, it usually isn’t our whole lives that need revision, but instead a few pivotal themes that hold us back from being the person we know to be. For this reason, we owe it to ourselves to take on the challenges in our lives and win the fights. Our best life is waiting for us to do it.

There is still another important variable in beginning to live our best lives and that variable is time. The competition we are all in means at times things will challenge us and confront us and even in some cases, assault us. We are in a fight; a fight between good and evil. When we are winning the fight, we will be living our best lives. When we are losing the fight, even temporarily, we will not be living our best lives and will instead be succumbing to fear and misery and defeat. Whole lifetimes can be lost to fear; to guilt and self-judgment; in circumstances that appear beyond our control or ability to impact. Yet, that is when we are being deceived. There is always something we can do to remedy situations because God is on our side. And most importantly, the time to fight back is when you are in the fight. Waiting and waiting to take on areas of your life you know are defeating you is simply prolonging your own happiness and joy. You may not know all of the variables yet, but you do know where you struggle. Once you become more clear concerning the brevity of life, the more important it will become to you to deal with and resolve the issues of your life. And as much as you may not want to hear it, you have to fight back. You have to quit assuming you were dealt a lousy hand; didn’t get the advantages that others enjoy; have suffered more than your fair share of difficulties. All of those things may be quite true because we have a cruel opponent, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot overcome and ride on the high places of the earth. Living your best life equals having a willingness to take on those areas that cause you suffering and to take them on now!

Living our best lives is being happy and enjoying our experience of life. Life is to be enjoyed. All of that striving and working and pressing and grinding, though it may lead you somewhere, is the tell-tale sign you are trying to do it without God. You are driving yourself to the bone to obtain something God would freely give you if you let Him. Sure you must work, sure you have to supply effort, sure you need to engage yourself with your whole heart, but your best life will be found when you stop trying to control every aspect of your own life and let God do what He promised He would do. You cannot control the world, other people or the adversary for that matter. But, you can control your thinking and stop allowing those negatives to shape your life. You can choose to stop allowing your opponent to define the narrative concerning what you must have; what you must have accomplished; who you must be in order to be happy and instead define those things for your own self. You will find that your personal happiness and fulfillment will come as a result of making your own way in accordance with the things that matter most to you. Your best life is your happiest life, your most enjoyable life. What things take away your happiness? What obstacles impede your ability to enjoy life? What things are you doing and saying to yourself that limit you and cause you to settle for less than the best; God’s best? That my friends is the best place to start and you need to start right now!

Living your best life is loving and appreciating this experience we call life and learning how to do it in the best way. We are all on our own personal journey with warnings and signposts along the way. Pay attention to things and carefully note those aspects of life that curtail your enjoyments; take away your peace; severely hamper and impede your progress and set about to defeat them. Take things on with God’s loving help along the way. The God who invented life knows exactly how to live it and He wants you to discover that for yourself. He dislikes religion and obligatory activity even more than you do. You won’t find your best life listening to everything people say is wrong. You’ll find it when you begin to trust your own heart and do the things that lead to your own personal fulfillment and happiness. You can be everything you always wanted to be in every aspect of life, if you’ll just get serious about getting there.

This life we are living is frightfully short, but won’t you be glad in the end that you found happiness and love along the way? Live your best life now. You owe that to yourself!

Just some good thoughts…

Stop Surviving, Start Thriving…


survival modePeculiar things can happen to you while you’re on the journey of life. You can lose the things you once possessed. Your path can imperceptibly become more difficult. The joy and the happiness you once enjoyed can be stolen from you and replaced with something less. Incredulously, you can even begin to work against your own best interests. What happens to a man or a woman that leads them to survive instead of thriving? It’s time to stop surviving and to start thriving!

No person alive would willfully choose to oppose themselves or work against their own best interests. Even animals instinctively know they have to fight for themselves; for their own lives. Yet this is what happens to people. They can become so broken down, so defeated internally that their only reasonable option seems to be survival. The reason this happens is because their opponent, who works in secret, develops and builds strongholds of error into their minds. These mental fortresses occupy and overrule their logic and paint pictures of life that aren’t actually true. Yet, because they appear true, their devastating effect is realized. People are defeated within the confines of their own heart. It’s no wonder God admonishes us to guard our hearts above all that can be guarded. Once these errors of thought take root, gain momentum and build strength, they render you as a drunken man, unable to discern with any clarity of thought. They rule with the iron fist of fear to the point that it seems more reasonable to limp along in life terrified of some potential outcome, more so than to take life on with its multiplicity of challenges and win. It’s the textbook definition of getting punked out; accepting failure and loss without even fighting back. Logic would seem to dictate that you only need to survive in life when you are out of all available options. Yet those in survival mode always have options as the the things they seek to escape aren’t actually a part of their reality, but rather a part of their imagined reality.

Once people find themselves in these self-made prison holes, it becomes very difficult to extricate themselves. They have been caught in the snare of the adversary and are taken captive by him at his will. In this they are captured alive like a bird that once had freedom of flight. They are not dead, thank God, but they may as well be in comparison to the misery they endeavor to survive day by day. A great teacher once remarked, “Choose your ruts wisely, for you may be in them for a long time.” Ruts are formed in the road by repeated travel down the same path to the point where a groove has been carved into the road. Try as you might, you just keep getting sucked back into the groove. Thus, the solution isn’t to keep going down the same paths over and over again hoping to jump up and out of the rut, but rather to stop traveling down that road altogether. The rut was developed within your own thoughts and you have to decide to make a new road. The reason we get trapped, myself included, is that we persist in thinking the same things that brought us down to begin with. If those things we continue to consider are a lie, our consideration of them, over and over and over, is not going to make them true. Rather, we strengthen the edifice; we build higher and stronger the opposing stronghold and suffer greatly as a result. There is no shame in recognizing that you have been captured, but rather in surrendering and choosing not to fight for yourself. God will always provide a way out, but you have to stand up for yourself and take it.

The only way to tear down those great citadels of error that exist in your mind is to begin to stand against them; to oppose them. It is the truth of the Word of God that sets you free and there is no other way to do it. You stop surviving by your refusal to go down those same paths. It is your human nature, your ego, your well nourished system of logic that is keeping you bound. Humility is the willingness to admit that you might be doing something wrong; that you might be working against your own best interests. The enemy of all goodness is counting on you to make the wrong choice by working on your ego, by those things you think that you already know. By the time you reach the rut; by the time you have become imprisoned by your own self, by the time that fear is the dominating factor in your life, you have already been captured. You’re in the trap! No amount of introspection will open the locks on the trap as it is your (and mine) incessant focus on yourself that got you there in the first place. Who told you that you were not good? Who convinced you that you have no power against the evil that has been threatening you night and day? It was a lie from the father of lies and the only reasonable escape is to stop your consideration of the lie! Stop surviving!

You can only begin to thrive when you rid yourself of the hinderances to your growth. You must cast down those reasoning thoughts against what God’s Word says is true and every exalted thing that stands in opposition to the truth. Once you stop going down the same path the rut will eventually fill back in. The smooth, flat road of the truth will encourage your forward movement. The truth considered and cleaved to will open every lock; break every chain or fetter the adversary has ever put around you and you will once again soar the heights of life where there is no fear. But, the starting point is your humility to God and the things He guarantees are true. Once you escape the false confines of self-made prison holes you can begin to recover yourself and return to sober minded thought that has no basis in fear, only love. And, as God lovingly and graciously gives you a change of heart to the acknowledging of the truth, you will be set free. You will be free to dream and expect and love and enjoy. You will be free to live your best possible life with accomplishment, success and exploits for God. You will stop listening to and acting on those damnable lies and will walk the new road of high endeavor. You will be the man or woman that God always wanted you to be, free to love, free to give, free to serve.

All of us are going to reach a point in our journeys where we have been deceived and suffer as a result of it. All of us are going to fall short. All of us are going to find ourselves in impossible ruts at times. All of us will find ourselves in despair, in survival mode. But the only good God of eternity is always willing to help us find the way back. God’s will is that we thrive. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Stop surviving and start thriving. It is God’s highest good for you. Thrive!

Just some good thoughts…

Take Your Needed Respite…


respiteThere are times in your life when you find yourself confused, bewildered, worn out. Most people let time sort of glom together and before you know it, an hour turns into a day, a day turns into a year, a year turns into a lifetime. Instead of taking control of the minutes, handling the issues of the moment, wrestling with the unrest, we let things go hoping difficulties will pass and peaceful feelings return. What we fail to see is the necessity to take on every challenge, every threat, every false word that is whispered in our ear. In so doing, our troubles mount up and gather strength. Simple changes become complex changes. Peaceful thoughts become agitated and agitation clouds our vision further. All this could have been avoided if we only took our needed respite.

The challenges that confront human beings are similar for us all. We all get pressed and pressured. We all have to contend with fearful considerations. We all face circumstances that portray loss in some capacity and threaten our future. The key involved in being successful isn’t to finally get to a place where we are no longer attacked, but instead making the decision to take on every mental assault, as it happens, when it happens, every time it happens. There is a reason God exhorts us to live one day at a time. The day you can handle. Endeavoring to live in the past and in the future you cannot handle. When you let things that are bothering you go, eyes fixed upon some future day, you miss the moment that is now and more importantly the fight that is now. And like a fighter, every shot absorbed adds up blow by blow,  until finally you go down. The situation demanded something of you now, not later. You were provoked and prodded and you needed to act. You needed to take it on when it was occurring. You needed to take a respite and get back in control.

Incredible as it seems, you can only live your life right now. You experience now, you feel now, you live now. You cannot live in your future and trying to do so is exhausting. Real life is found in your experiences which you might miss a lifetime if your focus isn’t on now. You are either happy or unhappy today. You are enthusiastic or miserable today. And, you are either peaceful or distressed right now. If you are distressed, unpeaceful, agitated, take some time and figure out why. What are you thinking about that is causing your distress? What threats have entered your awareness that you have failed to confront? What are you so afraid of? Answer those questions successfully and your peace will return. One of my favorite things I tell myself when I feel unrest is that I have nothing to be afraid of in any capacity and that my God is over all. There is no value in acting like you don’t feel something that you are feeling. It’s not healthy or honest to act as if things aren’t what they are. If you are bothered in any way, large or small, take it on and for Lord’s sake, stop running away from it. Fear only takes advantage of you when you retreat! Stop running from whatever it is that is after you! Turn and take it on. Challenge it. Refute it. Quote God’s Word concerning the situation. In essence, win the fight that is happening now. Your peace will return at the end of the conflict. Wishing there was no conflict or trying to escape the conflict will not work. You are in a fight. Sometimes the fight is easy to win. At other times, the fight is intense. But, no matter the form, it is a fight. When it dawns on you, you have been knocked off center, take a brief respite and get it straight. Don’t just move ahead or ignore it. Take it on, all comers, at all times.

The absolute beauty and joy of life comes after you have taken on the challenges that oppose it. Don’t get lulled into the illusion that your life is a collective effort and as long as you finish well, you win. No, my friends, life is a continuous series of right nows, with your experiences and enjoyments happening right now. You don’t need to concern and fret yourself with winning at life. You must needs concern yourself with what is going on right now, today, the only day you can live. Win the moment, win the hour, win the day. Take on those things that have plagued and hampered you. Challenge the stories concerning how your life will turn out. Do whatever it takes to get back to being peaceful and live there. When you find yourself frazzled, take the respite you need and get back to your abundant life, right now, today. There simply is no other way.

Just some good thoughts…

Deceived…


The problem with being deceived is that you do not know you have been deceived! At its core, in order for any deception to be effective, the person subject to the deception has to remain unaware of the deception. There’s little profit in informing someone they have been deceived because in their deception they usually don’t believe you anyway. So why bother discussing such a subject given that there’s so little return on your investment? The point is that the deception only lasts as long as there is no information exposing the deception for what it is. This is the exposure. Have you been deceived? Probably!

As I’ve penned many times before, life is spiritual at its base. Spiritual verities, though often referred to and lauded, are typically misunderstood. They are misunderstood because man needs a standard of truth outside of his own reasoning to separate truth from error. Absent any standard of truth, man is ripe for deception. God does not say that His people are destroyed because they have a spiritual enemy. He says His people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. It isn’t what man knows that defeats him, it is what he doesn’t know or worse what he thinks he knows but doesn’t really know that defeats him. Ignorance is never really bliss! No person that begins to dabble with illicit drugs, for example, perceives that there is something evil behind his pursuit. Instead he relies on his feelings and his newfound discovery of an exciting hidden world he wasn’t aware of before. In this new world there is promise of discovery and insight, indeed awareness he never experienced before. His experiences are generally positive and fun and certainly nothing to be concerned about. He assures himself he has got things under control and knows what he is doing, that is until that which he allows begins to show itself for what it really is and usually by then occurs too far down the road to escape. And like a fish trapped on the hook or a bird caught in a snare, by the time the trap becomes painfully apparent, it’s too late. This is the story of life lived by what appears as opposed to life lived by what is actually true.

It has been said that the secret to the adversary’s success is the secrecy of his moves. As a testimony, most folks don’t even believe there is an adversary. They brush it aside as religious fantasy, all the while being sorely pricked and assaulted by that same source. They fail to see that the life they live is influenced by two sources, one good and one evil. One source promises life, life lived more than abundantly in every regard. One source seeks only to steal, to kill and to destroy. One source encourages and enhances life. The other source diminishes and hinders and thwarts life. Every problem you have ever had, small and great, minor and major, inconsequential and catastrophic comes from one source. Every sickness, every disease, every life cut short, every life lived in bondage, every torture, every war came ultimately from that one evil source. I say that not as a criticism for those suffering or to blame those unjustly victimized and targeted, but as an expose’ and urgent appeal to see things for what they really are. If you are suffering, if you are having a tough time, if you are struggling in any capacity, the source of it is ultimately evil and it is not God’s will for you to live that way! There is a way out, a real source of escape, but it requires that you humble yourself to what God says is true instead of spending your life trying to figure it out on your own. The reason your spiritual opponent gains ascendancy in your life is because you remain ignorant of his devices.

All of us living in this world are subject to the same contest, the same fight. I am not exempt and you are not exempt. I lose the fight sometimes just like you lose the fight sometimes. I get deceived like you get deceived. Being a Christian, indeed a child of God, does not guarantee you will win the fight, ultimately yes, but not necessarily in the day by day. The only way to win the fight is to see through the deceptions and the only way to see through the deceptions is to learn what God says is true in opposition to what the enemy says or portrays as true. The systems of the world are set up and carefully schemed to convince you of things that aren’t true. It doesn’t matter how smart or confident you are, it matters what God says is true. In fact, your spiritual opponent is counting on your own ego to lead you astray. You cannot go by what you think or how you feel or what your parents may have taught you. You cannot depend upon your finite, limited five senses reasonings to discern truth from error. You cannot depend upon your life experiences or your previous successes or failures. You can only depend on one thing and that one thing is the truth of God’s Word.

God invented life and as such knows exactly how it can be lived. Thinking you have to try and just survive life or that life sucks for everyone or that is just the way life is, when it is not good, is to be deceived. With God’s love and help you can solve every problem that ever confronted you or portrayed itself as unsolvable. You can overcome any barrier, every hurdle, all obstacles that ever showed up in your path. You can be healed, restored, uplifted, rejuvenated, revitalized or whatever it is you need to be blessed and to be renewed in your one precious life. It’s not about quoting scriptures and claiming God’s goodness in your life. It’s about seeing and proving it to yourself. It’s about a real and true source of help and answers and solutions. Otherwise, why bother? Lord knows life is too short to live in perpetual defeat!

Have you been deceived in your life? Chances are if you aren’t living blessed and victorious, happy and excited about life, the answer is yes. Don’t stop there however. God is alive and well and chock full of the answers and solutions you need to win against your spiritual opponent. He is just waiting for you to ask.

Just some good thoughts…