Living Your Reflection…


reflection_28Here’s some food for thought… The life you are presently living is a direct reflection of your most dominant and habitual thinking. Read that again! Up to this point you may not have made this connection. Most folks don’t. Instead people think that life is happening to them and they are simply reacting to whatever life does next. People that live in a perpetual struggle falsely conclude that circumstances are working against them and probably even long for the time when the struggle will end. But, they remain unaware that their habitual thought forms the basis of their expectations and as such they are living in a world of their own making.

Habits are, in themselves, useful. On the positive side they free your mind of the unnecessary thought required to complete mundane tasks. However, habits also have a dark side. Negative patterns of thought, rehearsed over and over again lead to negative expectations, which manifest themselves in negative circumstances. And, to make matters worse, the habits become invisible to you because of their habituation. And, once darkness has become invisible to you, it is allowed to perpetuate within you to bring about those struggles you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.

I’m sure you’ve heard people complain to God about why life is so hard and why there is so much struggling going on. And, let’s be honest, there is some heavy-duty struggling happening. But, what you may not know is that God has given you control over those struggles once you know how to go about turning things around. God hasn’t left us without a remedy and surely doesn’t condone pain and hardship. But, until you finally learn that your life is “your” life and that you can exercise control, things will go on as they’ve always gone on since the beginning of time.

Just so you don’t think this is “crazy” talk, let me ask you some questions. At this very moment in time, what do think about life? Do think it is a struggle? Do you think it is hard and random and filled with the unexpected? Do you think that is always hard for you to get money and that it always will be? Do you think that disease just happens and that you are powerless against it? Your honest answer to those questions is the life you are presently living. Your expectation; your belief is precisely what you are experiencing and will continue to experience as long as you keep thinking the way you are thinking. Life won’t turn around for you and your ship won’t come in. It cannot because it is a direct reflection of your inmost thoughts. Change your thoughts; change your expectations; change your beliefs and your life will change.

In order to right the ship, you have to become keenly aware of what was formerly invisible; namely your thoughts. You have to start recognizing your negative thought habit patterns. You have to see where you have become your own worst enemy. You must clearly discern that negative chatter, ever providing reasons why you cannot succeed; why you cannot get ahead; why you cannot win. And once you finally hear it, you have to start forcefully challenging those false assumptions. Those assumptions are not “just life” but instead are lies you have been worn down into accepting. There’s no shame in being led astray because the whole world has been led astray, on purpose, by the evil that lies deep behind it, hidden. The real shame comes when you see a glimpse of the light and refuse to heed the lesson.

Have you ever noticed how people set goals for themselves? They set goals with tiny incremental increases as if one can only progress with baby steps. They don’t realize that the larger the goal; the larger the expectations, the larger the result. It is like that with your thoughts. Once you have begun to see and challenge a series of thoughts, your responsibility is to change your thoughts and expectations to something you actually want. It takes the exact same amount of effort to think something good as it takes to think something bad. But make no mistake, you are choosing by what you “choose” to think and hold onto.

I should add, because I know what you’re thinking, that sometimes you “find” yourselves in a challenging situation that you didn’t necessarily bring upon yourself. Sometimes people are under attack; in bad environments and feel that they are being tested. Well, they are being tested but never by God. The test is in how you respond to the challenge. Will you accept what it “seems” like or will you remain stedfast in your beliefs and overcome? You would be surprised how quickly things turn around when you make your mind up! But, if you succumb to what “appears” to be real, you end up down the same blind alleys you traveled before.

As living, breathing, thinking human beings, we always have a say in how things are going to turn out. Always! The key lies in refusing to accept the information that comes to your mind via your five senses, and trusting instead what God says is true! Obviously you can ridicule this notion and demand that what it seems like, is true, but with that you can resign yourself to your usual, perpetual struggle.

Your life, my life is a reflection of those things we think about the most. Change your thoughts and your life will change. It isn’t about being naively positive, it’s about choosing what you will and will not accept in your life. You have more control than you ever thought. God would have it no other way! Really!

Just some good reflections…

 

The Tyranny of the Self-Made Life…


Self-Made-Man1There I was writing down my goals again and realizing that I have been writing the same crap for years! Same goals, same never-ending list of steps required to reach my goals. I’m going to stop doing this and start doing that, and ease up on this and cut back on that…Requirements, discipline, blah, blah, blah. Of course there is nothing wrong with writing down your goals and even better writing down steps to achieve those goals, but man, what a drag! What a freaking hard way to live. Never satisfied, never enjoying the moments called now. Perpetual work (mental work) towards some future day when… Add to that the mental consternation that goes with figuring out all of the complexities of life with your own little brain and you have a formula for misery. Can you even fathom how many variables life contains and the insanity of trying to control those variables? How many things need to line up with a multitude of other things for you to get what you want most out of life? And further, do you really, honestly think that your little plan, devised by your little mind could, by will power and determination, get a handle on all of the factors that must come together for you to be successful? Really?

I thought these thoughts and asked myself the same questions and, in all honesty, had to admit that my complicated plans with all of their required tasks, while offering the promise of securing “that life” were in reality complex wish lists that did little more than satisfy my intellect that I had devised “the plan” to get where I wanted to go. The tasks, unpleasant. The disciplines, undesirable. The probability of me carrying them out, zero. So, how do people reach their goals? How do some folks attain the unattainable? The so-called fortunate ones who seem to be living the life, what did they do so differently?

I think it’s safe to say they worked hard. That goes without saying. It’s obvious they were clear about what they desired. But, I’m willing to wager a lot of money that on the way to arriving, they were enjoying the journey. No-one does anything well that they don’t enjoy doing. Yes it’s work, but work you love isn’t really work (and if you have managed to touch on that you know what I mean). But work for work’s sake is drudgery and even more so when it doesn’t get you where you want to go. Oh try as you may, discipline your discipline, but in the end you’ll see (hopefully) that the path “you” chose for the fulfillment of your dreams isn’t the path to get to your dreams.

In the most simple terms, the first step to attaining your dream life is believe you can attain your dream life. I will say that again! The first step to attaining your dream life is to believe that you can. Until you get that step down, you are destined to work harder and get less. Your efforts, your energy to do, must be backed by the passion to do and without the first step, you can never get to the second step. Decision always, always, always precedes desire (passion). That solid, sold out, convicted decision produces the energy to do in exact proportion to the decision. A “hope so” decision; a wishy-washy decision; a maybe-maybe not decision can only produce a meager, so-so, half-hearted passion that neither has the energy or the will to accomplish anything. For real!

Doing first things first by whole-hearted decision gets God involved in your life. God, who happens to be aware of every variable, can work with decision. And, by His very nature, cannot work with indecision. Your lack of decision almost guarantees a lack of result and I don’t care how hard you work or how hard you try! It’s not your sincerity that gets the job done. Many sincere people have taken their dream to their grave. It’s your belief that gets the job done and without your cooperation, God Himself can do nothing! Conversely, making the strong decision to accomplish something leads to the strong passion (energy) required to do something which leads to the necessary details and finally to the required result!

How much time have you spent pursuing hopes and wishes? How much effort have you wasted on idle dreams that you don’t believe will really happen nor truly expect to obtain? My advice? Be like me. Recognize that you are tired of your lists and your requirements and your plans. Accept that what you are doing isn’t working and thinking that something magical will happen later is only a fantasy. Instead, take the time to decide exactly, precisely, clearly and emphatically what it is you want to accomplish; what legacy you wish to give to the world. And once you finally get that clear, act with the passion that accompanies your decision. It will be there. It must! And, along the way, give your poor, tired mind a break and cease trying to figure it all out. How you get there matters none, but rather “that” you get there. Let God do His job by “you” making a decision and then just enjoy the day that is today! Enjoy this day and give it all you’ve got. I mean really, if you truly believe that God is getting you where you want to go, you don’t have to spend another moment agonizing on how it is going to happen! You just live and move and expect and see…

Trying to figure out how to live a “self-made” life is a tyranny that will wear you out! You aren’t big enough for that fight. Trust me. But you certainly are big enough to make a decision and let God figure it out. Then, life becomes what it supposed to be – a joyful journey of discovery that ends in victory!

Just some good, clear, free thoughts…

The Happiness Myth…


Summer-happiness-photoHappiness is admittedly something we all desperately want in our lives, right?! There’s the “Happiness Advantage,” “The Happiness Hypothesis,” “The Happiness Project” and countless other books on the topic. Happiness is perhaps one of the most contemplated subjects in the world today. And although there are many wonderful books that offer the elusive promise of enduring happiness, there’s one thing I know for sure. Happiness is a dish best served…

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but I found myself going through a “bit of a rough patch” as my British ancestors are wont to say. As a self-proclaimed promoter of happiness, I felt embarrassed to find myself a teacher who no longer believed in his own message. So, I analyzed my life piece by piece looking for an answer. I tried blaming others and their apparent lack of support for me. I made the usual excuses, “I’m so busy.” “I need to get organized.” “I need to finish unfinished business” etc. etc. etc. Maybe I needed to start saying ‘no’ to other people’s requests. And, the more I searched for the cause the more lost I became. I thought I needed to be more selfish and devote more time to myself and what I wanted. Maybe it was not enough sleep or a bad diet or maybe it was my thinking and not paying attention to what I was thinking about. I knew better than to blame God, so I thought maybe I wasn’t devoting enough time to God or praying enough or studying. I searched myself from here to breakfast and the more I searched the more unhappy I became. I became critical of myself and judged myself harshly, rehearsing my shortcomings and my faults. Maybe I just needed to get better at… Or work harder to… Or exercise more discipline to… And, in the end, more of that pervasive misery.

Then something interesting happened. I received a call from a gentleman explaining that the Dale Carnegie franchise had returned to Utah and he wondered if I wanted to be a facilitator again. I vividly remembered how much I loved doing Carnegie classes, but I felt a hesitation in my heart. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt like I didn’t want to do it anymore. Yet I couldn’t shake the memory of how much joy I felt doing the classes. So against my own feelings, I reluctantly agreed. Fast forward a month or so and I found myself sitting in an immersion class (accelerated), learning or relearning the principles again. At first I was challenged and agitated because I knew I would be forced out of my comfort zone (that place I dwell in day by day where nothing happens!). But, I persisted and then it happened! As I made the long commute home, I recognized something that had been missing for a long time. Joy. Indescribable, all-encompassing joy!

So what happened to me? What took place that moved me so suddenly from misery to happiness in just under 8 hours? Well, while learning and practicing the principles in that unmistakable Dale Carnegie way, I finally took the focus off myself and on to other people. I practiced showing sincere appreciation and listening and seeing things from another’s point of view. I became more interested in helping my fellow-man than I was in helping myself. It was no longer about me…

One of the great paradoxes of life is that the more you seek the fulfillment of your own needs, the less they are fulfilled and the more you seek to take care of others, the more your own needs are met. The Bible states it this way. The more you lose yourself for others, the more you find your real self. And conversely, the more you seek to find yourself, the more lost you become. Crazy I know, but oh so true!

Despite the multitude of claims circling around the globe today, focus on yourself and only yourself can only result in misery. It has to; it must! Focus on yourself as the great starting point for all endeavors almost guarantees a negative outcome because all you’ll end up with is yourself; full of flaws and mistakes and weaknesses. Focus on yourself as an attempt to make yourself happy defies the laws of life. You want, you desire, you seek, but when done exclusively for yourself, subtracts life, instead of adding to it. Conversely, when you seek the good of others (giving) the laws of life cooperate by returning back to you (receiving). It really is more blessed to give than to receive. Read this little poem that I think says it best:

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self                                                                                                                   And the world makes you king for a day,

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father or mother or wife,
Who judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest. For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed the most dangerous, difficult test If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum, And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years. And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be the heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

Dale Wimbrow (c) 1934

And the only way not to cheat the man in the glass is by living your life in service to others.

So, if you my friend, find yourself searching for the elusive happiness and finding misery instead, don’t work any harder to find a way to give happiness to yourself, but instead find a way to give that happiness to others. And in so doing you will find what every truly happy person has found, you have to give in order to receive. Happiness is a dish best served…

Just some good thoughts…

The Santa Clause Effect… (Trying to Earn What Cannot Be Earned)


santa-claus-arrested-black-friday-walmartAs a kid, I remember joyfully anticipating Christmas Day! Somehow this dude named Santa Clause traveled the world  in a single night depositing presents under people’s Christmas trees. He must have been all-knowing because almost everything you asked for was right there waiting for you. This Santa fellow was pretty awesome. But, he had a dark side. You had to be “good” in order to get his blessings. If you were naughty you might just get a lump of coal. (I know, pretty random bad gift, right?) Some of his commandments were: 1.) No pouting 2.) No crying 3.) Do not be naughty 4.) And the all encompassing, you better watch out! Why you ask? Because he knows if you are sleeping and he knows if you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. Add to that, he keeps a detailed list of what you do and even checks it twice before deciding to give you things! And the final clincher? We teach this to our children.

I’m sure you noticed there are some strikingly obvious comparisons between Santa Clause and God. In fact, many people believe God functions the exact same way. He’s up there somewhere watching every move you make. And, He’s not only watching and judging, He’s also keeping track on a list. If your good doesn’t outweigh your bad, He is not going to bless you and might even curse you with something awful and black! So, my friends, you better watch out!

Have you ever noticed how people pray? They say things like, “Oh Lord let me get this new job.” Or, “God, let me win this lottery.” The not so subtle implication being that God is somehow stopping good things from happening in your life, presumably because you have been very naughty. And because He is all-knowing you figure you better behave properly if anything good is going to happen in your life. The evil behind this pervasive concept is two-fold. First, what exactly is good and second what are the degrees of bad? Some folks say it is a sin to drink alcohol. Others say there are hierarchies of sin including “little white lies” all the way to murder or something. How can you know? Well, you don’t know and if you’re honest you simply conclude that you’re not very good. I mean after all, didn’t you just watch Cinemax (Sex-a-max) last night?

In the words of a famous man, “I can assure you, God doesn’t bless you because of how good or bad you are, but rather because of your believing.” Read that again! In order to receive anything from God you have to believe. You must be fully persuaded that God can do it AND will do it for you! Now back to Santa. If you have bought into the notion that God will only bless you because you are the very nebulous “good,” then chances are you aren’t expecting Him to bless you. Actually, you are so convinced of your “badness” that you now have to pray for God to “NOT” do something or worse, allow something you want to happen. This concept could not be further from the truth!

Everything we have in this life we have because of God’s grace. Grace is unearned divine favor. You cannot earn something that cannot be earned. Read that again! Now, think of it this way. If you have children, I’m sure you do your best to make them happy. You not only supply everything they need, but you actually go out of your way to do things that make them happy. Yet, how do they measure up on YOUR naughty list? Pretty dang naughty, aren’t they? They disobey; break your expensive stuff; injure themselves; get in trouble at school; mess up the house etc., etc. And despite it all, you still want them to be happy… And you are a parent that sometimes pouts, cries and other things on the forbidden Santa list of commandments. Can you see how foolish that idea is?

God is not an ongoing list of moral requirements. You can be plenty moral with or without God. You can be so damn tightly wound that you squeak when you walk. And mid squeak you’re still begging God to “not let” something happen! Nah man, you gotta get that insanity out of your mind. God never wanted you to live that way. Even the Old Testament laws, all 86 million of them, weren’t designed to make people good. They were designed to provide a written standard of “good” someone could fulfill later in order for God to end that crazy logic once and for all. (I would say read that again, again but I’m over my limit!)

The truth is that God won’t withhold anything good from you…ever. Quit measuring your sins and remembering your mistakes and cataloguing your misdeeds. God knows all about you and still loves you! You can receive every blessing God intended for your life if you’ll just get rid of that Santa Clause logic. Don’t ask the preacher… Read it in God’s Word.

You better watch out, you better not cry… Ah shut up Santa! My God reigns supreme!

 

Cleaning Out Your Closet, One Thought at a Time…


pohlig_builders_clean_closet_art_career_wardrobeDid you know that your mind (emphasis on YOUR mind) is not supposed to be full of fear, anxiety and stress? Oh sure, most people are living that way, but it’s not supposed to be that way. The problem is that we have become so accustomed to living that way and feel like it must be the norm. If you notice we say things like, “welcome to life” or “life happens” and even, “shit happens!” And, by saying that, we are openly declaring or admitting that we have accepted something, namely –  that’s just the way life is… Well, what if that’s not the way life is? What if you have been seduced into a mindset that, once setup, goes on defeating you for years and years? What if there is something out there operating within a vast network, secretly, to convince you and me of a gargantuan lie?

Believe it or not, that something or other does exist and is presently working within the systems of the world to do just that. Everything around you is negative with subtle fear trappings behind it. And, the more you buy into it, the more fear you experience; the more anxiety; the more stress, which are all more or less alternate names for the same thing.

If you have ever taken the time to monitor those wieldy thoughts of yours, you’ll see just how consistently this is occurring. But hey, who has time to monitor their thoughts? I mean life is sooooo busy, right? Well, I submit to you that it’s so busy because you have bought in. How much of that crap you do day by day do you really have to do? Look at our obsession with health (in America of course). You have to eat this and ingest that and add this and supplement that. After all, you don’t want to get cancer, right? You see, you bought in man. You became convinced that your only shot at living a long, healthy life was to do what the TV and Facebook and the media told you to do. And the clincher? You are doing it all out of fear. Now this doesn’t even account for the requirements to exercise. Gotta get your cardio; your weight training; your Pilates; your yoga or else you will surely die! The Bible says that bodily exercise does profit you of course, but the real source of your good health is God. Absent God, get on the fear train!

You can’t eat this or have too much of that. Sugar is outlawed and everything must be low fat. Butter kills, bacon kills, red meat kills, fried food kills, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and on it goes. Generations of people ate those things before us, but we are so much smarter now. I’ll bet you never considered that all that advertising wasn’t designed to make you healthier but rather  to make you buy something. And bought it, you did! (And I did)

So it is high time to get off the fear train and start cleaning out your closet. You feel the need to clean out your closet because it has become chock full of crap. So what about your mind? Chock full of crap. And like with your pesky closet, you can only start clearing it out one thought at a time. But even before you can start cleaning, you have to decide you want to. How many things in your life are sitting out there unresolved, cluttering up the background? It’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed. So why don’t we resolve things? We haven’t got enough time between the gym and Pilates and healthy food shopping and getting stuff done! No, I mean getting everything done! Today! Bought in…

Healthy thinking involves getting problems resolved. It means taking the time necessary to get on top of whatever is on top of you. If it takes a week, so be it. If it takes 6 months, so be it. Why put up with problems? You put up with them because you think you have to. I often wonder just how many health issues we face come directly from our own frenetic minds being pushed and pulled all over the globe and back.

Next we need some time to get quiet. Just get quiet. Whether it’s prayer or meditation or simply turning off electronics, just get quiet. You will be amazed how many thing come up when you give your mind a chance to get quiet. You may just find that thing you have been doing for the last ten years because you are disciplined really gets done because you are afraid. Here’s a test. Try to stop doing it. Just let it go… Seems to me that God can do His job pretty well without all my incessant meddling! When you stop doing all of that crap it is like you are saying, “Here I am and I have stopped running!” Indeed…

My good friend once remarked, “I find that my mind is at peace when I focus on right now and whenever I start to feel stress it’s because I have either gone back into the past or moved ahead to the future.” So, try to live just for today. Or better, try to live just for right now. Did you know that God designed life to be lived in 24 hour compartments? (God, not Dale Carnegie…)

In order to even have a chance of living that “good life” you have often imagined, you must first get control of your mind. Take the mental time you need to get things straight. If there’s something you need to say, say it! If something is undone and driving you nuts, do it. And, for goodness sakes, stop being afraid of everything! So, what if a disease shortened your life? Well, what if you are shortening your life by living in fear? You can only do what you can do, right? And the way I see it, the only thing you can ever totally control is your mind; or more specifically, your thoughts!

This short little go round the sun doesn’t offer you enough time to live another moment that way. Get God involved and stop trying to be so smart. He’s infinitely better than your best thinking and worth checking into (unless of course you are content right where you are…).

The “normal” way to live, though long hidden, is to be unafraid. The absence of fear introduces you to a world you only thought existed in childhood. But, as a kid, you knew you weren’t that smart. Hmmm…

You are worth the time…

You vs. You… Are You Winning?


Its_You_vs_You_151-3Who is your real enemy anyway? Some folks might say it’s the devil. The general population thinks it’s the government. The Liberals say it’s the Republicans and the Republicans say it’s everyone else. Racists ignorantly claim it’s every race that isn’t their own. Capitalists, communists, socialists all have some thoughts about what holds people back. But I submit to you that the only thing that can hold you back is you! Sure there is a devil working behind the scenes to screw you up, but even he can’t beat you without some cooperation on your part.

When you peel away everything external; every circumstance; every outside influence, all that is left is you and what you believe about yourself. You tell me what you honestly think about yourself and I’ll tell you whether or not you are going to be successful in life. Oh you can argue! You can talk about luck and favor and chance. You can whine about good breaks and bad breaks. You can blame your upbringing, foolishly concluding that someone, somewhere had a perfect one… But in the end, it’s you and what you think!

Don’t think for a minute that anything I’m saying excludes God or spiritual realties. Of course not. Rather, in the spiritual realm whether it be God’s wonderful goodness or the adversary’s despicable badness, both require your cooperation to either help or harm.

So, back to you… What do you think about yourself? Really! If you didn’t have to censor yourself to be socially acceptable, what is your truth concerning you? Do you think you’re smart? Do you think you deserve goodness in your life? Do you think you will live a long life? Do you see yourself living with abundance or struggling to get by? Those ideas you have in your mind; those beliefs ultimately define your life with minute accuracy and precision. Don’t think for a second that something outside of yourself defined those limits for you! You might have heard those limits; been schooled in those limits; been inundated with those limits, but those limitations only limit you if you cooperate with them and believe them. Write that in stone because it’s always true!

Here’s another way to look at it. What kind of things do you say to yourself? What goes on in that inner dialogue of yours? Are you kind with yourself? Are you patient with yourself? Do you love yourself or better, do you even like yourself? I went through a rather rough patch in my own life, religion induced of course, where I honestly couldn’t say that I liked myself anymore. Egads, right? I was so consumed with doing everything right; everything someone else said was right, that I no longer even liked myself. The problem with that garbage is that the people consumed with pointing out my flaws were just like me. And as long as I gave them a hearing was as long as I lived under their control. I didn’t realize that behind all of that judgment was the enemy, with whom I unknowingly cooperated. Was I a better person? Hell no! I was a defeated, miserable wreck. And there but for the grace of God I might still be.

My good friend Mark Wallace taught that we should never say anything negative about ourselves. Let that simmer for a moment. Imagine never saying anything negative about yourself… Think now, does saying negatives things about yourself to yourself ever help you get better? Really, does it? How could a focus on what’s wrong with you ever lead to what’s right with you? Let’s say you just did something bad.  (Haha let’s say…) Often your defeat doesn’t come from the mistake but rather your decision to linger on your mistake for days or even years. You vs. you and you lose! When you make a mistake you should immediately move on past it and not allow it another second of residence in your mind. The Bible backs this up, even though that religious guy told you otherwise.

So, how can you win? How can you turn this thing around and end in victory? You have to win the battle of you vs. you. You are the only you have got. You have one life, one opportunity, one chance to come out on top. Choose you. If you aren’t on your side, you cannot win. Decide that you are okay just the way you are. Sure you have weak spots. Sure you make mistakes and choose badly at times. But, I think if you are honest, the goodness that is you far outweighs the moments that you behave badly. Farrrrrrr outweighs! So again, choose you! Stop saying those horrible things to yourself. Stop voting for evil! Choose good. Change your mind; thought by thought until your thoughts favor you, the only you, you have! That’s not egotistical for goodness sakes, that’s truth!

We all want to live prosperous, healthy, love filled lives. All of us! Give yourself a break by getting off your own back! You don’t do anyone a service by hating yourself. In fact, it’s a disservice. You end up rejecting the awesome beauty that God gave you by giving you a life. Instead, decide right now that you really are a wonderful person. Decide that you can change the ending of your personal drama by changing what you think about yourself. It’s your one life and you are worth that!

That enemy you have been wrestling with isn’t the government or the communists or your parents. The enemy you are fighting is your own self and the things you have been believing about yourself. Choose love. Choose God. Choose you. If God be for you, who can be against you?

Win in the great competition of life!

Just some good thoughts…

Handling Lemons, Grapefruits and Other Annoyances in Life…


when_life_gives_you_lemons____by_timotei_chan-d3f9o30Things often happen to us in life that annoy the bejesus out of us. Whether it’s harassing lemons or gigantic grapefruits; small irritants or life threatening situations, life aint always easy street. Now if you are a member of random life club; believing that life is only what you can see etc., and that there is nothing behind it all, this blog will make no sense to you. But, if you have the good sense to recognize that the design of things is way too complex to swallow that story, then you may wanna invest the 3 minutes and hear what I have to say!

Life is spiritual and behind it all is One wonderful loving God who only gives good and One rebellious lesser being who only gives evil. Those two never intertwine. God doesn’t do evil ever, no matter the plethora of insane reasons people give to explain why He does. The things that drive you “batsh*t” crazy are by design and planned. They come from your personal adversary who is ever watching for things that might defeat you and supplying a healthy dose of them on the regular. Not believing that and opting rather for the random life theory makes no difference. It is what it is and putting on blinders won’t change it.

Now this may surprise you but, God never promised that life would be easy or that you would not have to deal with lemons and sometimes grapefruits! That’s right. Often people are afflicted because they have no idea what is going on in life and as such become afflicted. Are they bad people? Of course not, rather they just don’t understand. It would be like playing tennis with a spoon. Until you learn that you need a racquet you are going to get your butt beat! Other folks have their racquets in hand and still have to deal with annoyances. Why? Because that’s how it is. Getting mad at the game doesn’t change the game. What God did promise is that you can win and overcome anything that comes your way.

The great Apostle Paul prayed to God three times that those annoying, irritating, always in the way people would go away once and for all and let him do what God called him to do without the annoyances. But God told him that His grace was sufficient for him. He further said that His great ability was made perfect in Paul’s inability to handle the situation. When Paul was weak in his own strength, he was strong in God’s strength.

Often we feel the same way don’t we? We tell God, if you would just solve this thing, life would be good. We know He will help us solve it, but He doesn’t just “magic” the problem away. You see, life just doesn’t work that way. Imagine how stupid we would all become if every time we prayed God just fixed everything on the spot. I know I would be lounging on the couch praying for God to bring in money, food, wine and maybe someone to serve them to me. God doesn’t violate the laws of life. He is going to help us solve it, but it doesn’t always work on our timetable or in the manner we choose. Here’s a thought…maybe God wants us to actually learn something. Maybe He wants us to learn how and why so we can be stronger next time. Maybe He is after our ultimate good! Now don’t go south on me and conclude God is allowing us to suffer. Never! Instead He is working with us, where we are, and teaching us the things we need to know. The difficulty, the annoyance, the dilemmas put us on our mental toes, don’t they? Nothing like a problem to get your mind focused and serious about a solution! Did God send the difficulty? NO! But He is at work within the difficulty to help us win. Does God want to help us solve it yesterday? Of course He does. But He has the fantastic ability to know exactly where we are; what we believe and how to get us to where we need to be!

If you live long enough you are going to have some problems. You are going to be faced with situations that you cannot solve on your own. You are going to be tested (not by God)! The test, the problem, the annoyance isn’t the issue. The issue is what you choose to do about it; where you go for help and how the thing ends! God’s promise is that you can beat every dastardly, evil challenge that comes your way. You can! But in order to get the victory you have to be willing to learn something new. For example, God designed your body to heal itself once the cause (problem) is removed. However, you need God to remove the cause. Oh you can analyze it and spend all your money on physicians, but God is always the one that removes the cause. He just needs some believing cooperation on your part!

So, the next time you find yourself challenged with some impossible dilemma, remember God specializes in things called impossible! There is always a solution and I don’t care what the doctor/the world/your friends/ science says! Your job is to believe. Believe that God has your solution and that it is coming your way. Work with yourself where you are and be willing, at least, to learn something new.

This isn’t Fantasy island, my friends. This is real life; life with God, kicking ass and taking names!

When you find yourself holding lemons and grapefruits, give them to God and see if He doesn’t send you the recipe for a victorious life!

Just some good thoughts…

Analysis Paralysis Dialysis For Your Brain…


rubiks_cube_by_alexandrelandry-d4p8s17Adults are fantastic problem solvers. In fact, if you want to appeal to adult learners (ala Dale Carnegie training) you have to give them a problem and allow them to solve it themselves. In short, we are ‘problem solving’ machines. But, with our keen ability to analyze comes our problematic ability to over-analyze, solve problems that aren’t problems yet or simply drive ourselves completely batty along the way. It’s like that damn Rubik’s cube!  The best I could ever do was maybe get one row all the same color. Not that I didn’t invest enough time, but rather the time I invested wasn’t productive because there was a pattern or a logic to the solution that I wasn’t aware of, yet… Often in life, the questions that paralyze us are the ones we attribute either to the wrong “cause,” or represent the wrong “time” to deal with it. So today I’m offering you some dialysis for your brain. Yes, you need this!

If you looked inside your brain during extended periods of churning over some event or situation, you would find a skinny hamster running fast on his wheel; working hard, getting nowhere. It’s not his lack of effort that is defeating him. It’s the reality that his chosen method of problem solving cannot possibly end with a good result because his starting premise is faulty. The wheel he is on doesn’t lead anywhere; never did; never will. But, he doesn’t know that it leads to nowhere so he persists hoping to breakthrough to a new area based on past analysis. If he knew in advance that the wheel led to nowhere he wouldn’t bother traveling on it, but doggone it, it sure seems to be leading somewhere! And oh my Lord, he can’t just let it go, he has to solve the problem so he can relax. You do realize that the hamster is you, right?

Enter scenario number two:  Usually triggered by something, you start to imagine some dreadful possibility in the future. Maybe you read something on WebMD. The more you think about it (hamster wheel, hamster wheel) the more real it becomes. “Oh my gosh! I have been feeling warm and my leg has been aching — I’m dyingggggggggg!” Now you hop back on to your hamster wheel and start cranking out a solution. Faster, faster; more analysis, more analysis – whatever will I do now that I know I’m dying? In effect, you’re not only spinning on a hamster wheel, you are spinning on a hamster wheel of the future; a future you haven’t arrived at yet.

Before we get to the dialysis for your brain, I’d like to clue you in on something you may not ever have imagined. All of that churning and spinning and exhaustion (yes, it is exhausting) is nothing more than a grand distraction from the life you are living now. How many days, weeks, months or years have you spent on that topic, always with the same futile lack of result? The problem isn’t solved or else you wouldn’t keep working your exercise wheel! The only real result is your life being wasted away on something. Enter misery, frustration and depression! If you could remove all of the shrouds you would see it for what it is; a grand illusion designed to steal your precious life away from you. The source of it has just three motives; to steal, to kill and to destroy! Numbers two and three haven’t happened yet, but number one is in full operation.

So how can we introduce some new blood into your system? By offering new problem solving techniques or better research tools? Nope! By suggesting that you work harder (run faster) get more sleep, take medications or drink wine? Again nope! Instead I’m offering Plan C… let it go! (Disney movie soundtrack playing in the background…) Let go and let God! Stop being so smart; so logical; so intellectual. Humbly admit to God that you do not know the answer; that you are sorry for being such a wise guy and that you need for Him to get you to the real cause and show you the real solution. This option presupposes that you are now done with your wearisome trek and ready for an influx of new life. Then, once you have done this from your heart, do not allow yourself to take it back again. Oh you are going to feel heavily tempted to get back on the hamster wheel because if you could just_____, or maybe find _____, surely you would see the solution! But do yourself a favor and remember that this issue you have been struggling with for the past ten years hasn’t gone away despite your incredible analytical mind. Remember the old adage, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.” ~ Albert Einstein.  Thus, it’s clearly time to get on dialysis!

Once you finally let that “thing” go you are going to feel something wonderful. It’s called peace. Peace of mind is God’s way of showing you that you are on the right track. Formula: Agitated = off track, peace = on track. Get on track. And, in that peaceful state you are going to start seeing things you haven’t seen before. You will begin to recognize destructive thinking and its effect on you. Often you will find that your solution wasn’t even remotely connected to all of your analysis. Isn’t God grand?

Hamster wheels are for hamsters, not humans. Analysis is good to a certain point, but perplexity indicates something else may be involved which is a cue for you to get “Something Else” involved. Your life, my life is very short by comparison. Live out your days with alacrity of mind; in the present; in peace. Live your life in peace!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Seeing, Not Seeing is Believing…


quote-Denis-Waitley-you-must-understand-that-seeing-is-believing-167789I’m often amused when I hear fellows say that they don’t believe in anything they can’t see, hear, taste, touch or smell. Imagine all of the undiscovered stuff that makes up our world and confining yourself to your own finite, limited understanding. Imagine… Your human logic with all of its breathtaking accuracy and precision is at best severely hampered by one key factor; it’s yours. You can only possibly know what you know and your entire system of logic must be based entirely on what you know or worse, what you think you know! We all make logical assumptions and seek a logical result. Yet, we often find ourselves perplexed when we applied our best logic and we still didn’t end up where we wanted or get what we needed. We worked really hard; much harder than the other guy, yet still didn’t get the promotion. I kept the most vigilant eye I could fathom on my child and he still got hurt, while the other seemingly careless parent’s kid never got touched. You did your best to live a healthy lifestyle, yet still got deathly ill while the other lady maximized her vices and lived to be a hundred. Why? Why, because when it comes to learning how to believe to get your needs met, seeing, not seeing is believing.

In order to believe to get the things you need in life, you have to be able to “see” them happening. If you can’t see something happening, it is never going to happen! Read that sentence again. If you cannot even picture yourself having abundance and instead see lack, clip some coupons or something because you are going to suffer lack. If you cannot imagine yourself happy and contented, discontent and restlessness will dominate your future. If something always goes wrong to thwart you from getting what you want, something will always go wrong to thwart you from getting what you want! Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing. Enter your human logic… and you only know what you know! You think by your best analysis that you understand how things happen. You have been around a few years and sort of learned how stuff works. But, and ‘oh my lanta’ this is a large but, what if you got it wrong? What if the entire realm of the senses had been carefully manipulated to make it seem like things work a certain way when they don’t work that way at all? What if there was something you could with your mind that would totally revolutionize how your life turned out? What if? Well, there is of course, but in order to make it work for you, you have to defy your human logic! Egads!

When Jesus turned water into wine it defied human logic. When he fed the 5,000 with a couple of guy’s sack lunches, it defied human logic. Healing blind people defied human logic; not God’s logic, human logic. With believing you can cast mountains into lakes, so surely you can “believe” to get your personal needs met. Can you see it? (pun intended) Believing means completely removing those self-imposed limits you have placed on your thinking. I mean, come on, let’s be honest, that “one-day” thing you have been working aint working, is it? I know, I know, if you just stay at it, right? Hmmm… Give yourself a much-needed break from all that toil and learn to believe. That professional athlete you admire so much, who is living the life, believed to do so and made his work match what he already saw. That mega-star young singer with seemingly everything he ever wanted, got there first by believing and then followed it up with work. Believing is never about not working, it’s about working based on believing and not the other way around.

In order to make this believing thing work for you, you have to let go of all of your preconceived notions about life and become like a child again. You have to be open to the possibility of what might be rather than closed off with “your” ideas about what is… Remember, you only know what you know and you just might be wrong! The doctor isn’t the only one that can heal you and even the doctor simply endeavors to remove causes so your body can do what it was supposed to do. Plus believing is a lot cheaper! LOL And, when you embark on this wondrous journey with real believing in your eyes, be prepared for the onslaught of contrary information to thoroughly talk you out of your decision. If you are looking for healing, your hurt areas will appear to get worse. If you are believing to prosper, something will come along to convince you that you better let this fantasy stuff go. If you are planning to get promoted at work, don’t be surprised if you get chastised for doing something wrong. Point is, the adversary, ever working to manipulate the senses realm, is going to work tirelessly to talk you out of your new ideas! He has to because when you tap into believing you will eventually be able to believe to remove every strangle-hold he ever had on your life. Again, egads…

Don’t allow yourself to be reduced to the level of the beasts by only accepting what appears to be true. Be a successful, godly human and know better. Your life has always been within the realm of your control and just because you didn’t know that before never made it untrue. What is true is what God says is true. Wine from water anyone?

Learning to see and believe what can be rather than believing what appears to be is the crucible of human experience. Your heart already knows this is true and is still waiting for your mind to catch up! Don’t just see, really see!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Winning in the Great Competition of Life!


victoryIf you have ever seriously competed in a sport, you know what it feels like to expend a lot of effort and take the victory. I don’t mean something like playing checkers, I mean a tough competition with a worthy opponent that challenges you to exert the extra mental energy required to come out on top. I say mental energy because at the end of the day it’s your thoughts that propel you to victory. You can have the strongest, most athletic body on Earth, but if you don’t win in your mind, you won’t win on the field!

Your life, my life is lived amidst a great competition. And whether we choose to compete or not, we are in it! The way that we compete is by the thoughts we think. That’s right folks! Your thoughts lead to your beliefs and your beliefs determine how your life turns out. As I’ve said many times before, don’t get it twisted…life doesn’t happen to you, you happen to life. If you can grasp this one idea, you can revolutionize your life.

Most people pay very little attention to the thoughts they are thinking. It’s like automatic pilot. You are thinking things, evaluating things, feeling things and blowing right by them as if it’s just a part of life. Oh I get why it happens. It happens because your belief system has informed you that thoughts are just thoughts and have no impact on this thing called, “your life.” But that, my friends, couldn’t be further from the truth. And like choosing not to compete in the competition of life, it really doesn’t matter because you are competing and your thoughts are how you are competing – like it or not!

When things are going badly for you; when circumstances seemed stacked up against you; when nothing seems to be going right, the first place to check is your thoughts. What are you thinking about? What are you focusing on? Where are you expending your mental energy? What have you accepted as true that might not be true? What time period are you in? The future; the past or right now? To think that you can maintain a sour, negative outlook and still get a good result may be the height of insanity. If you were in a physical race and all you thought about was not losing the race, chances are you lost that race! Run your own race! If you were playing basketball and all you could focus on was not missing the last shot, I guarantee you missed that shot. Take the shot!

In life, I imagine all of us have hopes and dreams about how this thing is supposed to turn out. We’re happy. We have enough money. We have a great job that allows us to use our talents to the fullest. We have great relationships with people that we love. We’re peaceful and content. But, how often do we entertain those thoughts? Not much! Instead we want to focus on everything that isn’t right and worse, bitch and moan in detail about it. Crazy…

In the great competition, we have an opponent. That opponent is always up for the challenge. He works in the systems of the world to make sure you don’t get to live out your dreams by influencing your thoughts. He counts on the fact that you don’t realize the importance of what you are thinking. In fact, he is the mastermind of distraction and lies and wields them both with breathtaking accuracy. The moment you make up your mind to change something or get something better, you are deluged with other ideas about why you can’t; don’t deserve it; aren’t be realistic; fooling yourself…on into infinity (almost). But instead of sticking to your guns and strengthening your resolve, you get fainthearted, lose energy and get back in line with the other billion people.

So what can you do about it? How can you finally win? Well, first of all you have to learn to start paying attention to what you are thinking about. Then, and here is where it can get pretty gnarly, you have to fight back. That’s right! Instead of recognizing that you feel bored or depressed or sad or weak and just living with it, you have to fight back! You have to make up your mind to take that thought on. Just because you thought something does not make it true. Again, JUST BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT SOMETHING DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE! (YELLING) That has to be one of the biggest con jobs that ever happened to mankind. It’s a thought and it just invited you to compete. Okay, so you are tired today and don’t feel like fighting. But, if a scary, masked man just strolled into your living room and threatened your child, you’d feel like fighting, right? It wouldn’t matter if you were up all night, you would fight. Well, it’s the same with your thoughts. You may not want to fight, but if your peace of mind is at stake, you have to take it on. In fact, if that thought threatens anything you hold dear, you have to take it on.

Intentional living is really about intentional thinking. Decide what you want for your life and rigorously exclude any thoughts that aren’t in agreement with what you want. Hey man, they’re your thoughts… If you find yourself feeling negative or grouchy or upset, decide to stop it. Oh you can stop it alright. Change your thoughts. Think about the good things; your blessings; what you are grateful for; who you love, something. But for Lord’s sake don’t stay in the misery pit. No one gets out of the misery pit by choosing not to compete. They get out when and only when they decide to!

Some folks sadly never learn this lesson. Don’t let that be you! Take charge of your life by taking charge of your mind. It really is the only thing you are ever in complete control of…Hmmm, that alone should make you think (haha).

3…2…1, he shoots and it’s goooooooooooood!  The Blazers win, the Blazers win! (Go Damian Lillard)

Winning feels so good!

Just some good thoughts…