Work to be better…

He who diligently seeks good seeks favor, But he who seeks evil, evil will come to him.
He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.
He who troubles his own house will inherit wind, And the foolish will be servant to the wisehearted.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls. (Proverbs 11:27-30 NASB)

This verse came to me from a Facebook post from an organization called proverbs 31 ministries. Very neat place with lots of good real life advise.

As I read this this morning and it got me thinking.
This verse is a key way to look in at yourself and see where you stand. This is where you really have to be brutally honest with yourself and sometimes come to terms with those places in your own personality that we try to avoid because we start seeing places inside us we are not proud of let alone want anyone to see.
Dealing with Pride and greed and jealousy all are downfalls to man in the long run. We get a temporary gain in how we feel. What I’m talking about are those things we give into that give us a temporary thrill or high, or false sense of safety by reacting to a fear. Look around the world is full of them. The real question is why??? Ill come back to this.

We are looking for fulfillment basically. Something to make our lives significant or meaning full. This is when we fall into these evil things that are talked about in this verse. I take this verse as One thats always seeking God in everything he does. One that runs his words and actions through a filter of God he will stay on the good path and stay on track in life. Where if you don’t have that filter in your life you tend to want to go to the temporary fixes which are usually the bad or evil things. drugs alcohol other addictions. They all are a temporary fix to a eternal problem.
Another problem is Selfishness or pride. usually one and the same.
This shows its self everywhere in our lives. Defensiveness, anger, jealousy all stem from pride and or selfishness. This is the biggest sin listed in the bible and the reason is that so many other bad things stem from selfishness.
In relationships its huge. The world has taught us to look to what we can get out of it instead of what we can put in. Always about taking more than what we can give.
This verse Shines a light on the good and the areas we need to address. So start today to do a self examination of yourself and see where your are. Self improvement is what God is all about, to get us to the best we can be mentally emotionally spiritually and physically. Learn to use this and other key verses to help you grow and achieve success the way we are meant too. Not in a greedy selfish way… stuff and money does not dictate success. Success rests in what we can do for others and how we work to improve ourselves in Gods image. Always seeking that which is good and always producing a good healthy fruit for all to enjoy.

The question of why? why do we fall for these false senses of fulfillment?
Its a matter of faith and trust. When life is going smooth its easy to praise God and pray and be thankful. Its when the storms come that we are truly put to the test. Too many times we feel those feelings of weakness, loneliness, worthlessness or fear. When that storm hits all of these come to the surface. They can range from Eating to much to stealing to addictions like drugs drinking or porn, fear is a big one also.
These things are all a temporary fix to whats really going on. When hard times hit we tend to fall back on what makes us feel good or a sense of “fixing” something to make the feelings go away quickly. We react to make the uncomfortable feeling go away as fast as possible. I know what its like I have been there many times. I have seen people be some of the most spiritual people, but when something hits and fear strikes they do things that just make no sense. From drinking to smoking to sleeping around with anything that walks to even running back to a bad relationship that was abusive. It seems to be our natural reaction to stuff like that. But thats not Gods view, God doesn’t want us to fall back on our worldly things or ways, those are temporary fixes.
God seeks an permanent fix for our lives. Many times we are trying to fill a void in our life that he is the only one that can fill. Its taken me many years to start to see this but its been very rewarding.
When God shows you things and even speaks to you through your life. We need to listen and retain it. Many times we hear his leading us but when really tested we go right back to our own control and what we know again for a temp fix. Its when we can finally get to a point that our faith is stronger than our fears. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel them but that we don’t let them control our reactions. Its very hard to do and personally i get it once then the next i waiver and it continues to go back and forth BUT…. the key is recognizing it when it happens. When we feel that pull to something that is a temp fix or a reaction to fear. We have got to see it for what it is especially if it goes against anything God has shown us or has spoken to us. Seeing it is a huge step, it was for me anyway. Then Go to your knees and pray, i personally pray for clarity and to clear the thoughts from my head that are there to hurt me and pull me off course. Philippians 4:8 helps here. Praying gets that solid ground back , it gets your focus back on God and not on whats around you. He wants our eyes our thoughts and our actions to follow him. So when you feel those things rising inside you, work on asking why. whats pushing that feeling and then slow down and don’t react, respond with the tools God places in our hands to fight it.
God knows what we need and how we need to see it. Go straight to him because your going to end up there anyway. Might as well start with the one that we can trust to fix it anyway 🙂

self esteem

Believing in yourself is the first step of an awesome journey.
Believing in yourself is the first step of an awesome journey.

Self worth. Wow this topic is big and it should be. I would guess that on average most people see themselves as less than other people see them.
I think thats fairly normal, we tend to find every single flaw in ourselves pretty quick. Bad hair day, have a pimple, clothes don’t fit right, you name it we are kings and queens of picking ourselves apart be it looks wise or ability.
What we don’t see is the damage that it causes us inside. When our inner voice speaks for us about these flaws. It soaks in every single word and takes it to the bank for safe keeping. Say you messed up on something Bam right into the bank to be used as a later date against yourself.
Our minds loves to kind of keep score this way and has an amazingly long memory.
Now I’m not saying every one needs to become so arrogant in themselves that its unhealthy and annoying but there is a huge difference in being confident in who you are as a person and being cocky and arrogant. There is a difference
in cocky and someone confident in who they are. It usually shows in their demeanor its that thing that people like but can’t put their fingers on.

How do you go about getting this and getting over the old self?? Those feelings of im not worth anything??
First stop trying to please everyone around you… for one you can’t. It’s not realistic and you will run yourself ragged until you finally do fail at something and then there is usually someone there to make sure you know that you failed.. This does not lend its self to betterment in anyway shape or form.
Saying no is ok, don’t over book yourself leading a busy life isn’t always a productive one.
Do something that makes you feel good about yourself. If its working out, eating right, finding a hobby your good at, anything that gives you a sense of satisfaction. This is a step in the right direction. The rest is all mental leg work. You have to practice living the way you want. Picture it in your mind how you want to be in a year from now, how do you want to handle situations differently or stop being wishy washy about decisions. Whatever it is think about it and dwell on it. Then start to work toward that goal. Whatever it might be. Start making conscious effort to change your old self and make new decisions that lead to that goal. It takes an effort on your part to reach into areas of your life that need changed and how you look at yourself needs to change also. So remember that all the time and let that guide your decisions in how to get there.
And never stop praying for the asssitance you need to get there. God wants you confident and strong, stepping out in faith boldly.

Determination and Drive…

Determination. This word should be a huge factor in your life. It is what keeps our bodies going when our minds are screaming stop!
The other day I was at CrossFit Springfield and the work out was super hard. I had one of the coaches (Mary… love that gal) standing behind me… I had been in that dark place where your mind is yelling to stop. I had tuned everything out in the room. It was just me and the barbell. (squat clean thrusters by the way, ugh)
and I had 2 rounds left to do. I hear her voice behind me… “Doug go to that dark place for just a little bit longer” that is all I heard. I know I had other teammates cheering me on, but I just heard her voice. Stuff like that causes a drive with in us, our determination to not be beaten, kicks in. To not give up.
To power through to the end. She didn’t know that i had already been in that place in the last round lol. But it helps when you have a coach that you know has been there also. Has seen that place, has reached down grabbed the last bit of guts and power you have left. When you know they have been there also its a level of respect that cant be matched.

Our determination is the after effects of our inner drive to succeed at what ever it is we are doing. In this instance it was exercise, but it could be anything in life.
Some people have a natural determination, some call it hardheadedness others say it’s just a drive inside them to do better. Most of us have to push ourselves to it. Our minds have clouded what we can really do and are really capable of. We can do so much more than our minds think. We must retrain our minds, kind of reboot it to expand to new limits.
Too many times society has placed limits on us. Or friends and family have and they don’t even realize it sometimes. Some people don’t want to see you succeed because they never could so they want everyone on the same level. Don’t hang out there. Its called the land of bland… everything is average and no one strives for more.
More is where its at, more is so important in our lives when it comes to over powering the limitations our own mind places on us.
You can retrain your mind by showing it new limits all the time. Pushing it beyond where it thinks you should be.
We were not put on this earth to be mediocre humans. God put the ability of excellence inside each and every person on earth, all different kinds of talents. Finding it is a journey that many are never brave enough to take.

Be Brave take that step, push your self to be comfortable being outside the comfort zone. You are missing out on so many things if you don’t.

Missed expectations

Sometimes things just hurt, others don’t treat you like you feel you deserve or in ways that you really don’t understand or they fail to meet your expectations.
The key is to keep you’re joy in life.
Even when your alone and feel empty, these are the times i have to draw close to. The ways God has reached me in my past and remember he will not bring you to it if he doesn’t think you can do it.
We worry about too many things that we can’t control and try to control them anyway… well really we try to control something to give us a sense of false security. When the thing we are losing on is trust and our faith. Charles Stanley has said that when we are anxious and worried about things and make a grab to control anything to make us feel better is basically saying you know better than God does. To me thats a sad thing to have to look at and admit … yeah i have done that.

Trust in God is the foundation of our faith and if you don’t have Gods truths in your corner then your breaking through dangerous places on your own in your own strength, sometimes just to make your self feel secure.
For me i have gotten much better about not controlling things mostly because he has taken all aspects of control out of my life haha he will do that at times.
What keeps me out of bad places mentally a lot is this verse.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8, 9 NASB)

God gives us tools as we learn through trials and challenges
This verse is one of them to hang on to. To keep our minds out of the what ifs and doubts. God doesn’t work in what if’s or doubts.

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NASB)
This is where he works not in craziness, chaos, self doubt, worry and second guessing and fears of the unknown or lies and manipulation.

False sense of Control…

It seems sometimes we fight so hard for things that are not in our control.
To often its for a need to have something solid or secure, but in our clouded reality we are only fooling ourselves. We strive for a sense of control…. hear that??? a SENSE of control… we are lying to ourselves just to make a temporary fix for a permanent problem.
The hardest part of being a Christian is finally being able to let go. To learn to give up control and manipulation just to feel ok about our circumstances.
God never once says go and do it on our own. God is bigger than any circumstance we may encounter.
He is wanting us to stretch ourselves and grow stronger in our faith and learn to trust him in all things not just the ones we feel comfortable about. Is it easy?? Oh my no. It never is and the harder the struggle the easier it is to give in and make a desperate grab for that control we so desire, but remember the harder we grab for that control is usually the harder we are fighting Gods best.

Step one… pray This is the first, not last resort. I have personally seen my prayers answered and even sometimes coming back to compare notes with a friend I find out they were being answered as I was making them almost. In my life I consider some of those small miracles… they were things I thought would or could never happen but did.
The rest is in your head and you have to battle it all the time.
All I can say is it is a battle and never give up. No matter how solid we feel at one moment, the next can turn you on your head in nothing flat. The key is going back to the anchor of Christ and get our footing back each time. He is our Shepard. He uses the crook to get us out of the briars and mud that we put ourselves into most of the time. He will always be there to pull us out of our own mess with a steady hand full of grace and forgiveness, not punishment.

Prayer…. a new beginning.

One thing I had a really hard time doing after I became christian was praying and praying with others. I couldn’t get over the feeling of I was going to mess up. I was used to hearing people that had been doing it for a long time and I just felt so lacking. I don’t speak well in front of others anyway, now add prayer to it and WOW I was intimidated. I’m lucky that I have a job that I’m alone most of the time driving anywhere from 2 -5 hours a day. This has become my quality time to talk to God. Out loud just letting all my concerns come out. My fears, worries and life problems in general. I found that I just had to speak my heart. There is no set style of prayer. I’m fond of the from the heart less structured and formal. Much like talking to a friend sitting next to you. God wants a personal relationship with each of us, so there is no correct way. I was hung up on feeling like I would get it wrong and embarrass myself. But what I found out was and still working on it for that matter, is to just speak from the heart. When I’m driving sometimes it has been nothing but thanks and praise with tears (I know I know) At times if you remove your normal filters we use on our daily life our emotions run high and your true self comes out God knows our insecurities and fears and everything anyway. Praying is a 2 way street. God hears our heart as we open up and we also are privileged enough to get our thoughts as crazy as they maybe out in the open and sometimes just hearing them come out of our mouths puts things into reality sometimes, but most important is just communing with God and sharing your life, expanding that relationship on a personal level. That is the relationship Jesus preached… less legalistic and more from the heart and personal.

Get started…

Making the decision to take the first steps to getting in better shape can be a tough one. It can be intimidating and a little scary.
Remember getting started is where your going to bust all those preconceived notions you have built up in your head. You think everyone is going to be looking at you. You think you wont measure up. You feel extremely inferior…. WHY?? because your comparing yourself to all those people that have been at that gym for months or years… they are ahead of you on that journey and I can tell you from experience, those people are proud to see you take that step. Remember not everyone was born in shape and driven to stay that way. They all started in the exact same place you are in right now.
Don’t let the fear of starting hold you back, that little voice can really talk you out of lots of things that you should be trying.
Once you start and see and feel the changes in your body and in your attitude you become hooked and it becomes a need.
Then you start to think, hey if I am getting in shape by doing all this what would happen if I started to clean up how I eat??? Next thing you know you’re watching what you eat and now your altering your life style to a healthy, more fit one that will last for the rest of your life.

Get out there and start, stop getting ready to start and just jump and do it.

“I am Fear…”

I tell you at some point everyday, that your no good, that you have been here before and failed.
You have tried to do new things, but I have convinced you that it’s just too hard and or that your not good enough.
I have twisted the person you look at in the mirror to a point now that what you see resembles nothing of your true self, or what others see.
I have told you for years that new is bad, that you will never get out of where you are now. That your dreams are just that…… Dreams and no more.
We stare each other down everyday in the mirror. In the past I have usually won. I’m a sore winner and an ever worse loser.
I am you. I’m that voice that tried to pull you down, that tried to keep you inside your comfort zone where it is nice and safe.

I am your fear, your self doubts, the ones you hide from everyone else.
I am the you that you don’t want to admit can wreak havoc on your life.

We chose which things influence our lives and how we perceive them, how they mark our lives. A positive out look isn’t always a given ability but a practiced one.
Being positive, up lifting and encouraging to others is a choice not an ability.

Start today. Push that voice aside or face it down. The more you do the easier it gets, but remember that voice is always there ready to pull you back down.

God didn’t create us to be average.
Get out there and excel and be awesome!!

Hope faith Trust

Hope, Faith, Trust.
Today I had time driving to think about the importance of these three things.
they are all linked together.
If you go through life with little or no hope of a future or no hope that things will ever get better than where you are today. Then your really saying that you have very little faith that what God says is true. I know its hard during those dark times in life because there are times your just living hour by hour or day by day with out looking up to even see a future to hope for. But if your not careful you will loose all of the hope you might have. You get into a depression of hopelessness that is a hard rut to get out of. By loosing that hope for more, or a hope for an end to your suffering. Your saying that your faith in God isn’t there. A lack of faith and actually lack of trust also. Your not trusting God to carry you through the current situation. No matter what it is. I have found through this heart aching journey I have been on that when i get my thoughts under control and i give the things i cant control to God and leave them at his feet. Then my trust in Him and my faith that He will be there for me and fight for me. That is what gives me hope of a future that has been promised. Its only when I get my focus on him and my trust in him and my faith in his actions, that my hope is true and more heartfelt. I don’t stay there but he has taught me how to fight for it. What verses I need and how to use them to their fullest. How to control my thoughts and give him all those that are poison to the path he has for me. I mentally have to stop those thoughts that would not be honoring God, and pray and ask him to take them and start thinking about Philippians 4:8 and it works. Those thoughts are one of the worst things that can tear us away from the path he wants us on faster than we can blink. I have seen it in others and felt it myself, I have laid awake at night never sleeping because of those thoughts.

If we loose our need for Hope for tomorrow then we are starting down a path that could lead us away from Gods best, meaning we start to be lead by the things that the enemy hits us with, so controlling those thoughts is a key thing, I’m finding out is one of the most important things to do to head off those times when those darts hit our weak spots in our armor.