We all have a little Walter Mitty in us

Reaching for the adventure in life despite the fear.
Reaching for the adventure in life despite the fear.

I’m watching the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Pretty interesting movie. To me this movie represents all the things in my life that I have been afraid to try.
Just like the guy in the movie, I think we all have things we are afraid to even try. Things that in our minds we would love to be brave enough to stand up and do.

Spoiler if you want to see it and not hear about it.

The movie takes Walter’s thoughts to a kind of other world, But for us its really no different, just not as exaggerated.
I bet If I asked anyone of you reading this if you could rattle off 5-10 things that you want to do but don’t think you would ever do them. I know I do.
My short list.
Travel more possibly to New Zealand
Europe to see the D day landings and honor our troops that died there. Too Greece.
Go on a cruise some day.
Go sky diving. (FYI Im scared of heights)
Own some land to build a home on.
Be able to quit my current job and start a successful company.
Start a organization that helps abused women and children.
Thats just off the top of my head.
thats not listing all the relational stuff kid stuff and people oriented things.

I’m more than sure that anyone of you could give me a list in nothing flat.
The thing is how many of them are really things that are out of reach?
Not a single one of mine are, I just set the limits in my mind.

In this movie he imagines doing all these things and zones out while doing it.
But in real life he runs from every opportunity to do any of them.
Well he ends up on a mission to find someone and it takes him all over the world. He has a hard time believing the things he is actually doing at times. It’s kind of funny. But this is a perfect example of just what our fears can do to us. It almost goes with the last post I made on Anxiety. When you let those thoughts of negativity get into your head its really hard to get your mind off them and onto the possibilities of anything more than the rut you are currently in. Walter was comfortable in his rut and when he looked out of that rut he saw danger in everything, risk and fear of failure. He never once saw anything positive happening in his real life. Thats why he stayed in his dream land it was safe there. The problem with that is we don’t live in our dream world. Real life happens all around us every day. There are real adventures out there waiting for us, if we are only brave enough to make that first step toward them. It reminds me of one of my past posts about God giving us gifts while on our journey here on earth. All I think about is that closet full of gifts I turned my back on in life because of those fears. Because of that comfortable rut.

So remember. Nothing is impossible! No matter how much fear you have about it, no matter how much you think its out of reach, I don’t care if its an education late in life, a dream job, a true loving relationship, NEVER EVER sell yourself short in life, we only get one trip before Jesus calls us to him. Experience as much of it as you can, Don’t let fear over rule your life by locking yourself in a cage of your own making, God wants us to live life to its fullest.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 ESV)

Thats all the proof I need.

Anxiety part 2

Dealing with a monster at times.
Dealing with a monster at times.

Anxiety Part 2

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8, 9 NLT)

This is the choosing point for us when it comes to allowing anxiety into our life. The reason is this…. Our inner thoughts drive our outer actions.
What we think we do. These sound like little quotes to think Oh yeah thats a good one then go on doing the same things you have done before and forget all about it.
WRONG!! These are vital to ending those high levels of stress and anxiety in your life, VITAL!!! can I stress this anymore???
If you sit there and think about all the worst case scenario stuff in your life, money, kids, relationships, parenting, you name it. But if you allow yourself to focus on all that can go wrong and you think on that for a while, your actions will start to follow your thoughts. I have lived it I have seen it in others and I have read about it and I can tell you with 100% accuracy. This statement is true. Thats why this passage is in the bible, the effects of a negative mind set are horrible over time. You become a person stressed all the time, you become used to it so it now becomes your norm. Your tired a lot, you have no hope, you cant look too far into the future because it scares you. Doing anything that you cant predict the outcome of is written off because of the fear of the unknown. You feel trapped. Hows that for accurate? Am I right on? be honest with yourself, I might not have hit all of them but I’m guessing I hit most of a stressed out persons inner feelings. If your feeling like a lot of the things I just named. Look back to the top of this page and read that passage and tell me what part of that your following?
God knows how our minds like to keep us trapped in fear and anxiety. He knows those are the tools of the enemy. He gives us all these things in the bible to fight it. So your asking how do I get out of this rut of thinking?
All of these are bad habits right? How do you change a bad habit? Many would think you change your actions. Thats only a very small part. IF you don’t make the changes as far up the chain of thought as you can you will never see lasting change. You have to change your thought process.
This is where every ones differences come out. Everyone has their own personal way of relaxing or clearing your head. Some its reading a good book, some is working out, others its cooking or baking. What ever it is find the difference in your actions. Here is what I mean. Your having a bad day and want to sit on the couch and watch tv to just unwind. Ok I can see that but is that going to give you any lasting relief? Probably not. Your brain is still working on all those thoughts. Mine is working out or doing some hobby I have. It keeps my mind active on other things and I feel like i have accomplished something at the end. You need to find the healthy ways to unwind, ones that don’t add to but actually help you get your mind else where.
If you ever catch yourself winding up all the worst case ideas in your head, go through that passage in Phil 4: 8 Those are Gods ways to filter our thoughts and purify what goes into our head.
Is this thought true?
Is it Honoring to God?
Is it pure?
Is it Lovely? That means beauty or something pleasing to the eye, or to our spirit.
Is it praise worthy? Would God be proud of you for it?

Im not kidding here These are Gods filters for our thoughts to keep our anxiety levels down and to change a thought process that satan loves to play with.

If your a Christian think about it this way. If your bound to let your mind, what I call free wheel. Thats when your mind goes to all the bad things in your life and its like rolling a snowball down hill, all the bad grows and grows and grows until you feel so weighted and overwhelmed by your circumstances that you feel defeated, trapped and have no hope of ever seeing the light again.
If that is where you are right now. Stop…. breath…. if your mind is there now. think of who is controlling your thoughts? Who are you making happy and proud of you and your thoughts? Who is the one applauding your thoughts because he knows they will come out in your actions next? Who do you think that is? If I have to name him then your delusional. This is just about as simple as it gets. If your Christian and believe in God, Jesus and the bible, you are allowing SATAN to control your actions, by letting your thoughts go to these places, you have become a tool of the devil, because he knows if he can control your thoughts through fears, your actions will follow and there for he is pulling you away from GOD and his goodness. I don’t know about you but that scares me to the bone to think that something I have done has made me a tool of the enemy. I mean real fear and it should.

Bad thoughts are like an addiction. I know I have been addicted to smokeless tobacco for 12 years of so and kicked it about 10 years ago or more. I know the feeling of having something else besides me control you. It is more than just a simple addiction. Its a feelings of total control over you and your thoughts. In this case, these bad thoughts are there all the time, your mind is running them on replay over and over….. what if this, what if that, If i did this then this could happen, if i don’t do this then this could happen… EEEEEKKKKK You have now been locked into place moving forward on Gods path has just hit a bolder that not only is in your way but has now come to life and is a rock monster threatening to chase you backward down the trail. getting further and further away from God.

Ok you should see now how your thoughts are either honoring to God or pushing you away from him. and how your thoughts WILL come out in your actions, not maybe, not possibly but will 100% they will dictate every action you take in your life.

Now. How do you change? You get control of your thoughts, using the guidance from Gods word and becoming more aware of where your thoughts are and where they are taking you. Once you get this down better and you recognize when and how those thoughts come and see them for what they are. You can stop REACTING and start filtering them through Gods filters.
Its like those little wind up trains when we were kids. They run straight until they hit a wall, they back up turn and go forward, hit a wall back up turn go forward. If your reacting to bad thoughts and circumstances you are a train like this.
Gods Filters are VITAL, they are so important in your life its not even funny. His instructions are there for us. Go to them, print them out, put them on your mirror, in your car, read them every morning and night, be more aware of the thoughts going through your head. This is the first step to gaining a solid thought life. One that Gods proud of, that is honoring to him. Thats what we all strive for. Be active in this, be in tune with your thoughts before they have a chance to run wild with you. Pray those instructional verses . I have with Philippians 4:8 many many times. I don’t what you to think I have this stuff down. I make the wrong choices too in how to deal with these bad thoughts. But God usually brings me back to his truth and that gets me started on ground zero again… back to the beginning

I cant stress just how much peace this will bring to your life. I have seen it in myself and after seeing the difference in myself, I know that when they hit again I can get on top of it faster and quicker than before. Building these habits of using Gods word directly in your life are so important. Too many times people read them and think oh yeah thats good and more on. No Don’t fall for that, if you do you will repeat all of your mistakes in this area again and again and again, your stress and anxiety will gain control and your back to being satans tool. YIKES!!! I’m telling you that should scare you far more than any of the anxiety of what ifs than anything in your life.
FIGHT for your thought life. We talk about getting a solid prayer life right?
Your thoughts are the same. Get a good thought life and make them good habits that you do every day and over time habits become much more, they become part of you, just like brushing your teeth in the morning. Good thoughts can become part of your every day life, battling Satan through your thoughts is a war I’m willing to fight. To take that battle on every day if i have to, do you know why? Because If i don’t I know I am the one standing in the way of Gods best, Im not allowing Gods best because of my what if and what could happen.
Remember
True
honorable
right
pure
lovely
praise worthy.

Gods best is laying on the other side of your fears, He wont make you go there but wants you to grow stronger in him, to follow when we cant see, to jump when all those filters are met. Go in strength confidence and faith. Remember he wont make you go. Like a Father teaching his son to swim. He stands on the other side of the pool cheering you on to paddle and reach for him.
Don’t let satan control your thoughts because if you do your actions are now products of satan himself. YIKES!!!! now that is truly scary to me.

 

Find your passion and make it your purpose in life.

 

Find your purpose  and make it your passion.
Find your purpose
and make it your passion.

Finding your passion in life…. as I get older I see that this is so very important. When I was younger it was about making money and having the stuff, that was the mark of success in life.

Well here I am almost 43 and just now figuring out this stuff. I could get mad at myself for all this wasted time and wasted energy, and honestly I did do that for a little bit but now I have refocused myself to leave those in the past. I have talked so much about letting the past go that I finally had to realize I needed to practice the stuff I talk about.
When I took a fitness instructor class for the Training for Warriors program
put on by Martin Rooney it changed my life. One of the things he talks about is people getting stuck in dead end jobs, jobs that people hate to do every day. no real satisfaction in life.. I think he said something like Find your passion in life make it your purpose then figure out how to make a living around that.
I wont quote it because I’m not 100% of it. but its close.
I have found that helping others, encouraging people if its through writing, FB post or talking to them, That is what I love, To see the look in someones eye do something they had been scared to try before, or over come any fear they have or to tackle some of their past that was holding them back.. to see this new person kind of rise up out of the ashes of the old person they had been is amazing. To know that I had the privilege of assisting them to those new first few steps is very humbling.
Then I was able to add my other new passion, my faith. When I was finally able to add those two together I saw real power in people.
I never knew Faith and Fitness could have such close ties to each other. How one could be used to motivate the other. Through getting in shape, (still getting there by the way) It gave me a confidence to do more and be more in all things. There has to be something inside us or our brains that click, I’m sure everyone is different, but I have talked to many people about this and all kind of agree. When you get fit you increase your self confidence, and when you do this you tend to take on things that you once thought were too much or too big to too scary for you. because hey you just overcame some of the biggest things that you never thought you could do, why stop there. You start to face other fears in your life things that have nothing to do with fitness. Real life things that stood in your way that you were terrified of. They say that once you face your fears you realize they were never as bad as your mind had you believe they were.
One of my biggest things that has changed in me is how to love. Gods jumped in me with both feet on this one. I know one of my passions is learning to love my future wife, To let him mold me into a man she will love and respect. This is an area I really feel is a calling for me, To be a good Husband. I know many will think its corny and stupid but Its something I have had with me since my divorce. To take the mistakes I made in that and lose those parts of me that I didnt need and grab new ones that my future wife will need from me. Learning sacrificial love and how to show it with out losing who I am. Its a huge thing for me, and one duty I am really looking forward to some day.

So the key Find what drives you, find your purpose… that is truly the hard part once there you just have to keep driving forward breaking those blocks of fear or your past to find a new bright future ahead.

Accountability!!

One thing that is lacking in the world today is Accountability. Im sure every generation has looked back at the “new kids” growing up and thought wow, they just don’t take any responsibility for anything as a matter of fact its really nothing new. I wish I could find the quote, but its from one of the greek philosophers about a generation of young people that didn’t appreciate anything, if i find it i will edit and add it in. This morning I got to thinking about accountability and how people as a whole don’t like it. It calls us out on things that we really don’t want out in the open. We don’t like it when we fail or do something wrong let alone have anyone else see it or know about it. Thats why I think the true mark of someone maturing no matter what their true age is. Being willing and able to stand up when they have messed up, made a bad decision or made a mistake. To stand up in front of a boss and take credit for a failed issue with out pointing fingers at others to take the blame. I think thats a huge mark or step to becoming a true adult. Right now we have a lot of adult kids out there. That have yet to actually mature despite their age.

The biggest person that can hold you accountable is your spouse. For me I think it should be anyway. I mean think of it like this. Here is this person you love more than anything, they know you better (or should anyway) than anyone on this planet. So if we do something to them to hurt them make them feel bad or critical, one of the ways accountability shows itself might not be as someone telling you or showing you. but could be how your actions effect someone you truly love. I personally think if I had done,said something that hurt my girl intentional or not. If I found out I had done something selfish that had made her feel less loved or cared for or what ever… OH my, guys this is where you should let your man card go. Im crushed if I knew that something I had done made her feel less in anyway.. that hits my heart hard. The fact is… IT SHOULD!!!! When we hurt someone we love if we don’t have that check inside your heart then you have something wrong inside you or your with the wrong person. So they can be one of your biggest helps in making yourself be accountable for your actions. This doesn’t mean they can run roughshod over you on any and everything you do. There is a respect here that has got to be there or it could get really ugly. The basics of a good loving relationship have got to be there before any of this can happen. On to the next thing 🙂 One of the real hidden reasons behind a lot of my FB posts and blog articles and Pinterest post and all that. I know what my weaknesses are, I know where I tend to fail, I know myself pretty well, God has had me really getting in touch with all of these flaws inside myself. I have to say it has not been easy and it is far from done. Thats one of the reasons I totally changed my posts on FB from just stupid funny stuff to deep meaning stuff that if read could grab someones attention. It also puts my character on the line with each post and article I write. I can’t stand people that post one thing about God and his grace and forgiving ability then the very next post is about hating their ex and wishing people had bad things happen to them. I understand that everyone has these feelings inside them, we all want to see good things happen to good people and bad things happen to those that deserve it, but its not our place, we are stepping into Gods shoes and there is no way we can ever fill those. The difference is giving into these reactionary feelings. There are always people out there that can push your buttons just exactly the way that you hate. In the bible it speaks about all of this. Rising above the reactions, not giving into the temptation to react back. Thats the key. So a lot of my articles are kind of my own way to hold myself accountable to those that read them. I want to put myself out there for people to see me as a simple man, Ones thats trying his best, but one that fails God daily but doesn’t give up. I don’t mind people looking at me and sizing me up thinking…. is he all the things he preaches? can he do all the things he talks about ? well I can tell you I so wish I could but that doesn’t mean that I don’t try and when I fail, I either admit it and ask for forgiveness from either God or who ever is involved. But I don’t let that stop me. If I failed to try just because I was scared of failure I never would have started this blog. This is one of the most interesting things I have done, I have never let so many people into the inner workings of who I am, who I want to be and just how Gods guiding me to get there. I look at it and think if just one person can get something good out of it all then I have just become a success and thats what its all about, helping others. For others it might be talking to friends and opening up about things and asking them to help them with it. Or a church group. Doesn’t matter the fact that your reaching out to be held accountable is a huge thing in itself.

Teaching our kids is one of the single hardest things we have to do. Teaching them accountability is one of the areas that I personally feel most parents feel like a failure. We see our kids lie to get out of trouble and not admit to things they have done just to avoid getting in trouble. After talking to many parents and reading a lot I honestly think we cant give up, I think they have a natural tendency to cover up stuff when young, but if you have planted those seeds in them at a young age, as they grow older they learn the whys. Your teaching may not have its true effect for years but its still does. Don’t lose hope just because you are not seeing instant habit changes, Im sure we didn’t change either when we were kids. but we still need to teach it and preach it. Remember even as adults just how important accountability really is.

Anxiety part 1 The Monster called Anxiety

 

When life seems big remember our God is bigger
When life seems big remember our God is bigger

There was another sermon I heard while driving yesterday that was very good. If you ever get a chance go to www.livingontheedge.org Chip Ingram is one of my favorite pastors. This one was a series called Less Stress. part 2 taming the anxiety monster I think it was called.

Hands down one of the best sermons about anxiety as a whole. Chip has always been a more of a hands on, kind of real world application type person. He gives real answers not just words that we are left wondering how to apply them to our real life problems.
He brought a few things to my attention I would like to share. One was If we have an issue in our life that we worry, fret over and lay awake at night about. The more we think about it, the more we tend to worry about it. How may times have you woke up in worry and the more you worry the more you get anxious about it? Can you do anything about it while your laying in bed? 9 times out of 10 it is some thing you can not control anyway. Yet we lay in bed tossing and turning losing valuable sleep.
He gave a quote that really brings it home.
” When anxiety hits, you either have a big God and a little problem or you have a big problem and a little God.”

I personally listen to this and think, Ok I know this is true, I know in my heart what is right, but I still can’t sleep. The worry doesn’t go away. Then you start to feel like a failed christian. If I’m supposed to give these worries up to God I’m apparently failing at it and I now feel that much worse. It can create a horrible cycle of false guilt and worry all in one nasty ball.

How do we break out of it?? How do you throw a wrench in the anxiety trains engine to stop it? For me it has been first and for most prayer. Honestly coming to God with your problems, not asking for answers or begging for relief, but more like opening your heart to him to unmasked so to speak. This problem people have is that they feel God needs to see this to prove your point to him. The reality isn’t that God needs it, but you need it, you need to give yourself over to him, opening your heart like that isn’t something that he needs, he can see all your thoughts already, it’s for you to give it up control, opening up about your worries, anxieties, insecurities and everything that you feel is holding you back is more for you than for Him.
The other thing that Chip talks about is being specific about your fears. keep asking yourself the question what or why. What is it about this that I’m scared of? Why is it that I’m afraid of this situation. Keep peeling the layers off of it until you discover the true cause of your fears. Many times that is hard for us to do, we never dig deep enough into them because honestly it scares us to death to expose those things. What has helped me a lot is just identifying the true fear. When I was able to break my worries down instead of just saying yeah that scares me. I was able to see my fears for what they really were and where they originated. Some were justified, some were not at all, some came out of my own insecurities in my own abilities. Others were just a general fear of the unknown.
By changing how you think about it by trying to identify the true cause of the fear you are already starting to work past them. We have to change our attitude about our fears before we can ever work to overcome them.
Starting with prayer is the key.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NIV)

These are the instructions for us. Prayer, Petition, Thanksgiving, present your request.
Finding out exactly what it is you need to give as petition to God. If your scared of failure….. tell him, if its relationships dig deep and find out why. On this stuff you have to realize no one else is going to be able to do it for you. God is there to help you. He knows the deepest darkest places inside you, he isn’t judging you, or punishing you, he is there to help you.
When you get down to the specifics, take it to God, asking for help to move past the issue, past the fear or insecurity. Asking God for specific help is more important than we realize I think. You have to remember he knows it all already, he is there to help us see and feel ways to change for the better, always growing closer to him. By making these changes inside us through prayer, petition, thanks and request. We can give him the glory for the change inside of us. I hope that makes sense.

The quote from above is still my favorite.
“When anxiety hits, you either have a big God and a little problem or a big problem and a little God.”
For me this puts my issues back into the proper perspective, Too many times I can let my problems grow and grow and grow, Bad thoughts that are not like Gods examples in Phil 4:6.
That reminds me of an old story.

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life… “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Its just another analogy of how our thoughts effect our life and can guide us if we are not carful.

If you have time listen to that sermon its really good.
Im out of time.
May God guide you to feed the right thoughts.

Doug

Why is it so hard to stop and Enjoy life sometimes?

 

Joy

Joy!!!
I heard a sermon this morning about joy and taking time to enjoy moments in our lives. Too many times we become so busy with schedules and kids stuff and being a parent or work or we just get overwhelmed with other stuff and busy doing life. We forget to take the time to enjoy life. To many people speak like this… Ill enjoy life when I retire, or when the kids leave the house, or when this thing at work gets done. This reminds me of the stuff people say when they are going to get back into shape. ” I’ll start eating better on monday.” “I’ll go back to the gym tomorrow.” I feel too many christians feel that taking some time to enjoy life is a bad thing and they feel guilting for it…. There are countless passages in the bible about living a full joyfilled life.

Well tomorrow is always tomorrow. You have to make it today, NOW!!! We are not to live in the past or in the future. We are to enjoy the present take the gifts God gives us the opportunities for joy in your life. Are you too busy to see them?
In this sermon by Chip Ingram. He said it like this. “Just imagine getting to heaven and you get to meet God and he says, Hey come over here I have something to show you. He opens a large door thats full of gifts, the most beautifully wrapped gifts you have ever seen and there are hundreds of them.
You say WOW Heaven really is the most awesome place. God says no these gifts I had for you while you were on earth but I couldn’t get you to look up.” When I heard this it brought tears to my eyes because I see just how sad our lives can get. We get so caught up in living day to day that we forget to even look for, let alone expect God to have these moments of joy for us or opportunities in our lives. Too many times we are looking for things a certain way and if they don’t come that way then we don’t even see the ways that God IS showing us, we miss out on so much because we either are too busy to even look or it doesn’t come in the way we think it should or we are too fearful to step out in faith. God knows how we need to see things and experience things in our lives to get us to grow more faithful and closer to him. We are not always the best judge of our own lives. When we place our hearts in Gods hands too many times we still hold on to parts of it. We forget to try and look through Gods eyes at things. We forget that our eyes are just human and we get locked into our own expectations (or remain trapped in fear) and if they are not met the way we think they should then its a failure or God failed to answer those prayers. Well I have reached this point in my life where I feel for the most part, I have kept my eyes open to his ways. I find that when I do and take my own expectations away (as much as I can anyway) I find I see more of him in my day. I have made it a habit when I do experience those moments no matter how small to look up and thank him for each one.

Now the risk here is going the other way. I mean doing whatever you want calling it a gift from God. This is one of those areas that calls on your ability of discernment. You can’t fool God. The Gifts need to line up with Gods ways not ours. So each is your call. Just don’t knowingly do wrong sinful things trying to fool yourself into thinking they are from God. Again discernment is the key.

I do not want to be the person standing in heaven looking at a huge room full of gifts God tried to give me in life on earth but I refused them because of busyness, the wrong expectations, or fear.
From this day forward I will do my best to ignore the world through my own eyes and my own expectations and try my best to allow God to move me and guide me to his expectations not mine.
If you couldn’t tell I have had a kind of revelation on my drive this morning. I just love those and I know that the wait I have had for the last few years is almost over. Im so excited. 🙂

Stress!!!!!! Why why why….

What is it thats inside each of us that feels like we need to worry about something? What I mean is last night I woke up not in a panic but worrying about money and finances…. ???? stupid I’m actually better than I have been in a long time, working to get out of debt and all. I was awake worrying about 6 months from now and then it all came at me. Worrying about all the things I have no control over. How pointless is that? I woke at about 3 and really never got back to sleep over stuff I have ZERO influence on. So stupid. I even was berating myself for it. Finally I fell back on what I should have started with and I prayed. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what I said or prayed about, mostly for wisdom and a specific person I know needs prayers right now. It made me think…. How many people lose so much valuable time in their lives over worrying about pointless junk… If I had left my mind to roam I would have been a wreck by this morning. I have gotten now were stuff doesn’t effect me during my day or I should say it doesn’t show anyway. I know that if I had left it to itself my mind would keep going with the what ifs and what might be’s.
When I took the time to pray about it, it brought a calming peace and really hit me on the way to work. Its aggravating that I know what to do when this happens but I still allow my brain to put me in overwhelm mode. Its so easy to give in to that and let it control your life. I have seen it in myself and in others. Just how our minds can take you places that we have no business going.
We focus on all the wrong places. Never once in the bible does God say you have to figure it all out. He does say trust me. Over and over. Be not afraid.
I got onto Facebook after my morning prayers and saw the 88.3 message for the day. “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
That was a great reminder for me. I know what God has placed on my plate to accomplish. Its something only I can do and its a big deal. He has shown me how and has prepared me for it the last few years. I don’t want to fail him, so when I’m able to see things like this it reminds me that he has a plan even when I cant see it in front of me and that the worries I see and feel are to get me to stop moving forward or get me off course to keep me from accomplishing his work in me. When I know that, it changes my outlook in a big way. It can take my worry and turn it into a determination to do what he is showing me and stay on course. I love how God works in our lives if we only listen and expect it. If we are not open to it we never see the little things he does.
I have had so many prayers answered in some amazing ways. Some just bold and in my face, some slowly over time, some through songs and emails or even just a washing over my body with truth. I know it sounds corny but its true. One day I had prayed that a certain person would get a hold of me that day…. BAM 3 hours later I get an email amazing. Some prayers I made over a series of months to find out later than they were being answered almost as I was making them. I have had messages in a journal I was keeping for myself that I had trashed on the computer. I mean put in the trash and deleted totally, for months only to have them resurface when someone wanted to see them, they first came back in a partial Word document, just part of the letter. Then I looked in the file and bam they were all there and they ended up being more important than other stuff I had written, amazing. So many prayers and things happen that I cant stick my head in the sand and ignore what God has placed on my heart. To do so would be disobedient and I know it with all my heart. No matter how long he has me in this path I know its going to work out even if I cant see it right now. I don’t have to worry because I know he can see it and has control of it all, working together for our good. As it should be if only we could remember this at all times.

Easter. are you earning it?

This Easter has been a real change for me. For some reason the real reason for it hits home. Maybe because I feel I have really worked on that personal relationship and it just hits me deeply. I don’t have my kids with me for this one and it brings back memories of the first Easter after the divorce. I will always remember. I was staying at my dads until i found a place to live, I was upstairs reading in a second living room they had. Inside the book was a photo I had placed there years before. It was a picture of my two kids. I lost it right there. I felt so horrible and what my kids were going through. I had never really had a break down like that ever in my life. Tears came unending it seemed. Well my Dad came up about then he put his arm around me and said. “I knew you would hit this point. Its going to be ok, just hang in there.” Then he hugged me tighter and got up to leave me to myself.
That memory has always corresponded with Easter to me because of the timing I think. This year its not about gifts, chocolate, bunnies or any of the normal stuff. Im all by myself, I even have to go work for a few hours today.
I have caught myself just in quiet prayer in my head as I laid in bed before I got up. Almost overwhelmed with thanks for the sacrifices Jesus made for me. To read about the suffering he endured, and the kicker for me was he knew it was coming he knew what he was going to be put through. Now people say all the time He is God and there fore could endure anything. But this was the first time he experienced it as a man, in a human body with all our human pains.
The day after Good Friday I ended up working a lot of it but in my work I can let my mind wonder as I work. It went to Jesus laying in that tomb just waiting to rise up and change the world, but he spent a whole day there. I think that day for us should always be one of contemplation, to think about just what our faith is to us. He died on that cross for you.
It makes me think of the scene from Saving Private Ryan. When James Ryan, the man they saved knew John Miller (Tom Hanks character) had died for him so that he could live. His last words to him had been “Earn this James…… earn it.” In the beginning of the movie we see and elderly man striding to a grave with a stern almost sad face, he gets there and falls on his knees in distress. He speaks to the grave. “I tried to live a good life to earn the freedom that was given to me.” he looks to his wife and says ” Am I a good man?” He was desperate to know he had ‘Earned it”
Our feelings to Christ for his sacrifice should be much the same. We should have the attitude and concern about our life…. are we earning it?
is our life reflecting that kind of attitude? Is our faith in Christ reflected in our day to day life? How we respond to adversity? How we talk to our children? How we handle our money and how we treat those that love us, and those that do not? Don’t get me wrong we are human and are not perfect but we should always be quick to admit wrong, quick to offer an apology, quicker to forgive.
Take the gift Jesus gave us on this day by rising from the grave and ask yourself, are you earning it?

Saw Heaven is for real

Just got home from watching Heaven is for Real the movie.
So Spoiler Alert**
I have not read the book by the way, i enjoyed it, there were several times i had to wipe tears away. They really portrayed a great turmoil in a pastors life.
I was surprised to see so many people struggling with the whole concept of heaven and it being real. These are churching going people and a pastor also. I would have thought the basics of heaven would already be in their minds, but the movie made it look like these people were great about it until it started to get real and was in their faces. I would have expected a much warmer reception to it than what the movie showed.
I loved the struggle that the pastor had with it all. You could really see the internal struggle with him. Him and his wife had a great marriage but you started to see the strain on it as it went on.
In the end the question is. Is Heaven real?? We each have to ask ourselves that question.
Im finding that there are two basic types of people in this world, some that don’t have to know how things work and can move forward regardless and others that just have to know how stuff works before they can move forward, then the varying degrees in between.
This is kind of like that for this pastor, or it seemed anyway. He had preached about it talked about it but now it was in his face coming from his 4 year old and he just couldn’t process it. It was hard for me to grasp that they had a hard time. In my mind I know heaven is real, I don’t need to know all the specifics to believe it. Now with that said. I see so many people that live their faith this exact same way. What I mean is that we talk great things about God and Jesus and sing and praying and it sounds so great, then life drops the hammer on you. BAM!!!! bad things seem to come in waves some times. This is when our real faith in our hearts comes out. This is the real battle ground and our faith is on the line depending how you handle the next adversities.
In this movie he suffers financial issues, time management issues, a personal injury to his leg, then his sons medical issue.
He had answers for none of it and didn’t seem to get any from God either.
The Test began before you even realized you were taking one.
The battle isn’t with Good vs Evil or God vs The Devil. Its the longest lasting most age old battle ever fought and we fight it every day.
The battle of Faith vs Self.
Our pride our greed our need to control, giving into temptations, giving into fears and anxiety and letting it rule your life. These are all battles of self vs faith.
God says one thing and we feel another, God shows us one thing and we doubt because we cant see it. We are no different than Moses, Gideon, Joshua, David and the list goes on. They all doubted when God told them things. We are no different. The issue is that sometimes God will strip you of that hold onto what ever it is, pride greed jealousy, you name it he can take it away and break you to build you back stronger BUT!!! only if you let him.
A good analogy is the Military. Bootcamp tears a recruit down to build him back stronger and more confident because of his training. His training is so ingrained into him that he falls back to it on reaction.
Our faith in God should be no different and I believe God uses this same way to reach us but its just more gentle and sometimes we don’t listen.
If we can get to this point that our training in our faith is so good and habit forming then our battles are shorter and not near difficult.
An example I can think of is a friend would text me asking for advise about something pretty serious. my first question. ” have you prayed about it?”
9 times out of 10 it would be a no. All I ever said was that was the place to start rather than call me. Not that i didn’t want to help but Im second or third or fourth praying should be first. Too many times we fail to see that we act so much out of self. we forget to pray we forget to ask for that help.
The movie showed a lack of prayer or any kind of help to understand. I think there may have been one small time at his desk. but seeing the kind of struggle he was having I was surprised at the lack of prayer from a pastor. Maybe it was just the movie version I don’t know I would like to read the book now. It reminded me of the book The Vow. and the movie. They were two totally different stories. The book I read in one night, It was a very special night and has effected me strongly ever since. Many times of reading and stoping to wipe tears. It was a book that really hit home and still does for that matter.
The biggest thing I took away from this movie was Love. We saw a husband and wife and family going through good and bad and not always getting along but loving each other through some tough circumstances. We saw the Love of God and how he reaches each one of us in ways that are very specific to us. Its not the big lightning striking flash of light miracles that are what should get our attention. Look for the little things every day. I call it getting in tune with God. Its kind of an opening of your heart to accept him and all the ways he can reach you. I really dislike when pastors will say things like … well God doesn’t reach us in dreams, or visions, or through songs or anything like that. Yes I have heard a pastor on the radio say those words. Pardon me pastor but just who exactly are you to tell God how he can reach anyone????
How arrogant is that. If someone shares an experience with me and its different or unique. I never discount that, God is God he can do anything he wants he can reach anyone anyway he wants to. He know exactly how to reach each person in the way that will effect them the best. The exact way they need to see it. Never discount someones experience.
Well I have gone on long enough I think. Over all It was a good movie i enjoyed it and would recommend it. I did like Gods not Dead better but they are two totally different styles of movie.

Something to ponder this weekend (Good Friday and Easter)

If someone was to ask you what exactly does your faith mean to you? How would you answer it? I don’t want the stock churchie type answers. I want you to stop and think for real.
Today is a good day to sit and think about this. Good Friday is the day that Jesus was beaten whipped and lashed then nailed to a cross. I can’t think of a better day to stop and take a serious look at what roll your faith is playing in your life. How does it show itself in your daily activities?
I replied to a post on FaceBook and it kind of sparked this article.
It was basically about how many peoples faith is not their own. To many people don’t have a personal relationship with God. They go to church, they do the activities and all that, but once out of church God never enters their minds.
I look at this and it makes me think that many people don’t have a faith that is their own, its just a copy paste version of someone else’s. This isn’t the strong faith that God wishes us to have in my opinion anyway. Jesus didn’t suffer on the cross just so we could have someone else’s superficial faith. Those are the very things that he fought and preached against. He was the one that told us to put the laws aside and follow a personal relationship with the Father. To put aside the old ways and start this new faith in a new way.
When people have a weak faith they tend to latch onto others that have strong faith and try to gain something from them, something they see inside them that they are looking for and don’t know how to get. I did the same thing to some extent. I listened to sermons and latched onto certain preachers that said things that made sense to me. As I went through this process I finally started to build a key skill that every christian needs to have, Discernment.
In layman’s terms this is the ability to tell truth from fiction. On the surface this always seems easy but when your hearing things come out of pastors mouths that doesn’t match up with your beliefs or even the bible, its can be hard to figure out. For me it’s usually when a sermon goes from preaching the word to guessing at meanings and assumptions of situations in the bible. I have heard some big jumps in logic just to drive home a point of a sermon.
If we don’t work on this ability to search for truth we will be blinded by the “godly” words of ill meaning people. One thing I personally went through was a serious doubting in my own beliefs and thoughts of what was truth. You have so many different things coming at you and different sermons that if you don’t have a good discerning skill it can really confuse you. It can make you doubt your own ability to find truth. If this has happened to you listen to this next few sentences closely.
The Devil works harder to get into the church than he does to reach us through sin. Because he knows he will get more to listen and never even realize it.
So when your confused and can’t make sense of what is what. Think back to the “filters of God” i like to call them. Goodness kindness less self more compassion, things like that. If someone is throwing things at you to confuse you, thats your first clue right there, If left to himself the devil will always tip his hand, one way or another. You need to have good discernment ability to sometimes find these things. Many church’s preach a damning type of religion. Meaning we are all horrible sinners and deserve nothing but punishment, in all of our lives. I have heard one say that marriage isn’t so we can be happy or have joy in lives joined together. I hear stuff like that and I wonder just what bible are they reading from? because the one I have doesn’t talk about any of that. Jesus died on the cross for your sins. Did we deserve it?? nope, but God loved us so much that he had to have the only one that was truly sin free to sacrifice for all of our sins.
Of course we don’t deserve that kind of sacrifice. But he loves us that much. They act like he is mad at humanity and we need to suffer through our life to pay for all of our sins.. HELLLLLOOO!!!! Jesus died for our sins, they have been paid for already, why do they insist we keep going back and repaying all of them. Do they ignore all of the bible that Jesus talks of living a Joy filled abundant life? I have seen people that I love torn up inside from these old church teachings and I just hate it, it really has effected them their whole lives. and has really done a lot of damage. Its almost like Jesus is the kind soft hearted one and God is the angry wrath filled one. Its messed up. I get so mad about it because its stopping these people from living a life thats on Gods true path and its out of fear. FEAR!!!!! thats not Gods tool …… If your fearful of following gods path because your afraid it might not be Gods path??? I don’t understand this, its hard for me to get my mind around. If I feel Gods placed something on my heart you go for it. We may have moments of halting and procrastinating (thats me) but as long as we keep stepping forward even a little at a time we are ok. Its when Fear paralyzes us into inaction or keeps us frozen in life. When I can step back from my life and see the times I have done this, I can see that the work of God has nothing to do with inaction, the things that hold me up are my own insecurities or fears. THOSE are satans tools to keep us in place and not move one more step closer to God. The thing I think many that grew up in old style church that was fire and brimstone types, forget is that if your heart is truly with God and your desire is to do his will. Your “mistakes” will still be used for your good. What I’m saying is that God wants you to move, to step in confidence with him in faith not in knowledge, to get to the edge unable to see whats in front of you and look up and say ” Lord I know this is the direction you have me pointed, I don’t know whats going to happen I’m scared to death but here we go….” Those are the times when our faith is on the line. When we get tested to see just how strong our faith really is. I want to do things that will honor God and bring Glory to him. Many pastors speak that we should not be fearful or anxious, thats a lie. God says Fear not or be of strong courage a couple hundred times. He knows we are fearful, its acting despite the fear, with the fear still in your gut but doing the will of God anyway.
Jesus died so we could be free of those burdens. So let those chains go, don’t let the past hold you back. In John 8:4-11 Jesus tells the woman that was caught in adultery, that she has been forgiven and to go and sin no more.
Its that simple.
Today is the day that Jesus paid for us all. We should be proud to be able to live as we do, and make sure we live a true faith-filled life that is one thats honoring to God and not weighted down with past guilts.
So take this time to sit back and ponder your relationship with God and if its where you want it to be. It’s something worth pondering 🙂
Have a good day and be thankful for what we have been given on this day and this sunday of Easter.