Eye see it

Life lesson:  You go where your eyes go.

It was a hot day, miserable in fact. The road was radiating heat like a red hot engine overheating on a summer’s day. I was that guy outside on a jog soaking up the heat like someone who has lost their mind. I swear I saw buzzards circling! Next thing I noticed my eyes were gazing down, looking at my feet, counting the cracks in the sidewalk. What followed is illustrative, my posture began to slump, my steps became harder and my breath got shorter. In short, my running got harder because my eyes changed what they were fixed on. I became aware of this and changed my focus for just a moment. I lifted my eyes towards a fixed point in the distance and my entire posture, gaze, and breath changed for the better. The only thing in my circumstances that changed was my focus.

You go where your eyes go.

Want to change your life?

Change your focus.

Step 1: Take a moment at each meal of the day to simply think about what you have been focusing on.

Step 2: If your focus is misdirected, willfully change it.

Step 3: If distraction is common then place a visual reminder such as a photo, or a word, heck get a tattoo!

 

Don’t worry about it!

I had a nickname when I was younger. I was called “worrywart” because I worried about everything. I worried about EVERYTHING little or big, weather or sports, sickness and health, future and past. The thing I worried most about was my own life and what was going on inside of me. I had a real uncertainty about my past, present, and future. As I am now older I believe that being adopted has something to do with this, the uncertainty of everything. What got me the MOST worried was when I upset someone and they were angry with me. All I wanted was for there to be peace.

Have you ever experienced anything close to this kind of worry? How about your finances? Ever worry about your kids? How about worry about present-day politics or whether you will get cancer or not? We are worrying people, always have been. You might experience the cousins of worry such as fear, anxiety, even anger. Anger, you see, is an expression of feeling out of control and directing it at self or others often with very little positive consequence as a result. We fret, worry, fear, blow up, criticize, get defensive, or maybe balk at these and go hardline contempt which is the arrogance of a perfectionist looking down their nose at anyone who struggles.

Worry is faith turned inside out. Faith is believing even though you don’t see, taste, touch, or smell. Worry is the inside out version of this where you have seen yet you still don’t believe, you have tasted, you have touched, you have smelled yet you still worry. How is this even possible? It is possible because your brain is a phenomenal instrument that can be used for good or harm.

Every time you worry you create a rut in your brain called a neuropathway. This rut turns into a full-blown gully if traveled often. A gully in your brain is an easy path for a worrisome thought to travel especially if it has been rehearsed for years and years. The opposite is true. If you think something life-giving, true, or faith-driven accompanied by belief, you form a rut. A healthy rut well-traveled over time creates a gully that is easily traveled when a worrisome thought crosses your mind. Now your brain has a fork in the road. The simple difference between producing the action of worry or the action of faith is as simple as taking the right road when the opportunity comes.

Try this: say one healthy thing about yourself out loud. Try it, say one thing out loud that is healthy. Practice this every day for the next 10 days. What will have happened during this short period of time is the phenomenon of changing your mind. The bible calls this the renewing of your mind. By renewing your mind you actually develop the capacity to begin to experience the reality of healthy thinking which leads to healthy behavior, which leads to healthy choices, which leads to better outcomes in your life and world. When worry comes visiting it will find a deeper gully than the worry gully and will travel the faith gully.

What would your life look like if you worried less? How might your anxieties and fears decrease if you were to apply the one healthy thought for 10 days activity? Imagine going through your Sunday night full of faith rather than worry! How about imagining the difficult challenge you are facing in your family when approached by faith instead of worry. How might this change your life? I dare you to try this out for 10 days.

Don’t worry about it!

 

No more dumpster diving for dates!

So you’ve gone on several dates and ended up all stinky. What is going on here? What seems to be the problem? Are you just picking wrong people, or are there any good people worth picking, or do you need to find the latest dating app, or read the latest dating book? While many of these problems may be occuring, chances are there is something else causing you to wind up stinky at the end of dates. Maybe you are dumpster diving for dates!

Have you ever picked someone to go out with in hopes that you can fix them? Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself that they will look better to you over time? Have you lowered your standards to keep someone around? My friend, you are experiencing an epic problem that our world is experiencing. There’s hope, this is a problem that can be solved. It starts with the person in the mirror.

We all have within us our unique identity it’s what makes us uniquely set apart from others. We each think different, choose different, and feel different with a variety of needs that span the globe. Simply put, your identity is the unique in you. Here is the kicker, without an awareness of or health within your identity you will struggle to find people who are a good match for you. Let me explain.

Without a clear view of who YOU are you will never be able to see who THEY are. Does this make sense now? How you see you is how you see them, if YOU is not seen accurately chances are your view of THEM is inaccurate as well. Think of a pair of glasses, they are prescriptive in helping you see more clearly. If these glasses are broken they will skew the picture creating an inaccurate view of self and situations. Are your glasses broken? Are you seeing yourself accurately? This is the first question as we learn how not to dumpster dive for dates. Check your glasses.

If you have good glasses meaning they aren’t broken, you will stand a pretty good chance of seeing yourself but more important, you will see others clearly. Seeing yourself is important in selecting friends and dates however seeing others clearly is vital to being able to determine whether someone is good for you or not. Suppose you know yourself pretty well and have a decent level of confidence, chances are pretty good you aren’t going to date and marry a drug dealer right? If you have extremely poor vision of yourself and others you just might meet and date a con artist, or a liar, worse yet, you may meet someone harmful!

Dating isn’t meant for missionary work. We don’t date to change people, we date to grow a great friendship that has tons of laughter, fun, togetherness and an ability to solve simple and tough problems without staying stuck forever. If you can do these things together chances are high you are in a good relationship that didn’t come from the dumpster.

If you are dating someone and there is intense jealousy, or every conflict gets hung up and blows up, you may be in a dumpster relationship that will never stop stinking. Here are a few other signs to look for in a stinky relationship: Criticism, defensiveness, you feel like you have lost your mind, your feel isolated from your friends and family. If any of these are what you are experiencing you may have a dumpster relationship.

Imagine what it would be like to talk to someone about anything in the world and they wouldn’t make you feel unsafe. This is what a great relationship looks like. Spend your energy becoming the kind of person that can foster this relationship, then go out and you just may find someone just like you in this sense where you share these traits.

NO MORE DUMPSTER DIVING FOR DATES!

3 Coins

Did you know we have 3 imaginary coins given to us each day? They appear every night at midnight and can only be spent in the day you are in. We have a great opportunity to spend these coins with great freedom to choose. Some of us will spend all three coins in one area alone such as work, or being a parent. Others will spend the three in three different areas like working out and work and family time. The tension we all live with is how to spend our coins on the best things and not waste them on the worse things.

It is important to evaluate how you are spending your coins. Are you spending them wisely? It is also important to understand how others are spending their coins. Suppose you have a friend that is constantly bugging you to go the gym and workout. Maybe you don’t want to spend one of your coins in the gym. Suppose someone is asking you to volunteer on a board and you are passionate about the cause, invest your coin there. Whatever the choice, choose wisely because the coins matter.

Let’s be wise spenders of our 3 coins. May it be said of us that we lived our lives investing in the things that matter. If you aren’t sure how to spend your coins, take a trip to a cemetery. Sit among the throngs of those who have gone before you and sit with the question in your mind then go spend wisely.

Applause

Applause, like candy, is sweet to the taste yet leaves you always wanting more.

Have you ever received applause only to want more?

Applause is a poor motivator because it is so fickle. 

The performer must top the last performance to increase applause.

What if we lived for the applause of heaven?

Does the applause of heaven exist?

The applause of heaven is a mindset whereby we seek to please those above not those

here on earth.

When we live for the applause of heaven we get earth thrown in. 

When we focus on God’s pleasure in our endeavor we gain the applause of earth as well.

Application: 

What is one area of your life that could benefit from the applause of heaven?

The Feathered Reminder

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

God knows we worry. He thought of us when He created the birds. You see the birds are our constant reminder that God will take care of us. They sing a song everyday that is a reminder that your heavenly father loves you and will provide for your every need.

Next time you get caught in a worry trap, stop and listen. Listen for the birds. If you can’t hear their song you are too busy or too worried. When you do hear one, focus in and let the tune calm your worry. The birds sing the same song each and every day. The words go something like this, “I love you, I love you, I love you, don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry”. He told me to tell you.

Application:

What is one thing you can take from this to calm your worry? Share your story with us!

Comfortable being uncomfortable

 

Routines create ruts which over time can become shallow graves. 



Choose one thing in your life that you KNOW will make you uncomfortable and do it.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Question: If you do not like where you are today what needs to change? 

Once you make up your mind to press play on your decision a release of adrenaline will shoot through your entire body like the fireworks before a football game, it’s the kickoff.

fireworks-180553_640

You will find that it never becomes comfortable to do hard things but you can learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Application:

What is one crazy goal you can set before you? I chose to run a marathon and did it! How about you?

Conspiracy Monster

“In the absence of information conspiracies abound.” -Brene’ Brown

There is a little monster inside of us called the conspiracy monster. This little creature lives between your ears and roars things that aren’t true. The effects of the conspiracy monster are far-reaching from the classroom to the boardroom and even the bedroom. The conspiracy monster feeds on bits of information with much room for interpretation. A wild conspiracy monster can ruin your life. 

The conspiracy monster feeds on social media. When we view a picture-perfect family it is easy to be overcome with a myriad of thoughts most of which are completely untrue. When we feed on these untrue thoughts they serve as food for conspiracies only fueling the monster that lives in each of us. The worse part is when we behave out of the conspiracy. We might act impulsively and spend money where we don’t need to because we feel the need to be more active like that perfect family, (chomp, chomp) the monster eats your checkbook. Or we begin to dislike our lives because they seem to be so boring (chomp, chomp) there goes your contentment.

How do we identify and defeat the conspiracy monster? First, you are halfway by believing the conspiracy monster exists. Second, you need to filter events that happen in your life through the truth filter. If you hear the monster chomping, press pause and ask one question, what is true about this event right now? The truth of an event frees you from the grip of the conspiracy monster. Better yet, the truth of an event frees you to behave out of that truth. When we behave out of truth we live with significance and contentment.

Application:

Have you been allowing the monster to eat you alive? What can you do to filter the conspiracies thrown your way?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. View social media with the belief that what you are seeing isn’t THE TRUTH but a version of a person’s truth. Filter hard.
  2. When a person shares a victory in their life, pause, kill the monster, and genuinely celebrate with them.
  3. When information is scarce regarding a circumstance or life event, gather facts like a detective before permitting yourself to behave out of the limited intel.
  4. Fill your life with truth statements, factual truths that pertain to you. The Bible is a tremendous source of solid truth about who you are.
  5. Share these ideas with others.

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