From Flickr User Cristian

Everyone likes you but you are desperately lonely and here’s why.

I’ve always been a pretty laid back guy.  Ask my friends.  I’m annoyingly laid back.  Like I’m so down for whatever that it’s sometimes tough to be around me.

A couple years ago, I was transitioning out of one job and into another and asked one of my mentors to kind of give me an overall eval.  Exit Interview.  What were my strengths while at that job, what were my weaknesses?

It’s tough to ask someone to evaluate your competence and character but I’m down for whatever so I asked.

His response…

“You let people walk on you and you never stand up for yourself.”

I was blown away.  It seemed like pretty harsh criticism coming from a guy that was one of my best advocates.  My first reaction was to casually defend myself in my own mind.  See that’s what I do.  I defend myself… to myself.  Which is exactly what he had just identified was the problem.

I’m so frieking laid back that I never fight anybody, on anything.  I just take it in stride.  I roll with the punches but I constantly forget one very important thing.

If all you do is role with the punches you’re gonna get knocked the heck out.

A couple years later, a different mentor of mine, helped me work through this flaw with this simple phrase.  He’d look me in the eye and say “You are a grown-ass man.”

This became his catchphrase for me and it was his subtle and humorous way of empowering me to fight back.  Throw a punch occasionally.  Stand up for myself.

Some of you may have my problem.  You fight too infrequently for far too little.  What you’ll find, is what I found.  A lot of people like you, but not many people know you.  You are the stranger, trapped and desperately lonely in the middle of a crowd.

But here’s the cold hard truth, like a stiff jab right between the eyes.  It’s not the crowd’s fault.  It’s yours.

Others of you have the opposite problem.  You fight so often, for so much that your arms are like limp noodles.  You’re like the guy at the gym that’s always hogging the heavy bag.  Unfortunately you probably also tend to practice on your friends and what you’ve  found is that though people know you really well… not very many of them like you.

You’re lonliness comes from a completely different place.  You push people away because you just can’t let the little things go.

This whole blog is obviously way over simplified but I hope you see my meaning.  Life is about balance.  If all we do is duck and dodge, we never win anything and the bad guys just keep coming.  But if we are always fighting, we are also always creating enemies.

To those of you who are like me, it’s time to stand up and be counted.  Work on that haymaker punch and make it count.  We’ve spent so much time choosing out battles that we’ve never actually stepped into the ring and touched gloves.   No time like the present.

And those of you with a sick left jab and right upper cut.  Maybe it’s time to step away from the heavy bag and give us roll-with-the-punchers a turn.  We know that you could take us, and we’d probably let you, but maybe, I don’t know, just let us have this one.

Don’t forget to like, and share.  Heck a comment wouldn’t hurt either.  Thanks so much. 

Photo by Cristian see it here.

Advertisements

Why Bunnies Lay Eggs on Easter: A Personal Theory

Infinity scares me.  Like a lot.  The concept that there is a forever amount of time, not only breaks my imagination but it terrifies me.

I don’t understand it.  Can’t wrap my head around it and I think that a lot of people out there are like me.  And that’s why Bunny’s lay eggs on Easter.

Let me explain.  Easter, at least for us crazy Christians, is the celebration of Jesus death and resurrection, but the death part doesn’t scare us as much as we think it does.  Death is natural.  Part of life… well the end of it anyway.

Death is something we expect to happen, like old age and taxes.  We aren’t happy about it but we’ve accepted it.

Resurrection though.  That freaks us out.  Mummies coming back to life, is the stuff of bad horror flicks, but if we are honest, we expect dead stuff to stay dead.  It shouldn’t and normally doesn’t come back to life.

So when he did…

People lost their minds and they started hiding the eggs and blaming it on the bunnies.

Somewhere in the World Today

Flicker Image: Author “Somewhere in the World Today”

The idea that death wasn’t the end for Jesus, means that he rose again, which he predicted.  He also claimed to be God, and if he was… is (the existing outside the confines of time thing throws me off too) then not only does God exist but the super natural exists.  The transcendent exist.  Eternity exists.

If Jesus just died, like everybody else.  Christianity would be no big deal.  If the natural was all that existed, then we’ve got like 80 or 90 years and it’s over.  I can wrap my head around that.  Not a big deal.

But if Jesus rose, meaning that he is who he said he was, and we need to follow him in order to live for eternity.

That’s heavy.

Like really heavy.

I think I’d prefer to imagine bunnies laying already hardboiled, pastel chicken eggs.

How to actually let go and move on

This post is part 2 of “I wish I could hate you”If you missed that post you can find it here.

 

There’s an old proverb that says “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. 

This proverb was, I’m assuming, designed to help minimize risk.  I can see it being advantageous in military or business endeavors.  Maybe even in sports.  In those situations knowledge of your enemy or competition is key. It makes sense to say that having an enemy you know, is better than having and enemy that you don’t know.

I thought the phrase was interesting, and I’m a nerd so I spent some time trying to find the origin of the phrase and something kidna sad emerged.  Like any old phrase it has been misquoted and distorted over time but the most common modification that I found completely changed the entire meaning of the phrase.

The most common misquotation goes something like this: “Better to have something bad but known, than something (that could turn out to be good) but is (currently) unknown.”  How sad is that.

We’d rather settle for familiar garbage than pursue spectacular dreams.

Our fear of the unknown imprisons us to the negative impact of the known.

When we hold on to things, ideas, or people; what we are actually doing is giving those things control in our life.  We are telling those things that they get to decide the scope and range of our options.

So what would happen in your life if you let go of the devil you knew and pursued the angel that you didn’t?

Maybe your devil is a person but maybe it’s just the idea of a person that you can’t seem to shake.  Maybe your devil is a job that you have but don’t like.  Maybe it’s the car that you’re driving that keeps breaking down.  Maybe it’s the gym that you go to but always leave feeling crappy after working out with a bunch of muscle-bound meat heads surrounded by botoxed-Barbie dolls.

(I hate gyms but kind of like alliteration, can you tell?)

Whatever you’re devil is, it’s time to let go.letting-go

Here’s one way to start.  Take out a piece of paper and write down your devil on that page up at the top.  Once you’ve done that make a list of things that YOU can do to let go of, and remove that devil from your life.  Notice that I capitalized YOU.  The only person that can make a change is you. 

Often we think of letting go as a passive action but that is why we never ACTIVELY let go.  Letting go is an action and we must act in order for the action to take place.  Your fingers and arms (and probably your mind and emotions) must move away from the object that you are holding and then in many cases they must actively push that thing away.

Now, Listen closely because this is where people mess up.  (Ask me how I know.)

Once our hands have done the action of letting go, we leave them open and they just kind of sit there.  But unlike objects at rest that tend to stay at rest, hands that open tend to close.  If we don’t push away the devil and then close our hand around something that is positive, our hands get bored and tend to reach back out and pick up the very thing that we set out to let go of.

The best way that I have found to successfully let go of devils (aka addictions or vises) is to fill my hands back up once I’ve emptied them with positive habits.

Don’t just let go of laziness, grab on to a day planner.  Don’t just let go of a bad relationship, fill your life with positive ones.  Don’t just let go of an addiction, build positive habits.

I’d love to hear about the devils that you are letting go of but what is more important is the angels that you are picking up.  Let me know in the comments.

Questioning the Questions?

I think that a person’s questions reveal way more about them than their answers.

Bruce Lee once said that, “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”  I think he was on to something quite profound.  Questions are extremely important. I would even go so far as to say that they are more important than the answers we end up with.  Questions shape us.  They are the foundation of everything that we do.

The things-that-we-are-curious-about show a different and deeper side of us than the things-that-we-are-sure-of.

Another thing that questions tend to do is provoke thought.  Answers have a nasty tendency of discouraging thoughtfulness but questions almost demand it.  Even simple question like “What do I want for lunch?”, demand that we look within ourselves to examine our own desires.

So take a moment to think about the questions that keep you up at night and then question those questions.  If you ask questions about the future… what do they reveal about your heart.  Does your curiosity lead you to ask questions about science, personal relationships, or the physics behind superman’s ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound?  Whatever your questions are, I bet they reveal something about you that makes you unique.

So what types of questions do you ask, and what do your questions say about you?

Smoke from his Nostrils

In life we are often distracted from our faith by circumstances.  We have faith like Peter to walk out on the water but when we are distracted by the waves of divorce, broken hearts, fear, doubt, worry, stress, depression, anxiety, and low self esteem we doubt, our faith wanes, and we begin to sink.  When I look at the Bible for answers to the question of the existence of these distractions I often find myself in James 1:2-4
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I know that trials produce in me endurance.  And I know that everything in life happens according to God’s plan and that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)  But the question that struck me this week was that if we are talking about “ALL” things, then we are talking about good and bad things.  So… Good things work for good and bad things work for good as well.  If that’s the case, and good is always the effect of either cause, and if it’s true that we have a God who loves us, then why do the bad things happen so often?  Good is the outcome no matter what.  God receives glory no matter what.  So why does divorce affect our society the way it does?  Why are there high school girls who cut themselves?  Why are there Junior High guys trapped in the prison of pornography?  Why are there parents who don’t love their children?  Why is Phoenix one of the top sex trafficking cities in the nation? Why do so many people suffer from depression?  If God can get glory from anything then why does he use the bad things so often?
This question made me mad at God.
It all came full circle today.  In Psalm 18 David very poetically paints us this picture.
The cords of death envelop him.  The torrents of destruction assaulted him.  The snares of his own demise confronted him.  Put simply “Life sucked”.  The end was eminent and David’s enemies had surrounded him.  With nothing left but faith David cries out to God and the beast is unleashed.  The earth is rocked and it trembles in fear. The foundations of the mountains begin to palpitate and crumble as the Lord descends like an eruption to deal with David’s enemies.
Psalm 18:8 “Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth, glowing coals flamed forth from him.  He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water.  Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.  And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.  Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.  He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.”
He delighted in me.
He delighted in me.
Wow.  The God of the universe shakes apart his creation and lays the earth bare because he delights in his children.
I don’t know if you’ve ever learned something that you already knew but I did today.  The power and majesty that is revealed in God’s wrath is utterly and completely beyond magnificent.  We often think of God’s wrath as contrary to, or separate from his love.  Here that is not at all the case.  God’s wrath is intimately linked with, and in fact, inseparable from His love.  The bad things in life give God the opportunity to showcase his majestic wrath.  God’s wrath is a very good thing and as much as it hurts I thank him for the pain in life that gives him license to descend from on high with smoke in his nostrils.
God is Good!