Saturday, July 29, 2017

LIVING LIFE DEFENSIVELY

Sorry!
I don't know.
Are you sure?
I'm not certain.
What am I supposed to do?
What do people expect of me?
Do my neighbors think poorly of me?
Why?

And the list goes on.  An on.  And on. Do you recognize any of it?

Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to you?  Have you ever asked yourself why it is that other people seem to have what you can't obtain? Why this?  Why that?  Why?!

If any of this resonates with you, I'm guessing you're a tad like me in some ways. 

You're living life in the defensive mode.

I'll speak for myself.

I wake up, tired.  Gotta go to the bathroom.  I dutifully drink my 2 glasses of water.  After 30 minutes, I eat breakfast.  Time to get ready for work.  I go.  I work.  I come home.  I make dinner.  I veg out on the computer for a while.  I go to bed.

And it starts all over again.

Isn't life exciting?

NO.  No, it's not appealing at all when you have nothing to live for.  Day after day, we do the same thing.  We don't break out of our pre-determined mold.  We can't.  We have become victims of the mundane. 

Why? Does it have to be that way?

We do that because we are allowing ourselves to live life in a defensive mode.  Do I hear some people saying things like; "But I can't help it!?!" 

That's what I usually say to myself.  I can't help it!  I HAVE to go to work or the bills won't get paid.  I HAVE to drink my stupid water.  I HAVE to eat!  I HAVE to, I HAVE to, I HAVE TO!

Yeah, you and I do have to do a lot of things.  But I'll be honest.  When I add up all the time it takes to do the 'have to's'...I still have some time left over.  

Then I say something like, I really DON'T have time.  You don't understand, there are simply NOT enough hours in the day to do all that I need to do!

Can anybody other than myself, relate to any of this?

I was actually in church, listening to a message.  I admit that my mind does wander a bit...even when the message is really good.  Like today.  In spite of that, all of the sudden I had a random thought strike me.  It came from nowhere and was very unexpected.  Or maybe Someone placed that thought in my head.  

"YOU'RE LIVING A DEFENSIVE LIFE"

Huh?  What?  Where did that thought come from?  This is not what the message was about, but it WAS what God wanted me to hear.  I know it.

"Shay, you are living a defensive life.  It doesn't have to be that way.  You can be pro-active if you really want to.  You can."

And those thoughts have continued for hours and hours.  I realized I need to learn what it means to be pro-active.  What does it mean to live an offensive life?  I suppose I am so afraid of being 'offensive' that I have relegated that very word to the garbage heap.  

Neither you or I have to be offensive in order to lead a life on the offense. It's time for us to think about what that means to each of us.  It's time for us to stop...

LIVING LIFE DEFENSIVELY.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Dark Light

Visible light is the name for electromagnetic radiation that our eyes can see.

Is there a light that we can't see?

Well, there are forms of electromagnetic radiation that are not visible to our eyes.  The term "dark" is indicative of something that cannot be seen.

If I were a chemistry or physics student, I would talk to you about nano meters, radio waves, microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet or x-rays.

We can't see any of those things but we can see their results. That's true in much of existence.
We can't see the wind, but we see what the wind moves.  We can't see heat, but we can certainly feel its impact.  Radio waves may be invisible but the images on a TV screen are a result of their "dark" frequency.

There are countless invisible realities that are easy to dismiss or take for granted when we can't easily see them.

Some people may say that Jesus could be referred to as a "Dark Light" because He can no longer be seen.

The only problem is that Jesus is a historical reality.  He was born. He lived on this earth.  His life was documented and continues to affect history.

Because He did come to this world and make Himself visible, He cannot be a Dark Light.

But something else can.

There is a spiritual realm to this world that is definitely unseen, but very real all the same.  We feel its affects all the time. Sometimes people acknowledge it.  Many times people ignore it.

Unfortunately, refusing to acknowledge the existence of a reality will not make it "go away".  

Hey, if that were true I would refuse to recognize weight gain. Wouldn't that be awesome?  Just reject the existence of a truth and 'voila'.  All gone!

Sigh...would that that were so.  

But it's not and the sooner we accept that truth, the better off we will be.

Back to the Spiritual Reality we live in.

Since we know that Jesus is the Light of the World, then can anybody tell me:

Who is...

The Dark Light?






Monday, August 24, 2015

The Light That Cannot Be Blown Out

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about how frustrated I was.  Pretty much everyone can relate to that. Who, after all, doesn't get irritated and even downright angry from time to time?

I had said that I heard the expression "light a candle" ... but sometimes I felt like I was trying to light a candle when it was "windy".

This morning I realized something that I overlooked earlier.  Surprise. Surprise.

When I am trying to light a candle "in the wind"... and it's not "lighting" ... that's an indication that the candle I am trying to light is not coming from within.  I am allowing circumstances to dictate my "ability to light up." That happens when I try to take care of things in my flesh...or in my own strength apart from God working in me.

As Christians who know Jesus and have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, the "light" is inside of us in the form of the Holy Spirit.

No amount of "wind" can truly blow Him out.  He cannot be extinguished.

What do we need to do when the storm around us is threatening us?

We need to turn inward - to the Light inside of us that cannot be blown out.


Monday, August 3, 2015

A Candle in a Very Dark World.

We all have our ups and downs, right?  When I am "down" I want to know about other people's "downs".  I suppose I just don't want to feel like I'm "the only one".  

Have you ever been there?  Surely, you have.  Hasn't everyone?

Who do you think this is?  

*He failed in business.
He was defeated in legislature.
*He again failed in business.
He was elected to the legislature.
His wife-to-be died.
He had a nervous breakdown.
He was defeated for Speaker of the House.
He was defeated for Elector.
A son died.
He was defeated for the Senate.
He was defeated for Vice-President.
He was defeated for the Senate.
This man, Abraham Lincoln, was elected President.

A failure? He may have thought so at one time.  But, in reality...he was a candle in a very dark world. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Candles in the Night

What do you think of when you think of candles?

I think of serenity.  Beauty.  Gentleness...a soft glow.

When I picture a candle at it's best, it is always when it is lighting up the darkness.  That's when the soft glow projects a beauty and gentleness that quiets your soul.

You have undoubtedly heard the expression, "If it's dark, light a candle".

Sounds good, but I'll be honest.  Sometimes when I'm in a bad frame of mind or I'm just plain depressed, I don't want to hear something that sounds even remotely like a reprimand.  It makes me cringe.

I mean.  It is a true expression, but that doesn't mean it's always going to be easy.  Ever tried to light a candle in the wind?  Or how about this?  Try lighting it in the wind without any means of keeping the wind away from the candle.

That's how I feel sometimes.

Have you ever been there?

I stare into nothingness.  Day after day.  The family that raised me "loves" me...but won't talk to me. Haven't been able to figure that one out.  My husband and our family is wonderful, but the kids are now grown and on their own.  I can't expect my spouse to 'be' there for me in every way at all times.

So what do I do?  I work.  Sleep. Eat.  Work, sleep, eat.  Work, sleep, eat.  Oh, and I occasionally spend some time with my husband when he's not tired.

Now what?

I think I need to learn about people who have gone through dark periods in their lives - but have projected a gentle, soft glow as they allow their candle to be lit in spite of how dark their souls feel.

They are out there.

"Candles in the Night"




Thursday, January 31, 2013

Evicted From La-La Land...


Oh dear...I'm afraid I'm going to make some people mad. For any of you that know me from previous articles, you know that I have a hard time saying or doing anything that might offend someone.

I love people - but I love the truth more. So... hang with me, okay?

What is "La La Land", anyway?

L.A.??? As in Los Angeles? ( One dictionary actually gave that as a definition).

Perhaps the people in L.A.? ( Yes, it was literally another definition).

Last, by not least, came the meaning that most people think of when they think of La La Land:

The state of being out of touch with reality.

So far, so good. No hurt feelings, everyone is okay. Now for the clincher:

What is reality?


This is where people get addled.

We get in a lather, become agitated, bewildered, disturbed and even irritated when people don't see things our way, right?

There are three things to consider:

1) Reality
2) Pure Reality
3) Our different worlds.

By "reality" I'm simply referring to the laws and consequences of life in this world alone.

By "pure reality" I mean to speak to people who embrace a spirtual understanding and combine it with the reality of this world. I refer to that as the Spirit -vs- Flesh.

And lastly, everybody lives in their own world which obviously would be different for everyone. Every human being sees and experiences the world around them in light of their own personal and private experiences.

Get it? Got it. Great!

Let me give the defintion of "La La Land" again:

"The state of being out of touch with reality"
.

Whether you think of reality as the life and consequences of this world, or reality that acknowledges a battle between the flesh and the spirit...we all live in this world. We all deal with life and it's consequences.

Do you ever find yourself in this world, minding your own business, when...BAM! Something hits you between the eyes, figuratively speaking, and stars begin to circle your head? (Okay...maybe I used to watch a lot of cartoons).

Pain - usually emotional pain - enters our world. And I've got to tell you...pain is not always obvious. Ever experienced confusion, anxiety, hurt, fear, agitation? Do you know what it's like to be perplexed, distracted, embarrassed,flustered or perturbed? Ever felt disoriented or unsettled?

Then you have felt pain.

I'm going to take a wild guess here:

I bet you didn't like it.

Chances are, it was a reality that didn't set too well with you. What do we ususally do when we don't like something?

Most of us avoid it. Escape it. Ignore it. Call it what you want, but the bottomline is,at that point we are choosing to ignore reality.

We are entering "La La Land".


You probably didn't like what I said. If you are like me, you might have felt a bit insulted. Perhaps a little defensive. Okay - very defensive.

Honestly, when I mentioned this topic to people before I wrote this post, I was shocked at how defensive and angry they where about this whole subject. They felt it was offensive.

Apparently,nobody wants to acknowledge that "they" are in La La Land, afterall... only irresponsible people live there! To suggest that the average person resides at that location is downright insulting!

Now I'm going throw out something that seems to be in left field.

Life throws us unexpected curveballs, like:

* Being layed off of work
* Finding out you have a debilitating disease
* Having your loved one leave you
* Death
* Demotion at work
* Slander that ruins you
* Pregnancy that you aren't prepared for.

The list is endless.

Is it possible that those things that hurt us, are...in reality:

EVICTING US FROM LA LA LAND???

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dancin On the Line...


I've got a question for you. Do you think, as we go through life, that people make various life choices in the course of their lives- that they are always happy with? More to the point, do you think the decisions that are made are generally good options or do we tend to make bad judgements from time to time? Then again, is it possible that the actions we take in our life are simply "okay" options?

Now that I think about it, we usually don't even think about whether our actions are good or bad - we just do them.

But, when we do decide to be proactive and start actively thinking about the choices we make . . . maybe we are asking ourselves the wrong question.

Instead of asking if our soon to be made decision is right, wrong or okay - maybe we should ask instead;

"Is it WISE"?

Puts things into a new perspective.

Think about it. Lots of things we do are okay.

There is nothing illegal about going out to lunch with a business partner of the opposite sex.

Certainly it is not wrong to dance with that same person at a holiday party? (So you're married...or he is).

What's the harm in being willing to give him a listening ear? (Too bad things are going so poorly with his insensitive wife). It's a good thing you are there for him.

Can you help it if you need him to give you a ride home? Hmmm...he is a lot better looking now that the lights are low and you know his heart. Surely it wouldn't hurt to stop by his house for a cup of coffee before you go home...but things get out of hand.

Days, weeks, months or even years later...you are kicking yourself for your mistakes. 'If only you knew. If only you could go back in time and change things, everything would be different'.

Well, I've got news for you that really isn't news.

You will never be able to go back in time nor will you ever be able to look into the future.

The scenario above was just a scenario - but a very common one. There are thousands of others..but you get the picture.

None of those actions in and of themselves were neccesarily wrong - but they were unwise.

Are you one of the millions of people that has dealt with poor choices in the past or perhaps you are dealing with a circumstance right now that doesn't feel completely right - but you haven't done anything wrong. Not really.

Obviously, you can do whatever you want. Your decisions are yours to make. Many people don't want to say "no" simply because they are too concerned with image. "What will people think of me? They'll think I'm a prude. People will think I'm weird."

Newsflash.
This is YOUR life. You have to live with yourself and the decision of your choices every day for the rest of your life. The people you are concerned about aren't going to be living your life for you. So...

If you find you are flirting with danger and skirting the issue, chances are you are:

Dancin On the Line.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

AN AVOIDABLE REGRET

It's really weird.  I mean, here we are living our various lives...all of us are very unique, very different.  Billions upon billions of individuals all around the globe.  We reside in different countries and cultures.  Our ethnicity varies from person to person.  Some people are rich, others poor, others in the middle somewhere. In spite of those many differences and more, we all have one thing in common.  One thing unites us.  One thing looms over absolutely every individual who is now alive or who will ever live. One thing is in your future that you will never be able to avoid, no matter how much you try.  Igoring it won't make it go away. We will soon deal with the same thing every one of our ancesters did.


How can I phrase this?  Perhaps the most tactful thing I can say is:  Our days are numbered. Or, for people who need me to be more blunt.  We are all going to die.  No. Seriously.  Don't hit the delete button as you tell yourself that you are not interested in this subject.  What I have to say is something you are going to want to hear.  You have an opportunity right now to push an emotional fast forward button on your life and see into your future.

We all live.  We all die.  Nobody wants to talk about it, but it is reality.  We can't stop death from eventually taking over...but we can make our days of life count.

You see, When you begin to live as if your days are numbered . . . you will gain a heart of wisdom.

It's true.  Think about it.  When you have a deadline to meet, you count your days...rearrange your schedule, prioritize your time in a way that you can accomplish what needs to be taken care of by a particular due date.

You have a due date that is more important, more significant, more compelling and powerful than any other juncture of your life.  Remember when I said earlier that you have an opportunity to do an emotional fast forward on your life?  You will push that fast forward button when you imagine yourself at the end of your life.  When only months or perhaps days, are left, you will look back on your life and why you did things the way you did...

Why did you work so much?  Was it really necessary to spend all those overtime hours so that your kids could live in a bigger house and have their own bedroom?  Did they have to wear only designer jeans?  Was making the money you needed to pay for all those "things" worth missing out on a relationship with your family?  Believe it or not, this is only the second thing that people who are nearing the end of their life, regret.

What is the first thing?  What is the regret that studies have found fill most peoples mind at the end of their lives?

"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."

Regrets.  Life is full of them.  But you and I have the opportunity to learn from other peoples regrets.  Their remorse is so very sad.  It doesn't have to be that way for us.  Why?  Because it is ...

AN AVOIDABLE REGRET.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Willpower or Real Power?

When I hear the phrase "just pull yourself up by your bootstraps" I want to scream. Have you ever felt that way?  Or are you the person that gives that advice to others?

Doesn't matter.  We're all people and we all live in a world that threatens to destroy us in some way at some point.  Everybody has their different "demons" as they say.

You may have a lot of money and/or power.  Problems come with that.  Perhaps you have no money and are alone.  Problems come with that as well.  It seems that nobody is free from potential emotional damage...whether you want to admit it or not.

"Pull yourself up by the bootstraps" as I mentioned above, is a popular phrase.  Or perhaps..."just do it".
Nice and concise.  Too bad it's easier said than done.

I said I don't like those phrases...but why?  I guess it's because those things rely on willpower and that requires energy...and you know what?  That's okay.  For a while. But eventually our energy gets sapped.  We are drained.  Then what?

Rest.  Go on a vacation.  Buy some new clothes.  Remodel.  (Or, for the people who can't afford that at the moment - re-arrange the living room or bedroom).

Being the creative,versatile people that we are, we will think of something.

And then...

We do it all over again.  Live life.  Eventually the problems return and we "pull ourselves up by the bootstraps" just one more time. . . and the cycle continues.

Willpower is amazing.  We have so much more of it than we realize.

We can go on the crazy willpower roller coaster ride for the rest of our lives - with those little breaks in between to keep us going - or we can plug into some real power.

But what is the Real Power and how can we plug into it?

The real power is found in Christ.  When we are connected to Him we can experience real power.  Healing power.  Incredible power.

So what will it be for you?

Willpower or Real Power?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Can Marriage REALLY last???

Well...today is mine and my husbands 33rd year anniversary.  Our marriage started out a little on the unorthodox side.  We actually didn't start dating until AFTER we got married.  I know.  Weird.  Definitely not the norm nor is it what I would typically recommend.  But I WOULD recommend dating each other for the rest of your lives.

Seriously.  It's fun.  It totally enhances your relationship.  Your kids - if you decide you want them - will watch you from a distance and secretly delight in the fact that their mom and dad are still married in this very insecure world.  But... more importantly:

Love each other.

Sounds easy, right?  Wrong!  Yes, loving requires that you love others as much as you love yourself - and that isn't easy.  Well...loving ourselves can be easy - but loving others is certainly not a piece of cake.  Not all the time, anyway.

Truly loving somebody means you will consider their feelings at any given time.  You will want the best for them and do what you can to help in that area.  They come first.

Ideally, this is a two way street.  Both of you will put each other first.

Alas, more often than not, only one spouse invests in the relationship... usually the woman.
Ever wonder why that is?  Pretty simple explanation, actually.

Women are generally more relational.   

So MEN.  Listen up!  This is vitally important!

You are important and I recognize that you have abilities that surpass your counterpart.  But think about this:

If you were to tell you that you had a short time to live...what would you do?  Close your eyes and think about it before you read on.

If you are like the vast majority of the population, you would change your perspective. You wouldn't think to yourself that it is incredibly important to work overtime...you would want to spend "overtime" with your wife and kids.  With people that are important to you.  Relationships are what make human life exceptional.

So, do yourself, your spouse and your kids a favor and:

DATE YOUR WIFE.
SPEND TIME WITH YOUR KIDS
INVESTS IN RELATIONSHIPS THAT ARE TRULY IMPORTANT.

When you do that, you will find that...yes...

Marriage CAN really last!