Sunday, September 21, 2014

Find Peace in Ten Minutes or Less

Are you feeling stressed?  I'm sending you happy thoughts from my quiet place.   My bedroom window is open and a cool breeze is drifting through the blinds.  The morning sun is rising.  The birds are accompanying Michael W. Smith's Agnus Dei YouTube video playing in the background as I pen this message.  Peace be with your spirit.  I have something for you to help you find peace in ten minutes or less.  Click on the video below and close your eyes...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Do the Small Things Well

I spent 75% of this morning's writing time thinking about today's big topic.  It hit me in the waning minutes.  Life is not about big things – it's a series of small things.  It's all about the tiny moments.  Details.  Pauses.  It's the dot above the i in your life.  Most people overlook the small things.  My goal for today is to pay attention to the little things.  I'm going to make minor adjustments moment by moment.  I'm going to do the small things well.  Have a great day.

Friday, September 19, 2014

You Can't Choose Your Situation But You Can Choose Your Happiness

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be ~ Abraham Lincoln

There's an Old Testament character named Nehemiah who fought off evildoers with a sword in one hand while using the other hand to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, one brick at a time.  The place was in shambles.  The workers were few.  And the enemy was strong.  That's how I feel about my life.  I'm in the process of rebuilding from the ground up.  I have a sword in one hand to fend off my attackers and one free hand to rebuild a safe haven for my family, brick by brick.

I do one thing every morning that helps me get to my happy place – I count my blessings. I can't choose my situation but I can choose my happiness.  I choose to be happy.  How about you?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What is Emotional Detachment?

Tommy Shaw from Styx released a song during my high school senior year that resonates with me.  I remember locking myself in my bedroom and playing the song over and over.  Here are the lyrics from the first stanza:

You see the world through your cynical eyes
You're a troubled young man I can tell
You've got it all in the palm of your hand
But your hand's wet with sweat and your head needs a rest
And you're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
You're killing yourself if you don't believe it

Tommy Shaw is still singing that song three and a half decades later.  The words are deeply philosophical.  Perhaps the only word that no longer applies in my life is young.  My high school classmates never saw my cynical eyes.  They never knew I was a troubled young man.  And I never gave my head a rest.  Instead, I buckled my seat belt and boarded the roller coaster.  I found my relief by smacking tennis balls for countless hours.  The more sweat the better.  I didn't know about something called emotional detachment.  It's a new tool in my arsenal for dealing with things beyond my control.  It's neither a good tool nor a bad tool.  Detachment is neutral.  I can ride the roller coaster without anger, frustration or the need to barf.  My head rests even when the world around me is spinning.

With respect to Tommy Shaw, I don't have anything in the palm of my hand.  I decided to let go of all the things that make me angry.  Here are the rest of the lyrics:

Why must you be such an angry young man
When your future looks quite bright to me
And how can there be such a sinister plan
That could hide such a lamb, such a caring young man
And you're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
You're killing yourself if you don't believe it
Get up, get back on your feet
You're the one they can't beat and you know it
Come on, let's see what you've got
Just take your best shot and don't blow it

I admire Tommy's optimism about the future.  Emotional detachment means separating myself from both the past and the future.  I do agree with the part about being the one they can't beat.  I promise to take my best shot every day, although sometimes I might blow it.  That's okay.  I'm not the one in charge.  I can't change anyone else.  I'm just going to spend today working on changing myself.  There's an open seat next to me on the back of the ride if you care to join me.  I promise, no vomiting.  Those days are behind me.  Today is a new day.  I'm going to enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Walls are Shaking

The walls are shaking.  The ground feels like quicksand.  It's another pop quiz.  There's only one question on the test –  Are your eyes focused on me?  I wonder, is another two by four going to fall from the roof and strike me in the head?  My family watches, waiting for my answer.  Will I flinch?

Joshua had the same struggle when he was preparing to take the promised land.  He believed that with God's help he could lead his people to victory.  In order to accomplish the mission, he needed to get his own house in order first.  It starts with the man in the mirror.  Then the family.  A strong foundation is required.  The clock is ticking.  It's time to answer the question.  I choose a bold font for my response...

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord ~ Joshua 24:15

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why God Orders a Wrecking Ball

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver ~ Malachi 3:3

God works in mysterious ways.  I know this because I'm a first-hand witness.  My wife too.  Last night we reminisced about a prayer we said together.  The year was 2005.  The prayer we recited went something like this... "We put our lives in your hands, Dear God.  We're not afraid.  You may use us any way you want for your purposes."  A wrecking ball showed up within twenty-four hours.  God decided to go big.  No facelifts.  No cosmetic changes.  He decided our lives needed rebuilding from the ground up.  I can't count how many times I threw my hands up in the air and asked, "Really?"

I'm choosing not to share the painful details of the demolition process because it involves other family members and their lives are private.  Let's just say it was a scary moment when I got the wake-up call at 4:00 AM.  The wrecking ball smashed through the master bedroom window while we were quietly sleeping.

It's a strange feeling to look in the mirror and not recognize the person in the reflection.  That's part of the remodeling process.  The best way to describe it is with a picture.  Here it is...

Do you know when the silversmith is satisfied?  It's when he sees himself in the reflection.  God couldn't see himself in the reflection.  He sent in the wrecking ball.  He began the refinement process.  He's still not done.  The process is painful.  I've learned one important lesson about construction projects.  I'm not in charge.  I can't change anyone else.  I can only change my own attitude.  Everything else is in God's hands.  Everything.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spiritual Solar Panels

Living off the grid is no easy task.  Some of the spiritual solar panels in my household are broken.  I don't really know how to make the repairs on my own but I have faith God will send me all the assistance I need.  God promises, "ask and you shall receive."  Today I'm taking the first step.  In order for the spiritual solar panels to work properly, I need to surround myself with others who are in similar circumstances.  The power of the Son is infinite.  And the Holy Spirit will send instructions.  If you are struggling today, call out to Jesus.  He is the light of the world.