Sunday, January 1, 2017
So… it’s been a while since I posted.
There has been so much going on both in the world at large… and here at home for my own family.
In the world at large, more specifically here in America, well… let’s just say it isn’t pretty.
Problem seemingly number one would be: Our unkind and unfriendly words towards each other.
You can call me all the names you want. It’s not like I haven’t heard them before.
But let me make this abundantly clear. That old worn out saying that says “sticks and stones… blah, blah, blah… “ C’mon I know that you know it. Well, let me say that that saying is a bunch of crap. Words do hurt.
The Bible says that the tongue is a flaming fire.
The words hurt.
They just plain hurt.
And they reveal a whole lot about the ones who are using them.
Two wrongs never make a right… and they never will.
Our race divide in this country will never go away. Not unless we agree to start from a pre-determined ground zero. And, forward motion will take a beautiful and exquisitely painful thing called forgiveness. And, something else: understanding and empathy.
Many other individuals in this country… have experienced their own disadvantages too.
You see, it’s not really about the circumstances. God says that he allows the rain to fall on the evil as well as the good. And, what’s your criteria for good anyway? Have you ever read up on what God’s standards are? They can be found in scripture… you know… the Bible.
So, what’s my point… Each of us. Every one of us. We didn’t get to choose where we were born. We didn’t get to choose who are parents are (were). We didn’t get to have a say in whether we were born to privilege or born to lack. These choices aren’t ever ours. So what you say?!
What I’m getting at is this: Yeah, your circumstances, the place you live, the stock you come from… they may not be so great. From a human perspective that is.
You may live somewhere where a stray bullet could come through your wall and take you out on any given day. You may wonder every day where your next meal may be coming from and if you’ll be going to bed hungry again today. You may live in a place where there is no lack and you never experience poverty, or hunger, or anxiety. But, no matter what your circumstances and no matter what each day brings, one thing stays as an absolute truth:
How you experience your lack or your abundance is now and will always be based on a personal choice to view it the way that you do.
There are many who live in abundance that would rather not be alive because they simply don’t recognize the blessings of their abundance, or they have found like so many have, that things, wealth, status, success, and sex just can’t fill the missing void they feel inside.
(that unfillable void… I would definitely argue, is: a relationship with your creator, the one and only God)
And, there are those who in their great poverty and hunger choose to live in gratitude for the good that comes their way.
We have choices. We can either count our blessings, or we can lament each and every day for what we perceive that we deserve and don’t have.
It all boils down to making a choice to be thankful, grateful, and the most painful of all… to accept that we must be the agents of change in our own lives. We must be our own advocate and we must be the one who decides to throw out all of the negative in our lives.
Now, I get it. That is sooo much easier said than done right? Can I get an amen?!
But, I can tell you. Please understand, (this is me being transparent here) I know depression. I know anxiety. I know fear. I am familiar with these.
And, I know how disabling these things can be. Sometimes we need counseling. Sometimes we need a close confidant that can run interference for us. If you need that, then seek them out. People are not mind readers, generally.
If you need immediate help, then seek it out and don’t delay.
All that being said though. You cannot move forward into brighter days without making a decision.
Decide today that you will seek help. Decide today that you will throw out the negative influences in your life. I know it’s overwhelming but do it one thing at a time.
You’re gonna hate me for this: Start with the television… Yes, you heard me right! Turn off the news! Do you think that the news services get ratings from positive content?
The television and social media are negative hotbeds! Gossip, misinformation, manipulation, etc. – Get rid of it as much as you can. Take a daily or weekly vacation from it and see what begins to happen. I have and it has made a difference.
Guess what? I don’t really miss t.v. most of the time and even better, you get so much time back to do more productive things.
You will immediately get to have more fulfilling relationships with the people around you too. You may find that you’ve been missing out on something valuable for a long time.
To overcome negativity, you must begin a quest to replace it with positivity.
There are many self-help books out there and many books about changing your thinking. Pick them up and read them yes, but make sure that you begin to practice what they preach.
One of the best ways to leave the old grouchy, negative self behind though is this: practice gratitude. Be grateful for the many good things that you do have:
Life and breath. A bed to sleep in. A roof over your head. Family and friends that love you. Food on the table, etc. You get the picture. I know that you may lack some of these, but I know that even in the midst of life’s inevitable storms, you can find a few things to be grateful for.
Beyond that, if you want the world to be a better place, then guess what? You need to be an agent for change. Go out of your door today, determined to be kind, to practice gratitude and thankfulness, to be selfless and helpful, to be friendly and to keep your mouth closed (like your mama used to say) when you don’t have anything nice to say.
You will be surprised by how much your day can be when you choose to focus on the positive, when you choose to be positive.
Now, this is not meant to be cliché. I know there are times when awful things happen and they are often not under our control. I know that difficult circumstances can come, but guess what? It is our choice to react in the way that we react. We must take back control of our actions and must fight the urge to be angry, vengeful, and ugly in response to the world’s ugliness. TWO WRONGS WILL NEVER, EVER MAKE A RIGHT!! – This is absolute truth.
I’m winding up here I promise.
God does not make average and ordinary. Look around at the wonders of nature. Look at the beauty of the people you love and admire. And yeah, maybe do a difficult close look in the mirror. I know, it’s awkward but guess what? There has never been, nor will there ever be, another you! You are extraordinary and unique! God does not make mistakes!! Not now, not with you, not ever!
And because of that, you have unique gifts. You have unique contributions to give to this old world. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Every day is a new opportunity to find your niche in this world. Seek God in this. Go to him in prayer and ask him what he would have you contribute to the world. In time, He will show you.
And as you find your way to a better you, others will be made better by your contributions!
The world will be made better, one person at a time. And, maybe, just maybe, the problems that we face in our country and in our world will be made less by the actions of a whole lot of individuals that decided to draw a line in time and say now is the time to be an agent of positive change.
And, that race divide I mentioned earlier, well... let's just say this. We need to be friends 1st and colors later. We need to defend one another regardless of our ethnicity, social status, or backgrounds. We need to just start from a friendly hello and become professional friend makers. Don't let fear or prejudice keep you from expanding your world and learning that it's about a whole lot more than you.
Decide today whom you will serve. Serve God. Serve humankind. Serve with kindness, mercy, and grace. Serve with forgiveness, humility, and integrity. Put others needs before your own and I know you’ll be surprised by the outcome. You will get back so, so much more than you put in.
Seize the day!
In Christ’s love,