December 2, 2013
The annual Thanksgiving Day family party was a big success with one exception…yours truly! You see there is such a thing as “too much” fun and in my case “too much” Fireball! As one might expect, too many drinks leads to some rather bizarre behavior, made worse by the advent of Vine videos which, thanks to the marvels of modern technology, allows you to see yourself out of your mind while in your right mind… SMH oh well! Those sketchy memories aside (thankfully) and after a couple of days of self-flagellation, I realized that my errors in judgment weren’t my issue as much as my perceptions of other people’s judgment (or perceived judgment) of me… What must they think of me???
Good question, wouldn’t you agree? I mean how much time do we really spend worrying about what other people might be thinking about us? And maybe not without good reason… We live in a society that thrives (or feeds if you will) on judgment. We judge people for being overweight; for not being as attractive as someone in the media convinced us they should be; for not having enough money (or having too much money); for the color of their skin; for their ethnicity and on it goes into virtual judgment oblivion. There are social expectations, relationship expectations, behavior expectations, moral expectations and religious expectations. And the result? A world of people controlled and terrified of other people’s judgment. And maybe worst of all, a multitude of people paralyzed with the thoughts of Almighty God‘s judgment!
So maybe we ought to try to make some sense out of all that judgment. First, I think if you have lived long enough, you realize that all people have had their moments in the mud and if they haven’t yet, just wait a little bit. Next, if you’ve lived long enough (again) you have been down the slippery path enough to understand that people, being people, often get tripped up in life and even more often when they least expect it (There but for the grace of God, go I). And finally, here’s maybe the most scary part of it all. All of us have a mind that we live inside and as such are completely aware of where our thoughts go at all times. Oh we may have a fantastic public persona, but we also know the stuff that goes through our private minds. Yet somehow we try for all we are worth to keep that private part private because after all, God forbid what would happen to us if people knew who we really are!
So, here’s a thought for your noggin – you know who you are inside (which I’m guessing doesn’t really vary that much for most of us) and for that reason alone might want to decide to give up on judgment! (LOL) Judgment is a losers game which, while appearing to make you feel a bit superior for a moment, only ends with your own feeble attempt to justify your own insanity by pointing out the insanity of others. Saying someone is ugly never made you prettier. Calling someone an idiot won’t add to your IQ. And, no matter how thin you might get, it will never make up for the insecurity you feel inside. You see, judgment only serves to turn us into critical Pharisees, who while interacting personally with the Messiah, could not conceive that he was who he said he was because their eyes were blinded to “true love” and instead only saw the flaws they trained themselves to see. And while I’m at it, God Himself who saw the evil results of judgment sent us a Savior to “once and for all ever set us free” from the potential to be judged! So, of course there is a better way to live…
The best way to live is devoid of all judgment. (Maybe give it up for lent -ha) Just stop doing it. Does that mean you must excuse bad behavior? Of course not! Instead acknowledge the “bad behavior” but decide to love the person behind it. And, are you deciding to love them based upon your ranking scale concerning the badness of their behavior? No, unless you are okay with the same ranking scale! (Haha – side-note, somehow in your own mind your bad won’t be as bad as “their” bad!) Just let people be people. Let them bloody their own noses. They don’t need your lecture, they need your love because their nose is already bleeding! Why not be that person they know never judges them and in so doing, give them a little slice of heaven while they are still on earth. Imagine that – heaven is a place people go to because they chose to believe in God’s Savior rather than choosing to believe in the ever sliding scale of good behavior!
You and I don’t ever have to be afraid of people’s judgment! Oh sure they are going to judge us still, but at the end of the day, it’s what God thinks that matters and He already forgave us for every whacky thing we ever got caught up in! Yes folks, it’s that big!
So is this about a man feeling bad for being “that guy” at his own house party? Nah, don’t you believe it! This is about freedom from the fear and bondage of judgment that runs the whole world. Shoot, I ain’t scurrrred! How about you?
Just some good “judgment free” thoughts…
November 21, 2013
Recently I’ve been listening to the audio book, “The Happiness Hypothesis“ and more specifically a sub-chapter entitled, “The Adversity Hypothesis.” In the segment the author posits the question of whether or not adversity makes you stronger. An interesting question, don’t you think? But, as you may have come to expect by now, I plan to hit this subject from another angle. So before we delve in, I’d like to say how grateful I am that someone took the time to teach me the truth concerning God and life so that I don’t have to spend my time and effort researching what men say and studying conclusions that philosophers make! If you think about it, the disadvantage a scientist or a philosopher has is that they can only study the effects of what is and what is, is not always as it appears to be… Add to that the reality that God has so arranged life in order to help us win and overcome, but that arrangement often appears as an original intention, not an adaptation. Confused? Okay, I’ll explain…
God in His ultimate perfection does not need evil or suffering or pain to make us better people. The prototype, Adam, was not designed to suffer or get sick or even die. His beginnings started without the influence of evil. Adam’s choice allowed the entrance of evil and as a result people have been suffering ever since. Am I angry with Adam? Of course not. I’m just glad it wasn’t up to me (smile). I digress… So along the way of life, human beings now have to overcome evil and pain and suffering. Was it part of the plan? Well, yes and no. No, in that it was not God’s original intention (remember He is all love and light), but yes in that in His foreknowledge He knew what his blessed free-will man would do. And thus knowing, made a way for man to escape the clutches of evil and sadly overcome his suffering. And to now come full circle, in the future there will one day be no such thing as evil again and those of us who choose to believe will live forever without any suffering ever again (in that day when… He shall wipe the tears from their eyes). But until that great future day, here we are…
So, does what doesn’t kill you make you stronger? Yes, if so be that you happen to survive it. There are many folks still living today that have not actually survived it. For example, I recently received a long comment on one of my blogs, where I was expounding God’s ability to heal us from His heart of love, whereby a rather hurt lady proceeded to inform me about her horrible suffering dating back to her childhood; her ardent displeasure in God for apparently allowing it to happen and her present sentiment, “F**k God for allowing it! And naturally my heart goes out to her. You see, she is alive but is clearly not okay. So why would anyone ever conclude that God would purposefully allow suffering or worse, cause suffering to make people better in the end? That logic is insane even on the surface, yet that’s what “people” say and teach and so life goes on in suffering. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, God does not “allow” bad things to happen to people! His heart of love is infinitely greater than yours and mine; infinitely greater! He doesn’t need the horrific ways of the adversary to help Him bring His people up. But free will necessitates that we all can choose what we will believe and thereby ultimately what we may unknowingly allow. And I should point out before you get angry with me, of course a child isn’t responsible for what is “allowed” to happen to him. Parents are responsible to believe “for” their children, while they are still children. Then, it’s a daisy chain of events that sometimes goes on for generations because as a whole, folks don’t generally understand what God is really all about and what He can and will do to help us. Even worse, many people don’t even think there is an adversary that seeks to work them woe, so they blindly assign it all to God, and suffer! I’m no scholar perhaps, but I’d be pretty pissed at God if He did cruel horrible things to me and my family! And, would not give a damn how many mysterious purposes you assigned to the evil!
So after being very clear regarding who does the good and who does the evil, we are ready to answer the question and the answer is maybe… The obstacles and trials of life can actually make you stronger if you can see them for what they really are; attribute it to the evil that is really behind it and believe God to show you the way to recovery and wholeness. Research actually shows that people recover faster from tragedies when they are able to make sense of what happened and random happenstance or bad luck makes no sense!
God has given all of us the ability through His Word and His spirit to overcome even the most devastating of events (See Job in the Bible), but you and I, like Job, have to get to the place where we see God for who He really is; a loving, kind, tender, compassionate Father that seeks our best interest no matter what we have done to the contrary! Blaming ourselves for the evil that happens in our lives will never help us. What helps us is when we get real honest and earnestly seek the answers to the questions that plague us. There is always an answer folks.
Life being what it is, in version B, we are going to face many obstacles and challenges. They weren’t just part of life, but now they are just part of life. Accordingly, God is able to use that wrong directed toward you (for no good reason) and turn it to your benefit as you get strong and wise in areas you were formerly weak and ignorant. But in the process, let Him show you how to do it without the suffering part. You’ll like that a lot better!
Does what doesn’t kill you make you stronger? Yes, if you get God involved!
Just some good thoughts (that didn’t kill you!)…
November 18, 2013
I don’t think you would find it a stretch if I said that everyone is after peace of mind. We make more and more money in attempt to find peace. We buy life insurance with the hopes of ensuring peace for our loved ones. We take trips into nature to enjoy the peace that we believe we will find there. And for good reason, right? Who doesn’t enjoy a sense of calmness on the inside. Who doesn’t appreciate the wonder of undisturbed, untroubled waters within? Who could possibly be against having ”ease of being?” Well, there’s something very simple, yet profound in its effects, namely that peace is simply the absence of fearful considerations. I remember writing not too long ago that often success and happiness in life come not so much from the things we do, but more from the things we don’t do. So, I’ll get back to that in a minute. First indulge me in a short rant about fear…
Contrary to what you may have been taught, fear is your greatest enemy. Fear isn’t healthy! Fear isn’t natural! Fear isn’t normal! The first man Adam didn’t have any fear. Maybe you should read that again! Adam didn’t have any fear in any way for any reasons, that is until he went against (in typical human fashion) the one thing God told him not to do! And by doing so, introduced the great enemy of mankind with fear following closely on his coat-tails. Fear had an origin. But don’t get it twisted, fear is never right. Fear is unhealthy in every way. It is decidedly unnatural and abnormal. But, we don’t think to be true. You know why? Because this whole world we live in runs on fear; feeds on fear; brings fear and promotes fear! Advertisements make you afraid so you will buy something. Politicians scare the hell out of you with made up stories about pending disaster; to protect you? Never! To get more votes and power and influence; always! Fear, fear, fear… We wonder why people are deluged with anxiety. We’ve been completely overun by fear.
So, what exactly is the solution? Not what you might think, I fear (pun intended). With all of that talk about facing your fears and feeling your fears; there’s another way to go. Refuse your fear. Fear at it’s core level is a weapon used by the enemy of righteousness to enslave people. When you are afraid , not much happens. Fear slows life down to a snail’s pace. Fear, which issues in unbelief or negative belief, is the only thing that cuts you off from receiving God’s help by causing you not to believe and thus get defeated. But here is where it gets tricky on you. Fear is actually a temptation; a temptation to do something contrary to God’s will – fear. And like any temptation, it gathers power by your consideration of it. Think about the last time something made you feel afraid. Chances are you had the thought, it scared you and then you felt like you couldn’t let it go. By God, you were going to solve it by analyzing it from every angle frantically searching for a solution. Did you solve it that way? Nope! Chances are you gave away x-amount of time until some other consideration came along and maybe you let it go. But, while you were in that period of fearful consideration, your life was officially on hold. That’s how fear and its source gains power over you. In order for fear to defeat you it needs your help or your vote if you will. And you give it entrée by considering it. Notice the next time something makes you afraid how difficult it feels to simply let it go. Yet trusting God is all about letting it go. And if you’re honest, doubt, worry and fear don’t prepare you for some pending doom, they just catastrophize things in your mind.
So like I said earlier, when it comes to fear it’s all about what you don’t do or refuse to do, more than what you do-do. Refuse to give those fear thoughts any consideration. I mean get really serious about it. Stop running all of that disaster through your mind. Stop counting up and cataloguing everything that can go wrong and just live. Don’t give those thoughts your attention. That’s not Pollyanna, that’s belief. Like 50 Cent once said so eloquently, “It seems kind of insulting to God to pray about something then spend all your time worrying about how it won’t happen for you!” (And you thought he was just a rapper!)
And here is something that will happen that will absolutely blow your mind. If you got real serious about refusing those thoughts, you will start to experience this really, really odd feeling – peace. You will have a calmness on the inside that you have always dreamed of. You will catch of glimpse of how God always wanted you to feel. But ya gotta do it, to get it. You have to take your mind by the ears and make it obey. Sure facing your fears is effective. Absolutely deciding to keep moving despite feeling afraid is good for you. But, nothing is as effective as simply refusing to do it. REFUSE!
So the next time the enemy whispers some fearful consideration in your ear, don’t take it on by considering it. Take it on by adamantly refusing it. God will always, always come through for you, but He needs you to obey. Life can become pretty scary, especially when others depend on you, but fear always was and always will be a grand illusion. What can’t God repair or heal or restore? What? (I’ll wait…)
At the end of the day, peace is the absence of fear…
Just some good thoughts…
October 24, 2013
This is a blog about living without debt, but has nothing to do with your financial decisions. Rather this is summary of the greatest story ever told; a story about how to have a fulfilling and effectual relationship with God. But, I’m going to warn you right up front, if you are a fan of religion and religious ritual, read no further because chances are I’m going to make you angry. Naturally a discussion about your relationship with God will take more than a thousand words, but I’ll do my best to give you the salient points and then you, my friends, can decide for yourself!
So, here goes… Anything that you do for God that you really, really don’t want to do will ultimately be based upon fear. All kinds of things are said and done in the name of God are not only nutso and illogical, but are often far removed from the things God says actually please Him. Forced obedience is not obedience, no more so than when your kids do what you tell them because they are afraid of what you will do to them if they don’t do it. And if you are honest, when you follow some commandment or refuse to partake in an activity because you fear negative consequences with God, you are acting out of fear. I’m pretty sure that you want your children to do what you say because they love and you and trust you, not because they are afraid of you. Well, God is no different! Add to that a society that has ever-changing rules regarding what is a sin and what isn’t, we are left with a real conundrum. But God is smarter than that…
This may surprise you, but God is well aware of the human condition. He knows how evil works and He’s well aware of the pitfalls that follow bad decisions. And, in the world of “anything goes” bad decisions still remain. Thus in His infinite (and I don’t throw that word around haphazardly) wisdom, He came up with a grand solution. For those of us that choose to believe, He did away with the sin problem once and for all. He knew we would never live up to His Word on our own. The first man, Adam, the prototype didn’t, so why would He expect that we would be any different. Yet how many of us think otherwise? How many of us do all kinds of shenanigans to “make” ourselves right with God. And have you enjoyed much success playing that game? For every good deed we do, we inadvertently do two things wrong. And even the good things we think we do often present with another layer of how we could have done better and on that dastardly game goes. Have you ever noticed how angry and judgmental religious people are? Have a little compassion on them, that’s a tough, tough game they are playing! Instead God masterfully devised the ultimate solution. He sent His son as the Savior from sin. Jesus Christ with all that wonderful freedom of will you and I have (minus sin in his blood), decided to walk and live God’s Word perfectly. Then after suffering the worst torture any human has endured, died, paying once and for all the price for everything that was ever wrong with you and me! He became sin for us so that if we chose to believe in him and that God raised him from the dead, we would be forevermore righteous in God’s sight! Now think about that for a moment. Once you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and believe God raised him from the dead, you are forevermore righteous in God’s sight. And in being made righteous by God Himself, never, ever have to fear again coming up short in His sight. That’s true freedom folks…but, it gets better.
Being now made free by God, you are now 100% free to choose how you live your life. Stay with me now! You simply cannot sin in God’s sight. You cannot. Because you behave so well? Of course not! Rather, because you chose to accept God’s sacrifice for you. Sidenote – if you revert back to earning God’s love and protection with your good behavior because something made you afraid, you go back to the ‘game of losers’ that no-one ever wins. And now paradoxically, for the first time in your life, you truly have freedom to decide how you will live. When you afraid of making God mad or losing God’s favor, you aren’t really choosing freely. I don’t know about you, but I want my children’s love and respect and trust to come from their hearts, freely and without fear. God is no different! He wants you to do what you really want to do. Don’t you think He can see through your rituals? Can you imagine that He already knows your heart isn’t in that behavior you are begrudgingly choosing? Really? He is God, after-all… Now I’m not saying anything goes or do as you please through life. You already know that doesn’t work. I’m saying stop doing stuff for God you really don’t want to do. You aren’t blessed, God isn’t blessed, so why do it?
You and I, as believers, are living life on the plus side of the ledger. We cannot dip into the red because Jesus Christ already paid the price for us. You wouldn’t pay more for something than it costs would you? Well, that’s what you do every time you try to earn God’s favor! Don’t go by what people say, go by what God says in His Word (you didn’t think I made this stuff up, did you?). Don’t rely on your Pastor or the TV or the Internet, find out for yourself what God says in His Word. Not too long ago dancing was a sin (smile).
Get off that high horse you have constructed over time and let God do for you what you were never able to do for yourself! A relationship with God isn’t all about you (what you do and don’t do, though the preachers beg to differ). Instead it’s all about what God has done for you in Christ Jesus.
Breathe in the fresh air of freedom folks; where there is no fear. You deserve that, don’t you think? Haha, well maybe not, but God made you deserving of it!
Just some really, really, really good thoughts…
October 18, 2013
I imagine that all of us like to feel good. All of us want to experience happiness, right? Yet feeling good and being happy appear to be somewhat elusive and mysterious, don’t they? So that got me thinking (a dangerous proposition I know). How many Facebook memes give advice on being happy? Happiness is ___________ (you fill in the blank)! Happiness is reported as being a sunny day; a loving family; your dog; the beach; solitude; a son, a daughter, a Mom etc., etc. With so many ideas; so many choices; so much disparity out there, maybe it’s time to look at things from another angle.
It seems that the general consensus is that feeling good or being happy are emotional states that just sort of happen. You know what I mean. “I feel good today!” “I’m feeling really happy right now!” Yet those apparently inexplicable mental states are more a rarity than the norm for most folks. According to my highly unscientific best guess estimates, people seem to be happy about 20% of the time and seeking happiness the other 80% of the time. Maybe that’s the old 80/20 rule again? Is it plausible to consider that maybe life is supposed to be like that? Were humans created to enjoy a few good times and spend the rest of their lives pursuing good times? Is it really about the chase or the wait; the long, long wait?
Cliche’ man says, “I think we’ve got the cart before the horse!” Feelings are really emotional states. Emotions come and go, have you noticed? While feelings are wonderful, they aren’t any guarantee for truth (said a great man once). Our emotions are really barometers; internal sensors that react precisely to what we are thinking or were thinking or think about the most. Feelings aren’t reality checks, they are thought checks! Your emotions reflect back to you your mental climate. If your mental weather is stormy, you feel unsettled. If your mental climate is sunny and calm, you feel pleasant and peaceful. Now get this!!! You don’t feel first, you think first! Okay, I will say that again with volume. YOU DON’T FEEL FIRST, YOU THINK FIRST!!! The real trouble is that most of us aren’t really very clear about what we are thinking about. Thoughts sort of hit our minds and we go with them. And worse, we have learned to accept our often fleeting thoughts as truth! So, here’s a shocker, just because you thought something doesn’t make it true! Your current thoughts or prevailing feelings may have absolutely nothing to do with reality, but since you are an insider looking out, you beg to differ. For example, suddenly (it appears) you feel discouraged. The feeling is very real. No future, no hope, no sunny days ahead! And, in your discouraged state you long for happier times; times when you felt hopeful and encouraged about life and its infinite possibilities. Ya feel me? Okay now slow your roll for a minute here… What thoughts preceded those discouraged feelings? What little snippets of mental picturing led you and of course your feelings to that conclusion? Trust me, something did. The problem is that you were woefully unaware of those thoughts and where they led you. Now all you’ve got left is discouragement. Do you see what I’m getting at here?
Waiting on good feelings or waiting on happiness is like waiting to eat. The sooner you decide to put the food in your mouth, the better you are going to feel. Can you imagine having a banquet at your disposal; starving and yet still waiting for the right time to eat it? Waiting until the sun comes out… Waiting until the conditions are perfect for eating… Waiting until you get your new job; new boyfriend; new car… Seems the simple solution is to decide right now to eat! So you say, cleverly, “Yes but what if there isn’t any food to eat?” Well, if I were a betting man, I’d say that once you have decided to eat in your hungry state, you are going to find some food! However, happiness and good feelings (despite my thrilling analogy) are always available to you if you will decide to take them! But, you don’t decide to take them. You know why, because you are waiting for them (your feelings) to decide for you. And in that perpetual ruse, you will be waiting a very long time (80/20)…
Our great God Who created all there is, wants you to be happy and feel good always! I know that sounds fanciful to you, but it’s true. Sure there’s a time to cry, a time to mourn, a time to overcome, but God wants you to be happy! And good feelings follow good thoughts, so you got to learn how to control your thoughts. You’ve got to challenge that malarkey that enters your brain! (Remember just because you thought it doesn’t make it true!) The good book says, “leading captive every thought to the obedience of Christ (like he controlled his thoughts).” God wouldn’t have asked us to control our thoughts if it wasn’t possible, right? The endgame of controlled thought isn’t bondage it’s happiness and joy and love and peace. (Man, I felt good just saying that!) You learn to rein in that thinker and stop letting it get dragged down the path! The whole world is afraid of disease, but God heals! (But what about the C-word? Yeah that too!) The economy is in dire condition, but God promises prosperity! Good feelings flow forth from good thoughts like water flows over Niagara Falls!
So, stop waiting for the sun to come out in your life. Stop waiting for the stars to align. Stop waiting for anything to happen. Decide right now, today, at this moment, that you ARE happy. Decide that you feel good, even if you are a little under the weather! Decide you are going to live the life God promised you instead of the one the world keeps telling you is available.
Try walking on sunshine instead…
Just some good thoughts…(and feelings :-))
October 15, 2013
I woke up this morning with one prevailing thought, “You’re acting like a spoiled little brat!” The more I pondered that thought, the more I began to understand its application to my life. Enter first world problems. I thought back on my recent past and realized that I spent a lot of my time engaging in mental complaining. I also suddenly recognized that I spent an inordinate amount of my prayer time complaining to God about this difficulty and that obstacle. And interestingly that reminded me of Jim Rohn who eloquently pointed out that , “Life seems to say to us – Here are the raw materials — your creativity, and 24 hours to use it. What splendid things can you produce?” You see, you and I all have at our disposal the exact same things that everyone else has at their disposal, the question is what will we do with them? All of us have to function in the same world. All of us face similar difficulties and challenges. All of us have good days and bad days. All of us have hopes, dreams, desires and fears. All of us wish it could be easier. All of us wonder why things don’t always go exactly how we want them to go. All of us… So what can we do about it? What should we do?
Living life how we live it in America makes it very easy to forget the all of the wonderful things we take for granted. We enjoy so many conveniences; so many luxuries, that we often forget and behave like spoiled children lamenting and complaining because we don’t get everything we want at the moment that we want it! Crazy huh? I mean, God forbid if the Internet goes out or the computer is running slowly or dread of all dreads, our iPhone gets broken! Or how about being upset over having to drive this “piece of sh**” car (that runs well but isn’t pretty) or being tired of this “ridiculous little 47″ TV.” First world problems for sure. You do realize that most of the world would consider what you and I take for granted to be living the good life, right? Yet here we are distraught over not having enough variety in our shoe game or that we look fat in our clothes (fat because we enjoy the luxury of having to ‘stop’ eating). We take the good we enjoy for granted, my friends. We have forgotten that some folks are dealing with real problems, problems with dire potential consequences. Some people face life and death decisions and here I am angry that there’s no half and half for my coffee! Spoiled brat…
And as I further pondered how I might be behaving like a spoiled brat, I remembered that God never promised life would be without difficulties or challenges. Oh we like to think that, but it isn’t true. Life is chock full of challenges and difficulties because there is an opposing spiritual force working as hard against us as God is working for us. But (and there is a but), God did promise that He would always make a way for us to win! ( If God be for us, who can be against us?) Yet to win requires effort and effort is the last thing we want to apply to the situation. We want God to drop prosperity from the sky like manna and then get pissed off if we have to walk some distance to find it. We want the new job that offers the promise of increased earnings and responsibility yet lack the desire to supply the necessary preparation to make it a reality. We want the new BMW in the driveway, but we want it to show up on Christmas morning with a ribbon on it, from Santa.
I’m guessing that we probably live in one of the greatest eras of mankind. So many people have access to so many things and yet here we are complaining and whining that life is too hard or that we lack sufficient opportunity. First world problems are not problems they are distractions; distractions that persuade us to complain and to not be grateful for this glorious life we are privileged to live. Gratitude, true gratitude takes a pause to recognize all of the wonderful things we enjoy. Being thankful doesn’t mean thanking God for the obstacles and challenges of life (because they didn’t originate with Him), it means taking time to remember all the good stuff He already gave you which encourages you to believe that He is going to give you more good stuff.
So, as a former spoiled brat, I spent the day today looking at all of the fantastic things God has already blessed me with. I recognized just how good I have it. And in silent repose I thanked God. I thanked Him that He was able to look past all of my petty whining and complaining and still lovingly provide everything that I needed and many, many things that I simply wanted! I acknowledged that I faced no real issues other than an incessant desire to have everything I wanted exactly when I wanted it…and decided to stop that, right now!
A spoiled little brat? Yeah, that’s what they used to call me…
Just some good thoughts…
October 8, 2013
Admittedly, I have never been a fan of restrictions or anything that puts people under bondage. I guess you could say I’m a liberal if liberal means “stop trying to live everyone else’s life and just do you!” You know how annoying it is when you run into those people who insist on telling you how much is too much based on some standard they ascribe to, yet remain wholly unaware of what your personal decisions are based upon. And usually, if they’re honest, they are just judging you for some enjoyment they feel they can’t enjoy but really would like to enjoy. I remember when I was the Battery Commander in the Utah Army National Guard, one of the Sergeants once told me that my approach to life would “get me” one day! Well, I’m still waiting…
So, with my aversion to religion and religious practices aside (religion being defined as man-made restrictions on enjoyment, seldom bible based or taken out of context etc), I began to ponder the question, “is there such a thing as too much?” I mean if you really enjoy something, shouldn’t you do it as much as you can? And how could doing something you really enjoy cause you hurt or difficulty?
It seems the answer is yes and no. God says (not that dude on Facebook) that we are to do all things in moderation. Well, moderation like discipline tends to illicit a negative reaction from most folks. Again maybe that feeling comes not so much from the principles that the words convey but rather more of how people have used those words to beat us down! So with that little caveat included, why moderation? Why try to temper and control when “it feels like” less control is better?
Hmmm… This is where it gets interesting. In order to understand, let’s consider the alcoholic. At first the budding alcoholic has a drink because he enjoys it; maybe it masks some pain; maybe it softens hard feelings. Soon, however, a few drinks no longer does the trick. A few drinks turns into a lot of drinks which turns into a multitude of drinks. And now, what once seemed to serve as a suitable medication now becomes an addiction which is never satisfied. Okay maybe that example was too dramatic for you. Let’s apply it to having fun. Perhaps no-one loves fun more than I do. In college, Eddie called me a “hedonistic bastard!” (Yeah, Eddie swears…) Yet can there be too much fun? Again, yes and no. If your pursuit of fun overrides your desire to work, you will soon find yourself no longer having fun. Seems like the promise of having fun on the weekend maybe serves as a motivation to keep working during the week. So what if you are retired? Again, doing nothing isn’t fun for anyone, so there is such a thing as remaining productive even though you have retired from work. Warning!!! If you find yourself no longer productive it won’t be long before your time off work will morph into a misery that has no end point! How about food? No-one loves the taste of food more than me (see Eddie’s explanation earlier). My Pops will tell you, I’m a great guy to cook for because I can appreciate some good tastes. But, if I indulge my tastes without constraint, I soon find my food love turns into some anger over that fat guy staring back at me from the mirror.
Obvious results from over-indulgence aside, there’s something else to think about… Us humanoids crave unique and exciting experiences. A trip to Hawaii (or paradise rightly called) is a wonderful experience. Yet, if we decide to move there it maybe loses some of its splendor. Oh it’s still beautiful, but it is no longer unique! Going to the club with friends and having drinks is great fun. But going every night soon turns into monotony and before you know it you are forcing yourself to have the same fun you had when you didn’t do it so often. Drug users quickly learn that it takes more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect. (Yeah, you’re right, God probably wasn’t applying – all things in moderation – to drug use ) But, I trust you get the point, right?
I often think that moderation refers not so much to quantity as it does to frequency. When you get the nagging thought about not doing such and such so much, it probably follows frequency more so than occasional over-indulgent use (just preserving Thanksgiving folks!). Have you ever found yourself in a setting that you wish would never end? You know what I mean. You’re just having the perfect time with perfect friends. We have all been there, right? But consider, that perfect time was for you at that perfect time, to be enjoyed in that perfect moment. What made it a “perfect moment” was its uniqueness for you and your life. If it happened every day it would soon lose its perfection. Life is like that… A lot of day to day requirements always leading up to the potential for “perfect moments.” So savor the perfect moments, but not too much!
So, is there such a thing as too much? Absolutely! Moderation helps you to appreciate the beauty that this life is. The absence of moderation, while promising you good times, will soon begin to afflict you and before you know it, will own you. Anticipation is often just as pleasant as the actual event.
You have one precious life to live, my friends. God desires the best of everything for you. But (sorry there is a but), He is also smart enough to recognize that there is such a thing as too much (love excluded for sure). So live it up; pursue your dreams; follow your heart, but every now and then put the brakes on and make sure that what you are desiring isn’t desiring you (to take you over)!
Just some good thoughts (in moderation )…