“YOU SHOULDN’T DO THAT!!!!” When we were growing up, you probably heard that a few times, as did I. Now that I’m an adult, I still hear those words in my mind sometimes. “You shouldn’t be driving so fast! You shouldn’t be sarcastic, you shouldn’t be so casual, you shouldn’t . . . . . ”
In religion, there’s lots of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” – we wishfully think that the right behavior will fix everything. From my perspective, this kind of thinking is like putting peacock feathers on a cow: accessorizing the external in an attempt to deny or compensate for the internal.
More than we realize our beliefs shape our behavior, so perhaps we would be better to consider what we believe as the first step. Yucky beliefs and thinking always result in yucky words and actions 🙂
When I woke up my son today to get ready for school, he wasn’t happy by a long shot. He was cranky & grumpy and unfortunately, by the time he got in the car, he was still in the doldrums – a very yucky way to start off on a Monday morning 😦
We all have times, seasons, days and moments when we are grumpy & here’s a potential quick fix: be thankful. Rather than looking at the grumpy stuff (back to school, bills, tired, physical pain, hardship, emotional stressors, relationship difficulties, job / school challenges . . . . ), take some moments to be thankful.
that the sun came up this morning
for the oxygen that we breath
that God’s love is vast yet personal
that God is both faithful and good
for a nice blog to give you this helpful reminder ,)
Seems like all of us want to grow & improve in at least a few ways. We want to be more skinny or more muscular. We want to be smarter, more athletic, less impatient, . . . . . . All of us have things in our lives that we want to improve. If there was a magic wand that we could wave to make the wanted improvement appear, we’d go to great lengths to get that wand & ultimately the improvement that we want. But alas, there is no magic wand.
But here’s the golden ticket for the improvements that we want: routine. Yep, the nitty, gritty and daily incremental efforts that we can integrate into our daily routines can produce life changing transformation. Diets, fads, trends, cool & swanky techniques and mental gyrations often lack the power to improve that comes from just the daily, small decisions that we incorporate into routine living:
A deeper walk with God: plan to go to bed 30min earlier everyday for two weeks, so you can get up 15min early to read your Bible & pray – spend some time training your body & soul to make spiritual investments
being more healthy: chose to decrease or eliminate a cup of coffee (gasp), the afternoon treat, the evening snack for two weeks;
physical fitness: chose to walk more (rather than the drive for that close errand, park in less conveninet places that require more walking, take a walk in the evening rather than watch the 30min of TV that turns into 2hours, . . . .)
be smarter: reading is a great path to help us with the smart stuff; consider joining a book club, get a library card – check out a book; read something that you don’t agree with or isn’t in the normal interest list (broaden your horizon)
Small but steady changes often create the sustained improvements that can seem elusive. You can do it!! 🙂
I hate the word “fail” – it almost makes me have a visceral gagging reaction, borderline puking. Thankfully, if I take a minute to pause, evaluate and collect myself, I don’t puke. But if I’m not careful, I can easily throw things into the “failure” column and in a nanosecond find myself back to mental wrestling mat, almost down for the count. As God & I were talking about this whole failure thing this morning, I was reminded about how Jesus looked hanging on the cross, beat to a bloody pulp and possibly personifying the ultimate failure. He was betrayed by his friends, completely helpless, physcially obliterated and even yelling at God, “Why have You forsaken Me?!??”
Hanging on the cross, Jesus looked more like a failure than anything I’ve ever experienced & yet from God’s perspective, perhaps Jesus had never been more successful in His earthly existence, up to that point. Let’s be careful that we don’t frame failure in the context of defeat, permanent or hopeless. Jesus rose from the dead and living in our hearts, we have resurrection potential every day.
Be sure to pass this along to anyone you know who is struggling with seeming defeat or failure 🙂
I’ve been thinking about how my kids are growing & changing – it didn’t help that my daughter announced this morning that she’s eligible to start driving next year
Change is an interesting topic & we are not always so keen for change, unless it’s in the improvement sphere. The reality in which we live everyday, however, is change. Nothing stops changing except God. So maybe if we would like to see things not change for awhile, maybe we could translate this desire to mean that ultimately what we really want is more of God 🙂
It seems like most of America is going through the seasonal change from Spring & moving into Summer – often one of the more popular seasonal transitions 🙂 My family & I are looking forward to the long & hot days of Summer, playing in water features at various parks, taking walks in the cool of late evenings, the crisp morning greetings and doing all of the sun burn avoidance rigors.
As I think about changes of seasons, it seems to me that life is full of such changes. We go from the season of being school for 12+ years to having a full time job. We go from being single to being married or back to being single. We go from having no kids to being responsible for someone who we love more than we eve thought we possibly could.
Seasons change – and they did for Jesus as well. He changed from being a carpenter to being an “informal” Jewish teacher with thousands of fans. Jesus went from being full blown popular to being one of Jerusalem’s most hated convicts in less than 7 days.
Seasons change & it seems to me that we grow the most as humans during the changing seasons rather than the static seasons 🙂
Have a weekend filled with joy, peace & grace 🙂
Just when you think that everything is smoothy, groovy & you’re plugging along, some lunacy can hit the fan! YOWZERS!!!!! So what to do when there’s lots of shaking , stirring, changes, surprises, etc? Here are a few ideas that you might find helpful (feel free to send the link of this blog to everyone you know that’s going through some chaos, challenges &/or changes):
keep your eyes on God no matter what changes may come down the pike – God is strong, wise & helpful!!
be practical: drink lots of water, exercise, eat your fruits & veggies, don’t OD on coffee, try to stay in a healthy sleep groove
keep a few helpful Bible verses handy for dealing with any potential dark thoughts (Jer 33:3, Jer 29:11, Prov 3:5-6, Matt 6:33, Phil 4:13, Rom 8:28-29 and LOTS more!!)
When I was in college, I read a German book about metamorphosis – some guy turning into a giant insect. It was a really creepy book & there’s a good possibility that I’ve had a few nightmares from this book. It seems to me that without God’s involvement, human attempts to transform & change can result in nightmares and yucky results.
In contrast, whatever I ask God to be involved with in my life, there’s always an improvement. For some food for thought, please consider Titus 3:5-6 🙂
Just when we think we have everything planned & locked into place, God will often shake it up baby, causing us to twist & shout, sometimes in glee & sometimes with pout. It seems to me that human planning is the place God starts for divine upheaval. This makes me really appreciate when Isaiah says in 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”
Let’s be mindful to keep a tighter grip on God more than our plans 🙂
What’s your favorite food or activity? Have you ever had too much of something that is your favorite? We’ve probably all had this experience sometime in our childhood where we kind of overdosed on something that we really liked – teaching us the valuable lesson of moderation.
When it comes to Jesus, however, I don’t think that moderation is the best decision. In actual truth, I think that our humanity is perfectly designed to absorb & integrate more of Jesus than we can possibly imagine. We’ve got plenty of humanity but not enough Jesus 🙂