Archive for February, 2011
It’s 10:47pm right now and as I sit up and think, I can’t help but be reminded of some of the events of this day. For me, I began to relearn a few things I have forgotten, but more importantly I started to think about an old association I used to have, one that I cut off almost 3 years ago now. This old association made me think of the post I wrote in November titled So You Can Go Home Again. I started to think about this because old associations are tricky when viewing them in the light of present day. Some old associations are meant for you to completely walk away from yet others are for you to walk away from for a season and return to them.
Some of these associations try to come back into your life as a distraction to keep you from doing what it is that you are truly striving to do. On the other hand, there are some old associations that bring you new opportunities. That is where I seem to be right now. A few old associations are beginning to come back into my life but with new opportunity attached to them. I plan on exploring these associations and opportunities to the very fullest as I believe that they are for me to be able to handle at this stage of my life.
Life is more than the accumulation of items, it’s about the impact you make and the legacy that you leave behind. That is why it is important for me to discover what the future may hold in some of these old associations. What do you think?
I find this a very interesting post to write. Interesting because I have spent time teaching about this from the Christian perspective and watching real life examples. For the sake of this post, I am talking about the negative aspect of the question that is our title. The title of today’s post is essentially asking this question; Are the people around you, the things you listen to/read/watch on television/internet and even the food you are consuming on a regular basis taking over who you are and contributing to not just a negative self-image, but to negative behaviors that at one time were completely uncharacteristic of you?
A person that says nothing or no one has the ability to influence them is a person that is living a life under the veil of deception. Every time you have contact with another person influence is exerted be it you influencing someone or someone influencing you. This influence is part of why we choose to listen to, learn from, and allow various people into our lives. Where this becomes an issue is when what you are listening to for guidance is completely and utterly wrong. It’s a very unfortunate fact that some people don’t like hearing or experiencing the truth. The bible says it this way in 2Timothy 4:3-4 according to the Amplified Translation:
3For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
4And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.
This passage of scripture in and of itself is why you need to always have people of integrity in your life that will tell you the truth, even if it’s not what you want to hear because what we want as people isn’t always what’s best for us as people. All of us have a few basic mental/social needs that need to be fulfilled. We all want to feel loved, wanted, needed, and appreciated and when you aren’t fulfilled in these areas then you begin to go out and seek it in places that you shouldn’t.
So when the people that you go to for counsel or comfort are people with no integrity, they can steadily feed you everything but what you need in order for you to feel fulfilled in an area of your life. This causes you to lower your defenses and be open to what ever crap people want you to feel, think and do. If you eat poisonous food and never receive an antidote, you will die from the poison. So if this is true of your physical, why wouldn’t it be true for the rest of you? If you continually take in poisonous talk about people and never hear the truth, you will eventually believe a lie and live as if that lie is the truth. Once you have bought into a lie and believe that it’s true, it is so easy for you to be manipulated into accepting that things/behaviors that you’ve always held as wrong or immoral are now okay for you to do.
I’ll close this post with one of those old sayings that I believe is applicable to this topic is:
Show me your friends and I will show you you.
This has been an interesting morning for me today. A few things have happened that looked like they would be setbacks but are turning into blessings in disguise. But what is most interesting to me is a conversation I had with a friend of mine today. In this conversation we were both talking about unresolved issues from our past that have affected not only the way we viewed ourselves but the decisions that we’ve made. One of the things my friend said was it’s taken them until their adulthood to realize that they’ve been making decisions through the lense of an unresolved issue from their past to which I replied, “Doesn’t matter when you realize it, but what does matter is what you do with it.”
Right at that point it hit me, what will you do once you have gained knowledge about something that has been alluding you for so long? Do you stand still and marvel or do you actually get up and do something about it? Have you every truly taken the time to think about all of the things that you received some enlightenment about but haven’t taken any action based on that enlightenment? I can tell you that many an opportunity has passed people by because they discovered something, or had an idea about something and didn’t do anything with it.
How many people have you run across who after seeing the newest infomercial said that they had thought about that idea years ago and never did anything? The biggest reason I can think of for gaining knowledge and insight is to do something with it. One of my favorite cartoons in the 80’s was G.I. Joe and at the end of every episode they would have a moral lesson to be taught that always ended in someone saying, “Now you know and knowing is half the battle.” Well if knowing is half the battle, then I have to say that doing something with what you know is the other half.
So as you learn more and more about yourself and the world around you will you be the one that just sits aside wondering what if or will you be the one that is busy acting on what you know to create what you desire? The choice is yours.
On the Outside Looking In
I’m on the outside looking in.
Wondering when will my time begin?
The time in which I do all the things I have always desired.
The time in which it seems that my fun will never expire.
Why do I always seem stuck in one place, as if destiny
is trying to keep me going in a backwards pace?
I don’t even know where to begin as I continue
to look at me as an outsider only capable of looking in.
I wrote the poem above as brief thought as to how I used to feel a few years ago. I felt this way because I watched as others were achieving their dreams; while others told me my time was coming; and while others still took advantage of my gifts and talents to further their own dream while telling me that I needed to wait before I can go after mine. I encountered a lot of frustration during that time. Frustrated because I felt like my life was going nowhere fast even though I was being told that I was rising to the top. This frustration eventually turned into anger, which grew to become resentment, which grew into what the Bible calls a “root of bitterness”. I was bitter towards everyone who said they appreciated me and my help but refused to give me help when I needed it. I was also bitter at those that I knew for a 100% fact had used me in order to further their own ambition at my expense. I was also bitter at some of my family for their constant insistence that I always come to them (in the physical sense of where they lived at the time) as I was tired of travelling to them and no one wanting to travel to where I was. All of this (and several other things) contributed to me feeling like the person in the poem above, like I was outside looking in on my own life, because I wasn’t capable of doing anything else.
The truth is that I had allowed myself to fall into a state of denial. Denial that I was truly in charge of what I could and couldn’t do. As a Christian, I was taught early in my walk that God is in control of everything, that your steps are already ordered and everything going on in your life is part of God’s plan the good, bad, and indifference. Well here’s the thing, God is in control but the one thing that he will not control (as He says this and it is in the Bible for anyone who doubts it) is your free will, your right to choose. And God truly does order your steps if you are listening to the order he’s giving and choose for yourself to follow it. But God also wants you to be an active part of molding your future. This is the lesson that I hadn’t learned at that point in my life. Whether you believe in God or not, the point here is that you are in charge of the thoughts, choices, and actions that will take your life from where it is, to where you would like for it to be. You don’t have to be an outsider in your life unless you choose to be.
I’d like to leave you with the following quote from Ralph Marston to end this post today:
“There is no virtue in being resigned to a life that’s anything less than the very best you can envision.”
Are the people in your life qualified to be there? Some people’s qualifications have expired in your life yet they are still there? Why is that? Why should you qualify the people in your life? It has taken me many years to learn this, but you must really evaluate who’s in your life and make sure that they are truly qualified to be there. In the book of Exodus in the Old Testament the Israelites had built tent of worship in the wilderness that had an Outer Court, Inner Court, and Holy of Holies. While most everyone was “qualified” to enter the Outer Court only a few people were “qualified” to enter the Inner Court and even still, only 1 person was qualified to enter the Holy of Holies and if that person didn’t “qualify” to enter the Holy of Holies as instructed, let’s just say there’s a reason why they went in with a rope tied around them. In the New Testament God tells us what is required in order to have (or for sake of this post “qualify) a relationship with Him and enter into His rest.
The United States Government has a variety of security clearances for the different levels of information that a person is allowed or “qualified” to access be it a civilian or government employee. In order to gain any of these clearances you have to apply for them and meet certain “qualifications” in order to obtain the clearance that you seek.
When you are looking for someone to date, you don’t just date anyone. You get to know a person to see if that person is someone that you feel like you want to not only get to know better, but someone that you want to share more of yourself with in a deeper and more intimate way. Once you “qualify” that person as someone that meets your requirements for dating, then you move forward and develop a deeper relationship with them.
So if God, the U.S. Government and You Yourself (as referenced above with dating) all “qualify” people to be able to have special relationships/privileges then what makes any of us think we don’t have to truly evaluate all the people that have access to our lives for where we are today? There are some people that are meant to be in our lives for a day; others for a season; and others for a lifetime and it is up to you to discover this.
Now what I’m saying is not a license to act snooty and conceited, but it is to tell you that some people that are in your life right may not belong and as hard as it is for some of us to accept, it is necessary for us to face and do something about but there’s also the flip side which is that there are some people that we’ve thrown out of our lives that are still supposed to be there. Let me assure you now that you can restore old relationships that shouldn’t have been disrupted if both people are willing.
Bottom line is that you need to put everyone in your life to the test to see if they truly are meant to be a part of your world at this time or at all. Once you have the answer to this question it’s up to you what you do with it. But there’s one thing that needs to be made clear, you are responsible for making sure that whoever is in your life is actually qualified to be there.
(I will be publishing Are You Qualified To Be In My Life tomorrow as I feel that this post is more important to post right now considering its content)
I was having a thought that has evolved into this blog post about memories. Memories can either be a source of fuel to help you overcome today’s challenges in order to bring you into a better tomorrow or they can be a prison that allows you to stay stuck at a particular moment in your past that holds your present hostage and cancels your potential future.
What brought me to this conclusion is that while I’m writing this blog post I am listening to a CD of a really great band and I know one of the members of this band. It’s been years since we’ve seen each other but we still keep in touch with each other and I as I was listening to the music the first thing that came to mind was a memory from our mutual past of this person really saying and doing some things that were hurtful to me at the time. Now I had already resolved the pain associated with this memory both within myself and with this person as well as to forgive them for it but I began to think about what other memories (both positive and negative) do I have that are trying to hold me captive from realizing (as John Bevere would say) my “Actual Image”, the person that I really am and keep me hostage to either a “Projected Image” (the person that I’ve tried to have people view me as in [in the past-added by me]) or a “Perceived Image” (the person other people view me as [be it ture or untrue]).
It also occurred to me that so many people in this world are held hostage not by the circumstances that currently surround their lives but by the memories of achievement they either no longer have/never had or by the pain/joy from memories of time past. I think it’s easy to understand why memories of pain, lack, and under-achievement can haunt a person so I won’t explain that, but it’s not as easy for some people to understand why memories of success, joy, and happiness can keep you a prisoner, so let’s dive into that.
If you are currently in a position where things aren’t going right or the way you think they should go and you decide to reminisce on the “good old days” it becomes easy to live view your life out of a happy past that is gone instead of facing a present that you don’t like. But at the same time if you stay stuck reviewing your “happy times” then you will (just as if you stay stuck on your negative memories) hold your present hostage and cancel your potential future because your mind stays stuck on what was, never looks at what can be or gets to work bringing what can be to what is.
I hope that made sense to those of you reading this, if not email me, leave a comment, or whatever you need to do to contact me and I will try to explain if further to you so that you understand. Memories are good places to visit for inspiration, a pick-me-up, and for teaching moments, but they are horrible places to live. Leave your past in the past, address your present for what it is so that you can dive into a future that’s full of potential and greatness. I’m thankful to God for all of my memories (good and bad) and for a present that is teaching me how to move forward with Him into a future where all my dreams and goals will come true.
Anyone that lives in my part of the country will understand that this has been a physically tiring winter with shoveling snow. In the month of January alone I’ve experienced more than 6 feet of snow which means lots of shoveling. That is very physically tiring and when your body is physically tired or sick you should rest it so that your physically body can be recharged. Well in the same way you need to be able to recharge the other parts of you that make up you.
For me the areas of my life that I have to recharge beyond physical are Emotional, Spiritual, Intellectual, Creative. I’ll give you examples below of how I recharge all of these areas:
Emotional- Oftentimes I recharge myself emotionally by spending time alone reflecting on the positive events, people, and parts of my life that keep me motivated. I also tend to listen to certain types of music and speakers during these times of recharging. I also find that more often than not that emotional recharging is directly connected to the next part of my recharging equation.
Spiritual- As a Christian, Spiritual Recharging for me involves a daily process of Prayer/Conversation with God; Reading of the Bible; Praise & Worship; Listening to various Sermons and Teachings on the challenges occurring in my Spiritual Life at a particular point as well as conversations with other Christians that are qualified (if you’re wondering what I mean by qualified, that’s a whole other post coming soon called Are You Qualified to Be In My Life?) to speak into my life.
Intellectual- I recharge my intellectual self by reading; listening to lectures on subjects I want to know about; watching a program that is about a particular subject that I’m interested in; talking to people that are more knowledgeable than me about various issues I’m interested in. I think this one is pretty easy to figure out.
Creative- I recharge my creative self by surrounding myself with others that are creative so that I can observe and enjoy their creativity while getting inspiration for my own sense of creativity. I also recharge my creative self by taking a step back every now and then from my creative efforts so that I can look on them with a set of fresh eyes.
I’m a firm believer that burnout happens in the lives of people who don’t take the time to get themselves completely recharged and burnout leads to someone with extraordinary potential living an ordinary life, something that I would classify as a tragedy.