The Problem of Hope

Hope is a strange thing.  You grow up saying “I hope I make the team” or “I hope that I get that job”, but hope can mean so much more and can be applied in many different situations.  Looking at the definition of hope, it reads “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.: ‘he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information’, ‘I had high hopes of making the Olympic team’ and “a feeling of trust’”.  Trust, hope, aspiration, expectation and goal are all in the same category, but why do you have such fleeting feelings when it comes to hope?

Is it because, as a child, your hopes were dashed because you did not get what you wanted for Christmas?  The sudden absence of a parent or close friend?  Promises made and broken?  What kinds of disappointments get into your mind and affect your life for years to come?  Can you actually take control of those “negative triggers” in your mind?

It is amazing how events piled upon more events, create your personality.  Some call it “being shaped by your environment”.  How can you take the reigns or wrestle away the control from your environment and move your life in a positive direction?

This is a gap because when hope leaves, there is emptiness. It can be easily filled with the wrong things.  It can even be filled with the need for isolation.  But if you are wanting to properly fill this gap, it needs to be filled with a “positive”; a habit that does not destroy you, but builds upon you.

Many have filled it with reading the Bible, exercise, writing, learning a new skill, etc., many times to excess, but it all relates to how you deal with failure.  If you go in a negative direction after a negative event, you have filled your personal gap but sometimes made it even worse.  And many times, that negative direction creates negative attention towards yourself.

Realization of this habit or “gap filling” is half of the answer.  When you realize that you are creating a negative pattern by your own actions, you can actually seek to direct your reactions, one by one.  Can you direct all of your negative patterns?  Probably not, but deciding to do nothing is still a decision and will eventually take you further down the negative pattern.  Sometimes, realization is what is needed…with an alternate path waiting to be taken.

Here is an exercise to leave you with.  It is not easy and you may struggle with it.  Take your negative end result and work backwards from it, numbering each event that led up to it.  Look at each event with the possibility of “What would have happened if I would have responded differently?”.  The key to this exercise is to be thorough, so just take one event at a time and be honest with yourself.

Afterwards, add a comment, disagree, scream at the blog, whatever…just realize where your reactions take you.

Advertisements

Attack mode – 2.1

This is good stuff.  You need to watch this.  The ability to make yourself vulnerable is tough for many…watch.

If you have seen it, watch it again and I guarantee that you will hear something you didn’t the first time.  Besides, repetition is conducive to learning.

 

Never Let Them See You Sweat

I use the phrase “Standing on Giants’ Shoulders” for a reason.  It is because I do not just think of this stuff; it comes from the experiences of myself and those that came before me.

The phrase “Never Let Them See You Sweat” does not apply to marriage.

Here’s a short explanation about why…

Read More

Dry

Dry times are difficult to go through.  It is where I am right now.  These times are like being depressed except you’re not.  Life’s battles have not gotten harder, it just feels like you have given all that you have and there is nothing left.  But…taking the effort that you have left over and utilizing it to its best use tends to show later on that you can do more with less energy than you think.

 

These times will test you.  You will come home grouchy and gripe at everyone, thinking that you are just acting normal until you do something that takes you outside of yourself to see how much of a pain you are being.

 

You may get up in the morning and think that talking to God is the last thing that you want to do…but…these are the times when He longs to hear from you.  “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.”

 

Talk to Him like He is your actual living father.  After all, He is.  He is the father that our fathers could never be because of their human frailties.  You can unload on Him.  Its ok.

 

Sometimes you have to think about people like Moses and how he talked to God.  “Lord God of Israel, your chosen people are such a pain!  And we are slaves!  And I am not a leader!  I talk with a stutter!  Why don’t you choose my brother?  He is better at this kind of stuff.  He beats everybody at checkers and cornhole.  People love him but they just look at me and wonder why I cannot be more like him.  Why me?”

 

Do you think that he may have been much of a complainer?

 

God wants to use us anyway because we are His instruments.  You have the choice to be used of Him or let someone else.  But He wants to talk to you.

 

Talk to Him…again…like He is the perfect daddy.  Because He is.

Know that this is just a short season in your life and He will give you nourishment to where your thirst will go away and your dry times will become profitable and productive, spiritually and physically.

A Different Power

Have you ever been driving down the road, having an OK to great day, cruising at a safe speed, listening to the radio…and then, out of the corner of your eye, you get this:

Hey...Pay attention to the road!!!
Hey…Pay attention to the road!!!

What is the first thing out of your mouth? “What?!?” “Idiot!!!” “Where does he get the right to…!!” Maybe worse.
Well, congratulations! Your mind has just been controlled. You went from mellow to blood pressure issues in a few seconds and it was your choice. Yes, it was your choice to be controlled and you chose to allow your emotions to go in that direction.
Now, we can think about what you could have done. Something a little more “controlled”. Just like we talked about a couple of days ago, certain things make the “true you” come out.
Examine this power. Not the power that you gave to that guy who pulled up next to you and yelled, but the power in you. It is you who has the power here.
The power is forgiveness and the way you read about it here, may not be what you are expecting.
When exploring your own heart, digging around for nuggets, soul-searching…what are you finding? Are you finding things that make you sad, angry, beaten? Forgiveness is a power that you have…not only to forgive those who wronged you. You have the power to let go and forgive those who have inadvertently made your life take an unintended direction…and they actually did nothing against you. Maybe I need to rephrase that. You forgiving in this way is about straightening up your life, not theirs. It could have been anyone from your father to some guy on TV…It could even be God.
God needs no forgiveness from you for Himself…
but you may need to forgive Him…for you.

Back to that guy in the car (although we might need to meditate on some of the previous words for a while).
He does not need you to say “Oh, you poor soul. I forgive you”. Truth is, that guy could have been you and you probably would not be interested in forgiveness at that time. But you need the act of forgiveness coming out of you.
This is a gap that many fathers forget because they have not learned to deal with it themselves. This is a power that when wielded properly, can lay spiritual and physical enemies to waste quickly. One that empowers you.
A different power.

Discouragement

It is hard to face discouragement.  When faced with rejection, boredom or failure, your true nature actually shows itself.  Are you moving forward, seeking to move forward or discouraged because “things aren’t happening”?

Everyone loves success.  Things are riding high and emotions are up but what about when things are down.  How do you handle failure?  Do you get discouraged?

Think about this:  what would it take for you to switch your thinking around and respond with excitement every time you fail?

What happens when we fail?

Do we learn?

Think of Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb.  Thousands of failed experiments occurred until he hit it right.

 Why?  Because with every failure, he knew he was getting closer to the purpose he had set for himself to accomplish.  And yet sometimes, we have 1 or 2 failures and lose interest.

Why?  Re-examine your purpose and your commitment to it.  Either rededicate yourself to it with a renewed vengeance or redirect.

Your success depends on it.

Another building block that was missing

I was discussing purpose with my son the other day and I realized another one of those tenets that was missing from my childhood because of my father’s absence:  direction.

I was explaining to him that even though he does not do exactly what we want as parents, we have tried to stress the necessity of goals to keep his direction right.  My mom did her best with all of the resources that she had but still, she could never be my dad.  She made sure that we were at church every service.  Having the responsibility of being the church pianist kept us there.  I grasped great life principles while I was at church but no one taught me how to lead.

Leading is something that unfortunately I have had to learn by trial and error…and reading.  Something that I have realized is that when the Bible talks about keeping your “eye on the prize”, the apostle Paul is not just speaking about salvation…he is speaking about direction.  Unwavering, he wrote.

It is not about perfectly seeking that goal.  It IS about shaking it off when you get off track.  It IS about slapping yourself in the face and looking forward.  It IS about real successes and failures…how you live with BOTH.

Direction keeps you heading from the foundation to the end where all that is left is eternity and legacy.

Choose

Zig Ziglar talked about goals quite often.  He once said that a blindfolded man cannot hit a target and great men didn’t get where they are by wandering around and letting it happen to them.  What is the best way for you to make realistic, incremental goals and stay headed towards them?  Making goals should be something taught to everyone, but through all of the initiative that is made towards educating the public, there always will be a large majority that will not listen and learn.  In the past, I was one of those.  So why do I choose this direction now?  Is it age, maturity, events in life, hormones, etc?  Maybe a combination.

 

There are some things that I missed not having a dad in the house but still if he would have been there, some  things would have been missing still.  My father took initiative to get things done hastily many times and it seemed that he did so without thought.  The truth was that he had thought it out thoroughly but not communicated his intentions well or even at all.  His endeavours were usually met with limitations because of his inability to trust beyond his own efforts and thoughts.

 

Communication and goals go hand in hand.  Goals serve to communicate your intentions to your immediate world.  They will always be naysayers and critics and, for the most part, that may be all that they ever become.  You are no better than them.  You have had some of the same thoughts.  You can choose.  Let that ring through your day today.  You can choose.