6 views to change for a more fulfilling life

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This post was actually inspired by another that I felt was quite shallow.  It claimed that we need less attachments to have peace but it actually went a little too far (in my opinion) by suggesting that we should have more of a “sweep responsibility under the rug” mentality.  Of course, if you sweep too many things under the rug, a hump develops that will cause people to trip.

 

I prefer a more straight-forward approach that is meeting your issues head-on.  These are 6 areas that I believe will lead to a much fuller life; one with meaning and purpose.

 

Seeking Others’ Approval
This is somewhat true and somewhat false.  To be able to get things done in your own life, there needs to be some approval by others.  Living your life to please others is different…because it is impossible to please everyone.  But I guarantee you, if you want to ever have a happy marriage or decent career, you need to find the happy medium.  If you are so selfish and so rich that you believe that this doesn’t apply to you, have a happy empty life and stop reading this post.

 

Social Media
For the most part, social media is something that you can control.  If you do not want to see the embarrassing pictures from when you got drunk at the party last weekend, stop doing stupid shit like that and they won’t have anything to take a picture of.  And if you are using any branch of social media as your main means of communication, you need help.  Try Skype (That’s a joke).

 

Posterity

“Live in the moment” is commonly heard these days.  While there are @theTimSpencegreat reasons to experience great moments, if that is what you live for, your life will be empty and you may die that way.  Better said may be to live as if it were your last day alive and care for your posterity, not so much your posterior.

 

Previous Relationships
Rather than toss your exes out on their arses like dirty laundry when you have had enough of them, maybe you should look introspectively and figure out why you end up with short term relationships, abusive people, etc.  Examine your own choices rather than tossing them in the dirty laundry bin.  Keep it up and sooner or later, the dirty laundry will have to be dealt with.

 

The Fallacy of Indecision
Indecision has played itself off as a procrastination or longer choice for making a decision.  Here is the truth.  Indecision is a decision.  It is Plan C when you only had Plan A or B.  Make a conscious decision to make a decision (even if it is the wrong one) or alleviate the phrase “I don’t know” from your daily vocabulary.

 

Dwelling on the Past
The only thing you can change about the past is how you look at it.  There are always, I repeat, ALWAYS something positive that can come from any negative event in our life.  For examples, please refer to the Not So Typical Thanksgiving List.  It really does depend on how you look at it.  I have seen people give thanks for some of the most horrific events because it led them to a new understanding of their own purpose in life. There is much healing in this.

 

While these are just short bits of wisdom that have been learned through much trial and error, each of them can be expounded upon greatly.  Of course, you don’t have to agree with all of them.  You can choose to find out for yourself…and make your own mistakes to learn from.  I prefer to attempt to “stand on the shoulders of giants” whenever I can.

Failure Speaks

I hate you.
When I start your day, I love reminding you of how worthless you are.
Listen to me. No one should listen to you. You have nothing worthwhile to say.
I can find multitudes of reasons why you should not even get up…and I enjoy sharing them with you.
I thrive on your desire for pity. People should feel sorry for you because of your lack of worth.
I can turn the smallest setback into a lifelong issue if you just listen to me.
Remember when your friend looked at you like you didn’t know what you were doing? That was me who told you that they didn’t like you. The funny thing is that I told them to look at you like that to make sure that you didn’t take any more chances.
Remember when your boss asked you to take on that new task? That was me who told you not to do it because you wouldn’t gain anything from it. In fact, I was the one who told your boss not to ask you, but your boss didn’t listen to me.
I sometimes join up with your pride to make sure it doesn’t get damaged. Somebody has to protect it. After all, if you don’t have pride in yourself, you won’t be able to do anything, right?
When it comes down to it, I may be the best friend that you have. I save you from things like embarrassment, sadness, unnecessary responsibility, confrontation and a host of other uncomfortable things.
There is no reason to have uncertainty in your life when I can make your path certain. In fact, some people may even get our names mixed up and call you by my name because you start to have the same effect on them that I do.
That is fine with me. Many follow me because it is just easy to. Life is hard enough without looking for more difficulty.
Come and join me. Pretty soon, you can be just like me.

…and live

It is hard describing why I have not written for some time.  For a long time I had been getting up very early to have “my time” in the morning. Then…I burned out.  Life got the best of me and I let it.  I was not interested in the introspective thought anymore.  I felt that my inspiration was gone and I started writing here and there, just for me.  I needed to express myself in private…and some of it was not very nice.

 

I had some personal successes and failures.  I also started looking at the “why” of what we do and the methods that create habits.  Since much of this started because I realized that I was not going to live forever, a lot of it was because I felt that I had a lot to say and so little time to say it.  I felt that if I helped one person find their way, I would feel accomplished at something.

 

My dad was a perfectionist to his own demise and I have inherited a lot of that criticizing nature.  I expect excellence because I cannot provide it myself.  It is true that what irritates us the most about other people is the embodiment of our own shortfalls.  I cannot focus and I get frustrated when my child cannot focus.  I lose interest and I criticize when I see things half-way done.  I act reckless and I get mad when my child is “happy-go-lucky”.

 

Dealing with this has been difficult.  My children are slowly achieving the age of adults but not the maturity.  Neither did I.  Yet I deal with this in different ways than I did not so long ago.  I watch and am silent.  I force myself to be patient and listen for their request for help.  I take the unfounded criticism of many for things that I am not responsible for…and I live.

 

I look to help others where I can and live.  I listen and share with those in need and live.  I care and give to those who may not seem deserving and live.  I attempt to make people smile because I believe my satisfaction from it is justified and live.  I love without expecting it in return…and live.

 

I want to say to my parents and grandparents that I understand now…and I know that I still have much to learn.  I understand why you prayed so much…because God is really the only one who will listen.  There are things that only He can hear.  I understand what it means when the scripture talks about “groanings that cannot be uttered”.  Some things cannot be expressed with words or wails.

 

You were not perfect but you wanted me to be the best I could be, so you pushed.  Even when I said that you were unfair and mean, you took the blame and stood firm.  You had so many things taken away from you by me and yet you loved and lived.  Thank you for loving and living in spite of me.  I am seeking to build upon the foundation you provided…and live.

 

 

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…

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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.

GoalPray part 2

Concerning the term “GoalPray”…let’s take it a step further and make it an action.  “Goalpraying”.

You make a list of hopes, prayers, goals.  This list is constantly changing.  (One of my favorite sayings is “whoever invented the eraser, had the human race pretty well sized up”.  I guess that would be the “backspace” and “delete” keys now)

 

Let’s take an example of a few entries on the list (with fictional names):

 

Under the “Others” category

Terry:  Confidence and purpose.

 

Now this is a bit vague but it is at least on there.  Let’s take the GoalPray method and flesh it out a bit.

 

Terry:  Confidence for when she is dealing with her daughter and understanding the weight of her actions.  Purpose in life so that she can feel more dedicated to her work.

 

That is better.  Does Terry have other needs in her life?  Sure, but these are what has been brought to your attention.  Why?  God is pretty good at this.  Some people would call this burdened.  To me, that word is too religious and overused.  I prefer “selected” or “purposed”.  This issue has been selected or purposed for you to focus on.

 

Under the “Thankful” heading

My job

 

Now some of you are possibly saying “Why should I be thankful for that?  It’s a hellhole!”

Understood.  Duly noted.  It’s a hellhole.  Do you feel better now?

 

This list is not to make you feel better.  It is GoalPraying.  We want to get things accomplished.  So let’s take that entry and expand it.

 

My job:  Thankful for the ability to work and the skills I have been given to work.  Thankful for the money that I make from it.  Thankful for my co-workers (no matter if you like them or not) and the experiences that I will gain by working with them.

 

There is an entry that means so much more than “My job”.

 

One more…

Under the “Myself” column

My health

 

What about it?  Let’s write it out

My health that I will have adequate strength and be able to perform the duties that I have the responsibility to do.  That I will be able to resist the fiery arrows of the enemy that come in the form of pizza and Coke to tempt me.  That I will understand that fruits and vegetables are my friends.  (Okay, enough of that)

 

Is that much better?

 

What have I done in the last few lines? Have I just written out a bunch of words to fill a page or have I cemented a purpose in my life?

 

What is it that is important to you?  Is it important enough to write it down and GoalPray on it to make it happen?

 

Phillipians 4:6 says to not worry about things but in all circumstances, in the form of prayer and definite requests, while giving thanks, make your requests known to God.

Part 3 is developing…

The Precedent

This is a bit longer post than usual but rants can be that way sometimes.  It is definitely out of my usual character…no pics, just punch.  I tell this kind of stuff to my kids but really, I am telling it to myself.   I wrote this about a year ago and just found it today to post.  Comment if you wish…”like” if you needed it.

 

Setting a higher standard for yourself does not mean that you think that you are better than others.  It DOES mean that you are striving to do better than others, though.  Understand that once you set a precedent, it will be expected of you.  That is a good thing.  It is why first impressions are so important and why you should put so much value in them.

 

If 50 people text you while you are in a 2 hour class or while you are at work (yes, there are some jobs that you cannot text while on duty), are you worried that they will get mad if you do not fire a response back immediately?  It is ok to NOT get right back to them.  If you are able to text or email someone back immediately every time they summon you, you may need to search out a better purpose for breathing.  I have said it before and I will say it again, “They will still answer when you are able to conveniently get back to them”…if not, then they need a better purpose in life as well.

 

Some people may consider this a rant.  Well, I guess that it is in a way but staying with your nose buried in Facebook waiting for an interesting status update to comment on, is probably worse.  You are responsible for setting the precedent and being an example for our kids as well as their friends.  Yes, I said their friends.  While it is not a totally accurate quote, I will modify it to fit our own lesson here. “Apathy will become the norm, if people choose not to act”.  If we choose to think that others should just know better and do not take initiative to lead, they will most likely NEVER LEARN.

 

Today, we have youth teaching youth all over the nation.  Parents are overwhelmed and tired and wonder why they cannot get anything done.  They would rather spend money on things that tear their family apart than do things that bring their family together.  I admit it too.  I am guilty.  It is easier to just feed them what they crave rather than give them what they need.  One of the problems that we have as a society is that sometimes we assume that others have learned something that we already know.  It is like we think that they should have absorbed it or something.

 

Recently I visited a well known fast-food restaurant to get a couple of items to stifle my hunger until dinner since I had not eaten lunch.  The restaurant was what I call a “hit-or-miss” joint…in other words, you never know what you would get when you opened your wrapper.  I pulled up to the drive-thru speaker and was greeted by an energetic friendly voice.  I thought, “Wow! That’s nice to hear for a change”.  I pulled up to the window and was met by a smile and courteous service.  Again, I thought, “This guy is new or something” but the genuine hospitality was rather eye-opening.  I pulled out and went to a parking space to commence with the “hit-or-miss” portion of the program.  What happened next can only be summarized as astounding.  Not only was the order right, it was neat, made right, a good portion and hot.  I was dumb-founded.  Everything about my visit was exactly correct.  The food was even wrapped correctly.  I almost took a picture of it rather than eating it!

 

I did eat my order and eat it all because every bite was right and perfect.  I bet you are thinking that I am about to say that then I woke up.  Well, maybe in a way, I did.  I then went into the restaurant with my receipt and asked for the manager.  He walked out timidly and happened to be the same person who served me at the window.  I exclaimed, “David, I have come here ever since this location opened.  I have never had the superior level of service from here as I did today.  I spent less than four dollars and I feel like I was treated like I spent a million.  I will not only be back but I will tell others in the area about my visit.”  I thought he was going to cry.  He thanked me and told me that they have been working hard on changing the way they did business since competition in the area had been getting fierce.

 

Did I feel good about what I did or silly for making such a big deal over a $3.27 order?  Yes, maybe, but what was actually accomplished?  I had a wake-up call to something very enlightening that was engrained in me and I had lost.  Lost because of all the cares of this world, nation, city, workplace, family and self.  I found my need to make a difference.

 

I’m not talking about making an indelible mark in the fabric of the history of the world.  I am talking about looking out for our posterity, one act at a time.  Not a random act of kindness, but an earned move of encouragement.  How many times has someone treated you really well and you just thought it was great but did not say a word about it to them?  Really, do you think that they just read your mind and know that you were pleased from their efforts?  Do not think that it does not matter.  Turn the tables and stand in their shoes.  How would you feel if you put your total efforts into your work and the recipients told you, “I am telling others about this so that they can experience it as well”?

 

It takes an effort of selflessness and some courage but once done, you wish that others would do the same as well.  I will state this again:

 

“Apathy will become the norm, if people choose not to act”.

 

Set a precedent first so that you first may follow it.

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.

Losing My Friend

This is probably one of the hardest posts I have written to date.  I started writing it just hours after the event so it is forthcoming and raw.  I had to capture my feelings while they were fresh so it cemented more in my heart about the importance of journaling…because we as humans, forget.

“Last Friday (6/14/13), I lost a wonderful and faithful friend.  My dog, who was approximately 14 years old, fell ill suddenly and had to be humanely euthanized.  I write about it because I have never lost a friend like him that was so close to me.  I am not going to write about all the wonderful things that he did but rather I am needing to write about the effect that his passing has had upon me.

I called the vet on that Friday afternoon fully expecting to be told that my dog was coming home that day.  Unfortunately, the vet said that it would be a good idea if I came in because he had taken a downturn in the last 24 hours.  Since I was picking up my 14 year-old son after work, he would be with me.

We walked into the vet’s office and were taken to where he was.  He laid with his head between his front legs motionless, eyes bright but that was all.  I felt that he was mad at me until I realized that he could not wag his tail because he was too weak to move anything.  He could not even lift his head.  My son and I sat on the cold concrete floor and pet him and cried.

When I was told what needed to be done, a myriad of emotional questions came to mind.  “Can’t he live just one more day?”, “Can I take him home to die there?”, “Should I be here for the procedure or should I just leave?”. “With it being my decision, how do I live with it?”.  With my 14 year old son at my side and after calling my wife on the phone, I decided to go ahead and end his suffering.  “What would my sons think of me?”, “Is this one of the rites of passage to becoming a man?”.

We slid him on a blanket to an examination room and he was so weak that the sliding motion winded him.  He could not do anything but look at me…and I wondered, “Do you want me to do this?”, “Do you know what is happening?”, “Can you ever forgive me?”.

We comforted him and talked to him calmly, reminisced about old memories and made amends.  I apologized more than once for the times that I was harsh with him and asked for forgiveness.  The vet came in to give him a sedative shot and told that it may take a few tries because his blood pressure was so low that some veins had already collapsed.

When the sedative started to take effect, I said “we love you” and “goodbye, old friend” while he could still hear me. His poor worn body relaxed and then settled to slow, deep breath.  She gave the second injection and I asked how long it would take.  She said it may take a couple of minutes, maybe longer depending on his circulation.

He took a few more breaths and then it stopped…

I let out a short yelp that came from holding my emotions back for so long and my son and I cried together while we pet his lifeless body.  I was truly heartbroken for the first time in years.

As time has gone by, the pain has gotten easier.  I still think that I see him in the corner of my eye, on the porch, in the hallway.  I find myself waiting for him to come to the kitchen after dinner for a leftover bone or piece of meat but there is emptiness where there was a subtle joy.”

It has taken me a month to actually post it but I felt that it was necessary so that some of my posts would have this as a point of reference.  I do not know what you may glean from this post but possibly you will.

Faithful and unconditional friend
Faithful and unconditional friend