…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.

 

 

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Not Your Typical Thanksgiving List

This list is not made because I think that you should have experienced these things too, but truthfully, it is for me. Yes, it is true. It is selfish but it has an unselfish purpose. I hope that you will see it before the end.

Things I am thankful for…

1. I am thankful that my parents divorced when I was 6. I have learned more about the value of marriage because of it.

 

2. I am thankful for having a single mother. She fought and struggled, won and lost, laughed and cried. She gave me more than many mothers would or could because of the obstacles. She also taught me to never give up.

 

3. I am thankful for the years I spent as a truck driver. It made the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” mean so much more. It also meant that I was able to face many “personal demons” head on with God leading the charge.

 

4. I am thankful for not being popular at school. I learned that I am responsible for myself and cannot control whether I am liked or not, therefore I am to be who I am and look to be the best at it.

 

5. I am thankful for having surgery on both biceps and being out of work almost 2 years because of it. The hard lessons I learned about myself and my family as well as the opportunity to meet many people, was well worth it. I can look back now and see benefits whereas when it was happening, it was gut wrenching.

 

6. I am thankful that I was able to be next to my dog when he died this summer. My beautiful 14 year old “pup”, who God brought into our lives to teach us about unconditional love (among many other things), saw me and my 14 year old son as his last sight. It was a sight that made him happy as well as me and my son, bigger and better men.

 

7. I am thankful that I have had supervisors that I have not liked. These “situations” shaped me into a better person and actually changed the way I supervise situations.

 

8. I am thankful that I do not have a brand new vehicle. Because I cannot stand it when something is brand new and a mistake of mine or someone else’s scars it (I realize that this is probably a character flaw and translates to much of my life but for the sake of the list, I am thankful).

 

9. I am thankful that I have failed at a few business ventures. Because those “failures” are steps, times to learn, experiences to relate to my children and history to put on paper so that they may serve a purpose beyond my own physical reach.

 

10. I am thankful for having two very different close family members pass away within a year of each other about 4-5 years ago. It showed me the value of keeping the people you love, close to you. One died scared and alone, the other died with her husband at her side. They both were loved but they died in the situations that they prepared for themselves. Every day you live is preparation for your own day that you leave this earth.

 

11. I am thankful that God offered his own Son to be crucified. Since I am a Christian, I consider this the ultimate gift. Many cultures cannot understand this “gift” but it was made so that you can have a choice.

 

These are all gifts, believe it or not. All of the above gifts are there so that you can make a choice; the last being the most important. It is like receiving a pen and paper for a Christmas gift. It is what you make of it. You can write or draw. You may write the next great novel…or not. You may be the next Rembrandt…or not. But your life is there, waiting for you to make it happen. Be thankful and grateful for ALL things, even the things that are not pleasant…because all of them can be used to choose to make a better YOU.

 

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…

Unnoticed

On my prayer list, I have things in 3 categories:  Thankful, Others and Myself.  Under the Thankful column, number 1 is this:  Thank You for this day and what You will do.  This morning, I got stuck there.  What will He do?  Will I notice it?  Will my day go by without me noticing anything to give Him credit for?  Will He do something right in front of me and I just say “Cool!”, not giving thanks for the Him showing it to me?

Ladybug

The truth is that many things will happen during our day that we could thank Him for and we will not notice.  In the grand scheme of things though, things are brought to our attention at times to guide our focus, give us direction and reveal our purpose to us and others.  While millions of events are happening around us, only a select few per day will be for guiding you alone and the intensity of their impact is determined by your receptiveness.

Therein comes the wall, the callous, the absorption of meaningful things into the past that we may never see.  Sometimes just knowing that you need to heighten your sensitivity, adjust your radar, is enough.

Look today for ways to be mindful of things that would otherwise go unnoticed.  Even if you have to schedule that time today, even if it is just 10 minutes, find that time…and give thanks to Him for those things.