As a parent, maybe one of the reasons why our children’s attitudes are so annoying and frustrating to us is because they are actually showing is our own attitudes in a revealing way. It is difficult to be told the truth, especially by people who we believe have not experienced life enough to exhibit certain behaviors. However I am definitely learning that your attitude is literally everything. It can deepen or destroy your day. While I would admit that there are several external factors that can impact and affect your attitude, at the end of the day there is only one person who is fully responsible and in control of your attitude–YOU! Maybe thats why the bible encourages us to plug into the mind of Christ.
One of the most difficult things I have noticed however is when your attitude is impacted by people who are not invested in you as a person. I have been guilty of my attitude negatively being impacted by people, places, and things that are not sold out to my personal well being. I know for a fact that I am not the only one who has allowed people who don’t fully know us rob and steal our joy and happiness.
Instead of allowing your attitude to be impacted negatively by people, allow your attitude to be fueled by the Spirit so that when someone attempts to change what you have spent time working on-your attitude is so packed with joy and goodness that negativity does not have space to get in! Your attitude is everything! We all go through situations that can affect our mind. Things that we could not have planned for and situations that have serious impact on our lives. However why spend time worrying about things that you have absolutely no control over. You can control your attitude and if your attitude has a proper perspective then even if the situation doesn’t change your outlook on it does.
This isn’t easy!!! Most of us anticipate things going wrong and spend more time sitting in and worrying about what is wrong than we do filling our minds with goodness and gladness so that negativity has no space to get in. I challenge you in this new week…change you attitude…its EVERYTHING!!!
The truth is that everyone who has or will ever live will experience something they don’t like. No was is excused, no one is free from difficulty no matter who or what they are. Regardless of what some individual’s lives look like no success is ever achieved without failure. You aren’t the first, nor will you be the last person to have to deal with tragedy or defeat. However one of the greatest temptations when you are down is to stay there. It becomes very easy to stay down! It becomes harder to move from where you are to a position where your perspective has changed. Perspective is EVERYTHING. It may take some time before your status changes, and like Joseph it may take years before everything that God has promised is realized in your life. Yet, I have learned and am learning that years of a poor attitude is never improved a person’s situation. Its not like the more you think negatively the better you feel. Its actually quite the opposite because as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
I want to press to your minds today that greater than your experience is the temptation to mentally and emotionally remain in a dark place. Its actually a very easy thing for God to remove everything that is wrong in your life right now. The difficult part is moving your mind to a place of wholeness and remove from your mind what continues to cause you pain.
I want to encourage you toward a few perspectives that will help you to not stay where you are. The first perspective is to KNOW that regardless of your experience you are STILL a child of God. Your situation has not disqualified you in any way from being God’s child. It may seem at times like God has left you but don’t resign yourself to the delusion that God no longer loves you just because you are experiencing seemingly unlovable things. One of the things that has helped me over the years is to understand that regardless of how much pain I was going through, at least I was alive to feel it; the alternative would be a lot worse.
The second perspective I want to encourage you with is to not allow other people who are not experiencing your struggle to define your struggle. Whenever you are going through it, I promise you there will be people who attempt to define why you are experiencing trouble or attempt to analyze your experience in many ways. Make sure your main perspective comes from God so that whatever people may choose to say is filtered through what God has already said. Trust Me! I haven’t fully figured out why, but people love to critique what they themselves have not experienced. They love to suggest things that they have never tried themselves. That is why is it critically important to get perspective on your situation from God so that you don’t allow ignorant seeds to be planted and grow in your mind.
Don’t stay where you are! There are enough Godly promises to push you toward greatness. God will also provide you with people in your life to let you know that you are not forgotten and that you are loved. And when you come through it, when the issue is over, you will be stronger!
If you have ever been through something traumatic, when the dust settles and you realize that you are still alive, you often ask one question: God, what are you doing? I have always believed that God never makes mistakes and that He is always right…but life has a way of causing you to second guess everything you thought you knew, doesn’t it? Even as you are reading this you are wondering to yourself, why am I dealing with this, why am I going through this, why isn’t this over yet? What often makes matters worse and is even at times annoying (at least for me) is when people give you classic church lines. I know that I have definitely been guilty of this but my experience is teaching me to listen more than talk. Have you ever been wondering what God is doing and then people give their commentary with words such as: God is making you stronger! Or: The devil is angry because of how much you have been serving God. Here is another good one: God doesn’t put more on you than you can bear. And this may be the one that takes the cake: If you need anything let me know. This line is probably the worst because when a person is dealing with difficulty and trauma they usually have NO idea what they need or what is even going on. So, you actually put more pressure on them to think of something to tell you. For many people difficulty does not afford them the mental capacity to locate what they may need. They definitely need something! Truthfully they need their nightmare to end.
The reality though is that unless a person is deeply in tune with God they honestly don’t know why you are experiencing what you are going through and don’t really know what God is doing. You can think of a thousand reasons as to why a person is going through what they are dealing with and all of them could be wrong.
When one’s faith has been shaken by difficulty it presses them to either deepen their relationship with God or to deny their relationship with Him. A denial (and this has definitely been a personal temptation of mine) of the relationship means that you have been broken to the point that life no longer makes sense and the God you thought you knew no longer exists. It means that you are so confused about what is going on that you have to move forward in something that seems to make more sense. But if the bible is true (and I believe it is) most if not everyone who seems to have had a strong and deep relationship with God went through something that made them question their relationship with God. To deepen my relationship with God however, do I HAVE to go through pain…difficulty? Maybe, maybe not. What I do know though is that pain has a way of teaching us something that perfection doesn’t. So, in my current pain, let me offer some things that pain teaches.
- Pain teaches primarily that pain hurts. Now this may sound very elementary however at a closer glance what I am really suggesting is that pain allows you to experience God from a different perspective. Being in pain allows you to have a front row seat to see how in the world God is going to deal with the amount of and level of pain that you are experiencing. Pain may arguably be the toughest feeling a human being can experience. There is arguably nothing more difficult than dealing with emotional or physical pain. Seeing how you are able to literally “get through” that pain gives you a window into the mind of God as to what He is doing.
- Pain teaches that dealing with pain is often a lonely experience. Everyone does not deal with pain at the same time. Maybe that is so that those who aren’t experiencing pain will help to encourage those who are in pain? I have learned though that people who have not dealt with certain levels of pain can be incredibly insensitive (not intentionally) to those who are experiencing pain. Its not their fault though. There is just severe ignorance about what to say and what to do for people who are in pain. Our ignorance about what God is doing fuels our ignorance as to what to say or do for people in difficulty. Pain is a road that you sometimes have to travel on yourself. Sure, there are occasional exits you take to get food and gas stations you stop at to help you continue traveling, but oftentimes you are in the car by yourself. Maybe its to teach that while you are driving, though you can’t see Him, God is in the car riding with you. And even though nobody enjoys being lonely, pain helps you to understand that God will ride it out with you.
- Pain teaches that you have limitations. Like all of the lyme flairs that have sent me to the hospital…I have not been able to walk. Feeling like a baby of not being able to walk, but knowing I’m a grown man and have walked before is mentally draining on so many levels. When you experience difficulty it is a reminder that you are not in control and that you as a human being have limitations. For me, because of my limitations, I have had to at times do nothing but lay down in the bed and literally do nothing. Have you ever laid down in a bed but still not be comfortable? Pain has a way of teaching that when life wants to, it will put you down and until your time is over you are limited. Pain though has taught me that limitations can at times lead to revelations. Because you are confined to a particular space and place and cannot do much its a great opportunity (if you are open to receiving) for God to speak to you. Although He may not reveal everything that He is doing, He will sometimes tell you what He isn’t doing…He is not leaving you! So limitations are not a bad thing after all because it helps you see and even hear God in a different way.
So what is God doing???? I still don’t really know…I just know I am learning a lot of lessons on this journey.
For almost ten years now I have been dealing with the debilitating disease called Lyme. I would have NEVER thought that when I first got sick in ’09 that I would still be dealing with every symptom imaginable and having to fight every day for peace of mind, body, and spirit. While I know that everyone deals with something, in no way should ones experience be minimized based on what everyone else is going through. For the fifth time in almost ten years I had to be hospitalized because of symptoms affecting my heart and brain. While being tired of dealing with this would be an understatement and my trust in people has definitely been an issue, I struggle with what God is doing…again. Have you ever felt like you took two steps forward only to take five steps backward? Whats even the point of you moving forward if you at some point you are going to go back?
It is very difficult not to become cynical and jaded when for almost ten years every single day of your life is a question mark of wondering if the bottom is going to fall. Again, I am struggling in my faith-wondering what God is doing and what He is up to. And even though I know people are praying for me I honestly struggle with how practical, powerful, and productive their prayers are.
Something else is happening again too. Once again, the church that I belong to is struggling to find itself. Again they are exhibiting gender inequality, racial and ethnic disparity, and clueless about how to reach the emerging generation. While I know what I personally will do, it is apparent that even though I am currently ill because of a Lyme flair up, there are those who can have full and total health and yet still be sick.
While I am struggling in my faith, unlike man I don’t think God looks down on me because of where I find myself. Again, my story is still being written and I am hopeful that God is looking at my book and not just a single chapter.
It has occurred to me, particularly over the last few years that many men don’t have solid relationships. What I mean here is that many of our relationships are based on sports, politics, etc. But we don’t often have relationships where real issues and factors in our lives. When most men grow up we are pushed to suppress and not show emotions. “Stop crying”! “Wipe them tears away”! “What you crying for?” These are the words usually heard when we attempt to express whats going on. So what ends up happening is that instead of releasing, we suppress and hold on to what we need to let go of.
Scripture teaches that David and Jonathan had a close relationship. Its very possible that even as King, David was open and willing to listening to whatever Jonathan had to say based on the nature of their relationship. Insomuch that at a time when David is supposed to be at war scripture shares that he is at home. If Jonathan was alive during the time of David’s greatest struggle it is my opinion that he would have been able to stand. Their relationship superseded sports talk and what kind of car they would drive but their conversations dealt with the real realities of life.
Men, if you are ever going to be GREAT in the kingdom it will be because you have someone in life that holds you accountable. EVERY David needs a Jonathan!!! This is not part of your wish list, but a spiritual need in your life. Don’t ever think you are too old and grown for accountability! God’s will for your life includes not just accountability but also the opportunity to get out what is inside of you. If you shake a man long enough the contents of whats inside of him is eventually going to spill out and hit what is closest to him-oftentimes thats his family. It spills out as abuse, withdrawal, anger, etc.
I encourage you man…pray and ask God for a Jonathan! Ask Him to send you someone who can aid in your kingdom growth! It is God’s will that every need be supplied…and this includes your Jonathan!
Do you sometimes wish that you are just wasting space and taking up time and that you aren’t accomplishing anything? Its a frustrating life to be alive but not producing anything from your life. Some of the most miserable people that I have ever met are people who are so frustrated with their own lives that their goal becomes to make your life miserable. I want to challenge you TODAY to go on a journey of discovery into finding out your why? Why were you created? What was God thinking about when He decided to make you? What pushed God to make certain that you made it to planet earth so that the world could be blessed by your presence. Why has God kept you alive and in good health and made certain that you had time to accomplish certain tasks? It is an insult to the intelligence of God to make your life into what He never intended. There is a specific and definite reason as to why you are here! Take some time today to pray, think, and reflect on your why. I promise you when you find out your why you will wish you started living your why years ago!!! I pray you are inspired to live your why!!
So, its been some time since I have blogged. Busy life. Life is busy. Family. Work. School. And the list goes on and on. My reasoning for blogging today is to encourage you and let you know that you are right now primed to do something great! I would even suggest that whatever consumes your thoughts and whatever holds a lot of space in your mind…on the other end of that is where your passion lies. If its bothering you its because its going to bless someone else. Take time away from looking at why things aren’t necessarily working out for you and understand why your mind is being consumed with something…its because someone needs to be blessed. Seek to be a blessing, and start today!
Notice that Jesus always had the right words to say to people. He didn’t tell the Samaritan woman about new life, nor did he tell Nicodemus that he needed living water. He always gave people what they NEEDED. Even when he fed the 5000, his concern was that they would leave hungry. Its interesting that Christ’s concern was that they would leave his presence still empty and hungry.
I wonder how many people come into our presence and leave still hungry??? I wonder how many people we come in contact with and we have no words to give to them. We are often so empty ourselves that we have absolutely NOTHING to give to them. What is inside of us, or what isn’t inside of us that allows people to feel so lonely or incredibly tired of dealing with people in this life who have a lot to say but aren’t saying much.
My challenge for you today, my challenge for myself today is to be so filled with the Word of God so that I have words to say to anyone who I come in contact with. My prayer is that my words won’t be just letters from the English language but that they will be directed to the individuals needs….
I think sometimes we search for people, places and things to help us to cope, get through, and survive this thing we call life. I have recently come to the conclusion that people, places, and things, all leave us craving for more people, more places and a lot more things. For some its drugs, for others its sexual relationships, and others run to a new place every time trouble hits…but the more we abuse, the more we engage in relations, and the more we hide out….it leaves us longing for more. It never fully seems to satisfy what we really, truly need…..God!
I’ll be honest, the people seem to help, the places seem to grant escape, the things appear to soothe us, but after the moment–we are right back where we started. This new revelation for some and reminder for others always holds true–everything we honestly need is found in God. If you are like me, there have been times when you have been tempted to leave and give up on God because it seemed that he was not answering or not doing what you obviously seemed to need. But just when I was about to leave him, I discovered and said to myself: “….now if I leave God…where am I honestly going to go?”
Is the road sometimes difficult, yessir! Does it hurt like crazy, absolutely! Do you feel like giving up, no question! But when its all said and done….God is honestly all you need! Thats what I am learning in my world…peace!
If you are like me, sometimes you go through this in life so difficult that all you can say is: OMG!!! For some of you, you have no words nor can you come up with reasons as to why you are going through what you are experiencing but all you know is that you are in pain. The desert of pain and the road of loneliness are often accompanied with feeling as if you have no purpose and that your life is meaningless. Have you have experienced days when you smiled but you were honestly crying inside? Everyone’s critique of your life would suggest that you are doing quite well and that from their vantage point life probably couldn’t get any better for you…..and yet if people only knew what was in your head and what rested on your heart they would possibly start crying along with you.
Today I had another inspiring conversation with a close friend of mine, and came to this crazy conclusion: As a child of God, what if your storm was actually your assignment??? I’m not suggesting that God loves when we are in pain, neither do I believe that we should go looking for storms. However, I am reminded of a story John’s gospel when there was a man who was born blind. He didn’t ask to be blind, he didn’t enjoy his blindness, and I’m quite sure that he would have loved to experience sight long before Jesus finally healed him. However Jesus said that the ONLY reason that blindness was on him was so that God could get some glory. What I am learning in my world is that sometimes God will use your ‘blindness’ as a platform for the glory of God. I think many of us are missing our moments of God’s glory and replacing them with moments for self preservation. Hey, I hear you…I’ve been there, I don’t always enjoy being God’s platform and being His poster child. But then again maybe I do…if God has given me a storm as an assignment then He must believe, know, and trust that I am capable to do Him justice!!! I’ll be the first to admit, that I have often missed by assignment by complaining, my attitude, and non-testimony because I wanted my way more than I cared about His way.
I’m not there yet, I haven’t fully gotten to the place I need to be….But I now understanding that as a child of God…my pain isn’t random…what I’m going through and what you are going through….even in your storm is your assignment and God believes that through even your OMG moments–He will get glory…peace! Just some thoughts from my world…