Certain symptoms arise repeatedly in the few people that I mentor. While most of my principles are stated in positive terms (do), there are a few negatives (don’t) that need to be set as boundaries — emotional guard rails, if you will.
Reaching into your past and reliving negative events is emotionally destructive. You not only grant your oppressor continued power but you actually damage your mind and body by doing this. If you share these stories (outside of a counselor’s office), you pass that negative energy along. Don’t give the evil people in your past one more second of your precious thought life. Cut them off now — *poof* — and they have no more power. Vent about pain today to someone close, but once it has passed, forget it and move on.
Worry is the wrong use of our great gift of imagination. Planning is good. Worry is bad. Knowing that bad things *can* happen is mature. Worrying that they *will* happen is more than a waste of time. Worry robs energy from today and gives it to a fake tomorrow — a tomorrow that will likely never appear. Jesus told us it was useless (Matt 6:27). Mark Twain said it this way:
“I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”
Tell yourself right now that you have better things to do with your wonderful mind than manufacture stomach acid through worry.
“That’s just the way I am.” You’ve heard people say it — usually talking about some negative trait like anger or impatience. Maybe you’ve said it yourself. It’s a lie. Personalities are given at birth. You are born talkative or outgoing or shy or musical or good with numbers. This is permanent and neither good nor bad. Character, however, is something that grows with experience and training. Angry people become calm. Impatient people enjoy anticipation. Trash talkers speak lovingly. This is called growing up. Sometimes this process takes a detour because of wrong modeling or teaching but we can get back on the right path to growth and develop a deep and lasting character. You will always be a work in progress, so never speak of your character in static terms.
photo credit: https://stocksnap.io/photo/S5UT5T2IE3
You may first leap to physical attractiveness, but that is only one of several factors that make someone attractive.
From which springs humor, curiosity, wonder, and so much more.
Be honest. If you are hanging around people who are not kind, you do it for some other reason than just wanting to be there.
The strength to be yourself in all situations. Real regardless of who is watching.
To know your body and its relationship to the bodies around you — this is essential. I am not yet convinced that this can be learned. It seems to me that you either get this or you don’t.
I struggled with the name of this, adding it later after much thought. It is the best moniker I could give to your motive force, your drive, your direction, your purpose… the quality of being a non-stump.
P.S. After surfing through a gaggle of images for one of my favorite actresses, I settled on this one where Grace Heart (Sandra Bullock) is totally being herself before the big makeover that transforms her into a pageant contestant.
Take a look at this beautiful resort.
And reflect on this passage from I Corinthians 2:
“THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD,
AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,
ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”
Here’s a product I’d like to see. Perhaps you’ll be the one to build it.
The ubiquitous “Coming Soon” web page is boring. It has no stickiness. It doesn’t say in a compelling voice, “Come back next week to see something exciting!” What is says is, “We didn’t have time to do anything interesting with this website yet.”
How about this as an alternative…
When you put up your site, you link your new (unfinished) home page to a service site like:
(all are available at the moment)
Within that library, there are beautiful custom pages in a variety of categories that can show construction underway:
* Office Building
* Ship, Boat
* Car, Truck, Motorcycle
* Engine, Plane
* Sweater, Russian stacking doll
(ideas are endless)
Here’s the angle. Instead of just a pretty picture, you link to this service with a certain series selected AND a percentage complete (0, 25, 50, 75, 99). When visitors come to your site, they see a gradually progressing version of your website as it gets “built” by the artist who drew the pictures. Not only is it a beautiful drawing, but the gradual revelation of the design says, “Come back soon and see what this will become!”.
The point is that something IS happening — your website is not just sitting there.
If I created this service, I would contact talent through eLance, Odesk and Craigslist to do the artwork. Then I would charge customers a small premium to rent the service for their website. Perhaps a free version that supports subtle ads would work too, but even a modest fee of $5 per month would mount up if you got a fraction of the tens of thousands of new websites launched each year.
Dumber ideas have made money. I think the secret sauce will be the beauty (real talent in the artwork) and a low price so that it can spread rapidly.
“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Philippians 2, after describing the humility and sacrifice of the Christ, continues with these words:
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
We do not exalt Jesus to the place of Lord. His is already there. In worship, we “confess” — agree and acknowledge — his place as Lord over us and return thanks for our position as his children.
Jesus, comfort to the sorrowful
Jesus, companion to the lonely
Jesus, guide to the wanderer
Jesus, champion to the oppressed
Jesus, light for darkened eyes
Jesus, strength to the weak
Jesus, rock for the storm-tossed
Jesus, feast for the hungry
Jesus, joy of the dancer
Jesus, glory of the saved
Lord Jesus, there is nothing we need that you are not.
Draw us near to where you are.
I have a solution to the difficulty young children have tying their shoes: Make the strings from the cords of in-ear headphones. All you have to do is pick them up and they produce knots!
Our circumstances can be legitimately scary. But anxiety does not have to be the result.
When I am anxious, I find that I have slipped into an “exception” mode with God — that I am believing a lie about his essential nature.
Don’t get me wrong… the great liar does not consider me important enough to shout at. No, these suggestions creep in almost as a whisper — as an exception to the character of God revealed in scripture. See if you recognize one of them…
“Sure, God is powerful. Any idiot can see that by looking around. But is he really controlling everything?”
What’s the implication here? That God is generally in charge, but in my case… he blinked. He looked away for a moment, perhaps distracted by a quasar he was working on, and he didn’t see the open manhole in my way. Later, he says, “Oh, my bad little one.” Anxiety springs from thoughts of being overlooked, forgotten.
“Of course God is loving. The cross shouts this to all mankind. But can he really love me?”
Again the attack is made on the basis of an exception. This time the exception is me. Somehow I am special, peculiar — an outlier that the shed blood of Jesus cannot quite reach. Anxiety comes from being unloveable.
“God is wise, of course, but the world is very complex. He is doing the best he can.”
This is an anthropomorphism – assigning to God the attributes of man (e.g. limited capacity). The world is an ant farm and God simply cannot keep up. The result, I worry, is that some of the ants experience less-than-optimal outcomes. I would be much better off if God was my small group leader.
Absurd when considered logically, these flaws in the attributes of God somehow lodge themselves in my gut when I am facing hard days. The answer, as always, is faith. I must reject the lies of the enemy and embrace the perfection of my Lord. If he is flawed in any way, he is not the God he claims to be. Thus the fault lies not in him, but in my beliefs about him.
When all our efforts to control life get stripped away and we hit the wall, we are reminded that our only hope is in the infinite, eternal, and unchangeable character of God.
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” Prov. 18:10
“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4