Tag Archive | Insight

Hindsight 20/20 – #6 – The Orphan Heart

A question of self esteem –

So many are not happy with the way they are.

Whether they have thought it themselves, or been processed to believe it by others, self esteem is a huge issue.

It is an issue so large that it can give us the sense of being orphaned.

Our hearts feel orphaned because we feel that we are always “Less than”.

Less than the top executive, less than the doctor or the nurses, less than the pastor or other public speaker.

We feel less than the guy driving the cool car, or the lady wearing the most expensive jewelry.

The truth though, is that “No one is better than us, and we are better than no one”.

How do I know this?

Because I’ve read it over and over, in so many different ways in my Bible.

My belief is that whatever GOD says; Stands.

Even over what others say, or try to make me think.

We each have value.

It is given to us by God, the One who made us.

Romans 12 says this – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind ….. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

As we read about in ⇾The Orphan Heart #5⇽, the fruit of the Spirit has the ability to change our thoughts and intentions.

We CAN renew our minds, and begin to believe what God our Maker has said about us.

Here is what He says in Ephesians 2 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Jeremiah 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love.

Jeremiah 9 says For I know I the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for you, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call to me and come and pray to me, (read; Talk to me) and I will hear you.

Psalm 139 tells us that God knows us.

He knows us all.

He knows us all the way to the smallest parts of our DNA.

And He loves us.

All of us.

Even when our days are dark, He will not leave us.

Hebrews 13:5b says “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Since all these things are true, should we not, could we not, begin to see that we were made higher than the dirt way we see ourselves.

You can read more about it here.

Psalm 139 (ESV)

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

I said all that, to say this; If our self esteem is suffering from how we were raised, (or not raised);

How we were treated by nice people or by bullies;

Called out in front of others by well meaning teachers;

or lifted up higher than we should have been;

or worse;

the list goes on;

We have been damaged.

But God!

He wants us to be whole, and serve the purpose for which we were created.

He wants us to be ourselves, not who someone else thinks we should be.

He created us to be fully OURSELVES, not someone else.

He also wants to walk by our side and has provided help in the form of His word to get it accomplished.

He never says it will be easy, but it will be worth it.

Dig in.

Dig in deep.

Keep digging, and using what you find to get yourself healed.

Take control over that Orphaned Heart.

Until next time …

The Number One Thing

Happy Monday to you all!

Today I’m sharing a post with you from a very prolific blogger.

He has graciously given me permission to do so.

His topic is one that gets discussed round our house quite often; but never quite as articulately!

The Number One Trait of the Unsuccessful

Posted on  by Cristian Mihai

Photo by Siavash Ghanbari on Unsplash

We’re all self-made, but only the successful ever admit it.

After all, why ever admit that you don’t like what you see in the mirror if you do not plan on changing?

But what if I were to tell you that the root cause of unhappiness and failure are not external factors, but our inner reactions to those factors.

After all, what is required of one in order to be successful?

Is it being a billionaire? Changing the world? Find one’s soulmate?

Aren’t those things intricately tied to a lot of external factors? And isn’t our perception of those factors the result of a combination of behaviors, beliefs, thoughts, and adaptations?

After all, some people are happy while having little reason to be so, and others are unhappy even though wildly successful.

It seems to me that we are only as happy and successful as we make up our minds to be. Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure, and ultimately it’s our inner reality that that dictates our own happiness.

The Number One Trait of the Unsuccessful

All unsuccessful people share this trait: they are blamers.

They are not willing to take responsibility for their own happiness and success, and thus they blame everyone and everything.

You fail by doing so, because there’s no reason for you to do anything to fix your predicament.

Don’t like what you see in the mirror? It’s genetics, it’s your parents, it’s some health issue, it’s the fast food industry.

Don’t like how much you earn? It’s the economy, the government, your neighbors.

When we blame external factors for what is ultimately our internal reality, we are choosing to sit in a rocking chair. It feels like we’re going somewhere, but we’re not going anywhere.

Blaming someone else means you never assume responsibility for your life.

I know this because I’ve wasted most of my twenties by looking for someone to put the blame on for everything that needed fixing in my life.

Do you want to know the harsh truth?

It doesn’t matter who’s to blame, it’s still your responsibility.

Your significant other left you? It’s your responsibility to fix your heart.

You lost everything you had during a recession? It’s your responsibility to challenge this disaster with more enthusiasm than ever before.

When you expect someone else to fix your life for you, you become helpless, and that’s a pathway to soon becoming hopeless.


We often like to tap-dance around the truth, being afraid that the truth is going to bruise our little egos.

If you don’t like something about your life, it’s your responsibility to change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.

Whatever you do, whether you have to beg or crawl or fight, just don’t put the blame on other people. They are not responsible for your success and happiness, you are.


If you enjoy my words, consider becoming a member.

Your support and your contribution are what keep this engine running, and I intend to reward them with my words as often as I can.

——————————————

Do you consider yourself successful?

How do you feel about the blame game?

Are you able to take responsibility for your own stuff?

We see it all around us today;

and we must be willing to take action not only for ourselves, but for teaching this responsibility to those who will be following along behind us.

It gets easier as we go.

Please share any other ideas or insights you may have in the comments.

Until next time …

A Timely Message

Greetings! Today I’m sharing a blog post from a favorite blogger of mine. (With his permission)

I hope that you find it’s message as timely as I did.

This Is What a Prisoner Knows About Life | John P. Weiss – Blog

Source: This Is What a Prisoner Knows About Life | John P. Weiss – Blog

This Is What a Prisoner Knows About Life

_________

Sometimes dreams don’t come true. The best of plans unravel and life takes you on an unwanted detour.

For Benjamin Foster, that detour led straight to the Barstow County Correctional Center. As most prisoners know, “correctional center” is just a softer word for “prison.”

Benjamin used to be a good kid. He played little league and was a decent student. He loved computers and drawing and dreamed of becoming a video game designer.

But things changed. His Dad ran off with his secretary. After his parents divorced, Benjamin lived with his mother. Dad infrequently visited and Mom had to work more to make ends meet.

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop

Benjamin used to walk home after school and usually had the house to himself. He’d try to get his homework done but often got distracted with television and doodling.

Then one day after school he ran into Sid, a fellow high school student who lived in the neighborhood. Soon the two were inseparable. It wasn’t long before Sid introduced Benjamin to alcohol and marijuana.

Benjamin’s grades began to slip and arguments ensued with his mother. She lacked the support needed to raise Benjamin.

Marijuana and alcohol led to mushrooms, LSD, rave parties and then methamphetamine. Benjamin’s life was quickly unraveling.

They say idle hands are the devil’s workshop. If that’s true, then methamphetamine is the fuel that powers the devil’s workshop. Benjamin’s addiction to meth led to shoplifting, burglary, and crime.

Benjamin’s mother was at her wit’s end. Her son had been in and out of Juvenile Hall and even participated in a substance abuse program. But it was all to no avail.

In his early twenties, Benjamin worked part-time at a car wash. The perfect place to deal drugs. Until he got ripped off by some dangerous clients and ended up owing money to his suppliers.

The bank robbery was supposed to be the answer to Benjamin’s predicament. How could he know two off duty cops would be in the bank that day.

The court process played out and Benjamin’s public defender did what she could. In his favor was the fact that Benjamin hadn’t used a gun (only pretended to have one) and didn’t hurt anyone.

Benjamin’s mother cried at sentencing and when her son was escorted out of the courtroom in chains. He was sent to Barstow County Correctional Center. He was no longer Benjamin Foster.

He was now Inmate 27409.

Meeting Rembrandt

Prison frightened Benjamin. Everywhere there were hardened men with tattoos, built-up bodies and hidden alliances.

The prison noise was relentless. Alarms, slamming doors, arguments, buzzers, screams and yelling. A concrete hell.

Navigating this new world required effort, luck, observation, bartering and time. Unfortunately, his four-year sentence provided plenty of time.

Benjamin sought jobs that helped him stay out of trouble and pass the time. His favorite job was working in the prison library.

Years later, he would reflect that the job in the library probably saved his life. Because that’s where he met “Rembrandt.”

Benjamin’s first encounter with Rembrandt was near the rear of the prison library. It was there that Benjamin found this seventy-two-year-old inmate, seated at a desk with several art books opened around him. Also on the desk was a sketchbook filled with amazing pencil drawings.

Benjamin struck up a conversation with the old man and learned that everyone called him “Rembrandt.”

“It’s funny because I don’t even paint,” Rembrandt told Benjamin. “The prison budget cut back on paints, so all I’ve got are sketchbooks and pencils!”

“Yeah, but those drawings are amazing,” Benjamin offered.

“I like to copy from the masters. John Singer Sargent. Caravaggio. You can learn so much from these old artists,” Rembrandt said.

Old letters and regrets

It wasn’t long before Benjamin and Rembrandt struck up a friendship. Rembrandt was sort of like a father to Benjamin. Especially since Benjamin never heard from his deadbeat Dad.

“I told you about my robbery, but I don’t think you told me your story?” Benjamin cautiously asked Rembrandt one day in the exercise yard.

“Murder. I caught my wife having an affair with a coworker. I suspected it for some time. But then one day I found her car parked at a motel.” Rembrandt shook his head.

“That’s terrible. I’m sorry.” It was all Benjamin could think to say.

“Back then I was an alcoholic. I was drunk. I kicked in the motel door and lunged at the dude. We fought. He fell, I grabbed this marble statuette in the room and bashed it on the guy’s skull. Killed him instantly.”

Rembrandt looked at Benjamin and added, “And that was that. The prosecution said it was premeditated. I got 30 years. My wife left me. I had a grown daughter, Sarah, but I lost her too.” Rembrandt swallowed hard.

“I’m sorry. What happened to Sarah?” Benjamin asked.

“Oh, mostly time and disappointment, I guess. She used to visit every other month and tell me about life back home. But then she’d just write. For a while, anyway. Now she’s down to only Christmas cards.”

Rembrandt sat on the yard bench beside Benjamin and looked him directly in the eyes. “Benjamin, it’s okay. I’m at peace with it all now. I may only have old letters and regrets left of my family, but they have their own lives to live. I have my art and faith in God.”

“I wish I could get where you are, Rembrandt. I used to have dreams, but I’m stuck here for three more years,” Benjamin said.

“Well, Benjamin, if you’d like, I’ll share with you some hard-earned prison wisdom. I’ve come up with five life strategies that work both inside and outside prison. I think they can help you.” Rembrandt smiled at Benjamin.

“I can use all the help I can get,” Benjamin said.

Prison wisdom

The next day in the prison library Rembrandt opened up a notebook in front of Benjamin. On the page Rembrandt had written his five life strategies:

  1. Let go
  2. Forgive yourself
  3. Own it
  4. Emotional maturity
  5. Give thanks

As Benjamin gazed at the list, Rembrandt spoke. “When I got to prison I started to notice something. All the newbies were tense, nervous, angry. You could see it on their faces. They were grappling with fear, but more than that. They realized all the things they lost on the outside. Affection, status, approval.”

“Yeah, that hit me too,” Benjamin said.

“What happens in prison is that we build mental toughness to survive. Our worlds shrink to television, exercise, reading, maybe chess. But over time we realize we never had much control over our lives. Even on the outside.We learn to let go. The guys in here that learn to let go, they’re relaxed. They smile more. Letting go and acceptance can be freeing.”

Rembrandt pointed at his list and said, “Number two is forgiveness. For yourself and others. If we keep blaming ourselves and others, it’s like emotional quicksand. It will consume us. Forgiveness opens the door to personal growth.”

“Third is learning to own your own life. Too many people blame everyone else. Most of our lives reflect our own choices. Yet people constantly deny this. They blame their spouses, children, parents, bosses.”

“Yeah, I’m guilty of that one,” Benjamin said. “I still blame my Dad.”

“Your father has his own demons,” Rembrandt said. “You know why I love the library? It’s not just art books. I like to read the classics. All the stuff I should have read when I was young. Greater minds than ours have left wisdom on how to live life, but we’re too busy being petty and superficial to go deeper.”

Rembrandt returned to the list. “Fourth on the list is emotional maturity.How I wish I understood this years ago. Emotional maturity means not making excuses for yourself, taking responsibility and avoiding the shortcuts in life.”

“And last but not least,” Benjamin said as he read number five, “Give thanks.”

Rembrandt closed the notebook and said, “Yep, gratitude is frequently forgotten. We grouse about everything. The food. Traffic. Our lousy bosses. We complain with such indignation. Well, how would your petty complaints sound to some guy in the terminal cancer ward? Or to a couple who just lost a child in an accident? Learn to give thanks for your health, your life and talents.”

Benjamin put his hand on Rembrandt’s shoulder and said, “Thank you, my friend.”

The angels closed their eyes

In his remaining years at Barstow Correctional Center, Benjamin adopted Rembrandt’s five life strategies. He studied daily in the library, consuming classic books. He began a course of study in computer science and design.

Rembrandt passed away six months before Benjamin’s release from prison. Benjamin mourned his friend’s death but felt a deep sense of gratitude for all Rembrandt taught him.

Benjamin wrote letters to people he hurt in his life. He wrote to his father to forgive him. He wrote to Sid and shared Rembrandt’s wisdom. He even wrote to Sarah, Rembrandt’s daughter, to tell her who her father became.

As Benjamin signed the forms and changed into civilian clothing, he said a quiet prayer of thanks to Rembrandt.

In the prison parking lot, Benjamin’s mother said a prayer of her own. A prayer of hope, that Benjamin had changed. A prayer for the future.

As Benjamin and his mother drove out of the parking lot, the angels closed their eyes. They said a prayer of thanks and redemption for the prisoner, Rembrandt. For in saving the life of Benjamin, Rembrandt had saved his own soul.

(Originally published at FineArtViews.com)

Elegant writing & fine cartoons

Excerpt;

Prison wisdom

  1. Let go
  2. Forgive yourself
  3. Own it
  4. Emotional maturity
  5. Give thanks

Much to think about.

Until next time …