Tag Archive | mindfulness

Directionally challenged

My Grandpa had this hat.

He was such a card!

“He watched where everyone else was going, and went the other way.”

Mike Rowe

“Half the miles on my truck are from turning around and going the other way.”

Frank Iliff

It’s all fun and games until we’re talking about eternity.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:1


And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28 (ESV)

We get a choice. We get to choose which way we go.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:8-10 (ESV)

I have chosen the scenic route for most of my life.

Yesterday I heard someone say “Give us the hard way and the easy way, and we’ll take the hard way every time.”

He was joking, but he certainly was making a good point.

And why not? The scenic route is also the most informative. (and challenging and difficult) but it is through that route that we learn what does and does not work, and how to go about life in a better way.

If we are a Jesus follower, it is during these times that we find out how strong we can be through Him, and just how close He walks with us if we choose to let Him.

My encouragement to you is this; when eternity is at stake, to choose wisely.

When the end is here, that choice is all that matters.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

Until next time.

Make a Moment

What state do you find yourself in these days?

I don’t mean like the state of Iowa or California, or Indiana.

I mean in your heart and your mind.

Truthfully, I find my self in a state of holy dissatisfaction.

I call it holy because I believe it is God ordained.

At times, the only way I can be convinced to move forward!

Commercials do it all the time!

They convince us how dissatisfied we are with a given product on a given day, so that we will move on out and purchase their products.

Holy dissatisfaction = displeasure, discontent, disappointment, unhappiness, frustration.  

My previous post I wrote about Cave Dwelling.

This post is more about what pushes us into and/or out of that cave.

Don’t get me wrong.

Contact is fine, that leaving the cave.

But in truth, it isn’t always energizing, and sometimes it’s simply exhausting.

People can be loud.

People can be out of order.

People and be stinky and ill mannered.

(And maybe they think I am all of those things!)

People, like myself, are just trying to get back to their caves.

When it comes down to it, the reality is that people are not noticing the people and things around them that have nothing to do with their day, unless they happen to get in their way.

We’re all just trying to return to our cave dwellings.

We live all together, yet alone.

In other words, you really can get too much of a good thing.

Too much time presiding contentedly in our caves can indeed become excessive (or obsessive) to the point of being “too much of a good thing”.

It can turn us into self centered persons, who are really unappealing.

This condition I’ve found in myself has caused in me something I will call “Holy dissatisfaction“, here is an example;

-I have a favorite shirt. I wear it all the time. It starts out pristine. It becomes comfortable. After time it begins to break down. It becomes threadbare. It no longer serves its purpose, “dissatisfaction”, has been achieved, and the shirt must be replaced. I get to choose at this point whether to replace it or not. If I don’t, it will further disintegrate, causing sadness and possible regret for me not being able to make the change. If I venture out for a new shirt, I may find that there are others out there that I can enjoy just as much.-

Seeking out others can be loud, and messy, and exhausting; but isn’t that what we’re here to do? Reach out to others?

  • What if I see out and about in town today, and I manage to “get in your way”?
  • What if I greet you pleasantly instead of growling?
  • What if I can help you reach that item high on the shelf?
  • What if I let you in on that line of traffic, or buy your coffee in the drive thru?
  • What if I could give you just one good thing to smile about today?

It really wouldn’t cost me much of anything extra.

That would create a wonderful moment for each of us.

But I had to leave my “Cave” in order to make that happen.

So let me encourage you – Make a moment. Make two.

Heck, let’s make it a habit!

Making moments until next time.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20 (ESV)

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 (ESV)

Cave Dweller

I’m a “Cave Dweller”. I love being at home, in my “Cave” while communing with God and His creation.

Quiet. Blue Sky. Green Earth. Ever changing seasons.

Communing = to experience a deep emotional or spiritual relationship with something.

Now cave dwelling is fine for a season, but it may be time to get out of here for a while.

I can argue that God has provided me with a pretty cool cave, and that I am comfy here.

To which I hear, “Comfy is what you come back to, to rest. But to come back, you have to leave first.”

I once used my 400 pound Strong’s Concordance, (remember those?) to research all that the Bible said about caves.

Caves were used for many, many things. Living, storage, hiding, burial…..

I did find that my self imposed solitude can turn into loneliness and isolation.

Here is where I find myself, one more time.

It is again time to transition to level-up.

An upgrade, if you will.

There is a growing “Holy dissatisfaction”.

It comes from learning the new thing, leveling up, upgrading; learning a new thing, and then getting really comfortable with it.

I believe the “Holy dissatisfaction” comes from knowing your subject, or in my case, where you are, so well that it is no longer a challenge.

If I am happy with that, then I can never grow or change, or become different or better than I currently am.

To find out what that is, there are a few things that I require myself to do;

  • Set aside an early morning time to get quiet – before the day begins calling my name
  • Revamp my schedule to have a few quiet, listening breaks during the day. (He’s always speaking, I’m just not always listening.)
  • Read biography’s. Stories of people in history or culture that I admire can be helpful to me to see more possibilities
  • Leave my house; go places, see things, meet people, enjoy creation.
  • Take a breath. Then another. Then another. Consciously.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12 (ESV)

Here is hoping that my ramblings may open up new thoughts and possibilities.

Until next time – Do something different!

Transition

Long ago, back in the day, I learned a new word.

The word was TRANSITION.

Transition = Process of change; A process or period in which something undergoes a change and passes from one state, stage, form, or activity to another. (Encarta Dictionary)

An example of transition is that uncomfortable space in between when we are working for something and are about to receive it.

Or after we have received it, and gotten really comfortable with it, so we are in the place of moving on to the NEXT thing.

Long ago, back in the day, I thought that I would have transition once, and that would be it.

How naive I was; long ago, back in the day.

Through many years of “process”, I’ve learned that we are in a constant state of transitions, usually in more areas than one at once.

I’ve also found, for myself anyway, that if I argue with the process, or hang on to things longer than I should in my “comfortable place”, I simply end up exhausting myself and those around me; all the while never reaching any kind of new goal.

This is where I find myself today.

Somewhat uncomfortable.

Somewhat bored.

Somewhat wondering what is next.

So Dear Reader; I was prepared to dump all that process here, all at once, then decided to dump it out just a little at a time.

You’re welcome.

I hope you choose to join me for this journey, however long or short it ends up being.

And if you do, don’t hesitate to share any thoughts or comments that you may deem helpful.

Sometimes, in order to transition well, we (read I) need a village.

See you next time.

Windows on the World

Sunday Stills; My Way ← In this post I tell how “My photos are not primarily OF windows. They are mostly FROM windows. My home office window, car windows, hotel windows, plane windows.

The windows I want to talk about today, are the windows of our hearts; the windows of our minds; and the windows of our perceptions.

It all started when I happened across a TED Talk – called “The Price of Shame” – by Monica Lewinsky – from March 20, 2015.

She spoke about humiliation, shame, cyber bullying, public shaming, and online harassment.

She quoted Brene’ Brown saying that “Shame cannot survive empathy.”

We have freedom of expression, but also responsibility of that freedom.

Might our harsh words cause the demise of another?

Let’s face it, myself, and many others I am quite sure, heard Monica’s story while it was going on, and thought what a horrible person she must be, as well as the one she was involved with.

Did we consider her with compassion? Did we think of her as young and naive? Did we consider that she may have been being taken advantage of by another? Did we think of her as Someone’s Daughter?

Maybe for a moment, but the mainstream media of the day made it very easy to characterize her as a floozy; or many other names that she goes over in her talk.

Her stand in her talk was that we need to communicate, consume, and click with compassion.

We must take back our own narrative, and help others currently in that position.

As a child, I was bullied a lot. Every day.

I somehow knew (not in my head and not until much later) on a visceral level, that I was being protected.

I simply cannot imagine how much more infinitely difficult it is during THIS time period.

What with social media and TV media and print media all screaming insults and vitriol all over the place for no reason, and hardly any basis in fact.

So I ask you now to consider your own “Windows on the World”. (Heart, mind, perceptions)

  • Are you communicating your thoughts with compassion?
  • Are you consuming your media with compassion?
  • Are you clicking with compassion? (Clicking usually = dollars)
  • Are you listening to EACH side, or only the one you like?

Along with the link to Monica’s story above, I’ve added a few more links.

Perhaps they can help you to begin your search for your OWN WAY to do things with more compassion.

American SPCC – American Society for the Positive Care of Children

From Bystander to Upstander (Stand up Agaisnt Bullies)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Scroll for Help for Specific people Groups

V22Kill – Veteran – First Responder – PTS – Suicide

We do not need to agree on everything; in fact, we can disagree completely with another’s world view, and still listen to them, and treat them with compassion.

If we use compassion, we can have some really good conversation, and who knows: maybe everybody can learn something.

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

The Ability to Forgive

Photo found on Pinterest. https://bit.ly/2TbZoZt May be subject to copyright

Join me today for a guest post from someone I’ve known for a long time.

With his permission I copied his article word for word from his Facebook page.

I’ve added my own comments to the end.

Enjoy.

People come into our lives for a reason; a season; or a lifetime.

He’s that kind of friend.

PSALMS OF LIFE·MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2019·

In this article I’m going to share with you 5 of the most important things that I’ve personally discovered about the ability to forgive THAT WORKS!
(CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE TO OPEN THE ARTICLE)

1. We do NOT have the natural ability to forgive anyone…no matter how hard we try! In fact, the more we try, the more weary we become. That does NOT mean we are helpless victims of other people’s foolishness. Because what we do have is the God-given ability to choose…to choose to forgive. That opens the door for the Holy Spirit to do in and through you the same thing that He did through Jesus on the Cross when He said, “Father, forgive them…” Jesus did not do that in His own strength. He made the choice, in the same way that you and I make the choice. That brings us to point number 2:

2. The Holy Spirit has the power that it takes to cause forgiveness to take place. More than anyone, He knows the value and power of forgiveness. He also knows our weaknesses, and is more than willing to fill our weakness with God’s strength. But, equally, the Holy Spirit will not (and cannot) make the choice for us. That’s our part. Making the choice when everything within our pain is shouting, “For what they did, they don’t deserve to be forgiven!” And, that leads us to our third point:

3. The other person (or people) don’t deserve it! The Lord’s prayer is, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” The person (or people) owe you a debt. Jesus prayed from the Cross, “Father forgive them…(why?)…because they don’t know what they are doing. If the devil knew what he was doing when Jesus was crucified, he would not have done it! Easily ninety-five percent of the time (or more) the person (or people) that inflicted pain upon you, did not really know what they were doing. We like to think they knew because it justifies our anger and bitterness. But, in truth, they are blind to themselves and their own actions. That doesn’t justify horrible behavior, but it sheds light on a human reality.

4. Forgiving isn’t the same as forgetting. We’ve probably all heard the saying, “To forgive is to forget.” If we can’t forget, it leads us to the conclusion that we must not have truly forgiven.” Forgiving is releasing a person from a debt they truly owe you. You make the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to move in forgiveness in and through you. It begins as an act of faith that you may or may not feel for awhile, but if you continue to make the choice and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work only He can do, the feelings begin to catch up.

Why do you supposed Jesus told His disciples to forgive 70 time 7 (490 times in one day)? It’s because of what the power that not forgiving does to destroy us emotionally and physically. Choosing to forgive and releasing the Holy Spirit then to do His work in and through us is one of the main ways to enter the river of God’s love. This may sound very strange, but the choice to forgive is one of the most positive selfish things you can do for yourself.

5. Finally, forgiving DOESN’T mean that you automatically allow the person or people to return into your life as if nothing has happened. You can forgive and still be wise. There needs to be a time of proof where you see a change in their attitudes and actions before you fully embrace them. That is another area where the Holy Spirit will help you with wisdom if you will ask Him for the wisdom.

I truly hope this helps! Learning to walk in the love as well as the wisdom of forgiveness is one of the most critical things we need to learn!

If this was beneficial, please respond with a “Like”! If you have any questions, please ask in the comments. If you have some wisdom that you’ve worked out in your own life, please comment. And “Share” this with someone you believe it may help!

Prayer: Father, In Jesus Name, I now make the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to work forgiveness because of what _____________ did/said to me. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

Pastor Gary Ellis

1. Choices. I never realized I even had a choice until I was in my mid twenties. That was a life giving revelation. It meant I no longer had to eat it just because it was put on my plate by someone. I get to fill my own plate.

2. My not forgiving them was poisoning me, while they were walking around “free”.

3. Wrong doers do wrong. That’s what they do. We can expect no different from them. Many times they have literally no idea just how wrong they are. They have no chip for that.

4. Unforgivness harbors bitterness, and causes sorrow and grief. Psalm 31:10 says “For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.” Note that it takes away our strength. 5. It is not wise to forgive, and then to return immediately, this is so true. Give yourself time, and time, and time. After that, you can make a wise choice due to the actions you see. During that time, you are not holding on to poison, but allowing yourself to regain your strength.

Thanks for being here, and please join me again next time!

After the Lull

Fast forward to the present time, 2019, and the years in between, working on putting all I had learned to some practical use.

There has (seemingly) been a lull.

I say seemingly because I believe that even, and maybe especially, in the quiet times, the lull times, God is often doing a work in us so deep, and so profound, that we may not even have words to express what is happening on our insides. We may not even know!

Then one day, the times of quiet disappear, and everything erupts! There is drama everywhere, and there is nowhere to hide.

It is during times of duress, that we begin to realize what all that quiet was about.

All the while it was growing us, and fortifying us, “For such a time as this.”

I believe we grow infinitely closer to God because we depend on Him more.

Enter this book .


I’ve had this book on my laptop for several years. (Ever do that?)

I don’t ever remember reading it.

Until now.

Funny how things can hang out for the longest while, only to reappear at just the right time.

How long have I been asleep? How long has God been working in the silence of my heart? What have I learned from that time?

Dekker maintains that we follow Christ, and then we are all prone to forget the truth that sets us free all too often, each day, each hour, each moment.

To me this is the same thing as going back to our default position.

The one place in our heart and our head that protects us from the pain and chaos of the world, but does absolutely nothing to help us to grow and flourish.

In the world Dekker grew up in, “It was simple: If you say, and or do, and or believe the right things, you’re golden. If you don’t, you’re screwed. It all depends on you. Just like with God, or so I was led to believe.”

My story is certainly the same. Perhaps yours is as well.

Straighten up. Fly right. Toe the line. Conform. Or pay the price.

The price was often abuse by peers and those in charge, chaotic thinking, and loneliness. Add to that a startling array of disorders, diagnoses, and addictions, and the outcome is quite a mess!

If you don’t know who you truly are, and believe yourself to be the only one in this place, you try to fit in the best you can.

It is so much easier to hide.

What is your identity made up with?

  • Is your identity made up by hobbies or sports?
  • Is your identity made up by the church you attend?
  • Is your identity wrapped up in your wife, your husband, your children?
  • Is your identity made up by your career?
  • Is your identity held in your wealth and status?
  • Or is your identity made up of what someone told you; for good or for evil?

These things promise, and promise to make you feel better, worthy.

But they never deliver. They only continue to enslave.

You need to know that these identities are FAR LESS than the identity that you were born with!

The depression, the wounding, the scarring, the addictions, the habits and ill behaviors that you can’t seem to overcome, and maybe even your health issues, may have to do with how you see yourself.

YOUR OWN perception of you!

And you are certainly not alone in your struggle.

Those perfect people that you rub shoulders with on a daily or weekly basis? They struggle too.

They simply hide behind a different curtain, looking as “normal” as possible.

In God’s economy, normal looks a lot like loving;

  • Loving others even when they treat you poorly
  • Loving those who cannot love you back
  • Loving those who are difficult to love
  • Loving ourselves and others as Christ does.

We all fail from time to time.

But we must know that we are made in God’s image, and if we are born “in Him”, we can continually grow toward being that loving person He has created us to be.

If we immerse ourselves in His Word daily, the Word itself will begin to erase all of the negative corrosion that has been sticking to us our entire lives.

His word will cleanse us, and although we are still not perfect, it will continue cleaning us up, and softening our edges, making us more like Christ by the day.

What will that identity look entail?

  • RadiancePsalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  • Strength2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • WisdomProverbs 2:10 For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
  • Compassion Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
  • Fruits of the Spirit;
    • Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.

I want to tell you one more thing.

The thing I tell you the most.

The most important thing.

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

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.

No accident.

No mistake.

Just …………………. Love.