Thursday, December 18, 2014
Life is not about your happiness. The sooner you realize that, the happier you will be. Wait, that does not make sense. That is because life is hard, it can be a cruel, cruel world and you will not be happy all of the time. However, you can be joyful if you choose.
Life is not about your happiness, but it is about finding joy in as many moments as possible. Most joyful moments are so small that we often overlook them, thus missing out. Find joy in a song that reminds you of your childhood, find joy in a funny comment made by someone, find joy in breathing and being alive, find joy in the successes and failures of your life and of your children. They are learning and they will learn more by watching your reaction to situations than anything you could tell them.
Life can be hard, life can be unhappy, but there is much to enjoy. The choice is up to you to be joyful or to let the world beat you down. Choose joy as often as possible.
Challenge: Choose joy today in something...anything, the options can be limitless.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Ephesians 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
What does it take to be a good spouse, more specifically here a good husband? I grew up in a home that was not religious, but I watched one thing every day that benefited me, a father who loved my mother, his wife. Many times I would watch him grab her as she walked through the house and kiss her, I watched him give of himself for her happiness and that example was good.
But growing up without any other guidance, I started to see women as an ends to a mean, as an object of my desire. I was baptized after I met my wife, but I still was not a good man or husband for a few years as I grew in my faith. As I grew, I started to truly understand Ephesians 5:25.
God so loved the world that he sent his son to die on the cross, and Jesus so loved the church that he willingly went to the cross. Jesus loved the church so much that he gave himself up for it. That is what we are all called to be as husbands, to give of ourselves, our lives if necessary, for the love of our brides.
As I grow in my faith, I have become a better man, but also a better husband. Everything about our relationship improved because of my deepening faith in God. That improvement is important for a couple of reasons. One, I am a better husband for my beautiful wife who is the daughter of my father-in-law which I get now that my daughter grows up. The second reason is that I need to be the example that my daughter will use when it is time as she grows up and some man tries to win her heart.
Challenge: Today, grab your wife, hug her, kiss her and tell her that you love her and that she is special. This is a challenge not just for today, but make it a habit. I promise it will improve your marriage and if you have children, it will be a legacy that lives on.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
While writing this, it is the Christmas season and each year during that time I like to watch my favorite movie of all time, It's a Wonderful Life starring James Stewart as George Bailey. George is a dreamer and wanna be adventurer who through different life events is "stuck" in his hometown taking care of the family owned Building and Loan. George cannot get out of Bedford Falls, and he battles bouts of anger/depression because of it.
At the end of the movie, a large amount of money is misplaced and it looks like George will go to prison and at that moment, he realizes he is worth more dead than alive. The moment he is about to drown himself, an angel drops into the river and George saves him instead of ending his own life. The twist is that during this encounter with the angel, George wishes he'd never been born and the angel makes it so. George then sees Bedford Falls from the point of view that he'd never been born and so many things changed just because George Bailey never existed. It's a great movie and one that I recommend in putting your life in perspective.
What a great gift it would be to see the world as if you had never been born. What I think we would see is how great an influence that we all have and how different the world would be without us. No matter how famous or lack of fame you may have, you are making a difference each day. Some of that difference may be negative, but there are so many positives you are doing without trying, just imagine if you were proactive in doing good.
Challenge: Take some time today and imagine if you had never been born. Your spouse would not have met you, your children would not exist, many of the people who have thanked you for helping them whether on purpose or not, would not have had that help and what happens to them? Your heart is beating in your chest, that means you have a purpose, that purpose is used all of the time, sometimes without your knowledge. No matter how down you can get, you are a hero to someone, I promise.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Reflection. If you are not happy where you are in life, it has nothing to do with anyone else other than you. Yes, that does not sound fair or politically correct, but you are not a victim. Of course, we have all had bad things happen to us, some have had terrible, unthinkable, atrocious actions happen to them, but you still choose to be a victim of that circumstance or not.
Some things can be overcome easier, some, well, you need much, much help from caring and loving people. But you can overcome it. If you are not happy with where you are or the result of your life so far, take a step back and reflect on your actions. Your actions. Not your dad's or mom's or ex husband or ex wife, or your brother or sister, or crazy Uncle Larry (I didn't have one, that's a random name).
Now that you reflect on your life and your actions, take a look at the results of those actions and now comes the hard part; be honest with yourself. Be honest with yourself. This is the part where you play the victim card because if you truly reflect and are truly honest, you will not like the things you see or realize.
So if you are not happy with the results of your life thus far, (sometimes it can not be so dramatic, it may be just the actions of the last few months) reflect on what you have done and what you can change, and what you can do to not be a victim of any experience you may have gone through.
Challenge: Take 5-10 minutes today to think about your life, maybe the last few weeks, months, or your entire life and see where you play the victim. Now once you have found where you have played the victim, think about why you did so. Then once you figure that out, come to grips that only one person control your behavior and whether you are victimized or not and that person is you.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
I have played and coached sports for much of my life. I have a competitive nature, I am the kinda person who will compete at anything from basketball to checkers to trying to do anything that someone has told me cannot be done.
When I played sports as a younger person, I was told often that sports prepared you for life. I can remember when I lost a game or won, that I had no idea what they were speaking about. Nothing in life could be as bad as losing a game that we should not or being blown out in a game. Nothing could feel that bad. So what I had to do was pull myself up and get ready for school and face the day after a loss. To me, it was the worst thing in the world.
When I started to coach, it was similar. Nothing was worse than losing. Then I got divorced and dealt with that, the anxiety and depression after the tornado in 2012 and dealing with that, my children were born and I realized that there were more important things in life rather than winning and losing a game. However, in dealing with with those earlier hard times (losing and thinking that my world had come to an end) they were precursors in how to deal with life's hard times.
Peyton Manning said once that "it's going to be a struggle, so don't be surprised when it is" when speaking of an NFL football game. Life is the same way. There will be struggles, so do not be surprised and rely on the lessons you have learned in the past. With me, it was sports, for others it might have been real life issues dealing with their parents or lack there of or other issues that you've made it through.
Just know that no matter what you are going through today, no matter how bad, this too will pass. When dealing with my anxiety/depression a few years back, I thought this was my new life, my new normal. I had someone tell me that "you know, this isn't forever, it will get better". And when those words were spoken, it helped lift some of the weight off of me because I did not think that way.
This too will pass and it is important to understand that and to compete. Compete through your issues as if you were playing a sport, you will win. It may take time and it may be messy, but you will win especially if you rely on that which gives true hope...Jesus.
Challenge: 1 Corinthians 9:24 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." If you are down, compete, it will get better. Just remember to compete the correct way.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Ok, you have tried some of the things I have written about. You have gotten up and gotten moving, you have started reading about inspirational people, and yet, you still cannot find the desire to move. I get it, suffering from anxiety or worse yet, depression, can remove that flicker of light from your life. Both are normal parts of life, however, if you notice yourself staying in bed too long or a general feeling of "blah", do something about it.
I believe that you cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. I used to think that through pure mental toughness, you could over come anything negative. Then when I was 43 an EF 4 tornado passed over the high school I was teaching at and had a real near death experience. It was not like falling out of bed fear, but an actual "this is it" type moment as the school was completely destroyed. At first, I was fine, I felt I was invincible, then came the severe anxiety and then depression which I still suffer from time to time.
I felt helpless and out of control, I was not able to control my reaction to what happened to me and then through that perceived weakness, I sought help. I went to my medical doctor for medication and to counseling to get some of this off my mind. It helped, a lot. I was able to move on through much work and prayer. It was one day at counseling that I was not weak because I could not control how I reacted to this event, in fact, I was controlling it by accepting that I needed help.
Philippians 4:8 from the (NIV) "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." In the times of the worst anxiety, I would sing a song lyric: "lead me to the cross, where I first found love"(I don't even know if that is the correct verbiage). I would keep my mind on the most true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable thing I could think of...Jesus.
Challenge: Do something daily that brings a smile to your face. Listen to music, watch kids be excited, or watch a funny movie. Do something that helps you remember that living is a good and fun thing.