Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mistakes & Excuses

Hi guys,  I just wanted to talk about something I've been thinking of a lot lately... It's mistakes.  We all make them... Yes, we all, even me, even you!  The thing about mistakes is, no one is exempt, we would like to think some people are. Beyoncé with her flawless voice really disappointed when it was discovered she may have lip-synced to the National Anthem at President Obama's second inauguration. Lots of singers have to lip-sync at some point but Beyoncé!? I mean she's so good, why would she ever!? Never mind people get sick, never mind the flu that has been spreading throughout the US to the point some States have declared a medical emergency... Don't get confused here, I'm offering possible reasoning behind Beyoncé's decision, not excuses... Which leads me to one of my main concerns... Excuses.

There have been some situations around me lately in which some people have been acting poorly at best and some kind-spirited people have been making excuses for their actions... And although I think "reasons" need to be considered, I believe "excuses" are unacceptable and furthermore some behavior or decisions cannot be excused... Forgiven? Absolutely. Excused? No.  One of the more popular excuses I've heard is along the lines of "well, they can't help it, look at their past and how they were raised... They get it honest... They're just acting how they've been taught to.." And to some extent it's true that how you're raised changes you, it definitely has an impact but isn't it also true that once you transition into adulthood you gain some insight into the responsibility of being a good and responsible human being... You learn, you change and you grow... To excuse bad behavior with your  past is just not acceptable once you're an adult.. Okay, so maybe you are just doing what you've seen done by others but if you're told it's wrong and it's explained to you then it's time to make a change, it's time to grow up!  The thing about excuses is we could all have them, each and every person in your life has had some life altering trauma or some idiot (I know that's harsh but I honestly couldn't think of a better word) role model who messed them up... Dr. Phil always says something along the lines of  'there comes a time in every life where you have a decision to make that has the potential to course correct your whole past' and I think it's the same with growing up, when you become an adult you gain the ability to know right from wrong, people tell you when you're wrong more directly and you're allowed to ask for explanation if you don't understand and at some point during all this realization it's up to you to course correct your thinking on those subjects as well as your actions. So no more excuses!

The second part of this blog is dedicated to those of us who have let go of the excuses and see our mistakes plainly and honestly.  We don't offer excuses because we know we are wrong... But as much as excuses are inappropriate so is beating yourself down! It's a thin line we must walk between always excusing out thoughts, words and actions just so we can negate change or responsibility and dwelling on our flaws, mistakes or habits to the point we cannot progress.  As much as we all need to grow up and take a honest look at our lives and change the things we need to in order to become better people and Christians we also shouldn't allow our focus to be on the negative.  Think about this honestly with me: You're a Christian, there's something you struggle with, you really want to do right but that area just seems so impossible for you to overcome... I wonder what God is concentrating on... Actually, I think I know; the Bible says God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7!) God knows you aren't just presuming on His mercy, He can see you sincerely desire change and He can also see you're human and since He created humanity He understands that sometimes intentions aren't enough. So stop looking at your mistakes through your own eyes and take a minute to consider what Jesus thinks of you!  It's is not the desire of God for you to feel unloved, unimportant or devalued because you struggle, it's his intention that you realize that's the human condition and it's what keeps us needing Him! Paul wrote "For what I do, I do not recognize as my own action. What I desire to do: is not what I do, but what I am averse to is what I do." Romans 7:15 (Weymouth New Testament.) Even the Apostle Paul knew what it was to disappoint himself with mistakes but think of how we now respect his ministry and how great of a Christian we think he was!

The bottom line:  since we are all human, at least last time I checked I wasn't sprouting a tail or wings... we will make mistakes, there are things we will want to do, commitments we will desire to make and we will fail.  Don`t offer excuses for your mistakes and poor actions, offer recognition, repentance, retribution, solution, change and forgiveness of self! When you make mistakes don`t dwell on them and give up because you've got God on your side and nothing is impossible for you now (Luke 1:37!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What do You Want From me?!

I used to often wonder what it is that God wants from me... I mean, what can I really do for Him? An all powerful God wants something from a little, insignificant, skinny, blond kid from a small city..? But what is it? I know something it's not... Or at least it better not be or I'll be coming up WAY SHORT (no pun intended ;o) Perfection... If God had been looking for perfection he had it in heaven with throngs of angels worshipping him, with streets of Gold, with more than we can even imagine, God would have had no reason to ever create us... Nevertheless, here we are, so what was God looking for when he created us?

The Bible says we are made in God's image. Contrary to lots of other beliefs, I think "made in His image" means the core of humanity is made in God's image... In order to figure out which part of us is made in God's image we have to figure out what all of humanity has in common. There is only one thing every single human being has in common: EVERYONE, no matter culture, age, race or temperament wants to be loved. From humanity's one common thread we can see God's only desire; he wants to be loved by us. The whole point of our relationship with God is that He wants to be chosen over anything else.

If you truly love someone you put them ahead of anyone else and anything else, including yourself... You are committed to that person, you make effort to grow closer to them, you hold to them more closely than anything or anyone else, you talk to them as much as possible, you are faithful to them and if you have a weekly date planned you best not be standing them up ;o) So why would we skip out on church or prayer meetings... Why wouldn't we talk to God everyday, even when we aren't in church, isn't the point of a relationship more the private moments you get to share with your love rather than the publicity of it all? You wouldn't allow people to easily destroy your relationship with someone you love so why do you just want to give up on your relationship with God when people act stupid or speak poorly of you? The Bible tells us people speaking poorly of us and treating us harshly shouldn't surprise us because they first treated Jesus in that same manner.

You MUST put your relationship with God before your feelings, press through negative thoughts and get your bum in a church pew! The Bible instructs us not to forsake the "gathering together of the saints." I promise, it will all work out in the end, better yet, the Bible promises you that! Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." People will see the truth, it may take a while because they're slow at times ;o) but they will see because God will make reveal truth.

Even though your current circumstances may suck (yes that's the word I've chosen because sometimes it's just appropriate) the hard times will teach you that you can and MUST trust, love and lean on God no matter what else is happening around you. God will take care of you. The road is rough and long and a lot of hard work but in the end you'll know God in a deeper and more intimate way and it's all worth it!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Run or Trust? This is it!

A few years ago I had a breakdown in one of my most cherished relationships... And not just a breakdown that ended with a parting of ways but where that person spoke poorly of me to anyone who would listen afterward.  The worst part was that people all around us believed them because they were the first to speak... Some people turned against me, I had very hurtful words spoken to me and over my future but I couldn't defend myself.. Not because I felt what was being said was justified but because my love and care for the other person had not died with the relationship. My pathetic response was "well, I'm sad they said that and disappointed in them but I will never speak a bad word about them because for many years I loved them and I need to honor that now."  Honestly, I just wanted to scream and tell everything I knew about that person to deflect the pain away, I thought about quitting the particular group we were both apart of, I thought of excuses and ways around what I knew was right but I just couldn't do it...

I was taking piano lessons at the time of the relational breakdown and one night instead of learning piano I learned something about God... He cared enough to step into my situation even though I hadn't prayed but just because God cared didn't mean he was going to let me off easy. God - through my teacher- called out on what my problem really was... Some part of me knew what it was all along and that's probably why I wanted to run and not pray about it... Hearing my teacher tell me the real issue wasn't the situation at hand at all but my lack of trust God would take care of it... At the time I didn't have much of a reaction to what was said, I didn't want my teacher to know he was spot on with what he said, but he was. I drove to a park along the river instead of home that night, I sat in my car watching the sun set and I prayed, sort of a "God, he's right, I don't trust you... And I think it's because I've only had myself to trust in relationships for so long that now I don't trust anyone and it's bled into our relationship and I don't know how to get it back. But I want it back so please help me, teach me to trust you, take me step by step and please protect me from the sharp tongues of others during the process."  It was still a difficult road to travel and I wasn't believed for a long time but eventually God not only helped me trust him but helped others see the truth who were brought into the situation through gossip and conversation with the other party. I didn't even realize I was beginning to trust God, one day something else happened with that person/situation and I just I had peace about it, that's when I realized I had peace was because I was just trusting God! I examined myself and the situation and realized that although I had done some wrong (almost every situation takes two) I ultimately was not the cause of the breakdown of relationship and nothing I did wrong would have excused the lies that were being told about me.

In the end, after a lot of prayer, perseverence, deciding not to quit on God over and over again, I actually now have the relationship back, probably not ever what it was but I still have it and that means a lot... In the end, even though the other person attended church and no one had much of a reason to believe me over the other person somehow God revealed truth.  I actually prayed for the other person, I still loved them and didn't want them to experience reprecussions for words I knew were only spoken in anger.

I believe it was God alone who took care of me and defended me... I now know that even His kids fight and he still can and will stand up for the right. Just because the other party involved goes to church or is a christian, is God's kid too, doesn't mean God will give them a free pass... The bible says God corrects his children because he loves us.  But if you're going through something there is a catch to getting God to "work it out for you" you have to be putting your RELATIONSHIP with God ahead of your feelings and make the decision not to back down from your relationship with God for anyone or any feeling... You MUST TRUST GOD! God will honor your efforts.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Resolutions?

Okay so I've never been big on resolutions, partially because I don't think anyone sticks to them and partially because we shouldn't wait until the new year if something in life needs changed... All that aside I have actually quasi made a resolution this year... It's sort of along the lines of " if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." But not really that deep... Just some things I hear myself say WAY too much that I need to change. And basically, I want you to think about your own vocabulary and consider making your words your resolution with me.

It doesn't have to be anything extreme, in fact you probably have a better chance at sticking with your resolution if it isn't.  And don't s,other yourself, give yourself some slack so if you make a mistake don't give up, just realize that last year you wouldn't have even looked at it as a mistake so if you are now that in itself is progress! If you think about it differently this year -whatever it is- then something is changing inside you and eventually that which is changing inside will make it to the outward and stay there.  Maybe it's just the ever so popular "like" in the midst preach sentence, maybe it's just that on person who seems to trigger your temper and make you say things you regret, maybe it's cussing or maybe it's just plain ole negativity. Whatever it is - and I'm sure there's something - lets get it started and see if we can make our words taste a little bit sweeter.

Listen, the truth is ere are always going to be nay Sayers, always people who speak poorly of you when you're not around or people who judge you for your mistakes and try to hold you there, but that's all the more reason for you and I not to be part of any of that. It doesn't even have to be about being "spiritual" it is just good practice, we all like those people who just have that ability to lift us with their words, so lets choose that no matter what those negative comments thrown our ways are, we will be part of the positive in the world. What's the old adage? "If you want the world to be a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change."

I'm with ya! Happy new year!