Thursday, May 24, 2012

Speed Up to Slow Down!

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew." ~ Saint Francis De Sales

In your patience possess ye your souls. ~ Luke 21:19

We live in an instant gratification world. All of the high tech push button luxuries of this world, though they have helped, they have also seemingly distracted us from our own humanness. We want all the joys, power, money, and luxuries of life, and we want it NOW! We want our health back NOW! We want that job promotion NOW! We want our marriages to be healed NOW! Press a button, flick a switch, pull a trigger and all should be in place and perfectly balanced NOW! The child wants to be a teenager. A teenager wants to be an adult. Impatience moves all us to do things and expect things beyond the moment of our time of life. We want things before their time and our impatience overcomes our prudence to take the appropriate steps and the right decisions.

The scripture says to everything there is a season. We want to run, but it is really the season to walk. Young people are impatient to get married, and in their impatience, they race past the gift of being single only to find themselves not ripe enough to deal with the season of marriage! We eat trash foods, pollute our bodies, and exercise little, then when the moment of sickness hits our body, we want healing NOW! Our inability to wait and endure the temptations of the moment, bring us to a crash and burn later on in life.

Carl Jung said, "Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity." We must learn to play the hand that God has dealt us and to play it with patience. The scripture our patience we would possess our souls! Herein lies a bigger picture of where our impatience may take us. When we lose our patience, we are more apt to lose our souls. The spiritual ramifications of falling prey to our lustful desires and appetites are far more consequential than the things we can perceive with our senses! It is the inner man struggle to keep the right things the main things. The 'spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak' and might I add, very impatient. How many times have we given in to the moment without looking beyond the moment to later regret the decision? One would think, after making a few quick impatient decisions, we would learn a lesson or two and not fall prey to the flash pan protocol of our desires. But, without a doubt, there is a definite contrariness that is innately planted within this human body. The Apostle Paul said it this way..."For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Wow! Sounds like a battle to me, and not just a battle but a war! Most of the time we KNOW what the right thing to do 'is', but it seems as though, another 'force' is always looking for an easier, quicker way toward 'satisfaction'. Then, when we finally give in to this quicker easier way, it is often met with remorse because the action never materializes into the satisfaction that was promised in the moment of decision. Like Esau, who gave up his birth rite to Jacob for a bowl of pottage, his momentary feeling as 'though he were about to die' was traded for all the natural and spiritual blessings only the first born was privy too. Like Esau, we give consent to the 'quick fixes' of life only to not only regret the decision, but realize later in life, the quick fix made matters far worse than if we would have patiently waded beyond the moment of temptation. Though disheartening these lost battles may play upon our hearts, they are just that, momentarily lost battles! We must remember, we may have lost a few battles, but we have not yet lost the war.

If we want true success. If we want to really 'see' and perceive what is truly going on around us, our first step is to SLOW DOWN! We must take the time to examine ourselves and the situations of life that we are confronting. Lao Tzu made this statement, "Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Be still and allow the mud to settle." The rat race gets us so befuddled and caught up in its pace, for us to truly see, we must have the understanding and the power to step back from it all.

Today, I want you to slow down. Take a deep breath and slow down. Step back and examine yourself. LEARN to be patient. LEARN that patience is not only a virtue, but also your friend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hocus Pocus Where's Your Focus?

The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing. ~ German Proverb
How many times have we looked back in life and said within ourselves or aloud...’If I had only paid attention!’ Rather than being caught up in youthful lusts and petty cliques we would have concentrated on the more important getting an education! Oh, the power of being able to focus on the task at hand! If there is one thing we seem to lack in this day of multi-tasking is FOCUS! The ability to remain steadfast on a thought toward a goal seems to be lacking in our culture. In college I remember a professor saying World War III started immediately after WWII. He said it wasn’t the a battle of tanks and guns, but it was a battle for the mind! And when I take a look around, this statement seems to stand true. Look around and its not very difficult to see how scattered we have become. Running to and fro, here and there, and heltered skeltered. Whether we are just trying to make ends meet or keep up the Jones’s down the street, life has become one hectic ‘rat race’. From video games to cell phones, our lives are inundated to something and anything to take our minds off the task at hand! Lately, it seems, if we just get through the day, we count ourselves a success. Our minds have become so scattered and removed from any calmness of focus, to pick up a good book is difficult because our minds are forced to become calm and to a racing mind, calm seems abnormal!

I have heard the first rule of focus is this: “Wherever you are, be there!” Wow! Simple but seemingly difficult to implement in this hectic fast pace multi-tasking day and age we live in. It is difficult for us to concentrate on concentrating. When was the last time you were someplace and you were just there, focused and concentrating on the one task at hand. It seems wherever we are we are not there, but we are somewhere else! Yes, physically we are there, but mentally, we are paying the bills, going over our ‘to do’ list, or worrying about what may never happen. Its no wonder we always feel like ‘we are spinning our wheels’. We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet. We are so caught up in the trivial we have lost sight of the target and it is more than likely the problem lies in the fact that we have lost focus on where we are going and are wanting to go, leaving an overflowing of trivial problems in our lives. Is it possible if we were to re-obtain our focus that many of these problems would no longer hound or hinder us?

Its time we clean off our tables and clear up our minds of mindless fodder and refocus on the true purpose of life. Long ago, you had a sense of purpose and direction in which you were heading. What happened? You used to shoot your arrows at a fixed target, but today you don’t even shoot your arrows, let alone draw back your bow! No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined. Not only is the fool known by the multitude of his words, but the immature mind hops from one thing to another. It is only the mature mind that has the ability to focus and seeks to follow through. I know we have hurts, pains, and discomforts, but how many of those have been caused because we lost our follow through? How much refuge is in our lives now because our attention has been lost while pandering to the inconsequential. To move forward, we must shake ourselves and step out of the ‘rat race’ and back into ‘that place’ where the target is in view! We must not just get our aim right, but once again put forth the energy needed to draw back the bow of purpose, by no longer letting what we can’t do interfere with what you can do! The past is the past. Mistakes and disappointments are building blocks and should be used to refuel our passions and stepping stones into the future.

Haven’t we have learned that if we aim at nothing we are sure to hit nothing! The secret of our strength lies in our ability to concentrate. King David said in the Psalms, “My heart is fixed!” Was it not our Lord Jesus Christ who ‘for the joy that was set before him endured the cross!’ When all others and even his disciples tried to convince Him the cross was NOT where he was going, he rebuked them, and how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.’Anthony Robbins said this, “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.”

"Only that day dawns, to which we are awake." (Henry David Thoreau) A new day has dawned and there you sit in your swivel desk chair. What are you going to do with this day? Once of the greatest generals of all time, George S Patton said, “No good decision can be made in a swivel chair.” Stand up. Stretch and push that swivel chair aside. Today is a new day! Today is the day of salvation!