Monday, May 21, 2012

So, There is a God!

Probably most of my life I have spent talking to the ceiling or the wall or the steering wheel hoping to hear back from our super-natural friend, God.  And most of the time there is no response.  Why?  I really don't know, but my guess is that our heart and soul aren't in our prayers.  We kind of recite some litany of words we're supposed to string together in certain times or for certain people, and that's supposed to mean something.  However, when our heart and soul is tied up into our plea, it seems God hears us better.  Or rather, He hears what our heart is actually saying and it is finally in line with our prayer.

This past week I became overwhelmed with the circumstances kicking our butts right now.  And through tears, I asked Him to help us with our car.  Within an hour I heard back from the mechanic that Honda said they'd fix my car for free since it was a problem that has developed with all of those models of Hondas.  AWESOME.  Thank you God!

Also this past week I couldn't take anymore of the depression in my business.  I have tried to reach out to everyone I can think of, asked for referrals, trying to get some sort of momentum happening; yet none came.  Again, I literaly cried out to God about this, telling Him exactly what I've done and tried to do and that I can't do anything else.  I'm tapped out, I'm done.  I literally have no more ideas, energy, or desire to do this.  And within an hour I receive an email with five referrals.  Thank you Lord! 

So, there is a God!  And it turns out He does listen, He does care, and He does rescue us.  Maybe it is just that we try to rely on His intervention way too soon and too often.  Do we have to exhaust ourselves before He steps in?  Maybe so.  Otherwise, it wouldn't be Him rescuing us; He'd just be helping us build our own lives, instead of us learning how to live His life in us.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

When The Wheels Come Off

This morning a friend of mine became irrationally angry and frustrated and took that frustration out on me and another friend. Since this person is one of the sweetest people on the planet, it's obvious that the behavior was completely abnormal. I'm nearly positive that it is a side affect of the anti-depression medicine they are taking to help cope with recent grief.

Two days ago I became extremely frustrated after a potential client chose not to do what was in their best interest and committed to take a less wise path of financial planning. People choosing to do things that are not at all in their own best interest all the time. So, why I did I get so frustrated?

Because three days before then, in a matter of 24 hours, I learned that I owed about $9,000 to a company I work with because they had overpaid me 12 months ago. Then on my way home, my car's engine died resulting in a $3,000 bill to fix it. On top of that, April was a low income month for my business which means I needed a better May. May was set up to be a huge income month, but surprisingly to me, a majority of people chose to delay or decide against doing what they had previously decided to do. In a nut shell, I had a financial emergency that totaled $12,000, I had a bad month with income, and I became extremely stressed out, determined to wear myself out emotionally and mentally in an attempt to fix this situation.

So, this brings me to a few conclusions. One: our behavior often has aboslutely nothing to do with the present circumstances.  It nearly always has to do with something else that is leading us to act a certain way.  Two: it's always a good idea to do proper planning and preparation. If Kim and I hadn't set aside savings along the way, we'd pretty much be screwed right now instead of just stressed. Three: God clearly wants something different for us than we want. Since my plan involved bringing in plenty of income to make significant financial strides and God's plan involved us getting pushed back financially, clearly we have to different paths. And I'm okay with that. In fact, my initial reaction to all of this was a good one. I was excited to see what God was doing and why and what would come from it...but when reality hit about what that means to us directly, it was difficult to keep a level head. Four: thinking of my friend, we as a community need to find ways to breathe life into each other, not simply look for a medication to help (yes there are some cases where it is helpful, but on the whole, we are way over medicated). The side affects from not overflowing life to others are even more disastrous than those of the medicine.

I guess I'll leave us with this thought: when the wheels come off in life, where do we run? Do we medicate? Do we get frustrated and internally explode? Do we try to Rambo up and try to march through it on our own? Or is there some way to dive into community, lean on others, seek council and love and support and friendships and listening ears that will allow us to get through our struggles in one piece? Is it possible to find peace amidst the storm?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shedding fears

I highly recommend that everyone takes time to unplug regularly. 

It had been about 7 months since Kim and I got away by ourselves to do nothing but breathe, and it was long overdue.  So we jumped in the Vibe and headed to Orange Beach, Alabama to spend time bodyboarding, playing sand volleyball, making a sandcastle that very quickly became a pile of wet sand, finding seashells, throwing a frisbee, watching the sunrise, and watching the dolphins swim past in the gulf.  We had a wonderful time.

We didn't have an agenda; we really didn't even have a plan.  And if you know me, that's pretty unusual.  But to not have the burden of work or family or dogs or any semblance of responsibility was a welcomed breath of fresh air.  It helped put things in perspective...

About 8:30 on Saturday morning we decided to go out on the beach and do some bodyboarding.  The weather was perfect: 78 degrees, the water just cool enough to refresh us.  As we stepped our toes into the water a school of about 100 stingrays swelled in front of us. 

Now, I don't know about you, but jumping into the water while a huge crowd of stingrays pass by is not my first impulse.  No, we were thinking of Steve Irwin and thought they'd probably kill us.  So, we waited till we figured they were long gone before we went in.  Minutes later, another huge group of rays swam by and we quickly swam/ran/crawled out of the water as quickly as we could!  It was only later at about 9:30 that someone came by and told us they were mostly harmless.  It turns out, if you don't splash or kick or run, stingrays will actually just swim around you and not hurt or attack.  And this is the truth!  We had stingrays swim by us (or in Kim's case, brush her legs...kind of freaked her out a bit :)), yet they didn't harm us at all.  Instead, we were able to see the beauty of these crazy creatures as the lurked by and have an absolute blast riding the waves onto the beach with bodyboards!

So, this got me many times are we freaked out by things that are mostly harmless?  By setting our own imagination at work conjuring up some reason to be afraid, we instill our own fear into our lives.  I literally do this on a daily basis.  We get startled by things that have no real harm to them and we create fear that then places our lives in chains; keeping us from enjoying the good life. 

Consider how much less we would have enjoyed the beach if we couldn't get in the water!  (by the way, Kim and I are not sun-bathing type people.  Kim will burn in about 15 seconds and I just get bored).  Yet, it wasn't our own strength or determination or intellect that led to us being freed from the fear of stingrays.  Someone else had to speak into our lives and help us realize that there was nothing to fear.

Who in your world do you know who is fearful of something?  What if you stepped into their world and helped them see that fear is the issue, not the actual stingray?  Who's life could you change?  Who could you meet eyeball to eyeball and bring them out of fear and into life to the fullest?

Love the person in front of you; because we all are living lives ruled by fear and all need this life to the fullest.