Can we talk?

September 9, 2015

“Sometimes having coffee with your best friend is all you need.”  (Sent by LG) – as featured on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write about the late Joan Rivers and her famous line, “Can we talk?”

girls huggingThere are times when we all have the need to talk things out, either directly with someone with whom we may be having an issue or just with a friend when the topic may not be about a personal conflict. There are also times when a friend of ours may need to talk to someone and turns to us. Whether you are the talker or the listener in times of need, the act of talking and listening is important to both of you.

It is very helpful sometimes to have to put your feelings into words. Emotions are a reaction to something that has happened in your life and it helps if you find a way to verbalize that something and think a little about your reaction to it. There are obvious things, like the loss of a loved one that cause emotional reactions; but, there are many other things that may cause fear or anger or hatred or remorse and we need to understand them better and why we have reacted as we have. Talking things out can help you get to the root of the problem. You may not always like what you find there, since mental pre-sets like prejudice or stereotyping may have led you astray; but even coming to an understanding of those preconceived notions is helpful. Sometimes you may even say to yourself, “I can’t believe that I just said that out loud.” That’s OK, too; at least you got it out and now you can deal with it.

If you happen to be in the role of the listener for someone who needs to talk, take you role seriously. That personlistening has put a lot of trust and faith in you to be there for them, so you need to be a good listener and a good friend at that moment. Trying to laugh off whatever problem that they are sharing with you is not helpful. Commiserating with them is not the answer either. They came to you for help, not pity. Your real role in these types of situations is to provide the common-sense guidance on how to cope or deal with the matter at hand that they cannot muster at the moment.

Many times the best advice that you can provide may be to help them reconnect with their faith and to unload their burden on the God that they have trusted all of their lives. Help them get to the mental state where they can say, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Once they have done that they can begin the journey back to a more normal life.

prayingThere is a tipping point in all crises where one can fall off the cliff into depression or see the light and head back into life. As the listener in the conversation, it is your job to help them see that light. Giving advice like “shake it off” or “put on your big girl panties” may sound like something that you should say; however, finding a way to have them trust and lean on their faith in crises is much more useful. If they can turn to God and say, “Can we talk?” they will find the help that they really need. Show them that door and let them open it and go through it. Then, remember where it’s at, because you’ll probably need it someday yourself.

That’s all I need…

September 8, 2015

“The last suit that you wear, you don’t need any pockets.”  (Wayne Dyer),  from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

I just returned from the funeral of my wife’s sister; so this little saying hit home.  Another thing that really hit home came out of the funeral service. The pastor was delivering the homily and told the story of a little girl (I think he said she was three years old or maybe five) who volunteered to recite the 23rd Psalm in Sunday School. The 23rd Psalm is a very famous Psalm that is often used in funerals and which is often taught in Sunday Schools.  The 23rd Psalm starts out, “The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want…” This day, the Sunday School teacher asked the class who could recite the 23rd Psalm, which they has been studying, and the little girl enthusiastically raised her hand. When she was called upon, she stood and confidently said, “The Lord is my Shepard and that’s all I need.” 

I think she got it exactly right. That is all that we need. If we believe that Jesus is our Shepard and follow Him, we don’t need any pockets.

A friend of mine lost a courageous battle with cancer recently. He was fun to be around; he was a good man and he will be missed. As I read through some of the posts from his family and friends on Facebook that week, everyone was sending their condolences to his widow and mentioning that he was now at peace in Heaven. For me, and for most Christians, thoughts of going to a place we call Heaven is plan “A” for life after death. It got me wondering what those who have not embraced religion have as plan “B”.

Some who claim to be agnostics deride the faithful believer’s vision of a life with God after death, but I wonder what they think happens next. What is their plan “B”? Somehow, as simplistic as it may seem to some, thoughts of life going on, albeit in a different level, is a lot more comforting than life just ending. I find no comfort at all in that plan “B”. I’m hard-pressed to understand what they believe in.

So, for me at least, I’ll go with the plan that the little girl in Sunday School laid out – The Lord is my Shepard and that’s all I need.

What’s your plan?

Change your future today…

September 2, 2015

“Nothing we do can change the past, but everything we do changes the future.”  ― Ashleigh Brilliant

It certainly does no good to wallow in the past, especially if you use that as an excuse to do nothing in the present. afraidBetter that you should start changing your future by doing things today. Start by doing a quick and honest assessment of where you are today (not how you got there). Consider what are the issues or challenges that you face today and what do you need to do about them? Break bigger challenges down into smaller pieces or steps that you can take, one at a time, prioritize those small steps and then step off – start doing.

You will find that, even if you don’t initially realize it, in the doing you forget to spend time thinking about what’s passed. You are busy making your future. And when you get done with each task, take George C.  Marshall’s advice –

“When a thing is done, it’s done.  Don’t look back.  Look forward to your next objective.” 

 The advice of both Brilliant and Marshall look to the future, rather than the past. Brilliant seems to be more the dreamer and Marshall the more pragmatic, but both are heading you in the same direction – your future.

That is another important thing to keep in mind and one that I’ve written about her in the past – there is always a future. Every event in life that I spent time dreading and overthinking came and went without the apocalyptic end that I had imagined. Yes, some of them were painful, either emotionally or physically, but they passed and I was still there; life goes on and I was still standing. You will be, too. You will also learn that the solution to life’s disappointments, pains and trials is not to be found in a bottle or a pill, but within you and through actions.

Bottom line – you have a future and what that future is will change, depending upon what you start making it be today.  Here’s another  thought to get you started –

“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”  ― John Guare

Finally, for those afraid of the future, there is help within your faith –  me

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”  ― Corrie ten Boom

You can change your future today with a simple little prayer – “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Now that’s doing something about your future!