Get going in a different direction…

November 15, 2017

Thaccess deniedis little quote from the Jack’s Winning Words blog got me to thinking about the rejections in my life and how that changed my direction.

“Sometimes rejection in life is really redirection.”  (Tavis Smiley)

Rejections in life can come in many forms. We tend to remember the bigger moments of rejection, like being turned down for a date or being passed over for a promotion; however, life is full of little moments in which something that we want to do is somehow rejected or, at least that path is blocked and we must go in a different direction.

 

 

How we react to rejections in life and what we choose to do in the new direction says a bored2lot about us. Some don’t deal with rejection very well and may slip into anger or depression every time things don’t go the way that they and planned and hoped. Some are so flighty that rejections are quickly forgotten and they flit off in a new direction, seemingly oblivious to the rejection. Do you know people who react to rejection in those ways?

For most of us rejection is just a temporary bump in life. They may stop us for a moment, as we internalize what just happened, but we go on. What few of us take the time to do is to think about that rejection as a redirection in our lives. I wonder what would happen if woman-prayingwe paused and thought to ourselves, “OK, God didn’t want that to happen to me or for me; I wonder what direction He wants to take me in now?”

By taking that moment to attribute the rejection/redirection in your life to God’s will, you remove the need to seek an answer to the question of why that just happened. You also excuse yourself of the need to find blame in yourself or others. It was God’s will, not your will or actions that brought about the rejection, so use it as a redirection and seek His will in which way to go next. Maybe start off with a little prayer like, “God I know that you have something else in mind for me; please help me see the path that you wish for me to take.” Do that, knowing that God has only the best outcome in mind for you; and you will joyfully start off in your new direction.

Dealing with rejections as redirections from God in your life will allow you to keep a positive attitude towards life, no matter how and many or what types of rejections you hit. Sometimes God may throw a rejection at you to help re-ground you on the important things in life, like family vs. possessions. A rejection may force you to realize that you had begun to value the wrong things and to pursue the wrong things. Sometimes that rejection is a wake-up call that says that you have become too complaisant and too expectant of success; that you have become full of yourself and God needed to take you down a peg and remind you of who is in charge.

man prayingMaybe you can start each day with a variation of that little prayer that I suggested earlier. “God, I don’t know what you have in mind for me today, but help me accept the things that happen and see the new directions that you have laid out for me; trusting in You and your love for me, through your Son, Jesus Christ.”

Then get out there and get going in those new directions.

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Are you sitting or standing?

October 31, 2017

From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “It’s easy to sit up and take notice.  What is difficult is getting up and taking action.”  (Honore de Balzac)

Last week Detroit hosted a bunch of women who have decided to stand up and take action. This Women’s Convention in Detroit grew out of the Women’s March on andrew-robles-295224Washington, which was itself a protest against what many women felt was a more than just a macho attitude in Washington about women or just boys and men behaving badly. The movement grew out of the decision of one woman to stand up and take action, rather than just sit watching the TV and lamenting the news in Washington D.C. as it unfolded.

The fact is that we are all confronted on a daily basis with many things that we need to evaluate our reactions to and take the appropriate actions. We see bullying and walk bully.pnghurriedly on by; we see acts driven by racism or homophobia and look away in hopes that now one saw us; we pass by the beggar and avoid eye contact; we make it a point to avoid the person who just ended a relationship because we really don’t want to hear about it; we don’t go to visit the sick person in the hospital because we just don’t have the time to waste; we don’t correct the person making inappropriate remarks or touching us inappropriately because we just want to “get along”.

The fact is that we all sit by and take notice of many things that we should be standing up and doing something about. I do. You do. We all do. Does that make it right? No! The coulda woulda shouldaexcuses are all the same. “I don’t want to get involved”.” “It’s not my problem.” “I don’t have time for that.” I would posit that as a fellow human being you are already involved, it is your problem as soon as you recognize it and there is nothing more important that you could spend your time on that helping a fellow human being. In Mark 12:31 Jesus told us that the second Great Commandment is, “Love your neighbor and you love yourself.” You cannot love your neighbor if you ignore him and his problems.

Now, obviously, you cannot spend all of your time seeking out and solving the problems of those around you. That is not what is meant by “getting up and taking action”; however, you can decide to stop avoiding or ignoring what is going on around you. Just like the women who have use the hashtag #MeToo, you can decide to start speaking up about the injustices or prejudices that you experience or see in your day to day life. You may get thrown off a plane, like the women on the News recently who complained about being racially targeted for reassignment of a seat on the plane. You may be passed overstart-with-me for some promotion or reward because you won’t “play ball” with your boss; however, in the long run right will win out.  Being in the right and deciding to stay on that side and take action, not only means never having to say you’re sorry; in many cases, (especially those involving high profile lawyers) being right and standing up and doing something about it is rewarding in more ways than just emotionally.

So, take stock at the end of the day and look back on the things that were wrong that you took notice of. Did you stand up or sit by passively and hope that they would quickly pass? How does that make you feel? What can you do differently tomorrow? Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t just sit up; stand up for what you know is right. Stand up and have a great week.


Withhold consent…

October 27, 2017

From my little list quotes comes this thought for the day –

“Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

To which I would respond, withhold consent. Do not give others the power to controlarrogant your life, your emotions, your actions or reactions. Withhold consent. Take charge of your life and decide that you, and only you, will determine how you feel about yourself and about life.

I’ve posted here many times about the need to love yourself before you can love others (see https://normsmilfordblog.com/2017/03/15/first-of-all-be-happy-with-yourself/ ). A strong belief in yourself and comfort with yourself is the base upon which you can begin to build relationships with others. You will not get positive results if you enter into a relationship with the thought that, “I don’t like me, so you probably won’t like me either.” That will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. As Jack Freed posted in his Jack’s Winning Words blog recently –  “If you keep saying that things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet.”  (Isaac Singer) Don’t become a prophet about yourself. Withhold consent.

It is not about bragging or being cocky; it about being self-assured and self-confident, this-is-mebecause you like yourself. It brings with it a radiance in your personality that makes women look more beautiful and men look more handsome. If you can get to that state of liking yourself and feeling comfortable with who and what you are, you will notice that what others may think of you, or say about you, takes on much less meaning. What they think or say cannot make you feel inferior because you withhold consent.

And when you encounter those who would try to drag you down to their level by being judgmental, petty, or just plain nasty; just ignore them. I’ve noticed in life that nothingthumbs down makes those people more frustrated than your refusal to rise to the bait that they are using to try to lure you into self-doubt or worse. It is for some a nasty game and for others a way to try to bring others down to their level of misery and self-loathing. Withhold consent.

Perhaps one way to reinforce your positive feelings about yourself is to start each day with a little prayer asking God to be with you throughout the day. If you believe that He man prayingis with you; then, when you encounter someone who is trying to make you feel inferior, you can quickly bring up this thought from Romans 8:31 – “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Indeed. With God in your corner, it’s relatively easy to withhold consent.

Have a great, self-assured and empowered day.


You decide what kind of day to have…

October 25, 2017

From a list of quotes that I keep on hand came a really meaningful one from Stephen Covey – “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

I’m sure that we all know someone, (perhaps it’s you) who is always lamenting their bad luck and complaining how life seems out to get them. They blame their state in life on the circumstances that have befallen them. Perhaps you also know someone who is athis-is-me Pollyanna-type who always finds a way to make lemonade out of the lemons that come their way. Which are you? Which would you rather be?  The one has decided to be unhappy with life and the other will not let life ruin their happiness. You decide what kind of day you will have.

Let’s face it; stuff happens. Life does not always go as we had planned or hoped. failuresSometimes we just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and something bad happens. Sometimes we actually make the bad decision to be at that place. Whichever it is, you are then faced with more decisions about how to react to things that are happening or that just happened. Perhaps another quote sums up your situation best: “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” —Charles Swindoll. Since your day is made up of events that you will react to; you decide what kind of day you will have.

I’ve posted her before about reacting to things and problem solving, so I won’t rehash those bits of advice. I think the main thing to focus upon is recognizing that you are reacting to things that are happening around you or to you and that you’re making decisionsdecisions about what to do next, instead of letting some knee-jerk reaction control your future. By being conscious of your situation, you can choose to react in a positive way, rather than a negative way. You can choose to move forward with your life in a positive way, rather than shrinking back or retreating into depression. You can be in control; not of the situation, but of your reaction to it. You decide what kind of day you will have.

In my post – Life is lived somewhere in between – I mentioned a little prayer that I use almost daily to put myself in the right frame of mind for the day – “God help me make good decisions today.” Keeping that little prayer in mind forces me to acknowledge that, right-and-wrongwhile I may not be in control of the things that are happening, I am in control of the decisions that I make in reaction to what is happening. Realizing that causes me to take a little pause and ask myself, “What is the right thing to do?” Just that little pause and that thought will allow you to see what God is telling you to do and you will make better decisions. You decide what kind of day you will have.

Maybe you forgot to say that little prayer this morning and life has already thrown you a curve ball. Maybe your initial reaction to that situation was a knee-jerk response thatwoman-praying took you off in a bad direction. It’s never too late to turn back to God and say “A little help here”. Maybe you need to ask for God to help you recover from a bad decision. God will always be there for you and it’s never too late to ask Him for help. It’s as simple as this little prayer – “Not my will but thy will be done.” You decide what kind of day you will have.

Have a great day! It’s your call.


Question it before you act upon it…

October 16, 2017

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog come this little piece of advice – “It’s a healthy thing to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”  (Bertrand Russell)

We all have things in our lives that we take for granted, that we have long believed to beworries true; sometimes with no actual basis in facts. Most prejudices are based on things that we hold to be true with no actual facts to back them up. They are based upon unfounded hate or fear of something or someone. All of our fears, uncertainties and doubts are also baseless in facts and mostly founded in our own imaginations.

Even your faith practices may be based upon some things that you’ve long taken for granted without ever questioning why you do some things in certain ways. Asking yourself those questions is not really questioning your belief in God; but, rather, questioning the practices that have been implemented by men. Martin Luther questioned the practices of the Catholic Church hierarchy in his day, martin-lutherbut he was not questioning his faith, just the practices of the men who were the religious leaders of the Catholic Church at the time.

Faith, like patriotism, has never been based upon blind acceptance of whatever direction the leaders of the church (or the country) were taking at the time. Questioning the rules that are promulgated by those leaders does not make one a heretic or any less the patriot, if they are remaining loyal to the principals upon which the institution was based – the Bible or the Constitution, depending upon which one is being discussed.

Children have a natural tendency to question things; to ask why something is the way it is. Often they may run up against the answer from an adult that sounds like this, “that’s just the way it is” or maybe “because I said so.” Some of those things they just file away as things that they take for granted, without further questioning. Some of those things become the prejudices that they carry around with them in adult life. As adults, we all carry some amount of that type of baggage; things that’s we’ve just accepted or stoppedmystery head questioning long ago and taken for granted.

All of those things that we take for granted should set off little warning bells in the back of our minds and force us to question why we believe them to be true. What proof have we ever had for disliking (sometimes even hating) or fearing certain groups of people, people who are somehow different from us? Absent any proof, what sustains those beliefs? Is it just the laziness of mental momentum that keeps those fears or that hate in our minds?  Why not question those beliefs and seek the truth? Why not, as Jack’s quote today suggests, hang a question mark on every fear and prejudice that you carry around? You really have nothing to lose and perhaps quite a bit to gain in terms of new experiences and new friendships.

In your faith, God is the answer, not the question. It is fair to question the practices that men have tried to build to govern the practice of faith. All religions have created structure and rules to try to guide and control the practice of the religion by the believers.  Some have even created elaborate set of rules for day-to-day living and try to control all aspects of one’s life. Some have perverted the teachings that are the basis of the Bible in order to support their personal views of morality. None of that comes from woman-prayingGod, just from the minds of men. At its most elemental level, your faith is your personal relationship with God. All of the rest of the trappings of the various religions are the works of men. So question those trappings if they don’t seem right to you; but, not your relationship with God.

In Isaiah 41:10 God said – “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Having God and the teachings of Jesus at your moral core will give you the light up to which you should hold every other thing in your life that you “believe”. Prejudices melt away when held up to that light. Hate fades into the background when that light is shined upon it. Fears cannot withstand the light of belief in God and his care for us. Evil slinks back into the darkness from which it came when God’s light shines in your life. Uncertainty is replaced with self-confidence when God’s light shines through you.

So, question everything else in life, but hold fast to God as the center of your life and the rest will take care of itself.


Find God and find yourself…

October 13, 2017

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning words blog posed this question – “If I am what I have, and I lose what I have, who then am I?”  (Eric Fromm)

If you’ve watched the news lately there have been many examples of people losing everything, whether it was to hurricanes in the Caribbean or earthquakes in Mexico orfire burning home fires in California. There were scenes on the nightly news of people returning to their homes only to find that they no longer existed. More than one was heard saying, “I’ve lost everything.” Many were also heard thanking God that they had been spared their lives.

Some people seem to base their identities largely on what they have accumulated in life – their possessions. Others, especially men, express their identities through their jobs and what they have achieved at work. In either case, life can throw curves at us that take away either or both. Most people eventually gather themselves up and realize that they can replace or rebuild most things that have been lost and start new careers if necessary. They are forced into the realization that life itself is the most important thing and the lives of those that we love. In some catastrophes even the lives of those we love may have been lost. Even in those darkest of hours, most eventually find strength within themselves to go on.

this-is-meIt is important, as I have expressed here a few times, that you have a strong sense of self and that you love who and what you are; not letting your sense of self-worth be based upon possessions or job.  That’s not to say that you should become self-centered; but, rather, that you become self-confident. If your self-examination of who and what you have become leaves something to be desired, then you have something to work upon and not something to be depressed about. Since no one is perfect, you are always on a self-improvement journey to be the best you that you can be (see my post – see my post Don’t give up the chase…).

Perhaps a good way to start each day is with a little personal assessment about where you are in life and what things you might do today to get to where you want to be. It is also a good idea to acknowledge God’s role in your life and to ask for his help in prayer. Iman praying can’t think of a better way to start the day than being square with yourself and with God. Bring it on, world! I know who I am and where I’m headed and I’ve got God in my corner. Talk about self-confidence as you face the day.

Have a great and self-confident day. God’s got your back.


So, you’re the reason that bad things didn’t happen…

October 11, 2017

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this:

“Don’t tell me it doesn’t pay to worry; most of the things I worry about never happen.”  (The Church Secretary)

I’ve sometimes heard someone comment, “Well, if I didn’t worry about it, who would?” I always wondered about that. Was the energy and time that person spent worried1worrying about something bad that might happen the cause for it not to happen? Do you see how silly that sounds? If you can see that in a third-party example, what do you think is the different if it is you worrying about something.

Now, this is not to say that one should never consider and plan for alternatives in upcoming events that may not go the way that we want them to. Contingency planning has some value, worry does not. You see, worry is not planning. Worry is undirected restless sleepconcern and the expenditure of energy without focus or purpose. Worry is trying to solve the unsolvable problem. Worry is man’s ego being unwilling to accept its own limitations and inability to control things that cannot be controlled.

Some people convince themselves that if they worry about something long enough and hard enough that they will someone influence the outcome. For others worry is the doorway to depression. They become inconsolable about the things that they worry about, but unable to let them go. I’ve shared here many times about my own release mechanism for worries – finally saying to God, “Not my will but thy will be done.” It works for me. Try it.

The Bible has this advice about worry:reading-bible

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

-and-

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

So, as the Aussies say – No worries, mate.  Be like Alfred E. Neuman of MAD magazine smiling-sunfame and adoption his tag line – “What, me worry?” Or, you can take the advice of Bobby McFerrin’s song – Don’t worry, be happy.

Have a wonderful, worry-free day – God’s got your back.