Getting other things out of the darkness…

October 3, 2018

Yesterday I wrote about not allowing hatred, fear and prejudices to lurk in the dark shadows of your mind and influence your daily life. There are other things that lurk infacing the wall 2 the dark places in the minds of many; things which can be debilitating and cause them pain. Fear’s cohorts – anxiety and depression – can live there, too. Self-doubt at the dusky edges of the darkness can lead to self-loathing in the depths of the pit. The sense of powerlessness and hopelessness that may accompany these things can lead to thoughts that suicide as “the only way out”.

Jason KandorWe saw on the news last night the story of a man, Jason Kandor, in Kansas City who withdrew from the race to be mayor there because he suffers from PTSD and depression from his time in the military serving in a war zone. The memories of that time had been living in the dark places in his mind for over 11 years and had pulled him into bouts of depression. For years he suppressed it, because that just what we do.

Some of the women who have come forward in the #MeToo! Movement have described the experience of suppressing the events of their sexual abuse in terms that sound a lot like PTSD – reactions of fear, anxiety, depression and more resulted not just from the actual event, but from the holding in of it, rather than reporting it.

Compounding the problem form many, especially the men, is a macho, sports-oriented culture in which phrases like “shake it off”, “man up”, or “play through the pain” are used as solutions to both physical and mental injuries. It wasn’t until recently that football player1athletes began to realize the permanent, life-changing damage that concussions can cause. Before that, it was “shake it off and get back in the game.” We still don’t appreciate as a society the debilitating impact that depression can have on people. We are still saying to them, “suck it up and get back in the game.” We try to force them to push their depression back into the shadows of their minds. For most that really doesn’t work.

It would be easy to throw in some reference to Jesus and God here; and some readers would probable say “Oh good, he finally got the religious angle in”; but that is not appropriate here. This is not about religion and whether or not the person suffering help-methrough depression believes in God or not. They may have doubts about that because of their depression, but just telling them to pray about it is not the answer. If you want to tell them to pray; tell them to pray for the courage to get these things out into the light and to seek the help they need to deal with them. Tell them to make the same decision that Jason Kandor did and admit to themselves and others that they need that help and will seek it. This is not something that they can shake off or that they need to suck it up about, nor is it something, for which they can play through the pain.

So, what is our role when someone we know finally gets these dark things out into the open and seeks help? Many might turn their backs to them, trying to avoid being associated with someone who has “problems”. This is a time for unconditional support and friendship, helping-2not for criticism. This is not the time for a “Get back in the game” pep talk, nor for a “Oh, you poor thing” pity party. Those who are truly Christians will open their arms and ask, “How can I help you?” They need more than a pillow to cry on; they need a pillar to lean on. Be there for them. Be there to listen. Be there to understand. Be there to comfort. Be there to encourage. Be there to accompany them on their journey out of the darkness. You will never do anything more important in your life.

Have a great day in the light of the Son. If there are those around you who are dwelling in the darkness of PTSD or depression, be there for them. If you are wearing one of those little WWJD bracelets you will know what the answer is to that question when you extend your hand to help. Be there.

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Get out of the shadows…

October 2, 2018

Jack Freed had a post that is so good today on his blog Jack’s Winning Words that I need to re-post the whole thing before I add any comments.

“We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.”  (Graham Greene)  Being prejudiced means to judge before knowing all of the facts.  RLS wrote: “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me…” and that shadow, at times, can be the tendency to form opinions based on partial knowledge.  Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, nationalism…these are more than words.  Leaning, left or right…we daily have to examine “our little shadow” of pre-judging. – Jack

It’s interesting that this tendency to pre-judge, to be prejudiced, comes from the shadows, preacher-pointingfrom a dark place – a place in our hearts and minds where the sun doesn’t reach or perhaps where the Son doesn’t reach. Just as these preconceived notions, most born in ignorance and fear, could not stand the light of the truth, they also could not stand having the light of Christianity shined upon them. The fact that many words of hate and prejudice are hurled from the shadows by people thumping Bibles and loudly devilproclaiming to be Christians just shows the power of the Devil in their lives. They have allowed fear and hate to overcome the love and acceptance that Jesus taught.

Get out of the shadows…

What “little shadows” do you allow in your life? Is it a fear or prejudice against of people of color? Is it disgust or disdain at hearing others speak a foreign language in a store? Is it the ignorance and loathing of homophobia? Is it just the discomfort that you feel being around people who are “different”? Perhaps you sneer at eyes of revengea women wearing the Habib or those who look or dress differently. Perhaps you have allowed yourself to become a snob about some things and tend to discount the tastes of others who do not share you appreciation for that thing. Maybe your little shadow is just the indifference to your fellow man that allows you to turn away from the homeless beggar in the street, rather than reach out to try to help.

Get out of the shadows…

Whatever your personal little shadow is, you need to get out from under it. Shine the light of Jesus teachings on those fears and prejudices. Get yourself one of those little WWJDWWJD bracelets and start wearing it. When you find yourself in a situation where the shadow of pre-conceived notions is starting to darken your judgement, take the time to look at the bracelet and ask yourself that question. If you take the time to ask yourself What Would Jesus Do in those situations, you will find that the shadows go away. They cannot stand the light of the Son.

Get out of the shadows…

Have a great day walking in the light of the Son.


What do you want?

September 29, 2015

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear!” – Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield is an author and motivational speaker on the topics of personal and business development and success. Among Canfields book is the well know “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and “The Success Principles”. Like most motivational writers and speakers, Canfield focuses mainly upon helping people overcome the obstacles to success and getting the things that they want in life.

turtleMost of the advice from motivational speakers might double as half-time speeches from sports coaches. They tend to focus upon techniques like visualizing, planning, prioritizing, perseverance and being accountable, which are all good things. The fear that Canfield speaks of is usually self-inflicted and grows out of uncertainty or doubt. We tend to fear the unknown and the uncertain outcome. We have doubts about our own abilities or worth that hold us back. Motivational speakers like Canfield promote seemingly simple and logical approaches to overcoming those fears and doubts.

The message of these speakers is aimed at helping people achieve things in life, like getting ahead at work, or to get what they want in life, which is normally defined in material terms – the bigger house, the better car, the exotic vacation, and the best schools for their children. In sports it is always about winning the championship, whatever that is. It is about defining a goal in terms of achieving or acquiring.

There is a whole different cadre of speakers who focus more on what might be called the spiritual side of life. These girls huggingspeakers focus upon maintaining a balance in life between the work life and the goals and rewards of that and the interpersonal side of life – your relationships with those with whom you share your life. Sometimes, especially when one is younger, this side of things takes a back seat to the focus on accomplishments and material achievements. This focus on things other than the material often stays buried in our priorities until we have reached many of the goals that were driving us and realize that we have still not achieved the happiness that we thought would come with them. We may then start paying attention to the messages of the speakers who urge us to take time for ourselves and to spend quality time with those we love.

Sometimes, after we have achieved some level of balance in our lives, we also re-discover a faith that was also suppressed by our focus upon success and accumulating possessions. As we slow down a bit and start really thinking about the lives that we are living and what is really important to us, we may find that reconnecting to the message of faith is something that we want, maybe even something that we need. We may discovery that there is a hole in our lives, a need that no amount of things can fill and a role that none of our loved ones can play. When you come to that point in your life, I would offer a single line answer that is similar to Canfield’s. For, if as Canfield has advised; praying“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”, I would advise that-

“Everything you need is on the other side of prayer.”


No regreats… No fear

July 4, 2014

“Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong’. Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night.” ― Charles M. Schulz

Like many in America, I grew up on Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip. Admittedly I switched to the slightly edgier Calvin and Hobbs strip for the time that it existed, but Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts cast were always still there.

Schultz had a way of capturing the essence of the common man’s life and travails that few could match and Charlie Brown’s life became one with which many could identify.

Today’s Schultz saying certainly resonates with me. How often have I had sleepless nights worrying about dissapointed ladysomething that I probably couldn’t change anyway?  Sometimes the dread would be over events to come that might span many days perhaps a whole vacation that would be anything but a vacation for me or an upcoming closing on a real estate deal that I knew was going to be difficult. So, I also like another Schultz quote that seems to fit –

“I have a new philosophy.  I’m only going to dread one day at a time.”  (Charles Schulz)

Actually I’ve tried to adopt a much more positive attitude than those expressed by Schultz, I just like his sense of humor that is embedded in them.

I’ve written here before about dread and I found this little quote that sums that up nicely –turtle

“Regret and fear (aka. dread) are twin thieves that rob us of today.”- Robert Hastings

I chose not to let those twins rule my life or rob me of today. They may steal a portion of the night on occasion, but by morning I try to put them aside and live that day as if it were my last – exploring, learning, sharing, enjoying and relishing it.

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” – Groucho Marx

No doubt many of you may not even know who Groucho Marx was, but I grew up watching him and his brothers (The Marx Brothers) on TV and in movies, along with some other famous, but long gone comedy groups – The Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello and Martin and Lewis to name a few. Groucho always had a quick retort or funny line to drop, especially on his TV show – You Bet Your Life. Remember the line, “Say the secret word and the duck will come down and give you $100”?

Yesterday is over and tomorrow will take care of itself when it gets here. Have a great today!


Three little words that may change your life… afraid of rejection.

April 29, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences or phrases (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence or phrase that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

I read a story today from one of the real estate news feeds that I get that reported that many would-berejected buyers, especially first-time buyers are sitting on the sidelines right now because they don’t believe that they could succeed if they applied for a mortgage. They haven’t tried, but they’ve read all of the newspaper reports and seen the stories on TV about how hardline the mortgage companies have become; so they are frozen in their tacks because they are  afraid of rejection.

Boy, do those three little words bring back memories all the way back to high school and spending prom night without a date, or walking home alone from the bar in college (and later in life) or even being reluctant to interview for the job that I wanted or to ask for the raise that I deserved. Or how about later in life not asserting a point of view in a conversation or not bidding on that house that you really love; all because you were afraid of rejection.

Fear of rejection or of failure tends to limit what you try in the first place, so it limits your potential for success and that is the greatest danger of all. The fear is usually about the unknown, since there would be no reason to worry and fret if you knew the outcome already. The unknown plays terrible tricks on our minds because it allows us to mentally explore all possible outcomes and we tend as humans to focus upon the negative alternatives. Good motivational coaches would work with you  to turn that around and tell you to focus upon visualizing the best outcomes to avoid being afraid of rejection.

In an earlier post titled Just do it, I talked of not letting fear uncertainty and doubt about something keep you from doing that thing. That post was more oriented towards trying new things and taking turtlerisks. One of the risks that life throws at us is the risk of rejection. You may have finally worked up the courage to ask that pretty girl that you’ve been admiring to the dance and then you get rejected. So what? You may have finally gone in to see the boss about that job opening in the department and got rejected. So what? You may have displayed your art at a show or fair and nor had a single buyer. So what? You’re still standing. The only blood spilled was that of your ego taking a hit. You’ll still be here tomorrow and tomorrow may present another chance; and, if not then, maybe the next day will be your day. You can’t be like a turtle and pull back into your shell from life because you are afraid of rejection.

Stuff happens. Rejection happens. Life goes on. In fact I challenge you to stop and think for a minute when rejection happens – Did that hurt as much as you feared  it would or was it really just disappointing? Did all of the terrible things that you had imagined come to pass or did the moment pass without all of that drama?  Did you go into whatever it was with a positive attitude or were you thinking,anxious “I’ll probably get rejected,” from the get go.  If you can admit to yourself that you went into it with that negative attitude then you’ll know what to work on for the next time. And, there will be a next time – a time when you won’t be afraid of rejection.

That’s the next thing that you’ll realize if you stop and think about it is – it didn’t kill me; I’m still here;  I’ll have another chance. If you can get to that point mentally, you’re on your way to where you really want to be – that place where you boldly go ahead with your dreams and plans. You’ll get there once you’ve been knocked down a few times and realize that you got back up and went on. You’ll get to that place of self-confidence because you’ve looked it in the eye, you got back up and you are no longer afraid of rejection.

Congratulations when you get to the mental place that you need to be at; you have discovered self –confidence. Self-confidence isn’t blind, stupid belief that you can do anything (we have the Jackass facing new daymovie franchise for that) but rather a logical and calculated belief, based upon experiences, that you can accomplish great things because you are not afraid to try. You have reached that state where, as  Nelson Mandela said, “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my destiny” and you are no longer afraid of rejection.

Go for it!