Take the first step…

October 28, 2021

It is interesting that the graphic with the quote from J.P. Morgan seems to be showing a way out of a dark place. Many people find themselves in a dark place. It really doesn’t matter how they got there; what matters is how they can get out of that place and go on with life. The other interesting thing is that Morgan’s quote is that it places the responsibility for getting out of that place squarely on the shoulders of the person themselves – they have to decide that they don’t want to be there anymore. That may seem like a no-brainer decision; however, some people actually like being miserable, or so it seems.

So, if you have grown tired of being miserable or depressed and decided to get out of whatever dark place you have been in, how do you do that? For one, make sure that you don’t keep repeating the same mistakes that have kept you there for this long. There is a saying that equates that repetition with an expectation of a different outcome to insanity and you aren’t insane – just frustrated and perhaps out of options that you can think of to resolve your dilemma.

Here’s the first secret to finding your way out – it’s not your fault. In fact, it’s not your responsibility to solve whatever conundrum is confronting you. Your responsibility is to find the best way to live through that conundrum. Not being able to resolve or control all of the problems that life throws at you does not constitute failure. The failure that leads to those dark places is not being able to deal with that truth and move on.

Now, here’s the other secret to finding your way out – you are not alone. The feeling of being alone in that dark place and having no one to turn to is frightening. But you have never been alone, and you are not alone now. God has been with you all the time, standing right behind you and waiting for you to ask for his help. There is a line in the confessions of faith that we use every week in my church that says, “There is nowhere that you can go that God cannot find you.” No matter how far down you have fallen and how dark the pit seems to you, God will find you there if you but ask.

Asking God for his help does not have to involve long elaborate prayers. I’ve mentioned the line from many sports situations that goes, “A little help here.” That works when earnestly said to God. I also have posted here several times the little prayer that works for me, “Not my will but thy will be done.” That’s works, too. The real secret is asking and then embracing God’s help in your life. Use either one in an earnest appeal to God for help and see if the weight isn’t lifted from your shoulders.

You may ask, “Is it really that simple? I ask God for help and then my problems go away?” The answer is that it is really that simple and then you start dealing with your problems. They don’t go away you just move through them and past them and go on with life.

So, like the graphic above says, decide that you don’t want to be in that dark place anymore and take the first step – ask for God’s help. You will see the light and the way out.

A little help here.

Against the wind…

October 7, 2016

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind.”  (Henry Ford) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Jack went on to write about the Wright brothers discovering that by facing against the wind they were able to fly, because the wind helped provide lift. He also mentioned liking the Bob Seger’s song Against the Wind.single mom

Everybody has instances in their lives when they feel like they are running against the wind; times when they are facing adversity or fears, uncertainty and doubts. Sometimes it’s hard in the midst of those times to hold on to the belief that those periods of adversity serve to lift us; that overcoming the lows in life allow us to soar to new heights.

There is the old medical saw – “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. That is true in medicine and in life. In medicine one’s body develops immunity to certain diseases by surviving them. That is the basis for developing vaccines – using inactive or dead agents of the disease – bacteria or viruses – to cause the immune system to develop defenses well before it is actually exposed to the real agents that cause the disease.

There is a traditional Gaelic blessing –

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Sometimes, in life,  just the opposite is true …

bored2The road reaches a deep chasm or faces an intimidating hill.
The wind is blowing against you.
It is a time of cold darkness and storms beat against your face.
It is in those times that you really need to find shelter and help in the palm of His hand.

In life we are all exposed to situations where the wind is blowing against us, whether it is in job situations, our home life, or in relationships. We suffer disappointments, setbacks, failures and breakups. We are running against the wind. It is in those times that our faith lifts us up and allows us to soar above the adversity.

If you feel like you are running against the wind, seek the shelter and help that is alwayshelping hands there for you and feel the power of God lifting you up. Remember God’s promise in  Isaiah 41:10 –

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”jesus-as-light

Jesus reinforced that commitment in Matthew 28:20 – “I am with you always, even untothe end of the world.”

Perhaps the better song for those times when we are running against the  wind is the Josh Groban song – “You raise me up.”

Have a great weekend and turn into the wind with confidence in your faith .

Spoiler Alert…

March 29, 2016

“We don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be OK.”  (Toby Mac), as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Sometimes in the midst of what seems like overwhelming pressures or problems in life, we lose track temporarily of God’s promise to us – “Call on me in the day of trouble, and I will recue you.” – Psalm 50:15.

The reason that we get overwhelmed is that our egos and minds allow us to believe that we restless sleepshould be able to find solutions for every problem that we face. We are reluctant (some might even say stubborn) in our inability to admit that we need help, that we can’t solve every problem or that some problems are just too big and too intractable for us. We get frustrated and angry that we can’t “work it out” or “work through it”. Sometimes that frustration turns to depression because we allow ourselves to feel like we are failures because of inability to deal with the problems at hand. But, take heart; everything’s going to be OK.

None of that sense of failure or frustration is necessary if we will only stop and turn to the one place that we can take any problem for help. Asking God for help is not giving up. It is only acknowledging and allowing Him to provide us with the assistance that He already has offered to us. It is saying, “You know what; I’m gohelping handsing to let my teammate in life take care of this one with me.” Once you let God take the yoke with you, the responsibility for bearing it alone will be lifted from your shoulders. Everything’s going to be OK.

I think the key to success with this is to have the discipline to stop yourself in the midst of the crisis and see it for what it is – something that you are not going to be able to take on by yourself. Once you get that in mind there are alternative paths that you will be able to see. Perhaps you have a good support system of relatives and friends around you who can help and that’s OK, too. Call on them and they will respond, just as you would respond to them in their time of need. When they do, you’ll know that everything’s going to be OK.

Sometimes even the best support network isn’t enough. Maybe the problem is too big or too mepersonal. Maybe the “solution” is not really a solution at all; but, rather the need to just accept the situation or the consequences and move on. Many times the crisis is mainly of our own making or in our minds; a product of the scenarios that we conjure up in our struggle to deal with situations that have no real solution. Rather than continue down the rat-hole of trying to solve the impossible puzzle; stop and ask for God’s help. Try the simple prayer, “not my will but thy will be done.” Then let go of it. Give the problem to God and trust in Him. Whatever happens next remember that everything’s’ going to be OK.

Have a great and worry free day…everything’s going to be OK.

Don give up, get help…

April 7, 2015

Re-posted from the Jack’s Winning Words blog –

“When faced with a mountain, I will not quit! I will keep on striving until I climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath – or simply stay and turn the mountain into a gold mine, with God’s help!”  (Robert Schuller)  There was a time in my ministry when I faced a problem that did not seem to have an answer.  Schuller’s words led me to think about a new solution…and I found one.  Are you looking for an answer?  With God’s help, it’ll come.  Don’t give up!    😉  Jack 

Jack’s post makes a silent point that clearly illustrates one of man’s failings – his inability some times to admit that he gloomy guycannot solve a problem or find an answer by himself and must turn to God instead. I have posted here before about one of the turning points in my life, which was during a particularly tough time in which I could not see a way out, an answer to the situation that I found myself in. Having laid awake too many nights trying to figure things out myself, I finally took to heart a little phrase that my pastor had used in a sermon – “not my will, but Thy will be done.”

Once I put myself in that frame of mind, my troubles started to melt away. Once I accepted that I could not control things; that no matter how hard I tried I would not be able to find and answer by myself; I was able to let go of much of the anxiety and worry that had been depressing me. As is usually the case, I had let my imagination take flight and it had conjured up disastrous scenario after scenario, none of which everdissapointed lady occurred, but which consumed my thoughts and drained my energy. Once I off-loaded those thoughts and put my trust back in God’s hands, I was better able to cope with what did happen and preserve through the rough patch with an eye to the future. With God’s help I could see a future again.

Some may say that turning to God for help or proceeding on faith alone is a cop-out or ignoring the problem. I would reply that our little brains, no matter how well developed don’t always have the capacity to figure out every problem and that, indeed, there are problems for which there are no solutions, just acceptance and coping. Look at Schuller’s words again. He gives all sorts of good advice on alternatives to try to solve the problem of the mountain (a metaphor for a big problem, I’m sure), but it is the pushing uphillfirst three words of the second to last sentence that contains the real advice – “With God’s help”. So, like Schuler put it, Don’t give up – just get help, from God.

What mountains are you facing today, this week, in your life? Are you ready to ask for help? God has operators standing by to take your call.