Inspiration

By The Grace of God

This past week stories rocked the trending world.  One of my Facebook friends suggested that the reason that Nepal had such a catastrophic earthquake is because a few random ignorant people killed a man in public.  My Facebook friend believes that God is punishing the entire region of Nepal in retribution for this act.  I read the post and I hung my head.  The God that man knows is not the loving God that I know. I know the man who saved lives. Who held those accountable without hurting innocent people to do it.  I wasn’t angry, I was saddened.  Moreover, I was heartbroken that he does know the loving God I do.

With that said, I wonder if the woman who violently and in a fit of fearful rage slapped and shouted many an explicative at her young son would have done so if Jesus was standing directly behind her. Further if you saw Jesus would you put that woman’s actions on a pedestal for her rage? Or would you define the fact that maybe he feels justified to act that way is because he was taught that in response to pain or fear; physical violence is the answer?  Would you claim that should be “Mother of the Year?” Or would you rather just say she was a woman who lost her temper in the moment and handled a situation wrong? What will it take for you, and me to stop reacting to the outrage of what those boys were doing so that we may see the young man was hurting. He felt his people were being brutally mistreated.  The mother, although violent and raged filled was in fear for his life.  Were either wrong or right? Certainly not. Nor should either be hailed as anything but a moment of two wrongs not making a right.

My opinion opposes that of the masses.  I suppose I am looking at this from love. A mother’s love and a concern for mother’s everywhere who may feel it’s appropriate to act this way when they fear.  It only takes one moment of acceptance to alter the way a society thinks.

The floods in Kenya, the shootings throughout my city and yours. Killing our officers who are sworn to protect us. Making all men pay for the audacity of few? When did that become acceptable?

I hear your cry for injustice. I hear the screams from the pain of suppression. I see the tears that fall because your loved ones are harmed at the hands of the ignorant. I listen with shock and awe as you speak of the unimaginable treatment you had to endure. I walk next to you and I too am rejected. I hear you, man. I am listening. We are all listening… Some of us are committed to action. Keep going… have hope… your day of resolution is upon us.

For the rest of us, let’s stay calm. Let’s discuss options. Let’s view this from love, not rage, nor condemnation of our unjust intolerance.  Let’s all simmer a bit in the magic of grace and hug one another. Let’s spread some love and not rage. Let’s help these boys and girls who riot understand violence, by the few or by the protesters is still violence.  That won’t end the problem. Let’s all work to an end that will.

Inspiration

You Own the Power!

Do you ever just wake up and ask yourself, “what’s my purpose?” Then what usually follows is an onslaught of lies that we tell ourselves. “I’m not where I want to be!” Or-“I don’t have the life I dreamt for myself!”

There’s an old saying by someone unknown to me. “There are three sides to the truth. There’s my side, your side and then there’s the real truth.” At my age, what I’ve learned is that it takes tremendous courage to allow attitudes with retrospective actions to redirect our choices to the benefit of ourselves.

Sounds a little wordy, doesn’t it? The point is that your truth, what you tell yourself and what you allow people to tell you may be a lie.

Chances are you have the exact life you thought you wanted. You made your choices and designed you attitudes for the exact life your living. No one came up to you and said, “Poof! Here’s your life!”

You created it, just you, no one else. Which is the good news! If you created one life; even if you hate it, you have the power within you to create the life you want!

Chances are, by now, you’ve made all the important mistakes. Chances are you’ve identified what doesn’t work for you? If that’s the case you can outline what does! Once you do that you’ve identified what will make you happy; and that my friend is powerful!

You will now subconsciously begin putting your attitude in check and motivating others to assist you in your journey to the powerful motivators that begin to give you hope…Little tiny pieces of joy will return.

Inspiration

You should have passion!

I wonder, at what point in someone’s life when they were either successful or not what it took to push them over the edge? When does a musician know he’s not going to be a national rock star? When does a chef know that he’s not going to be on TV? When do people with life-long dreams realize when they were going to push forward and not stop? What makes one person stop and give up their dream and another keep going and if they keep going what if they never get there? What if they never become a success? What if they fail and then there’s a new dream? What if….

As a writer this question is the fundamental question we all ask ourselves. What if my work isn’t good enough. Will I have to self publish and what if that work isn’t worth publishing? What if it’s not even good enough to be self published? ACK!?

Whether or not it is there is the basic concept that I wholeheartedly believe and that is that everyone has a story in them. They may not be able to tell it the way that it needs to be grammatically introduced, but they have their story. Every story is worth listening to. Everyones.

With that said, find whatever passion that lies within you and feed that. If you don’t believe that passion is worth fighting for? That’s not your passion. The thing you have to remember is that as we age, many of us grow in ways we couldn’t imagine. What may be your passion today may not be your passion tomorrow. The key is to know when to pursue and when to give up and try another passion.

Here’s the skinny. If you still get that adrenaline rush when you think about, the passion burns in you and it’s not time to quit. If you could care less anymore….you’re burnt. Take a moment, think, pause and reflect on whether or not that was ever your passion, if it can ever be again and if not what can replace it.

Good luck to you because everyone should have passion in their lives!

Inspiration

Lift Someone Else on Your Journey

Everyone has a moment when they ask themselves, “Am I being played?” That’s usually followed with “Are my needs being met? Am I happy? Why do I seem upset? What caused this? Can I fix it? Is it my fault?” Our self worth is undeniably attached to everything around us whether we want it to be or not. Acceptance is a general feeling that we try to achieve since early childhood. It’s the fundamental denominator of a series of accomplishments in work or relationships or child rearing that gives us our sense of belonging in this world. Few who don’t succeed generally have lower esteem than those who might exhibit a little narcissism and therefore reject criticisms and force themselves to think more positively. Of course, even a narcissist has depressive moments. Enough on the behavioral science of it, but suffice it to say that our wins in life is what gives us that ultimate sense of “I can do it.” Someone who believes in us is the icing on the cake. Even further someone who shouts our name from the rooftops because we touched them in a profound way is still even better. For some, however, those accolades never really come. They make bad choices, fail miserably and then cannot see the hope through the despair. Unfortunately these people don’t approach everyone and say, “I’m broken.” You have to be careful who you come into contact with because these people are fragile, on the verge of self destruction. How you reject what they wear, how they speak, the content of their words, matters. More than you probably know. So today, when you’re out feeling all confident in your abilities and you realize the limited patience you have with those who are not as capable as you are; remember, they have the same needs that you do and maybe a little more. Their emotions are exposed, and they might just need one small affirmation to get them started on a path that was intended for them. Don’t stop being who you are, but lift someone up along the journey.

Inspiration

Security is a gift….

What many people don’t know about this girly “I love all things pink” girl is that I am basically a deep down tomboy. I love to fish, I love to camp and I love cars. Fast cars. Few understand that heart pumping, adrenaline rush that you get when you think about the hot throttle of something you know is faster than the wind. One year my boss Peggy Keckler (I sold cars for a living) insisted that I go to a track with other salespeople and learn to drive very fast with the help of professional race drivers like Lyn St. James. This way when the Lincoln Mark 8 came out, we could sell it because we compared it to the Toronado, the LC400 and the Eldorado. The race drivers were so hysterical. The guys that were in my car were so timid and then it was my turn. I got behind the wheel and did just what she said and I was doing it! I wasn’t afraid at all. Around the cones and the car literally lowered to hug the road in the curves. Of course I loved the wood grain on a Cadillac so as a girlie that was the Fav for me….but if I were a dude and wanted cockpit design and pure performance, I would go for that Mark 8 for sure! It was easy to sell after that. Today, I still love being behind the wheel. The traffic might congest a bit but if I am REALLY stressed, a great plug in IPhone one hour trip on the open country road still does the trick. The power and performance of a vehicle you love and trust = Priceless. That’s the security that we want to get with people…and sometimes those things are hard to come by. We see it on TV and we want that so much. We need that. It’s harder to have than it appears because people judge, convict and disparage. Once you find someone to share your time who doesn’t….treasure that. That’s a once in a lifetime friend. Remember people are fallible. If you can get through that and past all the things that aren’t just like you, you can begin to aspire to learning more of who they are…and that will feel just like the adrenaline of driving a fast race car. I promise.

Inspiration

Convictions or Rationalization for Condemning?

Last week I commented to a friend on a post she made on Facebook.  Instantly I was berated for my opinion.  By that word I mean told that my understanding was not based by the heart but merely by the perceptions I merely thought.  After a long banter back and forth of me trying to help the offended understand my intent, the dialog never really made it past an agreement to disagree. Further the offended, nonetheless without evidence except absence, is still somewhat concerned that their interpretation of my actions are not only just; but they’re tantalizing the thought of severing any kind of kinship with me whatsoever, because of the inference.  I find this disturbing.

The opposition was whether or not we have a right to form a working hypothesis about a group of individuals or behavior.  My position is that we not only have the right to form conclusions and thereby our convictions, and the opponent view was that in doing so; I am condemning without the benefit of concern or kindness.  In other words I was putting myself above another human being in their eyes and not putting the regard/respect of any individual’s right to determine his or her own faith above my judgment.

My thoughts are ever processing because it is very important to me that others see my heart despite the things I’ve learned to be true; such as people are both good and evil. Relationships are tricky because people always get disappointed in them.  Love sometimes hurts because nothing is great forever.  These absolute statements are the much formed opinions that I own due to my experiences.  They’re working hypothesis after years of studying the human behaviors that to this day I find confusing because others do not react, create, or act in the same ways in which I would. It takes me a long time to compartmentalize behaviors that I find offensive and put them in a context that I am able to conceptualize without feeling wounded by them.  I’ve learned sometimes people are cruel.

Despite that I tout that forgiveness is the only way to break the bondage of pain.  That a good heart is better than a great mind. That life without the blessings of being loved isn’t worth much or several cliché’s I am sure that you randomly get tagged with on Facebook. That’s how I genuinely believe.  I possess the gift of inspiration.  Whether it’s inspiring others to think of their own actions or offending them in such a way that they hold me accountable for mine. I inspire action.

Then I have to ask myself why is it that none of that mattered in the conversation. My conclusion? The offended didn’t really read about me. They don’t know my path or the great lengths I have taken to sacrifice my own happiness for the betterment of another.  They do not know of my years with women who were beaten. Nor do they know that I mentored many women and men through the years or even that I hold two masters degrees and one of those is in behavioral science. So how do you respond to a person who is so appalled by your proclamation that they cannot see past the offense? I have to question.

It is true that my convictions will not change the offended’s principals. It is true that theirs will not negate my own.  How do we get to a common denominator? Here’s what I know to be true.  With that being said, I am highly aware that my truth is NOT the same as another’s.  It is my conclusions of the experiences and inference to the data I have been subjected to all these years and it is in those convictions that I find myself defending.

I think it’s important to pause to understand how the things we say impact others. I think it’s further detrimental when one of those people tell us how they’ve been damaged.  It’s a responsibility to determine the facts presented and if ones actions have been faltering in the principals or beliefs behind the person, altered in such a way that it does not offend.

It is true that I believe in God. I believe that the teachings set forth by our great Lord are there because they are applicable to all people on this earth. It’s hard to negotiate that with someone who proclaims themselves to be an atheist but that goes back to a fundamental belief system that I wholly agree is non-negotiable.  It is in that reverent believe where my opinions of right and wrong principals are born.  Add some experience and education to the soup mix and you have the confidence to birth a conviction.

Promiscuity as I know it to be several indiscriminate partners; and as Physiology today claims it as the epidemic of anti social behavior I am perplexed why one would not understand why the conclusion to that argument is made. Further one could argue why they could not come to a conclusion.  The answer? Conviction becomes action and that has proven to be horrific for the community ethically and legally.  Now, we’re getting into the brass of it.

My understanding is that I have not condemned one for their promiscuity. I have in fact taken women and men into my home and given them rest. I have given counseling, and I have picked up the broken pieces of many who choose this life. I understand it. I don’t agree that’s it’s okay to live one’s life that way because I have been witness to the aftereffects many times over; first hand.  It breaks my heart that it is so ramped here in America and it a true cultural issue.

The offended understanding is that by concluding that there is a sense of brokenness or damage implies that the person making a choice for indiscriminate partners has his or her own mind and is making that choice. That choice should be done so without contempt, judgment, and or labeling.  No one has the right to form a conclusion because it takes the power away from the person making the choice to step outside the social boundaries of religion and social norms.  That’s a very strong argument.  One that should be considered.

Is the word “judgment” become a slanderous word by putting down to elevate oneself? In this case, I felt that “judgment” was conviction to assist where needed by applying scientific and physical evidence to the claim that people of this lifestyle were broken. Were my convictions simply a rationalization so that I can feel better about providing my time and effort?  I think not…but how does the other person feel about that?

My question to you is this. If you judge something you know to be true are you condemning it or are you concluding your findings? Food for thought. Would love it if you responded.

Inspiration

Disappointing Reflections of my Season

The heart once light and amiable to receive now rests heavy upon my chest. It’s as if the hearts very lobes have coarse thickened blood that now runs through its hollow caverns. The beats which are generally musical in their tune only remind me of the looming burden of my sorrow. Thoughts of surreal confusion have eliminated any prior sense whatsoever. I stand before you broken hearted my friends.

I cannot tell you to what lengths, with whom, or why this time for fear that perceptions should change concerning someone that I very much care about; but what I can tell you is that the pain that has so desperately clutches the very depths of my soul is there because of the unconditional love that I have for the offender.

It takes but a moment in this lifetime to pause with enough courage to contemplate a world that is often without compassion. To engage in it and navigate through it is harsher than any human promises. To truly look the behaviors, the attitudes, and the general moral decline is a sight that few want to truly witness. Turning backs to further themselves from the tragedy, is sadly, I feel the norm.

I am reminded that God is with me, and that in He alone can I find my acceptance, but the humanness in me is crying out for justice. On bended knee I ask with reverent feverish hope, this offender will find all that helps him receive the love he so generously begs. I seek awareness from him, without the benefit of harms so that he may understand to the depths of his soul the love that we have for him. To those ends that love shall bring out a kindness or compassion and turn the perception of hate and discourse into one of loving thy neighbor abundantly.

I cannot give this to him for I have not been a role model in my own actions. I am no hero, for I have been so reluctant and screamed the human injustices from the top of my lungs for anyone to listen. I have slandered, I have fought what I thought was the good fight only to learn it was my own, and I have raised my temperament and my voice unwittingly while he listened. An example, I am not.

Lord, I beg for your forgiveness in my seemingly selfish escapades and needs to be filled with my own affirmations. My sins I repent with irreverent understanding that now it has caused some deep seeded need to further the cause for those who cannot stand for themselves and those who would harm for the sake of their own selfishness. That is a fight I am not sure I should have commanded that anyone join me. It is with great sorrow that I bow my head not only in shame but it respect and esteem to wield my words with elegant fury for the fight of inspiration only.

Today I am pensive with the thoughts of words used to harm lingering over a fresh conscious mind. I feel burdened with guilt and remorse over my undoing. This is certainly not a course of life I imagined nor is it what I would have wanted. The loss, the sadness, the acclamation of my proclamations of love ignored and yet unconditionally it is given without a moment’s hesitation.

Inspiration

Who Your Man is Supposed to Be…

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19

Ladies, I want to talk about the role that men have in your life. My daughter asks me a lot of questions about what kind of man she should be searching for. Throughout her relationships she asks me about the behavior along the journey and my advice seems to be failing her. Do you ever have a moment when you think that you know the information but are just incapable of passing it on effectively? Well, that’s how I feel too.

First I think it’s very important for women to understand what to look for in a friendship with a man as much as she wants to understand the characteristics she should look for in a husband. Second, it’s important to understand how his roles and her roles can create a union that no man can tear apart. Lastly I believe a woman needs to take responsibility for her behavior and the way in which she reacts or encourages her husband.

God is not asking you as a woman to respond to all men equally. It is very important to understand that intimacy is or should only be reserved for the covenant of a mutual understanding. Passages such as “submitting to men” in the bible are not talking about every man. Those passages are talking about the covenant relationship. There are many men who take advantage of a woman’s lack of understanding those bible passages and use that information as a means to control women. It’s not the truth and every woman needs to fully understand that.

I read this passage today from the site below. If you would like to learn more about this topic click this link:
http://www.virtuousreality.com/questions/2011/02/what_is_the_bible_saying_about_1.html

“God designed marriage to function differently than all other relationships. Within marriage the man is supposed to sacrificially, gently and humbly serve his wife, even to point of laying down his life for her, and the woman is supposed to respectfully submit to that kind of servant leadership. He’s supposed to use Christ as his example instead of bossing his wife around and forcing his will on everyone in the house. That’s not leadership – it’s just being a jerk.

Part of the reason for this is the current cultural confusion about what men are supposed to be. In times past, society held that certain characteristics were to be expected in men and the culture itself sought to develop those traits in their sons. Men were expected to be courageous and strong, have high ethics and act with integrity. They were expected to be courteous, kind, respectful to others. They were to be gentlemen. A real man was expected to be able to act with a certain decorum of good manners. While knowing the fine details of proper etiquette at a high society banquet was not mandatory, men were to know how to treat a lady, and if invited to a banquet, they were to find out how to act and then do so.

In the past few decades, there have arose several anti-cultural movements that have sought to redefine the role and desired characteristics of men. There has been an increase in the emphasis of individual rights and a promotion of amorality. Children in the public schools are encouraged to question the authority of their parents. The family has been breaking down. This is seen in both the rate of divorce and illegitimacy. In some segments of our society, seventy plus percent of infants are born to single mothers resulting in boys growing up without fathers. They are confused as to what they are supposed to be. Young men simply follow their own selfish impulses and so “what is right in his own eyes.” They act like animals because they are treated as such. Free condoms are available in the High Schools because the basis for expecting teens to make moral, self controlled decisions has been removed.

For the rest of this morning I want to point out certain characteristics that the Bible sets forth as the marks of a real man. We are going to be challenged by the list that is generated, but the encouraging thing about Scripture is that any Christian can develop these characteristics. In fact, God wants you to develop them. Any Christian male, that includes you and me, can be real man!

HUMILITY – humility demands that you know your weaknesses and that you are modest about strengths. Popular culturally celebrates the man that is proud, arrogant and boastful, but being that way is no big deal. Men are naturally that way because of their sin nature. If you doubt that, ask your wife. She will tell you the truth about yourself! Pride is one of man’s greatest pitfalls. It always gets him into trouble.

The Bible says much about the importance of humility. Jesus says that being “poor in spirit” (Mt. 5:3), which is recognizing that you have nothing to offer, nothing to bargain with and can only come begging for God’s mercy, was the key to entering into God’s kingdom. Man will not come to God if he thinks he can do it on his own, and God will not accept a man that tries to come to Him on his own merit. 1 Peter 3:6 says that we need to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.” Why? because (vs. 5) “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

A humble man recognizes the truth that there are others more powerful than he. He recognizes his own weakness and failings. Instead of fighting against those powers, he welcomes their aid and gives praise where praise is due and not to himself.

Moses was a real man without a doubt. He certainly displayed all the attributes even modern culture values. He withstood the greatest military power on the earth at that time – Egypt. He boldly challenged Pharaoh face to face and held the power that devastated that land. He led two million people across the wilderness. Strength, leadership, courage were all his. But Moses was also characterized as being “the meekest man in all the earth” (Numb. 12:13). It is when he became proud that he got into serious trouble. In Numbers 20:10 Moses did not do what God commanded in providing water for the people, but instead took it upon himself to provide the miracle saying, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” Moses then hit the rock rather than speaking to the rock as God commanded. The result? the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

Pride only gets man into trouble. A real man has the maturity to be humble. Rising out of humility is the next characteristic. A real man is meek.

MEEKNESS – SUBMISSION TO AUTHORITY
Meekness is not weakness. It is submission to authority. It is the combination of humility and trust. The meek man understands his own limitations and relies upon the one that is more powerful, God. As already mentioned, Moses was a meek man. He was not weak. He was strong, bold, and courageous, but those aspects of his character were true because he trusted God. Moses’ pride and sense of doing things by his own wisdom and might were broken by 40 years in the desert tending sheep after fleeing Egypt because he had taken the law into his own hands and had killed a cruel Egyptian taskmaster. Moses was in submission to God’s authority and willing obeyed God’s commandments. Moses recognized that God wanted him to be part of a plan much bigger than himself. God had given Moses a mission and because He trusted God to keep His promises, God was able to use Moses mightily. No wonder God so often referred to Moses as “My servant.”

A real man is meek. He in submission to a higher authority from which he can draw strength and courage. Want to know how to gain victory over a superior enemy? Rely on an ally that is even stronger. That is why that even in spiritual battles when we face the devil and his minions who are more powerful than us the key to our victory is in meekness. James 4:7 puts it plainly, “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Victory begins with submission to God.

Out of meekness arise two more characteristics of real men –
STRENGTH and COURAGE.
By strength I am not talking about the physical so much as the mental & emotional state of the person. A person of relatively small stature can be very strong in this sense. The apostle Paul was not a man of great physical strength. Paul’s detractors saw him as “weak,” “a spectacle,” “poor & without honor.” Yet Paul was the powerhouse in taking the gospel throughout the Roman world.

William Wilberforce was cut from the same cloth as Paul. He small in stature and his appearance was “uncommanding,” yet, to hear him speak, it is said that his stature would grow to that of a whale. Wilberforce was committed to the cause God had set before him, and with diligence and perseverance over several decades eliminated slavery from the English empire. Wilberforce was a real man.

But notice in both of these men that strength of mind and emotion was accompanied by fearless courage. They were willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause God had given to them, and sacrifice they did. Both men spent their lives pursuing their cause. They lost their standing in society and were held with contempt. Both suffered physically, and Paul eventually became a martyr.

Strength and courage mark real men. It is there because they know they are part of a mission much bigger than themselves and in meekness they submit and follow their Lord’s commands. To be honest I think this is one of the areas most lacking in men today. Who is willing to stand up and be counted? Who has the courage to face the scorn of this society by standing up against its debauchery? Who is willing to rise above the mundane things of life to see the bigger picture and get involved in that? Praise the Lord that there are a few. But there are even fewer that have the next characteristic.

* LEADERSHIP –
A real man knows where he is going and brings others along. A leader has convictions and he inspires others to hold those same convictions, join with him and do something. This is a commodity sadly lacking in America today. That is especially true on the national level. Too many politicians have convictions that change with the opinion polls. They do not lead, the simply assess where the crowd is going and then try to get in front of it. Leaders state where they are going and why we all should go there. Ideology is important.

As important as this is in the political realm, is there is another area where the lack of leadership has been even more devastating. That is in the home. How many men are not just letting, but forcing their wives to wear the pants in the family because of their complacency and refusal to lead? Guys who father a child outside of marriage are males, but they are not men. Guys who live with a woman but do not marry her are males, but they are not men. Guys who let and/or force their wives to set the direction for the family are males, but they are not men. Guys who do not lead their family in the worship of the Lord, including taking them to church and making sure there are family devotions, are males, but they are not men.

Leadership is the mark of a real man, but leadership is not becoming a little dictator. There are males that do that, but they are not men. Real men lead by example and persuasion, not raw power. No wonder the apostle Paul made leadership in the home a qualification for leadership in the church (1 Tim. 3:5; Titus 1). If you are not doing it in the home, you will not be doing it somewhere else.

This type of leadership also demands another characteristic in the man. A real man is a mentor/teacher.

MENTOR/TEACHER.
Mentoring is the process of passing on the characteristics of a man to someone else. It is much more than the teaching of facts. It is the impartation of convictions and a lifestyle. Real men sharpen each other (Prov. 27:17). In the church we call it discipleship. Men find another man and train him so that he can train a another person so he can train another person, etc. etc. (2 Tim 2:2).

The primary people for a man to train are his children. That is the importance of Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:3,4; Col. 4:21; 1 Tim. 3:4,5; etc. A father is to train his children in a such a way that they will know God and be obedient to Him. That is no easy task. It will take all the characteristics I have already mentioned – humility, meekness, strength, courage, leadership. It will also take integrity – the next characteristic of a true man.

INTEGRITY.
What is integrity? It is moral soundness, wholeness. A man with integrity is honest, he keeps his word, he holds fast to his principles regardless of personal cost. There is no question about this is scripture. Col. 3:9 – “Do not lie to one another…”. Prov. 10:9 He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

Integrity is lacking in our society. Long and detailed contracts are written to try to keep businesses honest enough so trade can continue. At one time a man’s word was enough. How many of you actually believe the claims made in advertisements or by most politicians? Our highest institutions have shown their own lack of integrity including the Supreme Court which has cast aside the rule of law in favor of political whim in many of their decisions. Church scandals abound. Even denominations turn away from the Bible in order to be accepted by society. Men who are supposed to be godly disregard what the Scriptures teach and what they preach to follow the lust of their flesh, eyes and pride.

Integrity is important in institutions. It is even more important in a man. Your employer, your friends, your wife, your children all need to know that you can be trusted. They need to know how you will act and what you will do in a given situation. If you cannot be counted on, then you can have little positive impact in their lives. You will not be trusted with greater responsibilities. You will not be able to teach or lead others to godliness.

Real men keep their promises. Dads, don’t tell your children you will do something and then don’t follow through. Be up front and honest with them. Continued disappointment goes deep into the heart of a child. Dads, be consistent in front of your children. Practice what you preach. If you don’t want them to lie, then they had better not see you lie, even if it is something so simple as asking your wife to tell someone on the phone that you are not there.

What are some other characteristics of a real man?

PROVIDER – He looks out for those entrusted to his care. 1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. A real man is not lazy. He does not look for a handout. He takes the admonition of 2 Thess. 3:10-13 seriously that those do not work should not eat. He has a disciplined life in providing for his own family and for others as Eph. 4:28 directs “. . . let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.”

FRIEND – By this I mean a friend in the truest sense, not just someone with a lot of acquaintances. A real man is friend to his wife following the Lord’s command to love her in the same way that Christ loved the church (Eph. 5), giving Himself up for her. That is sacrificial love. He puts the needs of his wife ahead of himself. He willingly does the same for his friends even as Jesus has done for us.

The bottom line of it all is that a real man is godly. In the Old Testament the Psalmist described a real man in Psalm 15:1 (A Psalm of David.) O Lord, who may abide in Thy tent? Who may dwell on Thy holy hill? 2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. 3 He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the Lord; He swears to his own hurt, and does not change; 5 He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.

In the New Testament the real man is seen in Jesus Christ – the second Adam, the perfect man. Every characteristic is perfectly displayed in Him: humility, meekness, strength, courage, leadership, mentoring, integrity, provider, friend.

If you want to be a real man, then you need to be like Christ. The good news for Christians is that is the very thing that God has been doing in your life since He saved you because He has predestined you to be conformed to the image of His son (Rom. 8:29b). Set your eyes on Him and continue to follow. You will become like Him in the process.

For those of you without Jesus Christ, you may be able to develop a lot of these qualities to some degree, but you will never be a real man according to how God describes it in the Bible. Isn’t it about time you started the process and humble yourself before Him. The Lord will take it from there.”

I pasted this because honestly, I couldn’t have written it better myself and I had to share it with you.

Inspiration

I Hate the word, “Diet!”

Diet to me is the ugliest word that came into the English language.  I watch as women who have no concept of what they’re doing to their bodies restrict themselves as to what they believe they should and should not eat. They haven’t gone to the doctor and God help them if they did because those indexes that doctors use are unrealistic. Women have doctors, and specialists and TV and Movie Stars telling them what is and what isn’t good to eat.  It’s all crazy and the word diet implies that you should be thin. Sickly thin. Size 6 or less is the only acceptable because designers don’t even make clothes for women over that size.

Well I am here to tell you, that size 6 is not a picnic.  It’s a sick twisted conglomerate monopolizing business that’s sole goal is to keep you guessing all so they can make a buck and I hate it.  It’s the largest industry of sellable books and products in today’s economy.  If that doesn’t scare you I don’t know what will. That very subtle word, diet, is the catalyst for the pharmaceutical industry, for the retail industry, for the cosmetics and most of the necessities for women. It drives our economy so you had better buy into the word because those fat cats on Hollywood Boulevard, the media and the designers in New York are going to make absolutely certain that you will not have confidence without that word in your vocabulary!

Here’s what I suggest. You don’t have to particularly listen to me, but I do eat well. I have never had a weight problem and for the most part I have been healthy most of my life.  I have a thin shape and I don’t think I look too ancient but that is my opinion. You may have your own. So what I do is document in a program application called My Fitness Pal. You can download the app for yourself at www.myfitnesspal.com. Works on PC’s too.

In this program you put everything you eat. Don’t lie!  And if you have enough courage to fully understand the limits, expectations and goals you can print how many carbs or how many sugars you have in one day, week, month or year.  You can give that to your doc and show them that what you’re saying is the truth.  Then you and your doctor can decide if diet is right for you OR if you just need a lifestyle change.  (No jokes intended).

Be well, take care.

Misfit Out! ~~~

Inspiration

Arguments Hurt Relationships

If I had a quarter for every time I witnessed a double standard in a relationship I’d be a billionaire! Relationships are difficult even when two people get along. Simple things can become big misunderstandings and people get crossways at the simplest of issues.

For example: My mother and her husband are amazing together. They have the most fun of any couple I have truly ever seen. They can talk when they’re having fun, and the spark of joy is visible to everyone. Why is it then when the doors are closed and they have to communicate over how to cook a steak they get adamant about having it their way? Why the arguments and raised voices because it’s not cooked properly? Why can’t one of them say to the other, “Thank you for attempting to do something extraordinary for me despite the outcome?” Why do we fight to be right? Does that really matter?

Arguments like this are a direct result of unresolved issues within the dynamics of the relationship. In their case one fights for the right to be valued and the other fights for the right to be respected. Neither of them gets what they want in the end. Both of their feelings are wounded and both retract only to come back at a later date the next time steak is chosen for dinner and revisit the argument. It’s a never ending cycle without breaking the real issue. My question to them would be why can’t you talk reasonably at home as you do when out and about? Why is the necessity for an action of love only present among others?

It may sound like my questions are only of others, but I assure you that no one is harder on themselves or their actions than I am. The same question I would ask of anyone I surely would reflect on my own behavior. My relationship, however, is different. While I do not pick upon the little things like how to cook a steak I have a partner who does. His incessant need for control to avoid loss is the most epic issue in our relationship. His dominant personality will override even the most impervious.

My partner has an overwhelming sense of entitlement when it comes to his behavior. He feels justified in judgment and execution of his impenetrable beliefs. This makes for one to be regarded by some as above reproach and at the same time some see him as incredibly arrogant. I see him as both. When he decides that he’s going to bring the gauntlet down those around him quake in the wake. This is a fact I believe he’s proud of.

Very unlike me, he is consistent. That ability for longevity makes him appear trustworthy. While I am the type of person who believes in character above money and friends above me, I am often seen as the less than trustworthy because I don’t fit into a common mold. I stayed home with my kids, broke into Real Estate, wrote a novel about my tragic past, and pretty much went against the grain every chance I got. I forge my own path. I don’t follow status quo. I never have and I highly doubt I will start now.

My need for freedom and his need to control that freedom cause great strife in our relationship. He wants to be free, but doesn’t truly possess an inner hunger for it. He doesn’t dream of it, and covet it as I do. He’s grown accustom to change but that’s not the same thing. When he dreams it has finances attached. When I dream, there is merely wind and the open road. We have two different types of dreams for freedom. Neither are bad nor good, just two different perspectives that have kept us together.

The issue arises when I want to forge a new destiny only to be stifled by his need for control. A new idea becomes about what he would do. A course of action is altered because he removes the financing for it. There’s a measurement of control in everything I do. Just when I get enough gumption to go for it anyway, he brings on the emotional rejection, which of course is my trigger. Ultimately I wish I could say I have the intestinal fortitude to not let him like I did when I was young, but honestly I am just tired of fighting at my age.

People tell me all the time, “Rebecca you just don’t know what you want.” To that, I answer silently, “Yes I do.” I suppose I want a champion in life, (he is) and I suppose that I want someone who sees the champion in me. Someone’s who’s less apt to give me a reality check and more apt to say, “That a girl!” That’s something I don’t have. I never will. I suppose I want someone to let me talk, not throw stones and how I say what I do. I want someone safe enough to really listen to me. I want to know that my feelings are warranted or justified. I want to know that I am not alone, or crazy about how I think. I want to be encouraged, and to have all that as part of some big romantic plot to make me feel like a valued person. Those actions are fantasies to me, because I don’t believe that kind of relationship is real. I don’t think those behaviors come from men. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never seen that kind of behavior from any man I’ve ever met towards his partner male or female; and I have met a ton of men!

So I settle. I’m tired. I hear all the time about how difficult I am to live with. I don’t complain about the little things. I don’t pick on anyone. I don’t bitch. I am the most amiable person when it comes to change and acceptance. I love without condition. I don’t pick fights, and I don’t judge others. I fight for justice and freedom and my birthrights, but other than that, my only goal is to find a little bit of joy in my simple day. I find it odd, that others who are so incredibly difficult and full of boundaries and lines, and just quick tempers are so willing to let the rest of us know how it should be for them. I call that the ultimate sense of entitlement; and frankly it just makes me tired.

My life is coming to a mid-point. I’m about to celebrate my second 25th-birthday. I hope that I get a chance to celebrate all four. Maybe I am just reflecting on a life that I had, one I hope to have and the one I am in currently; and maybe, just maybe there’s a little crisis in that. Maybe I want romance? Maybe I want a sense of playfulness again? Maybe I want a sense of adventure, or a sense of playfulness? Maybe I need to feel beautiful, or maybe I need to feel intellectual? I don’t know what it is that I could use just this day, but the one thing that I have realized is; there is no one on this planet that is going to give it to me, but me! Thank you, Mom, for beating that into me. I finally get it.

Inevitably someone will hurt your feelings or offend your sensibility today. You can decide to wallow in it or shrug it off. Dance today. Make it fabulous so that the offenders watching do so in awe of the grace and elegance in which you choose to experience this fine day the Good Lord bestowed on us all!