Inspiration, Uncategorized

Changing Your Perspective to Joy

A long time ago, a woman very harshly told me that joy was my choice. She said that if I could just see it, I could certainly possess it. She was rather insistent that I get out of my bad mood and what is tantamount to an attitude of just “get over it.”

People who are so maliciously impatient with those who are suffering often truly bother me. They say or act in inappropriate ways. If I wasn’t who I was and I didn’t understand that was more about her inabilities than it was about her worry for me I don’t think I would have come to the same conclusions, which was that she was correct.

I was losing my home, I was fighting for my life because doctors could not figure out why my immune system was attacking me, and for the most part I was becoming increasingly frail and thin. I was in a state of shock, despair and I was stuck there.

Here’s the deal, you and me and everyone on this planet has to process through the things that hurt in a healthy way. When we get stuck in one of those four or five stages of grief it hurts us in a more deeply affected way. That hurt lasts a lifetime. That’s where I was. I was stuck, and I blamed. I resented. I hurt.

When I stopped focusing on the pain, and began to focus on the things that made me smile, I began to realize I was capable of joy. That felt like a revelation to me. When I saw the innocence of children playing. When the sun shined. All of the little things that I took for granted seemed to magnify themselves just for my mental health. When I would get dizzy I began to make jokes about it and people felt more at ease. All of the sudden my world opened up to laughter which is the first step toward finding that joy.

Today might be the day that you feel is worse than the last, but Sweetheart, the only person who can turn this day around is you. No one is going to come and take your hand and force you to smile. You have to believe that you are worth it. You have to believe that you have options. You have to believe in the hope that in the huge span of your existence, this is a blimp of a moment that will soon pass. You’re going to be okay. You got this. It’s hard, and it hurts, but find something, anything that will make you smile. Latch onto it. Don’t let it go. Ride it out as long as that feeling lasts and get yourself healthier.

Do it for you. Find that joy. Good luck to you.

Inspiration

Cultivating Fabulous Friendships

When you’re my age it’s a remarkable pleasure to look back on your life to view the milestones.  Thoughts of what I have or have not done parade around my mind as though they own the space in my memories.  The key to unlocking them is by listening or talking to the friends, colleagues, or family who knew you way back when.  Add a little music and it’s as if you’re walking through a video of a past you’ve long forgotten.  If you feel a little self conscious about the memory you have the powerful truth that whatever it is; it’s behind you.  It’s like dancing through time with all the power to turn it on and off.  It’s very addictive to some of us who use that walk in the past to propel our behavior into whatever it is that we think it should be.  Retrospection is a tool i use probably more than most, because I am in a continuous state of trying my absolute best to be good enough to get into heaven.  To be kind enough for people to say nice things about me. To leave enough of a legacy of love that is what people remember when I am gone.

What I have learned however, is that some people; especially family, will always see me as weird, confusing, odd, off balance, untrustworthy, etc. The list goes on and on because sadly, once you make a mistake and you know the same people all these years; they never let you live past it. They never really learn to know the you that you have become.  They only want to remember the you who disappointed them. The you who hurt them. The you who isn’t perfect and that taints the perspective upon which everything you say or do is judged by them.

The good news is that as I have grown I have learned that all people make similar mistakes that I have. I have learned that every friendship has bumps of disappointment.  Some would ask why it has to be that way and the answer is simple.  None of us are perfect and we set all of our expectations unrealistically. When we’re hurt we forget that adjusting those expectations could lead to a happier relationship, but we’d rather just accuse, stand on some made up moral high ground or list our “principals” as the reason for our inability to forgive and move past things.  It’s a sad day when we expect others to be more perfect than we hold our own behaviors to be.

Another thing I have learned is that friendships are a gift. They don’t come easy. Long term friendships seem insurmountable to some. They take reaching out to remind someone how much they mean to you. Doing that and many of the accolades that people require from other people may cause a sense of being vulnerable to many. I believe it’s in this human interest where true love comes from any relationship. Where bonds are truly formed. Where the love lies.  It’s in our ability to feel and see others as fallible where we all reside in the company of each other than lifts or encourages us to be better than even we think we can be.  Thats the bond that separates acquaintances from that inner intimate circle that few get to see.

It’s so worth it to have friendships that take effort. The reason is because when you see each other, there’s a familiarity that is only due to faithful friendships. People who care enough to reach out. That’s just me. I care. It was important to be to write all those Christmas Letters. To reach out with phone calls. To keep in touch and be there through the saddens and the glad.  That has value in my life so I take a great amount of my time and I cause action to let someone know I remember, I admire and I still care.

Today when you’re thinking about that friend that just upsets you so, remember friendships are a gift. There has to be a way to save that relationship. To make it mean more to you.  Every season requires a moment to pass and that should too. Remind yourself that people need someone to lift them up, believe in them and to be their cheerleader. If you begin to do that for people, they in turn, will begin to do that for you.  It comes full circle.

I want to say thank you to the woman in my life and the men who have impacted me in profound ways. Either positive or negative means very little because at one point you had direct meaning in my life.  I am honored you call me a friend and blessed to have you in my life even if our friendship hasn’t lasted as long as we wished or is as strong as it could be.  I cherish friendships. You are important to me. I’m thankful to know you.

Inspiration

Feeling other’s pain

Did you ever just feel the pain with the total understanding that it’s not yours?  That’s where I am today. Just emerging myself in other’s pain and feeling the empathy that cuts through my heart like a jagged knife.

I’m constantly working on me, evaluating my behavior, improving who I believe God wants me to be.  It’s not easy. I find often that I do things not because I want to or don’t want to but because my sense of right and wrong tells me that I have absolutely no choice.  Living a life with the belief that I am on the path to my maturity and learning from my lessons is not easy. Self perspective is difficult especially when things hit so close to home that it shatters.  The point is when I expect others to be just, fair and decent I CANNOT do so without insisting this upon my own character.  This works well for me, until empathy creeps in and all is lost in the emotion of the pain.

I am struggling right now with several factors. 1.  My novel is not getting the attention I believe it deserves. 2.  My family “appears” to be distant and I miss them.  3.  I just learned my bio-dad is not the man I thought, (that’s not such a bad thing) except no one believes me and I cannot find him to prove it.  4.  I am watching people I love go through the worst horrific circumstances of their lives and there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Today I cried. I sat and I sobbed because when it rains it pours. One friend doesn’t have faith in their abilities, another doesn’t have trust in others, and yet another doesn’t feel anyone hears them.  One friend is struggling with cancer, another still in the closet and yet again… one more cries alone believing their depression is without any understanding.  How do I deal when I feel as though there is nothing I can say? No words beyond “I love you.” No words.

There’s a line that is crossed when a burden is taken on that no one knows. That’s the weight of the world no one sees is piling up because although one person is going through their torture unfortunately they’re not the only people I know walking down the path of despair.  It’s unfortunate they don’t know of each other or their pain may increase, but where does that leave me? I am stuck in the middle trying to decipher where I can make any difference whatsoever with my lack of verbal content. I show up. I do but is that enough? To be the listener?

At what point I ask is the burden too much. My answer? Just as Jesus said to Paul, “Until you can stand no more.” Since I am a pretty tough cookie and I know God knows this of me, all I can do is cry. Because tomorrow I will make that call and I will listen. I will show up. I will wait until I can be needed. I will understand the anger, feed the hungry, organize the weak. I will be whatever it is they need if only for a moment because it is not enough. This is not my pain. It is theirs. I can cry all I want but there comes a time to wipe those tears and get back in the game. Same as I expect from them.

Inspiration

Unprofitable Anger?

Unprofitable Anger
“TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
04-20-2014
“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” – Ecclesiastes 7:9

“Every day of our lives we are placed in situations that engage us with other people, whether it is in the office, our homes, or in public places. Do you recall the last time someone cut you off in traffic, or you were forced to wait in line because someone up front got held up? Perhaps your employer did something that was downright unfair. Anger can result from many circumstances and most of it is unprofitable. When you feel anger, remember that your feelings are tied to your side of how you perceive the situation; which is always two sides to every conflict. If you want a peaceful existence it may be the time to confront and wait to hear. That way you feel like you’re accomplishing closure; thereby not stacking anger upon anger.””

I love to read the messages from this author. A few days ago I was wrapped in the same unprofitable anger I have felt many times in my life. When all was ceased, I reminded myself (wondering how come I cannot do this when I am lit) that I am judging the way that someone has judged me. Without discussion, without clarification, without reaching out to find out what the real issue is; and it hit me. I need to forgive. Sigh….

This message happens to me A LOT. Sometimes people frazzle me. Especially prickly people who are too serious where everything they hear is all about them and how wounded they can be from people. These people are stronger than everyone thinks but their pretense of vulnerability makes it so that they’re “taken care of” instead of having to be a grown up and deal with the problem. How do I know this? Because I was that person for many many years. When it comes to manipulating the person in front of me into thinking I am capable and vulnerable at the same time this chick has got that gift in spades. Doesn’t mean I use that now, but I can sure identify it. It makes me angry.

I find that what I see in others that really pushes an emotional trigger within me; is exactly what I do NOT like about my self. Yea. That’s the truth. I don’t like that I did that in my past. It disgusts me that action is part of the whole picture of what makes me truly who I am. I have to own it, face it, and try very hard to not only control my own behavior but not condemn someone else for theirs. Harder than it seems I assure you.

This type of anger is so unproductive and robs me of my precious joy I have fought so hard to captivate in my life. I own my own joy. I can allow someone to rob me of it or I can choose to let go of the pain those actions cause and do the very best I can with who I am. I cannot change someone else. I cannot fix a broken person but I can listen to what made them break. That’s my pledge. To be patient enough to listen; and if needed, be the truth.

Today when that person really gets to me I am going to ask myself one question? Who am I mostly mad at? My actions or the words they spoke that offended me and reminded me of my own insecurities? Remind myself that words are just words and people often use them incorrectly and/or communicate horribly. It’s not about what’s said sometimes, it’s about the meaning behind it. Find that out by starting that conversation, by solving the problem and I’ll have less issues with this type of unproductive anger. If I need to own bad behavior maybe I can come to terminate that too? Just do something!

That’s just me….

Inspiration

Empowering Women to Love

Often I am reminded of even my own sinned thoughts and actions. The other day a woman with an ill-behaved child was near me and I found myself rolling my eyes thankful that I raised my kids where a firmer understanding created that necessary fear that made my kids behave. Then I thought about it. I am what I tell other women not to be … A judger. Not only that but a … condemner.

I feel that women should take the world “Judgement” out of their vocabulary! Frankly it’s for men to do not us. We have a right to formulate an opinion about something and then it is our DUTY to encourage each other to change our perspective to “LOVE” rather than hate and HELP the woman out. Judgement = Opinion… so let’s use the right word.

Condemning is when you elevate your worth over someone else. That’s what I did. Yep, that was me. It’s not okay. I should have walked over to the overstressed and frazzled mom and offered help. This is my area of expertise. Merely by acting I could be teaching the woman who obviously doesn’t possess those talents. Maybe she’s an awesome lawyer, or housekeeper, or she loves everyone unconditionally? I will never know because I never offered to help. Not once, didn’t even think about it.

I wonder, how many times does Jesus ask us to love our fellow man? How many people has he put in front of us and wanted us to make them feel connected, wanted, appreciated, cared for? How many times have WE DENIED HIM because of our own hatred, condemnation, selfishness, need for elevation…?? Pretty scary when you think about it that way isn’t it?

Today I encourage you to pause. STOP for a brief minute and actually listen to someone who might need you to lift them up! If we can encourage one woman, to encourage another woman, and lift each other up, then we can create love that will affect every home in America. It starts with you today. What will YOU choose? Love? Doing what Jesus asks or going your own way? It’s always up to you. God Bless!

Inspiration, Opinion

A mother’s plea-leave mine alone!

There’s no kind of heartache that can match what happens when you see your child or someone you love about to hit head on into something that is going to end badly. Whether it’s drugs, or friends, or choices or mates; it hurts to watch them grow through some pretty painful human things that young people go through.

You want so badly to shout, “STOP” but they won’t. You want to define the hurt, to identify it for them and give them a path to either get through it, or avoid it altogether. That doesn’t work. The only thing you’re left with is an undeniable sense of powerlessness.

There’s no advice, no words, no wisdom, no mercy that will be accepted or even considered. They will undeniably come to education or experience all on their own without your incredibly unwanted help.

For all those people who would come into my life, I want to scream at you, “Knock it off!” Stop the drama, the conflict, the chaos, the manipulation, the games, the toil and the turmoil and just leave me and mine without you. Just go away. Just take whatever that makes you feel good when you do evil things and move on down the road. Just be done with us.

Some say that people (even I do) are both good and evil. That people are basically great and they do bad things, but what about those people who wake and think negative. They always have an angle, they’re always looking for someone to control, to overpower, to use, to manipulate for their bidding? What bout those broken people? Are they the ones you need to throw out of your life?

I have learned in my long life that people do change. They are capable and that I myself have been what I call a manipulating person. I certainly don’t even think I could do that today if I wanted to but I can recall a far away youth that presented those opportunities that sadly I took advantage of. I hear my hypocrisy on the issue, but to my credit; although admitted, decided one day to take a change… and switch. Deny what was and move into a more thankful being. Because I got the help I needed. I truly believe when they do too, the end result will be either loving and generosity or unforgiveness and bitterness. It will be there choice.

The thing with time is it takes time for this butterfly effect to happen. In the meantime, my children will be in harms way and potentially broken. As the doctor’s say, you cannot fix broken people by loving them more. They have to want to be fixed. They have to want that They have to want that. Yes, I am repeating myself. The people I’ve met don’t even think they have a problem. I find that so heartbreaking…

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

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

Top 10 Mistakes of 2012

I made the worst mistakes of all time.

A year ago I took a job that was beneath me. Not in stature but in experience. I did so because I needed a break from the treacherous manipulations of a third world management style woman who had my financial destiny in her reckless and immature hands. My employment here in Louisiana is tantamount to working for people, who have a clue how to manage nor have any character whatsoever.

My presences of mind was that I could work for a company I’d thought was benevolent and reputable because I identified with the mission statement of providing a community service for the local people. I would take a break. I would be able to excel in ways that I wouldn’t have before because the work itself would be simple. I would finally have some much needed rest.

That was my first mistake. My second mistake was thinking that master’s Degree’s meant that women were more educated and worldly. I remember thinking that the woman at the bank were so beautiful and so capable with their chosen dialog. It was a far cry from the retail industry where slang was not only an option but the norm. My second mistake was thinking that just because a woman has pretty dialog means that she is mature enough to carry on a just and fair conversation.

Even as I write this it seems judgmental to me. However, given that my decided lack of judgment and or action thereof has left me and only me wanting I shall continue.

A Vice President of the company, a woman, tried to friend me immediately. She joined my Facebook page and she invited me to dozens of races, of which I went to one. I became what I thought was good friends with a receptionist. That was mistake number three. Discernment has never been my strong suit. I spent the first few months of the company bestowing gracious remarks about my co-workers. I built a relationship with the receptionist and we were getting close enough for me to spend quite a bit of time with her away from work, on the phone and on Facebook as well.

One day I was helping transfer some ITunes to the receptionist’s IPhone and in the process left my phone in her presence. It was then she read texts from me to my husband containing confidential information. She took that information and shared it with the Marketing Manager and her Assistant. For months the four of us would have breakfast together and we would discuss hot topics. Although their views didn’t match my own, I appreciated the differences.

My fourth mistake was allowing someone to manipulate me with discussion of need. The receptionist told me that she was hurting. That’s my weakness. Poverty and lack of financial support wrapped up in a tumultuous relationship with a spouse; and you have my undivided peaked attention.

The breach was brought to my attention. I was dazed and confused at first until finally I realized what happened. I was hurt. The conversations at the breakfast table stopped. I withdrew. I felt betrayed. I should have had enough courage to call her out and tell her exactly how she hurt me but that was my fifth mistake because the obvious outcome of that non-dialog was months of pure hell. The Marketing girls were offended by my retraction of my attention. They were hissing mad with religious and social outcries. I remained above reproach never settling in for confrontation nor banter about betrayal. I never spoke ill of the receptionist nor of the others for the gossip and talk about what happened. However, the Marketing girls never learned of the Receptionist’s evil ways.

I should have made it public. That was part of my fifth mistake. I did not tell anyone about what the receptionist did; not even my boss, because I felt I was guilty for being stupid enough to lend her my phone.

It does not occur to me that people have the audacity to act evil. Their ways and their manipulations confound me time and time again because I wouldn’t act in such a way. Not for no reason whatsoever. I don’t understand other’s who are so undeniably without conscious.

The receptionist never let on what she’d done either. Her lack of soul managed a steady stream of innuendo and supposition surrounding that day that lead to the Marketing ladies distaste for my every view. I believed that staying above reproach was what God commanded of me. That was my sixth mistake. Believing I knew what God wanted me to do.

Some months passed. The girls showed that they were judgmental and non-Christian like with their words and actions and I didn’t take heed of it. I didn’t react. I didn’t judge. I went in every day and did my job as accepted. I forgave the receptionist and I began to be kinder, more gentle in my greetings. The girls convinced me to cut my hair off and I did hoping that I would finally fit into the group.

I donated over 16 inches and tried to get highlights. In the process the stylist bleached my hair. I thought it looked hideous but the receptionist told me that it was perfect. I believed her. Having chalked up the last betrayal as one evil deed and not a succession; I believed she was telling me the truth. My seventh mistake was not forgiving her but giving her license to tell me how she felt. She took my picture of the new haircut off Facebook and sent it to a co-worker with disparaging remarks in an effort to cause another to regard me as hideous and frightening. When my boss showed it to me I was profoundly hurt again.

Regardless, I came in and went to work every day. My actions still above reproach, I did not tell anyone, I did not gossip about it, I simply went about my business as my boss directed. I was told to remain as far from the 3 of them as possible. I felt at that time that was the best advice. That was my eighth mistake. I should have communicated my distain with what she did, because my lack of explanation for my removal of communication left an open door for the receptionist’s manipulation. I was told it was jealousy. I was told that the comments were because she hadn’t been told that the management knew of her treachery. I was flabbergasted that the drama was spinning out of control and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. That was my ninth mistake. I believed there was nothing I could do about it before it escalated.

The final mistake was thinking I could get in the car and ride 35 minutes to and from and event with two Marketing girls who believed that I was the worst kind of person who had manipulated and hurt her friend beyond remorse. The girls used that trip to lie about me and to spread untrue rumor to the personal lifelong friend and CEO. I lost my job over it.

Looking back I can outline what I did wrong. I can outline the actions I didn’t take. I can try to reason why this all happened when I was peaceful. I was someone who didn’t engage. I didn’t gossip. I didn’t hurt anyone and in the end I got hurt. What I know now is I hurt myself. I had plenty of time to stop the madness. I could have brought the gossip to the attention of the President or the boss much sooner. I didn’t do that. My intent was to allow the receptionist to hang herself, but that didn’t happen. She committed two illegal acts and still has a job because I didn’t speak. No one heard the truth and the constant manipulation, gossip and despair of that business continues on. I could have stopped it, but I didn’t because I believed respecting everyone showed more character than dipping them in the grease to save my job.

I suppose that’s why people create the drama. I suppose that is why women say and do what they do because if they don’t others will trample on them. I suppose….

What I hate the most is that this company proved this theory to me. I hate that the business world has come to this. I hate that I have a weakness for people and mercy for their contempt. Often I feel like I live in a world void of any character whatsoever.

I’m not sure how to process through this or what shall become of it, but I am certain that this weighs heavy on my soul. I wish I were the type of person that could put all this into lesson learned but it will forever change the outcome of my future interactions. Part of me wants to become the thing women see in me. I want to provide an element of fear so that they will not try to manipulate and hurt me. Part of me wants to ensure that I remain merciful. The battle of my two intentions will be a guest in my body for quite some time to come.

At this point, I have made sense of it. Now I just have to accept it.

Inspiration

Let it Go Even When It Hurts!

Letting go is not an easy thing to do. For most of us, it’s that harsh reality that if we did we would no longer have that issue clouding our lives. A swift cut of the threads that bind us and we no longer have any expectations. What about when that cord is cut and the relationship is gone forever? What then?

I’ve learned in my lifetime that relationships although steadfast at times, rarely continue on that path. They falter, people get busy, and time passes and if there’s any distance whatsoever, a giant gap begins to creep in.  Before long, everyone is sore with each other.

I’ve said in another blog that I think it’s because when people are always together there are little things that offend them that they don’t really talk about because there’s generally better about the relationship than the bad. BUT when you move away, the bad is all they remember. The good isn’t something that sticks with people and they begin to feel that you’re just not worth the trouble anymore. Call it hurting from the abandonment they feel, or whatever. Try leaving and you will see what I mean.

Recently, a very violent and troubling hurricane ripped my town apart.  From the moment in began to come into town, my in-law family was on the phone telling me to evacuate. Hell, even a woman I haven’t seen in a decade was telling me to get out of there.  I decided to stay and posted my apprehension on my Facebook page.  Days passed and my power was out so I couldn’t post anything.  What I didn’t get to post was concern.  Then after the generator breaking and other issues with trying to stay bubbled up, I decided to hit the road through the rain and head to Dallas. All of which I did post on my social page.  I didn’t write on the page for a few more days and when I got back home after the holiday I posted that I had indeed made it back safely.

Maybe it’s because I have a laundry list of offenses, but I noticed that my siblings hadn’t called, or posted, or even acknowledged any concern for me. So while I was updating on Facebook I went to their pages. They hadn’t been on their pages.  My brother had and he sure posted often, but didn’t show any concern for me.  No comments on my posts. Nothing.  So, I thought at first, Wow.  Maybe they’re watching my FB Page and keeping up with it there?  My sister had not been on though.

I go out to lunch and I begin to talk with my gal pal about it and she tells me that they could have at least acknowledged it. She said that if they don’t even do that then I’m not on their minds at all. Out of sight, out of mind. She said that they’re not really trying to hurt me, it’s just that they’re busy enjoying their own lives. They don’t think to call. It’s not about me.

I mulled that over in my head the rest of the evening. I don’t know why that hurt me, and I needed to understand why that hurt me; and how I was going to compartmentalize that so that aforementioned laundry list wouldn’t get any bigger.

I thought long and hard about why the absence of their affection meant something this time. After all, I see my sisters and my brother laugh between them, share things and generally exclude me all the time.  I see my youngest sister who had the gift of my father her whole life post about her “sister” and not her “sisters.” It doesn’t bother me that I sent a birthday and Christmas card every year of her life and my father didn’t send my kids that many.  It doesn’t bother me that I stood in a funeral procession line after his death only to realize that 150 of his “closest friends” didn’t even know I existed.  It doesn’t bother me that I have visited a dozen times only to have them visit once.  All that is just part of living, right? It shouldn’t bother me.  So I tell myself.

Two years went by and I hadn’t called my brother. I didn’t hear from him in that two years. So the conclusion if you will, is that unless I make the calls, cultivate, organize and plan the meetings they won’t happen.  But that didn’t bother me…

I planned surprise birthday parties, I went to a wedding where the best man was my ex-boyfriend and the man who slapped me was one of her closest friends. I went to my brother’s wedding, and to the christening of his son.  For the proudest and most celebrated moments in their lives I was there.  I made it happen. Alone or not I was there.  It meant something to me to be there because I showed them that I love them. Regardless of all the past, the love that I had surpassed it all.

Last year when I went to my father funeral. I suppose that’s the deal breaker. That’s the notch in the list I cannot overcome.  How do that many people not know about me? Not one photo of me in his house.  He never spoke of me. Nobody knew about me.  It wasn’t the past any longer. This was my present. This was a huge wake up call to me.

They don’t even know my name. My brother’s children have no idea who I am. My sister’s kids act like they’re scared to death to talk to me.  It’s like somehow I have been labeled. I cannot for the life of me figure it out either? Is it truly about my posts on a Facebook page as my mother says? What is it? I don’t know, but all I feel is the sting of the rejection that comes from the emotional turmoil of it all.

Many tell me it shouldn’t bother me. This is my family! I ask why not? Why shouldn’t it hurt that they don’t care enough to reciprocate? I have spent my whole life waiting to matter to them.  I’ve shown constant love, commitment, action and general support. I guess what I realize is when it all comes down to it, I am just not a part of their priorities. Honestly it’s so sad to say because it’s pretty pathetic that I care so much, but it does hurt.

When I was young, and my mother would take me out of my bed and beat me I used to dream about my father rescuing me.  When my mother broke my jaw and cracked a bone in my arm, I used to dream about a family that didn’t do those kinds of things. I guess that the vision I have in my head is certainly a whole lot different than the one I see now.  I guess that’s perception. It’s like every so often I get a clue and I realize, “Rebecca, you’re just not important enough for them to think about you.” And I have to accept that. Feeling the discontent…