I HAVE MADE A LOT of deals in my life, but I have found none better…
A LIE IS A FABRICATION of the truth, but the lies I believe are valid. To me.
It is for this reason that I argue with, or at the very least, I hesitate when God leads me a certain way that is contrary to my best judgment.
Of course, this makes what I believe right and what God says wrong. (more…)
YOU'VE UNDOUBTEDLY HEARD it said that perception is reality. Is this true or false? It is certainly true that my perception of whatever is my reality.
It is a small distortion of the truth, but to be more succinct, perception is only my opinion of reality.
My opinion is not necessarily accurate. It may be accurate, but my opinion, simply because I have one, does not guarantee accuracy. My thoughts, feelings, and experience may give me the impression that my perception is reality, but if so, my reality could easily change if my thoughts, feelings, and experience change.
What I am saying is that I do not know reality outside my opinion of reality, and to believe otherwise will kill off the possibility of ever accepting what is truly real.
If I am not open to the possibility that what I believe is only my opinion of what is truly real, I may also do a sufficient job of killing you off at the same time. I’ll give you an example. Read More...
ONE OF THE BIGGEST SNARES that will kill off the pursuit of enjoying a full measure of love, respect, significance, and security is the belief that you know right and wrong.
Go back to the beginning, at the moment of your first awakening, when you first knew that something was wrong. Something happened out there and you made a determination, in the immaterial part of yourself—your mind and heart, your thoughts and feelings—that you were in danger.
It was the first moment that you believed you could save yourself, and after considering the information available to you, you developed your first strategy to make everything right again.
That strategy led to your behavior.
Your behavior was the result of your best thinking.
My first memory was based on a very benign circumstance. I was in no danger, but I had been frightened. I had never, to my knowledge, been afraid before, but the feelings were not comfortable.
I may have cried, as a way to get my parent’s attention, and I may have been shushed or ignored, but I have no memory of that. All I remember were loud noises and big people talking amongst themselves.
In the moment of my awakening, I have a clear memory, even today more than fifty years later, of sitting in a bed, presumably my bed, and hearing a voice inside myself.
It was my inner voice.
It was astonishing, and quite pleasing to me, that as I sat there, I soon knew that I was in a conversation with myself.
I touched each of my toes and looked at the fingers on my hands, and as I did, I could hear this strange voice speaking the name of each appendage back to me.
No one was paying attention to me, or this lively conversation I was having with myself, but I soon knew that I could speak the word “mama” and “dada” in my mind, even while looking at my parents, and they could not hear my voice.
My first strategy was born.
I believed that if I did not speak out loud, I could be invisible to others.
As a way to keep myself safe in the future, I would not cry or speak out loud, but rather, I could entertain myself in the company of my inner voice, my new friend, and I would not be alone. In the future, when I did cry or speak out loud, and I soon regretted doing so because of something worse happening to me, my strategy was reinforced.
Death whispered to me, “Hide your outer voice. It is dangerous to speak what you think or feel.”
Who I am, enjoys talking. I enjoy being heard. However, most people are surprised and sometimes uncomfortable, to be with me in a social setting because when I am not wearing the costume necessary for my work, I am very quiet. I’m sometimes asked if I’m okay or upset because I have nothing to say.
Was I born an introvert, or did I learn the behavior?
I will not even guess what is right, but I do know that faulty beliefs and counterfeit strategies are buried deep in the psyche.
What I do know about myself is that I am introspective. I would rather be invisible in a social setting and observe what is going on than to be the “life of the party”.
I learned as a small child that it is not safe to speak when I do not know that what I am saying is right, and if there is a chance that I can be wrong, Shame and Humiliation will be right there, in my inner voice, to inflict pain and remove a certain amount of love, respect, significance, and security that I covet.
Some of our biggest conflicts were born out of the faulty belief that something is wrong, always out there, with whatever—a spouse, a child, a friend or foe, an employee, the boss, a product or service, the competition, the economy, the government, and etcetera.
Space in one's thinking for a different way to approach his or her conflicts is necessary because, until one can see that being right is the fastest trip to Death’s door, a person will believe that what is out there is wrong. Whatever it is out there will ring alarms and awaken him or her to the very real possibility that he or she will lose something.
It should be said that if you refuse to believe whatever, then even with the evidence to the contrary, you will not believe.
Without the space to allow for the possibility that what you believe can be right and wrong, or neither right or wrong, you will believe the way that you see right and wrong is right.
To believe you know what is right and what is wrong is the very thing that keeps you in bondage.
I am not saying there is not a right and wrong, but I am saying there are consequences to both right and wrong.
What I am saying is that being right is not the end goal.
Death wants you and me to believe that being right is good and if you are right then you are good.
Death says being right is good and being wrong is evil.
The problem with using right and wrong as your compass for life is that there must be a loser in order for you to win the race you are in to get to the place where you can finally rest.
The race to victory began as a child and at some point, at least by your teenage years, your caregivers had to lose. You may have had other family members, friends, or teachers who had to lose.
And unless you are different from anyone I have ever coached, religious or atheist, there was a day when God had to lose as well.
That day occurred for me the day my newborn daughter died. To be certain, God was the loser many times before, but that day was a turning point for me.
I had done nothing wrong to cause my daughter’s death. In fact, I had done everything right. I read every book I could find on pregnancy; I quit smoking and drank lots of water; I quit my job and came home to roost; I walked daily and ate healthily.
I did my part, and I remember the day when the doctor stood in front of me and held his large hands out and said, “In surgeries like these, I turn my hands over to God because only God can save babies as sick as yours.” At that moment, I knew God was wrong.
That scene was replayed for me on the day I met Jesus after he asked why I call myself Christian. I cannot explain it, but with the eyes of my heart, I saw tears in his eyes and without saying it out loud, I heard his words, I know the sting of death.
At that moment, I no longer had a conflict with the Lord, and I felt reconciled and restored to him.
The loss brings about grief and the effects of loss will linger long after the gut-wrenching feelings subside.
Great loss is the catalyst for a lethal faulty belief and counterfeit strategy and one Death will nurture. He whispers:
You did not deserve that blow.
You were right and God was wrong.
God has caused your pain, shame, guilt, and humiliation, and if he loved you, he would have saved you from this loss.
From here on out, you must trust in yourself.
Let’s put up a wall between you and God, and you will be hidden from him.
You must go to church, as you have been doing, so you will not let others see your anger towards him.
But you do not have to believe what he says.
You now must know that if God is impotent to save you from evil, then no one can save you.
You must face the reality that you are alone.
Whatever becomes of you will be based on what you can achieve alone.
You must know that you will be safer to trust only in yourself.
It is God and Love that has hurt you so deeply.
Let’s also build a wall around your heart, so that you will not risk this kind of deep pain again, for you know this pain almost killed you.
Can you remember when you trusted the words of Death and blamed God for your loss? Read More...
UNTIL YOU BELIEVE that being good is not the goal for the life you really want, you will be in bondage.
Certainly you will suffer fewer consequences if you act “right” and the fear of natural consequences is most likely the primary motive behind “being good”, but as a strategy for life, it will never lead you to peace. Or rest.
It is a counterintuitive truth, I know, but so is much about what Jesus taught. Let me explain.
If you try to be good, you will look good out there and you may fit in. Or feel like a fraud.
If you work hard, the boss will say you are good, and you may feel significant and secure. Or feel like a hamster in a wheel.
If you are over-responsible for others, you will definitely be called good, even an angel on earth, and you may feel loved. Or used.
However, if you expect to get your needs met out there, you become a slave to “being good”. And doing.
I didn't understand this truth so the day after my encounter with Jesus and realizing I had lost my Bible—probably a decade before—I bought a new one. Reading it became the most important thing on my busy agenda because I needed to know why he loved me after revealing to me that he knew the real me.
He also said he wanted my life, but he left before he explained what that meant. All I knew is that I had some work to do, and as a typical Type-A personality, I was going to be ready for his return, which I expected in the next week or so.
Like other business ventures, I was intent on winning in this one. So, I focused on what seemed to be important to him, which was presented in his case against me—why I called myself Christian. Naturally, I focused on being good.
Using my best thinking, I enrolled in a Bible study at the church so I could learn how to be a Christian in which God could be proud to call me his own. Gaining knowledge would certainly help me win. And become a good person.
Then I would be prepared for whatever it was that he wanted my life for. (Not to mention how good I would look to him.)
When I reflect back to those early days and years of trying so hard to be good and do right, I stand in amazement at how God got me here, where I am telling you that being good is not the goal. Read More...