Yes You Are!

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I could not sleep last night.  Let me take that back, I actually went to sleep, but only got about three hours before I woke up and was wide awake, after some tossing and turning, I finally realized that I was not going to sleep, so I decided to get up, do my workout and update my blog.  As I am sure many of you know, I have been trying to get healthy over the past couple of months.  I have totally changed my eating, maintained regular exercise, saved off 25 pounds and am feeling the most energetic that I have in my entire life.

I was working with four young guys yesterday, which are at least half my age or younger and I kept cracking on them, because they were letting me, the old man show them up.  I got up this morning, thinking about how blessed I am to get to live the life that I live.  I am a part of an amazing ministry called Grace Place that ministers to people everyday in some of the most incredible and meaningful ways ever.  I have a growing, fun and profitable business that allows me to meet new people from all walks of life.  I have family and friends that love me, are there for me and that make life worth living and sharing.  I could go on and on, but I don’t want this post to be so long that you don’t have time to read it.

Bottom Line:  We are all blessed!  Yes, life may sometimes throw us a curve ball, but there is always a purpose and as we pursue it, we become better and stronger.  Take a little time today to think about all that you have to be grateful for.  Enjoy the blessings that God has surrounded you with and above all – make sure that you are living blessed!

A Letter To My Friends!

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One of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen said:  “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”

This is the person that I want to be, but have recently come to realize that I have fallen short of being.  I have become good at giving advice, because so many people ask for mine.  I have gotten used to providing solutions, because there are so many people that have needed me to do that.  It is my natural instinct to try and provide a cure, because I don’t like to see anyone suffer.  While all of this is good and necessary, it sometimes gets in the way of my being able to grow in meaningful and lasting friendship, because people feel that they have to live up to some expectation.

Sometimes when I offer advice, solutions and cures, it is frustrating to see them fall on what I often mistakenly perceive to be deaf ears and bruised hearts.  This has caused me to get caught up in the manipulation game that so much of the world wants to play in and what gets in the way of genuine, caring, meaningful and growing relationships.  I am not God and I have got to learn to trust Him to take care of the stuff that is above my pay grade.

I want to be a real friend!  I want to share the pain of those that I care about, not judge it, correct it, manipulate it, advise it, solve it or cure it.  I want to touch the wounds of those I love with a warm and tender hand, not a hand of correction or perfection.  I want to be this kind of friend, because this is the kind of friend that I want and need.

Please forgive me for where I have fallen short and for where I may have failed you.  It is not because of a lack of love for you.  It is not because I believe myself to be better than you.  It is simply because I am a man and I often miss the mark, but I am learning and promise to try and do better.

Thank you for being my friend and as I work to provide you with true and meaningful friendship, I hope that you can find the grace to maybe do the same for me, because the truth is:  We all need each other, if we are going to live blessed.

Trusting Your Instinct – Learning To Empower Thought Over Feeling!

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For the past couple of months I have found my instinct, intuition, feeling, spirit giving me information, but I have not wanted to accept it.  My heart and head teamed up and out voted instinct and spirit.  In my heart, I knew that things did not add up and I knew that what my instinct/spirit was telling me was right and so I asked questions, got the answers that my heart and head wanted and refused to listen to my instinct/spirit.  But my instinct /spirit is a pesky little thing, so it would not let it go and just kept on and on.  And so the war raged on and I walked through life living in a continual argument with myself.  (This is an impossible argument to win!)

Over the past couple of days, my instinct/spirit has been proven correct and my heart and head has taken a pounding because of it.  Life teaches us to think things through and the problem with this is that often our over thinking actually clouds the reality of our vision.  An instinct and the voice of the spirit is much more than a thought and one of the problems that I have discovered in my life is this:  When I treat my instincts/spirit as a thought, I actually limit them, their power and their effectiveness at helping me to get to the right place in my life.

There is a big difference between thinking and feeling.  Thinking is something we do with our head and heart, while feeling is something we do with our instinct and spirit.  The problem comes for us, when we blur the lines and allow it all to get mixed together.  Do you know the difference between a thought and a feeling?  I mean really think about it – what is the difference?  Most people really cannot began to explain it, because they have never really taken the time or pursued the discipline of thinking through their feelings and feeling through their thinking.

If you can’t describe it as a sensation, whatever’s going through your mind is not thought, but feeling. Learning to tell the difference between thought and feeling is very tricky, especially when, we override our feeling/instincts/spirit with mind/heart/thoughts.  Add to this the power of our often very active emotional reactions to those thoughts and “WHAM!” – . We often feel something, ignore the feeling, decide something else is true, then have all kinds of emotions about what we just made up and give the thought power over our feelings and then it’s on and we are headed on an emotional roller coaster ride.

If we are going to trust our feeling/instincts/spirit, then we must learn to quiet all of the other noise of life.  We must step out of the messed up social training that we get from media, internet and even messed up family and step into the quiet place of who we really are.  This is where we begin to hear what we really need to hear, so that we can see life as it really is.  This does not always feel good, because there are going to be some residual thoughts that linger hoping to have a say in the direction you are going, but push the thoughts aside and give your feeling the full attention it deserves and you will notice that your emotions become positive, even though the situation might be negative.

When we give our feeling the attention it deserves, then our instincts kick into gear to take us places where the spirit is able to help us live the life of blessing that we were created for.  Stop empowering the war within and decide to just pay attention and do the right thing.  You will be glad you did, because you will not be able to help living blessed!

5 Action Steps To Growing Trust In Your Friendship/Relationships!

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Trust is one of those things that has to continually be worked on.  Over time it will develop on it’s on, but for it to grow strong and powerful, we must be willing to give ourselves to one another on a different level than with most.  The following is a few tips to help grow this most vital trait to growing and developing our friendships/relationships.

1.  You Have To TAKE And MAKE Time To Get To Know One Another!  You need to take time to share each other’s biggest dreams, as well as worst nightmares.  You need to discuss your morals and why you feel the way you do.  Take time to think about how you were raised, what you value and what your challenges are.

2.  Figure Out Where The Boundary Lines Are Located!  As you grow in your friendship/relationship, you will discover that these are often changing as you face challenges and as you grow.  This is where honest conversation is very important and this is why getting to know each other is so important.  You need to know what the limits are – what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.  If something makes one of you feel uncomfortable, then you need the freedom to share, and if the freedom is not there, then you have a major boundary that is going to get in the way of the friendship/relationship moving forward.  It’s not about doing whatever you want and it’s not about controlling the other person, it is about growing together.

3.  Practice The Golden Rule!  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”  This is just common courtesy and should be a given in any friendship/relationship.  Give what you want and receive what you give.  This is seriously one of the biggest challenges to our growing, because often there is an expectation of one kind of treatment, but the display of another.  If you love and care about someone them treat them, the way that you want to be treated in all things, not just some things.

4.  Communicate, Talk & Share!  The more open you are about who you are, what you do, how you think, where you are going and when you hope to get there, the better off everyone will be.  You cannot grow a friendship/relationship, if you do not have regular and meaningful communication.  Get rid of the guesswork for the other person by being totally open about what you think and feel.  Distrust starts to sneak into a friendship/relationship when there is any breakdown in communication.  The distrust may be totally unfounded, but we are humans and when their is a void our mind tends to fill it with the worst of our imaginations.  If you really love your friend/partner, then you should want to communicate in as many ways and as many times as possible.

5.  Practice Honesty!  Sometimes this is easier said than done, because we don’t want to risk hurt feelings or bruised egos, but in the long run it always costs us more, if we miss the boat on this one.  I say practice, because this will always be something that you are working to improve.  The best way to tear up the bridge of trust is to start being dishonest with each other.  Don’t get angry, just explain yourself, where you are coming from and why you did what you did and begin building from there.  If you made a mistake, admit it and once a mistake is admitted – move forward without dwelling on the past.  

Before we wrap up, let’s take a moment to talk about broken trust and what to do about it, because it is bound to happen at some point.  When trust has been broken, it does not have to mean the end of the friendship/relationship.  Many friendship/relationships have survived broken trust.  The key is to realize that it is going to take time for recovery and if the two of you are willing to make the time for the recovery, then it is more than possible.  In fact, it is possible to build the trust stronger than it was before.  You may have to go back to “Square 1″, but you’ve been there before and it was a great place to start from.  Three things are important here:  1.) Ask for and give forgiveness.  2.) Allow time for healing of the hurt, anger and madness.  3.) Accept and deal with the changing boundaries.  

Life is better when it is shared!  And you were created to share life with others.  Take some time to work on TRUST and as you grow in your friendship/relationships, you will live blessed!

You Are Better Than That!

ImageSociety and the enemy puts an idea in each of us that we are not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or strong enough to ever amount to anything that really matters, but don’t believe that lie!  God made each of us as individuals and so we are not supposed to all be alike, so stop trying to be like someone or something else.  The key to being loved and growing in love is learning to be who you were created to be, not who or what we think everyone else is telling us to be.  Stop trying to fit into some profile created by someone who knows nothing about you and start living up to your created potential.

This bad thinking leads to the creation of bad habits.  Everyday that we live, we are creating habits, some are good and some are bad.  The goal is to get rid of the bad ones and to grow the good ones.  It is way past time for us to get rid of the negative attitude of dread that keeps us from moving forward.  It is time to grow the positive attitude that understands that it takes all kinds and there is a purpose for me, my skills, talents, abilities and even differences.

You Creator does not allow the challenges of life to try and take you down and out.  He allows the challenges of life to challenge, grow and develop you, so that you can be the best you ever.  Realize today that you are special.  You are loved.  You have an amazing purpose.  And your future is set for incredible.  Now run into that realization and live blessed!

3 Steps To Controlling Jealousy!

ImageJealousy is a very ugly emotions that does harm on just about every level of our existence.  The problem with jealousy is that it consumes you from the inside – out!  Jealousy causes you to want something that you do not have and when you get focused on what you don’t have, you fail to appreciate what you do have.  It may be a relationship, a possession, a responsibility or any number of different things, but you can’t allow anything to cause you to travel down this destructive road.  It will take so much more than it will ever give.

You have to learn to control this emotion or it will control you.  None of us are perfect and we are all doing battle or need to be doing battle with something.  If you need to be doing battle wit jealousy, then I want to encourage you to:

1.  Realize that you are not perfect and that is okay!  People can expect you to be perfect, when they become perfect, so I think it’s pretty safe to say that you have some time and space.  

2.  Talk about it by sharing your challenge with someone who understands!  Not someone who is going to excuse the damage it is doing, but someone who has been there and worked their way through it.  I have found that my best counselors are the one’s who listen and help me to listen to myself, so that I can hear what I am really saying.

3.  Put positive stuff in!  Read positive books, articles and blogs.  Listen to positive and upbeat music and teaching.  Watch things that will inspire you to strive for the better blessed life that you were created for.  Turn off the TV and go outside and walk and take in Creation.

Today I challenge you to begin the journey of getting rid of jealousy!  Take and make some time to appreciate all that your Creator has blessed you with. Gratitude is one of the most powerful medicines you can take!  Be happy for others and their blessings without envy, resentment or bitterness.  There is enough blessing for everyone and hating on someone else’s blessing is not going to make it yours!  Stop worrying about what other people think or say, their opinion of you, is none of your business.  Fall in love with yourself and realize what a great blessing you have been created to be.  The greatest is not behind you, it is in front of you and waiting for you to come and get it.

You are blessed, you are loved and you are ready to live a more fulfilled life that makes a difference.  Stay after it, give it all you’ve got and live blessed!

You Are Not ALONE!

ImageYou are not ALONE!  I know that sometimes life gets tough and the challenges get hairy, but you and I are never alone.  The promise of the Scripture is that He will never leave us or forsake us.  Our Creator never takes his hand off of us, because we are still being created in some shape or form.

He leaves his hand upon us, to comfort us and let us know that everything is going to be okay.  He leaves his hand upon us, to guide us and show us which way is best.  He leaves his hand upon us, to continue to mold and make us into something special for his glory and everyone’s blessing.

Next time that you feel that you are all alone, in the stillness of the moment, take the time to feel his touch and then remember that the touch of the Master makes all the difference!  Praying for you to have a great day as you seek to live blessed!

Amazed By Grace!

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