Monday, March 7, 2011

A Christ follower living in a secular world: Filtering your life: your thoughts, your words, yo...

A Christ follower living in a secular world: Filtering your life: your thoughts, your words, yo...: "Now not everyone is going to be the same about how they go about this. We are all individuals with our own paths to walk. However I will sha..."

Filtering your life: your thoughts, your words, your actions

Now not everyone is going to be the same about how they go about this. We are all individuals with our own paths to walk. However I will share my opinions about how it works in my life.

We all filter things we intake.

Sometimes what is said and what we hear can be quite different. It is important when engaged in conversation you listen to what is said. It is also important to take into context who says it. What mental state is that person in is as important as the words they speak. People will often obscure their own truths because they are in an up state or a down state. It is important to ask questions to fill in the background of where someone is coming from. Not with all conversations. Some people are just big on small talk and just want to fill any gaps with words, any words that fill the silence. It is important to understand the difference between a meaningful conversation and gap fillers. Some are more apt to engage in small talk due to their personality type, there's nothing wrong with that, it is just how they are.

Just because someone says something that upsets you or that you disagree with strongly it doesn't have to affect your mood or outlook. That is totally your choice to make, not theirs. You can respond with what you believe to be true without having to belittle/berate them. Perhaps you'll change their mind but likely not if you make them defensive. I can get passionate about my truths at times and recognize this as an area that needs improvement. Not everything I believe is true and everyone else can teach me something I don't know or am misinformed about. Be open minded about concepts or procedures. There are certain universal truths I know and cannot be moved on but in a lot of areas I am open to new ideas. Take all the good you can from others and filter out the bad.

Filter what you meditate on.

Meditating is something everyone does. It's not just some monk on a mountain top that does it. Lets see what the dictionary says about meditation

Meditation: continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation.

If you continue to think about something bad that happened to you(some argument or miscommunication that happened recently for example) it will just eat away any positive energy you have. It will become bigger than it really is and no matter how many times you replay it, it doesn't become a pleasant thought. If you have an argument with someone perhaps figuring out a way to remedy the situation would be good to think on. Or perhaps you could think of a good memory with that person and meditate on that. Bitterness and frustration do not get better by thinking about them endlessly. They get worse. Often people will replay the negative things that happen to them over and over for years sometimes and it just makes them bitter. I don't want to feel bitter, I'd rather feel better. If your past keeps haunting you in your thought life there is a program called freedom session that can be a big help. Check it out here.

Words that heal vs words that harm.

Measure your words carefully. Depending on the situation your words can make a big difference to diffuse a situation. They can also fan the flames of discontent. Just because you have a thought doesn't mean you have to share it with the world. Some people talk just for the sake of talking, filling the air with noise. If you didn't like a show and the objectionable content you saw then why are you now describing that content to others? Why not talk about something you like if you need to share. If someone is listing complaints about you then probably this isn't the moment to list your complaints about them. Address their concerns as best you can and realize they are only speaking from their own hurt. They may even be right about some of them :)

Spewing bitterness and resentments is like spreading germs. It is contagious. The flip side is to spread love and joy. This is also contagious and infectiously good. Knowing your audience and knowing yourself is a big asset. Reading body language is something everyone can do to a certain point. I'm not saying never ever complain but make sure it is context and to the right person. Also being super cheery with someone who is really hurting can do more harm than good. When someone is venting is not the right time to correct the finer points of what they are saying. Use some discretion.

Don't be a talking head!!

Try to be discerning in your commentary. You don't have to share your opinion on everything. I fall into that category at times and I know that sometimes less is more. The person that says the most often is listened to the least. Words are precious, measure your words carefully. Offering your opinion on everything can lessen your impact when it is something you have meaningful dialogue on to relay.

Let your actions match your words.

Talk is cheap. If you say one thing then in reality do the opposite your words become less and less meaningful. If you talk about having a positive attitude and then complain about everything and everybody your attitude is anything but positive. Actions DO speak louder than words. So don't spend forever talking about change, actually be an active part of that change and you'll gain respect which in turn will gain more than any words could ever do. I love words but words alone don't do anything. They are meaningless without activities that mimic your words.

So meditate on what is good and true, talk less, listen more and walk your talk.

Blessings, James

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Christ follower living in a secular world: Storage space

A Christ follower living in a secular world: Storage space: "As a society we tend to hold on to things. When we look for a place to live one of the questions that is almost always asked is ho..."

Storage space

As a society we tend to hold on to things. When we look for a place to live one of the questions that is almost always asked is how much storage space is there. The storage industry is larger than the music industry here in North America. You go into any large store and they have copious amounts of storage bins in all shapes and sizes.

So what is with all the stuff we need to store? There are reasonable explanations for some storage such as camping/outdoor gear, sports equipment, Christmas decorations and gardening equipment amongst others. That being said if you haven't golfed in 5 years you probably don't need your clubs and the same goes for camping stuff if it is never used then why do you still have it?

We've all seen shows like hoarders at least in passing and you know what it can lead to for some. I know people that would fall into that category and it just is so sad. Some people hold on to stuff because they just don't want to let go of the past. For others they actually pick stuff up that was discarded to try and show it is still of use, trying to redeem it when it is really about redeeming themselves. Others still need to get the latest and greatest of everything but just don't know what to do with the stuff they already have. Then there's the ones that feel guilty about getting rid of stuff like exercise equipment because they will start that new lifestyle one of these days and no one can tell them different.

I often wonder what piles of rubbish those storage places must have. There are necessary short term reasons to use storage and people with small businesses use them too for good reason but I'm guessing by and large these places are preying on the weak and exploiting their sickness. I know of someone that had stuff stored when he moved out of town for a job but planned on returning less than a year later. That was over 20 years ago, he never did move back and is still paying for it to be stored. What a waste, how sad but the worst part of it is there are many like him.

Personally, I find it quite liberating to go through stuff and rid my self of unnecessary baggage. The process can be a little tedious. At times it will bring up good and/or bad times(especially stuff stored for a while). I'm not saying divest yourself of everything but most of us(me included) have stuff they are hanging onto for no good reason. Sentimentality doesn't have to be an anchor around your neck. Keep your Granpas old watch but get rid of the beat up old chair he loved. He can't use it in the grave and you don't want to use it here. Unless you are restoring it(and I mean currently, not a far off project) you should dispose of it.

And please, please, please. When I say dispose of your unwanted/unneeded stuff I don't mean leave your junk at the door of a thrift store. If it has no further use take it(or get someone with a truck) to the dump. If it is recyclable then recycle it. No one wants your old pc monitor but some recycling depots take old electronics. You can find out which ones do online. Hold a yard sale, give your useful old stuff to a thrift store or someone who could really use it but it is time to take charge. You will feel a whole lot better.

And now for the spiritual application....

Often we hold on to stuff because of a deeper emotional need to be fulfilled or out of some feeling of control over things since our lives may not always be under our control. God is in control, he knows you and he loves you, just you, not the stuff you have or the stuff you don't have. He will meet you in your deepest hurts, he was there for your best moments too and he will always be with you. He loves you just the way you are. He will fulfill you more than any stuff could ever do.

The stuff you have may have meaning to you but after you are gone they won't mean much to others. If you have something you don't use but you want your son/daughter/niece/friend/etc. to have why don't you give it to them now rather than waiting. If you have rooms full of stuff that is never used and are embarrassed to let other see it then you honestly need help. It is a sickness, nothing to be ashamed of, none of us are perfect so don't feel bad. Do something about it and you'll feel better.

Get rid of the clutter in your life and you'll find you get rid of a lot of clutter in your mind too.

Blessings, and happy spring cleaning to you :)


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I was blind but now I see

Recently at work an unfortunate accident happened and my prescription glasses were crushed/mangled. It is a slow process dealing with worksafebc so I'll be patient and wait for their decision. I can't imagine it being a problem but I'm not counting my chickens yet either. Currently I am making do and I'm enjoying this new found freedom.

You see(pun intended) I only got glasses for the first time a year and a half ago and I find them a bit of a pain. Always cleaning them and such. Also I dislike them when it is rainy. Being that I live in a wet part of the world it is a real nuisance keeping them clear of rain droplets. So right now I have no such worries.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this but I'm sure I'll get there....

I spent many years making do. I finally bought my first pair of reading glasses about 5 years ago but it wasn't until I did a physical for my current job that I was told I definitely needed glasses. Your eyes will do their best to make up for poor vision but they can only do so much compensating. I also have much better vision in one eye so without glasses I subconsciously utilize the superior eye while the other one is more or less along for the ride.

Upon getting my first pair I saw a whole lot more than I had ever before. Everything seemed bigger and much more intricate in detail. I called it looking at the world in hd and it was a delight. However, the flip side of that is I also saw the ugliness more profoundly too. It was a period of adjustments. It was fun.

However, the night I crushed my glasses under a box it was all very shocking. I could see but it was a sudden and totally unexpected shift. Also, a lot of coworkers(who had only known me since after I started wearing glasses) were asking me if I could see. One was concerned about how I could get my car home. It was all pretty funny.

I'm using a pair of really ugly dollar store reading glasses when necessary. Expanded my explorer windows to 125% sometimes. Changed my text size for reading purposes to large. I experienced a few minor head aches the first day or two but am doing fine now.

I can get by without glasses.

Okay, I know where I'm going with this now....

7 years ago I chose to turn my life over to Jesus. Over that period of time I slipped away from his principles a few times but it never was good. However, opposed to glasses, once you choose Jesus his love and grace cannot be crushed. The gates of Hell shall not prevail, his grace is sufficient. I can see reasonably without glasses but I contort things all out of proportion without Jesus. I was blind but now I see :)


Blessings, James