You probably did not know you have a war going on in your body every day. Your head is telling you one thing, and your heart is telling you something else. What do you do? How do you resolve the conflict that is inevitable between the two? I mean, after all, your emotions don’t always line up with your logic, do they? So what DO you do when you HAVE to make a decision?
I don’t see the tension as something bad. Actually, I see it as a check and balance system that we have to help us make good decisions. The problem is, we often ignore it when the two disagree. When the head and the heart are in conflict? What do YOU do?
First thing is, if your head is telling you one thing and your heart is telling you to do another, don’t do it…at least for now. Give yourself time to think. Reason out what is the best thing to do.
Secondly, if there is a difference between the two…listen! Don’t ignore that there is an internal gong ringing so loudly that you can’t ignore it without sacrificing your peace. Is it really worth that?
It is a huge mistake to ignore the warning signs. Marriages have been ruined, wars lost, and careers submarined because they ignored the signs.
Lastly, if there is discord between the two and this is something really important to you, get an objective opinion from someone who is a trusted advisor. I do not mean your best friend or your Mom necessarily. I mean someone who has been there and done that…and has good common sense and is NOT emotionally involved in your decision. That will hopefully allow them to give you wise counsel…assuming you are willing to accept it.
The lesson here is that we have to learn to listen to our head and our heart. They both have a purpose, and they both need to be in agreement. If they are in disagreement, take heed.
I was recently conversing with someone about the problem we have with our tongues, and he said he had the 3 second rule. I asked what that was and he said that basically he tried to wait 3 seconds before responding to someone. I thought about it. That is actually pretty sound advice.
Think about it. When do we typically get ourselves in trouble talking? It is when we speak before we think! When we blurt out something in retaliation against something or someone without really considering the damage we are going to cause, it is like tossing a live grenade in a room and hoping everyone can just get over it.
If we can learn to think before we speak and breathe at the same time, oxygen just might get to our brain and allow us to actually say something sane. Have you noticed that people who are going off on others often come across as crazy? That is because in many ways they are. Rational people don’t degrade and tear in to others.
Yes, you have every right to defend yourself, your family, and your country. You have every right to stand up for what you believe in…but, you don’t have the right to run over others for your own purposes. In school we call that bullying, and it is unfortunately something that some people still try to do as adults!
My advice here is that we do our part to be peacemakers as much as possible with all people, but where necessary, we take a stand. Let’s just make sure that the stand we take is righteous….not self-righteous. There is a big difference, and other people will see it for what it is if you are letting your anger out on someone over something that really does not matter in the scheme of things. Take three seconds to think and to breathe before you respond and see if things are not much calmer in your world. Speak the truth in love.
One of the big stories this week (at least here in Dallas) was that Lucky Whitehead was released from the Cowboy’s training camp when a police report came out that he had been charged with shoplifting. The media mentioned that he had a $500,000 contract and “blew” it when he went on a shoplifting spree. Almost as an afterthought they added that he denied it happened and that it was not even him. You could almost see their eyes rolling and saying, “Yeah, right!”
When I heard the report, I was shocked, appalled, and frankly a little mad. Here is a very talented man that once again did not appreciate what he had and wasted a great career opportunity for a momentary thrill. I had all those thoughts because that is how the story was told to the public.
As the day progressed, more information came out. Guess what? Lucky was telling the truth! It was someone using his identity that had been arrested. Wow. What a ridiculous scenario all the way around.
These questions immediately came to mind:
How could a reputable police department make such a stupid mistake? Are you telling me they don’t know how to identify someone correctly? Wow.
Why would the Cowboys release him without getting all the facts? Perhaps the timing was coincidental, but if that were the case, they would have said so. Why did they not give him a second chance once the truth came out? Wow.
Why did the media jump to the guilty verdict without really investigating what happened and at least getting the full truth from Lucky? Wow.
Why did I allow myself to be swayed by the news before all the facts were in? I know better than to believe everything I hear and everything I see. There are always two sides to every pancake; I don’t care how flat you make it. Wow.
Lucky, if you are reading this by some small miracle, I want to apologize to you for what happened. Nobody deserves to have their name dragged through the mud like that and their career ruined. I know you will probably never get an apology from the police department, the Cowboys, the media, or all the people who misjudged you as I did, but I apologize to you on behalf of all of them and pray that you get with a team that values your efforts. Don’t let this fiasco deter your or discourage you. Success is the best revenge.
Two things will get people red-faced and cursing quickly: politics and religion. Both of these careers are like living in a fishbowl. It is like being read your Miranda rights which reads in part: “Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” How would you like everything you say and do to be broadcast on the nightly news or put on YouTube? Getting elected or appointed is like saying, “Let the mudslinging begin.” It is one reason why most people are just glad an election is over so the avalanche of mud will at least be reduced to an occasional mud pie. The difference between politics and religion is that the mudslinging typically is heavier before an election and for someone in ministry the slinging begins after they are hired, although neither one is immune to the post-appointment slinging.
Here is what I have observed about mudslingers:
They tend to speak first, and then think about the consequences of their words.
They tend to feel justified in throwing mud at someone else. I don’t know if this is from a feeling of inferiority or if it somehow makes them feel better about themselves; but either way it is sick and ignorant.
They don’t seem to realize that they have mud on themselves. There is none so blind as he who will not see.
They love to gossip, backbite, and slander. It gives them something to talk about. How sad is that? They have to talk about other people in order to carry on a conversation or create news.
You can’t reason with them. They have their mind made up. They are not interested in the truth, just their own opinion.
Mudslingers are alive and well, unfortunately. Be aware that not all who call you friend are your friend. Not all who say they love you actually love you. Not all who say they follow you are loyal. Be wise and discerning of what you believe, what you accept, and who you are willing to associate with. Be willing to set boundaries when people are exposed to be mudslingers. You can and should forgive them if and when they cross the line, but don’t allow them to continue abusing you. That serves only them and promises you a mudslide.
If you are the object of a mudslinger, here are two things you might consider doing:
Confront them about what they are saying. Funny how so many people back down when confronted…especially if you are armed with the facts. Calling them into the light makes them scurry like a cockroach to the dark.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore them. One thing for sure is that the truth eventually comes out. If they are lying about you, it will come out and they will be the ones to look foolish, not you.
If you are in politics or ministry, you are in my prayers!
This is not about the different types of people in the world. It is really about the race we all are called to run. Frankly, I think a lot of folks are not conditioned for the race ahead of them.
I remember when they used to make us run in gym class. I hated it! I did not like it and still don’t to this day. I never got the “runner’s high,” I just had aches in my side and wanted to throw up.
Oddly enough, I loved to play sports which required running. I guess the difference for me was that football, soccer, and several other sports I played required you to run, but it was more sprinting than the long drawn out marathon style of running. I realize a lot of people love to just run…but I am not one of them. However, there are many things I have observed from runners that we can all apply to our lives:
You have to be in great condition to run well. That means training and disciplining yourself to eat a balanced diet, get proper exercise, and rest. We all need to do that, right?
Long distance runners understand the power of pacing. They get in a rhythm and it just seems to flow. That is how our daily lives should be. We should pace ourselves instead of going all out 24/7. Pacing is like learning to say no to things that would distract us from our goal, staying focused on where we want to be, and then prioritizing our daily activities to do those things that really matter.
The most critical thing a runner wears is his shoes. In life, the lesson is to have quality tools to support your mission, whatever that might be. A mechanic will tell you that without the proper tools, the job won’t get done correctly…if at all. Buy quality tools and you will never be disappointed in them.
You may be competing with others as a runner, but ultimately you are really competing with yourself. That goes for life too. Don’t worry about what other people are doing around you. Be the best at what you do, and never settle for mediocre. As long as you have given all you have got, then you have nothing to apologize for.
Great marathon runners save some gas for the finish line. In life, make sure you have left enough in the tank to finish strong. I want to slide into home plate out of breath with a grin on my face and proclaim, “What a great life!”
There is a popular saying: “It is what it is,” and I hate it! You know why? When someone says this it is NEVER good. People use it as a cop-out. They say it when they have given up, are unwilling to stick out their necks to make a hard decision, or they just want you off their back.
Next time I hear someone tell me that, I am going to stop them and correct their speech. Instead of saying “It is what it is,” let’s change it to “It is what you make it.” That will at least make them think! Quit making excuses for the way things are and start looking at what options you have. When you resign yourself to “It is what it is,” you have shut down your creative juices and possibly lost the opportunity to do something significant.
Don’t allow negative thinking to derail you. Whether it is your own brain talking to yourself, or it is someone else trying to feed you this line, stop it and correct it. If you don’t, you may never know what might have been had you just pushed the envelope a little.
I guarantee you that the first person to say, “It is what it is” was a pessimist. You will never hear an optimist make that statement. Why? Because they know that there is opportunity in every problem. They don’t see the problem as the end, only a detour. They just have to find their way around it and not give up in the process.
Don’t let negative thinking cloud your mind. It may not happen overnight, and bad circumstances may tempt you to fall into that “stinkin’ thinkin’,” as Zig Ziglar used to call it, but it can be done.
The question we have to ask ourselves is, Will you let the obstacle in front of you hold you back from your success and happiness, or will you retrain your brain?
Let’s face it: our tongue gets us in trouble more often than we like to admit. There is a verse in the Bible that says: “No human can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Wow, it is almost like the tongue is a snake getting ready to strike.
Why do you think people have such trouble thinking before they speak? I heard a man the other day trying to be funny and inadvertently insulted a lady he did not know. He meant it to be a joke but you could tell she was not amused.
The times when the tongue gets us in trouble:
Boasting about ourselves, our plans, accomplishments, or our possessions.
Using humor inappropriately.
Talking down to other people.
Speaking in anger or rage.
Our tongues get us in trouble when we forget who God is, who we are, and the value of other people. The moment we elevate ourselves above God or others, we do terrible things with the tongue…terrible things that cannot be taken back, and tragically we can “justify” every word we spoke.
Speaking harshly to someone is like driving nails into a board. You may be able to remove the nails, but the scars remain. Next time you are tempted to give someone a tongue-lashing, ask yourself:
Is what I am about to say true about the person or situation?
Is this going to help or hurt my relationship with them?
Am I speaking out of anger or jealousy?
Am I speaking in love?
We need to rethink what we are doing and count the cost of “getting it off our chest.” Spewing vile things may feel good at the moment, but the devastation that occurs is sometimes fatal to a relationship. You can ask for forgiveness, but the words will continue to haunt you both and it will never quite be the same.
Remember that everyone has their breaking point. Don’t be the one that pushes someone so far that they break. You will regret that for the rest of your life and be left to lament what could have been.
When I was in college I really learned how to study and how to take tests. The problem is that the tests we have in life are rarely the type we can study for the night before and pass. I guess that is why so many tests become our mess.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like taking tests and I especially don’t like making messes for myself or for others. So, the obvious question is, how do we prep for the tests of life and how do we minimize the messes?
Here are few thoughts to consider that might help in the future:
Tests are a part of life, so don’t be surprised when they come. Anticipate them. Acknowledging their reality and anticipating them is the first step in dealing with them in a healthy way.
A life test may come in many forms: Being let go from a company unexpectedly, having a relationship you cherish go haywire, getting bad news from the Dr. about your health, getting a call in the middle of the night that your child was in a serious accident, finding out that the company you invested in heavily has gone bankrupt and your life savings is gone, etc. These can be painful to endure and will test who you really are.
The tests we take are either passed in that we did not let them crush us or derail us, or we fail the test. We fail when we worry, fret, lose sleep, lash out at others, or seek to blame someone for the mess. When we do that, it becomes our mess. Sometimes there is a viable person or company to blame, but often it is just the way life unfolds. It rains on the just and the unjust alike, and there will always be circumstances beyond our control. If you let the things you can’t control take control, they will drive you crazy.
Here is how to make lemonade out of lemons:
Let your test become your testimony. The tests you have endured will make you stronger and there are others struggling with the same issues. Share with them how you made it and encourage them in their storm. There is something therapeutic about helping others when you are in a storm of your own.
Let your mess become your message. Everyone makes mistakes. When you do, own up to it, seek forgiveness where necessary, make it right if within your power, and help others who have made messes to see that something good can come out of it…even if they don’t see it at the moment.
We will never see clearly when we just got punched in the face by life circumstances. In that moment, try not to overreact to what happened. Seek to put it in perspective in the bigger picture of life, and remember that most of the things that set us back are temporary issues…and all of them are opportunities for us to learn. I hope you learn from them and move forward. Resist the temptation to have a pity party.
Seek advice from people who understand the situation you are going through. If they have been through something similar and have made a few messes along the way, they probably have some counsel for you to hear. Just make sure they are grounded spiritually and emotionally themselves, otherwise you both might be making poor decisions together in the future.
I am watching a Telemundo series on Netflix. It has English sub-titles and is called El Senor de los Cielos. It reminds me of a Spanish version of Dallas or Dynasty…only on steroids. It has a very dysfunctional family. They are filthy rich and money has controlled their lives. Evil consumes them, literally.
There are some very stark contrasts from the US soaps, however. Cielos is about the cartel. It takes place in Columbia, Mexico, and sometimes here in the USA. The story is based on the real life events of Aurelio Casillas, who followed Pablo Escobar to become Mexico’s biggest drug trafficker of the 90s. Warning: The body count is pretty high since it goes with the territory and it can be gruesome at times.
Here are some things that are common to these stories:
Wealth reveals true character. When coupled with power it has a tendency to corrupt. It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The pursuit of wealth and power are a god for many people and thus there is no moral compass.
Where there is no moral compass, anything goes and life has no value. If you get in the way of the one in power, you are expendable…even if you are family.
Lying is a way of life for them. Truth is always relative. It is expected that others be truthful, but you are free to lie when necessary if it serves you.
None of the characters had peace in their lives.
No amount of money or power was ever enough. They always wanted more.
Severe consequences were often ignored or minimized.
I am fascinated to see how people live like this. I do realize this is not all factual. The sad part is that it was probably a lot worse than portrayed! It is sobering to see how people in the world of drugs live. There is no value for life. I guess as long as there are drugs there will be people willing to do whatever they have to in order to gain the power and the money. They have traded their souls for something that has no eternal value. It is a testament of how not to waste your life, and that in the end justice and truth will prevail. There is a great price to pay for dancing with the devil.
Never discourage someone from learning. Always encourage their curiosity. True learning occurs when there is interest and engagement.
Never ignore a child who needs your attention. Always acknowledge them respectfully. Even kids need to be respected. Besides, you might be missing the best hug of the day.
Never take those you love for granted. Always express your love in word and deed…and express it often.
Never go to bed angry. Always be resolved to resolve discord. It does not go away magically.
Never stew about who is right and who is wrong. Always seek to understand first.
Never withhold forgiveness. Always forgive. You may have to set boundaries for the future, but remember to forgive them no matter what. It is for your benefit, not theirs.
Never withhold paying back a debt if it is within your means to do so. Always be truthful with the lender and seek to work out an amicable agreement for both.
Never forget the widows, orphans, and those in prison. When you minister to them, it is like ministering to the Lord. Always minister to those in need.
Never make a major decision when you are too tired, too angry, or too hungry. Always seek wise counsel, consider the consequences, and go with your gut feelings.
Never be cruel to animals or people. Always show kindness and love regardless of how they act.
Never brag about yourself. Always praise others and let them be the ones to brag on you.
Never live in the past, nor boast about tomorrow. Always remember you only have today. Yesterday is gone. Let it go. Tomorrow may never come. Don’t count on it.
Never live beyond your means. Always spend less than you earn and save something from your paycheck. Life happens. Be prepared not surprised or overwhelmed.
Never judge others. Always show respect for differences of opinions, beliefs, and cultures. You don’t have to compromise your core beliefs to show respect to others.
Never disrespect your country, your flag, or your President / leader. Always show respect. You don’t have to agree with the laws or the leader to be respectful and abide by the laws. If you don’t like how things are going, use peaceable means to change it. Work to elect people that share your views. If you just can’t stand it, then consider another country to live in. After all, it is a big world with lots of options.
Never say “Never.” You will be surprised at how often you will end up doing the things you said you would never do. Always consider the possibilities regardless of how absurd it may seem at the moment. Time and clear thinking have a way of changing our minds.
Never take your health for granted. Always take care of yourself. You only have one body and one life to live.
Never waste time. Always remember that once a moment is gone you can never recover it. Time is one of our most precious commodities. Use it wisely.
Never make promises you can’t keep. Always be a man or woman of your word.
Never compromise your morals or your integrity. Always guard your mind and your heart.
Never neglect having balance in your life. Always find the balance between your faith, family, finances, friends, and career. If you allow one of those to get out of balance, the others will suffer.
Never let anyone steal your joy or your dream. Always dream and dream big, and learn the power of being at peace in the storm.