Life Can Be Scary

Life Can Be Scary

Remember Garfield? Garfield is relaxing in his warm cozy chair watching television, while outside a fierce storm is raging. Through the window Garfield spots one of his buddies shivering and freezing. Garfield is overcome with emotion and exclaims, “I can’t just sit here and watch him freeze. I’ve got to do something?” With that he jumps up, runs to the window, and closes the blinds! Garfield is not alone. Drawing the drapes and closing the blinds on ugly reality is not just in the comics. When we’re faced with evil, there seems to be a little voice that says, “What you’re looking at is too much for you, so you better run.” It’s the voice of fear. Fear makes us run from what is ugly, sinister or broken around us, outside us and even in us! Mentally we just can’t deal with it so we close our eyes and draw our inner blinds. We might hum a happy tune, shop till we drop, get lost in the music, or have another glass of wine. We pretend I’m OK and your OK. We don’t dare look at the problem because it can’t be fixed – now or ever. A Japanese legend says that we have three faces. The first face we show to the world, putting our best appearance for all to see. The second face we show to our family and close friends, probably a truer depiction of who we are. The third face is the one we never show anyone. That is the truest reflect of who we really are. We can be fearful of facing the truth...
What in the Heck Are You Doing Here?

What in the Heck Are You Doing Here?

One of my favorite quotes comes from Oscar Wilde writing that the two most important days in our lives are the day we are born and the day we discover “why”. God created us for a reason. We each are entrusted with a special mission to accomplish here on earth. No one else can fill our shoes or our responsibilities. We only have this one life to live, and as you’ve heard this is not a dress rehearsal. We need to be living out our “why” right now, each and every day to the best of our ability. But how do we know the will of God for us? Since God made us with all of our individual traits and unique abilities, it stands to reason that the one simple “why” that would apply to all of us is to Be Your Best Self. In order to be our BEST, we have to assess and reflect on what exactly God gave us as his investment in our earthy journey. God would not send us out on our “mission” unarmed for the jaunt. What did our Creator design us for? What precisely are we bringing to this life? What is in our personal arsenal? Consider: What are your legitimate needs? What do you require for life and the pursuit of happiness? Connection, silence, prosperity? What are your deepest desires? Are you drawn to the arts, science, teaching, sales, etc? Do you have a deep desire to be “on stage” or to “help people”? What talents do you have? Gifts? Do you have an ear for music? Are you a natural-born...
Got a Problem?

Got a Problem?

I recently read that we are not here to solve problems but problems are here to solve us. We all intellectually know that hardship can teach us important life lessons, but usually these problems catch us by surprise. Sometimes they pull the rug right out from under us, shattering our sense of peace. We want to use these problems and turn them into opportunities. But how should we approach these situations to turn adversity into advantage? Remember this admonition you were taught as a youngster approaching an intersection or a railway crossings and any potential problems to STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN? I think that this advice can help us with our problematic situations and lead us to fuller lives. STOP – Pause wherever we are to assess the circumstances. Slow down, breathe. (Some problems take our breath away, or cause hyperventilation) When we are caught up in the maze of daily activities, situations seem like a nonstop bombardment leaving little precious time. Our situations may have changed needing redirection. Stop! LOOK –Now that we have stopped the flurry, we have the opportunity to assess our plight. Understand the difficulty. Focus on the real issues. Perhaps looking at these plights from another point of view may help. Look “inside” for the answers. Look! LISTEN – We will find all the answers we need if we listen within. We will never go wrong if we follow our inner counselor. As Saint Mother Teresa reminds us that in the silence of the heart, God speaks. Listen! God may be inviting us to change, to become more tolerant, kinder, more patient, more humble,...
We Owe as Much as We Need

We Owe as Much as We Need

All of us human beings struggle to get things right. We never seem to get it right the first time. Cultural norms, social pressures, and self-imposed high expectations sometimes forget this crucial point in being human. We judge, evaluate and criticize, not only ourselves but those around us. This constant mindset of comparison, appraising, and assessing our surroundings is useless. (Although that’s the way that many of us were raised…things were either right or wrong, black or white, “my way or the highway”) And trying to “go it alone” may sound like an aspired ideal of individualism, but it won’t work in the long run. We are each on our own personal lifetime journey. It’s a road paved with life lessons to be LEARNED by trail, error and help! No one just bounces into this life perfectly acting out every moment. No one “gets it all” nor can they do it by themselves. We are born into communities of families, neighborhoods and towns. We are social beings who, as the Beatles lyrics remind us, “…I get by with a little help from my friends”. God gives us enough adversity for growth and learning while providing us with enough joy for true happiness. God works through us providing these various opportunities. We need to get clear and remember more than anything else: we all need to loosen our grip on the idea of perfection and we all need and owe all the help we can get and give. So let’s be open getting and giving help, and never hold back. Our reward will be watching each other grow while fulfilling...
Let God Be God

Let God Be God

God will overflow your cup, so grab the biggest one you can find. – Rob Liano It’s difficult for us to imagine the immensity of God’s affection for us and how big it really is. God truly delights in our being happy and giving us whatever we need – food, friendship, comfort, reassurance and challenge, forgiveness and strength. God gives us all that and more, in abundance. Unlike our limited humanness, there are not any limits on what God’s willing to do for us. God’s love for each of us is excessive and unconditional. It does not make a difference what we do or don’t do, God will always love and provide for us. Now, if all this is true, the fear and anxieties we sometimes have about God and about life are really crazy. Can you see how foolish it is to worry that God may not forgive us, or may abandon us, or may expect the impossible of us, or not give us what we need. To give credence and power to those kinds of fears is to ignore a world full of evidence to the contrary. Look around at the everyday miracles of life. God’s winks, God’s invitations and God’s love surround us. It’s time to stop shrinking our great Creator down to our own size. It’s time to let God be God for us. We have seen God’s grandness and graciousness to each of us a million times over. It’s time to trust that graciousness, to trust that God’s big enough on the inside to handle anything, even our smallness of heart. So why not...