It Works (Pt 1)

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I know it is hard for some people to believe that God really listens to prayer. I mean if you think about it how does it happen that God can hear each and every prayer said, thought, breathed by every praying person every second of every day? Reminds me of that scene from Bruce Almighty when the main character hears all the prayers instantly, all at once. Is that what God hears? 

That part will remain a mystery for us.

All of the logistics aside, prayer works. I am living proof. I have people, love, and other things in my life that are all answers to prayer. I can sit here for hours and tell you all the things, it would take a long time. Each one just as miraculous as the other. Each one an answer to a precise prayer I uttered from my mouth to God and some unspoken ones in times of sadness when I did not have the words. You will say, sure sure. Maybe you believe me. Maybe you do not.

Until you experience a true answered prayer for yourself you will either believe me or think I am crazy. Either one is ok with me. I will still pray for you.

No ANTS

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In a few of my posts you have heard me talk about monkey chatter. That endless, not always helpful monologue in my brain. We all have monkey chatter and the monkeys have friends. I have struggled for the past year with ANTs, Automatic Negative Thoughts. (I wish I had thought of that acronym. Not sure where it started.) These ANTS are mean little buggers that corrupt happiness with great efficiency. They cause worry and strife where none exist. I had to realize that the ANTs caused problems to appear that were not really there. The more time I spent obsessing over the ANTs the worse I felt.

There had to be a deliberate and purposeful shift in my brain. I took time to examine the ANTs. I dissected them to see what they were made of and it was not pretty. They were made of self-doubt, fear and anxiety. They said things like, “I am not good enough”, “What if…” and “I just know this isn’t going to work out.”

Once I knew what they were and how they operated, I shifted my brain to actively combat the negative thoughts. I would like to say that I did this all on my own; however, I did not. Being loved and being shown that I am beautiful, I am enough, pushed my mind to shift away from the negative thoughts.  It is not easy. It is a constant battle between me and the army of ANTs. I must stop them as soon as I see the first wiggle of a feeler antenna on its head. I splat them dead right then and do not give it a chance to advance. It takes a conscience effort to squash the ANTs and keep them away.

I know that I am loved, wanted and cherished. I also know I am no fool. The ANTs can return any second. I am at peace and I am ready for them. I will not allow the ANTS to infest me again.

 

Photo Credit: BuzzFeed.com

You Control the Moments

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Life is simple really. It is just a matter of moments and decisions that get you from one moment to the next. Simple. No mystery about it. Just one moment then another and another. You decide what to do in the next moment. You can get brave and plan future moments, most of us do. Then there are the moments that are planned for us one after another after another. Work, school, responsibilities and obligations are just preplanned moments.

Who or what is in control for your moments and thus your life is entirely up to you. Will you let the jerk who makes you lose you temper and feel angry control your moment? Will you passively let the someone else control what happens to you in your moments?

What about God? Will you let God control your next moment?

Each life is nothing but a series of moments that come and go. We live not day by day, one day or week or year at a time like we choose to believe. No, we live one moment at a time. How we choose to live the next moment is in our control.

What? You don’t believe that? What about obligations when you must do things you do not want to do? Yes, that is in your control too. You choose to participate in what is expected of you or not. You choose what happens. Don’t give me that, you are not in control, life makes you do certain things whether you want to or not.

Wrong!

Did you get up this morning? Yes? You could have stayed in bed. You control what you do, always.

So, stop with the he made you mad and the you have to do this or that. Don’t let me hear you say your boss, parent spouse friend made you do……..No, you are in control of every moment of everything in your life.

The only two things you are not in control of are other people’s actions and acts of God. Your reaction to those two things are still in your control.

Say it with me, “I control my reactions to the actions of others and I am in charge of moments in my life one moment at a time.”

Yes you will have to contend with the consequences of your actions; however you choose the action.

Do what you choose.

Live your life your way.

Rolling the D20 is optional.

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Power of Prayer

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Prayer is like an extension cord to God. I am not sure how it works but I know that praying with faith changes everything. I know that I feel closer to God when I pray. When I go through a time where I don’t pray regularly I feel disconnected from God.

Not that He went anywhere, I moved spiritually.  When I find it hard to focus on life or on what is important, I stop and pray. Right there, right where I stand. Stop, drop and Pray…OK I may not drop to my knees every time depending where I am standing but I pray.

I will trust Him and put those I love in His hands.Do I always get the answer I want? No. Often I do not get an answer at all. Sometimes all I get is the peace in knowing God has heard me and He is working on it, whatever it is.  For now, that will be enough.

1 Peter 4:7-8 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another. (NIV)

Fireproof (aka The Love Dare)

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I usually only review books and this isn’t a review technically it is an opinion. I watched the movie Fireproof. If you haven’t seen it I recommend you do, married or not. The movie is based on the book The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick. A firefighter, Caleb tells his father John about his impending divorce, and John challenges Caleb to commit to a 40-day test called, “The Love Dare.” Caleb reluctantly agrees to do the test, but more for the sake of his respect for his father than his marriage. He wife initially sees through Caleb’s half-hearted attempts to win back her heart, which deepens Caleb’s frustration. But with his father’s encouragement, Caleb continues with The Love Dare, and eventually makes a life-changing commitment to God and his wife. As a result he saves his marriage.

The love dare is an interesting concept that challenges you to do things that in reality you should already be doing for and with your spouse or partner.  Some of the dares are a simple as speaking nice and the others are more challenging. The end result is a refocus of your heart and actions on the choice you made to love the other person.

The book and movie shows that the Biblical love and marriage is a choice. If you make the choice a priority your marriage will be a strong partnership. There are no fool proof ways to guarantee that the person you choose to love will love you in return. All you can do is stay true to your promise and love them.

God chose to love us. We chose to love him and each other. Love is never the wrong choice if done for unselfish reasons. The Love Dare is that choice in unselfish action.

The Art of Story Telling

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Story telling is not just limited to books and movies. Stories infiltrate our life is thousands of ways. Often we are either the story teller or the story receiver and we do not realize that we are engaged in the act of storytelling.  Kids are expert story tellers when the play pretend games. Grandparents tell stories when they share family history. Gamers tell stories as they play. Even a simple television commercial can be a story in thirty seconds.

We don’t think of ourselves as story tellers, but guess what we are. Have you ever gone to work on a Monday and a coworker asks, “How was your weekend?” Then you tell them about the shopping trip with all the sales you lucked up on or ball game you went too. You are telling a story.

Not all stories are good ones and not all stories are worth telling. This is true. The skill of storytelling is like anything else. Some of us are good and it, some of us are not and some of us can tell average stories. It is the interesting, heart felt, tragic and scary stories that we tend to remember the most. The key is engaging the story receiver’s emotion. It is the listener, viewer, reader who determines if the story is good or not. The story teller may think the story is good and be completely wrong.

As a writer the exchange of story from the teller to the story receiver fascinates me. I want to know what makes the receiver remember the story, why was the story worth the time of telling and why would you want to repeat the story? It is the psychology of the story that is the game changer for me.

I challenge you to be aware of the stories in your life. Notice when you are on the telling end and the receiving end of a good story. What makes you remember a story? What makes you repeat a story? Most importantly what makes you really like story or fall in love with a story?

If you are interested in sharing your story experiences drop me an email at compulsive_writer@outlook.com or a comment here. I will respond to every one of you.

 

 

 

A Strong Word

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One of the strongest words in the English language is forever. Merriam Webster defines forever as a limitless time (as in He wants to live forever) or at all times, continually. Forever is one of those words that stands in front of you defiantly and dares you to prove it wrong. It is bossy and intrusive. The word forever and I have always agreed to disagree. It says to me, let go trust that I am true. I say no, no you are not. There is no such thing as forever.  I am good with the continually definition. It is the limitless time that gives me anxiety. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing. Seasons change, people die, good things always come to an end and bad times pass. There is no such thing as forever. The difficult lessons in life have taught me that forever is a fantasy, a fairy tale. We all know that fairy tales are not true.

Just recently I have had this needling thought in my head. It is a particularly chatty monkey that says, “You are wrong. Love lasts forever. Real love is never-ending.” I have resisted the urge to toss that monkey out on his head. I try to get my head around the thought that someone could love me so much that it lasts not just my lifetime but forever into eternity. I have even said to that thought monkey and the person who put it in my head, “No, I do not say forever. I can’t trust that to be true.”

Then the monkey chatter says in rebellion, “What if you are wrong? What do you have to lose? What is love?” That definition of love is stronger than that nasty little monkey called forever.  The same dictionary defines love as a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person, attraction that includes sexual desire, the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship, a person you love in a romantic way, God or personification of love.

I have said on this blog that God is love. I have also said that love is worth the risk.  I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t at least give this forever consideration. I have love in my life that is strong that has the potential to last a long long time. I don’t know if it will indeed last forever. All I can do is hope and have faith that it is enough. That the love I have in my life will last a long time and that it is worth the risk.

At that thought another nicer calmer monkey spoke up in the chatter, “Love is worth everything. Stop listening to your mind and listen to your heart.”

I sighed, conceded and said out loud, “I love you…forever.”

Next to me the one who loves me smiled and said, ” I love you too.”