All Aboard! Welcome passengers…welcome back aboard the LifeTrain. As you board, here’s one of those black and white business cards I like to hand you as I help you up the steps onto the train for today’s ride. It reads:
Today on the LifeTrain we have a guess speaker to help get our week kicked off to a great start. I asked Pastor Warren to give us a word of encouragement to help us sail through the week. Remember, anytime life throws a curve at you this week…pull that card from above out and “BE HAPPY!”.
Don’t Give Up: Refuse to Be Bitter
by Rick Warren
“Job said, ‘I came naked from my mother’s womb and I shall have nothing when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and they were his to take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!’ In all of this Job did not sin by blaming God.” (Job 1:21-22 LB)
Grief is a part of life, but you can’t let a season of grief turn into a lifestyle of grief.
At some point you have to let it go!
There is a difference between mourning and moaning, weeping and wallowing. A loss can deepen me, but that doesn’t mean it can define me. A loss is a part of my maturity but not my identity.
God gives you grace to get through what you’re going through. Others don’t get that grace, so they may give you bad advice!
“Job’s wife said to him, ‘Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But Job replied, ‘You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ So in all this, Job said nothing wrong” (Job 2:9-10 NLT).
Job refused to become bitter and resentful. Bitterness prolongs pain. It doesn’t relieve it; it only reinforces it. “Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you … it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives” (Hebrews 12:15 LB).
Job gives three steps in refocusing:
1. Put your heart right. That means you forgive. “But I can’t forgive!” you say. That’s why you need Christ in your life; he’ll give you the power to forgive.
2. Reach out to God. Ask him to come into your heart and heal those wounds and help you and give you strength and power for tomorrow, next week, next month.
3. Face the world again, firm and courageous. Many people, when they’re hurt, withdraw into a shell. They say, “I’ll never let anybody hurt me again!” They retire from life. Job says to do the exact opposite: Resume your life; don’t retire from it. Get back out there in the world.
There’s a happy ending to Job’s life. “The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than he had blessed the first” (Job 42:12a GNT). Job went through all this hurt, but, in spite of that, God blessed the last part of his life even more than he had the first.
Wouldn’t you like the same in your life? Say, “God, I don’t care whether I have five years or 50 years left. Would you bless the last part of my life more than the first part?”
The lesson of Job’s life is this: It doesn’t matter who’s hurt you or how long you’ve been hurt or how deeply you’ve been hurt. God can make the rest of your life the best of your life if you’re willing to forgive and let go of resentment and release the offender.
Talk About It
- In grief, why do you think it’s easier for us to draw into ourselves rather than be with the people who will help us move forward?
- What do you want God to help you accomplish in the rest of your life? What do you need to let go of so that he can work fully through you?
Well Passengers…a good word From Pastor Rick eh? Merry Monday guys and…
ALL ABOARD!!! The LifeTrain!!!
Hey Passengers, All Aboard! Here’s a business card as I help you up into the car. It reads:
“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Hey passengers, I thought the quote above was appropriate for today’s post…After your ride today I think you’ll feel the same.
I was thinking as I mused over this post, my (our) mind is a funny thing. On the one hand, it’s awesome. But on the other, it can pulverize us more quickly and ruthlessly than anything else.
Our mind is inherently scared. That’s its job, to be cautious; to keep us alive, to have us cross roads safely, and not get eaten by a lion. But left unchecked, it can become paralyzed with fear and meaner than a cornered crocodile.
And it’s incredibly bossy.
The tendency of the mind to want to control is so strong and so habitual that we often don’t realize the myriad of times it tries to push our inner wisdom and natural sense of ease and love aside.
The bad news is there is no book or course that will change the nature of our mind; the good news—we don’t have to. The problem isn’t our mind, but how we use it.
We feel anxious, fearful, sad, or resentful when we give our mind too much power, when we follow all of its dopey ideas against our better judgment.
Here’s how I spot when my mind is trying to take over. Hope it helps you as well.
1. When you ignore your natural inclination.
Your mind is smart. Not wise smart, but computer smart. Your mind isn’t into all that woolly intuition jazz. It wants facts. It likes making calculations. Running the odds. Say you have a thought to call a friend you haven’t thought of in years. But then your mind says, “Don’t be silly. She’s probably not home. She won’t remember me.”
So you don’t call.
But have you ever followed one of those inclinations and then looked back and seen, wow, look at everything that happened after? And what about decisions like what to do with your life? The logical way is listen to experts or copy what works for other people. Your mind loves this.
This is why we ignore the little voice that says, “You should be a writer,” and choose instead to study statistics, because there are plenty of jobs for statisticians. Or we train to be a dancer because we’re “good at that. ”Except you aren’t “other people.” And experts aren’t as expert about you as you are. And just because you’re “good at something” doesn’t mean it’s what you want to do.
2. When you want to say “no” but you end up saying “yes.”
Do you have trouble saying “no”?
I used to. I didn’t even see it as a serious option until I hit my late forties. It was messy. I thought there were rules more important than my deep desire not to do something. Rules like be a good friend, be a good employee, go to lots of parties I didn’t want to go. Kiss the right butt, shake the right hands and laugh at jokes that didn’t come close to being funny.
This is, of course, a total mind thing. Your mind wants to be liked and it thinks everything is important. Your mind doesn’t realize that saying “no” isn’t a big deal, or even a medium deal. Or that your intuition is where wisdom lies. Not only is it your right to do as you genuinely desire, but it benefits everyone when you do. Awhile back I read “An Angel at My Table”, based on the autobiography of Janet Frame, one of New Zealand’s favorite authors. Janet spent eight years in a psychiatric hospital, had two hundred electroshock treatments, and narrowly escaped a lobotomy only to learn years later that she wasn’t unwell; she just didn’t like being very social, and if she did what she felt like she was fine.
3. When you constantly text or check your phone or email, or Facebook status.
I love the Internet and email and reading comments on my blog. Just love it. What an awesome world we live in. But often I feel off balance because of it. Or rather, because of how I use it. And it’s not like I don’t know why I get so hooked on it. I do. I’m looking for approval.
The need for approval goes deep. Not only is it a natural trait of the mind, it’s entrenched by our schooling system. But it’s dangerous. It keeps you distracted from the present moment and trains you to care when people disapprove. Which they will. The modern hyper-connected world is addictive. To the mind it’s like candy.
So what’s the answer? Give it all up?
Personally, heck no. But setting limits and removing temptation keeps things in check.
4. When you think, “It’s all very well for them.”
Have you ever heard an inspirational story and thought, “It’s all very well for him, he came from a rowing family. It’s easy for him to row the Northwest Passage.” You see it all the time and it’s a classic case of your mind resisting change, worried you’ll want to make some leap of your own. Take Elizabeth Gilbert and her book, Eat, Pray, Love.
It wasn’t a story about traveling around the world. Not really. It was about survival and courage and how one woman used the resources she had to save herself.
Thinking, as a few did, that it’s all very well for her she could afford to travel around the world is missing the point.
We all have the ability to get up off our metaphorical bathroom floor. And we all have our own unique set of resources to help us. When your mind is quickly dismissive and judgmental, it’s trying to stop you from seeing this.
5. When you think repetitive, worrying thoughts.
Getting OCD about washing your hands, turning off the stove, or locking the door before you leave is your safety-officer mind working overtime. While the worry feels real and overwhelming, there’s no reality to it. Don’t be pushed around by your mind. Thank your mind but tell it you’ll take it from here. Allow one double-check or hand wash. Now leave. The trick is ignoring the unpleasant thoughts while knowing a bunch of more pleasant ones will be along shortly.
6. When you try and control someone else.
Have you ever thought you knew better than someone else and tried to get them to do things your way? Just like dozens of times a day, right? Your mind is certain you have to intervene. You don’t. Your mind thinks it knows best. It doesn’t. Trying to control other people, in small and big matters, is not only annoying and disrespectful; it stops the flow of life. You miss out. I don’t know how many times I’ve experienced a profound and unexpected pleasure after I’ve ignored the urge to butt in.
7. When you feel inadequate for being “too negative.”
We’re inundated with messages telling us we should be grateful and positive and the like. They’re well meaning, but ultimately unhelpful. Because here’s the catch. Your mind regards these ideas as rules and is critical when you fail, as you invariably will. Because seriously, who’s positive or grateful all the time? A few years ago I had to tell a friend she was a negative person.
Her response: “Okay, so how do I change that.”
“You don’t,” I said, “You probably won’t always be this way. It’s just how you are right now.” Whenever you feel inadequate, this is your mind pushing you to “follow the rules.” It’s well intentioned, but misguided. Accepting how you are, no matter how you are, is the most loving and genuinely positive thing you can do. And yes, this applies to when you’re being controlling. It’s your mind’s nature to seek control. It’s neither a good or bad thing, it just is. Sometimes you’ll succumb, other times you won’t. And it’s all perfectly okay…
It’s all ok…
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!
All Aboard! Welcome fellow passengers. This week on the LifeTrain a friendly reminder that all are important, despite the clothes we wear …or the skin we wear. Red, Yellow, Black and White…Jesus loves the little children of the world!
Anyway, when I came across this story…it made me reminisce and laugh because I was in a slightly similar situation MANY years ago. I was the manager of a rather large data center in the DC earlier in my carer. We decided to outsource the maintenance of our mainframes. We had approximately 50 mainframes so this was a very large multimillion dollar data center. Anyway my assistant (Ron) and I flew to New jersey after he had narrowed down what he thought were some businesses that could handle our account. After Ron researched some viable options. We decided to make site visits to make sure the companies were truly large enough to handle an account of our magnitude.
Once we landed at our first site visit there was a party of the company’s officials at the airport (we really were a big account to be wooed) and they were immediately all over Ron. I might add that we had never met face to face with these guys, but we did do a teleconference prior to screen a bit so they did know my name. Oh…and I must sheepishly add that Ron is white…and hold on a minute…lemme check…yep, I am black. Anyway, they were all over Ron and basically ignored me. After awhile that became more and more obvious. I was cracking up inside and it was all I could do to keep a straight face. Well, we get through lunch, tour, meetings..and meetings and right before the limo back to the airport the question was asked, so Ron, do we get the account. Ron looked at me, kinda turned red and said “Look guys,” “Chuckie’s the decision maker”, “we’ll have to get back to you…”. I guarantee you, …the stunned looks we got as we bid a due and boarded the Limo were more than worth the price of admission. True story and so is the following…Oh and of course…don’t judge a book by its cover…
A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a Homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston , and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President’s outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge
‘We’d like to see the president,’ the man said softly. ‘He’ll be busy all day,’ the secretary snapped. ‘We’ll wait,’ the lady replied.
For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.
‘Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,’ she said to him!
He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.
The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, ‘We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.’
The president wasn’t touched. He was shocked. ‘Madam,’ he said, gruffly, ‘we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.’
‘Oh, no,’ the lady explained quickly. ‘We don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.’
The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, ‘A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.’
For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now.
The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, ‘Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own?’
Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto , California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University , a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.
You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.
Welcome aboard the LifeTrain. Today I would like to share a reminder that as long as we have breath in our bodies we are going to have to deal with constant change. So, keep the following in
Move with the Cheese…
mind as you journey down this track..called “Life”.
Research has shown that those who are happiest in old age are the ones who have dealt most successfully with the changes in their lives. Learning to accept and adapt to change is the skill of a lifetime.
Here’s a book that could potentially help you with change. It certainly has come in handy for me.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”