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Monday, August 10, 2015

Fear of losing or failure that keeps us in bondage.

When I wrote this on 8/10/15, I was reading an article online about a guy who got fed up with Michael Brown first anniversary protesters  who were blocking the highway on I70 into St. Charles, MO.  He just slowly drove through, carrying a few protesters with him until they were sensible enough to jump off the car and get out of the way.  I said that if a few more people would do that, that traffic would quickly clear.   Regarding that story, one commentator said, "One tried[to push through]. They kicked in his van doors. He made it through. Probably not worth the cost."  Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't?  However, the driver had a conviction in his heart.  He wasn't trying to mow down the protesters.  I sincerely doubt it.  I believe he was like why are you mistreating me, disrespecting my need to go home to my family and take care of my needs at home?  I believe it was a move of disgust.  More or less he was saying, look, you are aiming at the wrong target.  If you do not like policies, do not attack the people who are just trying to earn a living and get by,  Instead protest those who are responsible for deciding/enforcing policies.

My thought was the protesters were purposely creating an injustice to protest what they saw as an injustice.  I thought, you know, the guy who moved through the protesters, whether wise or not, had taken a stand.  He was brave.  He could have just accepted the disrespect of blocking him and his need to get where he was going, but he choose not to.  It got me to thinking that perhaps most people aren't willing to take a chance, accept a risk as they feel like they have 'too much to lose'.


Most people spend their lives working hard to build up things for ourselves.
  • Career
  • Savings/Investments
  • Property - Auto/Home/Electronics/Other Items
  • Family relationships
  • Friendships
We remember how long and how much effort it takes to build each of those.  Though we don't like to admit it, we know on a certain level how hard it is to keep what we've build.  They take plenty of time, plenty of nurturing, plenty of devotion.

For most people, there is a time in their life in which one or more of these things are threatened.   We react in what we perceive is the rationale or 'sensible' way to protect that which we have built.  Most of the time, we are probably right.   However, there is a time and a place to let go.

A few examples:
  • Letting go of unhealthy relationships that are there out of convenience or just for show.
  • Letting go of property you can't maintain.
  • Letting go of a job or career which is causing you to sacrifice too much of yourself--up to and including your principles.
  • Letting go of a little bit of money to help another in need.
  • Letting go of a fear of being criticized/ostracized/harmed for standing up for your principles.
I think there are times in which we are so afraid to lose too much or even everything, that we do not do or say what we need to do.  That is out of fear, we stay silent and don't stand up for what is right.  I haven't conquered fear completely, but I used to live in fear.  Fear of losing everything.  When I did actually lost everything, I realized that I didn't die.  I realized that it was actually freeing.  I was free of the bondage of trying to hold onto everything.  I started speaking my mind more freely.  I started to think outside the box more, I started to consider things more from a point of what is the best or right thing to do vs. what is best for me.

I still have points in which I wish I could be more brave, but it's a process.  It's a process that requires a strengthening and reaffirmation of faith.  It requires us to see things through His eyes, not our own.  I am far from that point and God never expects us to be perfect, but He wants us to strive to be more like he is more Christlike.  I obviously speak of this from a Christian faith, but my brethren of different faith can adapt this same idea to their own I think.

I'm not suggesting that we just recklessly stand up for what is important to us.  Just like you don't take a butcher's knife out to make a make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you don't make a big stand at the wrong time.  From what I see, it is more of a mindset.  The mindset that when the time is right, you have to be willing to let go and put what is right over what is convenient even when the cost seems prohibitive.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Pain is a gateway...

When we think about pain, we tend to focus on well, the pain of pain.  We focus on it is as an unfair negative in our life.  Something we are better off completely avoiding.  But is it?  I'm not suggesting that we strive to achieve or feel as much pain as possible, but rather we perhaps look at it a different way at times.

These are they ways we think of pain.  These are the ways you might see them in a dictionary definition.
  • Physical suffering or distress.
  • A distressing sensation in a particular part of the body.
  • Mental or emotional suffering or torment.
  • Etc.

But really, this is just one side of the pain equation. 

Different ways of looking at pain
  • Pain is a sign of progressing
    • When we first start working out, we feel a lot of aches and pains.
    • To be stronger or faster, we usually have to push through much discomfort.
  • Pain reminds us of our humanity.
    • If we went through life without pain, without loss, we wouldn't necessarily feel truly alive. 
    • Without the lows of pain, we would appreciate the calm, the serene.  We obviously wouldn't be able to measure the good times as easily.
    • Without it, we would be robbed of the opportunity to really feel, understand and relate to others.  It is easy to share joy with others as share happy moments.  But often times to truly understand another we have to walk a thousand miles in their shoes.
      • Some of my best friends have lost both of their parents and I could say all the comforting words in the world, but until I was in their shoes, I could never relate to them completely.
      • In this way, we have the opportunity to give a gift back to others.  Sure we can laugh with others, but it is in the moments we listen to, look into the eyes of others and say, "I hurt and I understand your hurt." that we show them compassion and love.  
  •  In my faith, the Father himself sacrificed his only begotten Son in an act of compassion.  A sacrifice which paid a sin debt that we could never have paid ourselves.  Pain was necessary to pay this sin debt. 
    • The Father had the pain of loss.
    • The Son endured the pain and torment of our sins.
Those who know me know that I have been blessed/cursed with a certain sensitivity.  This is very constructive in understanding others, but I sometimes feel more than I'd like as well.   As the loses have mounted over the past few years, I realize that pain has instead of destroying me, has in a way made me stronger.  It has opened my eyes and heart in a way that nothing else could have.