Month: October 2017

I got nothing

I got nothing

“Not sure how one is supposed to keep going when it is one disappointment after the next.”

I read those words yesterday and it was a like gut punch that left me gasping for air. A dear friend expressing the despair of their heart as life seems to be overwhelming them. I replied simply, “I will pray for you.” That was all I said, and honestly, that was all I could say.

Now, I didn’t type those words because it is the “Christian thing to do.” Yes, we should pray for one another when able. But my simple answer meant much more than that. You see, I am not the brightest bulb in the lamp. In fact, at times I wonder if my lamp even has a bulb. One thing I do know, however, is I can’t offer you something I don’t have myself. For the words my friend uttered I have no answer.

I will not offer a pithy saying or solution when I myself don’t have one. I also am wondering how one can keep going when it feels like life’s storm is overwhelming you. When you are in the darkness all you see is dark. When you are lost in the wilderness all you see are trees. When storms rage around you there is no sun peaking through the clouds. It is just pain, despair, heartache, disappointment. No pithy saying, cute gif or pat answer is going to make things any different.

We must be careful offering advice to one who is being battered by life’s storms. We can never know how much pain and suffering those around us are going through. I know for a fact there are people around me who are going through and have gone through far more difficult times than which I am suffering. Who am I to offer some simplistic answer to help them through their difficulties? But I can pray to one who knows all and sees all.

Prayer is not the last thing we should do; it is the first thing we should do. Prayer is not a last resort; it often is our only resort. And when you are the one going through trying times it can be difficult, dare I say impossible, to pray. The darkness envelopes you until you are left paralyzed, unable to do anything. At these times, it is critical that there are those who are praying for you. Believe me, I know. It doesn’t need to be an hour-long diatribe for another; it can simply be one or two sentences uttered to a God who knows and cares.

So, when my heart broke for my friend, my brain immediately told me I got nothing for you. How can I help when my life seems to be falling apart? But after a moment of reflection I realized – I can pray. People are praying for me and I certainly can pray for a dear friend. So I did. I still have nothing as far as answers or advice, but I do know someone who can help. And I know He has everything.

Give or take

Give or take

For the sake of this post, I am going to be very simplistic. Actually, if your IQ is as low as mine, all of life is lived based on the KISS method – Keep It Simple, Stupid! Thus, I am about to “KISS” you with this post. And away we go.

The world is made up of two groups of people – givers and takers. Chances are you can see this clearly in the people around you, but you may have trouble determining which you are unless you are brutally honest with yourself. And the simple fact is this – givers always give and takers always take. Sure, there are times when people cross over a little – I mean we all eat different kinds of doughnuts from time to time, right? But, generally speaking, people are one or the other.

Takers are those who never get enough. Their paycheck is never enough. Their time off is never enough. What people do for them is never enough. They are going to constantly demand more and more from the people and the world around them. While in and of itself, there is nothing wrong with wanting more out of life, unfortunately takers many times have no consideration for the feelings of those around them. They just want more and don’t care who they take it from.

Now, givers will pour themselves out and do anything for anybody. They will continue to give even when they have nothing left to give. While it is admirable to be a giver, you can’t give if you have nothing to give. And givers will often empty themselves and still try to give which can leave them depressed because they can’t do what they are wired to do which is give.

True takers and givers will find life to often be frustrating. There is never enough to take – I mean that’s the way I feel every time I go to a pizza buffet (ha, ha). Enough really is never enough for some folks. And there is never enough to give. You will think if you just give a little more you will get the promotion or people will like you more. Take, take, take! Give, give, give! If you live life with no balance like this, life will be like sitting on a seesaw with nobody on the other end. You ain’t going nowhere.

So takers need to learn to give, and givers need to learn to take a little. As takers give to others, they will learn to better appreciate what they have and maybe not be so inconsiderate of other’s feelings. As givers take, they will be replenished so they can continue to give. Life needs to be about give AND take not give OR take. There needs to be a balance if we are to coexist in this world.

So, if you are taker, lighten up a little bit and give to someone today. You might find out it isn’t so bad to give of yourself. And, givers, take a little from someone when they offer. Now, don’t go demanding from another person – that’s what takers do – but accept something when offered. Find the necessary balance between giving and taking so you can be a better person. If we all do this, we might just find that life is a bit more enjoyable.


I’m afraid …

I’m afraid …

Start a sentence with “I’m afraid …” and the ending of that sentence can be almost anything. Heights, water, enclosed spaces, public speaking – on and on the answers can come. It seems there are almost as many things in life to be afraid of as there are grains of sand on the shore.

In today’s world, there seems to be even more of which to be afraid. Nearly every day something in the newspaper or television news paralyzes us with fear. Where can we go to be safe? Will it happen to me? Is my family safe from all the horrible things in the world? Fear seems to cover us like a weighted blanket that no amount of effort can cast off. It weighs many people down to the point that they stop living life.

As I look at the fears that cripple many of us there seems to be one (really two but putting them together) that has many of us locked firmly in its grasp – the fear of rejection and failure. So many bad things have happened to us that we simply are too afraid to keep trying. We have failed so many times we wonder why bother to keep trying because we are only going to fail again. Our efforts will not be good enough and we will be rejected. This fear is real and it grips many of us.

So, what we can we do? How can we set out on a new day when we are scared to leave the “safety” of our own bed? Is there a way to break free from the fear of failure? These are not easy questions. I can be trite and say you just have to get up and put one foot in front of the other. While there is truth in this statement, it is simplistic. Yes, we need to live life and keep trying. We have to realize that not everything we do is going to be successful. We must come to grips with the truth that some will reject us. But these truths don’t make the fear disappear.

However, in spite of the fear, we do indeed have to keep living. We can’t let the possibility of fear and rejection keep us locked up in our own world. Think of all the amazing things and people you will miss if you don’t try. Certainly putting yourself out there means you will be exposing yourself to fear and rejection, but you also will be giving yourself a chance to succeed and meet amazing people. You must risk greatly to succeed greatly.

Took a few minutes today to look through your Facebook feed or watch some YouTube videos of the amazing talents some people have. Some of them are mere children who have incredible gifts. Now, don’t let this overwhelm you. Instead, think of what these people had to risk. Someone may not like their talent and will ridicule their video. They might have failed in front of a live audience when they performed. Maybe they failed in the past but kept trying. In the face of fear and rejection, they pressed on. And they found success.

Start today by saying, “I’m afraid …” and then name your fear. Then, confront that fear. Begin to take steps to conquer your fear. Share that fear with a loved one or a trusted friend and ask them to help you. Take one step toward overcoming your fear. Yes, you might fail and take a step back. But keep trying – each step forward is one step closer to conquering your fear. And remember this, all of us are afraid of something. But, maybe just maybe, as we all step out together and help each other we can put some of those fears behind us.