Thinking Good Thoughts

Not too long ago, I was watching my daughter play in a volleyball tournament. Her team is fairly capable and manage to stay competitive in most matches. During their matches, I noticed an interesting phenomena that was true of all the teams I watched. There was a time when one bad shot led to another. As a couple lost points were strung together, heads started to go down and shoulders slumped forward. Regardless of record or score, it would become contagious. It is so easy to dwell on the negative. Mistakes are easier to keep in the front of our minds than successes. In volleyball, this caused the players to lose energy and have trouble moving forward. And I thought that this is so true in our spiritual lives as well. It is so easy to get captured by our lies. When we make a mistake or do not meet an expectation or experience a failure then what were once distant echos can become louder. I am a failure. I am ugly. I am a disappointment. I am unforgivable. I am unwanted. And the list of the limiting beliefs and false narratives that we believe about our selves could go on and on. Ultimately, these lies are the result of your focus not being on the source of your true self, the identity you have in Christ. The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian believers and told them: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8...

Are you keeping people out?

In relationships, all of us have a part of our self that we attempt to protect. For some, the process of growing in relationship means addressing those walls and removing them. Choosing to trust and allow vulnerability. On the other hand, for others a wall seems a necessity and they work to build it up as fast as possible. A wall gives the feeling of protecting identity. If someone cannot see the real you, then they cannot reject you. A wall gives the sense of control. By controlling people’s behavior and what is acceptable in relationship, you feel like the one in charge. A wall gives the illusion of effort. Because you are working hard to maintain your wall, it feels like working on the relationship. A wall gives an excuse. When another person gets tired of trying to break through your wall, you can then blame them for the failure of the relationship. Problem is, not only do walls protect from what’s outside, they trap you on the inside. They steal your freedom. Those you present your wall to are not responding to you, but to your facade. That does not change the feeling of rejection. It is lonely within your borders because your true self will not feel loved. How are you keeping people out? Is it a compulsion? An issue of performance? Fault finding? Something else entirely? Taking down a wall required developing awareness of identity and the lies you are believing. Some of the bricks will be easy and some painful. Because of the lies, your wall is built upon sand, that is why it...

It Was Not My Whole Life

For a golfer, it was a dream come true. In 1999, after playing 71 holes Jean Van de Velde led the British Open by three strokes. There was just one hole to play. This was a seemingly insurmountable lead. What awaited at the end of this hole was his name engraved in arguably the most coveted trophy  in golf and a hero’s celebration in his home country of France. Tens of millions of people worldwide instead saw Van de Velde collapse and finish the hole tied for the lead. He would eventually lose the tournament in a playoff. Recently, Jean Van de Velde was interviewed for a documentary about the work he has done in France in the intervening years. At the end, the interviewer leaned forward and in a solemn voice asked “Do you ever think about Carnoustie [the golf course the 1999 British Open was played on]?” You can imagine what the interviewer was hoping to hear. Here is how Jean responded: “Carnoustie was one day of my life, it was not my whole life.” Read that statement again. This man who had one of the most epic golf failures on its biggest stage had not allowed his failure to define him. This was probably not a quick or easy conclusion to come to, but it was the truth the he lived in. Jean realized that he was more than his failure. All of us have pain and failure that has occurred in our lives. Some have experienced worse than others. But, this truth is the same for all of us. Your past does not define you. Your circumstances...

Gain Perspective. Live Well.

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