In contrast to success, I don’t think any of us purposefully set out to fail or enjoy defeat. Indeed, the word, “defeat” causes me to recoil & evokes a gagging reflex in me. Truth be known, I’d rather not try & avoid defeat than to try & feel defeated – operative word, “feel”.
How we feel & what we think about success is really important to consider because our thinking & feeling affect what we do & even how we organize our priorities. Let me suggest to you that we humans tend to frame success in the terms of results but maybe God frames success in different terms. Perhaps obedience is more important to God than results. Is it possible that God defines success as obedience more than results?
Memories are important ingredients for learning & sometimes the lessons we apply from various memories aren’t very helpful. For example, I remember an occasion as a kid when my dad came home from a later afternoon walk with our new puppy & my dad was sobbing & totally busted up. I could barely figure out through his broken words & tears that our new puppy had been run over by a car & was dead. My dad explained that our puppy had darted in front of a car into a busy street during rush hour traffic and was run over.
To this day, the place where my dog was hit still has negative associations for me & I find myself subconsciously avoiding that intersection. That negative memory has shaped my behavior & I’d venture to guess that you may have some similar memories that shape your current behaviors & values.
I think it’s super important that our experiences and memories teach us valuable take aways, but let’s be sure that we choose the right lessons.
Some important memory lessons could include:
mistakes and failures are merely practice and lessons for some great success, likely just around the corner
communion: Jesus told His disciples at the Last Supper, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” – may we never forget the infinite love Jesus expressed in His sacrifice for us
forgiveness – practice makes perfect
fond memories can be helpful motivations for endurance & perseverance
I’m currently laying on my back having just finished another round of pt – recovering from shoulder surgery after dislocating it from snowboarding). Here are some brief take aways I’m learning that could be helpful for you:
*be nice, friendly & warm even when someone is hurting you – being mean just makes things worse
*take a deep breath & exhale – reminds me to pause rather than curl up in a ball to disappear
*stretch & strengthen – both good thoughts for growing in life
*laugh when you want to cry – pain can sometimes mean growing & improving
*be consistent & be present – half of the battle is showing up
*God knows your limits & God is continually present with strength & comfort
Consider that there could be some pretty cool common applications in both physical & spiritual therapy ,)
This morning, I read the story of Doubting Thomas & how he didn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he had physical proof for himself. Despite what Thomas’ friends told him, he made the adamant position that unless he saw the nail prints in Jesus’ hands, put his finger into the nail prints & touched Jesus’ side where He was pierced, he wouldn’t believe. Thomas’ belief had 3 pre-qualifiers, all based on physical evidence.
It’s interesting to me that we don’t read about any of Thomas’ friends getting cranky with Thomas for his unbelief – despite all of them following Jesus for 2+ years and seeing all kinds of crazy miracles. But no one criticized nor chastized Thomas for doubting – maybe they accepted the truth that Thomas was on a journey of faith, not much different from their own journey.
Just because someone is at a different place in their journey of faith doesn’t give us the right to be critical of their lack of faith, anymore than we would want someone to criticize us for some faith deficiencies & shortcomings. Let’s decide to encourage each other in our journey of faith & not throw rocks when someone is struggling with unbelief – indeed, faith works by love ,)
On Sunday, there was a massive fight among biker gangs in Waco, TX and it became extremely violent in a matter of seconds. Law enforcement officials are now concerned that gang members from neighboring states and affiliated gang coalitions are now heading toward Texas to pick up the conflict and defend the honor of their gang members and associates. Clearly, this is a bad situation and without some clear and rational thinking, this situation could deteriorate even further. So let’s keep in mind a few helpful things:
pray: pray that peace would prevail and that any plans of the devil would be put to confusion
conflict: consider that with the Holy Spirit’s help, conflict can be more constructive than destructive
get the word out: if biker gangs can be highly motivated to defend honor, then let us as followers of Jesus be highly motivated to live our love out loud & not with quiet back room whispers
Truth be known, I’m not a Mon morning fan & when I taught high school, I used to think that hell would be made up of perpetual Monday mornings. So on that happy note, let’s think about some really awesome things to keep our Monday perky & uplifting:
God’s love is continuous & reliable
Life is about exploring God’s love for us throughout each day
nothing we do or don’t do can make God love us less
we can trust God to work in our lives to bring about good things as we stay in love with God & true to God’s purposes for us