Fear, Faith, and the Prophetic Nature of Expectations

It really doesn’t need to be this way.

I have an amazingly intelligent daughter who has convinced herself she is a “C” student. Why? Because her scholastic results are almost always graded “C”. Logically, in her mind, she was born a “C” student and has accepted this view of herself as true, as if preordained by some higher power. Subsequently, she continues to produce “C” level results. Sure, she’d love to get better grades, but she consistently lives down to the expectations she has accepted for herself.

Expectations. You never really notice them but they are always there. They are our own autopilot, silently and precisely recalibrating our life experience to match our own expectations of what we really think is possible for us. They are loyal, hard working servants, doing all they can to create the outcomes we trust will show up in our lives, even if we don’t like what arrives.

PLAN ACCORDINGLY Expectations are formed over time, a self-imposed belief system based upon life experiences with each outcome collectively contributing to the next one. Much of what we expect is influenced by fear. Our minds are quick to replay the episodes of the times when things didn’t work out as we had hoped. “Logically” we surmise things will probably happen that same way again so we emotionally brace for it by aligning our expectations accordingly.

But what happens when we base our expectations not solely on what has happened to us in the past but rather on what could happen to Continue reading “Fear, Faith, and the Prophetic Nature of Expectations”

Why Every Day Is Easter

Rebirth and renewal.

I’ve heard these two words quite often during the weeks preceding the Easter holiday. As I pause and think about Easter’s significance, I find myself asking if Easter is really a holiday. I mean, how can the magnitude of Easter’s message and promise be relegated to just one day of the year?

My conclusion? Easter can’t be confined to just one day. Every day is Easter.

Now I’m not trying to re-write any religious teachings or modify any religious calendars. My point is the opportunity for our own Continue reading “Why Every Day Is Easter”

Your Elbows Have A Lot To Teach You About Peace And Happiness

I have found your peace and happiness. It’s located where you’ve probably never considered looking.

It’s found between your shoulders and your wrists.

That’s right. Your elbows.

Think for just a moment about your elbows. Your elbows play a rather important role in your ability to do many things in your life. For example, elbows make it possible for you to feed yourself. Just for fun, the next time you’re eating something, place your fork in your hand and extend your arm straight. Now try placing the fork into your mouth.

See what I mean?

Without elbows, your functionality and independence are greatly compromised. Spend a few minutes going through your day without Continue reading “Your Elbows Have A Lot To Teach You About Peace And Happiness”

Why Is My New BFF

Is fear the answer to your life’s most important question?

On the way home from school the other day my daughter and I were discussing the first day of spring. Inquisitively as kids often are I was asked to explain where the seasons come from. Ill prepared for a science lesson, I ended up citing the rotation of the Earth as the reason we have seasons. Which lead to the follow up question asking why the Earth rotates, to which I responded “God made it that way”. Which lead to her predictable response:

“Why?”

“Why?” has become an important question for me. Why? This older, more reflective version of me is on a quest of evaluating many areas of my life. Continue reading “Why Is My New BFF”

And So, Too, The Expectation of Spring

In my weaker moments all I see is the ugliness left behind. Cold. Colorless. This winter here in New England has been relentless, with many questioning if will ever end.

Patience and faith, though, can get you through most anything.

This week I went out for my first run of the year. We caught a few hours of sunshine and some warmth and I figured I better take advantage of it. It felt like Spring was on it’s way, the sun on my face blinding me to the dirty and melting snow banks bordering both sides of the road. This day was a glimpse of what lies ahead.

Like all seasons, Spring is predictable. It’s going to arrive. But to get to Spring you need to get through Winter first. Winter’s wrath can be somewhat tempered knowing that at some point Spring will be here and the ground now covered in white will eventually be green and lush. The season of grey will be overtaken by the vibrant colors of Spring. It happens every year.

THE INEVITABLE RENEWAL Life has it’s seasons as well. Seasons of light, seasons of darkness. Life’s seasons, though, are not conveniently marked on the calendar a year in advance. Far less predictable, life is. But what is needed during the times of our own personal winter is the faith and belief in knowing our own personal spring will eventually arrive. We need to reacquaint ourselves with the seasonal nature of our spiritual world and move forward with trust in our own rebirth and resurrection.

The cold, barren personal winters are never welcomed but when they do show up will often have something to teach us. How we handle our personal winter lets God know we are ready for our personal spring.

Looking through my window, I know in due time the 3 feet of snow will melt away and the melting process will in fact nurture the grass and trees and flowers with an abundance of water needed to help them flourish in the coming season. Each season pays it forward, providing an invaluable gift for the next one.

LOOKING BEYOND LOGIC How do you handle your own personal winters? Are the unwelcome barren and colorless times in your life met with thoughts of resentment, anger, and bitterness? For most of my life that was my conditioned response. Things were supposed to happen on my terms and time frame. My challenge was to look beyond what was right in front of me and to trust that the cyclical nature of seasons would once again guide me to where I really needed to be. Simple, yes, but not always easy.

My resentment, anger, and bitterness only served to prolong my resentment, anger, and bitterness. Not a great way to go through life no matter how justified the emotions may feel.

The snows of your personal winter will prepare your for your own lush green spring. Even if all you see right now is snow.

Patience and faith can get you through most anything.

And so, too, the expectation of Spring.

What are you expecting?

It’s a great day to be you!

Alcohol, Red Meat, and the Clarity of Purpose

Alcohol, cookies, and red meat.

And we can’t forget about the swearing.

At various points in my life I’ve given each of them up for the 40 days of Lent. I was brought up believing Lent was about giving up stuff I liked to make the God I was taught to fear happy. Eventually I saw into the significance of what spiritual discipline was all about, but I never saw the correlation between my diet and vocabulary and my spiritual salvation. But that’s just me.

As a spiritual meanderer, I’ve often struggled with some of life’s bigger questions. None bigger than trying to figure out what God wants me to do Continue reading “Alcohol, Red Meat, and the Clarity of Purpose”

What Happened To What’s Possible?

What Happened To What’s Possible?

My seven year old daughter announced this week she is writing a book! It’s a story of a princess and her shadow. She’s also said something about aliens as well. So far we’ve seen two pages and have no idea of how many more we should be expecting.

Why is she writing a book? Because she wants to. And because no one told her she couldn’t.

Especially herself.

Once again the actions of an innocent child remind me of a lesson I somehow keep needing to learn. Once again, I am reminded about limitations, primarily the ones we consciously and unconsciously establish for ourselves.

My daughter’s book is another example of her willingness to simply express what is inside her. Her decision to create isn’t contingent upon any results she needs to see from this project. Actually, there are no contingencies at all. No parameters, no metrics. Just a desire Continue reading “What Happened To What’s Possible?”

Lessons Learned from the $1,011.05 Cup of Coffee

Lessons Learned from the $1,011.05 Cup of Coffee

“Large iced coffee, decaf, black, extra ice please.”

“That will be $1,011.05. Please drive up.”

The morning drive-thru dialog between me and the faceless through-the-speaker voice of the server at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s the morning ritual, the accidental habit with a $2.77 cost per day. Fiscally insignificant on a daily basis. But when you repeat a fiscally insignificant transaction 365 days a year the dollars do add up.

$1,011.05 in this case.

This isn’t a post about frugality. It’s about becoming aware of how significant the seemingly insignificant actually is. And with our awareness comes our opportunity to make subtle, relatively Continue reading “Lessons Learned from the $1,011.05 Cup of Coffee”

Giving Thanks For The Things That Piss Me Off

Thank you, you idiot driver, for driving too slow in the high-speed lane and making me late. Thank you, you inconsiderate grocery shopper, for dumping 20 items on the conveyor belt of the 12-items-or-less express register aisle.

Thank you. For pissing me off.

I’ve come to appreciate such moments, the moments when I am in emotional overdrive with everyone and everything getting under my skin. Why? Because I’ve learned my reaction to the world in front of me says so much about the world inside of me. When my responses are laced with rage and anger and my thoughts and words become confrontational and judgmental, it tells me that real problem here is more about me than with the ones who have managed to push my buttons.

I tell my kids life usually never goes as planned and when it doesn’t what you do next is the important thing. Sometimes I need to take my own advice. Life so often is a test, those moments when life Continue reading “Giving Thanks For The Things That Piss Me Off”

The Inheritance of Expectations

So, what are you doing with your inheritance?

When we think of inheritance we tend to think of it in financial terms, money or property passed down from one generation to the next. Some of us may receive such a windfall, and others may never see a dime. All of us, though, will inherit something far greater than money, something which will more greatly impact the direction of our life.

Expectations.

Life tends to give us what we expect to get from it and our expectations usually never let us down. No one has a crystal ball, but our expectations Continue reading “The Inheritance of Expectations”