The Best Fix

A fixer is a person who defines their purpose by how they help and provide for others. They are rarely selfish and will go to extreme lengths, even to their own exhaustion to be there for others. Most see them portrayed in career fields such as medical, police, fire fighters, and the military. They are professionals that engage in day-to-day problem-solving in the service of others. So when they hear a problem they want to solve it, whether that is ending an activity, providing a way out, or shielding them from the consequences. It’s not a very idle person, especially when it comes to conversations with others.

When you are a fixer, its hard to listen to others. They just want to vent or want sympathy in their described circumstances. In the few times that people do actually engage others for advice it’s usually very overt in its intent. But as a fixer we want to be involved in a solution. We get our worth from problem-solving and helping others.  We feel useless in not “interacting” the only way we know how. It’s a recognition that comes with experience. To sit and do “nothing” while someone presents us with challenge after challenge is a hard concept to master.  Sometimes trying to fix a problem becomes a problem when all that person wants is to get it off their chest or out in the open to help the healing process or develop emotional context.

So how does a fixer adapt the kind of personality to be a good listener? The first step is to first admit you’re a fixer. It’s not just a male thing. Women are fixers too. When you realize its your go-to persona, you can redirect those urges to overwhelm the conversation with the good idea fairy.

You can have peace knowing too that you are still helping in your silence.  Understand, not everything needs to be fixed.   Utter a “ooohhh” or a “Uh huh” if it makes you feel better, just be there for them, hold them and empathise.

Do good

The weight of having to “do good” begins at an early age. Our behaviors in what we determine as “bad” or “good” should develop with time. Nobody has to teach a baby to be selfish. Everything is theirs until its out of sight. Toddlers will eat all the chocolate until itit gone and nobody teaches a child to make a mess with whatever is within reach. We are told as children to behave. We spend our time making mistake after mistake and being corrected, or not, by those around us. This trial and error phase can last as long as we determine. If we are stubborn in our own selfishness we can go on behaving selfishly well into our adult years. Most learn the social norms, curb destructive impulses and act within reason. Some do not and go on until they are forcibly corrected and enter society’s correctional system.

Even the term “good” has changed and now like everything else. It has become relative. Nobody thinks morals are black and white anymore. Those who are trying to do good in the world are sometimes viewed as battered and worn, reaping little in the sense of material success. But there is hope. We have been prepared for good works by our creator. If we acknowledge Him, He will guide us and give us the perspective to keep focused and to keep up our spirits so we won’t grow weary by the standards of the world. It also gives parents the grace and capacity to engage their children, provide them with those critical opportunities to grow and fail in a loving environment.

Not having a guide in our lives during those early years in our lives makes the future a real challenge. Our parents have the best chance at an early influence. Children model their early lives after the actions and mannerisms of their parents until they begin to develop a personality of their own as a teenager. They crave individuality and often will choose to act out in the exact opposite way of their parents that they once tried to emulate. The other big variable is their interaction with their surroundings. The influence of friends and school mates provides another medium for the children to discover the effects of their behavior. Children need to make mistakes, see the consequences, good and bad. They have that time with their parents to safely make the little mistakes in a safe environment before they make those same mistakes as an adult which can lead to a life of depression and lost opportunities. Any lack of those opportunities seriously hinders a child’s development.

Nobody can argue that hands-off parenting harms a child’s development. It is so sad to see parents who are so focused on their own success they fail to realize what they are doing to the detriment of their children. Without providing a role model for them, the children will find one through whatever means possible. More often than not this is through their access to television or the internet. When we live in a society which craves more and more “realism” in its shows and games, we open the door to desensitizing our children to the “real world” without any explanation of those consequences. We saw it with children jumping off the roof wearing a cape like superman and we see it in our mass shootings of today as children turn to violence to solve their problems.

The opposite is also true. Those parents which seek to smother their children and “guide” their every move, opportunity and “protect” them from the consequences of their actions are equally as destructive in the development of their children. They actually don’t develop anything, they stagnate and turn out physically mature, but lack all the decision making abilities, drive, and creativity of a mature adult.

Some of life is beyond our control. We live in a largely selfish society which glorifies wealth and fame over hard work, community, and helping those in need. Preparing our children the best we can before sending them out into the world is all we can do.

We pray that thet next generation learns and builds upon what their taught to realize their true potential, contributing to building a lasting and positive legacy without tearing society further apart in selfishness and greed.

Life

As a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait to do things all by myself, to go where ever I set my gaze and experience all the wonders of life abroad.

As a teen, I finally had my wish. I could go where I wanted and do what I pleased. The world exacted its toll for passage. My expectations tarnished with the raw beating of reality and the storms of necessity.

As a man, I long for the days of my youth. To have my father’s strength to protect me and my mothers kiss to comfort me, to have nothing but my imagination to hold me back and every day was an adventure.

As an elder, I have paid the world’s toll and passed through the storms. I walk a little slower bearing the scars of reality and shake off the chill of necessity.

Stuck between the worlds of wishes and circumstances, in the cauldron of life, I have proven who I am.

The blind leading the blind

It is pretty common among all people to want the best for our children. We prove our worth as parents by what our children become. It is our legacy to pass on our knowledge and accomplishments to be carried forward by our children and for them to eventually make their own mark upon this world. What each generation passes on is defined by their worldview and also what crazy life circumstances are thrown at them. I believe we have seen a huge cultural shift in the last 50 years. It’s not just here in America, but all over the globe. As I look back, I am ashamed at how far we have fallen. Gone from our culture is the drive that made the “greatest generation” great. They endured the depression, built the foundation of all of our infrastructure, and fought to free pretty much the rest of the world. Now we are worried about body shaming and what gender I want to be on any given day of the week. So what changed?

The styles of parenting haven’t changed. We still have those parents that treat their children as if they are eternally their “baby”, spoon-feeding them in their safe space and insulating them from the world. We also have those parents who are “shadow” parents, barely there and often too absorbed with still trying to make their life seem worth while to invest in the lives of their children.

Somewhere in the middle are most parents. Struggling to provide some advantage to their children while teaching them life lessons in an ever-changing world where what experiences they had as a child are rapidly becoming obsolete as technology and the job market shift to virtual systems, automated machines, and crypto currency. It used to be a struggle to just provide access to information for our children. Once, having a shelf full of encyclopedias was a supreme luxury for a child. Now, our children have their own cellular phones with access to unlimited sources of information. So much for learning the Dewey decimal system.

One thing that hasn’t changed, and should not change are those fundamental principles of life. But, those fundamental principles are starting to shift. We used to praise hard work and commitment. Now it’s what can make my life easier, the quick solution. But if it can’t be found? Well, then you give up and move on to the next thing. We have become a society with unlimited potential, but what we are is a mile wide and an inch deep.

What has changed is the values and principles we hold as a culture. We no longer value human life from moment it is conceived. We gave up our greatness as humans when we no longer believe in the divine. We value public perception, and seek only our 15 minutes of fame, not eternal glory. We use our vast infrastructure for amusement, our internet searches are for YouTube videos and cat memes. So what can we pass on to our children if we are lost as parents?

We must evaluate our priorities and goals in life. Our worldview as parents need to be centered on a rock from which we can build upon a life driven by love for life. That rock has to be God. He is the best example of love we have. He died for us. He gives us value, meaning, goals we aspire to, and best of all hope. We used to value that kind of drive and compassion. We need to get it back. Especially if we want to pass on anything worthwhile to our children.

Can it really be that easy?

Looking at all we do as the human race it’s no wonder that we haven’t all come to the conclusion that eternal peace, hope, happiness, and purpose can all be found in the one simple truth. If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. I do have to caveat the word simple. We do so much to make our lives easier, faster, and more comfortable, yet we try to overcomplicate the simple things in life to somehow justify being part of it. We feel lost if we are not part of a group. We are worthless if our accomplishments don’t measure up to others expectations. So we have complicated the simple truth that God made our world and us. He also made a way for us to fulfill our true potential and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. But its nothing we can work towards or be “good enough” to earn. We get it by accepting the simple truth. It doesn’t make us anything less than amazing. We are wonderfully and lovingly created. We have free will to live our lives any way we see fit. We can choose to see our rightful place in the universe as a child of God or we can selfishly think we are at the center of a big cosmic accident in which we are doomed to a  fleeting existence of toil and misery. It’s really that simple.

The fact that He has risen is no joke

There is something special about the Resurrection of Jesus on April 1. The world thinks it’s a day to play jokes on each other, the Apostles certainly thought the women running from the tomb were joking. They all had failed to see the signs. They didn’t believe or understand what Jesus had said and the Prophets hundreds of years before Him. Today was the day that God fulfilled one of His biggest promises. It was the day death was overcome and Jesus’s work on the earth was just about done. We could have real forgiveness, no more continual sacrifices. What had been done in the garden by a selfish choice of man was lovingly undone by the supreme sacrifice of Jesus. Today we celebrate His awesome power and majesty, its our hope in Him made manifest in and showing the world that Jesus would do all that He said He would. Especially in these last days we celebrate in a world ripe with the promise of God making good on all the rest of His promises. As the world around us jokes and searches blindly for Easter eggs we don’t need to search any longer. We have found our prize, salvation in the finished work of Jesus and that is no laughing matter.

A True Hero

With so much joy, hope and admiration, I look forward to this weekend. It didn’t used to be that way. As a child I knew that there was a give and take relationship. Yes, basket of candy and the thrill of the hunt for eggs. The numerous fish fry’s at all the local churches. But also the prospect of having to sit in Church. Which after eaten the equivalent of an entire year’s worth of sugar was asking a lot. Apparently, I have always had a problem with sitting quietly through church. As a little one I even rolled lifesavers down the isle at my Aunt and Uncle’s wedding. Getting older, the lust for candy faded and I was left with little enthusiasm for the day. To be honest, I was uncomfortable with the cross. The story is graphic and the whole day is full of deceit, betrayal, humiliation, gross abuse of power, and in the end you have that Man spit upon, mocked, beaten, who still gives grace to His mother and mercy to a thief. Without truly understanding the reason why, you will never appreciate what Christ did that day.

Getting older I have a different viewpoint. Not only with a better understanding of my faith but in the value and power of the sacrifice. Having seen mortal men endure horrific suffering to fight for their country and to save a fellow man gave me an increased appreciation of the reasoning behind the sacrifice. Applying that to what Christ had to do to save all men magnifies the impact a thousand fold. He put Himself in our place so we could have the opportunity to be in His place. That’s real love. If men will give their lives by the thousands to share their freedom with others and heralded as heroes than Christ should be the chief among them.

So Jesus’s time on the cross serves now to remind me of what I am worth, That God of the universe would humble Himself as to take up my fight, win it for me and hand me the medal. This day in history stands as the most heroic act ever by any man. It’s a day to remind us the horrific price of sin waiting for any man who wont accept what Jesus willingly went through to win us our freedom.

Looking forward with joy

Looking forward with any joy in your life requires hope. That joy is the centerpiece of your world view and if it is to last, it must be rooted in something far beyond yourself. It’s scope is as equally important. We all have heard the saying “find happiness in the little things” and its true. If we are so focused on the big details, plans or whatever we lose perspective and miss out on much of life. But the danger is we are making our own hope. Our joy is rooted in our works and therefore we have limited our joy to only what we can do. We also can equally as dangerously put our hope in others. Our hope is in our spouse or our children. It is a wobbly pedestal to place our hope and source of joy in fallible persons just as prone to mistakes and errors as we are. There is nothing more dangerous than crushing someone’s hope for life. But if we place our hope in God and His promises we have a whole new, unending source of joy that gives us an eternal perspective. We even have an instruction manual to that source of joy and direct access to one who gives it out as a free gift everyday. If we will only receive it. Hope in God isn’t weakness or a unintelligent viewpoint. Its true wisdom. It was lived through Christ while He was here and we saw what a joy it is to be part of Gods plan. It gave hope to the hopeless and turned wasted lives into great accomplishments for God. It gives us joy through all we do. We still have joy through others as we share God’s love and in everything we do because we know that even though the small tasks we are still part of God’s plan here on earth.

A life lived with hope in God is the best possible life we could live. It will be filled with more joy than we can handle as long as we remain humble and connected to God through prayer and His word. And for those who want results. You will see the best in yourself and others. It will also have the greatest lasting impact as we share God’s word and stand as a beacon to guide others into eternity.

Forgiveness

It’s a quality seen as desirable by the average person. There are a few exceptions that mistake it as an act of weakness. Regardless, we all seek it from others at one time or another in our lives. Its harder to be on the giving end no matter what. We tend to default to selfish desires and want things resolutions using terms like justice and retribution. We enact laws to define right and wrong, handing out punishment to those that are found guilty in our court of laws. Unless it’s our actions under review, then the lines of right and wrong fade to grey and we want special consideration and treatment. We use words like “mistake” or cite some special circumstance to justify our actions. We will even go to extreme lengths to not blame ourselves.  We blame society, our parents, and even the culture itself. Its becoming more and more common to see that view permeating our society. We are becoming a place where right and wrong are subjective or even more dangerous, malleable to the popular wash of emotions and feelings of the present culture.

A Christian world view is much different. We have a set viewpoint of what is wrong and what it right. It is clear-cut and will not change due to location or event. We also stand convicted that regardless of how much we feel we are doing right, we have failed to live up to those standards in our own strength and moral compass. A believer sees it, the Spirit convicts us everyday of our own selfishness and gives us compassion. If you don’t feel it, you might want to re-evaluate your relationship with God because we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard of right living. We need that forgiveness. So we accept that whole heartedly for our own lives but forget two things:

One, the cost. There is a penalty for all those “errors” mistakes” and “slip ups” we have made. We want a just and fair God and so He cannot stand for it. Well, luckily for us He took care of that. In order to restore the relationship and extend that forgiveness, He paid the price for our sins. You might remember it as Jesus’s time on the cross. God poured out the punishment for sin, for all time. For your “Oopsie” Remembering that moment gives a very solemn perspective, keeps me humble, and in awe of the level God went to, in order to save us. Now that’s real love.

Two, we give what we get. God forgave us, so we need to be ready and willing to extend that forgiveness to others. It’s not a suggestion, it’s talked about in detail and we are commanded to forgive. 7 times? Nope, 70 times, Nope, 70 times 7 is a good and fair start. That’s part of the mindset we are supposed to have. Without forgiveness we don’t have true compassion and without compassion how can we have the heart to go out and live our lives to the fullest, for God, and tell others our story about how God forgave us, saved us from a horrible life and eternal damnation, when we harbor an unforgiving heart ourselves?

 

Lacking tools for the long run

I came across a word I thought I knew. There are many passages in the bible that talk about the importance of wisdom and obtaining knowledge, but it was the word “insight” that caught my attention. I thought it was the same as wisdom or understanding. I wondered why it was used in Proverbs 4:7 so emphatically. Its not there in some versions and I think people will miss out on a great opportunity to deepen their knowledge and gain some insight.

There is always a deeper truth to what we think we know. God exposes our deficiencies and lack of true understanding everyday in our life as we struggle to make a life for ourselves. If we truly acknowledged our deficiencies in these various opportunities it should lead us to lean on Him. He wants us to grow and encourages that growth through knowing His word. So I looked up what was the difference.

The basic definition is; Knowledge is having the information. Wisdom is being able to apply it and insight is fully understanding the application, its impact and even how to pass it on to others to use in their lives.  Insight is what we all should strive for in all of our relationships, especially in our relationship with God.

People will spend an entire life acquiring knowledge, but never the wisdom to be able to use it. Fewer still is the people who will take that wisdom and fully apply it to their lives and share it in the lives of others. This is all part of picking up our crosses daily. If we know the truth it is our responsibility as believers to share it with those that are lost.