A (Potential) Way To Stabilize Yourself During The Bad Days

photo-1427694012323-fb5e8b0c165bOver the past few weeks I’ve been working on my self-talk, trying to be more positive about work in particular: that forty-plus-hour block of time that I somehow have to deal with, one way or another.

Every day I have a few choices, and I’ve always been told that this is a binary thing: I can expect the good, or expect the bad.

I may have found a third choice that works. We shall see. It’s still in the experimental phase, and I might drop it if it doesn’t work. This choice goes like this:

It’s going to be a good day, whether it is or not.

I tell myself this strange little phrase several times in the morning and often throughout the day, depending on how hard the day actually is. I don’t know why this helps, but it seems to help keep me neutral during the day: bad stuff will come, good stuff will come, whatever, but it’s still a good day.

This approach takes the good and the bad into account. I’m going to get easy calls, I’m going to get terrible ones, but I don’t have to let outside circumstances destabilize me–at least not at work.

I wouldn’t say I’m a happier person because of this, but happiness is not the goal. Stability, evenness, and a sense of well-being, that’s more important than happiness to me.

Try it out and see what you think. If you’re having problems keeping stable, this might trick your mind into being able to deal with things a little easier. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if it worked for you. Thanks.

President Trump: The Winners and Losers

Perhaps someday I’ll be more nonpartisan, a little more detached during election seasons.

But not today.

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This is a day for rejoicing, a day for singing happy songs, for many. But many are crying today:

  • The mass media: because they have been caught lying, loudly, and repeatedly. They have suddenly discovered that they have no friends and are wondering what to do now.
  • The Republican and Democratic establishments: for lying to the people and trying to get their same-ol’, same-ol’ milquetoast candidates and policies down the throats of Americans.
  • The Clinton camp, for its inexcusable moral failures in (at times literally) propping up a candidate who was utterly evil and despicable to the core.
  • Celebrities, because they’re isolated from reality in their little popularity bubbles, and though they may sometimes play intelligent characters on screen, many of them are stupid to the core.
  • Liberal progressives, because they have been attempting to destroy this country through unmaintainable, dumb ideas like open borders (suicide) and abortion on demand (genocide).
  • Liberal Christians, because they failed to listen to reason, to look for the important issues, to move beyond their little near-secular popularity cliques.
  • President Obama, who has worked to destroy the United States for eight long years, at times systematically, with Saul Alinsky tactics, but most often through virtue signaling, bumbling, and kissing the feet of Islamic hegemony.

Many groups lost big. But some won big, or should I say ‘big league’?

  • Non-liberal Christians. Repealing the Johnson Amendment can end religious persecution through the IRS. Stopping the Syrian ‘refugee’ program means less Sharia-observant individuals coming to the United States (people who have not made a commitment to blend into Western culture and thus not kill Christians).
  • Gays and lesbians. While I disagree with their lifestyle, I am also on the same side when it comes to importing Islamic ‘refugees’: if they come from Sharia-law-practicing countries, they want to kill both of us. So we have common ground there.
  • Middle class workers. Tax cuts have a huge impact. Keeping businesses here in the United States will keep jobs here. Stopping non-citizens from crossing the border will make minimum-wage jobs available to United States citizens.
  • The losers that I mentioned before–because by electing President Trump, we intend to Make America Great Again For Everybody.

Voices

photo-1474393881983-cd780bf9f4adsomething’s wrong

[looks around] Why do I feel bad? What’s wrong with me?

something’s wrong – something’s wrong – something’s wrong

Ugh, what is this?

all your failures – all your failures – all your failures in sequential order

[cries]

failures – failures – failures

Wait. [checks pockets]

doom – doom – it’s over – this is the end

Crap, I forgot to take my meds.

failure – doom – something’s wrong – something’s wr… [silence]

That’s a little better.

Voices

something’s wrong

[looks around] Why do I feel bad? What’s wrong with me?

something’s wrong – something’s wrong – something’s wrong

Ugh, what is this?

all your failures – all your failures – all your failures in sequential order

[cries]

failures – failures – failures

Wait. [checks pockets]

doom – doom – it’s over – this is the end

Crap, I forgot to take my meds.

failure – doom – something’s wrong – something’s wr… [silence]

That’s a little better.

Progressive Clarification 

photo-1464746133101-a2c3f88e0dd9One of the difficult things about this life is when you reach the frustration point: I am not who I need to be; I can’t think the way I need to; I need clarification; what is wrong with me?

Well, nothing is wrong with you. It’s just not clear yet.

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:4-6

The problem I run into so many times is that I cannot think clearly enough. Either I am too emotionally attached to the issue at hand to make a clear decision, or no one path seems better than the other.

That’s when I need clarity. And there’s nothing wrong with seeking God in prayer with that–as a matter of fact, that should be our first step, seeking our Almighty and ever-loving God for wisdom.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5

I have learned over the years that if I am stuck in negative thinking, that I am not thinking right. Sometimes there’s a quick fix for that: take a nap, get some exercise, grab a bite to eat. Sometimes the problem is a little deeper and I might have to have a talk with myself, like David:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation. – Psalm 42:5

“C’mon, cheer up, snap out of it!” There’s no shame in talking to yourself, maybe even bossing yourself around a little bit. We have far more control over our internal thought processes and emotional state than we think we do.

We all proceed ‘from glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18) and need clarification along the way. I myself have been asking God for clarity on my life’s work, what career path I’m to take next, and through prayer and counseling have come up with a ‘game plan’ (going back to college and getting a teaching degree, which has been my heart’s desire for decades).

But it’s taken many years to arrive at this point where I can think clearly about the future. rather than wading daily through a fog of misery and confusion. I didn’t start getting treatment for my mental illness issues (which I didn’t know that I had) until I had a full nervous breakdown several years back. It’s been a long, difficult road since then. But I’m glad to be able to say that I’ve reached a little more clarity. And every week things become a little more clear, through prayer, wise counsel, life experiences, and reading books. But I’m not ‘all the way there’ yet. And neither are you. But that’s OK.

Progressive clarification, that’s what we receive from God. Enough light for the path ahead. Eventually enough light will come so we can see farther. But for right now, we have a little light, and that’s enough.

Life In The Midlife

It was a dark and stormy life.
It was a dark and stormy life.

As stated in the previous post, I’ve been working through a midlife crisis. I’m approaching 40 and longing for work that’s significant instead of just money-making.

It’s a really challenging time because I’m seeking advice from books and from a life coach. I have to do something different with my life–but I feel a little powerless at times. In order to do anything different in my career, I would either need to go back to college or trade school, and both ideas are something I am having a hard time dealing with.

I need to learn something else. I need different skills to not only pay the bills, but a different life situation where I am using the talents God has given me in a role that feels significant.

The reason I haven’t written much on this is that this season is also one of an identity crisis. When a book asks me to ask myself, ‘Who am I?’ and I don’t have a ready answer, that’s when things get painful. I’ve come up with a million Twitter bios over the years, listing whatever I’m into right now: learning Japanese, lover of progressive rock, World of Warcraft player, a lot of things. I can easily tell you what I do, and what I like, but I can’t tell you who I am.

Here are a few other questions that the book I’m reading, Consider Your Calling: Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation, asks:

  • What on earth is God doing?
  • Who are you?
  • What is your stage of life?
  • What are your circumstances?
  • What is the cross you will have to bear?
  • What are you afraid of?

Some of these I don’t have very positive answers for, or don’t have any answer. I have a life coach also asking me a lot of questions, and it’s easy to get discouraged during this process of internal probing and intense prayer asking God to make things clear.

I’m sure that good will come out of this time soon, but it’s been painful.

Moving From Midlife Crisis To ‘Half Time’ (Book Review)

418s0cO2dZLIf you’re going to have a midlife crisis anyway, you’d better make the best of it.

Recently I learned that there is such a thing as a midlife crisis–it’s a psychological phenomenon that all men go through, usually as they approach 40 years old, where they re-evaluate their life, find it devoid of meaning, and then…

The ‘…and then’ is what Half Time is about. What most men need to do is look at their life and transform it from one focused on success to one focused on significance. At some point we all decide that what we do has to have meaning–lasting significance beyond the end of our life–or we give up in one way or another. This book encourages you to re-evaluate your life by asking, ‘what’s in your box?’ In other words, what is the most important thing to you? Business or Christ? And if Christ, what then?

This is a very challenging book, partly because it asks a lot of uncomfortable questions, and partly because the writer is frustratingly hard to relate with at times. He says that it doesn’t matter how much success we had in our first half–while he goes on to say that he has several cars and houses, and I look at my much-less-affluent situation and cringe. I wish the man no lack of prosperity, I just find it difficult to relate with someone who has apparently always been rich and successful.

The best and worst part is the questions. This book demands a lot out of you, writing vision statements, thinking about your next demands, running plans past mentors. If you do what the book says, I think it’ll be very helpful. When I’m not throwing the book across the room, I’m picking it up and gleaning a good bit out of it. Perhaps those are the best kind of books: the ones that make you a little angry, so the point where you must respond. The author, Bob Buford, greatly succeeds here.