Try

Posted: March 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Let me start with a quote- “Do or do not, there is no try.” Was this a famous saying of some great philosopher? Nope. Not even close. The quote is from Yoda. Yes, the Star Wars character. Taking life advice from a fictional character is not always the best way to go. That said, can you believe I was in a group therapy setting where the moderator taught this as a principle of life to be followed? Well it was. And for me it triggered despair. You see I have illness that can make me prone to all or nothing thinking. That if you aren’t guaranteed success, why bother. Hearing this moderator made me even more prone to not even try at things. Despair is a harsh combination of feeling/being helpless and hopeless. And I believe that only doing or not doing with no such thing as try is a despair maker.

I want us to know that not everyone believes that there is no try. In fact, trying can be a very good thing. Webster defines try like this- 1) to make an effort to do something, to attempt to accomplish or complete something. 2) to do or use something in order to see if it works or will be successful. 3) to do or use something in order to find out if you like it. To try using these definitions is to be smart. For instance, free trials of products can save us from paying for and continuing with things that are harmful or useless.

A song I love contains this lyric- “If I limp then I will run with a limp, I’ll win some and lose some but I’ll make my attempt.” Often to try is an act of courage. An act of conceding you don’t know everything and proceeding until you can truly see if it’s a good idea or bad one. By not trying many locked doors will stay locked. I dare us to at least knock on those locked doors and see what happens.

Lastly, I believe there is one form of try that can be unhelpful and even harmful. It is when we know we have the capability to succeed at something but you’re content to not put your best effort in. To be happy with mediocre. This form of “try” is no try at all.

In closing, this writing wouldn’t exist if I was not willing to try. This came together as I worked on it. Started with that Yoda quote in my head. And now, I have benefitted by completing this. I hope it may encourage a reader or two along the way.

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When words lie

Posted: February 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

1. Love

Love with conditions is not love. Is unconditional love a myth? A misnomer? No. Pure love exists and it will always be without condition. Look around hard enough and you’ll see it. See the father who loves his son like the day he was born despite knowing that son causes the father much pain. See a woman who adopts into her family a person she barely knows and treats and treats that child as her own the rest of her life. See spouses who can look past diseases and bad choices and still see and love the other for who they truly are. “I’ll love you if…” and “I’ll stop loving you if…” are simply not in genuine love’s vocabulary.

2. Grace

Grace earned simply is not grace. Grace can be defined as unmerited favor. So to have to work for something that is freely given is something other than true grace. Here’s an example- Credit cards. A credit card that offers a period of time for you to pay your bill past the due date without penalty calls that a grace period. Now if you have to earn that grace period by spending a certain amount of money each month to activate their “grace period” would not be grace. It would be an incentive instead. True grace comes with no strings attached.

3. Self-esteem

Self-esteem based on how others view you is not self-esteem. Webster defined self-esteem as self-respect. The key word here is self. If one’s self-esteem is based on how others respected him/her that would be more accurately called others-respect and others-esteem. So when looking at the health of your self-esteem be sure to only use your own opinions of yourself. Your opinions may be very different from how others see you.

In conclusion I’ll add it’s not so much that words lie as it is that words are wrongly defined. Define wisely.

Fire

Posted: February 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

An old song I know says “It only takes a spark to get a fire going”, and Smokey the Bear taught us that one small mistake with fire can take down a whole forest. Fire is certainly nothing to play with. It demands attention and respect or else it will surge out of control quickly, hurting people and many things. Yet fire is a useful and necessary tool to be used for much benefit when controlled. It helps engines, gas stoves, wood burners, steel mills, and many other things beneficial. So we need fire, but we need controlled fire.
I believe that we have something very similar, in theory at least, burning within us humans. I’m talking about anger. Much like fire, anger is a useful and necessary thing. And also like fire, we need our anger or anger will harm us and others. I see us all having a spark inside of us- our hearts. That spark will quickly ignite the gasoline of anger poured poured on to it. Too much anger and you’ll see a bonfire that burns yourself and others. Too little anger you’ll have a lonely spark that anyone can come and trample on whenever they please. This makes clear how important the proper level of anger is in our lives to be healthy and unharming.
I’ve found that other emotions and rationale can be tools to manage a healthy flame in us. The following can safely diffuse a fire- understanding, compassion, love, forgiveness, putting yourself in their shoes, dismissing, and asking yourself “What good will it be to get all worked up?” work very well for me. I encourage you to give these and any other positive tools a try. A healthy level of fire within us can make life so much better. It’s so worth our time and effort.

Confession

Posted: February 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

So I realize that sometimes I enjoy movies what I can believe is too much. An example- after a movie I view as great I feel exhilarated. My emotions deep and vibrant. Brain alive.

There was a time, and a long time, where I couldn’t enjoy and get the exhilaration about reading the Bible, listening to ministry, going to church, etc.

But now it’s different. I now get my best feelings, thoughts, and everything awesome from seeking God and spending time with Him. What’s changed? My relationship with God. I, now see, had many barriers in my way of a joyful relationship with God. There was lies believed, truth u believed and often not even considered, and illness plus more. The answer was quite simple- trust and obey. Simple to state and simple to know. Hard to do with a whole lot of consistency. See I’m still human. I’m a depraved wretch without God working mightily in me. And that’s only considering sins I do. Add in truly good things I fail to do and I can honestly agree with the apostle Paul that I am the chief of sinners. I’m so far beyond helpless and hopeless without God. I am at His mercy, only He can save.

And save He does, through the work of Jesus, all those who truly call on Him. I am one of those. When you know Him you realize the best thing you can do is admit that we are the chief of sinners without Him. This makes us completely forgiven, white as snow, in Him. Confessing our need for Him is the best confession anyone can make.

Loves

Posted: February 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

Jesus loves us. Everyone. Enough said. 🙌😊

I give up is a contradiction

Posted: February 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

We’re all familiar with the phrase “I give up”. We have learned this phrase means I’m done trying and we use it to communicate that. But to say I give up really doesn’t mean to quit. To me it speaks of giving it up to God. That’s where the oxymoron part comes in. When we “give up” in the traditional sense, I say giving down is more like it. For down below is where Satan lives. To quit, to give up, is his way. What he desires for us. This giving up where you’re really giving down needs to be replaced by truly giving up- giving it to God. Like a child with a new toy we want to play with we try so very hard to put it together and make it work. We come to exhaustion and face a choice- to give up traditionally or truly. Traditional would be to move away from the toy, stop trying, and probably sulk or pout. Tell me that’s not what Satan salivates for. “I can’t do it” and “I’m helpless” are his bread and butter. But to truly give up invites your heavenly Father in. Much like a child going to his dad for help with the new toy, we are to go to Him and admit our weakness. Then, like the child, we do whatever our Father asks knowing He knows best and loves us.

Oh clarity, where has thou been?

Posted: December 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

A journal entry

Wednesday 12/11/13 @330pm:

T minus @2 1/2 hours till launch from this Tennessee hospital to Nashville greyhound. I depart at 7p and arrive mid-afternoon in Meadville tomorrow. Go God!!! He always provides.
It’s exciting to get to move forward now. Now I see illness and that I have genuine boundaries that are genuinely needed on my life. To those who say “There’s nothing wrong with you”, I say yeah right. To my illness and enemies that say “Mark you have to die because you’re so helpless, hopeless, and sick”, I also say yeah right. For where I need to be, and always have, is somewhere between those extremes.
See how I excelled in high school after getting into a special program for severe behavior handicaps my last year and a half. A great example of not all the way and not nothing.
I don’t see where I’ve ever had that middle in relationships, jobs, money, church, or really anything of substance since graduation of high school. Been no bounds or all bounds since. I guess Warren State hospital is an exception. I did stay there prolonged and did excel, though truly excel I did not. Much like the end of high school. Where there was still chaos going on while attendance and grades got great. I overcame a lot and did things well at WSH, yet it’s revealed now that there was still chaos going on there. For if you could see all that was going on for me there at WSH what has happened since my discharge. In a word- chaos.
I just watched a marriage proposal on tv. It reminds me that even with my 4 legal marriages and 3 other non-legal commitments, I never once had the resources to secure an engagement ring. Talk about the cart before the horse. Or at least building a solid future on a so shaky present as the foundation. Worse is, especially after time, I knew better. So I’m a 7 time loser there. Secured cars in my life? I’ve owned two outright. Lost about a dozen now. Places to live? Probably at least 25 changes of address. Jobs? Over 100 lost. Children? 3 lost. Broke the hearts of 3 more too. Money? 2 full bankruptcies and need a 3rd. Plus many defaults and even criminal stuff. Church? At least 7. Plus 50 hospitalizations and nearly as many failed outpatient plans. Loss, loss, loss. Some taken from me, more given up by me.
But not quitting by itself is not answer. For that keeps me locked in to bad decisions. So it’s bad choices that get me in trouble, that cause chaos. And the root of those choices is my thoughts and feelings.
Thoughts and feelings move all over the place in me. They can secure my morals but just as easily make me betray my morals. I.e. How many times have I gone on to do what I had before decided was bad or not do what I saw to be right? Just since my discharge from WSH in June the list of conflicted behavior is large. Ugh.
2 things become clear needs-
1) my thoughts and emotions need care, supervision, and help. 2) My choices and actions need care, supervision, and help. For I go astray slightly to majorly, public to hidden, whether I appear fine or not. I need special help and boundaries. On my own I am and create chaos.
That last paragraph sums up a bunch. That’s how chaos can stop, and and it’s chaos that is my enemy. Chaos that I can’t stop on my own or with the help I’ve had so far. Areas of my life have always been chaos. Never without chaos. Always taking on too much, letting go of something, wanting more, and/or wanting less. Like spinning 5 plates on sticks, I can do some well for a time but never all 5. First 1 crashes, then 2, then more and all. I.e. Me having no possessions and no home which I’m currently going through for the umpteenth time.
Since needing to leave Texas 9 days ago, I can see the desperate choices I make to try and improve things. So the more I tried to improve things there, the more chaos developed. How much different would life be if I just could’ve stood up and said “I don’t have enough money to move right now”