Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Full is Your Glass?

Is your glass half empty or half full?

Recently someone gave my husband and I a Word of encouragement. She felt the Word was to be given to our church, but she told us that she especially felt this Word was meant for us.

I asked her for a copy of it and read the printed out version a few times. My husband nudged me and smiled when he read the line “Some here are feeling like they may have misunderstood God’s voice.” We both chuckled. I do this.

A couple of lines later was this sentence “Now your finances have bottomed out.”

I contemplated this line. “Well, that’s not us” I told my husband. Every other part of the Word I get…but not that one.

I continued to pray on it through the afternoon. Listening to the voice of God, I hear His still small voice say to me “through the world’s eyes, your finances have bottomed out. You choose not to see it this way.”

Dawning…I get it. Ok, so robbing Paul to pay Peter in every conceivable way (and some not so conceivable), writing out a check for the water bill because it’s due with no grace period and there is still four days till payday…is finances bottomed out?

This is how I was looking at it. “Wow. Danny has had a few good weeks of sales. Things are really looking up. We’re doing great. We’ll have the money to get gas, buy groceries and pay some bills on Friday. Way cool!”

I tend to always see the glass as half full. Sometimes my glass is full and overflowing. I identify will with Pollyanna. Have you watched that movie lately?

This is an excerpt from the movie. The scene is between Pollyanna and the Reverend. His sermon topics centered on preaching hell and damnation…and always centered on the negative. Here is some dialogue from the movie:

Pollyanna: There are eight hundred happy texts, did you know that? (He was studying the Word, preparing for his sermon on Sunday)
Reverend: No, I didn’t know that.
Pollyanna: Yes, well there are. And do you know, my father said that if God took the trouble to tell us eight hundred times to be glad and rejoice, He must have wanted us to do it.

I love this movie. I own it. I watch it every now and again. It’s about a little girl who is orphaned when her missionary parents are killed. She goes and lives with her aunt who is rich, seems to have everything, and yet is soured toward life. She runs the town with an iron fist, everyone is afraid of her and everyone, including the Reverend does her bidding.

Along comes Pollyanna. She’s positive about everything, always finding the good where seemingly good cannot be found. A common phrase of hers in the movie is “I found something to be glad about.”

Being positive is a choice. As is being negative. It is learned behavior. We can choose to see possibility in things. We can choose to find the good versus the bad. We can choose to be joyful. We can choose to believe, and be optimistic.

Nothing gets me more than a person who counters something good, something I am excited about, with information to bring me back to reality. Like it’s their job to keep me grounded!

I came to the point when I stopped sharing exciting news with certain people. Almost always, they would counter with some negative comment.

Being optimistic not only makes you more fun to be around, but studies show that optimists tend to outperform pessimists in all respects.

According to one study pessimists are up to 8 times more likely to become depressed when bad events occur; they do worse at school, sports, and most jobs than their talents would suggest; they have worse physical health and shorter lives; they have rockier relationships.

Really? Why would someone choose to be negative? Not me!

I’ll keep on wearing my rose colored glasses…how about you?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Brain Test...It's Alive!

A week ago a friend of mine shared the results and the link to a brain test she took. Since it’s taking me forever to finish a couple of profound (at least to me) posts that I have been working on and since there is no completion day in sight, I decided to take the test myself. Let’s see how accurate this test is.

Darlene, you show a slight right-hemisphere dominance with a moderate preference for auditory processing, an unusual and somewhat paradoxical combination of characteristics.

(Huh? Thought I was visual…that’s weird)

You are drawn to a random and sometimes nonchalant synthesis of material.
(Can someone please tell me what this means?)
You learn as it seems important to a specific situation, and might even develop a resentment of others who attempt to direct your learning down a specific channel.

(Yeah, I can see that!)

Your right-hemispheric dominance provides a structure that is only loosely organized and one which processes entire swatches of reality, overlooking details.

(I am a big picture person)

You are emotional in your reactions and perceptual more than logical in your approach, although you can impose structure and a language base when necessary.

(This could be arguable since in the past I have been told “You have no emotions, you are as cold as a stone.”)

Your auditory preference, on the other hand, implies that you process information sequentially and unidimensionally.

(Does this mean I am a math person? Cause I am definitely a math person and a language person…those two are not often paired together.)
This combination of right-brain and auditory modes creates conflict, as you want to process data more rapidly than your natural processes allow.

(No comment)

Your tendency to be creative and free-flowing is accompanied by sufficient ability to organize and be logical, allowing you a reasonable degree of success in a number of different endeavors.

(I like where this is going)

You take in information methodically and systematically which can then be synthesized rapidly. In this manner, you manage to function consistently well, although certainly less efficiently than you desire.

(I do like order…love lists. I have many lists. Sometimes I re-do lists to make them more organized!)

You prefer the abstract and are a theoretician at heart while retaining the ability to be practical.

(Not abstract art…right? Cause I do not like abstract art!)

You find the symbolism in a great deal of what you encounter and are something of a "mystic."

(No, not mystic. Not at all. Jesus all the way!)

With regards to your lifestyle, you have the mentality which would be good as a philosopher, writer, journalist, or instructor, or possibly as a systems designer or social worker.

(Everything but systems designer sounds about right. Computers are aliens to me. My work with aliens is based on a limited understanding of their language!)

Perhaps most important is your ability to "listen to your inner voice" as a mode of skipping over unnecessary steps to achieve your goals.

(Great place to end. The Holy Spirit. Love the Holy Spirit!)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

So, you're religious. Good for you!

Last night after church we had a stop to make. I won’t mention where to protect the guilty. But, upon arriving at our destination, we casually mentioned we had just got out of Bible study and the person to whom we were commenting said, “I’m religious too.”

As we were driving, I asked my husband “I’m religious too? What does that mean?”

I shook my head and continued on to pick up a few groceries.

Fast forward to today. I am reading a comment left by someone reviewing my novel. In her review, she states, “I’m a religious person too.” Here it is again. I had planned on writing something entirely different for today’s post. Plans change. God was clearly leading me to write on a different topic altogether. Being religious.

Religious as a noun means:

1.a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

So, you call yourself religious. Good for you. Now, what exactly does that mean to you?
The definition above says being religious is centered around a set of beliefs, so, what do you believe? Do you worship the sun? The moon? Money? Football? The earth? Trees? Animals? Yourself? Well, what do you worship?

Religious can mean so many different things. It’s such a generic term. There is nothing personal about being religious. A religious person can be a muslim, a hindu, a buddhist, a scientologist, Jewish, or a host of other things. I don’t consider myself religious. I want to be more than just “religious.”

This is religious!

What did Jesus have to say about being religious? The Pharisees and the Sadducees were religious. Let’s take a look at what Jesus said about them. In Matthew 12:34, he called them a brood of vipers and evil. In Luke 11:39, He called them full of greed and wicked. In Matthew 12:39, He called them an evil and adulterous generation.

I don’t know about you, but being religious doesn’t sound too appealing.

To me, being religious is like being lukewarm. You don’t want people to think you aren’t a Christian, yet you aren’t enough of a Christian to want to shout it from the mountaintops. Revelation 3:15-16 states, I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

A little further down in verse 19, this is what is written, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

If not religious, then what? For starters, determine if you are a follower of Christ. If you have decided to live for Him, then start living like He is worth dying for. If you have called yourself a religious person, and you always thought that meant being a Christian, you now know it does not. Do as verse 19 tells you, and repent. Repent for being lukewarm. Repent for acknowledging God yet not making Him Lord of your life.

Sometimes, not even the term Christian is used properly. As followers of Christ, we are to have an intimate relationship with our Savior and Lord, the one who took every sin, sickness, hurt, pain and tear for us on a cross at Calvary. He gave His life so that we might live.

Stop being religious, stop pretending to be something you are not. Either jump in with both feet, or leave the pool. He wants our everything, he wants us fully devoted to Him.

I always think of the coolest things to say after I leave the conversation. Like “Oh, I’m not religious, I’m a Christian.” What is your reaction when someone tells you they are religious? Do you have something standard that you say back? I’d love to hear about your experiences with this subject.