Friday, December 19, 2008
The holidays are upon us; a time of celebration and joy. I love the last days of November through the beginning of the New Year. The pure magic of the holidays is something that I anticipate and enjoy each and every year.
For some though, the holidays have lost the joy and excitement they at other times have had. The pace of life has grown so fast - much faster than those first holidays I remember in my life - that some people don't enjoy the times they get to spend with their family and friends during what is supposed to be days filled with joy and peace.
Why is that? Probably a lot can be laid at the feet of how fast paced our times are, but that isn't all.
I believe our holiday times should be wonderful and filled with lasting and enjoyable moments and memories. So how can we ensure that we come out of the holidays in January with great memories of the past month? Here are six thoughts that will help you experience the holidays the way they were intended to be experienced:
1. Be Temperate. Holidays can be days of excess for many -- too much food, too many cookies and treats. Too much chocolate, schedules that are too busy. One thing that will help you enjoy the holidays is to be temperate. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the treats. Enjoy the busy schedule of activities and parties. But also be disciplined enough to know when to hold back, when to say, "No". When we go overboard we regret it and loose the opportunity to fully experience that moment. But when we enjoy a little and refrain from going too far, then we can enjoy all that little piece of time has to offer.
2. Lower Your Expectations. Much of the frustration people experience from the holidays is from setting their expectations too high. They expect too much from friends or family, and when they don't get what they want, they get frustrated. They expect presents to be perfect and when they aren't, they get frustrated or disappointed. Instead of having huge expectations this holiday season, just take it as it comes and enjoy what you can. And this brings me to my next point.
3. Enjoy What You Can and Ignore the Rest. This holiday season, go with an attitude of knowing that things will be what they will be. You can't control other people or their actions. If a family member pushes the limits of your patience, ignore that and instead focus on how much you can enjoy the time you have with other family members. If things don't go perfectly - which they won't - then enjoy what you can and let the rest slide. You will feel a lot better about life if you can take all things a little easier.
4. Stay Out of Debt. Debt is a killer. It will steal your enjoyment of life. Be sure to stay within your financial boundaries this holiday season. The last thing you want is to start the New Year with a deeper burden financially. Know where you are financially and stay within those limits. You don't have to impress anyone, just buy gifts that you can afford and express your heartfelt feeling in the giving of the gift.
5. Take Time for Yourself. Be sure that no matter how busy you get, that you take time for yourself. Take time to read. Take a long bath if that relaxes you. Take a walk. Spend some time of quiet in front of a fire. Don't rush through the holidays and sap all of your energy. Your mind and body need to be re-energized, so be sure to take time to do so.
6. Focus on Your Spiritual Life. Ultimately, no matter what tradition you come from, the holidays are historically days in which we focus on the spiritual. Men and women are created with a natural draw toward spiritual life. However, our culture today tends to stay away from a focus on the spiritual, and that has even crept into our holidays. Be sure to place an emphasis on building your spiritual life and growing in that area. This will help keep you grounded and able to deal with anything that may come your way.
Friends, we are coming to the end of another year. I have enjoyed this year immensely! This time of year is another chance to remember the important truths of life and to enjoy time with dear friends and family. May you experience the very best this holiday season and move into January better than ever!
Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine. To subscribe, go to www.JimRohn.com All contents Copyright © JimRohn.com except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.
Friday, December 12, 2008
By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach & Author
If you live near an ocean, you know about riptides, which are highly dangerous currents that can rip your legs out from under you and sweep you out into the ocean depths in a matter of seconds. If you try to fight the current, you will drown as dozens of people in Florida do every year. These silent and powerful ocean currents can overpower even the strongest of swimmers because the size and force of the waves become completely overwhelming. There is only one way to escape and save your life so listen carefully; “Don’t try to fight the riptide, just flow with it as you swim parallel to the shoreline. In a few dozen feet you will be out of the strong current and can safely swim back to the shore.”
So, if you have to deal with a dangerous ocean riptide, you have three choices… First- stay out of the water (and don’t let anyone you love go near it either). Second, pretend that riptides don’t exist and try to stay in the shallow water with hopes you never get swept away to drown in the depths. Third, learn how to swim safely out of the dangerous current and teach the people you love how to do the same. That way the ocean isn’t a scary place that could snatch you or a family member away in a blink of an eye- rather it becomes a serene place to sit and relax, or a place to make memories with your family or friends. When you and your kids learn how to use this life-saving advice you can spend your time at the beach having fun, instead of living in fear of the ocean.
Media riptides are even more dangerous
Media can be very similar to the description of riptides above because it can silently and rapidly become a powerful force that sweeps away unsuspecting kids or adults with even more dangerous consequences. Mass-media is like an ocean because there are so many new technologies that reach into every corner of our daily lives. To show you how big this media ‘ocean’ really is, consider the many ways we are exposed to hearing, seeing or experiencing some form of multi-media from this partial list below.
Television, radio, CD’s, DVD’s, VHS videos, magazines, newspapers, direct mail, billboards, handbills, signs, movies, MP3 music players or other portable downloadable media players, hundreds of channels of cablevision programming for television, iPod’s and high resolution cell-phones, accessing the Internet via the world-wide web on home computers with dial-up, broadband or wireless Internet service, the new technology of high-definition (HD) television, HD radio, and the ability to play any one of thousands of realistic video games on a laptop, home computer, video game system, cell phone or even through the pull down DVD players mounted in the roof of many new cars!
Media is flooding into our lives from every direction because this ocean of technology and communications is growing larger by the nanosecond.
· 20% of households in the US have at least one big screen TV
· Video game sales are now a $10 billion per year industry
· 33% of homes with Internet access in US also have high-speed access
· Teenagers time in front of a computer has doubled over the last six years
· Kids now spend up to 35 hours per week in front of electronic screens in addition to any academic studies and that number is rising every year!
As more and more media flows into every aspect of our daily lives, it creates two distinctively different groups- watchers & doers. One group is actively connected to media, so they spend more time watching life, while the other group is growing more disconnected from media so they have the time to be more actively involved in doing life.
Kids, teens, adults and even senior adults can become overwhelmed by the flood of media images that can sweep even the strongest person into missing out on good things in life because of wasted time watching life instead of living it. Others do more than waste time- they get washed away from their basic values because of continual exposure to unmentionable web images that drown their conscious minds into the depths of darkness and depravity
“The Internet is a dangerous, dangerous thing
and parents have to know what’s going on.” ~ Dr. Phil McGraw
Here’s an common example to show how seemingly harmless media can steal away happiness at home. Media experts believe that some guys park in front of the tube on a Friday night and then proceed to watch as much as 30 hours of televised sports and cable news over the rest of the weekend while totally ignoring their family. Are they ‘super fan’s’ or just distant dads? Even though they might say they’re just really serious about the sport, in reality I believe that guys who spend that much time in front of the TV are doing the same thing as anybody else who is just wasting time by watching endless hours of sitcoms, soaps, movies, news, surfing the web or playing hour after hour of video games.
They are spending huge blocks of time in entertainment to try and escape something in their daily life because that is always the motivation behind habitual or compulsive behavior. You may have to dig to find it, but there is always some area of dysfunctional process going on when there is some form of addictive behavior present. Media can become an addiction for wounded or worried people no matter how much they try and deny that media really isn’t a problem for them because they could ‘turn it off anytime they wanted.’ The Nile is a river in Egypt that flows north, Denial is a part of escapism that flows away from the reality of something fearful inside the person who doesn’t want to deal with that part of life. Ignoring problems don’t make them go away- it simply makes them bigger, so any area of media usage that seems terribly out of balance for you, your kids or someone in your family should be brought up and discussed; instead of ignored as they silently are swept away by a flood of negative media exposure.
Benefits of Entertainment
Entertainment is beneficial when you need to take a break and turn your mind off to rest for a while. God designed our bodies to need rest 1/3 of every day and even more if you recall the example given in the book of Genesis where God rested on the seventh day to model healthy behavior for mankind to practice each week as well. Just like high-performance machines need some down-time for maintenance and repair, we know our bodies function best when there is regular time for rest and recharging. Media tends to steal this essential quiet time with distractions, interruptions and time wasters that prevent complete rest and recharge because there is always something on TV, radio or the Internet that has nothing to do with adding value to our health, life or relationships, yet can still pull our focus away from the importance of achieving a more complete rest.
Now, contrast the differences between Entertainment where you might just watch a sport with the actual Experience of playing a sport, involving increased activity or sweat. One group are pushing themselves to a new level of exertion or competition; while the other group quietly is watching a satellite or video taped episode of someone else on the field playing their hearts out. Here are some of the startling differences between the two primary methods of interacting with the growing flood of media choices.
Passively watching Actively doing
Leisure, (no sweating) Energetic, (sweating likely)
No discipline required Discipline required
No health benefit Some health benefit
Isolation, (mostly alone) Social connection with others
No teamwork required Teamwork may be required
Tendency to self-focus Tendency to focus on others
(“I want to watch this”) (“Let’s vote on what to do”)
Connect to media images Connect to real people
Empty feeling afterwards Energized feeling afterwards
There is another major difference between how these two groups tackle life and that is about what you wear on the outside. Think about if for a second. You can join in just about any form of entertainment by wearing ugly or baggy clothes, perhaps even your pajamas! However, if you are headed out to connect with other people through some type of shared experience there is an obvious tendency to focus attention given on some type of acceptable dress code or uniform. For instance, most golf courses require a very specific dress code to play, as do many tennis courts. Scuba divers need a certain type of equipment, as do bowlers and mountain bikers, and of course everyone knows that all basketball players wear their favorite brand of shoes!
Playing a game of catch in the front yard is a much better connection point than watching a child play a video game of catch in the family room. Moving away from passive to active approaches in dealing with media is essential if you want to reclaim your home from being a waste land of disconnected people who are growing even more distant because of media’s continual waves of distractions.
Media thieves come out late at night
Entertainment that steals time from other priorities is always a mistake, no matter how innocent it may seem at the time. Let me share a personal example of this process in my own struggles to maintain balance in media habits. Television news at bedtime- I’ve lost sleep time from trying to stay up and watch the news and then had times that I lost even more because of disturbing images that I saw on the news… far better to pray this prayer I learned in childhood, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I, (or someone in my family or community), should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.” That prayer may seem a bit drastic or odd for a child to learn- but it came out of the reality my parents wanted me to learn that God is the only one who really could control the big stuff, which means that I don’t have to worry about major world events and can just focus on closing my eyes and resting instead of sitting up to stress over breaking news stories on CNN’s and fueling my own feelings of increased fear, worry or anxiety.
Re-creating positive energy
Real life experience is so much better than even the most engaging and realistic entertainment because if involves the basic foundation of “re-creating” positive energy. When you are having an ‘over-the-top’ experience, you are laying the foundation for a process that re-creates something powerful in yourself and in others. This deep spiritual and emotional dynamic is from the reality of living through an experience which generates a great deal of ongoing value in the present, while bringing back long term benefits for many years to come through positive memories that really can last a lifetime.
These type of experiences can be deeply emotional, relational or spiritual and are real and tangible and always bring positive power. Compare that with the reflection that entertainment creates about a real-life experience, but it’s only a temporary image from a brief encounter or exposure to some form of media. It’s not really bad- it’s just not real, which flows out of the major differences between a surface level image and a soul level sense of identity. Sort of like a popular media advertisement many years ago that asked, “is it real- or is it Memorex?”®
Self-Improve or Self-Destruct?
Positive life experiences create a tremendous deal of power through the re-creation process, which can keep you young at heart and because it often involves real activity, is usually good for your heart as well. Entertainment tends to shut off your brain and body since it’s more about watching others connect, (or pretend to connect) with something in life, then it is about finding and reaching out to generate a real connection with others who want to grow stronger or self improve in some way. (However, with the incredible popularity of on-line video gaming you can actually reach out to hundreds of people somewhere in the world 24/7 who will temporarily connect as you play the game together. I suspect that this might create some degree of improvement to your hand-eye coordination, but it’s not a real improvement to your head through equipping of new skills; or a real improvement to your heart through encouraging words or lasting relationships ).
You may point out that self-improvement isn’t a driving force behind many popular forms of media because many television shows are written and designed as a ‘mindless’ or silly distraction to avoid the stress of the day, and I would agree to a point. What concerns me isn’t the abundance of silly shows that make us giggle, (I like those too), rather it’s the apparent lack of structured shows that make us grow.
I believe that life is continually changing which forces you to either take positive action to self-improve or you end up self-destructing by default. If you choose to believe that your exposure to media is only a neutral issue that doesn’t have much of an impact on you or your kids, then you are in the highest risk category to be swept away by the tsunami sized waves of new media that are already building up speed and size as they zoom toward us in the weeks and months ahead.
Massive Waves of Change:
If you don’t believe that media is zooming forward with massive new technologies, then consider the rapid changes in our culture since 1985, when VHS home video cameras were just becoming popular and nobody you knew even had a fax machine. Media has flooded our lives over the last twenty years in such a way that personal cell phones have gone from being a rare luxury for executives to a common part of life for teenagers… or even more telling, think of how many outdated cell-phones, cassette tape recorders, old computer monitors, worn out inkjet printers or non-cable ready television sets are sitting right now somewhere in a dusty corner of your garage or utility room. Media has changed so much of how we live that many young children don’t really know what a typewriter is or how to quickly use a rotary dial telephone or change channels on a television set that doesn’t have a remote control. Buckle up- bigger changes are coming!
Not paying attention to media images in your home for adults and kids or not openly setting boundaries on what is or isn’t safe in your family’s use of the Internet or cable television is like allowing kids who don’t know how to swim to play around in the shallow part of strong currents. To not know how to swim and then be let loose with a remote control and a few hundred channels or a few hundred thousand websites and a wireless mouse is like pushing a kid out into the deep end with no life jacket. It’s like inviting terrorists to hang out in your home or baby-sit your kids while telling yourself that they really aren’t that bad and probably won’t bring disaster and destruction to the people who mean the most to you. Wake up! Media can be dangerous, and is most dangerous to the ones who ignore the warning signs where riptides have swept others away.
To avoid taking bold action with media exposure is irresponsible because it sets kids up to fail from being mentally swept away from their protective core values which keep us focused and on track toward the things that matter most, instead of carelessly getting caught up in a current of wasted hours and careless mistakes. Core values can protect us from the dangers in the very dark side of media, because they serve to light out path and guide our steps.
One other significant challenge that can flood into our lives, but is often forgotten is how entertainment can suck up so much time, energy and money, leading to the potential health problems that are associated with a sedentary lifestyle. You’ve probably already heard about the dangers associated with childhood obesity, which you can protect your child from simply by getting them up to experience life, instead of just sitting to be entertained by it.
The remote control can be used for parents to reclaim control
Does this mean that you should never watch a game on TV or movies with your kids? Of course not! Media should add value to your life, not steal it. It means you have to get honest with the real reasons behind the viewing habits in your home. Understand what motivates you or the kids to do things, especially any activity that might stand in the way of a more balanced and healthy life. Talk about it, deal with problems or out of balance areas at once. Even seemingly innocent things, like watching old reruns of “Leave it to Beaver” or trying to sell stuff on E-Bay, could become a roadblock to experiencing real life if you let it get out of balance with other, more important priorities in life. Leonardo da Vinci was likely thinking through the same issue when he said,
“Just as iron rusts from disuse, so does inaction spoil the intellect.”
So how can you swim in the waves of media washing up and not get swept away? Start by asking yourself some hard but important questions, because it’s the only way to protect you, or the kids you love from being harmed by media.
-“Does this activity help me or my family to have a deeper level of spiritual or relational connection together?”
-“Will this media bring peaceful contentment to our home-life?”
-“Would I let someone with the kind of language or lifestyle as reflected in this film actually hang out with my kids on a daily basis?
-WWJW… What would Jesus watch? (or even on a more personal level, what would your grandmother not be embarrassed for you to watch?)
-Would you be embarrassed to be seen on a new reality TV show viewing whatever it is that steals your time and energy at home?
Are you ready to get real and reclaim the time-energy or money that has been wasted in media so you can gain a clear direction to a better future of connecting as a family- instead of feeling lost and lonely with the people you live around who may already be drowning in media addictions?
Here’s the basic formula that even a small child can understand, so work it into your regular schedule and common discussions about how your family can play in the shallow end of media, while not being swept away in the depths of despair. Here’s the balancing formula to protect the process of recreating energy from positive experiences, while still enjoying some of the breaks that come from the benefits of entertainment. Regularly compare the differences of:
Entertainment, (watching life) with
Life Experiences, (living life)
Finally, learn to be gut level honest about the real motivations and reasons behind why you do things you do as an adult before trying to convince a child or teenager that it’s okay for you to watch it, but not them. If you act or sound like a hypocrite, they will eat you alive as they point out your inconsistencies! Better is to be honest about the real reasons. If you want to relax by watching a sailing regatta; good, enjoy it! Make some popcorn. Light an aromatherapy candle. Stretch out on the couch. Take a mental break. All of these things help you because they can soothe your soul. That process is important and necessary for kids or adults to know how to do in maintaining a healthy balance, both now and for the rest of their lives.
However, if you end up agitated that your crew didn’t win, or just spend three hours surfing through channels looking for something else to watch to escape the pressures you don’t want to deal with in your life; then you missed the benefit and value those three hours could have given you. You would have been better off to have taken a nap, or taken the dog for a long walk, or called a friend just to chat and catch up about their life. Any thing would have been better than wasting hours being swept away in the current of mindless media. If you do that, you are wasting your time. And when you waste time, you’re wasting your life.
Choose wisely to avoid the fear of the waves
You do get to choose how to deal with this growing ocean of media choices. Take positive action and choose wisely in preparing to swim away from the dangerous riptides in media and you will never have to live in fear of drowning in negative media again. You will be able to move from fear of media flooding into your home, to enjoying the benefits that this mighty ocean of options brings to you and your family. Education, spiritual growth, creative hobbies, connection with friends and family in any part of the world, personal development, fun games, laughter, building empathy or compassion by experiencing what life would be like in someone else’s situation, and the list of benefits goes on and on since there are tremendously positive things that this new ocean can bring to your doorsteps.
However, if you choose poorly and watch someone you love be caught up in the currents that sweep away values you will be filled with regret and grief over how much you wish you would have taken positive action before it was too late.
Let me challenge you to do everything possible to take action to protect yourself and those you care about by getting involved, becoming educated, talking, listening, asking questions and setting boundaries right now before it’s too late! Take every step you can to prevent these powerful media messages from stealing your time, family traditions or faith and values. I believe the best way to do this is to make real memories as often as possible in front of your own camera by taking snapshots of your family, laughing, playing and enjoying the power of positive experiences together.
This way you aren’t watching some other family in a situation comedy on television trying to figure out their life at home; you will be living out what it means to be a family as you find greater fulfillment in living out reality in your own home than anything the entertainment world could ever imagine possible.
Need help with media ‘swimming lessons’?
I believe your home should be a place of peace and safety that gets better over time because each person is growing in greater love and connection to the other people in their family. However, if your home has been a chaotic place of disconnected arguments or power struggles about media choices, here are some websites to help you take bold action to educate yourself about the pressure points that may be facing your family with movies, music, television, websites, and countless other forms of media that can harm you or someone you love.
Study this information now as it applies to you and your own family situation so you can develop strategies to tackle the hidden currents and silent media messages that may have been stealing from your family for years. The good news is that you can make positive choices in your home and when you do, it will bring a positive difference to your family as everyone learns to swim away from the dangers of media riptides, while enjoying the beneficial things that entertainment can bring us and never worrying again about how to get safely back to the shore.
Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint."Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2008), To receive this valuable weekly resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"
About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture. Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by visiting his counseling blog with over 150 complimentary articles and special reports at www.LifeWorksGroup.org
Friday, December 05, 2008
You’re Going to Get Through This
People are getting laid off. Men can’t find jobs. Companies are being forced to do layoffs. People are taking pay reductions. Bills are going unpaid. Budgets are getting slashed. Home values have plummeted. Savings accounts are rapidly being emptied out. Investments have gone up in smoke.
And that’s just in my family.
Our nation and the world are in an economic meltdown of freakish proportions. How are you going to survive?
Maybe you’ve lost your job—or fear it. Maybe you’ve watched your investments or paycheck shrink. Perhaps your business is way off.
Or maybe you’re “okay,” but still worry how it’s all going to turn out. Inevitably, you have family and friends struggling to make ends meet.
Much will be written in the days ahead about why this happened (humanly speaking), who is to blame, how to fix it, and when it will be over. However, this book will not touch on any of those topics. The purpose of this book is to show you how to personally survive and learn from the economic meltdown.
Where I’m Coming From
First, let’s go back to 1986 when a scenario developed not unlike what we’re seeing today—at least in the broad strokes. The economy was bloated with excessive consumption funded by overly easy credit with limited oversight. Greed was rampant.
In my line of work—commercial real estate development—we had banks pulling up to our front door and rolling in wheelbarrows full of money that I could borrow on “easy terms.” Being foolish and naive, I was accepting it.
Because of the aggressive lending and—just so the blame gets shared equally—aggressive borrowing, the commercial real estate market was grossly overbuilt. Banks and Savings and Loan Associations were stretched thin. Businesses were highly leveraged.
Then Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Liquidity immediately vanished. The dominoes began to fall. Without credit, car dealers began to close. The Savings and Loan industry fell into a black hole, and was eventually liquidated by the federal government. Many insurance companies failed.
Even before the Tax Reform Act, rental rates on property began to tumble. Developers were left with buildings they couldn’t rent, mortgages they couldn’t pay, and investors who refused to throw good money after bad.
At the beginning of 1986 I had, let’s say for the purposes of example, $200 of property and $150 of mortgages. Just six months later, the appraisers had reduced the value of our properties from $200 to $100. But we still had $150 in mortgages. That is not the kind of problem from which you can easily recover—if at all.
Virtually all of my competitors—at least those who had used leverage like me—soon declared bankruptcy. To go bankrupt hurts, but it is not an irreparable disgrace.
Nevertheless, I sensed that God was calling me to do everything I could avoid going bankrupt. I never sensed any promise from Him that I wouldn’t have to. But I believed God wanted me to demonstrate my Christian faith to our employees, vendors, investors, lenders, family, and anyone else who might be watching.
So every day for the next seven years, I woke up not knowing whether or not I would be forced into bankruptcy.
The Feeling of Weariness
One of your greatest challenges in the middle of a meltdown is feeling weary. Some days you just wonder, “Will this ever end?”
I remember coming home for lunch one day—my regular practice. No one was there. As I stood at the sink in our darkened kitchen and looked through the window into the bright and sunny backyard, I was struck by the contrast between the darkness and the light. I said out loud, “I am so weary, I just don't know how I can go on for one more day.”
Another day I had just finished a tough meeting and was walking back into my office. As I walked through the doorway, I thought, "That’s it. I quit." Then I took another two steps and laughed. I thought, "You can’t quit. You hate quitters!"
One day I was riding down a divided highway that curved in the distance. A huge bolt of lightning struck in a place that, because of the way the road curved, gave the optical illusion that it struck the middle of the road. I remember thinking, Oh, how I wish I could have been under that bolt!
When There’s No End In Sight
Most of my troubles cleared up in about three years. But I had an institutional investor that really wanted to inflict punishment on me.
I admit in hindsight that it would have been better not to build the buildings in which they had invested (hindsight is 20-15—a little better than 20-20). But they apparently wanted me to shoulder the blame for the entire market collapse! As one writer said at the time, “Nobody is bigger than the market.”
So at the five year mark, weariness finally got the best of me. I was talking to my attorney on the phone and said, “Tommy, I just can’t take it anymore. They win. I give up. Tell them they can have whatever they want.”
Tommy, a great friend as well as a great lawyer, said, “Pat, I understand completely. Say, I have an idea. Why don’t you just let me take the lead on this for awhile, and let’s see what I can do.” What a relief. What a blessing from God. What an act of kindness and grace.
We All Need Some Help
I did let Tommy take the lead, and two years later—seven years after my business initially cratered—we were finally able to settle and I was spared.
Just as Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, I had seven years of “great prosperity” that I squandered by going deeply in debt, followed by seven years of “severe famine” when all the abundance was forgotten (Genesis 41:26-31).
It’s a long story but, by God’s grace, I was able to avoid bankruptcy and not only survive, but experience extraordinary spiritual growth. I could not have done it alone. And, of course, neither can you.
In this book I want help you. I consider it my privilege to share with you the strategies for survival and growth that worked for me then, and that can work for you now.
Why You’re Going to Get Through This
Most of this book will deal with how you’re going to get through this meltdown. But before we go there, let’s talk about why you’ll get through it.
For a Christian, the Word of God is our ultimate source of truth and strength. The Scriptures are filled with relevant texts about meltdowns. Our assurance is in the trustworthiness of God as He reveals Himself in the Bible.
Here are some selected verses from the book of Isaiah in the New Living Translation. You can find the same sentiment in the other prophets, Psalms, Proverbs, and throughout the New Testament. Meditate on the character and purposes of our great God as you read, and let Him speak to your heart about the meltdown. Take your time….
Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? (Yet) He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand. (Isaiah 40:12, 15)
I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. (Isaiah 46:4)
Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out. I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering. I will rescue you for my sake—yes, for my own sake! I will not let my reputation be tarnished, and I will not share my glory with idols! (Isaiah 48:9-11)
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54.7-8)
You can read other pertinent verses at Isaiah 40:23-24; 40:29-31; 43:11-13; 45:23; 49:15-16; 55:11; 56:6, and 60:10.
From start to finish, the Bible describes a God who loves you very much. So much, in fact, that He will discipline you for your own good (see Hebrews 12:7-11).
From these verses come two assurances.
First, God is in charge. He has a plan. He was not surprised or somehow caught off guard by this meltdown. God is not sitting up in heaven wringing His hands about how this will all turn out. He is altogether good and trustworthy. God is sovereignly orchestrating all of the seemingly random circumstances of your life.
You’re going to get through this. Yes, you will have to go through it. There are no shortcuts. And, yes, you can’t know how it will turn out. That belongs to the realm of God’s will. And, yes, it’s going to take some time. But, you will get through this.
In the next chapter, we’ll talk about the greatest temptation you will have to face during the meltdown.
Questions(for personal reflection or group discussion)
1. Are you feeling weary? Do you feel like there’s no end in sight? How bad is it?
2. You may not feel like you are going to get through this, but are you willing to believe the Scriptures and put your faith in God?
3. Review Assurance #1 and Assurance #2. Do you have faith that these are true? How about your feelings? Do your feelings matter?
You can watch or listen to a two-part message on How to Survive the Meltdown by clicking here.
About the Author: Dr. Patrick Morley After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, Dr. Patrick Morley founded Man in the Mirror, a non-profit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the bestselling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.
© 2008. Patrick Morley. Used with Permission from Man in the Mirror, You are encouraged reproduce this article for non-commercial purposes, or join Pat's enewsletter for men at www.maninthemirror.org
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How many of you are under sixteen?
How do you like the idea that you might be driving a Cadillac when you're sixteen?
When my son was your age, he wasn't quite as excited as you. I said, "Jerry, do you want to have a car when you're sixteen?"
"Do you want me to help you buy that car?"
"Yes sir, dad."
"Alright, son, we're going to do it, but the free ride's over. No more allowance. I'm going to give you a way to make a lot of money. Here is the deal. I am going to pick out books for you to read. There will be motivational books, history books, inspirational books; and every time I give you a book, you give me a book report. Every time I get a book report, I'll put money in your car fund. Another book report; more money in the car fund. In two years if you read in style, you'll drive in style. But if you read like a bum, you're going to drive like a bum."
Overnight he developed a fantastic hunger for reading. The first book I had him read was Dale Carnegie's, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Somebody said, "Why did you have him read a book like that?" I'll tell you why. The first day he read that book, he smiled and said, "Dad, there's a whole chapter in here about smiling." And he smiled at me--he smiled at me. I couldn't believe it--he's smiling and he's only 14 years old--smiling already. Then he took my hand and he shook my hand and he said "Dad, there's a whole chapter in here on shaking hands." He shook my hand. I couldn't believe it--oh my.
Next, I had him read the book of Joshua. Oh, I love the book of Joshua. It's on discouragement. We all have a right to be discouraged, but none of us have the right to act discouraged. So we're going to Sunday school one day, and I said, "Jerry, how do you like that book on Joshua?" He said, "Dad, everybody ought to have to read that book." And when he said that, he hit my leg. He hit my leg! First sign of life in 14 years--he hit my leg! Well, let me tell you this. That may not sound like much, but many people have read great books, and never once have they said, "You've got to read this book." If you don't have a passion and desire to share what you're reading, you may as well not read it. But if you're not living your life out, you're a dead sea. Well, he read 22 books. He didn't buy a car; he kept the money and used my gas!
He went on to college; he wrote me a Dear Dad post card every day for four years. And some of those cards--I'd like to read you a couple--because they were tough years of my life. You know, no matter how anybody looks on the platform, we all have our ups and downs and hurts and what-have-you, but if you're wise, you'll always keep your hurts to yourself and you grow through and you never suck your thumb and complain and tell people about them. And so here come these cards, and those years I was going through tough times, and sometimes I would just put my head on the desk and shed some happy tears. Because I was so grateful to realize that it was a book he read where he got his seed thought, to put it on a card and write to me every day. And the other thing so beautiful about it, he may not have known the meaning of some of these great truths, but the thought was in his mind, and you have to get it in your mind, you have to memorize it before you can start to realize it.
And here are a couple of cards that came back:
Dad, the only happy man, successful man, confident man, or practical man is the one who is simple. See it big--keep it simple.
Unless his mind can crystallize all the answers into one powerful punch of personal motivation, you live nothing but a life of uncertainty and fear. Tremendously too, JerryDad, it's simple to be able to know that when you're in a slump, just like that baseball player will break out in time, so you'll break out of yours. Yea, time really cures things. Like you said, you don't lose any problems. You just get bigger and better ones--tremendous ones.Tremendously, Jerry
Dad, I just started reading "100 Great Lives." Thanks for what you said in the front, the part that every great man never sought to be great. He just followed the vision he had and did what he had to do.Love, Jerry
Dad, I just got done typing up little quotes out of the Bible and Napoleon Hill, so that everywhere I look I see these quotes. When people ask what they are, I tell them, "They're my pin-up's."
Dad, I'm more convinced than ever that you can do anything you want to. You can beat anyone at anything, just by working hard. Handicaps don't mean anything because often people who don't have any handicaps, have a bad attitude and don't want to do anything.
Dad, Nothing new. Just the same old exciting thought--that we can know God personally and forever in this amazing life.
Dad, The mind of God is so unbelievable. He throws nothing at us but paradoxes. He makes us completely and utterly helpless and depraved, and then He takes our failure which normally knocks us out, and makes it our greatest asset.
Dad, when you're behind two papers in the 4th quarter and you're exhausted from the game, and you have to make up a set of downs in order to stay in the game, and you get up to the line and see 5 250-lb tests staring you in the mug, you're too excited to wait and find out what play the Lord is going to call next.
Wow! Well, anyway just imagine, if I had it to do over again, I'd have paid him $1,000 a book report. How many have grand-children here? Okay here's what you do. You tell your grandchildren from now on you'll pay them $100 for every book report, and they get $5 bucks and the rest goes into the college fund. So that way, when they're 8 or 9, they'll have $10,000 or $15,000 to put toward college education and they'll have the satisfaction of paying for it. Plus they will have read books that will truly make a difference in their lives.
Charlie 'Tremendous' Jones, lived a full life in many ways- as a business leader, breaking many sales records in the insurance industry the founder and CEO of Executive Books and especially as a man of faith who lived out his values every day. This article was shared as a tribute to his words of wisdom that live on beyond him to encourage parents of teens to build strong young people full of discipline instead of entitlement.
Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine. To subscribe, go to www.JimRohn.com All contents Copyright © JimRohn.com except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.