My Goals In Life

DISCLAIMER: This content is from a Christian perspective. However, people of all faiths and all walks of life can learn from this. Also, at the end,  I will talk about putting my goals into action, if you desire, for your own life. It will include resources for helping people who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Though I am promoting these organizations in a way, I make NO money from them in any way shape or form. Just want to help YOU help others.

Who or what motivates you to live your life? Is your life marked by passion and drive? When the chips are down, so to speak, what is it that keeps you going? For many people, it is often their loved ones. Sometimes, it is their job and sense of accomplishment. Other times the motivation is wanting love and approval. What motivates me to keep going when life is as dark as a tornado whirling during a fierce and powerful storm is the love that God through His Son Jesus Christ gave and continues to give to me.

These following two goals are based off the love that God has given and continues to give to me. They are:

  1. To love God with all my mind, soul, and strength. (Matthew 22:36-38)
  2. To show others the love that God gave to me, so they too can experience love, joy, and peace in their lives that I have.

How will I go about accomplishing these goals? 

How I will meet goal #1

  1. Read and study His Word, the Bible, daily for at least 15-30 minutes a day.
  2. Pray daily to meet the challenges of the day, for at least 15 minutes a day. Also, I will try to be in constant communication with God, not just for 15 minutes!
  3. Attend a Bible-believing church. (I am attending a good church that lines up with my beliefs nicely).
  4. Focus my mind on God and His will for my life, and for the day, as much as possible, without getting distracted. (I am still working on this one. Sometimes it is a struggle. Correction: Every day it is a struggle not to get distracted by other things that don’t matter to this goal at all, but I will not quit trying.)
  5. Memorize His Word and apply it to my daily life.

How I will meet goal #2

  1. When I do something that offends another person, I will strive to quickly confess that to the other person and repent (i.e not do that offense action anymore) of my offense.
  2. When someone offends me, I will let the person know in private, in a gentle and humble manner, with all honesty and love.
  3. I will never give up on a relationship unless they give up on me.
  4. I will do my best to show kindness and care to other people.
  5. I will do my best not to let my anger at someone linger for more than a day.
  6. I will encourage others by sharing with them how God loves me, and by telling them how much I love and/or care for them.
  7. I will do my best to sacrifice my time and resources if someone is in need of them and doing so will help the other person.
  8. I will do my best not to show any pretense towards another but be my genuine self, even if it is sometimes flawed.

These are practical ways anyone can join me in not only keeping me accountable but also joining with me to show others true, unconditional love to the whole world, instead of hate. Ban the hate!:

  1. Forgive at least one person who has hurt you deeply. –There are several people who I have had a hard time forgiving, mostly because they did the same bad things over and over to me again, even though I had confronted them more than once about these issues.  However, I now realized that letting go of my bitterness and anger towards them has changed the way these people treat me, and in some ways, my relationships with these people have been restored!  Who is someone who deeply offended you? It could be someone from a church or temple. It could be a family member or a once-close friend. It could be a boss or a manager.  Yes, forgiveness is very difficult at times, and sometimes you can’t forgive everyone at once, but an unforgiving heart keeps you, not the offender, in an emotional hell-hole prison that traps you and robs you of the joy that life is meant to bring.  Also, the very act of forgiveness necessitates the offense. It does not dismiss it or excuse it. It acknowledges it but leaves the justice in capable hands, NOT yours.
  2. Be genuine.–Do not hide who you are. Yes, if someone has demonstrated that they are untrustworthy you may have to hide some things about you. However, as a general rule, do your best to be genuine. Be willing to be vulnerable and forthright about your struggles. You shouldn’t have to hide yourself to be truly loved.
  3. Be willing to care about and sacrifice for others.– One practical way one can do this, especially if you are spiritual, is to pray for those who are hurting and suffering. Pray about what you can do to help these people. These may be people at work, at your school, at your place of worship, at home, or in your community. Once you pray or think about what to do to help these people, do it! Recently, in a huge chunk of Texas and some of the Southeast part of the U.S, there has been a hurricane, Hurricane Harvey, that has swept through there and devastated many people’s lives, and destroyed many homes and businesses.  This storm is still ongoing as of this writing (written 8/27/2017). Here are some organizations that are helping these people through this:

These are my two major goals in life. This is what keeps me going, even in the hardest times. What are yours? What steps can YOU take to accomplish your life purposes? Please feel free to discuss here.

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How to Forgive

As we go on through life, we will meet many people, some of who will hurt us sooner or later, both intentionally and unintentionally. However, I believe in order to live a joyful and successful life, one of the lessons we must learn is how to forgive others.  There are a few people, sadly, who never learn this lesson and carry their bitterness, not only to their other relationships, but more seriously…to their graves.  Here are some ways that I have personally learned about on how to forgive others, genuinely and/or completely:

  1. Deal with the pain and the hurt the other person or people caused.—Some people, in an attempt to “forgive” or excuse the person that hurt them, try to sweep their feelings under a rug, so to speak, and try to willingly “forget” about the pain the person had caused. I have three words for this method of coping. Does. NOT. work! I have found that the more I try to forget about something, the more my mind conjures up the very thing I’m trying to forget! A more effective way of coping is to deal with the pain and hurt the other person or people caused. Healthy ways of doing this include writing a letter to the offender (that you will not send) chronicling all your angry and hurt feelings towards him or her and then burning it or tearing it up afterwards for release, crying, writing angry poetry about the situation,  talking to a trusted friend not involved in the hurtful situation, talking to a counselor or therapist,  exercising your anger and hurt out, praying for them (if you are religious or spiritual).
  2. Pray and/or think good things about the person who offended you.–This is very difficult sometimes, especially if the person who hurt you is an abuser or hurt you in another very grievous way.  However, in order to forgive, we must make an effort to think about at least one thing good about that person. If you are spiritual, I would recommend praying blessings for that person.  For instance, when someone had hurt me emotionally, I tried to pray to God for them to be blessed in their job and in their general life. I also thanked God for their good qualities I had observed in them in getting to know them. Whether you are spiritual or not, I would try to think about several positive qualities you have personally observed in that individual or those individuals that hurt you.
  3. Don’t wait until you “feel” like forgiving to forgive someone. –Some people wait until the “time is just right” to forgive someone. The problem is that the time is never “just right.” Also, forgiveness is an act of the will. You just have to do it!  Yes, one may not have forgiving feelings towards someone, but resolve to do it anyway.  The feeling of freedom and renewed joy will come in time.
  4. Forgive for you, not for the other person.–This may seem selfish, but if you try to forgive someone for them alone, it will be harder to forgive because we are hardwired to think that if someone does something wrong, they should suffer the consequences for it.  Forgiveness always goes to those who don’t deserve it. When that fact and our quest for justice clash,  we may find it nigh impossible to forgive. However, when we forgive to free ourselves of the pain and hurt that that person caused, it becomes more motivating for us to forgive.
  5. Intentionally try to do good for the person who hurt you.–DISCLAIMER: If the person in question is abusive or extremely manipulative, or if they are deceased, this does not apply!  For all other situations, you should strive to act against the feelings of resentment and anger you have towards that other person and intentionally do good for that person.  For instance, if the person said something hurtful to you and you were angry, try to intentionally say something kind about them to their face.  Don’t say something “fake” nice or that you don’t really mean; people can tell the difference. Say something genuinely kind about them.

These are some ways you can forgive someone who has hurt you, effectively and genuinely. If the offender in question is not sorry for their hurtful actions, you don’t have to excuse their actions, but still treat them with kindness and grace. However, be careful not to give your trust to them until they repent and make amends for their hurtful actions. However, we should strive to forgive and treat everyone with grace, not because they deserve it, but because our world will be a much better place.

I’ll Never Give Up On You- A poem

I know I usually do essays, but this time I want to do a poem about what God has been teaching me about how to love others, particularly the unnamed subject in this poem.

I’ll Never Give Up On You

You may treat me bad.
You may make me sad.
You may treat me like gold
Precious in your sight

You may have tough days
And you may get yelled at
Or for all your hard work
You may get a raise

But no matter what you go through
Or whatever you may do
I will never give up on you
I will never be done with you

Not just because I have to
Not to earn some coveted prize
But because I care
And I want you to know… God loves you

Why We Should Pray for Others

DISCLAIMER: This post is primarily directed towards people believing in the power of prayer. Please keep comments respectful, whether or not you believe or not, or they will be deleted. Thank you.

In another post, I discussed why prayer is so vital to our spiritual lives. Here I am going to discuss specifically why we should make sure our prayers are not only for our own needs and wishes, but others’ as well.

So, the question begs asking: Why should we pray for others, especially if we have a lot of things  we need? Here’s why:

  1. Praying for others deepens our interpersonal relationships.-When you pray for others, it requires emotional energy and investment in the person who you are praying. Even the very act of asking someone if they need prayer, may invite them to share an emotionally deep area in their lives that they may or may not have yet shared with others, but when you are willing to make an emotional investment in them, it opens the way not only for a deeper relationship with said person you’re investing, but it also shows that you care about them.
  2. It teaches us to be other-centered, rather than self-centered. -Praying for others effectively requires you to take your eyes off yourself  and onto them! It requires depending on Someone (i.e. God) other than yourself to help the other person you’re praying for. It makes you realize that there are more needs than just yours in the world.
  3. Praying for others changes our attitude (to a more positive one) towards people we pray for that may be different from us or difficult to deal with sometimes.-(My story): This is certainly true in my life. I held anger, bitterness, irritability and resentment inside for this person. One day though, someone in my church suggested that I pray for this person, asking God to bless them, etc…So, I did. It wasn’t easy, but, lo and behold, I found myself being able to forgive this person for the pain and hurt they had caused me within a few days of praying. Recently, I was angry at this person again, but God answered my prayers. I had asked God to soften their heart towards Him (God) and others, and this person seemed nicer and more patient with me these past few days. Not only did God answer that prayer, God changed me to have a better attitude towards this person.
  4. Prayer changes lives.-Praying for others, especially for them to know God’s love and hope, can be exhausting and seem unfrutiful, but if we are persistent, that prayer can change their life! I have heard people’s eternities and day-to-day lives changed, just because someone prayed for them! Also, any time God answers a prayer that you made on behalf of another person, the person will see God working in their lives, and by praying for them, you will have helped them know God better!

The Importance of Prayer

DISCLAIMER: This post is primarily aimed at professing Christians and/or those who believe in the power of prayer. If you don’t, please save your emails/comments (unless they are positive) for another forum and another place, or they will be deleted. Also, even if you are a Christian, please remember to keep the comments on this post positive and NOT disparaging to me or others, or they will be deleted. Thank you for understanding.

 

A couple weeks ago, one of my current pastors convicted me of the importance of praying for my elected officials, as I was sadly lacking in that. To add to that, I didn’t even know who half of them were! No, I don’t consider myself “political” in any way, shape, or form and I am not really into the political debates of the day. However, the fact is that I still need to pray for my elected officials more, because prayer has the ability to change hearts and lives.

Not only that, this same pastor also convicted me about the importance of praying for everyone, especially those who have authority or influence over me, including my bosses at work.  Maybe if we (me included) spent less time complaining about those in authority over us such as (depending on your situation) bosses, managers, police, government officials, parents, and/or teachers, and MORE time praying to God,  then I believe at least half our problems would be solved!

Here are some benefits to prayer that I have found, and also ones that scripture alludes to:

  1. When praying with a good attitude and a righteous spirit, God hears us! –

In Psalm 5:2-4 (ESV), it says, ” Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

“But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.”-Psalm 66:19 (KJV)

2. Prayer, especially when we or a loved one are going through difficult trials, comforts us and keeps our eyes on God. I found that when I pray through a trial in my own experience, the trials become at least a little bit easier to confront and handle. This is because I no longer obsess and focus so much on my problem or problems, but on Him who helps us through them. Prayer also helps us feel less alone.

He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.-Psalm 102:17 (KJV)

3. Prayer helps us cultivate a right attitude towards God and others.

In Romans 1:8-10, the passage says: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayersMaking request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. (KJV-emphasis mine). Because Paul took time to pray for his parishioners, he was able to think about them on a constant and continual basis  and was able to direct his thoughts to the One Whom he was praying. If Paul failed to pray on a regular basis, not only would his relationship with God have suffered, but probably also his relationship with other believers and those around him.

Also, in Philippians 4:5-7,  Paul says, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV-emphasis mine). Paul tells us to pray about everything, and that, as a result of that, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Prayer helps us cultivate a right attitude towards God and others because it helps us focus on God, helps us (if done correctly) think about more than just ourselves, and through the Holy Spirit, helps us have a better attitude towards God and others in general. For instance, in my experience, when I was upset at someone at work and when I was able to actually pray for them, it helped me have a better attitude towards them, and I was no longer upset at them.

4.) To add to #3, prayer helps keep us from sin.

The old adage that “Prayer keeps us from sin, or sin keeps us from prayer.” is true, at least in my experience. Also, Jesus speaks to that in Luke 22:44-46, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” (KJV-emphasis mine). Jesus was saying to His disciples that they should pray to keep themselves from being tempted to sin. Also in 1 Corinthians 10:13, when it says, ” No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,” the way of escape may very well be prayer!  Of course, it may be other things which God wills too, but no one can really stop you from praying not to succumb to temptation!

5.) Prayer can change lives.

I’ve heard about countless stories about people praying for others and how their prayers were answered and how God working in and through their prayers was able to change positively both their own and others’ lives for the better. So if you or a loved one is going through a trial right now or has a particular need, rather than be as a last resort, come to God about it first ! If you are working or living with a particularly difficult person, rather than just get angry and upset (though there is a time and place for that too) and complaining about them, why don’t you pray for them? If you cannot pray blessings upon them, at least pray for God to change their (or your?) hearts. Pray without ceasing, for God through our prayers, can change lives and hearts for the better.