There are many voices fighting for control of your mind. There are voices literally shouting at you to stop thinking for yourself. Voices, not just telling you what to think, but how to think. Many voices are being censored, bullied, harassed, shamed and guilted. We must learn to differentiate what voice really matters. His voice matters.
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”John 10:1-5
Many of us have no concept of sheep herding but many have a dog. Your dog knows your voice. Your dog recognizes who you are. A dog that knows its master will not listen to or follow other voices. A dog will not follow a stranger. A dog listens to the voice of its master. Jesus is our shepherd. Jesus is our master.
Many are running around trying to figure out which voice to listen to; which voice to trust. The result? Mass confusion, distraction and division. There really is only ONE VOICE THAT MATTERS. His Voice Matters.
Tomorrow is Valentines Day. There will be alot of talk about love. We see this word thrown around alot in our world. I’m not sure many people really understand love, especially God’s love. The word “agape” is often translated as love in the New Testament.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The word “agape” does not reflect sexual or romantic love nor is it a reflection of friendship or brotherly/sisterly love. “Agape” love is a willful focus of purposeful love. It requires commitment and faithfullness that overcomes all circumstances. Agape love never gives up.
Agape love is becoming rarer and rarer these days. But, every once in awhile there are times when we know we have just experienced this kind of love. This happened yesterday.
Once a year I need to renew my Sirius XM Radio. I’ve been a customer for ten years. Every year it’s been a pain. I don’t look forward to it. Suffice it to say I am a little grumpy when I make the call. Yesterday was different. I called the Sirius XM Canada Customer Retention line expecting another annoying phone call.
Instead, I had a wonderful conversation with a gal in Egypt! Yes, Egypt! It’s crazy. I complained to her that I have to make this call every year and it would be nice if we could just set my yearly rate and automatically renew in order to avoid making the call. Her reply preciptated a wonderful conversation.
Her name is May. She says to me, “You know I totally understand where you are coming from but I wanted you to know that your needing to call me enables me to keep my job. So THANK YOU!” This was totally disarming and I found myself agreeing and my enitre perspective changed. Her intentional kindness and gratitidue for her job led to a great conversation about gratititude, (we exchanged resources) and even became Instagram friends.
I found myself reflecting after, “I wish we could all talk to each other like this.”
She further went on to say that she purposfully asked to work only with Canadians because in her experience we are the kindest people she has worked with. Wow! I thanked her again and said, “I look forward to connecting in a year!”
This valentines day love your spouse or significant other. More than that though, show more agap love. Seek people out with that kind of love just as God seeks you.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY TOMORROW!
It’s been a chilly week and when I mean chilly, I mean -45 to -50 Celcius. (that’s -49 to -58 F for my American friends). Our furnace has not been able to keep up. So, been burning alot of wood and had our electric heater on all day long. Some of Amerian friends have asked, “how is that even possible?” Trust me. It’s possible. The idea that you can throw a pot of boiling water into the air and it turns to snow, is TRUE.
Despite the extreme cold, we are grateful for our fireplace although my wife is not thrilled in the morning. She’s chilled! By Friday the temperature will start warming up and I look forward to get back on the ice and catch me some perch and walleye.
Have you every been ice fishing? Do you have a “winter story?” What’s the coldest weather you have experienced?
Hard to believe that Spring is just over a month away!
Someone asked me the other day if I miss Fakebook. A little, but not alot. I left Fakebook because of the constant negativity, division and censorship. I no longer want to participate on platforms intent on telling me how to think and to be afraid. I am so grateful I dumped Fakebook and Twitter.
Since leaving these dark platforms I have been committed to exposing myself to narratives, videos and pics that make me smile: weddings, pregnancy announcements, engagements, babies, beauty, vacations, nature and devotionals. I am doing my best to fill my eyes and mind with beauty and joy! I encourage you to try it. Cut out the toxicity in your life. Replace that with what compells you to feel good about yourself and the life we are living.
Every day we are confronted with the same dilemma. A choice. A difficult choice. A choice that will inevitably pit ourselves against someone who have made a different choice. Why do we make the choices we choose? Decisions are difficult. They require wisdom, courage and conviction. I don’t know about you but there have been several times over the last year when my choices have been criticized by those who have made a different choice.
I have always believed that each person has a right to their own opinion and their own choices; the right to make our own decisions. I also believe we have a responsibility to respect another persons opinion even if we disagree. Lately it seems more and more like this right to our own opinion is one sided. I’m not going to identify which side are disrespecting my opinions or decisions. I will leave that up to the reader. The truth is, there appears to be an all out effort to guilt and shame those who do not support and agree with the public message. For example, if you don’t agree with mask wearing or getting the vaccine you are just an uncaring, insensitive jerk. We have fondly identified these shame makers as “Karens” or “Maskholes.”
I have personally been labeled an “asshole”, “jerk” and “unloving.” I’ve been told to “believe the science” even though the science is different depending on the subject matter. Science sure has become politicized and opinionated. I would love to trust the science, government and medical leaders. Sadly, the evidence over the last year have only validated my distrust.
How do we weather this storm of division?
It’s not easy.
Most often we make decisions based on two sources of data: emotions and/or expectations. Both are valid and important sources of information. The problem with emotional decisions is that our feelings often lie to us. Emotional decisions are often very misleading. The issue with expectations is our inability to please everyone. There will always be someone who holds a different expectation. So we cannot go through life trying to meet everyones expectations. The trick is learning to screen those emotions and expectations through our core values. The problem is we don’t all share the same core values.
Are you clear what your core values are?
If you are clear what your core values are those values become your guide. Not your emotions or the expectations other have of you. I have three core values that inform my decision making: Faith, family and integrity. I refuse to make decisions that require me to compromise these values in any way. The problem with making value based decisions is that not everyone will share those values. So it is inevitable we will meet people who reject what we hold dear. That’s okay. It really is. It means that sometime we have to let those people go. We have to allow them to live with their own decision while we live with ours.
Never allow anyone to shame or guilt you for values that are different than theirs. Stand up for your values because if you do not your life will be miserable. There is nothing worse than bartering away your values for a facade of acceptance and love. That’s not acceptance. That’s called coercion. Guilt and shame are being used to coerce people into submission.
It’s hard. It really is. But, your values are far more valuable than acceptance. The bible says, “You are in the world, NOT of the world.” My friends, the world is trying hard to coerce us into a concept of worldly subservience.
I for one, REFUSE.
Four months ago I decided to delete Twitter. I am now using DuckDuckGo as my search engine. Now I am in the process of purging my instagram and Facebook accounts. It’s not hard saying goodbye to the constant negativity, guilt, shame and censorship but it is hard saying goodbye to the connections we have made. The biggest loss we face is losing connection with friends and family. This was the main purpose of Facebook in the beginning. Platforms designed to facilitate connection but unfortunately they have become sources of division and deception.
Unless I am willing to be brainwashed into thinking a certain way to appease the platforms, their services are no longer needed. I refuse to be a product that others make money off of. I refuse to be told how to think or what to think. I refuse to be shamed and guilted into subservience. That is why I created this blog. It is not easy of course. It’s like starting all over again.
Its also hard for others to make the transition. I am sure some of our friends and family see this blog as a great idea but they are unwilling or unable to make the adjustment. It’s simply easier to maintain the status quo and stick with what is familiar.
When our daughters were little they loved the Shrek movie and we are all familiar with Shrek saying, “Change is good Donkey.” Yes. Change is good, but change is also difficult. Change requires courage, perseverance and committment and some stubborness (which I have in spades), and a commitment to a result that is even better than the current “fix.” Yes, fix. I meant to say that because we are all addicts. We are addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, television and now social media. I admit, I am addicted to my smartphone. Many of us are.
Starting over on this platform is a learning curve for sure. I am hoping to meet new friends and connections along the way. I am also hoping our current friends and family will continue to follow our journey here. My goal is not to preach but to inspire, encouage, challenge and perhaps stretch our thinking a little.
I hope you join me in this journey.
Hi there! I am married to one woman, a father to two beautiful daughters, have three cats and one awesome dog named BO! I am a practicing therapist specializing in anxiety, stress, and depression disorders. You can learn more about my professional profile at:http://www.anxietycentre.com
I am passionate about God, freedom, truth, growth, learning, and inspiring others to reach their full potential. Welcome to our life!
In this community we will discuss, challenge, encourage, empower and enlighten each other with the life lessons we learn each day.
We shall be over-comers! We shall speak truth in love. We will fight for each other, NOT with each other.
We will honour each persons right to their own opinion, values and choices.
We will love, learn and grow TOGETHER!
Share what matters to you! Why it matters to you! Share your stories, photos, and lessons life is teaching you. Lessons we can all deliberate and learn from together.