Saturday, May 30, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

Fill your 'what if' pies with positive possibilities

Have you ever worried about the future by thinking "what if..."?

When most people do that, they are thinking about negative possibilities: "what if I lose my job?", "what if she gets angry at me?", "what if I get hurt?", etc.
After coming up with the negative possibility, they start imagining a sequence of negative events: "if I lose my job, I will have to use my retirement savings, then I won't have any money when I retire, so I will have to live on the streets" (you get the idea). 
Or they spend time trying to control their lives in order to avoid the negative possibility. In our example, the person would do everything they can to keep the boss happy, even if it means treating their colleagues unfairly, going behind their backs, etc.

Can you see how destructive it can be to focus on negative possibilities?

The 'what if' pie

Imagine your 'what if's are like pies that you cook and eat yourself. When you spend time imagining what could happen, it's as if you were making a pie: you come up with a negative possibility (mix the ingredients) and then you start thinking about the ramifications (baking). When you eat that pie, the digestion will consume your body's energy, just like worrying consumes your mental and emotional energy.

But it doesn't have to be that way. If you change just one part of the recipe, your life can be much better. You might be asking "what part? what can I change?" The answer is: fill your 'what if' pies with positive possibilities, instead of negative ones.

Positive possibilities

I have said before that we should have hope that the future will be good. Instead of spending our time and emotional energy with worrying, we should spend it on hope.

"But how do I do that, you may ask?" You can do that by changing the content of the words in your 'what if's. Instead of wondering about negative outcomes, start wondering about positive ones.

For example:
Let's say your spouse has been offered a job in a different city, and you are worried about the change it will bring in your lives.
Instead of wondering:
  • "what if there are no good schools there for my kids?"
  • "what if I can't find a good job?"
  • "what if I can't make new friends?"
Change your 'what if's to positive ones:
  • "what if I find a great school for my kids, and they make lots of friends, discover hidden talents and get admitted to an excellent university?",
  • "what if I find a great job, where I am well paid and have fun with my colleagues?"
  • "what if I get promoted in that job because they value my skills?"
  • "what if I find clubs and other opportunities to meet people?"
  • "what if I'm pleasantly surprised by the number of people who share my interests?"
  • "what if I discover new interests and make friends while practicing those activities?"

The unknown is full of possibilities. You can imagine anything you want for your future. The only limit to your imagination is yourself. 

It might be hard at first to remove some of the limits you have been placing on yourself. That is ok. Start by taking just one step beyond the limit. For example: if you think people in general don't like you and never want to be your friend, imagine that you will meet just one person who will be nice to you and help you with something. Then hang on to that positive possibility. Keep thinking about that scenario, instead of thinking about all the other people who might not be kind to you. Just keep focusing on the positive possibility.

You can do it!

I have done that kind of imagination and it has helped me greatly in focusing on the positive. As I have mentioned before, when you imagine that your future will be good, you become a happier person. Being happy (ie, having inner peace) makes it easier for you to cope with problems.

Another positive result of changing your 'what if's is that you will be searching for those positive situations. If you move to the new city and dread not making any friends, you will likely avoid socializing (because you are afraid of the outcome). But if you move to the city expecting to make new friends, you will start joining clubs and searching for people who share your interests. You are much more likely to be successful on the second scenario.

In conclusion:  Fill your 'what if' pies with positive possibilities and you are more likely to live a happy, successful life.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lesson of the day

Lesson of the day: refuse to let negative things ruin your day. Keep focusing on the positive.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Where is the line?

Can you love this world, with all its imperfections?
Can you love this planet with all its problems?
Can you love all the crazy, sick, misguided people?
Can you love this world with all its dangers and hostilities?

Choosing to focus on the positive means we don't like the negative.
But aren't we also avoiding seeing and thinking about the negative?

Can we accept this world as it is, even with its problems?
Can we be at peace with the fact that there will be cloudy days, ugly cities and evil people?
Or will we always live in avoidance, denial of the negative?
Where is the line between not focusing on the negative and accepting its existence?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Verse of the day

Verse of the day: (Proverbs 15:1) A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Why You Should Believe in a Good Future

Image: Fresco by Fra Angelico. Source: wikipedia.

When you think about your future, do you see things working out in your favour? Do you see yourself happy, successful and your dreams being fulfilled? Or do you automatically expect that life will be tough, you will struggle, and maybe - just maybe - if you are lucky you might have something good happen to you?
If you are the second type (or maybe you're just curious), read on to see why I believe you should always expect a good future.

The Christian Teaching
I was visiting Cleveland, Ohio last month, and attended the Easter service at the Church of the Saviour. The sermon was given by Dr. Charles D. Yoost. Even though he has a fearful preaching style, I was able to get something very positive out of his sermon.

He was saying that, in Easter morning the 2 Marys decided go to the tomb (where Jesus had been taken after his death on the cross) to perform some customary rituals on His dead body. And as they walked, they wondered "who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they got there, they found that the stone had already been rolled out (Mark 16:1-4). Dr. Yoost used that passage to demonstrate the principle that God is always one step ahead of us.
He said: if you lost someone you love, God has already placed loving friends amongst you to comfort you. If you lost your job, God has already prepared something better for you and you will find it soon.
I believe Dr. Yoost's point was that you must trust God because He has already found a solution to your problems, He has already prepared your healing, He has already provided the comfort you need, etc.

That reminded me of Andrew Wommack's teaching about "A Place Called 'There'". Andrew talks about 1 Kings 17:2-4, where God tells Elijah to go to the Cherith brook, because He has commanded some ravens to bring food to Elijah over there. Andrew emphasizes that God had commanded the ravens to bring food there (at the brook), not here (where Elijah was at the moment). The point Andrew makes is that if we would just trust God and obey His direction (ie, follow our Intuition) there will be good things waiting for us in the future.

I would go one step further and also look at the verb tense in that passage (verse 4): God says "I have commanded the ravens to feed you there". He didn't say "go there and then I will command the ravens". That means God had already orchestrated the provision of food in Elija's future. 
Therefore, I interpret that passage as saying: trust in God, because He has already prepared something good for you in the future.

Andrew mentions another passage (1 Kings 17:8-9), where God again tells Elijah to go to a specific place, because there will be something good waiting for him there: “And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee”. Once again, notice the verb tense: I have commanded. God had already commanded the woman to help Elijah. The provision was already there.

Back to the passage mentioned in Dr Yoost's sermon, I see it in a similar light: God commanded the 2 Marys (via the Holy Spirit/Intuition) to go take care of Jesus' body. And before they even got there, He had already used an earthquake and an Angel (Matthew 28:2) to open the tomb. I interpret that as another example of God having already prepared something good in our future.

I'm going to guess that there are at least a few other passages in the Bible that also have a similar message (I don't know the Bible well enough yet to make a firmer, more detailed statement).

What is that teaching telling us?

In non-Christian words, that teaching is saying that we should trust that the future will be good, and it will be.
We see that principle being taught by believers of The Secret/Law of Attraction as well. They advise you to believe and expect that your desires will come true, because whatever you expect is what becomes true.
I am willing to bet that many other religions and spiritual belief systems also teach the same principle: trust that your future will be good, and it will be. 

Why is that teaching important? 

I see 2 reasons:  
1) It gives you peace.
2) You get into a virtuous cycle of positive thinking.

Getting some Peace
If you trust that the future will be good, you will consequently let go of your fears and worries, which will bring you inner peace. When you have inner peace, you are able to cope better with whatever comes your way (whether it is actually good or not).

The Virtuous Cycle of Positive Thinking
When you have inner peace, it's easier to get into a positive mindset and consequently to keep on trusting that the future will be good.
Once you break the inertia of fear/negativity/not expecting a good future, it becomes a virtuous cycle: you trust that your future will be good; that gives you inner peace; your inner peace helps you stay positive and keep trusting that the future will be good.
Of course that trust requires constant feeding/practice, but in my experience, the more you do it, the easier it gets (that's what psychology calls Learned Optimism).


It might be hard for you to believe in this principle just for the sake of believing (even when it is backed up by Scripture or pseudoscience). I think that's why so many people shy away from religion nowadays.
But it makes sense to believe in that principle, from the standpoint of mental health: your emotional life will be better if you believe in it. You will be happier if you believe in a good future. 
Therefore, I recommend following that principle, not because "it's what the Bible says", but because it is a healthy frame of mind to be in.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Lesson of the day

Lesson of the day: when negative feelings seem to dominate you, consciously stop and try to list as many things as possible for which you are thankful.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day: You can decide today to be full of hope - Joyce Meyer

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Quote of the day

Quote of the day: If you hope for something good your whole life and never got it, you'd still be better than if you'd hoped for nothing and got it. Because when you're full of hope, you are happy. - Joyce Meyer

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day: I'd rather believe for a lot and get half of it, than believe for nothing and get all of it. - Joyce Meyer

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lesson of the day

Lesson of the day: when you're able to let go of your worries, all your problems will seem small.