What direction are you going?

Our lives are filled with joy, pain, victories, and even defeats. We all live lives with all the elements of a best-seller or box office hit and at any given moment would be classified as an action, thriller, drama, horror and most times comedy. In the midst of all of this excitement, I must ask the question, “What direction are you going?”

Our lives are made up of different storylines, or experiences, that guide our decisions and views. The thing that’s interesting about these storylines is that, most times, they have more power than they’re really worth. A storyline, simply put, is a snapshot of a moment in time that we hold on to as a basis for why we act and react the way we do. Here’s an example… Your first love betrayed you and now there’s an expectation of betrayal from every relationship that follows. Or, you secured a job, worked hard at it and became irreplaceable but when it came time for promotion, you were passed over for a new person with no experience. So, the expectation is that no matter how hard you work, you’ll be overlooked and unappreciated.

Storylines are crazy because we tend to hold on to the negatives more than the positives. Quick question… Do you remember your favorite birthday growing up? What made it your favorite? Do you remember the day after? What about the day before? My favorite birthday was the “Chocolate Birthday” where I requested and received EVERYTHING chocolate from the cake to the ice cream to the snacks… I don’t remember the exact age that I was nor do I remember what happened the day before. But, I do remember being sick the day after. Now, does having a chocolate filled birthday make me Willy Wonka? No, but that’s how we treat life and our storylines.

So, how do we get away from this unhealthy cycle? Well, we move towards our own personal values instead of avoiding pain. Most of the time, we make decisions based on our pain, or discomfort, levels. We are running from a storyline that seems to haunt us and our mind is made-up to avoid repeating history. But, running from the perceived pain IS repeating history because every time that we perceive that situation arising we’ll keep running. BUT, when we move towards our values then we are moving in the correct way.

Then, what are my values? My friend, only YOU can answer that. The difficult part about answering the value question is history and expectation. Many of the concepts that we hold to were passed down on our parents, our social circles and even our friend-/relationships. But, where is your heart? What does your heart tell you? If your heart beats to the rhythm of relationships then, why do you keep pushing them away? If your heart speaks baseball then, why are you playing monopoly? The reason that many of us live unfulfilled lives is because we aren’t moving towards our values but rather moving in someone else’s.

When it comes to YOUR values, they are perfect. They are perfect because they are yours and yours alone. You can’t jack up what was ingrained in you. It’s like this… If someone told you to go West, would you ever actually get West? The answer is No. You may go in that direction but you can never actually reach it because West isn’t a destination, it’s a heading.

I know that today’s letter is a lot deeper than normal but I pray that as we move through our lives, that we are conscious of our heading. Are we moving away from perceived discomfort and pain OR, are we headed in the direction of our values?

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,
Jackie

 

Don’t ask that question!!!!

One of the personality traits that I carry is a lack of fear regarding the quest for information/knowledge. If I’m interested, then I will ask. In my humble opinion, this is a great trait to have. Over the years, I’ve learned that many times, depending on the situation, other people had the same questions but were afraid to ask. Once, the conversation got started, light was given and all could move on. I truly believe that I got this from my Dad…

Back in the day, when we would go to bible study, the minister would teach the lesson and it would be an open forum, or classroom setting. People had the opportunity to ask questions throughout the lesson to gain better understanding of the scripture. It wasn’t like today where bible study is like another sermon, or monologue… where the teacher talks and we just listen. We were afforded the opportunity for feedback. The minister, having studied, was prepared for the questions that may arise and was versed enough to give strong, mainly biblical answers.

The thing that was cool to me was that people respected the teacher. It really wasn’t all about competing with them or seeing if you could ‘stump the teacher’. The questions generally were on point with the lesson and were fulfilling to all. Sometimes, there were questions that people didn’t really want to ask and that’s where my dad came in. Something was stated whether from the floor, or the teacher, that just didn’t sit well with people. You’d see different ones start to grumble and squirm in their seat. The whispers started flowing and then you could hear my holler out, “Question!!!” It was way cool!!! Because, you would never know what my dad would ask and once he did… It was on!!!

Well, a second trait that I have is that I am extremely perceptive. There isn’t much that goes on that I haven’t paid attention to, noticed, or seen. Mix this with curiosity and a lack of fear and you have the potential for true enlightenment, or a hot mess!!! Unfortunately, not all questions should be asked.

My wife and I were down at the courthouse getting our marriage package and we ran into a member of our church that I hadn’t seen in several months. I was soo excited to see her. I asked how she was doing and told her that we missed seeing her. I also congratulated her.

She said, “Congratulations for what?”

I continue, “So, when are you due?”

Her response was classic. “When am I doing what?”

Oh, by the way, did I tell you that I am also very, very, very persistent? My internal voice was in overdrive!!! “Why is she playing?”, “All I’m doing is wishing her well with her new developing child”, “She is such a goofball”…. So, I continue down this treacherous path leading to nowhere but embarrassment for both her and me. Now, a bit frustrated, I plainly say… “So, when are you having your baby?”

Apparently, she didn’t know what I was talking about until I said the word, ‘baby’. The revelation hit her like piano being dropped on a cartoon character. If she were Superman with laser eyes, I would have been a pile of ash. There was this moment of uncomfortable silence that seemed to last for ages… Then she finally smiled and said, “I’m not pregnant and walked away”.

Well, I learned a very valuable lesson that day. No matter how great the urge is. No matter how well intentioned I may be. No matter how far along she looks…

Don’t congratulate women for being pregnant!!!

Nowadays, whenever I see a person that looks pregnant, like I did the other day, I just ask everyone, except them.

Please have a Safe and Happy New Year. Do something different… Be kind to someone who doesn’t deserve it. You may be surprised by how many people are kind to YOU.

I love you ALL!!!
Stay blessed,
Jackie