Do Get Me Started! … March 8, 2012

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On those fascinating, invigorating occasions when I get to meet humanity face to face in my presentations as I travel across the country, when Mother Nature and the weather don’t scare them away, or some particular re-run of Bonanza on TV Land might cause them to be lured back into their easy chairs, I suddenly am given the opportunity to taste the fruits and view the creative mindset of God, who decided to place His image and trust in mere mortals.

People–the unpredictable and often unidentifiable delicacy of earth’s smorgasbord. I convey two primary messages to these lovely folks:(1). God is not an old fogey grouch; and (2) NoOne is better than anyone else.

You might think on first reading of these concepts that they are fairly universal–acceptable. But since most of us occasionally believe that God kills people with tornadoes or that our neighbor down the street has done something so disgusting that we are assured of our superiority, the dual thrust of my mission statement can produce some intriguing results.

But mainly, I have folks come to my table after the presentation, and in varying degrees, ask the following question: “How do I get started being more like Jesus as a Christian instead of being so much like religion?”

Rather than the negative phrase, “Don’t get me started,” what I sense from my audiences is: “Do get me started!”

Now, I learned a long time ago that human beings can be a prickly species. For instance, we often ask questions because we think we already have the answer or we secretly believe there is no answer. So when someone asks me how to get started being more fruitful in their humanity, I am very careful not to stir the waters with too many words or continue to lecture them on deeper truths. Actually, you only get five to seven words when answering any question with efficiency.So I choose one of the following four points, knowing that any one of them, if applied, will change the temperature of their spirituality and increase their potential. But since I am in my “writer mode,” let me languish in the luxury of sharing all four with you. Posing the question again for the purpose of understanding and ease: “How do I get started being more like Jesus and not just religious?”

1. Be honest with yourself. You may not be ready to be honest with everybody, but “have truth on the inward parts.” There are two enemies to spirituality–optimism and pessimism. Optimism, because it causes us to puff up with hope, which may have no foundation in reality. Pessimism, because it often eliminates the involvement of our own talent and the intervention of God’s spirit in a given circumstance. The only thing that is of any advantage in spirituality is self-awareness. It does not kill me to know inside myself that I am fat. It does not kill me to consider the level of my mobility. It does not limit my experience to admit that I have a high school education. But if I am not honest with myself, someone will eventually do the job for me and send shock waves through my system which will make me too vulnerable and therefore, defensive.

2. God is God, people are people, and you are you. Let me simplify it even further–God is a spirit, so don’t expect Him to show up and sit next to you at your job interview. And people are self-involved, so don’t expect the job interviewer to be legitimately interested in you as a person. And finally, you are on a mission to represent yourself and what you want, using the depth of your talent to surprise the people around you without dishonoring the integrity of the faith you have in God. God gives us wisdom, people give us attitude and we must bring intelligence. If you get that confused, be prepared to stay in confusion.

3. Life seems more miraculous when you work. Most of the people I know who become depressed somewhere along the line have dropped their shovel and headed for an easy chair to contemplate their doom. I have never met anyone who is still working who has given up. And I’ve never seen a miracle happen without human beings bringing all they’ve got. God is smart. If He’s going to plan a party, He’s going to share the responsibility and not merely spread the table to ungrateful patrons. You want to see miracles? Keep working the gig you know has brought them before.

4. And finally, what I tell these unbelievably inspiring friends is that life is about pursuit and acquisition. Learn the difference. To everything there is a season. There is a time to pursue and to learn how to enjoy doing it. And there is a time to reap–or acquire–and to celebrate the harvest. If you mix them up and impudently demand acquisition when pursuit is necessary, you will become the annoying brat that is the fodder for gossip every time you leave the room. If you are the person who is incapable of celebrating the victory, but is trying to clean up the party hats and plates before everyone is done eating, you will be known as the nasty nudge who certainly will not be invited to the next shindig. Life is about pursuit and acquisition. Before you begin, determine if this is a pursuit or a mission to acquire. Then, enjoy it accordingly.

There you go. And if I may be so bold, I will say that I guarantee that if you follow any one of these things, your life will change from the mediocre mirroring of our society’s grayscale to brighter colors of promise. Try two? Double your results. And if you want to eventually embrace all four–philosophically, emotionally and spiritually–be prepared for the peace that passes all understanding.

Do get me started. Yes, it is a most holy decision to admit lack, knowing that such a confession is the only way to achieve abundance.

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Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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