1 Thing You Can Do to Expand Your Potential and Increase Your Value

 

Cease to be a problem and become a reward.

Nobody is birthed to be successful nor is anyone born cursed.

The blessing lies in what voices we listen to and the ones we reject. This starts from the time we’re tiny toddlers, all through the educational system and even when we eventually arrive at our occupation.

The choice is yours—are you going to be a problem?

Every human being becomes a problem to every other human being if they do not curtail worry and fear. The minute you allow worry to find a home inside you and fear to stall you, you make yourself weak in moments when strength is needed and require your family and friends to carry your load.

This is how we evaluate our peers.

Are they able to come into a situation, figure out what to do, initiate the process and survive the setbacks?

There are only two things that keep us from achieving that status:

Worry becoming overwhelmed with anxiety before taking inventory of possibilities.

Fearlacking the self-confidence and energy of faith by surmising that the same benefits that came to us in previous predicaments are still available.

Once worry and fear enter the heart of any human being, he or she is incapacitated from carrying their own portion and must rely on the patience and generosity of others.

If this is the selection you make—either because you grew up in an environment where it was acceptable, have taken on a religion that believes such weakness is dependence on God, or you are just terrified of every option that comes your way—well, if this is your profile, you will be a problem.

And here’s the truth:

When problems cannot be solved, they are first ignored and then they’re abandoned.

You can become a reward. You can be a gift to yourself and your fellow-travelers if you can substitute simplicity for worry and humor for fear.

Simplicity is worry that proclaims, “While we’re waiting for a better solution, let’s keep ourselves busy with this one.”

And humor is buying the time to allow circumstances to shift, reinforcements to arrive or a resolution.

When you bring simplicity and humor, you are considered a reward.

You save yourself mountains of frustration and you make other people glad that you’re in their lives, sharing the burden.

Much of worry and fear is taught—which is good.

Because if you can learn the wrong, you can relearn the right.

 

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Good News and Better News… June 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It was my distinct honor to join forces with Ms. Clazzy to share at the Village United Methodist Church. The congregation is pastored by a firebrand voice of our generation named Andrea.

As she prayed, spoke and exuded, there was a spirit of anticipation mingled with anxiety, letting me know that she was of a mind to see our world experience a true revival of sanity.

Yet, as is often the case, we human beings tend to get tripped up in the trappings. We stumble.

We become convinced that something which has lasted no more than a couple of decades was imparted by God Himself, and that we have the responsibility to follow it with divine accuracy.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I think Pastor Andrea fully understands that church is a decision to lose fear to choose cheer.

It’s what Jesus instructed people to do. When they came to him, trembling, frightened and glum, he repeatedly told them, “Be not afraid. Be of good cheer.”

Nothing of any quality happens in the human experience as long as we’re fearful and it deters our cheerful.

So how do we lose our fear?

How do we lose anything? We lose things because we accidentally forget them or we decide to forget them.

The same thing is true with fear. Although we’ve acquired it, it has proven to be ineffective for daily use. We can get sentimental about it, we can accidentally forget it, or we can decide to forget it.

To accidentally forget it, just get yourself involved in something that is earnestly interesting and proves itself to be enriching to your feelings.

To decide to forget it, find a good burial place. Have a ceremony. Invite others to be there when you walk away from what terrifies you.

There is so much maintenance required by fear that it smothers our love. Once our love is destroyed, we become timid animals living in the jungle.

Once you lose your fear, then you can choose cheer. And the best way to do that is liven up the efforts that you enjoy, and when given opportunities, pick the happy one.

Even if for a season you put issues on the back burner that other people think are very important, you should pick the happy ones. You’re trying to train your heart to rejoice again. To do that you have to rid yourself of unnecessary causes.

I can truthfully tell you, I was thoroughly impressed and blessed by being in the presence of such delightful saints on Sunday, and I can also honestly tell you that I hope Pastor Andrea will teach these people to lose fear and choose cheer.

The good news is that the loss of fear is a doorway to love.

The better news is, a life of good cheer allows us to share our love without any fear.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 42 (August 27th, 1967) Driven… November 29, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

I woke up in one of those adolescent grumpy moods, staring at the ceiling, disgusted with my life.

It was nearly time for school to start again and I felt like I had squandered my entire summer, worrying about how little summer I had left.

Even the things I had done which seemed enjoyable had passed too quickly, and now it was time to go back to school–to pretend to be a student and memorize a bunch of information which would give me a good grade on a test, knowing in my heart that I would soon forget the knowledge, yet knowing that somewhere in the future, I would be expected to remember it.

I had acquired three dollars yesterday by finally mowing the lawn, which had grown so high that one of the neighbors had complained to my parents, fearing that varmaints or snakes might dwell within. I reluctantly did the job and was rewarded with the remuneration.

So I woke up with a scratch I needed to itch. That’s the way it is when you’re a teenager–it’s not really an itch you need to scratch, but rather, an ongoing scratching sensation and needing an itch to justify it.

I got in my car and headed over to Katie’s house. She was the highlight of my summer. We had come together to search for pop bottles we could turn in for deposit to get gas money so we could drive around, talk and be silly.

There was nothing romantic involved, though candidly, I would have jumped her at the slightest invitation. She just thought I was funny.

When I picked her up that day, she had two dollars she had earned by picking blackberries on her grandma’s farm. Between us we had five dollars, three candy bars and some leftover tuna sandwiches her mother had foisted on her as she departed.

Katie explained that she needed to be home by three o’clock in the afternoon, and since it was already ten-thirty, our time would be shortened.

I told her that since we had enough money to buy fifteen gallons of gasoline, that we should drive three hours somewhere, talk, laugh and turn around to drive three hours back.

She was cool with it so we took off for Columbus.

Driving on I-71, we reached the south end of Columbus. Then that scratch that needed an itch suddenly raised its head. So I said, “Let’s keep going.”

She was nervous but agreed–and before too long we passed through Washington Court House, Wilmington and suddenly found ourselves on the outskirts of Cincinnati. It was deliciously naughty, filled with wild abandon and irresponsibility.

A sign read that the Ohio River was four miles ahead. I had never seen the Ohio River, and Katie had only passed over it in a car with her parents while being sound asleep in the back seat. So I said, let’s do it.

We crossed the river into Kentucky.

We felt like fugitives. It was similar to trying to make our way into the Soviet Union through the Iron Curtain (they had that back then).

Everything on the other side of the river, including a town named Covington, looked so different. We felt like Christopher Columbus eyeballing the New World.

Suddenly, Katie looked down at her watch and it was two o’clock in the afternoon, and she realized there was no way she would be able to get back in time. There also were no cell phones or texting, and pay phones were out of the question because we had used all of our money for petrol.

So knowing we were going to get in trouble, we turned the car around and headed back the way we came. It was the strangest combination of fear, jubilance, independence, anxiety and nervous bowel twinges that I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Strangely enough, when we arrived home, people really didn’t say much about us being late–just that we should never do it again.

Katie and I knew that was impossible.

Something changed that day.

I no longer felt bound to a small home on a tiny street in a little village. I realized there was a big world out there–and the only way I would ever get to it and be myself was to survive a couple more years of provincial schooling … to finally be able to point my life in my own direction.

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Check out Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories’Til Christmas

The Best Christmas Stories You’ll Ever Read!

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Click on Santa to browse “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories Til Christmas”

G-11: Mad, Sad, Glad … February 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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  • We feel safe.Titanic
  • We made it.
  • The thunder rolled, the winds blew by and the rain ceased.

We’re standing on dry land, having escaped another near-disaster, feeling no repercussions whatsoever from the disruption–just grateful to be alive.

Little do we know that this is the most dangerous juncture in life. It is when we accidentally carry the anxiety of the previous encounter into the future, without realizing that the residue is hanging from us.

Yes, we are still mad: “It ain’t right.”

Or maybe sad: “It ain’t fair.”

But the once-confident spirit that propelled us into deeper and deeper adventures of faith is now making us cautious. We accept this new profile under the guise of being “well-seasoned,” But actually, we are not the same.

We have lost a bit of the joy that makes us the people we are, and when we realize it, we become defensive, insisting that nothing has changed.

What is the countenance of the average person you see on the street, when they don’t realize they’re being observed? A mad frown? A sad droop? Or maybe a blending of the two?

If maturity depresses us, then what is the purpose of growing older?

How can we overcome the extra destruction done by the storms of life which inflict unseen damage to our foundation? We gotta be honest: just because we’re standing on dry land does not mean we have escaped being drenched in worry.

We want to reach glad. We want to escape the sensation of “it ain’t right” and “it ain’t fair,” to arrive at a jubilant feeling of good cheer: “It ain’t gonna kill me.”

Sometimes we think projecting a brave front is a sign of our willingness to avoid doubt. But actually, acknowledging that the trials and tribulations that came our way did impact us but were unable to destroy us is the best way to escape the madness and the sadness.

For after all, mad people are cocked and ready to strike out at others, who unwittingly trigger aggravating memories.

And sad people are ill-prepared to enter into new relationships which certainly will require a bit of adjustment and forgiveness.

It isn’t just about surviving–it’s about surviving and candidly admitting how amazing and miraculous it was to be rescued. And then, to have the sense of humor to progress, keeping an eye on our motives, and healing our wounds instead of hiding them.

I am glad. This does not mean that everything is all right. It does not mean that I was saved from all the ravages of my temptations without any casualties. It means I lived. And in living, I am open to the dual process of inner healing and outer expressions of creativity.

Beware–being placed in the lifeboat is miraculous.

But it does not mean you will avoid horrible memories of the sinking vessel and fleeting trepidations to sail again.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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click to hear music from Spirited 2014

It’s Me… February 26, 2013

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opossumI just stepped out for fifteen minutes to go get ice, chips and dip during one of those frenzied moments when you realize that you just can’t live without them.

My two sons, one twelve and one seven, were settled in, watching a TV show, so I felt fairly confident that I could leave, pick up my supplies from the local convenience store and be back before they even broke the trance, staring at the magic screen. I told my oldest boy that I was going to the store.

Upon arrival, I was not in the establishment for even two minutes, browsing, when a young man at the cashier stand called, “Is there a Mr. Cring here?”

Keep in mind–these were the days before cell phones, so it seems that my oldest son had tracked down the name of this store and called, apparently in desperation, to get hold of his dad. I picked up the phone and was assaulted with a nervous, excited and frightened jabber. Through the spurts I was able to figure out that my guy thought there was somebody at the back door, trying to get in the house.

Obviously, I was alarmed. I told him to lock the door and ran out of the convenience store (sans supplies). I drove to the house, parked the car and came around to the back door, where my son had heard the noise. There on the doorstep, banging its nose against the door for some inexplicable reason, was what seemed to be a very angry opossum, with some sort of bizarre agenda.

I could understand why my son was so frightened–it was really quite loud. Upon careful inspection, the possum, through determined smackings, had bloodied his own nose, and it was obvious to me that this was one crazed animal which I certainly did NOT want to deal with.

The possum turned, scowled and growled at me. Not knowing what to do and not having any weapon handy, I duplicated the scowl and growl, adding my own human flavor to it. To my delight and surprise, he turned on his paws and scampered across the back yard, out through the hedges and into the woods.

I was relieved. I was not an excellent possum fighter. Fortunately, I was not required to prove my prowess by disemboweling this creature. When I was sure the possum was long gone, I quietly knocked on the back door. There was a pause, followed by a wee, tiny voice barely resembling the first-born that I knew and loved.

“Wh-wh-who is it?”

“It’s me.”

That’s all I said. Suddenly the door flew open and gangly, awkward son leaped into my arms, hugging me and praising my role as his savior. I hadn’t identified myself in any way except through my voice. But because he knew he had called for my help, and I said I was on the way, he was not surprised when I arrived. He was not afraid to let me in. He was overjoyed.

It happened one night on a lake. Fishermen and good seamen, who should not have been terrified by a storm, were suddenly overtaken by uncontrollable anxiety. In the midst of that turmoil and anguish, a voice spoke through the darkness.

“It’s me.”

The very relieved and overjoyed fishermen received their friend into the boat … and the storm went away.

That night when I returned and was blessed by NOT needing to go on a possum hunt, I still was able to create an even deeper connection with my children because they recognized my voice, I came to their aid, and the danger disappeared.

I do not understand why we would think that teaching people to be afraid of God is a way of creating better humans and more devoted disciples.

Isn’t it preferable to believe, deep in your heart, that “Daddy’s home” … and all the bad things have run away?

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Touched and Tempted: Feel … January 23, 2013

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feelI am touched by life’s infirmities.

I am tempted like everybody else.

It is what makes me human.

The more I allow myself to be touched and to acknowledge my temptations, the purer my heart and the more I see God. The more I see God, the greater the chance that I will view Him in the circumstances and the people around me, rather than alienating myself from anything that appears to be foreign and scampering away like a frightened deer.

This is where the paths of psychology and true spirituality cross. In both cases, sharing your feelings, knowing your heart and keeping yourself clean from clogs due to fear and anxiety are key to maintaining a balanced life. So what’s the problem?

The problem occurs when both religion and our cultural approach to the roles of men and women encourage people to hide their temptations and cease to feel compassion, excitement, turmoil and joy. When the medical community prescribes Prozac and the religious system offers grace as a means of neutralizing any of the questioning in our emotions, which might lead to deeper understanding of ourselves, the problems are not alleviated–just masked by medication or meditation.

You will never succeed in living a good human life if you do not feel the freedom to be touched and tempted–without disguising your condition. There is  a place where psychology and spirituality intersect. Both of these worlds understand that we are heart creatures–if we don’t deal with our feelings, we close the door to the possibility of spiritual growth, mental acuity and physical improvement.

So what should you and I do today to make sure that we are “touched with infirmities and tempted like everyone else?”

  1. Ask yourself how you really feel.
  2. Don’t be afraid of the answer.
  3. Speak how you feel to someone else–or at least in the mirror.
  4. Take a moment to cleanse yourself of any worry that comes to mind because you don’t sense that you’re  in the flow.
  5. Realize that this process you’ve just experienced makes you a human being. Perfection is reserved for God (and after all, that, too, is only a theory).
  6. Find a place to start–make sure it’s where you actually are instead of where you wish to be.
  7. Don’t be embarrassed to feel.

Telling people that God’s grace covers everything is not only a lie, but is something they know, deep in their hearts, does not work towards their well-being. Taking the edge off via medication only suppresses the avalanche of emotions instead of teaching us to shovel our snow.

This is where we begin: we feel.

We feel by being touched by the infirmities of the world around us, including our own, and tempted like everybody else, and not being afraid to admit our weakness. Without this, we set in motion the climate for lying.

And lying is what keeps us from the truth that makes us free.

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