1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Smooth Out the Wrinkles in Your Life

 

Fix the next thing

Although we may insist that problems come in piles, what they actually do is accumulate because they are avoided or feared. Then we suddenly find ourselves with a heapin’ helpin’ of horror.

Intimidation sets in.

Intimidation brings a friend. That comrade is worry.

Worry takes twice as much brain power as reasoning and planning.

Why?

Worry demands that you remember something from the past that you think is going to happen in the present and makes you wonder if it will play out in the future. It’s exhausting.

Reasoning, on the other hand, suggests that you take what you know and apply it to the ongoing situation.

When you start fixing the next thing, you find that you not only are repairing things, but also eliminating the overwhelming sensation of being drug down by your insistent problems. Rather, you’re enlightened by them and given the opportunity, through them, to prove your prowess.

Fix the next thing.

Keep your other problems waiting.

After all, some of them deserve to be snubbed.


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Sit Down Comedy …March 8th, 2019

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I recently moved, abandoning my old fortress of solitude for new digs, which I now comfortably call home.

In my whole life I have done this process twelve times. I was a little surprised to discover that this is statistically average.

Whenever I move, the first thing I do is go out and buy a box of garbage bags. Why? Because I’m going to give away a whole lot of stuff. These are the materials that crept into my life, were used temporarily, and ended up being stored in my closet or corners, where I intentionally forgot them.

It’s a very easy evaluation process. As I begin to pack things, I look at each item and ask myself the following three questions:

  1. Have I used this in the past three months?
  2. Will I use it a lot in the next three months?
  3. Is there someone who would really like to use it right now?

It makes things so easy. I not only end up moving but am able to bless a whole bunch of people who get the rejects I’ve been keeping around out of sentimentality mingled with laziness.

But you see, likewise, every once in a while, when something in my life needs to be moved, shifted or rearranged, I will dare to enter my closet of emotions and see what might be in there that is unnecessary.

There are three main culprits:

A. Worry

It gets shuffled to the rear and pretends it’s not there until you glance at it and then, the apprehension surfaces.

B. Pride

It always likes to be hung up high where it can be seen but does nothing to enhance my being except puff up my ego and is quickly deflated by reality.

C. And finally, self-pity

This one really likes to hide, like a cockroach surprised by turning on the light in the middle of the night. It likes to pretend it doesn’t exist, but self-pity literally “bugs me.”

When I look at these emotions—worry, pride and self-pity—I know deep in my heart that they’re worthless, but I keep them around for those times when others are not concerned, praising me—or they might even be ignoring me.

They suck. Yes, these fretting emotions literally suck the life out of me.

Because when I pose the three questions to them, which need to be asked of any emotion, they always fail. The three questions are:

  • Is this emotion making me money?
  • Is this emotion making me friends?
  • Is this emotion making me smarter?

Honestly, I do not feel old, but I am too ancient to waste time worrying pridefully in a puddle of self-pity. I need things in my life that make me money, friends and turn me into a smarter being.

So will you join me in grabbing a sack, finding your worry, your pride and your self-pity, bagging it up and giving it away for Goodwill?

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Jonathots … December 4th, 2018


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Jonathan's Handbook of Hands

Dusting for prints

It’s done at the scene of a crime. (Well, of course, I’m working off my limited knowledge of criminology based upon years of watching cop shows.)

The investigators are looking for finger prints–evidence that one specific person was specifically at this place, specifically involved in a specific way in what transpired–what they refer to as “a person of interest.”

God gave each and every one of us a brain and it is up to us to decide how to use our hands. At the end of those hands are fingers, with tips.

Fingertips.

Our aspiration is to define the way we touch things, the way we handle matters and the way we conduct business, so that when the room is dusted for evidence, our mark, our distinction and our passion will be left behind with our uniqueness.

But since your true contact is touch,you might want to consider what fingerprints you leave behind when you exit a situation.

I have three–a trio of noticeable marks that I want to remain after I’ve left the room. I want people to know that I’ve been there by the touch of my contribution. These are:

  • No worry
  • No hurry
  • No judge and jury

I want to make sure when I walk into situations that my touch removes the need to worry.

I also want people to know that I’m not trying to run in and run out quickly, contributing as little time as possible for a potential solution.

And I certainly want everybody to know when they receive my touch that I am no judge and I am no jury of their heart and soul.

These are the fingerprints I want to leave behind from the hands that contain my touch. I want people to know I was in the room. I’m a person of interest.

Because of that, my touch will always include no worry, no hurry and no judge and jury.

 

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Jonathots … November 13th, 2018


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Jonathan's Handbook of Hands

We are sensual.

Though many proponents insist on portraying us cerebral or spiritual, when it comes time for follow-through, we are infrequently sensible and rarely angelic.

We strive for it. Sometimes we overwork our brains to the point of worry, or we contort our spirits in all forms of prayer and worship until we become obnoxious–even to ourselves.

WE ARE SENSUAL

There are five of them:

  • seeing
  • hearing
  • smelling
  • tasting

All of these four senses are located in our own heads–and that is candidly where we live most of the time. We focus on what we’ve seen, heard, the aromas we enjoy and the tastes that tickle our palates.

The only thing that even hints that we are not merely part of the animal kingdom is the fifth sense–touch.

We experience this when we leave our own thoughts, extend our arms and decide to use our hands.

It’s when the cerebral and spiritual are invited into our sensual control center to contribute something more expansive–inclusive.

THE POWER OF TOUCH

Therefore, if we don’t know how to use our hands–if our touch is either absent or brutal–then the four senses that dwell within the cranium will make us self-centered and certainly encourage isolation.

We were supposed to learn all of this when we were kids. Mom, Dad, relatives, older siblings, Grandpa, Grandma, aunts, uncles and even schoolteachers were there to instruct us on how to “handle” other human beings.

But what if we didn’t learn? What if the instruction was vague? What if we were encouraged by others–or by our own inclinations–to trust our other four senses, and leave touch to chance, or lust?

Is there any hope for the human race if we live our entire lives inside our minds, and fail to learn the power of touch?

What am I supposed to do with my hands?

When should I be “hands on?”

How about “hands off?”

What is the correct time to join hands?

Should we fold our hands in prayer?

Should we give a “hand up” to others?

These are all great questions.

Over the next multiple weeks, I would like to invite you to the Handbook on Hands–an opportunity to study our sensual selves, and find the cerebral and spiritual reasons to use our touch elegantly.


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Catchy (Sitting 12) A Collision of Colossal … August 27th, 2017

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Susannah Lacey, known as “Soos” during her infamous days of cavorting around the campus with the “Leaven of Seven,” was waiting at the headquarters when Matthew arrived on Wednesday morning. She looked exactly the same, except age had etched a little worry and miles onto the terrain of her frame.

She gave a big smile as Matthew came into the door, raced up and gave him a hug. taking his breath away.

They had never been terribly close. It was an awkward situation. Matthew always suspected that Soos had a crush on him, and she believed it was the other way around. So not so certain that any crush existed, no romance ever came to fruition.

But Matthew had a great respect for Soos. She was a “reasoner.” When it seemed like all problems were surrounding the “Leaven of Seven,” threatening to destroy their idealism, she came through like Joan of Arc, rescuing their innocence. (Usually it consisted of buying a pizza or finding some marijuana, which made them all feel nasty-cool.)

She explained to Matthew that she had gotten his message and was heeding the call as if he were Commissioner Gordon turning on the Batman beam to summon the crusader. Matthew was not terribly familiar with the reference but giggled anyway.

While the greeting was still in full swing, in walked Prophet Morgan. He hadn’t left the offices since his arrival. Prophet was a pleasant enough sort, though he had the sniff of the brimstone which accompanied the fire of his faith. Matthew thought he seemed sneaky. Having heard his full story, Matthew thought it was a miracle that Prophet Morgan wasn’t in either an insane asylum or jail upstate.

At age five, his drunken father, who was an evangelist with a tent revival, decided to bring his little boy up onstage to pray for people, and lo and behold, the tiny Prophet Morgan laid his hands on a woman and spoke in an unknown language. The next morning she awoke completely healed.

No one took the time to wonder if she would have been healed anyway, or if she was really that sick in the first place. The word spread like a grease fire–a five-year-old prophet with the gift of healing, sent by God to the backwoods of Arkansas to transform His people.

In no time at all, huge crowds were showing up at the tent revival meetings and Prophet’s father was getting rich on the proceeds of his sprout.

About a year into the process, at age six, Prophet had a nervous breakdown. Matthew guessed that’s what you’d call it. The six-year-old started running around the room, only stopping to bang his head against the wall. He was placed in a mental institution, where he stayed until he was twelve.

Prophet explained that no one ever told him why he was there or how he would ever get out. One bright, sunny day, someone left the back door open to the asylum while spray-washing some chairs. The twelve-year-old detainee simply strolled out, started running, and never stopped.

That was the story thus far. Obviously there were many more tales to be told. But Prophet Morgan was a young man burdened by old demons.

He took an immediate liking to Soos, who found Prophet to be a bit bizarre in appearance but just ethereal enough to grease her wheels.

While the two of them were making friends, the phone rang. It was a call from Michael Hinston, from Washington, D. C. Matthew was surprised to discover that Michael had a change of heart and was now interested in the “make Jesus popular” project.

Matthew hung up the phone scratching his head, trying to figure out why, all of a sudden, all these elements were falling together. Well, if not together–at least colliding with one another.

Another phone call came in. It was Marcus Tomlinson, who had originally asked Matthew to consider the 250 million dollar project. He explained that he would be flying in the next day to talk about the future of the idea.

As Matthew hung up the phone, he felt there was a gloominess emanating from Tomlinson–coming with some bad news. Or maybe it was good news.

Maybe the burden of making the decision about this bizarre errand would be taken off Matthew’s shoulders.

He wasn’t sure.

Prophet Morgan stepped over and slapped him on the back, awakening him from his thoughts of deep escape.

“Quite a day, huh?” said the prophet.

“Yes. A lot going on,” Matthew answered, preoccupied.

Prophet looked off in the distance. “I remember an old Creole woman in Louisiana I once met, who said about this kind of day–the one we’re living in right now–she called it a ‘collision of the colossal.’ Lots of things happening, but no way to be sure if any of them smell of God.”

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Good News and Better News… December 12th, 2016

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good-news-light

She spoke to me in a quiet voice, a bit creaky and worn from decades of conversation, hinting at the possibility of sage wisdom.

“I know Jesus said we shouldn’t worry, but …”

She didn’t finish. Apparently she was leaving it to my imagination to fill in the blank. What did she want me to insert in that space?

“I know Jesus said we shouldn’t worry but…”

  1. He was wrong?
  2. He didn’t live in the 21st century?
  3. He was perfect, so it doesn’t count?
  4. He was never a mother?

The greatest disservice we do to ourselves is continuing to believe that worry performs any reasonable function.

Worry is an anti-energy.

It not only fails to provide assistance but actually drains away faith and hope, leaving us stuck with images of struggle and failure.

Here’s the good news:

Since God knows we’re human, He has lit up the path before us.

Not in the sense of controlling our destiny, but rather, by making it clear what needs to be done next and how we can contribute to the cause.

It’s lit up.

Jesus told us that it’s our job to “discern the signs of our times.”

In other words, see what is available for consideration today, and put our efforts into people and circumstances that are ready for input instead of into situations and individuals which stubbornly avoid solution.

  • The wise men followed a star.
  • They didn’t make up a religion.
  • They didn’t adopt a philosophy.
  • They saw a light and they followed it.

It lit up.

The shepherds went to work, never thinking they would be talked to by angels. But once the angels spoke to them and lit up a possibility, they went with it.

And the whole salvation plan came down to a girl turning to her betrothed, Joseph, and saying, “Excuse me, I need to get down from this donkey. I’m crowning.”

Joseph didn’t question. Joseph didn’t say, “There’s no place for this to happen.” It lit up. He followed.

The good news is that life does light up in front of us with today’s possibility.

The better news is that even though the dark questions may go unanswered, there is great opportunity that soon they will brighten.

 

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Ask Jonathots… September 1st, 2016

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ask jonathots bigger

I have a friend who is not a believer. He loves people, is kind-hearted and generous. In other words he acts like a believer who follows Jesus. How can I convince him that Jesus is the way? P.S. I have done my best to “shine my light” before him, but he doesn’t seem to budge.

I assume you’re talking about the standard Plan of Salvation:

God sent His son in the body of Jesus of Nazareth to come to Earth to give himself as a human sacrifice for the sin of mankind, so that if anyone accepts him as Savior, they can be redeemed and guaranteed a home in heaven.

I will tell you that if your aspiration is to see your friend follow this step-by-step procedure to attain eternal security, you probably will be greatly disappointed. The amount of anger, disaster or devastation that comes into one’s life before reaching the “end of the rope” that is required to comply with this particular enacting of salvation is not very common–and not something you would actually wish on your worst enemy.

So let me offer you a different insight.

Your friend has the power of knowing where the switch is, to turn on the lights. That’s pretty special. What he doesn’t have is the awareness of how that light works or what to do if the switch is broken.

Once we understand that God is not only our Father, but is the Creator of Earth, and therefore the Initiator of science, technology, atmosphere and logic, we have a much better comprehension of the mission of Jesus.

Jesus basically grants human beings two things they do not have without him:

  1. Don’t worry about life.
  2. Don’t worry about eternity.

He made it clear that we should not sit around “taking thought” about what we shall eat, drink and wear because it is all built into God’s system if we keep our eyes open and pursue opportunities.

And Jesus made it equally understandable that eternity was prepared for us, and that he would be there to meet us.

The rest of the Gospel is merely explaining how the juice gets to the lightbulb–so just in case our light switch stops working, we can ask the “Master Electrician” to join us in reconnecting.

Is there truth to the Plan of Salvation about a human sacrifice?

When mankind was given the freewill choice of accepting the teachings of Jesus, and rejected, murdering him, God chose to use it as a means of forgiving us for our shortcomings.

Pretty powerful.

So what should your profile be? Make sure that your friend is fully aware that the Creator is also the scientist, philosopher, musician, technologist and free thinker that he requires in his everyday life.

Remember, Jesus wanted to be known for his words.

The religious system honors him for his blood.

But the average person is not nearly as intent on finding a sacrificial lamb as in discovering someone who can understand and show compassion.

Case in point:

When Zacchaeus gave his money back to those he had cheated on taxes, Jesus said, “Salvation has come to your house.”

Zacchaeus didn’t confess, he wasn’t baptized and Jesus had not yet died. But salvation was there because Zacchaeus welcomed the wisdom of awareness and mercy for others.

Stop being in a hurry to get your friend to sign on the dotted line, and instead, give him more “lines” of appreciation to his Creator.

 

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