This Is My Yard

My yard is awful.

No, it isn’t awful like some peoples’ kids in the local Walmart. It isn’t awful in the way of the taste and texture of bananas when they get in my mouth (you may love bananas but I am biologically anti-banana).

No, it is awful because the dirt isn’t really dirt. It is more of a rocky, concrete-like clay that doesn’t want anything to grow. It just chokes the life out of flowers, grass and trees.

I’ve learned that getting a tree to survive in this yard is by planting it in an extra large hole and filling the hole with what once was my yard with new and better yard (topsoil from somewhere else).

I considered digging up the whole yard and replacing it. That isn’t really feasible. Weather conditions here are sure to wash it away just before it got settled in and began to look like an un-awful yard.

So, this year, my wife wants tomatoes and I want to grow some peppers. I guess that together, my wife and I are like salsa!

Well, anyway, my yard would just laugh at my efforts to plant a garden (it is a little disturbing to actually picture a laughing yard).

I decided (and by I, I mean my wife) that I would build a raised garden bed to sit on top of the foul, crusty, hard ground in my yard.

I bought some lumber, constructed some heavy duty wooden framing, went down to the local garden center and got a truckload of the nicest-looking dirt money can buy.

I knew I had become an adult the first time I looked at a load of dirt and admired it.

I shoveled all that dirt into the frame I had built and looky there! I have great soil in a small portion of my yard.

I have a fellow blogger that is just plain tired of all the gardening analogies people make but I am so sorry, here I go anyway.

I was my yard. Not even weeds wanted to grow in me. When the storms came, I just became a slimy, slippery mess and the water didn’t soak down inside me, it just ran off to somewhere else that it could settle in.

I was dry and barren. If it weren’t for the rocks, I’d have had no features at all.

I’m kind of a crusty old guy. Sometimes, I’m sure people look at me and see someone that is well on their way to becoming the crabby old man in the neighborhood.

There’s a lot about me that is just me. I’m not getting the full lawn makeover any time soon. I used to believe that because of that, I was doomed to be forever unproductive.

Hi! My name is Death Valley.

But after I started recovery a few years ago, I learned that if I wanted to plant something small, I had to dig a big spot to put it and fill that spot with something different.

It is hard to become someone that isn’t you overnight. But, I can become someone better by planting one flower or tree at a time.

So, I finally was able to step back and see more than an arid desert burning beneath a scorching sun. After a while, there was a lot more to me than there used to be.

I’m still me. I’m not perfect. I’ve got a long, long way to go. But, I have gone from something just plain butt ugly to something butt ugly with some beauty here and there.

Getting that first thing to grow, that first leaf to bud out and that first bloom to open up and meet the morning dew showed me that I can do it again and again and again.

I used to despise who I was. I wanted to love myself but I just couldn’t do it because what seemed to grow so effortlessly in others just wilted and died inside of me.

But I am not building anyone else’s garden. I am building my own and it is uniquely me. It is an oasis where there once was nothing.

It is my oasis. I can love it now (most of the time).

It is going to take some back-breaking work from time to time. That’s how it is in people like me. I’m learning to love it. There’s something about finishing up that preparation, planting the tiny new thoughts in my heart and letting the sweat cool my skin as I look at the new beginnings in another barren part of my soul.

I’m looking forward to more than just flowers and trees this summer. I’m ready for tomatoes and peppers.


Do Nothing

New Hope for Dry Bones

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

“Do Nothing”. The bible tells me that if all I can think about is myself and how things affect me, if all that fills my mind is making my needs be met that I am to do nothing. The right choice when I am in the middle of a pity party is to do nothing. The right choice when I am filled with anger and rage is to do nothing. The right choice when I am filled with grief is to do nothing.

Life is hard. It is even harder when I make bad choices. Many times I make the choice to serve my self and my selfish needs. I spout out hateful words that…

View original post 552 more words

Words, Word, Words

I’ve done a lot of writing over the last several years. No doubt, I am not the world’s most prolific writer. In fact, I hesitate to call myself a writer. To me, a writer does something more than I can do.

I don’t have millions awaiting the next words I put to paper. I don’t win any acclaim other than the fine words of some people that have taken a liking to what I have to say. I don’t get paid for any of it. I haven’t had to claim a single thing pertaining to this endeavor on my taxes.

Still, I’ve done a lot of writing. WordPress tallies my writing to be nearly a half million words since I started this site. I’ve written about 725 posts in the last two years.

I did this for several years before finding WordPress. I am fairly certain those numbers should be at least tripled.

That is a lot of things I have had to say since I was at my lowest point in life. That’s a lot of words of encouragement and hope that have come from this person that was just a hollow shell of a man ready to quit life.

The things I have written have all been pretty much about one subject.

I write about what God has done for me.

Sometimes I write about what God will do for me. But that is directly related to what he has done for me. You see, being a regular old guy with brittle faith, I tend to need that history with God in my past to reinforce my hope for the future.

I don’t condemn anyone for lacking in faith.

This morning, I was reading about Thomas the disciple of Christ. When the disciples told him they had seen the living Christ, he thought he was being pranked or maybe the disciples had been drinking too much wine.

He had to see some Jesus before he believed that the man he saw die with his own eyes was up walking around, let alone materializing out of thin air.

I’ve had to see some Jesus in order to grow my faith into what it has become.

It hasn’t been looking at a man standing before me showing nail scars.

No, it has been a retrospective of each day on this planet where my eyes have been opened to the one that I accused of abandoning me being with me all the way, every step, every breath.

He has been with me even when I screamed and shouted for him to leave me alone.

So, even though sometimes I feel that the words coming from deep within me will run dry and I will not find anything to say about this life of hope, they will never cease because Jesus in me will never cease.

John 21:25 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.

I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that could be written about all that Jesus did for me.

So, even though I am not a writer, I do have a testimony. It has been a long and amazing journey. I hope I describe it well enough that others can see the amazing in it.

Someday, this writing may take me in another direction. Maybe I’ll finish that book this year. Maybe I’ll find a way to reach more people.

I don’t know. I only know that wherever it takes me, Jesus is going with me.

Why You Crying?

I’ve heard this question a lot. Now that my grandson is nearly four, I find myself asking that question a lot.

It seems that the word “no” often signals the end of his world to him.

Hysterics often follow not being allowed to play in the street, eat a third dinner or play with dynamite.

Telling a kid “no” or any answer other than the one they are wanting to hear often meets with tearful wailing and temporary loss of sanity. The loss of sanity is usually mine.

Why you crying?

I’ve been asked that question and although I don’t recall many of my toddler temper tantrums, I do recall asking sarcastically, “Why do you think I’m crying? There’s a fish hook caught in my ear lobe!”

I think maybe sometimes it is good to ask myself why I am crying.

Yeah, I have some long and interesting conversations with myself. Mostly, I talk to myself a lot because I always get my jokes and think they are hilarious. But, in these question and answer periods, I often find that my emotions are getting the best of my reality.

John 20:11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

Why you crying?

Mary was really upset about the death of Jesus. He was the center of her world and that center was now gone.

I can picture her sniffling, eyes red from tears, her making that weird catching your breath sound as she tried to speak, “They took him and I don’t know where they put him!”

She may have had more to say if she realized that she was speaking to angels and not thought it was just two weird dudes that spent their spare time sitting in abandoned tombs.

But, she went back to crying more, maybe even wailing and throwing a real fit of hysterical proportion, or maybe she just sobbed, I don’t really know.

John 20:14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

Mary turned and saw the gardener.

How many times had God spoken to me and I dismissed him as something less than what he truly is? When I have one of those question and answer periods with myself about that, I give myself some shivers.

I’ve dismissed God a lot. I’ve demoted him to gardener, simpleton and mental patient. Seriously, I have taken the words God has spoken to me and put them into the context of nothing more than the guy with the John 3:16 sign that gets to go to all the football games. How does that guy afford to get into football games? I can’t afford one ticket every decade or so!

Why you crying?

Mary turned to Jesus and told him the answer she was seeking.

“Tell me where he is and I’ll go get him.”

Mary couldn’t have been more sincere, loving and willing. But she was wrong.

The answer she needed wasn’t to go get him, it was to go TO him.

John 20:16 “Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

Why you crying, Mary?

There must have been something in the way he said it, something familiar, something that awoke something inside her that she had laid to rest.

When he spoke her name it all made sense and she completely forget about her plan to find out where he was so she could put him back inside that tomb.

When she heard her name, her spirit ran from the tomb, the death that had enveloped all she believed in lost its grip on her and the resurrecting power of Christ did a lot more than bring Jesus back to life, it brought all hope back to life.

Why you crying, Mike?

Hmm, I guess there are a lot of times I need to hear Jesus speak that to me. I remember hearing it when I was sitting in a Celebrate Recovery meeting waiting to tell God, “Nice try, buddy. Time for me to give up now.”

I heard my name and the answer that seemed so obviously right to me became absurd and the futility I felt was transformed miraculously to hope, my tears of sorrow became the water that moistened the hard soil of a dead heart and caused it to beat again.

Why you crying?

Maybe this a good day to lay aside the answer you want to hear and listen to something bigger than you hoped for. Maybe this is the time hope appears in the place of your desperation. Maybe this is the time your tears pave the way for some real joy.

Maybe this is a time to have a good long talk with yourself to remind yourself that these emotions don’t dictate your future.

Maybe this is the day you see the gardener for who he really is and hear truth.

That’s a lot of “maybe’s”. That is because, with God, there are more possibilities than we can ever imagine. When I start looking at all the amazing “maybe’s” that God can provide, hope snowballs and becomes bigger than all my worries.

No Pain, No Gain

I really hate the saying, “No pain, no gain.”

Seriously, what’s to love about that?

Except, it is true.

I’ve been trying to get this old body of mine, a pile of bones that have been busted and bent, skin that is wrinkled and scarred and muscles that have yielded to fat back into shape.

While it isn’t necessary for me to inflict pain that cripples me to make things fit together like they are supposed to, if my workouts consist of playing patty-cake and whistling, there’s not going to be much in the way of positive gain.

Even while I type this morning, I can feel some weakness in my shoulders. I never realized I used muscles in my shoulders to type until I started working out and doing standing military presses.

But when I work out and steal the strength from my muscles (which doesn’t always feel real great) it becomes more difficult to do it the next time.

My muscles, even though I am kind of the old geezer at the gym, respond naturally to the strain and stress and pain by getting stronger.

They don’t respond like my brain does seeking the path of least resistance to comfort. They respond by making the path of more resistance simpler and easier.

I think it is really good for my lazy brain to see what my atrophied body is accomplishing.

After all, my brain likes to hear, “Hey, Mike! You aren’t so fat anymore!”

No pain, no gain.

It’s pretty scary when a person first accepts this premise and starts to do something about turning loss into gain.

I’ve seen it ring true physically, mentally and spiritually.

I believe that often I have tried taking too many spiritual shortcuts to a carefree life, ended up losing what little I thought I had and neglected taking the road through the valley of the shadow of death and come out the other side having gained.

Christ didn’t give us the example of the cross to tell us that life is going to be unicorns and puppy-kittens.

Nope. He didn’t do what only he could do for us so we could watch Andy Griffith reruns for hours on end and sip Pina Coladas till we fell asleep on a Serta Perfect SleepeJohn 19:28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

He finished what he set out to do.

That wasn’t the end though.

Why did he do it all?

If you are thinking he did it to save YOU. You are partly right.

But, he did it to save ALL. He left us with the greatest commandment, TO LOVE.

It isn’t the easy kind of love. It isn’t looking around for people I like, people that have something I want or seeking out people that aren’t too bad to be saved.

This love is the “no pain, no gain” kind of love. If it doesn’t hurt sometimes, well, then it is just lazy love that isn’t reaching out, isn’t willing to make a sacrifice, isn’t genuine, heartfelt, super-love like Christ showed us.

This love requires me to become spent, unable to love anymore, not able to do one more rep, to drink the bitter wine and declare it is finished and then wake up the next day ready to hit it again.

I’ve seen people that extend love like that. Their disappointments are still real but the ability to withstand them is a lot stronger than mine. They are good people to have around when loving others hurts.

Loving others may smell bad, expose me to germs and tiny little bugs, take resources that I think I can’t live without, infringe upon my time, cause stress with my friends and family and even make me feel lonely and broken from time to time.

But it is what Christ called me to do. It is what he was trying to teach me to do when he uttered, “It is finished.”

Those words didn’t signal utopia with free biscuits and gravy for everyone and big, fat bank accounts for life. They signaled to me and you that it has begun.

It meant that the era of Christ in me has begun and my life should impact the world like he did, without conditions and without prejudice, willing to lay it all out there even if it hurts.

No pain, no gain.

Even as I type this, I’m looking around for cover, someplace to retreat to when it all goes wrong. Instead, I am going to look for a way into the fray, into the storm knowing that what he has finished is more than enough to get me through to the other sided a better man.

He Was Eager to Save Me

Over the last couple of weeks, there have been sightings of Easter Bunnies, Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs and baskets filled with fake grass.

It must be about Easter. Hippity-hoppity!

It seems that in order for Easter to be celebrated properly, and there be profit generated from it, it has to be secularized almost to the point of Christmas.

I can see there are a lot of kids searching high and low for colored eggs that don’t have a clue what Easter means to Christians.

Christmas and Easter have become something that generates the spiritual equivalent of a loud collective groan as people realize they have to fulfill their self-appointed obligations to attend once or twice a year.

In fact, Christmas seems to have gotten so full of retail and family obligations that church has become optional or no longer deemed time well-spent.

Easter hasn’t reached that point…yet.

There will be a lot of unfamiliar faces at church on Sunday. Even if they don’t come back till next Easter, I am glad they will be there.

As Jesus approached the last supper, he knew his time was coming to an end. It seems to me that would be a gloomy time. You wake up in the morning and say, “Hey. One day closer to crucifixion!”

This had to be his time of greatest temptation. There had to be things running through the human part of Christ that said we don’t deserve this, I’m going to make a real statement of God’s power or vengeance.

But his mission was to take what he didn’t deserve for people that didn’t deserve it.

As he sat down to what he knew was his last sip of wine, last meal and last hunk of bread, he was eager to do it.

Luke 22:14 When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. 15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16 For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

I have to feel like the celebration got sucked right out of that party. It must have taken a very somber turn.

But Jesus was eager.


That word jumps out at me. With desire he had desired. He had looked forward to it with solemn, tender feeling.

This was Christ overflowing with love for his disciples and looking forward to reaching out to all of mankind to what I would be running from like a spooked deer.

I guess I really need to get this in my head as Easter comes around for the 60th time in my life. Jesus didn’t go kicking and screaming to the cross for me. It wasn’t done with the attitude of “look what I gotta do for these lousy people!”

He was ready to do whatever it took. Anything! And he was desiring to do it eagerly with the deepest affection for us.

If God walked up to me today and told me, “All of mankind is saved if you take abuse and death for them all.”

I don’t know if I could even do it, let alone desire it. Jesus must have seen something in us we couldn’t see. I still don’t really get why we were worth all of that to him.

My Pride

I certainly hope no one reads these writings and thinks I have figured things out. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I have gotten to the place in my life where I can admit I don’t have it all figured out.

I think a lot of people are like me, they can figure out math or science or how to make a car run great or even how to get kids to behave (I’m not sure I have actually seen someone like that with my own eyes), and therefore think they can figure anything out.

So we figure and figure and maybe we even cipher and we get an answer in our heads and bang!, we officially know it all!

There are a lot of smart folks out there. They are experts at what they do. They understand things that most people can’t even comprehend. But, they shouldn’t be allowed to drive a car because they haven’t got that figured out at all. I’m sure they think they do as they careen from one lane to the next, running stop signs and failing to yield the right of way.

I’m like that. Oh, I am a great driver, not a safe driver, but a great one.

It seems like every time I figure and cipher and decode and construct towers of rational thought, I think a great deal more of myself and my abilities.

That’s great when it comes to expanding my horizons on the job, repairing the water heater or even digging a hole to plant a tree in. It isn’t so great when it feeds my pride.

My pride doesn’t need to eat. It doesn’t even deserve a treat for being nice. It needs to starve a long, agonizing death as it lays behind me in my past in a nameless ditch.

Pride is not out to give me self-esteem, self-worth or anything else that is remotely good for me. It is out to use me to crush others.

My pride has done a lot of damage and as much as I want to think it has expired and is a rotting corpse, it is still with me, encouraging me to look out for old number one!

Pride is feeding me a lot of number two! I need to call it what it is. Pride has to get me to believe a lot of crap to push me around.

Wow! I sure took the long way around to get to this point. Christ lives in me. If I don’t see Christ kicking my pride in the teeth nearly every day, I have to begin to wonder if I have placed him on a leash and am holding him back from giving my pride a good whack across the nose with a stick.

Pride won’t die inside me until that old devil is sizzling in the pit.

John 14:8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

I read that this morning and thought, “That is one of the most prideful statements I have ever read!”

Philip told Jesus, “Prove yourself and satisfy US and by us I mean ME!”

John 14:9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?”

Philip knew Jesus but his understanding was a little lacking. He didn’t know exactly who he was. If he had, he would not have spoken out of his pride, his need for proof on Jesus’ authority and power, his demands of what it takes to be satisfied.

Yeah, no matter how close I feel I have gotten to Jesus, I don’t quite get it. I find myself asking him to satisfy things that prove himself even though he has already done that, over and over again. My pride keeps telling me I am big, my problems are huge, this world is overwhelming and Jesus is somehow diminished by it all.

But the closer I let him get, he begins to tower above it all. His hands do not even need to touch the storm around me to quiet it. His breath can revive my spirit and his words plant that which lives inside me when I once saw death and despair.

Today, I want to see Jesus as who he is, not as I wish him to be, that would be making him less. He is more than I can imagine, more than I need, more than enough. My mind needs to be reminded that no matter how smart and clever I think I am, it cannot fathom the greatness of the God I serve.

I’m just not all that. I’m a man that is nothing without him. The voice of pride needs to be consumed by my praises for the one that saved me from what I had become and raised me from the death into a new life.

I only become more because he is all and he lives in me.

Just Rambling Today

Well, I’m going to be boring today and just write about what’s going on.

Some people seem interested in my new fitness life that has been going on in the first quarter of this year. I’ve now lost twenty-six pounds. I have hit a plateau and have not lost any weight in the last week or so.

However, I have gained some muscle around my chest and my waist is creeping down in size. I guess that’s a good thing.

Although I still look kind of blubbery here and there, I have the beginnings of muscles in other places that had once been void of all tone and kind of jiggled when I walked. My arms look completely different and, while no one will mistake me for a body-building champion, I feel a lot better just knowing they are stronger than they have been in a very long time.

I’ve taken this temple rebuild really seriously. The rewards are already coming and I still have a long way to go.

Here’s the real payoff so far in getting back into shape. I have only had one…count ’em…ONE migraine this year so far.

I’ve heard diet can trigger migraines but I argued against that because I prefer to eat whatever I want so how could a migraine be caused by food when I use “logic” like that?

I haven’t been fishing much this year. But, the time I have spent in the water has been a lot more fun since I have lost weight and improved just about everything physically. The knee and back pain has decreased and I am generally just more difficult to pry out of the river when it is time to go.

I had been looking around for a Celebrate Recovery group closer to home. I miss my old group but it is a pretty good drive to get there. I tried a couple very near my house and they just didn’t feel right.

I thought I was maybe being too judgmental or something and started thinking about what was wrong with me because they just didn’t seem right for me.

Then I tried one more. It was great. I felt right at home the very first time I went and I am pretty sure I have found a home there. The energy these people have in their recovery from everything you can imagine. I want to be a part of that.

Spring has sprung (most days) and there is plenty to do outside. I’m grateful that I now have a tiny yard that won’t take up so many hours of life like the old place we used to live.

Tonight I crank up the mower and do a few light chores outside before I grill steaks (of which I am going to eat about a third of the old steak portion).

I’m thankful of all that God has done for me. It really wasn’t all that long ago that I could sit down and write with nothing good to say about anything. I was so good at writing horror because my mind was filled with terror and pain.

I doubt I could scare anyone anymore. It is sure good to look at life and even though it is seldom how I would script it, overall, it is pretty darn good.

I really appreciate all the great people that read this blog and encourage me. I’ve never been very good at sticking to things. I’ve been writing for several years now of the wonders of God’s work in my life. I could not have kept it up this long without the voices of those that read lifting me up when I fall and pushing me forward when I stall.

Have a great day. I hope it is spring where you are and all that was dead is springing forth in green glory. Enjoy it even if the pollen sucks.

Oh yeah, Let’s go, Blues!!!

For All the Leaky People

A lot of people may just see me an an outdoorsy kind of guy that likes the sun, the cold of a trout stream and the beauty of a streamlined fish creating a bend in a fine fly rod.

Yeah, I am that guy.

But, there is a lot more to me. I don’t get out of bed on very many days with a smile on my face and a desire to go take on giants. A lot of days I don’t want to do anything at all. There are a lot of days I don’t even want to go fishing.

Depression is often the first one to say, “Hello” when my eyes open and I realize I am no longer cruising through dream world.

An ache begins deep inside and a gnawing feeling begins to swell in my chest and I start searching my brain for ways to avoid taking on the day and, instead, escaping into a Netflix binge.

My emotions hang heavy on me. I feel like I am wearing too many clothes on a hot summer day.

Image result for tears gif

Tears come to my eyes at the most inopportune times for reasons I don’t understand. They seem to be always present, ready to launch from my eyes at the first hint of expressing my real thoughts and feelings.

There have been many times I have typed these little articles through a sea of tears.

I have cursed this weakness inside me. I have fought it with all of my might.

People I love don’t understand it. I don’t expect anyone to understand it anymore. I now know I will never understand it.

For some reason, God created me to be leaky and often times feel emotions so strong and overwhelming that I fear I cannot bear them.

This bit of writing is for all the other leaky people out there.

Psalm 126:5 Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
6 They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.

When the tears begin to fall, let them fall on fertile soil. Plant something where they land. Let them fall on the shoulder of someone that needs an embrace when words are not enough. Let them fall on your prayers when hope seems lost. Let them fall when God moves inside you and you feel his love for you.

I’ve wasted a lot of energy trying to hold them back. I’ve hidden these little gifts from God from the world far too long.

See, there are times I fought them back with anger, venom and bitterness. I have fought them back with all sorts of things that left me in a world of regret and guilt.

But never once has a tear left me with anything more than a softer heart.

I guess it isn’t what some people expect of other people. But maybe it is time we just put what others expect aside and be what God created us to be.

If God wants me to be leaky, well, he must have some reason for it because there is singing and joy in my future.

So, if the melancholy comes to visit today, don’t run and hide or launch an assault on it. Sit down and have a talk, even if you get leaky.

Casket Shopping

I had a few rough days this past week. Yeah, this guy that gets up every single day aiming to do everything right had some real tough days.

I looked at life and felt like I had been doing it all wrong. I was ready to just dump everything and start over.

I’m in the middle of some circumstances that aren’t all that great. There’s no doubt about it and I can’t just walk away from them and leave them in the dust or the smoke from my old Ford diesel truck.

Nope. This particular problem is one I have to work through.

But, I have been giving this problem far too much power. It is a problem. It isn’t any fun but at the end of the day, I’ll either be better or worse off but I won’t be defeated.

I can handle being worse off. I’ve done it a lot. Yet, here I am, smack dab in the middle of the next of life’s dramas wondering if I have it in me to survive one more wave of disappointment and stress.

I keep forgetting that none of this may happen. This hiccup in life may be nothing more than that. So many things I worry about don’t live up to their full potential. Yet they steal so much of my time.

So, I have this impending crisis which may or may not actually come to pass but there are a lot of people that I am around a lot (and I don’t have a choice in that matter) that have already succumbed to the crisis and are busily shopping for their caskets and burial plots.

There’s been this voice whispering to me, “You’ve worked all these years, decades even, and this is what the end looks like.”

“You’ve failed. Hey, buddy, you tried but in the end, you are a failure. Here’s an ad for a casket sale! Pick out a nice one.”

Zechariah 3:1 Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.”

Then, out of nowhere, sanity came roaring into my brain and the thoughts of failure were diluted in the reality of what God has done and continues to do in my life.

I didn’t really understand what had happened. So this morning I sat down to figure it out because, being the depression prone person I am, I need to be able to launch recovery mode more efficiently.

In the middle of my doubt and worry over something very real that is going to cause great change, I focused on the wrong voice.

I heard the accuser. He pronounced me a failure. He pointed at me and said I was too weak. He grabbed me by the chin and turned my head away from the Lord of all creation. He started telling me to pick out a place to lay down and die and asked if I had picked a nice casket from that sale flyer.

I wilted. I lost all the strength I had and was ready to join the others shopping for my funeral paraphernalia. Maybe it was time to do some casket shopping myself.

No, I wasn’t suicidal or anything like that. I was just ready to let my dreams die. I was ready to toss hope and purpose in the dumpster. I was pretty discouraged.

But then, God spoke into my life. His voice roared, my thoughts could hear nothing except, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations!”

Today, I feel like a burning stick that was snatched from the fire. Life looks right again. This mess that I am about to push through will not defeat me even if it takes me some places I don’t really want to go.

I’ll be the crazy optimist among the casket shopping walking dead around me. I will live this day and every one after it knowing that, in the end, I have done everything I can do to yield to God and see what he is going to do next.

Having expectation of great things (God has always done great things and he isn’t done yet) and hope for a better tomorrow (eventually tomorrow will be eternal and the accuser will be roasting hot dogs from inside the campfire) sure gives life a few more reasons to avoid the casket sale ads.