Inspirational

U is for Understanding–The Other Side of the Die

If you landed here, it is because the link you clicked is not attached to my new self-hosted site. You will find the same article and more at my new site, http://idaretobehappy.com Please come over and read this article there. You can find it in search under “The Other Side of the Die.”

This article was first published under the title, “The Other Side of the Die.” It  depicts what “understanding” means to me. We oftenA to Z Badge focus only on how we see something, and we seek out new  and more powerful ways to convince others that our point of view is the one and only correct one. When we realize that we are seeing only “one side of the dice,” it opens the door for us to see and understand how things look from someone else’s perspective. At our house now, we often remind each other, that “it’s just another side of the dice.”

The Other Side of the Die

That’s right. “die”. . .singular of dice. We can say dice for singular or plural, kind of like deer and deer, but to get your attention, I decided to title this article, “The Other Side of the dice8Die.”  While I am randomly discussing weird words, I have a question for you. When you are alone in the kitchen, do you reach for the thyme and quietly say “thime” or do you really, even in the privacy of your own home, actually say “time.” I was just wondering because it is very difficult for me to say “time” for “thyme” and makes no sense at all and that is the whole point of “The Other Side of the Die.” Let me explain. When I am looking at one side of a die, let’s say I see a one; someone across from me will be seeing a six (as in one says “time” and another says “thime.”) Two other friends are going to see the two and the five. Every one of us sees things from our very own point of view, based on our personality, our experiences, and our beliefs.

dice6When we can accept this, it opens up a whole new interesting world. We can look at ones, twos, threes, fours, fives, anddice7 sixes and have an understanding of how someone else might view the world. There are those who truly enjoy seeing weird speckle-faced aliens boarding spaceships and trying to take over the minds of the crew and condemn them to spinning endlessly in space never to return home again. The same person might view a fun, light-hearted detective show like Monk as uninteresting, if not annoying. Once you realize that it’s just the other side of the die, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make one good and one bad, or one right and one wrong. It makes life interesting.

In another scenario, we may have someone who loves Christian rock music while another prefers contemporary music. There are even those who prefer science fiction over historical Christian fiction. Tamera Alexander, you didn’t hear it from me. These differences can be an open door for conversation and greater understanding. It can  be fascinating to find out what is going on in someone’s else’s world.  You might also find it intriguing  to find  out how other people view politics and religion, if you can learn to view it from “the other side of the dice.” We can learn not to react or overreact when someone is  blatantly opposed to our way of thinking. Consider it the same as you would a different preference for chocolate over vanilla ice-cream or a preference for cheese pizza over supreme. Why anyone would prefer vanilla over chocolate, I have no idea, but I am willing to open the door of understanding to find out.

Exploring different viewpoints is a healthy alternative to thinking that you and only you are right in all things. Learning to respect  the differences in others is like giving vivid colors to an otherwise drab one-sided way of looking at life. Differences are simply a springboard for digging deeper, for asking questions and finding out more about those you love and those you meet.

Sir Isaac NewtonThere are many sides to every strongly held belief, yet, let us not be mistaken in the fact that there is Absolute Truth. Just as there are laws that govern the universe like the law of gravity, inertia, and the law of lift, there is also Absolute Truth. . .absolute right and wrong.   It is important to have a firm foundation on which to stand as we develop our way of looking at the universe. Thank God that He is unchangeable. His laws are right and true and His plan of salvation through His Son is sure! Standing on our firm foundation, we are free to accept and understand others even when their views are diametrically opposed to our own.

Whether it be differences in our entertainment preferences, our music, our political viewsdice1 or our understanding of Scripture, we can open doors of communication by asking questions, being respectful, calm, and kind and simply having fun by looking at something in a new way. Turn the die around, look at each side. Know that each and every person is important to our Creator, Look more deeply at what makes them who they are. “Time or thime,” it really doesn’t matter. It’s all in how you throw the dice.

 

 

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30 Days to Happiness: T is for Trust

Please Don’t Let Me Fall!

Trust Exercise # 1 Choose someone in the world that you “trust.” Ask them to catch you as you totally fall back into their arms. This is a team-building exercise often used in group encounters to encourage trusting others. Don’t you just want to say to the person who is supposedly behind you, “Please, don’t let me fall.”

Since they are human, there is ever the possibility that they could be distracted by trust1something and step away at just the moment you are “trusting them” as you fall back. It is also remotely possible that they could, heaven forbid, decide to see what actually happens if they step back and watch you fall. Your life and health are in their hands. So you say, “Please, don’t let me fall.” I realized that I daily have the opportunity to fall back, trusting  God to catch me, but something was holding me back from fully trusting God. I was dealing with worry, and trying to figure out solutions to my own problems, being frustrated and even frightened when things didn’t go my way.

trust1_2I found a quote online that answered the question, “What is trust?” Here is the answer: “Trust is believing that the person you are in a relationship with means good for you.” That statement bolted through my consciousness. I realized that at the heart of my “trust issue” was the fact that I was not sure that God meant good for me. I was afraid He would let me fall.

This led me to the next question. Does God ever cause destruction, pain and failure? No, He does not.  At the first sign of trouble, He sweeps in to bring every ounce of good and benefit and blessing out of anything that comes our way. It doesn’t matter if it comes to us through our own mistakes, consequences of our actions, life, or the enemy of our soul. He is there. He will not let us fall.  A loving  parent can’t, and really shouldn’t, stop every unpleasant thing from happening to their child, yet they are always available and rush in to help, love, advise, comfort, and restore. They can be trusted. Just like this, God is always there to rush in to help, love, advise, comfort, restore, strengthen, and guide, through it all. By doing this He brings forth treasures we could never have had otherwise. Yes, He can be trusted.

trust2Taking it a step higher, by staying close, close, close to Him, we will avoid many of the troubles that would have come our way had we trekked out on our own course. Yes, I can trust Him. He wants my good, He alone knows how to lead me to fulfill His Plan for me. Without a doubt, as I walk and talk with Him throughout the day, He loves and leads, guides and encourages. He can be trusted. He will not let me fall!

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30 Days to Happiness: R is for Relax

RelaxA book, a hot bath, a beach chair, a float for the pool, a pillow, blanket, sofa, a massage. . .Any one of these or a combination will beckon me, and I will obey and relax. My resume clearly shows that relaxing is a definite strength. I can usually put off any number of high priority tasks if opportunity and inspiration presents itself for me to relax.  I have one question for you, if  I am so good at relaxing, why can I  get intense so easily? The answer lies in the fact that I may be relaxing my body, but my mind is still on the job.

If we can learn to give our minds a rest along with our bodies, I believe  we will find a  deeper place of relaxation  where God can speak to us, refresh us, and bring about the best in us. It is going to require getting our mind, “our reasoner” to be quiet. When I am “relaxing” my mind is still rapidly chasing rabbit trails Thousands of thoughts continue to vy for my attention, pulling me away from the book I am reading, busily solving problems or making plans. That may be relaxation of the body, but it is not RELAXATION of the mind.

I would venture to say that our minds are the hardest working organ in our bodies. For example, the heart basically has one job to do, pump blood. The liver gets poisons out of our systems; the lungs take in air and release carbon dioxide; the stomach digests food. Read this list of what our brains do:

  •  “Controls the  body’s functions, such as walking, talking, swallowing, breathing, taste, smell, heart rate
  • Controls all our thinking functions, our emotions, how we behave and all our intellectual (cognitive) activities, such as how we attend to things, how we perceive and understand our world and its physical surroundings, how we learn and remember and so on.” (ABI Manual)

I don’t know about you, but my brain needs to RELAX!

I know that when I can get my “reasoner” to be quiet, I can better hear from God, I can be more creative, and I can receive inspiration from Him. This is great motivation to find techniques to quiet my mind and learn to really relax. I’ll be experimenting with this over the next few weeks, so if you have any tips, please feel free to share them.

Here’ s a method of relaxation suggested by Norman Vincent Peale’s in his book, The Power of Positive Thinking.

Lay with your palms up.

  • Begin with the toes, and think or say “My toes are relaxed.” Do this slowly without thinking too much about it.
  • Move up your body, doing this with every muscle part until you have covered all of the muscles of the face and the top of the head.
  • At this point you should be completely relaxed or asleep.

Another idea for entering into a deeper state of relaxation is to imagine you are on the 50th floor of an elevator. Count down as the elevator goes down opening out onto a beautiful beach or a peaceful scene. Your mind should be quieted now, and you can relax, thinking only of the Lord and the beautiful scene in your imagination.

A third method is to simply put on some relaxing music. You can find a number of sessions on Youtube. Just lie down, breathe deeply, and and totally relax.

If you have tips and methods for deep relaxation, please share. I really want to give my brain a rest!

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30 Days to Happiness: Q is for Questions

QIn November, 1999, a friend and I went to a women’s retreat at a church in Fort Mill, South Carolina. We had never been to anything like this, but we signed up for a “prophetic word session.” We were quite unsure of what to expect, but we were together, and we knew nothing bad could happen to us. We knew we would be able to discern the truth of what we were told through scripture and through our spirit and our counsel with each other.

There were three ladies across from us, and they took our hands and prayed for the Holy Spirit to show them something to encourage us. What you are about to read is what  a woman named Sue told me. They were kind enough to give us a tape of the session, and I later transcribed this into my  journal. She could not have depicted me more clearly than what she said about me being inquisitive. Her words of encouragement or rather His words of encouragement through her have blessed me over the years. Last night I went to sleep thinking about what I would write for my “Q is for Questions,” and this came back to me as I was sleeping or waking or somewhere in between. I hope you will be encouraged as well to keep asking your questions.

Sharon, I just keep seeing this child in class that would always raise their hand and say “why”, always asking questions. “Why does this work?””Why does that not work?””How can the stars hang in the sky?” You’re very inquisitive, and that goes over into your spiritual life. You’re always asking the Father “Why?” “How does this work?” Sometimes you feel like you can’t get enough answers to all your questions, but the Lords says He will answer every one of them in His way and in His time, but He will answer them and don’t stop asking because he enjoys you asking Him.

Do you have unanswered questions? Share them if you like. I won’t answer them, though I might give a thought about them, but I will pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the answers you seek. Remember He enjoys your questions.

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30 Days to Happiness: J is for Jesus

JA great deal of happiness comes from simply bringing Jesus into my daily life by focusing on Him throughout the day. Using my imagination, seeing Him and talking to Him, is changing my life as much as anything I have done since I met Jesus as my Savior at the age of five in my grandfather’s church. In the article, 10 Things You Can Do With Jesus, you will find some creative ideas for spending time with Him. The first one suggests that you “tell Him who you believe He is.” Here are my words to Him as I meditated on this:

“Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I know you walked the earth 2000 years ago healing the sick and setting the captives free. You preached in the synagogue and on the hillside. You turned water into wine, and you fed 5000 people with loaves and fishes. You raised the dead, healed the sick, and cast out demons. You are patient, loving, kind, and wise,  You are gentle and forgiving,  You love to make us think by giving us parables and asking questions. You’ve shown us how to live. You are all-powerful, all-knowing, and you are always with us even to the end of the earth. I can trust you and when I think of you my heart is full of peace.”

Those of us who are seeking happiness in life need to look no further than Jesus, Himself. He has the answers to every problem and every question. He has creative ideas for adventures we haven’t even dreamed of yet. Finding ways to spend time with Him will lead to happiness more quickly than anything we can do.

Maybe you would like to try one of the “things to do with Jesus” from the article and tell us your impressions, or whether you know Him personally or not, tell us who He is to you. This is a “no judgement zone,” so no one is going to argue with you or judge your for your opinion. We’d just love to hear your thoughts. It’s very healthy to see and understand others’ points of view. So let’s hear it. . .

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30 Days to Happiness: Exercise is Exhilarating!

It has been suggested that 20 focused minutes a day can provide a “full happiness boost” every day. Can exercise really affect your level of happiness? What an exciting concept! In daring to be happy, I have not tested this premise before, but now is the time. Let us wait no more! These 10 Fun Facts about exercise can give us some very good reasons and helpful information for getting started right now!

10 Fun Facts About Exercise

  1. You will stay with your exercising longer if you are listening to music or are otherwise distracted.
  2. Exercise is more effective at increasing your energy levels than caffeine.
  3. You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
  4.  Regular exercise can enhance mood and overall well-being.
  5. The top three factors that determine whether or not you will stick to your exercise routine include having support, finding a workout that you like and knowing what you’re doing.
  6. There is no “best time to exercise.” It turns out that the best time to exercise is when it works for you.
  7. Exercise1Visualization can help to improve your workout. Visualizing yourself completing the exercise before you actually perform it, will enable you
    to perform the exercise with more intensity and effectiveness.
  8. Exercise increases energy levels and increases serotonin in the brain, which leads to improved mental clarity.
  9. Exercising for 30 minutes in the morning can change your whole day. Endorphins are released into your bloodstream during exercise so you feel much more energized the rest of the day.
  10. If all 600 muscles in your body pulled in the same direction, you could lift 25 tons.

exercise2Why I am starting tomorrow:

1. I will have increased energy. Sounds like the more I exercise, the more I will exercise. That’s encouraging.

2. I will burn more calories than sleeping.That’s encouraging!

3. My mood will be enhanced. Wooohoooo! It’s working already!

4. My mind will be clearer. That will be a big plus!

5. If I can figure out how to get all 600 of my muscles moving in the same direction, I will be able to lift 25 tons! Now who wouldn’t want to give that a try?

Let’s hear it, what’s the status of exercise in your life, 0 to 10. What do you do? What works for you? Have you noticed any correlation between happiness and exercise? All of your comments will be valuable in getting this girl moving!

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He Searched Me and This Is What He Found Today!

What you are about to read is a day in my life several days ago. From memorizing and meditating on Psalm 139 for my 3030 Challenge, this is what came to me and how it brought me out of the muck.

Psalm 139I hear you need some encouragement. Something is bothering you. You allowed some negative thoughts today, didn’t you? Was that you I was hearing criticizing what someone had done? Was it you who verified your suspicions that someone else had what you consider an unfair advantage. So it appears that they are doing better than you in your work, and somehow this doesn’t seem right to you. You’d like to get that “problem” solved, am I right? You spent a little time allowing these thoughts to come in and stick around for awhile. True, you didn’t keep them long, but it was enough that now you’re wondering why you don’t feel very happy? Where is your joy and excitement?

You lost some sleep last night, too. What was that about? You woke up, and then you allowed your mind to start working on a problem, trying to figure out how something works, and now because you are tired, you feel even worse. How are you going to get out of this muck and get happy and excited again? You know you owe it to the people you love to let the joy flow out of you. You do always try to look at the bright side of things, but now you  feel bad about yourself because you didn’t stick up for someone when you could have, and then there is  that other thing that smells a little like jealousy. You might as well face up to it and confess it.

Psalm 139-1So Lord, I see what you mean, (from Psalm 139:1-6) you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit  down and when I rise up. You know my thoughts. You understand my path and when I lie down. You know what I’m doing and thinking all of the time. You know what I’m going to do and say even before I say or do it. You have hedged me behind and before and laid your hand upon me. That’s to keep me safe and give me peace. This is so wonderful I can’t even describe it. Even though you know my thoughts, motives, and actions, you are still willing to look out for me and lay your hand upon me. This is truly incredible to me! Please forgive me for my wrong thinking, my negativity and jealousy. I know my hope is in You. Peace and joy come rushing in again like fresh water cleansing me. Thank you. I look up and see Your face, and I am encouraged. Let the joy flow from me and let Your love and wisdom flow from me, I pray. In Jesus name, Amen.

When He searches your heart today, what will He say to you? Tune in to the Voice of Love, and hear what He will say to you!

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