Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What’s Your Foundation?

I will happily admit to you that the inspiration for this article struck me while sitting in Church yesterday. As the pastor spoke of our life’s “foundation” it was the first time such lessons took root and inspired fervent thought in my head. Christ as our needed foundation is a concept I’ve heard my whole life, but I had never before considered it in the context I did yesterday. While I listened intently, tried to jot down some thoughts, and reminded myself that it’s inappropriate to pray for a Cowboys’ victory, thoughts continued to flow.
The Bible tells us that our number one mission is to go and create disciples. That very thought scares the crap out of a lot of people. To be perfectly honest, the image thathands_holding_earth_65 comes to most of our heads when such talk is filling the air is a negative stereotype. The thought scared the heck out of me until the mission’s objective became a bit more clear. God tells us that we are to go and create disciples but he does not say that it has to be done in the same fashion depicted in the verses we read. Those are historical descriptions and in no way is God commanding us to go out and start feeding the opposition to the lions, tempting as it may be. No, times have changed and it’s clear that the earthly, socially acceptable acts of the time would not be tolerated in our enlightened lives, but the message behind the acts is unyielding. The rules and guiding missions behind the word of God is just as powerful today as it was in the days described in the Bible.
The stability of our mental wellbeing is so often dependant upon trivial things. Take a little bit of time and think about all of the things in your life that could make a legitimate claim to the title of “Foundation”. Here’s a few stories of times when my “foundation” seemed to crumble and the lessons I learned.
images (1) Sports have always been a big part of my life. Whether playing them or simply observing, sports are the central focus in some of my mind’s greatest memories. At the times that I have allowed them to assume more than their legitimate share of the bedrock of my mind, I have been painfully reminded of their realistic irrelevance. The Cowboys won several Championships back in the nineties and I loved every minute of it but as soon as I started to make them the central focus of my life (buying nothing but blue and silver clothing, buying coke and hookers in my fur coat, and believing that I was part of the team) BOOM!!! The Cowboys are cursed to twenty years of misery and crushed hopes.
I have also made the common mistake of placing a bit too much of an emphasis on money. When money is rolling in, it’s easy to believe that all the success is your own doing. It’s easy to believe that the money is what’s making you happy. There will be plenty of people that read this article and say “you’ve never been as poor as me so you can’t say that.” Not true. In fact, I might be able to say to you “you’ve never lost as much as me, so you won’t understand.” The point is, when you place too much emphasis on money in your life, you enter yourself into a contest you can’t possibly win. There will always come a time when money runs out. The ones that have infinite supply, have it for a reason. It’s not yours to take. They earned it and they will lose it according to God’s Plan, not yours. Money is the foundation for almost every decision made in the world today, yet there never seems to be enough of it to go around. We constantly tell ourselves that we would be happy if we could just win the lottery, but we never stop and consider the fact that rich people (actors/actresses excluded) never look happy. They always appear to be stressed and pondering their next money making strategy. The people who always seem to be happy; genuinely happy, are the ones that are “spiritually rich”.
tulsa-divorce-attorney Another common mistake is making your marriage or family the foundation of your life. Please don’t get me wrong. If you’re a man and you’re lucky enough to have found a woman willing to spend her life surrounded by your disgusting habits, then you cherish her with all you can muster. If you’re also lucky enough to be a father, then you love those kids like they are the only ones on earth and don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re wrong in doing so. That’s your responsibility once you accept the title of spouse or parent. Consider for a second though who you will turn to if they are taken away from you. If your family is the entire foundation of your life and they get taken away from you via divorce, death, or mental collapse then what are you left with? Are you a strong enough man to lean on God in the tough times so that you can eventually remember the good times or are you the kind of man that crumbles under the misery and throws in the towel? I was a combination of the two. After my divorce, I became the self-absorbed, misery anchored stereotype that I feared. Then, through incredible circumstances, I started to see the Reason for God in my life.
Consider who you will turn to if your loved ones are taken away. It’s not a fun topic to ponder but it’s definitely worth the thought. See, I believe in God. I believe that when I truly put God in charge of my life, good things happen to me. God is the ultimate “trust fall”. Faith is a safety net for those of us who truly believe. It’s not something that can be faked as has been proven by countless TV evangelists. People who say “you can’t see Him” either haven’t chosen to do so or they will never possess the ability. The reason you should put God before your marriage or your relationship with your kids, parents, cousins (sorry Kentucky), or friends is because God is the one thing that can NEVER be taken away from you. No matter what you do, God still loves you. I didn’t understand that until I had a child of my own. Until I was able to look down at my son and sincerely tell him there was nothing he could ever do that would cost him my love, the concept was simply foreign to me. I had love for my parents, and the rest of my family but that’s an entirely different kind of love. The love a parent has for a child can’t be described and it can’t be questioned. No matter what they may do, we will always love our children. Even if Aidan grows up to be a card carrying democrat, I will still love him. (I won’t be seen in public with him, but I will love him!) God feels the same way about each and every one of us. There’s nothing you can do to earn His love and there’s nothing you can do to lose it. Have you ever looked at someone in dire circumstances and wondered how they can maintain such a positive attitude? We all have someone like that in our minds. Happy when sadness should be consuming them. Positive when negativity would be the easiest route. Real “road not taken” kind of people. Those people have God in their hearts.
That’s not to say that the unemployed mother of a special needs child buying generic medicine at a pharmacy you wouldn’t dare enter is a devout Christian. What I’m saying isKMD_070619_9412-2 that God chose to give that specific mother that specific child with that specific condition for a reason. There is a lesson to be learned there and God grants joy and peace to those serving His Plan. The mother has found peace in the fact that she gets to love that child in a way no one else on earth possibly could. The lesson God intends to impart to mankind through the seemingly sad scenario is not for us to determine. The lesson may not even be meant for the mother or the child It may be meant for someone whose life path crosses the path of that mother and child. We, as mere earthlings, can only accept the fact that God’s will is at work in every life. Those who do not accept that fact will not get the rewards promised to those who do. It’s as simple as that.
So…what if I’m wrong? It’s a question those “progressives” always seem so ready to fire. Well, what if I am? What if I die and that’s just the end of existence as you claim? There’s no heaven, there’s no hell, there’s just an empty void where my life once stood. Okay, maybe that’s what awaits me in your world. It’s not what waits for me in mine but even if it was, I think living my life according to the virtues, guidance, and commandments of the Bible is a pretty good idea regardless of the reward. How about that Mr. Satanbob Hellpants? I personally believe in God with all my heart. You will not change my mind. God loves you regardless of your Faith in Him, but eventually something will get taken from you that simply destroys your world. For some of us, that’s when God comes calling. For others, that’s when they purchase their ticket to Hades.
Our lives constantly intersect. Think about the impressions you’re leaving each day. Are they the kind of impressions by which you want to be remembered? Honestly? No matter what your foundation may be, it can and will most likely crumble if God is not the anchoring bedrock upon which everything else rests. Money, possessions, appearance, number of sexual partners, brands of clothing, sports teams, friends, family, politics, popularity, greed……none of it makes you any better in the eyes of God. Those things are only important here, so stop paying so much damned attention to them!
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