Overcoming Struggles

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a map that could tell us the outcome of our decisions?  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we see what hardship is coming our way so we could brace ourselves for it?  In some way, I think it would be nice to have that gift of foresight, and yet perhaps not.

If we looked back at all that we’ve been through to get to where we are today, we’d see moments that make our chests swell with pride and moments that may inspire shame or guilt.  If we had that gift of foresight, we surely would have avoided some hardships.  Let’s face it, many of our hardships turned out to be moments of pride that wouldn’t have come to be if we had avoided them.

For those of you who struggle through some hardship, though you may not understand why you’re struggling or how you’re supposed to resolve the issue, fight on.  This could be one of those hardships that you will one day look back to with pride.  Learn from the past, live in the present, and work towards a brighter future.

Be a light to your world today!

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Let’s Build Minas Tirith

There’s much talk going on about some company in the UK wanting to build a life-size replica of Minas Tirith.  Wouldn’t it be cool to take a stroll through that city while reading portions from the Return of the King?  It would bring part of Tolkien’s book to life.  I imagine that our reaction would be similar to some poor or homeless person walking into our own home and imagining living the life we live.

It’s wonderful to dream, as long as we remain in touch with reality.  When our dreams have no room for social justice, they have no room in our society.  The needs of the unfortunate ones won’t disappear because we ignore them.  As interesting as the project sounds, I think money would be better spent building houses and facilities for those who don’t have the luxury to afford respectable living conditions.  Thus, instead of building a large Minas Tirith to tickle our imagination, we’d build smaller versions of the city by giving a home and respectable living conditions to those who live without means and, perhaps, without hope.

Be a light to your world today!

 

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Motive

What’s the reason behind what I do?  Interestingly, we don’t question our motives when things are going well.  When our projects or endeavors have momentum, we rarely question why we’re doing them.  It’s usually when we feel like things are going too fast for us to handle or when we run out of steam before reaching our goals that we wonder what possessed us to think we could do it.  We wonder why we ever took it on in the first place.

I believe that this is a universal experience.  We’ve all questioned our motives.  I think these moments are necessary reassessments.  Instead of pushing through blindly, it’s a moment to regroup, refocus, rearrange, and re-motivate.

If we were to question those who accomplished great things, I’m sure they’d all have stories of struggles, of times when they could have turned back and walked away.  Only, they didn’t.  They had to reassess, but in that they found new reasons to keep fighting for their goals and new ways to reach them.

Am I questioning my motives on something right now?  Have I walked away?  Have I found reasons and ways to attain my goals?  If it’s something worth fighting for, take the time to reassess.  Victory belongs to those who fight until the end.

Be a light to your world today!

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Changing the World

We’ve all had thoughts or dreams of changing the world.  Perhaps we see ourselves giving this life-changing speech.  Perhaps we imagine ourselves negotiating peace treaties between hostile nations or writing books where we explain life lessons in ways people never thought.  It can feel like people are waiting to hear the right thing and if we could just figure out what, we’d be the one to make that difference.

The truth is that we can dream of making big changes all we want, but it all starts in our day-to-day life.  If I want to make this world we live in a better place, I need to start with that small fraction of the world that’s part of my day-to-day life.

It doesn’t have to be complicated: friendly smile to people I meet throughout the day, quality time with my spouse and children, uttering words of consolation or encouragement to someone in need, giving a meal to homeless person, etc.  The possibilities are endless.

In the grand scheme of things, it can seem insignificant.  However, if everyone tried to brighten the day of those they meet in their day-to-day life, this world could almost become a true paradise.  If we start living this Gospel charity in our own lives, our example can inspire others to do the same.  A simple act of kindness can go a long way.

Imagine how many mental health issues would disappear if we learned to treat others with their God-given dignity.

Be a light to your world today!

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Being Positive

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always enjoyed being around positive people.  I’ve always been drawn towards those who can see the bright side of a lousy situation.  It’s as if no matter what life throws at them, they know how to adjust and they find a way of make lemonade with lemons.

Positivity is contagious.  We’re more likely to smile when someone smiles at us.  We’re more likely to laugh with someone than by ourselves.  Positive people seem to have a gift for facing life’s challenges with humour and determination.

However, the same goes with their negative counterparts.  Grumpy, moody people tend to suck the joy out of their environment.  Gossipers tend to sew division and suspicion.  Others’ negativity sucks the life out of you and gives you a taste of the internal misery the live in.

My solution to negativity is simple: tune it out and move on.  Don’t bother opening dialogue with negativity.  It’ll take a tremendous amount of energy to get yourself out of that toxic internal conversation.  Rather, focus on surrounding yourself with positive people whenever possible, and try to “contaminate” the negative ones with your positive spirit.  For your sake and that of those around you, limit the influence their negativity has on you, even if it means setting firm boundaries with some people.  You’re mental health depends on it.

Be a positive light to your world today!

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Reminiscing

Many of us enjoy reminiscing on past events and certain periods of life.  Lately, I’ve found myself reminiscing a lot more.  Places I’ve been and people I’ve been with.  Wondering how differently things would have turned out if I had made better decisions or invested more in some friendships.

It’s crazy to think of where we’ve been and where we are now.  Reconnecting with old friends/classmates makes that contrast even more impressive.  Although I am not proud of every decision I’ve made in life, I do consider myself very blessed with the life I have today.  I am blessed with a beautiful wife and beautiful daughters, I am building a successful career, writing books that I hope to publish (sooner or later), enjoying the support of amazing family and friends, etc.

Can I say that this is all due to my decisions in life?  No way.  I’ve made decisions that drove me further from my goals.  What I am learning from all this is that no matter the nature or number of our mistakes/sins, God’s Goodness can never be outdone.

Any time you feel regret, shame, or guilt, simply admit it to yourself.  Then count your blessings.  Literally.  Look at all the great people you’ve been blessed with during those difficult times, all the great turns of events that helped you along.  See all the good that could not have come about otherwise.  It doesn’t justify our bad decisions, but it shows that we’re being looked after by someone or Someone.  Life isn’t as lonely as we may think it is.

Next time you see someone in a difficult situation, be there.  You may not be able to fix the situation, but you can be present to help that person pull through the current challenges.

Be a light to your world today!

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Be What You Should Be

“If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze” – Catherine of Siena

This line penned by Catherine of Siena is breathtaking.  The possibilities seem endless.  It’s a promise that nothing in this world should come between us and making this world a better place.

We have to ask ourselves, then, what it is we should be.  In the words of speaker and author, Matthew Kelly, it is to be the best version of ourselves.  We don’t need to deny our identity, we just need to become the best version of it.  If we could unleash our full potential, who knows what we’d be capable of doing.  And with God on our side, we’re be capable of doing anything.

Unfortunately, we all too easily get side-tracked by our fears, insecurities, and confusion.  Perhaps the issues are deeply rooted in childhood experiences or incidents.  Perhaps we put too much stock in what others say.  Whatever the sources of these, they are probably what’s keeping you from being the best version of yourself.

God’s given you every gift and talent you need to be an amazing person.  Take a moment to identify all those God-given qualities.  Courageously tap into your full potential and move forward hand-in-hand with God.  Then get ready to start seeing some change.  Some will respond positively to the change, some won’t.  That’s secondary and out of your control.  What matters is the good you’re bringing.

Be a light that sets your world ablaze!

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