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Set In Our Ways ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: December 6th, 2015 | Category: Common Sense, Conflict, Disappointment, Faith, Inspirational | Comments



For a select few, being set in our ways might be a good thing. For most of the rest of us however, it’s not. I’ve written about change before, about how uncomfortable it makes most people feel. I’m not writing about convenient change, like walking the dog someplace different, rather about the unsolicited wholesale change we need but casually avoid. Most who have established some modicum of relative comfort in life, even if they are otherwise miserable in it, will stick to their ways, their zones of friendship, family traditions and personal choices of entertainment. We like what we like and we don’t appreciate anybody messing with it. It took us too long to establish our routines, even overcoming hardships along the way to realize them, such that we will resist any efforts (by anyone) to have our ways disrupted. That’s exactly how rule breakers end up in prison. How the willingly abused continue to be abused. How the selfish keep serving self and how or why the needy are always needing more. It what causes marriages to fail, even when they don’t end in divorce. What makes it worse is that we can’t see this dilemma playing out in ourselves. That’s how disruptive addictions and routines of every minor and major sort get started and take control of our lives. All while often abandoning or destroying the lives of those bobbing innocently in our wakes.

That’s part of the challenge which God faces everyday with almost everyone of us. He knows that our ways are the road to our unhappiness and ruin. He knows the end result of the paths and practices we’ve chosen and how they differ from the ones He had set in place for those He’s chosen. He knows that for too many of us our free will is more important to us than His wisdom, Grace, sacrifices or guidance. ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8 NIV). This has always been the case for humanity at large. At some point, we simply begin doing our own thing, irrespective of what others might need from us. We get caught up in self. Most of us can follow rules pretty well, but when it comes to taking and applying unsolicited advice, we will fail each subsequent life quiz and the final exam. We trust ourselves more than we trust our invisible God. My own journey is not much different. As my career and life developed, I accepted more and more responsibility. In life we must take on the ever arising problems as they occur. My career as a problem solver mirrored that, so it was in tune with and a reinforcement of my life. I didn’t have very much (or any) time left in any of my days to establish personal routines but in the little time I could find, the more destructive patterns I would set in place. That didn’t please God, something which I discovered later than I would have liked. I had unknowingly used the gifts He’d given to me at birth for practices which under-served His desires for me. I couldn’t see it because my free will had blinded me, leading me down a darker than necessary path of troubles and stress. I couldn’t hear Him because I was resistant to the plan for change He was offering. Eventually He did get my attention, like He does with so many other undeserving souls. Not only have my eyes been opened to my own mistakes, but it’s become more difficult for me to get through a day without seeing others who are victims of their oversights too.  Free will is the ultimate test of faith. Free will is really not as free as we would like to believe it is either. Yes we may be free to make our own decisions but we are utterly unprepared to make them wisely. Being unprepared pretty much assures a negative outcome from which we will ultimately be realizing the consequences of our actions and omissions. But too often too late.

We will listen whole heartedly to false authorities, even to biased offerings but we reject the regular counsel of God, just because we’ve decided that God simply isn’t who we think He should be? God always has our best long term interests in mind. Faith in God is a choice within free will and it’s the only choice which can permanently unlock the cell doors of our self assigned prisons. God wants us to grow through change. He doesn’t necessarily want to make it easy for us though. He wants to replace our unproductive ways with His eternally perfected ways. But before He can begin to do that, we must agree!! If we don’t, He won’t. That’s not what any of us should want from life. Tuning into God’s thoughts offers remarkable opportunities for change for those who desire a positive outcome. Faith is the key to that change. Our ways will leave us wondering why the rest of the world is so mixed up, without seeing how we are contributing to the very problems we have been hoping to avoid. God’s way unravels the mysteries, untangles the cords of our actions and lifts us up high enough to see the realities we’ve chosen for ourselves and the damage those choices often inflict on others. We might even think we are generous, thoughtful and considerate, but these are simply the justifications which our scrambling consciences have ordained such that we might continue our thoughts and ways right up to the bitter end. With God the next step, no matter how hard, is better than the best of this life that we know. God’s is a love based therapy.



Just Ask ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: October 6th, 2015 | Category: Christianity, Conflict, Disappointment, Hope, Inspirational, Uncategorized | Comments

Every so often, too often really, we are going to be faced with life trials, tribulations and the inconvenient trespasses of others. Selfishness is the principle cause of our troubles, if not our own then the unbridled selfishness of others. My way or the highway is the most often chosen road map of our lives. This is the basis of our internal conflict, but let me explain that. Living like a Christian will only, on the rarest of occasions, make… read more

Love And Sadness ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: May 26th, 2015 | Category: Conflict, Disappointment, Faith, Inspirational | Comments

Are love and eventual sadness inseparable? “Wise son, glad father; stupid son, sad mother.” (Proverbs 10:1 MSG). Or is sadness a stand alone emotion which we can and will marry with our other feelings? “A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.” (Proverbs 15:13 MSG). Love certainly is an emotional connection quite unlike any other we are likely to experience, but it needn’t result in sadness if we… read more

Insignificant? ~ JC Calkins

Posted: September 22nd, 2014 | Category: Christ Follower, Disappointment, Understanding | Comments

What does insignificance mean to you? It doesn’t seem like a complicated question, but it certainly addresses a life complication for almost all of us. Unless we’ve lived a life in total isolation, the chances are pretty good that many of those we’ve interacted with have weighed in on our life contributions (or lack there-of) there-by sucking the steam out of our self-esteem. Family, “friends”, co-workers, teachers, coaches, supervisors, even our parents unwittingly do this by playing their biases against… read more

Regrets ~ JC Calkins

Posted: August 31st, 2014 | Category: Disappointment, Hope, Inspirational, Jesus Follower | Comments

I awoke today thinking of pain, loss, fears and trials. The patterns of every life, regardless of their blessings. I don’t dwell on those patterns but I can not ignore them either. We all experience loss and those around us will one day experience our loss as well. I thought of my grandparents and their grandparents before them. Those early colonists and immigrants, dating back beyond the 1,700’s. They (both yours and mine), only marked our paths, not our destiny’s…. read more

To Each His Own ~ JC Calkins

Posted: August 10th, 2014 | Category: Christ Follower, Disappointment, Inspirational, Promises, Prophecy, Truth | Comments (2)

To each his own. How we live our lives is the basis for the outcome of our lives. We do not control each and every aspect of our lives because we do not live alone in this world. We can not control others. We live with others, so we must often share the burdens that they create and deliver. The sharing of both burdens and blessings, is the charge of this life, which leads each of us to one gate… read more

Stand Together ~ JC Calkins

Posted: August 4th, 2014 | Category: Conflict, Disappointment, Inspirational, Truth, Understanding | Comments

It would seem that I have raised some questions, when I wrote about a married couple, who are children of God, or perhaps even a singular “child” of God. A couple who have become “one” and who have mixed emotions and a lack of singular clarity and conviction in their prayers. It starts with these verses and vows. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife. In this way two people become… read more