The Absurdities

The Absurdities

Inspired by the absurd thinking of people of today, always whining about things around them, yet unable to face the simple improvements in themselves. 

David was preparing for a job interview. He had already showered, put on an expensive shirt, and was in the process of styling his fashionable hair in front of a mirror when he noticed a really large booger hanging from his nose. He took a towel beside him and wiped the mirror. The booger was still there. “What the f—?” He whispered.” And he tried wiping away again, only to find the booger still hanging from his nose.
He called to his roommates, “Look at this f—ing mirror! It keeps making me look ugly.”

One roommate, Michael walked in, looked at him, saw the booger, but not wanting to offend his friend, looked at the mirror and said, “That’s a terrible mirror dude. We both know you’re better looking than that. Don’t let this mirror define you. They’re always trying to show our worst. You’re an awesome guy. You look great.”

Another roommate, Antonio, walked in and started laughing, “Dude, you have a really big booger hanging from your nose!”

David, offended at being laughed at, answered “No I don’t! You’re always so mean! Always pointing out what’s wrong about people. You never encourage. You think you’re better than everyone else! I know I look great. It doesn’t matter what you say. I know with all my heart that I look great. Even Michael said I do. I hate judgemental people like you! You always notice the bad stuff. You didn’t compliment my shirt, or my hair, and you just laughed at me. ”

Antonio was surprised at the reaction of David, given that there really was a booger hanging, and wiping it wouldn’t have been any big deal, but not wanting to cause any further offense, offered, “Sorry dude. Didn’t know it would offend you so much. Here let me wipe it for you.” And took a tissue to remove it.

“Don’t touch me! What are you doing?” David snapped.

“I was going to remove the booger.” Antonio answered.

“There is no booger. Now you’re going to insist on fixing me? It’s not your job to fix me. You’re always trying to fix everyone when it’s  your face that needs fixing. Everyone knows I’m special.”

“Look in the mirror, David!” Antonio told him, “Look in the mirror yourself!”

“Don’t be so harsh, Antonio”, Michael said. “Can’t you see how much effort David has put into getting dressed. Besides, he’s about to go to a job interview. Let’s offer him support not discouragement. He doesn’t meet any negativity.”

Antonio was dumbfounded. “Just look in the mirror. You’ll know what I’m talking about.”

“I have looked in the mirror. I look great. It’s the mirror that’s wrong. It’s a judgemental mirror. It didn’t take into account my clothes, my hair, the time and effort I already spent. It wants to show me the one bad thing about me. And that’s unfair! Why should I change for this stupid mirror??” David shot back.

Michael turned to David, “Don’t let these mirrors get to you. They don’t see inside you. They don’t know the real you. Trust in your heart and know you’re good. You’ll kill this interview. They’re going to hire you on the spot. Remember Sarah from last night? She said you were hot right?”

David smiled, remembering his amazing first date the night before. “Thanks Michael. You’re always an encouragement. Every time I’m down you’re the one who helps me up. You always make me feel like a better person. I think it’s because you have such a pure and kind heart. Unlike this other guy…” David snarled looking at Antonio

“Guys, it’s just a booger. And the mirror is already showing you. Just wipe it off and go.”

“No more negativity and criticism Antonio.” Michael butt in. “The world is already full of discouragement. What our friend needs is our support.”

“And a Kleenex…” Antonio said.

“Here you go again mocking people. You’re so arrogant!” David said.

“Ok, ok… I’ll just leave.” Antonio said, still at a loss on why David wouldn’t just wipe his nose.

“Don’t mind Antonio” Michael told David. “He means well. He can just be harsh. But you know you’re a good person right?”

“Yes” David replied.

“Then go show the world how good you are!” Michael encouraged him.

David smiled. He felt renewed by his friends encouragement. He really liked Michael. Michael was awesome. Michael always made him feel important.

He thanked Michael and left for his interview.

Hours later, Michael heard the door open and saw David walk in. “How’d the interview go?” He asked.

“The world is so unfair.” David started. “It’s a cruel world out there. So unfair. They didn’t even give me chance.” He was so angry as he said this. “I walked into the reception on time and asked for my appointment. The receptionist giggled and said, ‘You might want to wipe your nose first sir.’ I got a little mad. After Antonio this morning, I didn’t have a lot of patience for yet another judgemental person. So I told her, ‘I’m not commenting on how fat you are. You have no right to comment on how I look! Now please give me the room of my appointment!’ She got shocked but looked at her computer and pointed me to Room 1005. I walked towards a room and sat on one of the chairs outside to wait my turn. Then the man beside me said ‘Excuse me sir. You have a booger hanging from your nose.’ This time I kept my cool and just ignored him. I thought to myself ‘What the f— does this guy know about me? He doesn’t know me at all. Arrogant bastard. So judgemental’ and I just waited my turn.

Finally, my name was called and I walked in, shook the hand  of my interviewer and was about to sit down when he started laughing. ‘You might want to wipe your nose first’ he said.

This time I had had it. I wasn’t going to stand for this anymore. Someone needed to teach these judgmental people a lesson. ‘F— you.’ I told him ‘F— all you judgemental people. You think that just because you’re older or have been working longer you can talk to people like that? You think you’re better than me? Well you’re not. F— You. You think that you know me? You don’t. You know nothing about me. You’re a f—ing loser, working in this dead end job, and that’s why you’re so harsh and mean and judgemental. Don’t compare me to you. I’m out of here.’

And with that I stormed off.”

“That’s really terrible.” Michael empathized with him. “The world can be harsh but you just need to be brave. I admire you for your strength and courage. You fought against judgmental propels and narrow minds.”

“I need a job though.” David said, with a little practicality seeping in. “How am I going to find a perfect job in such a terrible world where everyone is so horrible?”

“Just be patient. You’ll find the perfect place. Good things happen to people who are pure. You’re a good man. God will see your heart and bless you.”

“Thanks Michael. But what if no one accepts me? What if they all try to mold me to be like them?”

“Well, f— em!” Michael proclaimed. As if he didn’t just invoke God’s blessing a sentence ago.

“Yeah!” David felt empowered once more “F— em!”

The Roadblocks Inside Us

The Roadblocks Inside Us

The Roadblocks Within Ourselves
There are terrible days. You know what I mean. These are the times when nothing seems to be working, where all the best-laid plans unravel, and where our efforts don’t seem to be producing anything worthwhile. I feel this way sometimes with my art, drawing draft after draft, but still staring at an empty canvas. Or with my writing, I probably have 2 or 3 unfinished articles for every posted one. My life is full of false starts. It’s frustrating.

But it isn’t fatal. In fact, it’s part of the eventual victory. All those hidden efforts, never-to-be-seen drafts, and unknown perseverance is what leads to breakthrough. 

 

Many times we like to blame someone else or some external circumstance for our predicaments. I’ve found that not only is this counterproductive, it’s also not accurate.

My financial problems were not because my parents didn’t give me capital to start-off with. Pretty much all my financially tight periods were caused by overspending, taking-on too much risk, and even over-giving, giving away cash I didn’t have yet to great causes, which is still not financially wise.

My health problems are many times because of my diet, my sleep habits, my drinking habits, my overdoing things, NOT because of expensive health care, or having a lot to do at work, or because of stress, which are the common scapegoats for people.

When there are business issues, while I would like to blame staff or circumstances, I’m always reminded that I was the one who allowed that staff member to be in the position. I was the one who didn’t push for better preparation or thought of a more effective strategy.

When my wife and I fight, I quickly default to blaming her in my head, but always, without fail, a lot of pride within me who is most at fault.

When things don’t happen the way I want, I find that sometimes I question God, saying, “Why? Why me? Why not some other more evil guy?” Then I remember that there are many things in my own heart that prove that I am that evil guy. And that I’m actually currently getting more than I deserve.

This may be true for you as well.

This is why we need to constantly be moving forward. Constantly moving forward means daily moving forward, even if it’s in small ways. 

“But I’ve been striving for years already!” I get that a lot, especially from myself, when I’m complaining about how long things are taking. But then I remind myself of a something Stephen Covey said in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Private victories precede public victories.” So I pause and check inside, asking, “How am I doing in my private victories?” And I usually find that the real reason why I haven’t been able to progress is because of a roadblock within myself.

Moving Forward
This Thursday, I’ll be speaking at Bo Sanchez’s Kerygma Conference to speak on Bravely Moving Forward in Business. I’ve altered my presentation last minute to focus more on something more valuable than just making more money or achieving growth. I want to talk about the 3 important foundations we all need to build, which are 3 private victories we need to win constantly, in order to progress bravely through life. But more than that, I want to talk about WHY we need to win these victories, why we need to lay these foundations, and why we need to constantly be progressing.

I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this topic. Please pray for a successful event.

Teach Me to Love You Right

Teach Me to Love You Right

Kiyomizu-dera Temple – Kyoto, Japan

Yasmin and I were in yet another amazing temple in Kyoto Japan, particularly the Kiyomizu-dera Temple complex, which was founded in 778 AD! (It’s present buildings were constructed 1633 without a single nail.) As I walked inside its great hall, I thought to myself, “Wow. This place is so amazing. We’ve seen so many amazing temples. It would have been awesome if Christians had built amazing monuments as well, then people would be flocking to see God’s greatness and be awed the way we are with this temple.” Then I realized, Christians have built amazing monuments, many of them, if not most, in Europe, such as the cathedrals and religious art, and people do flock to see them, but not necessarily to see God’s greatness, but to admire the architecture or the art, giving more glory to the architect and the artist than the Creator. So that shot down my “we should build great monuments” idea. Then I remembered a verse I have read many many times, “Your body is the temple”. And it kept ringing in my head: “Your body is the temple. Your body is the temple. Your body is the temple.” As I looked at the different features of the the Kiyomizu-dera temple, I would think, “Wow, that’s nice” followed with “Your body is the temple.” I would see an inner room where with a statue in the center and think, “Does God truly reside in my temple, my body, or do I have a shadow?” I saw kids enjoying the act of drawing water from three waterfall channels and would think, “Is my temple a source of great joy to others?” I saw the priests offering incense to their god in highly ritualistic fashion, and I saw religious ceremony in a new light. We like to bash religion, but religious ceremonies are activities that were devised to help man love their deity right. Wanting to love God right is not a bad thing. Loving the wrong god is obviously not right, and it is possible to love God wrongly, mainly by loving Him the way I want to love Him or the way I feel like loving Him NOT according to He has commanded me to love Him. This led me to the most sobering of the questions in my head, “Do I love God rightly? Do I want to love Him rightly? Am I seeking to learn how to love Him in the way He commands to be loved? Or am I loving Him the way I feel like loving Him?”

Throughout the rest of our trip, these thoughts haunted me. I remembered the words in Matthew 7:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

I thought to myself, “The person who claims to love the true God but loves wrongly is no better than the person who loves a false god.”

Loving wrongly means having the feeling of desire or attachment, or having an understanding of the greatness of God, yet not living according to His commands, not loving Him the way He commands us to. To love God, to truly love God, is to want to please Him, and that is called obedience. Is is very proud of me to say, “I’ll love God in my own way” as if I knew better than Him how to love Him, as if my style of loving is superior that I no longer need to learn how to love as He commands.

This led me to a simple prayer, “Father, teach me to love You right.” I understand now King David’s Psalms, when he asked God to teach Him His ways. He was asking God to teach Him what I’m asking God now, “Teach me to love You right. Teach me the things that please You. Teach me what makes You happy. Teach me how I can bless You. Teach me how I can bring You glory.”  King David understood that one cannot separate righteous living and holiness from loving God, for righteous living and holiness is the way to love God. But King David also understood that man is not capable and does not completely comprehend how to live righteously, so he constantly called to God to teach Him how to get things right, because he truly desired get it right for God.

To a lesser degree, I feel this with my wife, Yasmin. I deeply want to become the best possible husband, but I know myself too well. I particularly know how impatient, proud, and selfish I can be, causing me to be irritable and argumentative. Every time she calls me out or after an argument, I feel frustrated that I’m not able to improve myself fast enough, that because of my flaws the person I love gets hurt. Then I realized that was a good sign that I really love her, because there is a pain in me when I hurt her, there is a desire to correct it, and there is a desire to learn how to do things better, to learn how to love her better.

King David felt that way with God. Every time he made a mistake, he was in anguish, and he was running to God praying, “Forgive me! Teach me!” Our self-centered spirituality has caused us to forget this. We want to love God in the way we’re comfortable with. We no longer seek to love Him rightly, the way He commands. Can we say we truly love someone if we do not desire to love them the way they are supposed to be loved? No. How we love says a lot about who we love. If I love God the way I want to, putting my style or my convenience above His will, than can I say I truly make Him priority? No. It shows I love myself more, for my ways are held over His.

You can see why I would wake up really early every morning bothered by this. I realize that in many ways I was loving God wrongly, and what bothered me even more was the fact that I was proud that I thought it was right, that how I loved God, was my prerogative, instead of desiring to learn to love from the One who is love.

In my study, I was led to dig deeper into the idea of “Your Body is the Temple”, and that is the topic of my next post for another time. Jesus’ idea of a monument to the world was not great buildings but great lives. Traditionally, temples were places were gods resided, where man communicated with gods (prayer), and where man worshiped gods. Unlike other religions, in Christianity, God would would not reside in gilded rooms but in humble hearts; communication with God, prayer, would not be limited to a chosen few but be open to a priesthood of believers; and God would be worshipped (loved the way He wants to be loved) in spirit and in truth, in other words, in obedience. In my next post I will share the difference between prayer and worship (and they are different), and why one cannot truly love if one is not disciplined.

This next post will be followed by another post about another “body” the Bible talks about, Christ’s body: The Church, and how we’re not commanded to just go to church but be the church. This one will take a little bit more time as I am not a theologian or a church expert, so will have to consult with people who are experts.

I realized that there’s so much I don’t know. My early mornings and evenings are not complete without studying further. I do know this: I know I love God, not because I’m doing everything right (which I’m definitely not), but because it pains me to disobey, and because I desire to love Him, not just the way I feel, but in the way He commands.
#db