The Power of The Selah

Power of the Selah pic

I’m on vacation.

A different vacation than most. Actually, a different vacation in that I can’t think of having done this for at least four years. A vacation where I wake up in the morning and wonder what I want to do that day. A vacation where I haven’t set lofty renovation schedules, massive travel plans, or extensive social schedules.

A vacation… to vacate.

And to be honest, going into this week I thought I would go stir crazy (and maybe my writing a blog is evidence that it may still be the case). You see, my daughter got married on Friday and Kerry and I took the week off to get ready for the wedding. A number of people took time to get things ready for the special day and I am truly indebted to them for their love and sacrifice.

I digress.

So when it came time for the dust to settle, the rental stuff to be returned, and the house to get a whole lot quieter, I wondered what I would do with all of this… time.

Well, it’s only day two so I cannot say I have a plethora of nuggets to reveal… but one thing struck me as interesting today.

I brought a book today to my local java hangout to sit and read… and it seemed that a number of people had the same idea, and unfortunately an earlier start time. So I thought I would go down by the river where there was this really calm, peaceful place to sit and think.

The time spent thinking, and not thinking. Reflecting, and dreaming. Reading, and pondering… was like droplets of water falling on a parched, desert land. It was like I was able to think without timelines, dream without deadlines, reflect without repercussions.

In Jewish poetry often times they would have music interludes interspersed within the prose in order to allow people to reflect on what they had heard – in the Bible it can be often found in the book of Psalms. This musical break was called “Selah”, meaning ‘pause’, ‘silence’, or ‘end’.

Any way you wish to interpret it, it was meant to take time to meditate on what you were taking in, and apply it to your context.

We don’t “selah” enough. We don’t stop, reflect, dream, contemplate, examine, or meditate on life, faith, family… you name it. We recognize without observing. We react without consideration. We respond without first taking interest.

We need to selah more. We desperately need to stop hearing things rattle in the trees and first hear the wind blow. We need to stop listening for traffic and first hear the kids laughing in the schoolyard. We need to stop responding to all of the “what to do’s” in our lives and first start asking the “why are we doing it’s” instead.

When we selah, the incessant noise quiets down and the Voice can finally be heard.

At least that’s how I see it,

Selah.

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Smothering Toxic Relationships

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There are three ways to put out a fire. Remove the fuel. Remove the heat. Or remove the oxygen. Simple as that.

Toxic relationships continue when you choose to keep the fire going. Sometimes you are not able to remove yourself from the actual person (fuel). They may be a family member or a co-worker. You may not be able to remove the ‘heat’ either due to proximity. Whenever you are around each other, your feelings ‘fire’ up without any ability to exert self-control.

Canadian Living defined toxic relationships as any relationship “that makes you feel consistently bad about yourself.” It goes on to write that these relationships leave “you feeling anxious, unrewarded and unaccepted.

Know anyone that fits that definition? Have any of those people in your life?

I like how Kris Carr (@Kris_Carr) said it when she tweeted that “we get to decide who we allow into our inner sanctum. Not everyone deserves an all-access pass.” For some reason we can feel obligated to keep people around us who are depleting us, not completing us.

So I would suggest to you that if you can’t get rid of the fuel or the heat, get rid of the ‘oxygen’.

You alone decide whether you are going to allow this person [these people] to ‘breathe’ into your life. Believe it or not, much of the toxicity of the relationship is based on the proximity of that person to ‘your’ sense of security, well-being, and happiness. They affect you because they affect ‘you’.

If it were people that didn’t matter to you (or never mattered to you) then their place in your life wouldn’t be an issue; you wouldn’t give them any ‘breath’. Where things go south is when you continue to let them matter to you. It is in those times that they end up taking your ‘breath away’.

So smother them (not literally… though sometimes you may have to squelch those thoughts). Don’t allow them to breathe into or over your life ending up taking away the joy and happiness that you long for.

Toxic relationships damage you. You don’t have the time, the desire, or the purpose to be damaged. Surround yourself with those who will better you. You will quickly discover how great it is to ‘breathe’ again.

Bring on the fresh air!

The New Year’s Resolution Fatal Flaw

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This year I am going to lose weight, read more books, finish the Bible, and love on my family more.

No joking. Those are my goals… but NOT my New Year’s Resolutions. I won’t make any New Year’s Resolutions… because they are fixed to fail from the beginning; at least that’s how I see them.

For years I used to take some time and write down all of the things that I planned on doing the next year effective January 1. Make more money. Travel. Solve world hunger. Bend time and space. But all of my ideas and aspirations hinged on coming out of the gate like a rocket after that ball dropped on New Year’s Eve. Come January 1, things were going to CHANGE!!!!

And they did. Sometimes even for the rest of that day!

If you look here at statisticbrain.com they looked at people’s resolutions from last year and how well people did.

Top three… Lose weight. Get organized. Spend less / save more.

45% of Americans make NY’s resolutions. Percentage that make it… 8%.

So your odds of actually accomplishing your resolution is 1:12. Not bad odds if you were buying a lottery ticket. I think you’d be inclined to try it out if a million dollars was on the line; but it still constiutes a 92% chance of failure.

But what if we are doing it all wrong?!?!?! What if the problem isn’t that we WANT to change, but rather we don’t know WHAT IT TAKES to change?

Let me explain…

Google “fastest man on the earth” and what will you find? Usain Bolt… clocking in at an incredible 9.58 seconds. Florence Griffin-Joyner holds the record at 10.49 seconds. That’s amazing!! Here’s the problem… Google ASSUMES ‘we’ are judging speed on only 100 metres.

Who made that decision?!? Why 100 metres? Why isn’t it Dennis Kimetto from Kenya clocking in at an incredible 2:02:57… for 26.2 MILES (42.2km). Or Yiannis Kouros who ran 188.59 miles (303.506km) within 24 hours!!!!!! No one knows Yiannis’ name (he doesn’t make a lightning bolt move at the end of his race as far as I know)… yet no one has beat Yiannis or Dennis in their respective races.

So… I think NY Resolutions fail because too many people run the 100m dash instead of the marathon. New Year’s Resolutions are more about what you are going to DO come January 1 rather than where do you want to BE come December 31.

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So I have goals that I want to accomplish in 2016. And I hope that I do better than an 8% chance of success. But I won’t succeed by putting all the pressure on the start… but rather by focusing on crossing the line, thinner, more knowledgeable, more grounded in God’s Word, and hopefully a husband and father that my family can be proud of.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C