Tag Archives: Your Best Life

Betrayer and Beloved?

I just finished reading all four gospels for the first time.  Even though I grew up attending mass weekly, this is the first time (at least in my flawed memory) that I have heard of the disciple whom Jesus loved or the beloved disciple.

Who is this disciple?  I didn’t realize until I did a few internet searches last night that the question of the identity of this disciple has been under discussion for quite some time, but I always love a good mystery so I have decided to join the scholars in their discussion despite my lack of in depth knowledge.  Below are my initial thoughts.

Jesus gives the most love where the most love is needed.  Jesus will leave 99 sheep grazing in order to search for 1 lost sheep.

Jesus chose his disciples and he knew all of their fates.  He knew they would be hated, despised, persecuted for following Him.  He knew most of them would be killed for spreading His message.  Jesus loved them all, but of the twelve who needed the most love?

Matthew 26:24 – “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!  It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

I think Judas Iscariot needed the most love from Jesus in order to survive the self hatred that he would inflict on himself following the betrayal and to survive the centuries of hatred and persecution aimed at him from people all over the world.

Jesus thank you for loving Judas Iscariot so much.  I have a feeling that he may be Your beloved disciple.  Please help us to remember that we do not know the whole story and that we do not need to know the whole story, but we must love as You love.

Please help me to love Judas Iscariot as you love him.

The only thing good in me is Jesus!

I heard the song, The Only Thing, by Ronnie Freeman for the first time tonight while listening to Pandora.

I loved hearing this song, and it was yet another reminder for the importance of humility. I know my heart and I know that I have proudly accepted many undeserved compliments (from others and from myself) throughout my life.  No matter what my life looks like to myself or others, I have to remember that I am still the least of thieves and yet Jesus still loves me and is in me. The more I superficially build myself up from these good deeds and compliments, the further I push Jesus away, but once I remember or realize that everything thing good in me is because of Jesus I pull closer to Him.

Ephesians (2:8-9) “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”

Jesus please keep reminding me to be humble so that I can pass Your glory on to You!

It is Our Best Life… let’s pass it on!

The eyes of love…

My husband went for a run the other day and when he came back he was literally dripping with sweat and he asked me if he smelled bad.  I leaned in, took a big whiff and honestly I thought he smelled nice and I said “You smell good to me”.  He smiled and said it didn’t count because I see him with the eyes of love.

I was thinking of this today and thinking that seeing someone through the eyes of love is more true and real than any other way to see someone.  I think it should always count and be the only opinion that counts!  Maybe I was the only person on earth at that moment that didn’t think my husband smelled, but maybe I was also the only person in the world who could really smell him.

Doesn’t God look at us with the eyes of love?  Isn’t this how he is able to constantly forgive and forget everything we do to ourselves and each other?  Does this make it okay to live life with our rose colored glasses on all of the time?  Does this make it okay to try to see the good in everything?

Maybe there are no rose colored glasses.  Maybe instead there are dark and dingy glasses that block us from seeing with the eyes of love if we refuse to take them off.

I feel like at times constant optimism can hurt the ones we love if they are suffering or going through a very difficult time, but maybe it isn’t constant optimism.  Maybe the dark and dingy glasses are off and saying “It is going to be okay” or “You are going to be okay” is not a lie or a hollow consolation, but more real and true than our loved one can yet see.

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

If we really are wearing dark and dingy glasses maybe a good way to start trying to remove them is by literally saying out loud “It is Our Best Life” everyday.

Let’s take off our glasses and start seeing everyone with the eyes of love!

The Gates

Back in high school there was a party one weekend that some friends and I had been invited to and we were planning to attend.  My best friend’s mom dropped us off and as we were walking towards the front door we caught a glimpse of one of the cool and intimidating girls in our class.  In an instant the four of us made a decision not to attend the party, we turned around and ran back to the car.  That night we instead had a slumber party together and laughed at ourselves and had a really good time.  I haven’t thought about this night since then, but for some reason listening to a song tonight made me think of it.  I wondered about the feelings my friend’s mom must have experienced that night.  I think she was probably sad to see us exclude ourselves from a party out of fear and intimidation.  I would have been very sad to see this happen to my girls.  As a parent it is one thing to see your children excluded by others, but to see them exclude themselves leaves you completely helpless.

In the gospel of St. Matthew 7:7

Jesus said ” Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Thinking about this tonight made me wonder

  • Am I humble enough to realize that the gates of heaven will not be standing wide open for me when I arrive?
  • Am I fearless enough to have the courage to knock on those enormous, beautiful and radiant gates?

In the gospel of St. Matthew 15:22 – 28

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”  Jesus did not answer a word.  So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”  “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Finally thinking about this next passage in conjunction made me wonder

  • Am I humbly persistent enough to keep knocking until the gates are opened?

I want to teach my children to be humble, fearless and persistent.  I want to teach them to include others and themselves.

Include yourself!  God is our Father and if it pains me to see my children exclude themselves then imagine how painful it is for Him to see billions of His children exclude themselves everyday.

Jesus wants ALL of us, He is preparing the rooms and He told us to knock when we arrive just as any friend inviting us to His parents home would ask us to knock when we arrived!

It is Our Best Life!  Let’s believe it together and it will be for all of us!

Perspective shift

We went to the park the other day to take a short hike with the girls. As we were all getting out of the car and unfolding the stroller a woman was walking by with two small dogs. I was just about to look up and say hello when she dropped her wallet and said in a very angry and exasperated voice to herself, “This has been the worst f*****g day, can anything else go wrong?” She picked up her wallet and stomped past us through the parking lot. It was only 10:30 am, and I thought to myself, unfortunately she still has most of the day left for things to continue spiraling out of control. Obviously I only saw one moment of her story and it appeared to be a very bad moment, but it made me think about perspective and if a perspective shift could have helped her through the rest of the day.

Perspective is defined as a mental view of or outlook on a situation.  I think a perspective shift can change almost anything.  When I don’t know someone else’s full story it is difficult to suggest a perspective shift, but hopefully a personal story will help make my point.

A few weeks ago I was out on a Sunday evening on my way to return a movie. I turned onto the highway feeder road a little too quickly and hit the curb with my rear tire. The tire immediately blew and luckily I was just about 200 yards from an open gas station. As I was pulling in to see if they could help me change my tire I was thinking, It serves me right because I made the turn too quickly, as if this was punishment for my poor driving. A really nice young man changed my tire and I was on my way.  The next day I went to buy a new tire and the man at the store strongly suggested replacing the other three as well.   I took a look at the tires and if you know about the penny test to check the treads then you will understand how necessary it was for me to get new tires when I tell you that there was nowhere to even put the penny.  As I was pulling away with four new tires I could have been complaining about the hour I had just spent waiting for new tires or the money I had just spent that I had planned to use for something else, but instead I thought to myself, Thank you God for making me get new tires since I wasn’t going to find the time to do it without your help.

Despite some of the terrible things I see in the news, I try to keep my perspective shifted  and continue to believe it is Our Best Life and I hope you do too?  If we all believe it is our best life would the news change?

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

A finite number of lashes…

I watched The Passion of Christ (2004 American Drama directed by Mel Gibson) on the evening of Easter Sunday.  It was the first time I had seen it and now two months later I still think quite often about the lashing of Christ scene.  While I was watching the movie the lashing scene seemed to go on forever and at one point I actually winced as Jesus received a lash and I thought to myself, that one was mine.  The thought actually surprised me and made me cringe, but the more I have reflected on it the more I think it is true.  I think we are all responsible for at least one lash that He received that day.

The comfort I have found as I continue to think about this scene and the innumerable lashes Jesus received is that the lashing did eventually stop.  Even though the final number of lashes could not be counted by the end of His lashing, we know the final number of lashes was a finite number.  I find comfort in this because to me it means that although there is evil and sin in this world, there is a finite amount.  It does not go on forever and there will come a day when all that is left will be GOOD.  Thank you Jesus for loving us so much.

I believe it and I pray with all of my heart that you do too!  It is Our Best Life!

The joy of suffering!

I saw a movie on Saint John of the Cross the other night and at the end he said, “Love the suffering.” I have been thinking about this a lot since watching the movie.

Saint John of the Cross spent about 8 months held captive by his superiors, imprisoned in a tiny closet. This was his suffering, but he saw it as his joy to be given unlimited time to contemplate Jesus.

The disciples of Jesus left their families, their lives, to follow Jesus and many observers at that time thought they were crazy and that they would suffer or were suffering, but Jesus was their Joy!

Once you truly follow Jesus is it even possible to suffer? From someone else’s perspective it might appear that you are suffering, but from your own perspective are you really suffering?

I think the song, You Can Have Me by Sidewalk Prophets says it beautifully

If You’re all You claim to be
Then I’m not losing anything
So I will crawl upon my knees
Just to know the joy of suffering

Therefore if Jesus is our joy then I think it is already Our Best Life.

If He is not then can we say It is Our Best Life with the hope that this daily prayer will help us find the right path to our joy in Jesus?

I think the answer is YES, start saying it and see where it takes you.  I think it will circle back around, but go ahead and try it for yourself.

 

A few more thoughts on empathy…

I was watching a documentary about different types of love and relationships a few months ago, and they brought up empathy as a key building block in relationships.  I agree with this, but what really got me thinking was the wording used when defining empathy.  In the documentary empathy was defined as the ability to put your self aside in order to identify with or experience the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.

When I heard it defined with the additional wording of PUT YOUR SELF ASIDE, I immediately thought of when Jesus said to deny your self.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Did Jesus mean for us to empathize with others when he said to deny ourselves?  I am starting to think this is what he meant.

In the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, ” You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

How can one truly turn the other cheek?  Is the answer to this also empathy?

If you resist your anger towards the person who has struck you (Are you denying yourself?), and instead attempt to empathize with that person, understand that the obstacles and difficulties of their life, their story have brought them to this moment and that although their physical anger was finally triggered by the current moment shared with you, their emotional anger has probably been building for quite some time and has very little to do with you.

Once you can empathize with this person, does it become a little easier to deny your self/deny your anger and turn the other cheek?

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  It is “Our Best Life”, let’s say it, believe it, live it and wish for it everyday for EVERYONE!

 

Global Consciousness

My husband and I watched the documentary I Am last weekend.  It was very good and I would highly recommend it.  In the documentary they briefly mentioned The Global Consciousness Project (GCP).

Below is a quick explanation of the project from their site

———————
The GCP is a network of random number generators (RNGs) spread around the world. There are currently about 65 or 70 nodes in the network, and at each one, random data trials are recorded continuously, one trial per second, day after day over the past 13 years. The result is a database of synchronized parallel sequences of random numbers. The data are archived on a server in Princeton, and subjected to formal analysis testing whether there are departures from expected randomness corresponding to global events.

By definition the RGNs are independent and should not show any relationship at all, but during moments of importance to humans, the devices show slight correlations with each other.
———————

The moments mentioned in the documentary were Sept 11, 2001 (WTC attack) and  Dec 26, 2004 (Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami).   Both of these tragedies brought about a mass synchronization of human consciousness as people around the world felt empathy and compassion for those effected by the tragedies which then translated to a physical synchronization of the RGNs spread around the world by the GCP.

As I have been reading more about the GCP, the site discusses the fact that they have found that events evoking empathy, compassion or love for others bring about a much larger effect.

This just confirms for me once again the great importance of empathy.  The act of putting ourselves aside or denying ourselves in order to try to understand another person’s perspective, experience or situation and then finding compassion within to offer help to another.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Let us deny ourselves through empathy as we live Our Best Lives!

 

Life will never be the same…

I spoke with a friend today whose family was recently rocked by some very difficult news.  She told me that when the Doctor delivered the news she said, “Life as you know it will never be the same.”

I have been thinking a lot about this tonight.  A short 24 hours earlier, Jesus and His best friends were sharing a meal, then everything changed in a moment and life was never the same.  Just one day after the death of their Friend, their God, Jesus; shock, fear, grief and anxiety still ruled and the disciples could not yet accept that, Life as they knew it would never be the same.  They did not yet know the secret that even from a change in their lives this terrible, this earth shattering, something GOOD would come and Life as they knew it would never be the same!

Life will never be the same… still grieving but now slowly understanding and accepting the change and the magnitude of Your gift.  Thank You and I love You so much Jesus!