Archive for October, 2015

Springboards

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

springboardA bit over a year from now we will be electing a new person to hate. Of course I am talking about the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election. As far as more recent history is concerned, it seems to me that when a Democrat occupies the White House the hate is more overt than when Republicans sleep there. I think that is because there are more right-wing talking heads on radio and cable to fan the flames of abhorrence. Sadly, I am confident that a lot of left wingers are just as hateful but are more discrete about it. I cannot wrap my brain around hating anybody; it must be great fun for so many to partake. Of course that is always the way with sin. In any event they say that two billion dollars with be spent on winning the title of “most hated” next year. My conclusion is that people who run for President are not playing with a full deck. Perhaps they are simply narcissists with mammoth egos.

After all the attack ads, insults, half truths, outright lies and dollar bills have settled, only one will be left standing; the rest will have made appropriate concession speeches promising to support the very folks they ripped to shreds in the campaign. For them the pain of their bruised egos and empty wallets will be excruciating. Mercifully before the next sunset, the media will have deleted their pics, bios and sound bites from their hard drives and then their healing process will begin. It always does.

The way life is structured most candidates lose. Teams come up a yard short. Plans go astray. Marriages fall apart. People get disappointed. Dreams fade.  Quite often the greatest treasures are found in the rockiest fields amid the thorns and thistles of pure agony. Being on the short end of the stick is often the springboard to rare opportunities. It’s at life’s lowest points that we are in the best position to bounce highest. More than seems fair, often life hurts like hell.  For some of us that is what it took to abandon our self- dependence and accept the outstretched hand of God.

Something to Think About

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Insulting God

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Funny-Cat-GIFsRemember life before social media? It is hard isn’t it? Each day nearly five billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook. A lot of what I get is pure junk — like pictures of  squash casseroles.  Others are hilarious and provide a refreshing tonic of laughter. Some are wonderful and inspiring stories of personal victories over the demons of life. What an honor, privilege and a joy they are to receive.

The cat looks like I felt last week when I got a warmed over share, attributed to Paul Harvey.  It presented a call to action, supposedly from Paul in favor of prayer in public schools. By the time I was finished reading it, I was humming the Star Spangle Banner while looking through my desk for my American flag pin. It was very inspiring. I’m in favor of prayer in the schools as long it is to the God of my understanding.  But it was a great big lie! Paul never uttered those words. They were actually written in 1999, by Nick Gholson, a sports writer in Wichita Falls, Texas, after prayer at the local high school football games was prohibited. Problem for me, is somebody way back up the line in cyberspace, who started this particular cyber deception, not only let us all down, but also God when he/she chose to lie to us. It closes with this thought, “2015 is the year we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions”.

How ironically sad, that the person who calls for putting God back where He belongs, actually insults the God that the liar claims to promote. When I was a kid, back at Catholic Schools, the nuns warned us not to commit the worse of sins —- a sacrilege. I do believe that the original writer of the “Paul Lie” has done just that. Things like this set back the cause of Christ, instead of promoting it. My understanding of God is that He never blesses a sin, no matter how worthy the cause.

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

You’re OK

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

You_re_OK_smallWe are heading into the home stretch of the Major League Baseball Season looking to crown another World Series Champion. Who will be?  I am pulling for the Blue Jays. Many of us were raised to believe that we had to be the best. Our worth was defined by performance. Not only did we have to make the team, but we had to be a ten-game starter and occasionally get the game ball.  Why was it that way?  Because that was how our parents raised us.  That was the way we thought people would love us.

Inevitably, we would fail to live up to the standard. So each time we knocked the bar off, we would beat ourselves with the shame stick.  Then, more often than not, we’d do something real dumb to feel better.  Maybe it was driving 100 MPH on the freeway with the windows down, or maybe we would pig out at the Chinese buffet, until we were miserable. Perhaps we would buy another new whatever, just as long as it was new.  Some of us would get a buzz on, however we could. Others would act out sexually or maybe we would invent our own little private world, where fantasy was king, or do a million other such crazy things. In other words, we picked our poison, thinking we could somehow escape our perceived failure, if only for just a few peaceful moments.

It never ever worked, but we did it anyway until it became part of our being.  So here we are today. Now is the time to break the spell and get away from dad’s anger, when we struck out in life or mom’s disappointed look. Heads up folks, we don’t have to be the best to be loved. We can choose to do things the way we do them, in our own way, one day at a time and still be loved.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) “For I know the plans I have for you”, says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”.

The plan, your future and the hope are not tied to anything you do or don’t do or how well you do or don’t do.   It’s all tied to God’s love for you.  Stop trying to be perfect.  You are far from it!  But that is OK. So it’s time to admit it then really trust God and get on with your life.

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Major Change

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

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I thought that I would never see the above picture which was taken last Friday at the dedication of the Doug Dickey Hall of Fame Plaza at the University of Tennessee. Since 1992 Johnny Majors has held a grudge against Phillip Fulmer. After Majors was fired by Dickey, who was the AD at the time, Fulmer replaced him as head football coach. Long story short I think Majors believed that his friend and offensive coordinator, Fulmer was behind the coaching change. Over the years he had openly referred to Fulmer as a “backstabber”.

This year I am celebrating twenty-five years of ministry. I’ve counseled countless people who have been abused, neglected, betrayed, maligned, ignored, abandoned, cheated and double-crossed among multiple other wrongs. I, myself, was one of those people. What I have observed is that folks who come to the point of forgiving their offender thrive despite the offense; whereas, those who refuse forgiveness set themselves up for a self-imposed descent into the black, hopeless abyss of deterioration, destruction and depression.

When I was young I figured that the rules in the Bible were put there to take the fun out of life. Today, as a survivor myself, I know that they are put there to afford us the greatest opportunity for the life we’ve always wanted.  Jesus clearly taught, without any wiggle room whatsoever, that we are to forgive anyone and everyone who offends us — no asterisks, no footnotes, and no disclaimers. Great call Coach!

Something to Think About

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877