Tuesday, December 03, 2013

What about Santa?

I personally don't have a problem with Santa. Acknowledging that the Santa tradition is just for fun puts Santa, in my view, along side Frosty the Snowman and Christmas trees. They are elements that brighten the winter just as fresh flowers brighten the summer.

However, believing in Santa--that is, believing Santa is real--can be confusing to some when it is contrasted with belief in Jesus Christ. Some will argue that when we teach our kids to believe in Santa and to also believe in Jesus, we are confusing them. We tell them, one day--oh, yeah, all that Santa stuff was not true.  What, then, are they left to think when we tell them to go on believing Jesus is real?

How do we deal with criticisms that the two icons of Christmas, one secular and one sacred, Santa and Jesus respectively, merit the same treatment with regards to belief in them? How do we respond to the premise that believing in Jesus is just as whimsical as believing in Santa?

The problem believers face is that, from a secular point of view, belief in Santa IS just like belief in Jesus. Secular historians will say that Christ is resurrected and lives on in the lives and memories of those that believe and do what He taught. He lives, from the secular point of view, because the traditions and teachings followed by those who believe in him make him alive.

This view is like saying an ancestor lives on in the lives of his or her descendents. Someone might say, "Well, little Johnny is carrying on the family traditions of Grandpa…"

From this perspective, Santa lives on and is real, too. The traditions and ideals of Santa are carried out by people. Thus, from this point of view, Santa IS real. Santa lives because people keep Santa alive by adhering to the Santa ideals and by practicing the Santa traditions.

This point of view will heretically insist that Christ was resurrected only in the memories and obedience of the early Church, and that Christianity is the hand-me-down legacy of that first encounter with Christ. Using that same line of reasoning, if the ideals of Santa are carried out, then Santa lives on, too, and thus, Santa is real just like Jesus.

But belief that Christ is real is dramatically different from believing that Santa is real.  It is two entirely different things.

The difference is that Christ, indeed, rose from the dead, and the Spirit of God works in the world. It is a real, spiritual thing. It is not just the ideals and practices that make Jesus Christ alive and real. The truth is that Jesus is alive and real independent of anything believed or done by people. This fact draws a sharp distinction between Santa being real and Jesus being real.

Jesus does not depend on humanity to be real; Jesus is alive and real, with or without humanity's belief or practice. Santa, on the other hand, is alive and real only because people uphold the Santa ideal and perpetuate the Santa tradition.

People uphold the ideals of Christ and adhere to Christian practice, not (as in the case of Santa) to make Jesus real, but rather because Jesus is real. 

Take care not to compare the giving of gifts from Santa to the God's giving humanity his Son, Jesus Christ. The Santa tradition insists that he gives gifts to the good girls and boys. God's gift is given by grace through faith, not as a result of any good behavior on the part of a person. 

There is a theology starting in modernity and continuing now that is true, but dangerously close to embracing heresy. Bonhoeffer said that the Christian church, filled with God's Spirit, is the way God works in the world today. He called the Christian church the visible community of God empowered by the indwelling Spirit of God to be the hands and voice of God. Post-modern language extends this to say that the Church is the current incarnation of God. That we Christians, indwelled by God, are God to the world.
I'm mostly okay with that language. But, if one dared subtract the indwelling Spirit of God, we are back to "God is alive because people practice the ideals and traditions.... blah, blah, blah, etc." We end up dangerously close to the premise that Jesus (or Santa) is alive and real because people make him so.
Let there be no mistake: God is alive and real, and not because of what we do! God has tasked believers to be servants, not for God's sake, but for theirs.
Image: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=25255&picture=santa-claus

Monday, December 02, 2013

'Tis the Season... For What?

Last week, the United States celebrated the holiday, Thanksgiving. Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, it seems this once-sacred holiday has become, for many, little more than a feeding frenzy before the shopping apocalypse now known as Black Friday. 

With the Halloween decorations, in recent years, sharing shelf space with Christmas decorations, my sons and I started calling the period of time from mid-October to December 26 "Halgivemas"--two months of commercial gluttony abandoning anything remotely resembling the historical origins of the holidays contained within.

Even Halloween, in its inception, had a religious connection. It was the eve of All Hallows' Day, a day set aside to remember the saints. However, my "bah, humbug" is centered, not on the trick-or-treat tradition, but on the decline of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The history books of my school days taught us that Thanksgiving was founded by the pilgrims--a group of highly religious people, the Puritans--as a way to show thanks to God for getting them through the early days and near disasters of their colonization. (Historical revisionists of the Twenty-first Century will critique this on many levels, pointing out the errant ways inherent in the practice of colonization, but that critique does not erode the Puritans' stated intent--to show thanks to God.)

What began as a religious observance, by the mid-Twentieth Century, was beginning to become a time to be thankful, less for God's blessings, but rather to be thankful for family and friends. Sports events and parades begin to take part in the day, giving people something with which to fill the time. After all, a whole day of giving thanks is a long time, right? By the turn of the Twenty-first Century, the religious aspect of Thanksgiving had all but been marginalized. Surely the Puritans would never have imagined that the day of thanks would require some people to have a designated driver to get them to and from the gatherings.

Now, the day after Thanksgiving marks two events--Black Friday and the beginning of what most call Christmas. Before the leftovers are eaten or thrown away, people of the United States have moved on to getting ready for Christmas. Seasonal decorations come out, seasonal music begins to play, and people go into hyper-consumerism mode.

Central to the current celebration of Christmas is the exchange of presents. This exchange necessitates the purchase of presents. Retailers thrive at this time of year, needing, in fact, to hire more people to handle the escalated shopping.

Indeed, many will include church services in their attention to the season. Yet, for many of those who include church, it is second to the parties and the presents.

What is lost starting with Black Friday is that Christmas marks and celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The season starting four Sundays before Christmas (right after Thanksgiving) is actually the Advent season, the period of the year that we look forward to the Christmas season. It is a time to reenact the coming of Jesus Christ. Believers were meant to spend this time preparing themselves for the day when Christ's birth--the incarnation of God into the world--would be celebrated.

THEN for the next twelve days, Christmas season is to be celebrated. But most people in the United States, by the first day of Christmas, are so tired of everything, they take down all their decorations and start making plans to celebrate New Year's Day.

The whole purpose Christmas, the celebration of God's gift to humanity, is lost to the practice of giving gifts to each other. The important sacred moment is lost to the commercial, secular ending of Halgivemas season!

Church historians will tell us that Constantine appropriated the calendar period of a pagan holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ. People were already accustomed to celebrating at that time, so he adapted that celebration to a sacred celebration.

This change reflected the shift, at that time, of society's attitude toward an acknowledgement of the central importance of God in the lives of humanity.

So what does society's attitude shifting away from the sacred to the secular tell us?


The True Meaning of Christmas video: http://youtu.be/hLE08Jm8csE

Photo: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=28183&picture=christmas-background&large=1

Monday, November 18, 2013

Already There

At the risk of offending people... 

Don't you hate it when people start off that way? They know they are saying something that will offend people. Why?

As for me, I am writing this because I believe my thoughts on the forthcoming matter will enhance people's understanding of themselves. I believe they will ultimately be better off if they consider my remarks--my critique--knowing my reason for sharing them is to help them live better in relationship to God.

Photo credit below.
I have been in a number of churches and worship centers where people--either leaders or laypeople--have declared how excited they are that "God showed up" on that particular day. I have heard prayers saying something like, "Oh Lord, please come into this house..." or "we really need You God to come to us."

Well... God is already there. No, really.

IF there is a place in creation where God is not (an idea violating pretty much all of orthodoxy), would it be in a place where believers gather?

Now, before all the readers hit the back button, let me acknowledge that I have been in services where the people were strongly moved by the presence of God. I totally understand what it is that those asking for "God to show up" desire.

My critique is the words used to ask for it.

We do not need to ask for "God to show up." God is already there. We need the Spirit of God to drive out of US all those things that stand between us and God so that we can experience God's presence--a presence that was, is and will be, like the prodigal son's father, always there awaiting us.

When we do not feel the presence of God strongly, it is not because God is not present. It is because we are oblivious to God. We are wrapped up in those things we have made into idols that sit in the middle of our minds and lives. We are present in body, but our spirit is distracted by all the cruft that we bring into the worship setting with us. What needs to happen is that we submit our spirit to the Spirit of God and attend to God, not the world.

Our prayer should not be that "God shows up."

It should be that the Spirit of God drives all distractions from us so that WE show up. God is already there.


Friday, November 08, 2013

But Then, Just Quit

If you follow @BillSnodgrass on Twitter, you know that I share quotes from others that seem relevant to better living and wholeness. Sometimes, however, Twitter just does not allow enough words (characters!) to fully explore an idea.

Such is the case with the following Tweet:
@Inspire_Us: To be successful, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish, then resolve to pay the price to get it.
In general, provided a certain stipulation is met, that is great wisdom. Wanting something--really wanting it--is a vital step to obtaining it. Then we have to pay the price to get it done. We have to be willing to change what we do, prioritize our time, cut out incompatible other things; we have to do whatever it takes to reach the goal we have set.  Wishing that we want something is not enough--we really have to want it and do what it takes if we are to succeed.


The goal has to be realistic. Some things we want are just impossible.  If I want to flap my arms and fly, it doesn't matter how much I work, what price I pay... Wanting to flap my arms and fly is just not going to lead to success.

Some things we want are outside our control. No matter our effort and sacrifice, those things won't be accomplished, unless somehow we can bring them into our control.

Wanting things for other people is particularly outside our control. At best, we can create the circumstances where the other person is most likely to choose the outcome we wish for, but at the end of the day, it is the other person who will decide what action is taken.

Sometimes, we have to try several things--explore various options--until we find the goal to which our skills (spiritual gifts), interests (heart), aptitudes, passions, and experiences* are best suited. Consider the well-know account of Abraham Lincoln's string of failures prior to his success in politics.

The authors of @Inpire_Us had earlier offered another quote I also considered sharing:
@Inspire_Us: If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. Then quit. There's no use being a...fool about it. - W.C.Fields.
Sometimes, we need to know when to cut our losses and move on. It does not mean WE are a failure. It just means that we set our sites on the wrong goal.

Onward and upward!
*See http://www.amazon.com/S-H-A-P-E-Finding-Fulfilling-Unique-Purpose/dp/0310292484/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383923154&sr=8-1&keywords=shape 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dump It! You CAN Let Some Things Go!

I was talking to a friend the other day about overcoming past issues. The remark was made that sorting out everything and getting things in order was hard. My response led me to a tweet:

@BillSnodgrass: Sometimes, you just have to dump your box out so you can sort out your mess. 

Why do we cling to things we need to let go? We keep them in our life-boxes, cluttering up everything and limiting our options? We hold on to useless (or harmful) habits, harsh words said by unloving others, negative attitudes, impossible expectations (often imposed by critical others)... We cling to old, no longer applicable, ways of doing things as if they still have a chance of leading to some desired outcome. Why do we do this? Why do we carry all these things around in our life-boxes endlessly?

Perhaps it is easier to just keep going and keep carrying things with us? There is some comfort in the familiar, even if the familiar keeps us from experiencing a better, smarter, healthier way of living. We plod on, unchanged by the changing world around us, unaffected by the new reality of our life, doing what we have always done, believing what we have always believed. We fill our life-box with junk crowding out what could be good and healthy alternatives!

Yet at some point, our life-box is so full, so cluttered, we are hindered from growing and becoming the person we are meant to be. We are stuck with what was, what has been, dragging the weight of the past as we try to soar into the future. We need to stop. We need to look at the contents of our life-box, keeping the good, the adaptive, the functional, the healthy and we MUST reject all the dead, pointless, hurtful rest.

Dumping out the box is messy, hard, and sometimes painful, but... Well, sometimes we need to do it.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cautionary Combos

In the course of day-to-day life, there are products that we use fairly regularly that, while used in a common location serve far from common purposes. For example bleach and fabric softener are used, both, in the laundry but for very different reasons.

I have noticed in my bathroom that I store certain products in areas where they are convenient. However in doing this, I introduce a huge risk, at times! Mixing up some products could really have--let's go with "undesirable"--outcomes! Fortunately, so far, I have not mixed any of these up!

Here are a few things that, while kept together, ought not be interchanged:

Don't let the flip-top caps fool
you! These products are
NOT interchangeable!
  • On the back of the commode: Clorox® disinfectant wipes ≠ Cottonelle wipes

  • Under the sink: Windex® bulk refill ≠ Listerine® Cool Mint mouthwash

  • In the shower: Soft Scrub® ≠ shampoo

  • In the medicine cabinet: A&D Ointment® ≠ toothpaste

I am sure there are many others and in other areas of the home!

I want to invite you to add comments with your own cautionary combos!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Get On With It

There is a fine line between being patient and being passive. I recently retweeted the following:

From @ThisInspiresUs: They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol
#LiveBetter #change

There is an interesting truth to this quote. Indeed, time does change things--not in and of its own accord. Change comes about because, as time passes, people are taking actions. Depending on the actions taken, things will change one way or another.  The more like the past that new actions might be, the less things will change. The more radically different new actions might be, the more things will change. It is not time alone that brings about change. Change comes as a result of changes made by people compounded over time.

Sitting back passively waiting for time to change things is ineffective. Surely, some things change slowly. Being patient while waiting for effort and actions to pay off is fine, but to fail to participate in bringing about change simply does not. Change will (or might) occur with time because others are directing it. In such a case, the outcome will be determined by the effort of someone else. The passive person will have no influence on what the new circumstances will look like. Their hope to see changes they desire will be squashed by the desires of someone else. To realize desired change, then, means not being passive.

The trick to bringing about desired change is to know what one wants and to work toward that. I cannot understate how important it is to "know what one wants"! Change to a vague, undefined image of something is frustrating at best, if not totally fruitless. Know what the desired change looks like, then get on with the work of bringing about that change.

There are two sides to such work. One side is like painting a picture. When you know what the desired outcome looks like, start adding things to the canvas that fits. For example, if people seek to change the dynamic of a relationship to something more fulfilling, then they need to add to the routine things that are part of a fulfilling relationship!

The other side to the work of change is like sculpture. Once the desired outcome is identified, chip away everything that does not fit.  Take away everything that does not look like, for instance, healthy eating, and what is left will be--well healthy eating.

Change, then, comes from the sum of the two processes--adding in things that fit the desired outcome and taking away anything that does not.

When a people take on the task of changing, they cannot sit back passively and wait for time to act alone. They should be patient--yes--but patient only in giving time to their efforts at making change for themselves.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rich Is As Rich Thinks

Too many times, it seems to me, people tie the idea of being happy with the aquisition of stuff. This is unfortunate because so rarely does stuff actually bring about lasting satisfaction.
From @lNSPlRING: There are two ways of being rich. One is to have what you want, the other is to be satisfied with what you have.
Having what you want is a tricky proposition. How many times does a person see something they want, purchase it or otherwise obtain it, and then discover that it really does not bring to their life the expected pleasures? It is very easy to over estimate how much joy something will bring. Our wants often mislead us with promisies--vapid claims that if we just have that one more thing then...

Oh, to be sure, I have acquired some things that I am very fond of! The utility and convenience some things bring contribute to my sense of happiness.

I am writting this blog on my iPad, which I resisted purchasing for a long time. When Visible Music College asked me to relocate to the Chicago area to head up the opening of a new campus, I thought the functions of an iPad would be valuable, and I was right.

Does this device make me happy? Hmm... It does not make me happy inherently. Not sitting on a desk. I am happy with what I can accomplish as a result of having this wonderful piece of technology, not just because I have it.

Therein is the key. Happiness does not come from things. Happiness comes from our mind. How we think about the things we have results in happiness--the things themselves are incapable of producing ANY emotional response within us. Our reaction comes from the ideas, values, and beliefs we hold and how those internal predispositions interact with the things in our life.

I have a couple of pictures of my sons that probably cost me less than $20.00 total to have printed and framed. When I see them, my mind is connected to years of experiences and memories. I respond positively; I am happy as a result. The happiness does not come from the "things." If another person who did not know my sons had those pictures, they would NOT respond with the same happiness.

Being satisfied is a decision. Looking at what you have and, if it realistically performs as it should, deciding to be content disempowers the lies of our wants. Deciding to be content will lead to being happy with what you have.

If we define being rich, not as a measure of how much we have, but rather as a measure of how little we want, then it is far easier to be rich by wanting what we have and being satisfied than it is to be rich by acquiring more and more stuff.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Making a Difference

Day by day, we move in and out of the lives of other people: family members, friends, coworkers, store clerks, cashiers, passersby, etc. Inevitably, we interact with these people, touching their lives and being touched by them.

On any given day, the people we encounter may be in the midst of a wonderful day, or far too often, they may be plowing through challenges or even adversity. As a result, the way they treat us can vary. The cashier at the convenience store who is terse and seemingly disinterested in us might be, indeed, thoughtless and unmotivated. But on the other hand, they might be preoccupied by mentally planning household management issues for their children, feeling the sting of an earlier rude customer, or experiencing any number of other reactions to any number of life challengers.

For someone wishing to make the world better, someone wishing to live fully and richly, the cause of someone's moodiness is irrelevant. Our call is, according to Jesus, to be salt and light to the world, to offer hope and encouragement--to preserve and to illuminate in a sometimes tainted and dark world. Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls this being the "visible community" of God to the world. At Visible Music College, we embrace this idea and attempt to infuse it into all our students who will graduate and go into "the real world" to serve.

Our response to this need not be complicated or involve grand initiatives. I recently quoted a tweet that quoted Aesop:
From @Inspire_Us:No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. -Aesop 
#LiveBetter Live so as to make the lives of others better.
Don't be discouraged by thinking it won't matter in the long run. It will matter immediately.

I have spent years being overtly friendly and pleasant to store clerks and cashiers. I have never done this and thought I had wasted my time. My prevailing memory is the look of pleased surprise to my simple "Hi, how are you doing today?" said with a smile and a look in their eyes. I cannot remember any cases ever of someone being unhappy with me for taking an extra few seconds to hold the door for them.

Kindness can be simple and easy. It can become something we do naturally without thinking. It should!

There is in theology a concept called human agency. In part, the idea is that God works in the world, now, through the acts and efforts of human beings empowered spiritually by God. If a good work is to be done in the world, it is to be done by the faithful. If kindness is to be shown, it will be shown by the faithful. 

While being the working agents of God's desires for the world need not involve grand initiatives, I would argue that the sum of an army of small gestures would have huge affect. If twenty people smile and offer a friendly greeting to a store clerk, the sum of those encounters would surely brighten the clerks mood.

Many people doing acts of kindness, no matter how small, will make a difference. The key is for each person to do something, knowing that whatever that something is, it is not wasted.

Friday, August 16, 2013

You Never Know

As I begin this reflection, I am sitting at McDonald's covered in plaster dust and other funk from the middle of the last century--everywhere except my hands, which took about five minutes of scrubbing to get off the sticky black goo that came off the wires of the light fixture I removed before I left the Visible Music College campus a few minutes ago. I am typing on my iPhone now, but will finish this blog from my computer, later. As I sit here, my thoughts have turned to how God calls on us to do the work that needs to be done, regardless of what we expect. People never know what will need to be done nor what events of the past will prepare them to do it.

I moved to the Eastern edge of Chicagoland on May 15, 2013 to head up Visible Music College's launch of a new campus. In the three months since coming here, a lot of things have happened. I have set up a new home, a very satisfactory apartment in northwest Indiana, just over the state line. I have made a special friend who brings great happiness to me. I have learned my way around between the few places I frequent on a regular basis.

However, attending to the demands of Visible's new venture has taken up most of my time and energy. (Just ask my WoW friends--they'll tell you!) Central to my work has been taking part in the renovation of the building that will become Visible-Chicago in the Village of Lansing. Arriving in May, little could be done regarding recruiting for enrollment, so focusing on the facilities naturally took center stage.

Actual renovation began the first week of July, about a month and a half after I moved up. Starting work was delayed... July saw uncounted volunteer hours poured into the Lansing facility as demolition and renovation raced along.

In the weeks that followed, I have turned to, not my seminary or graduate school studies, but to my half-century of life to take part in the rehabilitation of the campus--parts of which were built in at the end of the nineteenth century! Having owned a house in Memphis built in 1907 and another later, I have done my share of handyman projects, and almost everyone one of those projects has informed my efforts to be part of the remodel.

As I looked forward to moving to the Chicago area to take this position, I never would have guessed that my carpentry skills, refined by the building of my boys' play-fort, would be required in order to aline the building's readiness for drywall with the availability of the drywall installers. I never would have guessed rewiring that old house would develop skills that I would use in removing old (disconnected) wiring and to assist the electrician in running new circuits. How could I have known my gardening attempts would be useful?

In the course of the weeks, I have tore out walls, built walls, tore out ceilings, patched ceilings, and moved masses of debris. My Black and Decker saw bought in 1986 died, as did my Dremel that had barely been used. I have been covered in plaster dust and who knows what else. I have found chucks of not-sure-what in my eye and ruined two sets of contacts. I have relied on my iPhone for emails and Internet correspondences.  I have averaged ten hours a day for the last ten days participating in remodeling the building, sometimes working alone, sometimes with the amazing volunteers, and at times, alongside of the paid contractors. I am bruised, cut, and scrapped, and I smashed the edge of my finger with a hammer.

Yet, through it all, progress is made. People are enthusiastic and see the vision--the vision that drives me to press on and "get 'er done" starting most days at 7 a.m. and staying, some days, until the last volunteer leaves fourteen or fifteen hours later. The vision of Visible-Chicago is clear: an extension of the curriculum from the Memphis campus partnered with the Lansing community in a way that is dynamic, unique, and exciting. Visible-Chicago will be a bright spot among the revived Lansing business district.

Projects of this scope require great commitment and great people--people who are willing to take on challenges never knowing what all will be required of them. There are many. Too many to name in full, but a few that stand out. The contractor who has set aside his uncounted hours to organize and plan the work... The pastor who rallies the volunteers... The electrician who comes around after work in the evenings... The homemaker who spends hours and hours on site doing tedious detail work... The teens who take on the thankless task of sweeping up debris and carrying it to the trash.

These people never knew what would be required of them, nor how their life experiences would be used to build the Kingdom of God.

That's just the point. I never knew. They never knew. The people who are available are the ones who have to do what needs to be done. They may never know what experiences of the past will be called upon to meet the demands of a current situation.

Whatever It Takes

When we find ourselves with a clear reasonable goal before us, it would be nice if reaching the goal was simply a matter of following a prescribed, clear plan. It is wonderful when that is how things work out!

In the reality that is my life, however, rarely do things just unfold as planned. Whether in my personal life, in group computer gaming, or in conjunction with my work--most recently with Visible Music College-Chicago,  the normal course from point A to point B is impeded by the unplanned and unexpected.

People and organizations need to anticipate this and prepare. The vital step in preparation for such challenges is a mindset. Embracing an attitude of "whatever it takes" is vital for being ready to deal with unplanned challenges and difficulties.

Groups will suffer harshly if some of its members fail to adopt this approach. Antithetical points of view can stifle success. Espousing the notion that "it's not my job" will leave gaps in getting done those things that must be accomplished in order to see a project to its end or a goal to its fulfillment.

At the time I am writing this, Visible Music College-Chicago is in the process of renovating what will be our campus. In the course of this renovation, I have had to put down my graduate and seminary degrees and take up the tools of a carpenter, painter, trash remover, and many other tasks. At times, there are no volunteers around, and the hired tradesmen need certain things done in a time-sensitive manner. I have to do whatever it takes.

A friend of mine from the video game, Word of Warcraft, is in a team with me that is progressing through a series of "10-man" challenges (called raids). Though it is usually her duty on this team to play a particular role, on one challenge, we were stuck because those of us in a different role were unable to meet the needs of the encounter. This friend stepped up and changed her role--traded roles with another team member--so that we could be successful. She was willing to set aside what she did in the normal setting and was willing to do whatever it took for the team to succeed.  While she could have said, "well the problem is not because of me, and it is not my job, so too bad." But she didn't, and the team succeeded.

There is no end to the scenarios in which success depends on individuals stepping up and doing whatever it takes. The single parent doing whatever it takes to provide meaningful care for children... The athlete who puts in extra hours to hone skills... The student who foregoes social activities in order to pass difficult classes...

The road to success, even when clearly mapped in advance, is subject to surprises. When the unexpected occurs, someone (or some people) will need to embrace the "whatever it takes" attitude, or failure awaits.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Knowing is Not Enough. Do.

I frequently tweet ideas related to overcoming, to seeing things to their end even in the midst of trials and hardships. Recently, I (@BillSnodgrass) tweeted this:
From @Quote_Soup: There is a difference between knowing the path & walking the path. -Morpheus
I think people, too often, find themselves stuck in difficult situations, knowing they need to change. They know staying where they are will result in perpetuating the hardship or undesirable circumstances in which they find themselves. Sometimes, these people know exactly what they need to do in order to to overcome the problems or achieve their desired goals.

Yet, they do not take action. For any number of reasons, they remain where they are despite knowing the path they need to take. They know what to do, yet fail to act. Their inaction results in "unchange." Simply knowing what to do is not enough. Change comes only in doing.

Over the years, I have worked with many people who wanted to experience change in various areas. Some time ago, I worked with a man who wanted to lose weight, so he said.

He knew what to do. He knew he needed to change eating habits. He knew he needed to exercise. Nevertheless, he made no changes to his lifestyle. He continued being sedentary and eating far more than needed. Eventually, I confronted him.

"You don't really want to lose weight," I said. "You wish you wanted to lose weight, but you really don't want to change anything."

Many people wish they wanted to make a change, and what's more, they know the path they need to take in order for that change to be realized. They see themselves stuck in undesirable circumstances, and even know what they need to do to change.

But knowing is not enough.

Doing is required.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And IT Begins...

It has been some time since I found myself in a position where I thought spending time writing ideas would be worthwhile. However, today, I looked up and realized I had quite a few Twitter followers. Since I so often, I feel like I need to talk more about my Tweets--to say more than the limited number of characters allow, I decided to explore options.

Long ago, I set up this blog, but never found a reason to use it. As I thought about my desire to share anecdotes, ideas, and encouragement with others, I decided to revive the old blogger account, blow off the dust, and begin to share.

I am not so vain to believe many people will take time to read what I write. Some will. My mom might... But, here, I will spend more than 140 characters on ideas and thoughts, mostly toward the theme of #LiveBetter, the direction toward which I push most of my Tweets.

Check out my Tweets and follow me: www.twitter.com/BillSnodgrass

Of course, then, there is Facebook: www.facebook.com/bill.snodgrass1

See you around the Internet!