Monday, November 23, 2015

We Can Serve Anyone ...

I do a good bit of studying about time management techniques.  Time is one of those things that we have an unknown, fixed allotment of.  We either use it wisely, or watch it slip through our fingers and wonder where it all disappeared to.

One of my favorite books on the subject is "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.  He brings up some pretty interesting points about the concept of "managing time".  First and foremost, there is no such thing.  Doesn't exist.  You can't really "manage time".  No matter how hard you try, "You don't manage five minutes and wind up with six".

What you can manage is actions.  Choices on where to spend your time.

That makes a lot of sense.  It's all about priorities, and wisely choosing how to spend the allotment of time we do have on the things that matter most.

Another gem of wisdom goes like this:
"You can do anything, but not everything."
There is a lot of anxiety and "beyond-the-mark"-ers that could be curbed by those words.

This got me thinking of how this can apply to things besides just your to-do list.

Monday, October 12, 2015

"Can't Pour From an Empty Bucket", But What Are You Filling Up On?

There is an oft repeated saying that "You can't pour from an empty bucket" -- you can't serve if you don't have your own spiritual reserves full enough to be able to give.  Like Mosiah said:
"And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order" (Mosiah 4:27).
But . . . Just like Joseph Campbell's saying "Follow your bliss", (which he later lamented should have been "follow your blisters"), this could be misconstrued to excuse selfishness and justify lukewarmness in the laws of sacrifice and consecration.

I remembered what Jesus taught at the Sermon on the Mount about inputs and outputs:
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
A bucket is really only as good as its contents.  What you fill it with is just as important as how full it is; contents matter just as much as volume.

How can you give your somone bread if you fill up with stones?  How can you give them fish if you fill up with serpents?  Grapes if filled up with thorns?  Figs if filled up with thistles? Good fruit if filled off a corrupt tree?

You can't give something from your bucket that you didn't fill it up with. . .

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

You Are Enough (But "Enough" for What?)

(From LDSSmile): 

You Are Enough! Who you are right now is enough, flaws and all. Not only are you enough, Heavenly Father loves you exactly as you are.  No conditions, no arbitrary boundaries.  He loves you exactly as you are today, but He will refuse to leave you that way to paraphrase Max Lucado.
Chieko N. Okazaki has said: “You are enough... What you have to give is enough... Your best is sufficient to the Lord.”

However lovely this saying may be, there is a whole different side of  being "enough" that isn't talked about much in our overly-romanticized culture...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What the "Law of the Harvest" Isn't

The "Law of the Harvest" in the Bible isn't a formula for guaranteed success or return on our investment -- it's more of a list of what we don't get.

Didn't sow? Then we don't get to reap.

Didn't plant fig trees? Doesn't matter how much of a green thumb we have - we don't get to harvest figs.

Didn't think far enough ahead and sow early enough? We don't get to harvest in the same season as the sowing and we have to wait to see the real results of our labors, (and sometimes by then it's too late...).

Didn't put in enough time tending to the vineyard? Our reaping is proportional to the sowing -- we don't get to reap as much as if we had spent more time sowing and laboring, and sometimes we don't get the fruit from the "good" olive tree and have to settle for the fruit from the wild one.

What if we want to give to others who have less but haven't sowed/reaped ourselves? We can't give something that we don't have or isn't ours to give, no matter how deeply we feel or how dire the need.

And like all other eternal laws, this one is immutable, so we don't get any exceptions for any reason. Even if we can't do any of these and "would if we could" we still don't get to reap -- we have to depend on the mercy of others who have, and thus no longer have the same lifestyle choices or personal liberties that bringing in a harvest ourselves would bring and are dependent on the free will of others, (hence "beggars can't be choosers").

See Also:

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Kids / Marriage / Career / Health / Happiness Is ...

Stop thinking there is a single most important thing you can do for them.

Right now.

No matter what any scientific study, best-selling book, website, or "expert" says, there is no one single thing that will make all the difference in any area of our lives.  This mentality tends to lead to an oversimplification of the many aspects and facets of life, can justify excluding many of the essential principles needed for human happiness, and generally makes things pretty bad in the long run.

How so?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dopamine IS NOT Joy

We cannot follow Christ and love dopamine at the same time. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and [dopamine]." Just like money isn't inherently evil but the love of money is a sin, experiencing the effects of neurotransmitters isn't a sin but putting God aside to chase after "dopamine liberating" events puts us outside the "strait and narrow path".

Let's set one thing straight - joy and dopamine are not the same thing.  Many times experiencing joy has the secondary effect of producing dopamine, but it is a mortal chemical and we can produce it without the joy that comes from God.

And don't even get me started at how well our fallen mortal frames are adept at self-deception and altering our perception in order to protect those events or sensations that produce dopamine. (Why else would Jacob admonish so strongly the need to "see things as they really are"?).  The body will try to find whatever neural sensations and experiences will produce the most reward for our mortal hard-wiring and situation, while at the same time avoiding the land-mines of cultural taboo and things that our "conscience" feel are not right (which can be altered by giving into these experiences and making them our automatic focus).

I ran across an article highlighting the interaction between discipleship and this drug that I think shed a lot of light on the interplay and interaction between our spirits and the Natural Man: