“What you focus on expands”

I don’t have children. I read a lot of child-rearing books though. Whether someone is three or thirty, the same rules apply. Often you can learn about how to deal with adults by reading books about how to deal with children. Sometimes adults are simply children in bigger bodies. Getting older doesn’t always mean getting wiser.

I know a lady who insists that dog-training books are useful for learning how to deal with husbands. I know I’ve certainly learned a lot about customer service by watching “the Dog Whisperer.”

Either way, energy is energy. It is all about how you direct it and how you spend it. It has nothing to do with changing the other person. It has everything to do with changing yourself. If you present positive energy, you’ll get positive energy back. If you expect trouble, you’ll find it. So change yourself first.

The basic message that I’ve gotten from these sources is that any attention is better than no attention. So if you ignore your child (or dog, or coworker, or customer) when he is behaving correctly, and yell at him when he is misbehaving, he will keep misbehaving. Ignore the bad behavior, and praise the good.

Ignore what you don’t want. Don’t give it any energy.

People want energy, and they will take it any way they can. Even if it is negative, it is better than nothing.

Workplaces do their employees a huge disservice when they only communicate with their employees when they have made a mistake. It is far healthier to praise them for doing something right.

I have had several bosses who never got this. Their opinion was that you should know when you were doing right. You should know how to do your job, and take pride in it. They only talk to their employees when they messed up.

To them, they messed up a lot.

There is a lot to be said for praise. There is a lot to be said for letting people know that they are doing well. We all need to hear when we have done well.

Now, does this apply to everything? Can we take this and apply it to all things –not just people? Can we apply it to pain, and loss, and hurt? Can we apply it to physical as well as emotional pain?

Maybe. I’m working on it.

It seems like focusing on the good is always a good idea. Oprah says “What you focus on expands.” This seems very useful. You just have to be mindful of what you focus on – what you give attention to.

I’m reminded of the phrase “You’ll either find a way, or you’ll find an excuse.” It is your choice.

Weak back, strong God

I’m lying on my back writing this. Sitting up is very tiring because it is painful. But I still want to write. I have my Kindle to write with. I can prop it up on my chest. At this angle I can type with two fingers. It works, albeit a little more slowly. It is like texting, but longer, and hopefully more meaningful.

When I was at the chiropractor’s office yesterday, I asked what caused my slipped disc. The doctor sat down and drew me a diagram. He was very patient and kind and made sure I understood everything. He is also Christian. It is obvious from not only the signs around the office but also in his demeanor.

When he was drawing the diagram he said that God made the front part of our body strong, while the back part is weak. I asked him why God made it that way. He smiled and said he could ask God when he gets to meet Him, but he suspects he’ll have other questions to ask then. He was talking about when he died.

I said we can ask God now. We don’t have to wait until we die. God is always with us, always available to us.

God is present to everybody, regardless of education or training. You don’t have to be ordained to talk with God. Every person has a direct line. It may take a while to get a clear connection, but it is always there. You strengthen the connection by daily Bible reading and prayer. It is just like exercise. It takes effort and work and diligence. You get better at it the more you do it.

I think this is one of the biggest differences with the Christian faith. God came down here, to be among us, to live and die as one of us. It isn’t so much about us having a personal relationship with Jesus, as it is about God through the incarnation of Jesus having a personal relationship with us.

God loves us all the time, everywhere, and however we are.
God wants to connect with each one of us right now.

So I prayed. I asked God why our back muscles are designed to be weaker than our front muscles. The answer I got back is that it is for the same reason we don’t have eyes on the back of our heads. It is to make us have to depend on each other.

“No man is an island.” We aren’t built to be independent. We must learn how to rely on each other. We are stronger when we work together. We are better off when we share life together. We are better off when we ask for help instead of trying to do everything on our own.

Think of emperor penguins. They huddle together to stay warm and alive in the cold arctic winds. When the couples have an egg, one has to stay with the group, crouching on the egg to keep it warm while the other goes to get food. Then they switch. They can’t do it alone.

We are taught by society to be independent, but God constantly teaches that we are stronger if we are interdependent. God constantly teaches us that we must rely on each other. We have to reach out. We have to ask for help. We can’t do it alone.

Thankfully we aren’t alone.

Thankfully there are always people who are willing and able to help. They might not be who we expect, or who we want, but that is also part of the learning process.

Thankfully we also have a loving God, who constantly teaches us, who eternally loves us, and is always available to us.