29 April 2016

Inside


I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.
Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)

26 April 2016

Truth or Intuition?

I've just woken up from a rather fitful night's sleep.

There were so many images in my mind, many of them flashbacks from things that I had experienced the day before, but these were interspersed with all sorts of new things. Feelings, images.
  • Extrapolations on a theme?
  • My mind just wandering?
  • Or genuine intuition?

I can't say at the moment. I certainly can't tell you what was in those dreams...

But what was revealed was certainly enlightening. And disturbing.

:(

22 April 2016

Clickbait!

It's been quite a reflective week for me. And one where I've come to a couple of quite disturbing conclusions.

And it all started when I began to take a closer look at other people's blog posts and Facebook accounts, in order to review them for what we now call clickbait.

It's an internet term which is defined (Oxford University Press) as: content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.

Now, the idea is to drive traffic to your website, blog or even your Facebook wall by saying something deliberately outrageous or controversial.

The writer wants your reactions, because he wants you to click on their link or go to their site to read more; he wants you to make more and more comments. This all feeds into the stats to their site.

The problem comes with the fact that it's a form of manipulation. You're being played, enticed to learn more in a way that benefits the site owner. Any means is fair game, just as long as it works. Benefits may even be financial... some website owners get quite good money from advertising revenue from their website (I don't. I dislike advertising so don't want it on my blog).

However, I've discovered that it doesn't end there.

You can apply that same sort of thinking to other aspects of life.

In the past, I used to listen to a lot of talk radio, until I got so fed up of all the negativity that I used to hear. But now, I realise that many talk-show hosts are doing the self-same thing. Stirring up controversy just to build up listenership... 'clickbait' on the radio...

And I suppose that you see it on the front pages of the popular press, where controversial headlines are placed on the front page to increase readership. It's what they used to call 'yellow journalism', where a good headline will always take precedence over legitimate or well-researched news... or even the truth.  Anything just to sell papers. (sigh)

And today was the saddest realisation of all.

I realised that one of my colleagues was doing the exact same thing to me. Deliberately saying outrageous and offensive things to try and goad a reaction from me.

He didn't. However, it all came out tonight in a massive ball of rage, which I'm trying to channel into this blog post to get it out of my system before I go to bed tonight.

20 April 2016

Remedy For A Heavy Heart

Proverbs 12:25 (NIV)
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

Do you know what it's like to have a heavy heart?

A heart that is weighed down with problems, with the cares of this world. I'm reliably informed that the use of the term 'heavy' in the sense of 'weighed down with grief or sadness' has been around since 1300.

That's a lot of anxiety, over the years! And that's a big deal - because doctors believe that a high proportion of illness in our society is directly caused by anxiety.

And yet - 80% of the things that we worry about never, ever come to pass.

So, let's be encouragers, wherever and whenever we can. Sharing the weight where we can, lifting the burden with a kind word at the right time.

We've already got enough negativity in the world as it is - without adding to it.

(This is my thousandth post in this blog. Better make it a good one!)

14 April 2016

Target Setting - part two

(This is a follow-up of a post that I first made a while ago. Actually, it took me a bit of time and effort to find the earlier entry in this blog. Not surprising. I found out that it was, in fact, practically four years ago now. Wow! Here's the earlier post.... to save you guys having to look back!)

Four whole years have gone by ... and I notice that I ended the first post ... "There'll be more on this shortly."

Here's a follow-up.

It's a little late. I know... however, there's a good reason.

I got one huge nudge this week.

Here's what kicked this off, an ad at the railway station that I found...


And something resonated inside me. Pretty strongly. So much so, that I just had to blog this... linking it back to my previous post. It was all somehow connected...

Psalm 17:6-9 (NIV)
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.


11 April 2016

Walking Humbly

Micah 6:8 (NIV)
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.


'Nuff said. :)

4 April 2016

Putting It Off

I'm awfully good at finding things to do. However sometimes it's not that one job that I have to do.

That really can surprise people. Because I can be very productive when I turn my mind to it. When I'm 'in the zone', so to speak.

And there's the problem. Sometimes I really don't feel like it.

The best way that I can explain this is to go back to the ancient idea that inspiration for great work in the realms of literature or the arts only came from heaven. Try and force your way through a particular job without receiving a degree of divine inspiration - and you're sunk.
  • Sometimes I can't find my 'zone', no matter how hard I look for it.
  • If I am 'in the zone', then I need to start work now. Get it done, if it's a job around the house. Or, if it's writing, get as much of it down on paper/laptop as I can before it fades; before I lose it.
  • If I can't get into my stride when I'm 'in the zone', then pow! Suddenly, I've lost it.
  • If I can't get others to buy into what I'm trying to do when I'm 'in the zone', then my enthusiasm wanes because they don't feel like it - so therefore, it soon rubs off on me, so I don't want to do it any more...
  • And if I'm drained - emotionally or physically - there's very little I can do. It's just too much. All I want to do is rest, and wait for that inspiration to descend once again. Wait until I'm back 'in the zone'.
The problem here - when I read this all back - is that I see that the problem here is feelings. I don't feel like it. Or others don't feel like working when I want to..

There's also an assumption here, of course. It's an assumption that really productive people are always 'in the zone' - that positive, energetic frame of mind that impels them to start and carries them through all the way until completion. I'm afraid that this is not so.

It needs a bit of willpower as well. An understanding that there are going to be hard times, frustrations, and setbacks along the way. And I guess sometimes that it's my fear of these hard times - and of encountering the people who'd rather muck about than get down to some hard work - that creates some of the biggest hurdles in my life and prevents me personally from staying in 'the zone'. If they don't bother, why should I?

So, sometimes it takes a bit of a push to get me back into 'the zone'.

That's where the following quotes resonate with me:

Rita Emmett, in The Procrastinator’s Handbook, came up with Emmett’s Law:
"The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself."

O’Connor’s corollary:
"It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you finally get down to work."

Just a few stray thoughts today. That I had to get down. Or else, lose them completely... :)