God Does it for me

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Something my dad taught me to do many years ago was to start every day with prayer. Hearing and practicing are distinctly different though. Throughout the years he continued to emphasize the importance of alone time with God and how it helps us deal with whatever comes up during that day. I have lived long enough to know the truth of that statement and cannot recall the number of days wondering how I would make it through. But by grace, I made it through each one.

In recent months, I realized once again that I simply have too much on my mind. My career is challenging and with it, the stress comes often. Solving problems is part of the process but it is not something easily turned off. I see problems everywhere and ponder solutions to most of them. Add to that, the constant need to be connected and stay up to date with the latest on everything. It feels like a mouse spinning on a wheel, moving with great haste but getting nowhere.

Well, I finally took my dad’s advice. Shortly after waking up, I pray over the day, family, and friends, and give the day over to God. At times I listen to short clips of sermons or positive messages to let the first thing heard be something good. On my drive to work, I often witness the most gorgeous sunrises, especially a new one by a lake on the way. The vast array of colors is truly remarkable and nearly takes my breath away each time.

On break, I often walk around and take in rays of sunshine. I gaze up into the clouds and out over the blue sky. The birds soar freely in the air and squirrels chase each other around in the trees. Not every day appears beautiful, and on those I watch the rain fall tirelessly, as if there were no end. Yet eventually, the blue-sky returns, and the chirping of the birds resumes.

Far from the city lights when the day ends, the blue sky is hidden by the night. Up in the sky, I am witness to hundreds, maybe thousands of stars that fill the dark country sky. Another day has come and gone. I used to pray only shopping list prayers, as if God only existed to answer all my requests. While I do still pray like this at times, I came to appreciate more, simply by taking notice.

In the busyness of life, the rush tries to take away the little moments of peace. The loudness of everything that cries for my attention tries to drown out the softness of God’s voice. Matters of urgency will always be there but not all are as important as they first seem to be. One of my favorite scripture verses in troubled times is Psalms 46:10. When I am still, I notice more. Over the years, it has become something of immense value to me.

Some days in my communion with God, I express my gratitude for some of these things mentioned. Doing so seems to multiply the moments I have like this, to take in all the beauty that surrounds me. I cannot help but think to myself, God does it all for me. Not because there is anything special about me. Not because I have done everything right. No, simply because I pay attention, not to all that is wrong with the world but all that is right. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. I believe God does it all for me but would for you too.

Find a way to pull gratitude out from a mixed-up life; it will change the way you see things.

Copyright ©2022 AuthorJeffKayser.com. All Rights Reserved.

Ungrateful Wretch!

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First off, I use slang all the time, often without knowing the meaning. I searched the online dictionary to find out what a wretch was and thought, yes that perfectly fits as one of the names given to someone who does not appreciate a gift. I hope this is not the case but acknowledge the possibility that recipients may not even be pleased at all with your gift. I know, the nerve, right? Know ahead of time that helping people won’t always make them happy. They may be angry with themselves for needing help in the first place. Perhaps they may resent you for trying to help them.

It is important to be gracious when handling matters of giving. Giving in secret is the best way to allow others to save face, if they are truly in need. When it is an anonymous giver, there is no way to repay the good deed. The pressure to give back is eliminated and hopefully the gift can set them on the right path forward. It also may help them overcome the pride of accepting a gift from someone they know. Without knowing who it was that gave, they can relax knowing that no one will maliciously hold it over them.

Anyone who gives boastfully or reminds a recipient of a gift given is abusing the good nature of giving. There are many things that give pleasure but giving is a way that brings its own unique sense of pleasure that can only be enjoyed to its fullest when done with the truest of intentions. Doing otherwise will spoil the rewards that come from a life of giving. The further down my path of giving, the more I wish to continue on it.

Giving has its advantages and disadvantages, like most things. There is no other path I would have taken, knowing what I know now, except that I would have started sooner. The joy that has filled my heart on so many occasions cannot be touched by any material possession owned, nor can it be obtained by any form of selfish action. I’ve even wondered if it were selfish to give because of the rewards that have come my way, which seem far greater than any gift I gave. But when I stopped to think of how everyone benefits by the act of giving, I realized it was set up this way. There is no need to reinvent a system that works.

Giving returns far more than one can imagine. It will not happen overnight and expecting so is foolish. It is when it becomes a lifestyle that you will see the most difference. Unexpected smiles and gratitude will come. It is my belief that when a person becomes a true giver, they will connect even more to the greatest giver of all time.

We are all born with potential but what we become is largely on us. What will you become? What will you give?

Copyright ©2021 AuthorJeffKayser.com. All Rights Reserved.

Token of Appreciation

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For some people, giving comes easy. It’s receiving that they need to work on. For these people, the first inclination after receiving a gift is to turn around and give something equal or greater in return. A genuine gift from the heart should not have to be returned in any way to the original giver. In some cases, it becomes an issue of pride where the giving becomes a competition. If the receiver has any trouble with their beliefs about themselves, they may not feel worthy of a gift.

Someone once told me how they had received an amazing gift. They were grateful but had a tough time accepting it. I reminded them that some of the best gifts come when we do not deserve them or when we cannot pay the person back. In that spirit of generosity, giving flourishes well. The usual form of gratitude is a simple thank you to the giver. This gesture acknowledges the good nature of the giver and lets them know that you value their contribution to your life. This is what most parents try to teach their children early on. For most, a thank you is enough. However, adding a big smile to it adds an extra touch to it, sort of like icing on a cake.

In this day of technology, people are inundated with emails and text messages. Another idea for how to express your gratitude is by writing a brief note or letter by hand. It’s not just around the holidays; the postal service will deliver your handwritten note for a minimal charge year-round. The best part about it is that it is such an inexpensive way to show appreciation. It demonstrates more effort on the part of the one who sends the note and thus, takes on more meaning. I have gotten more emails and texts than I can shake a stick at. However, I can count on one hand the number of handwritten notes.

I express my appreciation after each gift received. For several months I wait for time to pass. When it feels like the right time, I may send a surprise gift to them in return. It has been neat to see how the timing can be perfect. The similar feeling, they blessed me with, could then be experienced by them. The main consideration is just recognizing the effort and gift given. Be sure to let others know how much a gift means to you. Don’t try to outdo their gift if you ever give one in return some day. Perhaps there is an area in which they are incapable of filling on their own. That might be an opportunity to step in and fill in a gap in their life.

Copyright ©2021 AuthorJeffKayser.com. All Rights Reserved.

A Life of Excellence, part 4

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It’s one of the most complicated systems we’ve encountered so far, yet very few cherish it. The human body. After it is cut, it stitches itself back together. When injured in various other ways, it heals itself. It’s been a marvel of science since the beginning and continues to astonish today. There is still no end in sight of the wonder of this masterful creation. To take it one step further, the miraculous start of this life begins by the joining of two microscopic components.

Only when good health is gone does one realize what it means to have it. Before that point, we neglect to be grateful for what we have been given. Our subconscious minds handle all the routine tasks that we never consider throughout the day. Our hearts pump blood, every minute of our entire lifetime. Think about how many water or fuel pumps on a car that would get replaced long before then. Scientists and engineers try to create new devices that mimic nature in some way, but the bar has been set high for them! Other organs have responsibilities also; it’s truly remarkable all that goes on inside the human body.

There is something we understand yet fail to grasp. We know what we ought to do, yet still make poor choices regarding the maintenance of these finely tuned pieces of equipment we live in. Try to buy a new body. You can’t! This is the only one you have! It doesn’t matter if you have half the money in the world, it’s something money cannot buy. We let life get the best of us, thinking that one day, we will change our unhealthy habits. Our minds are probably sick of us feeding them these lies, it’s a wonder they don’t get a better control on the bodies that envelope them.

Certain responses in the brain trigger the release of chemicals already inside our body. But there are external sources of chemicals that pour in from outside our bodies. All these chemicals change the way we experience emotions and perceive our present reality. The chemicals do not actually change the facts, only our perception of them. Name any substance and I bet it is being abused by someone. We all know the common vices, but people have found ways to abuse just about anything.

In our struggle to deal with life, we have turned to practically anything for help. Anything to drown out the pain. Anything to make our present reality go away, even if only for a while. The results of some of these decisions leads to a host of new troubles that plague our lives. In regard to the human body, the effects can be catastrophic and even fatal. Even though many have been blessed with this masterful self-healing creation, they treat it like a piece of free yard sale luggage. Since it didn’t cost anything, they’ll put whatever contents they want in it. Never mind if it smells or is toxic. Even though they pack the luggage full, they still cram more inside. I’d love to say I was talking about what others do but I do all these things! The important thing is I am learning and trying to do better.

It is easy to take good health for granted. But if you want to live a life of excellence in health, you have to start today to say no to some things and yes to others. I’ll bet you know what falls into each category. Remember, when you take care of your body, it will help take care of you.

A Wasted Wish

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Most of us have made wishes once upon a time. The reason many of these requests are wishes is because we genuinely do not believe they will ever come true for us. Perhaps if some force outside of ourselves were to make them happen, then we would believe. But sadly, the moment these wishes would leave our lips, they are carried away and trapped in the heavens.

In comparing ourselves with others, one area in which we focus our thoughts is on what they have that we do not. Instead of being grateful for what we have, there is an intense focus on how our life would be better if we had what they did. If we had their money, good looks, or brains… then we would make something of ourselves. Obviously, the trouble with this thinking is that it leads to us never being fulfilled. We will always find someone better looking or more intelligent. Riches one day is never a guarantee the next. Health challenges can arise, seemingly out of nowhere.

Something awful happens when we witness the misfortune of another person. Without intention, it’s as if we somehow elevate ourselves above them. We pity them and the side effect is that it makes us feel better, knowing our circumstances are not nearly as bad as theirs. In fact, where you are at in life may well be what someone else is wishing for. Single people often wish they were married. Some married wish they were single. Sick people wish they had better health. Poor people wish they had more money. There are rich people that wish they had peace of mind.

I often wonder if the truth is, we will never be satisfied until we are satisfied. We wrestle with our state of mind on a continual basis, always wanting more from life. More love. More health. More money. It seems there is always something we want. In some way, that isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. But is the secret of contentment finding the fine line between striving for more, yet always being grateful for what we have?

If there is even the smallest possibility you have what someone else is wishing for, then try to honor them but not letting it become a wasted wish. That is not to say transfer that wish to them, as you do not have that kind of power. The sad thing is the person who wished may never receive what they are wishing for. But show them respect by not wasting the very thing they are wishing for, that you already possess. Take inventory of your life and be grateful for what you have. Use your talents to the best of your ability. Use your intellect and generosity to create a better world around you. Take care of your health. Do not be a person that stubbornly holds tightly to the lid on the jar of wishes.