Address The Mess Series: Emotional Duct Tape

 

I had just turned 50. My wife and family gave me an amazing birthday gift of a Fly-In-Fishing trip into Ryan Lake Alberta, in the Canadian Shield.

I, in turn, bought a place for my son as a graduation gift and we coerced a friend to come with us. The three of us had the lake, lodge and three brand new boats and motors to ourselves for five whole days.

The very first day probably not even an hour on the lake and my brand new fishing rod snapped. Yup? I was angry. I was fortunate in that I had brought an old faithful spare rod.

We had a fantastic trip, and I have tons of stories about it.

The last day we needed to use up our supplies and did I tell you that the friend that I brought was a chef? Let’s just say it was an amazing week, and we ate like kings. But, this last day we had to use our steak, veggies, apples, whip cream and oatmeal. So, Peter made an apple crisp pie and baked it on the BBQ. The only thing I had to do was use the wisp and get the whipping cream whipped.

The whisk was taking so long and not seeming to produce much, so all of a sudden an idea hit me. I call it a Red Green moment.

I had a reel that wasn’t being used, Duct Tape for an emergency and a wisp that could use some torque. Within minutes there was pure whipped cream sitting there waiting to add the fifth star to the restaurant review in the middle of nowhere.

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We laughed, ate, and laughed some more. The only thing missing was our wives, a maître d and a bottle of wine.

Duct Tape is made for a moment of need. It isn’t usually meant for a long-term fix.

It just occurred to me yesterday that we have tried to use Emotional Duct Tape to solve long-term problems.

I want to also explore this in future posts.

 

Here is the connect to my recent book, Path Out-Eliminate the Swirl

(Here’s how you can get a copy. https://philsovdi.com/book-offer/)

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Address The Mess Series: Intro

So, I was raised in a religious family culture that pretended to deal with mess. Oh, if it was on the obvious top five, or on the faux pas list, as long as it was the other person, it was exposed and dealt with in great manipulative, religious style. But, if the mess were on ‘my,’ the person’s in control, shame list, the embarrassing, face-saving list, depending on whose face was being saved, you would be told to forgive and forget about it.

A prayer would be given, and hushed ‘biblical’ counsel would quickly be cited.

“… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV)

The idea was that the bible supports dropping and leaving important things with a prayer. If that text weren’t enough, you would be given another.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV)

The bible was used to silence pain and create shame misrepresenting the passage and misrepresenting a loving, healing, and forgiving God.

A rule-keeping setting such as what I grew up in is a ripe environment for pain and shame to flourish. Many people experience life-long struggle trying to get over the dominating guilt-induced system of yesteryear.

I’ve come to learn that you cannot forget what you continue to relive on a daily basis.

I’ve also come to know that you can move on and sometimes even forget, once you have stared down and addressed the intimidating and overwhelming.

It really is possible for a person, you, to heal, be restored and be renewed, like it never happened, having the pain, shame, and humiliation gone.

Over the next days/weeks, I want to talk about what that process looks like. I want to talk about how you can walk free and live totally well.

My new book, Path Out – Eliminate the Swirl will serve as a tool in this process.

(Here’s how you can get a copy. https://philsovdi.com/book-offer/)

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The very first step to moving out of the swamp and milieu of inner despair is to call it what it is. You need to address the mess, “My life in this area is a mess. I’m no longer hiding, no longer protecting, and no longer excusing the mess. I will, with God’s help take the journey to health and wholeness. So God, will you come right now to me in the middle of my mess and help me? In Jesus powerful name, amen.”

Joseph Series: You Cannot Move Forward Until…

Owning your stuff, finding forgiveness, and trusting in the one who can make a difference, is the new normal; it was for Joseph’s brothers.
The brother’s lives depended on it, and they couldn’t move ahead without it.
Joseph had his brothers, his father, and their entire families move to prime real estate, the best Egypt had to offer. They moved from absolute need to unbelievable provision all because of who they trusted. They once despised him, but now they trusted Joseph with their entire lives and future.
Joseph’s brothers could not have been saved from their dilemma without this trust.
Joseph was a picture of God’s provision to his siblings and all of their families. He was deliverance from their dilemma, healing from their past, hope for their future, and their new way of life.
History shows; the Bible shows; even Broadway shows that they made the right choice and they trusted the right person. It took them a while, it took incredible hardship, but they finally got it right.
Joseph was left for dead, despised, rejected, and unjustly suffered alone. He was raised to a position second only to Pharaoh himself. Joseph used the new position of ‘fortunate’ to provide for everyone else, especially his brothers.
Anyone else in Egypt couldn’t have and wouldn’t have provided for the brothers. Only Joseph had the answer and the help for their deepest needs; it could be argued that this was unfair to others, narrow and extremely exclusive or it could be accepted that this provision was uniquely designed for their personal lives.
Your future life, your new purpose, your hope for what is yet to be are found here; just as Joseph foreshadowed his family’s future hope and provision, so Christ foreshadows yours.
Now, it is your story, your new normal.
Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has its foundation in a true story, which when applied, will change your life.

Joseph Series: Invent Your Future

So many times I get caught in maintenance mode. I wake up to realize that I have been just plugging the system of …whatever.

The other morning a blog by Seth Godin caught me completely by surprise. He talked about people are trying to predict the future, trying to be in the right place at the right time. He then went on to say, “A far more successful and reliable approach is to invent the future. Not all of it, just a little part. But enough to make a difference.” (May 27, 2017, “Seth Godin’s Blog on marketing, tribes and respect.”)

That caused me to do a double take.

Precisely that is what happens every time someone believes in himself or herself, God, a promise, or future, and then they step out and invent that part of their future.

Joseph did that. I’m reasonably convinced that he didn’t sit there in prison and say that he was inventing his future, he just hoped in, believed in, and acted when he had the opportunity. Joseph believed that God was for him.

How about it?

Joseph did, now it’s time for you to invent.

Me too!

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Joseph Series: More Than a Dream

The word dream can have a different meaning to different people.

“I have a dream” by Martin Luther King was vastly different than my waking up moments this morning.

I woke up feeling like I had been on a movie set of scripts and roles all night. It was delightfully exhausting. Idea after idea rolled out scene after scene unfolded, but I don’t remember a single one now that I’m awake.

For Joseph’s dream to leave the script of an idea and join the real world, many players many physical realities had to be moved and altered. That meant time; that meant energy; that meant processing for everyone involved. It had to go from what is now to what will be. That meant things had to change, and change is very problematic for the routine.

You probably don’t like change any more than I do, but I want my dreams fulfilled. Not the pleasant dreams I can’t remember from last night, but the ones that are shaping my life and ‘firing my jets.’ The dreams of change, distinction, meaning and significance, those dreams that if uttered might bring risk, challenge, and embarrassment because how dare I? How dare you?

What dreams are making room for you? What secret space of incredible is waiting for you and your “more than all we ask or imagine?” “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV)

 

Remember, change takes time.

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Joseph Series: Mess to Message

In a day of High-Speed Internet, anything short of instant is too long! To think that I used to think my 486 was fast compared to my XT, I just dated myself.

Wouldn’t you just like to wake up to success tomorrow morning? I would. I would love to take the mess of my life, my over-the-top struggle and just watch it vanish in Disney moment. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, that is not how gown-up life works.

It sure did not work that way for Joseph. He had to process his life, as do we; we really don’t advance, indeed grow and change, until we do.

Throughout the narrative, Joseph was referred to several times as successful in all that he did. That wouldn’t have been my version of success, I could easily come up with several other words, but from God’s vantage and perspective he was growing and changing even though, from mine, his life seemed to get worse. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to make sense to me, but God isn’t waiting for me to catch up or for my permission to get or give understanding.

We might even concede to handling the ‘Process,’ but make it happen now. Don’t make me wait until growth happens or seasoning takes place.

There is a little-concealed phrase in the great biblical ‘Hall of Faith’ that is easily missed. It says, “…whose weakness was turned to strength;” (Hebrews 11:34, NIV) the quote is an operational key for life. God uses weakness. Did you hear that? I know you read it, but did you hear it? God uses weakness, then, now, in your life and mine. Stop for a moment; read that last sentence out loud so you can hear yourself saying it; grabbing this concept is so crucial for your equilibrium and wellbeing. It means that the mess, the screw-ups don’t’ have to remain that way. It means that just as Joseph came through and out, you can too.

You can experience a transformation from mess to message. You can leverage your past for success in your future, but even better than that, you can leverage your past for someone else’s future.

Just because it isn’t instant doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Your life can be an incredible message.

Stay in the game!

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Knocked Down But Not Out – Don’t Quit!

Who can’t relate?

Who doesn’t know the frustration of something started and then the derail; the side step; the misstep; the miss-directed; wagon falling-off-of experience?

My intensity may not be at the same level as yours, all it takes is a recalibration, if we choose, for all of us.

Righteous people fall, multiple times, but then they get back up, again and again, and again if necessary.

We only fail when we quit.

So, Don’t quit!

There is an agricultural reference in the sacred text that says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

Did you catch that? It is for you. Keep going; you are going to make it. Keep going!

This last couple of weeks for me has been a plateau for my weight-loss-challenge. I have had the feelings of “I tried.” “This is easier.” “You weren’t going to make it anyway.”

Simply? I have veered off the course that I have set. I have let go of the little things that I was doing and in which I was experiencing success.

Well, today that has changed. I have recalibrated and have re-purposed. I have determined that I will win simply because I won’t quit.

You?

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Path Out –

Chapter 1 Bought the Hat and T-Shirt

Defeat Conflict All Five Ways

You needn’t have been alive very long to suffer the emotional effects of conflict, trouble or misunderstanding. These effects have probably already lasted way too long.

When you have pain from mishap or wrong done, and you have wrestled with the hurt from a life that has gone sideways or soured, you have got to do something. Somehow you have to process your shock, hurt, remorse and grief.

It is Personal

Pain and hurt were brought home to me in a poignant and remarkable way. I had taken my family through the shame, regret and humiliation of bankruptcy. I had failed in business. As a Christian, I was against this failure and everything that had transpired to cause my life to fall apart. Caught in the middle and found guilty, I was reaping the full harvest of a life gone wrong, mine. I was in complete consternation. 

I had to move away from family and home to find work, just to make our ends meet, and, possibly find a way out for us. This separation only added to the guilt of my circumstance. I was alone with my thoughts, and I didn’t like them.

I had rehearsed the events that led up to bankruptcy ad-infinitum. I took that rehearsal to the Lord in prayer many times. I felt lousy, condemned and abundantly guilty.

I had owned my mess in its entirety, but the weight of it continued to oppress me. I knew it was my fault, and I knew I had to live with it.

After seven months apart I was able to relocate my family to our new home and try to start new. 

One more time I cried out to God and was asking him to forgive me. Then something strange and remarkable happened. I heard his response to my thoughts, in my thoughts, and it shocked and halted me. He said, “I can’t.”

What do you mean you can’t?

I immediately thought I had heard wrong, and so I challenged the thought. “You are God, who always forgives. Something is obviously wrong with my hearing and, or, my understanding.” I reprocessed the part of the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” I had forgiven and repurposed to forgive again. I came again, “You are God, who always forgives.” He responded, again in my thoughts, “I can’t forgive something you are not guilty of.” I was perplexed, hopeful and still halted.

I began to understand, and from that moment, began to find a lasting peace.

I had taken care of and owned “my stuff” for which I was guilty. I had thoroughly dealt with it in openness and confession but “it” was only part of the problem. I was stuck because I had seen “it” as the whole problem. There were four more ‘causes’ that worked into the complexity of the problem. It was only when I completely dealt with all five of these sources that I was able to walk out in freedom. I was forgiven, clean and on the path to restoration.

Five Sources of Conflict

The sources of conflict were: Myself; Others; The World Around Us; The Devil; and God.  These are the five areas that I needed to understand and now need to communicate with you so that you can make sense of your life and completely deal with your hurts and remorse of your past. They are the precise points where you can experience victory; a victory uniquely yours. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they [you] may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV) [Inserts, my own.]

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Go for the Colour

I love the extravagant splash of Fall colours. The sun rises or sets and the field narrows, it becomes targeted by cloud cover and the brilliance becomes breathtaking; oranges, yellows myriads of green all exploding on the nearby hills.
But then, there is also the bland and the barren in copious amounts. The scorched black and grey, brownish and overcoming, all-encompassing reminders of a terrifying day; The ‘Beast’ took its toll. So we are left with a painful reality that both exist, beauty and the ‘Beast.’
Where will you look? What will capture your focus?
It is impossible but that you will see. It is totally a choice as to where you look
Go for the colour. Go for the splash!

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Life can get extremely stressful. We can struggle with agendas, time restraints, expectations, shortfalls, and so much more.

It is so easy to get caught in the swirl of the immediate, the tyranny of the urgent, and the ‘have to’ of the moment. After all, everyone expects it now.

It’s true; things have to get done, budgets need to balance, deadlines have to be met, commitments need to be kept. Stack onto this loss, failure and missed moments and you have a volcano ready to blow! And that is just the workplace.

Now come home to what feels like a litany of expectations and family commitment. At times, it can be just overwhelming. It can be hard to hold or regain equilibrium.

This locomotion of this multi-car freight train seems impossible to control.

How do you stop this menace?

Years ago now, I managed to locate my house from a flight as we flew over our city. I measured it with my thumb as I looked out the window. My thumb covered my entire property. I said to myself, “I am spending my whole life working for something that I can cover with my thumb?”

Perspective.

How do I wrestle my life back into perspective? How do I regain balance and margin?

I guess I have to ask myself the hard, revealing and penetrating questions.

What am I really working for?

What, rather who, matters?

I want to spend my life for who and for what is most important.

How about we do that together?

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