You’re So Annoying

“You’re so annoying!”

That’s exactly what my wife said to me recently after a friendly discussion about the garbage disposal. I don’t know why she said it. I wasn’t trying to be cute or snide or sarcastic. I thought the disposal was just fine. It works. Sure, it’s old and smells bad. But it works.

Another reminder to us men that women truly are from VENUS!

Seriously, I think all of us, married or single, would admit that we annoy one another at times. And if no one has ever annoyed you before, you are either a true saint in whom there is no blemish, or you have always lived alone in a cave!

Sure, we conflict with those we love the most at times. That’s part of the relationship process – known as “iron sharpening iron”. Only problem is, this reality is often a grating and conflicting experience, resulting in frustration and sometimes, exasperation.

“Does this mean that relationship is bad for me and I need to get out of it?”

No. Relax. You’re relationship is just fine.

Now if there is abuse of any kind occurring then read no further because what I have to share today is for those healthy relationships in our lives that sometimes include conflict.

If you grew up in a large household with many siblings, at least more than yourself, you already know conflict just happens automatically when you include any other human being into the equation.

But guess what? This is a great opportunity for The Life to have a new growth spurt in your spiritual life. Those little pet peeves and creature comforts that we secretly cultivate and make room for suddenly get jostled and jilted when you live with others.

Eventually you have to let those go to an extent, or find ways to compromise so that all parties involved can each benefit. And when we are the ones being affected in some way by someone else, it requires management of our emotions, irritations and even anger.

If I can look to The Life inside me, I find there is grace and patience that I personally do not possess, and I find myself having the power to deal. And sometimes, accept, and occasionally, enjoy.

You know what? That person may be “so annoying”, but then again, without them, The Life will never get chances to grow and stretch and develop inside you.

And that may be annoying in an eternal sort of way.

Until next time!

Jeff

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Don’t get offended.

“I mean this in love and in no way intend this to come across as negative or critical, but…”

Ever have someone start out a conversation this way? Not the easiest statement to hear someone else say to us. Well, don’t feel too bad, it’s only natural to put up an emotional wall, or get verbally defensive when someone we know well confronts us with an issue.

Whether they say it in love or not, or whether it is even well-intended or meant to hurt us, I think we can learn to glean value from any kind of confrontation, rebuke, even attack.

Granted, some verbal attacks are purely worthless and should be discarded immediately. In fact, I sometimes think the reason many of us get defensive when spoken to this way is actually because of a lack of GOOD DEFENSE.

Now hear me, I am not saying that it is good to “get defensive”… not at all. What I propose to you is this: If we have built healthy boundaries (read any book from the amazing series BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend) in our Circle of Relationships (ask ME for a copy of this helpful tool ), we won’t have to “get defensive” when bombarded, attacked, or lovingly addressed in a proper way.

You see, if you have built healthy DEFENSES ahead of time, you don’t need to GET DEFENSIVE at the spur of the moment!

You can listen to that person, chew any meat they may have given, and spit out the bones. And if someone gives you ALL BONES, well then you can spit the entire mess out and get a good breath mint later!

Jesus didn’t need to get defensive when verbally attacked by his critics, because he already had healthy defenses built before hand.

Some of these defenses relate more to a healthy view of ourselves and a confidence of who God is in us and the fact that if He is for us, we have nothing to fear.

In fact, if you find yourself getting defensive often, that indicates you probably have not built good DEFENSES up in your inner man. And in fact, you may find inside your soul many conflicting sources pulling and pushing you to really fly off the handle emotionally, psychologically, physically.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Now I would be a hypocrite to make it sound like I am such a well-adjusted human being that I have never, ever become defensive. The exact opposite scenario is closer to the truth. You see, I found so many unhealthy emotional triggers inside of me when I first started my spiritual journey – I was one of the most defensive people on the planet. I discovered part of the reason had to do with being a very caring person – I was sensitive. But sensitivity without a healthy defense system on the inside will produce a lot of pain. I had to “toughen up” as others say.

But truthfully, it had nothing to do with getting tougher, but with getting fortified with a good set of boundaries and inner foundational truths. It took years and still I am growing in that area even to this day.

I wish I could go into greater detail with this, but if I did, this would not be a blog entry, but a book. And for more detail, you are going to have to wait for THE BOOK – “The Life” ha ha.

So all I can tell you is this – you and I need our source to be God inside of us in order to build healthy defenses on the outside. Then and only then, when the time comes for someone to “share a personal word” with us, we won’t get defensive anymore, but instead, with peace and calmness we can gently listen to the person(s) and filter the information properly with a smile, and even say, “Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I will take it into consideration. Have a great day!”

Sounds easy, of course it is not. But with His Life inside of us, it is more than POSSIBLE!

Until next time,

Jeff Saxton

The Secret is Caring

Good Day to you!

It’s kinda nice to have someone give us a nice warm greeting each day, isn’t it?

I once knocked on a door of someone’s home as I was inviting people to a special event at our church, and was quite shocked when the owner of the home opened the door and, before I could say a word, launched into a multi-syllable cuss fest about how much of a “hypocrite you are for walking across the street from your church to talk to me when you could care less about me! You just want to show everyone you are better than them and act like you are so holy!”

This tirade went on for about five minutes, but lasted for an eternity – it seemed to me anyway. The funny thing was, this was decades earlier when our society wasn’t quite as turned off to cold call invitations. But this house was maybe a few hundred feet from our church building. I was totally shocked to hear such negative words directed at my character.

I have since learned to not take this kind of thing personally (I very much recommend a special brand of duck-feather oil – you will live a happier and longer life!)

Anyhoo… yeah, this blew a little wind out of my sails at the time. What shocked me was that this lady had me all wrong. Or did she?

As I considered her words, I realized that she was wrong in that I wasn’t out there to make anyone feel bad, or think i was more holy than they. I was out to merely be used by God to offer eternal hope to people.

At the same time, she was also right – I did NOT care about her personally. I mean, how could I? I had never met her. Sometimes we need to show people we care before we do anything else. This woman had probably been preached to and “evangelized” many times before by well-meaning church people, or others not as well-meaning.

I have learned that I need God’s compassion for others. I have seen that when I show someone care, concern, compassion, they are very open to hearing anything I have to say.

I used to think it was what I KNEW that would change the world. Now I know that it isn’t about what I KNOW, its about how deeply I CARE. True love and compassion has moved many mountains in our world.

Ask God to give you His compassion for others. And then, once you care, ask Him to show you how to show that love and concern.

The secret lies not in KNOWING, the SECRET IS – CARING!

Until Next Time
Jeff

Check out updates for my upcoming book with co-author MIKE STEHR at https://www.facebook.com/GetTheLifeBook


I Got Your Back

“I got your back.”

I was listening to Jim Rome the other day on his syndicated radio sports talk show.

He was interviewing an athlete and said, “Hey bro, I got your back.” You know what he meant by that, right?

That’s how dudes tell each other they are loyal to them. I think it probably comes from the military idea of watching out for the other guy. You know, you are clad in your soldier garb, helmet, rifle and all – sitting in the foxhole in the jungle with the enemy firing all around. Your fellow soldier buddies are on all sides, shooting. It’s your turn to jump out of the foxhole and run over to the bullet-ridden army jeep that has extra ammo cases and retrieve them.

While you are literally running for your life, your fellow soldiers are supposed to “give you cover” or shoot at any and all possible enemy locations. In this way, they “got your back.”

I love this notion.

There is something ethical, moral and even spiritual about friends who “got your back.” That’s really what a true friend is – someone who has your back; in the midst of negative or critical comments or gossip, your friend is somehow able to say, “Yeah well I love that guy anyway. And I got their back.”

How do you feel when you find out a supposed “close friend” does not have your back? What do you do when a friend has perhaps turned against you in some way, or betrayed you in some manner?

Julius Caesar was totally shocked when his closest friend, Brutus, stabbed him in the back along with the Roman Senate. For some reason, in my mind it is easier to forgive Brutus for a political betrayal – after all, it wasn’t personal – just business! 🙂 I find most upsetting are the betrayals in which the motive is centered in jealousy, greed or fear.

When I see someone act like they are a close friend to someone, and then when not in their presence they clearly do not have their back, I really have a hard time with that. There are those who use friends like tools – they have their back for as long as they are useful to them in some way, but the minute they are no longer needed, suddenly they no longer have their back and they are dropped like a hot potato – put right back in the box of “I don’t have your back anymore”.

This is messed up. Right?

People who cannot keep any close friends often do this kind of thing – I think its a personality disorder. There are many “wolves” who stalk lonely women looking for someone to “have their back.” These guys come along and treat these women like they are queens, and then they drop them in the “I no longer have your back” box. Some men can juggle several women all at the same time in this way.

If you have a problem with this, I would take a good hard look inside – is it possible that you see others, including close friends, as a means to attain some kind of personal gain? If so, you know this is really a selfish way to operate. You don’t have anyone’s back.

Someday you will be in the foxhole and the crossfire will be more than you can bear. You will look back at your buddies and to your shock, you will be all alone with dead bodies. And guess what? They weren’t all just shot by the enemy – some you turned on and shot in the back when they were busy trying to protect your back.

And when the ammo runs out, you’re gonna have to get up and run. Good luck making it out of there alive.

Something to think about.

As always. 🙂

Jeff

Image

So that…

“Wanna hear the most annoying
sound in the world? Aaaaahhhhhnnaaeeeeyyyyyaaank!”

That’s a direct quote from the blockbuster comedy film “Dumb and Dumber” starring Jim Carrey as Lloyd Christmas. It was a very funny moment but I recommend the edited version.

I must admit I laughed out of my chair during that movie. But I think it illustrates a point – sometimes we think we are connecting and communicating positively and effectively with others when we might be making the most annoying sound in the world.

We live in a world of “so that…”

Most people today do what they do, so that:

~ their spouse does something in return.
~ they can get promoted.
~ others are impressed with them.
~ they can get a tax write-off

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with doing something positive to get something in return.

But I Corinthians 13:5 really sets the bar high when it says, “Love is not self-seeking.” And then at the beginning of the “Love Chapter” it says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and angels but have not love, I’m like a… clashing cymbal.”

Can you imagine walking into a group of people who are clashing their cymbals as loud as they can in your direction?

That might just be the most annoying sound in the world – people who speak God’s truth to others but they have no love.

What is love? Well for one thing it is not self-seeking. When you love another, you seek to help them with no “so that” whatsoever. Also it is totally focused on the other person. Don’t you hate it when well-intended know-it-alls talk AT you or ABOUT you rather than TO you, or WITH you?

If we truly love our neighbor we will lift them off the side of the road, bind up their brokenness, bring the healing oil of compassion and grace and hang in there with them through their pain.

Why? Because love does without any “so that”. We don’t think about how our service might impress others, or how a good deed might benefit our reputation or political or vocational goals. We do simply because Love Does.

Let’s try to remove the “so thats” in our lives and start discovering what real love is all about.

Hey, you want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?

Until next time,

Jeff

On The Air

Many of you probably don’t know this but I was a cohost of a weekly talk show for three years on Omaha’s #1 talk station KKAR in the 1990’s called “Straight Talk”.

It was a call-in show hosted by Ty Schenzel and his beautiful and über-talented wife Terri (ok Ty , if you are out there you are über-talented as well of course!) and me – and we literally had the time of our lives!

We must have had fifty young people and adults on our creative teams (Straight Talk Brain Trust and Straight Talk Spinal Cord) and they came up with the most amazing ideas for our shows.

One of my roles beyond cohosting was often opening the show – we would have the count down from our amazing KKAR producer CJ, and then the “live on the air” light would come on and I welcomed everyone to the show.

It was always nerve racking because the countdown would begin and we were tweaking and strategizing right up to the time limit.

I think the most memorable thing about the show was touching such a wide audience – and just getting an idea of how many hurting people there are in our world. Being on a show like that can go to one’s head if not careful. But I’m thankful that instead, it made me more convicted that I want to be in the transformation business for the rest of my life regardless of my vocation. I want my life to make a difference in the lives of others.

I hope you can take a look around you today and see the needy people everywhere, and instead of thinking “how can these people serve me?” Think rather, “how can I help be a transformational agent in my world and help others become successful socially, physically, spiritually and economically?”

Are you ready to go out there today and make a difference in someone’s life? Even a kind smile has been known to re-route the courses of some of the most desperate and hopeless.

Get ready! Pretty soon you will walk out the door and have many opportunities!

“Three… Two… One, and …

We are Live, ladies and gentlemen!”

Transformation Fuel

I admit it – I have run out of gas before.

One time my wife and I were driving home after a late night and I noticed that my fuel gauge said I was getting close to empty.

Now first a word about fuel gauges – I look back on the vehicles I have owned through the years – all of them had fuel gauges that indicated when you were exactly empty! Ha – you know, like when the red is at the top of the empty dash, and when it goes all the way below the dash to “actual empty”. (Are you laughing yet?)

Seriously, there is really an actual empty and a technically empty on your vehicle.

But this night when Sylvie and I drove my car till we ran out of gas, my indicator has changed now and no longer goes below the empty line. It gets stuck at just above empty!

Now I know – once I get near empty, I must get gas because once it hits just above empty, that’s the last point I know when the last gallon of gas is available!

It’s so important in life to know when we are getting close to empty – if we stop being able to know how much fuel we have, we won’t know until its too late and we find ourselves stranded , frustrated and isolated.

In order to experience true personal transformation in your life, you need fuel to get you there.

And in order to make sure you have enough fuel, make sure to constantly watch your levels and indicators – the Bible is our indicator and gauge . The Spirit of God is that fuel you and I need in order to be ready for our transformation journey – be filled every day!

More about TRANSFORMATION next time!

Hanging on

I love cats!

“They taste just like chicken.” Ha ha.

You’ve heard that joke too often, no doubt. But seriously, growing up – we had a cat in our household for a time. We loved that fur ball.

My brothers and I, still being barely past puberty, would find the most impossible crevices and death-defying physical scenarios for our cat to try to figure out. Usually triple back flips and last second, spread-eagle reaches were required.

I don’t know, maybe that cat was bored and found our obstacle courses were too easy for him. He always made a perfect landing.

I feel sometimes that my life is similar to my cat in certain ways.

I seem to occasionally come across scenarios that are impossible for me to get out of in my own power. Maybe that’s why Paul said, “I rejoice in my weaknesses.” He went on to explain that God shows his strength in our weakness.

People may blame and accuse you for not being superhuman. Hypocrisy aside, it’s ridiculous to expect perfection in others when God comes to bring His awesome power to the weakest and feeblest of us!

It sounds trite, perhaps. Trials are definitely no fun. And unlike my cat’s experiences, God is always there holding us and even carrying us through the difficult parts of our journey.

So do you really want the way to get God’s power?

Get weaker!

Let yourself be in the impossible positions of life, like my cat, and watch God do something truly supernatural.

Happy landings!

Jeff

Devotion

“Have you had your devotions today?” “Make sure you have your devotional time.”

We say that kind of thing to each other as Christians just kind of off hand. But it is a good thing to keep saying to one another. Devotion to God is a tough row to how in our present society.

Why?

So many distractions – so many interruptions, so many details, so little time.

You know, I always tell people they must create some kind of devotional habit – I mean, even if its two minutes a day to read a few Scriptures and then pray for your family and your day.

Have to start there – at least something each day. That tiny act each day takes a little prioritizing, but it’s doable.

Having said that, let’s keep this understanding in mind. We try to be like Jesus – we do our best to make ourselves holy and righteous before him – we strive to be close to Him because, well… that’s what we are supposed to do, right?

Hmm. That’s a toughy.

I remember how much I prayed and fasted my first year as a new follower of Christ – I was doing so much, and I prided myself on that fact. I would ask people how much they prayed or fasted . And usually I was way ahead of them regarding devotions. And guess what? That fact made me so happy.

And now today I look back on that religious young man that I once was and while I am impressed with the regemented life and consistency, I smile because of what I know now.

And what is that you ask?

Glad you asked!

I know today that a week of walking with God through a deep valley, tragic scenario, physical or emotional trial is so much more powerful in terms of feeling truly close to Jesus – not to take anything away from prayer or devotions.

If you truly want devotion to God, ask the Spirit of God to break you, to change you, to bring you through the fire. I would be careful to actually ask God for that, but if you go through a serious trial, you will find a close fellowship with God that 24 hours a day of fasting and praying for ten years straight could never accomplish.

Problem with that is, we can’t brag about trials. We can’t control or manipulate the how and the when and the why. It just comes when we least expect it, in a way we thought it never would.

And suddenly, a whole new kind of pure devotion to God has begun in our lives.

More on brokenness next time!

Jeff

Passion

Quick shout out to all of those who helped in spreading the word about

Pebbles in the Pond – Wave II

We did it!

I so much appreciate all of your interest in this project! If you haven’t got your copy yet, I would encourage you to do so right now! And after you have read the book, please offer a brief review on Amazon.com. It helps others understand more about the book and why people like it.

BUY BOOK HERE

I like it because each chapter is written by a different author. I have met almost all of the other authors and I can tell you – they all have PASSION for life and what they believe their contribution is to life.

PASSION to help others. Wow. What a concept!

So many seem to have no passions except for themselves. Some people have passion to harm others. Some have passion to avoid having any positive passions.

But one thing I think is true – most people are driven by their passions.

It is my sincere hope and prayer that you will discover your passion through reading books like these or meeting authors like those in our book, and begin to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Mother Teresa said many times that she was not driven by the passion to change the world, but by Jesus’ love in her heart to change the life of one person – no matter how poor or insignificant the world would say that person’s life is.

I hope you can find that passion deep inside to help one person today. And together, if we all love one person, we will change the whole world together!

Until next time,

Jeff