Welcome back to my weekly ramblings on matters very much spiritual, lifestyle, self-improvement, and mental modeling related!
Much thanks to last week's commenter Kaci Cheeseman for the suggestion of the title “Precepts” for these posts going forward. A precept is simply a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.
I kinda like it. How about you?
Let me know in the comments section below, along with your other thoughts and feedback on this series, which you can find in its entirety here.
Precept 16: Heart Yes
Perhaps you’re familiar with a book by Derek Sivers entitled Hell Yeah Or No: What's Worth Doing. If you haven’t read it or heard of it, you’ve no doubt been introduced at some point in your life to a saying that was directly influenced by that book, namely, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.” For the most part, I think that this is a pretty good bit of advice to live by, especially when making important decisions or weighing the prioritization of the many opportunities that inevitably come the way of most humans these days. However, the part that Derek and this saying largely leaves out is the consideration of seeking God’s wisdom and discernment in any decisions – large or small – that we make.
Lately, I’ve been making it a point to ask God to guide my decision-making. So what does that process look like? First, it requires constant daily dialogue and union with God. Don’t wait to come to God when you have a decision to make. Instead, worship God daily, praise God daily, talk to God daily, pray without ceasing, and perhaps most importantly, make space in your busy life to slow down and listen to God daily. After all, in the Bible, God meets with Elijah, but 1 Kings 19:11-13 describes that it required silence: “…there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”.
So I shut down my headphones. My music. My audiobooks. My podcasts. My phone calls. My text messages. My notifications. I make space, usually in the morning, and then I lay my decisions before God. What should I choose, God? Who should I talk to, God? What should I eat, God? Is this right for me, God? Does this honor you, God?
If God says, yes, and if it is truly a “heaven yes” (trust me, that’s much better than a “hell yes”), then, if your experience is anything like mine, it is not a shout or a thundering voice that you will hear, but rather a sensation that your heart feels clean and light about the decision you made or will make, and a feeling as though a weight has been lifted from your chest and a burden removed from your back. You will feel a restful, satisfied peace and a subtle knowing that you have made the right decision. That is what a heart yes and a heaven yes from God feels like.
So go to God for every decision you make, whether large or small, and you will, with practice and dedication, learn to discern His voice.
Precept 17: Speak It
Learn to speak into people, specifically to build them up. If you read Precepts 13 from this series on the magic of music, then you know that God created the world using sound waves, and designed the universe to be a giant portal for the transmission of music and sound. He also gave you vocal cords that, unlike any mammal on the planet, you are able to control with conscious precision, even when inhaling and exhaling. Parrots and monkeys and whales cannot truly speak or sing with any semblance of complexity, but you certainly can. And when you speak something, it means something. Similarly, when you write something, it means something. When you express anything, it means something.
See, words and sounds are not just words and sounds, but rather, they are ideas, theories, philosophies, worldviews, blessings, insults, and energetic frequency carriers that can rapidly shift the emotive state of a human – or in the case of sound, even change the state of an animal or a plant or a plate of food. You can look up experiments in which living organisms are exposed to positive sound frequencies and energies (such as prayer or words such as “love”) and compare the results to those same entities when exposed to negative sounds (such as death metal music or words such as “hate”). The results cannot be denied. This means that “Loose lips sink ships” is not just a saying. Entire wars have been fought over written and spoken words. So you need to be forthright in your conscious communication when it comes to the power of both your spoken and written words.
So what will you choose to speak into your surroundings today? Speak and sing uplifting words into the people you meet, the food you eat, the plants you water, and especially, if you are a parent, the buttressing, strengthening, and encouraging you can gift to a young human as they navigate an awkward and vulnerable stage of their life.
Every word, written or spoken, matters. So pause, and choose what you say, what you sing, what you pen, and what you type oh-so-carefully.
Precept 18: Be A Rebel (for God)
There is a lot of talk these days about swimming upstream, defying the status quo, sticking it to “the man”, marching to the beat of your own drum, and engaging in some semblance of insubordination, even the non-violent kind.
But while there’s nothing inherently wrong with being a slightly wild and unorthodox one because you’re embracing your true, authentic self, if you’re not approaching your “question everything” mentality with the character of Jesus Christ paired with a life purpose of loving God and loving others fully, you’ll eventually become an annoying, lonely, leather-jacket-wearing, cigarette-smoking rebel who thrives on offending others and breaking the rules.
Indeed, the only success that can be found when marching to the beat of your own drum is if you are yoked to God’s chariot, seeking His wisdom and following His plan for your life. So yes, be independent, be unique, be creative, defy the odds, swim upstream, and go against the status quo, but only if the reason for your actions is to stand up for what you know to be right, and only if your mind, body, spirit, heart, soul and will are under the structure, law, governance, creed, and canon of God’s law and the Ten Commandments.
It is only then that you will have a foundation of faith and love to be a true way maker and affect the change that you crave.
That's all for today. Leave your questions, comments, and feedback below. I read them all. :)