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Tag Archives: overcoming adversity

Removing One Obstacle at a Time

Anyone who struggles with perfectionism has a hard enjoying life.  Whenever a flaw is discovered or exposed, energy is wasted to attack, purge and rid this.  If more than one issue is uncovered at the same time, this can be devastating.  Despite anal attempts to achieve perfection, its healthier to remove one obstacle at a time.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, Hebrews 12:1.

The context of the passage above occurs immediately following a chapter known as the Hall of Faith.  The author lists saints from the Old Testament who accomplished great things by stepping out in faith.  The witnesses are those believers who have finished the race called life and are now spectators cheering on those who follow God on.  To reach similar heights requires removing access baggage which weighs you down.

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, Hebrews 12:5.

Nobody likes to be called out, corrected or rebuked, but sometimes this message is meant for our own good.  As a former runner, if your mind is not into it, you won’t last long.  Perseverance is only achieved after barriers are removed.  To prevent yourself from having a nervous breakdown or becoming overwhelmed, strive to remove one obstacle at a time.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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My Blind Spot

The other night at work I avoided a woman pushing a cart filled with boxes taller than herself.  Expecting the worst, I jumped out of her oncoming path.  When she finally saw me I was greeted by, “I’m sorry, you were in my blind spot.”

But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him, John 11:10.

Little did this lady know that 24 hours later I would be dealing with my own blind spots.  Unfortunately, a series of test over the last 2 weeks have revealed I can’t see that far on either side of my right eye.  Perhaps my eye surgery will improve this condition or keep it from deteriorating.  Either way blind spots are a way of life.

To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace, Luke 1:79.

In the spiritual realm, addiction, bad habits and poor choices blind people from their imperfections.  These warts don’t go away, especially when others enable individuals to justify inappropriate behavior.  Whenever anyone reaches this point, its essential to remember Jesus’ words, to leave darkness by coming to the light through confession.  While physical blind spots will always exist, may you come to the light so that healing will begin.

by Jay Mankus

Attitude Adjustment

At one point as a high school teacher, I thought teenagers were the ones who needed an attitude adjustment.  Whenever certain students didn’t get their way, a scene would ensue, usually huffing and puffing their way into a tizzy.  Yet, as a coach for nearly two decades now, some parents model bad attitudes which their children often adopt.

After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them, Acts 16:23, 25.

In some cases, people have the right to complain.  Especially, for those who have been accused or blamed for an act without a trial to prove their innocence.  However, the apostle Paul teaches those who over-react an important life lesson.  After being imprisoned for freeing a slave from her greedy masters, Paul turns to the only One who can maintain his temper.  In the face of adversity, Paul leaned on prayer and worship to calm his emotions.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want, Galatians 5:17.

Based upon a letter written to the church at Galatia, the apostle Paul dealt with the source behind bad attitudes.  Human nature tends to feed on acts of the flesh which take the form of immoral behavior.  While some are considered worse than others, each of the fruits of this sinful nature can poison the attitudes of good people.  In view of these invisible forces, follow in the footsteps of Paul by turning your heart and minds toward prayer and worship.  By doing this you will be on your way toward completing a spiritual attitude adjustment.

by Jay Mankus

Bouncing Back After Rejection

“There is nothing in this life that can destroy you but yourself. Bad things happen to everyone, but when they do, you can’t just fall apart and die. You have to fight back. If you don’t, you’re the one who loses in the end. But if you do keep going and fight back, you win.” – Alexandra Monir

For a scientist, trial and error is merely a series of experiments to ascertain whether or not your theory is correct.  Thomas Edison didn’t give up after ten, one hundred or one thousand failed tests.  Rather, he pressed on, bouncing back after countless rejections to invent the light bulb.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me, Philippians 4:12-13.

In today’s climate, you have to be mentally tough to survive.  The best baseball hitters in history only succeeded thirty three percent of the time.  Perfectionists would never survive this degree of failure.  Thus, perspective is crucial to mustering up the strength to carry on.

But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded, 2 Chronicles 15:7.

Last weekend I received my third rejection letter in the past four years in my quest to become a professional screenwriter.  My first movie, Express Yourself never had a chance, not knowing the proper format to get noticed.  The second, Behind the Devil’s Door was better, yet after submitting it I realized the flaw of my conclusion.  Sometimes I wonder if I should continue with my third, Dragged Behind the Devil’s Door or invest my time in something else.  Despite thoughts of doubt, I can’t quit until I feel like I’ve done everything in my power to make this dream a reality.  Therefore, regardless of the adversity that you endure, ask God to give you the faith to bounce back following rejection.

by Jay Mankus

The Grind of Life

Inside a coffee grinder, beans are crushed, pounded and smashed into submission until the process is complete.  Sometimes circumstances in life performs a similar act on individuals, grinding and pressing people until their energy is sapped.  Drained, exhausted and spent, my joy for living has been misplaced by a sea of despair.

Perhaps anguish is the guilty party, sucking souls of contentment, fun and thanksgiving.  Despite being known as a man after God’s own heart, 1 Samuel 16:7, David wasn’t exempt from this emotional state.  Psalm 31:10 expresses the toll the grind of life takes on the human body.

Lately, my faith has been void of joy, left behind during my healthier days when work was something I took for granted.  If you take James 2:26 literally, you can’t have one without the other.  Thus, joy is a byproduct of faith, a fruit inspired by the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23.  Like the Samaritan woman, I need to go to the well of living water, John 4:10, so that the grind of life doesn’t crumble my faith.  If you’re thirsty for something more in life, absorb the words of Jesus in John 4:13-14.

by Jay Mankus

The Fraility of the Human Heart

Since Thursday afternoon at 5pm, my life has been a whirlwind of emotions.  After a successful second interview at Amazon on Wednesday, I sensed a promotion in the near future, trying to stayed reserved until I hear the news.   A little more than 24 hours later, my focus switched toward a battle to live, unable to stand or breath on my own.   One second I felt like I was having a heart attack, the next a CAT Scan revealed a pocket of blood around my lungs and liver.

For the past 3 days, I have had a tube sucking the blood out of these 2 areas trying to prevent infection.  Until this improves, I am in limbo, getting stronger, but still waiting on my internal bleeding to stop.  Unfortunately, my body is not healing as quick as it use to in the days of my youth.  Thus, life has been put on hold temporarily, in God’s hand and in His time as I wrestle with the Fraility of the human heart.

God has taught me a subtle lesson these past few days, He’s in control no matter what I try to do.   Though I usually try to speculate about the future, I am helpless, trusting in God’s grace to get me through this ordeal.  Sooner or later, my odds of improvement increase, yet the Lord knows the next steps that I will take.  As for now, time is the enemy, placing me behind where I want to be as the reality of life’s fraility has come crashing through the front door of my heart.

by Jay Mankus

The Not-So Ultimate Gift

One of my favorite movies of the last decade is The Ultimate Gift based upon Jim Stovall’s best selling book.  Completed in 2006, this movie centers around Jason Stevens, a pampered rich kid who never had to work a day in his life.  When his grandfather, Red Stevens dies, he is left with a series of 12 tasks called gifts.  Thinking riches are attached, Jason slowly begins to develop motivation to complete these assignments.  What Jason doesn’t realize, this wild goose chase ends up transforming his life from a spoiled brat into a responsible, self reliant man.

Unfortunately, I think I am living out this movie without any cameras, riches or progress.  My first assignment is the gift of unemployment which was bestowed upon me last February.  Inspired to complete a movie God placed in my mind, I spent hundreds of hours, often burning the midnight hour to finish a 90 page script.  A few temporary jobs later, rejection letters galore and daily road blocks, I am back where I started, faced with editing my script, redoing my resume and finding a permanent job.  Like the boy that cried wolf, Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, each day I experience is a not so ultimate gift.

The only thought I can grasp is that maybe all the strange circumstances I have encountered will make a great book one day like Bill Murray’s cross country trek in Larger Than Life with an elephant.  Hollywood can’t make up all of my bizarre happenings I have experienced: an undetective defect in my resume, a demon possessed computer, dead cell phones, false prophet encounters, sure thing leads that don’t materialize and following visions from my dreams without any results.  Despite my complaining, its only been 15 months, a far cry from Israel wandering in the wilderness.  If David had to wait for several years to become king of Israel, I guess I can suck it up until my not-so ultimate gift becomes the gift of work.

by Jay Mankus

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