Does It Really Matter What Jesus Would Do? John Page Burton

jesus-statue--1“Living up to the lofty standards of Jesus is impossible in the real world” stated Jane in response to her husband Bob’s comment “ask yourself what Jesus would do?” After 15 years of marriage, Jane and Bob are experiencing significant challenges in their relationship. Jane is also experiencing a great deal of frustration with her career. To further complicate matters, Bob is a very religious person while Jane has spent most of her adult life rebelling against what she describes as “a rigid, religious upbringing, wrought with hypocrisy”. Bob firmly believes in living the 10 commandments while Jane gives them very little thought. This scenario prompted me to ask myself two questions. First, how hard is it to live the 10 commandments in today’s fast paced, high tech world? Second, does is really matter what Jesus would do? After all, it’s our life experience to live as we choose.
I decided to take an objective look at the 10 Commandments and see if maybe it was in fact “impossible to live up to the lofty standards of Jesus” while navigating through today’s world.
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS…
1. I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD.  Sounds reasonable to me, someone has to be in charge. Seriously, regardless of our religious affiliation, we must possess a great deal of faith to move through our earthly experience. We must have faith in our parents, teachers, political leaders, employers, spouses and most importantly ourselves. Having a healthy respect for GOD establishes a foundation on which we will build our worldly values. This is a great commandment to the get the ball rolling!
2. DON’T WORSHIP FALSE IDOLS. Madison Avenue executives work tirelessly to convince us the key to success and happiness is our ability to make money and purchase cool, fashionable, stuff. Celebrity spokespeople, on behalf of corporations, look into the camera and seductively encourage us to be one of the “cool kids” by signing up for their credit card, driving their luxury car or vacationing on their amazing cruise ship. We must not base our self worth on our ability to accumulate money and stuff.  This is an emotionally healthy commandment.
3. DON’T USE THE LORDS NAME IN VAIN. There are thousands of words in the English language and some of us choose to use the ones that incorporate our creator and his son. I recommend GOSH DANG and JEEZY WHEEZY as two good alternatives. Beyond using the Lords name in vain, we are well served to stay away from insensitive speech toward people of different ethnic, religious or economic backgrounds. Cleaning up our language and speaking in a respectful manner is the foundation of this commandment.
4. KEEP THE SABBATH HOLY.  Different religions observe the Sabbath on different days. Mine happens to be on Sunday. The Sabbath is an abstinence from work. It’s a time to re-charge our batteries. Most importantly, it’s a time to celebrate our creator. This commandment brings to light the importance of rest.
5. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER. Beyond our parents, I interpret this to mean respecting our elders, teachers, employers, law enforcement officers or anyone else who is a person of influence or authority.  Being courteous and compassionate is a great way to be in relationship with our family of origin as well as the world around us. This commandment encourages us to be respectful people.
6. DON’T MURDER ANYBODY.  This commandment is dead on. Nothing kills momentum like a trip to prison. All puns aside, this commandment speaks to anger management. Most murders are committed in a moment of rage, however, many are planned and executed because of greed and envy. For example, most of us have seen a story on Dateline involving a “hired hit man” that is paid to kill an unsuspecting business partner. If you find yourself  feeling intense anger, greed, envy, jealousy or any other low level emotion, I encourage you to seek help. The Ego is very powerful and in one irrational moment lives can be changed forever. This commandment encourages us to use self control.
7. DON’T COMMIT ADULTERY. Sex is a very powerful drive. Adultery is a selfish act that can have life changing consequences. Today’s business environment presents a plethora of opportunities to find ourselves in a compromising position. Business travel, social engagements and employer intimidation can lead to acts of sexual indiscretion. I encourage my clients not to use sex as a means of getting even. If you find yourself moving toward an adulterous act, I recommend engaging a coach or therapist to help you put your thoughts and feelings into perspective. A 20 minute indiscretion can haunt you and your loved for the next 20 years. This commandment encourages us to keep our clothes securely fastened.
8. DON’T STEAL. Many of us equate stealing with shoplifting, burglary or white collar crime. I contend that many of us steal everyday and don’t give it a second thought. We steal from our family when we stop off at the bar on the way home from work. We steal from our employer when we surf our social media sites during work time or we “fudge” on our expense reports. We steal from our government when we routinely apply for entitlement benefits rather than seek a job. We steal from our country when we protest against our military or we fail to cast our vote in elections. This commandment encourages us to focus on being in integrity.
9. DON’T BEAR FALSE WITNESS. Most of us have seen a television news story about someone being released from prison after new evidence proved they could not have committed the crime they served time for. Knowingly ruining someones life in this manner is pure evil.  At one time or another, all of us have gotten caught up in gossip. The purveyor of gossip usually has a gleam in their eye as they share the latest dirt on some unsuspecting soul. Rather than work harder for a promotion, there are those who choose to start a covert “smear campaign” aimed at someone they consider a threat to their potential promotion. These are three examples of bearing false witness. The extent of the consequences varies but the intention is the same, to cause harm. This commandment instructs us to refrain from lying.
10. DON’T COVET YOUR NEIGHBORS WIFE OR HIS BELONGINGS.  What we appreciate, appreciates. Many of us hold the false belief that the grass is greener in our neighbors yard. The grass is greener where we water it. Envy is a lower tier emotion and we are well served to run our own race. We can’t expect GOD to bless us with the abundance he desires to deliver, if we are focused on our neighbors house. This commandment encourages us to be grateful for what we have and hold.
There is no doubt in my mind that all of us are capable of living the 10 commandments. It’s a choice we can make everyday. Asking ourselves “what would Jesus do” serves as a  reminder to take the higher ground when we are faced with life’s temptations. I know what Jesus would do matters to me.
John Page Burton is a life and business coach and the author of two books. To learn more visithttp://www.johnpageburton.com
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The 3 Most Influential Conversations We Can Have…John Page Burton

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During the course of any given week, most of us engage in hundreds of different conversations. Our conversations may be centered around small talk at the water cooler or they may showcase our positions and ideas. Some of our conversations will be sad or painful while others will be light and cheery. Our conversations may inspire, enrage, motivate, inform or educate those around us. Of all the conversations we engage in, I believe there are three that carry the most influence. Let’s take a closer look…

1. Our conversation with our self. All of us maintain a running dialogue in our head. How we speak to ourselves tends to become how we carry ourselves. Our self talk becomes our mindset. For example, when we experience a set back or failure is our self talk judgmental and self deprecating or is it encouraging and uplifting? When we experience a big win, is our self talk boastful or is it grounded in gratitude and humility? If we are constantly talking trash to our self, it’s time to take out the garbage! Remember, over time, our self talk will determine the quality of our life experience. We can CHOOSE our self talk.
2. Our conversation with our children. How we communicate with our children has the power to groom them for success or keep them from realizing their true potential. We must ask ourselves if our conversations with them are empowering, engaging, instructional and uplifting or are they critical, demeaning, one sided and controlling. Research has shown that 65-70% of our belief system (how we view the world) is formed by the time we are eight years old. Strive to be an empowering communicator.
 
3. Our conversation with our Creator. Initially, this can be a very challenging conversation because we can’t physically see or hear the person we are talking with. At times, this conversation may seem a bit one sided but gradually it becomes the foundation of our faith. Our creator does not mock our questions, judge our answers or lead us down a self serving path. Our creator desires that we freely share our challenges, dreams, desires and fears  so that we can receive the guidance we seek. In order for this to happen, we must be willing to reach out and begin our daily dialogue. Prayer opens the door of clarity and understanding.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feed

 

Are You An “Angry Giver”? John Page Burton

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Hi, my name is John and I’m a recovering “angry giver”. This is how I introduced myself to the audience at a recent relationship seminar where I was privileged to be the guest facilitator. As a participant in the morning session, I couldn’t help but chuckle at all of the proclamations of “self sacrifice”, “tireless giving”, “putting life on hold for family”, “doing it all for the kids”, “having nothing left at the end of the day”, “this is what breadwinners do”, blah, blah, blah. These self absorbed statements were not gender specific, they were exiting the mouths of both male and female “angry givers”. What made it even more humorous was the fact that this had been my belief system and speech pattern for longer than I cared to remember.  I was the “angry giver” who never said NO. “Sure I’ll coach the ball team”, “no problem, I can fill in for you this Saturday”, ” yeah we can use my house for the party”, ” go ahead, take my car”, “wherever you want to eat is fine with me”, “here you go, pay me back when you can”. “Angry givers” tend to be masters of justification, I know that I certainly was. I could always come up with a justification for my need to be needed. Inside, I was worn out and pissed off! Let’s take a closer look at “angry giving” and where it tends to show up in our lives.

Defining “angry giver”. An “angry giver” is a person who routinely puts their needs on the back burner in order to “please” others. On the surface it sounds quite noble but in reality it is an emotionally destructive behavioral pattern.

AT WORK….

The “angry giver” tends to go ten extra miles at work. They volunteer to lead projects, plan events, come in without pay on their days off and are viewed as the go to person for everything nobody else has time to do. On the surface the “angry giver” desires to be seen as the ultimate team player, however, below the surface they harbor resentment, feel guilty, cast judgement and regret never having enough time to get their own work done. When asked how everything is going they will smile and say…”I’m a team player, and this sure is a great team to be on”. Inside they are oozing pissed off because of their inability to say NO.

THOUGHT: QUIT VOLUNTEERING TO DO EVERYONE ELSE’S WORK! Prioritize your time in a manner that allows you to put your priorities first.

AT HOME…

At home, the “angry giver” does everything for everyone. They work “tirelessly” to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. After all, “my family would be lost without me”. To the “angry giver” meeting everyone’s needs is an expression of “love”. In reality it is extreme co-dependent behavior. THOUGHT: “Feed a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. When we do everything for our spouse or kids we are failing to teach them self reliance. In essence we are saying to them…YOU ARE NOT CAPABLE. Children, especially, must develop a sense of self sufficiency in order to grow their self esteem. I have a client who still cooks all her son’s meals, does his laundry and drives him to and from school. FYI…He is scheduled to start college next fall. Is this extreme need to be needed helping or hurting her son?

AT PLAY…

The “angry giver” routinely engages in activities they really don’t enjoy in order to please people who could really care less. “Going along to get along” is a common way of being for the “angry giver”. In social settings it is not uncommon for an “angry giver” to smile and proclaim what a wonderful time they are having when in reality they would prefer to be doing something they actually enjoy. The “angry giver” is the undisputed champion of implicit communication. THOUGHT: IF YOU DON’T DIG IT, DON’T DO IT! In other words, start doing things that you enjoy, opposed to doing what you believe others expect you to do.

WE TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO TREAT US!  4 Tips From A Recovering “Angry Giver”.

1. Learn to say NO. We must establish our boundaries and put OUR needs first. When we put OUR needs and priorities first, something interesting happens….WE HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH TIME & ENERGY TO SERVE OTHERS IN A TRULY JOYFUL MANNER.

2. Become SELF CENTERED. It’s time to prioritize our desires and needs. During our time as an “angry giver” we taught everyone how to treat us. We taught them that our time was not valuable, that their needs were more important than ours and that it was all right to be taken advantage of at work or in business. We must now introduce these people to our new way of being. Trust me, you will meet a great deal of resistance in the beginning. Being SELF CENTERED means we are grounded in our authentic self. It has nothing to do with being selfish.

3. Delegate. There is no award given to the “sucker” who does everything for everyone at the expense of their own career or personal relationships. (This includes the relationship we have with ourselves) For example, when we learn to delegate household chores or assignments at work we are holding others capable. Most people, when held capable, rise to the occasion.  Try it, you’ll like it!

4. STOP over extending yourself. We don’t need to simultaneously be the classroom parent, HOA board member, fundraising chair and the social director at our church. In most cases, it is our quest for significance that causes us to over extend. Remember, the more activities we are engaged in the less time we have for ourselves. Over time this will cause many of us to become “angry givers”. I always encourage my clients to volunteer for things that they are passionate about but to set a limit of no more than two at any one time. This helps us keep our lives in perspective.

To quote Tony Robbins, “the secret to living is giving”. Our goal is to become happy, self centered, givers!
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback!