Reactions

How many people truly understand themselves well enough to know why they react the way they do in most social situations? If you were in a conversation with a friend and you expressed something that was really important to you, only to have your friend either not react, or in some way not acknowledge how significant that thing is to you, it would cause you to react in a certain way. Maybe you feel greatly disappointed, or you feel a small or large sense of panic, or maybe even to some extreme level, you wonder to yourself why you’re even friends in the first place because they just don’t “get you?” Having had many interactions like this for myself, something struck me today after one such interaction with a friend of mine – almost always, the true source of my emotional reaction to someone is not because of that other person, it’s because a long-seated insecurity of mine resurfacing.

This realization is both comforting and challenging for me at the same time. It’s comforting because it frees me to not react in childish ways towards that person, trying to make them do something I want them to do such as acknowledge me for something I value. It frees me to realize that I probably haven’t known this person long enough for them to be the sole source of my strong emotional reaction within myself. No, instead, my reactions are years or even decades in the making by how I was raised and how I was responded to in my family of origin as well as how I’ve chosen to live and view life. This is also the challenging part because it transfers most of the responsibility of how I react to my friend(s) to be squarely onto me! And this is also challenging because, more often than not, I am responsible for how I feel in my interactions with friends. Sure, friends have their own shortcomings and their own set of reactions and responsibilities that go with that, but that reality is always out of my control. That’s also somewhat a lonely place to be unless I invest in relationships where people understand this for themselves and can share it along with me. If I continue to try and force people to relate in ways I value without letting them be who they are, I will continue to be lonely and disappointed. But the amazing thing about life is this: there are 7+ billion people on this Earth, and if I don’t have any of these relationships, I merely have to choose to go meet new people and find those who relate well naturally with me. With that in mind, I’m almost always very excited to meet new people and to continue to deepen my best relationships.

Need, and our daily bread

Consider this passage from the book of Luke (taken from biblegateway.com’s NASB translation):

11 It happened that while [a]Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘[b]Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 ‘Give us each day our [c]daily bread.
4 ‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
5 Then He said to them, “[d]Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children [e]and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his [f]persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

9 “So I say to you, [g]ask, and it will be given to you; [h]seek, and you will find; [i]knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.

During my exceptionally painful months after breaking up with Stacey, a girl that I dated for 4.5 years, I had this passage take on a completely new and tangible meaning to me. In particular, verse 3 was brought to my attention. This was always the least meaningful part of this passage to me, but now, by far, it’s the most important. Let me provide some back-story to this.

When I was trying to get Stacey back, I was convinced that she was the woman that I was to marry and that I wholeheartedly wanted to marry. So when I was completely rejected, ignored and was told not to contact her, a storm within me, unlike anything I had ever gone through, was unleashed. I had no idea what was coming at that time nor how long the pain would last for. It stirred up all of my greatest insecurities, most of my near and long-term fears, and was the loneliest time I’ve ever experienced in my life. I felt physically alone, mentally alone, emotionally alone – completely alone. There have been many times before when I felt very alone, but this time was different. This time I felt disproportionately alone and abandoned. I felt like nobody – not my family, not my closest friends, not even myself, had the answers of how to feel better. And then, a wise person in my life gave me great counsel as a gift from God. He told me to ask God to give me my daily bread, to literally provide what I needed in any shape or form, each and every day. It was to be a step-by-step, day-by-day journey. I decided at that time that since I have no other hope, it was either trust that the God I profess my trust in, would actually provide what I need to be whole again, and in the appropriate timing, or die. I realized I’d never actually had to do that before in my entire life – at least not nearly to that magnitude.

This is the main theme of what I’m reflecting on – God providing us exactly what we need each day. I’m obviously not talking about providing us with wealth and prosperity. I’m talking about what we all desperately want and need – to be loved, to know that we are loved, to feel deeply that we are loved. We want safety, we want to belong. If we all truly had this and believed this, we would all no longer fill our lives with so many superficial things and activities. Our relationships – with God, with ourselves and with others, would take precedence over everything. And this did change everything for me. I’ve prayed most days right when I wake up for God to be and to give me my daily bread, and just like he promised in verse 9 that if we ask, what kind of father won’t give his son/daughter what they absolutely long for? The days that I’ve truly cried out to God to give me my daily bread have been days of amazement and wonder. I’ve been given bread of many different shapes and kinds, and they’ve come early in the day and sometimes at the last hour. But they’ve come, and they’ve filled me up! And even still, some days I completely forget or downplay just how much I rely on God giving me my daily bread to make it through a day. Even with a mental list a mile long of days and days of faithfulness and provision given to me from God, I still forget to ask! Therefore, I’m now convinced that one of my greatest daily practices is to live my life out of need. If I’m not connected to my need, then I can’t ask God to provide. If God’s not providing for me, then I will eventually break or die. Even on my most confident days, my period of utter despair taught me that I am one circumstance away from complete brokenness. Those days that I think or feel otherwise are only a delusion. Living life out of honest and pure need is the most perfect place to live. Go read the beatitudes again – this is exactly the point of all of them. When we need things from God, his kingdom is near! When we don’t, we reject God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom therefore is bringing personal wholeness to each of us and then through us, to the entire world.

I believe this – I’ve experienced this. I wouldn’t wish the despair I went through on anyone, but I do wish for the lesson that I learned to be learned by everyone. I’m not sure this lesson can be thought about only and then acted upon. It’s a lesson that is learned through brokenness. So my encouragement to anyone reading this is the next time you go through something hard, don’t try to medicate the pain through people or things. Try taking God at his word for once literally expecting that the only way you’ll ever feel whole again will be through God providing you exactly what you need, each day. That’s a beautiful place to live, and I promise that you will begin to experience the love, acceptance and belonging that you long for.

The unintended consequences of the ACA

It’s been a while since I last posted, but here’s a good read on the unintended consequences of the ACA healthcare law. Why they didn’t separate people obtaining their health insurance primarily through their employers is beyond me. If they had, it would then be a lot more similar to auto insurance.

http://www.arcamax.com/health/healthtips/s-1372942-p1

Ethics for Code Reviews

I really like this set of suggestions for making code reviews as useful and respectful as possible.

Ethics for Code Reviews by Gustavo Niemeyer

In particular, I like this statement: “Always keep in mind that there’s a person on the other side of the wire, not a machine, and that it’s hard to understand written words with little context. Avoid letting anger and frustration leak into the review, even if you feel it is justified. There’s no good outcome in those situations.” That’s hard to remember for everyone sometimes, but we’ve all been on the receiving side of a review that just trashed our code that we put our hearts and souls into. It’s always advisable, as it is in life in general, to remain civil and friendly. In the end the person matters much more than the code.

Quote from Richard Rohr’s Book “The Immortal Diamond”

“The True Self never knows with absolute certainty surety that it is right or good, but in fact it does not even need to, which is what we mean by “faith.” The True Self has knocked on both the hard bottom and high ceiling of reality and has less and less need for verbal certitudes or answers that always fit.”

Nothing more to add to that, the thought stands alone.

Custom Hybrid Exercise Schedule

Here’s my exercise schedule for the next 3 months or so. It’s a hybrid of four Beachbody programs, P90X, P90X+, Insanity and One on One with Tony Horton. I’m excited about mixing all of these together into a custom program as my mind and body have all of these programs memorized individually. Creating my own new muscle confusion in a new order and mixing! My diet is usually pretty clean, but I’m also going to write out some more (new) healthy meals that I can cook and memorize the ingredients so that I can always have these ingredients in mind for when I’m at the grocery store.

Start Date: 2/3/2013 (Monday)

Weeks 1-3
Monday Chest & Back + Ab Routine (P90X)
Tuesday Plyometric Cardio Circuit (Instanity)
Wednesday Total Body Plus (P90X+)
Thursday Fountain of Youth Yoga (One-on-One)
Friday Upper Plus + Ab Routine (P90X+)
Saturday Kenpo Cardio Plus (P90X+)
Sunday Rest

Week 4
Monday Back & Biceps + Ab Routine (P90X)
Tuesday Core Synergistics (P90X)
Wednesday Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (P90X)
Thursday X Stretch (P90X)
Friday Legs & Back + Ab Routine (P90X)
Saturday Fountain of Youth Yoga (One-one-One)
Sunday Rest

Weeks 5-7
Monday Chest & Back + Ab Routine (P90X)
Tuesday Cardio Power & Resistance (Insanity)
Wednesday Total Body Plug (P90X+)
Thursday Fountain of Youth Yoga (One-on-One)
Friday Upper Plus + Ab Routine (P90X+)
Saturday Kenpo X (P90X)
Sunday Rest

Week 8
Monday Chest, Shoulders & Triceps + Ab Routine (P90X)
Tuesday Core Synergistics (P90X)
Wednesday Shoulders & Arms + Ab Routine (P90X)
Thursday X Stretch (P90X)
Friday Legs & Back + Ab Route (P90X)
Saturday Fountain of Youth Yoga (One-on-One)
Sunday Rest

Weeks 9 & 11
Monday Upper Plus + Ab Routine (P90X+)
Tuesday Interval X Plus (P90X+)
Wednesday Total Body Plus (P90X+)
Thursday Fountain of Youth Yoga (One-on-One)
Friday Upper Plus + Ab Routine (P90X+)
Saturday Kenpo Cardio Plus (P90X+)
Sunday Rest

Weeks 10 & 12
Monday Back and Biceps + Ab Routine (P90X+)
Tuesday Plyometric Cardio Circuit (Insanity)
Wednesday Total Body Plus (P90X+)
Thursday Fountain of Youth Yoga (One-on-One)
Friday Upper Plus + Ab Routine (P90X+)
Saturday Kenpo X (P90X)
Sunday Rest

Fiscal Cliff and President Obama’s Remark

The fiscal cliff deal passed tonight cancels virtually all the reductions in spending growth meant to kick in when the fiscal cliff was reached. As economist Bob Murphy noted last week, the fiscal cliff consisted of about 98 percent tax hikes and 2 percent spending reductions. Yet the president still insisted “we cannot simply cut our way to prosperity.” He needs to read this, desperately.

From Reason.com

The Irrationality of Voting

Fantastic quote from EconLib:

“Downs and other public choice scholars also conclude that voters in democratic elections will tend to be poorly informed about the candidates and issues on the ballot. Voter ignorance is rational because the cost of gathering information about an upcoming election is high relative to the benefits of voting. Why should a voter bother to become informed if his vote has a very small chance of being decisive? Geoffrey Brennan and Loren Lomasky, among others, have suggested that people vote because it is a low-cost way to express their preferences. In this view, voting is no more irrational than cheering for one’s favorite sports team.”

Ref: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PublicChoice.html

People do care about the environment without government coercion!

To help dispel this myth that only the government cares about the Earth’s environment and keeping it healthy and pristine, I submit this as evidence against that. In fact, what does it mean for a government to care about anything? It’s meaningless; only individuals really matter. The only meaning that a government can have in this case it to reduce choice and to play class warfare.

I find it fascinating all of the difference ways that companies and individuals are racing to solve the carbon emission problem as well as cleaner and more renewable energy problems. Anytime more diversity gets introduced into anything is always a really healthy and positive thing as it makes a more resilient system. This is true in energy. A more diverse energy market will mean more energy options for consumers which also means the price of energy will fall (increased of quantity supplied). If one or two types of energy have supply disruptions, this situation will be far less noticeable than the current situation where we all rely on hydrocarbons for most of our energy supply.