I was born excited!
Mary J. Blige is a contemporary rhythm and blues singer. One song that I love is, "No More Drama." Blige sings about how tough it is just to live and deal with life. She declares that "drama" will not defeat her.
There's a lesson for us all in this song. If we are to live enjoyable and productive lives, then we all need to keep certain tools in our utility belts of life. Because one thing I can tell you is - whether you like it or not - drama is a part of life.
When Mark Twain was asked, "To what do you attribute your success?" he answered, "I was born excited!" Success in anything involves natural gifts, training, understanding the objectives, gratitude for opportunities, application of skills - and just plain old dogged perseverance. If we are to live enjoyable and productive lives, then we must carry these tools. In addition, there is yet one more tool that acts like a starter or energizer: "emotional drive." Mark Twain remarks, "I was born excited!" What he was referring to was life's thrust powers of enthusiasm, intense desire, and wholehearted involvement.
Bishop Cornelius Henderson was known to say that the church needs people who are characterized by "E" words. We need people who are energized, excited, enthusiastic, emotive, entangled in love with Jesus, elated - and the list goes on. I rate enthusiasm ahead of all these words. Enthusiasm gives us the ability to maintain a daily interest in our work, to possess a sort of chronic excitement for what we must do day after day. We all have our peaks and valleys, but most of life is lived on the plains. The vast majority of our existence is based on ordinary, everyday duties. If we allow the peaks to define us and our work, then we will only be faithful when we are in the midst of mountaintop experiences. Conversely, we can also allow the valleys to cause us to be ineffective in our work. Instead, each day should be a day with potential to be enjoyable and productive. Actually, the key to self-actualization and success is a matter of moods ... a state of inner being ... a product of mind-body interaction that affects everything we are and do. The mind reacts to environment in positive or negative ways, and the body responds chemically, producing an emotional reaction. Behavioral scientists assert this mind-body interaction to be 90 percent subconscious, making it appear unexplainable or uncontrollable. Faith - that miracle-working element the Bible says we need - is really a matter of mood. At the same time, doubt is a matter of mood. Both faith and fear are a way of feeling as much as thinking. Thus, it could be said we are always "in the mood." The question is whether it is a good, bad, or indifferent mood.
The challenge is to discover ways to trigger positive, productive attitudes - the emotional drive needed to handle the drama of life. Some people are able to tap into positive attitudes through a daily walk. Others find strength through contemplative moments or a satisfying sport or hobby. Some people just learn how to smile in the midst of sullenness. And then there are those who have learned to not take themselves or life so seriously, who never miss an opportunity to laugh.
Mark Twain said, "I was born excited!" As disciples of Christ, we all have reason to be excited, energized, and enthusiastic - especially during Eastertide.
Bishop James Swanson
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