Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When It's Time To Let Go

I was reading through one of my journals and came across this entry. My thoughts were reactions to the following article by Peter John Granger:

Sadness and How To Overcome It

In general, I don't really like talking about myself directly (at least, not at this time in my life). I find it kind of embarassing. Yet, I hope that the following can help someone in some way. (As a note, any name(s) have been changed and thoughts from the article have been indented.)
When we become very sad and just can't throw it off, it means we are a holding on to a person or situation. Whatever has happened does not fit our script for happiness and we refuse to let go. In the case of a failed relationship the sadness allows us to dwell on the other person and generally feel sorry for ourselves. Subconsciously we also send out a message to our ex partner that we are not happy and that they made a mistake. We might try to bring them back with our sadness - in other words make them guilty. The sadness has become a sophisticated form of communication. I remember after my wife left me and my marriage ended that I was deeply sad for many months. I also remember wishing I could become ill and get hospitalised so that she would feel sorry for me and come and visit me. What I was really looking for was for her to love me because I was struggling to love myself - it was showing my dependence on her for my happiness.
Hmmm…ok. How does this apply to me and Henry? Was I dependent on him for my happiness? Lord, help. I know that You know the immediate answer. Will you reveal it to me? The best conclusion I can find is that I saw him as love. Which doesn’t make that much sense to me…Or maybe it wasn’t so much that I saw him as love but the thoughts I had towards him as love. Or, maybe it was the thought of those thoughts being reciprocated? I don’t know why, but I’m still caught up in what once was (i.e. the person who I first met). No, I’m still caught up in my ideal. Lord, pls break this chain.

What’s worse, although I’ve said to myself that I do not want him as a friend now, I keep trying to repair that which is damaged. Maybe it’s the guilt that I caused the damage? Lord, what do you really want of this relationship? You told me to let go, and I did, but in the same vain it seems as if you’re trying to tell me to forgive and forget. I’m not talking about a “forgive and forget” where u forgive a person and then move on with life, but a type where you forgive a person and continue with the friendship. What was it that Alice said that day? Something along the lines of when God wants You to hear from him, and a relationship has been severed, u can try and put it back together again but it won’t be the same.

The saddest part of all this is that I don’t want to go back to being the person that I was, and if I really took the time to think about it, nor do I want him to go back either. He’s really growing in You, and it’s nice to see. Thank You God. That’s part of it. I miss the affection. Lord, help me to learn how to love me instead of looking to others to do so. I can be so pathetic. With that statement alone, I guess I’ve never learned to love myself. Too many faults. Made too many mistakes. Hurt too many times trying to “help”. You may have taught me how to forgive myself but it appears I have yet to learn how to love myself. How cud anyone love imperfection? Change that. How could anyone love my imperfections? Supposedly I can “love” others and their imperfections, but I don’t expect the same for me. What a lonely life to lead. Y? B/c then u only know how to give but u’r not able to receive. When u can’t receive, the love u have given, the love that has been depleted from you, cannot/will not be restored. Eventually your love will dry up, and then u r left with dryness. Dryness brings bitterness, resentment, anger, frustration, confusion, faultfinding, pride, and the list goes on. Oh Lord, have mercy.
Sometimes we use the loss of a person or relationship to avoid taking the next step in our lives. We make an altar to the person and then bleed all over it (making sure that they are watching)! If you are facing unrelenting sadness, ask yourself what is it that these negative feelings stop you from doing? Whatever answer comes to you start making plans to do just that - it might be a new relationship or perhaps a new job or interest. Use sadness and loss as learning opportunities from which you can develop and grow as person. If you have a spiritual or religious belief you can use that faith to connect with the person who is no longer in your life and to accept what has happened.
Thank You, Lord. Once again, when I initially read this article I thot, “Wat am I avoiding? I don’t think I’m avoiding anything, and I’m not sure I want to take the time to find out that I’m not avoiding anything.” Yet, I am avoiding something. I’m avoiding moving forward. By keeping my thots focused on wat once was or trying to get an apology or hoping to have a talk session or trying to repair that which is damaged, I’m staying in the past.

12 I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.
13 Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead.
14 So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above. (Phillipians 3:12-14 GNB)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

When Waiting Gets Tough

I read this devotional today, and I found it encouraging. There are times in life when we have to wait, but then we get tired or become weary of it. I guess the question becomes, "Are we willing to settle for less than what we're expecting or are we able to wait?"

Worthy Promises

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 KJV)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Where Does Your Gratefulness Stand?

The following is Dan Miller's welcome to the December 1st issue of the 48 Days newsletter:
We are now in the “holiday” season. While most of us experience heightened joy and happiness, there are also many who experience heightened despair and hopelessness as we look back on one year and get ready to begin a new one. The irony is that none of those feelings are dependent on our circumstances. Those with nothing are frequently the most joyful and those with seemingly everything are often the most unhappy and discouraged.

Thus it appears our sense of well-being is a choice – not something pushed down on us by our circumstances. Gratefulness is a direct way to unlock our own peace and joy.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." -- Melody Beattie
Periods of change can reveal how grateful we are or are not. I know that I've been guilty of ungratefulness, but my eyes are opening to the things I have to be grateful for.

Where does your gratefulness stand?

be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 GNB)

Monday, November 30, 2009

What If You Rewrote Your Life's Story?

The following is an article by Dr. David Hawkins. In it he gives advice on how to change the thinking patterns that are holding us back from fullfilling our dreams or changing into the person we desire to be.

The Power of Rewriting Your Story

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." (Proverbs 23:7a KJV)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Could You Be An Ugly Duckling?

This entry is inspired from a sermon preached by Minister Kimberly Nelson. In the sermon she related the story of the ugly duckling. I did not know that the ugly duckling went through so much before becoming a swan. (If you would like to read an account of this story, click here.)

First of all, the ugly duckling was picked on by its family members and those that should have been protecdting it. The taunts, jeers, and rejection was so bad until the duckling ran way. There were moments in which the duckling's life was in peril. Let's not forget the time the old woman's hen told the duckling it was crazy for wanting to swim in the water. What a preposterous idea!

Finally, after harsh winters and an incredible amount of verbal or physical abuse from others, the ugly duckling encountered three swans. The following is what happened during that encounter:

“I will fly to those royal birds,” he exclaimed, “and they will kill me, because I am so ugly, and dare to approach them; but it does not matter: better be killed by them than pecked by the ducks, beaten by the hens, pushed about by the maiden who feeds the poultry, or starved with hunger in the winter.”

Then he flew to the water, and swam towards the beautiful swans. The moment they espied the stranger, they rushed to meet him with outstretched wings.

“Kill me,” said the poor bird; and he bent his head down to the surface of the water, and awaited death.

But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan. To be born in a duck’s nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg. He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for the great swans swam round the new-comer, and stroked his neck with their beaks, as a welcome.

Although "The Ugly Duckling" is just a fable, can you relate your life to that of its main character? If so, my question for you becomes,

"Could you be an ugly duckling?"

"My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything." (James 1:2-4 .NET Bible)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How Are You Spending Your Time?

The following is from Dan Miller's 48 Days Newsletter. What are you doing to build up your hours?

The 10,000-Hour Rule

The second chapter in the new book Outliers is titled The 10,000-Hour Rule. Author Malcolm Gladwell shares his research that shows few people get to the top of their game without putting in at least 10,000 hours of preparation.

”The closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.”

Whether it’s Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, the Beatles, Yo Yo Ma, Mozart, or Warren Buffet, it appears no one gets to the top without putting in their 10,000 hours. If you put in 40 hours a week, that’s 5 years. If you only find 20 hours a week to work on your area of excellence it will take 10 years. If you’re just squeaking out 5 hours a week – it’s going to take 40 years. Talent will only take you so far; it’s the hours of work that will separate you from the pack.

The problem is that we have become an “instant” society. We have been spoiled with email, cell phones and microwaves – and become impatient with the nanosecond required to load a new web page. College graduates expect the $100,000 job and the $500,000 house instantly. Talented musicians and athletes expect fame and fortune long before investing 10,000 hours in practice. Writers give up after writing their great novel in a weekend and after a month of searching for a publisher. Christians are often confident their idea came from God, thus assuming success will be easy and instantaneous.

So where have you put in your 10,000 hours? If you are in a job that you hate, have you been investing hours in an area of excellence that will give you a new opportunity? Or do you just waste the hours away from work, hoping for something more fulfilling to appear? If you are a writer, a musician, a landscape designer, a web designer or a husband, have you put in your 10,000 hours of concentrated preparation to be great in that area?

I trust this is an encouraging bit of information. You don’t have to regret having average talent, or not having the highest IQ, or being born into the wrong family. Just find your area of excellence and put in 10,000 hours of preparation. You’ll bypass those with more “advantages” and find success that others only dream of.

If you would like to read the remainder of the newsletter, please click here.

"Go to the ant...consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 KJV)

Monday, November 9, 2009

In Life, How Would You Like Your Cake?

So, the beginning of your time of change was exciting. The thoughts of what could be brought a glitter to your eyes and a spring to your step. Such thoughts filled you with both anticipation and dread. The outlook for your new future was promising.

Then the waiting period came. Who knew that waiting would take THIS long? What happened to the growth--in your spiritual walk, in how you perceive things, etc.--that you were experiencing previously? Why does everything seem to be at a standstill? Is it a possiblity that your choice to experience a time of change was a bad one? Has it all been a mistake?

You could look at it that way or you could take a different look. Ask yourself this question: Does everything in life come quickly or instantly? Let's focus on a cake. In order to experience a cake's fluffiness, decadence, or what have you, it has to be prepared properly. Too much or not enough of an ingredient can change the cake's texture or taste. On top of that, a cake must be baked for the proper amount of time at the right temperature. If it is taken out too early, the results are typically disappointing.

In your time of change the same principles hold for us. After we have been prepared for the baking process, now we must wait to bake. Either we can wait patiently while we're baking or we can try to come out of the oven early.

We have come this far. Why should we settle for less than the best cake we can create for our lives?

I am hoping for you much encouragement during this waiting stage.


"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time..." (Ecclesiastes 3:11a KJV)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stop Hindering Yourself

Well, I don't know how well-written this post will be, but here goes...(Actually, I don't consider too many of my posts to be well-written. Instead, I consider them as well-meaning and well-intentioned efforts. [Insert slight laughter.])

Ok. You've gotten past what others had to say about you and what they may think about your current actions. The question before you know is, "Are you hindering yourself?"

It's time to reflect on how you are stopping yourself from moving forward. What are you doing to keep yourself from moving forward? What are you not doing? What thoughts are you thinking that's keeping you from moving forward? Does any of the following sound familiar?

* If I speak, will my words be heard or will they be disregarded? If they're disregarded, what's the use in speaking?

* Will I fail? Failing is a part of life. There is no way to get around it because no one is perfect. Instead of focusing on the failure, focus on what you learned from the experience. Take this newfound knowledge and try again. (Failure IS an option)

* Although you are taking action to reach your goals, will you reach them? Will your dreams be fulfilled?

These types of questions will cause a person to stall. Why are you stalling? What are you concerned about? Whatever it is, take this into account. If everyone and everything has has been moved out of your way, then you are the only one stopping you now.

It's time to release the preconceptions we've been holding onto. What else could you lose that you haven't lost already? Your losses--while hurting deeply--have moved you forward by expanding your thinking, creativity, and even your abilities.

What more is out there for you if you would stop hindering yourself and take just one more step forward?

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12 KJV)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

And Still We Wait

I read the following devotional by author Dorothy ValcĂ rcel. For those who have wondered why they are in a waiting period or why they have to go through a waiting period, I thought she gave a great explanation as to why.

The Fullness of Time

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." (Psalms 27:14 KJV)

"Trust in the LORD. Have faith, do not despair. Trust in the LORD." (Psalms 27:14 GNB)

A New Perspective On Criticism

The following video is by Maritza Parra, an author, speaker and trainer.

In this video, Maritza explains how those who criticize you are really projecting their negative self-thoughts onto you.

Ignoring Negativity

You can visit Maritza Parra's blog by clicking here.

"If one of you is planning to build a tower, you sit down first and figure out what it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job." (Luke 14:28 GNB)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is It In You To Finish? (Part 3)

To read part 2 of this entry, click here.

This is a continuation of the topic "A God-Ordained Hurt" with the subtopic "A Monumental Blessing".

The Roman soldiers have led Jesus to Golgotha, the place of His crucifixion. His cross has been laid on the ground and they lay Him on top of it. Holding down one arm, the executioner drives a stake-like nail into His wrist. He cries out in pain, and then He thinks, “Why am I doing this? Clarissa is going to be disobedient to My Word. Yet not My Will but Thy Will be done. I will praise You, Father.” Then Jesus’ other arm is held to the cross as the executioner drives a nail into that wrist. He cries out again, and this time He thinks, “But she’s going to backslide, yet I trust You, oh Lord.” Then His feet are nailed to the cross. There’s another cry of pain, followed by the thought, “But for at least 30 years of her life Clarissa is going to be unhappy that she was born. Yet I trust You, Lord.” Finally, Jesus’ cross is raised into the air, and He begins to experience an excruciatingly painful death. The weight of His body hanging from the nails is pressing down on His lungs, and it’s causing Him to suffocate slowly. Each breath that He draws is more painful than the last, and He thinks, “But God, she is going to lose faith in my Word when the circumstances in her life do not agree with My Word. Yet, Thy Will be done.” And as if the thoughts weren’t enough while He was hanging from the cross, there were people taunting Him saying, “If You’re the Son of God, then save Yourself and come down from there.” Jesus could have easily came down from the cross, He had that power and so much more, but instead He remained for your sake and mine. With the thoughts flowing, and the taunts and jeers, and the horrible pain that He was suffering, Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” However, instead of coming down off of the cross, Jesus continues to hang there. After six hours of this incomprehensible pain, He cries out again with a loud voice and then He dies.

Why did God ordain this hurt in Jesus’ life? It was for the monumental blessing that it would supply to the nations. When Jesus died with His arms outstretched, it was to welcome you into His arms. “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Though your sins be as scarlet, He will wash them white as snow. It was a God-ordained hurt, but it brought about a monumental blessing. God bless you.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Is It In You To Finish? (Part 2)

To read part 1 of this entry, click here.

This is a continuation of the topic "A God-Ordained Hurt" with the subtopic "A Monumental Blessing".

When I speak of a God-ordained hurt, I’m not talking about those situations where you were disobedient and the circumstances that followed due to your disobedience. I’m talking about those situations where either: 1) you have absolutely no control of what’s going on in your life (take the stories of Job or Joseph as an example), or 2) those situations in which you believed you were being obedient unto God but your circumstances are not matching up to God’s Word. What’s worse in such conditions is the knowledge that you have the ability to change things and turn them around. To use a statement I heard a minister say, “Nothing requires more trust than submitting to suffering that you believe in your heart is the will of God when you know that you could take some action yourself and relieve that suffering.” In such times can you use the power that God has placed in you to remain there or will you run? There’s a quote that says, “Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.” Can you dare to be different and wait for the monumental blessing that is to come if you stand in the midst of a God-ordained hurt?

The ultimate example of such a God-ordained hurt and of someone daring to stand through it is in Jesus and His death on the cross. If you would permit me, I would like to dramatize Jesus’ death on the cross, and I’m going to ask you to imagine with me the thoughts that could have been going through Jesus’ mind as He hung on the cross. I ask that you will pray for me, because I understand this imagining might be a stretch for it does not state in God’s Word all of the thoughts that ran through Jesus’ mind or all of His reactions while He hung on the cross. In this re-enactment I’ll be considering Jesus’ humanity, not His divinity, for in the English Standard Version of the Bible Heb 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Just to forewarn you, I’m going to be using parts of my life, so I don’t want you to be shocked by what you hear and miss out on the point of the illustration. Instead, think on the things in your life that Jesus might have been thinking about as He was nailed to and hung on the cross.

To read part 3 of this entry, click here.

Continue To Stand Out...

This is a condensed version of a quote from an Apple Computer:
Here's to the Crazy Ones...The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently...they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things...They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy...Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Continue to be a square peg and stop trying to fit into a round hole. Who knows where your life might take you if you're willing to branch out and break free from the norm?

"Every tree is known by the fruit it bears; you do not pick figs from thorn bushes or gather grapes from bramble bushes." (Luke 6:44 GNB)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Remember the Promises

This post will be short. I saw a rainbow today. It reminded me of God's promises. Not so much the promise that the rainbow represents, but the personal promises that have yet to come to fruition. If you believe in God, what are the personal promises that He's made to you? If you do not (and I hope that someday you will), what promises have you made to yourself--promises that seem so far away or as if they will never become a reality?

In both cases, remember the promises. It will help you to continue on this path of change.

"God is not like people, who lie; He is not a human who changes his mind. Whatever he promises, he does; He speaks, and it is done." (Num 23:19 GNB)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is It In You To Finish? (Part 1)

[Edit on 10/4: Okay, I realized that my original post was a tad long in the tooth for one blog post. Lol (or laugh out loud). I'm going to break it up into four parts.]

This entry will take a different route than the ones posted previously. Last Sunday I was permitted to be one of the speakers to address our church's congregation for Teen Sunday. I am thankful to God for the opportunity. This was the message that was presented. My question for you today is, "On your path/journey of change, do you have strength to see it through to the end?"

Hoping the best for you,

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” - Matt. 27:46

Topic: A God-Ordained Hurt
Subtopic: A Monumental Blessing.

A monumental blessing can come from a God-ordained hurt. First, let’s look at the word monumental. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, definitions for monumental are very great or massive, and a definition for massive is impressively large. Let’s hold these definitions in mind and move to the phrase a God-ordained hurt. What does ordain mean? It means to issue an order. Why would God issue an order to bring hurt into our lives? What benefit could we receive from this hurt? God wants to bless you in such a monumental way that not only will you glorify Him, but those around you will glorify Him as well. However, in some cases, in order to give you that blessing God needs to remove those mindsets that confine Him, thereby preventing Him from moving as greatly as He desires in our lives.

Take the story of Lazarus’ death found in John chapter 11 as an example. Lazarus was sick unto death, and a message was sent to Jesus that the one He loved was sick. When the message was delivered, instead of immediately leaving the town He was in, Jesus stayed for two days. By the time Jesus arrived where Lazarus was, Lazarus had been in the grave for four days. In his death, Lazarus left behind two sisters, Mary and Martha. Both sisters believed that if Jesus had been there Lazarus wouldn’t have died. What caused Jesus to stay behind? Why did He not move sooner? Why did He allow Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, to suffer through a time of mourning when He could have easily healed Lazarus? Because this was a God-ordained hurt meant to bring about a monumental blessing. As Jesus says in vs 4, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” In the town of Bethany, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Before Lazarus’ death, there were people that believed that Jesus had the ability to heal. However, after Lazarus was raised from the dead, these people understood that Jesus was more than a healer; they knew that He was the very Son of God. Mary and Martha’s hurt and pain through the death of their brother was deep, but it was his death that brought about a monumental blessing that expanded the confined mindsets of the people and brought glory to God.

To read part 2 of this entry, click here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Break Is Over

Okay. If you've been on a break, it's time to end it. What type of break am I referring to? The one where you've grown tired of fighting, of struggling, and simply of waiting. You're tired of fighting with those around you or you're tired of fighting with yourself by continually wondering why you're not changing (or why you've stopped changing). You're tired of struggling with the old habits you're having to break and the new habits you have to learn in order to change. Finally, you're tired of simply waiting. What is taking so long anyway? Something, anything, substantial should have happened by now, right?

Well, it's time to remind ourselves that change takes time. Anything that is rushed has a shoddy result. Even if the result isn't shoddy, it isn't as good as it could have been if more time had been taken. Have you ever seen a building that was built too quickly? On the surface it may be beautiful, but soon you start to notice the beauty is superficial. The roof leaks in spots, the floorboards weren't glued down well, and you're starting to see a crack or two in the ceiling. If a little more time had been taken during construction, maybe these problems would have been avoided.

The point I'm trying to make is that during out times of waiting we get a chance to develop as individuals. This is a time for our personal issues to be corrected or for the emotional baggage we've carried to be healed. In turn, our character is strengthened and things that once bothered us no longer do. This is good, because this strengthening brings about a greater determine and resolve that will be needed for the next leg of our journey. In other words, this is our preparation time for what lies ahead.

So let's get off of our break and get back to this journey of change.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; (Ecclesiastes 3:1,3b KJV)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My "Get Up an Go" Is Gone. What Happened?

What has happened to your "get up and go"? Does it feel as if it has disappeared? Are you feeling sluggish, overly tired (but you can't determine a particular reason), or simply just unmotivated? Maybe the following blog entry by JJ Reich will help.

Just Not Feeling Up To Much Today?

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12 KJV)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thinking + No Action = No Results

Have you ever thought about doing something...and thought about it...and thought about it? That something could have been an idea to research, a goal to begin, a letter to write, a closet to organize, etc. Did you get that something done without taking action? My question to you today is do you still have that something on your mind? If you already took action, is there something else on your mind? If so, what's stopping you from taking action?

It's a simple statement, but just thinking about something does not bring about your desired result. Mark Joyner, the creator of Simpleology, uses the following example to illustrate this point. Let's say that you wanted a drink of water. Literally take a glass of water and sit it in front of you. Now, think these thoughts

"I want a drink of water."
"It would be nice to have a drink of water."
"Please, Mr. Water, come and fill my belly!"
[Make-up your own thoughts here]

Ok, did you try it? What was your final result? Thinking + no action = no results. Now do this. Reach out, take the glass in your hand, and take a drink of water. How simple was that? In this case, thinking + action = desired result.

"Nice illustration", you might say, "but the action required for my thought isn't that simple". Not to wear on your nerves, but my response to that is, "So?" So your thought requires more than just one simple step. Why not determine what the steps are, write them down, and then take the first step? Then you could take the next step and the one after that until you have achieved your desired result.

What have you been thinking about lately? What's stopping you from taking action to bring about your desired result?

"The LORD gave me this answer: "Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance." (Habakkuk 2:2 GNB)

Friday, June 26, 2009

What Are You Thinking?

Do you stop to take the time to reflect on what you're thinking about? Do we take the time to consider that our thoughts affect our action?

What are your thoughts telling you? Are they telling you that the task ahead is too hard or that you don't have the talent or skills to achieve your goals? Are they telling you that you're too tired/lazy/good-for-nothing to continue on this road or that failing is more likely to occur than succeeding?

Believe it or not, your thoughts can be a greater hindrance to your success than lack of ability or people trying to prevent you from reaching your goals. If you think that you can't--no matter how valid your reasoning is--you won't. Period. However, if you allow yourself the chance to try, whatever it may be, you're giving yourself the chance to be pleasantly surprised by the results.

What have you been telling yourself that you can't do lately? What if you permitted yourself to believe that you could do it? What steps would you take to make it happen if you thought you could do it? Why not try that today. Say to yourself, "If I wanted to achieve [insert your goal here], what do I need to do to do this?"

If your thoughts tend to have a negative spin, change them. Allow yourself to believe that you can, and watch how things begin to change in your actions and in your outlook towards yourself.

What are you thinking?

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." (Proverbs 23:7a KJV)

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things." (Phillipians 4:8 .NET)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Practical Tips On Reducing Stress" by Joyce Meyer

The following article is from Joyce Meyer. Her message is that our outlook can help to determine our stress level.

Practical Tips On Reducing Stress

26   Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you more valuable than they are?
27   And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? (Matthew 6:26-27 .NET Bible)

Friday, June 12, 2009

"Surf or Swim?" by Marybeth Whalen

For those who believe in God, can you trust Him during these times of change? For those who don't, what can you learn--how can you grow as an individual--during these times of change?

Surf or Swim?

"For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock." (Psalms 27:5 KJV)

"He will surely give me shelter in the day of danger; he will hide me in his home; he will place me on an inaccessible rocky summit." (Psalms 27:5 GNB)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sometimes We Need To Take A Moment

Sometimes we just need to stop and take a break. I hope you can apply the following advice by Lauren Caldwell "Pizza, Polls, and Potential" to your life today. Whether it's making pizza, reading a book, or finding a quiet place, just take a moment. Rest.

Pizza, Polls, and Potential

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" (Ecclesiates 3:1 KJV)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What Action Are You Taking?

The following is a blog entry by Lauren Caldwell, blogger of "Faith Fuel" at championyourdreams.blogspot.com:

When Prayer Is Not Enough

"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer." (Psa 61:1 KJV)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Do You Know How To Receive?

Do you have trouble receiving compliments from others? The following is a short article by Reverend Barbara Marie Babish on how to do so:

More on Learning to Receive

Just last year, I used to have problems receiving compliments. People could not tell from my outward demeanor, but I had low self-esteem. When a person would compliment me, I would thank them but at the same time I kind of brushed it off. I didn't understand the reason for the compliment because I couldn't see what a person saw in me in order to give one.

However, I've been learning that I am a person of value, and guess what?

You are too.

There is a book that helped me with the learning process of receiving. It's called Receiving Love: Transform Your Relationship by Letting Yourself Be Loved, and it's by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen Hunt, Ph.D. Maybe your local library has a copy that you could borrow, or if you're interested in purchasing one, click here.

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." (Psalms 139:14 KJV)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Feeling Stuck?

The following is the introduction to an article by Shawn Driscoll titled"5 Reasons You Keep Getting Stuck":
One of the coolest things I get to do in my work with ambitious, visionary leaders is to get them back on track. You see, many creative people frequently find themselves feeling stuck, stalled or spinning their wheels. It’s a product of seeing so many possibilities, but not always seeing the exact path to fulfilling any of them. The gap creates opportunity for some of our inner ‘gremlins’ to step in and slow us down.

To read the rest of the article, click here

"But God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great..." (Ephesians 2:4 KJV)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Letting Go Of The Past Is Needed To Move To The Future

Letting go of the past is hard. The territory is familiar and the situations controllable. Even if the situations were out-of-control, at least there was some control in knowing what to expect from yourself and others emotionally.

Now you're walking a new path and things are different. The terrain has changed and nothing is familiar. What happened to the comfort you used to know, even if you were uncomfortable in your own skin because you were playing a part to fit in or blend with the crowd? What happened to the friendship, the fellowship, the camaraderie? Have things changed so much in you until you're unfamiliar to friends and loved ones and they're unfamiliar to you?

This is all a part of the process of change. When a seed grows, it looks different as a plant or a tree compared to when it was a seed. When a caterpillar enters its cocoon, it looks different when it emerges as a butterfly. When a baby is born, he or she continues to look different as they mature into adulthood.

What does this have to do with letting go of the past? Holding on to past emotions, questions, joys, and heartaches will prevent or stunt your future growth. The questions of what if--"What if I fail?", "What if I let go of the relationship and the person becomes the person I always envisioned them to be? Then what?", "What if it's arrogance and pride that's pushing me forward instead of an aching need to change?", "What if others are right about that what I'm doing is crazy?"--will haunt you, and nag you, and keep you from moving forward. These questions, the conflicting and swirling emotions, and the heartaches will cause you to become stuck because you don't really want to go back to where you were but you're too concerned or scared to move forward.

The same holds for past joys that you're trying to recreate in your present life. The problem is you were a different person, and not all past joys will feel the same for the person you've become. When you were a baby, you enjoyed baby food in a jar. Now that you're older, the stuff is quite tasteless.

It's time to let go of everything that you're holding onto that is preventing you from moving forward. There's a quote by Anais Nin that says, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." You are no longer comfortable as a bud. It's time to blossom and bloom, but you can't move forward until you let go of your past.

"Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:7 GNB)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

When You're Ready To Give Up

Two quotes from businessman Ross Perot:

“Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.”

“Something in human nature causes us to start slacking off at our moment of greatest accomplishment. As you become successful, you will need a great deal of self-discipline not to lose your sense of balance, humility, and commitment.”

"Abraham believed and hoped, even when there was no reason for hoping, and so became 'the father of many nations.' Just as the scripture says, 'Your descendants will be as many as the stars.' He was then almost one hundred years old; but his faith did not weaken when he thought of his body, which was already practically dead, or of the fact that Sarah could not have children...He was absolutely sure that God would be able to do what he had promised." (Romans 4:18-19, 21 GNB)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And Still We Wait

Do you feel as if your life is on hold? Click to read this article by Daniel Darling titled

Why Waiting Is Really Trusting

"For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth:" (Ecclesiastes 3:1 .NET Bible)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What's Holding You Back?

The following is from the blog for The Innovative Marketplace Christian. These principles can be applied to both those who do or do not believe in Christ.
(Click on the link below for the complete article.)

Breaking the Mold Before It Breaks You...Key #1 - Identity

God is Looking for a Return from Your Life

If you don’t believe God is looking for a return, you haven’t really understood your Bible.

Try sitting around and doing nothing for a while, waiting for something to happen. Try simply existing and doing a half-baked job at whatever you do. See how you dreadful you feel in a short time. That’s because you were never designed to be unproductive or underachieving. God has programmed you to feel uncomfortable in places you don’t belong.

It is simply un-Biblical to be unproductive or an ‘under-producer’.

What’s Holding You Back?

Because He loves you and knows that you will be exhilarated by the journey of a life well lived, He doesn’t want you to be limited by fear, inferiority and underachievement. In order to fulfill your calling, you must develop a right view of yourself as a child of God or you will end up limiting yourself with your own thoughts, just like the children of Israel almost did. Thank God for Joshua and Caleb who knew how to observe things from God’s perspective. We need more people like that in the marketplace these days.

The Key of Identity is the key of knowing both who you are and who God is.

We briefly touched on this in the introduction, but it’s worth hearing again. As one of those precious ones that God has called into the marketplace (as opposed to full time church ministry), you are not a second class citizen in the Kingdom of God.

You are a called, gifted, significant, frontline worker whom God dearly loves.

No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Permission

Please allow this statement fill your heart. Otherwise, a sense of inferiority will subtly begin to attach itself to you and grow over time, eventually limiting your life. This could even be affecting you right now more than you realize. Remember this, no one can make you feel inferior without your permission, so please don’t give that permission to anyone.

Like the song says, in terms of being you, “nobody does it better”.

You are called and chosen of God to fulfill a divine purpose that is especially designed for you. For most of you reading this article that calling will only be fulfilled in the marketplace. There is not another human being who can do at better job at your calling than you.

Don’t allow others with a different calling (even if they are leaders you look up to) make you feel like a second class citizen, like you need to be just like them or do things exactly the way that they do.

It takes effort, prayer, life experience and study to gain a right view of yourself and of who God is. (For some it is much more difficult because they have been more exposed to forces consistently pointing them to wrong conclusions about themselves and God.)

But once you do, you start gaining momentum on the road of life.
God is a Builder and He’s Building Something Out of Your Life! (1 Cor. 3:9)

There is no difference between the one who plants and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done. (1 Cor. 3:8 GNB)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Trying Is One of the Hardest Things To Do

"Even if I don't reach all my goals, I've gone higher than I would have if I hadn't set any." ~Danielle Fotopoulos

As the title says, trying is one of the hardest things to do. There's the aspect of trying something new. Trying something new is hard because of the uncertainty of the unknown. What if I fail? Will I have the courage to try again in spite of the setback? What if I succeed? Will I have the courage and stamina needed to cope with newly gained popularity?

Then there's the aspect of trying to let go of the past. Trying to let go of guilt and shame experienced from past mistakes or failures. There's also trying to let go of a relationship(s) that you hold so dear, but the people in them no longer fill a need in your life (or you in theirs).

Finally there's the aspect of trying that creates loneliness. When trying new things or trying to let go of the past, sometimes you feel absolutely alone. There is no one else there experiencing these situations and the emotions they evoke with you. Yet, your loneliness is for a reason. It gives you time to think about you. What do you desire for your life? What are your hopes and goals? What can you do to push yourself forward into the next chapter in your life? Now, with nothing holding you back, what's stopping you from moving forward? What can you do to move past this mental roadblock?

Trying can be the hardest thing to do, but it's also the most liberating. By trying, you will find that you have more courage and strength than you previously felt you possessed. Also, the new knowledge that you've gained through trying has the ability to make you a better person.

Even though it may be hard, just try.

Below is an article on how to handle loneliness in between relationships. It's authored by Kim Olver.

Alone: Who are You?

My dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12 GNB)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Starting With a Penny

The following is a blog entry by a man named Conrad. It stresses how small ideas, starts, or beginnings can have a great impact if you follow through with them.

You Have to Start With A Penny

Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. (Job 9:10 KJV)

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Better Going It Blind

The following is an article I've submitted to EzineArticles. It is going through the evaluation process:

Sometimes, if we based our actions upon our reality, we could not go as far as we should go.

There is a video on YouTube titled "Facing the Giants". It is a clip from the movie of the same name, and the clip reveals a high school football team practicing for the next game. When the players are asked if they would like to beat a certain team, their response is one of uncertainty. The coach then requests for his star player to demonstrate a drill. He asks the player how far he thinks he can carry another football player on his back while in a crouched position.

To explain the drill in a different way, the star player could only move forward with his hands and feet, keeping his knees off of the ground, and carrying someone on his back at the same time. The player's response was 30 yards but the coach felt he could go 50. So 50 yards it was, plus he had to do it blindfolded. The coach did not want the player to give up too early because of what he saw in front of him.

The star player begins his task with the coach walking beside him, softly encouraging him all the while. Before the player knows it, and without the coach mentioning the fact, the star player easily crosses the 30 and then the 50. After a while, the player begins to wonder how far he has gone because you can tell he would like to stop. The coach encourages him not to be concerned with that and to keep going. The further the player goes and the more he expresses the fact that he cannot go on because it's too hard, the more emphatically the coach begins to tell him to keep going and not to quit.

Finally, the player falls in exhaustion and states he cannot go any farther. That is when the coach tells him to look up, because he is in the end zone.

There are times in life when we experience changes we do not understand. Job loss, the loss of a close friendship, etc., such things create emotional burdens. The emotional burdens are so heavy until we begin to feel drained. We feel lost and confused with no idea of the next step to take in our lives. To put it simply, we feel as if we are walking through life blind.

During these times, it is easier to give up and quit instead of trying to continue forward. Yet, if you find the strength in you to keep moving forward, step by step, eventually you will find yourself in a better place. Not only will the place be better, but you will be a stronger person as well. Why? You would have learned that you can accomplish things you formerly thought you did not have the ability to achieve. That's why sometimes it's better going it blind.

"I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for." (Jeremiah 29:11 GNB)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Others Think About You Is None of Your Business

Today I'm quoting a current artist, Fahamu Pecou:

"What other people think about you... is none of your business...".

Allow me to rephrase Mr. Fahamu's quote:

"What other people think about me is none of my business."

Can we take a moment to think on that? Sometimes we spend to much time thinking about what others think about what we're doing. What if we took the same time we spent considering what others are thinking/saying about us and applied it to something we're interested in? Something we're interested in learning or doing but we're too afraid because of what others are thinking or may think?

I'm not suggesting that you disregard everything that others are thinking about or saying to you. Somethings that are said are really for your benefit. If you consider and apply them to your life, it will help you to become a better person. Yet, at the same time, do not focus on everything people have to say or think.

There are some naysayers out there. Some do not wish you well and do not desire to see you do well in life. Then there are those naysayers that wish you well, but their lack of experience in what you desire to do causes them to advise you to: 1) proceed cautiously, or 2) stop what you're doing altogether.

Here's something else to think about. If there was someone rooting you on for every positive venture you wanted to try in your life, would you do it? Well, what stopped you in the past or what is stopping you now? Is it because you're focusing on what others are thinking?

If you're focusing on what others are thinking about you, stop it. It's none of your business anyway.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Video Clip from Facing the Giants

A Story of the Goldsmith

Amy Carmichael took a group of children to see a traditional goldsmith at work in India. In the middle of a charcoal fire was a curved roof tile. On the tile was a mixture of salt, tamarind fruit, and brick dust, and embedded in this mixture was the gold. As the fire devoured the mixture, the gold became purer. The goldsmith took the gold out with tongs, and if it was not pure enough, replaced it in the fire with new mixture. But each time it was replaced, the heat was made hotter than before. The group asked him, “How do you know when the gold is pure?” He replied, “When I can see my face in it.”

Hi. During your time of change, if you feel like giving up (and if you haven't, it's highly probably that you will), I hope that this video clip from Facing the Giants will inspire you.

Facing the Giants

I know that it inspired me.


And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver...(Mal 3:3 KJV)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What Do I Do In the Dark?

What do you do in the darkness of change? What am I referring to with "darkness"? The time when you feel as if you've hit rock bottom. You gathered the courage to take a step towards change, and now absolutely nothing is happening. Your relationships are deteriorating, your finances are dwindling or non-existent, none of the goals you were aiming for are panning out, and the list goes on. This is darkness.

What do you do in the darkness? In my case, as a Christian, I'm supposed to look to God and trust Him, joy in Him, rest in Him. While this Christian-ese may be easy for the mind, it's not easy for the heart. God is all of these things, but when I only feel darkness around me...And what about the person who doesn't believe in Christ? What does he or she have to hold on to?

Yet, there is a reason to hope. At rock bottom, you have a chance to build a new foundation. Think of yourself as a building. Before your time of change, your walls were constructed and the furniture was in place. However, your foundation was cracked, and it was beginning to show in the walls. Part, if not all, of your foundation was created from the expectations of others for your life or with your attempts to please others. It wasn't built upon the dreams, desires, or goals that you had for your life.

Now, at rock bottom, you have a chance to rebuild this foundation. Who have you imagined yourself to be but could or would not allow yourself to become? This is the time to become that person. Rebuild the foundation and walls of your building with that person in mind, and enjoy the work as you watch yourself grow.

While you're working, realize that this darkness is also a time of rest. It's a rest from the voices that were demanding from you anything that kept you from reaching your goals. (Those voices could have been from others or from you.) Also, it's a period of rest to prepare you for what will happen once you become the person you've envisioned yourself to be. Picture the work that will lie ahead as you get closer to that desired dream!

So, what do we do in the dark? We can take strength in knowing that we have a chance to rebuild ourselves. What's more, let's enjoy this time of rest so we can get ready for the good things we are working towards.

Hoping for your encouragement,

Whenever a piece of pottery turned out imperfect, he would take the clay and make it into something else. (Jer. 18:4 GNB)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Transformation Within

The following was taken from the blog Politicoholic by Nisha Chittal:

Forget careers. Blogging changes lives

Daring to commit your opinions and your intellectual thoughts down in words, permanently etched into pixels in cyberspace, is unnerving. It takes balls that most people don’t have, and that is why the vast majority of users of the Web are what we so affectionately refer to as lurkers. They’re afraid to voice their opinion and let anyone who Googles them find them; afraid that someone will disagree and criticize them.

I was one of those, and I was hiding. And for a long time that was a theme in my life: hiding. I have about 4 drafts of blog posts I have written over the years, saved in my archives, about how I hide different parts of my life from everyone. But, in my typical fashion, I never posted one of them. Because it takes courage to even blog in the first place. It makes you an outlier, it makes you different, and that opens you up to a whole new level of scrutiny.

Blogging is at once intensely personal, yet unnervingly public. And it connects people in the most individual, human, personal way. Of my college-age friends, I have very few who have blogs. And when one of them first started her blog, she proceeded to get mocked and made fun of behind her back, constantly. Her blog is a joke to the rest of them, constantly bantered about; every new post is gossip fodder, eagerly devoured. Spending so much time around people like that had left me paralyzed, afraid to just be who I am; and prancing around in that living charade was exceptionally tiring. Why did I care about these people again? It was illogical and irrational.

The difference between me pre-blog and me post-blog is simple: I went from [being]...invisible...to a real person, and an outlier. Seems simple, but that transformation is empowering in a way you’d never expect. I went from letting others define me to defining myself. Instead of always having to hide what I do from people, I can just…be. I have something to say that is worth saying, and I actively contribute to the conversation.

It’s no longer a simple matter of writing a blog and hoping someone reads: it overflows into every other area of my life. Now, I want to have more conversations and put out my opinion on everything. I want to seek out new people and new perspectives and constantly learn from everyone around me. I want to explore new ideas, challenge them, and be challenged. I want to do something worth doing, instead of just what everyone else is doing. And sadly, though perhaps not surprisingly, most people aren’t willing to do that. But blogger are.

The mockers matter less and less, because, really, I’d rather drop them from my life now. When one of my favorite writers, who is far, far more successful than me, emailed me out of the blue and told me she loved a piece I wrote, the game changed a little. When my work started to get noticed by some others, the game changed a little. I no longer care to be just one of millions of college kids that are exactly the same. Who wants to blend in?

I realized I am different from them, but instead of continuing to try to hide it I started to reluctantly embrace it. I constantly strive to be an outlier, to be above and beyond, to put myself out there and be someone who challenges the status quo — and not someone who maintains it. I no longer want to be part of the norm. As one blogger said, that’s fifth place, when I know I want first. But if your presence is never known, how will you make an impact? How will you leave your mark? The simple act of voicing your opinion and expressing yourself means you are challenging the status quo, however insignificant you feel...

Now, I’m no longer letting things happen to me. I don’t let others tell me what to do. I don’t believe in destiny; I just go out and make things happen. And I tend to brazenly defy everyone who doesn’t believe me. I realized that the way I defined myself and my life had to change. And in doing so, I won the inner battle that has been raging inside of me for twenty years. I killed the inner critic, the voice that stops so many people from doing great things. I stopped living for what other people think, and started living solely to create an impact and a difference...

So when I sat down to write a post about how blogging has changed my life, many things came to mind. I wanted to write something as flawless as Andrew Sullivan’s brilliant essay, “Why I Blog.” But I am not Andrew Sullivan, so I can’t. Instead I thought of all the things I had learned, the advice I had gained, the opportunities I’ve received, the people I had interviewed and the late night discussions I’ve had when I could have been studying. And those have all been amazing things. But to this day, nothing compares to the surprising rush of empowerment that comes in that moment when you hold your breath and hit the ‘Publish’ button.

To read Nisha Chittal’s complete entry, click here. (Warning: there is profanity at the end of the blog.)

To piggyback off of what Nisha said, changing is scary. It is much easier to blend in with the crowd and not voice your views or opinions. Your views can be seen as too radical, fantasy-filled, so different than those around you, and the list goes on. What have people been telling you, or worse, what have you been telling yourself? Have you said, “Yes, my dreams are possible,” or have you unconsciously become a part of the negativity surrounding you? Are you allowing past mistakes to hold you back? What about uncertainty of the future--those continual “what if’s”?

Am I suggesting that you start a blog? Only if you want to, but what I’m really suggesting is that you start taking steps to whatever you’ve been hiding from—-be it from your family, friends, the world in general, or yourself. That dream that seems too impossible or that goal that seems improbable, find a way to start working towards it. You would be surprised the transformation that will take place within you.

If you love purity of heart and graciousness of speech, the king will be your friend. (Proverbs 22:11 GNB)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Goals Are More Important Than You May Think

The following is from the book 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. (To find out more about Dan Miller and his 48 Days products, click here:


   Any stage in life can be an exciting time with many opportunities or a dreary time of confusion and entrapment. You may not be able to change your circumstances, buy you can decide that the circumstances won’t dominate you. You do have choices...

   So spend some time determining specific, worthwhile expectations that will make your life more meaningful. If you don’t have a written plan for your life, it may feel like you’re driving a car without having your hands on the wheel.

   On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran the first under-4-minute mile in recorded history. Doctors said it could not be done—that the human heart would explode with such exertion. Six weeks later an Australian runner duplicated that feat. Approximately 1 year later, 8 college runners at 1 track meet all broke the 4-minute mile. What changed? Did humans suddenly evolve to be faster than ever before in history? Not likely. What did happen is that the level of expectation changed. What was believed to be impossible was proven to be possible. Most of us operate under clear beliefs about what we are able to accomplish. If those beliefs are changed, the results change as well…

   Are you a goal setter? Do you typically set goals at the first of the year? If not, why not? Goals give you a starting point and a destination. It is the easiest way to give meaningful direction to your life, which releases you to effectively use your talents.

   Identify 5-year goals then work backward to what you need to do today to make deposits in where you want to be 5 years from now. Be specific, creating quantifiable benchmarks to track your deposits of success. Saying you want to be a better mommy, have a better job, or learn a new language is admirable, but without listing steps of measurable, specific goals, you will not move toward any specific action. Then another year will pass without any real change.

I, Clarissa, can personally attest to this. For years I would write such goals as “grow spiritually”, “learn a new language”, “read two books a month”, and so on. Yet, it wasn’t until recently that I began to write down how I planned to achieve these goals. It was then that I started taking genuine steps to attain them.

For example, instead of saying my goal was to “grow spiritually”, my goal now says “pray for at least 30 minutes a day as well as read and study God’s Word for 30 minutes a day”. Instead of the goal “read two books a month”, now my goal says “read at least 1 chapter from a book per day”.

I don’t understand why, but physically writing down your goals seems to do something to the psyche. Maybe seeing them on paper makes them more of a reality than just contemplating on them? The Bible says, “And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it (Habakkuk 2:2 KJV).” I decided to make my vision plain by taking a few pictures and pasting them to a piece of paper followed by a scripture from the Bible. It was a simple act, but as big and wild as my vision may be, what I once thought was unattainable now feels quite the opposite.

What are your goals? What is your vision? Will you make it plain, and if so, how?

Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance (Habakkuk 2:2 GNB).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Do You Like Yourself?

I’m currently reading Start Where You are by Charles R. Swindoll. He says the following on pages 68-69:
“Allow me this direct question: Do you know yourself? And one more: Do you like yourself? These basic stones must be in place, or no superstructure of meaningful accomplishment can be erected.

If you have hopes of raising your gaze toward leadership, let me urge you to start here. It may take great effort to gain a secure sense of self-esteem. It may involve pain. But in the long haul, you will be grateful you paid the price. Not until you enjoy peace with yourself, not until you know and like the things that make you what you are…”
Not until the above will you be able to withstand returning to the person you once were. You will not be able to avoid wanting to please others or succumbing to what others consider what is best for your life. Nor will you be able to stand against those who oppose what you are attempting to do or who you are attempting to become. And forget about conquering any obstacles that come your way to stop you.

Basically, you will not be strong enough to overcome any person or thing that attempts to hinder your progress in this time of change. Remember, change is not easy. Not only is it not easy for you, but it isn’t easy for those around you as well. The person that they’ve come to know is slowly disappearing before their eyes. If that person isn’t disappearing, the circumstances you’re placing yourself in are not logical or reasonable, and in their eyes your actions are causing you more harm than good. Out of concern for your safety, they suggest, cajole, rebuke, criticize, question, etc., until you return to what they consider as some form of normalcy.

The irony is that they are going against what both they and you wish for your life: your striving to become a better you.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27 KJV)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

You've Been Blessed With A Gift

The following was said by the character Mack Taylor on the TV series CSI:NY

"You have been blessed with a gift...You can choose to live in a place of fear or you can believe in the best version of yourself."

Ok. In the context of the show, this quote wasn't referring to life changes, but I thought it was so appropriate. Life changes are difficult. I think I read somewhere that it's like riding a roller coaster, and I agree. There will be ups and downs, twists and turns, and some surprises around the bend. You can choose to be the person that glances and looks at the roller coaster but will never take a ride (i.e. living in a place of fear) or you can choose to be the person that decides to get on (i.e. believing in the best version of yourself).

Let's ride the roller coaster so that when the ride is over, we'll be able to say, "That was well worth it."

For I know what I have planned for you,' says the LORD. 'I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. (Jer. 29:11 Net Bible)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sadness is a Part of Change

Not the most joyous of topics (no pun intended), but sadness is a part of change. More or less, change means that you are experiencing a loss. There are some things we have lost and were indifferent about, while others caused pain or grieve. When sadness happens, don’t become concerned or wonder what is wrong with you. The change you’re experiencing causes grief because you’re leaving behind what is familiar, what makes you comfortable, and to a degree, what makes you who you are. However, the question to ask yourself is, “Are you really the person that you want to be or are you the person that you pretend to be in order for others to like you/to blend in/etc?” Loss (whether of a job, a friend(s), your health) can feel like a terrible thing, so go ahead and cry. Let your emotions out, but try not to let them out on others. Just don’t get stuck in your sadness, for it can turn into hopelessness. Without hope, you can forget about living life. You’ll continue to walk through life day by day performing the same routines, but living life will be a different story. Accept the sadness, deal with it, learn from it, and then continue on becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Here are two articles on sadness and change:

Dealing with Change – 6 Steps

Sadness and How to Overcome It

And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. (Luke 1:45 KJV)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How Are You In Setting Goals?

Do you have trouble when it comes to setting goals? Maybe this link on the Mind Tools website can push you in the right direction...

Personal Goal Setting

Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people. (Eph. 6:18 KJV)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Learn to Let Go of Your Fears

I first heard the following story through my pastor. Today I'm taking it from Dan Miller's 48 Days to the Work You Love.

"...let me tell you how they catch monkeys in Africa. The natives take a coconut and at one end cut a hole just large enough for a monkey's hand to enter. The other end of the coconut is attached to a long rope. They then carve out the inside of the coconut and put a few peanuts inside. They place the coconut in a clearing and hide in the trees with the end of the rope. The monkeys come around, smell the peanuts, and reach inside to grab a fistful. But now, with a fistful, their hand is too large to retract through the small hole. Then the natives yank on the cord and haul that silly monkey to captivity because the monkey will not let go of those few lousy peanuts that he thought he wanted."

How does this story relate to fear? By not letting go of our fears we are like the monkey not letting go of the peanuts. We could be free, but instead we allow ourselves to be captured over a few peanuts. The peanuts are representative of our fears.

What are your fears? Are they "what if" questions that you cannot answer, fear of the loss of social status, fear of the loss of loved ones or friends,...? These fears are a hindrance, and they will cause your life to become stagnant. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, definitions for the word stagnant are: 1) stale and 2) not advancing or developing. So, while life may be predictable as you hold onto these fears, the stagnation that is occurring in your life is slowly causing your soul to die. Your personality, your joy for life, is slowly fading...

In other words, like the monkey, because you will not let go, you are stuck. The irony of being stuck is that the hope you have of becoming a better you or of living a better life stands before you. Yet, this hope/wish/desire cannot become a reality until you let go of your fears. Paraphrasing what someone told me, "If your hand is closed, you are holding onto something. Yet, at the same time, you can't receive anything." Learn to let go of your fears.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 KJV)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Change Isn't For the Weak

You are mentally and emotionally stronger than you think. Change isn't for the weak at heart. Interestingly, it takes more heart to change than it does to continue life as is.

I'm not denying that it's hard to change. Nor am I suggesting that you ignore the negative feelings/emotions that will come concerning your change during your time of change. Feelings of:

-- "Is it worth fighting/struggling against those that feel they know what's best for me?"

-- "I'm tired [physically and emotionally drained] of struggling against others. Maybe I should end this changing process and return to my life of 'normalcy'."

-- "Am I crazy for wanting to change?"

I've found that the responses towards these feelings are yes, no, and no.

Yes, it is worth the struggle to go against what others think is best for you, because most of their desires for your life are based on their perceptions of you. Also, some of their desires are based on how they would handle things in your situation. Therein lies the problem: that person is not you and you are not that person. On a continual basis, you cannot have their thoughts or reactions because you do not live in their body--and they do not live in yours. Besides, it is hard trying to live your life based on others' expectations for you if those expecatations run counter to or run beneath the expectations you have for yourself.

No, you should not go back to your life of "normalcy". Granted, interacting with those around you was easier, so was getting things done day to day, but were you satisfied as an individual? There is more satisfaction in changing into the person you've wanted to be compared to being the person who was living just to get along or living just to get by.

No, you are not crazy for wanting to change. Jeremiah 29:11 in the Good News Bible translation states

"I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."

God has a plan for each of our lives, whether we believe in Him or not. In other words, if you are not living the life you're meant to live, there will be a nagging desire, suspicion, or restlessness in you that there is something else in your life you should be doing. Therefore, no, you are not crazy for wanting to change.

Change isn't for the weak. Yet, the fact that you're on your path to change (or that you are taking the initial steps to change) proves that you are stronger than you think.

Friday, February 20, 2009

See Yourself With Respect

This is an article by Darren Roberts titled "Treating Yourself With Respect":


So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen 1:27 KJV)

Speak Positively, Part 2

Click here to read Speak Positively, Part 1

(Note: In this entry, I go back and forth between you and I. It's to show that we're all in this together.)

Why should we speak positively? Because positive words create positive actions. Consider when someone asks you to do something or vice versa. Which are you quicker to respond to: harsh words, demands, and criticism or requests made pleasantly? Most people respond more quickly to the latter.

Now, take that rationale and apply it to yourself. Are you more likely to carry out a desire, goal, or plan when you tell yourself that you can do it or when you tell yourself that you're a failure, a screw up, you can never get anything right, or whatever other negative thoughts come to mind? It may sound Pollyannish, but positive words generate positive reactions.

When I go around saying, "I can't do that because...", "I'm not capable of that because...", or whatever else comes to mind, it is highly unlikely that I will try to do whatever's before me. What causes me to say I can't do it? Am I afraid of failure? Am I afraid of success?

The fear of failure is reasonable. There aren't that many people that want to fail. Yet, failure is okay. (For more on this, read the entry "Failure Is An Option".) What about the fear of success? Do I simply not want the responsibility, do I think the success will change me as a person, will I be able to handle the responsibilities that come my way...Well, you won't know until you try.

Instead of saying, "I can't, " or, "I'm not able," speak positively. If you can't find positive examples from your life to draw from, tell yourself, "I may not be the best at what I'm going to do, but I'm going to do what I can and see where it takes me." Then you will learn that your negative thoughts were wrong, because whether you fail or succeed,

you did the very thing you told yourself you could not do.

"...for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." (Luke 6:45 KJV)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Speak Positively, Part 1

A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; [and] with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:20-21 KJV)

Same verses with the Good News Bible translation:

You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say.
What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why Change Isn't Easy

Joyce Meyer, a world-renown practical Bible teacher and New York Times bestselling author, presented a podcast yesterday titled "Living With Passionate Purpose". While the whole podcast is good, she gives a great example about change starting at 11:37 and ending at 14:17. You can view the podcast by clicking below

Living With Passionate Purpose

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It Takes Time

Change takes time. Period. It would be nice if change would occur as quickly as other things we are accustomed to, such as fast food meals, microwaveable dinners, etc. Yet change is a process, and processes take time. The growth of a tree, the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly…it all takes time.

Be patient during your time of change. Be patient with yourself, with others, and with the process itself. Be patient with yourself because your change – in personality or characteristics – may not occur as quickly as you would want. Be patient with others because they may not understand the person you are transforming into. It will take them time to get adjusted to the person you are becoming. Finally, simply be patient with the process.

It is the process that will require the most patience. There will be times when you will feel as if you and/or your circumstances are changing drastically. Then there will be a period of time in which absolutely nothing seems to be happening. This is when you need to be the most patient. Just because nothing is occurring to the natural eye doesn’t mean that changes are not taking place. Relate this period in your life to the season of winter. During winter, nature appears dormant, even dead, but something must be happening in order for life to occur in the spring. It’s a time for rest, building up muscles and nutrients, and revitalizing the soul for the growth that is yet to come.

Change takes time. Be patient with yourself, others, but most of all the process so that you will get a chance to experience the development that can occur in yourself and your life.

Check out these articles on change taking time and having patience:

Do You Need A Change?
Waiting For Patience

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. (Psa 42:5 KJV)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Failure Is An Option

"Huh? Failure is not an option. Clarissa, what are you talking about?" Failure is an option; considering yourself as a failure is not.

Every plan will not work out well. Just because your plan failed does not equate to you being a failure. According to Merriam Webster, one definition for failure is lack of success. So then, why are you not a failure if your plan was not successful? For two reasons:

1. You were successful in creating the plan
2. You were successful in taking steps to carry out the plan

In other words, you were successful in making a step. How many do you know or how many have you observed who had an idea or a thought but did nothing to try and make it a reality? How many allowed the fear of failing to stop them from moving forward with that thought or idea? How many will never know how successful their thought or idea could have been because they are afraid of failing?

So, while a person may try and fail, at least that person knows they have what is in them to move forward...and to try again. Failure is an option.

For some reading on failure:

How to Rid Your Fear of Failure

Fear of Failure - What Does Failure Mean to You?

To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of:
to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Falling Doesn't Kill Us

I'd like to start with a little Jewish story:

A father was teaching his little son to be less afraid, to have more courage, by having him jump down the stairs. He placed his boy on the second stair and said, “Jump, and I’ll catch you.” and the boy jumped. Then the father placed him on the third stair, saying “Jump, and I’ll catch you.” Though the boy was afraid, he trusted his father, did what he was told, and jumped into his father’s arms. Then the father put him on the next step, and the next step, each time telling him, Jump, and I’ll catch you, and each time the boy jumped and was caught by his father. And so this went on. Then the boy jumped from a very high step, just as before; but this time the father stepped back, and the boy fell flat on his face. As he picked himself up, bleeding and crying, the father said, “that will teach you."

There is more than one way to interpret this, but let's focus on this interpretation: change will not kill you. It may end life as you currently know it, but it will not end your physical life.

In the story, the little boy would jump as long as he expected for his father to catch him. Until a change happens in your life, you will continue to do those things that are comfortable--those things that have predictable results. There is no need to try anything new or that will rock the proverbial boat. Life is stable, and you know what's expected of yourself and others.

Back to the story. When the little boy fell his world changed, because he learned that falling would not kill him. The fall did hurt, and he was definitely bruised, but he was still living. Through the fall, the boy became more alive than he was before it. Before the fall the little boy would only jump if he knew his father was there to catch him. As long as his father was there, he was assured that he would not get hurt or hurt in such a way that it would end his physical life; after the fall, he realized that although the fall was painful, it did not end his physical life.

How does this relate to changes in our lives? Some of us will not "jump" unless we are sure of the outcome. We continue to live life cautiously, doing no more than what is expected of us. However, when we make that jump that could cause us to fall, we learn there is more to us than even we expected. Our fall could hurt current relationships, how our peers see us, our current income, etc., but through the fall we realize that we are able to do those things we never thought we were capable of doing.

Here's an article for today:

What is Stopping You From Living Your Dream?

[A different note: Starting today, each entry will end with a scripture that may or may not relate to the topic. Hopefully it will be encouraging.]

And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own. (Philippians 2:4)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Be Patient With Yourself

Be patient with yourself during your time of change. Things may not change as quickly as you want, but change takes time. Also, it's ok if you mess up along the way. At least you are trying to move forward instead of staying in the same place. Staying in the same place creates frustration, because nothing new is happening therefore you continue to experience the same things over and over again.

This is a chance for you to expand your horizons by trying different things. While reaching out for new experiences, things may not go as planned or you may fail. Once again, that's ok. You overcome your fears through both success and failure. The difference between the two is that failure has a tendency to cause people to shy away from attempting the new or unfamiliar. Yet, it also has the ability to let you see that what you were afraid of isn't so scary after all.

Sometimes change is smooth and at others it is messy, but if you continue to move forward, step by step, sometimes inch by inch, maybe even milllimeter by millimeter, your situation will change.

[On a different note: I've found it to be amazing how God can lead two people in two different places to speak or write almost the same things. While the article I mentioned on 2/10 has yet to be reviewed by Ezine, you can find read it here on goarticles.com

Change Isn't Easy...But It's Worth It

The listed examples about change in that article are similar in nature to the list presented in today's devotional "Unexpected Treasure" by Amy Carroll. (You can read the remainder of the devotional here):

Are you a broken or crushed pot today? Are you suffering because of the loss of a job or the current financial crisis? Are your emotions broken and bruised because of the rejection of a friend or husband? Are you experiencing crushing loneliness because of the loss of someone dearly loved? Is your heart torn and bleeding for a wayward child? If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, He says even in catastrophic times He is not only with you but longing to pour out through you. God’s Word that you have been storing away in the quiet times with Him can be revealed through your brokenness. He sees your pain, and His heart breaks with your every hurt. You are dearly loved. Hold on to His promise that your brokenness is not wasted but releases His Spirit to do works of perseverance, power, character and hope.]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whoa! Jumping In With Both Feet

Whoa! Now I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I've entered the world of blogging, and this is a new venture. Where do I start? What's my next move? So many questions...but that's all a part of change. I can sit here and allow the questions to stop me from taking further action, or I can move forward step-by-step.

You can sit there and allow questions to stop you from taking further action in your life, or you can move forward one step at a time.

"Okay," you might say, "I would do that if I knew how to take the next step. Where do I go from here?"

There is a blogger by the name of Laura Caldwell whose blog is called "Faith Fuel". The address for her blog is http://championyourdreams.blogspot.com. At the start of my life's journey involving major change, I had some of the same questions of where and how to start.

Below is Laura's blog on "What Do You Want" published on 1/4/08. Throughout it are thoughts that I recorded while reading it. The thoughts (comments) are in italics. The purpose of the comments is to show that figuring out your next step may not come quickly, and how the excuses we make keep us from moving forward. Maybe Laura's blog and my comments will give you an idea(s) of where or how to take your first step.

What Do You Want?

“I think I’ve been avoiding this question this afternoon. I opened this document around 1 p.m. today—3/6/8—but I’m just getting to this. Time to stop procrastinating and answer the question.”

I'm beginning to see a pattern here: the new year starts and I am sleeping less. Every night there are obstacles that get in the way of a sound night's sleep. I'm not really perturbed by this. I'm mainly curious as to whether God is trying to tell me something, such as- "you sleep too much or too long", or "it's a myth that you need 7 or 8 hours a night" or "Talk to me, Lauren". If God is trying to talk to me, I'm just wondering why we can't have our chats in the day time.

“While I’ve been sleeping like this all week, that really sounds like last night. God led me to pray, and I started, but how did I finish? By nodding off. I could use the excuse that it was too cold for me to get on my knees and I was concerned about aggravating my allergies, but really? Why try to make an excuse?”

Last night Bill snored and coughed all night. Alex didn't get to sleep till after 1am because he was studying for a test today. I heard him in the hallway, opening kitchen cupboards looking for snacks, running water in the bathroom sink. I hear every single noise, the mice scratching in the walls (when they decide to visit) ,and every creaking sound the house makes- but I apparently am not hearing God.

I flopped in bed last night, fully spent- and happily spent- from teaching the LIFE workshop at church. I expected to drift off to sleep, but it was more of a drifting in and out of sleep that occurred- all night long.

There is only one thing I do hear God saying to me. It's a very unsettling question. I know God is speaking this because of the book I just happen to be reading. It's an older book (2000)by an author who is quite popular now. This is John Eldredge's book, The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life We've Only Dreamed of. I knew this book was for me; expressly for me to read at this point and season of my life. I opened the book up this morning and continued on. And then I read it. I read the question that has been haunting me. I see this question now, here in the pages of the book.

“I purchased this book after reading this blog for the first time. How far have I gotten in the book? The 2nd or 3rd page. I will try to use as an excuse that I’m trying to read five or six other books as well! (I think one is overdue and the rest are due by next Thursday.)”

"What do you want?" That's the question. That's what God has been asking me for a while, now. And since I have not fully answered God, I think He is waking me up at night so we can discuss this lack of response on my part. It's very easy for me to get frustrated with my life and to lament that I am not progressing or that I am not fruitful enough. But then I have to face the question of "What do you want...specifically?" That's when I slowly start to back away from the question. I thought I had answered that years ago.

“What do I want? To glorify God in my life living. Yet how? I see myself as a speaker...speaking is a desire that still “haunts"...me. Yet, how do I get to there from where I am now?”

Eldredge recounts the biblical story of the disabled man lying by the pool of Bethesda, in chapter three, "Dare We Desire?" He speaks about Jesus asking the man, "Do you want to get well?" and how Jesus was probing for more than just the response, "Of course I do." Years of longing for something- and then not seeing it happen- had changed the man, had caused him "to lose any vital heart-connection to what he wanted."

Later, Eldredge discusses the story of the prodigal son and his return home to a feast and celebration, while the son who had dutifully remained sulked and stormed over receiving no party in his name. "He tells his father...that all these years he hasn't gotten a thing in return for his life of service. The father's reply cuts to the chase: 'All that is mine has always been yours.' In other words, 'You never asked.' "

I'm almost thinking that God is allowing my sleep to be interrupted so that He might get me at a weakened state, unguarded and vulnerable. What will I tell God in those midnight hours? Will I voice the dreams of my heart, and then brace myself to be disappointed again; that I must wait, and then wait longer? Or will I tell God it's too late that He asks me what I want because I'm older, less energetic, not wanting to take risks as quickly as I used to, and that in my mind, it's as if Lazarus is dead. If Lazarus is dead, why is Jesus visiting me? What comfort could He offer me if the one I love, or the thing I long for, is dead?

“I’m too familiar with this feeling. About two years ago, that’s how I felt regarding my life with Christ. In 2000 I was holding to Jn 12:12 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” However, by 2006, those dreams were dead. Yet some of the young people went to a late night prayer ...[and the dreams were revived]. Now, it’s not a matter of if the dreams will happen, but how will they come about? Will I take the right steps so that they can be manifested in my life?”

"But even now...." Yes, that's what rises to my lips in stubborn faith- as it did to Martha's lips. She told Jesus, "But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." (John 11:22) Even now, in spite of what I see, or in spite of the stench of dead dreams or of delayed dreams- dreams delayed so long that they are moldy and lifeless- even now, I will believe You, Lord. I will believe you to the point that I am ruthless in my eagerness to tell you all I long for, to tell you again what I once told you years ago.

I refuse to be like the third steward who hid his one talent while the others went out, risked, and multiplied what they had. I refuse to be suspicious of God handing out talents and think He is somehow trying to get me to dare to dream- only to rip the dream out of my hands. The third steward who hid his talent thought he knew the master's heart, was convinced the master was hard and mean, not extravagant in grace if the steward had fallen while trying to fly.

"There is this hurt and angry place inside, a very old wound... Life has not turned out the way we want, and we know God could have handled things differently. Even though we may profess at one level a genuine faith in him, at another level we are like the third servant. Our obedience is not so much out of love as it is out of carefulness. 'Just tell me what to do, God, and I'll do it.' " (Eldredge).

Yes, I want to be so careful. Desires I’ve had in the past didn’t turn out the way I expected when I knew it was an easy thing for God. (Actually, anything is an easy thing for God.) I’ve often thought of how I would go down one path only to hear the Father say, “That’s not the path I meant for you to go down. It’s time for you to come off of it.” Then I’d have to struggle with not wanting to let the path go as well as questioning why the Lord let me go that way when I’d been asking Him all along which way I should go. Lord, I just want to do your Will. Even in my lazy and slacker ways, I still want to do your Will. Or maybe I don’t want to do it enough b/c I won’t overcome my lazy and slacker ways? Or maybe I need to stop allowing the enemy to cause me to think there is something unknown hindering me—something I can’t place my finger on—and simply obey the Lord? It’s time to let go of excuses. You love me and I must learn to walk in that love. Even if I don’t like myself or my ways, You love me. Help me to see myself as You see me.”

God is refusing to hear my request, "What do you want me to do, Lord?" as a genuine request spoken out of eager love and faith. He sees that I'm just being careful and cautious when I ask God what He wants next from me. Perhaps God sees that it's time I answer His question, "Lauren, What do you want?". My reply will be telling. It will indicate how big of a heart I think He has, how much grace and overcoming power I believe He doles out to His children.

My reply will tell God more than just the specifics of my dream. It will tell God that I believe Him for more. That I believe Him to be generous and giving and so forgiving of any botched up steps I take on my way to living out a dream...a dream that that He planted in me in the first place.