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] 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)