Monday, November 15, 2010

It Doesn't Happen Overnight

The following excerpt is from an entry on Dan Miller's 48 Days website. The title of the full entry is What On Earth Have You Done?
However, an authentic spirituality will celebrate our capacity to learn, grow and develop – using the seeds of talent given to each of us by God and then developing them into something useful and inspiring. No baby is born a great writer, artist, scientist, mommy or apostle of peace. Studying, practicing and polishing our creative gift is not a selfish bid for attention and fame. If you don’t do that you grieve our Creator and deprive the world of the gift you were intended to deliver.
Are we putting too much pressure on ourselves to change? Have we considered the idea that the process might be a little easier if we gave ourselves time to change?


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

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Have a Good Idea? Expect Opposition" by Dan Miller

I read this on Crosswalk.com today. It's another example of why we should not give up our dreams of change during our time of change.
Have a Good Idea? Expect Opposition
by Dan Miller
48days.com

One of the great thinkers of the world was Plato. In describing his primary philosophy he compared people to prisoners chained in a cave. There is only a small fire illuminating our environment. The only reality we know is that tiny space in our cave. But every now and then some cave dweller breaks free from the chains, steps out of the cave and is immediately blinded by the light.

He can only see a blurry version of the Truth because his eyes cannot adjust to what all he sees. Eventually though, he will see a new reality that his old comrades cannot. So the enlightened individual returns to the cave and tries to tell the others what they are missing. Now here's where it gets interesting. Will he be welcomed with open arms? Will his old comrades thank him for sharing his new insights and opportunities? Not according to Plato. He suggests that the prophet will be killed by his former colleagues -- which history appears to confirm.

So 2300 years later -- are you surprised when your former co-workers think you're stupid for suggesting you can survive without a "real job" with "real benefits?" Or for believing that you can take your idea for making a better yo-yo and turn it into real income? Or for building a straw house (like my son Kevin is doing in ). Don't you remember the three little pigs? Well, sometimes old fairy tales just aren't true.

Don't expect your great idea to be embraced by all the old cave dwellers. There will always be whiners, naysayers, and small thinkers. If you're on a different path you can expect criticism, ridicule and laughter as they huddle around their little but familiar fire. Just don't let them kill you -- or your idea. Keep looking for more light.

Originally posted March 2008.

"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)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't Berate But Give Yourself Grace

So, I came across a devotional yesterday that inspired this entry. When we fail or do wrong, we tend to put ourselves down. It's as if continual berating of ourselves will give us the desire or motivation to do things better in the future. However, stop and think about that for a moment. Has this course of action helped you yet? Are you more motivated to do something when someone is berating you or when someone encourages you? There is a saying that goes, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." (Just a side note: I always thought it was bees until I looked it up. Smile.) Just as we would like for others to have grace upon us when we mess up, let's also have grace upon ourselves when we do the same. That grace will take us further in life--and closer to our goal which has created this time of change--than criticizing and berating will do.

Here is the aforementioned devotional, and it is from Charles Spurgeon's book Morning and Evening.
November 6th
Morning

I will pour water upon him that is thirsty.”
- Isaiah 44:3, KJV

When a believer has fallen into a low, sad state of feeling, he often tries to lift himself out of it by chastening himself with dark and doleful fears. Such is not the way to rise from the dust, but to continue in it. As well chain the eagle’s wing to make it mount, as doubt in order to increase our grace. It is not the law, but the gospel which saves the seeking soul at first; and it is not a legal bondage, but gospel liberty which can restore the fainting believer afterwards.

Slavish fear brings not back the backslider to God, but the sweet wooings of love allure him to Jesus’ bosom. Are you this morning thirsting for the living God, and unhappy because you cannot find him to the delight of your heart? Have you lost the joy of religion, and is this your prayer, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation”? Are you conscious also that you are barren, like the dry ground; that you are not bringing forth the fruit unto God which he has a right to expect of you; that you are not so useful in the Church, or in the world, as your heart desires to be? Then here is exactly the promise which you need, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty.” You shall receive the grace you so much require, and you shall have it to the utmost reach of your needs.

Water refreshes the thirsty: you shall be refreshed; your desires shall be gratified. Water quickens sleeping vegetable life: your life shall be quickened by fresh grace. Water swells the buds and makes the fruits ripen; you shall have fructifying grace: you shall be made fruitful in the ways of God. Whatever good quality there is in divine grace, you shall enjoy it to the full. All the riches of divine grace you shall receive in plenty; you shall be as it were drenched with it: and as sometimes the meadows become flooded by the bursting rivers, and the fields are turned into pools, so shall you be-the thirsty land shall be springs of water.

"For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:"
(Isaiah 44:3, KVJ)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Remodeling" by Kelly O'Dell Stanley

My blogging has been infrequent and skattered at best this year. It's a time of unexpected change that's changing old mindsets and building new ones. It's something similar to Kelly's experience in the following article.

Remodeling
I'm a lot like the house I fixed up.
by Kelly O'Dell Stanley

When my husband and I bought a new (old) house, people thought we were crazy. But I had a vision. Never mind that the kitchen had ugly gray paneling on the walls, yellow-flecked Formica® countertops, blue plaid wallpaper, and poorly arranged appliances and countertops.

It didn't matter that the living room was papered in a busy, rust- and gold-colored print with birds and carriages, and had worn, gold sculptured carpet covering the hardwood floors. The shape of the rooms and the transom windows and 10-foot doors were hard to see in all that clutter, but I knew they were there.

In my mind, I could see the end result—the mix of textures, the colors of the d├ęcor, the way I'd emphasize the architectural features, and the way the rooms would flow together. I knew it would be perfect.

Partway through the process, though, I became less sure. Much less. We had a whole house to redo. Although the lines were good, every surface needed something. Peeling up the shag carpet, we discovered a spongy residue that had to be scraped off by hand. Removing wallpaper revealed cracks we didn't expect. The cabinets weren't a standard depth, meaning the sink and countertop we'd purchased didn't fit without some inspired retrofitting. The filthy cast iron bathtub had to be smashed into pieces to be carried through the bathroom door. The electricians ran into one problem after another as they rewired, hung new lights, wired new outlets. We had to remove a lowered ceiling, haul off trash, wash and scrub and paint—and my hands, elbows and shoulders ached.

I developed tendonitis, and my doctor said I shouldn't paint. But I discovered that if I shook out my hands every little bit, I could manage 20 minutes at a time before the pain became excruciating. It was one thing after another after another, and I started to believe that the process would never end.

Glances into the Future
Walking through the debris covering the floor from the demolition and seeing the cabinet frames without the doors, cut apart for rebuilding, I was deeply discouraged. It was so much harder than I expected, and it took so much time. All my family and friends were helping—my husband worked on something every night when he got home from work, my friends brought bottles of wine and wallpaper scrapers—but I felt the weight of it all.

I didn't know what to do most of the time, and without the help of my dad, I never would have made it through. He came and patiently, creatively, thoroughly rebuilt the kitchen for me, one step at a time. If something didn't fit, we re-cut it. If something broke, we made a new one. Each task brought forward another problem, and each time, as I was ready to cry, my dad stepped back, thought for a minute, and presented a solution. He's an artist, and his father had been a cabinet-maker, so he knew how to build things. Sometimes our first attempt didn't work, so we'd have to try again.

I spent the summer wanting to cry, to curl up into a ball somewhere and never come out. But almost daily, my dad would call. "I'm on my way. Meet me over there?" I'd make excuses to my clients, change into old clothes, and walk the block to the new house to wait for him. Slowly but surely, the kitchen came together, and I loved the time we spent together, side by side.

I'm not even sure when it happened, when we finally turned the corner from disaster to improvement. But we did. Near the end of the summer, I was granted moments, glances into the future, insight into the finished product.

At first, they were mere glimpses, a view stolen through a keyhole. Eventually the view became wider, until whole rooms were complete. Paint cans were banished to the basement, we relinquished the trailer used to haul trash to the dump, and the to-do list shrank to just a couple items. Now the house is beautiful, stylish, and complete. But the most dramatic change, my favorite part, is my new kitchen. When I walk through it, I'm filled with wonder. Gleaming new countertops, colorful cabinets, pretty brushed nickel hardware, crisp white wainscoting, shiny floor. Cabinets and drawers properly positioned, appliances in the right place, straight corners and clean surfaces, and every detail as it should be.

God's Remodeling
My mom walked into the kitchen one day when we were nearly done and mused out loud, "I never thought it could look this good. Did you?" Yes. My dad and I did. We had our moments of doubt, our disappointments and failures and frustrations. But all the effort was worth it. I'm so proud of what we accomplished, and so is he. It's not his kitchen, yet he retains ownership of the transformation.

Reminds me of how God works with us. He sees something inside us—an inherent beauty, a solid structure—and he goes to work. The change isn't immediate, and sometimes things look worse before they start to look better. There are times when we're just downright ugly and a big ol' mess. But he's patient and creative and oh-so-thorough. If something doesn't work, he fixes it. If it's broken, he tosses it out and replaces it with something new. If it cracks, he makes a new one to replace it. The solutions are never what you expect, and sometimes the remodeling creates other, new issues to deal with. Yet he steadfastly continues the work he began, knowing the end result will be glorious, better than anyone ever imagined. He knows exactly what he's doing.

All he wants is to spend time with us, working side by side. All he asks is that we trust his abilities and yield ourselves to his vision. So we do, eagerly awaiting the time when we will see what he had in mind for us all along.

To read more of Kelly's writing, visit her blog the whole box of donuts.


"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." (Jeremiah 29:11 .NET Bible)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Clearing Up Career Confusion" by K. and K. Brennfleck

I read the following article on Crosswalk.com today. Although it's about making changes in your career, there are parts that are applicable to making life changes as well.

Clearing Up Career Confusion
by Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck

Are you thinking about making a career change? Too often, thinking about it is as far as many people go. If you're in a career that you don't like, you probably daydream about doing something different that you would really enjoy. You imagine enjoying going to work, and feeling productive and fulfilled each day. In your dream job, your work fits your schedule, priorities, values and salary needs. At a deep level, you can feel the difference a new job would make in your life.

Why People Stay Stuck in the Wrong Jobs

You continue dreaming day after day (or even year after year) about making a career change, yet don't do anything about it. Why? Here are the two most typical reasons:

Confusion. While many people know what they don't want to do, they are unclear about what type of work they would like to do. Or, if they have a vision of work that would fit them well, they are foggy about how to get into that career. You can't make a successful career change until you know specifically what change you want to make and have a game plan for the transition.

Fear. When people say they "hate" their jobs, wouldn't you expect they would be anxious to get into a new job? Often, however, people choose to stay in their misery because it is familiar. They choose the known over the unknown. We humans are fearful creatures. When faced with making a change, we tend to think about all the "what-ifs," imagine the worst possible outcomes, treat those thoughts as though they are the "truth about how things are," and therefore convince ourselves to stay stuck where we are.

If you are in work that is a poor fit, take a minute to ask yourself why you aren't taking steps to get out of it. Making the right diagnosis is the first step in fixing something. Determine whether your inertia is due to a lack of career direction, not having a do-able game plan for making a change, and/or some type of fear. Once you tell yourself the truth about why you are stuck, you can more easily figure out what to do about it.

Three Tips for Clearing Up Career Confusion

1. Take a look at what's wrong with your job. Take our Career Check-up Inventory to help determine what factors in your current (or most recent) job contribute most to your dissatisfaction. The inventory can help you determine whether you need to make changes in your current job, find a similar job in a different company or make a significant career change.

2. Try out a "dream job." Many people talk themselves out of even looking into a possible dream job because making a change seems impossible. While it is true that making a change will require moving out of your comfort zone, the secret to making successful changes is taking bite-sized, do-able steps. Here are some ways you can begin moving from dream to reality:

- Read about your dream job. Search for books about it at Amazon.com or google the job title to see what you can find on the Internet.

- Watch TV shows, documentaries or You Tube videos of people doing this work. Picture yourself in this career to see if it "fits."

- Talk to people who do this job. Ask them what they like about their job; what they don't like; how they got into the field; typical salary ranges for the profession; recommendations for how to decide if the work would be a good fit for you; etc. You can also ask them for names of other people in the field you could interview. (As you conduct these "informational interviews," you will be building a contact network that will come in handy later if you decide to pursue this career.)

- Volunteer. You can actively try out a particular type of work by volunteering your time to your church or a non-profit agency. (If you are in school, you can also seek out appropriate internship experiences.) For example, if you are interested in becoming a special events planner, volunteer to help out with a 5K fundraiser for a local non-profit. If you are considering teaching, start in your church. Brainstorm with friends and family members about how you might get some hands-on experience in a particular field, and then take the initiative to ask about opportunities. You will never know what is possible until you ask!

Once you have "tried on" your dream job in a number of ways, you will be better able to assess if it really is a good fit for you. You will also know more about the specific steps for getting into this type of work, and have developed some connections to help in your transition. Your confusion will then be replaced by much more clarity!

3. Expose your fears to the light of day. Ever notice how overwhelming your fear can be at 2:00 a.m.? When you awake in the middle of the night, anxious thoughts can be paralyzing. Usually, however, in the morning you can more realistically deal with fears and figure out what to do about them. In the same way, it is important to name the fears you feel when you think about making a change so that you can examine them rationally. Unexamined fears will keep you stuck!

The good news is that often people find that their fears about making a career change decrease as they find out more about their dream job. Fears about the unknown diminish when you learn more about the field. You may discover that many of your fears were unfounded: You may find out, for example, that you can earn more in this field that you had previously imagined. You won't need to start "at the bottom." Your age is not a big factor. Etc. If you find that some of your concerns are accurate, such as the field really is competitive to get into, you can explore how others have succeeded in spite of this obstacle. Information is a key to combating fear.

A fear of failure (Can I really make it in this field?) can be addressed as you try out the new area of work through volunteering. You will be building your skills and experience as you assess how well the work fits your God-given design. You may find that you have the potential to excel in this career field because it interests you and you are therefore motivated to learn and grow.

Confusion is not a Terminal Condition

You don't have to live with career confusion. Although the prospect of making a career change can seem daunting, there are steps you can take to achieve your dream. God designed you for a purpose. His power and wisdom are available to you. He will be with you as you take the necessary steps to discover and live your vocational calling!

"For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7 GNB)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Go Again" by pastor Alistair Begg

The following devotional by pastor Alistair Begg, the leader of Truth For Life, is geared towards the Christian walk. However, the principles in this devovtional can apply to our journey for change.

Go Again

1 Kings 18:43 (ESV) - "And he said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." And he went up and looked and said, 'There is nothing.' And he said, 'Go again,' seven times."

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of response, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when His people are serious about a matter that concerns His glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God and never for a moment gave way to the fear that he would not be suited for Jehovah's courts. Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but "Go again."

We must not dream of unbelief but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel's peak, and if nothing is seen, she sends again and again. So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is quickened to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled but not crushed: Her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement, but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer, but believing souls have learned to be submissive and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation: Deadly blows are then struck at our corruption, and the sinful images are cleansed. The great danger is that men should faint and miss the blessing.

Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue to watch and pray. At last the little cloud was seen, the sure forerunner of torrents of rain; and even so with you, the token for good will surely be given, and you will rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man with passions just like us: His power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing persistence, and it will be with you according to your desire.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"I'm Letting Go" by Francesca Battistelli

These are the lyrics to Francesca Battistelli's song "I'm Letting Go". It kind of reminds me of how it feels to take on life changes...
I'm Letting Go - Lyrics

Album: My Paper Heart
Artist: Francesca Battistelli

My heart beats, standing on the edge
But my feet have finally left the ledge

Like an acrobat
There’s no turning back

(Chorus)
I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
I’m losing control
Of my destiny
It feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go

This is a giant leap of faith
Trusting and trying to embrace
The fear of the unknown
Beyond my comfort zone

(Chorus)

Giving in to your gravity
Knowing You are holding me
I’m not afraid

(Chorus)

Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
Feels like I’m falling and this is the life for me

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Perfectly Paralyzed" by Mary Hunt of EveryDay Cheapskate

The following is from Mary Hunt, the creator of the EveryDay Cheapskate.

Perfectly Paralyzed

I've never thought of myself as a perfectionist. One would only have to peer into my office to understand why.

My office has the appearance of chaos, confusion and disorder. "Appearance" is the operative word. I find the chaos to be completely functional. I rely on my own, unique organizational theory: It's better occasionally to waste time searching for items than regularly to waste time keeping the place tidy with everything meticulously filed.

I know what you're thinking. My mother didn't agree with my theory either.

I admit that I struggle with procrastination. But me, a perfectionist? Hardly. A perfectionist is someone who does everything perfectly. I only think about doing things perfectly.

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to hear what Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, had to say on this subject. A procrastinator, says Warren, is nothing more than a frustrated perfectionist.

A perfectionist is convinced she must prove her worth by being perfect. A perfectionist craves approval. Warren contends it's the fear of not being able to perform perfectly that leads to procrastination. And procrastination eventually leads to paralysis.

There are times I can stare into my computer screen for hours on end without completing a single sentence. Even though I have a clear-cut subject, a semi-brilliant conclusion and a general idea of how I plan to get there, until I perfect my first paragraph, I'm paralyzed.

Have you ever felt paralyzed by your procrastination? Perhaps perfectionism is at the root of the problem.

I hear from lots of you who say you just can't get going with your Rapid Debt-Repayment Plans (one element of Debt-Proof Living; learn more at DebtProofLiving.com). Could it be that you're so worried about making a mistake, you find yourself paralyzed? Are you holding yourself to an unattainable standard of perfection? That could be what's keeping you stuck right where you are.

Perfectionism can keep us from moving forward, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are antidotes for perfectionism.

1. Believe that no one is perfect. You will liberate yourself when you lower your expectations from perfect to realistic. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. You don't have to be perfect to be happy.

2. Let go and let God handle things. It takes a lot of faith to let go of those things over which we have no control.

3. Learn contentment. Life must be lived in less than perfect circumstances. Accept that. Love the moment, and enjoy the journey. Dump the pressure that says you must be perfect to be accepted.

It's time to break out of your prison of perfectionism. Identify what you need to do and take the first step. Even if you fall flat on your face, you will have gained at least five feet. Then take the second step, and the third. Before you know it, you will be making terrific progress. Not perfection, but progress!

©Copyright 2010 Mary Hunt
Everyday Cheapskate is a Registered Trademark

"So I realized then that the best thing we can do is enjoy what we have worked for. There is nothing else we can do..." (Ecclesiates 3:22 GNB)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

Well, are you? What mental roadblocks are you creating in your mind that's preventing you from moving forward? Have you considered the thought that you've created roadblocks to keep you from moving forward? Think about it. If your mind is in a haze and you keep thinking, "Well, what about this," or, "Well, what about that," you don't have to spend time making a decision. Making a decision means living with the choice you make. What if the choice isn't a good one? What if you shouldn't have made that move, took that trip, said those words OR what if you should have made that move, took that trip, said those words...

What if, what if, what if. It's just another reason to prevent you from moving forward in life. Moving forward involves risk because we can't see into the future. However, what is more draining to your life: taking a chance or remaining where you are? If you're like me you're tired, and it's from going around the same "what ifs" over and over and over again. Your mind is constantly spinning but you are physically getting nowhere. Why do we continue to sabotage ourselves with out thoughts, insecurities, etc?

Take a step. Make a move. We haven't gotten to this place in life by being afraid. To others the strength it takes to make your next move may seem foolish. Yet, that same strength will move you closer to becoming the person you desire to be.

Can we make the commitment with to stop sabotaging ourselves?


10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.
11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. (Psalms 30 KJV)

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Your B.I.G. Dream" from the TIMC Blog

This following is from the The Innovative Marketplace Christian Blog hosted by Rick Hubbell:

Your B.I.G. Dream

Take care,
Clarissa


"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Feeling Stuck? Start Moving and Keep Moving

Well, the title explains the lack of posts over the months. There are times in life when we just feel stuck. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, on this journey of change is happening. What's the best way out of this situation?

I've found that the best way out of feeling stuck is to do something outside of your norm. It doesn't have to be anything big. Go for walks. Start reading that book you keep meaning to get to. Journal. Draw. Go hiking. Start studying that topic you've been avoiding. Work on a craft. I could keep going on but the list is limitless. Whatever suits you and your personality, just do it. Then, once you've started, keep going. Believe it or not, it's that simple. You'll be surprised at the new things you'll notice about your surroundings or even yourself. The new ideas that head your way aren't so bad either. (Smile)

So if you're feeling stuck, start doing something outside of your normal routine and continue with it.

The object is to keep moving until we reach our goal or final destination.


"I realized another thing, that in this world fast runners do not always win the races, and the brave do not always win the battles..." (Ecclesiastes 9:11 GNB)

28 Don't you know? Haven't you heard? The LORD is the everlasting God; he created all the world. He never grows tired or weary. No one understands his thoughts.
29 He strengthens those who are weak and tired.
30 Even those who are young grow weak; young people can fall exhausted.
31 But those who trust in the LORD for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak. (Isaiah 40:28-31 GNB)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Break Out of the Mold (from Joyce Meyer)

The following excerpt is from the Joyce Meyer article Dare To Be Different:
The world (those we know and deal with on a daily basis who may be family, friends, people in the neighborhood or even in the church) is continually trying to conform us to its image. The word conform means "to be similar in form or character; to behave in accordance with prevailing modes or customs.” Romans 12:2 says, Do not be conformed to this world (this age),…but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind…It’s then that we find the good and acceptable will of God for our lives.

People will always try to fit us into their mold, partly due to their own insecurity. It makes them feel better about what they are doing if they can get someone else to do it too. Very few people have the ability to be who they are and let everybody else be who they are. Can you imagine how nice the world would be if we would all do that? Each person would be secure in who he is and let others be who they are. We would not have to try to be imitations of each other.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Overwhelming and Worth It

I haven't blogged in a while, and this devotional inspired today's entry. (I'm intentionally excluding the title because it doesn't directly relate to the subject of this blog entry):

http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/NewLife/11629046

The process of change can be overwhelming. If I'd known two years ago what I know today, Im not sure I would have started on this journey. Life's "comfort zone" has two variables: comfort and death. Of course it's comfortable, hence its name, but that comfort comes at a high cost. It is a death to anything that might cause failure in your life. Therefore trying new things or creating new ventures--i.e. ideas, relationships, etc.--is out of the question because it could crack or dismantle the precarious pedestal of life you're standing on.

There can be no chinks in our armor, no mars or defects in our personality, nothing that could take away from the admiration others have of our life. Yet, are you presenting your real self to others or are you playing a role that you think brings the best rewards? Have you considered that what you think are the best rewards are really just fools gold and life could have more to offer if you stop living up to others' expectations? Why? Because sometimes others' expectations of your life are not as high as your own dreams or aspirations.

Maybe it's time to start reaching for those goals that seem implausible or more than out of reach. If so, I would hope that you would reach your goals, but more importantly that along the way you will discover new and interesting things about yourself and life as well. Having said that, I take my initial statement back. If I'd known two years ago what I know now, I still would have started on this journey. It might have been a slow and half-hearted start, but I would have started it. (Smile)

Why would have I started the process of change despite the fact that it's been overwhelming? Because my expectations are high, and in the end, I believe the results will have made this process of change worthwhile.


36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.
38 Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death ; remain here and keep watch with Me."
39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:36-39 NAS)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stepping Back To Move Forward

So, recent experiences have shown me that sometimes we have to step back in order to move forward. Stepping back means taking a moment to reflect and check out what you're doing. Have your previous actions moved you closer towards your goals and desires in life or do you seem to go in circles hitting the same ruts over and over again? By stepping back it gives you a moment to assess your life and correct the wrong steps taken thus far. Then, after seeing what needs to be changed, begin to make those changes so that you can move forward in life again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Want To Take Action? Write It Down

The following is from the Eagle Leadership Consulting blog, and it explains why writing your goal(s) down on paper is needed to help you fulfill that desire/task/dream.

Strategy and Action: Two Keys to Success


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)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The More You Put In...

Remember the old saying, "The more you put in the more you get out"?

The following article by the writer Diggy--creator of the blog Upgrade Reality--takes that concept and runs with it. He gives great advice on how to stay focused on one or two goals instead of many. Also, he explains why we should stop procrastinating and start working on those goals so we can enjoy the outcomes of hard work. I don't know about you, but personally I'm tired of imagining what life would be like if I did this or that or such and such. I'm ready to put the building blocks in place so that those imaginings can become a reality.

A Superior Life: What You Put In Is What You Get Out


6 Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live.
7 They have no leader, chief, or ruler,
8 but they store up their food during the summer, getting ready for winter.
(Proverbs 6:6-8 GNB)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Drained? Weary? Return to What You Know

Now before you think it, no, I’m not saying return to your place of comfort. By now, that place is probably destroyed. You could rebuild it, but it would take some time. Even if you rebuilt it, you would return to the same place that created the need for change anyway.

What do I mean by return to what you know? Remind yourself of the reason(s) that brought about this change. Why did you feel a need to change? What was the purpose in your changing? Return to that place. This is what you know. Were you no longer satisfied with where you were in life? Had you outgrown those around you and needed a challenge to push you further? Did you feel there was more to life than work, home, and social activities? Whatever it was, return to that. Return to that urgency that if I don’t change now, THIS type of life change may never come again.

As you return to that place, try to recall some of the materials that you read or heard that encouraged or inspired you to continue on your path of change. Be it a book, video, your own journal entries…whatever it was that kept you going. Maybe it’s time to revisit some of these things. Reminders help to relieve the burden, the weariness/tiredness, and the stress that life changes will bring.

Return to what you know so that you can continue to where you’re heading.


This observance will be a reminder, like something tied on our hands or on our foreheads; it will remind us that the LORD brought us out of Egypt by his great power.(Exodus 13:16 GNB)

2 The LORD responded: "Write down this message! Record it legibly on tablets, so the one who announces it may read it easily.
3 For the message is a witness to what is decreed; it gives reliable testimony about how matters will turn out. Even if the message is not fulfilled right away, wait patiently; for it will certainly come to pass — it will not arrive late. (Habakkuk 2:2-3 .NET)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ducks Quack and Complain While Eagles Soar

I believe the following is found in Dan Miller's book No More Mondays. If not, it can be found in issue 497 of the 48 Days newsletter.

Ducks Quack - Eagles Soar
No one can make you serve customers well....that's because great service is a choice. Harvey Mackay, tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.

He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey.

He handed Harvey a laminated card and said: 'I'm Wally, your driver. While I'm loading your bags in the trunk I'd like you to read my mission statement.'

Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said: Wally's Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment....

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, 'Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.' Harvey said jokingly, 'No, I'd prefer a soft drink.' Wally smiled and said, 'No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.' Almost stuttering, Harvey said, 'I'll take a Diet Coke.'

Handing him his drink, Wally said, 'If you'd like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today..'

As they were pulling away, Wally handed Harvey another laminated card, 'These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you'd like to listen to the radio.'

And as if that weren't enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he'd be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts...

'Tell me, Wally,' Mr McKay asked the driver, 'have you always served customers like this?'

Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. 'No, not always. In fact, it's only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day.

He had just written a book called You'll See It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you'll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, 'Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don't be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.'

'That hit me right between the eyes,' said Wally. 'Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers.. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.'

'I take it that has paid off for you,' Harvey said.

'It sure has,' Wally replied. 'My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I'll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don't sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can't pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.'

Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab. Harvey says he's probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever he goes to their cities, he gives them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told him all the reasons they couldn't do any of what he was suggesting.

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar

Have a nice day, unless you already have other plans.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chasing Pavements aka Chasing Dreams

This entry was inspired by a song I was introduced to this week. Its name is "Chasing Pavements" by the NeoSoul artist Adele. While it's not a song of the Christian faith, I was intrigued by the video. I had not seen choreography performed in such a manner and I thought it was quite artistic. It takes a creative mind to choreograph a piece on the ground but make it look as if the dancers are standing upright. (To see the video, click here).

However, the chorus is what really caught my attention. The words are
Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?
Or would it be a waste, even if I knew my place
Should I leave it there?
Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?
Although the artist is referring to love and relationships, I related these words to life and the life changes we can experience. Especially those changes involving personal growth.

We all have our comfort zones, but comfort zones can become a trap. Do we continue to stay in them because we know our place? In comfort zones, we know what to expect from others and they know what they expect from us. Yet, what if those expectations are no longer fulfilling us as individuals? Do we give up and continue to stay in our comfort zones or do we leave them to chase after pavements?

What is chasing after pavements in terms of life changes? It's chasing after our dreams or the desires and longings of our hearts. However, chasing after dreams and desires could lead us nowhere. So do we continue to stay in our comfort zones, even though we know and feel that our lives are becoming a waste, or do we leave them there to chase after our dreams?

Personally, I say chase after those dreams, because you'll learn far more about yourself chasing than you will remaining in your comfort zone. And what's even better? There's a great possibility that you will run into the very thing you're chasing after.


11 The more easily you get your wealth, the sooner you will lose it. The harder it is to earn, the more you will have.
12 When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed, but a wish come true fills you with joy. (Proverbs 13:11-12 GNB)

What Are We Learning More Of?

I'm a member of Facebook, and there is an application on it called "God Wants You To Know". This is what it published today:
...God wants you to know...that you learn what you do.
If you worry a lot, then day after day you are learning how to worry even better. If you think about doing something a lot, then you are learning how to think about doing. Every moment you are happy, you are learning how to be even happier. Every time you act, you are learning how to take an action even better. What is it that you've been learning today? What is it that you want to learn tomorrow?

6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
(Proverbs 6:6-11 KJV)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Have You Laughed Today?

"You need to give yourself permission to laugh. This is equally as important as giving yourself permission to cry." - Gerry Hopman, humor-laughter.com

Have you given yourself a chance to laugh today? During times of change, laughter helps to alleviate the stress change creates. If you can, find a way to add laughter to your day.


"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 KJV)