It is the start of spring. It is an exciting time in nature. It is the start of new life. It is the sign of change. New buds appear on the trees and bushes. They have been dormant through the winter.
We see these changes in our lives as well. They may not follow closely to the seasons of nature, but we still have seasons. Have you attended a seminar and walked away motivated to change a part of your life or an approach to something at work?
How many of you have decided that now is the time to eat healthier and get your bodies in better shape for a trip to the beach this summer? You have been dormant during the winter and it is now time to get some new life. I relate it to trying to put the bad parts of the past season behind us. I am glad that the cold winter weather is gone.
Think about some of the bad habits that you have and you want to shed. Now is a good time to concentrate on developing better habits. How have you treated your co-workers lately? Do you treat them with respect? Do you lend a helping hand when needed or an ear during times of struggle? Now would be the perfect time to change the season in our relationships with our teammates.
In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes it says "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." We can look to God for direction in our lives. Where does He want us to change? What are His expectations in the next season?
I looked at the weather forecast for next week and it calls for another chance for snow. Even though we are in a new season, sometimes part of the past season comes back temporarily. This happens in our lives as well. We start into the new season and then something from the past comes back to discourage us. Stay positive. Just like spring time, there will be more pleasant days than cold ones.
What are you doing this spring to make a positive change in your life? Leave your comments below so we can learn from each other.
I experienced an injury this past weekend while running a half marathon. When I went to the doctor, he recommended a chiropractor because he said that my hips looked like they were out of alignment.
X-rays that were taken confirmed this and I am now under chiropractic care. It made me think about my life in general. I have talked about the fact that we should be pursuing God's will, not ours. Do we need an adjustment in our lives to achieve this?
My hips and spine did not get out of alignment by not doing anything. It either was caused because of an event, like a fall, or over time by doing the wrong things. This same concept can be applied to where we stand in doing God's will in our lives.
What starts out as bad habits or hanging out with the wrong crowds slowly pulls us away from God. What starts as a small sin (in our eyes) becomes a habit that we no longer consider a sin. Peer pressure takes us further down that path. What would we see if we could take an x-ray of our lives and compare it to what God wants from us? What would we do to change, or would we?
It is not too late to do that self evaluation. I believe that all of our experiences in our lives are there to prepare us for further service to God. I had a bout of depression a number of years back so I could be a better counselor for a friend that more recently went through the same experience. I was not the best husband that I could have been and it took me a long time to realize that. I can use that experience to educate my sons so that they do not go down that same path.
Let me know what you found out in your self evaluation that you are working towards adjusting in your life. It may help someone else that is reading this.
Are you dedicated to achieving your goals or easily swayed away from them? There are decision points along the way to your goal that will test your determination. I had one of those points this weekend.
I am participating in a training program to prepare myself to run a full marathon at the end of April. Every Saturday, we have a long run (10 or more miles) that we run as a group. We are grouped with other at our same run pace. This weekend, we were scheduled for 15 miles.
The temperature for these runs lately has been in the 20s at the start of the run. This run was forecasted as 26 degrees and a chance of snow flurries. Friday evening, I dropped off my car at a shop to get some work done on Saturday while I was on my run. I was planning on taking my truck to the run. I got out to warm up the truck and it was sleeting. The truck would not start.
The thought of going back to bed and doing the run later in the day, on my own, crossed my mind. My son just happened to be home for the night and would go into work after lunch. After trying to jump start the truck, I figured out that it was not a battery problem and it was not going anywhere. I decided that I wanted to still get my run in, regardless of the weather. I borrowed his car.
When I got to the meeting place for the run, I was met by the training leader and informed that the run was cancelled. I quickly thought about going back home. He told me that one of my running partners was there and she and a few others were planning on running anyway. My mind was made up. I was going to run. There were about a dozen runners that started down the road in the cold and windy weather. The snow had stopped with just a dusting. We accomplished our goal of 15 miles.
There are two main points to my story in regards to accomplishing your goals.
1. What is your level of commitment? Are you easily swayed from what needs to be done to reach your goals?
2. Have people around you that will hold you accountable. Seeing my running partner there convinced me that I needed to run that morning. She told me afterwards that if I had not stayed and ran; she probably would not have run the full 15 miles.
What decision points have you had in your pursuit of your goals? What decision did you make? Share your comments below to help others with their own motivation. This Bible verse comes to mind.
2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV) I have fought the good fight, I finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Have you made some new resolutions for 2014? Are they the same ones that you made in 2013? I have read one study that said that 45% of Americans made resolutions this year. It also said that only 8% of the resolutions made are kept.
Here are a few resolutions to consider adding to your list for 2014.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I have found that the more thanks that I give God for blessings that I have, the more blessings that He gives me. This year make a conscious effort to acknowledge your blessings and give Him thanks. The more that you are aware of your blessings gives you a more optimistic outlook. It always helps to have a positive outlook when it comes to goal achievement.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
Have patience with your goals. Do not expect to change habits overnight. If weight loss is your goal, realize that it took a while to put on the weight and it will take a while to get it back off. You will not develop new habits in just a couple of weeks. Keep your focus and do not give up. You may have some set backs, but keep the goal in mind and get back on track. You will eventually be successful.
Trust in God
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
As long as your goals are not against God's will, He can help you along the way towards achieving them. Ask a lot of your Christian friends about the power of prayer. There are examples of miracles that are happening around us. I am not saying that it will take a miracle to reach your goals, but it just shows that anything is possible.
I hope you have a blessed and prosperous 2014! Keep the focus on God. He is the key to your success. Let me know what your goals are for this year. I would love to be able to help you achieve them.
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Most people, if you ask them if they are true to their values, will say “yes”. But, I ask you, are they really? Our values are a combination of a lifelong journey. It starts with the way that our parents raise us. We’re influenced by the people that we become friends with throughout our lives and the people that we work with. There are examples along the way that are good and bad. We need to take advantage of these lessons and learn from them. Your values can change over time based on circumstances.
Are you easily swayed in your beliefs? Some people are set in their ways and no matter what goes on around them; they will not change your values or beliefs. Your highest priorities that are deeply held inside of you are the values that define you the most. So, are you true to those values?
This is where I differed in my approach to leadership than some managers that I worked with. My religious faith has defined these values and they are true in my heart. I try my hardest to never waiver from them. Another word you can use for values is morals. Throughout my career, I have questioned the way that some of my previous managers have run their businesses. I know that what they were doing to their employees was not against the law. It, unless other hand, was not always seem fair. It sometimes went against what I would consider my moral code of ethics.
I have noticed a trend, over the years, with new managers. These are the ones that are probably the in their 30s and are trying to get ahead within a corporation. They will do virtually anything to be able to get the next promotion. They are even willing to sacrifice some of their own values if needed to please their bosses. Why is this, I ask? It is because their priorities are not right. I know this from my own experience. I even harmed my own personal relationships in order to get the next promotion at work.
You need to stay true to your values and if it means looking for another company to work for then maybe that is an option that you need to look into. God will reward you for being true to your religious faith and values. You need to have trust in Him.
If you start to follow the ways of those around you and lose sight of your religious values remember this from Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Have you ever had a dream that you wanted to turn into reality? You want to make it a goal, but do not know how to do it so you keep putting it off?
Too often we try to figure out how we are going to accomplish a goal before we decide to make it a goal. Because of this, it continues to be a dream. Do not put off having goals just because you do not know how to accomplish them. Sometimes, all it takes is for you to have a mentor. Your mentor will have experience in that area and can guide you through how to accomplish your goal.
Your mentor will be an experienced and trusted advisor. I put off my goal of running a half marathon for years because I had no idea how to prepare for it and whether or not it was possible. My brother, Mark, guided me through the process based on his experience. He taught me that someone in their early 50s that never ran before in their life could train for and run a half marathon.
He started me on the right path which included what training programs were out there and which one he recommended. He guided me through what to expect along the way. I also had a few other friends that had ran quite a bit in the past and asked for their advise along the way. These mentors gave me the tools to accomplish my goal. Eight months after I started training I completed my first half marathon. Due to a shoulder injury and surgery I had to walk that one, but six months after that I was able to run the entire distance of 13.1 miles.
I would not have even started that process without the guidance of a mentor. What dreams do you have that you want to turn into goals but just need a mentor? Reach out and ask for help. Many people would enjoy passing on their knowledge to help someone out.
Proverbs 27:17 states "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."
I loved playing cards as a kid with my relatives. It was an inexpensive way to have quality time as a family. Canasta was one of my favorite games, but we played a wide variety of games.
As I got into college, I was exposed to different variations of poker games. We would break out our jars of pennies and gamble on the games in the evenings. No one really made any money or lost any over time. The stakes were pretty low. It was more about enjoying the challenge of the game.
The biggest poker game now days is Texas Hold Em. The object of poker is to have the best value (combination) of cards out of those people that are playing. The twist is that if they “bluff” and get you to give up on the hand, they win the money. They may have a horrible group of cards, but if they convince you that they have a better hand, they win. One way to do that is to “go all in.” This means that they are willing to gamble all of their money on that hand to win it. If they lose, they are through and have lost all of their money. In our game of pennies it would not be a big decision, but in Las Vegas there are people that gamble with thousands of dollars.
They would have to be fully committed to winning that hand of cards to do that. Are you willing to “go all in” on your goals? What are you willing to give up to be fully committed? There will always be a price if it is a meaningful challenging goal. If I want to lose a lot of weight, I will have to give up many of the foods that I love. If I want to go on an expensive vacation next year, I will have to skip some of the smaller purchases throughout the year to save the money. It may be eating at home instead of at restaurants. Your goal may take more of your time that you may have spent on something else if you did not have this goal.
Have you heard people say that they were dealt a “bad hand” in life? People playing poker win many hands that would be considered “bad hands” because of their approach. Do not use this as an excuse for not being successful if life. Take control of your situation and make something of it.
Tell me what kind of a hand you have made the best of lately? Leave your comments below.
It is Saturday and I have been asked by my Sunday school teacher to lead the class discussion in the morning due to illness on his part. I have done this in the past and have never had a lesson already to go just in case I am needed. I always rely on inspiration.
This past weekend I ran a half marathon in St. Louis and figured that I could use it as some kind of tie in, but nothing was coming to me. I requested help from my Facebook friends and Marti came through. She suggested a topic of “Staying the course, even with the detours”.
During the race, we had a specific course that we had to follow. If was preplanned to cover a specific distance and you could not vary from it. Our lives are not that easy. We do not have them laid out before us at birth and given to us and we just have to follow the designated path. There are no boundaries to keep us on course. We have free will to take whatever path we want. I can think of many “detours” along the way that distract us from the end goal.
They come in the form of relationships, kids, career changes, health issues, etc. I had a co-worker that had some health issues earlier this year and was diagnosed as having cancer and had to ask for time off of work. He lost his battle with cancer this past week and is now in heaven. This is definitely a detour for his family that was left behind. Marti’s daughter, Steffanie, would have celebrated her 31st birthday yesterday, but instead lost her life in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Her family and friends lives have been drastically affected by this tragedy. It is hard to understand God’s will and the course that He has set for us.
We have no way of knowing what will change the direction of our lives. We have to keep focused on the ultimate goal of being like Christ and knowing that we will end up with eternal life with Him in heaven. We do this by being aware of our actions and how they affect those around us. We do this by knowing that God is with us at all times, good and bad. We can lean on Him for support in the tough times and rejoice with Him in our good times.
He says it clearly in Psalm 119-1-8 (The Message)
1 You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. 2 You're blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. 3 That's right - you don't go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. 4 You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. 5 Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; 6 Then I'd never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. 7 I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. 8 I'm going to do what you tell me to do; don't ever walk off and leave me.
What do you need to do to get back on course?
God has blessed you with many talents. Use these talents to be a gift to others. I am talking about mentoring others. This could be a co-worker, a friend or just an acquaintance that you meet.
Proverbs 27:17 says "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."
At some point in your life, you had the opportunity to learn from someone else. That is how we grow in knowledge and skills. You can pay for education by attending school or workshops. Think back about the people that played the biggest role in your growth in your career. If it was a teacher, they probably gave you that extra attention that you needed at the right time in your studies. That was not what they were paid to do. They just did it. If it was a co-worker or boss, they probably took you under their wing and coached you along the way.
The mentoring that you received that meant the most to you was probably not paid for with money. It was given to you as a gift from that person. We hear the phrase, "pay it forward", so often. Do not hoard your talents. Share them with others. I have found that the more that I teach someone about a specific topic, the more that I learn about it and I find my knowledge growing.
I recently had the opportunity to mentor a friend about self publishing a book. She had been trying for years and was discouraged about not making progress going the traditional route with a publisher. It did not take a lot of time on my part to coach her through the self publishing process and she was able to have a published book available through Amazon within about two weeks. The joy that it gave me to see someone else become successful was all that I needed to know that it was all worth it.
What are your talents? How can you share them with others and help them be as successful as you have been? It reminds me of a quote that I read. "I go for a walk and look at my foot prints." As you go through life, you have the ability to impact more lives than you can ever imagine. What kind of an impact are you going to make?