Archive for March, 2009

The View From A Bud

I took a walk after dinner the other night with my youngest daughter. She rode her scooter, and I decided to ride with her which was comical. Two people on a scooter built for one, and every time we hit a crack in the sidewalk, we’d screech to a halt and just about fall over each other.

As we rode around the block, I quickly realized how out of shape I am, so I decided to walk. I haven’t tried to be that limber since I ran track back in high school. I knew I would feel that the next day! Yes, that muscle burn was setting in.

As I walked I noticed that the trees are budding. Soon the leaves will start emerging. This thought process started evolving, and the following is what I ended up with:
What if we had leaves like the trees, yet we didn’t shed our leaves at the end of a season? If trees held on to their old leaves, because they suited them last season, would they really need to grow new leaves for the new season? Could this be related to the human seasons of life?
Oh, you bet! Yippee! I got so excited as I began to see this connection. I started to look at every tree that I walked past!

As people, we have opportunities to serve, work, and volunteer. We have gifts and talents that we can use in different areas, and we can look to God for His will and purpose. Those are the leaves of a season. But, what if some of our leaves are to be shed? What if we are to shed them to let new leaves and buds start to bloom in our lives, so God can equip us with new opportunities and directions?

If we never shed the old, how will we ever see the new or find time for it? And if we do all of it, by holding onto all of the old activities while adding the new, wouldn’t we become so weighed down that we’d eventually break? Would this cause disease to set in, stunt our growth, or confuse us?

Most definitely! As I continued my walk, I got goose bumps. I actually call them God bumps, because they are different than just a chill or normal goose bump. They stem from the soul and radiate outward from that internal place inside, and man, they run deep. I began to see how important life balance is in a new way.

Of course, I know life balance is important. Of course, I know how to do it. Of course, I must maintain balance just like everyone else. But, for the first time in my career, I saw it from a God perspective, and I learned that we must pray, align with God, reprioritize, let go of the old, clean and clear some of our life activities and commitments, and expect new and exciting things to blossom each season.

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What Does Approval Cost?

It’s so much easier to run with the crowds. All throughout life we find that in certain circumstances we don’t want to rock the boat. We want to stay with the familiar. We want to security of the known. We want people to like us. We want their approval on what we do, say, and become. But, what does that approval cost us?

When we have a vision or a goal that surpasses what others can comprehend or even view as logical, they likely will not support where we decide to go. They may consider us to be “crackpots” or “dreamers”. We are neither or the two. Crackpots and dreamers will not have a well thought out plan, the action steps, and the will to persevere through the difficult phases that arise to materialize the vision that is planted within us. Only a vision without action behind it remains just a dream. Everyone has a dream, but not everyone will make their dreams reality. There is a difference between “crackpots” and visionary people.

If we waited for everyone to give us their approval to to try, we’d never succeed at anything. The truth is, if we constantly sought approval from everyone, we’d never even start. We’d all be stuck right where we are indefinately. Thankfully, we don’t need to live that way.

Leaders who truly have the calling to lead will not set out to win votes before they take on that role, especially when the calling is from God. Think of Moses and Noah. I’m sure that they were thought of as “crackpots” and “dreamers”, but they didn’t wait for approval from friends, family, and coworkers before doing what God had called them to do.

Living your calling and living your dreams to make them become reality may cost us a few friendships and our comfort for a period of time. But, in reality that is a small price to pay for living out our passions, purpose, and unleashing our potential. Especially when that potential is given to us from God.

The initial cost doesn’t compare to what the end result will bring. Go, do, and become. Or, wait for approval and let that be your “excuse”.

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30 Day Challenge

What’s the 30 Day Challenge everyone is talking about?

Yes, it’s true! We have added another new product to enhance the life balance and coaching services of our subscribers! It’s a six page, 30 day, short-term plan that assists individuals who wish to change their life in one of the nine different life areas. We often think that life change is something that happens way off into the future, and we automatically believe it will just “happen” when we get older.

The truth is that you and I can achieve life change anytime we want to without waiting an eternity to see results! All we have to do is have a dream or an idea, set a goal, and work toward it. Most times, we know how to dream, we know how to set a goal, but when it comes to working toward it, we think we must have these elaborate plans in place to get anywhere. If we continue to think that way, we will never get past the dream and idea phase. To succeed you must have an action plan with immediate steps you can start taking today!

Dream it. Plan it. Live it. Master it. Become it.

Give yourself permission and stop waiting for someone else to tell you it’s ok to start living!
Subscribe to become a Life Change Subscriber or order your copy today.

In case you are intrested, the March 2009 plan is available! Take a sneak peek below.

March 2009
30 Day Challenge Life Area: Community
Challenge and Goal: Get involved in your church

This six page challenge will also show you how much of your time you spend in just this one life area, so you can readjust if necessary. It’s a good one, because EVERY believer should be giving some of their time, talents, and gifts to the church.Your challenge for the next 30 days is to set your action steps and get involved at your church.As a Life Change Subscriber you will have access to the 30 Day Challenge Forums. Take advantage of encouragement, ask questions, meet other “Challengers” and talk about how your life is changing in just 30 quick days! Check in often-Life change often!

Visit my life balance and career coaching website at http://www.moveintoaction.com/

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Friends Who Check Under The Bed

This has been a week full of tragedy and turmoil. Friends have been hit hard in so many aspects of their lives, and no matter which direction I turn, I see the opposition in full force. Satan seems to be lurking everywhere!
Yesterday a new thought process began as I learned of specific events affecting someone I see day after day. Did I know? Should I have known? Could I have done anything? Did I just assume that things would be just fine? Did I take the time to ask? Why not?

Those questions have been circling around in my head for two days now. Do we focus on reaching out to only those who are outside our churches or our immediate circle of friends? Should we make sure that we are reaching out to those we see day after day, Sunday after Sunday, bible study after bible study? After all, just because people are Christians and part of our church family, certainly doesn’t mean that their lives are all just peachy.

People within our own circles-at home, at work, at church, and in our communities in general all have needs and can use a shoulder, an affirmation, or just a simple, “Hey, how are you doing?” From time to time, all people need the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pastor, a church member, or a stranger. Why? It’s a little thing called humanism. We are all humans. We all live in a broken world. We all face the same evil opposition that lurks in the dark.

Tonight at bible study, during our prayer time, I thought about how friendships in Christ would look. If I were to be a genuine friend in the spirit of Christ to people-what would that look like? After our study ended, a friend came to sit by me and we began to chat. It was the first time all day that I could open up, talk about the heaviness I felt, celebrate a victory of hers with her (Yay, God!), and take a deep breath in relief. As soon as I left the building, the title to this blog entry struck me (thanks, God!)

Being a friend in Christ to those we know and to those we meet who have needs, means that we are not afraid to be with them only in the safety of the light. It means that when the opposition is in full force, when darkness tries to creep in and paralyze us in fear, we take them by the hand and check under their bed for the monster. We stand by them and pray with them as we walk to the closet together to make sure that the boogey-man is not lurking in there. We call upon Jesus together no matter how dark or scary it may be. We stand together.
Being a friend in Christ is just being there and having the courage to say, “I’ll stand and pray with you.”

Tonight I will sleep soundly knowing that there was a person who helped me check under my bed. After this week’s events, I’ll be sure I do the same for those I come into contact with. I think I got the point. Thanks, God!

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Our Comforted Constitution

I was writing my blog entries tonight and had the CBN Christian Network on the TV. I wasn’t really paying attention to the program until Feed The Children aired. After watching this program about the starving and abandoned children that are dying, I knew that God was getting my attention, because that was the issue. I wasn’t paying much attention.

I was so focused on the economy, my business, checking my email, and thinking about my daughter’s slumber party, that I wasn’t getting it. Thankfully, God has many ways to get my attention even when He chooses a method that isn’t comfortable.

I was thinking about our economy crisis and the desperate attempts to create a bail out that will never be paid off before the second coming of Christ. Yes, America’s crisis is bad. Our economy stinks, gas prices are rising, and it costs me more to drive my car. Instead of focusing on the issue of starving and dying people in another region of the world, I was soley focused on what was affecting me, right here in my own little bubble.

The people in this African village have no gas station, no autos, and there is no economy. There are no jobs, no money, and no healthcare benefits, period. In fact, there are no hospitals, no medications, and children are being abandoned because their parents are dying.

No, I’m afraid we Americans and Christians are so self-focused that we overlook what is happening all over the world. We choose to focus on the problems that touch us directly and make our lives uncomfortable. Americans send tweets of this nature: “ I lost my job and cannot afford cable. I’m miserable. Help! Somebody give me a job!”

The people in other countries don’t even have email. They don’t send tweets, and there is no cable TV. And they have no grocery stores, no clean water supplies, and they live in one bedroom shacks for homes. We complain about the lack of affordable health care coverage. Other countries don’t even have doctors or hospitals available to get emergency care. Yet, we moan, groan, and storm our government, because we are treated unfairly?

Under our Constitution we have the right to freedom. We do not have the freedom to receive all rights, just because. By trying to run our government this way, we will run it out of business. No business runs itself that way because they can’t afford to, and our government can’t either. After all, who is going to bail out the government?

What is being an American really about? The right to be comfortable? I don’t remember that being part of the U.S. Constitution. America used to be built on Independence. Now the citizens are spoiled and dependent.

We want to receive bailouts instead of pride ourselves at being the bailout for those weaker than we are. America has gone from the land of opportunity to the land of the comfortable and spoiled. We are a land that values the rights of comfort over the founding principles and God. We are a nation that screams poverty and injustice while watching cable on our television sets with the fast food we purchased in front of us.

One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. That was our foundation.

One bankrupt nation, without God, with corruption, but comfort for all. Is this what our goal is?
When we look outside of the comfort of our bubble, we can begin to see where we have begun to break down as a nation. And in order to regain our strength, someone is going to have to make people uncomfortable. Success doesn’t come from comfort. Blood, sweat, and tears hurt, man. But, that’s where our dignity, thankfulness for what we do have, and our willingness to share will impact more than just ourselves.

Be an American that impacts the world and make a difference today. Stop thinking about your comfort by making a sacrifice to bring comfort to someone else. It’s time to start living under God, with liberty and justice for all.
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Visit Feed the children. It costs less than two value meals per month. And if you have a hospital nearby, clean running water, a toilet with paper, food (no matter how little), a TV, a beat up car or better, a pet that’s not kept for food…stop whining. Focus on someone other than yourself. I did, and my perspective has changed. No more whining.
http://www.feedthechildren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=dotorg_homepage

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Why We’re Not All American Idols

I don’t watch TV much. I can’t even name the shows in the Prime Time line up! But tonight, my kids and I watched the auditions for American Idol. In fact, the only time we do watch it is during audition week. After that we really have no interest in it. But, to us it is fun to watch the people who can sing, and especially the ones that can’t. Now before anyone thinks we are making fun of other people’s failure, I’ll say that we are not. What my kids laugh at is me.

As I watched the auditions, I was coaching the individuals from my living room by talking to them. Yes, I know, they are on TV. They can’t hear me, they can’t respond, but my passion for living takes over and I can’t help but to start asking the questions.

Here’s a scenario:

A contestant felt his life, hopes, and dreams were over, because he wasn’t selected to move to the next round in Hollywood. Yet he had a passion for music, played guitar constantly, and had the support of his family who understood his passion and gift. He wasn’t untalented by any means. They just felt that he wasn’t idol material.

Does that mean that just because the panel of judges on the show felt he wasn’t idol material that he had no real musical talent? Not at all. I watched and listened to him. He did! So, now what? Is his life over? Do those talents, skills, and his passion for music die all of the sudden to become nothing? No way! The skills are still there, the talent still exists, and his passion is his. It just means that he will have to go a different route than American Idol to become the musician he desires to be.

As I thought about this further, I realized that maybe he was not to become the American Idol and have access to instant fame. Why not? Because, God may want us to experience specific things in life to get us ready for what He has planned for us. Maybe there are experiences that we are to encounter, trials to endure, and learning opportunities that our Almighty Father wants us to experience to grow us, mature us, and transform us into the person He has designed us to be. Take that away, and we may not be able to handle the blessings He has in store for us!

Now, we also have to consider real talent vs. wanna be talent. I wanna be a lot of things. But, that doesn’t mean that I am going to be signing up for Iron Chef anytime soon. I know that I really am not a talented cook. I’ve mentioned my lack of cooking talent in blog entries before, and I’ll say it again. My talent is definately not in my kitchen. Especially when I can be cooking in my own home and set off the fire alarms in my neighbors house. Yes, the smoke really has been that thick! I know my place in the kitchen. It is sitting on the sidelines to coach the chef! I am a talented coach, but I am not going to be a world famous chef. And thank goodness. You do not want me cooking in any restaurant you plan on eating at. I don’t do rare, medium rare, and well done. Nope. When I cook the choices are one: Burnt beyond recognition.

God didn’t design us with one-size fits all. He gave each of us a specific set of gifts, talents, and skills. Each of us is just as unique in our talents as we are in our fingerprints. Why? We are all here for a specific purpose. Yes, God created us all with a unique purpose! How awesome is that?

He created some to sing, some to dance, some to crunch numbers, some to teach, some to heal and some to paint. What He didn’t do was create us all to become American Idols. And, if you watched the show tonight, only 16 people left with approval to head to Hollywood. God creates a handful of us to fufill specific purposes. But that doesn’t make our talents any less valuable. We are all important. Each of us has a purpose and God didn’t just choose 16 of us. He planned our purpose even before we were conceived and provides our skills and talents to match his plan for us.

See, when we idolize, fixate, or base our self worth on what a panel of judges says we are or aren’t, when we base our worth on worldly goals. When we stubbornly pursue the wrong talents (that would be me basing my worth on becoming a world famous chef), we forget who and what we really are. Does failure stop us in our tracks? That’s up to us. If it’s truly a gift or a talent, and it is our passion, we will keep on going. Sometimes God wants us to take a different route to get to where it is we are going.

We are individuals, unique by design, made by the God of the universe. He has plans for us, He gave us the tools, skills, and talents to get to where He wants us to go. And thankfully, He doesn’t require that we all be able to sing to get there.

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