Archive for August, 2009

Do The Wise Waste Time Thinking?

I was sitting in my chair earlier just thinking and a thought entered my head, “I should be down throwing some laundry in the washer.” And then another thought, “I should be working on the next workbook.” I started to think about how just sitting and thinking was wasting so much time that I could honestly use for more useful and more productive things. I almost got up and started getting busy. But, I stayed right where I was seated and grabbed my laptop to blog this thinking time.

Because that’s what I’m doing right now. I am thinking.

I wonder: Do we not spend enough time thinking about things before deciding our next course of action when we have a decision in direction to take?

Do we not spend enough time thinking about our attitudes when we have suffered a loss or been hurt by someone or something?

Do we not spend enough time thinking about how we can change the course of our lives?

Do we spend time wishing and hoping and praying for what we want without time to think about how we can get it if we’d just realistically “try” to grasp it? (Newsflash: most of the time what we have asked for is right in front of us if we’d just be brave enough to grasp it.)

Do we spend too little time thinking about our futures and how to take the blessings we have right now and make sure they are bigger, better, and more precious to us in the future?

Ok, so I could go on and on. And so I sit here and think about how if I get up and move on to those tasks before I’ve allowed myself ample time to sit, reflect, ponder, and just think about what is going on in my life right now and how this stuff before me “fits” into my future and whether or not it really means anything to me at all, I realized that what I need to do is keep sitting here.

I am not done processing the information in my head. I need time to think about it all: facts, people, conversations, emails, and all of the stuff surrounding this one thing. I need to think about the past and how this came to fruition. I need to think about the present and what it means to me now and how I should treat it. And then I need to think about the future, and make sure it’s something I either want to continue to grow because it has value to me, or whether it’s something that wasn’t that meaningful from the get-go. In order to figure this out, I need time to process it all and hopefully engage in some discussions over my thoughts once I’m finished thinking.

The circumstances of what I’m talking about aren’t important for this blog. But, what is important is the fact that while I sat here and thought about how the thinking was keeping me from doing anything productive, I realized that for today and today only, it is exactly what I need to do.

It is wise for a man (or woman) to take the time to think things through to be certain of his/her plans. But, is it a fool who becomes certain of his desires and never does anything to obtain them if they are good for him? Wise thinking requires thought followed by action. Otherwise, nothing in life would ever change and that would defeat the point of trying to change it. Just something to think about.

Thinking isn’t always wasting time, but thinking all the time can be.

It depends on what you do with the outcome.

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Lost In The Land Of Assumptions

We’ve all been there. It’s a place I refer to as the land of assumptions. We have no responses to questions we’ve asked, information requested, opinions needed, or just conversation from someone we consider to have valuable input. And sometimes it’s just friendly conversation or clarification with a friend that we’re needing.

So, we shoot off a proposal, or an email to a friend, or leave a phone message, or send a text and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And we get…

S
I
L
E
N
C
E

Nothing. Dead-air. And we’re left to wonder…has this person become ill? Have they been kidnapped? Were they hit by a bus? Are they mad? Did I do something wrong? Did I say something to upset them? Did they agree? Do they not agree? Do they care? Are we still friends? Have they moved? Are we moving forward? Backward? Have they changed their mind? Do they need more information? Do they need more time?

The more time that passes between the communication or conversation we initiated, the less important the communication in return seems. So those questions keep circling. Sometimes we assume the answer. And when we assume, we’re either going to assume the positive or negative response.

Negative:
They weren’t interested.
They think it’s unimportant.
They don’t really care.
They’re just a big meanie who’s ignoring me.

Positive:
They are just really busy, and will repond later.
They are out of town, but will contact me after their return.
They are interested, but seeking further information or guidance.
They are really interested, but don’t want to show it.

If we are the person who is on the receiving end and waiting for a response from someone, we need to chill out. Ask, wait, and if after a week or so there is no response, assume that you should move on. But, don’t assume you know why. Assuming is risky. And it’s like saying we can read minds. We can’t. We can take an educated guess, but we can’t read minds.

So, you may not ever know what you wanted to know, hear what you needed to hear, learn what you wanted to learn, get opinions from those you respected to ask, or communicate with those you sought to communicate with, but you won’t have assumed wrong. Don’t assume. Just move on. And if the individual ever comes back and wants to know why you did so, explain to them that there was a lack of communication, but not that you assumed anything.

Besides-if we assume and we assume wrong-might we be guilty of gossip within our own mind and heart of *why* we didn’t receive a response, because we don’t actually know and have assumed from the get go? Just a thought. On the flip side, I also will be sure to respond to individuals to make sure I don’t leave them to jump to assumptions.

After all, it would really bum me out to think that someone assumed the wrong thing because of my own lack of response. I just might miss out on something I indeed wanted very much. And, I’m not willing to assume the opportunity will always exist.

Assume nothing, seize everything, and communicate to avoid confusion. If you do not, your lack of communication will set you up for failure from the get go. Without proper and timely communication, assumptions will win every time. And why would we risk what we really care about to something like an assumption that is usually incorrect? Are we honestly willing to risk things we care about to incorrect assumptions?

If people are assuming, they are probably lost. Stop and help them. Communicate regularly and stop the assumptions. It just might save something you care about.

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Grateful Over Grace

I was just thinking. (And, yes I am aware that I probably spend too much time thinking, lol!) I was thinking about the woman that I want to be versus the woman that I am. (Hold the chuckles for later…I am a work in progress. I always will be!)

I want to be a graceful woman.

But not the way most people would think.

To explain this for the purpose of my blog: The dictionary defines grace as elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action. A pleasing or attractive quality, favor or good will, receiving a positive benefit that one does not deserve to receive.

God’s grace is the reason I have been given my salvation. And I want to be graceful and grateful for what He has given to me. So that means I can be graceful in beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.

This to me means living by bringing honor to God in the way I act, talk, present myself, assist others, and choose my attitude for the day.

I can be an elegant and graceful woman showing my thanks and gratitude for the grace I have received. And those types of qualities are favored. Living a Christ-centered life is how I strive to live my life.

I can’t imagine that living a life honoring God in my thoughts, actions, and deeds would not mean living as a beautiful and graceful woman. To me that’s what beauty is. It’s so much more than skin deep.

I just find myself so grateful for the grace that God has given to me. I know I didn’t earn it or deserve it. But, it’s such a beautiful gift, that I want to be just as beautiful. I am so grateful for the grace that I have received, and I want to radiate that beautiful gift in the life that I live.

It may be difficult to understand what I am explaining, and it may be something that is beyond the blog. I just know that the grace I have received, I don’t take for granted, and I want to live it’s beauty by creating and leaving behind beautiful things with it. If I just hold on to it, yet do nothing in this life to make a difference, does that really bring honor to God?

I don’t think anything more beautiful than God’s grace exists, and I hope my life and actions reflect that.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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Get 100+ Church Volunteers Instantly

Ok, I have to admit. Inaction and sitting like a bump on a log drives me nuts. But when I sit in a church and see so many bodies, I wonder…how do we get more volunteers?

Volunteers

Volunteers (Photo credit: vastateparksstaff)

Statistically, I’ve read that it’s 10% of the people who do 90% of the work.

Yet the 90% are sitting in chairs and attending services. Those are untapped resources as far as time and talents are concerned. So the church is full, yet it is lacking volunteers to run efficiently or prevent the ones who do everything from burning out. And eventually even your best people can burnout if they are doing too much and not prioritizing their time, talents, and resources efficiently.

So, where have all the people gone? Why, they are inside sitting down!

My questions are:

  • Do people not know how to get involved?
  • Do they need an invitation to find a place to serve?
  • Do they need to be inspired? (People don’t need motivation…they need inspiration! Inspiration motivates and maybe an idea can spark something within!)

I had a few thoughts as to solutions:
1. To gain 100 new volunteers, remove 100 seats. Those standing are your new volunteers. Give them a warm welcome, a hand shake, and a personal invitation to join a ministry or fill a need. (Need 200? Need 2000? Depending upon the size of your church you could remove more or less chairs.) This would be your instant solution to gain the number of volunteers you are aiming for. But is it an “instant” solution that we need?

2. Call for volunteers from each section in church. Ask for a few volunteers from each age group and life stage. Instead of asking each family with young children to serve inside and out of the church, get a few of your youth, a few retirees, and a few younger families to volunteer. This gives people a way to work together, meet new people, and doesn’t pull from just one people group.

3. Ask individuals to volunteer for one weekend service a month. Or, ask them to serve in a community project at least once per quarter. Another option is to ask invite someone to serve or volunteer for a specified time frame. Done quarterly, this gives individuals a way to try out an area without being forever committed to it. People who are not sure what they want to do will feel less pressure to get stuck in something if they can simply try it. This will help single parents, traveling individuals, and swamped families feel they can contribute without a weekly commitment or indefinite time period.

4. Make it possible for families to volunteer. Again, parents of young children and single parents who volunteer and attend meetings more than likely have children at home alone or with a sitter/the other spouse. And some families with children in sports and activities are too busy to split up. So, are family volunteering opportunities available for greeting? Serving? Cooking? Creating? Delivering? Setting up? Cleaning up? Preparing crafts for Sunday school classes or VBS? What about family missions? Look for areas where parents and children can serve together once in awhile. This way EVERYONE can get involved, and you can have multiple generations working together.

Oh, the opportunities for volunteering are endless!

 

Just food for thought…

What are some of your ideas?

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You Are What You Love

I personally have been studying Ephesians and Proverbs together. Not for any other reason than to make it a personal goal to live my life to higher standards to glorify and honor God. I felt that before I could bring more good things about in my life and reach a deeper level in my relationships, I needed to Honor my Father first (that being Father God, Author of this Universe).

As I studied these chapters in my Bible, I began to think about love. And I thought about how what we love, what we cherish, and what we place the most value on shows where our priorities in life are.

So here were some of the examples I saw from people as I studied:

People with the prize cars– A person whines over his mean and nasty wife leaving him, but gloats that he got to keep the car. What I learned: It’s important to spend some time not just washing and waxing your prized possessions but designating some spouse time just for shining the woman you love. Like a car, if a woman is left out, she will lose her value, deteriorate, and not feel as meaningful to her husband. She requires maintenance ( time, attention, and affection), although I wouldn’t recommend taking her in for a 10,000 mile inspection. You might not survive that!

If he spent some time on the love of his life, she would’ve remained the love of his life. Instead, he spent his time on the car and all of the projects, which is exactly what he has left to show for his love. He loves a car and still has it. (And ladies…this applies to designating some guy time as well. Don’t just say you love him…SHOW HIM you love him. He’s too macho to say he likes to be spoiled, but he does!)

People in search of money-The parent who wants to hit the jackpot (again) this time. What I learned: People who love money are always searching for it, and give up the treasure right in front of them. They always run to where the riches are supposedly found, and when 20 years later they still haven’t found happiness or the jackpot they were chasing, they realize their school aged kiddos are now college bound. Those rich memories have slipped by. Don’t chase after too many things, and don’t miss what is sitting right in front of you. Riches and blessings are all around us if we’d only learn to love them as such.

People who think they’ve failed at life-The individual who is thinking that maybe they could have gone further, done more, or had more to show for their successes. What I learned: So you may not have the boat, dream car, mansion on a hilltop, or cushy retirement traveling the world. But, you are a reflection of what you have loved in your life-community, church, family, spouse, children, grandchildren, volunteering your time and talents, and a simple life that allowed you to contribute to what was important. Sometimes it’s not about what we can get in our lives, but what we can contribute instead.

And that’s a life to love with people to love.

It’s not always about WHAT you love. It’s about the PEOPLE you love.

Better get to lovin’!

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Bees, Benadryl, And Bible Study

I was on my way to Bible study last night when I stopped to run an errand on the way. I left the windows of my car down, was gone about two minutes, and returned to my car to continue my drive to the church. As soon as I sat down, I immediately knew something was out of sorts. I had that “weird, something is not right” kind of feeling. I grabbed my cell phone, as I thought that maybe something had happened to someone I know. Nope, no messages and no missed calls. Something was way off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I remember thinking that I felt panicked, but there was no reason for me to feel so. And then I felt the pain in my back.

All of the sudden, I realized that I wasn’t feeling well and my back was hurting. In fact, my back was burning with pain. It felt like someone was burning me with something hot. I continued to drive to the church, when it got so bad and I finally realized that I was being bitten or stung by something. I looked down and there was a BIG, black, hairy, bee on my shirt between me and the car seat. I realized that I’d been stung.

I managed to pull the car off the road while screaming, swatting, and swerving to miss the other cars on the road. As I sat in the seat waiting for the cars behind me to pass so I could open my door to get out, I was in a full blown panic. There in my car was a big hairy critter who was obviously fearless, and I figured he was planning on stinging me again. But I remembered that bees can’t sting twice. Or so I thought.

I thought the bee had flown away, so I got back into the car and sped the last 50 yards to the church parking lot. I wanted out of my car, and I wanted to be around other people in case I had a reaction to the sting. Once about 10 years ago, I was stung by a wasp and my heart started beating too fast, so I didn’t want to experience the same thing and be alone.

At the church, I was going to have someone check my car to make sure that the bee was in fact gone before going to Walgreens to get some Benadryl. And to my surprise, I got stung again while walking with an individual to look for some Benadryl on site. How in the??? I was being stung under my blouse! As soon as the bee stung my stomach, I immediately thought of my options. I could keep getting stung, I could lift my shirt up and hope it flew out, or I could take the shirt off.

I didn’t want to be remembered forever as the woman who ditched her shirt in church. I don’t care if it would’ve been in flames. I was keeping it on. So, I opted to shake it out and hope not to get stung again. Sure enough, it flew out. I don’t really remember, but I think a guy stomped on it. Forever my hero, lol! That bee had stung it’s last time!

Another friend pulled in the parking lot as I was about to leave to head to Walgreens, and thankfully she drove me over to the store. It gave us a chance to talk and laugh over my being a bee sting victim, and a chance to attend Bible study together. We got there late, but we got there.

As I thought about it as I laid in a Benadryl induced daze and sleepiness, I realized that I could see a lesson in this whole bee drama. After several conversations about people seeming ok on the surface, but hiding pain, hurts, and life crisis’ underneath it all, it became apparent when I got stung by the bee that it is all too easy to do.

I could have gone into the church and pretended that nothing was wrong, when I really wanted someone to check my car to make sure it was bee free for me to drive to the store. No one would’ve seen my sting, and known that I was scared. (Ok, so I was terrified of the “Boogey-bee” (boogey man) hiding in my car!)

I could’ve driven my car to the store to seek help alone by pretending I wasn’t too shaken up to do so. I could put on a poker face. (Ante up, you bee you!)

I could have avoided the church altogether in fear of what people would think in the first place. So, it was only a bee sting. Two bee stings. Big deal. To who? It’s huge to me! Everyone reacts to crisis differently as do the body’s natural defenses. You should see my stomach today. I honestly have not seen anything like this before. It’s bad!

We never know how each of us will react until we actually go through or have been through similar circumstances. Regardless of whether we have or haven’t experienced the same things, we can still be there to pull each other through in prayer and in our actions. The biggest lesson I learned is that we have to open our mouths to let people know what we’ve been stung by. They might not have the antidote we need to survive, but they might be able to get us to someone who does.

Don’t be afraid to speak your needs to your brothers and sisters in Christ. We CAN do more than just pray for each other! I “BEE”LIEVE that!

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Honoring God With Your Fruit

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

~ Colossians 1:10, NLT

After reading this verse, I wondered how I am HONORING God in each of my life areas?

How do I HONOR God in my:

Spirituality (bible study, fellowship, prayer life, church, small group)
Relationships (with those I love and those I don’t even know)
Career
Health (how I treat my body and maintain it)
Community (volunteering in community AND CHURCH)
Finances (how I spend, save, and donate)
Self Improvement
Rest and Relaxation
Entertainment (how/where I spend time and the activities I take part in)

To Honor Him, requires that we not just spend time with Him once a week in church. It is a way of life that literally means we will live to meet not only higher standard, but as people who produce fruit in all our activities in each life area. And when we live to HONOR The Lord Our God, we will produce that fruit in every area, which leads right into getting to know Him on a deeper level.

My prayer this morning was posted on my Facebook wall:

Christine Pechstein My thoughts this morning are related to the JOY and depth of life we can experience each day when we look for how God is revealing himself to us as our Protector, Father, and Creator………My prayer is that He open our eyes to see and know Him.

My prayer was that He open our eyes to see and know Him. And we will get to know Him through the fruit we produce by living each of our life areas because we make a decision to stand firm and make sure the way we live honors God. Then we will get to know Him deeper and better, just as the passage says.

It is not by accident that I am so passionate about teaching life balance and Christ-Centered life management. It is because I know Him deeper, I have learned what my passion and purpose is. I couldn’t help but write about his and relate it to the life balancing. There is purpose to this. And that purpose and passion to bring HONOR to him by actively living it out does two things:

1. It makes me realize I still have work to do in my own life-always will
2. It makes that passion and fire in my belly to teach all of God’s people burn brighter

I want each person who reads this to ask:

How can I bring HONOR to God today in the choices I make? Will I produce fruit for Him in my nine life areas today?

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