What’s Your Talk When They Walk?

You can’t change someone else, their brand of crazy, their attitude, or even their perspective or opinions. They are who they are, and you are who you are. Only God does the changing when we yield to His hand. Expecting change and then getting angry when it doesn’t happen is simply a recipe for disaster and misery.

 

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Yet, we all do it, don’t we? If you’re in leadership, I can almost guarantee you do this, unless, you’ve mastered the art of waiting patiently for God to “do His thing.” It’s tough to work alongside someone day in and day out, see their flaws, be convinced of what they need to change, suggest needed change, and then fail to see any successful change, isn’t it? Honestly, it can be downright aggravating, frustrating, really! Although, it can be quite a challenge to pour into someone all that you have within and still watch them walk away, we must remember Christ went through this very thing.

Jesus spent hours, days, weeks and even years with Judas Iscariot. Judas stayed with him, ate meals with him, visited the sick with him and even watched him heal and deliver the bound. Yet, in the end, Judas still chose to betray Him and walk away. He chose to walk away from Jesus’ love, forgiveness and promise of hope.

Jesus, also, spent the same amount of time, and more, with Peter. Peter stayed close by His side. He was one of the three who went to the Garden of Gethsemane with Christ. Yet, when it came to down to the heat of the moment after Christ’s arrest, Peter denied even knowing the very man who had saved him. Thankfully, there was a moment of clarity later on for Peter, and he returned to Christ.

Let us never believe we are better than our Master, our Lord and Savior. If He had people walk away, we will, too. It’s how we handle these moments that will determine our success or failure in leadership. Do we let them walk away without a word, or do we confront? Do we confront with love or cruelty and hatred? Do we pray for them after they leave, or do we simply bash and gossip about the wrong choices they obviously have made?

 

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Let us always trust God is still in control even in the midst of our disappointments. Let us always turn to Him in the middle of our hurt and anger over someone walking away, and let us always follow in His footsteps of loving confrontation followed by prayerful concern for that one who left.

We never know who might be spurring us toward our destiny or who will, eventually, come back to join us in the journey.

 

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Desperate Living

Sometimes, we can get so caught up in our successes of today or our failures of yesterday that we accept the notion “all eyes are on us,” and that our success or failure will determine the destiny of those around us. Can I tell you, this is so far from truth! Yet, so many get caught up with this misconception from time to time.

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Truth be told, this mindset actually stems from a source of PRIDE! To have the belief that our actions, or lack thereof, can determine the destiny of someone else is placing ourselves in the position of God Himself, and He doesn’t give us that kind of authority. Sure, our actions can effect someone else, and they can bring pain and difficulty, or joy and freedom, into a part of that person’s life; however, God is the only One who holds the key to someone’s destiny! What we do, does matter; please don’t get me wrong. Yet, over the years, I have watched too many people who believe their actions can make or break another person’s future. To allow ourselves the privilege of this kind of thinking is to simply think too highly of ourselves and our impact on other people.

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We are all just living desperate lives of survival here, and we are all simply called to love God and to love our fellow man. We are instructed to reach others for His Kingdom by showing them His love and goodness. When we lay down our pride and work together to this end, we become a unified front against the desperation of this earthly life. We become the Body of Christ to fulfill His purpose and His glory and to put the enemy to shame!

So, let us never think too highly of our successes nor too lowly of our failures. Let us always encourage each other to see the greatness of our God rather than the greatness of ourselves. Let us lend a helping hand to lift up those who might have fallen a little lower, and pray without ceasing for those who have risen a little higher. Let’s put our hands into the hands of the Father as we keep traveling on together, one step at a time, toward our promise land.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Romans 12:3-5

Slippery Slope

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We all get angry. Being angry is an emotion. It is a natural emotion that happens when something goes not as planned. It is a part of human nature. Yet, when it becomes a part of your life, a holding which you will not release, and a habit that you simply expect everyone to accept and tolerate, you have entered the slippery slope of failure and eventual disaster.

Anger can be a natural reaction, just as joy, fear and sadness are natural reactions and emotions with which we all live. We can’t truly shut these off, just as we can’t shut off our own breath, without a part of us dying inside. Yet, we can learn to control our anger. We can learn to compress it into submission, and we can choose to embrace joy and life in its place.

Now, let me clarify one thing. There is such a thing as righteous anger, or indignation, and sometimes, you just need to get ill! The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry, and do not sin…” There will be moments in our lives when we must get angry against things that are just wrong, people who are bringing harm, or just plain stupidity that has brought about danger. For instance, if a child has been intentionally harmed by an adult, and you simply stand around proclaiming peace and prosperity, you’re the one who needs to wake up. If there are people dying at the hands of another, by all means, get upset. Take the action needed to stop the injustice. The proclamation of peace in war times is foolish and nonsensical! Let’s use some common sense here. I am not talking about anger against injustice, violence and hatred against the innocent. These things should never be tolerated! However, I am talking about unbridled anger that brings about rage and unnecessary harm.

You see, unbridled anger will eventually lead to death, either in ourselves or in someone else. Uncontrolled anger leads to resentment, bitterness and even rage. When you allow anger to rule your life, you are allowing all of these things to follow, not only within you, but around you. It will infiltrate the lives of those around you to the point they must choose to leave you or confront you.

Unbridled Anger is a slippery slope we all must avoid. Choose life. Speak life. Be life to those you encounter. Let that anger slip away to give room for more joy, more love, more forgiveness and hope. If you need help, ask for it. If you need hope, search for it. If you ask the right people, and you seek the right places, you will find it.

“So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.'” Genesis 4:6-7

Daily Prompt: Angry

What Do You See?

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see

-D.H.Thoreau

Sometimes, your vision is everything…

What do you see when you look at people? What do you see when you are in the middle of chaos? What do you see when you are surrounded by those who have less than you or, maybe, who have more? What do you look at? What do you envision?

What you see makes up who you are. If you always see negative, you will tend to be a negative person. If you see hopelessness and despair, you are, most likely, a fearful person and you will have a tendency to either run away from problems or avoid anything that might appear a challenge. Yet, if you see hope and strength, you will have a tendency to be a fighter, a person who doesn’t give up too easily. If you see love and prosperity, you will tend to seek out those with whom you have camaraderie and with whom you can succeed.

What you see will determine where you end up in life. If you don’t see success, you’ll never achieve it. If you don’t see possibilities, you’ll never try. If you don’t see faith and integrity  in others, you’ll never learn to trust and open up to another person. In order to have a dream realized, you must first see the goals needed to get to the dream. In order to have a goal achieved, you must first see the first step that is needed. In order to start on that path, you must be able to see those around you who can help you and guide you learn to walk.

You can look at people all day every day, but if you don’t see them, you’ll never be able to reach them, and you’ll never be able to learn from them. You can look at the places people go, or the successes they have and wish you were there; however, if you don’t see the sacrifices they made to get there, you will never know the cost you’ll need to pay. You’ll never see how many steps it will take, whom you will need to help and how long it may take to arrive.

What do you see?

Daily Prompt: VISION

Vision

Get Back Up Again

“Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.” – Oswald Chambers

Toddlers toddle along, walking, falling, holding on, letting go, falling, and getting up again. Constantly, all day, until they finally master the walking. I think we have a lot to learn from these little guys. 
  How often do we let mistakes and missed opportunities impede us from moving forward? How many times do we look back to past failures and let them hinder us from trying new things? I’d venture to guess it’s quite often. It’s human nature to say, “Well, I messed that up. Great. I’ll never get another chance.” Or “I’ve always been bad at this, why should I try again?” 

We get so consumed on those past things, and I believe, often times, that’s why we get tripped up this time. When you’re learning to walk, you can’t look back the entire time. You can’t stay focused on what’s behind you, because you’ll miss out on the very things which are in front of you! Stop believing just because you have a shattered, damaged or imperfect past that your future is destined to be the same. 

That’s not what Christ promised for us! He said, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11) He also said, “Nothing is impossible for God.” Here’s the cool part… When we start leaning on Him, rather than ourselves, when we start allowing Him To do the work within and through us, there is NOTHING we can’t do, because He’s doing the work. 

So what, if we fall down, trip up; we’re just like those little kiddos learning to walk! It doesn’t matter how many times you feel like you’ve failed yesterday. The important part of failing is getting up today! So, get back up again! Dust yourself off. Ask for a little assistance from Him and those spiritual leaders He’s placed in your life, and try again! You’ll be amazed how fast you’ll run and achieve! 

Falling Forward…

Falling makes us wiser. Falling makes us stronger. It makes us more aware of what needs to happen differently the next time. It makes us more conscious of the change that must come, most of the time within, for us to succeed.

Yet, too often, we will resist falling. We run away from failures, and we hide from imperfections and mistakes. We believe everything must be picture perfect the first time around. We believe if there are any mistakes involved in our first try, then we are destined for a lifetime of misery, a lifetime of failure. 

Maybe I’m just talking to myself here. Maybe it’s just me who struggles at times with wanting everything to be pristine perfect. Have you been there? Do you ever wrestle with these truths? 

Can I tell you? There is HOPE! There is a promise we can hold onto! The Word says, “There is nothing impossible with God.” (Emphasis, mine) That Scripture isn’t there simply as a “feel good” word. He didn’t include it just to taunt you and make you think He was kidding. No, God means what He says, and He keeps the promises He gives us. 

So, the next time things don’t go exactly as planned, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Sometimes, you might have needed a little more preparation. Other times, you need a little more practice, and often times, you just need a lot more patience! 

There are other factors that may contribute, but these can give you a great start. When you’re struggling to succeed, and you’re tempted to quit, I encourage you to look at a toddler learning to walk, or a teenager learning to drive, or maybe even, a more seasoned folk learning a new trade. Do they always succeed on the very first try? I venture to guess that answer is a big, fat, “NO!” So, why don’t you give yourself a little more breathing room, a lot more grace and take that situation to God, and let Him help you try one more time. 😉

Are You Qualified?

Do you ever really feel qualified for the task set before you? Do you ever struggle with insignificance, doubt, fear of rejection and a fear of failure? I know do.

Now, I’m going to interrupt myself for just a second here and say this: this post won’t be for those of you who are so sure of yourself that you feel you can take on the world. This post probably isn’t going to mean diddly to those of you who are completely confident in who you are and what you are doing that you don’t even ask for advice or input anymore.

No, in this post, I am talking to the ones out there who struggle with feeling qualified. You struggle with confidence and courage issues. You battle with low self esteem and the fear of rejection or the fear of failure. YOU are whose attention I hope to grasp for just a moment or two…

Personally, I have a constant war within my mind of not measuring up to who I ought to be or not doing the things that I know I should. I struggle with confidence, sometimes, in the simplest areas of life, and yet, I get so frustrated with myself because of this lack of confidence.

Even when I might begin to feel good about something I’m doing, there comes that moment, especially when in the public view, where I look (or at least feel like I look) like a deer in headlights.  This being because I just saw someone look at me the wrong way and I begin to wonder if I’ve done or said something wrong, or I have a moment where I stumble with my words and worry that I’ve messed up the whole conversation, or I didn’t flow well with the service, in which I play a very small part, and I feel as if I could just run away and hide.

I could give several reasons for this inner battle. I could say, “Well, I’m just an introvert; so, I’m geared that way.” I could argue, “I’m a perfectionist, and I’m hard wired to always seek the perfect over the good.” I could even try to blame my parents, after all, my dad was neglective, out of the picture for most of my childhood, and my mom was a very domineering personality in the home.

Yeah, all of these have some truth in them. All of them effect who I am. However, none of these things can stand on their own when I look at this verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. None of these “hold water” when I read this verse, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14. When I read the Bible and see what it has for me, I find these excuses and justifications don’t work very well. These factors, these excuses, which are very much a part of me, just don’t measure up to the kind of God I serve.

I have to realize in every situation that God placed me here for a reason. I have a purpose, and I must fulfill it, not for my glory and fame, but for His. When He gets the glory, people’s lives are impacted. When His glory is revealed, people’s lives are forever changed. When I get my eyes off of me and totally on Him, my feelings of insignificance, lack of confidence and fears of failure simply turn to gray, as I gaze upon His beauty and awesomeness!

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So, I have made a decision to keep my eyes focused on Him, to make the best of every situation for His sake, and to surrender all my fears and doubts and “lacks of,” and let Him have complete control of all of it. I have chosen to fight these battles with confidence, or the lack thereof, and WIN! I can do this when Christ is working through me! I can succeed when He is the goal, and it’s for His glory!

You can, too!

We can do this thing! 😉

Look at these videos that I found by Jon Jorgenson. I hope you will be encouraged!

Inspired this post:  http://youtu.be/ZCSlaX-u3P8

For women:   http://youtu.be/uWi5iXnguTU

For men:   http://youtu.be/aTAn-tk2pDA

The Crossroads

I think I have been relearning a lesson lately…

When we are seeking for inner change, and we are faced with our moment of exponential growth, we are faced with two choices. What we choose in that moment will determine if we move forward or start moving backwards, and sometimes, our choice will determine our ultimate success or failure. There is a crossroads set before us, and the road we choose will make all the difference.

Have you ever been there?

crossroads-660x400When we are seeking to be better, whether it be in weight training, ballet, education, acting, playing golf or even eating and health issues, there will always come a time, many times, actually, when the learning and the growth becomes almost painful to continue. It feels as if the choice to continue will surely be the death of our current state of being, and in actuality, it is kind of a death. It is at that moment when we must realize that our choice to “bow out” or to turn back to the more comfortable places will actually be detrimental to our overall growth, and in some cases, it can mean death to the dream or goal we have set.

When I, personally, come to this crossroad, this fork in the road, I am reminded of the poem written by Robert Frost many many years ago, “The Road Not Taken.*” This is one of my all time favorites, and I’ve referred to it often in my life experiences. He says, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.*” No matter which road you choose, each path leads you forward to a new place, or you can attempt to turn back from whence you came, and you may cripple the person you are to become. Just as a child, once grown, can never truly return to the little boy he once was, I cannot return to my former self without losing the strength, faith and understanding I have come to find in walking through these crossroads.

So, I choose to walk forward, to take this crossroad set before me, no matter the challenge it presents or the obstacles I may face tomorrow. The crossroad signifies a demarkation from what and who I was to what and whom I will become. I will keep moving forward, keep exploring and continuing to discover this new world, these new experiences and this new me to find who it is I am to become and to whom I will leave it all when my day has come.

 

*Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/road-not-taken

Photo: I do not possess nor do I own this photo. Simply found on Google Images from http://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/how-to-create-career-clarity-at-a-crossroad