Think it … Act it … Believe it

Have you ever been through a major life change? Well – maybe not even major, but some change that prompt friends to ask, “How did it go?” I’ve been asked that by many of my friends. When a major change takes place in life, friends you’ve confided in want to know “How did it go?” and what else can we say except, “It’s different.” That’s a good place to start. I saw a book once titled, Change is Good.  You Go First. That about describes it.  Sometimes change is forced on us and in those times, change doesn’t seem all that great. Right? Other times we make a decision that changes the landscape of our lives and we think this change is good, we hope this change is good, then we wonder … it’s different.  No matter which description fits the situation, the one thing we can control is our attitude. Chuck Swindoll has a famous quote about attitude and in it he says, ´I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”  So how did it go? It’s different, but it’s good, the possibilities are ahead, as are the consequences. So right now our best choice is to have joy and remember – we are never on the path alone.  – God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5  

When change comes, we have to accept it, because it’s our new normal. It’s reality. We could fret over what we no longer have or we can begin the rebuilding process and start the remanufacture of our life from a different vantage point. When I was in my early twenties, someone wisely convinced me that change is neither good nor bad, it’s only different. It took awhile for that to sink in, but it’s become my survival mechanism. Here’s a little free advice. “Focus on what you have, not on what you’ve lost. Capitalize on what you can do, not on what you can’t.” I know it works.Psalm 30 11-12

Are you going through changes now that are exciting and you anticipate better days ahead? Or do you approach each day, tenuously out of dread or even fear for what lies ahead? Either way, when change comes, it means adjustment … day-by-day, moment-by-moment.  Ask yourself how can I get through these moments and come out the victor instead of the victim? You might not want t to hear this, but it starts with Attitude.  You might come to the starting line kicking and screaming, toting a long list of disadvantages and (gasp) even grievances. Acknowledgement is good. Bring that list along because this is where making adjustments begins. First in attitude, then in thoughts, then in actions, and finally in acceptance. Change is neither good nor bad, it’s only different.  ´I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

We might not be happy, but we can have joy. Happiness comes from the external; those situations that we perceive as good give us happiness. But happiness can be shattered in an instant, or it can fade when circumstances are less than optimistic. Joy on the other hand comes from the inside and is unaffected by the beating we take by those things that cause us despair.  I was having a bad spell in my life a while ago and on one of my ‘least optimistic days’  someone said to me that I was the happiest person she knew. Well huh! Mission accomplished then, because at that moment, I was anything but happy.  It must work then . . . We can fake happiness by choosing to be joyful. In that moment, when she said I was the happiest person, I prayed right then and thanked God for masking the unhappiness I was feeling at that time, so that happiness looked real.

What can we all do today, regardless of our circumstances, to make a big production of our joy? Think it, act it, believe it!

Psalm 30:5 [God’s] favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:11-12 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Ecclesiastes 8:15  So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.

The Truth About Investing

I miss blogging. There I said it. I don’t count my followers. I don’t analyze the geographic locations of my readers. I have the smallest degree of popularity.God has a purpose for you  I love that people sometimes read and comment on what I have to say, but what I really miss about blogging is spilling out the contents of my heart because it’s part of who I am. I met up with a friend yesterday whom I had not seen in over 2 years. She needed a guest to join her on her radio show, so I helped her out – then we spent the next 4 hours in eye level communication, soul sharing, revealing life as we have experienced it since 2012.  “I miss blogging,” I told her. And instantly felt her response. “Why do you feel like you can’t spend time doing something you really enjoy?” That’s it! The enigma uncovered, deciphered with a few well-placed words.

Spending time. Or investing time? Is it just me, or does spending seem different from investing?

Investing is paying into something, expecting a profit in return. Investing is more purposeful, intentional, a personal commitment with promise of reward. Investing builds. Investing creates. Investing is discernment – applied to time, that means making choices which have discernible benefits.

Spending is often frivolous, impetuous, and done without thinking. The damage done by a mindless spending spree can be financially devastating. Spending money or spending time, expends energy and depletes resources without regard to replenishing. I’m a little slow on the uptake and sometimes God has to grab ahold of my head and point my face in the right direction. I couldn’t sleep all night so I started praying then I started web surfing and that always brings me to BibleGateway.com.  I read 1Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”  I may not be a gifted writer, but God has given me a love for writing and that is the gift. It’s OK to invest time in writing; in fact God says each of us should use whatever gift we have. Why do I tell myself blogging is spending time frivolously? God says I’m not spending my time, I’m investing it. He gave me the love of writing. It’s a gift.

This tiny lesson was a revelation in other ways too. In January, I decided to join the one-word-to-live-by club. I call it a club because it was hot for a few weeks and, well, it’s a club that evaporated quickly like 3 week old resolutions. Take a trip over to Twitter and look for hashtag #word365 . . . Point proven.  My word though, which I adopted and still invest in is ‘discernment’.  What should I be doing right now invades my thoughts so often I recognize that I am spending too much time deciding and too little time investing in what I should be doing right then. Things like organizing only to reorganize.  Reading too many books simultaneously leads to spending time, instead of investing quality time in one or two books.  Spending countless hours online reading and following blogs to learn from the masters and absorb their knowledge. All GOOD, but am I intentional and investing wisely?  I see some flaws in my investment strategy.

Whether spending or investing, being human automatically qualifies us to experience disillusionment with our choices. Humans are the only species with cognitive abilities and minds capable of reason. We are practically licensed to feel exhausted from the myriad of choices we must make! Here’s a little hope for those overwhelming responsibilities. Bring on Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

God comes along and promises that our efforts will be rewarded if we invest our time wisely. We might have to be stubborn toward our wandering minds to be staunchly disciplined in constructing our days.  And those of us who are certain we’ve been touched with ADD need a significantly stronger behavior pattern to assure we are investing in our gifts that will reap rewards. 2 Chronicle 15:7 says “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

How about you? Are you spending or investing time for a profitable outcome?  Deciding what to do with the hours in our day is like a roller coaster running inside a maze. Sometimes couldn’t we yell, “Stop the world and let me off. Just for a little while.”?  Instead God gives us gifts that bring us pleasure and he says, use them. Spending/Investing. Make wise choices.  Isaiah 65:22 comforts us when God says, “For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.”

Treat yourself to joy today!

Changed – Becoming who I was meant to be.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk1bstD4nY8

Word Test

How many words does it take to make a point? Chances are by the time you’ve reached this point in your day, you’ve already been told what to expect from the weather. “Wear your jacket, take your umbrella, and you might need your sunglasses at times.”  The newscaster revealed all that happened through the night, covering the globe from unrest in the Middle East to the heroic rescue of people from a burning apartment complex. Music infused ads entice us to shop early for those Black Friday deals that now start before the calendar even turns to Friday. Textbooks, email, Internet sites, online magazines … how many words does it take to make a point? How about one?  “Stop!” That’s a pretty clear message.  “Thank you!” Two words we should use often.

So what’s my point? It’s not in the number of words, it’s in the message we convey. As leaders, as parents, as students, as employees, we are caught in a mesh of words from the moment we awake to the time we sleep at night. How do we communicate our message? When the topic is all about reward and life is good, our words exude kindness. But what if the situation is less than optimistic and shrouded in disappointment? When we are called upon to evaluate, correct, or even reprimand; how is our conversation then? In all circumstances, do we choose our words wisely? Do we seek to speak only the truth and with the mindset that’s honorable and builds trust?

Daily, we are subjected to opportunity to make a difference just through the words we choose to convey our message. When faced with a choice, how do we react? This word test has been around for decades.  I know, because I learned it decades ago.  Could we apply this test to our words today?

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. Is it encouraging?

If the conversation we are about to have fails in any of those points, Stop!

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in the sight of God who is my strength and redeemer.

Let our words be full of life.  John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

Are our words beautiful? Proverbs 25:11 Words spoken with the right motives and from a heart of love are like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCM8LB2to-o