Inspired & Heavy

I’ve been thinking . . .

The word ‘depend’ is heavy. You know. Like the times when someone says, “I depend on you.” It can be a burden to know someone is relying on you to be there, to show up, to be supportive, and to come alongside to help. Heavy!

The word ‘depend’ is inspiring. You know. Like the times when someone says, “I depend on you.” When others see you as reliable, trusted, valued, and capable it’s motivating and encouraging. Inspiring!

If we look up depend in the dictionary, it won’t tell us how to feel. But depend has feelings.

In that tiny 6-letter word is a heaviness that implies there will be failure if we aren’t there. But in that same word is confidence that inspires us to show up.

The truth is we are all called upon to be the one who shows up to help, to support, to encourage, to inspire. Be dependable.

Someone depends on you.

You depend on someone.

YOU MATTER

Anyway … that’s what I was thinking.

Have you heard about the You Matter Marathon (No running required)?

This is your opportunity to encourage, support, and spread kindness around the globe just by handing out a business sized card with two words on it. YOU MATTER

You can order a set of 30 cards which will be mailed to you free of charge.  Please enjoy this short video.  https://youtu.be/by97UBYpSpw

Learn more here: http://youmattermarathon.com/ 

This is a 5-minute Friday article. The word for this week is DEPEND and I wrote for 5 minutes, no edits, not over thinking – just shoot from the hip prose.
Are you a writer? Join the 5-Minute Friday group to grow some friendships and gain support even before you need it. http://fiveminutefriday.com/

 

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Work-Life Balance Brilliance by Denise R. Green: book summary

Have you ever thought of hiring a life coach? Have you ever wondered what you could achieve if you had an accountability partner? Maybe you’ve tried the novel approach to creating different results than the trajectory you are on right now. If you are self-motivated at all, this book could be the recipe for positive momentum in finding what works for you. One glance at the book cover should clue you in to what the author thinks of work-life balance. In fact, the title of the book is, Work-Life Balance Brilliance and isn’t that really what we want from our lives and from our work?

I usually don’t copy chapter titles into a book summary, but in this case, the chapter titles are like opening the doors and giving you a full spectrum view of why this book functions like a personal coach. Burnout versus Brilliance, Tame Your Thoughts, Reinvent Your Outer Self, Nurture Brilliant Relationships, Manage Your Relationship with “Stuff”, Brilliant Sleep., How Not to Change, How to Choose the Right Goal, How to Change for Good, How to Say No with Grace, Not Guilt. Now you can see why I wanted to reveal the chapter titles before mentioning what is so fascinating and magnetic about this book.  From the outset, I had a feeling there was a meaningful purpose behind the writing of this book that I could identify with and Denise Green described it. “I’m on a mission to help people light the spark within them that may feel like it’s been nearly snuffed out due to the demands of life.” Does that sound anything like your dilemma? Here’s your next book.    Work-Life Balance Brilliance  

This book, with the chapters listed above, can best be described as a tool for knowing yourself and understanding inspirations and aspirations within and how your relationships and interactions are key in creating brilliance. The author identifies the four realms of Whole Life Integrations which she calls Brillance. Then through stories and instructive dialog, she coaches you through the steps to create that work-like brilliance.

I am a huge advocate of being careful with thoughts because thoughts drive actions. I was impressed with the content of the chapter, Tame Your Thoughts. Green doesn’t just rely on dialog to teach the methods of controlling thought. She offers a 6-step upgrade tool that I would call guided self-reflection. Then she offers advice on how to make your release from negative thoughts really stick.

Some strong points of this book are in the toolkits integrated with each chapter. Story is interesting, and case studies are evidence that somewhere along the line the principles taught in the book worked for someone. All you have to do is read through some of the action items to know that, if put into practice, many of your niggling aspirations could become your reality. By implementing some of the basic ideas suggested could bolster your confidence and give you an edge toward balance which you will redefine as brilliance. You don’t have to change everything. The changes will be dictated by what you discover about yourself and about relationships as you work through the pages of the book and guidance received by using the focus-inciting questions.

When I read a book like this one, I have a tendency to choose a favorite chapter. Manage Your Relationship With “Stuff” was a surprise. It is a powerful game-changer. Rarely have I read a book like this one that so aptly presents the tethers that hold us back like our ‘stuff’. Denise Green points out that we have two limitations that are huge. Time – we get 24 hours every day. Period. Physical – we operate with imperfect bodies that need to be taken care of – sleep is one thing most of us need more of. Note: we get 24 hours every day. Period. The author remarks that “This Brilliance realm (relationship with stuff) includes our relationship to our spaces, possessions, technology, and time.”  Certainly, every reader can identify with the components we all deal with every day and how we allow them to affect our world makes this book invaluable to creating a brilliant life. Do you need ideas for managing your time, designing a winning pattern for your day, working productively in your environment, managing technology? How about reducing your exposure to toxic energy? The toolkit consists of worksheets to help you replace those components that are not serving you.

Remember sleep? Some of us are more familiar with the lack of it. The chapter titled Brilliant Sleep is – well – brilliant. Whether you suffer from legitimate insomnia or sleep deprivation brought on by environmental or physical or activity conditions, the best practices for sleep hygiene in this chapter are priceless. Yes, we all know the trick of going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day. We know to restrict caffeine in the afternoon. We might, on the advice of a physician, take melatonin. We might invest in a book that sends us to sleep because it provides absolutely no spark of interest. If you want to sleep and have forgotten what it feels like to get adequate sleep, you aren’t alone. The tips in this book are plentiful.

The final chapters of the book are based on putting legs on what you learned in the first part of the book. What do you want to change? What goals do you have? Are they the right goals for how you envision your work-life brilliance future? I remember hearing someone say that we invest ten months planning a two-week vacation and about ten minutes planning our future existence. That’s probably not truly accurate, but isn’t it true that we have goals, but may not know if they are the right goals until we get there and realize they aren’t?

This book, like a life coach, walks through the realms of life and helps you create a vision for your best life, set the right goals, determine how you will get there, and make wise choices of what you will do and what you will not. The author concludes with what I think of as the magic three. I mean if there was a bit of magic in all this.  Green says in her final address to readers, “If I were forced to describe achieving work-life brilliance in a few steps, those steps would include Assess, Choose, Change.”

There is no magic, but if you’re looking for help in reinventing your life, this book can bring magical results.

This book summary was first published at BizCatalyst360.com.  https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/work-life-brilliance/ 

From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions – Book Summary

As I sat down to write about this book, From Crisis to Calling: Finding your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions by Sasha Chanoff and David Chanoff, an online article in the Huff Post grabbed my attention proclaiming Afghan Refugee Crisis Worsens. It seems the news is dominated by more and more crises related to refugees who are suffering greatly in violence–torn regions. This book would have been much more uncomfortable to read had it not been for the authors’ presentation of the storyline through the moral compass of each person involved in the refugee evacuation. In the second half of the book, the five principles of moral decision making are conveyed through stories about corporate heroes of today.

Here are the 5-steps to moral decision making which are in the book called The Five Principles – building blocks to making moral decisions.

  1. Be prepared
  2. Open your eyes
  3. Confront yourself
  4. Know yourself
  5. Take courage

The subject of this book, From Crisis to Calling is about developing authentic leaders who make decisions based on deep personal values that positively affect their lives and the lives of their organizations. Leaders of this deep moral character will build cultures of trust, fairness, equitability, and ethical leadership. One final thought from the authors, “Empathy is the essential need of great leaders who are intentional about building their organizations and communities.” Whether leaders or lay people, life’s tough choices need to be infused with moral sense – empathy, compassion, altruism.

CSLews - Book Cover - From Crisis to Calling

 

 

Read the full book summary published on the BizCatalyst360 network.

http://bizcatalyst360.com/from-crisis-to-calling-finding-your-moral-center-in-the-toughest-decisions/

What to do when there’s nothing you can do…

One of my closest friends posted this on Facebook, “It’s hard being so far away when things like this happen.” I can relate. Can you? When someone we love is thousands of miles away and we can’t go to them, helplessness is its own form of trauma. Waiting through a medical procedure, wondering but hoping the prognosis isn’t as bad as once thought. Standing by while decisions are made about ‘what happens now’. Fearing the outcome of attempts at reconciliation. I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty powerless when I want to do something but there’s nothing I can do.
 
There is something I can do though. Psalm 103:19 plainly says, “The Lord has established his throne in heaven; his kingdom extends over everything.” While I’m on the sidelines, helpless and powerless, God is on the throne in heaven taking care of everything. Psalm 33:13 “The Lord watches from heaven; he sees all people.” Even with 20/20 vision, there’s a limit to what I can see. Even though I care deeply what happens today and in the future, it’s God who sees with eternal perspective.
 
I know all about promises in the New Testament like Mark 11:24 “I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” And you’ve probably memorized, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name …”, but there’s a part two in that verse. It continues, “… so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13 That last part sort of scares me sometimes. Does it scare you? I can ask God for anything. I can believe He will give me what I ask for – but do I trust Him? Trust means recognizing who is responsible and being confident enough to let go, release whatever it is from my grasp and believe it will be taken care of in the best way possible.
 
“Lord take this, I want these specific results, but God I trust you, by your miraculous power to work everything out so you are glorified. And Lord, I know that the end result might not look the same as what I had in mind, but my confidence is in you because you know the eternal value of every minute detail. I release this to your omniscient discernment. Thank you for caring about me personally even though you have the entire world to watch over.”
 
David knew the relief and joy that came from whole hearted trust in God. Psalm 33:21 “Our hearts rejoice in him, for we trust in his holy name.”God isn't going anywhere
 
We can’t be everywhere. We can’t see everything. We have each moment and that’s all. Jeremiah calls God, “The Lord God who rules over all.” Daniel said of God, “He who has in his control your very breath and all your ways!”
 
What if this moment you could relinquish this burden you’re carrying, this fear that grips you, this deep sadness that’s overwhelming you to the ‘Lord God who rules over all and has control of your very breath and all your ways’? God isn’t going anywhere. He’s waiting to be your everything.
 
Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Within Tolerance

“Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side” … “In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.” Hovering between sleep and the first dawn of day, those songs made paths through my memory. To understand, you need the backstory.

I don’t drive very often, and never when there’s a hint of poor driving conditions. Two years ago, I left my house with the sun shining and no hint of snow. I parked my car, entered the store and two hours later things had changed dramatically. As I crept from my parking place, another car coming toward me couldn’t stop, and for a brief moment our cars touched. No visible damage so we got back in our cars and went home. Well, I tried to go home – but something was wrong. Something was causing my car to rebel out of control and it wasn’t the blowing wind or icy roads. There was a defect somewhere between the wheels underneath and the steering wheel in my hands. The car stayed within tolerance at under 18 miles per hour, but at 20 it was out of control.

This wasn’t a lesson in why I shouldn’t be shopping or out joy riding in less than congenial weather. God and I had that discussion as I held the steering wheel with white-knuckle force, coaxing and begging the car to stay in the lane where I directed it. “God, if you just get me home safely, I promise I’ll never drive again.” Silence. “OK, how about this, God. I will stay home and not go anywhere, ever.” Chuckle. “Seriously, God. Do you see me here? I’m scared to death and you’re not helping.” Ponder. “OK, God, just get me home safely. That’s all I want. Nothing more – just keep me on track until I’m home safe.” Agreement.20151210_074618

Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side. Life is like that car. There was a track, a purpose, and with concentrated focus and no excessive speed I stayed within tolerance without straying. How often have I lost focus and strayed outside the path I know was chosen for me? I didn’t hear an audible voice of God, like in Isaiah 30:21 “You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left.” Safely home I considered how those petitions to God while braving the drive apply to all my circumstances and all my choices. Instead of getting ahead of God and slipping outside His boundaries, I should acknowledge the truth of 2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless;…” and because some of us are slow learners he offers Psalm 18:30 “…he shields all who take refuge in him.”

Bargaining … arguing … leveraging, I’m guilty of trying to help God out – Please show me your path, Lord, but I think I can figure out the first part, I just need you there to make it happen. God assures me that he’s listening but in Proverbs 3:1-3 he reminds me “Do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart…they will bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you…”.

Do you have a tendency, like me, to bargain with God? “Please do this, God. It’s what I want, it’s what I need.” Remember that God had David write this for our benefit: Psalm 130:5 “I rely on the LORD, I rely on him with my whole being; I wait for his assuring word.” God says, “Let’s change this up a bit. How about you rely on Me this time?”

That night when I was scared into submission, I didn’t learn that cars break down or that they wander aimlessly if they aren’t kept under control. God wasn’t waiting for my promise to never drive again. God doesn’t change his mind based on human conditions. He wanted for me then what he wants for all of us every day. In the morning when I rise, when I work throughout the day, when the world is fast asleep, God just wants us to say “Give me Jesus.” Psalm 31:24 “Be strong and confident, all you who wait on the Lord!” That’s all he wants of me. It’s all he wants of you – be strong, be confident, wait on God.

In the morning when I rise, In the morning when I rise, In the morning when I rise Give me Jesus – Jeremy Camp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFJGsBApIuk

Why do I have to be the one to forgive?

For too many days now, I have had on my high priority list this task: Clear the clutter from office, including file drawers. And that’s as far as it gets, but in my defense I’ve come across some pretty cool reminders of things God has taught me over the past 10 years. I know it’s been 10 years because that’s about the time I started using my home office.
I pulled out a notebook yesterday where notes about forgiveness were stuffed inside. As I read, I wondered if anyone else would find consolation in learning what I learned. There are no dates on my notes – ever – but scripture is timeless, so does it really matter if I date the seasons of my life when God taught me something? Forgiveness is a tough one, so I won’t blame you if you abandon ship and move on today.
Maybe you have a better idea, but I think forgiveness is tough because it means somewhere along the line something went wrong. For those of us who like everyone’s little world to be perfect, it’s against our nature to believe that people can do wrong against other people. Get a grip. It happens. Last week, one of my friends asked me to pray for someone who was struggling with things in her life due to emotional abuse. She had shut herself off from her family until they admitted they were wrong and asked for forgiveness. Isn’t it interesting that of all the notes I read in my organizing frenzy was about forgiveness?Forest road. Landscape.
I don’t know the person my friend asked prayer for, but I know the prison she has created for herself by waiting for hurtful people to release her. Back in 1994, and yes, I do remember the year, a friend of mine suddenly told me she had put our friendship on trial and I failed. I was mortified and heartsick. I apologized for everything I could think of, but because I didn’t hit on the right ‘thing’ that I did to break our friendship, my friend cut me off any relationship with her. I’m still devastated and I still hurt, but even though she never forgave me, I had to forgive her.
You know Mark 11:25 tell us “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you.” God has forgiven me because I asked him to and I know he won’t hold this against me. But to keep my relationship with my Father in Heaven, I had to forgive my friend because I found myself obsessing about my flaws, then about her flaws, and then I started planning different ways to walk through the office where we worked so I didn’t run into her. I was afraid she had gone to other mutual friends and ratted me out for things I didn’t even know I did. Do you see what was happening? Holding onto this offense became a weapon, and that’s not what God would want from me.
If you were to open my bible to Colossians 3:12-13 you would see purple highlighted text. My Bible translation is the NIV, but this gentle text is from the Contemporary English Version “God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you.”
It’s painful to be wronged. Being victimized goes beyond an aching heart or tender feelings. To be lied to, or worse – lied about, to be exploited, to be deceived, to be publically criticized or ridiculed – these are fighting words, aren’t they. Anyone in this position has a right to put up their guard and refuse safe passage to anyone who tries to cross the line without apologizing first. That guard becomes a fence, becomes a wall becomes a blockade. And humanly speaking, you have reason and right to build it.
This is extreme, but do you remember Stephen from the New Testament? His reputation for his diligence in serving people was well known. In 1 Corinthians he was honored for doing all he could for God’s people, yet he was dragged out and stoned to death. Do you know what he said just before his last breath? You can read it in Acts 7:60 “Stephen fell to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, he died.” I’m thankful God has not asked me to be brutalized, the openly and without regret, forgive my offenders.
It’s getting close to the Easter season. A time when we remember how Jesus was sacrificed on the cross. We know it was his purpose decided before God sent him to Earth, but he gave us the perfect example of forgiveness. He was completely innocent of any wrong, but still he was mocked, beat, rejected, and tormented by his one Jewish people, Roman politicians, government officials, soldiers, and citizens of his country. And as he breathed his last, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Forgiveness is hard. It means giving up your justification to be in the clear of any wrong doing. Forgiveness is difficult. I means rearranging all the negative feelings going on inside, letting down your guard, and pushing them beyond the point where they can return.
Forgiveness can set you free. In the case of my friend from the past, she passed away a few years ago, and I felt bad that we had never resolved whatever the dispute was, but I had long before forgiven myself and forgiven her.
Grudges and regret serve no purpose. You can try to talk out your grievances. You can ask to be forgiven of any part you have in discord. You can attempt to create peace where there’s conflict. But even if none of those efforts work out, you can live free of guilt because in your heart you have forgiven yourself and forgiven those who have wronged you. The result is in 2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Learning from highlights of the past

I have a rule which I follow pretty diligently. Protect the first hour and last hour of the day – no televised news shows and no talk shows. They plant seeds of negativity that have to be weeded out before the roots take hold. If you’re into gardening you know how pesky those insidious little strands can be. I don’t advocate cutting off awareness to current events or living without a shred of knowledge about what’s going on in the world, but you can set the tone and make peace with your day if your first moments are with God.

As I write this morning, I have heard nothing about the Iowa Caucus results. Instead I have this from a reliable source. “So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts.” 1 Corinthians 4:5 I’m not minimizing the burden we humans are under as we pick through the qualities and deficiencies of presidential candidates. All I’m saying is all those dark things are known by God and we already know he wins in the end. (Revelation 20)

I also don’t know if the groundhog saw its shadow.

But back to our story. Yesterday I wasn’t sure what devotional or scripture to use for my quiet time. I scoured my shelves looking for just the right topic, but nothing felt right. Instead, I opened my worn out Bible and started looking at highlighted verses from times past. I bought this Bible in 1989 shortly after I gave my life to Christ so that adds up to a lot of highlighting. I could have simply read through the pink and green and yellow and purple, but I took out a stack of index cards and wrote out the words of God that spoke deeply into my spirit.

In the past few weeks, some of my friends have suffered and when our friends suffer, we are heartsick and suffer alongside them. Jeremiah 14:17 laments “My eyes overflow with tears day and night without ceasing. For my people, my dear children, have suffered a crushing blow.” Death, illness, financial loss, broken relationships – crushing blows. Nothing prepares us for crushing blows, but God prepared his words for comfort.

For the brokenhearted: Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he delivers those who are discouraged.”

For spirits in chaos: Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

For people who feel trapped by circumstances: Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

For anyone conflicted about where to turn next: Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

For individuals who feel alone: Psalm 25:16 “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” Proverbs 18:24 “A person who has friends may be harmed by them, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

When it seems like you are caught in a cycle of setbacks. God wants you to know that a setback is not a stayback. Psalm 25:21 “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.” Psalm 27:14 compels us to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

There are more highlights to share … another day …

Lord, regardless of my circumstances my hope is in you. Life is tough. I struggle to piece everything together and make sense of why things are the way they are. As in Jeremiah’s day I call out for “Peace, peace, when there is no peace” but Lord that’s what my soul craves. Thank you, Lord for your assurance in Ephesians 2 that you are our peace, dividing the wall of hostility so we can experience the peace that only you can give. Help me to talk to you about the conflicts in my spirit and remind me that you are my Father. You are the Lord or my life. You are my King. You teach me what is best for me, and you direct me in the way I should go. And while you’re at it Lord, remind me that you guide me step by step, not by unmanageable miles. I can handle step by step, but fall down exhausted at the prospect of those miles. Thank you that your hands are big enough to hold the world but small enough to hold me personally and I am never outside of my Father’s care. You are my light, my shield, my roadmap. Please help me find JOY in this day and give me hope when I feel like giving in.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.