Thursday, December 30, 2010
I will not let the burdens that I carried this year plague me again in the New Year. I will do what I should have done all year, lay them at God's feet. And this time, when I lay my burdens down, I won't take them back! I will, in a sense, clean house. I'm going to throw out the garbage of whatever has happened this year. My mind, soul and heart will be cleansed of the clutter of 2010 that got me off track, made me stumble, or caused me unease. I will trust God to carry these burdens for me and I will trust Him with the outcome.
So, for today I will lay my burdens down. I'm cleaning house and I will get rid of the distress of 2010 and look forward in hope and faith toward a new beginning.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Make your list of blessings and thank God for all that He has done for you and with you. That's it. Be thankful and grateful and blessed.
So, for today I will be thankful - for everything! Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
For today, let the walls come down. With your spouse, a trusted friend, a loved parent - whomever - unmask one hidden part of you that you've never shared. Maybe it's an insecurity, maybe it's a terrible experience that hurt you, maybe it's a bad choice you made that impacted your life, maybe it's just the need to cry because you're so tired of being brave and strong and you just need to let it out emotionally without saying a word. Maybe it's even a secret ambition that you've been afraid others will mock. Let yourself be cleansed and freed by the experience. Being perfect isn't your job - that belongs to God - being true to yourself is. You don't have to pretend you are something that you aren't. If someone only cares about the "public" you, then they don't really love you.
So, for today let the walls come down. You will most likely find that the person you confide in feels honored and will admire you in a whole new light. They will see you as even more beautiful than you already are because you are genuine and real. Inner beauty is a different standard than society's version of pretty. Inner beauty has greater depth, more purity, and eternal significance. Let your inner beauty shine today.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Yes, you are. This isn't about being a scholar, it's about sharing. Just talking with a friend or family member about what God has done for you. It's simple statements of "your" facts, "your" truth. Has God given you more peace? Do you feel comforted by His love? Do you feel guided by His hand? Do you no longer feel alone or confused? You don't have to be a preacher and you don't have to have all the answers. You just have to speak. You can do that. Just tell someone what God means to you, what He has done for your life, how He has helped you. That's it. It's that easy.
So, for today I will share my story. I will rejoice in telling someone about the blessings and love God has given me. I will just state "my" facts and I will pray that God can use my story to touch the heart of my friend/family member and bless them as much as He has blessed me.
Friday, November 19, 2010
No matter what you are doing tonight and for the weekend, let your light shine so that all your good, decent, wonderful qualities come through. Jesus asked us to be His light on the earth, so make sure your light is shining on "high beam." In all your actions today let His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness, His caring, His joy, His tenderness, His eloquence, His patience, His consistency, His strength, and His love shine through you for all the world to see. You have no idea how your light may affect the life of someone else. Your politeness, kindness, support or even just a smile may actually change someone's world (and brighten yours). Don't underestimate His powers when He works through the light shining from you!
So, for today I will let my light shine. I will remember all the blessings I have and reflect God's beauty to the world. I will walk tall and proud, confident and joyful. I will smile, wave and be kind. I will feel His light shining through me. I will remember I am His representative today and I will honor that position and shine!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The bible says that if we walk with the Lord through the fires of life, we will not be burned. That means two things to me. 1) I've got to keep walking despite the conditions, and 2) I will make it to the other side. The first point is key - keep walking in faith. The verse doesn't say that you won't feel the heat, that you won't smell the fumes, you won't sweat, you won't almost succumb to the polluted air caused by the fire - it only says you will not be burned. So, I may feel the heat, I may get choked up by the fumes, I may stumble in the black clouds caused by the raging fire - but I will make it through the fire intact if I keep walking! God is walking with me and as long as I keep moving, He will make sure that He gets me to the other side with no permanent damage. I will not be burned!
So, for today I will walk through the fire. I will praise Him in the heat. I will see Him in the smoke. And, I will thank Him when I make it to the other side without being burned.
Monday, November 15, 2010
For me, when I am having a blah day I tend to beat myself up and tell myself that I should be in a better mood because of how blessed I am. And I do know that I'm blessed! So when I can't shake my blahs I begin to feel even worse for not being grateful or thankful enough. I also then examine why I have not set/reached new goals yet or changed my life in some significant way. It's amazing how hard we can be on ourselves. If our friend was down in the dumps, we would try to cheer them up with positive remarks - but when we feel a little low it's like we dig a deeper hole instead. So today I'm not going to beat myself up. I'm not going to make it worse. I'm just going to be o.k. with being o.k. I would love to always have the energy and inspiration to float through my day in praise and thankfulness, but I am not that perfect (not even close) and sometimes I only feel o.k. instead of terrific. And I think that's allowed sometimes.
So for today I will be o.k. with just being o.k. I won't make comparisons and examinations of the meaning of life today. I will just be o.k. with being o.k. and know that God will find the opportunities to give me whatever it is I may need on His time.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Grateful that God touches and blesses our country. Grateful that men and women across this country give of themselves in service to protect and provide for ME! I am a stranger to them, but they willingly make sacrifices and serve with pride and honor. I will be grateful today that the core values that matter are cherished and protected. I will be grateful for the hearts that serve, have served, and have died so that I may laugh, cry, work, play and pray in peace and freedom. So instead of spending your time complaining and focusing on what you think is wrong with our society and this country - take a good look around and be grateful today.
Everything is temporary and freedom and peace could disappear tomorrow. So, for today be grateful!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Being available to God - that doesn't sound too hard does it? I know many of us have the notion that God uses special people with special talents to fulfill His purposes and work here on earth. And if that in fact were true, then it's easy to get by with saying, "I'm just a regular person with regular talents, if any, so He couldn't possibly need to use me." But the truth of the matter is, that it's God's power and talents that shine through in any situation through any person. The glory belongs to Him, so He doesn't need you to be anything other than available. We are open vessels that, if made available to Him, He will fill with unique purposes and gifts. If we are available, He can shape us into the perfect tools needed for His particular plans. So, all we have to do is just be there. Be open to the opportunities that come our way. We only need to be available and He will do all the rest. Understanding that makes this a very easy thing to do.
So, for today I will be available. I will be open to unexpected opportunities that come up and allow myself to be used by God. I won't question my abilities or confidence, I will just accept that I'm in the right place at the right time and jump in - God will handle the rest.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This can be with any relationship you have - friendships, marriages, interactions with your kids, and your relationship with God. When a relationship seemingly blows up one day, the first question is, "did you see any signs of change - did you notice anything different?" Many times people say, "no, I thought things were fine." But if they are honest and really take a good look, there were signs. Maybe "fine" was a downgrade from good, and good a downgrade from great, and great a downgrade from perfect. Usually there's a slow fade that inch by inch destroys your relationships. Little deviations don't seem significant at first, but the repetition of them can leave you all alone. Maybe you start talking less, maybe you spend less time together, maybe you begin to forget to be polite, maybe you start to have lots of other priorities. It can start off very simply and God can be the easiest relationship to fade out - you miss church one Sunday because you didn't want to miss the big game. The next Sunday, you have a project due at work on Monday and need to focus. The next Sunday, you're exhausted and think you need the extra rest and God will understand. You stop praying, you don't pick up your bible anymore, you start hanging out with those guys who "aren't so bad", etc....Slow fade.... Are you in a pattern of slow fade right now? What relationship are you backing away from? Which relationship that used to mean so much to you is now taking a back seat? Examine your daily routine, compare it to last month, last year... and figure out if you're letting someone slip through your fingers. Maybe they are letting you slip away. If you don't want that relationship destroyed and gone, stop the slow fade. Rebuild that relationship one day at a time.
So, for today I will watch for the slow fade. I will evaluate my routine within the context of the relationships that I claim are most important to me. I will spot the signs that create distance and disharmony and I will work toward rebuilding that relationship. I don't want to wake up one day and say, "What happened? I thought everything was fine." Change that fine back into "great" before it's too late.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Through a great group of friends, I have learned that speaking openly and honestly is one of the most important attributes of our friendship. I have lots of people I know. But I don't really "know" them and they definitely do not "know" me. Why? Because I have always been a private person about the true struggles, difficulties and emotions I've gone through in my life. I guess I haven't felt comfortable enough, trusted enough, and I've worried about being judged. What I have learned is that if I feel that way with someone who is supposed to be a friend, they really aren't a friend - maybe an acquaintance, maybe a pal, but not a friend. And maybe if I feel that way with them, they feel the same about me. So neither of us are providing the other with the amazing support and love that a true friend can provide. This realization has transformed dramatically my definition of friend and I want to create and strengthen that bond with the people I dearly love and consider true friends. I have been blessed with a small intimate group of people who are my "friends." I know a lot of people and I like a lot of people, but these true "friends" allow me to speak my mind, to voice my troubles, and they support, correct and encourage me without judgement. They have a genuine interest in what's best for me and I for them. It's not always easy to be honest and open with others. There can be discomfort or unease, but true friendship works beyond that thin layer and goes deeper to the heart of who we are, who we want to be, and what God plans for us. For that I am so grateful. My friends see beyond my weaknesses and transgressions. They see my heart, see my efforts and they see God's light shining through me. That compassion and love are immeasurable.
So, for today I will be a friend. Now that I better understand what a real friendship involves I will strive to remain open, honest, compassionate and forgiving. I will be myself - all the good and all the bad - and I will embrace my friends for who they are - all the good and all the bad. I know that God has placed me in the life of this other person for a reason and I will not shy away from being vulnerable with them, courageous with them, disciplined with them, prayerful with them and blessed with them.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Heaven is a gift. It can't be bought. It can't be earned. Eternal salvation is the most amazing gift God has ever given us. All you have to do is accept Him and receive His gift. Many people haven't realized this yet. They don't understand that surrender is actually victory. There are some lyrics by Third Day in their song "Caught up in Yourself" that I feel hit the nail on the head.
So, for today I pray that you and those you can touch will realize the way up and seize it.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Maybe it's not politically correct but it is true...some people win and some people lose, not everyone is nice, you actually have to work for what you want, there's no such thing as a free ride, Mommy & Daddy won't always be there to take care of everything for you, money doesn't grow on trees, you have to take responsibility for your actions, you need to respect yourself and draw a line in the sand, just because the "in" crowd is doing that doesn't mean you should, some people will take advantage of you, not everyone tells the truth, and yes some people are just plain mean. I could go on and on. Our society is creating a false world for our children. They aren't learning sportsmanship; they aren't learning the value of a dollar; they aren't learning self-respect, modesty or values; they aren't learning negotiation and compromise; they aren't learning restraint; they aren't learning to make wise choices - they aren't learning. And whose fault is that? Don't blame television, music or movies. Don't blame the teachers or the coaches. The blame lies where the blame belongs - on us parents. We need to teach our children the realities of the world. It doesn't have to be harsh 100% doom-n-gloom, but they do need to understand reality, their role in life and the responsibility and consequences of their actions. You want them to be prepared, strong, quick thinking, responsible, thoughtful, talented achievers who go far in life. So give them the survival skills they need to make wise choices, to respect themselves and others, to know boundaries, and to know and trust God. Do your job. Teach your children. Teach them everything. Arm them with the weapon of knowledge. Temper the realities of this world with the hope and joy of Jesus. If you give them a true sense of balance between the two, they will do alright.
So, for today I will teach my children about the real world. I am not doing right by them to give them a false sense of reality. It is my job to provide survival skills and teach them. I want them strong and ready for life, so I will trust them to absorb the truth and learn from it. And I will pray continually for their strength, confidence and choices.
Monday, October 25, 2010
But I'm wrong when I act that way. Constructive criticism usually comes from a good place. That other person is offering a tip that they think might help. They want to help me. Why should I get upset by that? I always want God to help me. Maybe He's sending those people into my life to help, so why is it hard to listen? They aren't calling me a failure by offering a suggestion. They are helping, but in my defensiveness I take it as an intrusion, a nuisance, and a negative. My whole ego gets wounded. That's the heart of the matter - egos! We want to feel confident, accomplished, perhaps even superior. We are certain that our way is correct and wonderful and exemplary. But you know what? I have a lot of friends and family who do things totally different from me and they are awesome, talented, outstanding people. So I think it's time to push the ego aside and be glad that there is variety in the world. It's time to open up my eyes and my mind to the many possibilities for handling any given situation. I may not change my preferences, but I don't have to be defensive and I can accept the gracious help that someone is offering to me. If I listen and accept the constructive criticism I might actually learn something new!
So, for today I will accept constructive criticism. The Ego flare up will be left out and I will listen and try to learn and be grateful that someone cared enough to want to help me.
Friday, October 22, 2010
We all define our happiness by certain things that are important to us. If it's a need or want that's a high priority on our list, then we need our partner to oblige the request and provide whatever that is to fulfill the item on the list. The problem is - sometimes we don't even know what's on the other persons list. And, what we may also forget is that the things that are important to me may not even be on my spouses' list. He may (and does) have a totally different set of things on his list. If I only acknowledge the things on my list as being valid, I won't come close to giving him what he needs and making him happy. See if this sounds familiar - "I do everything for him/her and he/she doesn't appreciate it or me. All that I do should be enough so I don't know what his/her problem is!" The key point is the "everything" you may be doing for the other person is not the priority on their list, so guess what - not happy. You've got to know their list and not what you think they want/need. Maybe he doesn't care if you cook, but he cares that you'll watch a football game with him and just order a pizza. Maybe she doesn't care if you help with the dishes, but she cares that you cuddle and read with her as you fall asleep instead of watching TV in the bedroom. Maybe he helps with the kids, but what she needs is for him to still see her as a sexy desirable woman he can't keep his hands off. Sometimes we struggle to express our true needs for happiness. It makes us feel vulnerable, we think the other person should automatically "know" what we want, or we don't think they'll do it so we never ask. So make it easy - make a list. Make sure your top three are actually the things that you MUST have in order to be happy. And be explicit - don't just write down "romance." (hint hint Ladies - men understand precise instructions, not vague generalities). Once the lists are made - exchange, compare and then commit to focusing on the items that make the other person HAPPY. And this applies to friendships too. If you care about tha happiness of your friends, get to know what it really is that they need out of your relationship and focus on their list. Good friends are hard to find. True friends are even harder to find. So the lists of friends are just as important.
So, for today I will compare lists. Things may be going pretty good or things may be off track. But I am going to make my list and compare it to my spouses'. When I do I will discover some things I never knew and I will strive to oblige my loved one with the items that make them happy. After all, if I love someone shouldn't I want to make them happy. So what's on your list?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
For today speak in a kind, calm voice no matter what the situation. Did you hear that? No matter what the situation (and dealing with your kids counts). You don't have to be harsh or hostile or aggressive to make your point or get respect. Approach the situation from strength (controlled calmness) not weakness (uncontrolled aggravation). Still say whatever it is that you need to say, but keep a softer, calmer, kinder tone of voice. You will find that it deescalates the situation instead of escalating it. (And the urban myth that kids only listen when you yell isn't true.)
So, for today I will speak in a kind voice. I will control my attitude and approach. Jesus communicated with love and respect when correcting, guiding and disciplining those around Him. So, for today let's be more like Jesus and speak in a kind voice.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
God is the only partner I know who definitely allows me a different interpretation. He "takes" everything I can throw at Him and "gives" me everything I need. Supportive, patient, and forgiving don't even seem like big enough words to describe how good He is to me. The one thing though that I count on the most is His ability to carry me when I can't go on. He's with me side by side everyday helping me through my challenges and obstacles, but some days even with that I still can feel lost or unsure. On those days, I ask Him to carry me. I don't just lay my burdens at His feet, I actually have Him hoist me up into His arms and carry me through. I need Him to think for me, walk for me, choose the path for me. I need to be lifted up into the arms of my Father. To be cared for and protected by Him like a scared little child. On those days, I'm so grateful that our relationship isn't defined in the usual manner. Some days we all feel like babes in the woods. All of a sudden we are lost and we have no clue what to do, where to go, whom to trust. Just like little children, we need our Daddy. We need the strength and comfort that only He can provide when He picks us up and carries us and says, "It's o.k. Everything will be alright."
So, for today I will ask God to carry me. I need sometimes to breakdown knowing that I can't do it on my own. I need Him to not only help me, I need Him to carry me. I need the freedom from figuring out what to do. I need His thoughts, His plans, His steps. I need the peace and security that only He can provide. I need my Father to carry me and tell me there is a plan and things will be o.k.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I think a lot of people feel that way. We go to church to praise God and He ends up blessing us with a new focus and renewed dedication and a joy-filled heart wanting to spread His love. So why is it then that the "noise" of the world can drown out that wonderful message and make it hard to remember what was even said? By Wednesday, we are so caught up in the commotion of news and jobs and emails and phone calls and texts - we have communication overload and we can't remember the message that meant so much just a few days before. The message in church was more important than anything else going on, but it's one of the first things forgotten. It's sad, but it's fixable. I have found that if I take a few notes of key points during the sermon, the message sticks with me and I can refer back to it during the week to stay focused. You jot down notes when you go to the grocery store so you won't forget things right? You send emails to a friend to remind them of an appointment or date don't you? We mark our calendars so we don't miss that big event? So, why is it that we don't have the discipline to write down a few simple notes of God's love, encouragement or power during service. Those notes will help you far more than a calendar or an email. They can keep you on the right path when things start going wrong. God is giving you a message each Sunday to carry you through the week. He's the teacher, we're the students. So take your notes and study. You'll find yourself staying more focused and feeling stronger if you do.
So, for today I will remember what I learned on Sunday. I will start taking notes and making the effort to retain God's wonderful messages. I will be the student who is eager to learn and grow from God's words. I know that He is speaking directly to me during service, so I will write down what He says and I will be able to hear His communication to me throughout the week. His message will overpower the communication overload of my life and I will remember what He has taught me.
Friday, October 1, 2010
My definition of lazy in this instance is not related to your physical activity or work or kids - it's related to your relationship with God. We are so fortunately blessed in the fact that God loves us and keeps doing His job whether we hold up our end of the deal or not. He doesn't take time off, He doesn't "forget" you, and He doesn't put in half effort when He decides on your blessings. He's not lazy. But many times, we take Him for granted and forget He's there, forget to say "thank you" and forget to talk to Him. Just for today I'm asking you to not be lazy in your relationship with Him. Remember Him today. Talk to Him today. Say, "thank you" today. Let Him know that you do love Him, you do need Him, you do want Him in your life and that you would not want to find out what life would be like without Him. He's the best friend you could ever imagine and you know it. If we treated any of our friends or family the way we sometimes treat God - we'd probably be very lonely! So give Him some effort today.
So, for today I will not be lazy. I will put God properly back into my "T.G.I.F" for all the right reasons. I will be a better friend to Him today than I was yesterday. I will appreciate Him and thank Him and call on Him when I need Him. He's always there for me so today I will be there for Him and with Him.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
As positive as I try to be about the circumstances and situations in my life, from time to time I throw an excellent "pity party." And, if you're like me, it's tough to break that mood once you've let it sink in. You're lucky if it only lasts an hour or two, but more likely than not you let it last all day. Sometimes the main attendees are your missed chances in life and you wonder what things would be like if you had chosen a different path. Sometimes your guests of honor are valid inequalities or unfairness in your current circumstances. You are justified in feeling that things aren't equal in your partnership, or that you put forth more effort than others but don't receive the same benefits. You are certain that you are surpassing your end of the bargain and you're tired. You want the recognition. You want a more equal distribution of responsibilities. And you want more frequent and better rewards for all your efforts. You're tired. You're tired. Key point - you're tired. If you're like me, during these times, what I fail to realize is that I have no idea of what a different path would be like and there's no guarantee that it would actually have been better. I forget that when I'm not in my "why me" mood, that I am generally very satisfied and quite happy with my life. When I'm in the right frame of mind, I count my blessings (which are many) daily. On my good days, I remember that God put me front row and center in the life of my specific family because they need me and He gave me gifts to share with them. I remember that God has blessed me with certain talents and abilities so that I can be a blessing to others (and guess what, He gave my family and friends wonderful attributes to bless me as well). I need to remember that God has made them, at this point, dependent on me so that I can give, care and love them just as He loves and cares for me. He has trusted me with these people, these relationships and responsibilities for a reason! God trusts me! He needs me to do this job for Him and His purposes. Wow - He trusts me! The responsibilities I have aren't a burden, but actually an honor. When you are responsible with the charges God lays at your feet, He gives you more. So if He trusts me and knows how to strengthen me when I need it, I will make it past my "pity party" and be able to continue His work. Sometimes I'm tired and it's o.k. to cut myself some slack and remember that I'm not perfect. So maybe the next time the "pity party" mood surfaces, I'll remember that God trusts me and I'll make it through.
So for today, I will stop asking "why me?" I will focus more intensely on the heart of Jesus. He came to serve without thought of personal reward. I want to be a blessing to others and I'm glad that I can be. So, "why me" step aside! Instead I will start saying, "Thank God it's me!" My family, friends, and parents can depend on me. And I will pray for God to continue to bless me with the strength, endurance, spirit and patience to continue His work. When I'm tired, I will allow myself that moment of downtime but I won't wallow - no pity party today - then I will re-energize and I will repeat to myself, "Thank God it's me."
Monday, September 27, 2010
Do you love music? Do you have favorite songs that you love to hear or play over and over? I know I do. As soon as I hear the first notes of certain songs it affects my mood immediately. Sometimes it's good and they make me remember a favorite time in my life or a great person and I get all happy and nostalgic. Other times they make me sad because they bring back a hurt or a broken dream that still touches me. Most of you would probably relate Pop, Rock, or R&B to this type of emotional response, but music with Christian lyrics can be just as moving - maybe more so. Don't wait until Sundays to hear the songs you love at church. And don't limit your connection to the music and Christ with only church events or sermons. Add Christian music to your daily life. Find a station or your car radio or link on your office computer. Let music inspired by God begin to fill your life every day. You'll find inspiration, clarity, hope, comfort and thoughtfulness in this type of music. You'll begin to tie these songs to special events or moments and then seek out those songs over and over when you're in need. It's a great way to keep yourself centered and focused on the true priorities in life - and your praising God while your listening (or singing along).
So, for today I will add Christian music to my library. I will begin to expand my love for Christ into my itunes. I'll realize that church music doesn't have to stay in church and I will be blessed.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
We all have favorite jokes, sayings, riddles, songs, even commercials or lines from movies that we love and can recite at the drop of a hat. But, have you ever memorized your favorite passages from the Bible. Are you able to recall with clarity and accuracy those verses which have brought you peace, comfort, encouragement, inspiration or hope? If you can - great, now pick another one to memorize. If you can't, start today with just one verse. It doesn't matter if it's long or short. Find the one passage that means the most to you. The one line or paragraph that captures your heart and soul with God's love, power or knowledge. Find one simple verse that you can memorize. This verse, you will find, will feed you when you are uncertain or scared or just having a bad day. Use this verse for strength and solice. I have many, many favorites but the only I draw on the most is: "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'what shall we eat?' or 'what shall we drink?' or 'what shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. " (Matt 6:31-34)
So, for today I will memorize a favorite bible verse. I will find the passage that speaks to my heart and soul and I will carry it my mind from this day forward.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
There's a difference between constructive criticism and sarcastic or undeserved judgement. There's a saying, "if you can't say something nice - don't say anything at all." Most of us don't apply that on a daily basis especially if someone takes the first strike. It's that animal instinct that only the strong survive. When you feel you've been unfairly judged and you're hurt, you want to hurt the other person right back so they know how it feels. It's a natural, normal feeling right? But does striking back make you stronger or is it stronger to disregard that hurtful and probably ignorant comment and move on with your day? This is a tough situation to be in for most of us. Whether you love a good fight or are conflict adverse, when you feel you've been picked on unfairly thoughts of retaliation undoubtedly come to mind. Just for today, we will bite our tongues, mind our actions and not retaliate in hast. We will take the high road with the assurance that we know the truth and that stooping to that person's level will only fuel a petty and usually ridiculous fire. Don't fan the flames today.
So, for today I will not retaliate. As much as I want to get back at that person who has done a wrong to me, I will practice self-control today. I will take the high road - even though it can be a tough one. I will be confident in who I am and what I stand for and I won't let their petty, ignorant or just plain mean comment/action pierce my soul. I'm stronger than they think. I'm under His protection and don't need to retaliate and lower myself to that level.
Friday, September 17, 2010
If I'm being honest, sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes the answer is no. So the challenge today is to pick one think that you want to accomplish for God to show your love and respect for Him and to make Him proud. You might choose volunteering somewhere, or going back to bible study (or attending for the first time), or making a commitment to go to church on Sunday. You might decide to be ultra-patient with your kids today, or to not argue with your spouse, or to be especially considerate to your parents, or to show understanding and compassion to a friend that's been hard to deal with lately. You might make a donation to charity, or offer assistance to someone in need, or refrain from a destructive habit that pulls you away from God. Just pick something tangible and do it. And don't think that you're too far gone or unworthy of His grace and pride. He loves you and He wants you! So show God you can be focused or kind or mature or generous. Show God that you are trying in some small way to be like Him and to emulate His glory. Show Him that you want to be a good and faithful servant and that you want to make Him proud.
So, for today I will make God proud of me. The love that He pours onto me, I will pour it onto someone else today. I pray that God will bless me and help me in my efforts and that at the end of the day I will be fulfilled and thankful and I will know that my small gesture made Him smile. And then I will do it again tomorrow!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
So today instead of sitting around the table, cramming food down your throat while you drive, or plopping in front of the TV with your zapped microwave meal - have a picnic. Go to the park or the beach. Go into your backyard or lay out a blanket in the middle of your living room! It doesn't really matter "where" your picnic is, it's more about the sense of ease and lack of structure and rules that makes picnics so great. You sit on the ground, no fancy china or glasses, you eat just about everything with your hands and you always seem to spill something. Is there something magical about that blanket and sitting on the ground that transforms us and breaks through all the stress and brings out the laughter? I don't know. But I do know there's something instinctively fun about a picnic. Maybe because our lives are so structured and so scheduled and a picnic seems to break all the rules of manners and decorum. You can just be yourself, eat your sandwich and smile. No one's judging your use of the proper fork, or telling you to get your elbows off the table. You don't even have to use a napkin because a sleeve will always do. The point is to break lose today and have a little freedom from structure.
So, for today I will have a picnic. I will enjoy the freedom and fun of a picnic. Whether big or small, with others or on my own, I will have a picnic and relax. And while I'm enjoying my picnic I will thank God that there are still some things in life that are easy, uncomplicated and fun.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
But what you see on the surface isn't the whole story. If you don't live that persons life - if you haven't walked in their shoes - if you don't know their struggles, their disappointments, how those experiences have shaped them and changed them - how can you judge it? The sad part is, maybe you don't care. It's an easy position to stay cloaked in self-righteousness with no qualms about chiming in on why you think someone else is flawed and how you couldn't possible relate or accept "someone like that." Maybe it makes you feel superior to comment and judge someone? Maybe you think it makes you stronger to call out the weaknesses you think you see? But just remember that you don't know what they've been through, just like they don't know what you've been through. So next time you decide to judge someone, why don't you stop and think first. Why don't you take the time to listen and learn about that person. We all have life experiences, good and bad, that we've gone through that hopefully help us learn and grow and move on. Maybe what you look down your nose at is a pivotal experience this person went through that devastated their life and they are just trying to move forward. Maybe they had hopes and dreams but lost everything and want to start over and do it better this time. Maybe they got caught in circumstances you know nothing about and they are trying to make the best of it anyway. Or maybe they just made mistakes and are trying to learn from them and create a different life....
So, for today I will not judge when I don't know the facts. I will stop trying to make myself feel superior by putting down someone else's efforts. I will actually acknowledge that I don't know everything about everyone in every situation and I will temper my attitude and my tongue with compassion, humility, and a little understanding. We're all human. We all live in glass houses. Don't throw the first stone.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Think of the person who has hurt you the most in your life. Who is the one that has either intentionally or unintentionally caused you the most pain? For many of us, we won't have to think long or hard to pick out this person. For others, it may take more thought but we all have someone who has done something to us that we've never gotten over. Today, we need to forgive that person. We need to forgive them completely. We can't say it today and then hold that grudge again tomorrow. We need to give it to God and let it go. We need to, with full hearts and complete conviction, forgive that person (whether they have asked for it or not). Think of all the things Christ forgives for each one of us. We are blessed that He doesn't hold a grudge or wish us harm because we've hurt Him - and we all know we've hurt Him during our lives. Forgiveness is so difficult for us to give but we live by a double standard because even without giving it we all still want to receive an endless supply of forgiveness from God. So let it go, give up the pain and the anger, the moral indignation, the outrage, the despise and forgive that person today. If you can truly forgive them today, you will be free tomorrow and for the rest of your life. Don't be a prisoner to pain and to the past. Don't let your inability to forgive hold you back anymore. Pray, fill your heart and mind with Christ's grace and love, and forgive that person now and forever.
So, for today I will forgive someone. We will pray for all the strength, compassion, grace and peace that we need in order to be able to do this. We will fill our hearts with Christ's love and all that He does for us and we will forgive this person and not look back. We will realize that if we can forgive the person who has hurt me the most, we will be able to better forgive others in our lives. We will learn that forgiveness is freeing and brings peace. This may not be easy, but it's a step we need to take.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Many times we try to find a quiet moment to think, but by taking a bubble bath you get your quiet time and your body gets a much needed time to physically relax. All you have to do today is just take those few minutes to quiet the world, pamper your tired and aching body, and just sit. You can block out the rest of world while you soak in a hot, bubbly bath. Light some scented candles, play some nice relaxing music, and just let your worries float away for a little while. Give your mind and body peace. You deal with "life" all day, every day. Take the time today to sit, soak, pray and come out of it mentally and physically relaxed! You can find the time, if you try - so try.
So, for today I will take a bubble bath. I will soak my tired body and soul. I will relax in the warmth of the bath and enjoy the quiet time to calm my spinning mind. I will not make 'to do' lists or think about what's happening at work or with the kids. I will pray and quiet my spirit and my muscles and I will enjoy my peace.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I can think of an example. Do you ever get so upset or so frustrated that you want to explode, but at the same time realize how ridiculous the situation is and want to break out laughing but don't? I can get frazzled with my children and when they make a silly face or do something goofy in the middle of my frustration I hold back from laughing. I think to myself - this is serious, they have to learn a lesson - whatever you do don't laugh. I wish I would just let it go more often, laugh with them, give a hug and let us all move forward in a better mood. So if you're like me and you find yourself in one of these situations, just let it go - give in to the impulse - laugh. Maybe it's not your kids, but your spouse or significant other, maybe it's with your parents or a friend. You get into a "debate" and want so much to hold your ground that you can't give in to the absurdity of arguing over which brand of tomato paste is better(or whatever equally silly thing you find to argue about).... Laugh at the situation, laugh at yourself. Break the tension, release the anger, and make it a much more pleasant experience and day.
So, for today I will laugh. Instead of being controlled and argumentative, I will allow myself the pleasure and release that laughter provides. I will remember that more gets accomplished by everyone (including me) when we are in a good mood and have been lighten by laughter.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Do you get caught up in your opinions, your preferences, and your own quirks so much so that you find yourself constantly 'debating' with others? (I call it 'debating' because those of you knit-pickers are positive about the validity of your point that you will debate its merits to death!!!) Think about the conversations during your day. Is the majority of time spent on these quarrels with others over each tiny spec of detail and the conversations never get around to the important, huge factors? Stop getting caught up in the minutia. Sometimes you can just let it go. Not everything has to be your way, on your terms, and in your timing. Instead of being quarrelsome over everything because you want total control, how about picking your battles? Is it really the end of the world when the soup can is in the wrong place in the pantry? Will civilization as we know it end if your co-worker put the header on the report to the right instead of centering it? Will all of heaven and earth cry out in disgust if your kids prefer to mix their t-shirts and shorts in the same drawer instead of separate ones? Figure out what your passion is regarding truly critical matters and then hold fast to those principles only. But if, when making your list, you find you are still listing which type of mayonnaise must be used at all times and that all flossing of teeth must be down from right to left by every member of your household - start the list over!! Eliminate the stuff that you should be able to adapt to, let go of, show some flexibility on, or just plain stop being so stubborn.
So, for today I will not quarrel. I will begin a new pattern of relaxing and being flexible. I will acknowledge that not everything has to be my way and that a different interpretation doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong. I will save my fights for vital, critical issues and I will learn to be at ease with the little stuff. And since this may be hard for me, I will pray for patience and discernment throughout the day!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I'm not talking about starting at page 1 and reading it the whole way through. That's a tough thing to do, but people have done it. Let's make this a little easier though. If you used to read your bible often, get back into the habit. Go back over those highlights and favorite chapters or stories. Seek out those beloved passages and re-energize your soul. If you have never read your bible, I would suggest starting at the New Testament with the gospels - the Book of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. After that, finish the New Testament or move into my favorite, Psalms. I love Psalms because it's shorter inspiring passages and you can find something about every subject under the sun! If you don't have a bible, get one. There are great study bibles available that help you understand the more difficult passages or historical references. Take the time in the book store to open them and read some passages. If the language is confusing, try a different translation that you are more at ease with. If you think it's confusing to read - you'll never read, so find the right fit for you. Now comes the easy part, take 5, 10, 15 minutes in the morning, mid-day, or evening and open up your bible and read. That's it. The bible has information about every single aspect of life. God has given us a blueprint to follow for everything we will encounter on earth. You will struggle less and lead a more contented life when you read the bible and find your answers. So instead of self-help books, get the only help you will ever need book - The Bible!
So, for today I will read my bible. I will start (or continue) the practice of finding a few minutes to read my bible and allowing God to give me the information I need. I will use the bible as my source of strength, peace, guidance, instruction and hope. My life will be much more blessed when I am counting on God's advice and wisdom and holy word. God is the ultimate self-help life coach, so I will trust and honor His word and read my bible.
Friday, August 20, 2010
What do you have a weakness for? Is it a particular food item? A favorite drink? An obsession with video games? An inability to ever be without your cell phone? A laziness to stay on the couch all evening? Whatever it is, this is your chance to give it up for a time period as an act of respect to God. So, pick a time length that challenges you. Don't pick an unrealistic one and set yourself up for failure before you've begun. Pick a time frame difficult enough to make it tough on you, but not so much so that you spend the entire time complaining and miserable about what you gave up - that's not an act of praise! Once that's established, pick the item or habit or activity and give it up and let it go!! Occupy yourself with other things. Pray during your fast time. Prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of strength, prayers of gratitude and solice. Instead of focusing on the item you have given up, focus on all you do have and keep a constant stream of communication going up to God. You'll feel stronger, more at peace, and a little more aware that the item you thought you couldn't live without - you actually can!!
So, for today I will fast. I will spend time praising God instead of doing things that I want or like. I will give up that thing that is my weaknesses, that thing I don't want to go without, but fro God will give it up gladly as a small token of my great appreciation, admiration and love for Him.
Monday, August 2, 2010
For today I will just take the day minute by minute. Instead of getting anxious and stressed about what I need to do later in the day, what good or bad may come my way today, I will just take a breath and get through the next minute. God does not give us more than we can bear, but some days we don't feel like we have the strength to make it through the day. So just pray for the strength and comfort to get through the next minute. After that, ask for peace in the next minute. After that, ask for hope in the next minute. Don't jump ahead and start worrying or getting tired. Minute by minute today. Let the day unfold minute by minute and do a breath prayer as often as you need it (a breath prayer is just a short simple statement you repeat over and over during your day, ie.. "Be with me Lord" or "I'm trusting you God" or "I need your strength God").
So, for today I will take it minute by minute. I will stay in the present and not worry or stress about the future. I will do what I can with each moment and give my full effort to each minute. I will call on God to get me through each minute today - and He will see me through.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Our society has gotten very touchy-feely with being a "friend" to your child instead of being their parent. Compassion and open communication are amazing and needed. But you were given a job by God to raise these precious little souls into healthy, productive, and moral adults. So for today, stand up and do your job. Teach them, don't cater to them. Guide them, give them limits and tear up the free pass. This isn't about your need to feel cool. It's actually not about your feelings at all. This is about the responsibility to help your child mature and grow in the right ways. You taught them to walk and talk, so should you be teaching them to get drunk and swear. You want them to fall in love, get married and have kids. So don't condone violence, promiscuity, disrespectful and dangerous behavior. You want them to be responsible and intelligent, so don't buy everything they ask for when they can't pass their classes. Structure, discipline and consequences are important tools to show caring and love and thoughtfulness. Parents who care set boundaries. Every child is going to make mistakes no matter what - some big, some small. But if you're lucky enough to have taught them that there is a difference between right and wrong, maybe some of the choices they make won't be as devastating, as deep or as permanent and isn't that better than being "cool."
So, for today I will be strong instead of being cool. I will not allow or cater to what I know is wrong. I will "parent." I don't have to turn my home into a military school, but for today I will set boundaries that I know are appropriate and I will stick to them. And I will pray for continued strength again tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Whether you read a story to your own kids, relatives' kids, the kids of your friends, or just to yourself in the privacy of your own room - for today read a story. Find a book that you loved as a child. A fairytale, an adventure, whatever it is...find it and read it. But don't just look through it and read it silently - read it as though you were six years old again. Read it with the voices for each character. Act out the drama of the story. Relive the fun and make it come alive again. You'll have some fun and reconnect with your inner child. There's a wonderful comfort level that comes with the peaceful mindset and innocence of a child, so find that again today.
So, for today I will read a story. I will let go of "adult" things and take comfort in the familiar sights and sounds of my childhood. In today's hectic and pressured filled world, I will allow myself a moment to be a kid. I will delight in my bedtime story and fall asleep with a smile on my face.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
This challenge, however, does not include x-box, nintendo, wii or any other of the computer or electronic gadet games. Today is about good old-fashioned play time. Etch-o-sketch, legos, lite brite, play-dough, lincoln logs, go fish, building a sand castle, hopscotch, coloring, a tea party, monopoly, chutes and ladders, candyland, rock em sock em robot, connect four - something (anything) from your childhood that brought you joy and made you laugh. If you don't have the game/toy, borrow it (or something else) from a friend with kids, check the closets in your parents home, or go to the toy store and pick it up - whatever you have to do, just play today! We need moments that are not structured, not planned out and don't figure into any time schedule. Those moments we had as kids playing with friends are always some of the best memories. Recapture those moments today! Play with your family and release the tension and realities of the world for a few minutes. If you live alone, call some friends and invite them over for game night. Take the game to work tomorrow and play on your lunch break if you have to, just make sure you play!
So, for today I will play a game. I will be a kid again in my heart and in my actions. I will laugh and think about all the fun I used to have doing the simplest of things. I will realize how easy it was to be happy back then and wonder why I make it so hard for myself now. I will find joy today while I play and I will promise myself to make this attitude a bigger part of my life. I will find joy and pleasure in the simple things in life and be blessed.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Get out your calendar and mark the dates. Decide if you will stay connected via phone calls, emails, exchanging photos, making lunch dates, taking day trips or weekend excursions. Mark that calendar not just for one "trip", but for repeated trips throughout the summer and throughout the year. Whether it's every 2 weeks, once a month, or every Friday - make a travel plan that connects you with those who you want and need to stay in touch with. When that calendar appointment pops up - take your trip! Make that phone call, send that email, get in the car - do whatever "trip" you have planned and stay connected. Keep your "family" together! Whether you are related by blood, by marriage, or by friendship keep your family strong and united.
So, for today I will stay connected. God has blessed me with wonderful people in my life. He has brought them to me as a source of love, strength and companionship. They keep me grounded, they hold me accountable, they love me enough to be honest. God has blessed me and today I will cherish their presence in my life and I will make my travel plans and stay connected.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The challenge today is to wave and keeping waving. Wave at neighbors on your street you don't know. Wave to other cars at a stop light as you look around and make eye contact. Wave goodbye to the clerk as you leave the store. I'm talking a real, put your hand up in the air, wave. Not that head nod of recognition thing. And not just saying hello or goodbye, but add the action with it. Be engaging, be kind, be open and bring a light moment to someone else's life today.
So, for today I will wave. I will ignite a spark of friendly communication through a simple gesture and hope it is contagious! God loves kind words that bring a smile and He also loves action. It's as easy as this - raise your right hand, wiggle it, and smile! So wave and pass on some joy and love today.