Ever had a Flat Tire?

Have you ever had a flat tire? It can be quite a setback.  No fooling!

Where were you going when it happened? Did it make you late for work or a social occasion?  I bet you were in no mood to continue on to your destination, maybe because you were sweaty, dirty, tired…

I recently ran across this saying:

Goal picture

And the simplicity of it struck me.  It’s kind of silly – no one would think to slash the other tires when one goes flat. But, when you had a flat tire – did you feel like sitting on the side of the road and not try to change the tire or get help?  Did you feel like giving up?  Did you give up? What was the deciding factor?

It is quite likely that you didn’t think of giving up.  The thought may have flashed through your mind, but my guess is- it was only fleeting.  There was no choice.  You had to fix the problem.

So what happens when you reach an obstacle in obtaining your goal? When the dream you had doesn’t seem to pan out? When people begin to discourage you (and they will)?

What happens?

Do you react in the same way you would when you get a flat tire? Do you just handle it and get back in the driver’s seat and keep moving towards your destination?

A set back is just a step back to reevaluate. An opportunity to look at things different.  Maybe even see something you didn’t see before.  A change, a chance, a check – to see if you’re serious.

Are you serious?  Nobody wants to walk home when they get a flat tire.  Nor should we stop our progress just because our goal has been challenged.

Remember the lesson of the flat tire.  Call for help.  Change the tire/plan.  Take a minute to catch your breath and evaluate the damage.  Then pick up your tools and get going!!

What happened when you got a flat tire? When you reached a setback? When others tried to discourage you? Share your goal, hurdles, setbacks, your victories.  Let’s use this space to encourage one another! I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

Be the best you can be….. Not because anything else is unacceptable,

but because anything else is miserable

 

 

What Can I Say?

What can I say that hasn’t been said before?

NOTHING.

Solomon in the bible said it quite succinctly, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. “ Ecclesiastes 1:9

And the simple truth that there is nothing new under the sun, stops many people from pursuing their passions, ideas and opportunities.

We have a desire to be unique, special, different.  We want to offer the bit of advice that will give someone hope, or invent the product that hasn’t been thought of.  We yearn for that “thing” that will make us stand apart as special.

But the truth is – you are unique and special.  And because you are unique and special, when you make a hamburger, it tastes a little bit different from mine and Aunt Susie’s.

Likewise when you share a word of encouragement, or an idea, or pursue a passion that isn’t “new,” thinking you might make a difference…. You probably will!

Think about it: if we both listen to a friend that is discouraged and we want to encourage them, our advice will quite likely be similar, but because of our uniqueness and personal experiences- we will minister to our friend differently, both being effective.

What have you been holding back from – because you have nothing new to offer the world? Be honest with yourself.

Consider this:

There are only seven basic plots in a book, story or movie… overcoming the monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; rebirth.

Yet there are over 600,000 to 1,000,000 books published in the United States each year.

There may be nothing new under the sun – but what you have to offer is what the world needs, because of your unique experience, vision, and perspective.

Don’t hesitate – step out!beach-footprints2-300x221

How Many Times?!

Are you waiting for something? A breakthrough? A promotion? Possibly your house to sell? Something…

Waiting is one of the most difficult exercises that can come upon us. No one asks for it. We all want “it” to happen immediately, in our timing.

The challenging task of waiting can breed discouragement. Discouragement often leads to our questioning our decisions.

This morning as I read through the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho I realized the ridiculousness of the Israelites circling Jericho once a day, in silence, for 6 days in a row, before they took any action. Why? Seriously, why would they need to circle the city once every day, return to their camp and do it again the next day? Seems a bit silly to me. And a waste of time…just get to the “action!”

Unless of course there was something to be learned in the waiting. Or a lesson – in the rote exercise of doing the same thing again and again. And again.  Perhaps the Israelites saw something the 5th time around that they didn’t see previously. Perhaps God was working on their hearts to walk through a rote exercise that seemed meaningless – so that they would learn to trust Him. Perhaps He was working something inside the city walls that they could know nothing about…

Surely there’s more to the story!

And I think that’s the point. There IS more to the story. We can’t see what or why God is working in the way He orchestrates. We don’t have His perspective. We don’t see the entire picture.

Trust is trust. Plain and simple. A difficult task while we wait. While we are called to do the same rote task day in and day out. Often we are tempted to manipulate a situation so that what we are waiting for may come quicker. But that’s not trusting.

Trusting says that you know God is working all things for good. Trusting says that you understand that God has a very different perspective than you do.

Trusting is not “understanding,” but knowing that God has your very best in His heart.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Fully Loaded

Are you prepared? 

How ready are you? Are you fully loaded?

Battles of the soul.  Every day holds challenges.

                 Battles                   Choices                 Challenges                                  

Sometimes the trials are simple; a cranky relative, slow cashier, congested traffic….

Other days are a bit more complex; a bad report from the doctor, someone attacks our character, plans fall through, dreams die…

Not long ago, a visiting pastor shared about his tragedy.  The setting was just before Christmas, all the presents were wrapped, the Christmas play was performed seamlessly without a hitch.  His home was filled with Christmas cheer and good tidings as the music filled his home with warmth. And then it hit – like a lightning bolt.  His son developed a virus and within 24 hours was gone.  Just like that…..gone.

Although our days will not probably hold such difficult trials – they could come. It’s foolish to think they won’t. How’s your reserves? Are they full? Empty? Somewhere in between?

The pastor said he and his wife were prepared. I couldn’t believe my ears!  But they were.  Their cannons were fully loaded as they had clung to the Lord in the easy times. So they were as ready as they could have been for such a tragic loss.  Their priorities were right, their relationship was strong, with each other, and the Lord.  Deposits had been made daily – mentally, physically and spiritually.

Seasons ebb and flow.  Load your cannon.

Work out those muscles – spiritual, physical, mental, financial.

Be ready.  Battles and trials come in various forms. Earth shattering and peace rattling…..

Live fully loaded.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong
1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)

Lessons Learned from a Black Eye

Ever had a shiner?! It’s not like a scraped knee. You can’t really cover it up – unless you don’t mind looking like an overdone clown. Makeup doesn’t really mask it and if you use concealer it’s just a matter of hours before the black and blue shine thru and reveal to all that you’re trying to keep a secret.

And it’s not gone in a week!

A black eye is humbling. And who doesn’t need a little humbling?!

Apparently I do!

As I await the passing of my bruises, here are some lessons I’ve learned:

– Be yourself – others will like you for who you are. Mamma told us, “it’s what’s on the inside that matters.” And she was right. A black eye forces you to reach inside; sometimes deep inside because….
– People love beauty. And conversely, they typically shy away from ugly. Ever been with someone beautiful? People flock to them, they attract others like a magnet. How about someone “not so pretty?” They can wait indefinitely for help in a busy store. It’s sad but true, and I wonder…
– Have I treated people with less regard because of their lack of beauty? Maybe a scar, a deformation, a wheelchair, missing teeth, etc….. I’m compelled to watch my actions and show kindness because…
– It takes much more character to walk around in a society (that loves pretty) and be ugly. People can be rude to less fortunate people. It takes a deep reservoir of fortitude for many people to assimilate in a world where they KNOW they will not have favor. And as such…
– I greatly admire those people. They have my respect. And my favor.

My black eye will go away.

But the one legged young man I saw pushing himself up an interstate ramp in a wheelchair (to go beg for money) has determination far beyond anyone I know.

Similarly so does the elderly man I saw struggling to cross the street, navigating his wheelchair – yet lifting one hand to waive in “Thanks” to the line of traffic that patiently waited. Could I do that day after day? Or would I stay at home to avoid the obvious frustration?

I’ve learned many lessons this last week. My sister surprised me when she heard I had a black eye – she laughed and told me to use a step stool the next time I try to get a heavy pan off the top shelf of my pantry. “Lesson learned,” she texted. Hmmm, actually I had never thought of that – but she’s right.

Hopefully the lessons will last far beyond the bruises that graciously taught them to me.

What is Failure?

How do you define “Failure?”

Often we judge failure wrongly.

How do you judge failure? Our definition of failure begins with our definition of success.

So, how do you define success?  Yesterday these questions echoed through my mind. A cacophony of arguments ensued.

 Success is achieving a goal. Failure is the opposite, obviously!

Defeat is difficult and often Defeat wants to bring its tagalong friend – Despair.

Despair brings his friends: Hopelessness and Bleakness.

It’s a downward spiral much like the beginnings of an avalanche.
When Despair shows up in the midst of our lives we need to act fast. The avalanche is inevitable if we open the door to our minds and let Despair come in..

So what is failure… a mistake?  How big of a mistake?

A really big mistake? Maybe hurting a loved one’s feelings…
OR… A small mistake? I dropped the mayonnaise jar and it broke on the kitchen floor…

Is failure an altering of our plans? If I set a goal and fail to achieve it have I failed?
Is success simply achieving my goals? I’d naturally think it is.
Realistically though I am going to hurt someone’s feelings by my actions. I am going to fumble and drop a jar and have it paint my kitchen floor with yuck. It is impossible to achieve complete “success” by never making mistakes. Mistakes are part of life.

Recall a baby you know or knew. As they grew, they stumbled learning to walk and broke things that they should have never touched. Children often say hurtful things.  And then they learn not to.

Perhaps there’s more to success than simply completing a task as defined by our simple minds. Perhaps success is learning from mistakes and applying them so that our goals are not only achieved but redefined by our newly gained knowledge. Perhaps real success is allowing ourselves to take risks beyond our comfort zone and glean from the results.

Learning from mistakes and applying that insight is true success.

Actually – Failure is giving up.

Often we want to give up when we are unsuccessful in achieving our preset goals as we’ve determine. But our ways and plans are not always ideal. Our minds are quite simple and limited and there is much room to grow.

 Fighting the feeling of failure can be a battle worthy of the mightiest warrior. Start by defining success.

A good definition of success is: Overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal.

Success is a step by step process not a milestone or landmark.

Think about that….

 

What are You Doing Today?

Here I sit. The day is dawning and I have a full Saturday ahead of me. I wonder… How can I make a difference?

Last week I was honored to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with my employer and the Starkey Hearing Foundation. We spent 4 days fitting children and adults with hearing aids. The need was overwhelming. Simply because their medical care is so lacking. It’s incomprehensible to me to see so many children that could not only not hear, but they could not even communicate well because they had no language….i.e. no speech or sign language. What would a person’s world be like with an inability to convey a thought?

Giving the gift of hearing!
Giving the gift of hearing!

I am struck at the amazing good fortune we have in this country and how we are so self involved. Me included. We have our daily routines. And a much of it is absolutely necessary. Laundry must be done. Bills must be paid. But when work and duties or self gratification are the hallmarks of our day, we should ask ourselves a question….

Why are we given this privilege of living here, with endless opportunities at our fingertips each and every day?

Mamma told us, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

And I think we all know it’s true. When we reach out and touch others – offer a kind word or a helping hand, there is a fulfillment in our hearts that no self-focused exercise can create.

So today…. I will pray that my eyes are open and my heart willing to look for an opportunity to reach out in some small way (or large, if the opportunity arises) and touch someone else’s life.

Join me….. will you?