Archive for January, 2010

How To “Get Over It”

Friday, January 29th, 2010

failure

Do you ever just feel “down” for no really good reason?

I’m there right now. A friend disappointed me. A project seems stalled. Cold weather makes everything about my injury a little more difficult. Nothing really major or life-threatening to point at, but somehow everything just seems a bit gray at the moment.

I don’t like the feeling, and I don’t want to just complain about it or wait for someone else to make it go away. I’m not a big fan of simplistic admonishments to “just snap out of it.”

So I’m thinking about some specific strategies for banishing this generalized “less than partly cloudy” feeling.

I’ll share a few of my own and invite you to jump in with some additions in the comments.

Give some gifts you can’t purchase. I’m thinking of things like a sincere compliment, credit for a great idea, a second chance, or the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps that friend is stressed or didn’t intend her actions as I perceived them.

Share something. My mom used to phrase this a bit more bluntly: Make yourself useful. Offer a thoughtful comment on a blog post. Find an interesting, helpful article and forward it to people via Facebook, email, Twitter, or other networks. Charles Leadbeater said, “In the past, you were what you owned. Now you are what you share.”

Intentionally say “Tell me more about that” … and mean it. Who knows, I might learn something useful from someone else’s perspective. Perhaps I can help someone solve a problem or clarify a thought or idea. At the very least, this brings me into the present, which is the only place I can really exert any influence.

Encourage. To me, that means giving courage to others and inspiring them to do something great.

Help others to see the rainbow. In the Bible, the rainbow was the symbol of hope. Help someone discover the glimmer of hope they can’t quite perceive.

Genuinely celebrate someone’s success. This consciously reminds me that I believe in abundance. Your success and happiness does not come at my expense. We all benefit when the circle expands, so why not take time to enjoy others’ accomplishments?

Forgive. Frequently my own gloomy mood reflects resentment over some real or imagined grievance. Some say “Don’t get mad, get even.” I’m better off with “Don’t get mad, get over it.”

You see the pattern, right? A friend disappointed me. My project isn’t going as I planned. The weather makes is harder for me.

SOLUTION

Recognize that it’s not about me. I am not the center of the universe. My expectations, projects, and comfort are not what it’s all about.

When I acknowledge this truth I re-focus on giving rather than getting, serving rather than being served. I see myself accurately as humble steward rather than entitled owner. I get back to my core values of courage, truth, and grace.

The truth that the world’s not Rich-centered reminds me why I’m doing all of this in the first place.

Do you ever experience that general “bummed” feeling? What’s your strategy for getting out of it as quickly as possible?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

The Master Gardener

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

“When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.  This is he which received seed by the way side.  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it.” Matthew 13:19-20 King James Version

When we accept Jesus as our personal Saviour, He plants the seed of unconditional love in our hearts.  As we yield to His control and let Him have His way in our hearts and lives, the seed of love that He planted grows and we start loving others unconditionally.

Jesus melts our cold and hardened hearts.  “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26, 27).  Thank God for Jesus, the Master Gardener.

One of the definitions for landscape gardener in Webster’s Dictionary is “a person who is engaged in the development and decorative planting of gardens and grounds”.  Jesus is engaged in the developing and decorative planting of our hearts.  It is the desire of His heart that we love one another unconditionally as He loves us.

I think sometimes we forget that not only does He want us to love unconditionally; He has commanded us to love one another unconditionally.  We would do well to remember that is is not an option to love unconditionally, it is a commandment.  Can we honestly say that we are loving others as He has commanded us to love them?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://joanne-freedominjesus.blogspot.com/
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Are We Comforters or Are We Selfish

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:4 King James Version

Years ago, someone came to me and told me that her friend had died.  Instead of comforting her, I asked her to take me to the hospital because I was depressed and thinking only about myself.  I was so caught up in my own troubles, I didn’t hear the pain in her voice and I failed to comfort her.

I was very selfish that day.  Yes, I was hurting but she was also hurting.  I wonder how often we fail to recognize the pain in someone’s voice.  Not only did I hurt her that day, but I also hurt God and broke His heart because I didn’t comfort her as He comforts me.

May God forgive us for not comforting people as He comforts us. (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4)  How terrible it would be if we would tell Jesus we are hurting and He didn’t care.  Thank God that Jesus really cares about us.  He cares when we are hurting.  When we cry, He weeps with us and when we are happy, He rejoices with us.

Let’s start comforting people with the comfort that God comforts us.  If we want people to be there for us when we are hurting, we had better be there for them when they are hurting.  This statement is so true “You get back what you give out”.  Are you comforting people as God comforts you or are you so wrapped up in your own troubles like I was that you don’t care about other people?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://joanne-freedominjesus.blogspot.com/
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Surrender

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

no-tilting-at-windmills

“Surrender” isn’t a popular notion in our culture. We don’t like to lose, and surrender usually connotes admitting some sort of defeat.

But there’s another reason to surrender. Sometimes you simply conclude that a particular battle isn’t worth fighting, that the possible gains simply don’t justify the pain and sacrifice required. It’s the acknowledgment and acceptance of circumstances that can’t be altered. It’s the wisdom to spend your energy on what can be changed rather that battling what cannot.

I learned about this sort of surrender when I finally said something obvious:

God, I’m not you. I want my life to be about what You want, not about what I want.

This isn’t a defeat, it isn’t losing. Surrendering myself and my limited vision to God’s will is a win. I can stop trying to do it my way, acknowledge the reality the God’s bigger than I am, and give myself the opportunity to be what I was designed to be.

What would you like to surrender this week?

Dixon
Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

What new thing is God doing in your life today?

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. [Isaiah 43:18-19]

giftbox

How long does “new” last?

Just a few weeks ago we celebrated a new year and opened new gifts. And, just like that, the shine disappeared. New isn’t new any longer.

Does it stop being new once you take it out of the box? Do you have to use it, program it, play with it, or wear it before it’s no longer new? Is there a time limit on “new?”

God spoke through Isaiah more than twenty-five centuries ago, proclaiming a new thing as revolutionary as a stream in the desert. To his contemporaries, the prophet spoke God’s promise to end their Babylonian captivity and restore Israel. Just as their ancestors were delivered from Egypt, the prophet foretold that this enemy would be crushed as well.

But Isaiah foretold not only a new thing for ancient Israel but for us as well. God has a different perspective on “new.” Apparently, God’s version of new doesn’t come with an expiration date.

God’s promise was fulfilled in Jesus and a new covenant, a promise that’s fresh every day. When we wander in darkness, God promises a new thing—the light of the world. When we’re thirsty and parched from the desert heat, He provides living water.

I don’t know exactly how that works, how something that’s eternal and never-changing can also be a new thing. But every time I fail and miss the mark, I’m grateful that I can trust the light to show me the way to a life-giving stream in the midst of my personal wasteland.

He’s doing a new thing, in your life and mine, every day. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

What new thing is God doing in your life today?

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. [Isaiah 43:2]

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Fulfilling God’s Purpose Rather than Our Own

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

“Prepare to meet your God…” (Amos 4:12).

The recent movie “Bucket List” was a smash hit at theaters, and not surprisingly so. The storyline was about two men who discover they have little time left to live, so they draw up lists of what they want to accomplish before they “kick the bucket.” The theme is appealing because nearly everyone has such a bucket list, though most despair of ever checking off anything on the list, let alone covering the entire thing.

I personally find this story very sad, for the very reason that so many people do relate to it and would no doubt react the same way were they to discover they had only months or weeks to live. The reason it’s sad is that this sort of reaction precludes finishing the race as we are called and designed to do.

Human beings are the only creatures made in the image of God. Due to the Fall of Adam and Eve and the sin nature that subsequently passed from them to all of us, that image has been marred. But a marred image does not excuse us from fulfilling God’s call on our life—and preparing to meet Him at the end of it.

The Great Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross paid the price for restoration of relationship with the Father. This begins the process of becoming more like Him, which inherently includes fulfilling His purpose for us on this earth. As a result, we no longer have an excuse for preparing our own “bucket list”; we have a greater agenda to fulfill.

As believers who claim to love and serve God, we don’t need to wait until we receive a bleak medical diagnosis to decide how to live our remaining time on earth. God was speaking to Israel in Amos 4:12 when He said, “Prepare to meet your God,” but His words of admonition and direction apply to each of us. From the moment we are born into this world, and especially from the moment we are born again, our primary focus should be preparing to meet God. None of us knows when the Lord will call us home, but if we live each day as if it will be our last—fulfilling His purpose for us rather than our own—our “bucket list” will be complete. We can then stand before Him with confidence, knowing that Jesus has paid our admission price into heaven, and we will not need to be ashamed at how we spent God’s gift of a redeemed life on earth. And surely we will hear those longed-for words, “Well done, good and faithful servant….”

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Macias
Copyright 2009 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 26 books. Her newest books are:
“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

and


“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”
(New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Tune Our Hearts

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Matthew 5:48 King James Version

One of the definitions for perfect in Webster’s Dictionary is “being entirely without fault or defect”.  We know that we are not and never will be perfect according to this definition.  God knows that we aren’t perfect and will never be perfect in this world.

However, we can be perfect in our hearts if we will give unconditional love to others.  God would not have told us to be perfect if it was impossible to do.  We can’t do this in our own strength.  We must allow Jesus to control our hearts so that we can love others unconditionally through Him.

We are to love others unconditionally just as He loves us.  I think if we are honest with ourselves we will have to admit that we don’t always love others unconditionally like He loves us and as He has commanded us to love others.  Just as the old violin was tuned by its master to play a sweet melody, so our hearts must be tuned by Jesus.

Unless we yield ourselves to Jesus and let Him work in our hearts and lives we will never be perfected in our love for others.  Heavenly Father, we ask that You would please forgive us for not loving others unconditionally.  Jesus, we ask You to please tune our hearts so that we can be perfected in our love for others.  Amen.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://joanne-freedominjesus.blogspot.com/
http://christians-in-recovery.org

17 Ways To Wear Yourself Out

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

treadmill

Do you ever feel like you’re on a treadmill—lots of activity, not much progress?

One of my big personal issues is confusing busyness and productivity. I often reach the end of the day and realize that I’ve done a lot, but not much has gotten done. Am I the only one?

I also recognize that passionate productivity energizes me while busyness wears me out. I’m trying to do better at setting goals to direct my efforts, but I’m also recognizing that a number of personal attitudes contribute to the energy-draining side of my activities.

So, here a partial list of ways to wear yourself out. If you don’t already have enough of your own, perhaps you can borrow some of mine.

  1. Try to meet everyone else’s expectations.
  2. Constantly worry about what others are saying behind your back. Be absolutely certain that you’re defined by whatever “they” say.
  3. Take responsibility for others’ welfare, happiness, and feelings. Don’t distinguish this from genuine concern and compassion. Instead of doing what you can to help, feel inadequate whenever you can’t do everything for everyone. This is also a great way to make sure you don’t do much of anything for anyone.
  4. Depend on others to anticipate and meet your needs.
  5. Avoid authentic vulnerability so those closest to you are never quite certain what you’re feeling.
  6. Never, ever, say “no.” Justify this by reminding yourself that you’re just trying to be dedicated and considerate.
  7. Never settle for anything less than perfection.
  8. Focus on all of the things that could possibly go wrong. Never begin until all of these possibilities are eliminated.
  9. If you make a mistake, feel guilty. Make sure to reflect endlessly on your failures.
  10. Hold fast to your conviction that life ought to be fair. This will fuel your need for blame and revenge.
  11. Always know the right answer, even when you don’t. Cultivate the belief that “I don’t know” is a sign of weakness.
  12. Never seek help. Convince yourself that you should always know what to do and how to do it.
  13. Multi-task. Always have at least three things going on. Never allow yourself time for deep reflection, analysis, and contemplation. This works especially well in conjunction with #6.
  14. Compare yourself to others.
  15. Discount your own feelings, desires, and dreams. An effective method for this is to label them as selfish or childish.
  16. Be absolutely certain that your way is the one and only right way.
  17. (My personal favorite) Nurture an intense need for everyone to agree with you. Debate endlessly, especially with those who have an entirely different perspective. Consider it a personal failure if you don’t win every argument.

How about you? Which item(s) in my list resonate with you? What would you add?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Our Shepherd of Love

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40: 11 King James Version

Just as a shepherd gathers the lambs when they go astray so our Shepherd of love gathers us when we go astray.  Jesus leads us through all the dangerous, rough and rocky obstacles that satan puts in our lives.  Jesus loves us so much and is very protective of us.  Not only is Jesus our Saviour and friend, He is also our Shepherd of love.

When we become overwhelmed with the crises in our lives and feel like we can’t take another step or give another smile, He picks us up and carries us.  He is always with us.  He never leaves us, not even for one minute.  We sometimes leave Him but He remains faithful to us.  O that you and I would be as faithful to Him as He is to us.

There are times when we do things the way we want to do them and do things that we want to do rather than doing things His way and doing the things that He wants to do.  If you have strayed off the path He has put you on, allow Him to gently lead you back on the right path, the path that He has set for you.  His way is always the best way.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus, our Shepherd of love.  May we be as faithful to Him as He is to us.  We pray that You would please keep us from straying off the path You have set for us.  May we die to our own selfish wants and desires and do the things that make Jesus happy.  We love You, Heavenly Father, and we appreciate You.  Amen.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://joanne-freedominjesus.blogspot.com/
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Detour

Monday, January 18th, 2010

stuck8But—this wasn’t what I planned.

Does that happen to you? You had things all organized, scheduled, and mapped out. You set goals, knew what you needed to do, and committed yourself to a calendar. Now, you’re ready to get going.

And then something gets in the way. Wasn’t your fault. Couldn’t have been anticipated. An unexpected detour.

I began the month with lofty goals and a workable strategy. I broke the tasks down into smaller chunks, and started this week with a great game plan. I was excited to get going. But …

A family emergency, an unanticipated serious illness. Fourteen hours of windshield time trashed my carefully constructed plan. Seven hundred miles reminded me of a constant lesson of life.

Stuff happens.

Flat tires. Injury. Illness. Computer problems. Doesn’t matter how carefully we plan, detours appear where we didn’t expect them.

This week is a good reminder for me that anyone can do well when it’s all going as expected. I don’t distinguish myself when everything falls my way.

Obstacles filter. Detours divide those who wish they could do it from those who are determined to do it. That doesn’t mean I seek out adversity—I still prefer smooth roads and clear skies. But in the real world, those who succeed have to find ways around, over, or through the inevitable obstacles.

So I tap out this blog in a small-town hotel room, hoping to find an internet connection somewhere. A few tasks get delayed or re-worked. And priorities become a little more clear as I remember that healing and health matter most.

I hope this week’s going well for you. I hope even more that you don’t give up in the face of detour and disappointment.

What’s an unanticipated obstacle you need to overcome today?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

Dixon
Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com