Tag Archives: goal

Set the World on Fire… Not Literally, But Stop Making Excuses

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“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  —Neale Donald Walsch

“Fire tests gold, adversity brave men.”  —Latin proverb

“The lazy person is full of excuses, saying,If I go outside, I might meet a lion in the street and be killed!'”  —Proverbs 22:13 NLT

What’s holding you back?  Be wise, but stop making excuses!

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How Do I Decide? Well, Who or What Do You Want to Be?

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A few nights ago my daughter and I watched a movie, and something one of the characters said caught my attention. I think it can apply to more than just the obvious situation, don’t you? The main character’s best friend said:

“Don’t choose the better guy, choose the guy that’s gonna make you the better girl.” —Trish in This Means War

So who do you want to be? What do you want to be? Are your current life choices keeping you from being the person you really are deep down inside? Are current relationships with people and organizations helping you grow or keeping you stunted?

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” —C.S. Lewis, author

I’m not talking about being a snob.  I’m talking about the people you include in your inner ring, your most intimate of friends from whom you seek advice and with whom there is mutual benefit and not just a one-sided relationship.

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” —Proverbs 27:17

I’m also not talking about micromanaging our lives, and I know sometimes making the best choice isn’t always easy. After all, we’re human, and we make mistakes… sometimes, big ones. We cannot allow fear to keep us from making decisions either, because as Harvey Cox, an American theologian once said, “Not to decide is to decide.”

Don’t allow apathy to make the decision for you. Choose between what will keep you where you are or what will help you reach your goals.

Don’t just sit there. God cannot steer a car that isn’t moving.

“Are circumstances driving you, or are you controlling your circumstances?” —K. Scott Bonovich, author

It’s okay to say no.

Don’t kill yourself trying to fit into someone else’s mold. Do you want to be like them, or do you want to be you and who you believe God created you to be?

I recently made the decision to become a firefighter, and I am pursuing an education to become an EMT. I have been surprised by those who have been supportive from the beginning and those who are still not supportive to this day. One of my family members remarked that it seemed like the fire department had chosen me instead of my choosing the fire department. I assured her that it was my choice, and I worked hard studying the apparatus and equipment so that I could earn my shield and begin riding to assist and gain practical experience. Like anyone who has ever experienced great success, sometimes I had to decide between playing and working. I am grateful for those who also chose to work by taking the time to teach me. We played afterward.

“What are you prepared to do?” —Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables

How badly do you want it? What will it take to get it? Who do you want to be? It starts with a vision and then one decision after another.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” —Socrates, a character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Happy New Year!!

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Breaking & Making Habits

Photo credit:  David Gunter

Photo credit: David Gunter


Standing on a Stepping Stone

“A stepping stone will do no good if you decide to stand on it.”  —Max Tardie

“A stepping stone will do no good if you decide to stand on it.” —Max Tardie

As many of us do at the end of each year, I have been looking back over the past year to consider where I was a year ago, what has impacted me, and what direction I want to take. Although I may not be exactly where I had hoped to be at this time last year, I am grateful for the things I have accomplished and experienced and have learned along the way.

One of the best quotes on the subject of change I have come across this year is this:

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” —Socrates, a character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman

One of the things I feel really good about accomplishing is something I had wanted to do for years. In May of this year, I started a series on my blog called ‘Wisdom Wednesday’. Not only has it helped me deepen my understanding and added to my collection of wisdom, but it seems to have been a blessing to others as well.

There is one thing I haven’t yet solidified. When we pay attention and look for ways to overcome obstacles in this journey through life, sometimes we’ll come across stepping stones or bridges to help us navigate through rough or uncertain places. Max Tardie said, “A stepping stone will do no good if you decide to stand on it.” In some ways I feel like that’s what I’ve done in one or two areas of my life while trying to decide what to do. I don’t want to go back, but neither do I have any desire to remain standing on a stepping stone in the middle of a bog.

One of the things that made an impression on me this past year is a quote from the movie The Last Samurai.

“They are an intriguing people. From the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue. I have never seen such discipline. I am surprised to learn that the word Samurai means, ‘to serve’…” —Algren

Being sort of a ‘Jill-of-many-trades-and-master-of-none’, I tried to decide to which of my many interests I could devote myself in order to perfect it. I love photography, and although I have devoted a little more time to learning the craft and have changed direction a bit, I am far from mastering it. I also love typography and have played around with that a bit more as well in conjunction with photography. I have dabbled in making jewelry, learning to knit, I sometimes draw and paint, and, of course, I am a blogger, so I have tried to become a better writer, too. I also love Jesus and I want to be more like Him— loving, serving, winsome, meek, humble, wise, and faithful— so I have devoted time to studying the Bible, reading books, and listening to teachings, not to mention communing with Him as well. I am grateful for my daughter who has more opportunities to read and has recommended a few books, and I am grateful for all the personal and tangible ways in which He has communicated His love for me. I think, though, that striving to be more like Jesus is different than pursuing the perfection of a skill, a talent that He Himself has given, don’t you?

So here I am.

I feel like I’m standing on a stepping stone still trying to decide what to do. Should I continue to pursue photography and typography combining them, along with my pursuit of Jesus, with blogging? Or should I give up one in order to devote more time to another? I think I need to finish reading the book I’m currently reading called Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung.


Wisdom Wednesday: Making Plans

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Have you ever felt like your life was going nowhere or like you just can’t ever seem to get ahead?  Maybe it’s just one area of your life, or maybe it’s your whole life.  I often feel like I can never cage the paper tiger of bookkeeping or household management.  But I do know from experience that when I do sit down and make a plan, things seem to run so much more smoothly and efficiently than when I don’t.  Writing things down or keeping a To Do list on my phone helps me keep track of things.  Planning can actually save time and money and help us reach goals we otherwise would never pursue without taking the time to make a plan and invest in it.  Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest-serving First Lady of the U.S., said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”  The problem with wishing and not planning is wishing never gets us anywhere.  If we fail to plan, we will merely react and become a slave to our circumstances.

“The rich man plans for tomorrow, the poor man for today.”  —Chinese proverb

“It is not good enough for things to be planned—they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation.”  —Walt Kelly, American cartoonist

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”  —Peter Marshall

Even when I take the time to plan, I often procrastinate in working my plan and then find myself stressed out, because I either have to rush through it, find myself running late, or unable to obtain the needed supplies I thought I’d just be able to pick up quickly.  Has that ever happened to you?  When we procrastinate, we don’t leave room for the unexpected.  That’s what happened with the past two weeks of Wisdom Wednesday— procrastination and unforeseen circumstances.  Procrastination costs more.  If we procrastinate in paying a bill, we end up paying more because of late fees or finance charges.

Some people are good at daily planning while others are great at long-term planning.  I admire my friends, Mary Ellen and Diane, because they are great at planning daily, weekly and monthly activities while remaining very flexible so they can serve and bless others.  I admire my friend, Barb, who is great at long-term planning.  She purposely sets money aside so she can take vacations and visit long distance family members.  I admire my friend, Tabitha, a single mother, who is great at planning and multitasking in her career and ministry, while maintaining a budget and a close relationship with her daughter.  And I admire my friend, Jean, who has great organizational and planning skills and is very productive.

Some Christians  fail to make plans, because they misunderstand Matthew 6:34, which says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  They think they are fully trusting the Lord by not planning, but  there’s a difference between worrying or being anxious about tomorrow versus planning for tomorrow.  The Bible encourages wise planning and seeking godly advisers when making plans.  God promises to take care of us, but we have a responsibility to live wisely.  The thing to remember when making plans is to pray and remember that God is sovereign and our plans may not match up with His, so we need to be flexible and willing to adjust.

“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”  —Proverbs 19:21

“For man plans, but God arranges.”  —German proverb

“Any plan is bad that cannot be changed.”  —Italian proverb

Another thing about planning is to be diligent and not give up if we don’t see immediate results, like with a weight loss plan or a career plan that begins with education.  Or think Karate Kid.  Some things take more time and effort.

“Time is always a factor in sowing and reaping.  If one plants a seed today, one does not expect to see the end result tomorrow.”  —Gary Runn

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”  —Greek proverb

“…the best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today.  That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.”  —Dale Carnegie

“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.”  —Proverbs 21:5

“A little impatience, spoils great plans.”  —Chinese proverb

Some people encourage others to just go for it!  Chase your dreams with wild abandon!  But to do so without some sort of plan would be foolish.  You don’t have to jump off and jump in.  That would be like jumping into deep water when you don’t know how to swim.  Just take the first step.  Come up with a plan and work it!


Just Checking In

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Hey!  We’re halfway through January.  How are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions?  Are you using the bucket strategy?  I am, and so far it’s working.  I’m even doing a bit better in other areas as well, but I can feel the temptation to allow things to slip.  If you’re still hanging in there, way to go!!  But if you have abandoned your goals, it’s not too late to get back on track.

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What causes us to sometimes give up or lose sight of our goals?  Could it possibly be we just don’t want them bad enough, or do we get distracted by something else that gives us temporary satisfaction?  Care to share your experiences or observations?


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