Being transformed by the renewing of the mind.
As so many often do at this time of year, I have been reflecting on this past year, the events and people who have impacted me, and the things I have learned. Purpose, being transformed by the renewing of the mind, and breathing have been more recent topics that have been at the forefront. While I cannot list everything that has impacted me this past year, I thought I would list the top ones.
Motivation. What really motivates me? What motivates you? Not what you or I think motivates us, but what really does? How can we tell? The top quote for me this year was by Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church. In his sermon Fig Leaves, Lies and the Grace of God he said, “Whether you understand the motivations of your heart or not, really what’s driving your actions, and what’s driving your life and how you fill your day, actually comes back to what you believe is actually going to bring about the most fullness of life possible for you.” So… how do you fill your days?
Attitude. Attitude reflects leadership. In a team, company, organization, or family, the attitudes of those being led will generally reflect the attitudes of those leading. If there is mistrust at the top, there will tend to be mistrust all around. If there is enthusiasm and a team spirit, it will be reflected with lots of positive attitudes, energy, and respect. I want to reflect a good attitude for those who look to me for any type of leadership, and I never want to automatically blame others if their attitude is less than what I am hoping for.
Purpose. Another blogger wrote she didn’t think we necessarily need to have a purpose, that maybe our purpose is just being here and enjoying what we have, and that life doesn’t need a goal; it is a goal itself. I disagree. The Bible says without vision (or guidance), the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Without vision or purpose, life is either chaotic or stationary. My daughter once related an article she had read, which listed reasons Okinawans tend to be, not only the longest lived, but also with a better quality of life. One of those reasons is they have a deep sense of purpose and responsibility, and it makes them feel like an important part of the larger community. Having purpose is life-giving.
Being transformed by the renewing of the mind. The outside won’t truly change until the inside is first renewed. If you find yourself unable to change, you probably need to change what you believe is true. Change what and how you think, and the rest will take care of itself.
Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe. It feels good, and it is good for you.
Balance. Balance is something we all try to maintain. This year I’ve been trying to balance between taking care of myself and not becoming selfish. When I was a young woman, I remember seeing older women deserting their families. They said, “I’ve taken care of everyone else for so many years, and now it’s time for me to take care of me!” I don’t want to be that woman. I know it’s important that we take care of ourselves and not neglect our own needs, but I never want to go so far that I would abandon my family just to please myself.
Blessing. I can’t remember who said it, but the basic idea was when you bless someone, you add or reveal the value of another person. When we bless someone by giving them a gift, spending time with them, or serving them in some way, or even if we look them in the eye and smile, it says, “You are valuable. You are worth it.”
Stand fast. Don’t let anyone talk you out of what you know is true or into what you know is false. Don’t even waver. Just stand your ground, or you will eventually find yourself on the ground and in the mud.
Become better, not bitter. We can allow situations to make us become either better or bitter. The Bible says that a root of bitterness can cause many to become defiled (Hebrews 12:15). Misery loves company, and complaining can become contagious and promote negativity. Not only that, but if our bitterness becomes too obnoxious, it can cause others to become bitter toward us. Becoming better is so much more advantageous and attractive.
Perspective. “We don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way we are.” —The Talmud.
Don’t give up! I was able to volunteer this past summer at Union Rescue Mission, one of the largest homeless missions in the country, located on Skid Row. When I talked to Jenny Kershner, who is in charge of their Learning Center, about people relapsing, a statement she made surprised me. She said, “Sometimes relapsing is a good thing to help a person solidify the decision to change and fully rely on God.” Steve Cobb, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in New Bern, NC told a crack addicted friend, “Never, ever give up!” And he didn’t.
I am grateful for Evan Sanders, author of The Better Man Project, for his inspirational and motivational posts. If it were not for his post entitled What I’ve Learned, I would be composing this tomorrow, or not at all, because I might have waited too long without writing anything down, allowing the inspirational juices to drain. Thank you, Evan!