FORGIVENESS: A gift we give ourselves.

Character Series

Forgiveness giftForgiveness is letting go of an offense for Jesus’ sake. We don’t let go of things because the person who hurt us deserves forgiveness; we forgive because Jesus forgave us and He knows how important it is for us to let things go. Colossians 3:13

Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. It is about how WE respond not about the offending person. It frees us from the hold and control that person has over us and allows us to live in the abundance of joy. We are no longer harboring bitterness and allowing it to control our lives.

It doesn’t make sense to nurse a grudge and replay the offense over and over in our minds. Why allow them to hurt us over and over? When we replay the incident, we allow the pain and injury to happen again and again.

When we refuse to forgive, we sit at the table and mix a glass of poison mulling over the offense. We add more poison and stir it until it is thoroughly mixed and then drink the poison ourselves. Bitterness poisons the one who allows it to invade their life not the offender. Unfortunately, the offender is usually skipping along merrily while we are drinking the poison. They don’t even know we are bitter and unforgiving. Hebrews 12:15

Reconciliation involves the offender and the offended. Forgiveness only involves the offended. It is a gift we can give ourselves.

There are times we have a right to feel hurt. There are actions that people have taken against us that are unconscionable. People can really do horrible things. They are the ones with the problem. Why let them continue to have control? When you don’t forgive you are voluntarily allowing them to hurt you again and again.

Forgiveness rekindles our ability to be thankful. Forgiveness softens our heart toward God and others. Forgiveness frees us from bitterness than can take root and destroy our lives.

When Peter asked how many time should we forgive, I don’t believe Jesus’ answer was about allowing people to hurt us over and over. I believe Jesus said to forgive 70 times 7 so that we could experience the joy of a forgiving spirit. Every time the offense pops into your head (if you are like me it happens often) we should choose to forgive. When we do, we choose to give ourselves the gift of forgiveness and not allow the person who has offended us control over our emotions. Matthew 18:22

Courage – From Bitter to Blessed!

Moms JoshuaCOURAGE, n. L., – Bravery; intrepidity; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution.

With a tender touch, she pulled her mother-in-law close and wrapped her arms around her small frame. The finality of the moment was suffocating. How many more losses could they survive? The feelings of pain and loss were so fresh that it was hard to breathe. Taking a step back, her mother-in-law took one last look at her dead son and turned toward home. Home for now. With the loss of her father-in-law and now both the boys Ruth wasn’t sure what would happen to them. The three widows walked silently along the street. Each woman trying to sort out the recent loss. Ruth and Orpah looked at each other over the top of Naomi’s head. Both girls knew that this may be more than Naomi could bear.

Days later, Naomi emerged from her room with shoulders stooped but a determined look in her eyes. Naomi was going home to Bethlehem. Falling to the floor, Ruth weeps brokenly. Grief is strangling her heart. Preparations are made and Ruth and Orpah walk Naomi out of the city of Moab back toward Israel. Every step reminds Ruth that this is the end. The end of love for her. The end of her marriage. The end of her dream for a baby. The end of a friendship that has sustained her through the death of her husband. Naomi embraces the girls and gently tells them to go back home to their fathers. The death of Elimelek and her boys leaves all three women without a home or land. They must go back to their families. Orpah kisses Naomi and turns back. Ruth clings to Naomi and makes a choice that will change the course of history. This doesn’t have to be the end.  Ruth steps out with courage and begs Naomi to allow her to stay by her side. She promises her faith and loyalty to Naomi and ultimately to God. Knowing that this choice will be life-changing and difficult, Naomi tries to persuade Ruth to turn back. The passion and courage that Ruth shows at this moment, perhaps the hardest moment of her life, gives us a glimpse into her soul.

Years later Naomi, who returned home bitter but through the love of a Moabite girl learned to trust God again, cuddles with her little grandson named Obed. Ruth was courageous and obedient and God rewarded her faith through a man named Boaz. A love story for the ages. In little Obed’s eyes Naomi sees not only her own redemption but the redemption of a nation. Obed would be in the line of Christ. Ruth’s courage changed the course of history.

Ruth 1-4

Is courage a character trait that matters? Yes! We must run our race with courage. Through loss and grief we must stand with courage. Through trials and testing we must embrace opportunities. Through joy and suffering we must have the courage to wait on God. Courage is something we need to nurture in ourselves and in our children. Many times our lack of faith and worry restricts our children from becoming courageous. They feel our fear and hide from God’s best. We need to free them to live in the abundant life that God is offering. We need to live with courage and allow our children to walk with courage.

Here are 3 ways we can live with courage and lead our children to live with courage:

  1. Respond boldly to circumstances and events – For Ruth this meant leaving home. Ruth 1:16
  2. Wait on God’s timing – For Ruth this meant waiting on the events to play out and not manipulating the situation. Waiting takes deep courage and faith. Ruth 3:18
  3. Take advantage of opportunities. – For Ruth this meant humbling herself and opening her heart to potential new loss and grief by going to Boaz. Ruth 3: 5

Joshua 1:9

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

What is filling you with fear? Respond boldly! Is God asking you to courageously wait on His timing for an answer? Be of good courage! Embrace the opportunities before you with joy and courage! God is with you wherever you go.

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The Setting for Success

Life Coaching

My summer setting!

My summer setting!

Over this past summer we remodeled our home. Looking back, I would have done things VERY differently for sure. Because we were replacing the carpet and old tile with wood floors, we only had a few spaces to store our furniture. Those small spaces (bathrooms and the laundry room) were not enough to house all our furniture. Therefore, it wasn’t uncommon to come home from being gone and find the kitchen table on the front porch and the refrigerator in the living room. It was a fun game for a few weeks. Dinner was kind of like a picnic, but it got old very fast. One evening they laid the floors between the kitchen and the family room area where the table ended up that day. We had to cook and fix our plates, go out the back door, go through our bedroom and do parkour (graceful jumping) over the fresh floor in front of the stairs to get to the family room area. This wasn’t easy with a dinner plate in your hand. Caleb and Abby were the most graceful jumpers. Our attitudes, productivity and joy were all impacted by the chaos in our setting. For months after we were done with the remodel, we would go searching for the refrigerator in the living room out of habit.

As a former HS English teacher, I used to teach the importance of “setting” in a story. Setting sets the stage. The setting gives the tempo and mood for a story. Imagine a romantic dinner set at McDonalds. Think about a dramatic spiritual moment set in a bar. The setting really matters. It impacts the interpretation and outcome of a story.

We are living a story. What kind of story do we want to tell? Do we want to be average? Make a minimal or average impact on the world? Do we want average kids and an average spouse? Do we want to make an average income and accomplish average things? One area we can use to impact our story is the setting. We have a lot of control over our setting. We can change and arrange things to set ourselves up for above average success.

Here are 4 ways successful people arrange their setting for success:

  1. They have a personal space. This may be a corner in your room or a closet. This may be the spare bedroom or a home office. The type and amount of space isn’t as important as having a space that is yours. This can be a space to do your devotions or write or work. It doesn’t matter what you do, just that it is yours. You should design this pace to reflect your personal taste and needs. Do you need peace? Go minimal and play calm music. Do you need motivation? Tape pictures of things that energize and motivate you. Do you need inspiration? Hang quotes and impactful images that move you. You get my point. Create a space to escape the emotional vampires and recharge your batteries.
  2. They simplify. A recent study out of California reveals the connection between depression and clutter. Get rid of the excess. This is a great principle that works in every area of our lives. Creativity and success grow in the margin we provide in our lives. If you are overwhelmed with stuff and activities, you won’t have the energy to succeed.
  3. They physically set up things to maximize their time and energy. A good example is if you want to learn to play an instrument, set it in a place where you see it and can practice easily. You won’t practice as much if it is a chore to get set up. Put your personal items in the same place every time. Larry’s wallet and keys are ALWAYS in the same spot when he is staging thing for work. Only have useful items in your home. Don’t buy stuff just to decorate. Buy things that have meaning and usefulness. Think about your desk or work space. Is it distracting or is it set up to maximize your time? Do you have all the things in the same place to accomplish your tasks or are you unorganized and spending time looking for things? Think about your kitchen and cooking space. Do you have the right items staged in the right place? Do you clean up things as you go or do you leave it all a mess to be dealt with later?
  4. They create a safe setting. Our setting needs to be a place of encouragement and safety. A place where we can be ourselves and know we are loved. Surround yourself with encouragers. Not “yes men,” but true encouragers that uplift you and challenge you to be the best possible “you” that you can be. You will have people who want to see you fail. Don’t allow those people to set the mood and setting in your life.

There are many aspects of success that you can’t control but you can control a lot things about your setting. Take a few minutes to use this checklist below to evaluate your setting and see what small changes you can make that will pay big dividends.

Yes =                    3 points

Sometimes =     2 points

No =                     1 point

 _____ 1. I have a personal space that reflects my tastes and needs.

_____ 2. I know what energizes me. (Peace, motivation, inspiration……)

_____ 3. My personal space is clean and organized.

_____ 4. I am usually on time and remember appointments.

_____ 5. My home, personal space and car are free of clutter.

_____ 6. I rarely have to look for things.

_____ 7. I am very organized and plan ahead.

_____ 8. I think ahead and stage things for the next day.

_____ 9. When I cook or do projects around the house I have the items for that task all in the same place.

_____ 8. I have at least one person in my life that provides encouragement and accountability.

____ 10. I take time every day to recharge myself personally.

____ 11. I have extra time in my schedule for creativity.

____ 12. I have margin and don’t have every second booked.

____ Total

If you scored 26 or lower you should consider reevaluating your setting. You could be limiting your success by not having the right setting.

Next week we are going to talk about mindset. What types of thoughts and attitudes does it take to live a fulfilled and successful life? Let’s chat next week. It all starts in your mind!

Rebranding!

Hello Friends!

I am so excited to give my site a face lift! This is going to be wonderful (I hope) when it is done, but please be patient. I am learning as I go but wanted to move all my previous content over to the new site. Everything is still here, but all mixed up. (Sounds familiar… I think my kids said that about me this morning!)

I look forward to your feedback as we progress. PLEASE let me know what you think as I add things.

Thankful and Blessed!

Evona

 

Life Coaching Week 8 – The Joyful Decision

Happiness is a choice!

 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice (Be happy) in time to come. Proverbs 31:21

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7 

I spoke to a client this week in Wyoming and she asked what the weather was like in Florida. I shared with her how beautiful it has been and how green and lush the landscape haPraying for Snows become. She in turned shared that it SNOWED there this week. You gotta love Florida!

 

 

  • The joyful decision can change your life. We are conditioned by society to respond to certain situation with frustration and anxiety. Events like traffic, busy stores and early mornings are used as staple stress examples in movies and on TV. The coffee industry has made millions by making us believe that we all are cranky in the morning and need coffee to wake up and function.
  • The Joyful Decision is the decision that has the most ability to impact our relationships and finances. Who do you want to be around? People who are negative and cranky or happy joyful people? Who would you hire if there were two equally qualified candidates? Would you hire the perky upbeat candidate or the grumpy negative applicant? See how having a joyful spirit can really impact your life?
  • It has been scientifically proven that laughter triggers an increase in endorphins, the brain chemicals known for their feel-good effect. (NY Times) People destroy their lives and become addicted to drugs to give them a high when all we need to do is laugh more! Don’t wait on laughter to find you. Plan triggers that help you stimulate the endorphins each and every day. Do pictures of your kids make you laugh? Do you enjoy a funny book? Do you like watching a comedian make fun of everyday things? Plan to incorporate those things into your daily routine.

 

  • Joyfulness is strengthened by a grateful spirit. Seeds of depression can’t take root in a grateful heart.

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:21

  • HW:Make a list of 100 things you are thankful for. List stresses and turn them into gratitude. My house needs a new roof but at least I have a house.  Like a fresh breeze thankfulness cleans away the cloud of despair and stress.

Last week, I was having a “Jesus Meeting” with Caleb. I was using all my best Life Coaching skills. I was inspiring him with great stories. I was using sports analogies that he could relate to. I was doing such a good job, I was inspiring myself. I halfway expected to hear the Rocky theme song at any point.  I stopped long enough to look over at Caleb to bask in his awe inspired look only to see the vacant stare of a 14-year-old boy. He had gone to his happy place and was only hearing the teacher’s voice on Charlie Brown. He then noticed I had taken a breath and decided it was time for his escape. Right at that moment, his dog ( An icky, smelly, VERY non inspiring mutt) appeared at the glass door. Caleb jumped up and started talking in a high pitch sweet voice to the dog telling him how cute he is and what a good boy he is. (Which for the record is a total lie!) Caleb escaped from my “inspiring” lecture and bolted out the door. I stood for 10 minutes watching the formerly comatose teenager run and jump and roll around in the yard with a DOG! It did however, teach me a lesson. Caleb’s response to my interaction with him was based on my ongoing campaign to inspire and change his behavior. Caleb’s response to the dog was based on the dog’s total acceptance and joy in Ca1335823136962leb. I don’t think I will stop trying to inspire but I might steal a few tactics from Rocky the dog.

  • People want to be greeted with joy.
  • People want to know they are loved.
  • People want to play and laugh.
  • People want to do things for others who make them feel happy.
  • People like to be licked in the face by their dogs. (I am NOT going to do this!)
  • People like to be accepted for who they are and inspired to be better when they know you love them anyway.

Go forth and live like Rocky the dog and see what new opportunities come your way!

 

Life Coaching – Week 6 – The Active Decision

Psalm 1:3

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

1. Without the Active Decision none of the other decisions are useful!  “Becoming a person of action is a choice.” Andy Andrews. When I feel depressed or overwhelmed I found after thinking about it this week that I do many of the same actions.

o Eat junk food
o Watch TV
o Stay in my PJs
o Have no people contact
I put into place some REACTIONS to the immediate feeling I have when I am not motivated. Instead of grabbing junk food I grabbed a water and an apple. I either put on my exercise clothes and go for a walk or I shower and “get dressed” for work. (I work from home so it is kind of funny but it works for me!) This week I planned a better redirect for each response I usually have when I am feeling down and it worked really well. I got my hinder parts kicked by the exercise class filled with the “Sliver Sneakers” club but had a blast and didn’t give in to the unmotivated feelings that came!

This week’s blog is late. I ended up with a migraine Friday, Saturday and Sunday. However, it is so nice to feel better today. Sometimes we have to know how it feels to feel bad before we can appreciate good! Andy says that successful people make their decision quickly and change their mind slowly. I think it is because successful people already KNOW what they SHOULD do… they don’t have to think about what decision to make. They already know! We know at least 3 right decisions (Accept Responsibility, Seek Wisdom, Take Action) to make so let’s act like successful people and DO SOMETHING! Watch this video. It is hilarious but makes a good point.

Folks who overcome and make commitments are so inspiring. One of the biggest weaknesses (so far) our study has shown me in my own character is a lack of commitment to continue no matter what. I am so motivated by our lessons and then I fail to put them into practice. Derek Redmond was an Olympic athlete that committed to take action and even against overwhelming odds finished the race. How much does it take to make you quit?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2G8KVzTwfw

2. Steps that will help you choose to become a person of action.

  • Decide that you ARE a person of action. This simple mental exercise changes your perspective. Now you just have to ACT like the person you know you are!
  • Don’t give in to your BUT! (not your butt… your but!) I would exercise but…. I hurt my knee. I would eat right but…. it cost so much. I would get up early but… I am so tired…. You get my point.
  • Get up EARLY! (This is why I posted the Early Morning Challenge for those of you who are virtual or who missed our class. Good news… I am going to extend the challenge for next week so EVERYONE can join!) Thomas Jefferson had so many accomplishments that they are too long to list. He credits his accomplishments to getting up early. George Washington Carver, Benjamin Franklin, George Muller… JESUS were all folks who got up early!
  • Realize you are an inspiration to others. Feel the weight of this responsibility and use it to motivate you. I remember seeing my grandmother, Nana, sitting at her table looking at the lake reading her Bible and writing notes of encouragement to fellow believers. What a great inspiration. She probably never knew how much she inspired me to be better than average!
  • Every action you take, changes things!

WATCH THIS VIDEO! If you don’t watch any of the other videos, watch this one! It will help you understand that every action you take matters! TAKE ACTION this week! What you do matters!

Homework!

1. Read Chapter 6 in the Traveler’s Gift

2. Look over your Journal and review “Crafting your Vision” and Realizing your Vision.”  Find 5 small actions to commit to do in the next 24 to 48 hours. Don’t stand on the escalator waiting for someone to come fix your issues. The solution is YOU! It may be harder and take more effort than you expected but you can make a difference by taking ACTION!

• What can you do to make progress on a specific problem?
o Job – Look for a new position, get training, take a course
o Health – Make one change (Go to the “Sliver Sneakers” class with me and get your hinder parts kicked!)
o Finance – Cut out one expenditure that isn’t a necessity.

3.  One week challenge: Get up an hour before you usually do and post on our site for accountability! I am so proud of those of you who are posting! Next week I travel as some of you do but I will continue to post. My time zone will be different but it will still be early!

 

 

Life Coaching – Week 5 – Seek Wisdom

In the Traveler’s Gift this week, David Ponder gets to experience the amazing story where King Solomon from the Bible uses great wisdom. Two mothers were claiming one baby and he asks that a sword be brought to cut the baby in half so that each mother could have part of the baby. The salient point becomes if he does cut the baby in half, the child will die. The true mother pleads for Solomon to save the child and just give it to the other woman. Solomon then knows who the real mother is and gives the baby back to the one who pleaded for the life of the child.

Wisdom Principle ThingWe talked about Solomon’s great wisdom. God came to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 1:7 and said, “Ask what I shall give thee.” Solomon asked for wisdom because the responsibility to judge the nation of Israel was such a huge task, he didn’t feel adequate. Ross (from our class) and I were talking after class and he brought to my attention why Solomon chose to ask for wisdom. In Proverbs, Solomon says that he was tender and beloved in the sight of his parents and his father taught him that “Wisdom is the principal thing…” Because of this foundation, he knew right away what to choose when God gave him the opportunity to make a decision. What an amazing story. This should shake us to our core. We need to not only seek wisdom for ourselves but train those we influence that wisdom is the principal thing. Thank you Ross for that great insight!

Wisdom is not knowledge or education. Wisdom is the ability to apply the knowledge that we have gained in practical situations. We have an even higher level of wisdom when we gain Biblical knowledge and allow the Holy Spirit to give us discernment to apply that Biblical knowledge.

We have to have a teachable attitude. This willingness to learn begins with humility. God gives wisdom to those who are diligent and seek him! Don’t let Satan make you doubt God’s principles and make you “double minded.” (James 1) God said he will give wisdom to any who ask. Satan is the one whispering that you have failed too many times or that stuff like this doesn’t work in real life or that you are too busy to do the three things below that will help us begin to seek wisdom. Don’t let Satan undermine your decision to SEEK WISDOM!

Three ways to seek wisdom…..

1. Read books! Books will inspire you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. You are molded by the information input into your brain. The books you read can be fiction or nonfiction. They can be digital, paper or audio. You can read them in small chunks or all at once. Just read!

  • Schedule in space to read. Drag the book around with you so that when you are delayed (Doc’s office, picking up kids from practice, traveling) you are excited to have extra time rather than upset over the delay. Preparation is key to finding time to read.
  • Find books at garage sales; borrow them from the library or friends. Get recommendations from those you admire.
  • Audio books are good for your commute time.
  • Share your books with others. This past week I brought my library to church and let the class take as many of my books as they wanted. I have to admit, I had a bit of a panic attack as the books were chosen, but I know that this is part of influencing others to choose wisdom!

Board of Directors2. Take counsel from others. Peer pressure is a huge factor our entire lives. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that you are past the stage of being influenced by those around you.

  • Choose your companions wisely and limit contact with those who do not inspire you to be better than you are.
  • Peer impact never goes away.
  • When you tolerate mediocrity in your companions you will be more accepting of it in yourself. (Hanna chose to hang out with a group of friends in high school that were all focused on high GPA’s. This choice put her in a crowd that pushed her to achieve way more than she thought he could accomplish. She graduated with a 6.3 GPA and was accepted to UF – her dream school. Woo hoo Hanna. Bad decisions take us to bad places but good decisions take us to good places!)
  • A True friend doesn’t accept you for who you are… they hold you to a higher standard and want better for you.
  • Surround yourself with folks who are better than you in different areas. If you are struggling with finances, look for someone who has had success in that area.
  • Set up a “Board of Directors”. Vicky shared with us in class that her children needed to set up a board of directors for their singing group and they chose someone who they thought might not agree. He ended up agreeing and being a wonderful addition and has added great insight and counsel.
    1. They don’t have to know they are on your board. The person you choose might just give you counsel one time.
    2. Pick folks you admire and who are successful in the area you are working on or making a decision.
    3. Aim high. If you only counsel with yourself or those in your immediate circle, you are limiting the scope of wisdom God wants to give you!
    4. An example might be if you are having family problems with raising kids, choose someone in your church who has successfully raised children. They don’t have to be perfect, just willing to share their wisdom.
  • You will always need a board of directors. This isn’t a once and done exercise. You have to continue to seek counsel from others.

3. Serve Others. This is a heart attitude that puts you in a position to rub shoulders with folks who can share wisdom.

  • Serving cultivates humility (A precursor to gaining wisdom.)
  • Creates a bond with those you serve and those who see you serving.
  • Offers an opportunity to be around successful people. Volunteer for extra assignments at work. This attitude gave me the opportunity to show that I was a team player and had additional talents that were not being showcased in my current position at FLVS. When the promotion became available at work, I was the obvious pick, even over others with more education or tenure.
  • We are not serving with ulterior motives. However, the principle is still true. Serving is the quickest way to the top. This isn’t a world view but a BIBLICAL principle. (Matt. 20:16 “So the last shall be first, and the first last…”)
  • Serving helps you gain confidence in yourself.

Home Work  for the week! Be an ACTIVE learner! All of the HW items should be written in your journal. This is the key to your success!!!!!

1. Make sure you have worked on last week’s assignments. Remember… this is a building process. Don’t skip the foundation!

2. Read Chapter 5 in the Traveler’s Gift.

3. Pick a book and read it every day – Find one that is focused on your area of improvement. (Spiritual, Physical, Financial, Social, Emotional, Professional and Family.)

4. Create a mental board of directors for your life so that when you need counsel you have already identified someone who can help you seek wisdom.

5. Apply one servant attitude a day. Track outcomes over the week. How do you feel? How does serving others make you appear to others? Perception is a big part of success. Confidence is a key factor. A servant attitude shows you are the most comfortable with yourself.

25 gift cardI am giving away a $25 gift card  for Amazon.com this week. (You can buy a book!) The only thing you have to do is post a comment focused on our lesson either here on the blog or on Facebook or share the link with your friends. When you post or share the link I will put your name in the drawing for the gift card. You can get your name put in multiple times by posting in both the blog and FB and by sharing the link. We are learning to apply the 7 decisions and would be selfish if we didn’t share what we are learning with others. This is just a little motivation to help you become an ACTIVE learner! Let your friends know that even if they are not in the class, they can subscribe to the blog and post a comment and they will be eligible for the Amazon gift card drawing as well. Our goal is to get this information out to as many folks as we can!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Coaching – Week 4 – The Responsible Decision

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7

The Responsible DecisionGod has given us the ability to choose. This ability allows us to make mistakes. However, it also gives us the power to make good choices that lead to success. The phrase “The Buck Stops Here” originated from a card game during the frontier era. The marker was a knife with a buckhorn handle. When someone wanted to pass, they would “pass the buck.” President Trueman had a sign on his desk that said, “The Buck Stops Here.”  The message he was declaring was that we can’t control what happens to us but we can control how we respond. Take responsibility of where you are and feel the power to move to a better place.

If we give in to the “victim mentality” that is prevalent in our society we give up our power to make things better. The phrases “why me” and “it’s not my fault” should NEVER enter our conversations. Why NOT you? The common theme of successful people used by God is that they suffered. You can’t control what happens but you have the power to respond correctly. Look at the slide and see how you can change your victim responses to responsible responses.Victim Mentality

Decisions flow from our thoughts. Change your thoughts and you will make better decisions. Philippians 3:13-14 talks about forgetting our past failures and moving toward a better future.

Homework:

1. Read Chapter 4 in the “Traveler’s Gift.”

2. Take inventory of the 7 areas of your life and rank them from 1 to 10. One being “I am a failure” and 10 being “I am the poster child for this area. I rock!” Spiritual, Physical, Financial, Social, Emotional, Professional and Family.

3. In your journal, write your biggest failure. Take a few minutes to list 4 or 5 decisions you made that got you to that place of failure. Once you can accept responsibility for things you did to get you where you are, you have the power to make decisions to get yourself to a better place.

4. Craft a vision of what your perfect life would look like in each of the 7 areas listed above. What would your finances look like if you were a 10? Would you have a budget and enough money to help others if they needed it or be able to give more money to missions? What would your spiritual life look like if it were a 10? Would you do daily devotions and lead a Bible study? You get my drift. This isn’t about pie in the sky. It is about creating a REAL vision for your future. Your goals and dreams may be big but make sure they are from God. Winning the lottery might not be a good vision to cast but getting a higher paying more fulfilling job might be the perfect vision for you.

5. Focus on AT LEAST one of the areas of your life. Review your vision and see what steps you can take THIS WEEK to accept responsibility for where you are and then move to a better place. If you feel like Family was the area you needed to make improvement right away, look at where you are. Are you having relationship issues? What decisions have you made that have gotten you to the place where you don’t have good relationships? What steps can you take to change that this week? What amount of time do you need to spend? Who do you need to counsel with? Who do you need to apologize to? What resources do you need to invest?

I recently had a meaningful conversation with Caleb. I felt like I needed to invest more time in him. Micah has dominated our lives with college decisions this year and Caleb has just flown low under the radar. We were in the car and I told him I had wonderful news. I told him that I knew I had been focusing mostly on Micah and felt bad that he had not gotten a fair amount of attention. I took responsibility for where we were.  I enthusiastically shared that I would now be focusing all my energy on him. He sweetly smiled and said, “Excuse me for a minute.” He rolled the window down on our car and leaned his head way out and screamed… “AUGGGGGGGG.” He then turned around with a sweet little smile and said, “Now, where were we?” I can’t promise that your friends or family will be super excited about your vision but they will notice. 🙂

Decide commit succeedGo forth and make a difference in your life this week. I am so excited about the potential in all of you. Once you internalize the principle that you are where you are because of decisions you have made you are on the road toward success! Claim the power God has given you in II Timothy to make better choices and move in a positive direction this week! Be prepared to share in class what steps you took to make changes. (Philippians 3) If you are reading the blog, post some positive decisions you have made to move toward your vision.

I am going to have a “give away” at the beginning of the week connected to posting comments. Share the blog and post comments to qualify for the “give away.” More details to come!