II Corinthians 5:14-15
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
We all need a guide to help us make right decisions. The word constraineth in II Corinthians gives us a picture of restraint (think straight jacket). The love Christ showed us and the love we have for him because of his sacrifice for us holds us to a higher standard or “constrains” us to make the right decision or “judgment”. The Evona translation might say “The love I have been shown by Christ and the love I have for Christ helps me make the right decision.”
Images help us visualize a concept. I like to Google words when I am trying to get a deeper understanding. This is a risky habit and not one I would recommend on impressionable folks but helpful for those of us who are visual learners! In class we made a mind map (picture on the wall) of struggles or issues or problems that might hinder or be used as an excuse to not find success. Things like a lack of education or a lack of money. Some of you wrote health issues or attitude problems. I put lack of self-discipline. If you were not in class, what struggles or problems do you see in your own life that might make you unsuccessful so far in your personal goals and might impact your commitment to applying the seven decisions for personal success? Take a minute to write down three or four things if you were not in class.
Take a minute to watch this video of Andy Andrews and hear his story. It will only take 1 minute and 48 seconds. It will give you a good understanding of how Andy’s background influenced his perspective in The Traveler’s Gift. VIDEO Don’t forget to purchase his book if you haven’t already. We will begin reading in two weeks.
This week we are working on learning how to be REFLECTIVE. The Bible uses the word meditate but I have put a few other words to help you understand what the word reflective means. Psalm 19:14 says “Let the words of my mouth, and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. “ Taking a deep look at your life and your heart attitudes is a scriptural habit and helps redirect your actions as you make better choices.
Some practical ways to be reflective are listed below.
- Writing (Blogging) – Writing gives our conscious mind a chance to weigh in on the subconscious ideas we are telling ourselves. Most times things sound WAY better inside our head than when we say/write them out loud.
- Video (Vlogging) – This is not my favorite way to reflect because it takes forever to get the angle right on the computer so that I get rid of the double chin! However, this is very popular with younger folks and there are many cool ways to reflect.
- Bullet points (Concise ideas) – I am wordy so making myself make bullet points helps me get to the point.
- Get a personal statement journal. (Make it fit your personality. Mine is super fun and flowery and Larry’s is sleek and understated… nuff said!)
- Keep it near. (Drag it around with you and purpose to write small bits as you have time. Make it a friend.)
What areas of your life do you feel that you are just drifting? Many times, we settle into a comfortable routine rather than strive for something better. Achieving significant goals requires significant action. Here are a few questions to get you started this week on your journal.
- Where have you “settled” in life? List each area (e.g., my marriage, my career, my health).
- How does this make you feel? Write this down in one paragraph.
- What would it feel like to experience a breakthrough in each of these areas? Write this down in one paragraph.
- What are the internal barriers you’ll need to overcome for a breakthrough?
This week I want you to take the Strengths Finder’s test at this link and find out your top five strengths.
We are going to learn about these strengths next week and use our strengths to apply the seven decisions for personal success. During the lesson next week, each strength will have a famous person attached to help us remember and associate the characteristics of the strength. My top strength is Futuristic. Buzz Lightyear is our character for that strength. I think you get the idea! It will be fun.
Grab each moment you are given this week and embrace the blessing of just “being.” Dwell on the goodness of God in your life and celebrate your strengths. Normal is way overrated. Today was Valentine’s Day and I wanted to make it special for our family. I planned to make a cookie cake in the shape of a heart for dessert this evening. However, instead of telling the boys that, I told them that I was going to make the cake in the shape of cupid. The looks on their faces were priceless. You could tell that they were not sure I could pull that off. (I am not particularly crafty) Caleb sweetly said that just a plain heart might be a better idea. I assured them that I had great directions from Pinterest and was good to go. I never really intended on trying to make cupid so I globbed the cookie dough in the most outrageous form and baked it. I decorated it with pink icing in a way that no one could ever fathom what I was trying to create. When the boys saw it after school they were all so sweet and tried to say nice things. When I left the room Micah tried to get Larry to help him figure out which part was the top of cupid. I finally confessed that I had just been teasing them all day and that it was not really cupid but just a Valentine Day blob. They were all relieved that I wasn’t really trying but are secretly concerned that I am going crazy.
I embraced a day that is sometimes sad from memories of loss. I could let my sadness take away from the joy my family could have if I don’t make the choice to be happy. So today I chose to giggled and laughed just thinking about how funny the boys were when they were trying to be nice about my horrible cake. I smiled at my silly plan and how much they would enjoy the joke after I told them the truth. I chose to allow the love of Christ help me make the right decision and embrace the blessing of “being.” I hope you have a great week and learn about the things that make you strong and not so normal.
Week 1 Challenge:
- Buy a personal statement journal. (Bring it to class next week.)
- Write and answer the four questions above to start your journey of reflection.
- Take the Strengths Finders test at this link. It will only take about 15 minutes or so. http://freestrengthsfinder.workuno.com/
- Write your top 5 strengths from the results of the test in your personal statement journal.
Let God’s love lead you to good decisions this week.