Allow Yourself Time

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

I have heard this verse used over and over by many people. It is a promise of hope.  But I think there is more to it. 

Read the verse before this one:   Jeremiah 29:10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.

Ouch!! God has plans, He is in everything, and yet the people are told it will 70 years of hardship.  So often we look to hardship as a punishment, as God turning His back on us.  That is not the case. 

God did not abandon them during this time; see verses 12-14

In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

God promises he will be with them, though they are going through difficult times.

We have become so microwave focused we expect everything to happen as we want them to in a snap. Though stew has a more flavorful taste if I allow is to slowly simmer in a crock pot all day, I grab a a pre-packaged bag and throw it in the microwave for 10-15 minutes. No mess, no wait. Accepting okay, when better was possible with a bit more time.

I know that the biggest reason I rush through something is because (1) I want to feel the satisfaction of completion and (2) I fear if I take longer it means I am not giving it the attention it deserves.

Does that 2nd ‘excuse’ sound as awful to you as it did to me just now when I typed it?

As soon as I read what I wrote a picture of a homemade loaf of bread popped into my mind. Years ago I used to bake my own bread. I would spend all day preparing the dough, allowing it to rise, punching it down and allowing to rise again until it was time to punch it down and place it in the loaf pans where it would rise a 3rd time and then finally be ready to place in a hot oven to bake. Oh the flavor of that bread, fresh out of the oven. Grabbing a slice out of the bag I purchased from the store might be okay, but my mouth doesn’t water in anticipation like it did when I sliced that warm bread I worked on all day.

God is there, through all times – good and difficult, prosperous and poverty, hilltops and valleys. You are not alone. During his darkest moment on earth, Jesus knew He wasn’t alone. He knew it would be difficult, even asked God if there was any other way. Despite that he told his disciples “But the time is coming when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.” John 16:32 

“I know the plans I have for you” the Lord said. And He will not leave you alone.

There will be difficult times. It does not mean you are alone. Grab on to God’s promise of hope.

My Checklist

‘Oh that my steps may be steady, keeping the course you have set’ – Psalm 119:5 msg

I have tossed my daily TO DO list and now work on an I WILL list.  Simply thinking about ‘what I should do’ verses ‘what I will do’ is a perspective shift that has helped me to move forward.

Alongside my I WILL list I now have checklists.  Many activities require a number of steps, as if putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  Once I determine what I will do, I look at what must be done to complete that task.

An example would be writing this post. I work it out like thischecklist_md_clr:

  • determine the topic
  • open the software so I may type as phrases or particular words come to mind
  • type, delete, type, repeat
  • proof read for spelling/grammar
  • set categories
  • set tags
  • schedule the post

To you, this may be excessive. Perhaps for you it all comes naturally and impulsively. I used to be able to do that as well. I don’t know if it is aging, time of life, or just a cluttered mind Smile 

By breaking it down, I stay on course, feel a sense of accomplishment and realize that I am closer to my goal with each step.

What works best for you? How do you stay on top of your TO DO lists and accomplishments?

Abstract Absolutes

 

A young man was called into the boss’s office. He working as an artist for a Missouri newspaper. He was informed that he was not creative enough and was no longer employed.

 

If you’ve ever lost a job you cherished you understand what this young man thought and felt.  

 

In our minds, each of us looks at the life around us, at the actions and words – real or perceived – and draw conclusions of our own self worth.

 

Those thoughts create our emotions and determine our actions. They help us to move forward, work around an obstacle, and accomplish our goals. It’s a wonderful system……..unless our thoughts are wrong.

 

In the book, ‘As a Man Thinketh,’ James Allen wrote:

“All that you accomplish or fail to accomplish with your life is the direct result of your thoughts. You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

 

As a child I learned “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.  Yet those words sometimes are more harmful than than the broken bone.

 

Or should I say ‘my thoughts about those words’ are more harmful.

 

Many of us, myself included, find the prevalent thoughts are self-defeating.  This young man, after studying art and working for several years was faced with self-defeating thoughts.

 

He didn’t allow those thoughts to take hold.

 

I call the self-defeating voices we play in our minds:  Abstract Absolutes. 

 

Abstract is defined as ‘existing in thoughts or as an idea, but not having a physical or concrete existence.’

 

Absolute refers to truth.

 

A general example would be this young man who could have said “I’ve lost my job, I am a failure, I have nothing, I am nothing”.

 

What abstract absolutes have you or a loved one created? How about ‘I just ruined dinner, I can’t cook, who am I fooling?’  or  ‘I would try that recreational sport with the guys, but I am just no good and we would lose if I were on the team.’

 

I bet you can think of someone in your life who thinks along these lines.

 

There are a number of negative effects to abstract absolute thinking, such as:

 

·      Anxiety

·      Nervousness

·      Worry

·      Sadness

·      Discouragement

·      Low self-esteem

·      Feeling inadequate or worthless

·      No pleasure in life

 

What we think leads to how we feel and how we act; or as an ancient Hebrew proverb states:    “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.”

 

It’s true. It’s not what we do, or who we are, it’s what we think that counts.

 

There is good news!!  Our self-defeating, abstract absolute thinking patterns can be changed.

 

So, where do we begin?



There are only 3 steps to begin changing your life today.

 

·      Recognize

·      Replace

·      Rehearse

 

This young man knew what to do.

 

Let’s briefly touch on each one.

 

First step:  Recognize

 

I think the hardest part of this process is to recognize the faulty thinking. How do you recognize, admit, and accept that your thoughts are not healthy, they are not accurate?

 

Sometimes we are challenged by others around us. Other times we may find dissatisfaction in our lives.

 

No matter what triggers the process, once recognized it is time to face it.

 

Consider this experiment:

 

On a sheet of paper draw a line down the middle.

 

Now on the left side, at the top write COST OF HOLDING ON TO THE FAULTY BELIEF.

 

Write out the faulty belief you have recognized.

 

 

Once you Recognize the negative thinking and faced it, step 2 is to Replace it.

 

On the right side of the same paper: COST OF REPLACING THE FAULTY BELIEF    


 

 

 

Cost of Holding On to the

Faulty Belief

______________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of Replacing the

Faulty Belief

_______________________

 

 

Honestly look at the situation. Write out your more truthful thoughts. Ask someone you trust to help you.

 

What could I say instead of “I lost my job, I am nothing”.  Perhaps

I could remind myself:

 

The company is downsizing, my work results were good.

I have lost jobs before and always found another.

 

 

Another replacement technique is “Treat Yourself as You Treat Others”.

I would not look you in the eye and say “you are worthless” so why would I talk to myself that way. 

 

It is time to replace my thoughts with words that are true, that are encouraging, that will help me.

 

Now that you have RECOGNIZED and REPLACED the Abstract Absolute Thinking in your life, the 3rd step of the recovery process is REHEARSE

 

 

Henry Ford once said,

“If you think you can, if you think you can’t – either way, you are right.”

 

It would be wonderful if once we recognized and replaced a thought process, everything was fine.  But life doesn’t work that way.

 

Rehearse regularly by doing these simple steps:

·      Repeat your new thoughts to yourself as often as possible

·      Hang up post it notes around to remind you of your new thoughts

·      Have a friend, coach, or partner hold you accountable

·      Feed your mind with success stories

·      Surround yourself with people who think positive thoughts

·      Teach others what you are learning

 

This young man didn’t take his ‘failure’ as an abstract absolute. He used it to start a creative company with a friend of his. After a few years that company went bankrupt.  He still would not allow the abstract absolute thinking to take hold of his life.

 

Did I mention this man went on to create Mickey Mouse? Yes, he was Walt Disney.

 

Are you willing to look at your abstract absolutes honestly and take control of your thoughts.

 


You can change your Abstract Absolutes into Honest Absolute Truths with 3 steps:

 

·      Recognize

·      Replace

·      Rehearse

 

 

It wont happen over night.

Changing the habits of a lifetime takes time.

Give yourself grace. 

 

The only thing you can really change is yourself.

 

And that is an honest absolute truth.

Committed to the Task

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters…Col 3:23

After doing a short bible study and focusing on this verse I went to make my bed and clean the bedroom.  Earlier in the week I had leaned down to pick up something and noticed the dust bunnies. My husband and I joke about them and the dust bunnies remained.

The dust bunnies crossed my mind and I tried to walk out of the room when this verse came back to me. I thought for a few moments then got out the vacuum and decided to evict the dust bunnies.

It is easy to ignore them as they are under the bed, I don’t store things under the bed, therefore I don’t make it a habit of looking under the bed. Out of sight, out of mind.

Then I started to think about the blessings God has given me. I have a lovely family. I have a beautiful home. In doing this small task of caring for the blessing given me, I am honoring God.

The job didn’t take long, I wondered why I put it off. I didn’t do it for my husband, he had already forgotten about them and didn’t plan to look under the bed anytime soon. I didn’t do it for me, I had ignored it this long. So I changed my focus. I did it as if I were working for the Lord. I thanked Him for the blessing of His love and provisions.

We all have choices to make. Ignoring dust bunnies was one of my mine. What choices are you making?

Even though no one notices a clean floor free of dust bunnies under the bed, I felt a sense of satisfaction when the job was finally done.

Whatever you do, do with all your heart as if you are working for the Lord.

Who are you working for? Who are you working to please?

Quit Planning–Start Acting

Every year on January 1 people all over the world make New Year’s Resolutions.  Forbes reports that an average of 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. EIGHT percent!!

Psychology Today reports that people who set goals, write them down and ask for accountability succeed nearly 75% of the time.

What is the difference between a New Year’s Resolution and a Goal?  Commitment. Saying “I will” instead of “I want to” is committing to action, not just dreaming and hoping.

We all need to dream. We all need to hope. But it doesn’t stop there. 

I dream often of having the skinny body I did many years ago, even while eating my latest batch of chocolate cookies fresh out of the oven. Dreaming won’t bring the body back – only acting on the commitment to exercise and change my eating habits.  Not just for a day or two, but to a lifetime commitment.

Opening a business where I would coach women who desire to move forward from where they are now to where they and God desire her to be means more than dreaming. I can visualize a schedule filled with clients, speaking engagements and an active blog post. That does not make it come to reality.

Making it a reality is overwhelming. There is such a large chasm between the desire and the picture in my dreams. Do you relate? Is there a chasm in front of you as well?

This past Christmas I purchased a jigsaw puzzle for my family to work on while visiting.  We each have our own way of working on a jigsaw puzzle as far as placing pieces, sorting the unused ones, etc; but there is one thing we all agreed on – set out and position the border pieces first.

IMG_20161221_185402

I apply the same to moving forward in my dream. Whether through using a coach of my own to help me go deeper into my desires, by journaling, through a vision board, or any other method that helps me focus, I outline the outer borders. What does I desire in the end? What values will I maintain? What ethical choices will I stand firm on? Where will I say no?

Then it’s time to sort the puzzle pieces and slowly, one by one, put the pieces into place until a full picture is presented. There were many interruptions along the way but we did finally put all the pieces together. That is, all the pieces except the one that was missing from the box.

Puzzle-Complete

Now that I have clarified my dreams and desires I add color as each step brings the dream toward a reality.

ColorMePuzzle

The process is slow moving for me; for others the pieces fall in place quickly.

The important thing is to remember that even a baby step is still a step forward. Stay committed. Keep moving forward.

What do you do to stay focused? How to you return to your efforts after interruptions occur? What happens when you find a piece is missing?

What dream will you commit to making a reality in 2017?

My One Word for 2017

I first got the idea after reading the book “One Perfect Word” by Debbie Macomber. For several years I chose one word which would be my word for the year.  When I did this, that word resonated throughout the year and helped me to focus. 

Last year I didn’t choose one and as I look back at 2016 it feels undefined.

So I am choosing a word for 2017.  The word is ‘committed’.  I am committed to stepping out; I am committed to moving forward; I am committed to following the path God has laid before me; I am committed to believing I am not walking alone; I am committed to me; I am committed to action.

So many thoughts, ideas, and desires have flooded my mind and my heart.  It is time to get them out of my head, off the paper, and into action.  I may fail, yes. But I may succeed.  Either result is frightening. But I have committed to facing the results, no matter what it may be.

Do you celebrate a word for the year? What word did you choose?

A New Perspective

I am a Star Trek fan; from the very first episodes in the 60s through Next Gen, Deep Space, Voyager and movies.

One of the many things that intrigues me about this Sci-Fi series is the various aspects they display about daily life.  A favorite episode in Next Generation is from season 6 titled “Timescape”.  Picard, Laforge, Data, and Troi return to the Enterprise via a shuttlecraft. They had been away to a conference. As they approach the Enterprise they find it and a Romulan ship frozen in time in what appears to be a battle.

They find a way to board the ships and by first appearance, the Romulans are taking the Federation ship hostage and it looks as if they are killing some of the crew.

Ever calm Captain Picard and his shuttlecraft crew find a way to turn time back a few seconds which shows them exactly what led to each presentation. In doing so, they see their perspective of what imaged happened is quite different than what actually happened.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could freeze time to take a step back and then rewind to view all the details of a scene from different angles?

But, we can’t. I was talking with a teacher who works with kids before and after school. She was telling me how she has explained to her class why the 2nd person is the one that is ‘caught’. “The activity that triggered the event catches my attention” she explains, “but what I see is the response.” 

Several people can view the same event, and each come away with a different story because of the angle they viewed, their personal beliefs, and what they were doing/thinking at the time.  Everyone is right – from their perspective.

Several years ago some friends and I were looking at this picture I had hanging on a wall.

DadPrayOverSon

Each of us saw something different: I saw a parent praying over a child, another noticed the hand the man has on his son’s back because that is how her husband prays over their sons, the other woman noticed that guardian angel at the window (something I didn’t even notice until she pointed it out).

Each of us looked at the same picture, each saw something different.

How can you change your perspective about a situation you are facing?

  1. 1. Stop, take a deep breath, clear your mind.
  2. 2. Look around. Is there a piece you are missing or have not considered?
  3. 3. Ask others for their thoughts.

Everything is not as it seems. A new perspective may bring new meaning. You can’t turn back time, but you can step back and look again. What do you see from your new perspective?

I Am With You

I am with you always, even to the end of the age. – Matt 28:20

Do not fear, for I am with you…..-Isaiah 41:10

My mother tells a story of many years ago when I was very young. We lived in a small town outside Chicago. She and my aunt decided to they would take their combined brood of 6 children into downtown Chicago. To make this trip we would ride a bus from our small town.

Side note here: I do vaguely remember this trip. I remember hearing the song “Downtown” sung by Petula Clark being played on the bus. Not realizing at the time it was the radio and the song was newly released and very popular at the time, I thought the song was played specifically because we were going ‘downtown’. Oh, the things our minds can tell us Smile    I digress, back to the story.

Being 1964, (I assume because of the above digression) I was 5 years old, as was one of my cousins – I proudly remind him I am 2 days older than him. He and I got so interested in the window displays we continued walking together along the street and gazing in the various windows, excited as children of that age often are.

Little did we realize we had walked ahead and away from my mother and aunt. At one point we stopped to point something out to them, only to find they were not at our sides!

While we had a short moment of fear, we found out we were not out of our mother’s view. They stayed back to see when we would realize we walked away, but they never let us our their sights; which I am sure was not easy with 4 other children tagging along too.

Sometimes it feels like God is not with us, that He has abandoned us. Because of His Word, I don’t believe that happens.

We let go of His hand, wandering off by ourselves, checking out the world around us. No, He has not left us. He is watching, waiting for us to reach back for His hand. “I am with you..” he has promised.

I do not remember the exact consequence of our wandering off, but I do know there was reminder that we are not to leave mom’s side. Why would they do that? Because of their love for us, to teach us the right way.

Just the same, there are consequences to stepping away from God. “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves”..Heb 12:6. There may be a discipline, but there will never be abandonment.

Are you not feeling God’s presence? Matthew 6:21 reminds us “where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” Turn your heart back to God, reach out to take His hand.  He’s waiting.

What Color Do You See? A story of perspective

Several years ago a friend was visiting my home. We sat out on the back deck drinking iced tea and catching up on our lives.

During a lull in the conversation my friend commented on the pretty yellow roses along the fence line. I yellow_rose_sm_clrlooked out there. Yes, there were pretty roses I had worked hard to plant along the fence line, but they weren’t yellow. Thinking she probably just misspoke, I didn’t say anything. Conversation continued.

A bit later she mentioned the yellow roses again. “You want to see them up close?” I asked. We stepped off the deck and walked along the fence, looking at the various flowers. When we stopped at the roses I asked her what color they were, she again said yellow. At that point, I was really confused. We were looking at the same rose, from the same distance, and she was seeing a yellow rose where a red rose resided.

As I looked at her face I noticed her sunglasses. “Would you take off your sunglasses for a moment please” I red_rose_sm_clrasked. She did and quickly explained, “The rose is red!”

She was wearing a pair of sunglasses with a thick amber tint, altering the color viewed all around her. Once she removed the tinted lens, she could see clearly the red rose.amber_glasses

Working with a life coach can benefit by helping to change the lens you look through. A life coach will listen intently, ask powerful questions from your disclosure, and help you look at circumstances from another angle, with a different lens. This allows you to determine for yourself how you wish to proceed with a clear image and refocused path.

Is it time to ‘take off your tinted glasses’’

NEED INPUT

Do you remember the movie “Short Circuit”?  It is a very cute movie made in the mid 1980s about an experimental robot that becomes intelligent.  Upon escaping into the world it seeks out INPUT. It wants to learn.

The phrase “input, more input” became a fun mantra as my children were growing up; signaling more information was needed.

One of my daughters loves to gather input before making a decision. She is not like her mother, who, on many occasions, has been known to make quick decisions without all the details and regretted the results. Grown now, with a family of her own, she started as a young teen asking for me to ‘listen’ to her thought process.  “Mom, I don’t want you to tell me what to do; I don’t want you to fix it. I want you to listen, to hear how I came to this resolution, and help me to see if there is something I have not considered that may affect the outcome.”

Wow, where did she get to be so smart?!?!?

This is one way to describe how I work as a life coach. You have to make your own decisions. You have to live with the consequences of any action you take or don’t take.

But you don’t have to go it alone. As your life coach I will listen to you. I will ask deep questions for you to consider. I will repeat back what I hear you say. Did I hear correctly? Do you want to explore that more? 

As the client, you have control of the direction. You have the right to say,”No, I don’t want to go there” or “Let’s go another direction” or “Yes, I do”. 

Some people can work with a life coach for just a few sessions pursuing deeper understanding of a change that is on the horizon. Some of those changes could include: empty nest coming up, planning for a job change, balancing work and home, stretching your comfort zone, and so much more.

Are you seeking ‘INPUT’ as you explore your next step? I’d love to discuss this with you further.