Do The Work :)

Welcome to Monday, the start of a work week for some of us, or the start of a school week for those who are students.  Wherever you find yourself on this day, there are things in front of you and me that we need to do.  Maybe you need to work on a school assignment, write a paper or study for a test.  Maybe you need to write some emails, craft a proposal, flip a hamburger, wash a toilet, load the dishwasher, drive to a soccer practice, grade some papers, manage a project, crunch some numbers, etc.  No matter what, all of us have stuff we need to do today – do the work.

And this is part of God’s design for each of us.  You and I are uniquely designed to participate in and accomplish things.  How we do such work is the real issue, even more than what we do.  So here are some helpful ideas about how we do our work:

  • work as unto the Lord and not to man – Colossians 3:23
  • keep a grateful heart – 1Thessalonians 5:18
  • stayed focused and eliminate distractions – Proverbs 4:25
  • maintain genuine love – 1Corinthians 16:14

A New BED!!!!!

I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!  We are getting a new bed today & this makes me happy for LOTS of reasons:  better sleep, not as stiff, more rest & increased energy.  Our old bed is tired, no pun intended.  We’ve slept on it for countless years, extending it’s life by flipping & rotating the mattress multiple times.  But it’s reached the end of it’s functional life.  I know this because I wake up stiff, often tired, it creaks & it’s saggy in the middle.

There’s lots to be said about sleep & rest.  Indeed, we spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping / resting, so it’s an essential ingredient God has baked into our practical existence.  Here are some things to consider about rest as we head into this weekend:

  • proper alignment:  our backs need to be properly aligned so that we walk without pain & distortion.  In the same say, when we rest in God, we can walk in our daily living, with less pain & distortion.  Sleep & rest is when our backs & walk have the chance to settle into proper alignment
  • better mobility:  with our old bed, I wake up stiff and sore everyday & it takes some time for my muscles to relax in the morning.  When we consistently rest in God, we can have better agility to flow with Holy Spirit throughout the day.  Better rest can mean increased agility 🙂
  • clearer thinking: when I wake up tired, this tells me that my sleep wasn’t restful & this affects my ability to think clearly on any given day.  When my thinking is murky, everything takes more work, my emotions are more challenging, I’m more prone to make bad decisions and my perceptions can be whacky.  But when I’m well rested in my body, mind and heart, everything is more clear & I’m better able to perceive truth, which is an essential ingredient for effective living 🙂

So here’s to getting a new bed!  I’m also hopeful that you’ll make some time this weekend to be at rest 🙂

Happy Rest Day :)

In the US today, we celebrate a national holiday called, “Labor Day.”  The official year that it was started in America was 1882 & laborers had to strike to get the day “off” for a pause or rest from work.  And I think it’s the universal human experience that we all need a pause from work.  Perhaps we agree on this because of Divine design.
If you think about it, even God took a pause on the seventh day of the Creation week, when He rested.  And to reinforce the need for rest, God established the Sabbath as one of the Ten Commandments.  The Sabbath is one day a week to rest from our work & set our attention / affection toward fellowship with God.

So let’s celebrate not only success and productivity, but also rest because without rest our souls become thin, weary, unsettled and broken.  Happy Labor Day!

Backstory

Beauty, Success, Winning & Achievements – these are all the outcomes of various important & significant backstories. And knowing the backstory can make the outcomes all the more amazing & incredible. While I️ totally love all the cool results, I️ find myself even more interested in the backstories because these experiences help me grow, learn & apply some massively essential lessons & disciplines.
Don’t belittle nor shortchange the process or backstory that facilitates your desired outcomes!

The Ugly Jogger

That would be me, hands down. When I take a jog outside, I suspect that animals scurry, the lithe alert melts down & it feels like my body is in perpetual revulsion mode. So why go through such suffering & cause others to writhe in agony?
Ok, over dramatic, but you get the point.
I jog on occasion for a few reasons:

  • I want to control my body rather than my body control me
  • Move it or lose it – I want to stay active for a long time & without action, this desire will turn into a painful delusion
  • Mental clarity – when my body is tired from physical exercise, oftentimes my mind becomes more alert & keen
  • Paul said that physical discipline is profitable, even if just a little bit – 1Tim 4:8

Sometimes what doesn’t feel or even look good, is still good for you 🙂

Defining Moments

Being the mom of three teenagers, we have some interesting conversations & experiences. In their lives, there a significant events that seem to be defining moments, like getting a driver’s license, taking their first solo missions trip (without me), getting their first job, etc. While these events are very monumental, it seems to me that the more important stuff happens in the preparation for these events. For example, my husband has been massively attentive to help them practice driving so they’re fully prepared when they take their drivers license test. And the work they do at home to clean, do laundry, etc prepares them to do good work on their first independent job, hopefully.
I say all of this to encourage both you & me that the defining moments are hopefully nothing more than the cumulative total of preparation & practice to ensure that these moments / experiences go off with great success. Don’t neglect the importance of daily routines & practice as these set us up to succeed for what can seem to be pinnacle experiences & events 🙂

Messy, Muddy & Murky Faith

  I’ve frequently thought of faith being this clean, powerful, superhero, handsome, supernatural ideal. Like if faith was a person, it would be stylish, muscular, manicured, well appointed, organized & timely – maybe like Captain America in The Avengers. Indeed, when I read about the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, they all seem powerful, competent, effective & generally great role models, mostly. 
In actual truth, when I look at these heroes more deeply as well as my daily attempts to live a faithful & faith-filled life, it often feels messy, murky & muddy. The outcomes of faith are very appealing but the walk & work of faith isn’t quite as pristine & manicured. It seems to me that faith is both a walk & a process. We love the results but sometimes we want to escape the work, uncertainty, mess & process that precede the outcomes. 

Just because faith can be messy, murky & muddy doesn’t mean we should quit. Indeed, the process is worth the results 🙂

Catch Your Breath

I know that I’ve had a good workout when I’m breathing heavy & it takes me awhile to catch my breath – I like that feeling because my body feels good & spent. So if I’ve worked out really hard, it’s nice to pause for a few minutes & catch my breath before I move on to the next task. 

I think God made a great example of this “pause & catch your breath” thing when God rested on the 7th day after having created the world in 6days. Further to this point, let’s remember that God blessed the 7th day, a day of rest & recovery. 

Let’s be careful not to ignore or dismiss this important principle of rest & recovery into our lifestyles. It’s good to rest 🙂

Hot Topic: Final Countdown

  
We are on the homestretch with this lovely Christmas season & this makes me happy, today. There have been years when I found myself wrapping packages at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve, on the verge of an emotional meltdown, feeling overwhelmed with the work I still had to do and no time. Sometimes I can struggle with some procrastination challenges – hmmmmmm
Final countdown modes can help us be hyper-productive. But I think there’s better value in steady and consistent work than massive bursts of energy with stress and pressure. 

Here are some things to think about for steady and consistent:

  • Let’s be consistent with love, particularly with the people who get on our nerves
  • Let’s be steady with healthy daily routines: eating, working out, drinking water, etc
  • Let’s stay consistent with growing and improving ourselves in wisdom
  • The most important thing for our consistency is maintaining our daily Bible & prayer time – nothing keeps us from drowning or being a victim to devotion than this discipline 

Have an awesome Wednesday!

Laboring Today ,)

  

Today, while I was buying some paint for a home project, some nice lady offered to hire me to help her with painting her cathedral height room. This was really random & I’m baffled as to why she would think I have painting skills. That being said, there’s lots of good things to be said about laboring & not just on Labor Day 🙂
Work can be an essential part of God working out His purposes in our lives through both the outcomes of work as well as the character work can develop inside of us. I can appreciate that work can be overwhelming & sometimes we can feel like it’s a curse. But even if you think that your work is a curse, consider that God can redeem curses in lots of creative ways, maybe even with home painting projects ,)

Better or Different?

  
My stellar husband cleaned our home office, which had turned into the dumping zone for hiding clutter when guests would come over. This space in our home is also where our kids practice their instruments & we keep the majority of the books I use from time to time. So be clear that entering this room was a hazardous adventure, using politically correct terminology ,)
My husbands way of organizing is to pull EVERYTHING out & then sort through stuff – this can be kind of messy. My way of organizing is to take small parts & deal with them where they are, putting them where they belong a little bit at a time. So over this past weekend, the tripping hazards were plenteous. 

Here’s my takeaway lesson: different isn’t always better or worse, it’s just different. When I think about the differences between Joshua & Moses in the Bible, neither was a better or more effective person, they just had different ways of doing things , largely because they had different divine assignments. Let’s be careful not to evaluate people based on our filter, call or methodology ,)

Different isn’t better or worse, necessarily. It’s often just different 🙂

Illuminating

It can be easy to let routines & the daily grind lull us into not paying attention well. Doing the same thing day in & day out can be monotonous, tedious & numbing. Maybe this, in part, is why God implemented a sabbath rest – a day that’s different from the other 6 days of the week. 
I think that doing something different one day a week helps us to recalibrate, come up to periscope depth & get some fresh perspective. Indeed, I think I listen better & see more accurately when I do the sabbath thing. Be sure to get some illumination this weekend from taking a rest / pause 🙂

It’s Important to be Successful

In contrast to success, I don’t think any of us purposefully set out to fail or enjoy defeat. Indeed, the word, “defeat” causes me to recoil & evokes a gagging reflex in me. Truth be known, I’d rather not try & avoid defeat than to try & feel defeated – operative word, “feel”. 

How we feel & what we think about success is really important to consider because our thinking & feeling affect what we do & even how we organize our priorities. Let me suggest to you that we humans tend to frame success in the terms of results but maybe God frames success in different terms. Perhaps obedience is more important to God than results. Is it possible that God defines success as obedience more than results?  

Just some food for thought 🙂

shiny clean

It seems to me that most of us like things clean & shiny more than we like the work & effort that goes into making something shiny & clean.  Yesterday, my kids & I cleaned out some of our garage.  Needless to say, I found lots of undesirable junk (half eaten otter pops, sticks that were used as swords, an ancient waffle iron, wood planks, etc).  After lots of sweeping, washing, moving, organizing, etc, part of our garage is not longer a hazardous waste dump 🙂

Sometimes, I think we need to do the deep cleaning work in our thinking, values, time usage & relationships.  Life gets filled with clutter over the course of time & it’s tremendously helpful to declutter our lives from time to time so that we manage our time, money & energies to reinforce our central & timeless priorities – shiny clean 🙂

swallow a frog – interesting video :)

In my travels around the world, I’ve eaten some very creative things.  I found out quickly that it was easier to eat what was placed in front of me, if I ate first & asked questions laters.  Coaching the mental game for some of the things I’ve eaten was tricky, to put it mildly.  Again, eat first & ask questions later.  For those of you with allergies, you totally get a “pass” on this one!!!

However, there’s a saying that if you have to eat a frog, stop staring & start swallowing (or something like that).  Long story short, when we have difficult tasks in front of us, the longer we wait & procrastinate with these tasks the worse it gets.  Eat the frog, do the work & move on.

I spared you the Japanese live frog sashimi – you can thank me later,)

gearing up

Whenever I go snowboarding, I’ve learned to check the weather forecast so I can be appropriately dressed.  If it’s snowing, it helps to wear water repellant gear.  If it’s cloudy, I try to remember to bring my flat light goggles.  While you may find this to be boring, the principle remains that we need to prepare in advance for things that we know could be challenging or difficult.  Sometimes if we know that we’re going to be in some tricky family situations (with Christmas around the corner), it helps to do some mental coaching ahead of time about the things we should or should not discuss.  It helps to coach ourselves about our attitudes and some of our thinking so that when we get in some potential hotspots, we have done some preparation work ahead of time to help us with our words, actions and attitudes.  Gear up my friends, in constructive ways, there could be some hotspots on the horizon in the next few weeks 🙂

Force Multiplier :)

Recently, I was doing some volunteer work on a house of a flood victim from the horrific flooding that happened last month here in Colorado.  My specific assignment was to remove the carpet tack strips in the house that had been ruined from the water that had flooded the house.  I’ve never had any carpet tack experience so I just plopped on the floor with the metal wedge tool and tried to pry up the strips that were nailed to the floor.  I quickly found out that those little strips were extremely hard to get up & I just settled in my mind that this task was going to take a lot of time and work.  After about 30min of work & having only made about 18 inches of progress, an experienced construction guy came along & encouraged me to use a hammer with the metal wedge.  I asked if that would make the task easier & go more quickly to which he heartily replied, “YES!!!!”  So I grabbed a hammer, watched him for a few seconds, learned the technique & voila!!!  I was removing the carpet tack strips much FASTER!!  The hammer was a force multiplier!!

In our lives, we need lots of force multipliers to help our work be not only efficient but also highly EFFECTIVE!  Based on what the Bible says, wisdom is our force multiplier and through requesting & working with wisdom our lives can be suprenaturally effective.  Let’s frequently ask God to give us wisdom J

getting stronger

This has been a fairly crazy year for me with travel, particularly during the 1st half of the year.  As a result, it has come to my attention that I’ve put on a few pounds (did you like how I suddenly got formal? smile).  Thankfully, no one has made any overtly rude comments or observations, but I can most definitely tell a difference with my clothes.  So I’m getting my rear in gear to see what great things can happen from endeavoring to get back into shape 🙂

In order to be more fit, to be stronger & more healthy, I have to put some work into these areas – a truth that can apply to every area in our lives.  Discipline, effort, work & committment can have some very glorious results in our lives, particularly when we join with God’s grace & power working in our lives.  Without some effort & engagement I can quickly get flabby – just a little food for thought ,)

getting things done

Happy Mon to you!

As I write this, it’s about 8:15am & I’ve already had a million things that I need to accomplish running through my mind & I’m hoping I don’t forget any of them.  Even though I try to do all of the helpful reminders, checklists, etc, the forgetting part can make everything double stressful.  So where does God fit into this scheme?

The answer is:  wisdom.  In Prov 8:30, it talks about how wisdom was right along side God as God created the world, taking delight in God’s creation.  It seems to me that creating the entire universe could be a rather stressful task, but maybe this wasn’t stressful because God is God & wisdom is with God.

So friends, let’s ask God for wisdom to be with us throughout each day & in all of the things that we have to accomplish & with our various responsiblities.  To get things done, let’s ask & receive wisdom from God 🙂

Work hard, believe strong!

In my mind, working hard & believing strong are an essential winning combination. I have some friends who are hard workers but kind of weak believers & it seems like they just can’t get a break & have some results that exceed their hard work. On the flip side, I have some friends who are strong believers but lame workers – they can be ethereal but impractical. The worst arrangement is when a person is a weak believer & a lame worker – that’s lethal! So my friend lets cheer for each other to be strong believers & hard workers!! 🙂