Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Moving Forward: Plugging the Hole in the Boat to Keep Sailing!

Any problem you encounter need to be examined to find the solution but focus on the issue just long enough to fix it, overcome it or neutralize it. Dwelling on what caused the problem too long stops your momentum and keep you living in the past. I often use an analogy about a boat when trying to convince people to avoid blame (at least initially) to keep moving and avoid sinking. If you are on a boat and you notice the boat taking on water because of a hole, it is better to focus on plugging the hole or resolving the issue. Focusing on who put the hole in the boat will not keep you from sinking. Plug the hole first to keep sailing and if possible, address the cause later. Moving forward brings new life, new goals, new ideas and new successes! However, it requires a determination that is willing to go beyond blame to reach a solution.

"Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next.
Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer." Denis Waitley

Maybe you have identified the problems in your life and that is good. However, you may be dwelling too long on them and that is preventing you from moving forward. If that is the case, find the courage to take a small step toward a solution or the next thing. It is time for your energy to transfer from worry to faith and new hope. From sitting still or looking back to moving forward and looking ahead. The scenery is better observed looking through the windshield of a car than looking through the rear view mirror. Meaning, the site of a bright future is better than a narrow view of the past.

Has the “blame game” ever of addressing the problem?

Are you stuck on the problem?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Protecting Your Joy!

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. — Henri Nouwen

Joy is a spiritual fruit not a human emotion. Joy is fulfilling not a feeling and it stems from the heart not the mind. Joy is obtained when we are in harmony with God. Joy can cause you to have strength to embark upon and overcome the toughest challenges or simply cause you to coast through good times with gratitude. Joy cannot be taken from a person as many think. Joy can only be given away by its possessor. How fitting is the lyrics of a song by the gospel great Shirley Caesar, “This Joy that I have…the world didn’t give it the world can’t take it away.” 

If your “joy tank” is empty or low, then you have allowed people or circumstances to cause you to uncap or puncture your “tank”. Once your “tank” is opened or leaking, it is impossible to keep full.  If you value Joy, then you will protect and guard it. Reflecting on life’s positives, having gratitude, great expectations, faith, and fulfilling your passion, all help to protect and increase the joy in your life. Joy should be the “fuel” that keeps the “engine” in us running. It is a state of being that is not dependant on whether good things happen for you. If you are only happy when things are going well, you are on the emotional roller coaster that incites fear and thrills but nothing sustaining.

Have you ever had peace in the midst of a difficult time? If so, that is true Joy!

Are you valuing and protecting your Joy?

Enrichment: Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Prayer: Preemptive, Constant or In Case of Emergency?

When faced with life’s challenges even some of the least religious people subconsciously turn to God or a perceived higher power in prayer. You would often hear statements as “Lord Help me,” “God, I pray this works,” “God, if you are real I could use some help right now, “God/Lord if you get me out of this, I promise to never do it again.”

In times of crisis God is often called upon for help. Prayer for many people is like yelling for superman or batman to rescue them. It is like signaling for batman by flashing a symbol in the sky. The truth is prayer can be more beneficial than using it during time of need. It can help us live a fulfilled life of peace. You can pray for needs, blessings, protection, guidance and direction, etc. To use prayer as a “last ditch effort” is limiting.

“Prayer is not just a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble; it is also a "steering wheel" that directs us in the right path throughout life.” Unknown

How have you used prayer?

Has prayer been your anchor or your life preserver?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Love: Flee, Fight or Surrender

I heard something interesting today. It was a statement regarding human responses to aggression. When faced with aggression, Human’s will flee, fight or surrender.

Immediately I thought this statement sounds a lot like how individuals respond to love.
Many people flee from love for various reasons (fear, vulnerability, past experiences, trust issues, ignorance, etc.).

There are people who fight to have love and other individuals fight against it. Often times love is accepted or rejected based on a person's knowledge. Definitions and perception of love decides how people will respond to it.

Finally, there are people who know the true value of love. These are people who experience great things because of their willingness to surrender to love. However, not every person who surrenders to love gives in to the real thing. Beware of those who cover malicious intent with an imitation garment of love.

Are you fleeing, fighting for/against, or surrendering to love?

Can you think of other things in your life that causes these three responses?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Human Chameleons – Do they really exist?

"People are like chameleons; circumstances make them change their colour" - Unknown

Merriam-Webster defines a Chameleon as “any of various lizards that can vary the color of their skin” and “a person who easily or frequently changes attitude or purpose.” I would like to emphasize the latter definition. There are many people who change their behavior, attitude and even physical appearances to fit in or be accepted socially.

Our parents used the old idiom “keeping up with the Joneses” when referring to buying material goods or doing things to be like others. Often times what is being done or purchased is not consistent with a person’s true character and identity.

Starting in early childhood peer pressure occurs to shape and mold people in to images contrary to their true self. Life’s pressures are designed to help change people from “coil” to “diamonds.” However, peer pressure is designed to change a person into a cubic zirconium. Becoming a cubic zirconium is to be an imitation and fraction of your true value and self worth.

Is your “shine” real and long lasting?

Has childhood peer pressures created adult Chameleons?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Honor your Mother

"A mother can touch a whole generation just by loving her own child well." - Unknown

There are many reasons to honor your mother whether she is considered a good or bad person. A great deal of gratitude is owed because she gave birth to you and this began your life. If you are a believer, God commands you to honor our Mother and promises to bless you for doing it. Honoring your mother adds life and wellness to you.

If it wasn't for my mom's caring heart, tenacious guardianship, and intuition, I would have fail victim to the streets of Chicago. Instead, I am now a productive member of society and able to help others achieve a better quality of life. For this kind of love I am grateful!

My advice to all; fight to have a good relationship with your mom. As for those who have been hurt by your mom, don't harbor unforgiveness because it will adversely affect your life.

In what ways will you honor your mother this Mother's day?

Friday, May 11, 2012

What Lenses Are You Looking Through?

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change." Wayne W. Dyer

Growing up and even as a young adult, I remember being targeted by certain people. These people would even pick fights with me. I remember thinking they were the problem. I didn’t attribute their dislike to my behavior.

The “light bulb” moment happened in my early adulthood, when I encountered a stranger at my workplace. One night he needed a ride home after work and I offered to take him home. My kind gesture changed his perception of me. He broke the tension and said “You know I didn’t like you because you always walk around like you are in charge.” I was a supervisor but not of him, so why did it matter? Maybe he did have his own insecurities but I had to examine myself.

What the man shared was intriguing. However, I viewed things differently; being person short of stature I struggled with self-esteem. Throughout my life many people described me as strong and tough but I never thought I was sending intimidating or threatening “vibes.”

It was obvious that I needed to change. I decided to be consciously aware of the “vibes” I was sending and show myself friendlier. Being confident without compassion and humility is a recipe for social disaster.

Here's a biblical take away that I love, "Humility goes before honor!"

What "vibe" are you sending to others?