“Ugh, …how about if I start 3-4 lines higher up?”

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Recently, I was at the eye doctor for an appointment.  At one point, the eye doctor said, “go ahead and read the bottom line.”

“Ugh”, I said, “how about if I start  about 3-4 lines higher up?”  Without stating the obvious, the doctor knew pretty quickly that  have some eye sight troubles.

Speaking of eye sight and vision, I have begun to notice some interesting things about the topic of vision.

Currently, I am in my mid-50’s and besides recognizing that my physical eye sight is worsening (nothing that glasses can’t fix), I’ve also noticed a change in the perspective of my vision.  What I mean is this.

When I was younger, it was hard for me to focus on thinking wisely about what I was currently doing.  This verse from the Bible describes well my foolish ways at that time:

Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. (proverbs 17:24 nasb) bold font added

That was me.  I thought long-term.  Similar to what so many politicians do, I was in the habit of “kicking the can down the road”.  I was living for the moment, catering to my many selfish desires, not thinking about or concerned about the consequences of my actions.   I daydreamed a lot and thought that there was always something better for me “out there” (or in California  , as I grew up in the Midwest).

However, today, I find myself thinking much more about the moment, not from a self-centered, “what’s in it for me” kind of attitude, but a “how can I experience each and every moment in a God-honoring kind of way.   I find myself being very focused on trying to make wise decisions now and I try enjoying each and every moment.

I think a verse like the following describes me more today:    “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  – Matthew 6:34 -esv bold font added

I tend to find myself not wanting tomorrow to come to fast because there is so much to experience today.  It’s not that I fearing things in the future, or getting stressed out about all the “what if’s” that could happen, or even being anxious about good things I would like to see happen in the days ahead.

I just find myself focusing more and more on those things that are happening right now. To be honest, it’s very cool.   I find myself being very grateful for noticing that I have 5 senses that are functioning well, that I have a roof over my head as I go to sleep tonight, that I had food on my table tonight for dinner, that I have a loving wife who made that dinner, that I don’t fear leaving the house tonight and going to the store, that I can take a walk with my wife after work, and that I can talk about our faith in God with her…  I believe you get the point.

Tomorrow will be here before you know it.  Please don’t miss out on appreciating the presence of loved ones around you, right now.  Please don’t ever take for granted the breath of life in you, even as you are reading this post.    Enjoy this very moment because by the time you get done blinking, it will be gone.

 

 

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“do you know who I am?”

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I don’t know who it was that mentioned this story to me, but I thought it was very amusing. George Bush (the older one) was at a nursing home during a time he was on the presidential campaign trail.  While he was there greeting the residents, he leaned over to an older man in a wheel chair and said, “do you know who I am?”

The elderly man in the wheel chair said, “no, but if you go to the front desk, one of the nurses can help you”.

So, who are you?   Be careful. The way you answer that question could actually start making you feel a bit uncomfortable.  Why?

Because if you define yourself based on any outward circumstances what happens when those circumstances change? How would you then define yourself?  Often, its in those times, when someone finds them self in a new role in life, they will say something like “I feel lost”.

So, without anyone else around you right now, if you were asked the question “who am i?”, would any of your answers be listed below:

I am a successful businessman as seen by my big and beautiful house in this upscale neighborhood

I am a successful man because I actually have quite a lot of money in my retirement accounts

I am a successful man my age because I am currently driving a _________

I am a person that gets people attention because I am very attractive

I am a boss at the company I work for and I have ____ people who report to me

It’s not that being in any of these circumstances is a bad thing.  On the contrary, there is positives to each of them.

Well, to be balanced, let me give just a few more ways that someone could define themselves–maybe these would reflect what you may be thinking:

I am not a good person because I am not currently working

I am not a good person because I am not attractive

I am not a good person because I have a drinking problem

I am not a good person because I missed my latest sales goal

I am not a good person because my kids are frequently in trouble

Again, in all these responses to the question, “who am I?” someone is defining them self by their current circumstances.

Here’s my point in all this: circumstances change.  If we define ourselves by our current circumstances, whether they are good or bad, things will eventually change and so will the way we view our self.  In actuality, we become like a floating object tossed about by the waves: good today, bad tomorrow  happy today, sad tomorrow- confident today, insecure tomorrow.

For me, the way I am settling in on the question of “who am I?’  is my focus on simply saying “I am born again- a child of God, a follower of Jesus Christ”.   Its interesting that I wrote the word “simply” in the last sentence because that bottom line statement is true, however the depths of amazement that come from my identity in Christ goes on and on.   Being related to the living and loving God is no small thing.  I hope you never see it in that way.  It is truly awesome.   And you know what, my circumstances will change, but my relationship with Him won’t.

When things are going wonderfully for me and my family, I can express my gratitude for these good times, and I can find great joy knowing that I am a child of God and will be with Him forever.

When things are not going well for me or my family, I can trust Him to help us get through these tough times, but the bottom line is that I am still a child of God.

Which perspective in life (finding your identity in your circumstances or in your relationship with God)  do you want to have?  Which perspective on life do you think will bring you more inner and lasting peace?

Who are you?

 

“Killing Lincoln” book review

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Have you ever watched a show on Netflix that was part of a series and after watching it, it became a no-brainer for you to keep on watching the next episode.  You were hooked. I think they call it “binge-watching”.

I’ve had that same experience with a book I’m reading now, “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly (and Martin Dugard).

I find myself totally absorbed in reading it. As I move through it page by page, eventually I hear a frustrating voice inside my head saying “put it down and go to bed—you can keep reading it tomorrow”.  Ugh!

I have found the book to be educational as to better understanding the end of the Civil War times and what was happening in the lives of both Abraham Lincoln and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth, as well as suspenseful. Page by page, chapter by chapter, I read on waiting to see how it played out.  Although I know that Lincoln got killed, there were so many new details being presented along the way that turned my black and white picture of Lincoln’s assassination into a vibrant, full color story.

Trust me on this, read this book.  You will enjoy doing so.

“Hidden Figures” movie review

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I enjoy watching movies. I especially enjoy watching movies at the movie theatre. I think it’s because I like stories.  There are some stories I see played out on the big screen that leave me overwhelmed with just so many images and thoughts to process.  For example, “Schindler’s List” and “The Passion of the Christ” were two movies that left me just kind of dazed, actually speechless.

“Hidden Figures” was not quite to that level of intensity, but nonetheless, I did feel a bit overwhelmed (in a good way) because there was so many things to process in my mind about the events in the movie, which were based on a true story.

The perseverance of the three women was so inspiring.

The injustice and racial prejudice of the early 60’s (and still today) was so disturbing.

The vision and intelligence of very gifted individuals to think and execute putting a man in orbit (and getting him home safely) is well, over the top to me in wondering “who thinks like that? Let alone can make it happen”

“Hidden Figures” is a definite “must watch” movie.  Check it out!

Glimpses of Hope began to Displace the Depression

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Who doesn’t want to live a life of “no regrets”?

Who doesn’t want to get better in all the areas of their responsibilities?

My passion is to help people be their best.  I’ve created an app (the Foundations Life Management app) that helps a person create goals and monitor their progress.

In addition, by using the Dashboard option, a person can easily text their results to a friend who can offer  encouragement, accountability, prayer, and support.

 

Here are two Dashboard screens that a friend of mine, who I meet with, sent to me to show me his progress:

This is how my friend initially evaluated how he was doing in all his areas of responsibilities: (notice the concerning “red” areas that were causing him much turmoil and depressing thoughts):

initial-meeting

Using the app as a resource to help me encourage my friend as we met, this is how he evaluated his progress in our most recent time together: (notice the movement from the red (concerning issues) to the yellow (okay, but in maintenance mode):   As a side note, his enthusiasm in seeing his progress was tangible.

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Coaching (mentoring)  is about relationship and helping another person make progress.

If you haven’t already, let me encourage you to check out this app, and try it with a friend to see progress occur in both your lives.

If you have downloaded the app and are using it, I would so appreciate you telling a friend (s) about it.

You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en

If you have any questions about the app, please just let me know.

Blessings.

Walter

A crucial hidden truth of leadership is…

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The bottom line for leaders is they want to lead well and want to produce victories. Whether it’s in sports, or business, or in the arts, leaders want their teams to be successful.

Because of that desire to “win”, the truth is that a leader might not really like a person, or people on their team, but are willing to tolerate them because of their talent.

So, what does that mean for you and I?  First of all, it means, as I mention so often in these posts, always try to be your best. Don’t worry about what’s in your future, but concentrate on being your best in all you do—today!  With that “continuous improvement” mindset , whether it’s in business, or personally, you will be amazed at the doors of opportunity that will open up for you in the future, as leaders look for people who have the abilities to solve their problems and help them achieve successes.

Second of all, as your talent improves in whatever area you’re concentrating, you do not have permission to act like a jerk.  Yeah, your skill level will open doors of opportunity, but understand that people will only go so far in their desire to win.   If your personal morals, or personality are so “over the top” offensive, you will be asked to leave the team because the annoyance and frustration of working alongside you outweighs the positive feelings that come from team success.

Let me share a story with you that illustrates this principle of people overlooking their own hesitance with liking a person, but seeking that talented person out to help them with their difficulties.

There once was a man named Jephthah.  He was the son of a woman who was not his dad’s wife.   As he got older, his half-brothers, the sons born to his father and his father’s wife, basically turned on Jephthah (as well as the elders in the community), and kicked him out of their town because of Jephthah’s illegitimate birth.

However, Jephthah was a mighty warrior and developed quite a reputation for his battlefield successes. As years went on, Jephthah’s home town, Gilead was being attacked. The leaders of the community realized the weaknesses in their defense and in desperation sought out Jephthah to be their military leader and to help them defend their town.  It seems like the people in Gilead were willing to put aside their previous criticisms of Jephthah because of their desperation for his help with their current problem.  Jephthah told them if they would accept him back in to their community he would help them. The town’s leaders accepted his offer and Jephthah, did in fact lead them to victory.

So, to summarize the heart of this post, it’s this:  First of all, your character matters in all you do. Please don’t limit any opportunities you have because of offensive things you do to alienate others.  Second of all, strive to be your best and fight the urge to want “success” now. Continue to be the very best you can be.  Rather than focusing your energies in dreaming of the future, concentrate on developing your skills, and trust that in time,  the opportunities will find you.  I believe they will.

Note:  The story of Jephthah is told in “The Book of Judges”- chapter 11 (in the Bible)

Are we to be like snowflakes?

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During these changing times, more and more business books I read talk about the need for each of us to begin thinking of our self as our own brand.  We are encouraged in these books to identify our strengths, build our own networks, and begin thinking that we are the CEO of ME, Inc.

However, as a Christian, I wrestle with being comfortable trying to promote myself.  Is that what you and I should be doing in the culture we live in today—making our self look better.   Then the next question pops into my head, should I throw out completely this “me-first”, build me up kind of mindset?  Is it all a bad thing?

Personally, I don’t think so.  I think we need to apply the lesson of a snowflake to gain a broader perspective.  Let me explain:  snowflakes-b

  • for one, I think of something John the Baptist said, when both he and Jesus were getting a lot of attention.  People were coming to John asking  how he felt about this “sharing the lime light” kind of scenario that was playing out around Jerusalem.  John hit it on the head when he said that “Jesus must increase and I must decrease”.
  • as followers of Jesus Christ, our deepest motivation should be that of wanting to make His name great, not ours.  In fact, the Holy Spirit inside of us is working within us to make us more like Jesus, basically displacing our life with His.
  • I can’t think of any thing more satisfying and meaningful than if someone were to say to me that they see Jesus in me, rather than saying nice things about me, as though I were something special
  • So, on one hand, I believe we are all to depend on the Holy Spirit and be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, but….
  • does that mean we should strive to lose our uniqueness and all be the same?  Am I supposed to be like you? Do our differences matter and should they?   DEFINITELY, THEY SHOULD!
  • 1 Corinthians 12 (one of the books in the New Testament) says that all followers of Jesus Christ are like the different parts of the body- the Body of Christ. .  This chapter goes on to describe some of us as the foot, some the hand, some the eye, etc.    Can someone say because they are not an eye, they are not a part of the body—NO!
  • Each of us is unique–that’s a good thing.  We all need to appreciate and respect the diversity of the body.
  • Let me illustrate it in another way  —think of “snow”.   When a storm is approaching, it is not unusual to hear the weatherman say something like, “we can expect 2-3 inches of snowfall today”.   The weatherman talks about the collective influence of a snowfall.
  • However, although that perspective of ONE SNOWFALL is correct.  On the other hand, that snowfall could also be described as a group effort by billions and billions of unique snowflakes.

So, what’s my point in this blog?  Its to never lose sight of the dual view that I believe all Christ followers need (think of a hologram where there are really two images in the picture, but you will see only one at a time depending on how  you are holding or looking at the image).

On one hand, never lose sight of the truth that you are unique.  Celebrate and be grateful that you are created like no one else. You are you. Learn from others, but with the motivation to be a better you.  It’s okay to be different.

On the other hand, if you are a Christian,  celebrate that you are part of a team, the Body of Christ.  We are all being changed to become more like Him.  Separating our self from this body is not a good thing, just like it is not a good thing for an arm or leg to be severed from the body.   Get involved with the team. Concern yourself with the things that concern the group.  Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Contribute to the team and receive from it.