Goal-oriented people, you are going to love this

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Those of you who are goal-oriented individuals, you know who you are, you are going to relate well to this post.  You are the type of person that will see a problem that needs attention and quickly a picture will develop in your mind so that you get a vision of bringing solutions to resolve the issue.

Once your mind sees the finish line, the bread crumbs of steps seems to materialize in your brain, so that a road map occurs that lines up what mini-goals you need to accomplish, in order to complete the end goal.   The world needs people like you to provide leadership.

In addition to receiving the vision of how to get things done, the goal-oriented individual  is energized by checking off each mini-goal along the way.  endorphins in the brain produce happy feelings.

I share this description of a goal-oriented person from personal experience. I am a goal-oriented person.   If this describes you, as well, let me give you a caution though that you will battle, as I do too, all the time.

Let me illustrate my point in all this by having you think of a couple of dancing. They are enjoying the music. They are enjoying each other. They know how to dance, so they are comfortable as they glide in unity across the dance floor.  It’s a beautiful, romantic vision of two people in the moment.

This dancing scene describes well the person bent on living with goals.  They embrace their goals.  They live with them always on their mind.  They glide through life having direction for where they will move and how they will move. Life, like the music at the dance hall has a rhythm to it and they enjoy their dance with their “having goals” partner.  Can you relate to that?  

BUT, ….. what happens when you get tapped on the shoulder, and someone says to you, “Excuse me, can I cut in with your partner for this dance?”

NOW YOUR PLANS HAVE CHANGED.  THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU EXPECTED.  WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW?  HOW SHOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT WHAT JUST HAPPENED?  DID YOU DO SOMETHING WRONG?  IS THIS A THREAT?  WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW THAT YOUR EMBRACING YOUR GOALS HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY SET ASIDE?

Can you relate to the change in the mindset of the person whose plans were just changed without his permission?

I think this is how life is.   We have our goals in how we want to live our life.  We feel comfortable being in control of our movements and our abilities, but then, as so often happens, things change in our life.  New, unexpected things happen in our circumstances that break up the way we were dancing through life.  At least for the moment, we are asked to deal with a new circumstance.

How can you deal with that?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • recognize that this is a common experience for us all. As much as we hate to admit it, we are not in control in our lives.  We can’t control the weather or how other people will respond to us, or the unexpected health situation,  etc.   However, we can control how we will react in every circumstance in our lives.
  • I don’t know of anyone who does not like to be in control, so how do you handle that feeling of insecurity that comes when life happens to you and your plans for living life get interrupted?  Understand that God is faithful. He will not allow you to be overcome by ANYTHING that He will not help you endure through.  Count on it.  Although the way of healing or calm might not be a quick fix, He will be there with you every step of the way and give you His amazing grace to help you persevere.  There is always hope!
  • recognize the opportunities that come with being stretched.  I believe over the years, regrettably, I have missed out on many opportunities for personal growth, and the chance to help someone in need around me, but because I so firmly had my “goal-focused” glasses on, all I could think of was myself. My obsession with meeting my own goals blinded me to many missed opportunities around me.  Maybe your new circumstances might just be a good thing—embrace it!
  • So, although I totally believe having goals is vital to personal and organizational success, I am also beginning to recognize that when the unexpected happens in life  (like someone wanting to cut in and dance with my partner),  I need to ask questions like, “what can I learn from this new development?” or “how can I take advantage of this new situation to enjoy and benefit from it?”  or “Lord, what are you trying to teach me through these new circumstances in my life?”

That’s it for now.    I delayed getting some things done this morning to write this post, so now I’m back to dancing with my goals partner!  🙂

 

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Countdown- Top Posts of 2016 #4 – Can I be thankful for this?

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top-ten

At a recent church camp out  where about 650 men (maybe more) spent the weekend in northern Michigan (what an awesome time!),   I was working on building our campsite.

During our building time, I got a little impatient as we were putting together a wooden swing set and a loose 4″x4″x 12′ beam fell and clipped my face.  Ouch!

Actually, very fortunately, it hit my face just above my lip.    injury on face

What is the positive in a situation like this. Well, I can think of four:

1) it could have been a lot worse. If it would have fallen a few more inches on my head, with the weight of that post,  I could have experienced a very serious injury

2) I was reminded once again of my need to be more careful when doing construction projects like this (and yes, accidents like this have happened to me before)

3) As this injury happened above my mouth, I was given a prompting to be careful with my mouth.  I think maybe I’ve gotten a bit careless in the usage of my words.  What I say(and you as well) can be so positive and uplifting to someone else, or they can scar by the way they cut down and demoralize someone)

4) I am thankful for the activity of a Sovereign God in this case, who allowed me to benefit from these valuable insights and at the same time, protected me from an injury that could have been severe

Let me encourage you as well to be attentive to experiences that happen in your every day life.  What insights can you gain from these moments?

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2016- top ten posts – #4 – Can I be thankful for this?

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#4 post of 2016  top-ten

 

At a recent church camp out  where about 650 men (maybe more) spent the weekend in northern Michigan (what an awesome time!),   I was working on building our campsite.

During our building time, I got a little impatient as we were putting together a wooden swing set and a loose 4″x4″x 12′ beam fell and clipped my face.  Ouch!

Actually, very fortunately, it hit my face just above my lip.    injury on face

 

What is the positive in a situation like this. Well, I can think of four:

1) it could have been a lot worse. If it would have fallen a few more inches on my head, with the weight of that post,  I could have experienced a very serious injury

2) I was reminded once again of my need to be more careful when doing construction projects like this (and yes, accidents like this have happened to me before)

3) As this injury happened above my mouth, I was given a prompting to be careful with my mouth.  I think maybe I’ve gotten a bit careless in the usage of my words.  What I say(and you as well) can be so positive and uplifting to someone else, or they can scar by the way they cut down and demoralize someone)

4) I am thankful for the activity of a Sovereign God in this case, who allowed me to benefit from these valuable insights and at the same time, protected me from an injury that could have been severe

 

Let me encourage you as well to be attentive to experiences that happen in your every day life.  What insights can you gain from these moments?

 

A lesson learned about prayer

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I have been a Christian since June 1982, but I am still learning lessons on what prayer really is. I guess I’m in good company as the apostles having been with Jesus prayed for Him to teach them how to pray.

One thing that I’m grateful for is that prayer is starting to become a habit (took me long enough). I am realizing that I NEED to be in a continual frame of mind talking (and listening) to God.

It is vital that I walk in a constant state of humility, depending on Him for everything (in other words, being “poor in spirit).

Lately, I believe God is showing me is that though I’m doing pretty well at committing most things to Him and praying about them (although I can always do better), I have an awful habit of telling Him how I want my prayers to be answered. I say, “God please answer this prayer request to show how awesome you are and here is how I would like you to do it.” How utterly arrogant and foolish on my part.

Over the years, when I have seen God answer a prayer, I have caught myself saying aloud, or thinking “wow, I never saw it playing out like that”. He is faithful to answer my prayer request, but usually not in ways that I expect.

So, let me pass on to you a lesson that I am learning and that is to let the God of unlimited resources and creativity, and love ” cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

Rest, my friend in letting God be God and expect the unexpected!

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Lessons in prayer
I have been a Christian since June 1982, but I am still learning lessons on what prayer really is. I guess I’m in good company as the apostles having been with Jesus prayed for Him to teach them how to pray.

One thing that I’m grateful for is that prayer is starting to become a habit (took me long enough).  I am realizing that I NEED to be in a continual frame of mind talking (and listening) to God.

It is vital that I walk in a constant state of humility, depending on Him for everything (in other words, being “poor in spirit).

Lately, I believe God  is showing me is that though I’m doing pretty well at committing most things to Him and praying about them (although I can always do better), I have an awful habit of telling Him how I want my prayers to be answered.  I say, “God please answer this prayer request to show how awesome you are and here is how I would like you to do it.”  How utterly arrogant and foolish on my part.

Over the years, when I have seen God answer a prayer, I have caught myself saying aloud, or thinking  “wow, I never saw it playing out like that”.   He is faithful to answer my prayer request, but usually not in ways that I expect.

So, let me pass on to you a lesson that I am learning and that is to let the God of unlimited resources and creativity, and love ” cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

Rest, my friend in letting God be God and expect the unexpected!

Are you just too busy?

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I can remember the scene like it was yesterday.

I remember walking to my car.  I was on my way to yet, another church meeting.  This one was an Outreach meeting where we’d be talking about creative, loving, and effective ways we could encourage the people in our church to reach out to their neighbors.

What was ironic about the whole thing (and very sad, really) was that on my way to the Outreach meeting, I ran across my neighbor.  This was a really nice guy and I got along with him well.  He was a man, I perceived, who was searching for more meaning in his life. I had a few, very brief conversations with him in the past and I was kind of sensing that there might be an opportunity just then to have one of those “neighborly across the fence” kind of conversations.

The problem was that I didn’t have time.  I was off to a meeting where we would be discussing the best ways to talk to our neighbors.   Ugh!

That’s just one of many stories in my life when I was just blinded to doing the right thing.

How about you?  How busy is your life?

Do you tend to run from one activity to the next, little noticing the people and things around you?  I hope not.

Maybe its time you give yourself some time to really think through what things are most important to you and jettison the rest.  It’s not that those “tossed overboard” activities are bad.  They probably are good things, but for you, in this season of your life, they may not be the “best” things.

Unexpected things will almost always occur.  Keep some margin in your life, so that you will not miss out on any of these surprises in life.

I find it’s when I take advantage of participating in these unexpected experiences that life takes on a bit of an adventure and frees me up from the feelings of both being overwhelmed (by too many planned activities and responsibilities), as well as the boredom that comes with a never-changing routine.

 

 

 

What can help you avoid distractions?

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Life just seems to be an endless barrage of “unexpected things happening” and changes. Distractions to our comfortable plans seems almost to be a given.  So, how can we get ahead of the curve?   The answer: Focus

By taking the time to evaluate your circumstances, anticipate next steps, plan, and then prepare, our focus on accomplishing the desires of our heart are more likely to then occur and we won’t get sidetracked as much by disruptions that we can just say “no” to.    Keep your blinders on to following through on your plans.

With the topic of “Focus” in mind, I wanted to pass along this excerpt from “Do Over” by Jon Acuff.  I think you will find it interesting, and after reading it, I hope you will question your degree of FOCUS in each of the areas of your responsibility.

“I asked Bernard Pollard, who played in the NFL for many years . I asked him what the unexpected secret is to having a long career in the NFL.
Without missing a beat, he replied. “The secret is that you have to outsmart yourself. You have to get your routine. You have to get your system together as a player. The things you always do. Off-season, during the season, you have to have your list. that’s why every week I know which days I’m going to be doing weight work, cardio, sauna, ice bath, etc. I take care of my body. Some guys can’t handle the mental discipline of it, especially once they’ve made some money.”

Keep focused on the job at hand.