Before we can experience change in our behavior, we must learn that only God can change us. Change is a process that takes faith, patience and time. As we face truth about ourselves, admit our faults, and place our faith in God to change us we will see results, but we must trust His timing. Things do not always happen when we think they should. Whatever area of your life you want to change. Turn it over to God, trust that He is working in you, and that you are changing and getting better and better every day.
Most people tend to change when the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. If you want to learn and grow you must not only be willing to accept change but to embrace it. Is there is an area in your life which causes you pain and discouragement or you’re not seeing anything fruitful coming from it. That is a sign it’s time for you to let go and make some changes in your life. You may feel that you can’t change because the people around you won’t. That is an excuse. You we were not created to carry the burdens of other people (see Matthew 23:4). Everyone has a personal responsibility for their own spiritual, emotional, and mental growth. The Lord says, Come to me, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Today, go to God and ask Him to remove the burdens that have been placed upon you. Ask Him to help you accept and embrace the change that He is bringing into your life. In Jesus name.
Be Blessed and Prosperous!
You may not be where you want to be or think you should be at this time in your life. Maybe you’re tired of simply going through the motions, struggling to get by or you’re stressed and frustrated about your circumstances. I’ve been there, and I want you to know that you don’t have to continue to live this way. You can be and deserve to be happy, healthy, and whole. You were not created to just exist; you were created to live, and to live with purpose.
One of the first things you can do to change your circumstances is to stop blaming other people for the decisions that you made. It doesn’t require much of you to blame someone else for what you don’t have. I know it’s easier to shift blame for your problems, but the truth is, you have to accept personal responsibility for your choices, whether right or wrong, you have to own it.
You may even have issues in your relationships with other people. If someone, in your life, is a burden instead of a blessing. It is time to rethink your relationship, make a decision, and take action. Stop complaining about what you permit. If someone is mistreating you, whether it is a spouse, boss, friend or relative, those circumstances exist with your permission. Your tolerance of their mistreatment breathes life and longevity into the situation and it will continue until you make a change. Redefine your relationships by setting boundaries and sticking to them. It is your decision whether you end the relationship to reclaim your life or not. But, nothing will change for you until you can no longer tolerate your present circumstance.
Think about it. Why should the other person stop doing what they’re doing? Why should they stop mistreating you; if you don’t speak up for yourself? In some way, they are benefitting from your mistreatment. They get to have their way, walk all over you, speak to you any kind of way, or even ignore you if it suits their needs. The problem is not them; it’s you. You have given up your power and authority. It’s up to you to take it back. Unhealthy relationships slow you down, discourage you and leave you disempowered.
Remember, you have chosen your present. You have chosen your environment. You have accepted it and embraced it, and you have refused to walk away from it. Stop complaining about it. You are where you are with your permission. Take your life back and decide the course you want to follow. I hope that course leads you to living the life you deserve.
We are in a season of preparation, and you should be getting ready for the good things that are coming your way. Begin by examining your relationships, confronting the past, and overcoming your fears. It is the only way you are going to live the life of purpose you were created for. The time is NOW!
In life, we are always given choices. You can choose to have an optimistic view and live a fulfilling life or you can choose to have a pessimistic view and live a self-defeated life. It’s your choice.
What does it mean to live the life of an optimist? It means that you expect the best no matter what. Tough situations and challenges CAN and WILL arise in your life. An optimist chooses to view the challenge as a temporary setback; as an opportunity to learn, grow, and to try harder.
The pessimist, when presented with the same challenge views it as permanent, and they choose to grumble, complain and give up.
As an optimist, you know that you never give up. If you fall, you get back up. You see opportunities instead of obstacles. You are focused on your goals and take steps that bring you closer to your dream. Optimists are comfortable in their own skin. When things get tough, an optimist gets tougher. They know sometimes you have to go to battle for what you want and for what you believe in.
Most optimists are generally well-liked and respected. People tend to want to be around someone who is positive. Think about it. Who wants to hang with someone who’s always in a bad mood or never has anything nice to say?
An optimist knows that true happiness is within; they are less likely to depend on something or someone outside of themselves to make them happy.
Being optimistic about life is not unrealistic. It’s a real choice you can make every day, every hour, and every second of your life. It’s all about your perspective and how you choose to see yourself. At any time, you have the power to change your life by changing your point of view. You can choose to live life on the bright side, or you can choose to live in the dark. The choice is always yours!
Thoughts? Questions? Please share in the comments below.
I believe you have to know where you are, and where you’re going, before you can make a significant change in your life. The answers to these seven questions, can be used as a roadmap, to navigate you to where you want to be. If you haven’t consciously thought about this before, now is a great time to initiate the process, and to start living a life of purpose.
1. What do I really want? Sounds like a simple enough question, right? But, have you taking the time to think about what it is you really want? Most would probably say they want a new car, a bigger house, or a better job. For those who are committed to living a life of purpose the answer to this question should go a little deeper. Don’t get me wrong, those are great things to want, but you’re just skimming the surface. Dig a little deeper and really take time to discover your heart’s desire.
2. Should I really change? If you’re unhappy with the way things are in your life right now, why wouldn’t you want to change things? You have the power inside of you to change your life; now is the time to activate that power. Instead of doing what you’ve always done. Start by making small choices in a different way, eventually those new choices and decisions will create huge change in your life.
3. What’s the point to all of this? It’s your life! I know its a little cliché, but you only have one life to live, so LIVE it. It’s all in the way you see things. If you focus only on the negative things in your life, you’re going to continue to draw negativity to you. When you focus on the positive, even when things appear not to be going so well, you release the positive energy needed to turn that situation around. As your thoughts change, your attitude changes, and you’ll begin to see things in a new way.
4. Am I comfortable with what I’m doing? If you’re comfortable, you’re not living at your fullest capacity. Breakout of your comfort zone and stretch yourself. Do something you’ve never done before. Pick up a new hobby, enroll in a new class, or start that business you’ve been dreaming of. It’s not enough to go through life comfortable or just going through the motions. You should be passionate about what you’re doing.
5. Have I done enough for myself? When we neglect ourselves in our efforts to take care of everyone else it can be emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically draining. Take a step back and find some ME time. Do something that is just for you. Start to put your own well-being first, and soon you’ll be able to see yourself doing things you couldn’t have imagined before.
6. What motivates me? This can be a tough one. I believe when you know what motivates you; you know how far you’ll go to accomplish your dreams. That motivation ignites the fire which inflames the passion to accomplish whatever it is you’ve set your mind to. Only you will know what motivates you. Take time to explore this important question.
7. How much could I have? You can have as much or as little as you desire. It’s up to you. If you have a mentality that you’ll never have enough, you’ll continue to struggle. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, give thanks for what you do have and you’ll begin to see that you already have enough. Begin to envision the things you want and not just material things. But envision having peace in your life, envision your health improving, that your children are doing well, and you will have those things in your life.
This is not a complete list of those important questions you should be asking yourself. However, I hope these have started you thinking and provided a way to get you moving in the right direction.
What other questions can you add to the list? I would love to hear from you.
Thoughts? Questions? Please share in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Flickr
This week I was doing some research and came across this piece written by Dalai Lama, A to Zen of Life. I thought it was worth sharing with you, as it has some inspiring and empowering tips for living a life of purpose. If this is the first time you’ve seen it, take time to read each one or even print it out as I did. There is some great advice, wisdom and insight here. Enjoy!
Avoid negative sources, people, places and habits
Believe in yourself
Consider things from every angle
Don’t give up and don’t give in
Everything you’re looking for lies behind the mask you wear
Family and friends are hidden treasures, seek them and enjoy their riches
Give more than you planned to
Hang onto your dreams
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door
Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it
Keep trying no matter how hard it seems
Make it happen
Never lie, steal or cheat
Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values
Practice makes perfect
Quality not quantity in anything you do
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer
Take control of your own destiny
Understand yourself in order to better understand others
When you lose, don’t lose the lesson
Xcellence in all your efforts
You are unique, nothing can replace you
Zero in on your target and go for it
Thoughts? Questions? Please share in the comments below.
Come on in! Kick off your shoes and throw your stuff down wherever you want. Grab a snack and a drink out of the fridge, turn on the TV and curl up with a blanket on the couch. Throw in a load of laundry, take a shower, read a book, use the computer, or take advantage of some peace and quiet for a little cat nap. Stay a while. The point is: In my home, no one is a guest. Everyone is family. Those are the rules.
That’s today. Let me tell you about another time in my life.
When I first moved to North Carolina, a little over 5 years ago, I shared an enormous house with the man I loved, a man I lived with and dated for nearly 8 years at the time. We filled our house with beautiful furniture, artwork and accessories. In fact, we spent a great deal of time and energy decorating. Each table setting was perfectly matched. There was a set for eating and a set for display on an elaborate dining room table, which we never used. Fine crystal wine glasses and flutes sat perfectly aligned in a glass cased cabinet, which was carefully dusted when needed, but otherwise never touched. An entire room was filled with the most sophisticated living room furniture and the largest, most intricate shelving unit imaginable. Books, photos, and knick-knacks were on display in every nook and cranny. But, the room was never used, and no one would dare sit on the furniture.
The house was simply majestic; larger than life. It was always neat and orderly. Everything had a place, and there was a place for everything. No dish was left unclean; no towel left unfolded. Every moment of time we had and every ounce of attention was put into that house. It was indeed breathtaking, but looking back, it was a very lonely place to be, because while everyone who entered was blown away by the work we put into it, there was one thing we left out: ourselves.
We spent more time focusing on what was in our house rather than who was in it, and that’s why it never became a home.
Before long, we found ourselves selling or donating those beautiful pieces of our house to perfect strangers. Furniture, art, dishes, and even the fine crystal; memory by memory, pieces of our lives were walking away in the hands of happy new owners, who knew exactly where they would put their new found treasures. We, on the other hand, were left reflecting on the very moment when we purchased each and every item, wondering how our relationship could have possibly come to this. Even more heartbreaking was the day we walked out of that front door for the very last time. Walking away from what was once a beautiful dream was perhaps one of the most difficult days of our lives. It was a painful experience but a valuable lesson at the same time; one I carry with me in my heart to this day.
Recently, I moved into my own townhome. I’ve never lived on my own before, so it’s been a roller-coaster of an experience in many ways. However, I am settling in and getting adjusted to my new life. Some days are more difficult than others, but for the most part, it’s been a great ride. As for decorating, well… not much matches, a few pictures are sort of lopsided, and there are items in rooms that don’t quite belong (like a desk in the dining room and an end table in the office), but I’m okay with that. In fact, I kind of like it that way. It seems a bit more comfortable and much less high maintenance. Besides, I learned the hard way that it’s not about what surrounds you but who surrounds you that matters. The rest are just THINGS. Sure, they may look nice, and may or may not impress a few guests (depending on individual tastes), but once those guests depart, your THINGS just don’t matter. The truth is, with or without guests, they really don’t matter anyway.
Today, I’m no longer concerned with whether my bowls match my plates or if the towels in my guest bathroom are “the decorative ones” or “the usable ones”. Who cares? If it dries the water off after a shower, use it. Period. I’m comfortable here in my home, and I want others to be, too. That’s right, I said home, not house. The transition was made. It was a tough road to travel and I have the scars to prove it, but alas, I’ve reached the final destination, and with some very valuable lessons:
Not everything needs a place, and there’s not necessarily a place for everything. Much like life, some pieces will fall where they may (or where they fit). Sometimes we just have to work around them and adjust accordingly. As long as we’re comfortable, it doesn’t matter what others think, or if our homes, or our lives, match those in some magazine we saw in line at the grocery store. Happiness lies within us, not within our furniture and our décor.
Sometimes in life, it’s good to have a few mismatches. It adds a little flavor and makes the “ordinary” just a little bit more exciting. I sort of enjoy eating salad off of a red plate and soup out of a blue bowl. It makes me smile. I don’t think I have a single set of glasses that match. I love that! As long as what comes out of them doesn’t kill me or someone else, we will all live to see another day. Life is good. Who cares what color or shape the glass is?
Not everything has to be done right now. A dirty dish can wait, a load of laundry can be done tomorrow, and that pile of shoes by the door will get sorted out later. Life is happening right NOW and that is much more important. I’ve experienced enough to understand now that dishes and laundry will be there tomorrow. Life may not.
This has been my journey from house to home. Today, no guests are allowed. The moment you enter the door, my home becomes our home, and you become family. There is not a dish you can’t use, a piece of furniture you can’t sit on, or a room you can’t enter.
Make yourself comfortable. Make yourself “at home”.
This past Sunday was Father’s Day. This may be the only day out of the year, I consciously think of the man, who so graciously deposited the sperm which contributed to my life.
It is the only contribution he has ever made.
After almost 37 years, I have yet to meet this donor face-to-face. Yet, I can’t help but to feel a sense of gratitude to him for playing such an important role in my life, after all, without his participation I wouldn’t be here to tell this story.
As a child, when I thought of him, it was with anger and pain. I didn’t understand how he could know he had a child in this world and choose not to acknowledge them. I wondered how could he sleep at night, not knowing if his child was dead or alive, or if he even cared. I internalized these thoughts and emotions for years. I accepted the belief that I was unworthy and unlovable. There had to be something wrong with me if my own father would not acknowledge or love me.
His careless disregard for the life he created…MY LIFE… affected me in numerous ways.
I wore rejection, bitterness, and anger as a cloak, to hide the confused and hurt little girl that I was on the inside. There was a seeping wound in my soul that contaminated my life. This emptiness was like a black hole and in my attempts to fill this void; I made a lot of mistakes, wrong choices, and bad decisions, especially in regards to the men in my life. I had low self-esteem and no sense of my self-worth. I was promiscuous with little regard for the type of man that I allowed into my life. Most of them were selfish, emotionally unavailable, manipulative, controlling and in one case verbally and physically abusive. No matter how hard I tried, I could not fill the void my father left behind. I was simply trading one type of pain for another.
After my daughter was born, I knew that I had to change. I wanted to be someone that she could look up to, someone that she could count on. I realized that if I wanted to do better, I had to be better.
Through my journey, I learned that I had to forgive this man for what he didn’t do for me. I had to forgive him for choosing not to be a part of my life. I had to accept that he was also human and prone to mistakes. I had to forgive this man for forsaking me. But, most importantly, I had to ACCEPT and BELIEVE the fact that there was nothing wrong with ME. I could not carry the weight of his burden any longer.
It wasn’t an easy process. There were so many unanswered questions, which I have never been able to get answers to. It took awhile for my mind to get in agreement with my heart, so that I could finally let go.
I talked to God through this entire process. I shared all of my hurt, pain and disappointments with Him; the mistakes and bad choices I had made. I poured my heart and soul out to God. I asked Him to help me. I asked God if he would be my Father.
An amazing thing happened that night. I felt an incredible peace come upon me. I felt an amazing love surround me, envelope me, and move through me. I began to cry, from the sheer joy of that love. A Father’s Love. The dark space within me was filled with light. The wounds in my soul were healed. The root of bitterness was plucked from my heart. The burden that I was never supposed to carry was lifted from my shoulders. I was FREE!
The power of God healed me. The love of God made me whole. God is a Father to the Fatherless.
So this past Sunday, I didn’t pick up the phone to call an earthly father. Instead, I worshiped, praised and thanked my heavenly Father…..the Father of all Fathers…my God!
“When you discover your gifts, you uncover your passion. When you uncover your passion, you find your purpose. When you find your purpose you fulfill your destiny.” Unknown
We only have one life to live; therefore we should make every effort to live it to the fullest. I believe we owe it to ourselves and to those that have gone before us, to make the best of the opportunities we’ve been given by creating a life worth living.
Are you really living life or are you just going through the motions?
To start living a life of purpose you must become an active participant. Life becomes mundane when you fall into routine schedules, behaviors and habits. Break out of your comfort zone.
Start challenging yourself by exploring different interests. Begin to find and start living your purpose. Living your purpose is expressing who you truly are and proving to yourself what you are capable of achieving. When you start to believe in yourself and cultivate a belief in something greater than you. The possibilities of what you can achieve are endless.
Accept responsibility for your future. See what other people don’t see and pursue that vision. In whatever you do be the very best that you can be. No matter what anyone else tells you. It’s great if you have the support of a spouse, family and friends. But if you don’t, stay encouraged during those challenging times by believing in yourself, and draw on the strength of something greater than you.
Do more than wish and hope for something to happen. You have to put action behind it. You can hope for a better life and wish that things would change. But until you actually make a decision, and take an intentional step toward what you want, nothing will actually change in your life.
Intentionally change your thoughts. What we focus on is what we draw into our lives. If you think you can’t do something, then you won’t. With those types of thoughts you become stuck, afraid to move forward into your purpose. Focus on what you want for your life and take a step towards you goals each day.
Start visualizing your dream and what you want for your future. See it clearly and in detail. See yourself living it day-to-day in living color.
Be patient finding your purpose and living it may take some time. However, once you start pursuing it, you will literally change your life!
I recently learned a valuable lesson from a very personal experience. It was a lesson that I could not have learned had I not gone through a very difficult time in my life.
We spend a great deal of our lives fighting battles, making our way through obstacle courses, and dealing with things that we think have gotten in our way. In many cases, this is true. However, sometimes things aren’t always as they appear. Every now and then, what seems like a huge hurdle is really just life’s way of saying, “slow down for a second, take a step back, and look at the big picture.” I don’t know about you, but I kind of like it when this happens, because I always end up discovering something about myself I never realized before. Sometimes, I even find that I am the obstacle. Once I get out of my own way, it’s amazing what I can do.
It’s easy to get caught up in life’s endless obstacle course, but our obstacles are there for a reason. I’ve found that we can use them to our advantage by exploring them a little bit and allowing them to make us stronger and better people.
Until recently, public speaking was a HUGE obstacle for me and actually prevented me from reaching several goals and fulfilling my purpose. It has always been easy for me to sit down with a pen and notebook and write out my thoughts, but to talk about them, much less SPEAK about them in front of a crowd of people was something I was quite sure I would never do. It wasn’t until I took a step back and evaluated this obstacle that I was able to turn it into an opportunity.
It wasn’t too long ago that I could barely sit in a conference room of five or six people and introduce myself without shaking to death or turning as red as a tomato. I was a nervous wreck when it came to public speaking, and if I was asked to give a presentation, you might as well call in the ambulance ahead of time. I was sure to go down.
However, after a difficult breakup, I made the decision that it was time to focus on myself, so I made a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish, “do or die” (more details on that in a later post). One of the items on that list was to finally confront my fear of public speaking. In order to achieve this, I joined a club called Toastmasters International, as well as a couple of other groups, which forced me into situations where I had no other choice but to break out of my own shadow and into my own beautiful light. It was quite difficult at first, but before I knew it, I was speaking with ease. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m still not a five-star speaker, and probably never will be, but I’m comfortable with standing before an audience and speaking about anything and everything, even when I don’t know ahead of time that I will be asked to do so. I sometimes have no idea what I’m saying, but I’m relaxed and confident, and that’s what’s important.
In life, there are always going to be things that “get in the way”. There are always going to be things flying at us, like baseballs at 90 miles an hour. But, instead of trying to dodge them, why not catch them, keep them, and then use them to our own advantage? Have you ever heard the old saying, “when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade”? Let’s tweak that a little bit, shall we?
When life hands you an obstacle, make an opportunity!
Until we meet again,