“Don’t count the things you do, do the things that count.”
As all my readers know, I’m a firm believer that life is a journey that must be lived on purpose with purpose. So many sabotage their journey before they ever get started.
When I read Zig Ziglar’s quote, I saw great truth in it. We are going to make a decision to either be inwardly OR outwardly focused. A person who is inwardly focused, will always be thinking about themselves. In every decision they make, it will be about THEIR greater good above all others. Now the person who is outwardly focused, is always looking for how they can better those around them. They look for ways to bring the greater good of others up above themselves. I have met a lot of people in my life, but only a few that have truly put others before themselves. I have said it before, but if someone is always pointing to their own success and giving the glory to themselves, then RUN!!!
It boils down to this – we are ALL called to be world changers. A world changer has an outward focus and their goal is, “What can I do for others”? I was thinking about the traits of a world changer and this is what I came up with:
1. They are persistent about what they’re passionate about.
2. They have defined goals.
3. They have someone that speaks into their life like a mentor.
4. No matter what hits, they keep a positive outlook.
5. They invest in themselves and others. They see the importance of learning and imparting what they are learning.
6. They track their progress in their personal journey.
7. They surround themselves with positive, like-minded people, which will help bring them up to a new level.
People that are real and have character traits like I just mentioned above, will love you too much to allow you to stay like you are, no matter where you are in life.
“You can’t change the world until first changing yourself.”
So right now, you are standing in what could be the greatest second of your life; what are you going to do with it?
“Don’t allow the What IF’s to rule your life!”
Life is too short to allow the “WHAT IF” I fail moments to rule us. I have a note on the inside of my calendar that says, “Remove the negative WHAT IF’S from my vocabulary”. In this post, we are going to talk about failure and how to make it work for us.
“We learn from failures, not from success.”
Now I can’t say that I totally agree with this statement; however, I still like it. I believe that we can learn from every event that we pass through in life. Notice I said, “Pass through”? I believe that graduating from one event to another in life, offers us lessons on what to do and what not to do; but, if we allow them to stop us or turn us back, then nothing has been learned. For many, failure becomes a stopping point, where for others, it just becomes a lesson in how not to do something.
“Failure is an event and not a person.”
One sure thing about life, is that it comes with a fair share of opportunities, both good and bad. One of the greatest failures that can happen to those that have the honor to stand in front of individuals, whether in large or small settings and impart wisdom, is that they sometimes fail to prepare themselves in how to embrace the good, the bad and the glorious. Notice I said, “Impart wisdom”? Many are just repeating knowledge they took from someone else’s writings or teachings, but nothing more. Knowledge without wisdom is just information and we need more than information to succeed in life. Pastors, mentors, life coaches, etc. have the opportunity to help others embrace life and all that comes with it and learn from it, but we have those that shade it as doom. Others may shade it as clouds and rainbows, but life is like a bipolar friend. One minute it’s up and the other it’s down, and one minute we are laughing and the next we are crying. If we can get the right perspective on life, then we can take every moment and enter into “Life University”. We can then graduate from it with a degree on how to truly live a Kingdom Life. There is nothing more humbling than failure and sometimes no better teacher. The fear of failure has stopped so many from finding their place in life, and for others, it has helped them find their voice.
I want to offer a few suggestions on what you can do to bring change into your life:
1. Inventory your life on paper. Be real and not emotional.
2. Look for areas you can change NOW!
3. Add some type of exercise.
4. Change your eating habits.
5. Change your daily routine.
6. I find that starting and ending my day talking and listening to God, is the perfect way to bring balance to a wobbly world.
Now this list is by no means a complete list, but instead, it’s a starting point for change and no race was ever won without a start.
So the best way I can think of to bring this post to a close, is by telling you this: Failure is not forever and no matter what you are going through right now, it is temporary. You might feel like your whole life has been built for failure, BUT the only person that can change this is YOU! So bring forth the change!
I hope this has in some way spoken to you and will either help you or better you to help others.
“Your greatest battle is in your mind; not your circumstance.”
Have you ever been driving along minding your own business when BAM, out of nowhere, you are blind-sided by something you did not see coming? Most of the time, we find traffic signs that let us know what lies ahead; but unfortunately, life doesn’t offer these warning signs. So what do we do when we encounter these speed bumps? Hopefully, that question will be answered in this blog post.
Let me tell you a little story. Recently, my wife and I joined the “empty nesters club” and we decided to find some things that we could do together that are out of the box for us. We joined a local running club and if you know me, you would know that running has NEVER been my strong point. IN fact, to run a lap around the track one time without stopping, was a miracle! So, we join this club and show up for the first day and meet our fearless leader, Jim “Papa Turtle” Hardin who is 67 years young and seems to be able to run FOREVER! Did I mention FOREVER?? Anyways, I find that our morning run will be a little over 3 miles and mind you it’s 5:00 am! Did I mention its 5:00 am and January?! So we are off and Jim motivates us the entire run with encouraging words and stories that make the run go by faster. Moving forward to now, we are running 2 – 3 times a week minimum and 3.5 miles each time. Now fast forward to present, specifically to last Thursday, when we were running and right at the 1.76 mile mark, I get a horrible cramp in my left knee which is followed by a POP and then me sitting on a curb unable to walk. How many would say this is bad? It’s cold, I’m sweaty, it’s dark and I’m in pain. There were no warning signs for this event that just happened! I have found that asking “WHY” is not a motivator, but what I do or think next is what’s important.
You see, life has its way of offering what I call speed bumps as we journey forward and most of the time, there is no warning. Side thought here, I have also noticed that when we stand still and do nothing or go backwards in life, there are no speed bumps OR rewards. What happens when we get to those speed bumps, makes all the difference in life. We have got to learn to find the opportunities in the circumstances or speed bumps. We must learn that we are only down for as long as we allow the circumstance to rule the moment. I myself already have plans for three upcoming 5k runs and I told this body of mine that if I have to do them on crutches, I will. So SUCK IT UP and let’s keep moving!
I was reading in my Bible and noticed that when Jesus healed people, most of the time I found the word “immediately” within the same scripture. If you look up the definition of immediately, you will find, “at once, instantly, without any intervening time or space.” As a Christian who walks by faith and not by sight, that was what I grabbed ahold of. I’m not saying this is what you should do if you find yourself in the same place! What I do want you to take away from this, is that when you hit those speed bumps that your very next decision, thought and/or action, sets the stage for what the road ahead will be like.
If a dream fails, it’s not the end; but instead, the beginning to a new one IF you can see it that way.
If you lose or get fired from your present job, it’s not the end of the world; but instead, a promotion to something new IF you can see it that way.
If you get a negative medical report or injury, don’t let it end life; but instead, let it ignite you to pursue what you CAN do with greater passion than ever before.
We have all heard the statement, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade”, but I add to that by saying, find a way to grow bigger, think larger and live without walls during those seasons.
Life is too short to let the speed bumps hold you back. Whatever you are going through this day, find opportunity in that circumstance and make it a stepping-stone to greater things.
Today, right now, this very second, is the beginning of something new or just another second of the same old same old. You decide!
“In everyone’s life there is a place called there; BUT it’s not at the end of the journey we find it, but instead in the very second of life we are in right NOW.” ME =)
So many live their lives saying, “One day I will be THERE,” as if the word there was a destination. After you read this post, I challenge you to see it from a different point of view for a moment and possibly forever. Stay with me as I dive deeper into this thought in this Kingdom Thinking post.
My wife, Debbie, and I, just joined a local running club to give us something new to do together in life. Running has not been something we normally do; however, it is especially out of the box for me. As I was running yesterday, I started thinking about this place we call THERE. I was looking at my running times and my distance and foreseeing better times and longer distances and thinking to myself that those would be in a place called THERE. Admit it, you have done the very same. Then a thought popped into my blazing fast mind. No matter what, THERE, in this mindset, is never attained and therefore becomes a place pursued but never reached. For many, life is built for pursuits instead of rejoicing in the victories! I immediately started thinking about the fact of what was going on – I am running and I am getting better each time. As soon as I start running, THERE becomes now. It’s the place I’m in and I’m rejoicing for what I’ve been blessed with and not with what I don’t have. I’m running and my times keep getting better and my 5k non-stop running distance is getting farther and the list just keeps going! YES, all this came from one AM run. This is what happens when I’m left to myself, and my mind and spirit man engage together. =)
I have decided that THERE is my new NOW and NOW that I’m THERE the journey looks so much different! Are you one of those that are always telling yourself that ONE-DAY YOU WILL BE THERE? STOP and realize that you are already in a place called THERE and life is what we make of it. Start enjoying it NOW and all that it has to offer. The good, the bad and the ugly are all a part of life, so SUCK IT UP and make the best of it. I recently heard someone say, “There are treasures even in the trials of life”. That is so true, but it all starts with how you are viewing life.
You must understand that the greatest, most defining moment in your life is this one right now and you are not promised another. Think about it. What if you live for that distant place called THERE, but then that THERE never arrives for you or at least what you think that THERE is? The only second in time that you have been promised is the one you are currently in now and that one is precious. It can’t be gotten back if wasted and it can’t be put on hold for later. So now that you’re THERE, what are you going to do with it?
I can’t wait to hear!
I was truly blessed from the responses to the last blog post, SUCK IT UP; however, as I thought about it more and more, I just kept seeing the next chapter. So let’s continue the journey in this post.
“I would rather start and fail than not to start at all.“
In every situation, there is always a NEXT, but the NEXT is normally dictated by OUR response to the situation. I can look back at my life and see how I handled things and what came NEXT and I see a corresponding reaction to the action.
Before we move any further, let’s define the word NEXT: “coming after this one, coming after the one that just came, happened, etc., any other.” It seems pretty straight forward that next is only to be after something else. It’s an elementary process of order that we cannot change!
We will never realize the NEXT until we conquer the NOW! Adding to this even deeper, we are not to focus on the NEXT, but instead on the NOW. Confused yet? Stay with me! Most of the time we want what’s next without conquering the now. You see, this isn’t the case in real life. My wife and I were recently watching a movie and the leading man was having a conversation with the leading lady that went something like this: “You know what I hate most about the statement, happily ever after? It’s not the end of the story, but instead the beginning.” It’s the same for me in these blog post topics, as we SUCK IT UP and conquer the NOW, advancing to the NEXT is what matters. We are by design created to conquer, grow and increase rather than fear, hide and fail.
A good writer never sees the end of the story as the end, but instead as a start to the next great novel. A runner never sees the end of the race as an end, but instead as a conquered goal that advances them to the next one.
I know so many associate the statement, “SUCK IT UP” with a negative thought, but it can also be taken as a great motivator used for positive. It all depends on how you are willing to take it. Those three words have become my battle cry in moments of weakness. First, I know according to Philippians 4:13 (AMP) “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am [b]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].” Second, the excitement for what’s next makes me want to conquer the now.
So I kindly say to you this day, SUCK IT UP and know that you can do it!
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow; but it empties today of strength.” Corrie ten Boom
I wonder how many of you reading this post have been told those famous, life changing, ALL- encouraging words, “SUCK IT UP”? Honestly, at the hardest moments in our lives, those three words could be just the ones that mean life or death, sink or swim, run or fight!
Life can’t be lived passively from a passenger’s seat point of view, BUT instead, on purpose from the driver’s seat. We have been given an amazing opportunity to live an amazing life. Most will come across a mountain on the journey of life and many of those mountains become a stop sign, instead of simply an obstacle to overcome.
To see or hear about someone overcoming an obstacle, is an amazing thing and not something to be taken lightly. I was recently watching a video of a jet doing a fly-by on an aircraft carrier. As the jet flew by, it overcame an obstacle that we call the sound barrier and as the BOOM thundered the skies, I got chills.
Think about the child who was told he or she will never be like other children, but they proved the voices wrong and went on to do amazing things. What about the soldier that lost his or her legs in the heat of battle and was told that they would never be able to walk normal again, but they went on to compete in marathons. We were never promised life would be easy, BUT we must FULLY live in the moment we have been given. Life is such a precious gift and I say these words to you with the greatest respect, love and compassion, SUCK IT UP!!!!! Let those three words become your battle cry for victory. If you have a negative doctor’s report or are in a bad financial situation, or whatever it might be, then write those three words on it and stop letting it have the victory.
“Problems are only a mask and have no power to win until you allow them to.” Keith Spanberger
It’s time we engage life like a fighter pilot engaging his or her advisory – head on and holding nothing back. No matter what has hit us, we can’t back down. We can’t give up. No matter what is going on right now, we have to SUCK IT UP and conquer whatever is holding us back. It’s never too late and we have not lost the battle as long as we still have breath in us. Even at death, (if you know Jesus as your savior), then it is not a defeat; but instead, a shift to the next place in life.
My wife is part of the P31 fitness family (www.p31fitness.com) and I am going to quote a phrase they put on most of their promotional items. “YOU ARE WORTH IT” and that is so true, you are worth it, so fight like never before!
If you have a SUCK IT UP testimony to share, then I want to rejoice with you and ask that you share it below.
“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything and Run’ or ‘Face Everything and Rise.’ The choice is yours.”
We have crossed the threshold into a brand new year. I am so excited about this new year, as I know it is going to be my family’s best year yet!
On January 1st, when I woke up that morning, the first words my eyes read was the scripture, “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19 NLT)
This year is the NEW year for me; it is going to be an EPIC one for my family and everything we put our hands to will prosper. To add to this, my pastor has been teaching on the subject, “Welcome to the New”. So here we are and again, I AM PUMPED!
I personally started this new year off a little differently than normal. Typical tradition is to make a New Year’s resolution. With 50% of people failing at their resolutions by the end of January and 9 out of 10 people quitting by March, it’s obvious this ritual does not work very well. I recently read a devotional on the topic of having a word for the year instead of the typical resolution. I took time and prayed on this, because I wanted God’s word for me and my life. My word for 2015 is “Simplify,” but I chose to put that word into action back in November instead of waiting for the new year to begin.
Finding the word for the new year is not the answer to all things, BUT it helps bring focus to our lives and choose the path we take to reach our goals. My word was very clear and I knew the depth of it in my life.
Here are a few things I recommend to help you once you have your word:
1. Research the definition of your word.
2. Keep your word before you at all times and post it clearly in areas where you will see it throughout the day.
3. Tell your friends and family members your word and what you are doing, so they can help support you.
These three steps will go a long way in helping you take your word and make this year the best year ever!
As you look at this new year, I encourage you to find your word and decide what the word FEAR means to you. Now it’s time to take action!
SO WELCOME TO THE NEW!
From our family to yours, we pray that you have the most blessed Christmas ever. We also pray that your time with family and friends is truly blessed BUT that the true reason for the season is not forgotten. Jesus and His life, death and resurrection. I want to encourage you to take time and reflect on ALL He has done for you.
Keith, Debbie & family (Josh & Ashley Underwood, Ricky & Megan Spanberger, Parker Spanberger, Suzy Cate and the whole zoo of furry family members)
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It’s the hap-happiest season of all”
Andy Williams – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
It truly is a beautiful time of the year with all of the decorations, lights and festivities all around, but to say it’s the happiest season of all, is not so true for many. The holiday seasons are an emotional roller coaster for so many. Some are stressed by countless hours of decorating, cooking and cleaning, while others are stressed with getting the perfect gifts and making sure everyone on their list is happy with what they are getting. Some are lonely, while some are already focusing on the next year so much, that they lose the remaining days in the present year. We see many walking around defeated while others walk around joyful and yet both are hearing and singing the same Christmas songs like the one I opened this post with.
So many have lost what the meaning of the season is about. You know where I am going with this, BUT that’s not where I’m stopping. You see, I’m a Christian and YES, I celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior. However, I don’t just reserve that for this time of year; but instead, I make it my lifestyle. I don’t think God expected us to stop at seeing Jesus as a baby in the manger, but instead, to see the fullness of His life all around us. When I think about the birth of Jesus, I think about the greatest gift ever given and a showing of love for one another (me and you) that is beyond our comprehension.
The greatest way to make this season the “hap-happiest season of all” is by taking our eyes off of us and putting them on Him first and then on others. We need to look for ways to spread joy that goes beyond the traditional gifts and such. Please don’t think I’m being harsh by what I’m writing. I have loved ones that have gone on to be with the Lord that I miss dearly and also dreams that have not YET come true. I have had struggles and setbacks, BUT none of them change who I am or who I belong to! According to Romans 8:37, “We are more than conquerors” and so that is who I am, a conqueror. You’re bigger than your situations! You are mightier than whatever obstacle is before you! If you know Jesus, then YOU have something in you greater than what is coming against you, according to 1 John4:4. As a Christian life can only be lived from the inside out, then, and only then, will life be truly fulfilling and the emotional roller coaster will come to an end and it will truly be the hap-happiest season of all!
Debbie and I and all of our family want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!