It’s Time for a Change

We desire certain areas of our life to change. We want certain circumstances to change. We want more joy. Be able to forgive more. Operate at a higher level of love or faith. We want to be out of debt or desire more money. Perform better at a skillset or in our career. We want a better job or stronger relationships within our marriage, or with our children.

But here is the deal about change…

“We cannot change the way we feel, until we begin to change what we think. And we cannot begin to see ourselves in a new place, if we don’t begin to take our mind to a new place.”

Someone once said, “The state of your life is nothing more than the state of your mind.”

The way we are thinking may be keeping us stuck. If you have tried responding to a problem the same way over and over again, then it may be time to try a different way. If your spouse, children, boss, friend or co-worker is not responding to what you are trying to say to them; then it would be worth your effort to try to communicate in a different way. Whatever the situation is, try something new.

  • Try different words
  • Try a different tone or attitude
  • Try a different time of day
  • Try a different perspective
  • Try a different route
  • Try talking to a different person
  • Try reading a new book
  • Try having a different conversation, a new topic

Albert Einstein said it like this, “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

Misinformation, misbeliefs, wrong routines and habits can cause a lot of issues in our life. They can also leave us stuck in a rut. You can be passionate about YOUR way of doing it; but if its not producing the right results, you are probably passionately wrong for that current situation.

It is possible to change our circumstances and even our life by changing the way we think. Don’t get stuck in the same ruts or patterns of thinking. If thinking the same thoughts and beliefs are not improving your life, then its time to change your mind.

We can renew our mind. God tells us we can.

Romans 12:2 – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

  • Don’t copy old routines that don’t work or produce the right results.
  • Change the way you are thinking.

Philippians 4:8-9 – “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

  • Fix your thoughts on what is true, right.
  • Keep putting this into practice.

If we lack wisdom, which is the ability to apply knowledge, God says ASK and He will GIVE. James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

You must renew your mind; God’s not going to do it for you.

Look at what God has given us in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

  • God will do his part, but we must do our part.
  • God has given us a spirit of power, a spirit of love & the ability to exercise self-discipline. We have to activate and engage in what God has given us.

Self-discipline in our thoughts helps us renew our minds. This is how transformation and change takes place. It begins by disciplining our thoughts.

Practical steps to renew our mind:

  1. Ask yourself this question, “which fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) will I intentionally display today?” Pick one and do your best to take action to display that fruit of the spirit. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
  2. Check up on yourself throughout the day… What is dominated your thoughts? Is it good or bad? Is it producing the right or wrong feeling?
  3. Exchange your thoughts. If it is the wrong thought, what is the opposite thought? Go there. Exchange resentment with love, sadness with joy, worry with peace, anxiousness with patience, rudeness/snippy with kindness, destructive attitudes with ones that will produce goodness, quitting and checking out with faithfulness, being pushy and hard-nosed with gentleness, laziness and procrastination with self-control.

Norman Vincent Peale was brilliant in teaching, writing and exemplified how having the right thoughts and mindset would impact our life in an incredible way. He simply said it this way, “Change Your Thoughts and Your World will Change.”

Your next word will cause a Reaction or a Response

Our attempt to resolve problems, deal with differences of opinions, desiring to express where we have been offended or trying to correct bad behavior in a relationship; can either cause more negative reactions or cause a response. Reactions are usually quick and immediate. They are normally more based from how we feel. Like the natural reflex of a muscle. However, a response is more thoughtful. A response considers, “What I am about ready to say, how will it impact the rest of this conversation and will it help to bring resolve?” A response usually has a thought out plan with the end goal in mind to… understand and resolve. Reactions could be more, “I just want to express how I feel” or “I want to get this off my chest”.

We have the ability to trigger a response that could bring resolution, reconciliation and healing. Choosing the right words have tremendous power. Words can provoke, stir up, push buttons. Words can start wars; or bring people to the table to sign Peace Treaties. Words have the power to close the deal on a multi-million dollar contract. Words also have the power to destroy relationships, and create tension and division. Wise words have incredible power to bring peace in a home or in the work place. Words can gain a friend or bridge differences. Being purposeful with our words that cause more response can bring a healthy environment to our relationships.

Consider these Scriptures from God’s Word that bring light to triggering a response or a reaction.

  • Ephesians 3:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
  • Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,”
  • Galatians 5:26, “Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
  • Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”

What we say, how we react or how we respond will CREATE an environment. We have the ability to raise the level of our relationships to be more purposeful, intentional; to cultivate an environment that will be conducive for encouragment, learning from one another, resolving problems and lifting each other to greatness. Weeds don’t need help to grow. Weeds can grow in any crude environment. Plants and trees that produce healthy fruits and vegetables, need an intentional environment. This requires someone that cares to give the effort to create.

Let’s create an environment that triggers a response so great things can grow.

Bonnie and I had a conversation about causing reactions and responses on our last podcast. You can listen by clicking here… Episode #002 Linked: Are You Causing a Reaction or a Response?

Press the Pause Button – Rest, Reflect & Renew

 

Do you like the ON DEMAND feature of pressing the pause button? The option of recording your favorite show so you can watch it later. In the middle of watching a movie and you start craving popcorn or ice cream and you are able to press the pause button so you don’t miss anything as you walk to the kitchen. You hear a movie quote, or a cool scene that you have to back up and watch again. You’re in an intense moment in the movie, eyes and ears are glued to the screen, and all of a sudden someone comes walking loudly in the room! You can’t hear the dialogue in the movie for the disruption. You press the pause button so you don’t miss the scene. Our life can be full of distractions.

Taking time to rest and reflect is like pressing the pause button on the ON DEMAND controller. If we are not careful we can be so overloaded by the “noise” of life; we can miss the opportunities to pause, think and reflect on what is going on around us. It is important to pause and think deeply about the importance of the people in your life.

Things are not meant to keep producing, growing and running non-stop. Winter is a season for things to reset & rest. Trees take a break from producing and growing during the winter. Even bears go into a level of hibernation during the winter! They are able to sleep for up to 100 days without eating, drinking or passing… ugh… waste!

Our vehicle cannot run non-stop without it eventually shutting down and blowing the engine. The vehicle will run out of gas, the oil will eventually break down and lose its properties to lubricate the engine properly. The wheel bearings and tires will eventually wear without proper maintenance.

My point is most things in life need to pause to take a break. They need to rest and renew. So do YOU. Our bodies and minds are not meant to keep going at the same level of pace all the time.

Listen MOM. Put down the mop. Let the dishes pile up for one day. You don’t have to sweep the floor and fold the laundry everyday. You must put in your weekly schedule a routine, a time for you to press the pause button so you can rest, reflect and renew.

Dad… You too. You cannot work two jobs, constant overtime, 10 to 12 hour days without a system in place for you to rest, reflect and renew. Our performance for our jobs, relationships at home and abroad will not be at its optimum level.

Leaders, CEO’s, doctors, nurses, team members, managers, teachers, pastors, ministry leaders, … we need you and we want to keep you around for a long time. We don’t want you breaking down or blowing an engine. I’m urging you to make it a priority to schedule a weekly routine to rest, reflect and renew.

Determine Your Levels of Rest

How can you pace yourself for better performance and success without burning out? You are probably like me; we have a full schedule every week. Multiple responsibilities. We cannot afford to “take off” 100 days like a bear or the whole winter season. In fact, disengaging for a long period of time is detrimental to our relationships, parenting, career, as well as our emotions, body performance and mental capacity. That’s another lesson for another time. I want us to think about our system, procedure or habits of how we rest. We must evaluate how much daily, weekly and yearly rest we need.

Yearly rest can be a week or several days of vacation each year. If your company does not give you paid vacation days, take advantage of holiday weekends that do not require you to miss work. Yearly rest is where you plan to take more than three consecutive days off. You can plan and budget a trip or just plan a “staycation”. Stay home and rest. Set an instant return message on your emails and phone to let your clients and team know that you are taking a vacation. You will return their call or email when you return from your vacation. While you are taking this time to rest, make it priority to truly unplug from your job and rest your mind and renew your spirit. This time is an opportunity for you to think about all the blessings in your life. Be grateful for what God has given you. Appreciate family, friends, relationships, provision and your purpose.

Weekly rest may be an entire day or half a day. This is where you “unplug” for a short period of time. Put away the phone. Get with friends or family and have FUN! Don’t bring up work, issues, and problems. Go watch a movie, play some board games, go to dinner, go hiking, canoeing, golf, skiing, fishing, shopping. Laugh, cut up, smile, enjoy each other’s company and live in the moment. This level of rest can be weekly or once every two weeks.

Daily rest includes your daily amount of sleep and a quiet time for reading, reflection and prayer. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day. Prepare your bedroom and your brain for good quality sleep. Shut or silence phone notifications that may beep or cast a blue light through the night. Your brain will pick up lighting changes and sounds, while you are sleeping. Read a book before you sleep. A devotional and Bible is a great way to bring peace and relaxation to your mind and emotions.

3 Ways to Rest, Reflect & Renew

Developing a habit to rest and reflect will help you bring renewal to your mind, emotions and body. This routine is like reenergizing your batteries. It’s like refueling and providing preventive maintenance on your vehicle. A constant habit to rest will prevent you from not just burn out, it will keep you performing at a high level of creativity, passion and focus to reach your goals and desires for success in every area of your life.

  1. Rest & Read. Schedule a quiet time in your day that you will read something that will be beneficial for personal and spiritual growth. What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t happen. Set the atmosphere that is conducive for reading and reflecting. What do you like? What do you enjoy? What relaxes you? Drinking coffee or hot tea in the morning? Sitting on the deck watching the sunrise or sunset? Playing worship, jazz, classical music on a low volume as background music? Pure silence? Prepare the moment. Your brain and emotions will anticipate and crave these quiet moments of rest.
  2. Reflect by writing in a journal. Express what you are reading, learning, how you are applying new principles, where you find joy, what areas you feel fulfilled. Write creative thoughts that come to you. Quotes that touch your heart and soul and express a deep truth. You can journal business ideas, ideas for inventions. Poems or songs may come to you in this time of reflection. Don’t be surprised when answers and solutions become clear for certain problems you are facing. Reflect on what is making your relationships healthy. Evaluate your priorities, are you reaching your goals, do you need a “tune up” or preventive maintenance in any of these areas?
  3. Renew your mind, soul and spirit. When you feel like life is spinning out of control; schedules and to-do list are increasing, I have found one small action has helped. Take time to get quiet. Get still. Press pause on life and give time for your mind and emotions to calm. I discovered something years ago that I love. Its one very simple way that brings quick rest and peace to my mind. On a warm June day in Tennessee, I was a young boy lying on my back in the middle of a grassy field. As I’m gazing into the sky, I notice a slight summer breeze that seemed to push and squeeze the clouds that looked like huge cotton balls. I was amazed as I watched the clouds begin to press together and form bigger clouds. As the clouds scrolled, the deep blue sky and spotless white clouds were intensified. As I’m watching this amazing scene, I realized how calm, relaxed and at peace my mind and emotions settled over me. I love God’s creation. I love how taking time to appreciate nature and God’s creation seems to bring rest and renewal to my soul. There is something so peaceful about taking quiet moments to gaze at the mountains, walking in the woods, staring into the bright blue sky or a starry night. Don’t underestimate the power of pressing pause throughout your day so you can embrace creation, nature, and the meaningful relationships in your life. Find a park and take a walk. Find a trail in the woods and embrace the sights and sounds of God’s nature. While you are in your quiet time, meditate on scripture, talk with God; thank Him for His creation and the blessings in your life. You will find this small step of pressing pause will bring clarity to your mind, calm your emotions and renew your spirit.

You may think you have to quit, you don’t have the strength to continue on, but what your body and mind may be telling you is develop a habit to frequently press a pause to rest, reflect and renew. I believe you will find renewed strength, energy and passion.

Isaiah 40:31 (NASB) Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

TABOO TALK

“Sticks and stones may break  my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Yeah right! Whoever came up with that phrase was totally faking. Posing. Lying. Not real. The fact is words have the power to really hurt. Words do a lot more damage than hurt feelings… words can cut right through the heart. More importantly our words have the power to mold and shape the lives of the people around us; including our own life. Words can instantly determine the outcome of a mutli-million dollar negotiation, an interview for a job, a relationship strain or a commitment to marriage. Words can intensify attraction or bring a disengaging disgust. Words have started wars. Words have the power to sow a seed of friendship, unity, bridge a disagreement; or words have the power to bring a harvest of discord, dissension & death to relationships.

Expanding our vocabulary has a deeper meaning than moving  beyond the use of 4-letter words. Choosing to speak at a higher level than our feelings and frustration is not just being nice or trying to keep peace. It is divine wisdom that nudges us to choose intentional words that will produce, create life and resolve problems. Like an artist choosing the right color, a musician selecting the right notes, the architect knowing where to draw the lines. Can you imagine how enriched our relationships would be if we would be intentional with our words; like sowing seed into a well prepared garden? According to Proverbs 18:21, our words have the power to either produce life or death.

Another thought on taboo talk… What you say is crucial. However, how you say it and when you say it; is just as imperative.

4 TABOO TALKS THAT WILL DESTROY YOUR LIFE AND YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Talking bad about yourself is more damaging than someone else talking bad about you. Stop talking down about you. Stop pointing out how you don’t measure up, your flaws, your lack of abilities. How you view you is how others will view you. I’m not talking about over-compensated confidence, over-inflated arrogance. I’m simply saying, see the value that God has created in you. Begin focusing and talking about the good qualities that God has placed within you. God believes in you (Jeremiah 29:11); believe and speak what He believes about you.
  2. Talking about people behind their back will weaken your integrity and character. Our words can be so helpful or hurtful. If we truly want to be a friend and have healthy relationships, then we need to be a faithful friend. A friend that can be trusted. Full of integrity. If correction or constructive criticism is needed; then we will offer it directly to the person, not behind their back.
  3. Talking about your spouse & children’s dysfunctions, bad traits, personality flaws, will never change them nor inspire them to be better. NO ONE can endure being beat down about their insufficiencies for long period of time. Your words of encouragement can launch your children’s dreams and inspire them. Your words of encouragement and affirmation of what people are doing right will give them renewed energy and passion to continue on with their growth.
  4. Talking with words of grumbles and gripes makes one a miserable life. I read a research paper where we think 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. 98% of them are repetitive thoughts. What is more “thought provoking” is that 80% of our thoughts are negative. Words that we speak and words that we think work together. There’s a tipping point in a persons life when they decide to take inventory and control of their thoughts and words. Philippians 4:7,8,9 is the formula for success with our thoughts and words. I believe this will help… Spend more energy on practicing Philippians 4:7,8,9 than on griping, grumbling, complaining and giving constant life to your feelings. Listen to your own words. I will admit, its hard to not express our feelings when they are such a strong part of who we are. We may not be able to remove all of our negative words; however, we can decide to replace most of them. When the majority of your words are positive, giving solutions, problem solving, giving compliments, giving encouragement; then you will find your world and life will begin to change.

Love… More than a Feeling

Love is more than emotion, it is a choice. Love is more than a feeling (yes I’m singing Boston’s song right now), it’s an attitude. Love is far beyond just sexual attraction; love has been planted and sprouts within us because it is the fruit of God’s Spirit. We keep on loving, because God is constantly producing love in us by His Spirit. Love is not just thoughts or words alone, but action. We give out of love, we do selfless acts expecting nothing in return, because we love. We love, because our Heavenly Father IS love. We have His DNA in us. We don’t just love those we like or are attracted to… we are full spectrum lovers… we love our enemies too. 

3 ways to love MORE:

  1. Don’t just think it, say it. Don’t just say it, express it in a form of appreciation. Show kindness, help someone, buy a gift, give words of encouragement, send a card, find a need and resolve it, pay someones bill, take them to lunch, pick up the phone and call. There are so many ways to show our love. What we don’t want to do is, wait until its too late to express our love. Let’s not live in regret. “I wish ___________ were here so I could tell them (show them)… how much they mean to me. “
  2. Take a step to resolve a conflict. Don’t let unresolved conflicts, misunderstandings or pride keep you from love. Release someone who has offended you. Don’t make them guess, if you are still mad at them or not. Directly tell them you forgive them.
  3. Don’t let a few people harden your heart. Some people will be bent on being mean, grouchy, cynical. Don’t let the few force you to forget about the many others in your life who are nice. Don’t let the hardships of life cause you to abandon the call of love and kindness. Keep your heart soft toward showing kindness, love, caring. People who love live a longer, happy peaceful life.

1 John 4:10-11, Galatians 5:22, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 3:17, Matthew 5:44, 1 Corinthians 13