Monday, February 23 2015
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.
Good morning, friends. Have you thawed? Boy, last week was a freezer, no? Forty degrees never looked so good!
A couple of years ago my wife and I first started walking for exercise. Our route was over 2 miles of hills and valleys and homes. Quickly a stroll turned into a shuffle, then into a hustle, then into a get with it, and finally into a hair less than a run. Neither Kim nor I are tall, so our little legs were really moving, and the feeling was incredible.
Our goal that drove us was to get our MPH over 4 MPH and our time for our route to under 32 minutes. Each evening in pursuit of our goals we would arrive home and crash on the porch. Always breathless and sweating, we would reflect on the walk and imagine how we might make the next walk even better. And for a while we gave it all.
How does one apply the last full measure of devotion to that which really matters in life? Or if not in the great life issues, at least those areas of your life that really matter to you? When you have determined something that matters to you, how much of you will you give to it? Or, when that which matters to you has run its course, how much of you will you still have in the tank?
Of course, someone is bound to say, “Not just one thing matters to me; I have a number of things that matter. I can’t give all of me to one thing; I have to multitask and prioritize.” To that I say, “Hogwash.” Things that matter come and go, but in any given period of time rarely does more than one thing truly matter to a person. What is that thing to you right now? What are you holding back from giving to it? How are you handicapping it from success? Stop! Give it everything you have! Spare nothing! Reach the end breathless and know you gave your absolute, positive best. And when you catch your breath, know that I am thrilled for your success!
Monday, February 16 2015
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
Good morning, friends! I hope you are warm today. Every time it’s cold like this I wish I had purchased long johns last time! Oh, well…
Think about the life you live for a moment. Consider who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you experience day in and day out. Think about that life for a moment. Too often you are asked to consider if it’s the life you wanted from the beginning. Would anyone answer “Yes” to that question? Not likely.
I want to ask you a simpler question. Is it the life you wanted to live a year ago? Did you have a thought, an idea, or a dream a year ago that required some change on your part? Looking back, had you taken steps in the direction of that change there are no guarantees you’d be “living the life”, but there are guarantees your life would have opened up in new and exciting ways. So why didn’t you make the change? Chances are it was fear.
I see fear everywhere, in other people and in myself, too. Some fear is legitimate, but most fear I encounter is a straw man. How many straw men did you build to keep you from moving towards your thoughts, ideas, or dreams of a year ago? Chances are, it was many.
Open up your life today. Don’t manufacture dreams, but also don’t kill them either. Let them thrive. Commit yourself to one positive step in that direction. Reevaluate yourself every week or so to measure and correct your progress. I can’t promise you anything exciting, no great successes, but I can promise adventure and a new life. So get going! And don’t look back! And share your successes with me; I’d love to hear about them! Have a great (and safe and warm) week.
Monday, February 09 2015
"Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved."
Good morning, friends! I hope you enjoyed this marvelous weekend. But don’t be fooled; it’s not spring.
Even as I wrote those last words, “it’s not spring”, I had no idea how much they reflect the emotional experiences of so many people. I’ve spent 15 years as a minister dealing with people who are living in a constant experience of winter. I’ll bet you know people like this; I pray you’re not someone like this. Wouldn’t we all prefer to live in the spring and summer of life, not physically, but emotionally, knowing without doubt that we are loved?
Valentine’s day is coming this Saturday, so how can you make a difference in this many varied seasons of people? You can love. There is someone in your world who is living in a perpetual winter, who needs the ray of sunshine you can offer. What will it cost you to love that person? Nothing. What will it gain you to love that person? Everything. For when you love them, chances are you will feel equally loved in a measure that gives you life’s greatest happiness.
I encourage you to seek out that person and make that great difference this week. Begin a new relationship with them based on convincing love. See them with new eyes. Treasure them as never before. And watch yourself be changed, too, as life’s greatest happiness showers you.
Are you convinced you are loved? If not, contact me and I’ll convince you. Love costs me nothing and gains me everything, just like you. It’s a crazy economy, but the best one I know, the love economy. Love, and be loved, this Valentine’s Day. And have a great week.
1 John 4:7-12
Monday, February 02 2015
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Good morning, friends! Did you see your shadow this morning? Neither did I!
To be quite honest, I’m not too sure about the authenticity of this “proverb”. The internet age has made sages of simpletons. Still, the idea of this proverb appeals to me (even if that makes me a simpleton!).
The power of the psychology of starting cannot be overstated; beginning is nearly everything. The road less traveled is overgrown if no one begins it. Every great achievement in history is simply a book of great ideas if no one pursued them. Nothing becomes anything without that first step. So what does that matter to you and me? Everything!
I don’t have to look beyond my own life to see the wasteland of tattered dreams and tarnished ideas. Too often I’ve believed that the idea was sufficient to start things, that a plan with steps was the golden ticket to success. When I compare “what could have been” to “what is” is see the difference is not circumstance, or challenge, or resources. The difference is me; the golden ticket was not the connections in my mind but was in fact the energy, or entire lack thereof, in my first step. Can I get an “amen”?
I don’t mean to bum you out today, asking you to reflect on a life of missed opportunities. Sure, you and I both could be living the life of our dreams right now if we’d taken steps 20 years ago. Neither of us can change the past; we can however proverbially take positive first steps today.
It is always a joy to watch a child take his or her first steps. They wobble, fall and cry, but with perseverance they learn to walk, run, jump, skip, play and dance. It’s like a whole world is waiting on the other side of those first halting steps. What world is waiting on the other side of your first steps today? Are you so afraid of wobbling, falling and crying that you’ll forfeit that great world? NO! Take a first step today towards something you want, some dream you have, some better something you seek. Maybe you fall. Maybe you wobble. Maybe you cry. But having taken a first step, you will have the courage to take a second step, then a third, and eventually you’ll enter that world on the other side of the step. And you will hardly believe you did it, but you did. What will be your “did” today? I don’t know, but I want you to just do it. And love it. And be it. Have a wonderful week.