A New Day

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

Today is a new day unlike any other.  Today is not yesterday nor can it be tomorrow. Yesterday’s problems may have lingered into today but you’ve got a fresh shot at dealing with them.  If for no other reason than this should we be glad to greet the sunrise each morning.  I do admit that I’m not a morning person, so I’m still learning how to greet the sunrise myself, but as I get older each day seems to take on more significance and I feel the desire growing to make each day count.

Wife of FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt was often outspoken and an advocate for many.  She was known for being active and involved in life with and without her husband.  History tells us that her life, though active, was not without sadness or struggles.  It could not have been easy for her in the mid 1900’s to be an active and outspoken woman, yet she was.  I won’t bore you with more details if you’re not a history person, but suffice it to say she had guts and truly believed in the renewing of strength and courage with each new day.

2013 gives us many privileges, gifts and opportunities.  I might even go so far as to assume that 95% of the adult population of the world could be a resounding success and have their basic needs more than cared for if they should try.   Everyone has something that could keep them in bed, but many choose to get out, or make the best of it anyway.

Will you choose to live today with the strength that this new day brings you or will you pass on it saying that the problems of yesterday are too great and that strength is not enough to even attempt the first step?  You don’t have to finish the whole race today, you know.  You just have to take the first step.  What will your choice be?

Celebrating Life

As Christians we know we’re blessed to have the strong foundation of Christ to trust and promise of great things in Heaven for the faithful, but that doesn’t make us immune to what is going on in the world.  In fact, if we were immune to what went on in the world no one would ever trust us or connect with us enough for us to share the Good News with them, just like things would be completely different if Jesus didn’t come to earth as a human baby some 2000 years ago.  So the fact is that each and every one of us has to deal with what goes on in the world.

What surprised me this week as I thought about these things was a passage from Psalm 103: “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.”  Psalm 103:2-3

As much as we may party and enjoy spending time with others in this day and age, I think we forget sometimes to really celebrate the big and little things God sends our way.  We’re so rushed, so taken over by the bad stuff, so distracted by all that is going on, that all we manage to do some (most?) days is send God some “thank you’s” and read a few verses from the Bible.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t call that living and thriving, which is exactly what I want to do.

This week I encourage you to do exactly that: celebrate.  But not just in little “thank you’s” and soft prayers, have some big celebrations and real rejoicing moments too.  Spend time each day celebrating with God.  Put on some worship music, grab a pad and paper, or just sit and be quiet and appreciate life as it finds you.  You’ll be more balanced, less stressed and be open to receiving the blessings God wants to send your way.

What Difference Will it Make

I’ve been thinking about change and how hard it can be for us to accept or deny the change that could happen.  Some more voluntary changes like changing jobs, adopting kids, entering into relationships, and going back to school are all choices we could, but don’t have to make.  When it comes to these life changes we’re in good control of the decision making.  When it comes to stuff like the weather, questions asked in an interview, traffic, relationship enjoyment, and biological kids we’ve got less control over the situation and outcomes.

Regardless of what type of choice you’re facing, the choices and decisions you make will impact the result. Because we’ve always got choices in how we react to situations, even if we don’t have much control over how we got in them or what other people do.

One thing I enjoy is considering alternatives to difficult situations.  I love thinking about different what if’s and finding new possibilities that can break through the frustration and blockages.  I don’t believe that any situation is totally lost, there is always a lesson to be learned or way that even the worst situations can be turned into good.  The awesome thing about being in a world of so many people as we are in 2013 is that there are always other options and perspectives we can consider and follow through on.

When you face a challenge this week I encourage you to come up with a list of possible solutions or paths you could take.  If you can’t, ask a friend for help.  Do this for even little tasks so that your brain gets used to thinking more creatively.  The more you use your brain to think creatively, the easier it will be when big, hairy situations run across your path and you need to come up with some different options quickly.  Once you’ve got that list of options you can ask “what difference will it make if…” for each of your possibilities in regards to each option and your situation to determine which is the best one at this time. Applying this type of creative thinking will create solutions that satisfy you more often and your first reactions will be quicker and smarter too.

Becoming Like Children

“I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3

It almost sounds like an insult, right?  I mean who really wants to be a little child when we are big, strong, in control adults?  But there is truth to Jesus’ statement here.  Let’s talk about 3 big truths to this statement.

1-kids are resilient.  Yes, we adults know how to recover but when it comes to change and dramatic life situations, I’m always amazed at the stories of kids who have survived or kids who thrive despite the situations they find themselves in.  Kids can get through divorces, often better than the parents do.  Kids can recover and thrive after life threatening illnesses. Kids know that change isn’t evil like we adults can make it out to be, it’s just part of life.

2-kids are accepting. You remember when you could tell your kids anything and they would believe you.  While that kind of blind belief isn’t healthy all the time, our over-skeptical natures as adults have hurt our abilities to make or improve our relationships.  We’re suspicious of everyone and everything rather than being open to the possibility that everyone has something they can share that would improve or assist us.

3-kids live life.  We’re often so focused on the future, on our success, on what everyone else is doing that we sometimes (OK, maybe often), forget to truly live our lives.  It’s not bad to plan for the future, but it is bad to not live in and enjoy the moment.  If we’re so focused on the past or the future we can’t enjoy the only real thing: this present moment.  Often when people have life threatening situations and survive they choose to live their lives much differently after the fact.  Why wait?  Start living now.

What can you do this week to get past your circumstances, trust a little more or live life?  Share your dreams in the comments.

The Gift of Upsets

“Upsets always contain the gift of learning, except most people have never learned how to unwrap the package.” Layne and Paul Cutright

We’ve been talking about change this month, and this quote is another reminder of the sad fact that some people choose to have miserable lives.  I don’t think anyone gets out of bed in the morning and says “today is a great day to make someone miserable!!” but the words they use and actions they take throughout the day make it seem like they did.  In the midst of this very active sports season with the World Series coming up in a few weeks and many football games played each week there are a lot of people who are happy or unhappy based on who gets “upset” that week.

You’ve heard many times I’m sure the quote about each day being a gift.  And it’s true, if we all took the time to look for the good in each day, it would feel like most days were Christmas (or whatever your favorite holiday is).  This really means that every day is like a page in a book, a webinar conversation, a newsletter, a class, a blog post, a conversation: a chance to learn something new.  This is an incredible opportunity because we’re living in a time of great opportunity.  With the internet it’s so simple to learn and expand your knowledge, to improve yourself and your lot in life.

The quote today reminds us that good or bad each gift contains a lesson that we can learn from.  Some will teach us patience, endurance or strength, others will teach us love, happiness and success.  Each and every gift can teach us something if we’re open to it.  The easiest way to be open to what life has to offer is to make your attitude one of openness.  No, you don’t have to accept everything as truth, and you shouldn’t because everything isn’t true.  But if you’re open to what the world has to teach you’ll be able to greet each gift with an open mind and heart and discover what’s inside.

Help with Change

“At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person.”  1 Samuel 10:6

This month we’ve been talking about our ability to change and the situations we find ourselves in.  And I’ll always say that you have the power to change any situation or yourself at any time.  But sometimes there are situations that will call for greater power than you personally have and that’s when it’s time to tap into the relationship you have with God.  While God isn’t a drive-through where we can pick up what we need and get on with things, it’s more like the difference of gathering sticks, striking a match, cooking food over the fire versus putting food in the microwave or oven.

When we choose to be in a relationship with God we’re given the gift of being able to tap into His strength and power when we need it. We won’t always be able to pull the healing power we need to cure cancers and other major sicknesses, but we can always get the strength to get through tough situations with grace and peace.

Choosing to be in a relationship with God also gives us the strength to beat some of our stronger demons, habits and vices.  It gives us the courage to seek out professional help, to be honest with our partners, families and close friends, and the strength to get up each day and take one more step in the right direction.

God can take any person and turn them into their best version of themselves.  He can make us into the people we’ve caught glimpses of yet can’t pull up as we wish. He sees the best in us and can help us bring it out.  All we have to do is admit we’re ready to be the person He knows we can be.  As painful and challenging as it may be to get there, it will be worth it in the end .

Thoughts of Change

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”  Mary Engelbreit

This month I’m challenging all of us to approach change with a different perspective and attitude.  It’s not easy to do anything different, let alone change our attitude or belief towards something.  But our attitude, our thoughts, our beliefs, make up a big portion of how we act and react in the world.  It’s one of the reasons that teachings like “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “The Secret” have taken off: there is great validity to what they speak on.

Is it easier to change things?  Sometimes, yes.  Sometimes it’s easier to move to a new location, job or relationship then change what really needs changing.  The challenge in today’s quote is that sometimes the changing of things isn’t possible.  And when we can’t change things we have two choices: accept the situation and be miserable, or change our attitude and thoughts towards the situation.  This doesn’t mean you have to approve of it or encourage it, but your change of attitude will help you keep going until the time arises that you can change the situation itself or remove yourself from it.

Not being able to change your situation is tough.  It’s frustrating to feel or be powerless to deal with what you’re facing.  By choosing to change how you think about the situation you’re taking back the power the situation has tried to steal from you.  No one else has the power or ability to control your thoughts, only you.  Yes, others can try to brainwash you or poison your mind, but no one can truly take away your power of thought.  What situation can you change today or take a new attitude towards?