Today’s Friend

It’s that time of year again, when everyone goes back to school. It’s stressful for many people because they don’t know if they’ll know anyone or not.  I’ve been there, I know it can be challenging to meet new people especially if you’re quieter or an introvert.  And I also understand hesitation when there are people who aren’t friendly in the world. So I understand the hesitation and fear, really, I do.  But you know me, I like getting a new perspective on things that challenge me.  So in thinking about this back to school time and the challenges of making friends I checked out some wisdom on the subject and found this quote from the Dalai Lama:

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”

Isn’t that the goal we each have deep down inside?  To live a life of meaning?  I know I do and it can be easy to get swept up in the next steps and goals of life and we can forget that we’re doing all this for a reason.  But I really like how he puts making new friends into perspective.  It doesn’t make it any easier to lose a friend or to make one, but it should reassure us that it is indeed natural to end and begin friendships.

We need to do a better job learning how to be a friend and making the most of each day.  When we don’t make our appreciation of that friend or day time after time it gets to the point that you’re not appreciating life and there is little point.  So what’s next?  Next we have to get up and live as though we’re enjoying life and thankful for what we have.  Make the most of today and celebrate the friendships you have.

Having Peace Now

This month we’ve been talking about peace. But there was something that I was missing out on until my partner reminded me of it this weekend.  He reminded me that we sometimes forget to treasure and respect the things that we love in our pursuit of the next step.  It works like this: you want a boyfriend/girlfriend and say that when you have one then you’ll start living better and exercising more.  However, if you wait until you may or may not get that partner, you may not get that partner because you waited to start doing what was right for your body and life.  Instead you should be approaching life and each day with the focus of doing it right for yourself instead of doing it because the means bring you to the end or because you’ve gotten what you want now you can do what you should.

The thing is that that’s not how it really seems to work.  We say that when we get the increase at work we’ll be able to spend time with our families or when we get a little older we’ll exercise more.  But the truth is that there is no day but today and tomorrow may never come.  So why are we waiting for tomorrow?

I’m not really sure so starting this week I’m going to be making some changes personally and professionally so that I’m not working so hard on the work to reach the goal but enjoying the goal and the process it takes to get there.  I already have what I want so why am I waiting to enjoy it?  I may be thinking about next steps but that shouldn’t take away from my enjoyment of what is.

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” Albert Einstein

Prince of Peace

This month we’ve been talking about peace, which is ironic in so many ways, both personally and around the world.  You don’t have to look far to find unrest or struggles, they’re just about everywhere.  I think this is something God knew when He chose to send Jesus to the earth and ultimately the cross.  He knew that in our earthly journeys we would meet people who would challenge us, have experiences that would shake us and have to learn how to deal with them.  God knew that we would need someone on a more personal level to encourage us and offer us some peace while we worked through those things. Because as special as it was to go to the temples and have the priests connect us with God, God knew it wasn’t enough.

So He sent Jesus.  Jesus who was just human enough that He could personally identify with us and us with Him.  He who was divine enough that we could find that extra special peace that we were lacking.  It probably would have been enough if the only goal He had while on earth was to die on the cross and rise again, but God and Jesus decided that they would give more and thus we have our gift of peace. But as I’ve said in past weeks we have to take advantage of that if we want it.  He’s not usually just going to pour it down on us, we have to ask.

So why don’t we?  Do we forget?  Do we think we’ve asked too many times and He won’t listen this time?  Do we feel that He’s not listening in other areas of our lives so why would He listen to our request for peace?  Do we think that we don’t deserve it?  Or are we so focused on what we’re doing that we forget what the goal was and our reason behind doing and living?  This week I would challenge you to take time to remember.  Remember God, remember your goals, remember your priorities, and make sure they line up how you want them to.

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Loving Limits

I believe that limits, boundaries, schedules and rules are important. They help us stay focused and help us with keeping ourselves in line and respectful of others.  However, there are plenty of cases when the rules or limits are exactly what screws things up and limits our potential.  For instance, if we were all told we had to get 9-5 jobs or were all told to be entrepreneurs, some of us would be frustrated and broke pretty quick.  Instead, we’re given the fairly firm limit that we have to get money someway to pay our way in the world.

We each have choices we make throughout our lives.  Choices that not only determine and state what our limits etc. are, but on which side of the line they fall.  Will our choices limit us or free us?  I know that most of us can, to an extent, work with whatever limits we’re given, but usually when we’re able to learn about ourselves and how we work and live best we’re better able to set up limits etc. for ourselves that help us.

The good news is that there are lots of ways that we can make things work for us today. There are tons of options in the world, tons of jobs we could work, tons of employers willing to be more flexible and supportive with things like hours and childcare, and there are lots more people willing to accept non-traditional relationships.

The choice we have to make is what limits etc. are right for us.  Trying to squeeze ourselves into someone’s square when we’re a circle just doesn’t work.  We’re so fortunate to live in a world in which we have so many options available to us.  So what will you choose today?  Will you choose to make choices that set you up for an amazing future and ensure a positive impact on the world, or will you choose to limit yourself and the impact you can make on the world?

Embracing Peace

Peace is a choice: that’s pretty evident from the fighting and unrest around the world.  You can’t deny that some people have made choices lately that have definitely not been peaceful or resulted in a lack of peace for people.  Even if people don’t intend for their unhappiness to have an impact on other people’s peace around the world, with as widespread as our news networks are these days you have to figure that people halfway around the world are hearing about what goes on in the USA just like we hear about the kidnappings and wars in the Middle East.

There are lots of things we can do and ideas are thrown around all day.  We hear about White House actions, military maneuvers and what steps and actions may or may not come next depending on what people do.  But what if that wasn’t the only thing should be talking about?  What if we started talking about how to avoid future unrest?

I have to say, educating, teaching, training and learning sound a lot more proactive than military maneuvers that may or may not have an effect.  What if, as a world, we can do our best with the next generation, giving them a hope that their world doesn’t have to be all about fighting as many generations that have gone before have faced?  What if we can teach them that the world doesn’t have to be about war being the best way to get what you want but that discussion, compromise, allowances and give and take can get things a lot farther a lot faster with less destructive effects?

I do have hope though that our generation can still learn from the state of the world as it is, that we have a chance to prevent future clashes and do our part to work things out before violence becomes the result or chosen answer.  Of course, we have to first see that violence isn’t the answer.  Until we see that there is more to the world than violence, we’ll be stuck where where are.  And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a better future.

“The real differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it; between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past; between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists.”  William J. Clinton

God’s Good News

Each day of late we seem to be approaching the newspaper or news headlines with some trepidation because of how many fights, battles and wars of all kinds are going on around the world.  If there were good news to be presented I think there would be enough cheering to be heard ’round the world  based on how much negative news we’ve received recently.  There are many days that we just think about pulling the blankets back over our heads because the world seems too difficult and too sad to face.

The good news is that God is always waiting for us to step up to Him for encouragement, comfort, strength and peace.  That said, He does want us to come to Him and ask, not just wait in expectation for Him to flood us with the good stuff.  It’s part of us taking an active role in and participating in the relationship we have with Him.  God doesn’t want to always be handing stuff out to us but wants us to seek Him out when we’re struggling.

Yes, God does want us to seek Him out all of the time, but with how much not so good stuff has been going on there isn’t a whole lot for many of us outside of the challenges.  God doesn’t just want us to seek out the peace He offers, but also to seek out the strength and wisdom to find the solutions to the things that challenge us.  And if we’re not in a position to really offer advice or assistance (other than financial) to the situations we can pray for those who are there and can help.

What we need to remember throughout all of our challenges is that God has no plans to desert us, it’s only us who give up on things.  But God isn’t just a God of peace and nice feelings, He’s a God of solutions and action as well.  God doesn’t just want us to have peace, He wants a peaceful coexistence and relationship between all people and creatures on earth.  Will you be part of making that happen?

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” Isaiah 48:18

Tapping into Talents

Every time I meet someone new I always try to find out what makes them special.  Everyone has gifts and talents that other people don’t have and I love learning what makes people light up and get excited, even if I don’t fully understand it like coding or medical topics.  Seeing their excitement encourages me that there is still hope for those around the world who haven’t found what makes them light up or how to bring that light into a fulfilling purpose yet.

What I don’t like are the people who criticize others for being who they are and for using their gifts and talents. I know that some are jealous because they haven’t figured out how to tap into their gifting, or frustrated because the other person seems to be so successful and they aren’t.  But rather than being jealous, pouting, bringing lawsuits or badmouthing, we should be asking these people what insights they have to how we can be successful like them.

Because so many people have received criticism and negative publicity for going for what they want and putting their talents to good use, it can discourage us from going for what we want and doing what we were made to do.  This is one reason why I believe it’s so important to have healthy relationships with friends or family in your life that will support you when you go for gold.  Very few people can accomplish their goals without any support of any kind, and you shouldn’t have to.   Everyone needs a support system around them for when the days to get tough and criticism is received.

So this week instead of judging people for being successful or using their talents, ask yourself or them what you can learn from them and their use of their talents.

“If you have ability in a certain area, why not capitalize on it and improve it and use it?”
Wilt Chamberlain