Supporting Each Other

This week I’ve been thinking again about my place in this world, and yours too. It’s challenged me to really consider who I am, what I’m good at, why I’m here and how my imperfections work into all of it.  If you can’t admit that you struggled with something this week, shame on you.  Unless you buried your head in the sand for the whole week, I know that you’ve been challenged by something this week.  I’ve really been challenged by how much I can’t do.  I’m OK with it, but at the same time, not being able to excel at everything gets to me occasionally.  If I’ve had a particularly bad day lists of my faults and failures can parade through my mind without my permission.   Maybe you’ve dealt with some of these insecurities too.

These struggles really reminded me why it’s so important that we let others in our lives, that we not try to get through this life alone, that we make the effort to build relationships and support those we come in contact with.  Often it’s those relationships and those other people that challenge us the most, but they also make life the most rewarding.  So how do we get past the challenges and let others into our lives, let others take control in areas that we’re not so strong or capable in and they are?

First, I think we have to be humble and admit that we aren’t alone in the world and need others. It’s not easy to admit that you have weaknesses, especially if you have an image with someone.  But opening up and admitting that you’re not perfect creates an opportunity for you to grow a deeper relationship with them.

Second, Galatians 5:22 says “But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”  When we choose to enter into relationships, and sustain relationships, with the fruit of the spirit, not only will we pave the way for a satisfying relationship on our end, the other person will benefit too.

Finally, find the point of reference, point of unity, or common ground you two have.  Everyone has something in common.  It may take a while to discover it, but it’s there.  For many people, a common point of interest is faith, especially faith in Christ.

Our relationships should make us stronger because they force us to work together, make us learn how to work together, and to learn how to communicate what we need and want.  This week I encourage you to be honest with yourself and the people who matter most to you in life about what’s going on in your life, where you stand and what you need.  Most people would be thrilled to step up to the plate for you and give you a hand if you would just ask.

Changes for Easter

Easter was yesterday and as has happened in past years the weather was a little more drab and dark.  It doesn’t always feel like Easter when it’s not warm and the sun is shining, but with it as early as it was this year, despite spring being early itself, it’s not surprising it wasn’t really warm or sunny yesterday.  Easter is always to me a festive occasion, Christmas is more of a quiet celebration, while Easter is bigger and more of a cheerful celebration, especially since it’s after Good Friday.

Easter is all about new life.  If you attended church or watched a service online the pastor probably encouraged you to look for the areas of your life where you need to make changes and encourage new growth.  There are lots of ways to encourage new growth in your life, but with growth of any kind usually comes change.  So I was thinking about how we could make the transition to new life and new growth through the necessary changes a little easier and Galatians 5:22-23 came to mind:

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

It’s not easy to make big changes in your life like jobs, relationships or location, so what if we started with something a little less involved but no less challenging: changing our attitude and how we treat others.  It’s not easy to look at people you’ve known for a long time in a new light, nor is it easy to not fall into old habits and rhythms. But God challenges us to let the Holy Spirit guide us into better relationships and better hearts.

So what will your choice be after this Easter?  Will you choose to start turning over a few new leaves in your life?

Hope to Push On

We’ve reached the second month in 2015 and I know that already many people are feeling tired and worn out. Yes, some of that’s due to it being winter here in the US, seasonal affective disorder affects millions of people every year. But your struggle with feeling tired and worn out could also have to do with your hope or lack thereof. It’s not easy to continue on day in and day out doing good in the world, helping others, offering advice and trying to meet all of your commitments and responsibilities with all the evil and hate we see everywhere we look.

If you’re struggling as we enter this new month know that you’re not alone. There are just some days that you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. When I get in that position I try to remind myself of what I’m working for and why I want to keep going.

Don’t give up because God is with you.
Don’t give up because you’re not alone.
Don’t give up because I believe in you.
Don’t give up because there are future generations depending on you.
Don’t give up because all is not lost, all is not wasted.
Don’t give up because there is still hope.

The fight is not over yet, the future has yet to arrive, and every day even more people are joining in the fight for a better tomorrow. God has surrounded you literally or figuratively with a powerful team, a group of people who will support you, who have the same mission as you, who believe that there is a better future to be had, and that each of us is capable of playing a key role in developing that better tomorrow.

Don’t give up if today is not a good day, rest in God, get support from friends and believe that tomorrow can and will be a better day.

“We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Lessons from 2014

We’ve reached the end of another year. Today’s the last day of 2015. I can’t believe it’s already been 365 days since we started this year and now we’re just about to step into a new one. It’s scary and exhilarating all in one. I wanted to finish the year today with where I started the year, Galatians 5:22-23:

“The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

This year we’ve looked at these fruit and forgiveness, compassion, and thankfulness as well. I’ve learned a lot this year, and if you’re on my newsletters you read a couple things I learned already. But the lesson I wanted to share with you today was one of faith and trust. I have a long way to go on both of those things, probably a lifetime, but this year I learned that I should trust myself, that I should believe in myself, and how important it is to surround yourself with people you believe in and trust.

We’ve seen a lot of upheaval and unrest around the world from missing or downed airliners to people rioting and fighting, the world is an unsettled and confusing place and it’s hard to find the line between right and wrong sometimes. But Galatians 5 reminds us of 9 things that are right and will always be right. Love is always the answer. Peace is beyond all our understanding. Kindness can do what words can’t. Self-control can transform the world. Joy is such a treasure. And there isn’t a price you can put on forgiveness.

It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not, but we can look to these foundational principles and find some guidance to how we should live our lives. 2015 will bring some new things, shake up some old and reinforce others. What has 2014 been for you and what will 2015 be for you, what will you make of it?

You’re Equipped for Challenges

Sometimes we feel like our lives are completely out of control, usually because we don’t have any ability to control those around us, and that can be really frustrating.  You can always ask someone to change or improve or do something different, but it’s ultimately up to them whether they do or not, which can really mess up our grand plans for reaching our dreams and goals.

As Christians we’ve been reminded over and over that those tough times and challenging people are what builds character and prepares us for God’s bigger dream for our lives.  Which sounds all well and good, except it’s not easy!  Which is where our topic for the month comes in: self-control.

I’ve said before that the only thing we’re truly able to have control over or impact is ourselves, which means that the best way to work with a difficult situation is if we can control ourselves and our reactions to be able to work through the initial panic without causing more issues and give ourselves the time to come to some solutions.

The Fruits of the Spirit that we’ve been talking about this year and will continue for the rest of the year are gifts from God to us that help us get through the difficult situations in our lives.  It’s our choice to use them or not, as well as to reach out to others He’s put in our life that support us and are willing to help us figure things out when life gets too rough.

But, like any other gifts we get it’s up to us to take them out of the box and use them.  When it comes to the Fruit of the Spirit we have to not only take them out of their box but also put in lots of practice time so that when we do actually need them we’re able to access them to their full capacity.

Have you been preparing for the challenges that life might send your way or just pretending they won’t happen?  Pretending they’ll never affect you means you’ll have no chance to prepare and the challenges will cause unnecessary problems, ones that could have been avoided with a little preparation.

“God has equipped you to handle difficult things. In fact, He has already planted the seeds of discipline and self-control inside you. You just have to water those seeds with His Word to make them grow!”  Joyce Meyer

Let’s Grow in 2014

I love that our lives work on a yearly calendar.  Why? Because I think it’s important for all of us to on a very regular basis take time to evaluate who we’ve become and where we’re going.  I take time each year to check my life and business and make sure that I’m aware of what has gone on in the last year and consider whether or not I’m satisfied with the direction things are going in.  So with this new year, I wanted to take a little time to introduce you to me and what the year ahead holds for us.

If you didn’t know, my name is Laura Dickey and this blog is part of my growth consulting and coaching business.  It’s my vision to help individuals, families, businesses and churches grow past their frustrations, limitations and roadblocks and realize their potential.

For individuals I offer coaching on life purpose, job satisfaction, relationships and more.  For businesses and churches I offer marketing, branding, customer conversion, customer and employe engagement advice and more.  For families I offer guidance in working through and resolving family and relationship challenges including financial organization, separation/reconciliation and family health and organization.   For each I offer weekly or bi-weekly newsletters as well as these blog posts.  FYI, I’ll be posting 3 times a week now, Mondays will still be spiritual topics, Wednesdays will be on our monthly theme, and Fridays will be inspiration from an individual.

For 2014 our themes will be: kindness, love, goodness, forgiveness, gentleness, patience, self-control, peace, faithfulness, compassion, thankfulness, and joy, as based loosely on Galatians 5:22-23:  “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Whether you’ve been here for a while or not I want to welcome you, and let you know that I’m a big believer in community and contribution.  I always welcome your comments, thoughts and questions.  Only together can we improve.  Today I invite you to share a little about who you are in the comments section 🙂

Happy New Year!

Fruit of Freedom

This past week in the USA we’ve celebrated Independence Day, and the freedoms we’re blessed with as a nation.  As I was thinking about who we are as a nation and those freedoms, I was reminded of Galatians 5:1, 22-23 which reads:

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery….But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Faith in Christ is based on some very simple concepts, concepts seen in these verses, concepts that should be fairly easy to incorporate into and be guided by in our lives.  The Fruit of the Spirit are a big part of what makes us free as believers.  They’re also qualities that should be part of every human life, not just those with faith in Jesus.  What has happened that these aren’t essential to who we are anymore, but instead our bank accounts and job successes are?

Like this verse says, I think we’ve gotten ourselves tied down with things that ultimately don’t matter, and have forgotten what really does.  Yes, to an extent I’m talking about spiritual truths. But I’m really talking about basic concepts of human nature that seem to be missing in many relationships and individuals’ lives.    Many of us don’t know how to speak with another person with decency and courtesy, don’t seem to care about consequences of their actions, and don’t do their part in spreading peace.

This week I encourage you to put these qualities back in your life.  I’m not assuming you’re someone who doesn’t live by these, maybe you are.  But I am confident that you have  moments of weakness and forgetfulness like I do.  Maybe a reminder like these cool stair decals or this plaque are just what you need.  I don’t know about you, but I think the world would be a better place if we all lived more by these Fruit.  And the only way to make that happen is if we first start living that way ourselves.