This summer I will be officiating three weddings. During premarital counseling, the topic of love always surfaces. Is love simply a feeling, or is it an action — something you do? What does love look like? I Corinthians 13 gives a pretty good definition.
1. Love is patient.
2. Love is kind.
3. Love does not envy.
4. Love does not boast and is not proud.
5. Love is not rude.
6. Love is not easily angered.
7. Love does not keep a record of wrongs.
8. Love always looks for the good.
Sounds like some good stuff to blog about and live out.
So, How’s your love life?
Some good, and some not so good. So we have had discussions as to how you treat and respond to difficult superiors.
Years ago I worked in retail for a while, and from my perspective the manager was very different. I never got close and never really had a conversation with him. To be honest, my point of view may have been skewed. However, my immediate boss in the jewelry and silverware department was incredible.
At any rate, the day came when the manager of the store approached me about taking on a large in-house project. Basically I would be doing him a huge favor. This was before bar codes and my job was to go throughout the store and essentially give every item an identifier according to the method of my choice.
It was all to be done manually and I could have declined. However, I gladly accepted the challenge.
All of us will be asked to do things that we may not be excited about, but if our manager or superior asks us, why not jump at the chance? I once asked a guy who worked for me to take out the trash and he balked. Let’s just say that that did not go over well with me at all. At the same time I gained a little insight into his character.
Sure I understand human thinking. Why make the boss look good? Why help him out? That’s basically what I was doing for my former manager. But I had no problem with that.
It’s so easy to be self-centered and walk away from projects that do not interest us. But you are better than that. Furthermore the project you walk away from may be the very thing that will aid in your personal development.
This week while others are complaining about the boss, have the character to perform well, take the initiative, go the extra mile, or display a positive behaviors.
What can you do today to set the mood for the entire week at work?
When life gets hard, our attitude and outlook on life typically take a nose dive. As you look around and see all the pain and suffering, you sometimes lose hope. You don’t have to look far to see the pain in others either.
I’m sure we would all like to be a little more positive. But at times we wonder if it’s possible.
The apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians while he was in jail. And the theme of that letter is joy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think joy would cross my mind.
Joy in a prison cell is not what you would expect. While I do not want to dig into that particular book today, I would like to share a few practical things that have helped me over the years.
These are simple, but it will take discipline to practice them every day until they become a habit.
The 5 Habits
1. Start the day with gratitude. What better way to start the day than being thankful. I don’t care what’s going on, there has to be at least a half dozen positive things you can identify.
2. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. Every day marketers try to make us unhappy and wanting more stuff. Then when you realize you cannot afford what they are selling, you start feeling down.
3. Be generous. Most people think only of monetary giving when it comes to generosity. And that’s important. But you also may have an opportunity, perhaps today, to be generous with your time or your talents.
4. Exercise. You will feel better and be happier.
5. Eat healthier. I am amazed at the shopping carts in the grocery store filled with soda, ice cream, desserts, and frozen processed food. We treat our cars better. Don’t underestimate the impact of a healthy diet on your energy, attitude, and overall sense of well-being.
So what habits are you starting your day with?
As little kids we were taught, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Wow! Who thought that one up? And who passed that rhyme along? There is absolutely no truth in it, yet it gets repeated continually.
We all know it’s a lie. Words do hurt. We have been hurt by words. Right now you are recalling some hurtful words that were said to you.
Perhaps you are also recalling words that you said. It’s too late to take them back. Yes, you wish you could. But once they come out there is no taking back.
Plus they are rarely forgotten. Sadly, some we take all the way to the grave.
Many are said due to anger. We allow anger to take over and we let the words fly. Later we apologize, but the damage is done.
In 2 Samuel 16:5-14 David has lost the throne and is on his way out of town. One of his enemies, Shimei, berates him. His criticism of David goes over the top. There are some relational issues going on as Shimei was from the tribe of Benjamin just like Saul. Saul is now dead, but Shimei is still loyal to Saul, not David.
Time moves on. In 1 Kings 2:8-10 David comes toward the end of his life and gives his son Solomon some final counsel. Here David recounts the hurtful words Shimei leveled against him years earlier.
Those words still hurt. David had not forgotten them.
He took those hurtful words all the way to the grave. That’s sad. Perhaps even in your own life, perhaps even in your marriage you have said some words that you can’t take back.
We have all said things we wish we hadn’t. It’s time to move on. From here on out you can do a couple of things.
1. Stop. You don’t have to immediately say what has come into your mind.
2. Think. Not everything has to be said. Some things are better left unsaid. That little zinger you want to let fly will add nothing to the relationship.
3. Multiply. Research suggests that one negative can undo twenty positives. Do you realize now the power of hurtful words?
4. Ask. Is it helpful? Will this help the situation or exasperate it? Am I saying this while I am still upset and angry?
5. Proceed. If it is helpful and you have control over your emotions you will do a much better job communicating.
Just remember, if you fail to do these things your words may very well hurt…all the way to the grave!
A little girl starts out having princess birthday parties. She dresses up. She starts looking around and asking Am I pretty enough?
Then she becomes a teenager and asks Am I thin enough? In college she wonders Am I smart enough? When she moves along in her career she asks Am I successful enough? She gets married and her thoughts are Am I good enough? With the first child comes Am I providing enough?
The questions, the doubts, and the scarcity mindset flood our insecure minds. We jump on Facebook and Instagram and count up the number of likes. Do I have enough likes? Probably not. In fact, enough never is quite enough. So we continue to live in shame, insecurity, and self doubt.
What if there was some truth in the idea that we will never measure up? What if that was, in some ways, good news?
One of the more fascinating passages in the Bible is in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. Fascinating because this particular passage is right in the middle of several chapters of genealogies. Most skip these. After all they don’t tend to hold our attention very well.
There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request. (NLT)
Just two verses. But notice his attitude. He knew he was lacking and that was a good thing. It was that feeling of not being enough that drove Him to the Lord to ask for God’s blessing on his life. God has enough; actually, He has plenty. When I was a little boy I went to my dad because he had more than I did.
Before we get to Jabez, we have to read through forty-three other names. Why is Jabez given two verses? The writer of the book of Chronicles puts an emphasis on prayer in the book. Could it be that he stopped at Jabez because Jabez put an emphasis on prayer in his own life?
As a believer, one of the healthiest attitudes we can have is one of scarcity, which in turn leads us to an attitude of abundance because we have been driven to God in prayer. God’s abundant grace is available to those who pray. Our focus is taken off of ourselves and put on the Lord. That’s healthy.
Apparently Jabez’s life didn’t start out so well. We are not given the details and it really doesn’t matter. The family may have had very little, or perhaps his mother was a single mom, or maybe his mother died in childbirth.
Just as the writer of Chronicles did not focus on Jabez’ background, so it also doesn’t matter where you find yourself at this particular stage in your life. Perhaps you are living in an era of scarcity. Don’t let that discourage you. Let it drive you to prayer so that God can change your attitude to one of abundance.
That is what happened for Jabez. He began to ask God to bless him, enlarge his territory, and provide protection so that his life would never go back to a point where he was living without God’s help.
Let’s break this passage into three parts, which will lead to three action items–three things you need to do.
Oh, that you would bless me…
1. Pray every day for God’s abundance. It may be that you need more patience. Maybe it’s more kindness. We could all use a little more self control. I don’t know what you need to pray for, but when God invades your life and abundance is noticed, God is glorified.
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:8 (ESV)
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT)
God is able to produce abundance in your life. So ask for it.
…expand my territory!
2. Get ready for more. If you are praying for ten more clients, are you ready to service ten more clients? Maybe you aren’t ready, so God hasn’t answered your prayer yet.
Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!
3. Stay dependent. Once God blesses you, there will be the temptation to believe you did it through your personality, your talents, your giftedness, or your training. Don’t fall into that trap.
Listen to Zechariah 4:6 (ESV) Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
Let go of your scarcity attitude and replace it with an attitude of abundance.
But what if we could do some simple things?
That alone would send many marriages to a whole new level.
There really isn’t anything new under the sun. In business it may be more face to face meetings, phone calls, or emails.
In my marriage here is a list of some of my deliberate acts. After you read them write out your own. I am assuming that you have some. If not you need to start ASAP or you will not have a relationship!
1. Take out the trash.
2. Empty the dishwasher.
3. Clean all the toilets.
4. Run menial errands that Carol doesn’t want to do.
5. Go to Sams (because she doesn’t want to).
6. Go to Walmart (same reason as above).
7. Sit and talk.
8. Pick up some of my clutter.
9. Read together in bed.
10. Help with the chickens when it is 10 degrees outside.
11. Do projects around the house together.
12. Do things that are inconvenient for her.
13. Drive her places, like Kohl’s, just to be with her and keep her from doing it alone.
14. Tell her when I’ll be home.
There is nothing major in the above list. Yet they definitely enhance our marriage. As I said, it is not complicated. And still people struggle in their relationships.
It’s time to write out your own list. If you find yourself struggling after you get to number 3, you may have a lot of homework in your future. Your list may be vastly different, because you are not like me and your spouse is not like Carol.
Deliberate acts. Your relationships cannot survive without them!
When the new iPad came out, called the iPad Air, it had a faster chip, was lighter, thinner, and narrower.
On the outside the wider bezels were narrowed because of advances in technology. The reason for the wider bezels was simply that it was too easy to unintentionally touch the edge of the screen and disrupt your work.
Apple was able to narrow the bezels because they were able to engineer the software to distinguish between intentional and unintentional touches.
Wow! What if we could reengineer all relationships with that type of software.
What if we could eliminate all misunderstandings from a relationship?
What if no feelings were hurt by unintentional acts?
What if there were no more silent treatments?
What if arguments which started due to a misunderstanding became a thing of the past?
What if we could eliminate phrases like:
“That’s not what I said.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“I had no idea how I was coming across.”
Perhaps we could narrow the bezels in our own relationships if we reengineered out thinking, our habits, our tone of voice, our sensitivity, and our focus on ourselves.
Like the iPad Air, a life with less misunderstandings will lead to happier and more fulfilling relationships.
In my last two posts I talked about the NFL Playoffs regarding your passion and personal discipline.
Today let’s move to your workplace.
What do the following have in common?
Lack of motivation.
Answer: Poor attitude. We can spot it from a distance. We despise it in others, yet we tolerate it in ourselves.
Attitude, the third and final part of your personal PDA, is all important.
Yet all of us are susceptible to a bad attitude. Actually it can happen in an instant.
Life has a way of doing that to us. Our car breaks down or we get a cold right as we are beginning a vacation. Yes, things like this can happen at the worst possible time.
Our attitude affects us, those around us, our view of the future, our assessment of the present, and how determined we will be in facing new challenges.
Our attitude is one of our greatest assets. You know that already. If you could choose between two people with whom to work, little skill/great attitude, or highly skilled/bad attitude, my guess is you are going with the great attitude.
Skills can be taught. Attitudes not so much.
Your attitude is either helping you or hindering you.
The good news is you can choose your attitude.
Choose wisely and live at a higher level. You will be happier and so will those around you!
In many ways January is the height of the losing season. College football games, the NFL Playoffs, and personal reminders about 2013.
After all, that’s where New Year’s Resolutions came from. Failures or losses from the previous year are acknowledged and drive us into a new year.
Losses. Sometimes that’s where our focus is. Losses happen. If everyone won all the time there would be no inspiration to change.
Many losses sting for a long time. Whether it’s a championship game or a marital breakup or the loss of a job.
You can’t just shake it off in five minutes or five days or even five months.
Let’s admit it hurts. But let’s not quit playing.
5 Ways to Comeback After a Loss
1. Expect some horrible days. That’s normal.
2. Don’t take it personally. Yes, you experienced a loss, but that does not mean you are a loser. Auburn lost the National Championship game. Trust me. They are not a bunch of losers. Neither are you unless you pack it in and quit.
3. You may have to forgive someone. He missed a tackle, your spouse forgot it was your anniversary, or someone forgot to pick you up from the mechanics. Forgive and move forward.
4. Lose the guilt. We spend too much time focusing on what we did to contribute to the loss. The truth is you alone were likely not responsible for the loss.
5. Get back in the game. Never forget that others are watching. Your kids, your coworkers, and your teammates. Write down on a piece of paper what you think a winner would do after a devastating defeat. Then go do that. You know what to do.
Fascinating. You already know what to do. You already know the answer to the question, How do you come back after a loss?
Life is full of adversity. Obstacles seem to be around every corner.
If you ever feel like throwing in the towel and bailing on your dream think about the guy who…
*failed in business at the age of 32.
*ran for the state legislature and lost at the same age.
*gave business another shot at age 33 and failed again.
*lost his sweetheart at age 35.
*had a nervous breakdown at age 36.
*defeated running for Congress at 43.
*defeated again at age 48.
*ran for the Senate and defeated at 55.
*ran for Vice Presidency and defeated at 56.
*ran for the Senate again at 58 and lost again.
But he never QUIT!
*In 1860 he was elected President of the United States!!
Abraham Lincoln kept believing in himself.
Keep believing in yourself. You’ll be glad you did.