Perception – You Are What Other People See

Probably the biggest battle I fight is one of perception with other people.  Why is this a battle? Mostly because I let my selfish side take over my actions, instead of being mindful of how my actions affect others.  I make excuses about this behavior to appease my ego, pride, and sense of accomplishment.  No excuses justify my actions of self-preservation.  I need to rely on the Creator to give me grace and mercy when I fail.

those who never read the Bible will read our lives, so it is by doing good that we put to silence the ignorance of foolish men – David Guzik (1 Peter 2 Commentary)

I heard this quote in Sunday’s sermon and spent some time in introspection.  Working with teams, coaching and mentoring, I often talk about the value of introspection.  As Christians, this is a habit that we must cultivate for several reasons:

  1. People see how we behave every day.  We are representatives of the Kingdom.  If we live “ordinary” and “worldly” lives, the witness does not match our faith.  Remember one day ordinary will be eternity in heaven worshipping our Lord.
  2. I look backwards to understand how I can create opportunities to share Christ’s love through me going forward.
  3. As Christians, if we are growing, we are changing.  Change brings about character through perseverance, especially during struggles.  Look back on the struggle and share the lessons of maturing in Christ.
  4. Are you lukewarm? Who would people rather hang around with, the milk toast or the magnet. Christians are a peculiar people.  I have gone from being a person might only give a passing comment so as not to be looked at funny to being a fan of my Master interjecting the good news intentionally in my actions.  I am finding that the differing attitudes, principles, and foundation in Christ draws people near.

I am excited to see other people now looking at me differently.  I am not ashamed of being gracious, loving, caring, humble, meek and having a servant’s heart.  The perception is changing and it is on the right path.  My hope is that people see Christ in me so that they can also establish an eternal relationship.

 

Two Outcomes of Fear

Today on a podcast of Design Matters,  Seth Godin was talking about the reason so many people are blocked from moving forward is because of fear.  I started thinking about the fear in my life and how it is very selfish and created because I want people to have a certain perception of me.  Going a little deeper, I believe there actually two outcomes of fear:

  1. Fear of something creates a healthy reverence and respect.
  2. Fear creates moments or even seasons of paralysis.

In the season of life I am in, I often see the second outcome, paralysis.  I fear changing my job role, stability for my family, not leaving a legacy for others, etc.  Then I realized as long I fear the Lord with whole hearted reverence and respect, I have the best advocate for helping me out of those moments when I am frozen in place by indecision, doubt, and selfishness.

Convicted to Give More of Yourself

Today has been erratic, my heart was not at ease, and my behaviors and thoughts with each interaction have not been grace and mercy, but rather frustration and contempt.  That all changed when I saw a post in a Christian group in Yammer.  It was nothing grandiose, just asking to consider donating to a young woman’s fight to go back to school in the fall.  I see many requests like this all the time.  There is always some cause, the pursuit of something greater, or even just a random kind act popping up on your radar frequently.  But today I was convicted to help and here is why:

  • The cups of coffee I have in the morning can pay for my donation.
  • This group of 50+ individuals can probably all afford a small donation, why not start the ball rolling.
  • I needed to change my mental state for the day.
  • 5 minutes is all it took to invest in a future

Is there someone you don’t even know you can invest in.  It  doesn’t have to be money, it can be:

  • Time.  Find a way to give a person more time, they will be blessed by that in the end.
  • Knowledge.  Be a mentor.  Share your experiences
  • Attitude.  This can go a long ways to giving hope, charity, and grace to others.

 

What are the Treasures You Value

It is a pretty true statement of what your treasures are, so you heart and mind are. I am personally not one to have lavish goods, however, there are days when I wish for them to be like others, to entertain for selfish reasons, or to just show that I made it. These are all selfish interests.

My Personal Treasures

  • Family. I consider my family a treasure that the Lord has given to me which is precious and that I want to care for diligently. My family is growing up, my children are becoming independent.  I cherish walks with my wife.  I couldn’t have said that 10 years ago.  This is because I am investing in the relationship, and seeing the fruits of that investment.
  • Knowledge and learning are other treasures as long as I can give them away.  What good does it do me if I learn but don’t share.  I am now starting to see mentoring opportunities everywhere.  Solomon, the wisest man, became that way because he asked for it.
  • Doing for others just to see a smile, a hint of gratitude, or smidge of happiness. The more I live by example in humility, letting God be in control, and letting go, the more I will let His light shine for others to find the way. These are the riches on earth that everyone can get a hold of.

We only have so many days allotted to us. I don’t know when that number starts to take a serious meaning, it is different for everyone. Our mortality in this life is a reminder that we need to spend each day focused on eternity and the gift of love and life that Jesus has bestowed on each of us.

Simplify: A Ten Day Recap

Simplify

To make something easier to do or to understand.

For the last 10 days I have been doing a study on Simplify. The intro starts out with Overscheduled, Exhausted, Overwhelmed? Sound Familiar? At that point, I just knew I had to dig in and see what insights I could gleam off of the study. As each day progressed, I shared my notes with my wife, who in turn shared her wisdom about the study also. Here are some of the highlights I took away.

There are days when I feel the energy just draining away, being sucked by the power conductors of life.  The pick me up is the knowledge that I am made for a greater purpose.  Reminders such as this video brings perspective towards our eternal existence. How do you get juiced up?

Intentional Living, A New Way Of Life

No more good intentions

It is nine o’clock tonight on November 1st. About a week ago, I started pondering the idea of writing a blog post a day for the month of November, kind of like a NaNoWriMo challenge. I found other things to do today to not get started. First, I didn’t take advantage of my morning and before I knew it, we were on our way to church. Then came dropping off my daughter to work, watching the Seahawks game, picking my daughter up from work, then watching the Packers game.

Grand Coulee Dam

Let me tell you about the WORD I know

It will change your life

God's beauty and majesty is all around us.

Dear Friend,

I want to share with you something incredible, something life changing, something mind blowing.  It is the WORD.  Not just any WORD, but the only WORD.  Life springs forth from the WORD and give hope, comfort, and joy.  My feeble words can’t express the true meaning of the WORD, but here are some of the wonderful qualities of the WORD:

  • It has been here since the beginning and will be here for eternity.
  • It has power greater than anything that is on this planet.
  • It is visible. The WORD is always around us, we just have to open our eyes and see it.
  • It creates.  Flowers bloom, sunsets appear, and majestic canyons are formed by the WORD.
  • It has personality.  The WORD has a sense of humor, It is compassionate and loving.
  • It is energizing.  By the WORD we can do all things in strength.
  • It is everywhere, both in our thoughts and in our deeds.

God is the WORD

“In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God.” – John 1:1 (NIV)

So when you go throughout your day remember to incorporate the WORD in everything you do, every decision you make, every thought you think.  May your senses be filled with the richness of the WORD.  Devour the WORD, drink in the WORD, be filled with the WORD and your day will abound in grace and mercy.  Realize that the WORD is in every beautiful thing, Jesus is the Light in the darkness and guides us to make our paths clear.  The Word gives us purpose and vision, without Jesus we would be lost and confused.

Share the WORD.  Let others know about its richness.  Realize that words cannot describe the WORD, He must be experienced.

What WORD will you share today?

Focus Will Bring Great Results

Wouldn’t be nice if all you had to say was “Focus” and everything just fell into place for the rest of the day?  Do you feel that your day spins out of control as you get randomized?  If you stray from a normal routine, do you frequently feel that something was missed?  I have seen that great focus leads to great results.

Short Term Focus

Yesterday was a totally randomizing day, constant interruptions combined with a lack of resolve to “start” anything that wouldn’t result in completion.  I know that if I had 30 uninterrupted minutes to work on 1 task, it would have been knocked out and there would be a sense of accomplishment.  This type of short term focus is very intense.  It requires no distractions.

  • Make sure that you know the end goal of the short term task.
  • Make sure that you have everything you need to accomplish the task at hand before starting.
  • Allocate time to get “into the zone” and “reflect”.  Jumping right into a focused task can sometimes lead to disaster because you are still thinking about the previous work.
  • I have used a Pomodoro timer to help me out.  My son sets the timer on the microwave for his reading and I have seen great focus in that realm.  It is OK to continue on if you are staying focused.

When I do development, my most enjoyable work is when the goal is known and the task is fully completed.  There will be times when I tune out the world around me and just focus on that.

Long Term Focus

I had the opportunity to work with some very smart people who were envisioning what Space would look like in 25 years.  They developed a long range plan that would act as that guide.  I have to say that when I look back, it is amazing how accurate that plan was.  That was because the focus was on the plan.  We often hear in the workplace a concept of focusing on the North Star.  As you probably know, sailor’s used the North Star as a way to navigate.  Having long term focus is the ability to navigate to complete a goal that is out of reach at that particular time.

  • First you must have a goal to focus on.
  • Focus takes prioritization.  You will have to make hard choices in order to meet that goal.
  • When you go off track and you will, how do you get realigned?  Make short term focus points to get back to the direction you want to go.
  • Pick your head up from the short term once in a while.  Try walking 100 yards with your head down.  Most likely you will miss your end destination.

 

Applying the right focus

Applying the right focus in each situation will enable a outcome that is pleasing to God.  It creates peace and calm instead of complaints and calamity.   Remember, others pay the most attention to your actions when you are in tough situations.  This week I will work to applying that laser focus to God’s will and not my own.