Has your car ever gotten out of alignment? You find you’re constantly fighting the wheel just to stay on the road. Driving becomes exhausting, not to mention the wear and tear on the tires. And if you let go of the wheel for even a split second your car starts edging off the road.
Well, I was driving down life’s highway and somewhere I got “out of alignment.” But recently I had an epiphany that if you believe what others think of you, that is who you will become. It was an “ah ha” moment – there was my misalignment. I’d given others permission to define my value. Talk about giving power to others!
If you’ve done this, take your power back, now! As parents and leaders it is our responsibility not to let the opinions of others shape who we are. Here is the most important reason why. Those who follow us become like us. It is up to you to chose to stop the madness.
Here’s the good news, you don’t have to find yourself. You simply need to look to your Manufacturer and into His Manual to find that God has already defined who you are. You are accepted. Ephesians 1:6 You are forgiven. Colossians 2:13 You are righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” It is already a fact, done, finitio, end of subject! There is nothing you can do, say, or think to be any more loved, any more accepted, or any more righteous than you are right now.
Don’t let anyone steal your destiny. God has a great plan for you. He believes in you even if not one other person on the whole planet does.
So how do you experience this realignment? Meditate on the Word, especially Phillipians 4:8, if you’re like me and your mind can take a world tour of “worst case scenarios” in 60 seconds or less. Find a promise in the Word and chose to believe it is for you. There are 7,000 of them, surely you’ll be able to find one. Then personalize and speak that promise. Just do it! No matter how you feel today. Just do it! No matter what your circumstance tells you. Just do it! No matter what your Eyeore friends say. Just do it! Your thoughts will either set you free or keep you captive. You get to choose.
Are you willing to let go of how you see yourself to become who God says who you are?
Ever feel like you’re just a face in the crowd with an average job and average life? This book will change all that for you. In Fred 2.0 you’ll learn the secrets of turning an average existence into a truly fulfilling and rich life. You don’t have to change locations or vocations to be spectacular. It all started with a mailman named Fred who made an extraordinary difference in the lives of all the customers on his route. If you are one of the millions of Freds, I promise this book will light a passion in you that you haven’t experienced in a long time, because you’ll learn how to take ordinary and make it extraordinary. Mr Sanborn reminds us that life is what you make it. If you need a shot in the arm or maybe a good old-fashioned kick in the pants, this book will inspire and challenge you to be all you can be.
An attitude of gratitude does not come naturally for most of us. It’s the same with our kids. Gratitude must be taught, but it also is something that is caught. This can be a real mirror moment for us as parents, especially if we tend to be the “glass is half empty types.” A grateful heart is so important to the life success of our kids, its imperative that we model this vital quality to them.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “count your blessings” but how often do you really take the time to do it. Counting your blessings is one sure way to develop a constant mind-set of gratitude, which can turn a mundane life into a miraculous life. Here’s an easy way that you can “infect” your family with gratitude. Each night, when you sit down for dinner, or a time during the day when your family is together, have each family member, Mom and Dad included, share one thing they are grateful for from their day. Keep a journal of the responses. Each day, each person must share something different than what they’ve shared before. It can be things as simple as “Bobby shared his chocolate chip cookie with me.” At the end of the week, review all the items that have been shared with the family. You’ll be amazed at how many things you have to be grateful for. This process will begin to shift your family’s focus from what they do not have to a grateful attitude for the many blessings that were right under their nose all the time.
Modeling integrity at every level is critical to your parenting arsenal. As a Children’s Pastor, I found that the besetting sin of most children was lying. They will look you right in the eye and lie and not even blink an eye. In our post Christian culture, it has become acceptable and normal to pepper our conversations with “white lies,” stretched truthfulness, and outright bold faced lies.
Have you ever told your kids to tell someone you’re not there when they called you at an inconvenient time? You just taught your kids that it’s okay to lie if it keeps you from being inconvenienced.
How about those special family traditions like the man in the red suit? Dare we? Do your traditions include the jolly fat guy or the furry deliverer of eggs? I know for many these are almost sacred traditions. Would you be offended if I said these are not just harmless fairy tales? I have nothing personally against either Santa or the Easter Bunny, but I do have a concern when we teach them to our children as “truth.” The truth is, you’re telling them a lie. Have you ever looked at it from your child’s perspective? If you would deceive them about Santa and the Easter Bunny, in your child’s mind might you be deceiving them about a man who died 2,000 years ago to take away their sins?
As Christians, we are to rightly divide the word of truth. If our children can’t trust our word, who can they trust? I remember how devastated and betrayed I felt when I found out the Easter Bunny and Santa were mere myths. I was crushed. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to be honest with them on the front end, spare them the heartbreak of finding out the truth, and retain your integrity in their sight?
We always had fun with our kids on these holidays without loss of our integrity. We hid eggs, we had gifts, we had it all . . . except the myth. Plus, we pointed them to Jesus in all things. Remember the real significance of these holidays, a holy God left his throne in heaven to take the punishment that we deserved, and offered us the gift of eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and the honor of becoming the son or daughter of the King of Kings. What fairytale could possibly surpass that? Don’t settle for a shallow shadow when you can have the real thing.
The bottom line is as in all areas of parenting it all starts in the mirror. You model the standard you want your kids to hit and hopefully exceed. There may be areas where you need to ask your family’s forgiveness for your lack of truthfulness.
I was driving down the road the other day and noticed a car coming up on me that made me laugh out loud. The front end of this car looked like a clown with a giant Botox induced smile. Don’t the designers look at their own designs before they put them into production? It was the most bizarre thing I’d seen in a while, a car with a grill that made a huge creepy grin. I thought, “Who would buy that?” Obviously, the guy behind me. I hope he got a great deal. Then a thought occurred to me, “Do I do that?” Like an artist splattering paint on a canvas, each day, we are creating our life, our parenting, our marriage, our career. How often do we take the time to stop, stand back and look at the big picture we are creating? We can get swept up in the act of living and forget the art of living. There was a time when I felt that life was just running away with me and I was just along for the ride. After much prayer, tears, and resistance I finally got it through my head that if I wanted something different, I needed to start a new routine. This has really helped me slow down and let my creativity catch up with me and ironically increase my productivity. I get up earlier and just quiet myself for about 15 minutes. I just sit quietly and reflect and journal. Then I pray, read, and prepare for my day. It’s like looking in the rear view mirror ahead of time. As a result I’m finding that I start my day with more joy and peace and with clearer direction. It’s helping me own the creation of my life by the power of the Spirit. What routines do you have that help you keep the big picture of your life in focus? Do they allow you to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly and make adjustments to keep you on track, or get you back on track? Don’t let your life create you when you can create your life.
Have you ever felt like your life was out of control? At the end of the day do you have more tasks than day? So, do you try to fix it by working late into the night trying to catch up, but you’re not, and falling behind just is not an option for a type A personality. It’s like standing on the shore and watching your priorities set adrift and you can’t swim, or at least you think you can’t, so you just watch them sail into the sunset as you stand on the shore with that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Lately, I’ve been praying about the course of my life for 2013, I want it to be a better year than 2012. Not that 2012 was bad, I just want to keep growing, I want to be a better me. I want to touch more lives, impact people in a more meaningful way, and make a bigger footprint in the sand. The problem is, I’m out of time. I feel like I’m running from the time I get up until late into the night. So, how can I ever get to this better me? Well lately, the Lord keeps bringing vessels my way with what I believe is the answer. I always think of myself as a “night person” I hate, let me repeat that for emphasis, hate getting up early. Well, that is about to change. First, I listened to a blog by Michael Hyatt on why you should get up early. It struck a cord in my heart, but I resisted. Then, I got the opportunity to review a book for Andy Traub called “Early to Rise.” It was a fun and compelling case for being an early riser that broke it down into easy to follow steps. It was one of those “Ah Ha” moments. I realized that if I were going to regain control of my shipwrecked priorities it was going to require some change, so this is the first day on the way to the new me – the early riser. I invite you to sail with me on this journey and see what exotic ports we discover. I’m expecting to find some beautiful places called peace and joy!