Living Vibrantly in the Midst of Struggle

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I’ve been off teaching school and coaching. I’ve learned a lot about people (and will continue to do so). One thing that so easily bogs me down is a little adversity. I’m not talking big things, but rather little things. The hospital bill shows up, the tires need changed, the weather is bad, or a parent wasn’t so open to my suggestions on the phone about their child.

If we want to avoid the joy being sucked out of our life, we have to have hope in something greater. We have to believe that there is a greater calling and purpose for every little trial we face. I believe there is, and the whole point is to either point us to Jesus, or to make us more like him.

The Apostle Peter writes about the refiner’s fire, how we will come out a pure metal through struggle. I think it also reminds us we can’t depend on anything or anyone on this Earth to complete us or to fill a gap in our happiness.

Therefore, go ahead and accept the day will have struggles. Instead of choosing to wallow in the mud, instead look for ways these trials will make you more patient, more loving, and more dependent on God. Romans 8:28. Thanks for reading.

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For All the Single Ladies (and the Guys who Want to Help Them)

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softball-1170621-hSo, I wrote to the guys last post. This post is for you ladies. Today something profound happened at my high school girl’s softball practice that I didn’t plan for or anticipate.

We were finishing up practice and I asked my assistant coach (a female) if she had anything to add. She told them they needed to have positive self talk. They needed to think about the things they did well. These things needed not to be things they did better than anyone else, but to their own standards. I piggy backed off of that, and this literally just came out of my mouth:

You are better than you think you are, prettier than you think you are, and smarter than you think you are.

I was a little nervous to say it, as their are some pretty messed up teacher/student relationships these days. However, I was met with a chorus of “aww”s! I was blown away. It’s true though.

We are all our own worst critics. I think females especially fall into this trap. I don’t know how many times I get apologized to in a practice for a mistake or an oversight. I tell them “don’t apologize!” You can see the insecurity in their eyes and the way they look around when they come in to a group.

I did have one regret, and it is that I didn’t say this: You are loved more deeply than you will EVER know. This is the greatest and most powerful thing someone can know about themselves. God loved you so much (guys and ladies) that he literally allowed himself to be executed on our behalf.

Girls, take note: you are better than you think you are.

Guys: take note: building up the ladies in your life is vital! It will bring life to their hearts, minds, and souls.

I think I will probably continue to say that everyday to them. They need to know it. It’s just true.

Bend, but Don’t Break!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFlexibility. It’s a good thing in athletics. We stretch all the time to prevent injuries from vigorous use of different muscle groups. What can this tell us about how we respond to life’s curveballs?

Allowing our muscles to fully extend allows them greater flexibility and develops a greater range of motion, which leads to enhanced athleticism.¬†From a mental perspective, flexibility is also a great way to prevent injury. The times I’m most frustrated at work or feel the least amount of patience is when a wrench gets thrown into my plans or routine. Life happens. People do silly things. Things come up. The difference between coming out of it with your peace intact is flexibility. If I expect everything to run according to my schedule and on my terms, I’m going to spend much of my life frustrated. However, if I anticipate and expect things to come up to interrupt my life pattern, I’m going to be ready and patient when many people are feeling what I would normally feel.

If we can’t around life’s challenges, we will most certainly break

What gain is there in flexibility? At work I might be the peacemaker. The boss may recognize me as a leader with a level head. This is never a bad thing. In life: If I come home from work after having things thrown my way and reacting to them poorly, likely my wife will have to bear some of that frustration. If I’m flexible, I will come home without that extra baggage.

So today, recognize stuff is going to come up that will be completely out of your control. Just roll with the hurdles the best you can realizing you are just getting more flexible and retaining the peace you want and projecting the calm strength you want others to see in you. Have a great day!

Baggage Fees

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luggage-210049-mOne thing that every grown (and more and more youths) carry is baggage. Maybe it’s from a former relationship or friend; maybe it’s abuse, maybe it’s other family drama. All of these things weigh heavy on us and often times we carry that into our current relationships, our work, and our home lives. This baggage has a much greater fee than American Airlines charges. I can personally remember painful situations from my middle school and high school days. One thing that keeps us holding on to that baggage is neglecting to forgive someone. There is a difference between forgetting and forgiving as well. It doesn’t mean I restore my full trust in that person, either. It means I no longer hold that act against that person.

The thing about not forgiving someone is, it’s like you drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.

We hold onto our anger, we go there when things don’t go right. We even enjoy the feeling. Ultimately, it’s just holding you back from moving forward. Do yourself a favor and think about people you may be holding a grudge or remain angry towards. Does that person deserve your anger? Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t. Now say a prayer on their behalf. Ask God to make things right and to help that person. I guarantee you will feel better.

What forgiveness does is frees us up to live fully. No grudges, no burning anger; there is just opportunity. Jesus was asked by his disciples how often to forgive. He said not 7 times, not 70 times, but 70 x 7 times. I’m so glad God deals with us better than we deal with each other.

So today, drop that baggage and start living free from that grudge!

Why Direction Relates to Joy

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There I was graduating college with a degree in Broadcasting. I really didn’t know what I wanted, other than I knew I wasn’t going to be working in that field. Ironic, wasn’t it? I didn’t want to work the crazy hours for so little pay in events I had no interest in.

As I sat on my rental house’s couch for the next couple weeks (after being deceived into thinking it was a great idea to just hang out for a semester) I watched my bank account drain.

I also felt a tug in my heart to go after something.

I found that life was much more fun with a goal in mind or something to achieve. I really didn’t know what that was though. I stumbled across substitute teaching (because that was the quickest way to employment.) I found out I loved spending my day with the kids, interacting with them and listening to their stories. I had found something I really enjoyed. I actually eagerly looked forward to that call at 6 the next morning that would ask if I could come in and fill in for a teacher.

I found myself up out of bed, motivated to do a good job (which is also fulfilling) and to do it again the next day. I eventually figured out that I wanted to do it full time. So, now I teach. I had goals formed and a direction set and I was able to get to the finish line, all the while seeing things come together to reach it.

Do you have an idea of where you want to end up? Maybe not in a career, but in relationships, in income, in your relationship with God? Let’s hear what you think. Feel free to comment!