You’ve heard, I’m sure, of “the straight and narrow” – the Way of the Lord – God’s Righteous Path. How is it that, after 54 years, I am only now learning the depth of that truth and what it requires. On my own, I cannot find the One Straight Way. My feet, perhaps, are only now becoming sensitive to the solid ground of God as compared to the tempting soft soil of the world.
Where have you placed your feet? Have your soles grown thick and calloused? When is the last time you removed your shoes, closed your eyes, and trusted God completely to go before you, follow behind you, and protect you from every side, so that your path remains straight because of His knowledge and wisdom as opposed to your own?
How do we prepare the way?
As January 12 approaches (the beginning of our “BEYOND RESOLUTIONS” journal challenge), I ask all who are participating (and those who are not) to consider starting your 2014 journey, your week, even each day, with Scripture-led prayer. Only God truly knows the plans for our lives. As the Master Gardener, He created the seed which He planted in your spirit before you were born. Let’s allow Him, then, to set the paths before us. Let us seek Him and find Him, honor Him and follow Him as we grow our beautiful lives.
Below is a prayer I have written to start my days. Please feel free to use it or to write your own:
You formed me in my mother’s womb. (Jeremiah 1:5; Isaiah 44:24)
You know the plans you have for me. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
I listen Lord, that I may learn from you. (Job 34:2; Proverbs 1:5)
And I pray for guidance through your gift of discernment. (Proverbs 1:5)
Guide me along your right paths that your name would be glorified. (Psalm 23:3; John 14:13)
Guide me, Lord, and hold me fast with your right hand. (Psalm 139:10)
I commit all that I do to you, oh God,
that my plans be your plans established through me. (Proverbs 16:3)
I am your masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) bearing fruit in every good work,
and growing in the knowledge of you! (Colossians 1:10)
Please guide me with your counsel. (Psalm 73:24)
Direct me in the path of your commands. (Psalm 119:35)
Lead me by your truth and teach me (Psalm 25:25)
that I would serve in your strength, so that in all things you may be praised
through Christ Jesus. (1 Peter 4:11)
Let’s do this together. Let’s make 2014 a year of action, daring, pursuit, exploration. Let’s tell others about our faith and about who we are and about our beautiful dreams.
These might be nice, poetic words … but I mean it. If not now, when?
Ready to grow? Register now for the “Beyond Resolutions” Journal-Coaching Challenge!
(Registration form at bottom of page)
I recently had an “encounter” with my own limitations … in a parking garage. I traveled to Colorado for Christmas to see my sons and other family and friends. While there, I rented a car for a few days so that I could have lunch here and dinner there, catching up with all my ladies (who I miss so much since I moved all the way to South Carolina three years ago).
Anyway, on this particular night I parked in an underground parking garage. Next to a cement pole. (You know what’s coming, don’t you?) After dinner, my friend, Amy, and I got in the car, still chatty after 3 hours of talking, reminiscing, solving the problems of the world. As I slowly backed out of the parking space, I tried to watch every direction at once – and talk and listen – all at the same time. I looked over my right shoulder and that’s when I heard: “CRACK!” Uh-oh.
I caught the outside mirror on the cement pole. Broke it to bits.
Here are the lessons I am taking into 2014 from that experience: (1) You can really only move in one direction at a time, look in one direction at a time, focus on one thing at a time if you intend to be productive and stay in one piece! (2) Don’t enter the New Year with your eyes in a rear view mirror. We’re not looking back – we’re looking forward. So let go of what’s behind and face what is ahead: A brand new year.
Happy New Year, Everyone! And may God bless every day with joy and peace as you grow your beautiful life!
If you really did grow out of the ground, what would you be? A type of tree? A certain flower? A field of green grass? Would you blossom underground like a root vegetable? Spread across whatever you touch, like a flowering vine?
Perhaps I am Clover … growing my roots just under the surface, fertilizing the soil for myself and every other plant and flower, then sprouting up with a subtle, cute white flower and – every now and then – surprising my friends with a four-leaf, lucky surprise!
Join us on a new adventure: “Beyond Resolutions,” the Journal-Coaching challenge for 2014!
I recently “Liked” a facebook page that has some positive, encouraging messages. Unfortunately, other posts deliver messages of bitterness, revenge and negativity. Sometimes these attitudes are masked as strength, independence and self-esteem. We need to pay attention to know the difference.
For instance, “Do not get my personality and my attitude twisted. My personality is me and my attitude depends on you!”
You might be tempted to respond with an, “AMEN, SISTA!” But think again. Do you really want to grow your beautiful life by putting your attitude in the hands of other people? Are you living your life re-actively, letting others control how you feel and how you behave? Or are you working toward choosing your own attitude based on your faith, your goals, and your beautiful heart?
When you are not sure whether your initial response to something is a good choice or a reactive one, refer to these two Bible verses for guidance:
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person
by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you,
which is good and pleasing and perfect.
I just wanted to let you know about a new, 10-week challenge available to you starting January 12, 2014. It’s called “Beyond Resolutions” and it is a Journal-Coaching project to help you go beyond those New Year’s Resolutions you’ve made in the past.
In BEYOND RESOLUTIONS, you will identify your values and passions, set goals AND create an action plan to meet those goals. You will face your self-sabotage behaviors head-on and deal with some of your time-wasting habits. Most of all, IF you choose, you will make real progress and set the stage for an AWESOME and PRODUCTIVE 2014!!
Oh – I almost forgot – weekly blog posts for BEYOND RESOLUTION will allow you to join with other women who are working as hard has you are to create your BEAUTIFUL LIVES! So you won’t be going it alone. AND all of this is FREE OF CHARGE. But you will have to work for it.
Are you ready?
I’m at that point in life where almost everyone on my gift list is an adult – and most of those adults have everything they need. So I’ve transitioned my gift-giving from items to experiences: gift certificates to restaurants or the theater or a local bakery. Good experiences make happy memories, and memories last longer than sweaters or toasters or another bottle of perfume.
Who do you know who could use some personal support? Who in your life has been trying to implement a positive change in their lives but just hasn’t been able to make their idea work? Who wants to switch careers or move up into a promotion and needs a little more encouragement or accountability than you can offer? Who needs help creating a balanced life … a more spirit-filled life … the BEAUTIFUL LIFE you know they deserve?
If someone pops into your head as you read those descriptions, consider giving the gift of one-on-one life coaching! I have a special package available at a truly affordable price. And if, after the introductory session and first full session of coaching, your friend or family member is not happy with the coaching experience, I offer a money-back guarantee.
So GIVE THE GIFT OF COACHING this year – a gift that will enhance someone’s life and last a lifetime!
In my last post, I talked about integrity – how it “grows out of who you are at the core of your being…” But how do we know who we are at our core? And how did that ‘core’ get there in first place? I believe, as the Bible says, that God planted a spiritual seed in each of us before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5). This is why I’m naming God “The Master Gardener.”
How does the idea of “growing” your life resonate with you? Our culture puts a high emphasis on ACTION: plans, activities, and work, work, work as the pathway to a successful life. And I am all for action – coaching always leads to goals and a plan and active accountability. Where I’m focusing now, though, is the motivation that spurs the action – the ROOTS of who you are and why you do things.
When my son, Alex, was about 6 years old, he was watching television one day and suddenly called, “Mom, come here! I need to tell you something!” So I put down my dish rag and headed for the family room. “I know what I want to be when I grow up,” he said. “I want to be a really tall man!” I laughed. “A really tall man? Why is that?” “Because I want to be a famous basketball player and they are all really tall!”
Wisdom often comes from the mouths of babes. Think about it. He didn’t say, “I want to learn to play basketball.” He first realized he needed to be tall. Alex did grow to be a tall man but obviously not by his own effort. God planted tallness in him before he was born. The same goes for our callings in life. A calling lies so deep within us that we cannot deny it, and we are not satisfied in our life unless we pursue it. But how do we know our calling? How do we know when we’re at all on track?
In “Building a Discipling Culture,” Mike Breen and the 3DM Team have laid out a method of growing discipleship using geometric shapes to illustrate spiritual-, personal-, and community-growth processes. I’m adapting their triangle to fit our topic here. The triangle on the right shows us how we must place God first (“Step One”) when we’re ready to grow our beautiful lives. (1) Start at the top (God): take quiet time with God. Pray for direction and then be quiet and listen. Read your Bible. (2) Go inward (You): God will grow your calling in you. Share your sense of this with a trusted spiritual partner. Write it out. Get coaching. Begin to make a plan. (3) Go outward (the world): take action on your calling. Set goals. Take some steps forward and see what happens. Then go back to (1) and keep the process going.
God, the Master Gardener, is step one to Growing Your Beautiful Life. If you don’t know where to start, take some quiet time on a regular basis. Spend some time in a garden or park or forest. Observe how God grows nature and know that He is growing you too. Trust that your Master Gardener has a plan for you – and listen for the still small voice to point the way.
Perhaps I’m showing my age here, but do you remember this nursery rhyme? “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow…”
As with many children’s rhymes written in the 1700’s, this ditty has political and religious connotations, speaking more about the queen’s attitude and the peasants’ burdens … the discordance of the outward show held up against the truths of daily life. I wonder how much has really changed since then.
During my training as a Christian Life Coach, I participated in a personal values evaluation. I discovered that one of my five top values is INTEGRITY. This means, basically, “What you see is what you get.” The outside matches the inside. Or at least this is what I strive for. Our visual, media-driven, consumer-centered culture (yep, I said it) tends not to support the development of integrity-centered living. A life of integrity doesn’t require surgery or expensive clothes or technological updates. Integrity grows out of who you are at the core of your being when you are open and honest about yourself.
How does your garden grow? Are you contrary? Are your daily choices taking you in one direction while, inwardly, you wish you were living another way? Do the words that come out of your mouth serve to strengthen your relationships, or isolate you? Are you purposefully planting the types of seeds that will grow the life you’ve always wanted? Or are you scattering any seed you find?
In tomorrow’s post, I’ll explain how you can start the process of Growing Your Beautiful Life with a God-Centered plan. In the meantime, please feel free to comment: What are your thoughts on INTEGRITY, VALUES and our CURRENT CULTURE?