Search for Significance

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Search for Significance dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

What are you worth? How can you put a price on something that is one of a kind? It is an age old question for which people seek to find the answer. Does my life matter? Why am I here? Does what I think and feel really mean anything in the scheme of life?

It is a deep subject and not easily answered in a brief blog, but here are a few thoughts to consider if you have ever had those questions or know someone who is struggling with their identity:

  • First and foremost, you have to realize that how you think and feel about yourself may be accurate, but it also could be distorted depending on your life circumstances and your own mental health. Nobody on this planet has had your life. They may have had similar circumstances and can “relate” to how you think and feel, but nobody has truly walked in your shoes. You are unique. Even identical twins are unique because of genetics and circumstances they each experience differently. So my point here is to value the fact that you are unique. There is a reason you are here. You have something to do that nobody else can do like you would.
  • When you question what your purpose is, that is both simple and complex. It is simple in that everyone has a purpose. It is complex in that you and only you can really determine what that purpose is. I, being a Christian, believe that God has created each of us for a “divine” purpose. When my will aligns with God’s will, the pieces start to fall into place like a jigsaw puzzle. It may take a while to see the big picture, but eventually you understand the “what.” You may never understand the “why” of life, but the “what” CAN and needs to be found.

I use the Bible and God’s Holy Spirit to guide me in what I do. I realize not everyone shares my faith, but I am simply sharing with you what I have found. I believe God created me with various gifts. I have been told that I am outgoing and creative. I do love to be around people. I love to laugh and I find pleasure in the simple things of life. I discovered my passion for writing in 10th grade and have not stopped writing since. This is definitely part of my purpose…to instill salt and light in a world that is perishing by encouraging and inspiring people with my words. I just try to do my part and let God use my gifts as He sees fit.

Everyone has a purpose. It is up to each of us to discover what that is, then pursue it with all that we have. It is when we walk in our purpose that our steps have true significance. I hope and pray that you take the first step in discovering who you are and why you are here.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Storms

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Storms danskognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI think the only people who like storms are storm chasers and weather men because it pays them, but I am not really talking about the weather here. I am talking about the storms of life, and nobody likes those! For one thing, the only people who get paid are psychotherapists, emergency rooms, drug dealers, and funeral homes!

A few things I have learned about the storms we go through:

  • Going through a storm is like looking in a mirror and really seeing who you are inside and out. It will reveal your fears, your faith, and who your real friends are.
  • Storms come when you least expect them and they often come in multiples. So, expect the unexpected.
  • It is probably a good thing to have a storm shelter. It might be your spouse, you Mom and Dad, a trusted friend, but don’t forget God. He is our ultimate shelter. Have someone you can turn to for advice and encouragement.
  • There are storms that we sometimes create for ourselves. When you do create one, don’t complain when it rains and you get caught in a flood.
  • There is good that can come out of a storm. People will come to your aid in incredible ways, God will answer prayers and build your faith, and you will see life through different eyes. Once you have been through a few storms, you will be able to encourage those who are in the midst of their own storm because you have been through the same thing yourself. You may be the rainbow after the rain for someone.
  • Like the old saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Learn to navigate and endure, but also learn to avoid storms.

I realize that life is tough for most people. We all have our storms to endure. It might be a failed relationship, a lost job, death of a loved one or dear pet. The list is endless. When you are facing a storm, just remember you are not alone. Seek your storm shelter…and by all means ask God to calm the storm and help you through it. He is often the only one who truly CAN.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Best Teacher

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The Best Teacher dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1

Life is filled with teachers. Some of them are great and some of them are (to put it politely) terrible. The real question here is: which ones do YOU learn from?

These are just a few of the teachers I have met and some of what I learned:

  • Strengths and weaknesses. Know them in yourself first and foremost. Know your weaknesses, but work on your strengths.
  • Past experience. Learn from your mistakes. If you don’t, you simply get to retake the test.
  • Pain and suffering. This is one of the greatest teachers I have had. It has a way of focusing my mind and heart towards God like nothing else.
  • Success. I learned that it is about relationships and not things.
  • Failure. Failing does not make us a failure. It simply points us in a different direction. We only become a failure if we refuse to learn the lessons.
  • Love. This is the greatest teacher I have had by far. Learning to love God first and with all my heart, and then to love others in the way that God loves them puts things in perspective.
  • Fear. This is a terrible teacher and yet one I have learned from time and time again. If I don’t face my fears, they become my reality and I miss the blessings God intended for me.
  • Peace. I love this teacher. Shalom is at the core of my foundation. When I am faced with the storms of life, I find my Shalom in the Prince of Peace.
  • War. If there is anything I have learned from history is that if we don’t learn from it, then we are doomed to repeat it. While war is sometimes the only way to confront evil, I always pray for peace.
  • Worry. This teacher has taught me what a waste it is to worry. Nothing good comes from it. Nothing!
  • Self-esteem. I have learned that I have to know and respect myself. If I have no self-esteem and don’t believe in myself, why should I expect anyone else to?
  • Pride and humility. I learned that pride is repulsive to all except the one who has it, and humility is embraced by all except the ones who abuse it.
  • Time. This is a great teacher in that we all have the same amount of it. It is what we do with it that becomes the teacher.
  • Dogs. I love dogs. They teach me all the time to love and live life in the moment. Enjoy the simple things. Stick your head out the window…preferably when you are not driving. LOL.
  • Kids. Great wisdom is found in the things that kids say and do. They have a simplicity and innocence that I love being around.
  • Control. I realize I control very little when all is said and done. I have to simply do my best and have faith in God through the test.
  • Change. It is inevitable. I can’t change that. Another thing we can’t change is other people. People will resist if they see you are trying to change them.
  • Judging others. This is a terrible teacher and many are hurt by this one. If we just focus on getting the beam out of our own eyes, we have our hands full.
  • Money. Love God and people. Use money. Never get the two confused.
  • Jesus. He was and is the ultimate teacher. He sums up everything above. He taught using parables and often answered questions with a question forcing people to think deeper. He taught servant leadership, sacrifice, empathy, encouragement, obedience, humility, kindness and justice. He modeled the ability to live without fear, how to live a life full of faith, and ultimately…how to love.

I have found the greatest teachers are simply the ones I have learned from, and I meet them every day.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Expect To See The Hand Of God

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Expect To See The Hand Of God dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator3From time to time I have someone tell me that God is just not showing up in their lives. I feel the frustration in their words. I don’t know about you, but I wish I could get God on the phone and do some Facetime with Him. Unfortunately, that is not how God has chosen to communicate with us, despite all the technology that we have at hand.

One thing I have learned is that as I press in to God…seeking Him wholeheartedly…I see the hand of God move. I seek the face of God in a variety of ways:

  • Reading God’s Word. The Bible says it is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. If we don’t read it, how can we expect to really know God and what He wants for us?
  • Having regular prayer time to speak with Him. For me it is best if it is quiet and free from distractions like the phone, TV, computer, dogs barking, etc. Early morning is one time I know that I am going to be free from all of that.
  • Praising Him. The Scriptures say that God inhabits the praises of His people, so if I want to be in His presence, I have to learn to praise Him. There are two times to praise God: 1. When you feel like it. 2. When you don’t.
  • Corporate worship and fellowship. There is something special about being with a group of like-minded believers studying the Scriptures and praising God. They are a source of encouragement to one another and help each other to weather the storms of life. God thought enough about the church to describe it as “the Bride of Christ.” Scripture tells us not to neglect gathering together as some have chosen to do. God knew we needed the encouragement of fellow believers.

There is nothing magical here. There is no formula for getting God to speak and move in your behalf. However, what we do have is a blueprint of different ways that God uses to speak to us. This is not an exhaustive list by any means. I did not touch on Angels, Spouses, family and friends, strangers, circumstances, nature, etc., etc. There are countless ways that God speaks to us on a daily basis. We just have to tune in and pay attention.

My prayer for you as you read this is that God will give you new eyes to see, new ears to hear, and a new mind to understand the depth of love that He has for you, your family, and for all mankind. Seek the face of God with all that you have and all that you are. You WILL see the hand of God moving in your behalf. Expect it.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Worry is a Waste

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Worry Is A Waste dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1Are you one of those people who love to imagine the worst things when it comes to the future? Have you ever wondered why you do this? Why do you dwell on what might happen in the future to the detriment of what is happening now?

Here are a few things I know about worry:

  • It robs you of the joy of the present. You will miss countless blessings going on right now if you focus on the “what ifs” of the future.
  • It accomplishes nothing good. It clutters your brain with useless information. It derails you from tasks at hand. It deflates your energy. It causes health problems. It harms other people because of the negativity attached to it. Need I go on?
  • Worry is rooted in fear. You have to identify that fear and confront it head on. If you are allowing worry to rule your thoughts and behavior, you will never have peace. If you don’t have peace in your life, what do you really have?
  • Worry is a habit….a bad one. Most people who worry do it on a regular basis. They have become accustomed to expecting the worst in life.
  • Worry can be replaced with faith. When you have faith in God and faith in yourself, it is like putting on a good pair of glasses. You just see things more clearly.

I understand that you may have things that have happened in your life that I could not possibly understand. I don’t claim to. I only know that worrying about them and what will happen tomorrow will do nothing positive for you. Don’t waste time and energy on things that may or may not happen. If you can do something to change your circumstances in a positive fashion, then by all means do it. If you can’t, let it go and move on. Life is too short to be stuck in reverse.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Goliath

Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

Goliath dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator (2)Everyone has a giant or two that they have to face in order to experience their destiny. One of the reasons I love the story of David and Goliath is that the odds were totally stacked in favor of Goliath. On paper, David did not have a snowball chance in Texas of surviving the duel. David was the definite underdog, and yet he was the winner.

Here are a few lessons that we can all learn from the story:

  • In Goliath’s case, the over-confidence in his size and abilities turned out to be his downfall. Lesson one is: don’t overestimate your ability. I don’t care how big you are, how mean you are, or how many resources are at your disposal. Know your limitations and by all means, know your opponent.
  • In David’s case, he had been training for years in the wilderness. He had already killed a lion, a bear, and no telling what other wild creatures that tried to take his sheep. Lesson two is: if you go into battle fully prepared, your skills and experience can compensate for lack of physical weapons and armor. David was incredibly skillful with a simple slingshot. Be a skilled warrior.
  • In Goliath’s case, he was counting on his own strength and might. Lesson three is: don’t rely on your own strength. David had the strength of the Lord on his side. It does not get any better than that! If God is for you, who can be against you and survive? Nobody! You and God are a majority.
  • In David’s case, he did not let fear nor the taunting of others (including his oldest brother) dissuade him from the task at hand. Lesson four: fear neither people nor circumstances. He knew God was with him, and he knew his own skills. Because of that, there was absolutely nothing for him to fear. He did not run from his fear. When the army of Israel was running from what they feared, he ran directly to it.
  • In Goliath’s case, he thought his size, his armor, weapons, and experience would be what he needed to win. What he did not realize is that there was a spiritual battle going on simultaneously, and that battle had already been won by David. Nothing Goliath could wear would help him, and no weapon he used would hurt David. The hand of God was with David because he put God first and totally submitted to Him. Lesson five: put on the whole armor of God and you will be successful. It is not what you put on you, but what you put in you that matters.
  • Lesson six: both men went into the battle totally confident that they would win, yet only one of them would survive. Evil may win for a season and it may appear that all is lost, but good always triumphs in the end.

It does not matter how big the Goliath is that you are facing right now. Follow David’s example and you will prevail. Your destiny awaits you on the other side of your Goliath. Faith your fears.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Grow Up

Posted in Funny, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Grow Up dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1I was trying to get a little girl to move up closer to a couple of little boys in the lunch line. When I asked her if she would, she said, “No. They are nasty!” I told her, “Unfortunately, it will be a while before they outgrow that. Be patient with them.” She got this far away look in her eyes and said, “Some of them will never outgrow it.” Wow, out of the mouths of babes. She did not realize the truth of what she spoke.

Later that same morning in the lunchroom one of the custodians came over to me and asked me if I had kids. I shook my head yes. He said, “I can’t believe I was ever this brain dead!”  LOL. He had asked some kid why he had thrown food and the kid got this deer in the headlight look and just sat there. He had no good excuse.  Busted!

Here are a few things I have observed. They are broken down by age groups. See if you can identify any of these behaviors in adults you know:

  • Kindergarten kids. They are in your face all the time and very needy. They have few social skills, are very possessive, and expect you to do everything for them. They are learning the art of tattling.
  • 1st and 2nd graders. Slightly more skilled socially, but boys and girls do not respect the other gender. They have mastered the art of tattling and still want to be in your face and talk over you when you are talking.
  • 3rd and 4th graders. At this age they are starting to find their friends and become aware that they either fit in or don’t. They tend to listen better than the younger kids, but they are more opinionated and still easily offended. They are learning the art of blaming others or blaming their circumstances for their bad choices.
  • 5th and 6th graders. Wow. Not sure what happened to their judgment, but there is very little common sense at this age. If someone dares you, you do it. If someone pushes you or offends you in any way, you push back and at the very least give them your smack talk. Girls and boys are starting to be attracted to the other gender and there is constant giggling and whispering about each other. Neither gender understands the other one, but there is something that attracts them like the moth to the flame.

Unfortunately, you can probably think of adults that are still stuck in some of these behaviors. I think this explains why some kids can’t seem to adjust their own behaviors. Look at their role models.

I was laughing with one of my fellow 3rd grade teachers. I asked her, “Wouldn’t you love to have had ME as one of your students?” She rolled her eyes and said, “I would have had to be correcting YOU a lot!” I actually was a pretty good kid and seldom got in trouble. The times I did get in trouble were when I talked too much or was laughing about something. I found out in 4th grade math class that I could make people laugh just by burping.  LOL. That was funny for the moment, but I caught it when I got home with Dad.

There is a proverb that says: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, understood as a child, I thought as a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things. If you are a grown up, it is time to grow up.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Quit Worrying

Posted in Funny, Motivational, Spiritual

Our Basic Needs dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

 

Have a little faith.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Gratitude and Faith

Posted in General, Motivational, Spiritual

Gratitude and Faith dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator2If you are stuck in reverse and continue to live in the past, try changing how you look at things. Be grateful for the good that happens and the blessings you have experienced. Expect good things in the future and give thanks for them now. Your attitude will dictate whether you get yourself in gear, but your faith will give you the gas to move forward and a compass to guide you. A great attitude and faith will take you to a place of peace, prosperity, and purpose. Let the past be in the past and fix your eyes on where you want to be. Appreciate what you have, and stay the course. Great things await you. Enjoy the journey.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Laced Up

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Laced Up dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorOne of the things that a teacher in elementary school has to constantly do is tell kids to lace up their shoes. The little guys need help, but the older ones for some reason are just lazy about it.

I had to laugh the other day at one girl who continually leaves at least one shoe lace undone. I asked her kindly to lace up her shoes for her own safety as well as the safety of other kids. This particular day she ignored my request and would you believe it? She tripped on them!

As I was thinking about this problem, the analogy of prayer came to mind. Most people know that prayer is a good thing, but they simply get too busy or are too lazy to lace up their lives each day in prayer. I am going to encourage you just like I do my kids at school. Lace up!  Hopefully you have your shoes tied if you are reading this, but I want to encourage you to lace up in prayer.

Lacing up will provide you with:

  • Peace
  • Power
  • Protection

Who doesn’t need that, right? It is a continual process when it comes to prayer, so you need to check your laces throughout the day and lace up. Just like kid shoes can come undone throughout the day, so can your life. You will find that when you stay laced up it is a blessing to you and all those that you encounter.

I can hear someone out there saying they wear slip-ons just to throw me a curve. Well, you slipper folks need to slip into prayer as well. You are not off the hook! Another word for slip-ons is “loafers.” Hmmmm. I wonder what THAT implies?  LOL. Wrapping your life in prayer is critical to facing the daily battles we all face. Why would anyone go into battle without one of their primary weapons?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes