I doubt that I would get much argument in saying that we live in trying times. Life is stressful and some days it seems that the pressure is almost unbearable. I don’t care who you are. It does not matter where you live, who your family is, or what your economic circumstances are. We all have to deal with stress of some sort on a daily basis.
Here is the key to making it through the stresses of life. Remember this: Trying times are not the time to quit trying. Expect conflict. Expect resistance. That is part of life. Don’t be surprised when things don’t go your way. Just because you get resistance does not mean there is no viable solution. You may have to get creative, but learning to collaborate with others can help you see situations in a different light. You can learn to confront and still collaborate.
If you are going through stress in your marriage or relationship, just because you don’t see eye to eye does not mean you can’t commit to still walking hand in hand. When an old couple who had been married for 60 years was asked for their formula for success in marriage, they said: “Divorce was never an option. We considered murder a few times, but never gave a thought to divorce.” LOL. Anyone who has been married for any length of time knows that it takes two people rowing in the same direction to make it work. Otherwise, you will go in circles or sink the boat.
It has been said that a lot of little digs can bury a marriage (or any relationship). If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging. Throwing verbal jabs at someone can leave lasting scars and women have an uncanny ability of remembering every jab you ever threw years after you have forgotten the incident. Be kind to each other. Practice random acts of kindness daily with those you care about. Love is an action verb and needs to be expressed in word and deed.
If you are going through trying times, don’t despair. Do these things and you will make it:
Learn to love others generously.
Forgive offences daily.
Laugh at yourself and your circumstances, but not at others.
Treat time as your most valuable asset.
Learn the value of giving yourself to others without expecting anything in return.
Be grateful for what you have.
Don’t give up hope.
Draw closer to God.
These are the things that will keep you focused, centered, and motivated to keep going when the storms are beating down your door. In learning to weather the storms you will find yourself to be stronger, wiser, and able to persevere the next storm. Learn to set your sails to the wind. Adapt to the circumstances, but stay the course.
Nobody likes pain…at least if you are a normal person. Pain is, well…a pain! It tells us when to stop doing something that is harmful. So, in that essence, pain is your friend…but you don’t have to like it.
Pain is not a respecter of people. Everyone experiences it. You can have pain on a variety of levels: emotional, physical, or spiritual. Regardless of the source of the pain, I have found this to be true: Your greatest pain can give birth to your purpose.
I can give you story after story of people who endured great pain and came through it with a sense of purpose because their pain ignited a flame. Think for a moment about someone like John Walsh who hosted the TV hit series America’s Most Wanted show. John’s son Adam was abducted and killed. As a result of the terrible pain he endured, he became an advocate for human and victim rights. Hundreds of cases were brought to light as a result of his show, and because of his passion and intense focus many of the criminals were caught and brought to justice.
Another example is a personal friend of mine, Brian Fleming. He became a Purple Heart recipient when a suicide bomber tried to kill him in Afghanistan. After enduring second and third degree burns and multiple surgeries, his mess became his message. He now speaks to people around the world about what he endured. He has a special focus on ministering to Vets who suffer from Post-traumatic Stress. When he talks they listen because he has walked in their shoes. He understands firsthand the depth of their despair, but more importantly, he can point them to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Nick Vujicic is an example of someone who is an overcomer. He was born with no arms and no legs! I can’t even begin to imagine how you have a life worth living with no limbs, but he is no ordinary guy. He chose to make his problem his platform. He is amazing in his zest for life. He travels around the world and speaks to groups about living with purpose. When you hear his story and see him speak, you realize that your problems are not so big after all. What he has done with his limitations is nothing short of miraculous.
Pain has a purpose, and it is not just for you. It is for all those you encounter as well. No matter what you’ve gone through, put a voice to your message. Share your story as a way to encourage others who are going through what you have endured. In doing so you will help heal the wound in them and strengthen your own soul at the same time. That is where true healing begins for everyone.
Kenny Chesney has a popular song out right now that is really good. It is called Don’t Blink. My wife and I were listening to it together and marveled at how profound that song was when it comes to summing up the brevity of life. The gist of the song is: Don’t blink or life will pass you by.
I remember as a kid how long an hour seemed…especially when I was in trouble. Now, ten years fly by like a day. That is pretty scary since I am in the second 50 years of my life. I know the clock is ticking and every day that passes brings me one step closer to meeting my Maker face to face. I am ready…but still, I feel like I have a lot to do before I go. I want my days to count for something.
The first fifty years were in many ways an extended childhood. When I was a kid I dreamed of being Superman. Now I AM Superman. My super power is I teach. When I was a kid I loved to watch Wonder Woman on TV. Now I am MARRIED to Wonder Woman. I call her Wonder Woman because I wonder what I ever did without that woman. ;o)
My journey to becoming an adult has been both rewarding and scary at times. Here are a couple of things I learned on the way to becoming a grown up:
Being an adult is not all it is cracked up to be. When you are a kid you play, go to school, eat, and sleep. You have no bills and no real issues to worry about. Mom and Dad got ya covered. You get to be a kid and do kid stuff. Now, I still want to do the kid stuff but am busy working to pay the bills and playing is something I have to work into the schedule…plus I don’t have the energy I used to have.
As a kid I always told my age in half years. I was not 5 years old. I was 5½! I wasn’t 7, I was 7½! For some reason, that half was a BIG deal…at least to me. Nobody else seemed to really notice. Now I just as soon not talk about how old I am! My advice to kids is: stay kids as long as humanly possible. You will grow up soon enough and the responsibilities will be much easier to handle as an adult if you have learned how to just be a kid first. Of course, if you are 21 or older, it is time for you to get out of the house and start your own life (i.e. Grow up!).
The internet is making it much harder for kids to stay kids. They are exposed to things too fast to even comprehend. Parents: Please monitor what your kids see on the internet and monitor what they do on their phones. If you don’t, you will regret what happens to your kids. Innocence lost can never be reclaimed.
I have decided that I am not going to totally grow up; the reason is that kids are full of life. That is one reason why I love teaching them. They energize me. They have a hunger for learning and exploring that I never want to lose. Their innocence needs to be protected and never forgotten as adults. The next fifty years are going to be interesting as the world seems to be getting crazier by the moment. I am going to do my part to keep the world young at heart, and protect the innocence of kids as long as humanly possible. If everyone does their part in raising the kids, we will be handing over the reins to people that are prepared for the job. It does indeed take a village.
Nike has a commercial out that has a great tie-in to their slogan. The commercial says, “Yesterday you said tomorrow, so just do it!” Clever play on words. I have been thinking about doing a book for quite some time, but I have found a lot of excuses as to why I have not completed it. The truth is they are just excuses. We find time to do the things that are important to us.
There is an old joke that says: Don’t put off today what you can put off till tomorrow. LOL. Not sure exactly what to make of that, so I will put off analyzing what it means till tomorrow.
Procrastination is such an easy pit to fall into. We are too busy, too tired, too broke, too __whatever__ (you fill in the blank). I like being around people who have a sense of purpose. They know what they need to do and have set timelines to hold themselves accountable. They often have a co-worker, spouse, or friend that also helps encourage them and makes sure they don’t fall in the procrastination pit.
If you are a to-do list maker, here are a few things to consider:
If you have no intention of doing it, don’t put it on the list. If you do, you will just move it from day to day to day and eventually forget about it. I have been there and done that!
Prioritize your to-do list and stay focused on the high priority items…the ones that HAVE to be done. Consider what time and resources are required to get it done.
Take the thing you dread the most on the list and do it. It will make the other tasks easier to get accomplished.
Goal setting is just daydreaming if you don’t set a deadline and have an accountability system. So, what things have you been putting off that you need to get done? In the words of Nike, “Just Do It.”
P.S. I have started my book and completed the first 14 chapters. :o)