This time of year always has little treasurers which I find in creation. Today I was looking at the tree outside my office window. The tree is starting to have huge buds on its branches. Seeing these buds always makes me smile because I know that they are a sign that the bare branches soon will be filled with green leaves. Since I always prefer to see green leaves on the branches instead of bare branches, this makes me happy. For me, the buds are signs of hope. A hope that is founded in the reality of spring.
Considering this during some quiet time this morning, I began to ponder what signs of hope are present for me. Since this weekend is Easter, I have an obvious sign of hope rooted in my belief in the resurrection. On rainy days when a rainbow appears, I have another sign of hope. When I witness young people acting in respectful and helpful ways, I see another sign of hope.
What are the signs of hope which you experience? Do you take the time to truly take notice of signs of hope? They really are all around us but we tend to focus on the negativity in life and not spend time recognizing the signs of hope. So my challenge for myself and for those who read my blog is to spend one week naming the signs of hope that you experience throughout each day. This just might have a very lasting impact on all of us.
Image provided by kawprairie.org
If you work with people, you are well aware that there are times when a person says something but their actions is not congruent with their words. I have encountered this with individuals at various times. More importantly, I have noticed this can be a true statement about myself at times (I only notice this when I take time to reflect back.) So one of the challenges that I have placed before myself recently is to strive to reflect what I believe through the way in which I live and act. This has caused me to spend some days considering what I truly believe. While this list is still in progress, here are some of the items which I have placed on my list:
- I believe that above anything else, God loves ALL people (even the ones who I strongly disagree with).
- I believe that the Lord loves me more than I can ever describe.
- I believe God’s grace is all-sufficient. There is nothing which I can name that is not overcome by God’s forgiveness.
- I believe that I am an imperfect child of the Lord.
- I believe that the key to any relationship (human-human or human-the Lord) is communication.
- I believe that everyone deserves a chance to be understood and offered care.
- I believe everyone has value.
- I believe that the greatest challenge and greatest joy is living as the person the Lord has created you to be.
- I believe that there is hope even in the darkest of situations.
- I believe that there is no mistake which is so great that it cannot be overcome.
- I believe that I can always learn from someone if I will take the time to listen.
- I believe that I can always strive to improve but must also celebrate who I have become.
Now I have a few questions for my readers…..
Do your lives and actions truly reflect what you believe?
What would be your list of beliefs?
Do you need to work on aligning your beliefs and your life?
Today, I ran across this song and decided to share it with you:
Image provided by fbwallpics.com
I think that there is value in taking times to determine what is important. So many times we can get so caught up in the activities of life that we forget to evaluate the necessity of those activities. Whether you are in a leadership role or not, there are plenty of things to keep a person busy. The true question is if those tasks feed into what is important to you or not.
In determining what is important, you have to take a bit of time identifying the core values in your life. Over a course of time, some of those core values may change. So for me, the starting point is evaluating and naming the core values in my life. I have had more than one occasion when I have discovered there had been adjustments in my core values but all my activities and tasks had not been adjustments. When the way in which we spend our time and resources is out of alignment with our core values, we can quickly get fatigued and frustrated.
Once these core values have been named, the next step is to do some evaluation of how time and resources are allocated. Do the use of time and resources support the core values? What tasks, commitments, and activities take away from your living out of your core values? Are there new tasks, commitments, or activities which you might want to add to your life in support of your core values? These questions, and maybe a few others, will help to align your life better and allow for you to find joy in what you are doing.
I have come to understand that what is important in my life is based on how I define my core values. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of this truth.
Image provided by huffingtonpost.com
I recently had a discussion with some fellow believers about the importance of being where there are opportunities to encounter people. I have come to realize how easily it is for us to become “office” people. Some of our jobs require us to spend a large portion of our day in an office. If we have the type of office which isolates us from others, we can take on an almost hermit way of spending our day. Yet, when we become holed up in our offices, we are not able to engage with people except online.
I think that this is a disconnect from what was intended for us as people. We are social creatures. We are created to interact with other people (even introverts, although in a more measured manner). This interaction between people allows for a variety of needs which we all have. It allows for us to pass information, social norms, and values between one another. It allows for us to have our perspectives challenged so that we may continue to grow. It allows for the sense of something larger than ourselves to become manifested in our interactions and conversations. This helps us to be healthy.
As a believer, encounters with others is vital in our faith growth. As we encounter others with various beliefs, we are called to examine our understandings. We are given the opportunity to have dialogue and learn from others. We are also given the opportunity to communicate our beliefs not with words but with our interactions. The manner in which we live and interact with one another should tell them what we believe more so than even our well thought out words.
I challenge myself, and each of you, to get out in the traffic flow more often. Engage with people. We all will be better for it.
When I was in high school, one of the musicals which I performed in was “Oklahoma”. This week has had some awesome days, including today. So I thought I would share this song which is running through my head today.
I hope that you have a beautiful day!
Image provided by forgivenesshandbook.com
You may have noticed that I did not post anything last week. That is because I was a retreat center in the middle of Texas without consistent internet or cell phone signal. It is also because I was on a retreat which encouraged the participants to disconnect as much as possible. The retreat was designed to help each of us look at four significant areas of our lives – physical health, spiritual health, financial health, and vocational health. I must admit that I went to the retreat very apprehensive and very reluctant. However, now that I am on this side of the retreat, I am extremely thankful that I attended.
Throughout the week, we had the opportunity to listen to faculty speak about the different areas of our life. They provided insights and gave us opportunity to ask questions of ourselves. We also met with a small group of fellow participants on a regular basis. These meetings allowed us to share what we were discovering and discuss pieces of a plan that we were creating for the future steps we would take to improve ourselves in the four areas. We learned a lot about each other’s current situation and aspects of each other’s lives. We also had some personal time for contemplation and relaxation.
The week opened my eyes to the possibilities of new direction in my life. I was able to create a plan that would help me be a better steward of the gifts which the Lord has provided me – my body, my finances, and my talents/skills. I have already begun work on the physical and mental improvements which my plan included. I am adjusting my eating and exercise habits. My goal is to reduce my weight and to eat foods which are healthier for me.
As I came back to work today, I had a sense of new direction in my life. I am sure that I will be sharing in this blog about my progress and new discoveries along my path.