Archive for the ‘Challenges’ Tag

Holding On to Hope   Leave a comment

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There are times in life when the challenges can appear overwhelming.  The list of concerns becomes longer.  The uncertainty seems to be more than those things which are certain.  During these times, a person can easily become bogged down and weary.  Each day becomes a struggle.  Focus and determination can appear elusive. It is during such times that reminding one’s self that there is hope becomes vital.  Having individual(s) who will support and restore hope is critical.

I consider myself extremely fortunate.  I have a strong faith in my Lord.  I have people in my life who provide me more support and hope than many.  I must wonder what it would be like if I did not have these two elements in my life.  Each day I read in the newspaper or see on television situations that are truly devastating.  When I am made of aware of these situations, I quickly wonder how the people impacted by them are able to move forward.  Do they have a faith in a Lord who is far greater than any situation on earth?  Do they have a strong support system of friends and family?  I confess that I truly cannot see how anyone can go through difficulties without those two elements.

So I want to remind all of you, hold on to the hope that you have.  Each day is a new beginning with new possibilities.  Make sure that you invite people into your life that can restore your hope when events tear it down.  Have some type of faith which will help you to remember that there is someone greater than anything in this world.  Hold on to hope!


Something Bigger   Leave a comment

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Sometimes in life it is easy to get caught up in the daily details of your life.  You get to worrying so much about those details that it seems they become huge.  Everyone has struggles and challenges.  Without even noticing it, you can become so worried about your details that you forget that you are not the only one in the world.  Unintentionally, your focus shifts to you and what is going on in your life without giving consideration to the challenges in the lives of other individuals.  This situation is something which Jesus referenced often in his teaching.  He continually questioned people about what is the central focus of their lives.

Then there are days when a person is given the opportunity to be awakened to the bigger aspects of life.  I find this type of day to be a great gift.  I am reminded that there is something bigger.  Without denying the situations occurring in my life, I am made aware of a much bigger life which includes the situations in the lives around me.  I also am given the reminder that there is someone bigger than myself who is much more capable of handling the various situations which create challenges in life.  Also, on days of awakening, I am able to see that there are more positives than negatives in life.

So today, I say thank you to the Lord for the days which awaken me to something bigger.  I say thank you to the Lord for being much bigger than myself and much more capable of handling my struggles and the struggles of my family, friends, neighbors, and those who I have not met yet.

The Loch Ness Monster   1 comment

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This week there was a Google doodle regarding the Loch Ness monster.  You probably recall that there is a legend indicating that some sort of aquatic creature lives in a lake in Scotland.  There have been claims of photographs capturing images of this creature as it surfaces.  Despite years of stories and multiple attempts to locate and capture this creature, the Loch Ness monster appears to be elusive to even the greatest technologies of humanity. Yet the legend will not die.

The image of this elusive creature came into my mind this morning as I pondered some situations in a couple of the organizations in which I have involvement.  Much like the Loch Ness monster, these organizations have something which seems to live just below the surface but on occasion rears its head to breach the surface.  When this occurs, the seemingly tranquil waters are disturbed and there is great angst, fear, and disruption that transpires.  Many want to pass all of this off as legend but it is very real (maybe the key difference with the Loch Ness monster).

The cause of this underlying creature within organizations can be varied.  Some would attribute it to a need for certain individuals to acquire or maintain control and power.  Some would attribute it to greed.  Still others would say that what feeds the creature is a desire to shape the organization according to one’s own definitions.  Whatever has led to the existence of and on-going feeding of this creature in the organization, the results are always the same…. deterioration and eventual death of the organization.

Leaders in an organization which has been infected with such a creature need to work at removing it from the organization.  This can be as much of a challenge as the one presented to researchers who want to study the Loch Ness monster.  Finding the source and nurturing of the creature can be elusive.  Even if one is successful in capturing the creature, what to do with it is another quandary.  The work can be exhausting and achievement can be difficult.  Yet, it is vital that this occurs so that the inevitable death can be averted.

Waiting Quietly   Leave a comment

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One of the biggest challenges that I have is taking time to sit in silence.  I am a highly driven individual who always seems to have an endless to-do list.  I am also somewhat extroverted so I am used to engaging people in conversation fairly frequently and easily.  Sitting in silence often equates in my mind with wasting time.  However, I have over the last few years been placed in situations which require me to sit in silence.  Because of these experiences, I have gained an appreciation for waiting quietly.  I would say that I still struggle with this approach most of the time but I am trying to discipline myself to create time and space for me to sit in silence.

What I have discovered when I allow myself to wait quietly is that benefits exist in this practice.  I have found that when I place a hold on my activity, sit quietly, and let my thoughts just be open, I have been able to hear the Holy Spirit better.  There have been times when in those times of silence, I have gained insight into challenges which I am currently experiencing.  During a few of these times, I have sensed guidance in new directions and approaches.  Still other times, I have been able to release tension and reduce my anxiety.

This has led me to deliberate commit myself to create more times of silence in my life.  Recently, I put together a plan regarding four major areas of my life.  One piece of that plan includes establishing more dedicated times for discernment which requires waiting quietly.  I know that this will continue to be a challenge for me.  My behavior patterns and perceived personality runs contrary to this new discipline.  However, I believe that this will have deep and long-term impact on my life.  Therefore, I will strengthen my effort to make this part of my plan a reality.

Finding The Beauty   Leave a comment

Image provided by Darla Millhollin

Image provided by Darla Millhollin

This weekend we received the first  (and only, so far) significant snow storm of the winter season.  Since I was having to travel, I was less than enchanted by the snow.  In fact, as I have grown in age, I have become less and less enchanted with snow.  So I can easily do a lot of grumbling about the winter storms which hit the Midwest.  However, some of my Facebook friends have caused me to pause even briefly and appreciate the beauty that can be found in the way the snow covers the trees, bushes and ground.  As they have posted pictures of the snow in their area and made comments about its beauty, I have been forced to look at the beauty which is the landscape around me.

All of this has led me to remember that even in what appears to be difficult, frustrating, or challenging situations, we can find beauty.  We  all want our plans to work out just has we have laid them out but life does not always happen in such neatly organized ways.  I am one who can easily become frustrated when my plans do not materialize as I envision them.  However, even in those times, there can be something good, maybe even beautiful, which occurs.  I need to remember to take the time to pause and look for the beauty.

So I challenge myself and each of you, to find the beauty wherever you may find yourselves this week.

Posted February 3, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life

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Growth Challenges   Leave a comment

By looking at the title of today’s post, one might assume that I am going to write about either a growth hormone issue or the issues related to increasing the size of an organization.  However, my intent is neither of those sets of issues.  Instead I decided to title today’s post as I did because I want to put forth the idea that challenges in our lives present us with a great opportunity to grow personally.

Many people find the negative aspects of challenges in life.  They allow the challenges to discourage them, some even to the point of depression.  Challenges become something to avoid or minimize.  This can lead to not being willing to take risks or take on increase responsibility or involvement.  Honestly, everyone dreams of a challenge-free life (and as a believer, I know the reality of that is coming).  However, we all know that life as we experience now cannot be challenge-free.  We all will face challenges in our personal and professional lives.  This is the current nature of humanity and human interactions.

Today, I want to propose to you the idea of looking at life challenges as the doorway to growing as a person.  I began thinking about this after a recent conversation with my mentor and very close friend.  We were discussing a challenge in my life.  I was leaning toward a negative perspective of this challenge.

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I was looking at the challenge as a win-lose scenario.  However, he presented the perspective of viewing this challenge as a gift; a gift that would allow growth in the situation.  After the discussion, I had a more positive view of the challenge.  For me, the key difference was seeing what potential growth could take place in my life and my relationships because of the challenge.

If we are able to look at challenges as an opportunity for us to grow, then I believe that challenges will not be something to avoid but something to embrace.

One Foot In Front of the Other   Leave a comment

Many times in life I think that we get so paralyzed because we perceive that life can be so difficult.  While I do not want to minimize the challenges that many of us have on a regular basis, I think we can easily forget that many of those challenges can become manageable if we break them down into easier steps.  When we do not make the attempt to deal with the challenge, we are stuck in the same place and the challenge remains.  However, if we take one step at a time, we can manage through and often overcome the challenge.

I know that it is not Friday but I still wanted to drive this point home with a video clip from my childhood.  This clip is part of a Christmas special entitled Santa Clause Is Coming To Town.  In this clip, Old Winter is bemoaning the fact that he finds it impossible to change from his mean ways.  Kris Kringle tells him that it is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

So remember this when something appears to be insurmountable.

Posted September 24, 2014 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life

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