Priorities: Does The Wind Have Your Sail? (Part I)

Hey friends, how many of you are feeling challenged by priorities and obligations? I know we have talked about time management before and how to best use the time you have, however, I’d like to expand on priorities.

Why are priorities important? Priorities allow you to not only manage and balance your time, but they help you stay focused on what’s most important.

Remember, you are not all things to all people nor should you be. If this is you and you feel you have to fix, correct, and be there for everyone, this is false burden bearing; meaning you are carry luggage and other peoples’ burdens on your shoulders and it’s weighing you down! First, I must add false responsibility will never get you ahead. In order to even prioritize, I encourage you to give those roles back to those that you took it from and guide and direct others to individuals that can either assist them or to resources that will guide them accordingly. We must not fish for others, but teach them how to fish and be self-sufficient; this means taking care of you and modeling a healthy relationship and lifestyle and working on your own to be the best you can be!

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Unconditional Love Knows No Bounds

Good morning! I was doing my daily reading this morning and was reading about the parable of the good Samaritan and thought of you! If you’d like to follow along with me, this story is found in Luke 10:30-37:

‘Jesus replied with a story, “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along, but when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then…a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I am here.’

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Working Hard For The Bondage…

It came the time that I had to choose. Would I continue to exhaust myself long hours? I had fallen into the old habit of working morning through night with little to no end. I was driven by the dollar sign and the chance to make more money. I was not content with where I was. What started as intent to serve and help more people to success in my industry, turned into manipulation by a dollar sign.

My health began to deteriorate quickly. I was always exhausted and felt the pressure that what I did was never enough. I had to fix, control, and answer to everything and everyone. I had once again come into bondage and at the expense of my family being seconds. I had stopped spending as much time with them and rather than them coming before work, my work consumed me. Work was what I woke up with, all I thought about, all I discussed, and all I went to bed with at night.

Until this point I had been extremely consistent in making great income the last 9 months are so, more consistent than I had ever. I cannot believe I had been willing to risk this because somehow I thought harder and longer would be better. I was incredibly wronged and humiliated. In fact I am thankful for the ladies who shared with me from their hearts to unlock me so that my eyes may have become opened. I had begun to lost hope that anyone had truly cared about me because I was so stressed serving everyone else. I really was suffering torment with the undue pressure I placed on myself to out perform. Friends, let me tell you it was not worth it. I had begun to resent my entire life, alienating and isolating out of anger and frustration. I had become greedy to the dollar sign. This was something I had vowed not to do; never again wishing to escape into my workaholism like I once had.

I was supposed to be living a non-traditional lifestyle with my family. To me, non-traditional meant just that, deviating from traditional norms of what others were doing; working less, spending more time with family, traveling the world, doing things I enjoyed, serving others in reaching their goals, and being able to give more income than I had ever made before. I wanted guide and direct people into showing them how to be free, how to spend time with family, how to grow income, and how to gain time back.

With my stress levels it was no wonder that anyone would ever want to follow me. If I were them, I would not have wanted to follow me either. It was down to two choices: continue the disastrous path I was on OR make the decision that something in my life must change now or face some serious consequences. I didn’t know what those consequences would be, but I sure knew I was not willing to find out. CHANGE was the only option for me. God was speaking clearly to me through these two women one day and I had better have my listening ears on. He was not going to repeat himself a second time I can guarantee you that. What decision did I make? Stay tuned to find out….

Your word choice OR His???

Words…they are all something we ‘speak’ to ourselves, to others, to those we care about most. We use words to convey messages; these messages are direct communication, whether one on one or in a group. The words we speak bring us into communion and allow us to form relationships. The type of level of a relationship/rapport you build might be different depending on whether it is a co-worker, a spouse, your child, or an acquaintance. The way you choose your words may depend on how long you have known the person, how connected you are with that person, or it may depend on the authority that person carries whether its someone you truly value or even a superior.

Our day is filled with people that surround us and whether or not we like or dislike that person, we may have a relationship with them whether avoidable or not, we must learn how to address and approach situations surrounding our everyday life. Whether or not you are aware of this, the words you use are a choice. From the moment your lips open and a sound comes out, you are forming that word. The word you are forming has a shape and that shape, possesses power behind it. The words you speak are a direct identifier as part of you and who you are. When you speak, your verbal and non-verbal communication allows you to speak your words with deliberate passion and intent.

Words are a communication that go both ways. How you respond to a situation whether positive or negative with a particular individual(s) is everything. For example, we all know about those certain days we would like to forget about before they even started. You wake up 15 minutes before your alarm and are ready to conquer the world. You proceed to get out of bed and wake the kids up for school, when you realize one of them is puking in the toilet and running a 101.5 fever. You ‘believed’ this would be no trouble seeing as your husband could stay home with your little one. As you race down the stairs to notify your husband you need his assistance, he is unable because he has an important meeting at work. You try not to panic and pick up the phone to call your back-up care only to find out that they are not able to care for your child. It will now be up to you to take your child to work with you for a few hours so you can get ‘something’ accomplished. You go to make your morning coffee and get your little one ready when you realize that your husband didn’t grab coffee at the store last night from work and you are freshly out! After a few seconds of contemplation, you decide you will stop for coffee in between taking the rest of the kids to school and arriving at work. You get dressed up for work while talking on your cell phone to your secretary at work to move your morning meeting to the afternoon when you look down and realize there is a rip in your hose that go with your particular attire. Your day could not get any worse and it isn’t even lunch-time yet. How do you react to this situation?

Now I know this may be an extreme of the moody blues, of something that appeared right and went down-hill quickly. Isn’t that everyday life though? After all, everyday can’t be the perfect day. Sometimes our plans are not what the day has planned for us. We have to be prepared at a moments notice for what life may throw at us. Quite the opposite could happen and you could be having a day that couldn’t go any better. We all wish everything would go just right much of the time, and if that is you, that is great, but lets face it, this is normal, this is life.

So when you find yourself in this predicament, how do you choose to speak? Is your temperament calm and collected or do you become flustered and snap? The words you speak at these moments can be words that are of encouragement or words of discouragement, I like to think of these words as ‘life’ or ‘death’. Do you choose to encourage someone even on a day that seems like doom and gloom? After all, the person you are speaking with may not have had anything to do with you or the situation you had experienced that morning. Do they deserve to get snapped at or is it time for you to check your attitude at the door?

The best way to battle the case of the ‘no good very bad days’ is to make a decision to share a word of encouragement with someone you may or may not know, that may or may not even be aware of your morning. I encourage you to address someone you do not know or at least not very well. When you walk by them smile and make eye contact. A simple, ‘Hello, how are you doing (name)?,’ goes a long way with that person. You may be acquanted with the person, but how well do you really know them? This may be your chance to spark a conversation with them and you may be the only person able to equip them with positive encouragement for the day. They may be in a situation that they never hear anything nice and God has ‘strategically’ placed you not be coincidence, but by divine appointment (the right place at the right time). The defining moment has arrived where you must ‘choose’ your words wisely. You can take this a step further by complimenting something you admire about them even if it’s the clothing they are wearing. Stop and think about how it feels when you have a new outfit that you want to show off and someone compliments you on it. When you receive compliments, you feel honored, special, and important. When you get recognized for that award and someone calls out your name, the recognition of your achievement feels empowering. Doesn’t it feel good to be acknowledged sometimes? We are all human, we all have feelings, and we would like to know we are not going unnoticed or without acknowledgement.

When you see the positive response and warm glow of that person’s smile, you can’t help but to smile back. It feels good to know you made an impact on that person’s day. You chose to stop and smile instead of brushing past them with your head down saying a few choice words because you were late and in a hurry to punch a silly time-clock. Your words of edification have reached the depth’s of this person’s soul. Notice your words didn’t need to be profound or of eloquent speach, you just had to be willing to speak and to be used by God. You are God’s vessel, you are his instrument, through you can only He take the most rustic of clanging symbols and turn them into harmonious melodical notes. To be together in harmony speaking highly of one another creates an atmosphere of team-players. When you smile and greet those around you, you represent something so positive it becomes contagious. Those around you in your surroundings begin to look up to you and your leadership naturally comes out. What was once a stressful and potentially negative environment is now filled with positives and next thing you know everyone else wants to follow your tracks.

Crazy and mysterious things begin to happen when you are leading the way, you BECOME someone that attracts the very BEST and is able to bring out the BEST in others. God is the potter and you are the clay and now you are being groomed and molded for success as you find how to make the company’s profit margin’s grow, you go above and beyond to help your counter-part employees around you finish special projects at the knick of time, and are the first to receive extra hours and bonuses for the quality of service you bring to the table. You become the top asset to the company and when lay-offs are around the corner, you are the FIRST on the list of promotions despite the down economy.

Think for a moment if your frown upside down never became a smile, where you would be. If you choose to remain angry and hostile, instead of smiling, you bumped into that co-worker of yours and spilt coffee on their shirt and blamed them for being in the way while you were in a hurry. Can you imagine how they may have felt? The worst part about it is, you drug them down with you when you didn’t have to. They may have been having the same day you just had if not worse. Maybe that morning they received some unexpected news that their parent was in the hospital or their child has a rare disease that the hospital doesn’t know if they can cure. They are frazzled, attempting to figure out how they are going to pay for their child’s operation when the only thing wrong with yours is that they had a simple cold or flu.

When it comes down to it, words are a form of communication that builds a relationship. Had you taken 2 minutes to build a relationship, you may have been that person to encourage that co-worker when they received this heart-wrenching news. Where would you have been then if you would have known this was the case? I am sure your body language wouldn’t scream ‘leave me alone’ any longer. Your attitude is the last thing this co-worker needed to hear, that would be in an element of speaking death ‘words’ as aforementioned. You would stop to do whatever you could for them, or at least I would hope. Your immediate reaction would be to sit your cup of coffee down, give them a hug, offer them your sympathies, bring them flowers the next day, or maybe find out how you could help them through the situation. Words can be windows of opportunity, that if you are in a hurry, you will pass them by.

Think for a second if you want to be the person responsible that was meant for a specific assignment, but instead got in the way of your own day. There is always someone that needs more love, prayer, and encouragement than you. Your words can be just what they needed and the only ‘hope’ they will receive for a very long time. Funny how when you put yourself in those person’s shoes how different the situation becomes. Words are indeed powerful enough to add dynamic and change perspective if you allow them to. His words come from above, they are life-giving in a moment of hopelessness and God could be calling you to reach out. After reviewing this post and allowing these words to digest, what words will you CHOOSE to speak today, one’s that impart and breathe fresh life or those that are destructive and bring about death? It’s your choice, choose wisely, choose to exemplify His kingdom.