God answers prayer in one of three ways: “yes,” “no,” or “yes, but not yet.” This last reply seems to be the most dreaded— sometimes even more than an outright “no.” However, patience is an important trait for the Christian, as Scripture stresses repeatedly in stories, psalms, and epistles.
Waiting on the Lord to unlock a door is always wiser than attempting to pry it open ourselves, even when the delay has been long. After God promised him descendants (Gen. 12:2), Abraham lived for 25 years with an answer of “not yet.” After that quarter-century, the answer finally became “yes.” But meanwhile, Abraham and Sarah came up with their own plan to get an heir—Sarah’s servant Hagar bore Ishmael. The couple may have convinced themselves they were “helping” God live up to His prophecy, but really they were disobeying. The consequences were disastrous. Bitterness and blame affected every member of the family (Gen. 16:4-6; Gen. 21:9-10). What’s more, Ishmael’s people lived in enmity with their neighbors, and that hostility persists in the Middle East today (Gen. 21:9-14; Gen. 25:18).
Our patience gives God time to prepare the opportunity on the other side of a closed door. Even if we could force our way by manipulating circumstances, we would not be happy with what we find there. No one in Abraham’s camp was satisfied with the situation they created! We can have contentment and joy only when we access the Lord’s will at the very moment He ordained. The blessings we find on the other side of an open door are always worth the wait.
Letting Your Eyes Look Straight Ahead
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you. — Proverbs 4:25
The best way to climb a mountain is by looking straight ahead. Look down, and we might be frightened as we notice our height and contemplate the danger we are in. Look behind, and we will be blind to the obstacles or safest routes ahead of us. Look up, and we may be daunted as we are confronted with how far we still need to go. It can make our climb feel hopeless and cause us to give up.
The best way to climb even the tallest mountain is to simply look straight ahead and focus on taking one step at a time.
In Proverbs we read, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” In life, too, it is helpful to fix our gaze on what is right in front of us. Of course there are times when we need to look at the bigger picture so that we can adjust our direction, but most days it’s helpful to focus on the present.
If we focus on the past, we can get stuck. We can get bogged down by our past mistakes or hurts. If we focus too much on the future we can become intimidated as we contemplate how much we need to accomplish or worry about how things will work out. Overly focusing our attention on what is behind us, under us, or way ahead of us can leave us confused and disoriented in the present. It’s best to stay in the moment and live our lives one day at a time, trusting God for His unlimited mercy — day by glorious day.
The original Hebrew reveals another layer of depth to this verse. Literally translated the verse reads: “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids will straighten your path.” What does this mean?
Our eyelids give us the ability to close our eyes – to not look at something. What we look at is powerful, and so even when we focus on the present, we have to carefully choose where to look.
Do we see the good in the people in our lives, or do we see just their negative traits? Do we see God’s goodness in our lives, or do we see only what we lack? Do we see the opportunities that lie before us, or do we focus only on the challenges?
Every day we have the choice to decide on what we will focus. Look away from the things that bring you down. Look away from other people’s faults. Turn away from what might lead you to sin. Instead, choose to see good and to see God in everything and everyone, today and every day.
Taking a new Path!
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, and He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3 NIV)
If you are not actively seeking and creating opportunities, which always contain an element of risk, you are actually exposing yourself to more serious risk in the long term. This is a statement by Tony Buzan.
It is time for you to exercise the power of two words let go. Many times, we take the same tired paths or ways of doing things, even though they no longer serve us anymore, or are unproductive. We do this because we feel that venturing off to new paths may require more work, uncertainty, and even risk. We tend to become so attached to our old ways, which is why we always end up with the same results.
If that is the case. there will be little room for growth and new possibilities. We must let go of our old ways of thinking – these are dirty dishes, and focus on new possibilities that are all around us. Many people tend to feel a pull to do things repeatedly, even if it gets them nowhere. People often find themselves reverting to old and automatic patterns in order to feel “play it safe”.
You will come to understand that you allow learning to occur by doing these things. When we learn, we become better and more able to take on the world. New things, because of the uncertainty that comes along with it, should not frighten people. We should not perceive uncertainty as a threat, but rather, as an opportunity and possibility for success and development.
The more we hold on to our old and outdated ways, the less we get out of life. Thinking this way limits a person to the constraints of their own comfort zone. It wastes all the new and wonderful things life has to offer, and the potential for an individual to become great.
Remember, if you do not want to be stuck where you are forever, you have to be willing to let go of your dirty dishes, and move on to better and newer things.
Even if you may think you are content with the life you are living today, considered that it can be made better and more fulfilling if you only took a step out of the box and embrace new opportunities.
Let today be the DAY…. your Day to take a New Path…In Faith!
Goals vs Visions
What’s the difference between goals and visions?
Each of those probably has lots of different words to describe them, but I think it’s important to understand what each one is.
A goal is something that’s specific. Something you’ll know when you get there. Losing ten pounds, making X amount of money per month, being in a relationship.
These are all things that you KNOW if you have them, and you KNOW if you don’t.
Visions, on the other hand, are much more hard to pin down.
You can think of goals as certain and specific places. Visions, on the other hand, are more like directions.
Of course, the right goals will support you in your visions. Losing weight can certainly be proof that you’re on the right path to a “healthy lifestyle,” which is much harder to define.
And just as important as it is to have goals, it’s even more important to have visions.
If you think of the most successful people you have ever heard of, they got where they are because they had visions they stuck to. Usually for decades.
Great inventors usually keep inventing stuff because of their visions, rather than their individual goals.
Ultra wealthy business people get there not because they have a specific goal of making a million dollars, but because they have a broad vision to keep creating things that people will gladly pay for.
Take Bill Gates for example. Before he was the richest nerd on the planet, he was an entrepreneur. When he was still a teenager, he was already finding ways to make and sell stuff.
He sold the idea of Windows to BEFORE he created it. That’s how much he believed in his Vision.
The truth of success in life is pretty simple.
Choose a vision. A powerful vision that will guide you for most of your life. Get started, and no matter what happens, never, ever give up.
Most people don’t have any kind of a vision, other than make it through the next couple weeks.
The few people that DO have visions, rarely get started, or rarely think of them as more than wishes.
But when you take your vision, and make it your overriding purpose in life, something will happen.
People will notice something “different” about you. You won’t be like the billions of other aimless souls wandering the Earth waiting to be told what to do.
You will have a true purpose in life. Something that comes through the way you walk, the way you talk, and the way you look at people.
This will make you stand out in a room filled with average folks. So much that people will look at you and think, “I don’t know who that is or what they’re doing, but I’d like to help.”
This is what happens when you create a vision, and the powerful frame to wrap around it.
In the coaching and counseling worlds we say…”reframe…rethink…ACTION…PURPOSEFUL ACTION!”
The GROW Model !
The GROW (Goal, Reality Check, Options, Will) Model, a conversational structure commonly used in coaching, is a good choice for helping client achieve concrete goals. For example, the GROW model is a good choice for accomplishing practical tasks such as completing a project, eliminating debt, or developing a skill.
The goal is the action or project a client wants to complete. Make sure the client chooses a clear goal from the start. S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, andTimely) goals are effective in helping the client attain both short-term and long-term goals.
What would you like to achieve by the end of today’s call?
What would you like to accomplish in one month? Three months? Six months?
What difference will accomplishing this goal make?
How can you reframe your goal so it doesn’t depend on others’ performance?
The reality check helps the client gain a clear perspective on the concrete facts surrounding his or her goals, i.e., his current resources, responsibilities, or limitations.
Reality Check Questions
What obstacles might you face in reaching your goal? How will you surmount them?
What has worked for you in the past? What hasn’t?
How could financial constraints impact your timeline?
What support do you need from others to move forward?
Engage the client in brainstorming and creative thinking to generate potential solutions.
Where could you learn more about this?
How could you tap into your network for support in this area?
Who could help you?
What has worked for you in the past?
Here is where you help clients turn ideas into action. Work with clients to identify concrete action steps with high client motivation and buy-in.
Which option has the highest likelihood of success?
What steps will you take toward your goal this week?
On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that you will follow through?
What obstacles do you need to address to accomplish your goals?
The GROW Model is an easy, effective model you can use when coaching clients toward concrete goals.
Becoming Fully Actualized..Is That Possible?
What does it mean to “become” fully actualized?
Most of us imagine some guru who’s finally achieved enlightenment, and they are no longer concerned with worldly issues. They can sit on some mountain top and meditate, and not worry about anything.
But is that even possible?
Think about that in terms of Maslow’s famous “Hierarchy of Needs.”
At the “bottom” there are basic things like food, shelter, safety.
Then further up you’ve community, sexual and emotional satisfaction.
Further up you’ve got self expression and finally self actualization.
Meaning you are operating at your highest capacity.
I think that metaphor a bit misleading. The trouble with metaphors is that they are only a representation of the deeper reality they represent. They are NOT the reality themselves.
Maslow’s description was his attempt to describe the human condition. The better we are at satisfying our “lower” needs, the more likely we’ll satisfy our “higher” needs.
Regardless of whether they are higher or lower, your “needs” won’t stay satisfied for long.
We eat, but then we’re hungry again several hours later.
We’re safe, until something happens that shakes up our safety.
We’re emotionally and sexually satisfied, but unless we’re willing to work at keeping that particular relationship alive, it will vanish like a poof of smoke.
Keeping our needs satisfied takes effort. It takes work. It’s not like showing up a hotel, checking your bags and relaxing at the pool once you’ve finally “arrived.”
Most people don’t like to hear this. Most people don’t like the idea that “self-actualization” isn’t the automatic result of doing a couple of daily mantras and isn’t permanent.
Which is maybe why so many of us aren’t really “self-actualized.”
Not even close.
It’s not something that somebody can “give you.” It’s not something that comes in the night while you’re sleeping on top of your book of affirmations.
It’s a process. A process of getting out there, every single day, and chasing your dreams.
Because it’s only in the chasing that we REALLY feel alive. It may feel pretty relaxing by the pool at that hotel, but it’s going to get pretty boring.
Truth is you can ONLY feel “self actualized” when you are OPERATING. The process of creating is when self-actualization happens. Not in some mythological mountain cave safely removed from reality.
What are you creating?
Are you sure it’s big enough?
Make it bigger, and get going!
Discovering Your Life Path
Have you ever felt like there was an invisible wall in your brain preventing you from being able to understand what you REALLY want?
If the answer is yes, I believe I may know the answer.
You see, whether you realize it or not, there are thousands of beliefs that you harbor in your mind about the world that you’ve never really examined. They’ve probably made their way into your head as a result of past experiences, especially emotional ones.
Some of these beliefs are really helpful (like the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street or cooking chicken before you eat it).
Other beliefs may actually be sabotaging your efforts in the world (it will be next to impossible for you to ever become rich if you think that money is the root of all evil, and you’ll be unhappy in relationships if you think everyone is out to get you).
Now, the first step to happiness in any endeavor is figuring out what’s going to make you happy. Sometimes our passions just fall into our laps, but why leave things to chance?
You already have the power living inside you to start a process that magnetically attracts your passions to you.
It all starts with your current state of mind.
And today, I would like to share a short but powerful exercise that will illuminate some of the most important aspects of your life.
There really is something magical that happens when you write down your goals and dreams, instead of keeping them just in your head. After being written down on a page, your thoughts suddenly become more real… tangible…
Even if you’ve done an exercise like this before, you may be surprised at how much has changed since then, or how different your insights are in your current frame of mind.
Start By Taking 5 Minutes To Uncover a Few Truths About Yourself:
1.) List 5 activities you wish you could do each week.
2.) List 5 features about the person you want to become.
3.) List 3 emotions you wish you could feel on a regular basis.
You may want to consider…. material items, desired emotions, pursuits that give you satisfaction, as well as your spiritual connection with the universe.
When you write your answers down, you’re making the decision to start thinking about your life in a purposeful way.
That means you’ve taken the first step to creating your life the way you want it, instead of simply being an observer, always on the lookout, just waiting for things to happen.
Now that you’ve gotten a bit clearer on what you really want, how do you achieve it?
I want you to take one step, even a tiny baby step, right now, toward making one of the things you’ve listed become closer to reality.