Tag Archives: Encouragement

Gratitude Changed My Life!

Have you ever noticed how we often look at others and envy them because they seem to have it all together? As I think back on my life, I can remember observing certain individuals and thinking: “Man, they’ve got it made!”, but as I lived my life and grew closer to some of these folks, I realized that way too often ”looks” can be very deceiving. I have discovered in my own living and learning that most all of us that are living on this great big spinning ball of blue and green have challenges, frustrations and struggles. I have also discovered that everyone of us have a choice about how we will respond to the things that happen to us, in us and through us.

Often times, when people see me, they think that guy sure is lucky, but they have no idea the roller coaster ride that life has taken this ole boy on. I don’t think I am lucky, but I know I am blessed. Most people look at my life today and think: “This dude is one lucky dog!”, but they don’t know that there was a time that I pretty much lost everything and had to start over from scratch. A lot of folks see my relationship with a beautiful wife of almost thirty years and think: “He certainly out punted his coverage!” And they are right, but most do not realize how many times we wanted to throw up our hands and give up on each other. Looking at the life I live, a lot of people might be tempted to get jealous or envious, thinking that I have it all together, but the truth is: Everyday is a battle, learning experience and often a struggle.

I say all of that to say this: I am not better than anyone else. I am not smarter than anyone else, I am not more blessed than anyone else. If anything, I am just learning how to get out of my own way. I am learning how to let God be God and His will become the guiding force and purpose of my life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7

One day as I was thinking about how my life got headed in this right direction, it hit me that it was small, consistent changes in my attitude and thinking. As I spent time with God and thought about all that I had been through and was still standing, then I could not help but to be grateful. As I looked back on all the things in my life that should have killed me, but instead made me stronger, I could not help, but to be grateful. The more grateful I became, the more I focused on the reason for my gratitude and the reason was and is God. He loves me and has a plan for my life. He does not get rid of the bad, but He does use it every time to take me some where that I could never take myself, God is growing me at whatever pace I choose and am comfortable with and that makes me very grateful for it all.

Gratitude Changed My Life! Gratitude is a spiritual practice of seeing and celebrating the good in the world around you, regardless of how bad, challenging or tough things may be. One day I realized that worry was doing me no good and decided to replace it with faith in God and His promised plan for blessing. This simple change made me grateful and started me down a path of learning and growth that has changed my life for the better in every way you could ever dream or imagine…

If there is one discipline that I could recommend that would help to get your life headed in the direction it was created for, then it would be to start practicing being grateful. When you want to get good at something, you have to practice, so here are a few ideas to help you get started:

1.) Start A Gratitude List! Take some time to start writing down and thinking about all the things that you are grateful for. Big, small and in between. Actually think about how you feel and why???

2.) Write Down Three Things You Are Grateful For Everyday In Your Journal! In my personal journal, the very first thing I write down at the top of the page is today’s date. I then write out my Scripture verse or verses for the day and then right under that Scripture, I write out 1, 2 and 3. “Thank You for _____________!

3.) Remember This: Perspective Changes Everything – Good Or Bad = The Choice Is Yours??? You are the only person that can change your perspective! The world can mess it up, but you’ve got the power to fix it and making and taking the time to make sure that it is right will change your life.

God loves you and God made you, because He wants to bless you, because you really are something special…

Control Is An Illusion And Resilience Is A Gift!

I have been through a lot of different things in my life and the toughest things have always been the things that strip away and take my ability to exercise control. Fred Bubbers said: ““Control is merely an illusion we construct to cope with the chaos that is reality.” and I have to admit that sounds pretty much right.

We like the idea of control, until we have to face the reality that control is really something that we have very little of. Chaos on the other hand is the thing that we have more of than we can stand.

When ever we face times of chaos that remind us of just how limited our control really is, it for some reason causes us to start looking back on our lives and living. We love to revisit our successes and even appreciate looking to see what we learned from our failures. We like to tell ourselves that learning something from our failures means that they were not a waste, but served a higher purpose.

In the last week of my life, I have been doing a lot of this looking back and one thing that the Spirit has been helping me to see is RESILIANCE. Resilience is the ability to come back from whatever it is that attempts to take you down and out. It is the ability to take the bad and do something good with it, the setback and use it for a come back, so that you can grow into the something greater that you have always been created to become.

Live life long enough and no matter how good you think you are, something is going to come along and knock you off of your high horse. Whatever it is that knocks you off and down is not the end, unless you give up. Resilience is an unwillingness to give up and a willingness to make sure that you get yours.

When I watch my Granddaughter Addie Jo, I see resilience in its most pure form. She came into this world, laying in whatever position she was placed in, but almost immediately, she was dissatisfied with that position and started working to figure out ways to experience the freedom she was looking for. She cannot even talk, but she has learned that if she grunts long enough and loud enough, with a tear here or there that she can manipulate others to do for her, what she cannot do for herself.

She does not give up, she does not give in, until she gets what she wants. I have seen her doing it in a thousand different ways and as I look back on my life, I have seen where I have done the same thing in a million different ways.

Proverbs 23:7 says: “As a man thinks in His heart, so is he.” The heart is the heart of resilience. While we may not have control, we do have resilience and with resilience, pretty much anything is possible, so let’s get to it…

No Limits!

You are capable of so much more! The only limits that you have to live by are the limits that you put on yourself and the great tragedy for most of us, is that we allow way to many limits to get in the way of our true potential.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” -Luke 1:37

You are a special creation of the Most High God. You are created in the image of your Creator and made of the stuff of your Creator. You have incredible power, unlimited potential and overwhelming priviledge. It is time to wake up to the giftedness that you have been blessed with. It is time to utilize the power you have been given and live the special life of blessing you were created for. It is time to tap into your potential and start enjoying this everyday adventure that we call life. It’s time to start living up to your God-given potential, so that others can be encouraged, inspired and motivated to their best life as they get to witness you living yours…

To become the “no limit” people we were created to be, we are going to need to use some of the tools you have been blessed with, that we sometimes tend to neglect. Today, I want to draw our attention to three very special tools, that make a big difference in my life and living: My Church, My Bible and My Framily!

My Church – Everyone needs a congregation to be a part of. Men, women, boys and girls that we can do life with. People that we can bless and be blessed by. A good church is not just about what you get, but also, it is just as much about what you give. It is the give and take of blessings that created an incredible flow into and through our lives that grows us in ways that nothing else can.

My Bible – It’s been called a lot of things: A love letter, instruction guide, wisdom, God’s Word, Holy Scriptures and the list could go on and on and on. What is important is that each one of us have been given a book that has exactly what we need for exactly when we need it. The tragedy is that many of us never ever take the time to open it up, read it and take nourishment from it’s pages. Just start to read it. One verse a day is better than no verses a day. You will be amazed at how opening up your Bible will open you up to the blessings and growth of God.

My Framily – Framily is really two words put together: Family and Friends. Each one of us have people around us that we are supposed to bless, grow and encourage. We have people around us that are supposed to bless, grow and encourage us, but we have to be open to giving and taking. Look for the folks that God has given you and give yourself to them in the special ways that only you can. You will be amazed at the difference this makes in your life and living.

You are capable of so much more, now start living by claiming what is rightfully yours!