Tuesday, March 30

Permission to follow your Desires.

I want you to know you are loved. Passionately loved.

Lately I feel like i'm being stalked,  by God, telling me He loves me. Ever since I went to the Colour conference earlier this month I've been followed by the verse in Ephesians, Chapter 3v 20
Now all Glory to GOD, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more then we might ask or think. 
I've been hearing so many references to it. It can't be a coincidence. As I right this, I've just been reminded of another reference to this. One I wear everyday and haven't noticed until now; 2007 my dear, dear sister chose to buy each of us [herself and all 3 of my sisters] a ring. And she had it inscribed; Ephesians 3:14-4:6.  I cannot escape it! I read it, thought "that's so lovely a verse" put a ribbon marker in my bible, and then thought not to much of the verse. The ring itself held more sentimental value. For me it strongly represented the unity of my sisters and I, even though at that point we lived far from each other [actually we still do].
For a number of years I've had this prayer over my life and never really understood it, till now. Now its coming alive to me.
I'm finally realising just how deep, how wide, how long, how high His love is for me. Finally I'm beginning to see how it affects my life, my potential.

Last night I decided to read all of Ephesians. Figuring, if this one verse is so good, there must be more around it. There is.
Chapter 1v4
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be Holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 
How awesome is that. Before I had the chance to think about trying to earn God's love, he'd already chosen me as family. He wanted me, he wants you. You are loved. And you have great potential.

As my walk with God has gotten stronger, as our relationship builds, I've begun to see that God doesn't want to tell me what to do. I've asked, pleaded, begged even "tell me what you want me to do, I'll do it!!"
 But no, God wants me to decide. "Make a choice, do it, I'll be there with you." Well thanks, that totally clears my head of the million and one ideas flying through it. I was really hoping you'd just tell me, a clear answer. But God has something better then that.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, and again and again until your sick of hearing it, then one more time to make sure you understand. You were made with care, love, attention and PURPOSE.
When you were made, you were designed, designed to be passionate. To fervently desire the things in your heart. God put them there. Whatever it is you want, to be a; doctor, explorer, musician, artist, fireman/fire-woman, politician, teacher, archeologist, the list is endless. Whichever fits you, the spark for that passion comes from God.
That is his will for you, for your life. Better then God just telling us what to do. He puts it in us at the very beginning.

Psalm 139 talks of the carefully planned out design taken in making you, I read it and hear God whisper "you are my dream, made to my specifications" That means the things I desire, come from God. If he took the time to  put the desires into my heart and soul, he won't be upset when I follow them.

You are loved, by someone who cares about all of you. Who wants to see you reach your potential.
You have permission to follow your desire.
Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I , a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
God who is able. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more then you could ask, think, hope or dream!
That is alot to take in. I have plenty of time to myself at the moment so I get to dream about what my career could be like, what my life could be. No matter how outlandish the thought, how ambitious the dream, My God can do it!. Through His mighty power at work within us... I've got the power. You have the power.

The enormity is slightly scary. But it is that healthy kind of fear that propels us forward and doesn't hold us back. So go ahead. Follow your desire, whatever it may be.

Monday, March 29

Charlie's Harmonic Business Plan

Brought to you via the Logan City Inside Special Lifestyle Magazine, March 2010 edition.

Charlie's Harmonic Business Plan
Roger Seach, Business Architect, ENACT Harmonic www.HarmonicBiz.com.au

Part 3
Saturday morning - Charlie and his son Alan are in the study at home. Alan has set up a flip chart.
"What do you want out of life, Dad?"

His father stared in amazement. "What's that got to do with business planning?"
"Dad, if you don't know what you want you life to look like, how will you know what your business needs to provide?"

"Alan, I just want to get the business plan done and get on with it. I don't want psychoanalysis."
"Dad, if you build a house, you have plans, right? You choose the house plans based on what you want that house to contribute to your life, right?"

Charlie nodded.

"So, Dad, we are going to build the business based on what you want it to contribute to your life. Why should it be any different to the house?"

Charlie was silent.

"Now, Dad, let's start with time you want to be working. Let's plan what you will be doing with your time over the next few years"

Charlie decided that in 5 years he wanted to be working 20 hours per week. "But that's impossible", he said to his son.
"No, Dad, it's not. What do you want to spend your free time on?"

"Golf", Charlie replied.
"Okay, dad, how many days do you want to play golf each week?"

"This is ridiculous!" said Charlie. "This is not a business plan! A business plan is a collection of facts and figures that you can give to the bank manager to get a loan. I saw on that Steve Swift did when he wanted to buy a truck."

Alan smiled. "Dad, most people think a business plan is just that. A collection of facts and figures prepared for a particular need and then lost or used as a doorstop on a windy day. YOUR business plan is going to be the motivational document of your business. It will be the rootstock of the flourishing tree that your business is going to become. Trust me!"
"I am yet to be convinced.", replied the father. 

"That's why you need to trust me", responded Alan.

Alan and Charlie spent half of Saturday working out his goals and broke for lunch. Charlie had never known such an experience. As a tradey, he was used to practical and tangible stuff that you could see, touch and measure. He found it difficult "getting in touch with himself" as Alan put it. However, during lunch, he felt a strange new self-awareness. 

"You know, Alan, there may be some benefit to this malarkey after all." He admitted. "I am actually starting to see where I want to be headed but I'm buggered if I know how we are going to get there!"

Alan smiled the smile of wisdom. "That will come later, dad. Before you start to work out the route to do your deliveries, don't you first work out all the places you have to go? Then don't you deliver on the route that is the most efficient in time and distance?"

"Of course", replied Charlie. "It would be wasteful and silly not to."
"So, if we are going to work out our business plan, don't we have to first decide were we are going and define that?" mentored the son. 

"Now i see. If I work out what I want in life, then I can work out where all the resources will come from to achieve it! An the resources will have to come out of the business!" The light dawned and was so sudden, it almost shone out of Charlie's eyes. 
"Yes dad, you are finally starting to get the picture. We CLARIFY then we UNDERSTAND then we PRIORITISE!

I call it the "CUP" process. Clarify, Understand, Prioritise.

"Come on, son", said the older man. "Hurry and finish your coffee. We need to get this CUP of our filling up!"

Alan smiled with satisfaction and finished his coffee.

Running Shoes

God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called.

Do you know that moment, when suddenly something you’ve heard a thousand times before makes sense? Sometimes it’s a song and you now get the underlying meaning, other times it’s a catchphrase that jumps out at you and you realise just how profound it really is.
Or maybe you’ve heard a similar theme of sermons across your lifetime and one day it clicks and you realise how deeply it affects your life.
For instance since high school you’ve been hearing all these “just do it” “actions to back up your words” “don’t be afraid just go with God” sermons. 5,6,7 years later you wake up one morning and realise you just need to do it. You realise that its not worth being afraid of what people think of you and your actions. In the end it’s only God’s opinion that matters on whether you did or did not act. So you start that blog you’d been putting off because you ‘couldn’t decide on a theme’…..

I woke up this morning, first with a song stuck in my head – random much? And secondly I decided that I truly would start going for a morning walk/jog. So I got up, had a hot cross bun for breakfast and went to get dressed. At which point it started to rain…..
All the old excuses started to run through my mind.
  • I need proper running shoes.
  • I need proper running clothes.
  • I need someone to run with.
  • How will I carry my keys and phone without any pockets? Etc etc
At all this I had to stop and say. Wow. I’ll never go running if I keep waiting on that one last thing. I can't wait for the 'perfect' weather. And if i keep tweaking this and don't post it soon the morning will be gone and i'll still not have been on that run!

If you get equipped before we know what to do with it we put that equipment on the shelf, to the back of the drawer. Right now you’re probably thinking “but I thought we had to be prepared, you know the scouts motto and all that” Yes be prepared.
But searching out equipment before you know what you need isn’t helpful. 99% of the time that equipment will never be used, eventually get thrown out. All because you weren’t prepared.
Preparation takes action. You actively find out more. You work with what you’ve got. You use what's in your hands [or whats on your feet].
Then as you progress, you’ll realise you’re in it. And you’re equipped. God provides for us what we need as we need it, not a minute earlier. Many times in life we have to step out blindfolded. We aren't given a shopping list of things we'll need. We simply need to trust; in God, trust what we do know and let the rest come to us.

As you go about today, this week, month year; as that thought pops into your mind, and you think “I can do this” don’t waste time worrying about what you don’t have. Look at what you do have. You may have just a ratty old pair of paint splattered sneakers, but they are a start. 
Your potential is endless, limitless. It is not defined nor contained by the material things you have. Your potential starts in your spirit, it grows as you nourish your soul. 

If you feel you’re being called to go somewhere, do something say something don’t focus on what you think is missing. Focus on what you’ve got. Prepare you heart, mind, body and soul. Each step along the way will equip you with what you need.
Our God who is able to do; to do exceedingly abundantly greater then we could ever ask, think, hope or dream of sees the bigger picture, has the perfect perspective.  He will equip you as you need it. He knows your potential [He created you with purpose remember] you can trust that He won’t let you down, won’t leave you hanging, won’t leave you. You'll get what you need.

Just get out there.  Go for a jog ;) See what happens.

Friday, March 26

Smashing Glass

I love seeing people realise they are stronger.

Its a great theme in movies, like in "Romancing the Stone" the leading lady Joan Wilder is asked to take a map to Colombia to save her sister. Even though she is scared of Colombia she goes, her love for her sister is stronger then her fear. Every step of the movie she grows stronger and bolder. Becoming more and more confident with every minute. By the end of the movie she wins the fight, when at the start she hid under a bus; Joan Wilder found her confidence.

Reality shows also like the 'face your fears' theme. In the Biggest Loser this week the final 4 were taken to New Zealand and had to face many adventure challenges. I was watching as Phoebe climbed that rope ladder to the top of the mast, shared her joy as she celebrated conquering her fear of heights. My heart skipped with hers as the headed down and Michelle the trainer informs her that she isn't climbing all the way down "since you're here, you're going to jump". All to well I identified the knee knocking feeling as you stare down at the water, knowing you are about to fling yourself out into the air and plunge into the depths. Your breathing changes, your heart starts pounding. I couldn't help but smile like an idiot when she jumped. Sharing her joy at breaking into a new confidence.

Twice I have been in a similar situation. Once have I succeeded.

Finding the confidence to take chances, doesn't come in a single moment. Theres not one moment where I look back and can say 'yup there is the point where i became self confident and assured.' It is a series of moments, some small, some big. Some we don't even realise matter. Every choice we make redefines who we are.
Though that first time I found myself atop a pole, harnessed and asked to jump out and grab a trapeze bar. I couldn't jump. [truth be told, with my height, if I'd just stretched I probably could have reached it] Yes fear gripped me, squeezed me tight blocking any confidence I did have. But it didn't completely get me. I didn't jump, but I didn't climb back down and give up either. I did what I could. It may have looked a little wussy, sitting down on the pole and letting the safety guys pull the ropes to lower me down.
In a roundabout way I succeeded. I didn't realise it then, but the people around me did. This happened at my school 'leadership camp', and at the final night, in our groups we did one of those "warm and fuzzy" exercises. Kind of like the Snap Cup from Legally Blonde. Each person has nice things written down about them from the others. I still have mine somewhere, it was written anonymously but there was one in particular that I still remember, it still warms my heart almost 6yrs on:
I like how you give everything your best go. 
Even when you're obviously scared you do your best at every activity.
I had the confidence to try and didn't realise it. So I guess I succeeded then too. Even if it doesn't look like a typical 'success'.

Roughly 5 yrs on, this time my cousin wants to go jetty jumping.
I've matured a heck of a lot since last time. I've learnt a lot about myself too.
It did take some persuading [full blown peer pressure ;)] to get me over the edge, even more to get me to jump. But I did it :D and I couldn't be prouder. I even got a photo. Sometimes all we need is a small success, sometimes we need a breakthrough.

Try and visual a glass ceiling over your life. Your potential reaches the sky -  it can not be contained by mere glass, it goes far beyond that ceiling. But our confidence issues, lies we believe; they make up that ceiling. And every time we try, every time we attempt, we put a crack in the glass.
All the milestones I've passed since that camp, finishing school, moving out of home, living on a ranch, jetty jumping in Coffs etc they've all been chipping away at the glass ceiling.

The thing about a glass ceiling, is that its transparent. Your vision, your potential isn't impaired by it. You can keep on going, chances are you've already cracked, smashed and broken through the glass so don't stop now. Keep going. Keep trying. Your potential is within your reach.

Thursday, March 25

Courage. Encourage.

It takes courage to encourage.
Think about it, I bet theres a time when you didn't speak up to encourage someone. To have spoken up then may have had repercussions in your own life, or maybe you were just a little scared to speak up.

For far too long I've believed the lie that I have nothing to say, or if I did no one would hear, or care.
So when I've had friends in need of encouragement I haven't always spoken up. As I've gotten older I've gotten bolder, but there has still been this great fear that has torn at who I am.

I believe that we are made with and for a purpose. But how do we find that purpose? I think often it is closely tied with our desires, those desires deep deep down that we often hide from the world, even sometimes from the people we love.
These desires, or passions, to me they feel like a they are a part of my genetic makeup. When we deny them, it tears at our soul. And so it should, to deny who we are can not be healthy, for us or those around us. Still we do it and I just don't know why - Fear? really what is there to fear?

I think it was in high school when I first started to feel the desire to lead and encourage. To step up if no-one else would and lead the team to victory. Speak to women and build their confidence [even when I felt I had none...]. Actually, it may have been earlier - how else do I explain the chronically shy girl who nominated herself for sports captain? Whenever it was, sometime as an early teen, part of me wanted to speak up and be heard.
But I let fear get in my way.  For those who don't know, I naturally have a very soft voice, it takes a conscious effort to speak up and project my voice. All through school whenever needed to address the class I'd stand up front and maybe be heard by the front row. Its getting better, as I said earlier, as I get older I'm getting bolder.
When I'd hear the call for a leader, somewhere in my mind I would think "I can do that" and instead of listening to that I listened to the louder lie that 'no-one would hear you', that 'you aren't strong enough'.
I regret that.
I regret not taking those chances, imagine what confidence I could have now if only I'd taken the chance then.  But  I froze.

As an adult there are still [many] times when I freeze. All courage leaves me. S many times I have seen someone, and had that niggling feeling that I should do something, say something. Instead of acting, I froze. I don't know what I should have done at those times, what would have come of them.

My point, I do have one, is that it takes Courage. It takes courage to Encourage. To encourage others, to encourage yourself.
 Its been said that we are all our own biggest critic. If that is true then can we not also be our own biggest encouragement??
It takes a little confidence, a little faith, a little courage to believe in YOU. To believe you are right. To believe YOU CAN. To believe you have the strength.
This is why I am here, writing to you. Because I can no longer stand idly by and watch. No longer can I ignore the cry of my soul that screams "I have something to offer!!!"
Slowly but surely I am learning that I am strong. I am capable. I have a voice. Praise God that in this day it doesn't matter that I have one of the softest voices in the world. Right here is a platform perfectly suited to my circumstances! I still feel scared of putting my words out there. But I have started to find my courage, my strength.

I want you to see your confidence shine as you fill your potential. Because the truth is:
 You are capable. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You will succeed. You have a voice.
Search yourself, find your courage, you have a dream a desire and you are valued enough to see it come to pass.

  • A pinch of confidence
  • A pinch of faith
  • A hope and a prayer

If I mix these together I find the courage, in the place I once could never have believed I'd find it. In me.

Tuesday, March 23

Overwhelming Love

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an overwhelming act of love? And not realised it?

Our parents sacrifice for us on a daily basis – I know I can always steal a chip [or two ;)] off of my Dad’s plate. When I’m in a pinch my Mum will loan me some money – even when it can end up leaving her short. Everyday I am blessed with wonderful loving parents, and I don’t know if I truly let them know just how much I love them, and am Thankful for all they’ve done for me.

I think parent’s have this…. I’m not sure what it is, a switch? That flips on when we become parents? A new emotion?, or is it just a part of parental love? Whatever it is, it makes them fiercely protect their baby. No matter how old their babies get (22, 26, 25, 14) a parent, a father will protect and provide support. Prevent their child from pain and separation.
I’m acutely aware of this after my own Dad’s brush with Cancer.
The first chance I get to speak with him, and His concern is for me, all he asks for in Prayer support – is that his girls have support, people surrounding them in this tough time to hold them up when he can’t. He had his own peace and belief for healing [which he got! AMEN!!!] 
His request for us to take to our churches and pastors was to ask for support for us.
Here he is, lying in hospital with a collapsed lung, told he has cancer that has spread from the kidneys to his lungs and his concerns are for my wellbeing!! Talk about an overwhelming love!
12months on and I still tear up when I think of this moment. How things could have turned out, how better they are now then we could have imagined.
I am blessed to have parents of such a high calibre.  

They aren’t the only ones to love with this all-encompassing love.
In the same way that my Dad’s thoughts were on the wellbeing of his daughters God’s thoughts are on the wellbeing of his Daughters and Sons. When faced with the decision of seeing his children hurting or standing in their place – taking the punishment for them He took it.
It’s not an unfamiliar concept, one person taking a bullet for another.  Name any Hollywood blockbuster, there is always a point where someone  will step in front of a bullet, take the blame for something they didn’t do. Love wins out, not the sexual love [which will inevitably be in the movie too] but a platonic love, agape love. Pure, overwhelming love.

Right now with Easter just a week away a lot of people are thinking about this moment that I’ve allured to. The moment on the cross, I don’t know about you but for me this year [this week] I view it all anew. Like I’ve been awakened to this love, and I’m overwhelmed.
I can’t hold in all this love that is poured on my life. Now I know that not everyone has the same experience with parents as I do, I’m not trying to rub my fortunes in your face. I just want to share.  Please, take another look at this moment of love. Open your heart to it let it help unravel the mysteries of your potential.