Have a Plan! Change is about to happen!

The problem with the statement, ‘Change is about to happen,’ is that by the time we notice it’s arrival we can do very little to affect it. We have to ride the wave of change but only if we have not prepared for it.

Change has momentum and power. Change is not evil, good, or bad. The results of and our actions towards that change, however, can be.

Since the seasons change we can assume life changes. Where we work, how we work, live, play will also change.

Some change we see coming and some we do not. Change can bring fear and often does. Peace, however, is a great combatant against fear, but only if grounded in a great foundation of truth. Hope, that is real hope, breaks the fear of change. But it takes courage …and lots of it to endure that change- especially when it is something we had not seen coming or the road before us just go so foggy you can only see inches down your path.

If peace is the great combatant against change, How do you find peace? I gained peace by surrounding myself with certain internal as well as external guards. I completed my will. Then my estate plan, then finances were gotten in order… all the while I increased my attitude upward and began a deeper relationship with my heavenly father. It spiraled upward and became very well defined once I found a little book by Michael Hyatt.

Michael Hyatt has a wonder e-book on Life Planning that you should go check out. It’s FREE, and I love FREE! Also go review his site and Dan Miller’s site about Master Mind groups…

It’s so simple to gain peace in a changing world, we just have to take those actions we know we need to take. Now more than ever, is the time to gather stability that remains stable even when everything around you is falling, shifting, moving…

Question: Would you be any worst off if you made a plan and change never came? But change is coming… If you have gotten Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan book and filled it out I’d love to hear the effects it has had in the peace of your life- Please leave your comments below!  Thanks!! 

The Size of Your Calling

As a Part 2 of last week’s posting, I felt like the canvas was left too soon and the picture had not yet fully taken on the depth I had hoped.

As a recap- we said a ‘calling’  is something we do to help others; it is us, who have, going to those, who need, and repeating this over and over again. Identify the needy, big or small, find what you already do well, and go help other people. 

From last week… When I was asked, “Who are you helping,” and after exploring memories of being helped, I was presented with a very interesting thought. Not everyone’s calling is the same size. That is, compared to my point of reference.

Yes, some folks are called to dig wells, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc… which are very awesome callings that meet very real needs. There are also some who are called to lead churches, grow businesses, build bridges, provide financial wisdom, and some are even called to make tons of money just to give it, in secret, to organizations which help other people. 

The point is this, your calling is yours. You might be called to grow an Urban Farm in Kentucky like the Maddocks, you might be like my friend John, who was called to be a dentist, and what about the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus? He was carrying letters authorizing the persecution of Christians that he would later be preaching to. (of note: his money-making trade was that of a Tent Maker… not a preacher… but he was not always making tents… this opens the idea that a calling may need to be worked at over time. And in due time, it may render your financial golden goose… just don’t rush it.)

Hopefully at this point you are starting to grasp the idea that your calling might look very big to you but not as big to others. Meaning, your calling might look relatively small compared with others.To this I’d only offer to you to: Stop Comparing Yourself To Others! This is YOUR calling, not theirs! 

For the Evangelical Christians (ES)- God does have a plan for you and his plan for you is far bigger than the one you have for you. His calling for you is bigger than you can think of right now.

For those non-ES’s, the principle is the same- your calling runs the potential to be huge. You just cannot take your eye off the ball.

There is a hurting world out there that needs you to be tent makers, pipe-fitters, financially independent, supporters, ditch-diggers, church builders, baby-sitters, lifeguards, doctors, and yes, even lawyers!

Who Are You Helping?

Have you ever been swimming and needed a life preserver? Ever had your boat spring a leak and start to sink just as the wind stopped blowing? Have you ever been hiking and had the weather turn on you so quickly you started to get scared? Have you ever been so sure that life was over that you actually started to give up? Have you ever needed help?

I was asked a question over the weekend that sparked a series of memories where I was in impossible situations and needed the help of others. In each memory, help showed up; big or small, help came. It did not always come in the manner I thought it would, or even should show up…but it did show up nonetheless. With each encounter of fear I had to take on courage and fight things like doubt, self-defeat, fear, envy, and hatred. In most cases, I still remember the struggle, both physical and mental. The bruises from some of these encounters are still tender in the recesses of my memory.

In the biggest moments of needing help, someone or something – arrived just in time. In my exhaustion I remember my swimming teacher, Ms. Sarah, teaching me how to float… and so I made it to shore; In my small sailboat, I found an oar left there ‘just-in-case.’  In the mountains I remembered my boy scout wilderness survival skills-  a shelter appeared in the form of two fallen trees and broad leaf plants -[(delete this – Compliments of the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared;”] When on a bike ride a truck pulled over and drove me the 20 miles home – compliments of a retired Marine Corp hero and a healthy measure of humility.

So, what was the question that sparked these memories?

“So, David, Who are you helping?”

Someone out there needs your help. They need your knowledge, skills, abilities; they need your help in remembering how to dream of a better life. Someone is truly needy, impoverished, malnourished, alone, abused…and you are the help they need.

I believe this is where you will find your calling. This is where you will discover the path you should be on. This is where you get the opportunity to be the help others need… because in the end, “Me, Me, Me is dull, dull, dull.” (see Tom Stanley’s collection of writings)

So, Who are you helping?

…So GO! Someone desperately needs YOU!

Anchors are Important

Anchors tend to hold things in place. For their design and overall general purpose, they do the job. From aircraft carriers to canoes, anchors provide a point of reference to stop or limit motion from a particular location.

Perhaps the earliest sea-goers or lake fisherman simply tied a rock to a long rope and dropped it in the water to stop the boat from floating away or drifting out of position.

Anchors also hold the people in place and keep them from floating and drifting from where they best called to be.

You might call a vessel that is adrift, without purpose, rhyme or reason, lost; just as you would not call a ‘drifter’ purposeful or directional.

Then why do we call ourselves purposeful when we have no real direction or moorings to anchor to? It is because we lack an anchor– That thing we hold white-knuckled tight to.

Anchors provide us with identity. Anchors provide us with security. Anchors give us the freedom to be who we truly are… our true-self. They are not a limit but an allowance. The lack of which, only reveals our false-self. We place masks over our hulls and paint them with bright and festive colors and then we cry this is our purpose– to look great and to provide a sense of happiness and success. Yet the facade of the paper mache and water-color paints melt and leak once we set sail. Showing the collapse of our false-self.

I’d rather chase after an anchor to reveal my true-self, and truly live life, than a ignore the melting of a paper hull and tragically sink.

Anchors are important. Where are yours?

Learn To Be a Collector

Many successful people are indeed collectors. Learning to be a collector is not the same as learning to be a pack-rat. Rather successful people collect knowledge and wisdom about their skill or profession.

Not feeling like a success? Don’t sweat it! Most of the men and women we might call financially successful, started small. They found their niche by error or by chose and used that as their spring-board. They looked beyond themselves for skills and abilities they did not currently possess and acquired what they were lacking.

Have a niche? Even better, have a specialization? Go find a trade journal and start collecting nuggets of truth and pearls of wisdom. Google can produce 69,200,000 hits in .27 seconds of on-line trade journals to get you started. Chances are fairly high you can find something that tickles your fancy. Not seeing a journal that works for you? Start one of your own!

Read up on interconnected trades such as: if you are an HVAC Tech, read the plumbing and electrical trade journals. Are you into barges? Go read, The Waterways Journal to learn about barges and the seaways. The point is that you have a niche that needs our attention and if it’s not already there you should make it. If it is there, you should build upon it.

Learn the wisdom of others. Become great at what you are called to do. Whether by intent or by accident, find what you do well and do it with all your heart, mind, and body, that we would read about you, your failures and success; in turn, allowing us the ability to become as you are– Great!

We need you to Learn to be a Collector.

Purity Does Matters

Over the summer’s of long past, I grew up with my grandparents in a small Georgian community. One of those places you never locked your doors and at 8 years old you were old enough to walk into town by yourself. Looking back most of the folks had lived there their whole life. World War II ended and the development of sub-divisions began to carpet America and this little community was right in the middle of it all. The town had several churches as most places do and no one really knew if anyone did not attend at least one of the churches. The cars were big Detroit metalwith white-walled tires. Even in the earily 80’s it seemed this town was stuck in 1965.

It was during these years I attended church every time the doors were open. Mimi, Bapa, and Aunt Grace would load us kids in the car and head out. On one particular Sunday, I went to ‘Big’ church (an honored treat as a kid but whoa be it if you were any louder than the mouse in the corner). The sermon was on Purity and a little seed-like thing call leaven.

“What is this leaven?” Any baker knows this little kudzu like seed that when added to bread will cause it to rise. In old testament times the Jews were to only eat unleavened bread during parts of the year as a sign and symbol of being pure.

The thing is, when it’s said that, ‘even a little leaven leavens the whole lump,’ it’s true. I have seen a single piece of bread flat on one side and raised on the other… but even the flat side was thicker than the piece of bread we made with out the leaven.

This might be the only cooking advise you should ever take from me!

But what does this have to do with the topic of Purity? Everything.

An ancient king stated that it was the little foxes that spoiled the vines of a vineyard. This is truer today than ever. It’s the little things that we fail to address that lead us astray from our ‘main focus.’

In business, you want your team to be totally committed and passionate about your product or service; in sports, you want your players to be fully ‘in-the-zone;’ in marriage, you want full devotion to and from your spouse. This is your life, no one else can live it for you, so live it well.

Countless businesses are in the news every day because leaven was allowed in the central nervous system of a company (Dare I say anything about Hollywood? Congress? Education?). Those companies to whom standards are set and followed and whose focus is on watching out for both the ‘little foxes’ and a ‘little leaven’ are rarely ever seen in the negative media.

It is typically easy is see the ‘leavened’ areas of our life. It is not easy to remove the leaven… in fact, it’s may be impossible without drastic measures. This type of leaven is toxic and kills if not addressed.

So keep the toxicity, like gossip, out of your business culture. Address now and make it firm, fair, consistent, and final. Watch for toxicity in your personal life as well and treat it no differently than that of a burglar breaking in at night.

Where is there need for purity in you life? your business? If you saw ‘leaven’ where there should not be leaven, how would you treat it knowing its toxicity?

Like clear drinking water, purity does matter.

Tell and Re-Tell Your History – Often

Numerical facts are a requirement in history class. Just like the study of numbers and their relationships is a requirement in the discipline of mathematics. Hating History class might be one of the easiest pastimes of most students. It was for me; that is, until I asked the simple question: “How and why did we get here?”

The book of Deuteronomy opens with Moses re-telling the story of the last 40 years. He is telling the very people who have lived the last 40 years with him. Should these folks not know their own history? Of course they should, but they had forgotten their history. They did not forget when they started this journey but they did forget why they started. They forgot the many victories they experienced.

We are no different. We start things with a strong why, get in the murky middle of our journey, forget our why, and then start to wonder. It’s at this point we simply become a date on a page in history… dull, boring, and easily forgotten.

If Moses needed to remind his people of their history and heritage, we should do the same, but not just because a historical figure did something great, but rather because it reminds us why we left our personal Egypt.

The Home Depot, Wal-mart, and even the U.S. Army tell their story well:

  • In the central lobby of The Home Depot there is a photo on the wall of the founders. They stand as a reminder that the company was Built from Scratch. They stand there looking on as thousands pass by as if to say, Remember our history, remember why you do what you do.
  • The old pick-up truck of Mr. Sam Walton is now owned by Wal-Mart as a reminder of its beginnings.
  • The Home of the Infantry and now Armor School have a tremendous museum of their heritage and history. (This really is a must-see).

What about us? What about our story? What about our why? Can you remember where you came from and why you are going in the direction you are heading?

There are also those around you who need to know your story. Some of those around you have lived your story with you, and need reminding of the why you, and they, are on the path you’re on.

Dig deep and tell others where you started, and of the challenges you faced, and the victories you won.

Dare we not forget our own story. Tell and re-tell your history often that we all may benefit.

Back to the Basics…

In reading on the lives of millionaires, biographies of historical icons, and listening carefully to those who are far more wise than myself, there is one common message that rings true over and over again– ‘go back to the basics.’

Getting back to the basics may be translated differently in different environments. Terms like, keep your eye on the ball, watch the ball in, and soft touches are all terms that athletes hear day in and day out from coaches who understand the importance of ‘the basics.’

Off the pitch, the court, and the turf the terms are different. These are terms frequently overlooked and forgotten because they are hard to spot at times. At times these terms mean less revenue in the short term but render millions in the long term. They are tough to see right off because they are, when in their purest form, woven into our character. The fiber of our make up. Most who possess them and have honed them stand out from the crowd in one way or another.

In The Millionaire Mind, The author Thomas Stanley looks at hundreds, if not thousands of millionaires and successful business owners. The number one word that more successful people attribute to the backbone of their success is of the basic of basics: Integrity.

Webster’s defines the word as a “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values:  incorruptibility; an unimpaired condition:  soundness; and the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

Integrity does not know your family any different than it knows your business dealings. Integrity does not know about your job any different than it knows about your wife or your husband. Integrity fails to see anything different than itself; Firm, Incorruptible; Sound; Complete.

So how does your integrity stand up? Is it time to return to the basics? What would happen if you did? Would it be worth a potential short-term loss for a long-term gain? If the answer is Yes, to any of these, you are a welcomed traveller in a new journey that will yield its fruits in due time. Take courage, this road is hard, but you have what it takes, because you got back to the basics.

It Might Take Some Time

If you have ever wanted something now, rather than later, you are not alone. Most of us have and honestly, I cannot name anyone who has not. Delaying gratification is hard, not fun, and frankly something we’d rather not do most of the time.

This conversation is more than an encouragement to not eat the extra piece of cake or read the last chapter first in a best-seller, which both could be seen as superficial. Rather this conversation is one we all wrestle with over the long-haul; weeks, months, or even years.

I have developed a practice of reading (rather listening) through the bible each year. I simply start at the introduction and finish in the maps. This morning, while still in the Old Testament, something struck me. It seems that each leader, Abraham & Moses for example, appointed successors long before their deaths. This practice was even seen with King David when he was anointed King long before (years and years before) he ever took the thrown.

This is what would happen, the priest would stand with the passing leader (or on behalf of God) in what seems like a semi-private affair, pray a blessing over the successor, offer sacrifice and…. that was it. No party, no celebration, nothing… except a long silent wait to ascend to position.

Joshua would not lead the Hebrews for months or even a year; King David was a boy when anointed and he, after his anointing, simply returned to the fields as a shepherd for the next near- decade.

Such is the story sometimes in our own lives; we have a dream or goal or passion and then we start down this road only to find it longer than we thought… and darker …and bleaker …and fearful.

Something of note that should brighten your path, and something that brightened mine was this: Moses was in preparation some 40 years before ever seeing the burning bush; Joshua was being prepared for his greatness by being the admin’ assistant to Moses for decades; and David was killing lions and bears long before his encounter with Goliath.

That silence you hear, that emptiness you feel, that is insurmountably huge, might be the preparation you need before you step into your own greatness…your calling. These just might be your prep-years. It was for Moses, for King David, and it definitely was for Abraham, who waited about 100 years for his prep-years to come to an end.

While I hope we don’t have to wait 100 years to step into our calling, waiting until the prep-years are over is critical to your success once those years are over. You would never skip out on practice in order that you might win a game, so don’t do that here. Do not harbor hatred or resentment in these years of preparation. Run the extra-mile, do the extra push-ups, read the additional book, take the other class, …say the additional prayer.

Be encouraged, even the calling on the life of Jesus as a man was only three years, but 30 of those, in human terms, were in preparation for an eternity. Those 30 years of prep-time changed the world. Why cannot this also be you?

Your calling might be huge and freakishly unorthodox, but if your fellow man or woman were at stake would you dare to try to accomplish it? If your family was at stake would you do it? If your why is bigger than your hurdles, then Yes, you would do this. But take heart and stand strong; enjoy and endure the prep-years, your calling coming, but it just might take some time.