Don’t DIY your life. DIWG

Don’t DIY Your Life. DIWG. Do it with God.

As I watched this elderly man walking the streets of L.A., I remembered a Jewish Proverb:

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

We were never meant to do this journey alone. DIY home projects or car repairs are great. I just fixed my toilet this morning by looking on YouTube. It took me 2 minutes! Don’t DIY your life.

God has blessed us with a free will and a creative mind to take amazing adventures and accomplish great deeds, but He had always intended for us to be in a relationship with Him. In that relationship with Him, we can see the world with a wider lens. We can see the bigger picture. We can find His purpose for us.

I can start with a simple prayer today, “God, show me the way I should go today. I want to know you and your purpose for me.” It’s possible that seemingly nothing earth-shattering will change for you immediately afterwards. However, it’s more about yielding to the One who supplies the very air you breathe.

This is what Jesus taught his followers about the daily things we worry about.

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.’

Read more in context here https://www.bible.com/bible/116/LUK.12.22-31

Don’t DIY your life. DIWG. That is, Do It With God.

“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered”

“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”

Just a thought form a portion of Scripture found in Matthew 10:30.

If the Creator of this universe knows you to the level of detail that He knows the exact number of hairs that you have on your head, do you think that it’s possible that God cares for you?

Let God’s promises shine on your problems

“Let God’s promises shine on your problems.” ~Corrie ten Boom

Corrie and her family helped many Jews escape the Nazi holocaust by hiding them in her house. Corrie actively helped refugees in the Dutch underground until she was eventually caught by the Nazis and imprisoned for her actions. She survived a depth of darkness at the hands of other men that few of us will ever experience.

Here’s one excerpt of Scripture that comes from the songbook of David, who was no stranger to challenges. He wrote in Psalm 103:2-5,

“Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”

I can only imagine that these words may have been some of those promises Corrie shined on her challenges as she risked her life hiding refugees, including the time she spent imprisoned in a concentration camp.

Take some time today to look up some promises to shine on your life today. You already have a few to start with. We may not be destined to hide refugees in our home, but there are people you can bless today with kindness and generosity.

Feel free to add your own promises that you think will help other readers in the comments below.

Life getting you down? Here are things to look at.

img_0564Here is an encouragement to you if you are in one of life’s storms or currently battling depression. Here are some things you can “look at.”

Look at your watch. This will be your reminder that trials are temporary. Sometimes, you even have a say-so in how long the trial will last. Storms don’t last forever. All storms end at some point.

Look at the bigger picture. It is way too easy to keep your head caught up in the crisis or trouble. Take a step back and choose too look at your storm with a bigger perspective. Make a decision to thoughtfully respond instead of reacting out of emotion.

Look around for others. You are not alone. You were never meant to do life alone. As much as you would could claim that your situation is unique, most likely a family member or a friend has gone through something like your situation and can provide a listening ear or encouragement.

Look up. The first opportunity that you have, go outside. View the expanse of the sky. Feel the breeze on your face, Listen for signs of life even if it’s a car driving by. Your sigh can be one of relief instead of despair. We all wish there was a magic wand to wave over and evaporate every challenge in life. There isn’t, but there’s good news.

The Scriptures say that there is a God who sees you and knows you by name. If you have never done this before, lift your hands towards Heaven and open up your hands and ask God to take the heaviness that you are under. If you have never asked God to help you, then ask. If your challenges have a name or names, like names of kids, say their names verbally. God knows them.

Allow yourself the chance to be surprised. The result may not be an instant miracle. However, when you are the one who changes in the midst of the storm, then the victory will last way after the storm is done.

Embracing The “Bad” Words

This year is all about embracing the bad words. You know like “self-discipline” and “consistency” and “follow-through.” Yeah, those are all bad words to me. Yet, I am embracing them and not letting go until they become part of me.

What is it for you? Exercise? Eating? Money? Relationships? Work? It’s probably all of those things for me… and them some.

I’m starting with my private devotional time with God. I figured if God gives me 24 hours in a day, I can give Him 24 minutes of my undivided attention. More on that later. I figured that I need to get this part right before anything else.

If you have been following my blog I apologize for the long layoff. I’m back and planning to be “consistently” posting at least twice a week. Stay tuned!

Making Time That Matters With Those Who Matter Most

What matters most to you? I’m guessing that you are about to tell me to change the wording to, “WHO matters most to you.” The things that matter most to us are not things. It’s people. It’s the people we love. It’s the people who love us. My Top 3 goes like this: God, family, then friends. Even though my priorities are set for life, everything and everyone under the Top 3 challenge the Top 3 for position.

These challengers may not necessarily be bad things. Work isn’t a bad thing. You have to work. If the people you love depend on you to provide for them, then work is a necessary thing. At least I have to. Hobbies aren’t necessarily and usually aren’t bad. Many hobbies are refreshing and fulfilling. Relationships and even business ideas are birthed out of our recreational activities.

Even noble endeavors can try to find ways to displace your Top 3. I’ve been attending the same local church for over 25 years. I discovered that volunteering is an investment into not only other people, but expresses a faith-life that journeys in something that is much larger than me as an individual.  Still, this endeavor shouldn’t take over my Top 3. It shouldn’t take over yours.

How do you protect your Top 3? I don’t subscribe in the idea of a fixed “balanced life.” There are seasons when we all juggle a little or a lot more than the usual.  Also, life is full of unexpected turns and detours. Even with all of the surprises, how do you manage to spend time and attention to the relationships that matter?

I believe that one of the things you must do is to make time. Even if that means to put times down on a calendar (that you commit to) then that it is what you must do. I’ve been guilty of telling my friends, “Yeah, let’s catch that game soon.” SOON can end up being weeks, month, and even years. I can tell my kids that we will catch a movie when “things aren’t so crazy.” If I don’t set a date, then it isn’t going to happen.

If you can make your appointments with a God you cannot see, how faithful will you be to be consistent with spending time with your loved ones who you can see. That Day Runner thing wasn’t working for me years ago. Thank God, my calendar fits in my pocket. Even my years-old phone allows me to make an appointment by talking to it. I have no excuses. I can make excuses, but they aren’t valid; not with those who matter most.

What does your calendar look like over this week? What does it look like today? Are you making time that matters most with those who matter the most to you? Chime in. Be heard.

The Life Equation

A couple of years ago, I injured my shoulder surfing and was not able to surf for several weeks. I continued going to the beach and took photos instead while my body healed. I remembered watching the local high school surf team this day as they shouted, laughed, and scored really great waves during a winter swell. What stood out the most was watching some students stylin’ on cheap foam boards that are sold at the local Costco.

I heard a preacher on the radio say that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. I have heard this saying recycled and re-quoted many times in different forms like, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but is it not true? Anything “awesome” or “epic” usually depends on how you participated in it. The kids who surfed with the foam boards were carving out waves as good as the other kids who had boards that cost 10 times more.

Times have changed and now people reject sound wisdom and will react with, “What if I don’t like lemonade?” and “Why am I getting lemonade when those people get Arnold Palmer’s?”  The victim card is way overplayed nowadays. It is time to put that card down and take that 10% of crap that has been thrown your way and turn it into fertilizer for the 90%. Grow something. Change something. Overcoming obstacles in life is not easy nor comfortable. Stop wasting energy on leveling the playing field and just play. If all you have is that cheap foam board, then use it and make it awesome. The 90% is yours.

How much should you plan your child’s future?

What should the extent of your role be in shaping your child’s future? I know that debate has always existed about picking your child’s profession and even their eventual spouse. Let me share some biblical perspective in response to my own questions to express what I think should be part of the foundation of your parenting.

I’m just trying to figure out my own life! Don’t they just figure things out? Do I have to actually specifically plan for my children?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 NLT.

Sounds like a no-brainer. I think most parents have dreams and hopes for their kids even before they are still in the womb. God has specific plans for us. Parents should have actual plans for their children’s future. Part of your own personal plans for your future include plans for your children.

To what extent should I plan?

“Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” ~Psalm 127:4 NLT.

You have been given the authority by God to choose the direction of your children the same way a warrior points an arrow towards its target. Start by choosing the direction. Even though higher education is changing rapidly nowadays, I am planning for my children to get as much education as possible after high school to give them a number of options in life to find their own career path. 

Where do I point my arrow?

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” ~Proverbs 22:6 NIV.

You decide where to point your arrow. My opinion is to start with God’s way as outlined in the Bible. That may sound too broad or ambiguous, but for those who consistently read the Bible know that the ways of the Lord are very clear and defined. I believe that the words in the Bible are not just mere words and wise sayings. Yes, in a practical sense, the Bible is the manual for living.  More than that, Scriptures are words from the Almighty Himself. His words supernaturally give life to those who find it. Start your children off the way they should go.

What if I choose the wrong direction?

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9 NKJV.

The list of decisions you make seem endless. School? Which school? Should I pay for private education? College? And what about dating? When? Sports? Dance? Music? Friends?  You make the plans. Don’t get stuck at every fork in the road. God will shape your decisions when you make them. Are you willing to let Him? Pray. Pray a lot. Pray for your children. Pray with your children. They have desires and talents. It’s your job to find out what those are dreams and gifting are and help guide them with the decisions. Ask them. Watch them. I have twin daughters. Their big brother played soccer for years and was good at it. I thought that it would make sense for my daughters to play soccer too. The girls hated soccer. They lasted one season.  Now one does ballet while the other does MMA. My adult son works in his art department at work designing their web. It started over ten years ago when he asked for an notebook and pencils to draw.

What about the money? How much money?

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” ~ Proverbs 13:22 NKJV.

Lastly, you need financial resources for your children’s future. You’re providing now, but go beyond the current needs. God says to leave and inheritance to your children, and it  should extend to the grandchildren. That requires planning.

I won’t be picking out my children’s spouses nor their career paths, but I can help them get meet their goals.

I appreciate your thoughts and comments below. Happy planning!

 

Balance? What Balance?

Do you know how many articles, blogs, books, videos, sermons exist on the internet just by searching the words, “balancing life?” I don’t know the number, but the list seems endless. I’m sure it seems that way because a lot of people feel like their lives are not in balance. I won’t claim to have mastered any kind of balance in my life. I believe it is one of the constant tensions in life that will always exist. (By the way, I believe tension is necessary in life, and it’s not always a bad thing.) We can pour massive amounts of time and energy into organizing our lives in a disciplined manner, and there comes along an event that can upend that balance.

Instead of getting hung up on the concept of what “balance” looks like, simplify it by prioritizing the people that are most important to you. I say “people” because people should be at the top of your list. It should be the people that you LOVE who should be at the top of your list. If I LOVE God, then He should be the top priority of my time and attention. If I LOVE my wife, then she should get a whole lot of my time and attention. If I LOVE my kids, then they should get a whole lot of my time and attention. If I LOVE my relatives…. If I LOVE my friends…. This list can extend far, but that’s where priorities help.

You should also make time to do the things that you LOVE. Those are the interests that you enjoy doing. That could be a simple as reading books. It can be extensive like collecting rare objects. Pursuing these interests take the edge off the roughness of life and fills the soul tank. However, the things that you love shouldn’t take away the time and attention that belongs to the people you LOVE.

There’s a 4-letter word that gets in the way of the endeavors we love, and that’s W-O-R-K. If you have a job or career that you don’t love, then shift your perspective to encourage yourself. Your work gives you the opportunities to do the things that you love.

One more thought. Be generous with your time and resources to help others. Volunteer at your church or the hospital. Be a coach on your child’s soccer team. You get the idea. Investing your time and resources to help others is not just a noble thing. It makes your soul rich.

Balance can’t be all the aspects of your life weighing the same amount to keep the scales level. Some aspects are more important than others. Some aspects weigh more than others. Some aspects should.

What are those priorities in your life? Chime in! Your comments are welcomed and hope you are enjoying a productive week!