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

img_0564An encouragement to you if you are in a storm of your life or even battling depression. Here are some things you can “look at.”

Look at your watch. Trials are temporary. Sometimes, you even have a say-so in how long the trial will last. Storms don’t last forever. They end at some point.

Look at the bigger picture. It is way too easy to have your head caught up in the crisis or trouble. Take a step back if you have to have a bigger perspective. That helps you 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. Remember that there is God who sees you and knows you by name.

If you’ve 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 win lasts way after the storm is done.

2 Questions to ask God

Earlier this week, I was writing a lesson for elementary-aged children for chapel time at a local school and thought of Paul’s 2 questions he asked Jesus after Jesus intercepted him on his way to Damscus to oppress the followers of Christ. Paul asked, “Who are you?” and “What do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:5-6)

Aren’t those the two questions we all have to ask?

A Vision for your Family

My daughter and I watched these mice run on the wheel almost mindlessly at the pet store the other day. We giggled as we watched their little legs go as fast as they could to keep up with each other and keep the wheel going quickly in rhythm without stalling the wheel or falling off.

It may seem that way with us bi-pedalers as well. Have you felt that way? Have you felt like all you’re doing is running on a wheel and really going nowhere? You wake up, get the kids ready to go to school, drop them off, go to work, get off work, pick up the kids, take them to practice, inhale dinner, off to bed, squeeze in a workout, watch a funny pet video on FaceBook, post selfie on Instagram, sleep in front of the tv, then repeat the next day?

Surely life should be more than that. It is, however, it is up to us to get the meaning out it all. What I am trying to do that is actually harder to do than running on life’s wheel. I am approaching the wheel with more intentionality. I am finding out that this approach requires living life with vision. It may be foreign thing to do, but have a written mission statement for you and your family. You may believe in having a specific calling on your life to do something that has a positive impact in this world. How does that apply to your family?

Here’s an example of a vision statement for a family.

Our family mission:
To love each other…
To help each other…
To believe in each other…
To wisely use our time, talents, and resources to bless others…
To worship together…
Forever. 

I don’t think there are copyrights to vision statements, and this one may work for you. Find out your core values; the things you won’t budge on because they are convictions of your hearts. If you’re married, ask your spouse. Ask your children. Don’t try to cover everything. Narrow the list down to the principles and goals that are the most important to you.

Don’t assume that you all want the same goals. In my college days, I landed a sweet job working in a youth program that steered students away from drugs and gangs. A young teenager was sent to me by a school principle to give a pep talk to. He had been in a lot of trouble and was on his way to being expelled from school. I illustrated to him the American Dream; the wife, the house, car, and a cool dog in an attempt to give him an alternative future. I remember the boy looked at me squarely in the eyes and challenged, “Why do you think I want that?” I was speechless. It caused me to reexamine my core values. Think about your core values? Are these principles  really what you believe? Are these goals real what you want?

Once you have formed thoughts into words, then write them down. Post it somewhere where everyone can see it. Make it your creed. In other words, make the vision statement words to live by. Live by them. Stick to them.

Don’t “try” it. Do it. Take the first steps. Talk to your family. When you come up with your vision statement share it in the comments below. If you think my message is important please share it.