What We’re Letting In

“You are, in fact, a mashup of what you let into your life.”

~Austin Kleon, Author, Steal Like an Artist

What word would you use to describe yourself?  Better yet, what words do you think other people would use to describe you?  Would they use words like kind, intelligent, positive, thoughtful, compassionate, focused, or would they choose less flattering words?

Regardless of the words chosen, the attributes others see in us (and the ones we see in ourselves) are all the result of what we have allowed into our life.

So what are these inputs we’re allowing into our lives that have such a significant impact?  We’ll they can be anything from the people we hang out with to the books we read.  From the movies, TV and digital content we consume to the environment/culture we experience at home, work, and the places we frequent.   These inputs all have an impact, and the more of something we allow in, the bigger the impact it has.

What I think is cool is that we get to choose what we allow in!  If we currently like what we are (what we’ve become) we should continue allowing in those inputs that brought us to this point.  If however, there are certain attributes or behaviors we’d like to eliminate or change, we simply need to remove those negative inputs that brought us to where we are and replace them with new inputs that will take us where we want to go.

Is there any area in your life that you’d like to change?  If so, examine the inputs that brought you there and stop allowing them into your life.  Then start allowing new inputs that will cause you to create the attribute or behavior you desire.

It’s simply a matter of being intentional about what you let in.

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Traveling Companions

We’ve all heard the phrase that “life is a journey”. While the expression may seem over used, I think that it is no less accurate. Life is indeed a journey, full of exciting destinations, pleasant surprises, and unexpected (and not always pleasant) turns of events. Much like a journey, life is certainly not static. It is an exciting, dynamic and ever-changing ride.

Here’s a question regarding your journey through life: Who are you traveling with?

Have you ever thought about the people you’re doing life with as your traveling companions? I’ve been thinking about that this past week. Good traveling companions make good times even better. They also have a way of making difficult times less challenging, more bearable, and more hopeful, through their positive attitude, encouragement, or presence.

Our traveling companions can range from spouses and significant others to family members (like my sister), to friends, co-workers, brothers and sisters in faith, Jesus, or anyone who enhances our journey through life.

I believe it’s important to surround ourselves with good traveling companions as we go through life. I also think it is equally important to BE good traveling companions to those travel with us.

We’re fortunate that we have a great deal of choice regarding who our traveling companions are, and what kind of traveling companion we will be for others. Let’s seek to enhance our journey by choosing, and being, traveling companions people would like to have.

An Anchor In The Storm

Here’s the worst kept secret in the whole world: Life is full of unexpected challenges. A single phone call or event can quickly change the course of our life. When the storms come, we need something to cling to that gives us hope, strength, and courage to face them. What we need is an anchor.

Our anchor is what gives us stability and calm in the midst of a storm. An anchor could anything from a person to a belief to art, or a number of other things. The list of potential anchors is endless.

Without an anchor to provide stability during a storm, we can easily feel overwhelmed and hopeless. This can be a great cause of fear and stress because in the midst of our storm we have nothing solid to hold on to. Nothing solid to give us hope. We are then thrown about by circumstance and emotion, which can be an unpleasant ride.

Do you know what your anchor is? Do you have an anchor ready for the storms that will ultimately arrive?

My anchor is Jesus. When a storm comes, and it recently has, Jesus is the anchor I cling to for tomorrow’s hope and today’s strength. For me, Jesus has proven a faithful and solid anchor through storms I’ve already faced.   Does that mean that with Jesus every storm just magically goes away? Hardly! What it does mean that I’m not alone and that I can face the storm knowing that Jesus is my anchor and that he’ll see me through.

What will you cling to during life’s next storm? Again, do you know what your anchor is?

If you don’t, I’d urge you to consider Jesus. A more solid anchor you will not find.

How We Say It Matters

Imagine you went to the doctor for a routine checkup and it was determined that you had cancer. Now consider how you’d like to receive this news from the doctor? Which delivery would you prefer?

  • “You have cancer.”
  • “The lab results came back showing some cancer cells.”

While some people would prefer the directness of the 1st delivery, to me this would feel like a punch in the gut. Those 3 words would leave me feeling overwhelmed, incapacitate, and hopeless. Personally, I like the 2nd delivery because it doesn’t cause my thinking to instantly shut down to process what I’ve been told. While the news is still shocking, it feels more like a fire cracker going off versus a bomb.

Now I’m not saying that the second response is the better of the 2 (for me it is), but I am saying that the words we use matter in how we communicate with each other. Our words do more than just convey information. They demonstrate our caring, compassion, and concern for the other person, or even (perhaps unintentionally) a lack of it.

I’m reminded that our words have an impact others. And while there are many words we can use to communicate a point, for me, I want to ensure that the impact of my words on others is positive.