Acknowledge The Help You’ve Received

“If you see a turtle atop a fencepost, you know it had help getting there.” ~Unknown

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of our accomplishments. In fact, I think it’s good to celebrate our successes and achievements. What we don’t want, however, is to fail to acknowledge those who helped us along the way.

The quote at the beginning of this post serves as a reminder that any significant accomplishment or achievement we’ve had is likely due, in part, to assistance we received from others. As such, it’s important that when we experience success, we acknowledge and thank those that helped us get there.

Think about a recent success you have had. Now think of the person or people who helped you be successful. Have you thanked them for the part they played in your success? If so, nice job! If not, why not let them, know today? They’ll be grateful for your appreciation.

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Don’t Miss An Opportunity

If given a choice, I think most folks would rather life be filled with only good experiences.  Who looks forward to broken relationships, health issues, and any number of unexpected bad news items?  Wouldn’t life be better without these negative experiences?   I’m not sure it would.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not eager for bad news or events to make their way into my life, or anyone else’s for that matter.  I just think that our experiences, especially our negative ones, can be some of our greatest opportunities to learn and grow… as long as we don’t miss the opportunity.

When bad things happen, we often want to ask questions like, “What did I do to deserve this?” or “Why is this happening to me?”  These questions are usually not helpful, because the answers are often respectively “Nothing” and “It just is”.

Some better questions to ask, once we get past the initial shock/pain, would be: “What does this situation make possible?” or “What do I need to learn through this experience?”  I like to express that last question in the form of a prayer:  “God, what do you want me to learn as a result of this experience?”

If I’m going to go through a negative life experience, personally, I’d like to gain something from it versus just having a bad experience.  This gain could be anything from:

  • A greater understanding of what other people are going though
  • A deeper faith
  • Increased compassion for others
  • A greater understanding of ourselves
  • A greater dependence on God
  • A million other things we can’t even think of

 

I hope that your life is heavy on the positive experiences and light on the negative ones.  However, every life will have its share of the latter.  When they come, be on the lookout for what you can learn or how you can come through it better than you were at the beginning.

 

Don’t miss the opportunity.

Enjoy It While We Have It

This week I learned that a good friend from church will be leaving the area, so I won’t have regular weekly contact with him as I have in the past. The news bummed me out a bit because I really enjoy this friend’s fun, positive personality. We’ve had some fun memories, and not seeing him will feel like something is missing. That said, I am grateful for the time and good memories I’ve had with this friend.

I’m reminded how important it is to appreciate the things we enjoy, whether it’s friends and family, activities we do, communities we belong to, or the season of life we’re in. While it often feels like these good things will last forever, they seldom do. That’s not meant to sound dark or depressing. Life is full of change, and sometimes change means something good is going away. It’s also important to remember that any good thing you currently enjoy in your life was also brought about by change.

Knowing that things change, let’s all be extra appreciative and grateful for those things we currently have that bring us joy.

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.

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.