Tag Archives: Life

Complacent or Purposeful

Do you ever stop to evaluate your own life to figure out if you are living a life that is planned out and expected of you?  Do you ever get the notion in your mind that there has to be much more in life waiting for me than what has presented itself?  Do you find that you are just going along in life following a plan that just does speak to you or ignite you?  Are you feeling complacent?

Those questions are just the tip of iceberg when it comes to looking at our lives and how we live.  I have seen all to often where people jump down a particular path because it is either acceptable, safe and secure, or what they’ve been taught to do.  In addition, often times life circumstances happen that bring about decision that seem like a good idea at first, but as time goes on you realize that it really is not who you are or you chose that path for the wrong reasons.  It’s not a great feeling because then you start to find yourself stressed and not sure what you can do change.

Often times what is needed is for you take a step back and completely re-evaluate your direction to figure out what it is you are doing and whether or not the path you chose is the right one.  At this point your assessment should look at whether your life is just complacent and settling with your circumstances or if you are living out your real purpose and living purposefully.  I am sure many will say, if giving a true assessment will say they’ve become complacent.

In some ways, I’ve felt the same way.  not with my beautiful wife and children but in overall career and education paths.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve settled into rolls just to make sure they were provided for.  Nothing wrong with that, but when it becomes a problem is when you feel like your path is sucking away at your own soul.  I’ve certainly had that feeling.  The beauty part is that no matter what path you take, every part of it is a part of your journey and growth.  Going through those challenges better prepare you for the making the changes you really need to make in your life.

So what do you do if you find yourself complacent and realizing that you need to make a change.  Well that is simple, CHANGE.  I know it sounds daunting, but that’s what needs to happen.  Figure out what it is that truly makes you happy and go do that.  Live a purposeful life and don’t let naysayers stop you.  Author Joseph Campbell said, “We must let go of the life we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”  There is a lot more out there waiting for you accomplish in life and life is way to short to sit back and let it all pass by.

Take life by the horns and take the lead on the direction you want to take.  Choose to live a life of purpose and say goodbye to a life of complacency.  It’s something that we can all do.  You don’t have to live miserable and unhappy in nowhere jobs.  You don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s.  The life you lead is between you and God and he will get you to that life of purpose if you trust in Him.  Be purposeful and you can Come Alive!

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Let The Spirit Work Through You

Do you ever recognize that feeling that God is using you for a purpose?  That feeling comes where you feel like you are being called to something bigger than you have ever faced before.  It is quite a feeling and many of us meet that calling in different ways.  Some embrace it and let the Spirit guide them while others chose to maybe stay on the sideline and not act.  That choice can come from fear of the unknown or lack of faith in where you are being guided.

There are also those times where you may feel that you are not being guided or you are just not sure what it is God wants you to do.  These feelings may come in times of uncertainty.  Maybe career disappointments, challenges with your family, or any of a number of other things.  Maybe you were pursuing a career opportunity you hoped and prayed would pan out.  Then at the end it does not pan out and you are left wondering what next.  My brother Rob, said something to me yesterday that was pretty powerful.  We recognize God’s hand during those joyous times, but we often fail to realize that even in those times of what may be disappointment, it is really the God’s hand sheltering you.  Maybe protecting you from what may not be a good road or maybe he is just not ready for you to move just yet.  Believe me, when He is ready for you to move, He will move you.

Life presents so many challenges and also so many reasons to celebrate.  We were created for God’s purpose, so the best thing that any of us can do is to get out of our own way and let His Spirit work through us.  We allow that to take place and we will be guided to where we were meant to be.  It may be a bumpy road.  It may be filled with many trials, but you will be that much stronger for it in the end.  St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying, “If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.”  That’s just another example of how important each of us are.  We all have part to play if we just let the Spirit work.  The Holy Spirit is always here to guide us.  Paul said in Romans 8:26, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”

So what stops you from opening up to God’s plan and letting Him work through you.  It may not always be evident, but He is always at work in our lives.  I’ve seen in through my family and friends and in my overall outlook of life and faith.  If you close off from God’s purpose for you, how can you ever expect t come alive fully.  Our spiritual growth is the foundation of who we are.  Without it, nothing will matter.

SpiritofPower

Is Today The Day That You’ve Waited For?!?!?

Every morning that I drive to the office, I spend the first part of my drive listening to Bible chapters for that day through my phone and then depending on the day, I will turn on music.  I will either flip through radio stations, turn on a CD, or key up the music on my phone.  It can either be some uplifting praise and worship music, country, rock, or just a variety.  This morning, I through my phone on shuffle and let it play at random. The first song that came up, is one I love that is by Rascal Flatts, called “Feels Like Today.”  You may know this song.  It’s been around for some time.

As I listened to this song it gave me a great uplift and I started thinking about the message in the song about being patient and persistent with going after your goals in life and eventually waking up and realizing that, maybe today is the day that I realize those goals.  I’m sure many of you, as I have, has had those days where you get up and feel like nothing good can come from that day, and then other days where you just want to pop out of bed and think, now this is the day I’ve been waiting for.  While we will always have those days that just are not motivating, I for one, would much rather have those days where I am up, pumped up and ready to role to get toward my goals.  What about you?

Too often, people get caught up in life and a routine that fosters continuous inaction and complacency. This complacency can impact their life, their family, their work, and their spiritual growth.  Dale Carnegie said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”  I wrote last week about the fears that we have in life.  What we need in our lives is action.  This build us up to know that we can accomplish anything.  If we stay persistent, we can accomplish our goals and not be sucked by fear and doubt.

So, is today that day you are waiting for, or do you see a particular goal that you know you want to shoot for?  You can’t stand around and wait for it to happen.  If you do, that train will pass you by.  In the song, “Feels Like Today,” the second verse says:

“You treat life like a picture
But its not a moment frozen in time
It’s not gonna wait
Til you make up your mind, at all…”

This verse says a lot.  Life does not freeze and wait for you to decide what you want to do.  You have to make that choice to get up and move forward and pursue your goals and allow yourself to come alive.  In another Dale Carnegie quote, he said, “Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.”

You have to choose to live for today.  Don’t stand to the side and let life pass by and then find yourself wondering, what in the world happened to my life.  We all have a purpose in life, but we have to choose to get off of our tails and achieve that purpose.  Learn from the past and apply that knowledge to the future, but always live for today.  Don’t waste the gift of life that God has blessed each and everyone of us with.  Make the most of it to make an impact and on this life and even to serve others.  Make today that day that you decide I’m going to do what I am called here to do.  I am not going to wait for life to pass by and wait for something to fall in my lap.  I am going to make things happen.  Begin today!!!

Conquering Fears That Tell You No

We all have fears in life, don’t we.  There are those things that we encounter that tell us that we cannot do something.  What fears have you encountered?  It could be anything from riding a roller-coaster, flying in a plane, fear of new opportunities, fear of failure, and even, yes, fear of success.  Fear is something that is so stifling, that it can keep you from perusing your dreams and goals and force you down paths that are completely contradictory to anything that you would otherwise do.  Fear can keep you stuck in a job that makes you flat out miserable.  I know many that have been there.  Either they become too secure in their job and its benefits or they just don’t want to risk going on to something new for fear of the unknown.  This fear can suck the spirit out of you and keep you from ever coming alive.

Dr. Charles Stanley had a great quote about fear.  He said, “Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.”  Does this sound like you or anyone you know?  The fear can come from a number of areas.  It can be your own psychological fears of moving forward or it could those naysayers that constantly want to tell you that you can’t do this or you shouldn’t do that.  Either way, as Dr. Stanley said, fear stifles your thinking and actions and can result in lost opportunities.

The struggle that must be faced by everyone is how to conquer that fear.  What can you do to brush aside the naysayers and that nagging feeling that keeps you from pursuing the goals you have ahead and what God has intended for you?  Elbert Hubbard stated that “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing that you will make one.”  We all know there will times where you will not succeed in one venture or another.  If you never try however, for fear of failing, then you have once again let fear overcome you and your goals.

So how do you conquer those fears?  The biggest thing is to put your trust in God that He will lead you through the challenges and toward the path He wants you on.   Psalm 56:3-4 says, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.  I praise God for what he has promised.  I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”  That’s self evident there.  What can anyone or anything do to stop you if you put your trust in God.  He will help you overcome your fears when you trust in Him and let Him take control.

With your trust in God, you can muster the strength to overcome any fear and follow your dreams.  Les Brown stated that “A lot of people do not muster the courage to live their dreams because they are afraid to die.”  Don’t be afraid of where the path goes.  Follow your dreams and goals and follow them without fear.  I have a frame on my wall at home that says “The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.”  Know that He is always there.  Don’t be afraid of failure.  Don’t be afraid of success.  Don’t be afraid of the unknown.  Have faith that the path you follow is the one you are meant to be on.  You keep your mind fixed on those goals and they will come to fruition.

So don’t ever let anyone or anything tell you that you can’t follow your passions and dreams.  You can conquer those fears.  I have had my share of those fears over the years of where I may end up.  It is now in God’s hands and he is guiding down the path I was intended to take.  You can do the same thing.  It takes time, so don’t let that stop you either.  Stay focused and you can conquer those fears and come alive!

It’s Time to Really Get in Gear

These past couple of months, I have kept myself in place in life where I have not been able to live out what I’ve been writing about.  This is a challenge that we all can face as we struggle with understanding what may be the “right” path to take and what may be the path you were meant to take and that God place you here for.  I let myself get so bogged down with other things that it took away from me focusing on things that really mean something to me and that can have meaningful impacts on those around me.  I’ve been fortunate that in these last few months, the things that have kept me going are my family and my faith.  I enjoy every waking moment I have with my wife and children.  Yes, spring time is hectic as our children are filled with their activities, but I love every part of it.  It has been a great part of their growth and it has bonded us all closer together.  I also have latched on to my faith as my daily walk with God through His word has been a continued uplift for me in times where mentally and emotionally I was struggling with keeping myself afloat with the demands of my work and school.

I have learned that in my life and in all our lives, there will be times where we just struggle with our purpose and figuring out what it is we should be doing with this tremendous gift of life the Lord has granted us.  Last week, I first decided to take some leave from my doctoral work just for my own sanity.  Then I took a couple of vacation days to spend with my family.  On the first day, we packed up a picnic lunch and fishing gear and went out to the lake for a day of fishing.  It was a great time just spending with my family and relaxing at the same time.  Throughout the time of baiting hooks and getting my kids lines out of trees and other snags, it dawned on me again that this is what really matters in life.  The time and energy I get to spend with my family to teach them, to have fun with them, and just enjoy the company of each other.  The same holds true for my wife and the amount of time I get to spend with her and focusing on us.

So there it is for me.  I was back to 3 of the 4 Pillars.  Then I had to rethink Pillar 4 which focuses on Work.  I realized that I had really let 4 Pillar Living get away from me.  I let so much else detract from me working on something that really mattered to me and what seems to matter to others as well.  I am not the worlds foremost expert in how to live by any means, but I am certainly here in position to help guide people into making sure they focus on the important aspects of living not let unimportant things get in the way of you enjoying life and coming alive through all areas of life.

Now is the time for me and for us all to really figure out how to unleash our own God given potential and live out the lives we were meant to live.  We all have a purpose and if we listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying through us, we will be able to find that purpose and then take the steps to live it out.  My call to service is help others unleash who they are meant to be.  It is a struggle that we all have and that I have and continue to have.  I have learned a lot along the way and I plan to use my writing and communication abilities to share that with you all more and more.  You will once again begin to see more consistent content on 4PillarLiving.com.  My work on my book “4 Pillars to Coming Alive” is kicking back into high gear again and I will also be developing strong focal points on each  of the Pillars.   One of the first will be focused on Marriage and relationships.  Be on the lookout for more this summer.  In addition, 4 Pillar Radio will be coming online soon.  I will be working to get that going once again.

It’s going to be a fun ride and I hope you will join me through it.   4 Pillar Living is getting back in gear and this train is stopping.  Enjoy the Ride!!!

The Power that Faith Brings

I have devoted a great deal of time these past few years renewing my faith and relationship with Christ.  I’m not always on point in this walk, but I come a long way in ensuring I walk with Him daily and keep His path close to my heart as I grow as a man of faith and a leader for my family and those around me.  Through my journey, I have learned just how powerful that faith can be in my life and in anyone’s life who chooses to walk by faith.  Even when we are unsure of what the end results may be, following a path by faith will lead you down God’s path for you and help you grow closer to Him in your own life.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  When we choose to walk through life by faith, we are putting our trust and confidence in the Lord that he will provide and guide us down the path he has chosen for us.  I think we have all heard people over the years talk about their struggle with faith when they cannot see what it is God has planned for even see proof that God is actually here for us.  I walked down this pathway some especially after I lost my Dad and did not know what it was that God was doing and questioning why he would let something as tragic as that happen to someone like him.  Since that time, I have grown to understand that those events happen life for specific reasons.  My Dad was a man of tremendous faith, and maybe through what he endured, it may help others to find their way to the Lord and I think that certainly happened and continues to happen.

So what does faith me to you.  In my Bible readings this morning, the subject of faith as a active thing versus a passive feeling was discussed.  Through faith, Christians can rely on faith for their day to day living.  We’ve come too far in life to live passively and not exercise our faith.  Our lives are a unique opportunity for each of us to life a life of faith and not sit back letting life pass us by and being complacent in how we live.  Just to use an analogy from my reading, lets say you were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a round of golf at Augusta National Golf Club.  You come to the Par 5 13th hole at Amen Corner.  After driving down the fairway you are faced with the decision to layup or go for the green.  Chances are you may never play that course again, so why not take a chance of faith and go for it.  In other words, when those unique opportunities arise to exercise your faith, take advantage of it.  You only have so much time to so.

If you look throughout our history, so much was done and accomplished on the pillar of faith.  Go all the way back to Abraham, who showed ultimate faith by being willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac as instructed by God, only to be stopped by God himself, when he saw that Abraham had committed all his faith to God.  By trusting in Him, even though he may not be physically visible to us we can make through and accomplish anything in life with the Lord by our side.

Martin Luther King, Jr said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  It may be scary to take that step into the unknown, to begin a new chapter in life, to begin a new career, to begin a family, to begin a ministry, or whatever it may be.  That first step can be tricky, but demonstrating faith and stepping, even when you cannot see what will become, is extremely powerful.  It shows a lot of your own character and God will also guide you through those steps into the unknown.  Walk by faith, even when you cannot see.  He will guide you through it all.

Can’t Grow Without Mistakes

Our experiences in life take us down so many different avenues.  With each avenue, we are required to make constant decisions about that path.  Let me ask you this, in any of those avenues, or decisions in life, have you ever made a mistake?  If you for some reason say no, you must not be alive.  Life’s journey is filled with mistakes.  These are moments where we decide things that did not always produce the best results.  This could be anything, big or small.  If you work, you may make a decision on a project that may have seemed good, but ended up not producing the best results.  You may decide on a school for higher education, but not choose a degree path that really suits what you may want to do in the future.  Those are just minor examples of mistakes that occur in life.  There are countless other examples.

George Bernard Shaw said that , “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”  The mistakes that we make in life are all a part of the growing process and help to make us who we really are.  Notice that I am mentioning mistakes, not regrets.  I live live a life where I avoid having regrets.  Regrets are feelings that prevent us from moving beyond something that may not have gone the way we had hoped.  Mistakes on the other hand are experiences that we learn from and help to improve on the person we are.  They help to define ourselves in the way we bounce back from mistakes.  In any mistake I make, I do my best to learn from what went wrong to not only avoid that mistake again, but to also ensure I can improve on what was done.

Don’t let yourself live a life of regrets where any little mistake holds you down and prevents you from progressing to who you are meant to be.  I’ve been down that road before.  Living with regrets does not do you a bit of good.  As the old saying goes, live and learn.  You learn from the mistakes without regrets and you strive toward coming alive.  We are where we are in life as a result of every step we have taken whether we learn from our mistakes or choose to not learn and live a life of regret.  Our current state is a result of our actions and decisions in life and we are exactly where we are intended to be as a result of those actions.

Don’t let your life be defined by not taking action to learn from your own mistakes in life.  This applies to all 4 pillars of living.  You may have taken a road where you strayed from your faith in Christ.  You may have made mistakes that affect your relationships with your spouse, family, or friends.  You may have made mistakes in the work you do by taking a path that does not suit you or your passions.  Lastly, you may have made mistakes in not living a life that has purpose or that does not always move forward.

No matter which area, there is always opportunity to learn from the mistakes down each pillar of life.  Learning from any mistakes you have made will help you find the path you meant to be on.  You can find your way back to your faith in knowing, that Christ will always take you back.  You can find the ways to mend those relationships in your life.  You can find that work and passion that best suits you.  Finally, you can live a life with purpose that always moves forward.  You can Come Alive!  Everything that happens has a its purpose, good or bad and we have to learn from those times to make the best results from it.  Mistakes are nothing but a learning experience and opportunity.