The Change that Pain Causes Can Be for Good or Bad!

pain_in_life

Pain will happen in life no matter who you are or where you come from. The question is not IF pain will happen but what you will do with pain WHEN it happens.

When we stop asking God “why” pain is happening and start asking “what” can we learn from it, we go from a survivor to a THRIVER mentality and attitude. When we only seek to survive in life we lose the ability to gain some wonderful perspective and actually USE the things that happen to us to make us stronger.
Praying for you today to get through the pain you are in and see the great things that can come from change that painful situations can bring.

Talkers are Praised While Listeners Go Unnoticed

Listening
I cannot say that I know very many people who are great listeners, including myself. Someone who, when their name comes up, is known to others as an exceptional listener. At the same time, we can name numerous amazing speakers when it comes to people we think have full command of the words that come out of their mouth. It is an interesting thing to me that we praise talkers but great listeners in life go unnoticed. Maybe it’s because we feel like if we don’t share how we feel we will not be able to change our corner of the world. Maybe you grew up in a large family and if you were not able to express yourself well that you were ignored or even forgotten.

As a follower of Christ, I was ALWAYS taught growing up the importance of telling others about my relationship with Jesus. Even now, Christians far and wide believe the most important thing is telling the world about how much Jesus loves them. We even sing worship songs about “telling” and build vision/mission statements around talking! When was the last time you read the vision statement of a religious organization that says, “We will listen to the broken and answer with love first and words second.”

Please hear me. I am not poking holes in religious organizations or churches but just making a statement about maybe some of the pacing we do as followers of Christ that tries to mimic the people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus yet. The world is all about telling others who they are, how they feel and the convictions they have and operate by.

There is an incredible power exhibited when you LISTEN to someone who either disagrees with your stance on something or even says things based from a place of hurt or pain. Stop trying to come up with a witty antidote to something being told to you and just tell yourself to shut off your mouth and engage your ears and mind to just listen.

The amazing byproduct of listening is that it encourages others to hear what YOU have to say because they felt honored that you would listen to them. So it is not whether you ONLY listen or ONLY talk but that listening opens up the channels of communication with others and helps you share what is on your heart. Maybe it is a priority of listening with a result of talking. Even Jesus would interact with people in a question format, listen to what they would have to say and then share. The greatest communicator to walk the earth was first and foremost the greatest listener, and He is who I want to be.

The Importance of God NOT Being “Early” in Your Situation!

early-god
I have two friends, Matt and Jill, who moved their family from Colorado to Washington recently. He had been out of work for a very long time and living off of the severance package from his former job. He is a great employee and was looking for jobs everywhere but it was always not the right fit. They were feeling God’s direction to move to Washington without any real firm leads on a job for him and massive transition for them as a family with their three girls.

 I felt impressed to pray for them as a family the other day and texted them that I was doing a “run and pray” for them and believing that God would open doors that no man could close and close doors that no man could open. Jill texted me the following day and said that Matt had gotten a job offer that day and possibly another one by the end of weekend! Jill and I texted back and forth a few times and she said that they had just gotten their last severance check that day. She said, “God thinks he is so funny!” I responded and told her that in my life, “God has NEVER been early but He has never been late.” Jill responded and said that was so true. Then I thought of the countless times I have said that same line to people through the years.

Then it hit me. I responded something that I know came straight from God. I texted “If God was early, we would think it was our talents, connections, whining or complaining that made it happen.” All of which are NOT true!!” Wow. My fingers were typing it as I was thinking about why God is never early in our situations in life. It all made sense at that moment and I texted Jill that I felt a blog comin on!! Haha

Maybe you are in a situation where you are trying to give something to God and trust him for the outcome and wondering why God is not coming in early and making the changes you want to see. You are probably anxious about the situation and curious as to how God is going to “pull this one out” of the fire. Just remember, if God was early in meeting your need in life then you would probably give yourself the credit for “praying hard enough, complaining enough or just crying enough” to make it happen. Trust is essentially believing something is going to happen when nothing in the physical realm seems to be changing.

Today, pray and make your request known to God but then trust HIM to do HIS part in your situation. I am not saying this is going to be easy. In fact, it will probably be some of the hardest prayer/trusting you can do in life but will be the most gratifying when you truly release something to God and then see Him bring the increase. Just ask Matt and Jill and their journey these past couple of years. Good stuff.

The Time it takes to Compliment Someone

I went running this morning and was thinking about ways to show the love of Jesus to people that I meet. One idea that I had was to make a running shirt that says “Stop me if you need prayer” on the front so that people will see it and I can interact if they want. Then I was thinking about the amount of time it takes to compliment someone about anything. I tried out my little “mental experiment” with a lady who was walking her dog and told her she had a pretty dog. Her eyes lit up and she said, “thank you!” I also saw a lady who lived in a beautiful house right off of the trail and told her that she had a beautiful house and she said, “thanks!” Those two smiles and compliments took less that two seconds each!

Now there is something you need to understand if you don’t live in or are from Colorado. People are not so friendly when it comes to being on their property or at their house. But when you meet or greet them outside on trails hiking or running, skiing at any one of many ski hills or just walking out in the sun, people are just different and much more friendly. I knew this from living here for almost fourteen years and understanding the culture.

The point I’m trying to make is to always remember one simple fact when considering your ability to be like Christ on this earth; we are all just part of the process. This sounds like a “duh” statement but it is really profound if you think about what it means. I truly believe that we get so caught up in the last step of someone giving his or her life over to Jesus. We forget we are part of a greater plan and need to realize that even small acts of kindness can lead to a person’s life being forever changed by giving God control of how they live their life. We never know how being kind to someone or something as simple as a compliment is going to be a catalyst to put them in a better mood and for the next person being obedient to God being able to talk about what Jesus did for them and planting another positive seed in their life.

So basically those two simple compliments were, quite possibly, the two most important interactions I had all day and took less that two seconds each! What an incredible shift from looking only at the result of the actions we take on this earth with our walks with God to just being obedient in the moment and trusting God for the results and letting Him get the glory.

Have a great rest of the week and know that I am praying for God’s love and Holy Spirit to guide and direct what you do in the moment and that you will learn to leave the rest up to Him.

Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Holy Crap – Change Challenges

This excerpt from my book is one of the “change challenges” that I encourage readers to do. Enjoy!

2nd “Change Challenge”:  Have an attitude of gratefulness

Think about this statement: gratefulness provides an atmosphere for change.  This was another one of those principles which I didn’t understand until about 4 years into my sickness.  If you haven’t noticed, I am trying to set you up for greatness.  I want you to be able to read the pages of this book and learn from my mistakes.  I am not saying I did everything wrong, the past few years, but I did enough things wrong to maybe help you be further along than I was in my pain.
There is a great example of thankfulness in the book of Luke in the Bible about ten lepers (outcasts with a terrible skin disease)Luke 17:11-19 (NCV)    11 While Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, He was going through the area between Samaria and Galilee. As He came into a small town, ten men who had a skin disease met Him there. They did not come close to Jesus but called to Him, “Jesus! Master! Have mercy on us!”
When Jesus saw the men, He said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” As the ten men were going, they were healed. When one of them saw that he was healed, he went back to Jesus, praising God in a loud voice.     Then He bowed down at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. (And this man was a Samaritan.)  Jesus said, “Weren’t ten men healed? Where are the other nine? Is this Samaritan the only one who came back to thank God?” Then Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go on your way. You were healed because you believed.”

Did you read those verses correctly? There were ten lepers who had an incredibly terrible skin disease and were outcasts to society. It says that nine went on their merry way, yet only ONE came back to actually thank Jesus for what He did!  This portion of scripture always floors me with the contrast of gratefulness and ungratefulness, all in the same section of scripture.  The one made the effort to go back to where Jesus was to thank Him, but the others so quickly forgot that, not only were they healed but an amazing lifestyle change had just been given to them.

I believe gratefulness is a key element in making it through a rough time in your life.  It takes the sting out of a painful situation by focusing on what you DO have instead of being concerned with what you DON’T have.