Archive for August, 2010

I Love You Because…

When Cody and I got married we adopted the saying “I love you because” Every time we would say the words I love you, we would give a reason. It is such a great practice because it makes you intentionally stop and think about the reasons why we love each other instead of just saying the words.

For our one year anniversary I decided to make a calendar called “I Love You Because”–This is such a great gift idea because it lasts all year and really means a lot to the person receiving it. For our calendar I decided to come up with as many “reasons” why I love Cody and type them in each day. Mixed with pictures I filled up 365 reasons why I’m in love with my husband. Cody loved it!

This is a great gift for anyone, not just a husband or wife. I used Snapfish.com to build my calendar and they did a great job. Check it out, and make one for yourself!

(I spelled Because wrong on the calendar… Always double check your spelling!)

What Are You Waiting For?

I’ve learned a lot about waiting in my short life span of 23 years. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that in the waiting God can be trusted to bring about the best possible outcome. Maybe it won’t be the outcome you expect, but we can trust, that whatever it is, it is the best for us.

When I am struggling to trust God in something it helps me to take a look back on my past to see how God came through in other areas.

I can remember the first time I really learned to trust God with the outcome of a certain situation. I was raising money for a leadership trip overseas. I wrote support letters and saved all I could, but I was coming up short. Very short. It looked like I wasn’t going to be able to go. So I prayed and made the decision in my heart that if I was supposed to go on the trip, the money would come. Two days before the money was due, my uncle Paul gave me a check for $2,000. It paid for my trip in full with more than enough left over so I could help a friend with his money as well. God came through. Yes, it was at the last minute but sometimes I think He gets a thrill out of sweeping in and rescuing us when it seems like there’s no hope. That way, there’s no mistaking who gets the recognition for making it happen.

Another friend of mine tells the story of how she and her husband couldn’t get pregnant. For seven years they prayed and tried everything to conceive but nothing happened. When they gave the situation up to God and decided to trust Him with the outcome, they ended up pregnant, two weeks after a pastor prayed over them to conceive. My friend tells me that during those seven years she ministered to many people bringing them to Christ. If she had been a mother earlier, maybe those people wouldn’t have followed her in prayer to receive Christ.

So, what are you waiting for? Most of the time it is in the waiting that God teaches us to trust Him. The problem is we might miss the lesson because we’re too caught up in what we think is best.

What are you waiting for? Think back over your past and recall those times God came through for you. Has He ever let you down?

What are you waiting for? Do you need to drop your worry at His feet and decide in your heart that whatever it is will happen if it’s what God wants for you?

What are you waiting for? “We know that God works all things for the good of those who love Him…”

What are you waiting for? Trust Him.

I’m Running the JailBreak

A couple weeks ago, my friend, Vince Parker posted a blog about a run called the Jail Break. After little thought he, my husband, a friend of ours and yes, I joined the team as well, signed up for it.

It’s September 18th and 19th in Fort Worth Texas. Basically, the Jail Break is a 3.8 mile run over cars, through mud, and all the different obstacles around the maze. The idea behind the Jail Break is “to break free from the daily grind, from old habits, from your typical (boring) races.”

I like to think of it in a different sort of way. I am running the JailBreak for every woman, man,  girl, boy, child, and person who battles with insecurity. I will run for freedom in a different sense. I will run like I’m breaking free from a different kind of jail.

Keep posted for my own pictures and stories of this amazing experience.

Form Teams to Help Leaders Belong in Your Youth Ministry

Last night we started SWITCH, our student ministry at LifeChurch.tv. It was incredible. The energy alone was enough to pull even the shyest kid into the mix.

One great change we made this semester with our adult volunteer leaders was establishing point people over different teams. We decided to make these teams around the different schools in our community. We have five major schools that we pull students from, as well as a group we call “mixed schools” for any student who comes from a private, Christian or other smaller school.

Each point leader is assigned a number of leaders to make up the team. Think of it as a little family. Each family or team is responsible for the students who go to those schools. This is where we will form our small groups and community groups as we continue on this semester.

The greatest thing about these teams that I witnessed last night was the fact that every leader belonged. They had a place, a family that they could call their own. Every leader walked away feeling known by another person–even if it was just me and their point leader. That enabled them to go and make students feel known, to make students feel welcome. I walked out into the lobby after our leader meeting last night to almost every leader engaged in conversation with a student.

It’s amazing what the feeling of belonging can do. It gives you confidence. It gives you the knowledge that no matter what happens someone has your back.

Forming teams helps leaders not get lost in the mix or fall through the cracks. Our goal this semester is to grow from 55 leaders to 100 leaders. I don’t think we would have hope to reach this goal without the help from our point leaders and the manageability of these teams. This will allow us to grow bigger while growing smaller.

I cannot wait to see what this semester brings as we buckle down, join arms, and forge the hill to fight for these teenagers.

What do you say? Join the team?

Complainers Get More Attention

Saturday was our one year anniversary. Cody treated me to a day at the spa, some shopping and my favorite: Sushi.

We were seated at a popular Sushi place in downtown Oklahoma City, next to a table with another couple. As we put in our drink order, and waited, and then finally put in our appetizer order, and waited, we noticed our waiter was a little distracted. Amidst our conversation we observed him as he waited on both our table and the one next to us. It was clear the man seated at the table next to us was not a happy customer. More than once he sent something back to the kitchen and even the manager came out and talked to him and his lady mid way through the meal.

First of all, he ordered steak. I mean, you don’t go to a sushi bar and order steak. Who does that? But that’s not what I’m getting at. As we watched this little episode unfold it was apparent that we had been forgotten.

Complainers get more attention.

Now, I’m all for good service, and good food, and I understand if you’re not satisfied with your experience you want someone to know. But from where we were sitting it didn’t seem like this guy was complaining because of the service. That waiter seemed to be at his beck and call. It didn’t look like his food was wrong–unless the steak tasted fishy (it’s a sushi restaurant!) what it looked like to me, was this guy and his lady were complaining just to complain. Every time the waiter would leave their table they would laugh quietly like the waiter was the dumbest guy in the world. This man even went so far to send back a knife that wasn’t to his liking.

Meanwhile, we’re trying to pay the check without a pen, feeling sorry for our poor waiter the whole time.

Complainers get more attention. Why is that? Why do we allow the naysayers to dictate where we spend our time and energy?

As I thought about this on the way home that night I realize the same is also true in our lives. When we find out someone doesn’t like us, what do we have the tendency to do? Spend the time and energy figuring out why they don’t like us.

I run into this problem a lot working in ministry. If I’m not careful I could spend most of my time with the people who are unhappy about something in the ministry and leave those who would bend over backwards for it in the dark. I learned a leadership principal early on that says to spend 80% of your time with your best players, customers, or volunteers and just 20% of your time with the complainers.

This might be a good concept for people waiting tables. After all, those complainers aren’t going to leave a good tip anyway. And if you leave your other customers to fend for themselves, they won’t either.

In the end, no matter how hard you spin your wheels to try to win over the complainers, while leaving your fans in the dust, you may never get there, and then you’ve lost both.

Happy Birthday, Cody Light

Today is my baby’s birthday!

I am so thankful that 26 years ago he was born.

Life with him over the last three years we’ve known each other have been the best days of my life.

Happy Birthday, Cody. I love you.

Stop Feeding Your Insecurity. Starve It.

We all struggle with insecurities. Whether it be the fear of what people think, holding us back, or our own inner voices telling us we’re less than we are, we all struggle in one form or another.

When you think about your insecurities think of them like little monsters, little imps, jumping around waiting for attention, waiting for you to give them center stage to the interactions of your life. As long as you don’t pay them any attention you can manage. As long as you ignore, hush, and master them, they will not interrupt your life. But most of the time it’s not that easy. And for people who don’t understand that these insecurities are unwelcome guests, they might do the unthinkable.

People who aren’t in the fight for freedom over their insecurities might actually be feeding them without knowing!

Are you feeding your insecurities?

I spent some time with a young woman a couple days ago. Bright, young, beautiful, with lots of potential. I’m not sure how it came up (of course thinking back on it now, anything could’ve come up in this conversation since it was non-stop chatter from the moment we encountered each other) but we got to talking about insecurities. She confessed that she is so insecure she feels like she has to fill the silence with talking (no joke, like I didn’t know that already!)

I found it interesting that she knew this about herself, and yet didn’t do anything to stop it. She feared being alone so severely that she would hold you in a conversation for well past the norm just so she didn’t have to stand, sit or be alone. The funny thing is, the more she talked, the more she fed her insecurity, the more people didn’t want to be around her. Interesting. Is it possible that we are feeding the very thing we fear the most?

What about you? What is an insecurity for you?

Perhaps you are insecure with asking people for help. You think if you ask for help, you’ll be a burden to others. The minute that thought goes through your mind, stop it in it’s tracks. Don’t feed that insecurity. Starve it. Ask for help, be thankful, and don’t apologize for it.

Maybe you’re insecure about the way you look. Maybe you carry more weight than what is healthy, but instead of having hope that you can pull yourself out of bondage you go back to the very thing that got you there in the first place. Food. Quit feeding your insecurity! Starve it! Make a plan for yourself and kick that little monster to the curb!

Maybe you’re overly critical of others because you don’t feel good about yourself. You think putting others down will make you feel better, and if you can get others to agree with your critical behavior you’ve won even more. But what you might not be aware of, is that every time you say a negative word about someone else you’re tossing your insecurity a T-bone steak. Stop feeding your insecurity! Starve it. When the temptation comes to say something critical about another person, stop yourself and say something positive instead.

We have got to get a handle on our inner monsters, or they will get a handle on us. The more you feed them, the stronger they get. Stop feeding your insecurities. Starve them. Dinner is over.

How Secure Are You?

A couple days ago I was reading in Psalms and came across an amazing scripture from the New Living Translation. It says:

“Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.”-Psalms 30:7

I grabbed the word picture right away since we had just been surrounded by an expanse of Coloradan Mountains. I thought and prayed that my desire is to be As Secure As a Mountain.

Mountains are unmoving.

Strong.

Confident.

Rock Solid.

People know where they stand, and nothing can topple a mountain completely.

That’s the way I want to live my life. Secure in Christ, unmoving in my devotion to Him and my knowledge of who I am. Strong and confident in who He has made me to be. I want to be known for standing for something, fighting for freedom in people’s lives. I want to be so secure that nothing can topple me. No amount of negativity, lies from the enemy or naysayers talk will keep me from what God has called me to be.

How Secure Are You? I want to be As Secure As a Mountain.

Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast

Last week we took some vacation time and headed up to Colorado. There’s nothing quite like the crisp cool air and the mountain range scenery that puts you right at ease. There’s also nothing quite like a 17 mile hike–remind me next time that when I go on vacation, I need to actually go on vacation. But that’s a whole other blog post.

Cody, our friend Troy, my brother Jacob and I embarked on the trail early one morning. The air was cool and I was wearing a jacket, but it didn’t take but five minutes of walking up steep ravines with a 30 pound pack on my back to work up a good sweat. The jacket came off and I settled in for who knew how long!

After about two and a half hours of walking I was getting pretty tired. I was at the back of the group, a good two to three minutes behind the leaders. Cody of course stayed with me and as we were walking up a rather steep climb he said something that stuck with me.

“Take your time. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Interesting. As I made it up the mountain and around the winding trails I thought about how true that phrase is for life. For someone who tends to always do things fast, it was a great reminder for me that slowing down and making sure each step counts, is actually a better way to live than trying to rush through everything. I drew a parallel to almost anything I could think of that people deal with in life and this phrase fit them all perfectly.

Training for some big race? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. You have to work up to your goal over time. You can’t just run as fast as you can and expect to condition yourself.

Single and wising you weren’t? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. You can’t just start dating the first guy or girl that comes along because you don’t want to be alone. Take it slow and figure out who you are first.

Writing a book? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. Writing is a process of discovery. If you try to rush into it you may miss something vital to your story.

Parenting a toddler? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. You’re probably not going to see the fruit of your labor right at the beginning, but over time, with lots of hard work, prayer and probably tears, as you commit your children to God you will see what they will become. I’m not a parent, but I am a daughter.

Waiting for a job? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. Listening to God’s direction and being patient is the only way to make it through this seemingly dry spot in your life. It might also be the time when God is trying to do the most in your heart as you trust Him with the next step.

Dissatisfied with your life? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. Like me on the mountain trail, we have to make sure every step counts. Don’t fall for the quick gimmicks. Nothing in life worth anything happens fast. Put in the hard work, follow God’s direction and overtime you will walk into your purpose.

What about you in your current stage of life? Do you need to adopt the motto that Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast? You never know how it might help you make it up the mountain of your life and come to the other side to the beautiful view that awaits you.

What to do when You’re Told “You Suck”

I wrote a post a couple weeks ago called “Development–The Fine Art of Telling People They Suck.” Then a friend of mine, @jeremydbaldwin, asked if I would write a follow up post about what to do if you are on the receiving end of that development. I thought it was a great idea so I bring you this:

What to do when You’re Told “You Suck”

Now, that’s putting it pretty harsh. I hope the people around you who are developing you are a little more tactful than that, but even if they’re not, having constructive criticism is an important part of our development.

I read somewhere that feedback is the number one motivator of people. Without feedback how do we expect to get better at anything? I’m pretty passionate about development, not only helping others develop but making sure I’m getting developed as well, so since Jeremy has been on the receiving end of some of my development, and because I’m always looking to be on the receiving end of development, I’d like to bring you 3 things to always do when you’re told “You Suck.”

1. Put Your Pride to Bed. Let’s be honest, we all need improvement. None of us are perfect at what we do, and if you think you are, you need more development than you think. Lay down the pride and ask a few trusted people to speak honestly into your life. Make sure you have people around you who will develop you. If you want to develop in a certain area, ask them to observe you in this specific area and then give you feedback.

2. Listen. Now, it’s also important that you listen to the feedback they give you. The quickest way to go no where is to do nothing with the constructive criticism that is given to you.

3. Don’t Take it Personal. Actually, take it as a compliment. If someone is giving you feedback it means they believe in you. They know you can be better and they are willing to spend time and energy investing in you to pull out your full potential. When someone wants to give you feedback, don’t get defensive. It is for your good.

What do you do when you’re told “You Suck”?

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