Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quitting is not an option...Are you a Finisher?

By the title of this blog, you know that we are going to talk about quitting or a least NOT quitting. This blog came to me during a night of insomnia. That night I had the whole blog worked out in my head. When I woke up, I could not remember a thing. NOTHING. Two days later, listening to the Bible Experience (a must have by the way) the story of Peter walking on water jolted my memory. We will talk about Peter shortly.

I had been talking to family and friends about my doctoral journey. I said, if I could have seen and anticipated the work, the commitment, and how exhausted I would be at this point I might not have started. Here is a freebie…this is one reason why God does not show us the end or even the middle of a thing at the beginning, because we might not ever start the journey. Although I never said anything about quitting (just venting, you know me) several people immediately said, “You can’t quit”…“you’ve come so far”. Quitting is not an option. In fact, quitting is not in my DNA. However, it did start me to thinking about why people quit particularly when they have asked for and passionately pursued the thing (job, degree, relationship, marriage, and self-improvement) they now want to quit.

When Peter walked on water, it was his request to go to Jesus on the water. He said, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water”. Peter was walking on water! However, when the wind picked up, Peter became afraid and began to sink, asking Jesus to save him from drowning.

We do the same…We ask God to direct us and show us what we should be doing. We ask for guidance in returning to school, starting a ministry, getting married, quitting a bad habit like drinking or smoking, leaving or getting a new job or career, OR _____. You fill in the blank. At the first sign of trouble (the wind picks up) we are ready to throw in the towel, wanting to be rescued, wanting to quit!

We have to decide (choose) to stay the course, particularly the courses that we ask God to set us on and bless. If we trust that He knows best and knows us best then we have to trust the course He put us on and we have to learn (through faith) to persevere.

Conversely, we do have to know when something is over. Quitting implies that we are leaving something half done or undone. If we have unfinished emotional, financial, relational, spiritual “business” with something that we are involved in or someone then it may not be time to leave or let go. We have to seek guidance before we decide the time is right to move on. Then we can move forward without having to look back. Don’t quit and you never have to wonder what if.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Power of the Tongue-A Heart Issue

God morning! It's 3 am and for some reason insomnia has crept in on me and invaded my sleep. I know better than to fight only becomes worse if I try to force it. The good news is whenever I am awake, God is either dealing with me personally or He is giving me some nugget to share with others. This time, it is a little of both because it is an issue that I still struggle with...taming the tongue.

This issue only came up AGAIN (seems to keep coming up) because a friend asked the question "The word says that the power of life and death lies in the tongue and we say that the children are our future, then why do 'we' curse our children and talk down on them???"

My response to her was "Because we do not truly understand the impact. And we are repeating what was done to us as children. Doing what we know, instead of doing what we know is right. The words that come out of our mouth are (1) a heart issue and (2) a God issue. We speak these words (words that wound, words spoken in anger, words that are hurtful and ugly) because they are in our hearts. The bible says in Matthew 12:34… that out of the abundance or overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. We need a transplant. The good news is as the old folks say, He is a heart fixer and mind regulator".

I shared this same message in bible study several months ago (I told you, it keeps coming up). To elaborate a little, our hearts or what is in our hearts tells us the words to speak and even what tone to use with a family, friends, and children. In Matthew 12 (Message) the bible tells us that it is our heart that gives meanings to words, not the dictionary.

We have to ask God to search our hearts (Psalms 139.23) and clean them up (Psalm 51:10). We also have to know when to remain silent or when and how to respond Proverbs 15:1 (New Century Version) Proverbs 15 1 A gentle answer will calm a person's anger, but an unkind answer will cause more anger.

If we knew the damage words caused to the spirits of our children, the self esteem of our family, and the confidence of our brothers and sisters, we would be more careful to tame our tongues.

When we are confronted with a situation that can cause us to say something we do not mean or that we will regret, we have two choices. We can either react or respond. Reaction implies that we speak without thinking. Like a spontaneous a volcano. Responding implies that we have taken the time to gather are thoughts and respond intelligently and calmly. When we wound with words, when we have gone too far, we cannot take it back. It is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube. It is difficult and very messy.

I feel a little sleepiness coming on and I am up in 3 hours. So I am out for now. We will talk more later. If you are struggling with your tongue ask God to search your heart and give you a clean heart so that the words you speak with bless, honor, exalt, and encourage. Night!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Starting A New Blog

I have been thinking about blogging for several months now. Today I decided to go ahead and begin the process. However, I am asking myself is this yet another dissertation distraction. Either way here I am. I hope that I can use the blog to facilitate writing and thoughts that will lead to more writing and flowing thoughts in my dissertation.

I would also like to use the blog to dialogue about (thus Can We Talk?!) overcoming life's challenges and transforming our lives to what we want them to be, instead of settling for what we have created. I anticipate that I will be doing most of the talking, but that is OK. I am used to that (LOL). I do hope to get followers and get specific questions from my followers about how to change situtations, relationships, careers, and directions in their lives. I am up for it all.

If you become a follower, you must know that any feedback I give you is definately supported by and rooted and grounded in the Word of God. I am a believer, a follower, and a servant of Jesus Christ. He teaches us how to live and love. We cannot change unless we are motivated to change and the power of Jesus Christ is our catalyst and sustains us as we attempt to change. His grace envelopes us when we miss the mark. Oh yes, and sometimes we miss the mark.

That's it for today. Just wanted to give you a glimpse of things I will be blogging about in the short run. God only knows how this blog will evolve as I get closer to full time writing and researching for my dissertation.

Sharing a picture of myself and one of my church member's daughter, Anaya.