Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Two Faces of Change

About every four years my husband's former company would ask him where he saw himself next. If he identified a new role, they'd look for ways to make it happen. Often the change was a God-send. Once he even said, "I'm dying inside, I need a change." We as a family took big leaps by job transferring, and he did too in his change of roles. 

Change is something we all sense we need now and then. I'm well acquainted with the craving for change and also the activity of change. We've job transferred as a family. We've owned four homes. We've put out old furniture in favor of new furniture. I've changed my office around steadily--like every three months it seems because I bore easily. 

Two Faces of Change 

Change initiated with a sense of adventure is good. When we job transferred, we thought of it as an adventure.  But even then, I lost all that was familiar and I missed "home."

Changes that just happen to us as a consequence may not be as positive or easy to go through. 

It's fair to say change has two sides--opportunity and loss.

Change always comes with a loss of some sort. There is usually something to let go of. It might be a routine, a familiar environment, relationships, possessions. The last time I changed my office around, I put my desk in the opposite corner of the room. My perspective was changed. It looks good, but within the first few hours I missed my old familiar spot. Why? Because it was the corner I chose when we moved into this home six years ago. Many changes occurred in that corner as I lived virtually through my computer. 

Change is often hard. I was surprised how changing my office made me feel. It was the same feeling I got when my children left home for university. When they left, part of me missed our old family of four routine. I had no choice but to let the old go and to embrace the opportunity the change presented. Getting through change really becomes about attitude. It becomes about seeing potential. 

My husband would never have made such big career shifts if he hadn't seen what might be in it for himself. The possibilities included the chance to learn something new, practice a new role, walk through new doors, receive more financial rewards, and expand himself to be used more broadly for the good of the company he was loyal to for 23 years.

As Christians we can rest in the peace of knowing God is always in control and he is a God of change. 

Here's just one look at how God thinks since all the Bible is inspired by God (bold by me):

Ephesians 4The Message (MSG)

"To Be Mature

1-3 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere." 

Deut 31:6 (NIV) "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Life Purpose

The coach training program I studied under is called Life Purpose Coaching. It focuses on finding meaning in life, not just managing life. 

Purpose includes what we do, but is not only what we do. If purpose is what we do as in our job or being a mom, then what does that mean when our job changes, our children move out, our role is taken over by someone else, or we become disabled and can’t DO any longer?

Purpose is more about what we and whom we are: Author Robin Chaddock puts it this way, 

”Jesus encouraged us to build our houses on solid foundations, 
and one of the most solid foundations we can build on 
is to know who we are before we try to figure out what we’re supposed to do.”

I would add to that, building a solid foundation is also about knowing who Jesus is and being able to trust him to guide you. It is being able to have a Kingdom Perspective and to be able to see our purpose through God’s eyes. That type of perspective assigns meaning even to the mundane.

GENERAL PURPOSE FOR ALL:  There are general purposes for us all. They have to do with our character, and actions.  God calls us to be holy as he is holy. He calls us come to him. He calls us to love God and love our neighbours. He calls us to serve others, meet the needs of those around us, avoid wrong-doing, and spread the message of his love. This general purpose encompasses all it means to be his follower.

UNIQUE PURPOSE FOR ALL: There is no mistake that the Bible points out we are all uniquely made by the Creator himself. We only need to look around us to see we are not all alike. Our physical bodies are different, but we are also different in personality, interests, skills, knowledge, experience, and so forth.

So our unique call may include a career, but our career is not our unique purpose. Our unique calling may include relationships and roles, but it is not just limited to that either.

Our unique call doesn’t have to impact the entire world, but will usually impact someone or something. 

We don’t necessarily ever arrive at our purpose the way we arrive at other destinations.  Life is seasonal and cyclical. We are ever growing in wisdom and knowledge and maturity. We are ever growing in new experiences and changes in direction and relationships. So Where Does One Find Her Unique Purpose?

I have found my path through challenging myself with questions, assessments and identifying my personal values. I have spent time dreaming, acknowledging my talents, developing them, and finding ways to release them. It’s taken trial and error, taking risks, and weathering rejection and disappointment.

My search began with trying to

  • reinvent myself - after working and motherhood I wanted something new and fresh to be involved in. I wanted to find out what was under my Clark Kent disguise.

  • revive myself - women get lost in all the good things we do and think we need to do and be. Parts of us are put on the back burner, smothered, or merely changed.
  • find myself - I hoped that through all life’s experiences and with time that I’d progressed as much as the world had and I needed to find out who I was now.
  • find an outlet - Yes purpose is about self awareness, but it is in using it we complete the cycle of fulfillment. 
  • God says faith without works is dead. So to, gifts and abilities without expression is dead.

Rather than go on, let me help you gain insight for your journey by asking a probing question:

What is your definition of success? God has planted within each of us the definition of success that is fitting for us. If we default to other people’s definitions, we will continue to be out of sync, we lack peace and will remain lost and dissatisfied.

Examine your definition of success. This definition will help you make choices that will assist you in taking steps that help you fulfill your purpose. 

What is your idea of success in each of these areas?

  • health
  • finances
  • relationships
  • community involvement
  • spiritual life
  • contributions to the world
  • beauty and fashion
  • home decor
What is your specific contribution to each area?

How do you communicate? How do you help? What inspires you the most?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Let God Ring Your Doorbell

Hi, Ladies. It's been a while since I've checked in here.

Summer gets busy as my focus moves from writing and coaching projects to the outdoors. I have a huge yard and perennial garden to take care of and, for the most part, I derive some enjoyment from doing so. 

In my understanding of God's economy I see it as all part of my JOB paid, or unpaid. I take it seriously and do the best I can. 

Mid-July, I began to look forward, took a Facebook fast, and asked God to bring me something new in the fall. I wanted a new attitude, new inspiration, new friendship, new job, or new assignment--whatever he could connect me with.

A Common Feeling 

Wanting something new isn't odd or bad. Most people like to change jobs every 4 years or so. If they stay with the same company, they at least like a change of position.  That type of craving hits me every so often. 

In my craving for this new thing I flipped through one of my journals. It said:
Don't try to make things happen, let God ring your doorbell.

I laughed, and then I waited expectantly for God to ring my doorbell with something new.

The Doorbell Ring

Well, in a sense the doorbell did ring. I received a summons to attend jury duty in September. In the summons, I was instructed to plan to sit on the jury for 3 months, should I be selected. Wow, I never would have predicted that is what God would have sent.

On one hand I was excited. On the other, frustrated that I couldn't plan other events like exercise groups and so on I might join. I knew applying for a new job was out of the question until I knew if I would be serving or not. My hands were somewhat tied.

The New Thing

So this past week, I faithfully attended the jury duty call. It was so different from my normal routine that I was glad to have the experience. I was exposed to new things including a beautiful new courthouse. 

But the following day, I received a call telling me not to return as they had enough people. 

Wow, in one day, my "new thing" was over. I didn't know whether to be relieved or angry  

And here I am now, reflecting, wondering if there was a "why" behind God putting me there. 


What this jury duty summons did teach me was to wait on God to surprise me, to be willing to go where he sends (I didn't have a choice with this, I was legally obligated to go), and to push myself to do what I had to do. 

I had asked my husband to drive me so I wouldn't have to scurry to find parking and because of the construction I knew was in the area. But he refused. He told me I wasn't a baby and to just do it.

The night before I made a lunch, packed my briefcase, chose my clothes, and set double alarms. But the battery in one clock failed and I didn't hear the other. I slept in and was 40 minutes behind plan when I left home. I scurried, missed my turn for the parking garage and had to do a u-turn, did end up in construction, but made it just in time. It cost $20 in parking. 

All of the above is unusual to my daily routine. So it did require some bravery.    

Walking to the back of the room down an aisle with 100 strangers on each side tested my social anxiety as did standing in front of the judge, attorneys, and the accused. 


Now I am scurrying to find my next new thing.  Will I join one or two women's groups? Will I stay home and write and just walk the dog and run errands for stimulation? Will I apply for jobs? Do I need to fast again?

Prayers Please

Pray with me for direction. I will always be a writer and while I was preparing for jury duty, became keenly aware of how important that calling is.  I have another eBook in process now.  I will continue to write no matter what else I do. I am an artist. I will continue to paint and draw no matter what else I do. 

I will always be a life coach, but haven't returned to taking phone clients yet. I'm still working on finding the right balance. 

I have looked over a few part-time out-of-the-house jobs. I will decide tomorrow if I'll apply to one. 

I need you, my readers, as much as you might need me. I need your feedback and prayers. 

As I sat in the jury duty selection room, one thing was apparent. It was a group of very normal looking human beings. While working from home I often feel I no longer fit in, at my jury duty outing, I was more professionally dressed than many who wore flip flops or sandals and capris pants or even shorts or jeans. Perhaps the best lesson was to see I can fit in. And now I just need God to show me the next place I'm to do that. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Record Your Thoughts

It is VERY important to record your thoughts.
The reasons are many:

  1. Writing is therapeutic and helps you to purge thoughts from your mind.
  2. Ideas become more official--which is helpful if goals are attached.
  3. You are able to go back and read your notes and reconnect with your former self.  You will see how you have grown, how God has worked in you and guided you. You'll see glaring answers to questions and answers to prayers. You will gain clarity.  Your own words may encourage you.
I urge you to record your thoughts in a handwritten journal (preferred) or typed version. 

You might also want to look back into old journals if you have them, as you enter into the FALL SEASON. Compare this year to where you were a year ago, two years ago, or through however many records you might have on hand. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Christian Woman, Don't Worry

I'm pretty sure we are all looking for answers daily. Issues plague us. Our thoughts spin and we begin to toil. We overthink. We fall into doubt.

I worry about my husband and children's happiness. I worry about my own mental health as it seems to waver from time to time. I worry that I won't be able to break my weight set point and regain a fit body. I worry about having enough retirement income. I worry that time is running out as I'll be an official senior in the next 10 yrs and if I'm going to do anything meaningful or add to my pension, it's got to be now.

Do you have similar worries?

Jesus tells us not to worry. He says to cast our cares on him. We do, but we often take them back. We are human. We fall prey to doubt. Like Peter, we start to sink. 

We need our plumb line reset. 

Just because God tells us to pray doesn't mean he'll answer our prayers the way we hope. And when he doesn't, the worry cycle begins again. And so does the overthinking and the solution-hunting, mostly because we think we know it all.

Finding Answers

Proverbs 3:5,6 saysTrust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (NKJV).

The point that strikes me about the above verse is the bit about our own understanding. No amount of overthinking or understanding will get us the answers we seek.   

This verse below from Jeremiah points out how tricky our overthinking is.  It can't be trusted.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

The phrase we need to focus on to be able to walk on water is at the beginning of the Proverbs verse, "Trust in the Lord." 

God rewards faith more than he rewards prayers. Hebrews 11:6 puts it this way, "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

God promises to direct our paths and even reward us when we trust him. I know if he has directed my path so many times through life that he can direct my children's path too. 

Now in midlife, I need to ask the hard question:  "Will I trust him with my husband, children, money, and mental health, or will I be like Peter and begin to sink?" 

The point is simply this: When we trust our problems to him, he will take them and work them out his way. 

The question that remains is this: Are you trusting God with every issue of your midlife journey? Or are you resorting to overthinking?