I was in my bed with a book of prayers. I’d been reading and praying for a while when I realized that I was perfectly relaxed. My pillows were perfectly situated. Supporting my lower back was a cushy, squishy pillow with its ends curled just slightly around my sides. Above that, supporting my shoulders, neck, and head, was a firm throw pillow. It was perfect for reading and my prayers were so peaceful.
Why in the world am I telling you how I like my pillows? The support was critical for what I was doing. So, it is in life.
My life has changed a lot in the two years since I went through The Journey Training. I have found a new job, moved, made some incredible new friends, and made several changes to my health and fitness regimen. Through all of that, I have received a world of support. I am blessed by the world’s greatest family and friends! I can count on them to always lift me up.
Sometimes the support systems shift though. A particular person may not be there the way they were previously. I often find that God “highlights” one or two relationships in a given season, in which He enables an increased energy and focus to be put into that relationship. The support changes based on what I need, who I need, and who needs me. When I am well supported, I feel relaxed and at peace. I feel ready to tackle whatever is in front of me.
We are not meant to go through life alone. We all need support from time to time. Do you crave some quality support? Consider trying The Journey Training – you’ll be lifted up like never before!
Last Sunday, at Conduit Church, Pastor Darren Tyler shared this quote by Sheldon Vanauken with us:
“The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians–when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.”
It was one of those quotes and moments that didn’t sink in completely until later in the day. I do consider myself to be a Christian man, a follower of Jesus Christ. I don’t just go to church for the heck of it. I have made the choice to believe what I believe about God and Jesus and to try to live my life according to those beliefs.
And yet this quote and other parts of Darren’s sermon really made me think.
Do my actions match my beliefs?
Not always. When my actions don’t match my beliefs it’s usually because I’m not truly being present in the moment and I misinterpret a situation. I’m on some kind of lazy auto-pilot just cruising through the day and I react inappropriately to even the smallest thing that I perceive to be a slight. In those moments, I can be somber and joyless, self-righteous and smug, narrow and repressive. I’m probably anything other than the Christ-like example I say and believe I want to be.
I will never be perfect, but that can’t be an excuse for making choices that lead to behaviors that don’t align with my beliefs. I hope and pray that the number of times my actions and beliefs don’t match has decreased over the years as I’ve become more mature in my beliefs, my faith. Like anything else in life, it takes practice to get better at something.
The opening quote for this blog focused on Christianity and Christians. But the question I asked can apply to anyone. Do my actions match my beliefs? If they don’t – what do you want to do about it?
Here are a few things to try that can help:
- Be present in the moment. Be intentional with your thoughts and time.
- In the heat of the moment, if you can, STOP your initial thought and count to 5. That can often be enough time to allow yourself to consider your options and make a real choice about what you will do or say next.
- Learn to forgive yourself and others. We often get stuck in a series of actions that don’t match our beliefs because of unforgiveness.
- Strive to be a little better or do a little bit more today than yesterday. Small improvements add up to big results.
To learn more about The Journey Training, visit us at www.thejourneytraining.com. Hope to see you in the next class!
My wife, Lisa, and I are blessed to have a beautiful home. It’s not beautiful because it’s the biggest or fanciest home we’ve ever owned. It’s beautiful because of the love we’ve poured into it and Lisa’s gifts and talents for making anything in this world more beautiful. It’s what she was created to do!
The other day, we were outside planting some new flowers in the flower beds and we noticed that quite a few weeds had begun to appear in some areas. We had already done a lot of work that day so I made her a promise that I would take care of the weeds and have them out before she got back home from a trip she was about to take.
Being the great procrastinator that I can be, I didn’t jump on this task right away. I left the house and came home many times over the next several days. Then one day, all I could focus on was the weeds as I came in the driveway. I couldn’t see all the beautiful flowers anymore, even though they were still right there.
So I finally got to work on the commitment I had made and while I was pulling the weeds I started thinking about things from a different perspective. Why was I so focused on the weeds and not the flowers? Why was I allowing the weeds to redefine the true beauty of the flowers?
Then it occurred to me that we do that with ourselves and other people all the time too if we’re willing to be honest. It really is a matter of focus. We can become so focused on a negative behavior or event that we will actually begin to treat ourselves or other people differently. We will wipe out years of good decisions or years of love and kindness in the blink of an eye. Before we know it, something that was once so beautiful begins to disappear as if it doesn’t exist. Yet it’s still right there.
Where’s your focus right now? Is it the weed or the flower? What is bothering you right now? Are you so focused on something you haven’t done right or that someone else hasn’t done right that you can’t see who you or they truly are anymore?
We should be careful about what we choose to focus our attention on and for how long. If we have done something wrong or someone else has done something wrong, we should face it and hold ourselves or others accountable. We should pull the weed and not ignore it or dwell on it.
And then we should strive to remember this:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Where’s your focus? What will you choose?
To learn more about The Journey Training, visit us at www.thejourneytraining.com. Hope to see you in the next class!
It was my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I was awakened and rattled by weird dreams, then I felt anxious all day. This was compounded by issues that come up when I have had non-stop family time without alone time, due to helping them move into their new home. Add to that a mental battle with body image, and you have a Triple Trifecta of Terror. I was nearly crying or beginning to cry most of the day. Have you ever had days like that? I just needed that day to be over, and began looking forward to a day by myself the next day.
The next day! Left on my own with a free day, I probably would have done a lot of little things. I would’ve enjoyed having the TV to myself because it was just hooked up. I would’ve had it on in the background, done some chores, looked at Facebook, and made some phone calls. I probably would’ve exercised and gone down to the lake. All fine things to do – right? Fine, but not what I needed.
Before my family left me for my personal day, my Mom said she felt led by the Holy Spirit to encourage me to take a day away from TV, Facebook, and my phone and make it a silent retreat. A day for just me and Jesus. She interrupted my plans, but I knew in my heart she was right.
In The Journey Training, participants and the team each pick a word or phrase they want to claim, or get out of the training weekend. To get what you want, you have to know what you want. As I started my day, I too claimed a word for my day. It was TRUTH. With everything I did, from reading and praying, to just listening and looking at the lake, even resting, I did it with the purpose of obtaining truth. I knew what I wanted, I went after it, and I got it! All because The Lord used my Mom to interrupt my plans.
We are faced with interruptions all the time. As much as I like Facebook for the positive interaction, it can also be a bombardment of negativity. As much as TV in moderation is ok, it can also be a constant noise. As wonderful as it is to catch up with friends, sometimes I need to turn my attention solely to my friend, Jesus.
Thankfully, my Mom just sat across from me and interrupted me verbally. Jesus had to knock Saul (later known as the Apostle Paul) off his donkey to interrupt him (Acts 9).
Do you feel weighed down by spiraling anxiety, fear, shame, or other junk? Do you need something to knock you off your donkey or just interrupt your To-Do List with something positive for you? The Journey Training is all about that! No, they won’t knock you off your donkey, but they will help you claim what you truly want and deserve!
Have you ever noticed how quickly we can put ourselves down and how brutal we can be with ourselves? We tend to focus on the negative things about ourselves instead of the positive things. Too often, we talk to ourselves and we set ourselves up for failure in our minds before we even try to accomplish something. How do you talk to you?
One of the things I like to do is work out with a group of great people at CrossFit Freeflow in Franklin TN. I like CrossFit because it challenges me to be a little better each day and I’m surrounded by a coaching team and fellow athletes that are always supportive.
Every day is a different workout. One workout recently called for as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 15 minutes. One round consisted of these exercises:
- 15 Dead Lifts at 95lbs
- 10 Toes to Bar (pull your toes up to the pull-up bar)
- 8 Front Rack Lunges at 95lbs
As soon as I saw the details of the workout, I began to doubt my ability to use that weight for the front rack lunges. I mean, I really don’t like lunges in the first place and I certainly had not done them with that much weight before. Have you ever said similar things to yourself? You can probably guess what happened next. I really struggled with the lunges and the weight during the first round. I had set myself up for the struggle before I ever even attempted them. I heard that little voice in my head saying, “I knew you couldn’t do it”, and I began to feel like a failure.
Then, I remembered an exercise from The Journey Training. Every month during the training, I teach other people how to take a negative thought or belief about themselves (the lie) and replace it with something that is positive and true. It was time to practice what I preach!
Starting with the 2nd round of lunges, for each repetition, I lunged forward with the weight, touched one knee to the ground, and then stated out loud a truth about myself as I pushed back up to a standing position. I said things like:
- I AM STRONG!
- I AM CONFIDENT!
- I AM HONORABLE!
- I AM LOYAL!
- I AM A MAN OF INTEGRITY!
- I AM PEACEFUL!
- I AM VALUABLE!
- I AM WORTHY!
I did this for all of the remaining rounds and each time I actually got stronger and stronger. By the time I had finished 5 complete rounds, I had stated 40 different “truths” about myself and my entire attitude had changed! I went from feeling weak and failing to feeling strong and accomplished! I did something that I had never done before! And the feeling of accomplishment continued throughout the day helping me complete several other tasks that I had been procrastinating.
God did not create us to constantly torment, punish, or torture ourselves. He created each of us with very unique gifts and talents for a specific purpose. He created us to hear His voice (the truth) and He gave us the ability to make choices. We deserve to be more self-aware of how we are thinking and to be more intentional about what we focus our minds on and to choose how we talk to ourselves and others.
Philippians 4:8; “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
We have been given the power and ability to control our minds!
From Proverbs 18:21; “The tongue has the power of life and death”.
We have been given the power and ability to choose what we speak!
Let’s choose to listen to the truth, to think about such things, and speak the power of life to ourselves and others!
To learn more about The Journey Training, click here to register for your Free Mini Journey Training. You’ll discover the few simple tweaks you can make to your life to rekindle your passion and purpose and position you for greater success. Hope to see you in the next class!
For most of my life I can remember feeling like I had a black cloud following me around everywhere I would go. When I became an adult,and had some hard things happen in my life. I went from feeling like I had a black cloud following me to feeling like I was fighting to keep my head above water so I wouldn’t drown in a sea of emotions that were pulling me under like crashing waves. For most of my life, I had been taught to not allow my feelings to control me. I became an expert at putting on a good face to others by stuffing and denying how I truly felt. But inside I was fighting to catch my breath because I was drowning in a sea of anger, pain, shame, fear, and loneliness.
After my 20-year marriage came to an end, these feelings increased in their control over me and my life was filled with rage, depression, worthlessness, panic, and loneliness. Through The Journey Training I learned that this was the result of stuffing, denying, and not acknowledging what I was truly feeling. I had spent a lifetime thinking that this was how you “didn’t allow your emotions to control you”.
The truth was they were controlling me – in very negative ways. By not acknowledging the anger I felt at my husband for his part in our marriage ending, I would blow up in a fit of rage at my children over something as insignificant as a sock on the floor. I was overwhelmed by worthlessness because I had not even considered the amount of shame I felt for staying in a marriage for so long with someone who had made choices that deeply wounded me. Depression also ruled my life because of the pain I had endured during my childhood, with an alcoholic father who physically abused my mother and the emotional hurts my mother inflicted upon us as a result of her own pain. Finding myself a single mom of 4 children, I would now have many moments of panic. I was afraid of not being able to adequately provide for them (even though their father was an amazing financial support during this time) and also paranoid that I would never recover and have the opportunity to be loved and married again. Isolation has always been a part of my life as an introvert. It is very easy to hide away and not interact with others, especially when I was so insecure that I often felt alone in a room full of people. So, I would isolate all the more to avoid that feeling of loneliness.
At The Journey Training, I learned tools to help me process or acknowledge my feelings and I found gifts on the other side. I learned that by acknowledging what I am feeling anger about, I could find the motivation to do something about the situation instead of denying what I was feeling. For example, my adult son was not paying us for his phone and insurance as agreed upon and was not putting forth much effort to get a job. Instead of continually griping at him about it (as if that was doing any good), I found the motivation to set a boundary and inform him that he had until a set time to pay the two bills and if he did not, the data would be shut off on his phone and he would not be allowed to drive any car because he would be removed from the insurance policy. The result, he found a job within a week and our relationship was not damaged by my continuous nagging. It was a win – win!
When you touch a hot stove, it burns to let you know that something has happened to your body that needs your attention. Feelings are that same kind of alert – to let you know something has happened to your soul that needs your attention. If we ignored the physical pain we feel when we burn our hand, the pain would increase and some kind of nasty infection would probably develop. Consider what our souls must look like when we ignore the warning signs that our emotions are giving us!
If you would like to learn more about tools for processing and acknowledging your feelings, consider coming to the next class at The Journey Training. I am beyond thankful that I did 4 years ago! I no longer feel as if I am emotionally drowning nor do I have a black cloud following me! Do I ever have a bad day? Of course! But now I know what to do to identify the cause of whatever I am feeling and deal with it before it infects my soul.