Cars, children, finances, marriages, friendships; what do all these things have in common? There may be several correct answers, but the one in my mind is that they all take maintenance in order to avert a necessary crisis response.
If you give your car regularly oil changes, put gas in it regularly, give it a tune up every now and then, you can often avoid or at least catch larger problems before they hit crisis mode. If you spend a little time communicating with your children everyday, stay involved in things that they are involved in, and ask questions on a consistent basis, you have a better chance of avoiding huge problems or at least catching them early. Making time for your spouse (such as a regular date night), making them a daily priority, and communicating in an open and honest way daily, can often lead to less crises in a marriage. I hope you get the point I’m trying to make.
So, I want to take this to a different level. In The Journey Training, I learned the benefit of loving and supporting others in my life. This wasn’t totally a new concept for me but it gave me a different perspective on the subject. Previously, I thought it was my responsibility to guess how to love and support others in my life and basically hoped that they would guess right when it came to loving and supporting me.
In The Journey Training, they suggested the idea that it could be better to just ask the person how they would like to be loved and supported. You see, everyone receives love in different ways. What I think may help them or show them love, isn’t necessarily what they need or want. I liked this idea and decided to use it outside the training room to see how it would really work.
I started asking my kids, friends, and even coworkers how I could love or support them. I got so many different answers that I would never have thought of. However, as time went on, I found that I only asked people the question of “how can I love and support you?” during times that I knew they were in crisis. Sure, this showed the person that I would help them if they were on fire. But did it communicate to them that I really cared enough about them to show love and support on a more consistent basis (maintenance versus crisis)?
Matthew 22:39 says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I started thinking. I wanted to be known, loved and supported by others on a consistent basis, not just when I was experiencing a crisis in my life. Then I realized, if I asked those I care about regularly how I can love and support them in day to day life, then maybe when they hit crisis mode, I would at least have a base line for what they need even if they didn’t know what to ask for in the moment.
Sometimes a little bit of effort, every day or every week, will pay off in the long run when we, ourselves , or those we love need it. So, don’t be afraid to
ask the question or to answer it if someone asks you; how can I love and support you?
Have you ever noticed how a baby who has learned to sit up sits up so straight? I can remember noticing even as a kid how straight some women sat. To me, it made them even more beautiful.
I wish good posture came naturally for me, but because of a prenatal stroke it’s much harder for me. The most commonly used definition of posture is “the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting”. Participating in band, through high school and college, taught me to be disciplined with it. When in a concert ensemble and playing an instrument, you are expected to sit up straight and on the edge of the chair. This helps your breathing and playing. When marching, I had to work not only at standing up straight, but also with proper horn angle, while moving AND playing! Talk about discipline! Over time, I found myself doing these things naturally.
Many years after marching band, I found another cardio exercise I love – the elliptical! It’s much more suited for my body than running! I can remember noticing one time how balanced I’d become on it! I was standing up straight, not holding on, dancing away! My posture was great and my whole attitude had changed!
This reminds me of a tool I gained in The Journey Training. It’s called Ground and Center. When I carry myself in a grounded and centered posture, I feel tall, centered, and ready.
That brings me to another definition of posture: “a particular way of dealing with something: an approach or attitude”. This posture helps us react to life. Trials and tribulations happen. The better the posture, the better we approach or react to them, and the better outcome we will have.
Are you critical of yourself in pictures? One of the worst pictures I perceive of myself is a picture from college, at my heaviest weight, pretty much leaning against the guy behind me. As I began losing weight, not only did I start to appreciate my posture physically in pictures, my attitude had also changed. My confidence skyrocketed and it showed!
I was remembering this recently as I looked at myself in the mirror. I’ve dealt with plenty of shame regarding my weight and how I look. Carrying the shame burdened my posture. The Journey Training taught me to change my perspective. Rather than holding onto the shame, I let it go, I chose to look in the mirror, stand up straight, shoulders back, and see the real me. There, now you look better, Alison!
Posture equals attitude. Change your attitude and you’ll change your outcome!
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!
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!
Plenty of people have compared the weights we can lift to the weights we carry in life, whether we call them weights, trials, or maybe even chains. This blog will look at how I lift weights a little differently, in the gym and in life.
I’m taking a Strength and Tone class on Monday nights. This usually involves a step bench, weights (“light” and “heavy” as designated by each individual), and sometimes a bar, resistance band, or ball. I always have extra weights handy, because my left side is weaker than my right from a stroke. Needless to say, I work out to the best of my abilities. I can do everything I’m asked to do (try telling me I can’t – I dare you!), but it usually looks different or takes my muscles a minute to coordinate themselves.
Recently, I was doing overhead lifts and I could feel my left-hand over-flexing, bending back too far. I didn’t have to drop the weight. I just had to change my grip!
The beauty of taking a class like this is that there’s always freedom to do what works for me.
Let’s look at some of the choices I can always make:
- Do the exercise as it is prescribed – Sometimes, I can do exactly what I’m given to do. That’s great!
- Change the way I do it – One of the best ways I’ve learned to do push-ups is with a hand on a weight – it takes pressure off of my wrist. Maybe you can’t do something the same way as another person – so do it your way!
- Do more – I can lift more on my right side, so I always have a heavier weight for that side or I do more repetitions with that side. Sometimes we can do more in one way than another! I can listen and give advice way better than I can cook.
- Alternate – Sometimes I can’t do both arms at the same time, but I can focus on one at a time. How true in life is this one? If there’s more paperwork to be done, my house can stay messy until I can finish the paperwork and then pick up the cleaning – unless there’s something more fun!
- Drop the weight – Oh, I do not like this option! Well, maybe I should. Maybe I need to rest for a few seconds. Maybe, I need to reclaim my balance. I’ve come to realize that if I’m going to be any good later, sometimes I need to take a break.
We all have trials in life that aren’t as simple as managing hand weights during a workout. Sometimes we don’t have all of the choices available to us in every situation. For example, if you’re a single mom, there may be weights you cannot drop, but you can move them around. You can lift them differently. We always have choices that we can make, if we will learn to slow down and consider them.
The Journey Training is like weight training for your life. It can train you to identify your weights, equip you with exercises, and help you lift more effectively, all while strengthening you in your life! Are you ready? Enroll in the next class and get pumped up!
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