God’s Potential Filter

Fact: A good instagram filter can transform a mediocre snapshot into a captivating nugget.

Fact: “Show me your friends are and I will show you your future.” – Unknown

This age old quote is timeless and unchanging. The quality of human connection has always and will always dictate much about a person’s life. Do not underestimate the power of your key people.

In Developing the Leader Within You, John Maxwell says a person consistently lives up to the expectations held by the people closest to him or her. For example, if the people closest to you believe you will never achieve anything in your life, you likely won’t. If they believe you are gifted and capable of wonders, you are much more likely to discover and develop your strengths and abilities, use them to accomplish all God intends you to – and walk in your calling and destiny.

To view others through God’s potential filter is to exercise love. This is how God sees us. This is love in its purest form. Exquisite.

Viktor E. Frankl, Nazi death camp survivor, wrote this regarding love: “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” Man’s Search for Meaning

Be reminded: God is love.

Love sees the boundless potential in another. Love sees flaws, failures, selfishness, and mistakes – and responds by saying, Yes … I acknowledge you are imperfect, but I see who you were created to be. I love and accept you right where you are at, but I need to help you to see all of the unrealized possibilities of your future. All of the unspoken hopes. All of the God-given desires. All of the budding aspirations – the undiscovered aptitudes, interests and knacks. All of the untapped courage and outrageous laughter. All of the striking moments and vivacious years. All of the tears and resulting resilience … All of the abundance of a full life.”

Yes, this is the voice of love … Love hung on a tree to offer this to you.

Love says, “I will do everything I can to move you towards your fullest potential in every aspect of your life – relationships, schooling, career and experiences. Love says, “I want to see you deeply fulfilled.”

Love is God’s Potential Filter. Use this filter when viewing others – spend time with people who will peer through it to look at you – and watch this filter brighten the world.

Don’t Stay Seated

Like any good teacher, I have asked students many times to stay seated. Unfortunately, too many people live life by these words and are debilitated by them. Let me explain… It is much easier to fall into a deep comfortable chair than it is to get on up out of it. Whatever your hopes are for today, this week, month, and year or for your life – they can be dashed subtly by a “Stay Seated” mentality – the belief that once you have fallen into that big comfortable chair, there is no point trying to stand again. This mentality keeps us from pushing through challenges, reaching goals and seeing our hopes and dreams materialize.

When you are on a mission or working towards something valuable for yourself or others, you are bound to encounter challenges. Some days your passion will wane, and you will choose a get by mode instead of the fly mode you were made for. Don’t let the challenge days derail the mission. Don’t believe that a wee slide backwards means you have an excuse to abort the assignment you feel called to. Don’t get comfortable in the chair you have collapsed in.

So you hit the Doritos bag a little too hard and now you feel you might as well throw the day away. How about deciding your next choice will be a great one! You have given in to negative thinking all week and you feel stuck in it. You get to choose your next thought! Why make the effort of standing up? Because you’ve been called to a mission. Because you are worth it. Because God says you are.

Decide with me today that whatever things could make you feel like a failure, and keep you seated, simply will not. Decide that if you fall into that deep chair, you will delve even deeper into your God-given self-discipline and stand tall. God says you have the power to do this. If you put your trust in the cross of Jesus Christ to cover your short comings – then whatever unkind things you say and do, whatever unhealthy choices you make, whatever temper tantrum you throw – It’s covered. Recognize it’s wrong, Receive His mighty forgiveness,  and Rise to your feet. Stand up out of the sinking chair and get back on the track that offers joy, and leads to life!

Words are power. Be motivated to scurry on up from any deep seated chair by these power words:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.” – Tony Robbins

“You can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.” – Wayne Dyer

“Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our respons TO what happens. And RESPONSE is something we can choose.” – Maureen Killoran

“When we commit to action, to actually doing something rather than feeling trapped by events, the stress in our life becomes manageable.” – Greg Anderson

….Yes, as humans, we are limited and imperfect – but God is not. And He wants  abundant life for you today. and Everyday. You weren’t made to stay seated.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36

Get up and Run Freely.

 

Settle In Uncertainty

Uncertainty. Question marks and nagging queries. Unsolved problems and unfinished projects. Confusion, mix-ups and waves of guessing and estimation. This is no one’s favourite place to live. It can feel like peace cannot survive here -not until uncertainty dissipates and clarity comes.

A few days ago I ascended and soared until the lake fountains of Saskatoon looked like tiny drinking drops sprinkling down below. The clouds were gloriously puffy in my window and the sunshine brilliant. While this sounds beauteous (and it was!) the reality of turbulent winds were having a hay day with the position of the plane, and I simply wasn’t enjoying the ride. (I apologize whole-heartedly to the passengers stuck beside me who pretended to be zonked as I periodically jabbered to lessen my own feelings of anxiety. Of uncertainty). 

John Maxwell writes a person’s life is 10% about circumstances and 90% about attitude. I am thankful that it is my attitude I can control, instead of circumstances – as circumstances are just 10% of my life puzzle.

While the plane jumped and jolted, it dawned on me. I did not have to wait for the turbulence to stop in order to have peace. What if I chose to settle down in the uncertainty of the turbulence? (The turbulence was persisting after all, and wishing for it to stop didn’t seem to be helping me).

I admit that clarity feels good, and it will come as you move forward through uncertain times. However, you don’t have to wait for the uncertainty to end in order to have the peace of God. He offers it in all circumstances, and we all can choose to have an attitude of trust … Choose to believe fervently that He knows what He is doing, and He is separate from nothing that happens in our lives. Nothing.

Jeff Goins writes, “Action always brings clarity.” As you wade through uncertain times, you can have deep assurance that clarity will come, and that although you cannot see around the corners of life, God can. Trust-worthy God. Reliable God. Faithful God. Unchanging God. Infinite-Love-Incarnate-God. He has his hands on the wings of your life – directing your vessel through uncertain turbulence. It’s okay for you to settle in right where you are. Right in the middle of it. It’s okay to let go of control and choose to trust Him even before the rough ride calms down. He is peace. He is enough. So sit and settle on in with me today, choose to trust the Great Navigator and feel yourself be empowered to face and embrace uncertainty with supernatural peace.

 

 

Map It Out

A map brings clarity to any journey. It makes a traveler feel confident they are moving in the direction they want to be, and washes a driver with sweet internal peace (Nobody likes the grouchy navigator). The production and possession of an effective map allows a person to relish each leg of a voyage knowing they are not travelling in vein.

In life, it’s actually quite easy to veer off the tracks you had hoped to be on. Mapping life out begins with reflecting. Where do you want to go? How do you want to grow? Who do you want to be? You can’t follow a plan you don’t take the time to generate … and an unrealized dream won’t become reality.

Teaching is my thing … and I have received many pokes and jokes when it comes to reflection for teachers in training. While it may be true that there were certain assignments requiring excessive internal examination (or so it seemed at the time), reflecting and planning is a key component when it comes to living out your purpose. Vision is the tunnel to reality. If you can see a pathway, you can stay on it.

A few weeks ago I endeavored to clean and clear all things unnecessary from my closet (I am officially a hoarder no morder). I came across an old assignment called “Vision and Volition” where we were required to write out the ways we wanted to grow emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. Here are some deep “Education Reflection” excerpts for you to savour (and perhaps make a fun of … just a little)

  1. Emotionally – “I hope to grow in emotional strength by believing the truth God says about me and focusing on the positive things in life. I want to be a rock for others to lean on during difficult times.”
  2. Spiritually – “I hope to grow in my Christian faith by spending time with God and learning more about Him. As I do this, I believe that what I say will align more and more with how I act and think. I want to be a person of integrity in this way.”
  3. Mentally – “I want to grow mentally, to be a sharp and attentive learner and an engaged citizen of Canada. I want to spend less time in the shopping mall and more in the library.”
  4. Physically – “Although I exercise regularly, I would like to eat healthier and get enough sleep in order to feel better and have more energy to invest in the people around me.”

As I read these goals (that I hardly remember writing), I was astounded to realize the leaps and bounds I have made growing towards each. Vision gives motivation and grows passion and excitement. God has given us brains so that we can think, reason and dream with Him. God instructs us bold and clear in Proverbs 14:15 to take time to think about where we are headed and why by saying, “Be smart and know where you are headed (CEV).”

When your priorities, calendar and wallet correspond – peace and purpose grows. They say you are 80% more likely to reach a goal you write down (Who is “they” anyways?) … Take some time to scribble out an aspiration or two, and allow that map to bring clarity and peace to the highways of life you choose.

 

Train Your Brain

Your life is composed of a series of choices. I believe the most important choices you make happen in your brain, before you make a single decision. How you choose to think will determine your experience this day, and your future. Every time you stand at a cross roads and make a choice, you are setting your face in a certain direction and the life-choices you make will be a bi-product of your thinking patterns.

You have already forged pathways in your brain that will dictate much of what you think and how you feel today. Essentially, you have developed “default settings.” Often, your thinking patterns go unnoticed and untended to because we live in a fast paced culture that disregards the importance of reflection. Production is profit and profit is principally important after all … right? Debatable. It’s empowering for a person to realize they can change how they think, but treading a new trail takes patience and practice, it doesn’t just appear. The good news is – if you continue to take continuous small brain steps, soon – a new default pathway appears. You may not be able to control your circumstance, but you do possess the power to change the way you think about them.

Several months ago, I had a compelling conversation with my friend Kevin, inspiring me to forge new lanes and corridors in my own brain. Kevin lives life from a wheelchair, and although happiness used to be more elusive, he is now the happiest person I know. He said his life changed the day he chose to think differently about his wheelchair. Instead of resenting his situation, Kevin chose to embrace and accept it, focusing on all that he can do, instead of what he cannot. He is also wildly committed to being thankful to God. Like Kevin, there are things in my life I would change if I could. However, after speaking to him that day, instead of allowing self-pitying brain lanes to exist and persist, I decided to get courageous like Kevin, and fiercely believe God means what he says in 2 Timothy 1:7. I do have the Power. The Sound Mind. The Courageous Spirit. The Good Judgment. The Authority. The Confidence. To choose to think in ways God asks me to. And so do you.

May we all have the audacity to train our brains like Kevin. To choose gratitude over grumbling, thriving over surviving, confidence over comparison, health over poor habits, kindness over cruelty and love over lifelessness.

May we stop waiting for life to change… and change our lives by choosing to tread the best brain paths.