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Stick With It

In our instant/have it now society it is sometimes difficult for me to work at something long enough to make it happen.

We have become so spoiled by microwave ovens and on-demand television and movie stations that waiting for something we want has become something we ‘re not used to.

microwave

We’ve heard it said the most rewarding things in life take work and I believe that’s true. They take practice and persistence. Becoming good at something requires us to keep at it even when we don’t feel like we are making progress and especially sticking with it when it’s not easy.

I don’t know about you but I struggle a lot with chasing after dreams I have because they take too long to come true. Do you share my struggle?

I was thinking today about a couple of dreams/goals I have for my life. They seem so far away and actually quite unreachable. When I’m honest with myself though I realize that in my quest to get to the goal line I can’t seem to be content with the mile-markers along the way I forget that each mile-marker gets me one step closer to the finish line.

Sometimes I find myself becoming so frustrated and discontented that I actually turn around and go back toward the starting line. It seems silly to put that into words for anyone to read, but that’s the reality I face.

This morning I was getting down on myself in this department, feeling like I can’t see anything through to the end or wait for the fruition of what I’m working on when in the midst of my pity party I started looking through the seed catalog.

I love to garden and know if I plant seeds properly, water and weed them and keep the woodchucks and other varmints away I will be rewarded by luscious fruits, vegetables and beautiful flowers. I will patiently wait all spring and summer, tending the gardens to reap the reward at the end.

Photo07071142

Suddenly I was encouraged and admonished at the same time!!

Why does it work with gardening when it doesn’t seem that way with other things in my life? Because I have experience in gardening! I know from my past how things will turn out in the end. That’s not to say it has always been easy. I have ruined plants with too much water, watched them shrivel up and die from a lack of water, and stunted their growth by allowing weeds to choke them out. But I learned from each error in order to become more successful the next time.

I know that I have to stick with it.

Sometimes we don’t know what a goal is going to look like exactly. It can be hard to chase a dream because we don’t have a clear or complete picture of what it will look like when it comes to fruition. And oh it can be hard for me to chase after something when I don’t know what I’m going to end up with in the end!

I’m encouraged when I think of Moses and Joshua. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt to a land God promised was filled with milk and honey. Moses had never seen that land but he believed what God said was good and true. He continued leading a tribe of ungrateful, complaining people around in the desert for 40 years, trusting that what was ahead of them was good.

When Moses died, Joshua took over. They were at the edge of the Promised Land but still were not sure of what was ahead of them. He must have been filled with all kinds of emotions from excitement to fear as he met with the Lord. These are the words God had for Joshua:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

We may not feel like we are on the way to take over a new land but when we are chasing a dream that God has put in our hearts that is exactly what we’re doing. And I believe He gives us the same promise as Joshua to be with us wherever we go.

As we begin a new week, join me in sticking with it….whatever your it may be. Even if we can’t see the finish line, move toward the next mile-marker and not away from it for our own promise is waiting to be fulfilled.

blessings and peace to you today!
Paula

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Dream A Little Dream

Happy New Year!

Usually for me the start of a new year is all about goals.

It’s about figuring out what I believe I can accomplish, writing it down, and making a plan to see it through to completion.

Sounds easy and straightforward doesn’t it?

Some years I accomplish my goals and some years end with goals not reached. Most years see some progress, but honestly at the end of the year there’s a little emptiness. Sure I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished but there’s a little something missing.

Every year I’m afraid to dream.

Goals are good. They are important. When they are S.M.A.R.T. goals we can see a great deal of success.
Check out this previous post for more on S.M.A.R.T. goals.
https://pauladavispeace.com/2014/01/18/are-your-goals-s-m-a-r-t/

But  sometimes there’s a dream in our heart that we’re afraid to utter — even to ourselves. We can’t pin it down enough to turn it into a goal. And perhaps it will take a little help from others and a dose of faith to see the dream become a reality.

dream

I have a couple of those. I can give you reason after reason why they stay buried and why they will never come true.

  • What if my dream is too big?
  • What if my dream is too big and I’m disappointed?
  • What if others think my dream is crazy?
  • What if I’m too old?

These are things that hold me back.

The last few months I’ve been thinking more and more about my dreams, and separating a true, deep desire from a hobby or something I’d be interested in trying. Sometimes being busy with little projects can distract us from going after that big dream – the desire of our heart.

One very cool thing is that God wants us to have desires and when the desires/dreams of our hearts are in line with what He wants for us God assures us they will come true.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

When the Lord plants a dream in us He will see it through to fulfillment. I believe at the same time it requires a few things from us:

  1. Spending more time in God’s word, building our faith.
    We can’t know if the desires we have deep inside us are from God unless we spend time with Him. When we spend time studying God’s word and being quiet before Him we can be sure He will confirm the desires that are from Him and show us those that are not. He will build our faith as we know Him better.


     Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
                                                                                                           Hebrews 10:23


  2. Setting aside fear
    When thoughts of fear and insecurities come to mind we need to stop thinking them. I know it’s not as easy as it sounds but it is vital to our faith-building! Make an effort to be aware of how you’re thinking and choose a ‘faith phrase’ to use to replace the negative.


    For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
    1 Timothy 1:6-7


  3. Take the first step
    Ask God to show you one thing you can do to start chasing that dream in a concrete way. Then DO IT!! It may take years for the dream to be completely fulfilled, but it can’t be fulfilled at all if we don’t get started.


    Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

    Philippians 3:13-14


God does have big plans for each of our lives. As the days of this new year turn into weeks and months we are likely to get caught up in day-to-day activities that threaten to blur our dreams, so make a reminder for yourself. Write it down and/or find pictures that represent the dream. Put these reminders where you will see them regularly and keep it fresh throughout the year. I believe when 2015 comes to a close we will see ourselves closer to seeing our dreams become reality. It really is what God desires for us.

I wish for each of you joy, peace and prosperity throughout 2015. And I pray you will be unafraid – beginning today – to go after the dreams God has planted within you. You’re never too old – or too young to accomplish His desires for you.

And now I’m going to take my own advice!

blessings and peace to you…
Paula

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Don’t Stop Believing!!

We’ve spent time looking at goals, making them S.M.A.R.T. and not being afraid to make them big…turning our dreams into goals to watch them come true. Confidence abounds as we look ahead at our clean slate believing we can accomplish what we set our minds to.

As exciting as making goals and resolutions can be the newness quickly wears off and the fun turns to monotony as it sinks in that this is going to be work. That is when many of us just give up. In fact, it is so common to give up resolutions that January 17th is declared “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day”.

So what’s a person to do?

dream-believe

In the words of the band Journey – “don’t stop believing! — hold on to that feeling”

But how?

We need to be intentional in maintaining our focus. By setting aside time at least once a week to refocus on our goals – how we’re coming and where we need to tweak things we keep them before us and keep it real, so to speak.

1st – Use Scripture to Defeat The Enemy
Post scripture around your home, in your car, at your workplace — wherever it will remind you. Write it on index cards, print it out on the computer or make it fancy. The method doesn’t matter, just get it in front of you. When you can’t bring it to mind it will be there in front of you.

Change it up each week. Here are a few to get you started:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
Ephesians 3:16

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

2nd – Keep It In Front of You
Whether you use a vision board like I mentioned in a previous post (find it here: https://pauladavispeace.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=901&action=edit) or another method, keep your goals in front of you. I used to use a 3-ring binder exclusively for my goals but found that I didn’t look at it! I still have that binder for the S.M.A.R.T. goal sheets I use but now I also keep photos and notes in a place where I’ll see them every day. They remind me not to give up or hide the goals away where I lose sight of them.

3rd – Track Your Progress
I have a calendar where I mark every day that I exercise. I found some bright feet stickers and put one on every day I work-out. There is actually a little thrill when I put that sticker on, but even more encouraging when I glance at it and see consistency. The calendar also kick-starts me when I see too many blank days, reminding me that I need to get with it again.

calendar

If you’re working a losing pounds, perhaps a count-down scale posted where you will see it. Write the number on the scale each week. When it’s lower you will smile each day you see it. If it went up it will push you to work harder to see it go down again.

Whatever you do, don’t give up!!

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

blessings and peace to you as you keep reaching for your goals…
Paula

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Dreaming About Goals?

Are you a goal-setter or a dreamer?

I believe we can be both…and I dare propose that we all NEED to be both.

The dictionary defines a goal as:
1. the end toward which effort is directed (aim)
2. the terminal point of a race

Sometimes we set goals because there is something we need to get done and plot out a plan to get there. While this may be necessary we risk these goals closely resembling chores. They aren’t a joy to work on and while we may have a sense of completion at the end it’s not satisfying if we don’t have a passion for it.

Dreams can provide vision for our goals. Sure there are some dreams that you can’t achieve with goals. I dream of meeting and marrying a Godly husband. I can’t goal-plan to make that a reality. It’s a dream that can only come true with the Lord’s help.

However many dreams can be achieved by attaching them to a goal. If the dream is potent, it also provides the motivation to prevail through the obstacles to the goals. When we lose sight of the goal-line the passion of our desires push us on to reach deeper inside of ourselves to keep going.

So where do we start?

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:20-21

Before you begin turning your dreams into goals, pray about it. Allow the Lord to reveal if your dreams line up with His plans for you. When you get the ‘go-ahead’, plot out your goal(s).

1. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.  I am going to dedicate a post to S.M.A.R.T. goals in another day or two, but briefly, each goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound. If a goal doesn’t meet each of these requirements it needs to be adjusted.

2. Find accountability partners. These are people who you ask to hold you to your goals, to cheer you on and perhaps push you a little when you lose your focus. It can be one person, or different people for each goal. You decide how often you report to them and rely on them.

3. Visualize your goals. In the next post I will share with you a goal planning tool to take you step-by-step along your goal path. But another great tool is a vision board. This year I’m incorporating an idea from Clare at Peak313 Fitness for a daily visual of my dreams/goals. Check it out here: http://peak313.com/featured/2014-dream-it-do-it-vision-board-health/

2014 "Dream it.Do it." Vision Board:Week 1- Health | peak313.com

Clare has some wonderful ideas for fitness and health that speaks to real people – even people like me with a ways to go to have a healthy lifestyle. While I’ve never met her she inspires me daily. I’m thankful the Lord directed me to her site!

I’ve given you a lot to think about here and a place to get started. Jot down some ideas and inspiration and watch for the S.M.A.R.T. post in another day or two.

What are your goals for 2014? If you haven’t set any yet, consider doing so, even just one or two. Setting specific goals will help you to look back at the close of the year and see how you’ve grown as a person and seen some of your dreams come true.

Blessings and peace to you as you consider your goals!
Paula

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Do You Believe BIG??

2013 will come to a close in a few days and a new year will dawn. Many of us take this time of the year to start fresh, putting behind the disappointments of this year to look forward at possibilities ahead. We set goals and make resolutions, hoping to get all we can out of the new year.

How are you at looking ahead with confidence, believing God wants to use you in mighty ways this coming year? Do you go at it full-steam ahead, excited about possibilities or does the fear of the unknown hold you back from believing that you can be someone out of the ordinary?

set your imagination free

By out of the ordinary I don’t necessarily mean famous by the world’s standards. It is possible God has that in store for you, but more importantly God wants each of us to live out of the box we have put ourselves in or that the world has fashioned around us.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  Jeremiah 29:11-12

Sometimes we get so comfortable where we are at that we fear looking at the possibilities of the future because we don’t know who we will be once we get there. And as Christians we sometimes add to the challenge because we are so focused on being humble and recognizing others that we forget that God intends for us to have a healthy confidence in ourselves as well.

Everything we do…every goal we set and every plan we make should be measured against what God is saying to us through His scripture and time spent with Him in prayer. God may also send messages through others, encouraging us to seek Him for confirmation and details on His plans.

If these goals and plans seem too big for us…GOOD!!  If we can handle them on our own we don’t need the Lord, and we will not give Him the glory. At the same time, if we don’t believe in ourselves and the ability of the Holy Spirit within us, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of us.

In these last few days of 2013 I encourage you to dream big…and allow God to give you big dreams. Then ask Him to show you how to turn those dreams into goals and get started. We’ll talk more about how in the days ahead.

You can do ANYTHING when the power of God is within you. Believe in yourself the way He does, and see what He can do through you.

blessings and peace…
Paula

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Do You Have A Dream?

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom, and Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Rev. King had a dream of true equality for all people and believed some day that equality could become a reality. His speech he gave that day is oft quoted and has inspired generations.

As I was reading some of the background of the march and speech it caught my attention that the original speech didn’t contain the most well-known section of the now famous address. It is said that singer Mahalia Jackson called out to him, “Tell them about the dream, Martin.” Whether it was her prompting or something within himself, Rev. King departed from his written text and began to speak from his heart…or preach from his soul about the dream of equality for all people. It is this passionate proclamation that helped further the civil rights movement and bring change to our country.

do you have dream

Perhaps it’s  a dream for yourself or your family. It may be a dream to see change come to the lives of those you love, or eliminate hunger and need in you community. Or perchance it’s a very personal dream to bring healing to your heart and life.

Whatever your dream, it matters.

It is so easy to become discouraged and believe that you are only one person. You aren’t famous and you don’t have a lot of influence. Neither did Martin Luther King, Jr when he led his first civil rights boycott. He was a man with a dream who wasn’t afraid to believe in it fully, giving his all (and eventually his life) to make a difference to those in need.

He may have needed some encouragement from those around him to share his dream and allow others to grab hold of it as well.

Maybe you do too.

I am inspired by Rev. King and his obedience to his call. I imagine he had no idea he would become one of the great orators of American history or that he would make a difference in so many lives. He had a dream, put in his heart by God and did what he was called to do. He allowed God to take care of the rest.

I pray today that you will be inspired by the faith and obedience of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Allow God to develop the dream He has put in your heart and don’t be afraid to share it with others. You never know who needs to be inspired by you today.

blessings and peace to you.
Paula