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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.

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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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Habits Are Hard

Happy 2014 no verse

It’s the time of year for resolutions. As 2014 dawns do you find yourself resolving to change things in this brand new year? I’ve been thinking about resolutions and how they are closely related to our habits. We resolve to lose weight, save more money, be kinder to those around us…there are so many common resolutions.

So we begin the year with good intentions and dive head-first into all the things we feel we need to change.

And then most of us fall on our faces a few weeks later.

fall face

But WHY?

Because our resolutions are directly related to our habits. And habits are hard.

Old/Bad habits are hard to break

New/Better habits are hard to make.

It’s really not as easy as writing something down on paper and declaring you will do it. It is said that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 21 days to break a habit. Intention and practice are required just like when we learn a new skill or hobby. Most of us could not pick up knitting needles and make a scarf in a couple of hours but experienced knitters can. Without winning the lottery or receiving a big inheritance people must work at building up a savings account. It comes by practicing restraint and saying “no” when we’d like to say yes more often.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19

The good news is we can change. We just need to remember to crawl before we walk, and walk before we run. Setting the right goals are important and we’ll discuss that in the next post. But if you’re anxious to get started on a few you’ve already set remember these tips:

  • Ease into something new. If you don’t exercise regularly don’t attempt to get up every morning and work out for an hour. Start with 3 or 4 days of exercise and when you’ve conquered that add another day or two.
  • When/if you mess up just pick up where you left off. Don’t throw in the towel in February because you haven’t done as well as you hoped. Looking back to see SOME progress is better than no progress at all because you gave up partway through.
  • Find someone to cheer you on. You don’t have to broadcast your goals/desires/resolutions for everyone if you don’t want to, but having someone to cheer you on and keep you on track can be essential for success. We should all have a cheerleader as well as a drill sergeant and a shoulder to cry on.

Happy New Year to you all! I pray this year holds more blessings than you can count.

Are you making resolutions this year? If so, will you share them with us?

In my next post we’ll look at setting goals and planning for the year ahead.

blessings and peace to you!
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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GETTING STARTED IN 2013

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

It’s the first day of 2013 and the day of resolutions. As we flip the calendar page many of us will resolve to change our lives and our outlook. We will vow to eat better, exercise more, criticize less and overall have a positive attitude about life and those we love.

Looking ahead and resolving to make changes is a good thing. But it’s not enough. For better success we need to turn our resolutions into goals.

A resolution is a statement. A goal is a plan.

Goals are putting action to what we resolve to do. Instead of resolving to exercise more we can make a plan to walk 3 days a week at lunchtime. Or join a Zumba, Pilates, spinning or ______ class (fill in the blank with something you’ve always wanted to try). Be sure your goals are specific, manageable, achievable, realistic and time sensitive….or SMART! (we’ll talk more about this in future posts)

Are you overwhelmed already? Not sure where to start?

Don’t be in a hurry
but…
Do set a deadline.

January 1st doesn’t need to be the day we start our goals for the New Year. We can make it the day we start seeking God’s will and make the start date a few weeks later. Take time to allow the Lord to direct you in your planning. 

1. PRAY – ask God

•For guidance
•For God’s will
•For His blessings to be on your plans.

Jeremiah 29:11
Proverbs 16:3
Proverbs 19:21

2. START – Just put something down

•Write down things that are in your heart
•Think about what will bring you closer to the person God wants you to be.
•How can you make ‘required’ areas into goals? (work, school, chores)

3. PRAY
– Lay the goals you’ve set out before God


4. LISTEN
– Give God time to speak to you about your goals and whether He wants them to change.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1: 4-5

5. ADJUST – Make changes where needed

One of my downfalls each year is being overzealous in my goals. I want to set goals for so many areas of my life that I sometimes forget to ask the Lord if His desires are the same as mine. If not I need to humble myself before Him and make some changes.

Whatever your goals are for 2013 I want you to succeed!!

I’m no expert on goal planning, but am learning more and more each day. Each week of the new year I’m going to share with you a little of what I’ve learned and hope you’ll share as well. We can encourage each other as we set goals and as we work to achieve them.

May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4

What are your New Year’s traditions? Do you make resolutions and set goals? How can we help you with them this year?

I hope you’ll join me on a journey to see the Lord’s plans succeed in our lives in 2013!

blessings & peace to you…
Paula

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Words Worth Remembering

I have hidden Your Word in my heart
that I might not sin against You.

Psalm 119:11

As Christians God’s Word is one of the most important tools we have. It is what we base our words, actions and hopefully our thoughts on. His Word provides wisdom, comfort, and direction. The Bible is a gift from God to help us know His desires for our lives and as a tool to share Him with others.

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Unfortunately we don’t always have a Bible with us and even when we do there isn’t always time to look up an appropriate verse for the situation. I have been challenged by how few verses I have hidden in my heart and one of my goals for the coming year is to put more there. My goal is to memorize a verse every week of 2013 and to understand the context of each verse and how it can apply to my life and the lives of others.

I’m inviting you to join me!

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Early each weekend I will post a verse to memorize along with some context and perhaps a few personal thoughts. I’d love it if each of you would add your thoughts and if you are familiar with the verse perhaps how the verse has helped you along life’s way.

The older I get the more difficult I find it to memorize things so if anyone has suggestions or methods as we go along please share those too.

I’m excited to think that at this time next year I will know over 50 new verses! I really hope you’ll join me!

blessings and peace to you!
Paula