Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

Close to See

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Have you ever wondered why we close our eyes to kiss, meditate, or visualize? The answer is simple—we close so we can see. With our eyes closed, we are better able to focus and our sense of touch, smell, and hearing become more perceptive.

My cousin Kenny has an eye disease that is drastically decreasing his vision. Recently, he decided to seek radical training to learn Braille.

Since Kenny still has some sight, the instructor provided him with special goggles that sealed out all the light. He had to be blind to learn to rely totally on his other senses.

Kenny said that the classes included woodworking. And yes, that the instructors are blind!

His story of shutting out his limited vision to see in a new way, reminded me that this concept is also taught in the Scriptures. Shutting out the world around us is a relevant way of gaining greater spiritual clarity in prayer.

We can talk to God anytime, anywhere, with our eyes wide open or closed. However, there are new insights that we can gain by shutting out circumstances—that are overriding our thoughts—thus encouraging our inner spiritual discernment to take the lead.

Time spent in this place of solitude will be evidenced by our greater inner vision, confidence, and creativity. We can develop a lifestyle of relying on—and hearing from—God for direction.

Kenny needed sealed goggles to make the light go away. We too can create a block and break from daily distractions—and focus on—and experience life in a new and more fulfilling way.

Jesus said, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you(Matthew 6:6 NASB)

Dis Distractions

Monday, April 7th, 2014

I have to keep my guard up every day to keep from getting side-tracked—or derailed completely—from my mission and goals. It’s just so easy to get pulled aside to work on projects that are good and need to be done but are not part of my top priorities. I am multi-talented and am tempted to try many new activities, but are they important enough to use my energy on? Distractions beckon around every curve. One more activity might be OK, or even fun, but I have to ask myself if I will be able finish strong that which I’ve prioritized and planned.

 

I love the spontaneous. There is a certain freedom in knowing that life isn’t so structured that things can’t be changed, tweaked, and enjoyed at a moment’s notice. I must know that I am not a slave to some printed schedule that has to be acted out in robot fashion.

 

But being in charge of the direction of our lives and ultimately making it to our destination means not succumbing to distractions that are unworthy of our time when they appear. I must know the difference between nice and necessary. 

 

My self-dialog and conversations with others have the ability to distract me from reaching my goals. Stopping to visit or check on a friend is encouraging and uplifting. But trash talking, gossip and arguing, drain creative energy and draw me aside from my schedule. I must maintain control over the words I speak and discern whether to engage in a confrontation. I don’t have time to waste trying to prove that I am right. I must conserve my energy to speak up when my voice needs to be heard because it is the right and relevant thing to do. 

 

Baby animals are led astray by just nibbling and following the next patch of desirable green grass. Boundary fences of safety are pushed over with the thought that the grass is greener on the other side. Most of the time it is not.

 

My prayer for today: God, give me wisdom to know what is real and relevant for today, enough common sense to know when to speak out or to shut up, and the confidence and integrity to be satisfied with being right and real—without having to prove it!

 

“And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.” 2 Timothy 2:4 (NLT)

Let It Go

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Let it Go

The difference between great success and failure may be as simple as knowing what – and when – to let go.

I heard a story about how hunters in Africa catch monkeys. Monkeys are very smart and difficult to trap. So the hunters build a container with an opening large enough for the monkey to put its hand into, yet it’s too small for a clenched fist to be removed. Hunters then place tempting trinkets or food into the container. The monkey reaches in, grips the treasures, and is trapped by its own fist. It’s hard to believe that a monkey will stay trapped until the hunter returns and captures it – when all that was needed to be free was for it to let go.

We’re more intelligent than a monkey. Yet no matter how much we know, there are times when we struggle to just let go.

Do you want to know three words to make your life more successful?  “Let it go.”  Three simple words will make your life more successful. We must evaluate often those things that we are holding onto and understand why we might want to cling to them. Things that have fulfilled their job or no longer pulling us forward have to be released to make room for the new and relevant. It is a waste of precious time and energy to keep hammering away at issues that we are powerless to change. We can gain tremendous peace just by letting go of past hurts, bitterness, or things we just never could quite figure out. Relationships also have to be evaluated. People that I pull into my inner circle will either lift me up or pull me back. I must evaluate my circle of friends and choose to stay in close contact with those who value what I have to say, encourage new ideas, and share some goals in common. You, too, should let go of friends who merely tolerate you. This will make each day an uplifting celebration.

It may not be easy to let some things go. That time, relationship, or plan in your life became part of you.  It is normal to feel some temporary sadness when you let it go. That’s OK.

Push past the disappointments. Open your hand and release. There are new people, places, and experiences ahead for you. Move forward into the great plans God has for you.  Just let it go.

“I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Phil 3:13,14 NLT

No More Detours

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

The count is definitely in, and everyone I know is glad for the past year to go. I too welcomed a new year because I wanted a fresh start.  But this New Year is now into its second week and life is throwing me some pretty fierce distractions to deal with. I wonder if what I did last week was done any differently than this time last year.

Distractions don’t go away. They must be dealt with. I can’t drive down the main street of our small town or log onto my computer without the possibility of getting sidetracked. But I can become stronger and make wiser choices.

Our paths are strewn not only with distractions but also opportunities. So the question to ask ourselves when things pop into our world is, “Is this a distraction or an opportunity?” When distraction comes and opportunity knocks, we have the power to choose which one to answer and entertain and when to just stay focused on our present path.

If you plan ahead what you would like to accomplish in your day and upcoming year, it will make right choices clearer.

Decide where each new “unexpected” will lead your day. Distracted days add up to months, and soon another year has come and gone. We do have the core strength to do things differently. Be courageous and push pass that first uncomfortable moment of taking charge of your life – choose opportunity over distraction.

Give yourself an internal boost of energy by taking some time upfront to define your goals clearly, rid your path of proven distractions, and quiet your mind each morning.

Know that if you follow distractions, you will take a detour yet again this year.  But if you face the ongoing distractions, choose to stay the course, and keep going forward, you will enjoy great success in the coming year.

“For I can do everything through Christ,* who gives me strength.” James 4:18 NLT

A Fresh Start

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

on the WINGS

uplift for your world

Yesterday, at a get together in our home, after most of the guests had said their goodbyes, we three girls gathered around the bar to chat.  We three girls were those closest to me, one ahead and one following on the road of life – Mom, me, and my daughter.  After sipping yet another flavor of coffee, and tasting just one more bite of cherry pie, we talked about life.  Mom wished she knew what she knew now when she was my daughter’s age.  My daughter thought this wonderful concept could be achieved if mom’s wealth of wisdom was just downloaded to her immediately. It was a great idea of how becoming wise as an elder while still being young, could indeed be accomplished.  We laughed knowing that wisdom principals can be taught, but each person must then know when and how to apply those principals in his/her daily life.  Each path has different twists and turns that have to be personally walked out.

I have sometimes thought that if I could start over I would do things differently.  But after starting over, after many bummer days, I’ve found that it wasn’t just a second chance that was needed, but wisdom. Sometimes the wisdom ingredient to success was additional planning. After not being on time or prepared yet again, it became evident that I must avoid the trap of procrastination on a daily basis, to be wise.

I also had to let go of the myth that today’s fresh-start-path would somehow be easier than yesterday. Sometimes life is hard whatever the path. But hard is not always bad. Sometimes our greatest victories and highest joys are only realized by pushing past our comfort zones.

To totally embrace a fresh start, make peace with things in your past that cannot be relived or redone. Forgive, let go, and untie negative people and circumstances of yesterday.

Write down your goals, dreams, and ambitions and keep them before you. Surround yourself with people you would be happy to become more like.

Today is the day for a fresh start, whether it is your second or hundredth chance to live how you would — if you could — do it over.  Be diligent to live by wisdom principals that will bring the results you want in your life.  Learn something new each day, love well, and enjoy those before, beside, and behind you on the path of life.

Would you like a fresh start in any area of your life?  If so, then I pray today that you will commit to searching for wisdom, going past your comfort zones, and planning ahead.  May the God of all wisdom be your guide as you spend time in reflective silence before Him today.

By Reba Wilson (c)2012

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Pro 4:7 NKJV

Winds of Change

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

“Sometimes in the winds of change we find our true direction.” Author Unknown

Sometimes the winds are worse than change itself!  I have often wondered why it is that I who love change, still fight so hard emotionally, to make the turn to go another direction!  I remember when I worked for Northeast Tech Center. The job was awesome until I reached a plateau of learning and creating.  I loved the people I worked with and the campus was a beautiful place, nestled among trees on the side of a hill.  I felt the breezes of change for days- maybe even a year- ahead of my resignation to resign.  I had reached my limit.  I just didn’t know where I was going next if I quit what I was doing.

The winds blew harder and unrest turned into dread. Early one very dreary, cloudy morning, on my drive to work, I started looking at a very tiny mobile home that had a light on.  And, I began to imagine that the lady of the house was home having coffee.  I thought of the joy she must have being able to sit and sip. Maybe she was taking time to read, talk to God and the cat.  She might actually have breakfast on the table.  Maybe she would be able to clean her own house, or see her children, or go out with a friend.  I just knew she would be feeling very fulfilled and would fling her head back and laugh at the rain—for she was happy.  I was not!  My goals of making more money to create a better car and house seemed way down on the list- compared to a moment of being true to myself- even if it meant downsizing.  Although, some of my greatest concerns were that I would never get to trade cars or replace the carpet.

My scenario of the lady was pure imagination.  The winds of change were very much a reality! Would I be true to myself and try new things or shrivel up inside a shell- with a known paycheck end?

Yes, I quit and tears spilled onto the page of the resignation letter before it was sealed and signed!

It was quite funny that first week after.  Someone donated me an entire box of toilet paper!  Strange, but, it made me laugh at God’s humor. Forget the ‘if God cares for the birds’ story in the Bible.  I now had my own version which went something like, “If God cares if Reba has toilet paper, then He can also provide for food and clothes and carpet—and fun.”  I love God.  He’s personal to me. And, He likes to make me laugh.  People say He’s awesome- and I know  He is. Spiritual people say cliché words… I mostly think God is funny- in the very most Highest, Holy way!  Think about it. He made a donkey to talk, fed a prophet steak flown in by a black bird, divided a sea by lifting a stick, fed 5,000 people with a little boy’s lunch!  I tell you He really works to make us smile.  He pushes it further and wants me to be ‘full’ of joy the Bible says.  Well, that’s where the toilet paper came in!

Yes, I bought my first new car after that, founded the WINGS women’s ministry, became an ordained minister, started writing this column and began pastoring a church alongside my husband.

Breezes of change are a sweet relief- yet still emotional.

Winds of Change ever blow, redirecting us, charting our course, so that we arrive, totally spent, every gift opened and honed to the limit, having stopped at every port, and boarded every connecting flight, before arriving… at heaven’s door.

www.rebawilson.com

“Are you pig-headed?”

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1 (Quotation from Bible NIV®)

What a wonderful thing to be corrected when we are wrong. Anyone who believes otherwise has never inadvertently walked into the opposite sex restroom by mistake!  Correction is welcomed by the person wanting to arrive in Chelsea but headed down Highway 412 in the opposite direction.

Another version (kj) says ‘he that hateth reproof [is] brutish’. Awrf- like an animal?  Really now?  How bad could it be?  But, this rendering- as all words- merely tries to paint a picture for us so we can understand the meaning.  We write in words but our minds see in images.

Brutish or stupid.  What picture comes to your mind?  I see show pigs. Beautiful, wonderful, clean, glittery, glistening pigs being directed by a cute kid with an absolutely necessary, fancy prod in hand- nudging the wonderful animal into the ring.  Prod and poke and continual pressure direct the life of this phenomenal beast. Left to its own free will it- yes you know where it goes—right back to the mud hole.  Simply put, pigs lack inner understanding.

We as humans have the ability to understand don’t we? If we don’t have an answer or are wrong it is the most wonderful thing in the world to receive correction.  Because, correction becomes direction and we now claim owner ship of that right information.  We can use this knowledge to direct the road we wish to travel and reach our goals and we won’t be surprised at what’s behind the doors we are about to open!  We get it. Self-control gives us knowledge so we love it.  We no longer have to be moved and directed by whatever circumstance or person is putting the most pressure on us.

We think higher thoughts.  We love correction- not because it always feels good- but because we possess… inner understanding.

24 Hours starts… Now

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Today I met with a very successful Pastor of a couple of large churches. He made the statement that being 55 he was now turning a lot of ministry over to those that were younger.  I was thrilled and excited about this awesome group of 20 and 30 year old leaders that will be able to reach even further.  Still mulling over the concept on the drive home I suddenly realized that I was still working to attain some of those goals from my younger years.  And, I became well aware that my birth date declares that I am now- 56.

There was a moment when I teetered between becoming depressed over the areas that I had not yet accomplished or motivated to work harder to catch up.

And, then I realized that today is the youngest I will ever, ever, ever be.  What I wish to accomplish in life is only attainable for me- from this day forward.  Today, I will seek those things that are ‘most important’ in my life.  Today, I seek to give the ‘important’ a higher priority.  We all have different abilities, knowledge, contacts, finances and family.

But, we all have only 24 hours each day.  My life destiny depends on what I do with my today.

Archive #196 – Personal Growth

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

The envelope with the glossy color photo gives instructions for turning the enclosed seeds into long, green cucumbers.

In February the seeds were planted in neat peat pots. Today, the plant is only a couple of inches tall and maybe four inches in width.  A beautiful yellow bloom looks oddly out of place on a vine way too small to carry the weight and stress of a cuke!

It’s almost June and the time of production is right on track. But, very little growth happened to the vine during the past three months.  Actually hard times happened.  Emergencies caused the seedling to trade its cozy office window for a cart in the garage and unseasonably cool temps stunted the growth.  Transplanted in the garden was less than perfect as rains pelted and the sky remained cloudy for days on end.

Now, it’s struggling to grow and produce!

I relate to the plant.  One must first grow personally to effectively produce and bring to fruition a career, hone skills, or harvest goals envisioned. The environment must be conducive for growth.

If hard times leave you stunted- invest in personal growth and tweak your habits and environment. Focus on the destiny you were planted to fulfill. As you grow- the fruit of success will grow and flourish as well.

Archive #186 – Transplanted

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Spring is in the air and the Pansy, dominates the green house. I can’t resist the beautiful yellow, purple and white flowers that seem to wave from a cart located at the store entrance.

Arriving home it’s time to fill the front pot. Pulling each plant gently from their tiny plastic casing reveals roots that have grown around and around forming a shiny white root ball with hardly any soil showing.  These plants have become what gardeners’ term, “root bound.”  I know I must slice the roots down the side or pull them gently apart where they can reach out and sink into the new soil.  It’s then they are able to thrive and fill the larger pot with life bearing roots to enable them to grow and produce their maximum potential.

I felt sorry for plants the first time I tugged on the roots or sliced them with a sharp knife.  But, that was a very long time ago, before I understood the difference between plants left alone, untouched, and the ones that had been taken way out of the root system- comfort zone for the moment.

I don’t know what kind of week you’ve had- or year. If you’ve been tugged, stretched and sliced then take the opportunity to spread your roots. You’ll produce more than you ever could caged in a tiny plastic box.