Tag Archives: encouragement

Little Victories

“The right answer might not be the best thing you can say.

Perhaps it would be better if you could help your friend take action instead. The acts of finding and doing are almost always more useful than getting good advice.

Inciting action is often better than contributing insight. Better to move forward and figure it out than to stand still and believe you know the right answer.”

-Seth Godin,”Inciteful“, April 27, 2018

I’ve always wanted my blog to be about encouraging, contributing insight and hopefully giving good advice.  But Seth is saying that’s not good enough.  And he’s right.  If my words don’t incite action, then what am I writing for?  I keep hearing the word “action”. So today, my 47th birthday, let’s talk about action.

I want to be an encouragement.  I want to be someone who takes action.  But, many times, I don’t believe I have the energy to accomplish what needs to be done.  Do you ever feel that way?  Like you want to make an impact and you want to enjoy the journey, but you end up feeling like you’re just trying to keep up?  

How can I be creative, productive, helpful, encouraging and inspiring, when I constantly feel like I’m falling behind?  I want to learn how to catch up and stay caught up so that I have excess energy to share. 

In her book “Come Matter Here: Your invitation to BE HERE in a GETTING THERE world“, Hannah Brencher talks about the lies she struggles with and how to defeat them:

“Action steps are my favorite thing because we live in a world where people try to make their words count for works.  There’s a difference though.  Either you talked about being there for someone, or you actually showed up for it.  Even when the lies in your brain are deafening, you can make them weaker by stepping out into action.”

I love that.

“Even when the lies in your brain are deafening, you can make them weaker by stepping out into action.”

Yes, there are lies in my brain.  I bet there are lies in your brain too.  So, let’s dig a little deeper into the power of stepping out into action.

A few weeks back, our Pastor, Chris Zarbaugh, said that “Love is fundamentally more action than emotion”.  He quoted what is probably the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, stating that it doesn’t say, “God so loved the world that He felt it in His heart.”  What good would that have done?  No, it says “God so loved the world that He GAVE”.  He did something about the love that He has for us.  He gave His only Son.

The Apostle James said it this way:

“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  -James 2:15-17 (NIV)

James continued:

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” -James 2:26 (NIV)

James clarified further, using Abraham as an example:

“You see, his faith and his actions worked together.  His actions made his faith complete.” -James 2:22 (NLT)

I think it comes down to awareness (faith) and action (deeds).  First, we need to be aware of what needs to be done and then we need to do it.  We probably won’t do it perfectly and we certainly won’t be able to do it ALL, but we absolutely can do SOMETHING.  Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -Matthew 25:40

Thankfully, Craig Mayes clarified this by asking if Jesus said to help ALL of the least of these?  “No, He said whatever you do for ONE of the least of these.”  Just one.  If we each take care of one thing at a time, one person at a time, it’s all going to get done.  We need to see what’s in front of us, ask God what He wants us to do, and do it.  Take action.

No wonder we’re exhausted, trying to do it all.  No one is asking us to do it all.  Joshua Becker, the creator of the Uncluttered** on-line course, addressed this very issue in his recent blog post, How to Craft a Life You Don’t Need to Escape From:

First, Joshua quoted Seth Godin:

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”  

And that quote incited action in Joshua.  Check out his post (click the orange title above) where he explores 9 ways that we can craft this life:

1. Make Relationships a Priority.

2. Remove Unneeded Possessions from Your Home and Life.

3. Make Your Work Your Job.

4. Or, See Your Job as Part of Your Work.

5. Guard Your Time.

6. Take Care of Yourself.

7. Appreciate Your Season in Life.

8. Understand the Reality of Trials in Life.

9. Find Happiness in Your Every Day.

In point #6, “Take Care of Yourself”, Joshua says that “an empty cup cannot pour into another.”  So, how can we take care of ourselves?  Well, we know the answer probably isn’t taking a vacation.  Maybe it has more to do with a “Stay-cation” (click on those orange words to read the article about “reclaiming the place you already chose to live”).

I’m so thankful that my “Stay-cation” this May, June and July included Joshua Becker’s 12-week on-line Uncluttered** class.  I was astounded by the results.  Our very first assignment was to formulate our “why” and this was mine from 5-1-18:

I long for the day when the energy and inspiration I receive from my “clean spaces” is more than enough to fuel what I need TODAY to accomplish those energy-draining tasks that I continually look at and say “not today”.”

One of the best parts of this class is the real-time interaction with participants from all over the world via a closed Facebook page.  On 7-21-18, I wrote this response to a fellow-De-clutterer’s celebration Facebook post:

“Just goes to show how de-cluttering truly creates energy!  Yes, I know that energy is neither created nor destroyed, but only changes form.  So, let me restate that.  De-cluttering takes the energy that was wasted on telling yourself that some day the mess would be gone, and turns it into energy you can use today.  Yippeee!!”

In one of the class Webinars, I remember Joshua Becker saying, “Don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of “better”.”  Every single “better” is a little victory that your future self will thank you for.

So, here’s where we get to the action.  What have you been thinking about but haven’t acted on yet?  What one action would your future self thank you for?

Signing up for a class?

Returning what you borrowed?

Making that phone call?

Volunteering and/or giving to a worthy cause?

Turning on some uplifting music?

Apologizing / asking forgiveness from someone?

Cleaning the shower?

Requesting a payment plan on that bill you’ve been dreading?

Telling someone you’re proud of them?

Finding a home for one item that doesn’t belong where it’s at?

Cutting up vegetables for a salad instead of eating that ________?

Donating an item that someone could use right now instead of keeping it in case you might need it some day?

Taking the dog for a walk?

Scheduling the doctor’s appointment that you’ve been putting off?

Balancing your bank account?

Visiting a friend?

Recycling the bottles and cans?

Asking her to marry you?

Putting away the laundry?

Cooking a meal for someone in need?

Getting out of bed?

One step.  Accomplish one thing, grab onto the energy that brings and take the next step.  It builds.  It grows.  And it’s not just addition.  It’s multiplication.  It compounds, like interest.  But it all starts with one action step.  Just one.  Let’s take that step.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Let’s make it count.

And if you’ve never put your faith in Jesus Christ, maybe that’s the most important action step you could possibly take right now.  Accepting the gift that God so freely gave, thanking Him for His forgiveness and putting your faith in action.

 

**When I wrote last October’s birthday blog post, “The Best is Yet to Come“, I had no idea that “the best” would start with the Uncluttered class.  I’m so glad my 12 year old Jordan Rose encouraged me to pay the $89 to take the 12 week class.  But you don’t have to pay $89.  Now that I’ve taken it, I have permission to share with you the discount code to take the same class for 25% off: FF25.  Now that I’ve paid once, I never have to pay again and I will definitely be taking the class again (for free).  Join me!  Truly, the best is yet to come.  🙂  https://my.becomingminimalist.com

 

Previous birthday blogs:

2014:  Moment by Moment  (all that junk – yep, Jesus redeemed that)

2015:  Through Heaven’s Eyes  (what does God see when He looks at us?)

2016:  Treasure Hunting  (can we really live every day better than before, or is this as good as it gets?)

2017:  The Best is Yet to Come (encouragement for the road ahead)

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Life That Really Matters

Rick Warren’s 2002 #1 best-seller “The Purpose Driven Life” began with this line:

“It’s not about you.”

Really?  I thought it was about me.  I thought I was here to pursue happiness.  But the funny thing about happiness is that the more I focus on it, the less of it I have.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  It doesn’t work.  Here’s something I’ve found that does work.

Every time a problem comes into my life, I have a choice to make.  I can get annoyed by “one more thing” that I now have to deal with.  Or, I can look at it as an opportunity to show God’s grace to another person.  An opportunity to bless someone else.  To be a conduit of God’s love.

Think about it.  Just about every problem we’re faced with finds its solution in another human being:

1) The car insurance is messed up.  We need to call the insurance company and talk to a person.  Maybe they’re having a really bad day.  My cheerful attitude could be exactly what they needed today.

2) We have a medical problem.  We need to see a doctor, or multiple doctors to get to the bottom of it.  We might need testing.  More people to interact with.  We might need a prescription.  More people at the drug store.  We’re referred to a specialist.  More people to bless.  We don’t know what their lives are like, but we can choose to be a bright spot in their day.

3) The window is broken.  We need to call Independent Window Repair.  We get to talk to the woman on the phone, the man who comes to measure, the woman who calls to schedule the installation and the man who comes to install the new glass.  One problem = 4 people to bless.

The Apostle James put it this way:

“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

James takes it a step further.  Not only do we have an opportunity to bless others, but we’ll be blessed in the process through building perseverance.  I love the thought of being “mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  But I can’t get there by focusing on my own happiness, because Rick Warren was right.  It’s not about me.

The Apostle Matthew put it this way:

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”  Matthew 16:25 (NIV)

If we focus on getting our lives just how we want them, we’ll be wasting our time.  We’ll never get there.  But if we do what Jesus said was most important, keeping our focus on loving God and loving others (Mark 12:29-31), we’ll find real life.  Life that really matters and, in the end, fulfills.

As a side note, just because I write about these things, doesn’t mean that I practice them very well.  Actually, I think I write for accountability.  The Lord knows my track record, so if I put all of this in writing, I have to keep going back to Him, or I really will be a hypocrite.  I think this blog is God’s gift to me.  And I hope it’s my gift to you.  I encourage you, and you encourage me.

Ok, ready?  Let’s go be a blessing!