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Posts Categorized: The Next Step

Develop a Vision – Step 4

1 Timothy 4:4-5 – For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Before we can put together any plan of action or design we need to have a vision of what that would look like.

What do you want from your life on a day to day basis that you don’t have right now?

A Vision for your Life

Remember as a kid laying on your back in the grass and dreaming of what you wanted to be when you grew up? Everybody has dreams of what they think they might like to become or would like to do when they grow up, but few of us take the time to follow through. Far too often, they simply remain day dreams or wishes because we don’t believe we can actually turn them into actual reality.

Let’s revisit some of those early desires and see which ones are still important. Some are just kid’s dreams. Others hold the potential for creating a more meaningful life. Anything is possible if we are willing to look for ways to bring it about.

It is never too late to start working on those things that are important to you.

Become an Architect – Step 3

“. . .if you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Luke 14

An architect looks at the condition of the soil, what things need to be removed, and what underground restrictions need to be considered in creating a design.

In our personal life, we might need to work through an ongoing anger problem that keeps us from achieving what we want. Just as an architect analyzes the conditions he is working with, so we too need to analyze what we are working with. What things need to be dealt with, acknowledged or addressed?


Garden analysis to life project

Just as an architect wants to know everything that could potentially impact the design he is creating, so we too want to gather as much information as possible.

What things are your ignoring or are unconscious liabilities that could compromise a new plan of action? For example, if you don’t believe you can, you won’t be able to.

Exploring the Pit – Step 2

“Make insight your priority. . . Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. . . if you make insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer. . . God gives out wisdom free.” Proverbs 2

What is in your gravel pit?

Last week we reflected on who we believe we are. Now we will take a look at what is happening in your life right now. Changes cannot be made until we are aware of what is working and what isn’t working and why.

Step 2 – Exploring your gravel pit

Within our gravel pits we will find many things of no value and things that hinder us and keep us from taking more purposeful steps.

Within the rocks and deep pits we can also find the potential for something of value and promise.

Be honest in your exploration. Take ownership. You can’t run away from mistakes or bad choices. Neither can we run away from the harm others may have inflicted on you. There are no quick fixes. Acceptance of where we are is the precursor of making new choices. If we get stuck in anger, hatred, retribution or refusing to let go of what had been, we will be unable to move forward.

Step 1 – Start Where You Are

“God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him; when I got my act together, He gave me a fresh start….”Psalm 18:20 – The Message

If I asked you to tell me about yourself and who you are, what would you say?

Typically, our first responses would be to talk about the roles we have in life such as teacher, Mom, CEO, factory worker, mechanic, librarian, physician, etc.

Who am I?

But that is only a small part of our life story. That is merely the outside surface layer. How do you describe yourself outside of those roles?

Where we Begin

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” Jeremiah 1

Last week, we explored building a house and then designing a landscaping plan for your yard.

Landscaping can be more or less a challenge depending on the ground, the soil, what was left after construction and what you do with it. What can be left? What needs to be removed? What can be incorporated into the design itself?

Where do we begin?

Tatters of our life can often resemble a gravel pit. How do we get from there to a beautiful garden? Where do you begin such a daunting project?

The same place Mrs. Butchart did.

She didn’t just cover up the hole; she used it as her spring board.

If she had just filled the large expansive gravel pit that remained after quarrying ended, it would not be the beautiful gardens it is today.

Landscaping Design for Your Life

I have a Golden chain tree in my yard that has beautiful hanging yellow flowers every spring. A neighbor told me how much they enjoyed the tree and hoped I would never get rid of it. I assured them I wouldn’t. It was one of my first choices for trees in my landscaping design after building my home.

To build a home we need a set of plans. After the house is finished, the next step is taking the pile of rubble and dirt remaining and create a landscaping plan for trees, shrubs, flower beds and pathways.

Years ago I put together a program entitled, “Turn your gravel Pit into a Beautiful Garden”, the inspiration coming from Butchart Gardens, in British Columbia, Canada, an internationally renowned garden.

Just as you and I can design and build our homes, we can do the same with our lives. I was inspired by this concept when I researched the beginning of this beautiful place.

A New Dialogue

What you say to yourself and others has long term consequences. Words said in anger cut deep. Words that devalue who you are, your worth and esteem put you in a self-imposed prison.

Communication begins with you to you. When we esteem ourselves we can esteem others.

As you learn to appreciate who you are, you can assist your next steps forward with positive statements made in the first person “I” that affirm your significance and usefulness. These confirm your positive intentions for life.

I affirm that I have choices and abilities

I affirm I have worth and value

I affirm that I can accomplish any goals I choose when

I put my heart, mind and hard work to the task

Wounded People

I lost a brother last week – sudden – unexpected.

In honor of his death and life, and for anyone who has lost a loved one, I post a poem I wrote in 2008 when I was working with people going through grief – wounded people.

You may have struggled going through a major loss in your life. Or you may be helping a friend who is grieving. This is for anyone who has been in that position.

Wounded People

Need a hand for support as they learn to walk again

Need friends who will be there

Need to know they can honor their journey

Need to have their feelings and experience validated

Why, What and How

We can usually identify what it is we don’t want, but often struggle to put into words exactly what we do want. Until we do, we will be unable to design a plan and stay focused to accomplish it.

Why, What, and How

What have you wanted to do but for whatever reason never got around to doing it. Maybe you thought about getting more education, or starting your own business or putting time and energy into creating crafts that others would want to buy.

Perhaps you wished you could work for a worthwhile cause that pulls your heart. But life seems so hectic.

These three little words, why, what and how, along with the questions they pose may help you rethink those wishes and wants. Use them to re-examine them and their importance to you.

Adjust Your Focus

Those of you who love to take pictures do more than point and shoot. You are constantly adjusting the lens to take in more of the landscape or to narrow the scope to pinpoint a particular point of interest.

You continue to adjust your focus until you can capture exactly what you want.

You care about the lighting, the angle, the depth perception, and the nuances that give some pictures a timeless quality.

We adjust the lens of our cameras –

but do we adjust the lens of our camera of life?