Category Archives: Commitment
Aspirations, Inspirations & Inclinations
As you are planning what you will do this year, hope to achieve, or aspire to, are your plans based on inspiration or inclination?
What do I mean by that? And why is it important?
Consider, for a moment, the definition of these 3 words:
- “A hope or ambition of achieving something”.
- “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
- “A sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea”
- “The drawing in of breath; inhalation”
- “A person’s natural tendency or urge to act or feel in a particular way; a disposition or propensity.”
If we dive headlong into our year, purposing and planning what we will do, or hope to do, based on what we are ‘inclined’ to do, we may be selling ourselves short.
We all have a tendency, or propensity, to act in a particular way, to make choices and decisions based on our nature, our environment, our feelings, and what may be going on in our lives at any one time.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but often it can lead to shortsightedness, selfishness, and sadly, not fulfilling our true purpose in this world.
We ‘tend’ to take the path of least resistance, we ‘tend’ to focus on our own needs and desires, we ‘tend’ to not go for the big goals or the higher vision, but rather follow our own inclinations.
Contrast this to aspiring and planning for the year based on inspiration. When we are ‘inspired’, amazing things happen in our lives and in the lives of others we interact with. We become more creative, we find timely ideas, we are more excited, more engaged, more productive, and most of all, make more of a difference in the world.
But there is a trade-off to moving in this realm. We don’t ‘plough ahead’ and quickly put our own desires into action, setting schedules and making plans to suit ourselves. Instead, we open our hearts to be inspired, which takes a discipline all of its own, and then once inspired, seek to put inspiration into action.
Remember again that inspiration is “the process of being mentally (and I say, spiritually) stimulated to do or feel something”. To be inspired, you’ve got to slow down, and listen to your heart, and for us as Christians, more importantly, to listen to the heart of God. For, as the Bible says, our own heart can be deceitful. Our carnal flesh has tendencies that, unless checked, can lead us astray, or away from our God-given purpose.
But the awesome thing is this: if we will listen to the heart of God, He will speak. And when He does, wow, get ready for some amazing things because, as He has so rightly said, “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
And as Ephesians 3:20 states: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Our Father is able to blow our minds with what He can do in us, and through us, if we will simply stop, listen, and ask Him to speak to our hearts.
We do this by waiting on God in quiet time with Him, listening and not always talking. Turning off all things that would distract (and oh, how we need to do this in this ‘always-on, always connected’ world). Opening the Word of God, meditating on it, and waiting on Him in prayer. He will respond to a heart that seeks Him, and when He does, it will inspire you!
The word ‘inspire’ means to ‘breath on, or in’, and that’s what God will do, if we will let Him. “Breath on us, O God, and let us hear your voice, so that we may know the way in which we should walk.” That is my prayer for this year. How about you?
If you are ready to soar and go higher on this journey with God, move forward into this year by first listening for the voice of God, and build your aspirations on inspiration, rather than just on your inclinations. Then watch what happens!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment below…
Joy On The Journey.com
Look Back Before You Look Forward
As one year closes and another is about to dawn upon us, many of us are looking ahead with resolutions, dreams, and plans.
Some people are naturally more future-oriented, others prefer stay focused in the present, and others look back often on the past. May I recommend that in heading into a New Year, each of us take a cue from all three perspectives?
To enhance your present and future joy, before diving into dreaming and planning ahead, glance back over your shoulder – not just at the year that is closing – but at that long and winding road that brought you to this time and place.
Something beautiful happens when you do…
Take a few moments to let your mind wander down the road of your life, thinking back on your mountain-top experiences, as well as all the valleys you’ve traversed through.
As you think on these things, you realize that God has been there for you all along. And has guided you each step of the way with such faithfulness, provision, love and care. Even in those times when you were in the wilderness of your life (and we’ve all had those).
Allow an attitude of gratitude to release praise and thanksgiving from your heart. Take some time to truly thank God. There may be a few tears that flow also. If so, let ’em roll. Thank Him for all the good times and for all the character-shaping hard times also.
Thank Him for the people you’ve met on your journey, and for those you’ve yet to meet; for the experiences you’ve had, for where you are right now, and for experiences still to come.
The beauty in looking back before you look forward is that it gives you a fresh perspective: you think differently about the past, the present, and the future.
You realize that there is a reason for your life and a master plan that God has just for you.
This is reason enough to be filled with hope, peace, and joy for the future.
But there’s more:
With this perspective of meaning, you will find yourself inclined to dream and create more fulfilling plans and resolutions for this coming year that affect you, of course, but also that affect others in a positive way.
This kind of journey in life has been shown to the most satisfying to the soul and will leave you with a smile on your face during, and at the end, of your life.
So enhance your joy today, take some time this end-of-year to look back on the road of your life before you look forward.
Then prepare to experience the exciting things that God has in store for you in 2017.
Here’s to a wonderful year ahead for you!
The Lost Art of Quiet Time
The stillness of the morning. The mist is rising and the dawn is breaking…
You stretch a little upon waking, then wander to the window and gaze out in quietness, while down the hall the coffee pot brews your morning coffee. Maybe you sit up in bed for a while to think, or put on your robe and find a cozy chair to focus in quietness and contemplation before the day begins.
Sound like you? No? Does it sound like any of us anymore?
Or, do you wake, stretch, and then check your smartphone for text messages, switch on your tablet or laptop and begin scrolling social media sites, perhaps turning on the T.V. on at the same time, while somehow reaching for your morning coffee in the haze of so much ‘noise’.
My question is this – if quiet time is becoming a lost art, are we losing something precious in this age of ‘always-on’ technology?
I’m convinced we are. We could say this is the ‘neglect of our time’ (excuse the double-entendre). And it’s causing a multitude of problems. It’s time we stopped the craziness and evaluated exactly what is happening to us.
I’m as technology-savvy as the rest of us, and even teach social media strategies as part of my job, but I also know that our brains need some rest and quiet time. Our body, soul and spirit need it too. And yet, we are giving them very little of it.
I, for one, have decided not allow this trend of ‘always on’ to steal my soul. By not turning on my electronic devices, checking social media or email, etc., upon waking, until after I’ve had time to gather my thoughts, read, pray, think, listen, evaluate and renew my spirit, I can truly have some important quiet time. Then let the business of the day proceed.
There are some things too precious to be side-lined by the ‘always on’ social media phenomena. If we don’t have some quality time daily to renew mind and soul, we will be nothing but robotic tech-captives, empty on the inside, and with little to give others of true value. We can’t run forever on empty, and live a fulfilling life.
Perhaps you, too, have a quiet time each day. If so, that’s awesome. If not, and you long for one, this might be a good time to start and watch how it contributes to your quality of life. For me, early morning works best, but it could be different for you – perhaps mid-morning, noon, or late in the evening, for instance – whatever time you choose, creating a quiet time habit will contribute greatly to your peace of mind in this busy time we live in.
I challenge you to discover, or re-discover, the lost art of quiet time for yourself and watch what it does for your physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being – and for those people that you interact with each day. You, and they, will notice the difference!
Here’s to you, and joy on the journey!
What God Thinks About Me Is Infinitely More Important…
In this hyperconnected world in which so many people spend so much time in social media, do you find yourself wondering what your network thinks of you?
I think, if we’re honest, most of us would say “Hmm…yes…” to that.
The more important question, however, is “What does God think of me?
We know that God loves us. And wow, what an amazing and wonderful truth that is.
But what does God really think of the way that we live in this world? And does it matter?
The scripture says that God knows our hearts. In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves.
He also told us that if we are to spend eternity with Him, we must return His love, with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind, and with all of our strength. So, yes, it matters.
Fortunately, when you fully realize how much He loves you, what He has done for you, and the amazing plan He has for YOUR life, it’s easy to surrender to His love.
It might not be so easy, however, to fit your actions to your intentions. That is why He offers us His Spirit to lead, guide and empower us to do what we know we should do.
So here’s a couple of reflective questions to finish this thought today:
Knowing that He knows your heart, your thoughts, your attitudes, and your actions:
Would you say that your life is spent pursuing the applause of Heaven or the applause of people?
Which means more to you?
And which do you think means most to Him?
I think you know…
P.S. ~ Hat-tip to the person who coined the phrase: “What God thinks about me is infinitely more important than what others think about me.” If you know who they are, feel free to let me know in comments below…