Category Archives: Goals
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!
Refresh, Renew, Regenerate
As I watch the final leaves fall from the trees in our garden – after a windstorm last night – I pondered on the reason for the season changes.
Some people view this as a sad time of year, but actually, it has some amazing benefits.
Three words come to mind:
Leaves, which, during the warmer times of year, were an asset (providing needed photosynthesis and coverage), during the winter become a liability when light is less, and could likely freeze with snow, becoming too heavy and breaking the branches.
If the leaves aren’t shed once a year, the tree could be seriously damaged, or even die.
If they don’t fall from the trees, we might be looking at dead leaves next season.
If the old leaves are not removed, there is no room for new growth.
Dropping the leaves allows the tree to solidify it’s core. It’s going through a needed cycle.
Sometimes we need to shed things in our lives that, although at seasons are an asset, if we hang on to them at later times, become a liability.
There are things that are core to our lives, and there are things that are extraneous. And at various seasons in our lives, these could change.
What is core in your life? And what are you hanging on to, or adding to your life, that is weighing you down?
Sometimes we need to take a seasonal look at what needs to change, what habits and other things need to be shed from our lives, so that we can make room for new growth.
If we don’t shed some necessary things occasionally, the winds of life may facilitate it for us. It seems to me that being a proactive participant in this is preferable!
Take some time this season to be refreshed, renewed, and regenerated. You’ll find the next season will be so much better.
Does God Speak to Us Individually?
Have you ever heard God speaking to you? Whether you have, or you haven’t, I think you’d like to hear this amazing story…
At the recent International Convention of the Familia de Dios in Seattle, the Rev. Francisco Zuniga shared this:
Around 20 years ago, when visiting Seattle from Chile, he was struggling with a major decision.
As he visited a church where his daughter and son-in-law, my mother, and my husband and I attended, something awesome happened…
During the worship service, Bro. Francisco was standing somewhere in proximity to my mother. He didn’t speak any English, and my mother, didn’t speak a lick of Spanish. However, all of a sudden, while she was worshipping, he heard her speak clearly IN PURE AND PERFECT SPANISH: “What you are thinking of, do it!”
A seasoned man of God, he knew immediately that the Lord God was speaking an answer directly to him. He made his decision, went back to Chile and put the vision that was in his heart into action. Over the next two decades through prayer, hard work, perseverance, and the blessing of God Almighty, he trained and raised up hundreds of passionate men and women, young people and adults, who have, in turn, taken the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread the Good News to multiple nations, including Chile and the United States, but also to several others.
As this gentle servant of God looked over this international convention with tears of joy…he smiled at my elderly mother seated in the back row – a woman who had spoken the message God had given her, in a tongue she didn’t understand, 20 years ago!
This testimony, and a million others like it, verify that God speaks to mankind, and speaks to us as individuals. I know He has been so kind to speak to me so many times.
So, the question isn’t “Does God speak to us?” but “Are we listening?”
I Said To the Man Who Stood at The Gate of the Year
God Knows – Poem by Minnie Louise Haskins, 1908
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
This beautiful and famous poem has been read and quoted by many, including HRH The Queen, the Queen Mother, and George VI, for its timeless message. It was also inspiring to the British public during World War II.
My mother often quoted it to me and I loved it. Until now, I had not, however, heard the second part and find it just as tremendous as the first few lines. Here is the rest of this powerful poem:
So heart be still;
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will Is best.
The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Until God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.
As you stand at the gate of the year 2014, I pray God will lead you and direct your steps. If we walk in His will for our lives, there’s no greater joy we can find.