Pushing Yourself

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Lots of things in life require quite a bit of work.  Staying fit, managing your money well, providing for your family, fulfilling dreams, making it through college, getting up every morning and heading to work. All these things can drain us and sometimes bring us to our knees.

But there is a reward. I frequently go through different weight lifting techniques and exercises to change up what’s happening to my muscles.  This usually is painful.  I am in the midst of a 12 week program right now that just incorporates different workouts with different weight amounts each week. My arms are aching today.

But in a good way, Because I know that with that pain I will see results.  I know that the amount I lifted today was far more than just two weeks ago.  It sucks on one hand.  There are a lot of days I get home from work and the gym is the last place I want to go, but I do it.  It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

If you have a dream, a passion, and want to get somewhere, keep working at it. You might not get there in a week, a month, a year, or even five, but keep working towards it.  It will pay off.

 

Why Church Isn’t About God

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So maybe dying is quite the right word, but lacking is.  Church attendance is down, giving is down, and so is real practical help coming from the church.

The “church” has failed miserably.  Failed at doing what it’s supposed to do.  It has failed to be the hands and feet of Christ, failed to be the family of those in need, and instead become just another business,  With it’s business plans, media entertainment, and building extravaganzas.

Somehow we’ve completely lost sight that man screws up church.  It’s nothing new.  When Jesus was here the church was a big marketplace, being used to sell merchandise.  Now instead of goats and doves, it’s self help books, audio recordings, and t-shirts with cheesy sayings on them.

What do we actually gain or give from going to church?  We go for the social club with our starbucks in one hand, our high heels pit pattering as we enter, scanning the crowd for the girl or boy we like and are hoping to make out with on Friday night.  Let’s be honest, church is not really about God.

The movement of believers in Bible times in Acts didn’t even go to “church” they met together had dinner with one another, prayed with one another, gave to whoever had need, if John Doe was having trouble paying rent that week, everyone pitched in to help.  If Jane Doe’s husband died, they came together and met her and her family’s needs.  It was real life, everyday living growing and learning together.

Now I’m not saying there aren’t some genuine good people both in the pulpits and the pews.  There are. There are some amazing people I know from churches, both in leadership and in the attendees.

But the whole dog and pony show that the church has become with its lights and media, and attractions, does not have anything to do with God.

Demands

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Demands, we all have them.  Demands from our family, our work, our church, our social groups, our peers, our teachers, our professors.  Almost everywhere we look there is something that requires our attention.

So how do we balance all this?  One word, “no”.  It’s an incredibly simple word, in fact it’s one of the first words we learn to say as we grow up, but somehow we lose our ability to say it.

We grow wary of telling someone no for fear of disappointing them, or looking like we can’t handle what they are asking of us, so we over commit ourselves and find that we have no time for the things we want to do.

While some demands you can’t say no to, (unless you want to go without food or a roof above your head), there are plenty of demands that you can and should say no to.

Time is the most valuable thing and it’s something we can never get back.  Think about that the next time someone asks you do to something, is it a distraction, a time eater that will keep you from pursuing your goals?  If so, the answer is no.

Don’t Look Back

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In 1511 a vastly outnumbered force landed in what is now known as Mexico.  The region was known to be rich in gold and jewels and also under the control of the immensely advanced Aztecs.

But Cortes, the leader of this force that contained a mere 600 men, had a different strategy in mind that the others.  To give his men no option except victory or death.

He did this by setting their boats on fire.

He knew something that we fail to grasp.  When we are faced with a decisions we always come up with a back up plan.  “I’ll try this, but if it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to this”. And so we never get very far.

So what would happen if we approached our goals and dreams with an unwavering determination, knowing that if we failed we would be doomed?  Knowing there was no backup plan, no second option.  It was succeed or die.

We need to take this approach, view our life goals like this.  Burn the boats, and don’t look back.

Change

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I was talking to a friend this morning and we were discussing how difficult and disliked change is.  We are creatures of habit, some of us more than others. I personally like all my ducks in a row and normally hate change, at least change I can’t control.  That’s why my decision to join the military has been such a huge event for me.

It’s a huge change for me and my family.  Not only is it change, but it’s change I can’t fully control.

But that being said it is so good, because it is stretching me in ways I need to be stretched. We all need to be stretched.  We all need to get outside of our comfort zones. This can look different to everyone.  Something that may not be a big change to one person, may be a huge change to another.

As difficult as it is, try to embrace change, try to do new things that require change, it will better round you, and make you much more diverse,  not only that but it will open your eyes to so many new possibilities.

The Blame Game

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It seems we are swarmed with blame everywhere we look. Everything is always someones fault.  The newest it the Ebola case.  I heard someone talking on the radio and the whole show was devoted to talking about whose fault it was that it’s in America.

I couldn’t help but think “what a complete waste”.  Whether it’s political, whether it’s religious, pop culture, whatever, there is so much blame.  Everyone wants to find a fall person, someone to hold responsibility, to play the scapegoat.

The truth is, if half of the energy and time that we devote to blaming was placed on finding solutions to problems, the world’s problems would be solved.

It doesn’t do any good to try to figure out whose fault something is.  The biggest thing that will help people is admitting there is a problem, and coming up with a solution, regardless of whose fault it was.

This applies in our own lives as well, among our friends, our family, our relatives. In reality it doesn’t matter whose fault something was.  Move on and make life better.

Stop Waiting For Perfect

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There’s a really big hold up to living our lives to the fullest.  In truth I only know because it kept me from getting out and living my life for far too long.  The thing is I held back for so long because I didn’t know what that one perfect thing I wanted to do was, that one thing that would bring me life.

And then I realized something, if I kept waiting around for that one thing, years would go by and I would never do anything.  That made something finally click with me, and I realized there is no perfect thing.  The only way we find out what we have a passion for and what we want to do is by trying new things.

Yes it’s scary as crap, but just do it, stop saying should I and just take some chances. Even if they don’t turn out to be that one thing you want to do, you will have experienced some life, and you will be that much closer to finding what you do want to do.

Just Start

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Often starting a journey is the hardest part of anything.  We find reasons why we shouldn’t, think of all the things that might happen or that could happen.  The what if’s plague us until we just give up on what we were going to do.

And so we never even start, we just go on dreaming hoping that something will change one day, while we take no strides to make it change.

Change is scary, it isn’t always easy, it gets us out of our comfort zones and disrupts our routing, and heaven knows how we like our routine.

But change also brings things we really can’t even dream of.  Change brings new hope, new ideas, and new beginnings, we just get so caught up in the negative aspects of change that we lose sight of the good.

But when facing decisions on whether to start something keep in mind the benefit of that change, and what you hope to see happen.  Keep your eyes on the goal, on the end result, and push the fear aside.  Most of what you fear will never happen anyways.

Sometimes You Have to Let Go

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It’s really easy to get caught up in something so much so that you can’t let it go. Part of moving on and getting on with life though is letting go.

Sometimes my job requires using old equipment and getting it back up and running. While there are a lot of different methods you can use to do that, there are times, when no matter what you try it just won’t work, and you’ve got to rip it out and put something new in.

Knowing when to try something new can be a challenge, when does the time you put into trying to make an old method work, outweigh the cost of just starting over.

It’s easy to get caught up in one single focus, but sometimes it doesn’t work, and you have to get creative and try something new.  I’m not saying change your goal, but at least the means to get there.

Don’t get tunnel-vision.  Look for new and creative ways to do things different.  It will broaden your horizons.

Positive Vs. Negative

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In our strive to be right day an age, it’s really easy to get caught up in arguments over what is right/what is wrong.  To argue on social media, and to put blatant opinions about everything out for the world to see.

Amidst all this there tends to be a lot of negativity, posting of why this or that is not good, why you should not vote or support x, y, and z.

But all that negativity really doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

Rather than always stating what we are fighting against, we need to start fighting for different things, fighting for what is right, for the lost causes.  Showing support of what we believe.

This goes so much farther than fighting against something, because when you stay positive and live your life for what you believe, you will find there will no longer be a need to argue against anything, because your life will serve as an example of what you feel strongly about.

Try taking a positive approach.