The D’s of Depression – Depend on God, Part 5

Be kind to you: Don’t bring up your past when you are here to  improve your Future

It may seem like the guidance that I have shared this week has nothing to do with depression…especially overcoming depression. However, depending on God and utilizing His guidance and instruction has everything to do with overcoming depression.

There is no better authority on you and no one who loves you as much as God does.

I don’t know that I know a single person who has suffered from depression who has not been guilty of running themselves too hard or who is not guilty of “beating themselves up”. Both scenarios are best handled through God’s guidance.

God can and will guide you if you need to be forgiven of some misdeed and He can help you learn to love yourself and take care of yourself.

If you are still looking for that magic pill that will make your depression go away without any soul-searching and work on your part – your search is going to be a long, long, long one.

As I began my own soul-searching and work to overcome my depression, it felt like God was taking a humble shack and trying to turn it into a skyscraper. At times, the process hurt and very often I did not like it. However, as always, God knew best. He helped me with the painful but necessary process a step at a time. He knew I couldn’t transform myself in one giant leap. He KNEW I could do it one step at a time. So can you!

It won’t always be pleasurable and it WILL be hard. And…it will be completely WORTH IT!

Our discussion on depression is not going away. We will talk more about it next week. Until then, I hope you will read more of the article I have been sharing this week by Rev. Mark D. Roberts. Have a wonderful weekend and be sure to share some compliments with yourself!:

Spiritual Guidance: For Whose Benefit?

In my last post in this series, I told the story of a woman named Eva who tested what she believed to be the Spirit’s guidance by stepping out in faith. Through doing this, she was able to bring God’s grace to a woman who was in a difficult place in her marriage.

Eva’s example illustrates another vital truth about spiritual guidance: it often comes, not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others. Of course, as the Spirit enabled Eva to care profoundly for the woman on the phone, Eva herself felt gratitude well up in her heart. To be used by God is one of life’s greatest joys! But the guidance Eva received was not primarily for her own blessing. Rather, it was for the healing of another person who deeply needed to know God’s love in a time of personal crisis.

Without a doubt, the Holy Spirit guides us through the maze of our lives if we seek his direction. But sometimes we become so absorbed in seeking guidance for ourselves that we overlook one of the Spirit’s main reasons for speaking to us: so that we might minister to others. When we are prepared to hear God’s voice, we will often be led to care on a deep level for the people God places in our lives. Sometimes the Spirit will lead us by placing a burden on our hearts for a certain person or area of need. Sometimes we will receive even more specific guidance, as Eva did during her phone call. But no matter the precise quality of God’s direction, if we make ourselves available to him, he will lead us into his ministry and empower us for his purposes.

Notice that spiritual guidance both flourishes in the context of true fellowship among God’s people and also contributes to that fellowship. As you are led by the Spirit to care for others with compassion and insight, your relationships will become deeper and sweeter. The Lord will help you penetrate the guardedness that keeps us at a “safe” but superficial distance from each other.

Notice also something that has remained implicit throughout this conversation of spiritual guidance. Spiritual guidance comes, not only for our good and for the good of others, but ultimately for the good of God. The Spirit guides us so that we might “do the good things [God] planned for us long ago” (Eph 2:10), and these things are all part of his plan for the cosmos. As we walk in God’s will, we derive personal benefit. The people around us are blessed. But, even more significantly, God’s purposes are being fulfilled through us. As my friend Buddy says, “Guidance from God is also guidance for God.”

When you pray, “O Lord, please show me your will,” you are acknowledging that God has the right to direct your life. God is sovereign, not only over all creation, not only over all history, but over you. The King of kings and Lord of Lords has every right to govern you, and you ought to follow his guidance because of who he is.

But we seek and abide by God’s direction, not only because he is our Master and we are his servants, but also because God’s ways are the very best, both for him and for us. Even when God seems to guide us along treacherous paths, even when walking in his ways denies our thirst for instant gratification, even when obedience to his call requires sacrifice and suffering, we follow him because “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Rom 8:28). As we discover God’s purpose for our lives and as we walk in that purpose, he works in every part of our lives for our own good.

 

This truth about God reminds me of a wonderful scene from The Sound of Music. Maria had set her heart upon becoming a nun and was in the midst of her candidacy to join a religious order. But her ability to accept the disciplines of convent life was in question. So, the leader of the abbey, who exercised complete authority over Maria’s life, sent her away to serve as the governess for the incorrigible Von Trapp children. To Maria’s surprise and horror, she unintentionally fell in love with their father, Captain Von Trapp. Fleeing back to the safety of the abbey, Maria tried to bury her love for the captain, a love which would surely compromise her commitment to becoming a nun.

When the abbess finally gets Maria to talk about what happened at the Von Trapp home, the confused girl confesses her love for Captain Von Trapp. She begs the Reverend Mother for the opportunity to make her religious vows immediately, thereby removing forever the possibility of marrying the captain. But the abbess does a most surprising thing. Rather than accepting Maria into the holy order and protecting her from a marriage that would preclude her becoming a nun, the Reverend Mother orders Maria to return to the Von Trapp home. Disregarding Maria’s urgent pleas for admission to holy orders, she insists that Maria must test her love for the captain and thereby discover God’s will for her life.

Unhappily, Maria submits to the Reverend Mother’s command because she has no other choice. As a candidate for the abbey, Maria has submitted her life to the authority of the abbess. But we can see that this wise woman exercises her authority, not only for the good for her order, but for Maria’s good as well. Her guidance, however authoritative, is supremely wise and gracious, even though Maria cannot see it at the time.

So it with God’s guidance and our response. We obey God’s directions because we should. It’s the only right thing to do. But even when we can’t see how God’s ways are the best for us, they always are. Like the Reverend Mother, the Lord deserves our complete obedience. And, like the Reverend Mother, our gracious Heavenly Father guides us into the life of greatest fulfillment. When God directs us for his own purposes, we discover that his purposes include our blessing and joy.

This illustration from The Sound of Music helps us to see how obeying God can lead, not only to God’s good, but to our good as well. What it doesn’t capture is the miraculous and peculiar way God actually worked in the real life of the real Maria von Trapp.

Like the Reverend Mother who sent Maria back to the von Trapp family, God oftens “sends” us to places that don’t seem best to us. But, in fact, they are the best.

We can see this illustrated in the fictional version of the life of Maria von Trapp. But, in fact, her real life contained some striking examples of God’s unexpected guidance. Here’s an excerpt from the family history on the von Trapp website:

The movie strongly portrays Maria as the epitome of religious devotion in and out of convent life. Most people are unaware that she was raised as a socialist and atheist and became actively cynical towards all religions. Those beliefs quickly and dramatically changed by the chance meeting of a visiting Jesuit priest to Maria’s college.

Maria had entered a crowded church assuming she was about to enjoy a concert by Bach. Instead, a well known priest, Father Kronseder had just begun preaching. Caught in the middle of a standing-room-only crowd, Maria soon found herself caught up in the words of this preacher.

In Maria’s words, “Now I had heard from my uncle that all of these Bible stories were inventions and old legends, and that there wasn’t a word of truth in them. But the way this man talked just swept me off my feet. I was completely overwhelmed by it . . . .” When he finished his sermon and came down the pulpit stairs Maria grabbed his elbow and loudly asked, “Do you believe all this?”

A meeting between the priest and Maria changed her beliefs and the course of her life.

Though Maria was intensely devoted to her convent, she was taken away from the outdoor activities she once thrived on. Her doctor was concerned her health was failing due to a lack of fresh air and exercise. This was when the decision was made to send Maria to the home of retired naval captain Georg von Trapp. Her position was not governess to all the children, as the movie portrayed, but specifically to the captain’s daughter who was bedridden with rheumatic fever. The rest is truly history. Maria never returned to the convent and married the Captain on November 26, 1927. This is the story that has been made immortalized by The Sound of Music.

The von Trapp family began singing publicly, not because it was part of their escape from Austria to Switzerland, as in the movie, but as a result of what must have seemed like terrible misfortune to the von Trapps. When the family lost its wealth in the worldwide depression of the 1930s, they considered singing as a way of making money. At first the father was reticent, but according to one of his daughters, in the end he “accepted it as God’s will that they sing for others.” The family did indeed win first place at the Salzburg Music Festival in 1936, as depicted in the movie. And their singing was part of what helped them leave Austria, though without hiking over the mountains to Switzerland.

In the story of the real Maria von Trapp, we see how God uses circumstances, even apparently negative ones, to guide and bless and use his people. First, God led her to faith through her attendance at an evangelistic event that she mistakenly thought was going to be a concert. Second, her poor health in the convent was what led to her being assigned to the von Trapp family. And that which ended up bringing her family much acclaim, namely their professional singing, was something they did out of necessity when they lost their fortune.

Maria, by the way, remained a faithful Christian all of her life. In the 1950s she, along with her own children, Johannes and Rosmarie, and her stepdaughter Maria, went to New Guinea to do mission work there. Although Maria (senior) contracted malaria and didn’t remain in New Guinea for a long time, her children stayed on for several years, with Maria (junior) doing mission work in New Guinea for thirty years.

So the story of the real Maria von Trapp reminds us that God’s ways are not our ways, and that God’s guidance often comes packaged in unexpected forms. Yet he can use even the unexpected and the apparently negative both for our good and for his purposes.

How Does God Guide Us? Some Final Thoughts

In this series I’ve tried to show some of the ways that God guides us. I’ve explained that God guides us through:

• Circumstances
• Scripture
• Community
• Reason
• Dreams and Visions
• Divine Whispering
• Spiritual Direction

I suggested that we can confirm God’s guidance in various ways, especially through taking the risk of stepping out in faith. In my last posts, I showed that God’s guidance is not only for our benefit, but also for the sake of others, and especially for the sake of God’s own kingdom and glory.

I’ll finish up this series by responding to a couple of very practical questions that often hear as a pastor:

How can I learn to be guided by the Holy Spirit?
My life is so busy, how can I find time to quiet my heart enough to hear the Spirit’s gentle whisper?

How can I learn to be guided by the Holy Spirit?

I have found that many people simply need to be aware of the different ways that the Holy Spirit can guide them. Some who have studied the Bible for years to gain theological knowledge never expected the Spirit to speak to them personally through the Scripture. Once they have this expectation, they realize that the Spirit had been whispering in their ears in the past, but they had dismissed this internal voice as nothing of significance. Now they are ready to be guided by the Spirit in a more personal way.

Let me emphasize again that spiritual guidance must be evaluated for its consistency with Scripture. Moreover, we all need to be in close fellowship with other Christians who can help us to discern God’s directions for our lives. If you want to be guided by the Spirit and not simply to claim divine status for your own inclinations, commit yourself to Bible study and to active involvement in Christian community.

Remember that spiritual guidance often comes, not primarily for our sake, but for the sake of others. As you seek God’s will, ask him to show you how to serve those around you. Make yourself available to do God’s will, to participate in his work in the world. Submission to the Lord is a crucial ingredient of your readiness to hear his voice.

Finally, the practice of spiritual disciplines helps to tune our ears to the voice of the Spirit. As you spend time reading and meditating upon the Scripture, praying, journaling, taking time to be alone with God, being silent for extended times, worshiping publicly and privately, and fasting, your heart will be prepared for hearing God’s voice. If these disciplines — or even the word “discipline” — are unfamiliar to you, let me recommend a couple of marvelous books: The Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1988) and A Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, 3rd edition (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1998).

Today’s inspiring article was written by Rev. Mark D. Roberts and is shared from the following website: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/how-does-god-guide-us/

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The D’s of Depression – Delve Into the Depths of Your Soul Part 3

Know Yourself and You Will Win All Battles Sun Tzu

If you have been following my posts this week, you know that I am addressing how to overcome depression. Overcoming depression is not an easy task but, I believe, it is a possible task.

The first step is knowing yourself. That is the focus for this week. You need to know you and you need to know who you really are. You need to know all of the self-talk that goes on within your head and you need to root out and eliminate all of the lies you believe about yourself.

Have you ever made a mistake and told yourself, “You Dummy!” Yup, me too. That kind of self talk may seem pretty innocent but my experience has shown me that, all too often, there is more lurking behind those trite moments of self-talk that are not innocent at all.

Let’s look at this another way. How comfortable are you with giving yourself a pat on the back? Do you commend yourself for a good decision? Is telling yourself “Way to Go!” a frequent occurrence? I’m not talking the I’m better than anybody else, conceited type of self-talk. I’m referring to humble acknowledgement of your strengths, abilities, and capacity.

Do you participate in a lot of comparing yourself to others? Do you understand that comparing yourself to others is a lose/lose proposition? There is no other you in the entire universe and there never will be. Comparing yourself to others is like a rose comparing itself to an orchid. Both are wonderful and beautiful but a rose is never going to be an orchid and an orchid is never is going to be a rose and the world is a much better place because we have both.

Sometimes it is not fun delving into the depths of your own soul. It can be a painful place to find yourself. Other times, it can be fascinating to find things about yourself that you never had known or acknowledged before. It can be hard work but I promise that you will be the joyous benefactor of all your efforts. If you are willing, knowing yourself will be a huge blessing and is a key step in overcoming depression.

Today, I am sharing another article by Farnoosh Brook. I hope you will take the time to read it and that you will continue to do the work to know yourself better. Hugs to you!

How to Get to Know Yourself in 5 Fool-Proof Steps

Living a lie comes out sooner or later.

The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painfulthan the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin

When I read this quote first, I felt something tighten in my heart.

I was still at my corporate job, living in total conflict with my core values, and still denying the reality of the situation. It took a simple phrase to snap me out of my coma and help me see how I had created my own agony: By denying who I am.

And for what? So I could go on being someone else to impress people I don’t care about for reasons that don’t matter? It isn’t worth living a lie and being untrue to who you are, no matter how crazy, how eccentric, how uncommon, how different you may be.

You are who you are. The earlier in life you accept this and get on with it, the easier and sweeter you shall live out your days.

Let’s start embracing it instead of hiding it under the covers.

As for me, when the lie became so blatantly obvious, I accepted who I am, quit my cushy job, started my online business, created my dream lifestyle and have never looked back.

A secret I didn’t even know: You won’t miss the lie you are living, because living true to yourself is the real paradise.

This kickstarted the beginning of a self-discovery journey that I share with you here: How to get to know yourself and how to have the courage to live life as exactly who you were meant to be, being true to your core values, and coming to peace with it all.

How well do you know yourself? Ready to find out?

You can be different from the rest of the world and still be fabulous — in fact, you’re fabulous because of it, not despite it.

Different means good. So if you are different, you, my dear, are good.

The idea is to understand what makes you different, and as you do that, you get to know yourself better.

It’s perfectly fine to explore what your heart wants. It’s completely alright to tune out the rest of the world so you can build a connection with your soul. It’s remarkably uncommon, but it’s fine and it’s alright, so do it. You won’t regret getting to know the person who lives inside yuo.

The most beautiful thing you will ever witness in your life is when you begin to unfold into the person you were meant to be from your very beginning.

It’s not about your favorite color or school subject. We’re talking big stuff.

Knowing yourself is beyond figuring out your favorite color or your favorite subject in school or your favorite music album. We are no longer in high school — thank heavens – where being “yourself” meant mimicking everyone else, acting stupid in the collective and defying rules, and feeling insecure all day long while doing it!

Knowing yourself is the process of understanding you – the human being – on deeper levels than the surface. It is an unpredictable road that you must bewillingto explore. It brings you face-to-face with your deep self-doubts and insecurities. It makes you take a serious look at the way you are living your life and put it to question.

The whole thing can suck for a little while but then it gets better, and like anything else, a little hard work at the start pays dividends in abundance for the rest of your life.

Knowing yourself means respecting your values in life, your beliefs, your personality, your priorities, your moods, your habits, your magnificent body, and your relationships.

Knowing yourself means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and fears, your desires and dreams. It means being aware of your eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, your likes and dislikes, and your tolerances and limitations.

Knowing yourself means knowing your purpose in life. Or coming really darn close to finding it out!

You’re not born knowing yourself. Get over it.

You do not get to know yourself simply by growing up and growing old. Knowing yourself is a conscious effort; you do it with intention and purpose.

Not knowing yourself becomes obvious sooner or later. A quiet frustration lives in your heart when you do not know yourself. You may choose to live with it and ignore it – or you may choose to start getting to know yourself.

How to Get to Know Yourself in 5 Fool-Proof Steps:

1. Get to Know Your Personality

Understanding your own personality is the first key. You have the collective opinion of others which is one aspect.

You also have your own database of information about what your personality is really like, and who you are in your private moments as well as in your public ones.

The idea is to get to know your personality inside out, to know what you are and what you are not like. Understand what makes you react a certain way in life’s myriad of situations. Ask yourself “Why did I do that?” and answer it.

Who are you behind your name? What are your characteristic traits? Who are you among friends? What about strangers? What persona do you portray to the outside world?

What are you really like on a good day as well as a bad day, in face of a challenge or a great reward? How do you react to the world around you?

2. Get to Know Your Core Values

Your core values are the morale codes and the principles you hold near and dear to your heart. When I work with my clients, one of the first things I ask prior to our coaching sessions is a list of their top eight core values.

You probably have more than eight values, but the top eight play the big roles in decision-making, influencing, persuading, conflict-resolution, communication, and living your day-to-day life.

In your work, in your home, in all aspects of your life, which values can you never compromise? Those are your core values.

Is it honesty, integrity, security or flexibility? Is it dedication to others, wisdom and learning, financial comfort or fun? Do you value loyalty above excellence, responsibility above ambition, or innovation above improvement?

3. Get to Know Your Body

Youth is such foolishness. In my 20s, I used to think I know my body. I was but a child. The more I learn about my body, the more mysterious it becomes and the more I push my body, the more it surprises and delights and amazes me. Yours can too.

How well do you know your body, your breathing, your abilities, your limits of balance and flexibility?

Have you ever said “my body can’t do this” and that “my body type won’t do that” without even trying a physical challenge? Before you close the door to wonderful possibilities, take another look. Take the time to become truly intimate with the loveliest temple on earth, your own body.

4. Get to Know your Dreams

Your dreams and hopes create the pathway into your future. They help you build the life you can be proud of living.

Your dreams matter. Your dreams are important. Your dreams are worth going after. Don’t believe anything less.

And start getting to know your dreams well. Get to know the details and the specifics.

If you want to become a musician, ask yourself: What instrument do you want to play? What level of proficiency do you want to learn? How big a part of your life would it be? And on and on until you know everything about your dream.

Make your dreams part of your daily pursuits. Take them seriously. Work at them. Glorify them instead of hiding them and being ashamed of them.

5. Get to Know your Likes and Dislikes

What do you like and just as important, what do you dislike? Simple, innocent question but knowing this about yourself gives you a lot of confidence into who you are. A lot of people go through life liking what’s popular and disliking what’s not “cool”. Don’t do that.

Take the time to define your likes and dislikes, and don’t put it up for a vote among family and friends. You decide.

Defining your own likes and especially dislikes takes guts. It maybe impolite to dislike attending yet another baby shower or spending 3 hours with extended relatives, but look at the alternative. If you keep doing frustrates you and neglect what brings you joy, you give up part of who you are. It’s the least likely path to any happiness whatsoever.

Stay true to your likes and dislikes. Nobody has to like them but you!

Getting to know yourself allows you to tap into the well of happiness beyond your imagination. Bliss even on cloudy days.

Today’s inspiring article was written by Farnoosh Brook and is shared from the following website: http://www.prolificliving.com/the-greatest-discovery-of-all-getting-to-know-yourself/

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The D’s of Depression – Delve Into the Depths of Your Soul

The most important relationship we can all have is the one you have with yourself, the most important journey you can  take is one of self-discovery. To know yourself, you must  spend time with yourself, you must not be afraid to be alone.  Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.    Aristotle

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share how you can overcome Depression. This week, I am going to concentrate on what I consider the first step: Delve into the Depths of Your Soul.

If you are looking for quick fixes, you will be sorely disappointed. Depression does not come on suddenly and it rarely leaves without some intensive personal work.

I have been there in the muck and mire of depression. I know that once we find ourselves there, there is nothing we want more than to get rid of it. If you are going through depression, you might be like me: I knew I had a great life. I had a wonderful husband and great kids and I had everything to feel wonderful about – but I didn’t.

The first step that doctors usually want to explore is medication. Explore that path if you must, but I have found that the most important place to start is with yourself.

There is often a good reason why depressed people don’t want to be alone with themselves. More times than not, a cacophony of emotions is raging within the soul of the depressed person. For me, the roar of emotions was deafening and yet I refused to hear it.

I had experienced some significant trauma and I had shoved it deep into the corners of my being – so deep I thought (subconsciously) that it would never be found or bother me again. Instead, like an eternal fountain, it all came bubbling up – demanding to be dealt with.

During the years (yes years) that I battled depression, the most important step I took was to take time to heal. Listening was a critical part of that healing. Listening to my family and my therapist was probably important but the very most important listening I did was to myself. I learned to listen to my thoughts – you know, the whisper thoughts we all have but don’t necessarily acknowledge to ourselves. As I did, I heard myself saying things like: “You can’t do that, nobody will ever love you again if you do”, “You don’t deserve to be alive”, “Do you realize what an enormous burden you are to your family?”.

As I began to really listen and acknowledge what I had said myself for a very long time, I knew that those subliminal thoughts were not grounded in truth. I also knew that although they were lies, I very much believed them.

At that point, I formed an alliance with the Lord that I continue to depend on to this day. With His help, I sought to find and then terminate each of the lies that I subconsciously said to myself day in and day out.

With the Lord’s help, I was able to identify and then remove the lies I consistently told myself. I was able to start believing in my worth and I was able to restore my confidence in myself.

You see, although I was not to blame for the trauma I had experienced, I believed that I was. Therefore, I beat myself up mercilessly. It’s amazing how much I was able to heal once I quit pummeling myself!

Coming to know myself deeply and personally was an all important step in overcoming my depression. Prior to my efforts to know myself, was I knew of myself was like tagging along for the ride. After I came to know myself, I found myself in the driver’s seat.

To overcome depression, we each have to sit in the driver’s seat of our life.

I hope, that if you are going through depression, that you will make the effort to know yourself. Today’s article shares some good information on getting started with the process:

How to Be a Success: The Importance of Knowing Yourself

by Delva Rebin

“Know Thyself” is a popular adage, but what does it really mean? The fact is that this phrase holds one of the keys to unlocking the secrets of how to be a success, but not many people are aware of its full implications.

To explain it properly, let’s use the analogy of a car. When you buy a car, you want to know everything about it. The gas mileage, the safety rating, the interior comfort, the color and model. How many people can it carry? How does it fare in difficult weather conditions? How does it feel to drive? How well does it take corners? What is the sound system like?

Knowing yourself is a bit like knowing your car. Just like with your car, you want to know how you hold up under difficult conditions. You want to know what you sound like to others. You want to know your limits, but also your potential. That is basically what the phrase “Know Thyself” entreats us to do: know everything about ourselves so we know how we will weather the trials and tribulations life throws at us.

To know yourself, it’s important to be aware of the fact that we all have four dimensions: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The first three are fairly straightforward: the physical dimension is how we see other people and how they see us, the emotional dimension is how we relate to others, and the mental dimension is how we think. The spiritual dimension is perhaps the most often neglected out of the four. It doesn’t necessarily have to be religious, but you should always recognize that you have this dimension within you. Often, people describe their spiritual side as the one that connects with nature, and other beings, and a Higher Power that interconnects all of us.  By exploring those four dimensions, you can become more aware of yourself and ultimately shape yourself into a more complete human being.

This journey of self-discovery is important because by knowing ourselves, we can maximize our chances of becoming a success, both in our personal and professional lives. By being aware of your limits, you can better assess every opportunity that comes your way and turn down those that don’t play to your strengths. But even more importantly, by knowing your potential you will become empowered to reach beyond anything you previously thought you were capable of doing. That is one of the ways to become a success: recognize which opportunities might not be for you, but have the courage and enthusiasm to jump on the ones that are.

Today’s inspiring article is shared from the following website: http://www.dreammanifesto.com/success-importance-knowing.html

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Finding Sunshine…and Gratitude in Our Lives

Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows Helen KellerWhat do you do to make sure that there is sunshine in your life? I’m not talking about literal sunshine here…I am talking about finding gratitude and finding and recognizing the good things that are a part of your life! Do you always try to make sure that you find something to be grateful for? Perhaps, do you keep a gratitude journal?

I have found that as I have deliberately made an effort to notice and be grateful for my blessings, that both my peace and happiness have compounded exponentially! The more I find to be grateful for, the more I seem to have to be grateful for!

There are so many ways that we are blessed! Whether I get to see a beautiful rose or hold a precious bundle of baby, I love that there are so many ways my life is blessed – all I have to do is recognize those blessings as I receive them and presto chango – my  my joy is multiplied over and over!

Some of the simplest things we do can mean the most to others and vice versa!

I hope that you will enjoy the story I share today. And… be sure to watch the video! It is wonderful the things that we can do to make a difference in the lives of others!

This Is the Best Thing You Can Do to Make Someone’s Day

Every act of kindness, no matter how large, starts with something small, something we all can—and should—do every single day!

I’m Will Rubio, one of the hosts of BYUtv’s Random Acts show. We take hidden cameras to unexpected places to expose random acts of kindness. We’ve filmed acts big and small, from building handicap-accessible infrastructure for folks who need it but can’t afford it to small-time good Samaritans returning a lost wallet or helping a badly burned beach-goer escape further sun damage. 

And as someone whose job is literally to do nice things for people, I’m not only a very lucky guy, but I’m often asked the question, “Where can I start?” 

It truly takes a village to do what Random Acts does, but every act of kindness, big or small, starts exactly the same way: with one compassionate person seeing a situation that they can help improve.

On Random Acts, it may be a neighbor, a coworker, or a sister who recognizes a need and sets off an incredible chain reaction of service. Not every act of kindness will be as grandiose as a secret home renovation or a surprise helicopter ride, but every act of kindness starts small.

Take the story of Emmalene Meyers. Like many young girls, Emmalene dreamed of being a ballerina—but her cerebral palsy makes even everyday tasks a challenge. Instead of seeing a limitation, however, Emmalene’s thoughtful friend Lily saw an opportunity. Lily envisioned Emmalene’s dream being brought to life onstage and enlisted Random Acts to rally the troops and handle the logistics. I won’t give away the tear-jerking details, but you can watch the magic unfold on the video below:


Random Acts: Unforeseena Ballerina – BYUtv

So, where can you start? They key is to be like Lily: look for an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem, and then take that first step towards making it happen. Being kind and doing service is just like any other attribute you want to cultivate or goal you want to achieve. You have to work at it. But the more you do it, the easier and more fulfilling it becomes. Take my word for it!

After two seasons of hosting Random Acts, the joy of easing burdens and brightening lives doesn’t wear off. I sometimes think Random Acts might lose its luster eventually, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I finally meet the person we’ve been working to surprise and see their genuine shock and appreciation, it hits me in the feels every time. I cry more than anyone else on the show—and I’m not ashamed to admit it! 

After all, every act of kindness starts with a single person having a single thought. Be that person–be the nice you want to see in the world!

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/how-to-make-someones-day/

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Are You Living the Life You Were Created For…or an Ordinary Life?

I can’t believe that God put us on  this earth just to be ordinary   Lou Holtz

If you feel like you are no one special and that you have nothing to offer, You have quit listening to your heart. In fact, maybe you don’t know that your heart speaks to you?

When my oldest daughter was born (also my first child), my husband made me a drawing of her. On the drawing, he included a quote that contained the following phrase, “Cause God doesn’t make any junk”.

It was a cute quote then…now I realize that it is profound. I hope that you know your value and I hope that in your heart, you, in some way, can feel of your worth and importance.

You were not born to be someone ordinary. You were born to be extraordinary!

I hope you enjoy today’s story! Have an inspiring weekend!

It Is Not What’s Gone – But What’s Given

Not too long ago a little girl in my neighborhood was born without a hand. She was born just after my own second daughter Ella was born. Her parents were obviously shaken up. About a week later, I saw them at a neighborhood function and they came over to me and asked what my thoughts were, if I had any advice, for them and for their daughter. My advice? This is their daughter’s life and they were asking my advice? Talk about humbling. What do you say? I had nothing very smart to say.

I told myself I wouldn’t let that happen again. That it was important that I could share what I have learned.

I’ve learned that there are millions of people out there ignoring disabilities and accomplishing incredible feats. I learned that you can learn to do things differently, but do them just as well. I’ve learned that it’s not the disability that defines you, it’s how you deal with the challenges the disability presents you with. I’ve learned that we have an obligation to the abilities we do have, not the disability.

I was born without my right hand. I have never felt slighted. As a kid I was pretty coordinated and growing up I loved sports. I learned to play baseball like most kids, playing catch with my Dad in the front yard. The only difference was that we had to come up with a method to throw and catch with the same hand. What we came up with, is basically what I continued to do my whole life. I used to practice by pretending to be my favorite pitchers. I’d throw a ball against a brick wall on the side of our house, switching the glove off and on, moving closer to the wall- forcing myself to get that glove on faster and faster. I imagined myself becoming a successful athlete.

Growing up, sports were my way of gaining acceptance. I guess somewhere deep inside I was thinking if I was good enough on the field then maybe kids wouldn’t think of me as being so different. Honestly I hid behind sports. I wanted the attention that comes from being successful, but I was very reluctant to draw any attention to my disability You know it’s funny, there was an article in the L.A. Times recently about a high school pitcher who has been doing very well— despite missing one hand. He mentioned my name as an example but went on to say he didn’t want to be like me, he wanted to be like Randy Johnson. At first my feelings were hurt, but then I understood. That’s exactly the same way I felt growing up. I didn’t want to be defined by a disability. Focus on my pitching and not my hand.

I loved throwing a baseball. It is so important to find something in life you feel crazy about. Because you are so passionate you naturally practice, the hard work that it takes to do something well will come easily.

You know how it worked out. I got to play baseball at the University of Michigan, 2 United States teams The 1987 Pan American team and the 1988 United States Olympic team. Even though I played in the major leagues for almost 10 years the Olympics are still one of my favorite memories.

You know in my career I once won 18 games in a year, I also lost 18 games in one year. I was fortunate enough to go straight from the Olympic team to the major leagues. Never spending a day in the minors. I was also sent down to the minor leagues after 8 years in the big leagues. In 1996 I went 2-18 with a 7 run era . I couldn’t get anyone out. I was in the first year of a long term contract with a team near my home. It was supposed to be easy. That following year I was fired. Drove back to California, crying all the way. I spent that summer up in Michigan hurting and wondering if my career was over. Somewhere deep inside I wasn’t sure. So I called the Chicago White Sox for a try out.

They gave me a chance to pitch again. I would watch the major leagues on t.v. with the rest of those kids and it felt like a million miles away. That had been my life. I was away from my family who I know thought I was crazy. Then I got the call I was going to Chicago back to the show. That was the good news, bad news your facing the Yankees Sat. night. They were about 100 and 15 at the time. I went on to win that game against the Yankees that night. In fact I went 5-0 the rest of that Sept.

I would like to tell those parents back in my neighborhood how wonderful my own parents were, and are. They encouraged me to participate, but didn’t dwell on every move I made. I don’t ever remember a concession to the fact that I had one hand. Maybe even a little more was expected. I will always be thankful that they never allowed my hand to be used as an excuse.

I would like to tell that little girl, “Go out and find what it is that you love. It may not be the most obvious choice or the most logical but never let that stop you.” Baseball was hardly the most the most logical choice for someone with one hand, but I loved it, so that’s what I pursued. No matter where the road takes you don’t give up until you know in your heart you done everything you possibly could to make your dreams come true. You owe nothing to disability, ignore it. When you fail, get back up and try again. Leave no room for an excuse. Don’t listen to what you can’t do. 99% of the time I never think of missing a hand. I have never been envious of someone with two hands. Listen to that voice deep within you, it knows, when you’ve done your best.

Somehow when things are said and done there will be some accountability imagine someone coming up to you at the end of your life and saying “you’ve been given these talents what did you do with them.” There is a certain potential we owe it to ourselves to live up to. Work hard, don’t look back, celebrate the blessings in your life.

– Jim Abbott

Today’s inspirational story shared from the following website: http://www.aboutonehandtyping.com/storiesfolder/jimabbottnotgone.html

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