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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Our problems always seem to have something to do with our finances, kids, husband or wife, job, or health. Trials, hard times, difficulties, problems, something that distracts us from what needs to be done, or something that totally consumes us.

How do you handle this stuff? How do you deal with the problems in your life that always seem to overwhelm you and keep you from living life in a way that brings fulfillment and meaning? In the midst of everything that seems to drag you down and keep you from being happy, how do you live your life productively?

Think about it. What is robbing your life of meaning? Why? What can you do to change it? Let me encourage you to take some time and consider how things are going and what you need to do differently to live a more meaningful life. You may need to get away for a couple of days, or learn something new. You may need to make some hard decisions and stop some form of destructive behavior in your life. You may need help. Ask for it. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends and family. If family is distant and friends are few, then pursue opportunities to put people around you who will help.

Relief may come in the form of service. Much of the time when we are struggling with our own problems, what we need most is to do something for someone else. Volunteer and make a difference someplace. Get your focus off yourself and onto others. It will help.

“The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” Proverbs 13:4 NIV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

As a minister I love officiating weddings; especially when I know the couple and have invested in their lives. So to have the opportunity to officiate my daughter’s wedding was a special treat for me. But what if I cried? What if I could not continue with the ceremony? A daddy is supposed to cry at his daughter’s wedding. Right? I had officiated the wedding of my son, Matthew and his beautiful bride, Ali just seven months before…and I cried. But it all worked out to be a perfect day and wedding.

The first time I knew I was in troubDSC_1248le at Emily’s wedding was as I walked my beautiful bride of 36 years down the aisle…and cried, although it was silently and I covered pretty well. Then as the doors opened and I stood there with my precious daughter on my arm facing the crowd of people who were there to express their love to Emily and eat my tacos, I cried. I walked her down the aisle and ever so gently, cried my eyes out. It was such a precious time for her and for our family. I was finally giving her away to a special guy who adores her and is a wonderful husband for life.

Steele’s best man was his dad, Russell who finally asked me that question every father either dreads hearing or has anxiously anticipated, “Who gives this woman in marriage?” “Sherri and I,” I replied. Then I took my place in front of the couple and throughout the service, struggled keeping it together. It was fun and having the opportunity to officiate my kid’s weddings is an incredible experience for me.

I try to keep from developing unreasonable expectations. I think getting through the weddings of my son and daughter without showing any emotion is pretty unreasonable. So, my expectation of crying at my daughter’s wedding went fulfilled…and I survived.

I took my sons, Michael and Matthew, turkey hunting on a Saturday morning. We were up early and sitting in the field at daybreak waiting for the turkeys to come off their roost and eat. We called them in and after a while the first “Tom” showed up. Michael waited patiently for him to get close enough to shoot but this Tom was kind of nervous. He finally turned to leave and Michael took his shot…and missed!

We had done everything right. We had the right gear, gun, and ammunition. But Michael missed the shot. He missed his opportunity! Have you ever missed your opportunity? Have you worked at preparing well, gotten everything in its place, and then missed your shot, your opportunity?

Opportunity in our life is defined by our purpose. You need to discover your purpose. I believe you were created for a purpose. Our responsibility is to identify it.

A friend of mine recently posed these questions:

  • For what are we searching?
  • Why were we created?
  • Do we believe in our potential?

 

My friend encouraged us to answer these questions honestly and with no regard for our pride. He encouraged everyone to do what he or she could with what they had wherever they were. You may feel like you are of no value where you are and doing what you do. But you are of great value to God and have incredible potential. Take intentional steps toward reaching your potential and making a difference in the lives of the people around you. Don’t miss the opportunities before you each day!

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

My purpose in life is to love God. And I have said for years that all of life boils down to relationships, ultimately one’s relationship with Christ. Loving God and loving others means we realize it can be especially difficult to love others when others have not loved us. But if we allow the behavior and shortcomings of others to influence how we choose to live our own lives then we will never truly love others the way God wants. We will “hole up” in our home or in our heart and never see others benefit from enjoying a healthy relationship with us.

What does loving others mean to you? For me, it means giving, being a blessing, serving, sacrificing, and deferring to another so they will benefit. Sometimes this is easy. Other times it is really hard. I get selfish, hurt, or focused elsewhere on stuff and activities that do not keep me on track to make a difference in the lives of others.

Frankly, you will do a better job if you are making a difference in the lives of others. Find an opportunity to build healthy relationships. You can do it. Civic groups, clubs, churches, and other organizations can provide the platform for healthy relationships all of us need in our lives. Go make it happen!

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:30-31