Category: Inspirational/Motivational


Sunday Inspiration: What Humility Truly Means

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Luke 14:11 (NLT)

How can we humble ourselves? Some people try to give the appearance of humility in order to manipulate others. Others think that humility means putting themselves down.

Truly humble people compare themselves only to Christ, realize their sinfulness, and understand their limitations. On the other hand, they also recognize their gifts and strengths and are willing to use them as Christ directs.

Humility isn’t self-degradation; it’s realistic assessment and commitment to serve.

Source:  The Life Application Study Bible (NLT); study note for Luke 14:11

Sunday Inspiration: Don’t Let Fear Stop You (Part 2)

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“I was afraid, and…hid your talent.”   

Mt 25:25 NKJV

The master of an estate gave each of his servants a sum of money to invest for him. One man got five talents, the second two talents, and the third man one talent. The servants with two and five talents turned a respectable profit, while the man with one talent told his master, “I was afraid, and…hid your talent in the ground.”

What’s the lesson here? Simply this: Fear makes you unproductive!

A seasoned pastor writes: “Fear will stop you from singing in the choir…witnessing…giving cheerfully…and walking in love with your spouse…The underlying issue is fear that God won’t do what He says. But as believers we should be so full of the Word that fear can’t get a foothold…Jesus said, ‘Take no thought for your life’ (Mt 6:25). Paraphrased: Why would you even think fearful thoughts when I’ve told you I’ll never leave you…I’ll protect you…and give you everything you need to do the job? Bottom line: God is with you even when you can’t feel or see Him, and when others imply He’s abandoned you.”

Fear disguises itself behind many different faces. We want to do things our way, or we say we’re not interested, or it’s not the right time. What we’re coming up against isn’t a closed door—it’s repressed fear. If you’re wondering why you’re not progressing in certain areas, see if hidden fear is holding you back. And if it is, ask God to help you release your fears and start trusting what He says.

Source:  https://jentezenfranklin.org/posts/dont-let-fear-stop-you-2-2

When Was the Last Time You Challenged Your Limits?

I’ve viewed this YouTube video numerous times! I find it both fascinating and funny. It’s fascinating because of just how much the human body can be pushed beyond what we originally thought was its limits. And it’s funny to see how much what was once considered excellent has now become sub-par according to today’s standards.

What a difference 80 years makes, right? I wonder what these athletes would think or say if they could see the gymnasts of last year’s 2016 Olympics. They’d likely be shocked and amazed.

Improve By Pushing the Limits Incrementally

The differences between the gymnastics techniques of 1936 and and the ones of 2016 obviously didn’t occur overnight. These were incremental changes that happened over time. They evolved from those coaches and athletes who had a desire to always push the limits and improve.

What’s the best way to improve? To insert new, slightly more difficult challenges into your ordinary routine on a regular basis over time. This requires a little creativity, along with the ability to think just a few inches outside the box.

The challenges don’t have to be huge. They can start off with something as simple as raising the bar just a tad bit higher. Once you’ve mastered that, then you can add a small but new twist to the routine.

Looking Back

Think about the thing you excel best in. Looking back, can you remember when you first started out in this particular skill? Do you now find it funny how your initial efforts that once seemed difficult now seem ridiculously easy? Do you find it fascinating how far you’ve come since then?

Also looking back, when was the last time you challenged your limits, either in your best skill or even with a new skill?

Looking Ahead

Do you have a desire to improve your best skills or to learn something new? What’s something creative you can do to challenge your limits?

For me, I want to do two things. One, I want to improve my paddle board speed. I can tell my speed has plateaued and I’m overdue to learn some new paddle stroke techniques to help increase my speed. It’s time to challenge myself again by simply taking a paddle clinic the next time it’s offered.

Two, I want to learn to speak a foreign language, something that’s very new for me. This new desire comes from the fascination I had while on my mission trip with my interpreter’s ability to easily switch from one language to another.

This will be a big challenge for me. But there are several creative yet simple ways I can try to accomplish this goal. I can download an app on my phone that provides short, daily vocabulary lessons. I could look into doing some type of immersion experience. Or I could take a language class through one of the many MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by universities like Harvard or Duke (well, maybe not Duke, since this diehard Tar Heel fan has some limits and has to draw the line somewhere).

What About You?

I’d love to hear how you plan to challenge your own limits, or how you’ve recently done so and the results of your challenge. Please share in the comment box below!

Need help setting goals that challenge your limits? Subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal Achievement Plan!

Sunday Inspiration: Don’t Let Fear Stop You (Part 1)

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“Whom shall I fear?”      

Ps 27:1 NAS

Life’s filled with fear-inducing situations: fear of sickness, unemployment, rejection, other people’s opinions. Left unchecked, fear will steal your inner peace.

But as Chuck Swindoll reminds us: “David met fear head-on at his front door with two questions. ‘Whom shall I dread? Whom shall I fear?’ And he slammed the door in fear’s face by declaring, ‘My heart will not fear…I shall be confident’ (v. 3). Then he walked back into his house, reminding himself how to counteract fear’s attacks:

Prayer: ‘I have asked from the Lord’ (v. 4).

Vision: ‘I behold the beauty of the Lord’ (v. 4).

God’s Word: ‘I meditate in His temple’ (v. 4).

God’s protection: ‘In the day of trouble He will conceal me’ (v. 5).

Worship: ‘I will sing’ (v. 6).

Rest: ‘Wait for the Lord’ (vv. 13-14).

Determination: ‘Let your heart take courage’ (v. 14).

Courage isn’t limited to the battlefield…Its real tests are broader… deeper…quieter…like remaining faithful when nobody’s looking…enduring pain when the room is empty…standing alone when you’re misunderstood…It can be as simple as saying ‘No,’ as uneventful as facing a mountain of laundry, as unheralded as the inner struggle between right and wrong. God’s medal-of-honor-winners are made in secret… where most courageous acts occur…away from public acclaim.”

When fear nips at your heels, God says, “Be strong and courageous!” (Jos 1:9 NAS). Dick Mills writes: “Every commandment…comes with the assurance that we can perform it. God doesn’t issue orders we’re not capable of fulfilling…It’s incongruous to say, ‘I’ve lots of courage but no strength,’ or, ‘I’m a powerhouse of energy but I’m afraid.’ Courage and strength were given to you by God. Courage motivates our will, and strength accompanies our effort.”

Source:  https://jentezenfranklin.org/posts/dont-let-fear-stop-you-1-2

7 Small Things You Can Do to Have a Good Life

This post is taken from my answer on Quora to the question “What are the small things you can do to have a good life?”

One:  Know What Energizes You and What Drains You

Pay attention to the daily things that energize you and the daily things that drain you. Be aware of what gives you peace and what stresses you out every day. Incorporate more of the energizing and peaceful things into each day, while reducing the number of draining and stressful things. Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries to accomplish this if you have to.

One very simple thing I do is I don’t take phone calls from people I know who will drain my energy unless I have enough energy to give them. I usually wait and call them back when I have the energy to do so, but within a reasonable amount of time (within 24 to 48 hours).

Two:  De-clutter

De-clutter and get organized! Get rid of clothes you no longer wear. Get rid of devices you don’t use. Straighten up your surroundings. Make your bed everyday. Organize your schedule a few days ahead of time. Having things neat and organized creates a sense of serenity.

A few years ago I reduced my closet down to a capsule wardrobe (about only 30 garments). I got rid of 2/3 of my closet. Since doing this, I don’t have as much trouble deciding what to wear each day, and therefore I don’t get frustrated and don’t waste time trying on several different outfits. This also makes me less moody in the mornings and I get out the door on time.

Three:  Treat Yourself

Treat yourself every once in a while. If you’re the type of person who never puts yourself first, you need this!

One of my favorite ways to treat myself is going out to eat with a friend.

Four:  Become Uncomfortable

On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who goes overboard treating yourself, find a way to become uncomfortable. This will challenge you and build your character. Step out of your comfort zone by taking a class to learn a new language, or volunteer in a setting that makes you nervous. Do something that seems scary, like speaking in front of a group.

Maintain a balance by rewarding yourself only after you’ve done something productive or something where you’ve served others.

My personal goal each year is learn something new, serve others, and share my knowledge. While I was able to do all of the above in one week while on my mission trip to the Amazon jungle, I’ve found it easier and more manageable to spread these things out over the course of a year instead!

Five:  Ask, Listen, & Apply

Ask about and learn from other people’s stories. Listen to them. Find out how they got to where they are. What have been their biggest regrets thus far? What did they learn from both their failures and their successes?

Apply what you learn from them to your life in your own unique way. I love having one-on-one conversations like this with people from different backgrounds.

Six:  Break Out of Your Everyday Surroundings

Break out from your everyday surroundings once in a while. Take a drive to a nearby town and be a tourist there for the day. Or go visit an attraction in your own town you’ve never been to.

Every year I drive two short hours away to spend a weekend at a monastery where there is complete silence. They have accommodations and a cafeteria for people to come there for a silent retreat, and it only costs the amount I’m led to give as an offering. It’s one of the most peaceful weekends of my year.

Seven:  Reflect

Take time to reflect on what you’re truly passionate about (note: this requires some peace and quiet!). What are the things you lose track of time doing? What are things you’d do without getting paid? Incorporate these things into your life as recreation or find a way to make money doing them.

My own passions include helping others pursue their passions, writing, and stand up paddling.

How to Get Started

If all these ideas sound a bit overwhelming, just choose one or two to try for right now. Give them a long enough chance for them to become habits. Once they do, then try a couple more. Before you know it, you’ll see a major impact on your life. You’ll have more joy, peace, and positivity.

If you need help setting these goals, subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

Share Your Own Ideas

Do you have answers of your own for the question, “What are the small things you can do to have a good life?” Please share in the comment box below!