Category: Inspirational/Motivational


Sunday Inspiration: You Cannot Put New Wine in Old Wineskins

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!

“She broke the flask and poured it on His head.” Mk 14:3 NKJV

Do you remember the prostitute who anointed Jesus? “A woman…having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard…broke the flask and poured it on His head.”

She gave her most precious possession to Jesus. Not only was it extremely valuable, it was also part of her sex appeal. Breaking it open was her way of breaking with her past. She was giving up her former life by giving that jar to Jesus.

Remember the revival that broke out in Ephesus (See Ac 19)? Those who practiced sorcery burned their scrolls publicly.

The value of those scrolls was estimated at 50,000 drachmas. A drachma was a silver coin worth a day’s wages. That’s 138 years of wages! They could have sold those scrolls and pocketed the money, but they would have been selling their souls. Instead they made a $3,739,972.50 statement of faith.

Our problem is that we want God to do something new for us, while we keep doing the same old thing. We want Him to change our circumstances without having to change us at all.

But if we’re asking God for new wine, we will need a new wineskin.

Change is a two-sided coin that reads: Out with the old, and in with the new!

Most of us get stuck spiritually because we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Spiritual routines are a crucial part of spiritual growth, but when the routine becomes routine, you need to change it.

What got you to where you are, may not get you to where God wants you to go next. 

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/you-must-break-with-the-past

Mindfulness: How to Be More Successful By Living In the Moment

I was all harnessed up and clipped in to the cables at the new Adventure Park Nashville when it was time to step out onto my first tree-to-tree bridge element.

I paused for a second and thought, there’s no way I can do this. It seemed not only uncomfortable, but also scary.

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In the past I’ve had no fear learning how to climb at various climbing gyms. I’ve never minded the heights and always loved getting to the top for the sense of accomplishment and so I could repel down (my favorite part!).

But this was different.

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Instead of looking at the holds right in front of me or looking up to where I was going, I had to look DOWN to see where and how to get my footing. This made me realize how far off the ground I was. Also, when climbing walls or rocks, they don’t sway and move like the bridge elements do.

This was a whole new experience for me.

Trying Melts Away Fear

I was tempted to turn back before I’d even started. But, I knew I would not be happy with myself if I did.

I had to at least give it a try.

Besides I’m always preaching to my clients about doing things that take them out of their comfort zone, and I also live my life that way as much as possible. This was another reason why I couldn’t turn back.

After taking the first step, my fear melted away and I completely forgot about the distance between the ground and me.

I just took my time and put one foot in front of the other.

When I reached the end of the first bridge element, I became a little more confident. I did it!

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Mindfulness: Learning to Live in the Moment

Even though there were several elements ahead of me, I had to take each of them one at a time, asking myself what’s the best way to get across without losing my balance.

My confidence grew and grew after successfully completing each element.

While working my way across one bridge, I couldn’t think about the next bridge. I had to stay focused on the moment. It’s the simple practice known as mindfulness.

This was an unexpected lesson, and also the biggest take away from the experience.

I never went into it thinking I’d learn mindfulness. I just thought it’d be fun to do something new and to be outside in nature.

But it was a lesson I really needed because I’m the type of person who’s always thinking ahead and planning ahead.

For instance, I eat dinner with the question bouncing around in my head, “What do I want to make for dinner tomorrow night?” instead of just enjoying the meal right in front of me.

I need to practice mindfulness and live in the moment more often.

Not only for my own benefit, but also because I want to serve as a positive example for my clients.

Avoid Thinking Too Far Ahead to the “What ifs?”

So many of my clients are facing career changes and life transitions.

They know they have some bridges to cross, whether it means moving from one career to another, moving from working for someone else to working for themselves, etc.

For them moving from one stage to the next can seem scary and nearly impossible at first.

The path to get from one stage to the next can appear very unstable. It may not be clear to them how they should proceed or what step they should take first.

They often start thinking ahead to the “What ifs?”

Instead of focusing on what’s within their control at this very moment, they’re asking:

  • “What if I don’t fit in with the people at a new company?”
  • “What if I’m not as successful in a new industry?”
  • “If my business idea fails what will I do?”

Gaining Stability in Your Career Transitions

What I quickly realized with each bridge element was what appeared to be “unstable” was actually very stable, especially when I did my part to make things more stable.

I wasn’t going to be able to keep the elements from swaying and moving. But, if I:

  • slowed down and focused on one element at a time,
  • kept a light grip on the cable so my hands could easily slide as I moved,
  • put one foot in front of the other while positioning my feet in a way that kept me balanced,
  • and shifted my body weight so it was working with the movement of the elements instead of against them,

I was able to get across a lot easier.

And if I happened to slip or lose my balance, my harness would keep me from falling.

It would’ve been a small failure, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.

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How to Get to the Other Side Successfully

If you’re facing a career transition and it seems scary trying to cross over to what’s next for you, remember these four things:

1. Embrace mindfulness and learn to live in the moment.

Embrace your current situation no matter how scary, uncomfortable or unstable it may appear.

Relish this time to re-evaluate your approach to things, to try different strategies, or to learn something new.

Don’t rush through this stage to the next one just because it’s uncomfortable. Doing so could cause some slip-ups that will likely slow you down instead.

Just stay focused on the present as you put one foot in front of the other.

2. Keep a light grip.

Instead of keeping a tight grip on your idea of how you think things should be or should work out, loosen your grip.

You’d be surprised at how much easier you’ll be able to navigate through your situation when you allow some flexibility in your results.

And you’ll be open to opportunities you otherwise would’ve quickly dismissed.

3. Be willing to make a shift when necessary.

If you’re stuck, be honest with yourself and admit you’re stuck.

Then, take steps to shift your approach so you can become unstuck.

This may mean asking for help or hiring a career coach to point out any blind spots or to show you a more effective way of getting across your bridge. A career coach can also teach you how to work with your unique challenges instead of against them.

4. Rely on your support system.

These are the people who aren’t going to let you fall even if you slip up or lose your balance. This can include your family, friends, professional network, career coach, etc.

If you need help with any of the above, feel free to reach out by completing the paNASH intake form. Click here to get started.

Related Posts:

Click here for tickets and more info on the Nashville Adventure Park. It really is a lot of fun!

mindfulness

Sunday Inspiration: Want to Be More Valuable to the World? Learn to Embrace Silence

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly blog posts. Enjoy!

 

As I see the bell tower appear over the blue grass on the rolling hills of rural Kentucky, I’m giddy because I know it’s only seconds until I’ve fully escaped the din of emails, push notifications, telemarketer calls, and pointless TV shows.

I’m entering into a weekend of complete silence.

No talking, no TV, no computer, and very little cell phone.

It’s one of my favorite things to do, and the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County, Kentucky is one of my favorite places to just “be.”


 

The Trappist Life

The monastery sits on 2,000 acres of gorgeous farmland and is home to Trappist Monks.

It’s the oldest monastery in the United States (est. 1848) and is part of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance which can trace its origins back to the year 1098.

 

Trappist monks pray seven times a day (including a 3:15am prayer service), every day, and have been keeping the same prayer schedule for centuries.

They pray for many things, including each individual in this world.

So, if you’re ever wondering if someone’s praying for you, the answer is, yes, there is.

The monks of Gethsemani are self-sustaining through the labor of their hands.

They make various food products including cheese, fruitcake, and Kentucky bourbon fudge (oh the fudge!).

Other Trappist monasteries around the world are self-sustaining too, each making different products and selling each others’ products at their guest centers and via mail order.

 


Embracing the silence

Once a year I go to the monastery for one of their silent retreats to unplug, get quiet, and really listen to what God wants to say to me.

It’s a place of beautiful gardens for solitude and quiet reflection.

The only sounds are of singing birds, bellowing cows from a nearby farm, and chimes from the bell tower announcing the monks’ next prayer session.

 

I’m free to do as much or as little as I want during my retreat.

I can take a walk in the gardens.

Go for a hike on the hiking trails.

Read a book in the library.

Or just take a nap if I want to.

Through the freedom from not having to follow a set schedule, I’m able to hear from God and gain perspective on what matters most in life.

I love it and feel so at peace.

 

Discomfort with silence

But not everyone is comfortable with silence.

I see this all the time when preparing clients for job interviews.

They often feel like they have to start giving their answer immediately after an interview question is asked, without taking the time to really listen to the way the question is being asked or thinking about how they should answer it.

All because they’re uncomfortable with silence.

My theory for the discomfort is silence is such a foreign thing to most people in this modern world.

Father Carlos, the monastery’s retreatant chaplain, has a different theory that makes a whole lot of sense to me.

He tells the story of one young man who came to the monastery’s guest house for a silent retreat.

After two hours, the young man decided to leave because he couldn’t handle the silence.

Father Carlos told him,

“Most people who are loud, talk a lot, or surround themselves with a lot of noise usually do so because they’re afraid of what they’ll learn about themselves if they get quiet before God.”

I know a few people this theory accurately applies to.


 

How silence can make us more valuable to the world

“King David understood the importance of getting alone, and so did Jesus. If a man considers his time to be so valuable that he cannot find time to keep quiet and to be alone, that man will eventually be of no value to anyone. To spend all of one’s time with people is soon to have nothing to give any of them of any value.” ~Dr. David Jeremiah


It doesn’t matter what your faith is.

I’m not Catholic yet I visit this Catholic monastery once a year.

Silence and solitude is important as noted in the quote above. It makes you more valuable and productive in your calling and your place on earth.

Even if you can’t get away for an entire weekend, try to at least find 20 to 30 minutes a day to just turn everything off and not say a word to anyone.

If you develop this habit each morning before starting your day, and each night before ending your day, you’ll see a dramatic change in your perspective on the important things in life.

And others will notice a dramatic change in you as well.


 

Need proof?

During this particular stay, I was asked upon check-in if I had a room preference.

Since I wasn’t picky, the lady behind the desk said she was going to give me room #308 because it’s her favorite room.

She didn’t say why though, but later that evening, I found out.

After arriving I went to eat in the dining room (which is also an area of silence), attended one of the prayer services, and then went for a walk on the grounds.

Afterward I went back to my room and pulled out some of my books I brought with me to decide what I wanted to read first.

But while sitting at the small desk in room #308, something told me to open the desk drawer.

I had never done this in any of the previous rooms I’d stayed in, but suddenly I was overtaken by curiosity of what might be in the drawer.

That’s when I found a red pocket-folder.

On the front someone had scrawled in black ink the words,

“Please open and read!”

So I did…and here’s what I discovered…

 

…letter upon letter from previous occupants of the room addressed to future occupants.

All in different handwriting (a soon-to-be lost art form).

There were even some pencil drawings by very gifted and talented artists.

Many letters were written by people who’ve been coming to the monastery every year for the last 25+ years.


I read each and every letter during my weekend retreat.

While each author had a different perspective, they all conveyed a similar theme: how beneficial the silence has been for the direction of their own lives and how it’s helped them be a better person to others.

The previous retreatants shared how clearly they heard from God during their time of silence.

“It isn’t that God has stopped speaking, but rather that we have stopped listening. If we can drag ourselves away from the crazy, noisy, busy world and step into the classroom of silence, God will speak to us in this place and this time.” Matthew Kelly (author of The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity)

The letters encouraged all future retreatants to make the most of the silence without an agenda their own, and instead let God guide their steps during their stay. It truly is the best approach to hear from Him.

I also left a letter of my own to the future occupants of room #308.


The silence becomes addictive.

Every year, when it’s time for me to leave the monastery, I don’t want to go.

I find I’ve become addicted to the silence and don’t want to lose it.

I usually drive the entire two and a half hours home without the radio on, just so I can savor a little bit more silence before I have to return to the noise of the real world.

It really is difficult to find periods of silence in our modern world, and I say that as someone who lives alone!

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for someone who lives in a large family or household.

This is why each and every one of us needs to be intentional about carving out a little bit of time each day for silence.

It will make us better, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones and those we serve in our work.

It will make us more valuable to the world in which we live.


Retreat Reservation Info

If you’re interested in taking a silent retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani, you can visit www.monks.org to make a reservation. There is no cost for meals or accommodations. Just an offering in any amount you feel led to give.

Keep in mind, because of the experience people have at the Abbey, reservations fill up quickly. When someone has been once, they typically return every year (I have friends who’ve gone every year for the past 35 years), making it a high-demand experience.

You must book at least four months in advance, and no one person can stay more than once in the same calendar year. This is so everyone can have the opportunity to visit.

Be patient with their reservation system since it’s currently being ran by one person taking reservations by hand.

If you can’t attend for an entire week or weekend, you can make a day-visit which does not require a reservation.

If you do stay for an overnight retreat, check the desk drawer in your room. You may also find letters of encouragement from past retreatants. Use the silence to read them and learn from them.

Sunday Inspiration: Thoughts for Dreamers

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!

“Joseph had a dream…and they hated him.” Ge 37:5 NKJV

First, dreamers are willing to make tradeoffs. When God puts a dream in your heart you’ll have to make certain tradeoffs, like forfeiting popularity for the pursuit of excellence and short-term pleasure for long-term fulfillment.

Paul understood this principle: “The Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me” (Ac 20:23-24 NKJV). 

Second, dreamers aren’t always appreciated. “Joseph had a dream…he told it to his brothers; and they hated him.” Some people won’t appreciate your dream because it reminds them they’ve never had a dream, or that they have abandoned their dream.

And when they try to talk you out of your dream, often they’re trying to talk themselves back into their comfort zone. They will present you with every “rational” excuse they’ve ever given themselves.

So how should you respond? Love them, help them if you can, but don’t be influenced by those who have given up on their dream.

Author John Mason says, “If you move with God you’ll be critiqued. The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing and be nothing.” 

Third, dreamers are overcomers. Joseph’s dream enabled him to overcome temptation at the hands of Potiphar’s wife, betrayal by his family, false imprisonment, and a lot of other things that cause us to quit.

God’s purpose alone should be the stuff of which your dream is made.

To discover your dream, get to know yourself: your strengths and weaknesses. Observe where God has placed you, seek His counsel, and look for opportunities and “kingdom connections.”

When you do, He will give you a dream for your life and help you fulfill it. 

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/thoughts-for-dreamers

Sunday Inspiration: Set Goals for Your Life

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!

“Write the vision and make it plain.” 
Hab 2:2 NKJV

Only when you’re clear about your personal goals, can you measure your personal growth.

Here are eight proven principles that will help you to establish the right goals for your life:

(1) Begin with prayer; otherwise the ladder you’re climbing may be leaning against the wrong wall. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but…the Lord’s purpose… prevails” (Pr 19:21 NIV).

(2) Think on paper. God told Habakkuk, “Write the vision and make it plain.” Writing your goals down gives them a sense of permanency, plus it energizes you.

(3) Set deadlines. “The vision is yet for an appointed time” (Hab 2:3 NKJV). Without a definite beginning and ending, it’s easy to procrastinate and get nowhere.

(4) List the steps you need to take. Then keep the list before you at all times; it will show you the path to follow.

(5) Prioritize the steps in order of importance. What do you need to do first? What can you do later? An organized plan is always better than trying to carry stuff around in your head.

(6) Take action—now. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Eph 5:15-16 NIV). A mediocre plan that’s implemented always beats a brilliant plan that isn’t.

(7) Do something each day to move you forward. For example, read systematically through the Bible in a year…call a specific number of clients every week…engage in physical activity every day.

(8) Have goals you’re willing to devote your life to. The Psalmist said, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12 NIV).

Related Post: How to Make the Most of the Last Half of 2018

Source: https://jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/set-goals-for-your-life