Friday, May 25, 2012

What Are You Focusing On?

When we taught our boys how to ride their bikes, initially their feet distracted them.  They were so caught up in watching their feet and getting used to the pedals that their focus was constantly aimed downward, instead of ahead of them at where they were going.  With eyes looking at feet and mind concentrating on the mechanics of pedaling, the arms and body were drawn downward by their focus and inevitably the bike followed suit and boy and bike ended up in a heap on the ground.  We'd rush over and pick them up, brush them off, get them back on the bike and begin the process again, always encouraging them to look up and focus on where they wanted to go; that the bike would follow their focus. 

You know this is also the way of dreams....those little previews into the life that God has for us.  We'll get there if we focus on where it is we want to go.  I heard recently that the likelihood of realizing your dreams goes up by 98% if you write them down and keep them in front of you.  I know from experience that it's not enough to just write them down.  I've written so many things down over the years only to forget about that list just a short while later.  The worst is finding it after 5 years has gone by only to discover in dismay that I haven't realized a single dream.  Ugh!  I didn't realize then that my path would have turned up at the right destination had I only changed my focus. 

We can get so caught up in the mechanics of the dream (how's it going to work, when's it going to happen, what do I need to do, etc) that we lose sight of the dream itself.  Before we know it our gaze has turned inward, focusing on our own inabilities which fuel fear instead of the faith we need to look ahead, and we end up in a heap of introspection...stuck. 

We need to change our focus.

Think about your dreams.  Last week we talked about them being previews of life's coming attractions.  So, let's dust ourselves off and get back on those dreams, this time with our focus on our destination.  For each dream you have, find a picture that represents that dream.  Are you believing for physical healing?  Find a picture of yourself when you were at your healthiest and keep it in front of you daily as you pray and speak over yourself that you are healed.  Do you want to be debt free?  Know your debt, make a list of your debts with the total amount in plain sight.  Pray over and speak to that amount as being paid in full daily.  Do you dream of an organized home?  Pull out pictures from a magazine which represent what you want for your home.  Keep those images in front of you as you press toward that goal.   

Motivation and faith can be either fueled or depleted by what we choose to focus on.

  We can choose life or death for our dreams merely by what we choose to gaze upon day after day.  This time around I'm choosing to change my gaze and put pictures of my dreams in front of me in a place where I can see them daily.  

You know, with the biking, the process took a different length of time for each of our sons.  It was really a process of trust... trusting their parent's advice, but most of all, trusting their own focus and the notion that bike and body would follow it's lead.  Each child needed to go at his own pace and take his tumbles before getting it.  But, all it took with each one was that one time when they looked up and forgot about the mechanics of biking long enough to get a feel of the breeze on their cheeks....and they were hooked.  Even if they fell after a few moments they had enough of a taste to know that they could do it and they wanted more.  Each attempt at changing their focus from feet to straight ahead brought them a few revolutions closer to freedom, until, eventually, they took off.

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday?
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Coming Attractions

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
  Right away things are probably coming to mind.
  Things that you only have dreamt of.
Would you write a book; would you paint that piece of art you have been envisioning; would you run a marathon; would you start your own business; would you go next door and pray for that neighbor who’s terminally ill; would you pull your child out of public school and homeschool instead; would you learn something new; would you adopt a child; would you be a dancer; would you sing; would you open a little boutique; would you create your own art event; would you start a new friendship; would you go deeper with the friendships you have; would you be a missionary; would you blaze a trail where no one has gone before?

What is it you dream of?    
Why not just do it?

I’ve always been a dreamer...lots of ideas and projects in my head but not many have come to fruition.  What stops me?  Being practical and letting routine rule as one day flows into the next.

  I recently read that Albert Einstien said,
 “Your imagination is a preview of life’s coming attractions.”

 Now I used to be a huge fan of going to the movies before we had kids.  My sister and her husband would go with us all the time and one of our favorite things was the watching the coming attractions.  I love how they put together all the best snippets of a movie and weave it together into a great 2 minute package.  If it was something that interested me I couldn’t wait til the movie came out.  And if there were 5 or 6 previews before the movie began my sister and I were in heaven.
If we went separately we always asked each other excitedly, "How were the previews?"

 Your dreams, my dreams are our previews into the life that God has for us.  They show us what could be if we would only believe and choose to pursue them.  And yes it would be easy to do if we were guaranteed to avoid failure, but then that would be predictable and I don't know about you but I hate a predictable movie.  The best ones are the ones where the character pursues something that means so much that the cost becomes so little compared to the return.  And in the midst of it all she's going through ups and downs and twists and turns and discovering a strength and a beauty deep within herself that she and the world would have missed had she not chosen to pursue the dream.  

I know, life isn't a movie.  It's much better.  It's a living, breathing, fluid thing.  It's a precious opportunity each and every day.
So, take some time to enjoy the previews of your own coming attractions.  
Then, make today the day you start to pursue your dreams and write your script.

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday?
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Be Still

It's been a very busy week.  And to be honest, just a little bit stressful.  Baseball games and practice every night, a mouse in our house, my youngest's school reported a few kids with lice last week...guess who got it this week...ugh!  Then today I hit a curb and blew out my tire.  Needless to say, it's just been a crazy week!  So, I decided to pull out a post from the that I needed to be reminded of.  This is from my Seeking Peace in the Midst of the Mess series.  Hopefully you'll enjoy it too.

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a

I think the thing that alludes me the most these days is quiet time.  Time to just sit in the presence of God and take a breather.  On the days that I do it I see a big difference in my attitude, my thoughts, and how I handle the day.  It's such an immediate benefit that I always end up saying, why don't I do this everyday?  I mean really.

Even though I struggle with getting up early in the morning, I have found for me, on the days that I have done it, that it works best for me to have that quiet time then.  That way I've gotten that soul & spirit-nourishing stillness before anyone gets up and the day really gets going.  The rest of my day really reaps the benefits.  

This is time to sit quiet and lay out anything that's weighing on me or anything that I have questions in my heart about.  It's time to sit and "listen" for any answers or leadings that may rise up in me as a result of releasing those concerns.  And it's time to recall all the good things in my life and give thanks to God for His gifts.  Sometimes I read the bible, sometimes a devotional that can give me one thought to meditate on. Other times I may talk and pour out my heart, then there are times when I'm more silent.  Most times it's a mix of all those things.  But the bottom line is, there is no right or wrong way, no list of rules to follow.  It's just about being still and giving my soul a rest while my spirit gets nourished in the Presence of the Lord.

Make your quiet time special.
Just some ideas to consider...
Pick a cozy spot in the house, maybe near a window, to go to daily for your quiet time. Take time ahead to set up that special spot with some of the things that you'd like to have nearby for your quiet times.  Grab a pretty basket to hold such things as a bible, devotional, prayer book, any inspirational reading, peaceful music, and a notebook and pen to jot down all the good things you receive from your time with the Lord.  The night before, lay out a special tea/coffee cup and bag of tea/coffee to brew in the morning to sip on during the peace and quiet.  The bottom line is, prepare ahead to enjoy your time.

Seek peace by pursuing regular quiet time...begin today.  
 For those of you who, like me, also struggle with having this time carved out, won't you join me?  Starting tomorrow, I'm not going to hit the snooze button, I'm getting up and seeking peace.

This scripture comes to mind...

Isaiah 26:3, You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

Try this, instead of the words him and he, I encourage you to put your name in there and speak it out loud this morning as you begin your quiet time.  I'll do the same.  This is our declaration and a promise from God that He will keep us in perfect and constant peace because we're committed to seeking Him.

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday?
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.
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