Music is one of my passions. From time to time I’ll hear a song that has a new meaning for me – it might not necessarily be the meaning the songwriter/artist had in mind when they wrote or performed it, but it speaks to me in a certain way. I heard this song a while back that has resonated with me a lot lately. Orianthi’s “According To You” talks about a girl who is trying to make a decision between two guys (possibly a current boyfriend and an ex-boyfriend). One views her as positive things, but the other views her in a negative manner.
Throughout my life I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues and as a result this song spoke to me on another level. It felt like it was an inner monologue for me – like it was Satan saying I was all these negative things, but according to God I’m the positive things. The lyrics say “According to you I’m stupid, I’m useless…I can’t do anything right.” (This is something that Satan tries to convince us of on a daily basis.) On the other side of the conversation is God’s view of us – “According to him, I’m beautiful…incredible…He can’t get me out of his head. According to him I’m funny…irresistible…everything he ever wanted.”
Toward the end of the song she turns the lyrics around to the negative guy and says “According to me, you’re stupid… you’re useless…you can’t do anything right.” She is basically saying to him “You know what…I don’t care what you think! I’m important in someone else’s eyes and that’s all that matters to me!” (If only we could have the strength to say this to Satan every time he comes at us with his lies!) This song is just a reminder to me that regardless of what Satan tries to make me believe about myself, God sees me through HIS eyes of love and grace…finding me irresistible and everything HE ever wanted.
Photo Credit: By eonlegend
There are several misconceptions about introverts. Sometimes these misconceptions come from introverts themselves. Recently I heard someone say “I’m an introvert…I can’t be a leader!” In her book “The Introverted Leader: Building On Your Quiet Strength” author Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph. D. takes steps to show the introverted reader that he or she can definitely be a leader and how to make it happen.
One of the ways that the reader discovers that an introvert can be a leader is by using the 4 P’s Process: Preparation, Presence, Push, and Practice. Begin by preparing for your meetings or interactions you may have with those you lead. Next be present by showing those you lead you are engaged and interested in what they have to say. The third item can be difficult for introverts and that is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Lastly is practice…make opportunities every day to put these new behaviors into practice.
As an introvert, I really enjoyed this book. It was a short read and very easy to understand. The author doesn’t try to “fix” introverts. She readily admits that as an introvert you have certain qualities that you have to learn to turn on and off from time to time, but you are not trying to be someone or something that you are not.
A few of my take-aways from the book were:
- “The missing ingredient in most failed communication is humanity.” (Let those you lead see that you are human by sharing your stories.)
- “Don’t play ‘PowerPoint Karaoke’ in meetings.” (During a presentation, don’t just stand there and read the slides verbatim…people can read on their own. Just use bullet points to help you remember what to cover.)
- “You have to learn to manage yourself before you can learn to manage others.” (Know your own strengths and weaknesses and embrace them, but use them to challenge your personal and professional growth.)
- “It helps to remember that conflict is natural, necessary, and normal. In fact, creative solutions to your problems rarely occur without tension of dissimilar ideas.” (Don’t be afraid to listen to others if they don’t agree with you… you may learn something.)
- “People feel unsettled and look to their leaders for information and reassurance during times of uncertainty.” (Be human, but also show them you know what you are doing and you must earn their trust.)
I have learned so much from this book that I can apply not only at work, but also as a small group leader in my church. If you are an introvert, I highly recommend this book for you. Extroverts, you can benefit from this book as well – you can see what it’s like inside the mind of an introvert and better understand how we function both professionally and personally.
Photo Credit: By Goodreads.com
Last month I had to buy new glasses. It had been almost three years since I had been to the eye doctor and I could definitely tell that I was in need of new glasses. Once my new glasses arrived, I tried them on and I noticed something – the frames partially blocked my peripheral vision. As a result, I had to learn to adjust my focus.
The sermon at church Sunday was about Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). Peter wants Jesus to ask him to come out on the water with Him, so Jesus responds to his request by calling him to step out of the boat into the water. Initially Peter was fine, but when he took his eyes of Jesus he started to sink. Peter’s focus wasn’t where it should have been…he was focused on the surrounding circumstances and not the Savior. Just like Peter, we have a tendency to look at our circumstances when hardships come into our life.
Readjusting your focus is not a one time thing. The fact that we are human causes us to be easily distracted and the enemy tries (and is successful more often than not) to take our focus off of Jesus and put it on ourselves (“What will I do about <insert your latest circumstance here>?” or “Why is this happening to me?”). We can’t see the big picture because we are so caught up in the moment. I know it’s easier said than done (trust me…it can be a struggle for me more times than I’d like to admit) but that’s why it’s not a one time thing. Think about it, you don’t go to the eye doctor just ONCE during your life time and you’re done – you go numerous times throughout your life.
You can’t beat yourself up when it happens – it’s like driving and getting lost…you don’t just pull the car over and leave it. You find out where you took a wrong turn and get back on the road. No one is perfect, and if we were we would have no need for a Savior. Don’t give up! The Message translation of Philippians 3:12-14 is very fitting for this – “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
In what area(s) of your life should you readjust your focus at this time?
Photo Credit: By Ken Teegardin
2013 has come and gone and we are now 13 days (almost 2 whole weeks) into a new year! I just wanted to thank all of you for making last year so great for my blog. You viewed 2,976 pages on my blog in 2013 (with August being the highest month, 333 page views). I’m really excited about the new year and what God has in store! Below are the top 10 posts on my blog from 2013. Enjoy!
Ted Dekker has peaked my interest once again! October of 2013, Dekker released his latest novel entitled Outlaw. The story takes place in Atlanta, Georgia in 1963. Julian Carter feels a calling to the mission field, so she and her two year old son board a boat headed to New Guinea. The ship runs into a huge storm and the captain is thrown overboard and her son is believed to be dead. Julian is found by a local tribe in New Guinea and taken slave. Dekker’s novel tells of how she must deal with the traditions of the tribe – one that disturbs her the most is how women are mainly seen as “baby makers” and only given value if they are able to have children.
About three-fourths of the story is told by Julian and the remaining one-fourth is told by Stephen (you’ll have to read the book to find out who he is…I don’t want to spoil the story for you). Dekker’s parents were missionaries in Indonesia when he was a child and he uses this experience quite a bit in his latest story. This book is definitely fiction, but he took some of the traditions and folklore of the tribes he saw growing up and used them as those of the fictitious tribes in Outlaw. There are two main themes in the book: 1) Discovering that your true identity is not based on what you can do for others (in Julian’s case, producing babies) and 2) Being able to forgive both yourself and those that have wronged you.
I highly recommend this book, as it kept me on the edge of my seat and it was very enjoyable. It would be best suited for those who are in their late teens or older, as there are some parts that may scare anyone younger.
Photo Credit: By Angel Roman
If you’re an avid reader, chances are you have a favorite author or two. Have you ever read a book by one of your favorite authors and felt a little disappointed? That’s how I felt with C.S. Lewis’ “Out of the Silent Planet.” It was published in the U.S. in 1943 and is the first book in a series called Space Trilogy (book 2 being “Perelandra” (1943) and book 3 being “That Hideous Strength” (1945)). To give you a better picture, Lewis wrote The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe in 1950. Don’t get me wrong, I love C.S. Lewis, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get into “Out of the Silent Planet.” To me, it felt evident that this was one of his first attempts at fiction.
The whole premise of the book is that Dr. Elwin Ransom is kidnapped by Mr. Dick Devine and Dr. Weston. He is taken on a spaceship and left on a planet with which he is not familiar. Throughout the book he observes the creatures and environment of the planet. He gets to know several of the creatures and discovers that Oyarsa (one of the planet’s royalty-like creatures) has sent from him while he was on planet Earth. Beyond that, I honestly didn’t understand much of the book. I would try to read it and my eyes would glaze over with complete boredom.
Before I had read the book, I was wondering why it had never been made into a movie. After I read the book, I could easily understand why! There wasn’t much adventure to me…it felt like Ransom was in “observation” mode the entire book and I just couldn’t get into it. If you are a die-hard C.S. Lewis fan and you’re up for the challenge, I say go ahead and read “Out of the Silent Planet.” If you are just looking for a good book (or series of books) to read by Lewis, then I would suggestion reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” instead.
Photo Credit: By NarniaFans.com
In days before video games and the Internet were popular, children used to play a game called telephone. You would get a group of friends together and the first person would whisper something in a second person’s ear. That second person in turn would whisper what they thought they heard into a third person’s ear, and so on until the last person would say out loud what they thought they had heard. The first message might have been something like “my favorite color is blue” but by the time it got to the last person it became something like “I ate my favorite shoe.” It’s funny how things can easily be misheard and misunderstood.
Misheard song lyrics can also be pretty hysterical at times. Did Destiny’s Child sing about being a “Survivor, I’m gonna make it!” or was it “I’m on Survivor, I’m a Jamaican?!” Did Elton John really sing about a “Tiny Dancer” or was it really an ode to Who’s The Boss star Tony Danza? One individual has even created a YouTube channel dedicated to Bad Lip Reading in songs, movie, and television.
Life can be complicated. We all go through times in our life where we may misunderstand things, but what do we do about it? When you feel like you’ve misheard things or if you want clarification, go straight to the source. Gossip can often be stopped right in its tracks when you confront it from the start instead of letting it fester. The same can be said for our spiritual lives. When in doubt, go straight to the ULTIMATE source to find clarification and don’t just believe what you’re told…find it out for yourself.
Photo Credit: By DrGBB