Facing Unexpected Challenges

So how is your January going? Overwhelmed with the start of the new year and all the activities and to-dos it brings?

It’s been quite busy around here that’s for sure. Sometimes I think devilish imps are determined to sidetrack me from my goals, but I keep persisting. First, I took my car in for an oil change and realized I had an oil leak. So that set me back a good $270. Next my landlines went out so I needed to purchase a whole new system. And then, my laptop went black on me. I was able to get it up briefly but then, silly me, decided to try to reinstall the video graphics drivers and it went back to the black screen. I decided the laptop was too old and a coworker told me, “That computer has given you too much guff!”

“You’re right,” I said. “Enough guff.”

Then it was time to deal with all the decisions regarding getting a new computer: laptop vs. desktop, operating system Windows vs. Mac, size, processor speed, brand, well you get the idea. Bought one at Best Buy and then decided I wanted a bigger monitor, so took it back and got one at Staples and a new monitor – both on sale! I LOVE SALES! Somehow I feel like I’m getting a better deal. Plus this one is a Toshiba instead of an HP so am hoping I’ll have less problems AND it’s energy star!

So this week have been dealing with installing all the new software, checking my external hard drive for viruses, and deciding on an internet security suite. Oh, did I mention learning a brand new foreign operating system, Windows 8? Whew! Just talking about it makes me tired.

On top of all this, my youngest son took off for Minnesota for a new job.

Not to mention, I’ve been dealing with some health issues that are really sapping my energy. I am positive they are exacerbated by the stress. I am not in denial. I realize when I am under more stress than usual.

So why am I sharing all this? Because I want you to know that all of us are faced with unexpected challenges and multiple decisions which cause stress and distract us from our goals. The key I believe is to have faith and realize there is a lesson to be learned in all this. The lesson I learned is that nothing, and I do mean, NOTHING, is worth stressing about. Everything works out in due time.

My key verse is Phillipians 4:6 which says “Do not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in all things with prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God and He will give you peace that surpasses all understanding.”

Faith is believing that God is on our side and that he is working all things ultimately for our good although it may not seem like it at the time. God does have a plan and a purpose for these trials, just as he did with Job. God is still in control and he is the one who allows these things to happen. Our job is to discern the lessons he is trying to teach us in the process. Otherwise we are doomed to repeat the same sorry situations.

So, dear friends, take heart. Be encouraged. If your situation is particularly challenging, ask the Lord what he may be trying to tell you and what actions you need to take. My favorite verse these days is Romans 8:31 which says, “If God is for us, who can stand against us?” And the answer is no one and nothing.

Until next time, stand firm, listen to that still small voice, and trust that all things will pass in due time. Let me know what situations you’re facing and I will be sure to keep you in prayer.

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Goal Setting 101

Have you set some goals for the New Year yet? If so, are they SMART? Today I would like to share three tips on setting goals to ensure they are achievable and worthwhile. SMART goals, as they say in the business world, have the following characteristics.

1) S- stands for specific, not vague.
2) M – stands for measureable, quantifiable. How will it be measured?
3) A – achievable, action-oriented not ridiculous.
4) R – realistic – do I really want to achieve this goal? Why?
5) T – time bound. A determined timeframe is established when the goal will be finished.

Let’s take the example of exercise. A smart goal would be “I will exercise at my target heart rate for 30 minutes 3 – 4 times a week to improve my cardiovascular health & reduce my blood pressure.” This means 1) I will find out what my target heart rate actually should be so that I am working out hard enough to make a difference and 2) I have connected my goal to my long range purpose for my life i.e living a long and healthy life.

The second point I want to make is that in order to make a significant change in our behavior, we must first take on a new perspective on how we perceive the issue. For example, if you have always said “I hate to exercise”, then my suggestion is to reframe that perception to something positive such as “Exercise is good for my health and is enjoyable when I find the right activity to pursue.” In other words, we must change the way we think about things in order for our behaviors to follow suit.

And last, but certainly not least, have faith that you can achieve your goals. Have a vision of yourself in that size 6 little black dress or riding that motorcycle, climbing that mountain, or writing that book. Faith is the belief in things not yet seen which means we need to see them happening and pull them into our present by our thoughts and prayers.

Setting the right kind of goals can motivate us to succeed. They challenge us in our lives. Reaching a goal gives us courage to climb a bigger mountain next time. I know. I’ve climbed lots of them, all by the grace of God.

I hope this post has encouraged you to make some changes in your life. If you are new to goal-setting, start small. You will be amazed at the renewed zest for life you will feel when you begin making positive changes.

Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!

I Have a Dream – 2013

Rick Warren on Goals, Energy, & Focus

It’s a whole new year. I am excited, are you? I am not content with the status quo. No sirree. I am a move forward kind of gal. Growth-oriented, you know? There’s always room for improvement and I love watching dreams come true.

Just last fall, a long time dream came true – I took a fabulous trip to South America! South America – I still find it hard to believe I actually got to visit Brazil and Argentina. How did this come about?

By setting goals. Yes, GOALS. Not the soccer kind of goal, like in Brazil, but the the kind that energize and move us forward in life.

Now I know many people say “Hog wash”. Well, take a look at their lives. Are they fruitful, productive, moving forward, financially stable, physically fit?  Do they have direction in their life or are they drifting along and not really sure what they want to do with their life? Are they HAPPY?

I am and always have been a firm believer in setting goals. Goals keep me focused. They motivate me to take action. They inspire me to challenge myself and press on. Goals give me hope for the future. Setting and achieving goals is exhilarating and rewarding.

Proverbs 29:18 states “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” How about that? Look at most successful companies. What do they all have? A vision statement! Yes, they want everyone to be on board with the direction they want to move in. A vision statement defines the values and direction of an organization and what it hopes to become.

What do you hope to become?  I challenge you to set some goals for 2013.  What is your dream?  Lose weight, get out of debt, eat more healthily, manage your temper? It can be done. If you have the courage to activate the power of faith, you can transform YOUR LIFE.

Until next time, make a list of the goals you would like to achieve in 2013 and as always,keep looking up!