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500+ for 50 – day 19: faith led, effortlessly inspired

When I made the commitment 19 days ago to offer a contribution to my blog of 500 words or more daily for 50 consecutive days, I anticipated that I might run into some challenges.  I understood that even some the most seasoned writers may have trouble fulfilling such a pledge.  But I decided not to allow my fears and doubts to discourage my efforts.  I had already proven to myself that I could make the sacrifices necessary to take a healthy stance in other areas of my life, so I saw no reason why writing should be any different?  If I wasn’t open to compromising my physical workout routine, then why would I be willing to take a different position on my mental training?  Writing was going to be critical to the overall success of my push towards personal growth and development.

I’m sure that one of the toughest questions one might pose with regards to my commitment to the task at hand would be “what in the world are you going to write about for 50 days straight?”  And that would be a very legitimate concern for most people.  After all, prior to venturing off on this journey my entire blog was made up of 50 posts.  So by early September, I will have matched the output of three years in less than two months’ time.  Seems like a pretty lofty feat for an amateur blogger who’s less than adequately conditioned for the road before him.  But amazingly enough, thanks be God, my subject matter is never an issue.  The Lord prepares my mind with fresh ideas every day, and he gracefully guides me through the completion of each and every work.  To a point it becomes almost effortless.

While working full time and managing the other responsibilities of my life, I find very few opportunities to set time aside to sit quietly and reflect on the focus of my blog and develop new creative ideas.  I’ve been forced to learn to adapt to the rat race and roll with the madness.  There are moments throughout the day when something may catch my eye, a quote may inspire me, or a memory may appear and encourage the focus of my next post. When I encounter those bits of inspiration, I log them immediately on a Post-It note by my desk or in the notes section of my phone.  But there are days when I’m just too overwhelmed with life to perhaps even be enough in tune with the world around me to see the signals and direction that are offering their guidance to me.  And those are the nights that I reach for my laptop, open a new Word document and sit by the screen watching the cursor blink as I await God’s further instruction.

Generally, after a few deep breaths and perhaps a couple moments of meditation and prayer, it hits me.  I’m given a glimpse of a topic that needs my attention.  And I begin writing immediately.  The first paragraph is generally where I spend the bulk of my time.  Because it’s in that first paragraph that I settle in to my subject matter.  I still may not fully understand the direction or meaning behind what I’m about to tackle, but I usually have established a basic idea of where I’m headed.  And as I continue to develop my post, God’s influence takes over.  Words begin to flow to my mind at a rapid rate.  Memories become more vivid and thoughts more clear, and my motivational pulse begins racing with enthusiasm.  I can feel myself transition into a person far more developed and well-rounded than the one that I often see in the mirror.  And I believe that it’s in those moments that I embody the vision of my future as my writing and my life are paired with Christ.

When you team up your vision with your faith, your efforts to pursue your passion will become nearly effortless.  The day that you realize that God has chosen to involve Himself directly in your work, you will rest easy about the road ahead knowing that you won’t be required to have all the answers. Your job from that day forward will simply be to show up on time and embrace and develop the talents and abilities that He has given you.  If you commit to your purpose, He will see to it that your dreams come to fruition as He continues to bless you with His abundance.  Your remarkable gifts will be revealed to everyone around you and your service will create opportunities for miracles in the lives of others.  And you will feel blessed to say that every day you are living the dream, doing your life’s work.

I feel that it is my calling to write.  But you may find your mission to be something completely different that is as unique to you as you are a person. No matter your circumstances, don’t allow yourself to settle for anything less than what God has intended for you.  If you haven’t discovered your purpose, keep searching.  You will know when you’ve found it, because you will recognize His presence immediately and you will feel led to a greater calling in your life.  And your vision of your life’s “work” will never be the same…

May God Bless!

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500+ for 50 – day 18: perfect vision

“Faith is the ability to see the invisible and believe in the incredible and that is what enables believers to receive what the masses think is impossible.” (Clarence Smithison)

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges for any man is the necessary creation of a well-defined vision of the future accomplishments that he wishes to achieve throughout the course of his life.  Most people are circumstantial thinkers.  They live within the confines of their present surroundings.  And while there’s something to be said about appreciating the “now”, if you want to swim in a bigger pond, you’ll need to see yourself outside of the fish bowl in which you currently reside.  You’ll need to start living the life you wish to have years from now today in your mind.  Unless you are willing to see it, you will never achieve it.  To realize success, you must first define your vision.

Many people don’t know where they’re going or what they truly want out of life.  They simply follow society’s course load until they arrive in a full time working position that will serve to provide them with the resources necessary to reach life’s next defined milestone.  It’s a shame, but often we become so wrapped up in the process that we forget to slow down and define what it is that we really wish to achieve.  It’s no wonder why so many people find themselves feeling lost and miserable in their careers many years into their working lives.  Did they ever stop to create a vision for their future?  Or did they simply start down a path with no real destination in mind, hoping that somehow they’d attain happiness and fulfillment as a result of their willingness to trudge forward on life’s curriculum?

Growing up I had absolutely no idea what it was that I wanted to be.  I only knew that I loved sports and that for the foreseeable future I wanted to promote every opportunity that I had to further my opportunities to excel in them.  My passion was football.  Unfortunately, football is not a feasible career path for the average individual.  Less than one tenth of 1% of all high school players will ever be drafted to play in the NFL.  And that wasn’t really my dream anyway.  I had my eyes set on a Division 1 collegiate scholarship.  What I wasn’t thinking about was life after graduation.  I wanted to put that off as long as I possibly could.  I was not ready to deal with making a decision on what would be my life’s work.

When I graduated college, I started down a path, following a paycheck and an opportunity to excel in a competitive environment.  But I never really had a final destination in mind.  I was just living my circumstances and trying to make every effort to get ahead in life…one step closer to the next milestone.  And that mindset and course of action prevailed for the next six years of my life until the day that I finally collapsed under the weight of a pile of adversity and surrendered my life to God.  When I came to know Christ, I was led to a whole new mission for my future that I had never even thought about before.  And I realized that without faith, there really could have been no true plan or course of action established in my life.

My relationship with God allowed me to develop a vision for my future that freed me from the pressure and burden that I felt under society’s conventional system of personal growth evaluation.  I came to realize that there would be no one who could more accurately measure my success in this life than God Himself.  So I set out to embrace the talents and skills that He had offered me in an effort to share my gifts with the world and fulfill His calling for my life.  I had defined my final destination – it was at home with Him.  But I also hoped to make some fulfilling pit stops along the way.  And those required a bit more imagination and mapping on my part.

Unfortunately, I always seemed to encounter lots of trouble envisioning my future successes in life.  Admittedly, I was very much trapped in my own fish bowl.  It felt as though I was regularly fighting tirelessly to simply tread water.  And I grew deeply involved with those feelings of confinement, thereby further limiting the vision of what my future might entail.  Rather than closing my eyes and allowing my imagination to dream me off to my destiny, I made the mistake of gazing out the window, or even worse, looking back into the rearview mirror.  And what I saw discouraged me.  It held me hostage.  I would never escape if I wasn’t able to effectively visualize better outcomes.

Then one day while I was watching The Secret I was introduced to the concept of a vision board.  A vision board is a visual representation of the goals and accomplishments that you desire to achieve in your life.  It’s a simple thing to create.  All that you need are a bunch of magazines and photos, a blank piece of poster board, and a glue stick.  Simply cut out the imagery representative of all that you wish to embody and achieve in your future and then glue those images onto the board as you desire.  Finally, hang your vision board someplace where you can engage it multiple times throughout your day.  Your finished product will serve as a visual depiction of your future, and it will act as a tremendously useful resource for stimulating your imagination process and developing your focus. 

Sometimes the view from the window is simply not going to be a fair representation of the direction that we wish to head with our lives.  So it’s critical that we utilize our imagination to envision the life that we seek beyond our present circumstances.  If we wish to swim in a bigger pond, we have to also be willing to view ourselves as a bigger fish.  And we need to really get involved in the feelings of freedom that we embody in those moments when we are able to effectively imagine the realization of our dreams.  Because when a committed vision and faith get together, miracles are bound to occur.

I’ve seen things in my own life that have absolutely blown me away.  The vision boards that I created back in 2011 still hang above my desk in my home office space today.  And when I review them each morning, I’m able to note several items that I’ve already been able to check off of my list of goals to be accomplished…many of which I never had any idea how I’d be able to attain.  God works in mysterious, magical ways, my friends.  If you allow Him to define your vision and then focus your heart and soul on all that you desire with unwavering faith in His ability to bring those things to pass in your life, there will be no limits to your success.  And you will live a life that is rich and fulfilling in every way.

We need to dream like a child who lives by faith and not by sight.  If we are willing to “see the invisible and believe in the incredible” then surely we will have every opportunity to “receive what the masses think is impossible.” 

May God Bless!