What Might Stop You in 2017?

Asking some questions in this period between Christmas and the New Year. Questions of reflection and questions to help us to look ahead. So far there has been one about what we were thankful for and another about what we would do if we knew it would succeed.

Today’s is a follow on question to yesterday: what could stop you in 2017?

My answers: I am a serial procrastinator, what’s your excuse. I’m working hard at not letting this get in the way of accomplishing some big dreams in 2017.

I say maybe and perhaps too often, like I doubt I believe what I am saying or I’m really trying too hard to not hurt anyones feelings, when I need to just be confident in what I’m saying.

Fear. Pride. Laziness. Lack of focus. Distractions. Good things. Whatever. All will have their shot at stopping me, I’m sure.

But if we knew what we could do would succeed – what is going to stop us?

How are you liking the questions? Any thoughts as we head into 2017?

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Yet…

I have had this thought today based round the word YET. Such a small word but a powerful one nonetheless. I know without a doubt that I have used this word as an excuse, a reason why I won’t do some stuff.

I’m not ready YET.  

I don’t know enough YET.  

Not for me, not YET.  

I don’t have time for that, YET I can find time for a whole load of other things. 

Or a hundred other statements like them. Just reasons that mean I might opt out, miss out or lose out.

But here’s the amazing thing. I don’t need to opt out, miss our or lose out even if I don’t feel ready YET and here’s why…

God’s not finished with me YET. 

YET, while I was a sinner Christ died for me. 

Like I have written on many occasions, living for God is mostly about one step at a time. I don’t know everything, YET I keep on walking. I’m not the finished article YET but I keep making myself available for God to use.

I’m trusting God for what I don’t know YET and in doing so, I’m not allowing any YETs to get in the way of everything God has prepared for me in the future. What do you think?

Quit IT

I have written this post out a few times to ensure that I make it read well. Yet I don’t think there is any other way to say this other than in what may seem a fairly blunt manner.

Quit!

It’s time to quit.

Winners quit the right things. So to move on and get past something maybe it’s time to quit so you can start winning again.

So, let’s quit IT. Whatever IT may be.

I’ve got lazy, again. So I’m going to quit IT.  My levels of procrastinating have risen once again and are stopping me from fulfilling the dream of getting a book written so I am committing (again) to 2 things I love to do ~ read and write. 15 minutes of each every day for the next 100 days.

I wonder, what do you need to quit? What’s possibly in the way of what you believe God has for your future?

Quit complaining. Sometimes, if we are honest, this complaining has gone beyond healthy criticism. It’s just become finger pointing. Perhaps it’s even got personal.

Quit being a spectator who just loves to be critical. Much like the football supporters who never plays, yet loves to shout out opinions from the stands on the best way to play the game. Instead, get involved and become a participant in what God is doing.

Quit waiting for the perfect time before you will step out in faith. Things will never be ‘perfect’. God makes something out of our willingness and our obedience and that doesn’t rely on perfection but on Him.

Quit with the Christian pride and not allowing God to deal with some stuff because you think there’s no need as you’ve been a Christian for so long.

Quit missing out on all that God has for you.

Quit allowing an offence to get in the way of your relationship with God and with His family.

Quit not being in Church. It’s time to come home and reconnect with you family.

Quit saying you don’t have enough time. I love this article by Jon Acuff about saying you are too busy.

Quit those habits, quit the attitude, quit the apathy, quit the blaming, quit forgetting, quit quitting and complete that project.

Whatever IT is that keeps getting in the way make a good decision today and quit IT. Hunt IT down, deal with IT and then get on with living that life which you desires so much to live.

What is IT for you? 

Eagerness or Excuses

In scripture we find a verse that tells us ‘if you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land‘. [Isaiah 1:19] 

Unfortunately the culture of today is often more unwilling and disobedient. We want to work less for more pay. We want to pay less tax but gain more benefits. We want to receive without contributing. We want a great future without all the effort.

John Maxwell tells the story about a young man asking a millionaire about his secret to success. ‘How did you make your millions?‘ is the question from the eager young man. ‘Hard work’ is the reply. After a moment the young man asks another question, ‘Is there an easier way?’

We want it and we want it now, yet I’ve learned that God doesn’t really work like that. We may have an eagerness for the things of God yet we seem unwilling to exert any effort on our own behalf. We expect God or someone else to do all the work.

We are willing but not obedient. Which means we don’t get to enjoy the good place we really want to be in. We are eager for the future plans and purposes of God but have a long list of excuses as to why it just can’t happen. And that makes me sad.

I am guilty of this myself, more times than I care to remember. Laziness. Procrastination. Ignorance. Pathetic excuses like ‘I’ve got no time’, yet I find time for some stuff that must make God laugh (otherwise He might cry).

Eagerness + excuses usual equals unfulfilled dreams, plans and purposes.

Willingness + no obedience equals not ending up in the good land that God has for me.

An unwillingness to pray means God cannot answer. One thing I know the best way to have prayer unanswered is to not actually pray. An unwillingness to act means the project, the dream, the idea will never happen. To many say ‘God said’ but then never follow through with any movement of their own.

God doesn’t need to change, we do, I do. The question is whether I am willing to. Can I, with Gods help and the Holy Spirit within me, overcome the daft reasons and obstacles so I live out His best for my life? The answer of course is a wholehearted yes, but only if the willingness is followed by some action, if the eagerness is not followed by excuses.

I would love to know what you think…

Challenge Up

How about during the next 30 days we challenge up? It’s the only way to challenge yourself.

In whatever, look to challenge yourself for the more not the less. For the better. For the improvement. For the growth. Challenge up normally involves some stretch.

Getting fit. Eating well. Fixing what’s broken. Investing in yourself. Finishing the project. Starting your business. Creating something new. Writing the book. Fulfilling the dream. Reaching people. Building church. Knowing Jesus. Insert own ‘idea’ here.

Challenge up. I don’t know what that looks like for you. Maybe it’s about creating some space and making room, putting something down to pick the right thing up.

Challenge up. Perhaps it’s about taking 15 minutes a day and focusing in on that particular thing you really believe is your one thing.

How about it? Where would you challenge up in life? What’s to lose?

Beyond Me

The art of making a difference is living with an attitude that goes beyond me, beyond myself. 

Self-centred thinking will normally cause me to gravitate towards the line of least resistance. What’s easiest for me? What requires the least effort from me?

That’s ‘beyond me’ comes the answer to the desire to be that person who makes a difference, who creates something of eternal value. 

Difference makers inspire me with an alternative approach that can often feel a little beyond me at times…

Beyond me is utilising my ‘me’ time for greater purpose. 

Beyond me is living in the arena of risk and having a go. 

Beyond me is overcoming the lazy, I’m entitled to, tomorrow I will, type mentality and doing what I can today. 

Beyond me takes effort and I guess that what’s sets the difference makers apart from those who are not. 

Beyond me is where I want to live. How about you?

Take 5

I have a simple way to counter what often happens to all those good intentions we can have that just don’t seem to last.

You know what I mean, we’ve been in the presence of God and the Holy Spirit is on our case and we make promises like, I’m going to pray more, read my Bible more, speak in tongues more, look for more opportunities to be kind, grow in God and more.

Then tomorrow comes and we don’t hit the mark. That 6am start never happened. Up too late, mislaid our Bible, people were particularly awkward. It was not a good day.

Here’s my simple approach. It’s helped me when I’ve had one of ‘those days’.

Take 5.

Take 5 minutes to read your Bible.
Take 5 people you can think about and ask God to be with them, help them and bless them.
Take 5 minutes to speak in tongues.
Take 5 minutes and do something for someone else.

We over estimate what we can actually do. We justify our not doing anything because we can’t spend enough time on it. ‘If I can’t do it to this level then why even bother?’

Take 5 minutes.

You will be surprised by the difference that it makes and it won’t be long before you find yourself taking 10 minutes, then 15 and so on.

[I’d love to hear from you if you do something different to help you keep doing these things].

The Journey I Am On

This year I have had two main focuses in the midst of all the daily posts – one was to do with my Bible reading and sharing some thoughts about walking with God. The other posts were more leadership focused with a particular emphasis on things that I have learned on the journey since my first leadership opportunity when I was 19.

I have written 29 thoughts on walking with God and 26 thoughts on leadership.

This is the journey I am on – to be a leader who walks well with God. I see this as an absolute necessity to my becoming the best person and leader I can be. Let me make something clear though, these are not two things to be balanced. It should all be in favour of God first. I say should because I am normal and very often I drift from God first to me first. From being led by God to just being the leader.

This is the journey I am on – to be a leader who walks well with God so others can walk well with God. I want to be honest and open. I am not perfect. Never have been, never will be. I am thankful to be made perfect through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. My heart is to learn and help others to learn. It is to know God better and help others to know God better.

This is the journey I am on – to be a leader who walks well with God so others can walk well with God is to be someone who is led well by God. I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit. If, as a Christian leader, I cannot allow myself to be led by the Holy Spirit then I am just leading in my own strength and although I can have influence I don’t believe it will have the same impact that being covered by the Spirit of God can bring. It’s that extra dimension that my leadership needs. Without it I flounder.

This is the journey I am on – to be a leader who walks well with God so others can walk well with God is to be someone who is led well by God and is willing to change. As we talk about grace in Xcel Church I am more aware than ever that it is such a precious gift but only really accomplishes anything in my life if I accept it and walk in it. That means I have to be willing to change. Grace is not my get-out-of-jail-free card. It is my way to a new life. So this week I recognised that I allowed some drift to occur. Too many distractions. Usual good disciplines have slackened.

Grace has nudged me this week and reminded me of the journey I want to be on.

Grace has been poured out again and had it’s rejuvenating effect on my spirit.

Grace is always the antidote to my natural lean towards laziness, unproductiveness and general lack of focus.

Let’s be honest, it happens to us all, it’s just that most of the time we don’t see it, acknowledge it, or want to respond to it.

However, if I want to be a leader who walks well with God, I cannot afford to ignore the promptings in my spirit, to ignore the niggling within that I know is from God. To do so would disqualify me from the journey I believe God has for me and I am determined to not allow that to happen.

How about you and your journey? Still on track?