Thursday, October 6, 2016

Living a Life of Passion

We have all been entrusted with something.  Maybe for you it's great wealth.  Maybe it's your kids.  Maybe it's your job.  Maybe it's your marriage.  Maybe it's all of the above.  It's important to recognize even the seemingly insignificant responsibilities and remind ourselves it's our job to move those responsibilities further.  You have been entrusted with something, but what are you doing to be entrusted with more?

I remember a time when you would have asked me that very questions and I would have been like, "Uhhhhhh...(blank stare)...ummmm....(more blank staring)....I don't know."  I had not a clue.  I had settled for a day to day routine.  A way of life that benefited my family.  I created a life of selfishness. Me and my family?  We're good.  Everyone else?  Not my responsibility.  That's someone else's mess to clean up.  I've been called to serve my family.  To be a mom.  To be a wife.  To take care of a home.

And that my friends is a big pile of POOP!

All I can say is thank the Good Lord for Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK, great mentors in my life, and having a graceful God who didn't leave me in my fixed mindset.

Living a life of passion is truly the only way to live.  I want you to think of passion like a hunger and thirst.  Think about it.  Hunger and thirst is natural.  It is real.  It is intense.  Have you ever been hangry???  Hunger and thirst can be painful.  It can be a driving force.  And lastly, hunger and thirst is a sign of health.

Passion is the same way.  It is natural.  It is real.  Passion is intense.  It can be painful.  It is a driving force for our actions.  Most importantly, it is a sign of health.

When we forget to live on passion, part of us dies a little.  We stop living up to our full potential.  We stop growing.  We become stagnant.  We succumb to a daily grind.  A mundane life. Yuck!

Here are a few tips on growing in your passion I picked up from the 2016 Global Leadership Summit.

  • Enlarge Your Vision:  Are you focusing on maintaining your everyday life or multiplying it?  Begin to dream again. Write down those dreams and go for it.  Take the risk of failure.  Through failure brings growth.
  • Empower People:  Leadership is all around us.  If you have kids, you're a leader.  If you have friends, you're a leader.  If you're a co-worker, you're a leader.  If you're a spouse, you're a leader.  If you know people, you're a leader.  You simply have to rise up and fulfill your role.  Begin to build others up.  Call out the great aspects of their character or personality.  Love on people the way you want to be loved.
  • Focus On Character: People don't fail for lack of knowledge.  We have information at our fingertips unlike any other generation.  People fail for a lack of character.  Generally, that falls in the arena of self-discipline.  Build upon your ability to discipline yourself.  
  • Embrace Risk: If you are like me, this one make me uncomfortable.  Being an analytical thinker I want to know all outcomes before making a decision.  Instead of viewing risk as an enemy to avoid, I had to change my mindset to risk being a friend to love.  Comfort and safety are even worse.  I have noticed the more I step out in faith (or take a risk), magic happens.  I grow a little and a bit more passion begins to spark.
  • Increase Your Capacity For Pain: If you want to grow, you have to get uncomfortable and increase your capacity for pain. You get a little more vulnerable.  What are you doing to increase your capacity for pain so you can grow?
Honestly, none of these 'helpful' tips are fun.  I'm not sure I know one person who automatically loved risk and pain, but after they developed a passion they were on fire that cause a tidal wave of change in others.  

So my call to action from you is...

You can simply take this info and learn a little, or you can make a decision.  A decision to become a Passionary.  A person who lives the rest of their life with vision and passion.  The best way to live!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Living On Mission: Getting Out of Your Comfortable Life

I can remember the moment so clearly when I missed it.  I missed the calling.  I missed the opportunity.  I failed.

Walking down Magnificent Mile I saw him.  A man so clearly struggling.  In a hospital gown pushing a basic metal frame walker, a dried bloody bandaged foot and a complete hopelessness on his face.

I was called to help this man.  I knew it.  I knew in my spirit I was to do something.  The problem was I didn't know what.  I had no cash and no food establishments were nearby.  I had a moment of my heart beating so fast and nervousness all over, but talked myself out of it.

What am I really supposed to do?  How can I even begin to help him?  I don't have anything to offer.

I walked on by and said nothing about what I had experienced.  Not even to my husband.

Weeks went by and I went back to my comfortable world and thought nothing of the man.  It wasn't until Thanksgiving of 2013 I had another tug.  It was the Holidays and I was dead set on our kids knowing the value of helping others during a time where they receive plenty.

I put out a call to Facebook and asked people to help me find organizations or activities where we could serve as a family.  We had a good list going.  Blessing the trash workers, postal workers, helping a neighbor with yard work, cards for kids in the hospital, making a meal for families at the Ronald McDonald House and a homeless outreach.  All of activities were in my comfort zone, but one.  The homeless outreach.  Yeah, we're just gonna move that one on down the list. Cooking for people.  I can do that.  Serving those who make me uncomfortable.  Nope.

That was my plan. To put off the homeless outreach until and maybe we wouldn't have time to get to it.  Funny thing about my plans.  I shared the list with the kids and they picked the homeless outreach.

I could go on and on about what that day of serving did for us.  It was a beautiful, messy moment that shook my beliefs on the homeless and poor.  What I knew of my community and the struggles I thought I knew was NOTHING.  Instead, people wanted (and needed) what we had as far as physical donations, but what they truly longed for was acknowledgement.

It was then I realized maybe my moment on Magnificent Mile was just to stop the man in the hospital gown and have a conversation.  To let him know 'I see you'.  You are of value.  You are not the scum of the streets.  You are not a sum of your mistakes.  You are a living, breathing, beautiful person who is loved by the one, true God.

As my church prepares for an complete city wide outreach, it reminds me where we began as a family.  Stepping out of complete comfort to love on people.  I invite you to join us for #Loveday16 in Tulsa, OK.

I want you to know that YOU have something to offer people.  No matter how small or insignificant you think your gifts and talents are, they will be used and for a good purpose.  This is a pretty good video of what one small step can do for you and others.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Joy Filled Life: A Lesson On Body Image

Summer is my favorite time of year because it offers freedom. Sweet freedom.  Lazy summer mornings of not rushing kids every which way. Slower, or non-existent, activity schedule and less clothing.

Wait, what?

Okay, so there's one thing I don't like about summer.  Less clothing.  At least on me.  Less clothing on kids...LOVE (means less laundry).  However, less clothing on me means it's that much harder to hide the flaws.  The spider veins, the cellulite, the whiteness, the loose skin, the non-existent 'I've nursed 4 babies' boobs and the baby leftovers.  I found myself feeling inadequate in lots of areas of my body image. Some things I can change by being more focused on my diet and working out.  Some things I could change surgically.  Some things I could simply hide.


Or, I could accept.

Dang it.  Acceptance is touchy subject.  I often feel when I accept something I am saying acceptance to justify,  or because I feel defeated.  But what if I flipped that to say acceptance as responsibility?

I am where I am.  I can do something about it, but I refuse to let my life center around my flaws any longer.

I thought about this quite a bit today after my bestie snapped a pic of me and I immediately said, "Don't you dare post that!"  I knew my baby leftovers were lapping over my swimsuit.  It was not going to be a pretty sight, and not something I wanted to blast on social media.

You know what's wrong with that?  I made the whole situation about me.  My thoughts. My insecurities.  My shortcomings.  It was selfish.

My kids were having a blast playing at the pool.  We were completely enjoying summer and the last thing I should have been worried about was what I looked like.  But, really my thoughts were more like, Oh, HECK NO!  I want to only show what looks good.  Selfish.

So what better way to correct my selfishness by sharing my 'ashamed pic'.  I wish I had a big flashing arrow right to the point that bothers me the most, but a nice zoom in will do ;)

I realize for others, this is probably not a big deal.  We women certainly like to compare, but for me, I measure myself up to my old self.  My pre-Stevie self.  I measure myself up to this...

Can we take a moment of silence for those ABS!?!?! Now, if I took hours each week focusing on my workouts (which I do need to do), then I can get that back, but guess what?  There will always be things I don't like about my body image.  The only way to combat destructive self images are to remind myself of who I am in Christ.

Sounds so cliche, but truth.  I am fully capable of serving others and living out a calling whether I have the Dunlap Disease or not.  You know, the disease where your stomach 'done lapped' over your belt thus resulting in Dunlap Disease.  My joy should not be wrapped up in my appearance or lack of appearance.  My joy should be present no matter what the circumstance.  Even in the darkest times. Even in the joyous times. Even in my own noticeable shortcomings. Even in my own successes.

Joy.  A joy filled life. That's what I want.

Instead of focusing on whether or not baby leftovers are hanging out, I will capture those selfish, destructive thoughts and move towards focusing on Philippians 4:8.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-think about such things.

Aligning my thoughts correctly.  I am no where near perfect, but I will continue to work on getting better.

If you are interested in rewiring how you think The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry is a great start.