blogtest

I love November and especially Thanksgiving. One of the reasons I love this time of year is the reminder it gives all of us to slow down, remember our blessings, and thank God for everything He’s given us.

Did you know Thanksgiving started as a celebration of a good harvest and provision? Those who first came from Europe to the United States would have starved during the long, cold winters without a good harvest. Additional provision came from their growing relationship with the Native Americans, who provided furs, additional food, and the knowledge the settlers needed to survive the winters.

God provides for us as well. He sows seeds into our lives, seeds that grow and bless us.

 

Seeds from God

God plants seeds of growth, faith, hope, and abundance in our lives. What a wonderful gift! As the master sower, what He plants always comes to fruition. Let’s look at a few of the seeds God has planted in our lives and how we can use those seeds can bring growth and increase to each of us.

God’s Word (Mark 4:14)

I believe there is no more powerful growth tool available to us than God’s Word. It sows hope and promise into the lives of everyone who hears or reads the messages within. Within the pages of Scripture, we find stories of love and loss, trials and conquests, and stories of ordinary men and women in relationship with God.

Seeds of Faith

No matter how small and insignificant our faith seems, it is enough to move mountains (Matt. 17:20). How? Our faith ties us to the most powerful force in the universe: God. Faith is a seed that results in a harvest larger than we can conceive. Matthew 17:20 tells us, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

The Kingdom of God

Mark 4:26-27 tells us the Kingdom of God is a seed that will grow no matter how arid the soil. All that is required is workers. Each of us is called to help grow the Kingdom of God. In return, we find a community of workers who become our family in Christ.

Generosity

Generosity is a seed God grants to each of us so we can sow it in the lives of others. It’s a reciprocal gift in that we must give to receive! “But remember this—if you give little, you will get little. A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much.” (2 Cor. 9:6, TLB)

Planting Our Seeds

God plants seeds of growth and blessing in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to do some sowing of our own. God gives us a mission for our lives. He grants us vision and provision to help us fulfill that mission. But we can get in our way if we aren’t mindful of our thoughts and actions. Why?

Because what happens in your mind often happens in time!

I mean that if we focus on what we want, and keep our thoughts on our goals, we are much more likely to achieve them.

The problem is our mind often spends a good deal of time replaying the PAST. I know it happens to you too. We’re moving along, taking steps to secure our future, and then we think that things didn’t turn out how we wanted the last time we tried something new.

Not good. When the past becomes the focus of your thoughts, you cease forward movement.

Here’s another scenario. We’re sitting down with our journal and vision board, plotting our goals for the next quarter, and we wander off into daydream land in our minds. Imagination pre-plays the FUTURE. While that’s great if it helps create momentum, it’s entirely possible to dream, dream, dream, and never actually do.

So, what do we do instead? We VISUALIZE.

 

David visualized his encounter with Goliath. He gathered the tools God provided—his sling and stones—and he took action. Visualization is always followed by action.

Gideon visualized the wall falling. God gave Gideon step-by-step instructions on what he should do to conquer his enemy. He could have questioned, doubted, and delayed, but he didn’t. Instead, he followed through and won the battle. Visualization leads to follow through.

Noah visualized the ark as designed by God. He built it in faith with no idea how he was going to finish the task. When the ark was done, God provided what Noah’s family would need to repopulate the earth after the floods. Visualization in faith leads to provision.

Moses visualized the Exodus. But he thought he couldn’t do it. God told him otherwise. So Moses shared that vision with the people of God living in Egypt. Eventually, they escaped Pharoah and his army and headed to their Promised Land. Visualization leads to results.

What about visualization in your life?

You need to:

  • Visualize the INCREASE
  • Talk INCREASE
  • Move toward INCREASE

Take action in faith, and the rest will happen.

Right now, at Thanksgiving, we are at the cusp of the seasons. Fall is turning to winter. The harvest is done, and it’s time for the slower pace of winter. Yet, with the seeds God has given us, a little faith, and our visualization, we will INCREASE our lives and the Kingdom of God!

The key to having a fruitful and abundant life is our response to the Word. The way we receive God’s Word is critical to having a fruitful and blessed life. The seed is productive only if the soil is receptive. The Word is good seed. Are you good soil?

 

Happiness leads to success in every area of your life—work, health, relationships, creativity, and energy.

This isn’t just something I know.

Positive psychology researchers did a meta-analysis (a study of other research) of more than 200 studies of 275,000 people worldwide with amazing results.1

  • Happy people tend to be more helpful, creative, prosocial, charitable, altruistic, and healthier.
  • Happy people live longer.
  • Happy people are more likely to marry and tend to stay married longer.
  • Happy people have more close friends and casual friends, and they earn more money.

Happiness and life satisfaction are available to the young and the old, women and men, blacks and whites, the rich and the working-class. This means you can have happiness and life satisfaction and all of the benefits that happy people experience.

But what does happiness have to do with developing a Growth Mindset?

Well, our thoughts have the potential to become our realities. I’ve seen this over and over in my lifetime. What you believe about yourself impacts your success or failure.

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck tells us that our beliefs play a pivotal role in what we want and whether we will succeed. According to Dweck, our mindset plays a significant role in determining achievement and success.2

It’s All About The Mindset.

The word mindset encompasses how we view ourselves and the world around us, especially intelligence and talent.

There are two primary types of mindset I want to tell you about. The first is a fixed mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe intelligence, talent, and other abilities are inborn, fixed, and unchangeable.

The second is a growth mindset. Those who have a growth mindset believe abilities can be developed and strengthened. If you’ve listened to my sermons and teachings, you know I am a firm believer in the growth mindset.

Yes, some people seemingly have inborn abilities, and Scripture even tells us that God grants some abilities to certain believers to help them accomplish the tasks He puts before them.

But Scripture also tells us that we all have the ability to GROW. Jesus spent His entire ministry helping those around Him develop and strengthen the abilities and qualities they would need to grow His church.

Those who have fixed mindsets were often taught that to succeed. They needed to look smart instead of putting in the effort to learn and grow their intelligence.

They are more concerned with how others are judging their appearance. Those with a fixed mindset fear they may not live up to the expectations of those around them.

Sound familiar? I see this every day on social media. So much of our culture now centers around the expectation of perfection.

We are taught that we need to LOOK a certain way, and few people put in the work actually to become the person they are pretending to be.

Look at the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset were taught to explore. They learned to embrace experiences and enjoy challenges.

Instead of seeing a mistake as the end of the line, they were taught mistakes are learning experiences and a chance to improve.

Those with a growth mindset learned to try new things and make mistakes to learn and reach their true potential.

That is the key. A GROWTH MINDSET helps you live up to your potential!

Developing a Growth Mindset

Your mindset directly impacts your life. Developing a growth mindset helps you achieve more, and it gives you the focus you need to work harder to achieve your goals, become more resilient, and persevere when you face difficulties.

A Growth Mindset makes it possible for us to change our lives and achieve our goals. So how do we develop a strong growth mindset?

The first step is to rationalize.

 

Understand that it’s normal to mess up and make mistakes. REFRAME errors as a part of life, something you can learn from.

What error have you recently made or witnessed? How can you reframe that moment to make it easier to accept and learn from?

Next, develop a sense of optimism.

Use that optimism to put a spin on apparent failure.

Instead of saying, “Well, that’s that. I’m never going to be a good artist.” Instead, tell yourself, “I didn’t get the concept down the first try, but I’ll do better next time!”

Think of a moment when you felt like a failure. How can you put an optimistic spin on that moment?

Understand and embrace the value of practice.

Progress comes from trying to improve.

Focus on the learning process and your incremental improvements instead of how far you have to go.

What goal can you apply the principle of incremental improvements to?

A role model can be valuable in changing your mindset. If you have a mentor or coach, look at how they deal with mistakes and growth.

Who do you know who can serve as a role model you can learn from? Think of something they’ve done that inspires you to want to change.

Realize that change can be difficult. There are no easy or quick solutions. Instead, build enthusiasm and embrace the challenge.

How can you embrace the challenges you will face as you pursue your goals?

Try to deal with reasonable challenges yourself. Don’t hide from them or pay someone else to deal with them. If it is not beyond your capability, you will learn and develop new abilities!

What challenges are you facing right now that you can try to deal with on your own before you bring in “expert” help?

Reframing your thoughts also helps you develop a growth mindset. Reframing often starts with changing the way we think and the questions we ask ourselves.

You can change your perspective on experiencing events, ideas, concepts, or emotions to find the most valuable, positive alternative to move ahead, adapting, and implementing solutions for achieving goals.

Choosing to see a different perspective is essential to problem-solving, decision-making, and new learning.

Remember this affirmation: As I turn my thinking around, I break free in a new direction toward the solution.

Frames

When we shift our thinking or perspective on something, we refer to that new point of view as a “frame.”

Different frames represent varying possibilities for perceiving the same thing in different ways.

When we use frames, they help us interpret the world around us and represent that world to others. Understanding reframing can also give us insight into understanding self-fulfilling prophecies.

Our beliefs unconsciously direct us in our moment-by-moment choices and actions. However, what we believe actually drives our viewpoint and our mindset in every situation.

Self-fulfilling prophecies have been called the “Pygmalion effect,” a term derived from a play that later became the Broadway musical My Fair Lady.

Professor Henry Higgins won a bet to prove his opinion that nurture was more powerful than nature in the story.

To make his case, he located a crude, unrefined young woman named Eliza Doolittle. With his coaching, she transformed from a street urchin to a charming, enchanting beauty.

The fictional story presents how our self-perception, or who we think we are, is a prime basis for how we will experience life.

We behave according to who we believe we should be.

Not only does what we believe about ourselves impact our destiny, what we believe about others affects their behavior, even without their knowledge.

Meaning is found inside reframing, no matter how bad the circumstances might be.

Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II.

She was imprisoned for her actions in a Nazi women’s labor camp along with her sister Betsie. Corrie wrote years later of her conversation with God regarding the condition of their barracks.

The circumstances for the inmates were unimaginable everywhere in the labor camp. Still, Corrie had come to discover that her barracks were the most uninhabitable due to an infestation of fleas.

According to Corrie, she complained to God about fleas when she suddenly realized they kept the correctional officers from entering their barracks.

Because of the fleas, she and Betsie were allowed to lead worship services after the hard days at work, using a Bible they had managed to smuggle in.

The very thing she despised was the thing protecting her ministry.

By reframing problems, you can get closer to the new ideas, solutions, strategies, and resources you need for a breakthrough in your growth.

 

To reframe your thinking is to create a new, positive pathway forward to success intentionally. Reframing is an essential attribute if you want to maximize your leadership.

Reframing lets you change your perspective on how you choose to experience relationships, events, ideas, concepts, or emotions to find a more positive alternative for your purpose of moving ahead, adapting, and implementing solutions.

Your choice to see a different perspective is essential to problem-solving, decision-making, and new learning. It also helps you improve your mental health!

Want to develop your Growth Mindset? Download my free resource packet!

 

 

  1. Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life. New York: Currency (2018).
  2. Carol Dweck, Mindset – Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential. 2017

When you are in your final minutes of life looking back, what do you want to see?

I want to see:

  • A woman who gave it all she had.
  • A woman who loved God absolutely.
  • A wife and mother who nurtured and supported and LOVED.
  • That I followed the path God laid out for me.
  • That I reflected God’s love and purpose to everyone I met and everyone I loved.

 

I had a good start. My parents were loving. They loved God, each other, and their family. We had a happy life. My dad (happy Father’s Day, Dad!) was a warm, affirming father, and mom was ever steady, always ready with the solution to every situation.

Inside our house and church, I felt solid. I felt strong and smart. I was invincible. But as I grew, it didn’t stay that way. Culture affected me.

I was thirteen years old when college and high school students began streaming into San Francisco for the infamous Summer of Love. Living in Southern California heightened the peer pressure to be in the “in crowd.”

My parents accepted a pastorate in the Pacific Northwest, and we moved away from the cultural turmoil. At seventeen, as I graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, my closest girlfriends rushed into unrestricted sexual expression, anti-marriage relationships, and began a lifetime in pursuit of professional career goals outside of the home.

Although my outward appearance suggested I agreed with the popular youth rebellion, I knew I was going to walk into my destiny of spiritual leadership in ministry. And then I met Rich.

I had the strongest impression that if I didn’t marry my youth pastor boyfriend, I would go against God’s plan for my life. Marrying Rich Wilkerson was my surest tether to my spiritual inner voice, but being a wife and functioning inside the church as a pastor in 1973 wasn’t easy.

I knew I had been called to spiritual leadership, but finding a pathway to my goal seemed impossible.

I was struggling, but God was always present, quietly nudging me. My Father in heaven supported me always, just as my earthly father did.

Time brought the births of four sons and the daily routine of caring for children. And then life changed. Our third son, Graham, was stricken with spinal meningitis at six-months-old, and inside that terrible tragedy God volunteered me to become the mother of a handicapped child.

I thought I would explode. Furious with God for letting me down and for not healing Graham the way I requested, I quit praying. My marriage was tested. No matter which direction I tried to go, I felt trapped.

My faith in God went through the wringer.

Denial, begging, and rage became my constant conversation with God.

Why me?
Why did I have to be a mom to a “special need” child?
What have I done to deserve this prison of broken dreams?
How will I ever rise above my circumstances to fulfill the mission God has placed in my heart?

And then one day I realized God, my Heavenly Father, hadn’t abandoned me.

He was there for me as a teen when I fought against the negative effects of an out of control cultural revolution.

He hadn’t abandoned me when he called me to leadership, marriage, and motherhood.

And most of all, He hadn’t tossed me aside when He called me to be the mother of a special needs child.

My Heavenly Father, OUR Heavenly Father, just wanted me to depend on Him. I didn’t have the strength to go on, but He did. I was feeling sorry for myself because all I could see was the “now.” He saw me from those last minutes. He saw a woman who was growing and becoming.

He used every situation in my life to help me grow stronger.

This weekend is Father’s Day. My earthly father is no longer here with us, and I miss him. I miss his hugs, his support, and his quiet certainty about the power and love of God.

While my Dad isn’t here, I’m still surrounded by fathers who love, support, and help their children grow.

Happy Father’s Day to my loving husband, who has always been there for our boys.

Happy Father’s Day to Jonfulton, Rich Jr., and Taylor, who are raising our amazing granddarlings to walk God’s path of growth and purpose. You are such amazing fathers!

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who are serving their families and helping their children navigate life.

And thank you, God, for always being my Heavenly Father.

 


Justice has Been Served

A verdict has been delivered in one of the most watched trails of this decade. I’ve waited along with the rest of our country as evidence was piled on evidence, leaving little doubt that an unarmed man was willfully and painfully killed by another man, an authority figure, who knew better.

Here’s what I know. Violence is part of our world, and it shouldn’t be. Racism is systemic and ugly and it shouldn’t exist. In any form. What should exist is an overpowering love for our fellow humans. That is what Jesus called us to do with our lives. We are to love, serve, and share His love with our fellow humans.

 

A Duty and a Gift

When I was asked to serve as the hostess for George Floyd, I was honored. I was honored to be given the opportunity to help bring a tiny bit of peace to his loved ones and all of those suffering in our country.

Looking back at that moment now, I think the opportunity to serve in the midst of darkness and sorrow was a gift. It opened my eyes, placed me in the middle of the pain, and it’s allowed me to see the trails so many of our brothers and sisters face every day.

Up until the moment that jury came back with a verdict, much of the turmoil surrounding Mr. Floyd’s death was political. Pundits talked on the news and talk shows about the “realities” of racism and the need to defund, give more money to, train better, or empower our police forces. So many opinions, but none talked about the need to love our fellow citizens.

 

Judgment

The men and women who served on that jury had to set aside the opinions and give a decision based on evidence. That’s what each of us will face at the end of our lives. We will stand before our Lord and He will open the Book of Judgment and give an accounting of the evidence of how we’ve lived our lives.

He won’t judge us on popular opinions, like the pundits. He won’t judge us on what we intended to do, like we might hope. He’s not going to judge us by who we knew. He is going to judge us on the evidence.

 

Did we follow His commandments?

Did we LOVE others?

Did we SERVE others?

Were we leaders when we were called to lead?

Did we follow faithfully?

Did we LOVE others?

Where our hearts pure?

Did our thoughts stay focused on Him?

Did we stand up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves?

Did we LOVE others?

 

Those men and women made a decision based on evidence, and that decision wasn’t made in malice. They made a decision for what is right. They made a decision against violence and hate and murder.

They didn’t malign the police force. They supported positive policing by agreeing with the evidence given by the police. They stood up and said murder is wrong. Abusing authority is wrong. Killing a man because you don’t like him, or because he is the “wrong” color is not going to be permitted!

They gathered together and gave the judgment they felt was right based on the evidence. And it was a judgement that brought tears of relief to eyes around the country. Justice has been served.

 

Moving Forward

Now we need to move forward. We need to LOVE one another. We need to serve one another. And we need to change our culture to one that encourages love instead of hate, peace instead of violence, and harmony instead of discord.

That will look different for each of us. As we move toward true equality and justice in our country, LOVE is what we need. We need to LOVE our brothers and sisters, our fellow humans, and all of God’s creation.

 

 

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)

Do you remember the story of Esther? It kind of has the feel of a fairy tale, doesn’t it? And like most fairy tales, it contains the Divine secrets of transformation inside the life and death story. God used the most unlikely girl to save His people from genocide. She could overcome life’s challenges because of His blessing and guidance.

Today, I want to encourage you with her story. Just as in Esther’s story, (1) your fate will be like that of the rest of the crowd, (2) God can and will replace you with someone else, (3) you could lose more than an opportunity, and (4) you might miss out on your mission in life. Let me explain.

First, your fate will be like that of the rest of the crowd. I know we all want to believe we are special and won’t have to take the risks of the generations before us. Sorry, friend, but that is a myth. If we aren’t willing to take risks, we can never expect to rise to the occasion. In Esther’s story, she was given the opportunity to intercede on behalf of her people. Mordecai reminded Esther that even though she was queen, she would fare no better than the rest of the Jews if she didn’t step forward and do what she was called to do.

Second, God will replace you with someone else if you don’t seize the opportunity. Vashti’s place was given to another (Esther). Mordecai reminded Esther that if she sat back and did nothing, GOD would accomplish His purposes with or without her. He wanted her to understand that if you are sitting on gifts, or opportunities, that God intends to be used for HIS purposes in the lives of those around you – and if you don’t use them for His purposes, God will get it done without you. When that happens, your sense of destiny will sit on the shelf. It’s possible that you will live and DIE and never fulfill your purpose, and never really experience happiness.

Third, you could lose more than just an opportunity. Esther could have lost more than a chance to do the right thing. The situation was so dire that she could have lost her life.  Although doing the right thing at the right time can seem risky, in the long run you will incur a greater risk by DOING NOTHING.

Finally, you could miss out on your mission in life. Mordecai speculated that if Esther failed to act on behalf of her people, she might miss out on God’s purpose for her life. You will never accomplish your mission by remaining idle.

God worked through one young woman to save the Jewish people from total annihilation.

In Esther’s situation, PREPARATION met OPPORTUNITY. She prepared for over a year for her opportunity to be queen. And it could have stopped there. She could have lived her life as a queen and turned her back on her people. Although that would likely have resulted in her death. Instead, she was blessed with success. SUCCESS happens when PREPARATION meets POTENTIAL. Never underestimate the potential of one encounter!

So are you willing to risk the good so you can reap the BEST? The key is to prepare, so that when you meet opportunity and potential, you too can have SUCCESS!

You can’t hide your attitude. It is the chief part of you that the world sees. And it alters not only their perception of you but also your perception of yourself. The state of your spirit and mind influences your choices and determines your words and your actions.

Attitude is tangible, friend. It’s real, and it matters. We may not control all of our life circumstances, but we can control our attitudes and how we react to our situations. I’m not sure about you, but the Covid-19 pandemic has forced me to do some attitude reevaluation. Sometimes several times a day. This world we are living in right now is tough! So how do we deal with it and our attitudes?

God has given us the ability to stand outside of ourselves and test our thoughts. Isn’t that a blessing?! You and I can stand on God’s Word to capture toxic thoughts, and then we can counteract them with godly wisdom.

We can’t change yesterday. It’s over. We can’t undo the mistakes, disappointments, and failures. That includes both our mistakes and the failures of others. We don’t get a do over. It’s gone. But, if we allow the pain of yesterday to spill into our today, we poison our potential for positive forward results in our lives. And I know you want positive forward results, just like I do!

We all deal with challenges and difficulties, often daily. It’s exhausting to navigate the stormy waters of life, but I want to encourage you right now—you aren’t in your boat alone! Nothing is more overwhelming than believing all the challenges of life are your responsibility. Want to know a secret? Well, it’s not really a secret at all. Our problems, struggles, and challenges all belong to God.

God loves you and is fully aware of every circumstance you are facing right now. Your choice is to trust yourself or to trust Him.

Trust YOURSELF or Trust IN GOD. Which are you going to choose?

When you trust God, it doesn’t release you from responsibilities or obligations; it means you aren’t facing those decisions alone. Today, you can stop carrying your load all by yourself. Go to the Lord and ask Him to take control. You may need to be patient, but He is always faithful. And while He is taking care of the hard stuff, you can make sure your attitude is right.

Try saying these verses, filling your name into the blank, as you take a closer at your attitude and who you are depending on:

  • I praise you because I (_____________) am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Ps. 139:14)
  • Do you not know that your body (_____________) is a house of God where the Holy Spirit lives? God gave you His Holy Spirit. Now you belong to God. You do not belong to yourselves. God bought you with a great price. So (_____________) honor God with your body. You belong to Him. (1 Cor. 6:19–20)
  • He fills my (_____________) life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles! (Ps. 103:5, NLT)
  • The LORD your God is with you ( _____________). He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you (____________), renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy. (Zeph. 3:17, GW)
  • God makes his people strong (_____________). God gives his people peace. (Ps. 29:11, MSG)

I like to think there’s a sea in all of us. Your internal mental world, which we can correlate to an ocean, is the deep, wonderfully rich composite of you, filled with your thoughts, feelings, memories, dreams, hopes, and desires.

However, it can also be filled with storms of inadequacy, insecurity, regrets, fears, disappointment, and hopelessness. We’ve all felt this inner sea crash in on us, threatening to drown our future. So how do we prevent these negatives from becoming our reality? We change your lives, one thought at a time.

“Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], and your plan will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].” (Proverbs 16:3, AMP)

Thoughts are things, and they will become our reality. When we decide to change our lives, we have to first change our reality.

One of the most powerful abilities God granted to us is the ability to choose our thoughts and think things on purpose. You and I don’t have to think about whatever falls into our minds. This is a life-changing revelation! Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) tells us, “As [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he.” I say it like this: Where the mind goes, your life will follow.

If we don’t learn how to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4–5), we won’t live the life Jesus died to give us. Jesus offers a life of peace with God, peace with ourselves, great relationships, genuine joy, and the ability to become everything God created us to be. It comes down to choosing to believe what God says (the truth) more than we believe our feelings, what other people say, or our circumstances.

So how do we embrace that truth and accept the peace God offers us? The Bible talks about three actions we must take to gain a mind that comes to an agreement with God.

1. “Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things]” (Col. 3:2, AMP). Before we get into a situation where we must make a choice, we must decide in advance where our intention is focused. For instance, before you get into social situations, decide, “I will not gossip. I will not ruin someone’s reputation and offend the Holy Spirit.” Other situations may require you to decide things like, “I will not use language that is toxic today.” Or “I will not waste time on selfish arguments.” Alternatively, “I will not hang out with people who are destructive influences.” We must make a positive decision before we encounter the negative.

2. “Do not be conformed to this world … but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2, AMP). Renewing the mind is a constant process. We must take time every day to study God’s Word so we can intentionally think according to what it says. No one is perfect with this, but we need to make progress so we can keep our minds renewed and can grow in our relationship with God.

3. “Gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Peter 1:13, NKIV). This is old-fashioned terminology, and you might wonder what the writer meant. He was saying that we need to get all the trash out of our minds so we can keep “running our race” in Christ Jesus. God intends for you to win the race you are running for Him, as the first-place winner! By clearing out our minds, we are ready for action to follow God’s plan for our lives.

Commit to set your mind on God’s Word, renewing your mind with truth and getting what I call “stinkin’ thinkin’” out of your way. Yes, it might take a little time, but as you continue forward, you’ll start to enjoy the life God is offering you today. All it takes is a little more progress, one day at a time. The first step to understanding how to control your thoughts is to learn how your brain functions.

At the beginning of the year we focused on our vision and goals for the year. Little did we know what the year had in store for us! I’ll be honest and say some of my goals have suffered because of this pandemic. Others have moved full ahead. How about you? Have you done a review of your goals and your progress?

Goals are not a set-it and forget-it thing. They have to be managed and periodically reviewed. We have to tend to our goals if we want to make progress.

It doesn’t work to set goals and then not look at them again until the end of the year. Goals, just like our relationships and faith, are organic, evolving, and ever-growing. If we ignore our goals, they become meaningless words or dreams that never come true.

So what now? What do you do to get your goals back on track?

First you need a plan. Map out action steps to help you reach your goals. Whatever planning system you use, be sure to map out how you are going to reach that goal.

Second, set aside time in your schedule to review your goals and progress on a regular basis. Some goals may change or need to go away entirely due to life changes. Some become more important and should be moved to the top of your to-do list. Focus on the big picture and what you are trying to achieve and it will help you keep sight of what matters.

Finally, track your progress. Keep track in a way that allows you to visually see that you are moving toward an end result and getting closer to achieving your goal. Visualization is such a powerful tool!

So let’s take a few minutes to do a goal check-in right now. And remember, Don’t let an irrelevant or outdated goal prevent you from making progress. Don’t abandon your goals altogether because things have changed and the goal no longer makes sense.

What do you do instead? Purge!

Just like you would purge your closet of clothes that no longer fit, if a goal no longer makes sense update it or delete it! If you get rid of one goal, replace it with a new goal that will keep you moving toward your best life. You’ve got this!

Need a God boost? Say these affirmation scriptures each day. Just add your name where the blank is!

Be careful how you think ( _________ ); your life is shaped by your thoughts. (Prov. 4:23, GNT)

My thoughts will be clear; I ( _________ ) will speak words of wisdom. (Ps. 49:3, GNT)

I ( _________ ) can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13, ESV)

( _________ ) Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you ( _________ ) belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. (Phil. 4:6–7, CEV)

We are carrying enormous loads at home and in the workplace. The coronavirus isn’t making it any easier. Life takes a toll on every single one of us. Stressed, tired, and rushed has become the description of life in our country. So many of us are totally exhausted, have too much to do, and have too little time.

Here’s what I want you to take away from this article today: you are body, mind, and spirit. Your family, your life, your work, it will all come to a grinding halt unless you discover your key to sustainable renewable energy. You need to restore, release, and recharge.

First, you must rethink the concept of balance between your personal/home schedules and your professional life. Most people tend to assume that being out of balance is the cause of energy issues because conventional wisdom says home time is restorative and work time is draining. In reality things aren’t so black and white. And we know that truth more perfectly now as most of us have been home for months!

The wrong kind of home time can be crippling. Think of endless diapers, screaming teenagers, empty refrigerators, piles of laundry, or a needy spouse. You experience a teeter-totter of energy ups and downs in every part of your life whether at home or work.

So how do you find your restore, release, and recharge?

First, let go of the mindset that you can reach a constant state of total control. Only God can initiate perfect balance. Give Him your schedule and commit your home time and your work time to Him. He can expand and balance what you will never be able to stabilize. He alone can restore you.

Next, replace your vision with a new plan of managing your energy flow inside the framework of what is important to you—at the time. By reframing the challenge this way, you are replacing an unsolvable problem (sustaining a work/life equilibrium state) with a big payoff: never running your energy batteries on empty. Release your iron grasp on the details and focus on doing what brings you joy.

Next, take time to recharge. Read scripture, worship God, listen to music, take a walk or a bubble bath, do something to recharge your body, mind, and spirit. I take a walk every day. I do it to stay healthy, to see something other than the walls of my house, and to recharge myself.

What are you going to do to restore, release, and recharge?

We are created by God to live in relationship, both with Him and with others. What an amazing blessing He has given us! That blessing, our relationships, comes to fruition when we make and maintain loving connections with others.

God created us to be in community with others. We are a community of believers. Part of the family of God. We are created as His children to be in relationship with Him and with those around us. Even the introverts among us!

Part of being a community is connecting with others. And connecting with PURPOSE can propel you to a better future. It’s actually more important than you might realize. Studies show that loneliness increases an individual’s risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, cognitive problems, and other health issues.

But what do I mean by connecting? Connecting is a range of activities that focus on creating and sustaining connections with others.

That sounds technical, but it can be boiled down to focusing on others as you communicate with them. This might happen through active listening, empathy, compassion, shared activities, through your leadership, or through reaching out to the other person.

Sound familiar? None of us operates alone. You need that connection with others if you want to live your life to the fullest. The act of connecting links you to others. What you need are specific actions you can take to ensure connectivity happens!

An attitude of servant leadership is the first thing you need to enhance and improve your ability to connect with others in a constructive, purposeful, and meaningful way. When you purposefully become a servant leader, the focus of your life shifts to the development of altruism, emotional healing, wisdom, support, and stewardship.

This foundation facilitates empowerment and capability development, leading to a sense of community and an alignment of goals within your family, your close friend circles, in your workplace, and even in your new relationships.

Life isn’t an individualistic pursuit! You are taking part in an interactive process involving hands-on action, and you must attempt to include all participants. Communicating, listening, integrating viewpoints, taking action, and building trust are all critical to your success and your personal growth.

So are you ready to accept your role as a servant leader to meet the needs of those around you? If you are, you will connect with others more deeply than you could have imagined! Start with this personal affirmation:

“What I make happen for others, God will make happen for me!”