- God hears you.
- Change is hard.
- Change hurts.
- A restless spirit abounds, and you are no longer comfortable doing and living the old way.
- When you attempt to live the old way, agitation sets in and you consider, “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into fresh bottles, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:17 ASV).
- Desires of your heart changes; what you once wanted—relationships and things— no longer seems desirable or appealing.
- Continually pray; change is hard; change hurts.
- Two steps forward, one step backwards. Change takes time.
- Change feels good.
- You can’t believe you were that person, who did those things, said those words, believed the hype.
- When you think someone needs to change, it’s usually you that needs to change.
- Even when you love someone, sometimes you have to let him or her go; this is a result of change.
- God wants complete obedience, not hollow obedience.
- The Holy Spirit connects the Family of God on all corners of the earth.
- Walking by faith means you will fall and stumble and make bad choices; if you trust God, when he picks you up your vision will be clearer and you will stumble less and grow stronger.
- When you trust God, He will request the unreasonable, despite the consequences. Here you must return to # 3.
- You can’t have a relationship with God if you don’t spend time with Him in worship, read His Word, pray, fellowship with his people. Let’s face it; you can’t have a healthy relationship with anyone if you don’t spend time with him or her.
- Not everyone wants to hear about God and his goodness, so you must heed Jesus’s advice “…quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way; in other words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet” (Matthew 10:12-14 NIV and The Message).
- God is waiting for us, all we have to do: ask, seek & knock. Perhaps, a glance at #3, 6, and 7.
- You can’t embark on the faithwalk without adversity and suffering. God is testing us. Do we only love Him when it’s all good and rosy? Do we scowl and pout, turn our back when stuff gets tough and makes us uncomfortable?
- Be thankful for everything.
- Wake up everyday and look for the smallest miracles; be grateful. Thank God for the ups and the downs.
As iron sharpens iron, so one habit sharpens another.
At the end of the day, I think: did I complete the most important things on my list? And I’m a list-maker, one of those people who keep multiple lists for everything—next action, calls, errands, someday/maybe, read/review, projects, and so on.
Despite my lists and what I’ve actually accomplished during the day, what I know for sure is that I rolled out of bed, showered, worked—at home and/ or on campus—ate at least five meals, and then returned to bed for another six to eight hours sleep. All to wake up again the next morning and repeat the process while asking myself, “Did I get it all done?”
When my days seem futile, I focus on Stephen Covey’ s seventh habit for highly effective people, Sharpen the Saw, to help me preserve and improve my greatest asset.
According to Covey, to Sharpen the Saw “means to have a balanced program for self-renewal in four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Interpersonal: Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or meditation
So, at the end of the day, instead of crossing off items on my list, I ask: Did I Sharpen my Saw?
Physical: I completed some form of exercise, whether on the treadmill, walking through the mall, up and down steps, or moving around the classroom or cleaning my apartment for at least thirty minutes.
Social/Emotional: I called my mother, touched based with my daughters, spoke to my best friend, attended an event, networked, and tweeted or liked a Facebook status.
Mental: For me teaching and writing go hand in hand; therefore, I cannot teach without learning, learn with reading, read without writing. Seems as though, I’m constantly honing this area of my life.
Spiritual: If I didn’t attend regular worship service and bible study, this area of my life would fall flat. I can’t just read a devotion or Bible verse, often times I have to meditate on it, like a cow I’m repeatedly regurgitating and re-chewing spiritual nutrients. My spiritual life is in a state of progress and process.
Frequently, these areas of my life overlap. Like when I’m walking on the treadmill, listening to music and reading. Or when I’m mediating on a scripture, then write it down as a prayer in my journal, and have the opportunity to talk about it with someone else.
And this Sharpen the Saw habit keeps me grounded, so when my head hits the pillow, I know my day was productive.