Chill a little

Self-discipline is a funny thing. In one way it makes us stronger and more focused than someone without it but in another, it makes us so determined that we lose the ability to see the simple things around us. It also has the ability to force us to do things that we might otherwise, simply blow-off. I’ve been pretty self-disciplined my whole life; I had goals to reach and found ways to complete them. When one road was blocked, I found a path that would lead me to another road headed in the direction that I wanted to go. This type of drive can become consuming and before you know it, you aren’t paying attention to the things that are changing around you. My son is often reminding me to “just relax and chill a little”.

He is often right but I still have trouble getting my head around his happy-go-lucky life; I do need to chill out a little bit. Between my re-election campaign being in full swing, my travel schedule, my special projects and, work demands I could use a little less drive and a little more chill. Self-discipline won’t let us ignore the commitments that we’ve made, nor should we. However, it should also teach us to balance ourselves and take time for ourselves and each other. Look around the world at the top athletes and you will see very self-disciplined people. You will also see people so absorbed in themselves that they lose sight of the things that matter most. Stay balanced!

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

God never intended for us to be timid; He wants us to be bold and social. We are supposed to be sharing God’s word with a world that needs salvation and we can’t do that when we sit quietly by ourselves. God’s Spirit gives us power and love to be there for other people or to openly share God’s message. We should have the confidence to stand tall in the face of all adversity because God has given us the strength to do it. No matter what is before you, you have the power of God’s spirit by your side. When you are troubled, turn to God for strength to knock those troubles down.

God’s love for you will protect you and He is always there for you. One part of self-discipline is that we remember to do what God has asked of us too. We may be driven in this life, have great goals for our careers, and can even pave new roads to success but if we are not disciplined to be faithful to God by growing and sharing in His love, what is the use? God says to us “chill a little” on those earthly wants and needs and give Me a little time. Learn what God has in mind for us, learn what love really is and learn what real self-discipline is by knowing how Jesus gave His life for us. He could have changed course when things got bad or quit when He found out that He was to die. Jesus had the self-discipline to stay the course that God had chosen for Him. God isn’t asking much of us, just a little time with Him and less in this world. Go chill with God.

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True Friends

We have a sign in our home office under a photo collection that reads “A good friend will come and bail you out of jail…But a true friend will be sitting next to you saying ‘Damn that was fun!’” The photo collection that it sits under is of friends that we have traveled with and watching each others kids grow up; they are our life long friends that we have known for 15 years but we live 2800 miles apart. We have always been able to pick up the phone and call one another just to hear a friendly voice when we get down, to share troubles with a sympathetic listener or to celebrate exciting news. They are True Friends. To have such a blessing is unusual – I think, and I am grateful for their friendship. Who stands by you when you need it? For us married men, it’s usually our wives at the top of that list (if you’re smart anyway). Lisa and I will be celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary this week and she has stood by me every day(9855+ days). We joke about what a great team we are when it comes to getting things done around the house or dealing with the kids but the real teamwork we share is working to be True Friends for each other. No matter what, we support and love each other every day, not because we have to but because we want to. I have had a number of professional opportunities come my way throughout the past 27 years, and she has supported every one of them. She’s changed states twice, we’ve lived in four apartments and five houses over the years and she continues to support me today as my number one cheerleader and encourager. While it’s highly unlikely, I know that if I found myself in jail, she would be sitting right next to me and we’d be laughing at the fun we had. To my True Friend, Happy Anniversary!

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…”

We have all heard people say or we have said ourselves “God has a plan for you”. Some believe that the circumstances in their lives are merely chance happenings and that God doesn’t get into those details of their life or worse yet, that there isn’t a God doing anything. God does have a plan but as I’ve said before, it’s on His timeline not ours. A day or a year in God’s eye is not the same as an earthly one. Many of you will agree that “this life” is complicated and filled with all kinds of problems and trials. Can this really be part of God’s plan? It sure can be! God will only give us what we can handle and He wants us to grow in our faith and in our lives. We cannot grow if we are not challenged. The baby who first learns to walk is then challenged by climbing stairs, and again climbing down them before walking down. These are all challenges (ups and downs) and they exist in our lives but on a different scale. God wants us to grow! Like parents who help their baby take those first steps, He is there with us holding our hands for balance. As things get harder and the waters of our lives turn into rivers, He will be there so you are not swept away. God’s grace and love are with you everyday, sometimes you need to simply stop and realize it. Like the friend sitting with you laughing, God is always there – a True Friend. Thank Him for His care and presence in your life.