Meeting Your Needs

These are uncertain times for sure. There is global unrest and the U.S. election isn’t making anyone feel great about the future. How have these past few years been for you? My guess is that they’ve been tough. If you think about it though, you have been provided for in some way. Paychecks have been flat for a few years, hours are still reduced or there’s been no overtime to supply the extra buffer of cash you counted on but you have still been provided for. It’s hard to think positively about positively when the past few years have been a struggle.

Think about what makes you happy at home and at work and focus on those things. Many people have “re-invented” themselves these past few years when a job loss forced it. What do you want to do? Is there something that you’ve always dreamed of doing? Now may be the time to do it. The world that we knew has changed and doors are being opened for people in a lot of unusual ways, they just don’t see it. Leaders should be finding ways to open doors for their people. We should be seeking opportunities to expand our experiences by offering to help our bosses with their projects. If you feel “stuck” in your job with no hope, look outside of current position for a new future. They say it’s always easier to find a job when you have one. If you are without one or are “underemployed”, follow your passion!

“…God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

So many people think that they are in control of their destiny and that if THEY don’t do things it won’t happen. As Jesus would say “Those Fools!” God has said throughout the bible that He has the plans and that they are not for us to know. He also promises to meet all of our needs and this verse from Paul is another reminder. He reminds the Philippians that God will meet their needs. What God doesn’t promise is that he’ll meet the needs that WE desire.

We have to remember that what we need to sustain us here in this life is NOT the same as what we need to sustain ourselves for eternity. Paul reminds the Philippians (and us) that we need the riches of Christ Jesus, our savior. God wants us to be happy in this life and he wants us to keep our focus on Him, not our happiness. If you are down about the current situation in your life, send your cares to God through prayer. He didn’t finish His work when He raised up Jesus from death; He was just beginning His work. He continues to tell us where to focus our lives. Live to His glory and He will meet all of your needs.

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A New Attitude

A positive attitude can get you through just about anything. It seems like every time I turn around, someone is being diagnosed with an illness or cancer. I’m getting older so this must obviously be the next chapter of life. When it’s not us getting the news, our typical response is often, “glad it’s not me”. But what happens when it is you? Your attitude can drive a significant portion of your treatment and recovery. I had a dear friend who, when diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, told her doctor that they better the surgery scheduled soon because she had a trip planned in less than six months.

The oncologist sheepishly told her that perhaps she would need to reschedule the trip. She wouldn’t hear of it, had the surgery, the radiation and went on her trip that year and every year afterward for almost 10 years. How do we create positive attitudes when work is just getting us down? We are in control of our attitude; we just have to want to be positive. It is easy to focus on the inconsiderate co-workers, the boss who won’t let up, the long commute or whatever is affecting your attitude. Turn it around. What can you learn from these circumstances? If you are a leader or manager, you must ensure that you are not the cause of distress for others. Today, workers need specialized attention, not a one for all fix. The bottom line is, your attitude is yours – own it.

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider; God has made the one as well as the other…” Ecclesiastes 7:14

It is important for us to remember that God made both the good and the bad times. Why? We might not ever find out but we are reminded throughout the bible that God has a plan for us. He never promised a smooth path or guaranteed happiness along the way. He puts obstacles in our path and he opens doors; both to help us grow. The unexpected check that arrives in the mail or the car accident on the way to work, we can grow from both experiences.

How we deal with them is our choice. We can turn away and blame God or we can search harder for an understanding to His plan. Sometimes the plan reveals itself right a way, sometimes it’s year and sometimes we will never know. This is why this verse is such sage advice; consider that God has made both the good and the bad. We make our attitudes by choosing to be happy or sad. We choose how to react to life’s events but we aren’t alone. The bible has been filled with suggestions for us to use to “fix” our attitudes. Do you know where to find your next attitude adjustment?

A gift from God

Happy Labor Day! This is the day that usually marks the end of summer for most of the United States, except in Arizona. We will continue to have summer weather for at least the next 45 days. The forecasted high for today is 107 but dropping to 104 by Friday. We are celebrating the holiday weekend, never the less, with a traditional barbeque and an extra day to just hang out. For us, that usually means more homework or getting to the things that we didn’t do all weekend – they don’t call it Labor Day for nothing! While it’s easy to complain about the extra work around the house, this holiday does represent a celebration of us, the workers of the world. We are given the opportunity to use our talents, skills and abilities to make a difference for someone. In exchange, we are paid for our work. Granted, some are paid more than others but we are able to provide for ourselves. Each of us has special talents that we can use to make a difference for someone. Restaurant staffs make a difference for their customers, accountants provide a service and peace of mind to their clients, the grocery clerk who bags our purchase and so on; everyone makes a difference. If you think your labor is a waste, stop and consider whom you make a difference for. We all have our specific jobs, at this specific time and for a specific reason that we simply don’t understand. So what should we do? I’d suggest that you enjoy your time and learn how you make a difference in everything you do. The word LABOR means that it is supposed to be hard but it doesn’t mean that it is without purpose. Enjoy the holiday and look forward to the changing seasons that are coming – even to us in Arizona.

“Moreover, when God gives a man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work- this is a gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19

I’m reminded of the old expression “a gift from God” with this verse. Our human nature is to think that we’re responsible for all the things that we’ve done. “It was me who…” is how we start our sentences when describing an accomplishment. We often think of ourselves when it’s something great but we blame God when its something less desirable. Why did God give me this disease? Why did God let me get fired from my job? We forget that God gives us ALL things; the good and the bad. He put the right people in our lives so that we met the manager who was looking for a new employee and we landed that awesome new job. God gives us what we can handle – not too little and not too much. God also wants us to be happy with what He has given us. He doesn’t want us being envious of the new car that our neighbor just got. He doesn’t want us to be angry when we are passed over for promotion. He wants us to accept what we have (be content) and be happy. It is ALL a gift from God and that is something to be thankful for. Everything, good and bad, is a gift from God. We are supposed to learn from the bad and model God’s grace for others. We are supposed to share the good with others too. God loves a cheerful giver but it’s not always money we need to give. God has blessed each of with talents and those should be shared too. Work should be less about labor and more about celebrating the gift of opportunity from God. Go out and continue to make a difference.

Happiness

Being happy at work is important to your physical and mental health. Studies show that people who are “happy” have less stress in their lives and that has a direct correlation to one’s health. While we cannot always control the events that happen to us, we can always control how we react to them. The saying “make lemonade out of lemons” wasn’t coined because people were thirsty. Leaders have two responsibilities – be happy and ensure happiness. Leaders can ensure happiness by helping employees meet their personal and professional goals. Employees who are satisfied at work, achieving goals and being recognized for their efforts tend to be happier. Organizations will benefit from productive employees and satisfied customers. A leader’s attitude is contagious. Some leaders will “put on a happy face” but people can tell when it’s genuine or just for show. Leaders need to focus on their own goals, a project that they are passionate about or simply finding joy in leading others. Whatever the cause, find joy in all you do, it is a gift from God.

“Moreover, when God gives a man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19

We are always giving thanks in our house because we can see God’s blessings everywhere. God can bless you with wealth, possessions, a good job or in some cases simply a job, happiness, etc but have you ever considered them a gift of God? God wants us to be happy in our lives. It doesn’t mean that He will order events in such a way that we will never suffer or feel down. There are enough times in our lives for suffering or feeling down, so when God has gives us “gifts” we should be thankful, enjoy them and be happy. When God gives us troubles, we should accept them too. God is at work in every part of our lives, the good and the bad. We don’t possess the capacity to understand the meaning behind what is happening; we just need learn how to react to them. We should be happy in all we do, remembering that they are all gifts from God and that can’t be a bad thing.