Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
While we all are wishing and hopefully working towards a great 2019, truth is, 2019 may not be your “best year yet”. I hope and will do all I can to make it my “best year yet”, but I  also find encouragement in this quote – “don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough”.

I don’t know yet if 2019 will be my “best year yet” yet, but I do know I will be better. There are things that will happen that are out of our control and will shape our year, but with the things I can control, I will be better. Perfect, no but better. I will strive towards progress, not the unattainable goal of perfection.

If 2019 is NOT my “best year yet”, it will not be due to lack of effort.

I’m glad God didn’t answer my Prayers!

Have you ever wanted to ask God if He’s listening? Yeah, me too! I have a lot of prayers that seem to be “out there” floating around. It’s easy to get discouraged in our prayer life. When we were children, we would ask our parents for all types of things and we would normally get a response, if not immediately, definitely by the second or third time we asked. Sometimes we didn’t like the answer but at least we got it. Sometimes we had to do some extra chores to get what we wanted but at least we knew! Why can’t God be more like that?!

If I think about some of my “unanswered” prayers that are somewhere out there, I would love to pull them back down! If some of my old “unanswered” prayers were answered the way I wanted them to be when I prayed them, I’d be in a mess now.

I have often heard that God answers our prayers in three ways –

A. Yes

B. Not Yet

C. I have something even better for you

I can easily relate to these three response. God has said yes to many of my prayers, God has said Yes to my prayers but has made me wait for them and God has certainty given me “better” than what I have prayed in many situations.

Thinking back now, I am so thankful for these answers and that He knew/knows what I wanted/needed even more than I did/do.

Even so, it’s still easy to sometimes get weary in our prayer life.

Last night, we watched the movie, “An interview with God”.  Not only did we both manage to stay awake for the entirety, we both thought it was great, which equals 4 stars in our book! The movie touched on prayer, free will, why bad things happen to good people and the purpose of life among other topics. There was one line at the end that really caught my attention and I’ll need to paraphrase since my google search has come up unsuccessful. Paul the journalist that interviewed God but had kind of lost his way said, ” I still prayed, but maybe I stopped listening, maybe I stopped looking”.  This seemingly was in response to something God said earlier, which was “Maybe you’re the miracle”.

I encourage you to keep praying, pray even more and not to get weary in the waiting. Maybe you’re going to get exactly what you want, but He’s still putting those pieces together. Maybe you wont get what you have been praying for, maybe He’s setting up something even better!

I am thankful for answered prayers and thankful for the “even better’s” I have received and I trust that He is working everything else out for my good too!

Ask, seek, knock

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

– Matthew 7: 7-12 NIV

Having recently stepped into the “step-dad” role, I’ve realized a few things.

Kids are not very vague. Sure, they may beat around the bush a little bit in the beginning but after a minute or two, you know exactly why they are standing in front of you. They aren’t afraid to ask for what they want either, whether it’s material things or they need a ride to a friends house. They know what they want and they know when they want it. And if your initial response is “no”, they keep asking till you break!

No, I don’t really feel like getting dressed and driving you across town on a Friday evening but seeing the smiles and hearing the “thank you, thank you, thank you’s” makes it worth it and reminds me that I’ll be doing it several more times next week.

Knowing how that makes me feel, I can’t read Matthew 7 the same way I’ve read it so many times in the past. I want nothing for the best for our kids, I want to see them happy, I want to do for them.

How much more does God want to bless us, His children?

Maybe I have some unanswered prayers because I was too vague or not consistent enough? Maybe some of my prayers was like seeing that new toy in a commercial, when your child asks for it because it looks fun, but once the commercial ends they never mention it again. When that happens, I’m happy I saved the $50 and was able to save that for something they really want/need.

Praying should just be reciting THAT days wish list.

God wants to bless us, but just like parents, He’s not going to grant us every wish that crosses our mind.

When you really want something you’ll ask for it and keep asking. You’ll seek it and you will knock.

He knows our hearts desires, but He wants us to ask, He wants us to pray specifically.

He wants to reveal His will & ways, but He wants us to seek them out.

He wants to open doors for us, but He wants us to co-labor with Him and help ourselves get in-front of that door and to knock.

Ask and keep asking, seek and keep seeking, knock and keep knocking!
He’s a good good Father!

Marathon 2019!

At the time of this post, there are only 26 days remaining in 2018. Which also means we are just weeks or maybe even days away from beginning to hear all the grand New Year resolutions!

“New Year, New Me!”

I’m all for resolutions & goals and what better time to set them then at the turn of the year? You have a new wall calendar, a new daily planner and a fresh start, an empty palette.

What I have learned in the second half of my 42 years here is that life is a marathon, not a sprint. While it would be great to be able to accomplish all your goals in 2019, if you have $200k in debt and are carrying an extra 100 lbs, you may want to avoid the “sprint” approach.

Yes, a marathon is longer and may not have the instant gratification that the sprint brings, but have you ever experienced the joy of checking off a few realistic goals each month? Too often, we set unrealistic goal for ourselves and when we don’t achieve them, we end up throwing in the towel and giving up completely, rather than continuing to chip away.

If you have $200k in debt today, see how $196k feels in 3 months. Maybe in 3 months you won’t be a size 6, but you also won’t be a size 18 anymore either. Maybe you can’t conquer the mountain in just 12 months, maybe you’ll need 2 or 4 years to reach that goal but you can be closer in 6 weeks from now than you are today!

 “Thin-slice” your goals and create an avalanche from the small wins.

I use a 12 week annual strategic plan which I learned from my mentor, Dr. Kevin Hahn. It consists of a master plan for the year, broken down into a 12 week action plan and reviewed & adjusted every Sunday evening.

I list all my goals, the major goals that require hard work and even the smaller goals like taking my wife on more dates. I love our dates but I also love her home cooking every night so I have to set reminders to treat her more often.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. If your trying to break a bad habit, chances are they weren’t instantly created, so don’t be so hard on yourself if they are aren’t instantly broken by January 2nd… just keep at it!

“…And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1b NLT

Happy Thanksgiving!

I feel like a bit of a cheat this week. While Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for years now, filled with the greatest memories of family and Barry (Sanders), this year I have an unfair advantage.  I’m 2 days shy of being married for 2 weeks, to my soul mate. I’m on the mountain top of life now and while there are plenty of things that could be better, plenty of hopes, dreams, prayers that I am still “actively” waiting on, it would be “work” for me to find the negatives in my life now. There are plenty of areas I need to improve on, and I am. My life isn’t perfect, although on Thanksgiving especially, it seems pretty close right now.

I think about my life shift from 6 years ago, and even from one year ago and I have great anticipation for this year coming.

“I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.” – Joyce Meyer