Category Archives: Motivation

Change

Change Requires Making Choices 

It’s not enough to want to change. It’s not enough to desire to change. It’s not even enough to say, “I have a dream of changing.” Dreams are worthless unless you wake up and actually act on them. You’re not going to change the defects in your life until you choose to change. 

How are you going to be different in six months? Are you going to be emotionally stronger? Are you going to be mentally sharper? Are you going to be physically healthier? Are you going to be spiritually deeper? 

It isn’t going to happen automatically. You aren’t just going to get healthier by accident in any category of your life. A lot of times we think we’re waiting on God to change us. You’re not waiting on God. God is waiting on you. 

There is no growth in your life without change. And there is no change without loss. You’ve got to let go of some old stuff. And there is no loss without pain. 

Some of you are stuck right now because you haven’t learned how to let go. That’s a choice. (Ephesians 4:22)


You might say that your defects are biological or sociological. Some of them are from your circumstances or your chromosomes. But it doesn’t really matter where they come from. You need to deal with it. Genetics explains your inclinations, but it doesn’t excuse your sin. 

Here’s the good news: Once you become a believer, you have a new power in you that is greater than those old tendencies. That power is the Holy Spirit. 

Does that mean you are supposed to be afraid of God? Of course not! Be afraid that you’ll miss God’s best and waste your life. Be afraid that you will go your entire life and never know God’s purpose. 

The secret to changing your life is not willpower. It’s God giving you the will and the power through the Holy Spirit to do what needs to be done. 

This devotional © 2014 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Hope in the Darkness

But the Lord was still faithful.

Habakkuk gives us three little words that we can cling to when it appears that God has not delivered on what he promised. No matter what you might be going through, never let go of these words.

If you want to be able to grow closer to God—no matter what—then these are the three words you need to remember on your journey toward intimacy and ultimate trust and faith in him:

But the Lord . . .”

You’ll find these words in Habakkuk 2:20, where the prophet, after acknowledging that he still doesn’t like what’s going on, says, “But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him” (NLT, emphasis mine).

The world may seem upside down, but the Lord is still there.

When you have nowhere else to turn, when your own ideas and resources have evaporated, when your control over a situation is in shambles, God is still there. When your knees ache from kneeling in prayer but you can’t tell if he’s even listening, God is still there.

No matter what happens in your life, the Lord is in his holy temple.

Sometimes, even when we remember all that God has done for us, it doesn’t change our circumstances. Sometimes we just have to accept that it’s beyond our understanding right now and just keep going. But we must also realize that acceptance is not denial.

When you accept what God is doing, you don’t simply stuff your feelings down and let your heart die, even as you’re practicing your smile in the mirror and memorizing Bible verses. When you accept that God’s up to something that you can’t see or understand right now, you don’t just roll over and play dead and resign yourself to despair. No, you keep praying for a miracle from him unless he tells you otherwise. But you don’t pretend that everything is okay when clearly it’s not.

Habakkuk certainly couldn’t pretend and keep his head in the sand. After he questioned God and the Lord responded by telling him that he was going to use the wicked Babylonians to destroy Israel, Habakkuk said, “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (Habakkuk 3:16 NIV).

His response is visceral. You know that sinking sensation you get in your gut when something bad happens that’s beyond your control? That’s what Habakkuk was facing.

When Habakkuk accepted reality while waiting on God, it wasn’t denial. It was faith. Not faith that God would do what Habakkuk wanted God to do. But faith in God’s character. Habakkuk goes on to say, “The sovereign hand of God is doing something here. God has spoken, so I’ll accept whatever he is doing, as difficult as that may be for me.”

Sometime, something is going to happen that you don’t like. It may be happening right now.

You remember what God has done. You accept what God is doing. You trust what God is going to do.

I am Not a Hostage

What if God is more interested in what He can change in you through your situation than in changing your situation.

Our chains can be used to advance the kingdom and bring others to Christ. We grow the most and learn to empathize in our place of hardship. If everything were easy we wouldn’t be pushed to grow.

Some of the stuff happening in your life doesn’t feel good that feels, like it may take you out.

Paul said it looks like I am chained to these guards, but they are actually chained to me. He sees how God is using his difficult situation to minister to the guards.

Paul says I have been put here and that am not a hostage to what I feel or what I want. I am out here for the defense of the gospel. He was put there by people as a punishment, but God used it for good.

Stop worrying about stuff that God has already worked out. If he is going to stay up on the night shift, we might as well get some rest and trust that He has everything under control. We must walk by faith not by sight.

Paul says not only am I not a hostage to what I feel, to my plans or expectations, but I am a weapon to be used by God to advance the gospel. The important thing is that the message of Christ’s love and redeeming power is preached and that the purpose of God is advanced.

Whatever you define as the important thing in your life will define your joy. If it is your personal success, wealth, or what others think of you, than those things will define your joy. They will not for fill you in the way serving God will.

Philippians 1:12-26

16 Signs You’re Nearing Burnout

16 signs you’re nearing burnout

Alisa, November 29, 2016, Mindfulness and Cognitive Science, Neurobiology and Behavior, Self Care, 6

Does it sometimes feel like you have to hit bottom before you can really change? You can see the warning signs…the negative effects of overcommitting yourself are probably pretty predictable. But how do you take action now? (As opposed to when your body forces you to or when the next break gets here).

Burnout often happens in a cyclical fashion. With unsustainable habits it’s always just a matter of time before your tank dwindles down to empty again. But it’s difficult to make changes to those habits when it feels like you have to choose between having fun and sustainable energy.

Hold up, do we really have to choose between FUN and WELL? Screw that. I think the choice lies elsewhere, in fact, I demand it lie elsewhere. We just might have to dig a little bit to find it.

Recognizing the patterns

The cool thing about habits is that they can be easy to spot. Trigger >> routine >> reward. It’s always the same pattern. And your patterns, though unique to you, are also easy to spot. You just have to be looking. I’ve compiled a list of common signs of burnout. These physical, mental, emotional, relational behaviors signal you’re reaching the breaking point where your system (being your life) can no longer withstand the stress of the environment. You’re a bridge just waiting to collapse.

Signs you’re approaching burnout (based on research + personal experience):

1 Trouble sleeping / falling asleep

2 Tension in back + shoulders

3 Headaches

4 Hard time waking up in the morning (even after a full night’s sleep)

5 Lack of interest in normal activities

6 Low energy

7 Trouble focusing / easily distracted

8 Trouble regulating behavior (outbursts, losing chunks of time to scrolling social media, unable to stop eating or turn off the tv)

9 Reversion to “default” behaviors (previous transformations start to unravel)

10 Easily overwhelmed

11 Down / depressed mood

12 Easily frustrated

13 Prone to ruminating on interactions with others

14 Crying more than usual

15 Trouble identifying “why” you feel sad, angry, tired, etc.

16 Pulling away from friends / family

And I’m certain I’ve missed some.

Now if you’re experiencing these “symptoms”, there is no need to panic. This is a diagnosis or anything like that. My hope is that by looking at this list you will see that some of the things you do that are just a “normal part of life” are actually signs that you aren’t handling the stress you’re under well.

See, it’s not a choice between “fun” and “well” – it’s the decision to raise the bar on what fun really is.

Take action

Don’t let this be something that becomes “oh that’s interesting” and on you go. Choose right now to set a higher standard for the “fun” you let in your life.

The greater the responsibility you have to perform at your best, the more resolute you must be in your standard for wellness. From your nutrition to your free time, the stuff you do needs to set you up for better performance. Your classroom, your clients, your patients – they need you operating at your capability. Which means they need you well, not the bare minimum of “functional.”

1 Take time to write down your personal signs of declining wellness and what you currently do to cope with it — scrolling, tv, declining invites, dessert, hyper-cleaning or organizing, etc

2 Choose one of your go-to habits for coping with stress and get curious about it. Every time you see yourself doing it or feeling the compulsion, ask yourself why that might be happening and observe does this actually make me feel how I want to feel? Am I really getting what I’m looking for?

3 Develop a routine or ritual to go through when it’s been a long day – something that will help you feel the way you really want to feel. Read more about this step here.

New Patterns

A New Pattern Of Living

“We suspect that if we do not use what we have, we will lose what we have.”

Basic Text p. 75

Addiction gave a pattern to our lives, and with it a meaning – a dark, diseased meaning, to be sure, but a meaning nonetheless. The program gives us a new pattern of living to replace our old routines. And with that new pattern comes a new meaning to our lives, one of light and hope.

What is this new pattern of living? Instead of isolation, we find fellowship. Instead of living blindly, repeating the same mistakes again and again, we regularly examine ourselves, free to keep what helps us grow and discard what doesn’t. Rather than constantly trying to get by on our own limited power, we develop a conscious contact with a loving Power greater than ourselves.

Our life must have a pattern. To maintain our recovery, we must maintain the new patterns our program has taught us. By giving regular attention to these patterns, we will maintain the freedom we’ve found from the deadly disease of addiction, and keep hold of the meaning recovery has brought to our lives.

Just for today: I will begin a new pattern in my life: the regular maintenance of my recovery.

Hope from the Bottom

In the pit of our hurts, habits, and hang-ups, we were at our very bottom. We know the feelings expressed in

2 Corinthians 1:8–9

“We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it. We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God.” The verse goes on to say, “God … alone could save us … and we expect him to do it again and again.” The penalty for our sins was paid in full by Jesus on the cross. The hope of a new life is freedom from our bondage!

Hope in the Dark

WAITING ON GOD

THREE THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU ARE HURTING

1) LISTEN

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he [God] will say to me … Habakkuk 2:1

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2) WRITE

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets …” Habakkuk 2:2

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3) WAIT

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingerwait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”Habakkuk 2:3

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slowdo not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” Habakkuk 2:3 TLB

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  • If it’s not God’s time, you can’t force it!
  • When it is God’s time, you can’t stop it!

“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—”Habakkuk 2:4

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But the Lord is in his holy temple. …” Habakkuk 2:20 NLT

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All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.
Experience the Scriptures referenced in today’s message and much more by downloading the free YouVersion Bible App for your smartphone or tablet at www.bible.com/app.

  • What’s it like for you to wait and listen for God to respond to your pain? What could you do to make more room for listening?
  • What are some answers God has given you in the past that you can write down as an anchor for the future?
  • Share about a time in your life when you either waited on God or tried to force His timing. What did you learn?
  • Let Pastor Craig lead your conversation: www.life.church/groups

Worry & Anxiety

Do you worry? Most of us do, and yet Jesus tells us very clearly we have nothing to worry about. In fact, He tells us it is counterproductive! We don’t need to worry because we know how our story will end. If our hope is assured (see Heb 11:1), we shouldn’t be concerned about the sorrows of today or tomorrow. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow,” said Corrie Ten Boom; “it empties today of its strength.”

How do we protect ourselves from worry? The answer is faith. When our hearts are fixed on God, we see life from an eternal viewpoint. We are able to put God’s goals first. The question we must keep asking is, “Where is my heart?” If my heart is fixed on worldly things, I will always worry because the world’s treasures are uncertain. If my heart is fixed on God, I will rest in His power and strength.

Great faith can cancel out worry.

The Answer to Anxiety Rejoices in God’s Plans

The Bible is clear that God’s people deal with anxiety. The Psalmist acknowledges that even when the Lord is your hope, the cares will still be many! All through Psalms and Proverbs there are acknowledgments that God’s people know what it is to have cares in our hearts.

It is humility that brings hope to the anxious heart, and this humility that brings relief from anxiety rests in God’s gracious and good plans.

Can you be confident that He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you?

God is described by Peter as the God of all grace. I don’t deserve for the Lord to take care of me in such a way that, at all times, it is something good that is being worked out in the details of my life.

And yet that is what He does. Because He is gracious and good, I can have this confidence – whatever suffering I am going through is temporary. Even if it is for a lifetime, it is still a little while.

What awaits us is eternal glory in Christ – who will Himself restore us, confirm us, strengthen us and establish us.

The Old Testament book of Job tells us of a man who lost everything. We know that the Lord was using his faithfulness to demonstrate to Satan that Job’s reverence for the Lord wasn’t dependent on the things in his life that he had been given.

We read about this purpose of God’s in Job’s life, but Job lived it – he didn’t have the book of Job to tell him of the things that we know by reading in Scripture.

Amazingly, due to God’s work in his heart, he was able to say that “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” – but “blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job was able to say, “I trust Him.”

You humble yourself when you acknowledge God’s sovereignty and rejoice in it. You must be willing to admit that He has the power and the right to do what He will do. Whether this looks like giving or taking away in your life, you must be willing to say this to Him with a heart of praise.

This is not fatalism or resignation, but praise.

We have not humbled ourselves until God’s sovereignty is sweet to us.

Do you rejoice in the knowledge that you are not in control, but He is?

Will you humble yourself by taking all those things represented in the word anxieties, bag them up, and cast them onto Him, knowing that He cares for you?

If you would like to find out more about this topic, we invite you to listen to the episode of the Straight Truth Podcast called “Answering Anxiety” on YouTube https://youtu.be/gPgK0tbUesc or Vimeo https://vimeo.com/252726922  You can also purchase the book “Answering Anxiety” by Richard Caldwell