Antidote to Worry

We worry about so many things . . .How will I get it all done this week? How will I pay the bills this month? How can I get back on my feet? What do I want to be when I grow up?  When will I finally get some much needed rest and peace? The good news is that God has the antidote to worry.

It’s great to plan ahead and dream of what we’d like to see happen in the future. Taking a stand against what is unfair can be important. But worrying and replaying it over and over in our minds can wear us out, though. Fretting acts as a toxin which can literally make us sick. Worry requires an antidote. What does Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 4 of which could be nicknamed “the mental health chapter” of the Bible, reveal to us about it?

God’s Antidote to Worry

Prayer with thanksgiving is God’s antidote to worry.

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV).

God’s Peace

The peace of God AND the God of peace are both included in the antidote to toxic worry. Our part is to choose well.

In coaching, I am always asking people “What stood out to you?” I have been referring people to this Scripture for more than twenty years but what stands out to me today is this. The peace of God AND the God of peace are both included in the antidote to toxic worry.

My part is to choose. I can choose not to be anxious. I can choose to pray. I can choose to give thanks. I can choose to ask God for what I need. I can choose to count on the peace of God then doing its part, guarding my heart and mind. I can choose to think about whatever is excellent or praiseworthy. I can choose to practice this as a lifestyle, knowing the God of peace WILL be with me. I can choose to count on Him.

We do not have to accept the vulnerability of prayerlessness. Thank God we are free to make new choices and are given grace to practice.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” Ephesians 6:18 (NIV).

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? How badly do you want the peace of God and the God of peace as your own antidote to worry?
  • Prayer and anxiety are two opposing forces. Which one will you choose to align yourself with today?
  • What do you need to actively practice to develop this healthy habit?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Click on the speech bubble above to leave a reply…

Spiritual Vitamins: What is God Producing, Prompting, and Inspiring in You?

When God reveals a recurring theme in your life, what is He up to? How will you respond, sensing His perspective versus what the enemy may be trying to stir up?

As I sit in God’s presence this morning with His Word open before me, this light emanates from 1 Thessalonians 1:3 — faith produces work, love prompts labor, and hope inspires endurance.

What is God producing, prompting, inspiring in you? What motives — other than faith and love —must you surrender? What work or labor, not prompted by Him, do you need to abandon to make room for the real thing? Where do you need a fresh infusion of hope to endure regardless of the circumstances?

These are the questions I am asking myself this morning as I sit in His presence in the Light.

Wisdom from a Friend

I shared these thoughts with a few trusted friends, knowing they would stand for me and with me in prayer. Steve Ivaska responded, saying he is in awe of how God weaves people, circumstances, and scripture passages together as part of His master plan and is grateful for the reminder of truth. He gave me permission to share the words he penned on December 10, 2010, less than a month after retiring, just as he was beginning to explore the possibilities for living out his mission statement of “Building Men with Christ-Centered Priorities.”

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 NIV).

As I think about my personal objectives and mission, I need to see them unfolding as a “work produced by faith.” I cannot see what lies ahead clearly or the outcome.  It is and will continue to be a “journey of faith.”

Second, it is to be a “labor prompted by love.”  I need to keep this thought front and center…that my motivation needs to be solely that of love: for Christ, my family, and the men whose lives I seek to impact. This isn’t “about me.” It’s not about what I’m doing to fulfill my passion or use my talents or finding something meaningful to do with the rest of my life.  It about the two great commandments: love for my God…with heart, soul, and mind…and love for others (Matthew 22:37-39), using the time, talent and treasures he has entrusted me with.

Third, I must not lose sight that this is a “race of endurance.”  As I run the race and encounter the challenges within, I must not lose sight that the run is inspired by my hope in Christ, the Author and Perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, to make possible my salvation and the opportunities now in front of me.

God has already begun to answer my questions.

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you?  What motives — other than faith and love —must you surrender?
  • What work or labor, not prompted by Him, do you need to abandon to make room for the real thing?
  • Where do you need a fresh infusion of hope to endure regardless of the circumstances?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Click on the speech bubble above to leave a reply…

 

Hopes and Dreams

A Life Coach helps you discover and celebrate your uniqueness… while drawing out your hopes and dreams.

“You’re the only you God made!  He made you and broke the mold!  No one can duplicate your life.” Max Lucado has a way of speaking truth that really hits home in his devotional, Only One You,

As my Dad approaches his 85th birthday within the next few days, I celebrate him being a humble man, a good, caring, playful, and strong man. He is a rare man who will shop rather than simply hunting something down and bagging it. Over the years, he has shown himself to be patriotic and loyal, no matter what. He and my mom have been married for more than 62 years, a testimony to the power of love in marriage. His is the truest kind of success… a man who is loved more than he could ever possibly know.

My favorite birthday question, known around here as ‘The Vicki Question’, is “What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?” Dad knows it is coming… everyone in our family does. Yet it seems to catch us all off guard at the time it is asked. It draws out our desires… those wonderful things we hope for and dream of that may be outside of our ability and right to control yet are worth blowing out the candles to wish for. It can also draw out the goals we want to intentionally pursue that are powerful because they are God-given, clearly possible ‘as much as it depends on us’.

By the way, my birthday is one week after Dad’s and I must confess that I am a lot better at asking ‘The Vicki Question’ than answering it. Check back in next week to see what I come up with for this year. The birthday candle photo entitled “Stop Counting” is in honor of Dad’s big birthday and mine as well. Meanwhile, you may want to dig deeper into this Old Testament name of God as a starting point for celebrating…

  • When I know God as Elohim, The Creator, I can begin to accept others as they are.
  • When I accept Him as Elohim, My Creator, I begin to accept myself as I am.

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? How will you discover and celebrate your God-given uniqueness?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?
  • What are the specific goals you choose to intentionally pursue… as much as it’s up to you?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Just click on the speech bubble at the top of this post to leave a comment.

Key Principle in Life Coaching: Vision + Action = Mission

Life Coaching helps you connect the dreaming to the doing. Here’s what that looks like in my life.

In Cape Town, South Africa just before the 2010 World Cup, I saw a banner that read “Let’s connect the dreaming to the doing!”

So simple, yet it captures a key principle in my life coaching. Vision + Action = Mission. You can have the clearest vision, the greatest idea, but, if you don’t put it into action, you will live in the disillusionment of unrealized possibilities. I may have missed the World Cup but I lived out my purpose as I facilitated a Coach-Approach to Leadership workshop for a team of international mission leaders that week… a win for me!

To borrow from last week’s nesting bowl analogy, you need all four bowls (vision, purpose, mission, and goals) in order to experience being fully alive! I promised to share my vision, purpose, mission, and goals with you. Here they are as a work in progress, a living-breathing-ever-changing “draft” in the making over the past ten years.

Vision…

I want to see people experience being fully alive as they live out their God-given design.

Purpose…

I am created to be a woman of integrity who lives in a way that my actions line up with who I am and what’s important to me… and to make a difference by facilitating that process for others.

Mission…

For this season of life, I put this into action through

  • Praying the Word
  • Life Coaching, Mentor Coaching, Retreat Coaching
  • Temperament and Strengths Assessments
  • Facilitating creative interactive group process
  • Writing (so others can take it and run with it)
  • Building strategic alliances

Goals…

  • Calendar regular weekly Blog postings and regular ongoing prayer team meetings for March-August 2012.
  • Facilitate Professional Development Summit for pastors and ministry directors in NC March 29-31, 2012.
  • Complete Myers-Briggs assessments and coaching sessions for all participants by two weeks prior to the Summit retreat.
  • Hire part-time admin help (VA) by the end of April 2012 to make room for new clients.
  • Coordinate with Maureen re: May ministry event by end of March 2012.
  • Teach Coaching Skills Development Practicum and Coaching Skills Mastery Practicum starting mid April 2012.
  • Teach/facilitate lesson on “Personality Type and the Art of Writing” for Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers on April 14, 2012.
  • Announce new ladies’ Bible study/life coaching group I will facilitate for my local church in April 2012.

My hope is that you will be inspired to persist in refining your own vision that fits how God has wired you and what He is inspiring you to do. I dare to believe “God danced the day you were born!” and He is able to make your  life count in ways that are above and beyond all you can ask or imagine.

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? What legacy do you want to leave?
  • What is your part in bringing it about?
  • How will you put it into action so you can realize the possibilities?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Just click on the speech bubble at the top of this post to leave a comment.

Life on Purpose

Life coaches help people discover their life’s vision, purpose, mission, and goals. Use this self-coaching exercise to begin to uncover yours.

Since specific requests have come in for this to be in writing, here’s an analogy using simple kitchen nesting bowls as food for thought. May God use it to help you discover and refine your vision, your purpose, and your mission here on earth. Judy Santos, a mentor, colleague and close friend, first shared this with me nearly 10 years ago. Since then it has been a litmus test of what to say yes to when I remember to be intentional and a useful tool for many life coach training students. I don’t know its original source so I am passing it on to you in memory of Judy who I miss terribly.

VISION

This is a brief overall statement… all else needs to be compatible with it (Largest bowl).

  • A specific compelling image of the future that you hold
  • The big picture result you want to see
  • The legacy you want to leave

PURPOSE

This is a brief statement that captures who you are and your part in bringing your vision to life.

  • Your calling
  • The underlying reason for being that gives your life meaning
  • Your answer to the question “Why am I here on earth?”
  • Your “being”, the essence of who you are. (“Doing” then flows out of this.)

MISSION

Many things can be included as ways to operationalize what is important to you but they must all be compatible with your purpose and help make your vision possible.

  • The particular ways you choose to fulfill your purpose in any given season
  • Your “doing”
  • “How” you will live out your purpose

GOALS

What specific tasks need to be done and when they need to be done to actually accomplish your mission(s) in real life? Must be compatible with and contained within the mission, purpose, and vision. (Smallest bowl)

  • “Dreams with a timeline for putting them into action”
  • S.M.A.R.T.– specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive
  • Goals need to be “as much as it depends on you”, within your ability and right to control. Goals apart from serving your mission or contingent on circumstances and people beyond you will be just a to-do list… not powerful goals.

Check back next week when I’ll illustrate this exercise by sharing my life’s vision, purpose, mission, and goals.

*Nesting bowl image courtesy of J. King. Used with permission.

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? What would “Life on Purpose” look like for you?
  • How would you benefit from prayerfully drafting your own vision, purpose and mission statements?
  • What support do you need to put in place to make it happen?