Archives for posts with tag: make a difference

We have often heard others remark how talented people are. They mention they are gifted or do really well in a certain area. Talents are different – that is for certain. However, how we use our talents and develop them is pretty much the same. Doing some research on finding and developing our talents led me to these conclusions:

OUR TALENTS COMPLIMENT OUR PURPOSE

We sometimes wonder what our purpose is here on this earth. We may passively mention it to someone at church. We may see others who are working toward their purpose and wish we knew ours. We may even take a few assessments to see what in the world we are good at. One thing is for sure; our talents do compliment and help us complete our purpose. Using our talents will bring meaning to our lives and help to others.

WHERE DO WE GO TO FIND OUT TALENTS?

The answer to this one is not simple. But it is true. We have to dig deep. We have to look within us to see what things we like, what we comes naturally for us and (the tough one) look into our past. Many people say forget the past but they are talking more about forgetting the bad things. However, we do need to look at our past and see what we enjoyed doing as a child. And what we didn’t enjoy. We have to eliminate some things to get to what we think may be our talents. However, we are the ones who have to take time to discover our talents if we truly want to know what they are.

GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF IT

Once we think we have a good list, we can begin to experiment with the list and do a little volunteer work here and there. We will know pretty much right off the bat what we enjoy the most and what feels more like work. Then we can begin striking off the list the things we have determined are not our talents and keep the ones we enjoy the most.

ON TO DEVELOPING Developing our talents is what we can continue to do for a lifetime. We can start out small and look for ways to use our talents a few times a month or we can jump right in and do something every day. Getting involved in the community using our talents will certainly develop them. Also, getting involved in organizations where people have the same talents will help us sharpen our talents.  And, finally, creating something from scratch where we can use our talents and make a difference will help us to complete our purpose on this earth.

I am ready to get my list together and find my top talents. Are you?

Many people misuse the word friend. They are our friends because we are friends with someone else they like. They are our friends because they need something we have. They are our friends because they have no other friends. When we put ourselves first in any friendship, it is for the wrong reasons. Friendship is about a relationship. It is about understanding and getting to know the other person. It is about what we can do for them. Not what they can do for us.

I have had many friends over the years. Some who lasted for a few months. Others who lasted for a few years. And some for a lifetime. Friendship isn’t easy. The reason some friendships don’t last is because one person gives up. Either because they get busy with other things or they just don’t care to make it work. Either way losing that person as a friend hurts. Being shunned or mistreated by those who were your friends may seem childish but it happens even as we get older. When we are shunned by those who we thought were our friends, here are some things to do.

PRAY

We are so blessed we have a friend in God. Despite what we do He doesn’t hold grudges. He loves us unconditionally and will always be ready to listen to us when we cry out to Him. He is the type of friend we need and the type of friend we should be to others. We can pray to Him to ask us to not have a hard heart toward those who mistreat us but to continue to show love to them.

LOVE

Despite how the other person treats us we should continue to show love. We don’t know what they may be going through. We don’t know what has caused them to shun us. We don’t know why they continue to act the way they do. But we can ask God to help us show them love and ask Him what we can to do to help them.

FORGIVE

Even when the other person may not believe he or she has done anything to hurt us but we feel hurt, we should forgive them. We don’t have to say it verbally to them but we do need to forgive them in our hearts. We can move on once we forgive. When we realize the devil probably has a hold on them to treat us the way they do, it will be easier to forgive them. It will be easier to let go and let God handle things.

We have possibly all had a friend who has done something to hurt us. Intentionally or unintentionally, it still hurts. Rather than let it build up inside us and take over our lives, we need to let it go. We can’t make people like us. We can’t make people treat us like they treat their real friends. However, we can be the friend to others we want to see in them and not worry about the rest. The Golden Rule works. When we live by it, God will take care of the rest.

 

Growing up I was always quiet and shy. I had a hard time making friends. I think it was because I moved around a lot since my dad was in the service. So when we finally settled in one place after he retired, I had to learn the skill of friendship around age 12. It was rough. Kids were mean. I was shy. Every day someone poked fun at me or ignored me. That went on through high school as well which didn’t help my self-esteem at all. I decided I would watch what I said to others because I didn’t want anyone to feel like I had felt growing up.

Many times we don’t even realize when we are treating someone wrong. We may not intentionally ignore someone. We may just be focused on what we are doing or thinking. We may not realize the look we have on our face that is serious or sour. But those around us do see it. What they see is an unhappy person. What they see is someone who doesn’t seem to care about them. That is why we need to be sure when we are with others, we are thinking about them and showing them we care. Here are some ways to do that:

BE AWARE

So many times we are wrapped up in our own world. We are thinking about what we have to do. We are looking ahead at tomorrow and what all is going on. We aren’t focusing at all on the moment we are in right now. We can change though. We can be in the moment. We can notice our family is in the room with us and put the phone down. We can observe someone who is standing next to us in line at the store and speak and smile at them. We can think about someone who is going through a hard time and give them a call or visit them. When we are more aware of the needs of others and take action, they will know we care.

LISTEN

We are people who tend to talk more than listen. Usually when the other person is talking we are thinking about what we are going to say next. Listening is a skill. It requires effort. Listening to others means to take the focus off of us and put it on them. When we listen to someone, we can get to know them, their needs and determine how we can help. When others are talking, let them finish. Then ask questions that help them open up so we can determine what they really need.

PRAY

I have recently learned that if I want to remember people’s names and make friends, I need to pray for them. This helps me focus more on them and their needs and helps me show a more caring attitude toward them. Praying for others is something we can do that doesn’t take long but pays out big dividends. When we pray for someone, we are showing God we care about them and want to help them.

There are people in need everywhere we go. When we are more aware of those around us, when we listen to them and when we pray for them, God is going to help us know how to best help them. We should make a list of people who we know and begin to pray for a better relationship with them trusting God to answer and show us what we need to do next.

I often find myself comparing what others have to what I have. Their house seems nicer. Their clothes look better. They aren’t as heavy as I am. The list goes on and on. As a writer and speaker, I am always looking for ways I can learn from other writers and speakers. Which leads me to comparing myself again. It seems to be a habit that we can easily get stuck in. So I did a little research and have come up with some ways to stop comparing and start learning to be content with who I am and what I have.

Be Grateful

This is probably the biggest way to stop coveting what others have. When we stop and show gratitude for what we have, we will realize we have way more than we need. We will realize we are very blessed. When we are grateful for who God made us to be, we can focus on our own strengths and talents and strive to use them for His glory.

Understand Differences

No one is the same. Everyone has something a little different about their background, experience, relationships, etc. Just as snowflakes all have differences, so do we. We can’t have exactly what others have because God did not intend it to be that way. And there are some things that we surely don’t want that others have.

Take Inventory

We have so much. Just looking around my office I see things I never use, I don’t need and I need to get rid of. How could I want more when I don’t even use what I have. Same with our talents and skills. God gives us unique abilities to use and sometimes we just leave them lying dormant inside us without developing them into what He intended us to use them for.

The Plan

So here’s the plan. When I feel as if I need something someone else has, I am first going to look around at what I have and be grateful. Then I will understand there are things others have I don’t really need. Finally, I will take inventory of my things and my abilities and ask God to show me what to do with these blessings from Him so that I can help others.

Taking the focus off of me and putting it on helping others will definitely help me to be more content with what I have and give me the opportunity to share God’s blessings with others.

I woke up laughing. Never can I recall a morning that I woke up 30 minutes before the alarm and laughing! That was this morning. Although I had stayed up past my bedtime last night watching an instructional video. Although I made a large purchase for what they were selling when I am in extreme debt. Although I had a crazy dream that should have woke me up screaming, I slept through it and dreamt on. Although I have had anxiety attacks for the past 3 months and usually wake up scared with my heart racing, this morning I woke up laughing. Only God knows the true reasons why, but here is what I think happened…

GAMING OFF

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t play computer games before going to bed. I guess since the first computers came out 20 years ago I have been play some form of solitaire, blocks, Farmville, Candy Crush, Bejeweled Blitz or another type of game. I would spend endless hours trying to get a high score with nothing really to show for it but fireworks for completing the games, blinking lights or moving up to the next level. So I decided to limit my game time to 20 minutes last night.

LEARNING ON

For about two hours before going to bed I watched or listened to successful women and men talking about how they were able to market products, advertise, stop being distracted, etc. I made notes. I set some goals and I even took action, yes at 9:00 p.m. at night, on one of those goals by doing something new I had never done before…I got brave and did something new and different and uncomfortable.

WATCHING OFF

Television. What a joke. I will say there are inspirational things on it at times but during prime time hours the new shows are just not worth my time. Too much drama or sex or profanity. Many shows are just vulgar. So how do I waste my time watching television? Reruns. I watch shows that are good and clean and I could probably quote every word so I decided to mute the TV so I could focus on putting new and good information into my brain.

READING ON

Before going to bed, I read some of a devotional book that ended with a prayer. This book is about prayer and how to have a conversation with God in all we do. It’s about how to pray in all areas of our lives. This devotion is only two pages long and offers much information about various prayers and how to pray. Reading just a bit and letting it sink in every night will make some positive changes for the future.

AHA MOMENT

You see, when we continue to do the same things expecting different results, we will be what the dictionary calls crazy or insane. I was doing that every night. I was playing computer games, watching reruns or (even worse) lifetime movies and then going to bed. But for the last few nights, I decided to read something motivational, watch an inspirational video, set some goals, think about life, read God’s word and pray. Yes, that is why I believe is the reason that this morning I woke up laughing.

THE DREAM

I was in my home with a lot of other people. We were doing a Q&A about a Bible story. I had given them parts to read about the story and asking questions. It was fun and interactive. There was a part in the dream where I went outside to walk along the beach (guess I had a beach home) and I saw walrus and some sea creatures. After walking a while I realized I was waist deep in the water. I immediately begin to panic that the sea creatures were going to get me so I thought about my relaxing techniques and the next thing I knew I was back in my home with my friends. As they would answer the questions correctly, I would say “you got it!” and we would move on to the next question. After they had all left, I saw myself lying in bed dreaming again about what could have happened to me in the water and my phone rang. I said “hello” and I heard a familiar voice on the other end who said, “you got it!” and a laugh I will never forget. It was my youngest daughter. I had dreamed she was calling me even though she wasn’t but she literally woke me up laughing.

We have always been told to be polite and let others go first; however, that is not always good advice. If we find we are waiting on someone else to do something that needs to be done, it may never happen. Leadership is about getting things done and sometimes that means we have to step up and be first getting things in motion.

Looking back on powerful leaders in our history such as George Washington, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Benjamin Franklin and others, we can only imagine what may not have been accomplished without them stepping up and going first to make a change for the better
for everyone. We know of great leaders in our work, our communities and in our churches who decide to go first to begin to put things in motion. If it weren’t for them, others may have possibly stepped up, but what if they did not?

There are times when we need to be first. We need to set the example. We need to
step up and take charge. If we don’t and no one else does either, things may stay the same or even get worse. There are things that need to be done just about wherever we go. If others are not stepping up to get those things done, that may be a sign that we need to step up and be first.

Once we have gone first, once we have stepped out and lead by example, we will find that others will follow. We can be the one who goes first and that will be an encouragement to others to get out of their comfort zone and not wait for someone to go first next time. If we have a passion about getting something done, there is no reason to wait for someone else to go first. We can make the first move.

What are some things you are waiting on to get done? Some changes you want to see in your work? In your community? In your life? Decide to be first today and take that first step to make a change. You don’t always have to let others go first. What is your passion? What can you do today to make a difference?

Thinking back on the past 30 years, I never really knew much about leadership until the last half of those 30 years. I always thought leadership was something unattainable for me. I thought leadership was something only supervisors and managers were able to attain. I thought it was a role or position in a business and that was where it stopped. At that time, I wasn’t aware that anyone could lead from anywhere.

Most of my life I spent going through motions, doing what others wanted me to do and being the follower rather than the leader. I really didn’t believe I mattered or my life made a difference to anyone. Looking back I can’t believe I went through most of my life doing things to get others to like me rather than finding out what I liked about myself and how I could help others. Instead, I chose to strive to hang out with those who seemed popular.

A change began in me when I realized I had the ability to lead. I was first encouraged to be a leader by someone who didn’t hold a leadership title either. I was encouraged because she believed in me and my abilities. She liked my ideas. She liked what I wanted to do. She encouraged me to do what I wanted to do to help others. From there my confidence grew and I discovered that anyone could be a leader.

Anyone can be a leader. Anyone can make a difference. It just takes a little bit of courage and support from others. It takes a desire to want to make a difference and to know how. We can’t use the excuse anymore that we don’t know how to lead. It starts from within. There are many resources available. Once we begin to want to change, we can reach out and lead others as well.

It happened to me. It can happen to you. Here are some ways to get started:

1. Write down some things you really believe in.
2. List some ways you can make a difference in these areas.
3. Talk with others who will support and encourage you.
4. Begin to take steps toward what you want to do and never give up.

We can begin leading within by mustering up our courage and talking to others about something we want to change. We can set goals to make those changes by finding others who want to make a difference as well. As we grow into leadership, we can bring others along who want to make the same things happen. It can happen and we do have what it takes to be a leader.

What can you to do today to make a difference to others and grow as a leader?

When we think about the people who really made a difference in life, Andy Griffith comes to mind. Everyone has heard of him. There are so many things we can learn from him. Even though he has passed, he has left behind some important life lessons to always remember.

Put God first. He wasn’t afraid to show his family going to church. He showed us there were sometimes issues in the church but they worked through them.

Have fun. He enjoyed life. He worked hard but had fun doing it. He was spontaneous in his work and didn’t mind taking on new ideas.

Learn something. He taught others. He had a message in every show about how we should live life. He wanted us to remember not to get too stressed about anything but look for learning opportunities in all we do.

Enjoy what you do. In his real life, he was persistent in his career. He was flexible about what he did and he continued to work doing what he loved.

We will miss you, Andy, but we are so appreciative of the legacy you left behind and the lessons that can continue to be learned in future generations. Thank you for making a difference!

For us, we need to remember why we are here on earth. We need to put God first, have fun, learn something and enjoy what we do. We can learn this from Andy and, perhaps, leave a legacy of our own behind for others as well.

A great way to make a difference is to “leave a Breadcrumb.” Order your free set of Breadcrumbs at www.leaveabreadcrumb.com

The fires in Colorado are gaining more and more attention as they are forcing people from their homes; destroying everything in their path and taking lives. It takes a lot of effort to put out a fire when it gets out of control. Reading about the Colorado fires reminded me of how many times fire is mentioned in the Bible. God used fire as a way to get the attention of others reminding them not get out of control and how quickly things and people can be destroyed or consumed by fire.

Fire gets the attention of others. God used fire in the Bible to get the attention of others. The burning bush caught the attention of Moses when God wanted to speak to Him. When we hear about fires in our communities, we take notice. We want to know where and what happened. We want to know whom, if anyone was hurt. We need to pay attention to God at all times without having to be reminded by fire or other natural causes. God wants our full attention every day.

Ezekiel 20:19 “‘I am the Lord your God,’ I told them. ‘Follow my decrees, pay attention to my regulations,’” (NLT)

Fire can get out of control. If not contained or stopped, fire will continue to grow. It will continue to move and continue to destroy. We need to understand the danger of fire and how quickly it can get out of control. We can relate that to our lives and how quickly we can get out of control. We need to be careful we are living as we should so we don’t sin against God. Our sin can spread in our lives as well as the lives of others, just like fire.

Romans 5:12 “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” (NLT)

Fire destroys and consumes. Fire has a purpose. It moves through its’ path destroying anything or anyone who gets in its’ way. Fire is serious. We run from it because we know how destructive it can be. God used fire to destroy and consume people and things when He was angered by His people. We should always remember how great and powerful God is and fear Him for His power is all consuming. Even though He loves us and wants the best for us, He can get angry when we do wrong. That is why it is best to fear and obey Him.

Numbers 11:1 “Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.” (NLT)

Fire has its’ purpose. Fire does its’ job and moves on. When we understand the purpose of fire, we will know how to behave around it.

We, too, have a purpose in our lives. We need to understand our purpose and what God wants us to do so we can do our job and move on.  We shouldn’t get consumed by the things of the world and lose our focus on God. God wants us to be consumed by Him.

Just as God used fire to get the attention of others, He can use us as well. He doesn’t want our lives to get out of control. He doesn’t want us to destroy and consume others with our sins. He wants us to know why He created us. He wants to use us to bring others to Him. He wants us to make a positive difference giving Him the glory in all we do.

ACTION STEPS:

1. Think about any wrongdoing you may have done.

2. Ask God to forgive you of your sins and turn away from them.

3. Ask God to show you His purpose for you.

4. Give God your full attention every day and allow Him to lead you.

You can make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Make the decision and the commitment to God today.

***

Breadcrumbs can help you make a difference as well. They are little cards to leave behind for others that will make a big difference.

To order free cards to help make a difference in your life and the lives of others, go to:

www.leaveabreadcrumb.com

Ready to read through the Bible slowly to learn more about God’s word and how it applies to your life? Start in Genesis with this devotional journal “Breadcrumbs from Genesis” at:

http://tinyrul.com/d5etkw5

This weekend was very productive. I made some headway on writing a few other books, got some more motivation Breadcrumb cards completed, spent time with the family, went to church, ate dinner with friends. Even got some rest. It was a pretty much well rounded weekend with not too many distractions or interruptions.

However, we cannot always get things done as planned. Sometimes there are interruptions. Sometimes there are delays. Sometimes there are excuses. We need to be sure the things that keep us from getting things done are not self-inflected.

Self-inflected obstacles are things where we make up our own excuses and create our own interruptions or delays. We need to be sure we are getting things done and stop making excuses and procrastinating. When we begin to do something, we get a certain energy about us that gets us motivated. We get and certain feeling of accomplishment and we begin to feel good about ourselves for completing it. We basically get more done.

This week, let’s all decide to put aside all our excuses and get something done we have been putting off. Write it down, Break it down into small tasks and get it done. Then at the end of the week, we will feel good about what we did and be ready to take on something else!

To order free cards to help make a difference in your life and the lives of others, go to:

www.leaveabreadcrumb.com

Ready to read through the Bible slowly to learn more about God’s word and how it applies to your life? Start in Genesis with this devotional journal “Breadcrumbs from Genesis” at:

http://tinyrul.com/d5etkw5