Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Great Adventure

Summer is almost here, complete with heatwaves, the smell of sunscreen in the air, and for many of us the urge to hit the road in search of adventure. If I were a betting woman, I'd wager at least half of you your adventure will include a visit to some kind of theme park before school starts in the fall. I remember the excitement I felt as a little girl waiting outside the main gates of Six Flags with my family. Five minutes until opening time seemed like forever. Even though we usually planned to stay all day, as soon as the gates opened I always had the urge to run to the first ride, as though I would run out of time to see and do everything. Who am I kidding? I still feel that way now when I go to amusement parks. I dash from ride to ride, giving little thought to the layout of the park or the timing of events. Meanwhile, my dear friend, Karen, follows a carefully organized plan created from weeks of planning, piles of park maps, and online forums with advice from previous park guests. While we may approach the adventure differently, we both do our best to squeeze as much as possible into our theme park trips.
After weeks of self-analysis, story writing, questioning and searching, I hope we have ended this series of posts about living your best life with you standing at the entry gates of the rest of your life excited and eager to begin. I pray that you see your future as an adventure that is full of exciting possibilities no matter what phase of life you are in. Of course there will be great highs, steep drops, sweet surprises, and unexpected turns. Whether you choose to throw open the gates of your life and run in with abandon, or you approach it with careful planning and forethought, don't let the life you were created for be a place you always meant to go but never got around to it. Embrace your strengths, fill the roles you have been given with gusto, and make room for YOU in your life. When you do, buckle up, hang on tight, and prepare yourself for the greatest adventure of your life!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Room for a Treat

Well girlfriends, you might as well know. I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas. As a matter of fact, I think all of my teeth are sweet. I simply love dessert. I would claim myself as a chocoholic, but I love non-chocolate treats too much to exclude them. Typically if I know there is a yummy dessert to be served after dinner, I'll "save room." I sometimes imagine that there is a little room in my stomach that is roped off with velvet museum ropes, and it the the sacred space I'm saving for dessert. However, I always seem to manage to squeeze in a treat, even if I wasn't planning on it. I'll sacrifice myself a little if I have to in order to accommodate a warm chocolate chip cookie. Am I alone in this?
I have several friends who are that way about cleaning. It seems that no matter what is going on, they can always find time to clean the baseboards, dust the lightbulbs, and other things I NEVER find the time for. Many of the men we know and love can find a way to squeeze sports into any situation. The truth is that all of us tend to have a few things we unconsciously make room for in our lives. American Idol, exercise, dessert, cleaning, driving through Starbucks....there are a million things we choose to make room for or to squeeze out of our daily scheduled. The real problem comes when those choices are not made with intention, but by our no-so-trusty autopilot. You know what I'm talking about. You find yourself gobbling down second-rate pumpkin pie when you don't even really like pumpkin pie. You stay in the kitchen dusting the top of the fridge that no one will ever see, wishing you had some time to call a friend who is hurting. You sit on the couch and watch a rerun of the show you ALWAYS watch on Thursdays, even though you've already seen it. Meanwhile, the things you really want from your life, health, career, relationships,ministry stay out of reach. Is your life making room for YOU? The strengths, callings, and dreams God has placed in your heart were no accident, but bringing them to fruition won't come by accident either. Hopefully throughout the last two weeks the posts have helped you get a better idea of who you are and what makes you feel strong. This week, turn off the autopilot. Give yourself permission to make room for what matters to you most, and clear out what you may have made room for because of someone else. Put some velvet ropes around your strengths and dreams. Save Room. You're the real treat!

BetterChick would love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below each post. If you receive posts by email, simply click on the title of the post to go to the comment section. If you are not a Google or Blogger member, you can still comment as an anonymous user! Thanks!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On a Role

A few years ago Hubby and I took a class called Financial Peace University. Our church encouraged everyone to participate in this course which was created by Dave Ramsey, a well known financial author, teacher and radio/television host. One evening I was unable to attend class, and Hubby went alone. When he returned home, he walked through the front door and promptly said, "I'm a nerd."
"I know," I answered blandly. He is a very straight-laced, smart, and analytical person, and I thought he had just come terms with being a bit less than cool. From the look on his face I soon realized I had misinterpreted his statement. You see, Dave Ramsey has a way of explaining common financial situations in ways almost anyone can relate to. In class that night he explained that in most couples one person is the"nerd," the one who wants to plan, budget, and analyze, while the other person is the "free spirit," who wants to just have fun, enjoy life, and figure out the details later. Hubby knew immediately what his role in our finances was. He is a nerd. (Don't worry girls, he knows it and says it often...when he is teaching budgeting and planning classes for other nerds.)
Last week some of you did an exercise to help you find your strengths so that you can put them to use in your daily life. Those strengths go hand in hand with the roles you fill in your daily life. It is easy to confuse roles with titles like mom, wife, teacher, or friend, but in truth they are very different. For example, in a family, the woman is always the mother and not the father....not rocket science, I know. Her title is mother, but her roles can be as varied as the hairstyles of Oprah. She may be an encourager, an organizer, a prankster or a challenger. Think about the relationships in your life. At home, at work, socially, or spiritually, what role do you seem to have wherever you go? Are you always the one getting people together for fun? Do people around you come to you when they need sound advice? Maybe people always count on you to set someone straight when necessary. The questions below may help you think about what God-given role you were meant to fill in the world around you.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In what areas do you get the most compliments?
What do you feel most comfortable and confident doing?
What things do your friends think you’re best at?
What seems to come most naturally to you, that other people really have to work at?
What role would your friends and family say you fill?

Maybe those things that make you YOU, the traits you didn't think mattered, were deposits made by God himself so that you could make a difference in the lives of people around you. Don't overlook the amazing role that is yours.....even if you find out you are a nerd.