I didn’t realize that I needed that…

Because of our schedules, our rituals, and our habits… we don’t always get to stop and smell the roses. We don’t really appreciate the little things that occur in our lives. So, when our stuff is interrupted, we are forced to step back a take a look at what’s really going on…

Today is the 51st day of my 90 day fitness Challenge. I was talking to my wife about this journey and all that has happened since it started. When I decided to start my fitness Challenge, I felt good (or so I thought). Health-wise, I had some minor concerns like the possibility of being placed on cholesterol meds and being borderline diabetic. I called these concerns minor because it seems like almost everyone I know (family, friend, co-worker and other) is dealing with these issues. So, being told that I had these issues was concerning but in the back of my mind there was a sense of expectation because everyone else has it. My energy levels were fine. I could do everything that I wanted to do with little effort. The key with that was I really didn’t want to do much. When asked about exercise, my response has been, “My idea of exercise is walking to the car!!” or “I do sit-ups… I sit up at the table”… you know offshoots of living a mediocre life. But, guess what? I was fine.

Then, I started getting rid of weight. In my first 30 days I got rid of 22 lbs. and an amazing thing happened. I realized that I didn’t have a lot of energy before because now instead of walking up the stairs… I run, I skip steps and I even challenge myself to see how fast I can go up and come back down. I would have NEVER done that before. I’ve been seeing my doctors and a consistent theme has been this… all of your vitals are perfect. Perfect? Yes, no more borderline anything – cholesterol or hypertension!!! It’s a great feeling going to the doctor now because I know that these “issues” aren’t really an issue anymore. In short, I didn’t realize that I needed to get rid of the weight until I started getting rid of it!!!! My life has truly changed!!!

BUT, it doesn’t start and end there with physical fitness. Yesterday was my brother’s birthday and I have a standing appointment to have lunch with him. So, he and I went to lunch with his pastor. We shared, cut-up, laughed and talked. We had a really good time. Normally, going to lunch for me is going out with clients, customers or business people of some sort. The time is well spent but it is still business. All parties involved have that feeling of let’s get to the matter at hand, do your presentation, let’s get to the particulars and let’s get outta here. These luncheons can be as short as 30 minutes and a marathon luncheon an hour and a half. There was soo much freedom for me yesterday. It was a complete turnaround because there were no agendas, talking points or anything like that. It was great AND we ended up hanging out in J. Alexander’s for over 2 ½ hours!!! We arrived in the heat of lunch and when we left there was hardly anyone there! Upon getting into the car, I told my brother… I didn’t realize how much I needed that.

In seeing just these two examples in MY OWN life, I am looking for other places in my life that need shaken up!!! Check this out… we’ve heard all too often that life is short and that we should enjoy it. My question is this, how do we know if we’re truly enjoying life if we aren’t doing anything different from one day to the next? I dare to say that MOST of us aren’t LIVING life, we are SURVIVING it and that’s no way to go.

So, how do we fix it? One thing that I’ve learned is that since we are a schedule-based society, then we need to sit down with our planners and SCHEDULE some shake-up time. Don’t set it way off into the future either. Plan some down time, TODAY. Plan a one-day trip for THIS weekend. Plan a party for next week. What would you be celebrating? How about having a New Month Party!!! We celebrate the New Year, what’s the difference?

Let’s not forget that every day is a gift. Are you going to unwrap this gift and enjoy it or just sit it on the shelf?

I love you ALL!!!
Stay blessed,
Jackie

 

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Discernment…

It is a very interesting assignment to lead leaders. I love every one of them. Sometimes, you need those you lead to take the initiative and help you lead.

Last night was very difficult for me. Fridays are practice days for the music ministry. The band starts at 6 and the singers begin at 7. Lately, we’ve been done by 9. This week, we have a larger than normal song list – 10 songs. That part is no big deal because we average between 6-9 songs on any given week anyway. What made this practice special is that with the New Year we had some people return to the ministry that were away. Also, our main worship leader was super late because she was at the doctor.

Practice was a little more intense due to the reunion spirit that many shared because of the returns and because of our song count. I want to respect everyone’s time and not have many marathon practices. So, staying on task was definitely one of my goals.

Here’s the problem… I wasn’t feeling well either. Conducting a band rehearsal followed by a full rehearsal can be quite draining. As the night progressed, I started feeling increasingly tired. I had to really concentrate to keep my breathing in line and all of a sudden I felt an immediate need to get some water. I get the water and now I’m feeling weak. What is going on with me? This has been going on for the last 45 minutes and it isn’t cool and I need help. Is anyone seeing this? Does anyone feel me?

I am surrounded by leaders, ministers and elders but it seems that no one is alert to these needs. These are the times where we need certain ministry gifts to be active. Not everyone is going to say, “Can someone pray for me?” Sometimes, we need people to just step up and say, “There’s something going on and we need to pray.” That didn’t happen. I endured as much as I could…

So, I immediately end the practice and almost run to the car. Now, here’s the God part (the ram in the bush)… I get a call and the person asks, “Are you okay?” I said no and she immediately begins to pray then says do you mind if I ask my boyfriend in Florida to join the line and say a pray with you? Of course, I don’t mind!!! Call him up!!! I needed help and God sent it.

My question is this… How many people come to church with spiritual needs that aren’t met until they leave? By no means am I downing anyone that was at the church. What I’m saying is that we all need to be more sensitive to the needs of our brothers and sisters. I’m guilty, as well, because when the lady came in from her doctor’s appointment and said that she had a cold, I didn’t openly pray for her. I was caught up in my own stuff. Now, look at that… I’ve found the solution to my own issue.

Sometimes, we need to take the eyes off of ourselves and attend to others. I was so consumed by my needs that I didn’t try to meet hers. The Bible says to give and it shall be given. We only use that scripture for money but what about giving a helping hand in need? Saying a prayer? Everyone is talking about her being sick and not catching what she has… why not pray for her? In the midst of that God could have met my need for healing because I gave. I’m as guilty as everyone else.

The Bible also tells us in Acts 20:35, “That it is more blessed to give than to receive”. So, what better giving than to give what YOU need?

My request is that we never forget to keep all of our leaders lifted in prayer. It’s easy to remember and pray for the President or the Pastor. What about the Youth Leader, Worship Leader, the school teacher or even your boss? The enemy is always attacking. You never know what your prayers will keep them from…

I love you ALL!!!
Stay blessed,
Jackie