June 29, 2015

The First Step: Awareness

Have you ever had a day when you went through it with something in your teeth or a run in your stockings and no one cared to mention it? You only discovered it when you went to use the bathroom at a restaurant or changing after work or church – and you wonder why no one told you. It is embarrassing or frustrating at the very least to not be made aware of something I could easily have dealt with if I had known. It can be even worse if what you believe and do isn’t making the impact you thought it was, relationships are not what you think they are, or if you are living with less purposeful joy than the Lord intended for your life – falling short of His very best for you. I have had all of these things happen to me and it requires true soul-searching, honest analysis to make changes, and courage to grow through and past them to greater God-driven impact in my life and relationships.

Awareness is key to fixing or dealing with life issues that arise. Sometimes it is admitting there is a problem in a relationship or that you really don’t like a certain part of your job you do every day. Until someone mentions it or asks you to ponder it for more than a second, you would never realize the truth staring you right in the face. Other times it could be that you have a dream to do something and have never slowed down long enough to consider just how badly you wished it could happen. I am not talking about dream homes or cars. I am talking about working with kids in an after school program or learning how to fly a plane or trying your hand at starting up a business doing what you are passionate about. How do we go about discovering the depth of our need for change or adjusting our perspective or going after what we love and feel drawn to do? What fears, disappointments, or discouraging situations or words keep us from believing Jesus has more or better for us if we would choose to surrender them and trust that He can enable us to do what He has created, called, and equipped us to do?

In our fast-paced world of smart phones and Facebook, Snap Chat and Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, we miss the important clues of our relationships, daily activities, and find ourselves going through the motions instead of really living joyfully, intentionally, looking to make a difference with our lives. We only have approximately 70-80 good years to make an impression and share with the world what is truly important to us by restoring broken relationships, making stronger marriages, meeting the needs of others with the gifts and abilities the Lord has given us. We were created, called and equipped to be and do specific things for the Lord with our lives. Many think that has to be something limited to working in a local food bank, singing in the choir, or giving your money away to good causes. All of these are fine and a part of God’s call for many, but have you ever sat down and thought through what YOU are gifted to do, where the Lord uses YOU most and best, what He may be calling YOU to do that you haven’t even considered or need greater faith and support to accomplish?

Awareness is the first step to discovering many of the answers to these questions, because until we acknowledge the possibilities and issues, we cannot do anything about them or take steps to address them. What are my values? What is their foundation? How is what I am currently doing supported by them – or is it? What are my strengths and weaknesses? How can I use my strengths to help others around me? What weaknesses do I have that are making that relationship or situation worse? What is the cost of not changing or not taking steps to grow as a person? What is working well in my life, marriage, work? What could be improved on? What does a typical day’s activities or conversations look like? What patterns of words and behaviors do you see at home, at work, at church, in friendships, with your spouse? What do you need to be productive and feel useful? What are you most passionate about in life? What do you do or have you done that you are most proud of? When you go about making a really important decision, what do you based it on? What are your guiding principles? If money or time were not an issue, what would you do? And I could go on and on, but I won’t, because the list of questions is endless.

In a Life Coaching session I ask many of those questions because I want to create awareness of values, needs, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, what’s working and what is not, how people are wired, and areas that need addressing. The facts of who we are right now and how we are doing, enable us to dream and plan and seek to engage people around us to make the greatest impact. Of course my heart is for my clients to see what the Lord has been up to in their lives through relationships, experiences, gifting, exploring strengths and weaknesses and what really is on their hearts to do through His kingdom and His empowerment here on earth. Sometimes it is just getting really solid about who they are in Christ and how that affects their decisions and choices and relationships and dreams. When we know our tank is full of the wrong things or that it needs filling with the right things – because we have taken inventory – true transformation from the heart can begin and overflow, leaving an eternal legacy in our small corner of the world. When we know, surrender,  and submit to what He has shown us in His Word, what He wants for us, and what He is going to do, we will be amazed at the changes that occur and the joy we have in the simplest of things moving forward. It is what the Lord has planted in us and wants for us, but it starts from awareness, being freed up to dream and be and do all for His glory!

The next step is finding the vision/mission He has planted in you.

That is next week…

Questions to process:

  • – When you consider this article and the many questions, which ones need to be answered for you to grow and dream?
  • – Who is one person you could share/explore/pray over that with?
  • – What is the source of your values? How are your values supported by the things you do and the words you say and the plans you make? How could you bring them into alignment if they are not currently?
  • – What is working well? What is not working well? What’s the cost/reward of changing/not changing?
  • – How does knowing all this make a difference in what you want to do, what you would like to change, or feel the need to work on, including the places and people you want to impact?
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