Thursday, November 18, 2010

How your top five values determine your future

Hello friend! Thank you for spending this time with me in A Good Bible Study: StressLess. I am proud of the way you've made growing in your relationship with God a priority for your day today. Let's pray:

Dear Father, I'm so thankful for the changes You are making in our lives as a result of our dedication to seek You in Your Word. Each time we open the bible, each time we pray and ask You to develop our spirits, each time we spend time with others and support each other's desire to grow - You honor us with Your presence. Help us to open our hearts to You more today than yesterday. Help us to recognize the Truth. In Jesus' name, amen.

I'm so excited about today's lesson! We're are talking about your future today and boy, is it bright!

So often we get stuck in our past, and before we know it today has come and gone and we are living in our future without a clue as to how we got there and why it's not any better than we imagined.

Read Ephesians 5:15

God says there are lots of ways that we can throw away the time we've been given, but He wants us to be wise; plan our time so it's used for our benefit.

Read a few verses on. He implores us further to invite God to fill us with the Spirit, focusing on what we have to be thankful for, encouraging each other with Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

In other words, focus on the things of God and His Word, and He will give you joy in your heart. That's always the best place to start our day - filling ourselves up with His Spirit and choosing to be thankful. If you are praising God, you can't help but begin to feel lighter.

Honestly, Satan loves to keep you looking back, so he can make sure you never enjoy right now, or experience the fun of creating a future that brings you joy and contentment. But, you can define and walk right into your future in only five minutes a day.

I love the five minute concept because that's about my attention span sometimes. How about you?

We are busy people these days and I think if we don't feel we can accomplish something in five minutes, then we decide in advance that we don't have time for it.

Now, what I am showing you today is two activities. Both will seem simple, you might even have heard a version of this before and if so, it's even more evidence that this works. So, like so many things, just do it.

When you are stressing out and there is nothing productive you can do about the situation I want you to

  1. Say this out loud, "Father, you know what is bothering me and I believe You are working this out for my benefit. Thank You."
  2. Then, choose to put five minutes of energy on a goal, a value, or a priority.
Look, it is psychologically impossible to feel two emotions at the same time. You can block a negative emotion by choosing to do, think, and say things that create a more preferable emotion. We learned this week that taking action creates a feeling of accomplishment and competence. That's got to feel better than worrying.

So, may be you are one of those folks who think you don't have any goals. Impossible.

Read Matthew 6:21

It says pay attention to our _________, and that will tell us where our ______ is, or what we value.

What do you spend your real time on? List it all. Not what you think you should spend your time on, what you actually do spend your time on.

Now, again, what do you actually spend your money on? No one is reading this but you, so be honest with yourself if you want to get the most out of this.

What did you learn about yourself? Is your treasure, what you value right now, what you thought it would be, or what you hoped it would be?

If you are not valuing what you want to value, you can change it. This is a great tool to see if we are getting off course with who, what, and where we want to exchange our time and money!

You know, looking at what we are valuing with our time and money will give us a good idea of the future we are creating. Is it what you want? Because if we go on auto-pilot, we are going to get where we end up, and it might not be where we hoped we'd be at the end of the day.

Melanie Strick calls herself "The Entrepreneur's Success Coach," and she's identified five Top Values that most of us strive to satisfy in the course of our lives.
  • God and Spirtual Growth
  • Family Health and Happiness and Time
  • Money
  • Creative Output and Reward
  • Rest and Relaxation including Travel
Try this right now, and do it quick, without a lot of thought. This is not forever, just your top thoughts.

Write down on a piece of paper each of those values and next to each, write the first thought that comes to mind as a goal to achieve in that area. It might be as simple as "pray first thing each morning," or "do the activities in this study each day," for your God value.

For family it might be something like "spend 15 minutes a day alone with each of my children to listen to them." Money could be "set aside $20 a month in an envelope to save up for ____ at the end of the year."

It's up to you. It doesn't matter what you write, but write it and don't throw it away afterwards.

Just tuck it somewhere and don't look at it again for one year. Seriously.

Believe it or not, your subconsious is already making subtle changes in your thinking to make what you wrote a reality. Your brain loves congruency. It doesn't differentiate between "reality" and what you choose to be "real." If you say it happened, your brain actually wants to be congruent so it will begin to make your internal reality and your external reality the same.

That's why what you say about yourself and speak over your children is powerful and it does matter.

Want proof? Harvard did a study in which it asked the graduating class to write down goals. Ten years later they checked on the grads. Not one of the folks who refused to write down their goals achieved what they intended, but nearly all of the students who wrote down specific goals, did what they wrote!

Here's another statistic for you: Only 10% of people achieve their goals. Of those 10%, at least 90% of them wrote their goals down!

The written word is powerful. If you do nothing else, write down something you'd like to achieve - today!

When I was driving a semi over the road with my husband (about a decade ago) I wrote a "bucket list" of the way I wanted my life to be. I found it a year or so ago and was floored but what I saw. I had forgotten about this list almost from the day I wrote it. It listed:
  1. My husband would have his own trucking company
  2. We would live on a farm
  3. I would have horses
  4. We would be debt-free
  5. My older kids (who lived with their dad) would return home to live with me
  6. I would write a book
Guess what. All of this has come true!

Let that sink in and I will continue this tomorrow. Until then, let's pray:

Lord, you have given us more power over our own destiny than we know, or would like to admit sometimes. Make us wise, Lord, in what we value and how we spend our time and money. Lead our hearts and give us a vision of Your plan for today and the future. Help us to take action, to take responsibility for our choices and to write down at least one goal today.

Let our greatest and most important goal be to believe in Jesus Christ and accept the gift of His forgiveness so we can stand before You in the end and hear You say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." In the name of Jesus, amen.

Love, Karen

Photo by Lee O'Dell, courtesy of

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