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5 Ways to Encourage “Resolution” Success

2 Jan

By now, you may have made some New Year’s resolutions. It seems that resolutions change through the years.

  • 2007: I will get my weight down below 160 pounds and get into my new red dress.What's Your Resolution
  • 2008: I will count my calories until I get below 170 pounds and fit into my sweater.
  • 2009: OK… I will follow my new diet until I get below 210 pounds and maybe I’ll buy some new slippers.
  • 2010: I will talk to a counselor about developing a realistic attitude about my weight and appearance.
  • 2011: At my doctor’s suggestion, I will work out five days a week at my gym.
  • 2012: I will drive past the gym once a week … and if I have my gym bag in the car, I’ll go in. And if I don’t, I will take that as a sign that I should go to the Dairy Queen next door.

The most common New Year’s Resolutions are, according to studies, “losing weight, exercising more, and quitting smoking,” but other popular resolutions include “managing debt, saving money, getting a better job or education, reducing stress, taking a trip, or volunteering.” (1)

Although some studies say making a resolution increases the likelihood of achieving a goal, making a resolution ~ in and of itself ~ isn’t really enough.

I’ve found that New Year’s resolutions don’t work unless people work at making resolutions stick.  Otherwise, by February 1st or sooner, the resolutions are a dim memory. The same old frustrations or longings linger.

ResolutionsMany resolutions are made after periods of indulgence. For example, we give ourselves “permission” to go crazy over the holidays, but then we feel guilty, or we don’t like it that our clothes no longer fit.

Resolutions are our way of convincing ourselves we will eventually take control. At first, we feel pretty confident that we’ll win out… but then those feelings of discomfort and stress return. If we haven’t developed a new habit or acquired the character quality of self-discipline, we aren’t likely to keep those resolutions.  Or, when our “results” take longer than we expect, or we find that our new choices haven’t made us any happier, we tend to give up.

But here are five ways to encourage success with “resolutions.” Continue reading

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Overcoming ‘Prayer Slackerdom’

7 Nov

Girl Reading BibleIn her book, Confessions of a Prayer Slacker, Diane Moody tells the funny story of how, as a young girl of maybe nine or ten, she attended Camp Nunny Cha-Ha in Oklahoma. The theme of the week was learning to have a quiet time, and Diane described the required one-hour quiet times she had… just her and God.  Her description of one of these hour-long sessions made me (Dawn) chuckle.

“Did I mention these quiet times were supposed to last an entire hour?” she said. “I tried. Really I did.”

“Now I lay me down to sleep…” No. Wait. That’s a prayer for babies. I can surely do better than that. Ah! I’ve got it! The Lord’s Prayer! Much more grown-up. So I closed my eyes and recited the familiar words.

“Our Father, Who art in heaven…” Art? I like art. I hope we get to paint this week. Maybe some watercolor…

“Hallowed be Thy name.” I’ve never liked my name. Diane. It’s just so plain. Why couldn’t Mom and Dad have named me Veronica? Or Tabitha? Or Maria ~ like Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Oh my Gosh, I love that movie!”

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…” Be done, be done, be done … will this Quiet Time ever BE DONE? I’m sooooo bored! B-O-R-E-D. BORED! BORED! BORED”

On earth as it is in Heaven.” I wonder if Julie Andrews and I will be friends in heaven. I loved her in Mary Poppins.  I really liked that bag of hers. All that stuff just kept coming out!

“Give us this day, our daily bread…” I’m so hungry, I could puke. I sure hope they don’t have Sloppy Joes today. Those were gross! maybe we’ll have hot dogs. I’ll take mine with ketchup, no mustard. I hate mustard.

“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” What the heck is a trespass anyway? And why should I care if someone tresses past me?

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” I am so tempted to short-sheet Sally’s bed. That would serve her right for stealing the top bunk.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” This hour feels like forever. FOR-E-VERRRR!

Amen. There. I prayed. Now what? (1)

And Moody then thumbed through her Bible, confessed all the sins she could think of, and tried to deal with the remainder of her “Quiet Time.”

Been there? As I read her words about going through the motions of prayer and Bible study, Confessions of a Prayer Slackerspiritual detours on her prayer journey, and the common excuses people make for not spending time alone with God, I found myself identifying. Though I’m not where I was years ago, I still am not where I want to be and sometimes … yes, sometimes, I’m a “slacker.”

Moody doesn’t leave it there. She doesn’t claim to be an authority on prayer. She’s just is an authority, she says, on “prayer slackerdom.” So she offers motivation and practical help to get started with a prayer life and Quiet Time that makes a difference. She handles “excuses” with humor and insight, exposing how silly we get sometimes when it comes to capturing time with God.

I appreciate Moody’s transparency, and I wonder how many of us would also get honest and say our prayer life and/or Quiet Time need some improvement.

Here’s a quick motivational check up that Diane offers in the book:

“If someone told you to spend the next twenty-four hours in prayer, Continue reading

Ready for Some Action?

26 Jul

I (Pam) recently saw a list of “Ways to know you are NOT cut out to be a First Responder” (Police, Call 911EMT, or Firefighter).

One of the funny lines was, “When you see trouble brewing, your first reaction is to call 911.”

Running in to help when others run out is what people call heroic.  You might be surprised to know we each have a seed of the heroic in us.

Caleb ~ Harding SuperheroRecently, we were out kayaking  and our son Caleb, home for a few weeks from his football playing and engineer studying days at Harding University, spotted a kayak that had just flipped. He instantly power paddled across the San Diego Bay to rescue a frantic father who was desperately trying to hold his six-year-old son up and keep them both from drowning. Caleb single-handedly lifted up the kayak, emptied the water, flipped it over, rescued the son and placed him into the kayak, lifted the dad and got him back in the boat, and retrieved the paddles all before we could reach the location to help.

A very grateful father and son are still alive today ~ and Caleb’s mom and dad are very proud of this son who listened to that prompt from God and instantaneously obeyed the call.

Several years ago, our friend, Debbie Douglass ~ the guide for our annual Seasoned Sisters women only Caleb Kayakingkayak trip and an award-winning outdoor educator for the state of Alaska ~ trained Caleb and the counselors of Echo Ranch Christian Camp in water safety.

Years before this, Bill and I equipped Caleb through our Learner and Leader parenting program (which we outlined in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make). We prayed and worked diligently with our very shy, quiet Caleb. The Learner and Leader plan helps parents weave character into their children year after year, one trait at a time. One of the first traits we impressed upon Caleb was initiative: “When you seen something that needs done, DO IT!” (Without being asked!)

Caleb’s education through Christian school and his decision to launch a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle further prepared him to be a leader of action. And Caleb himself has guarded his quiet times and devotional life with God, so a quiet whisper from God is all it takes to get Caleb’s attention.

That day, that moment, all the preparations came together! The result was life saving! Watching it unfold is a treasured moment in my heart.

When asked about the decision to rescue the father and son, Caleb simply and quietly replied,  “I saw the boat flip. I knew what to do, so I did it.”

In a similar moment of decision, our friend, Captain Jack Collier, a police officer, was recently confronting a criminal brandishing a gun ~ pointed at Jack. In the face of losing his own life, Jack drew his weapon and arrested the man. His wife, Robin, later asked him, “Were you afraid?” He answered, “No, because I didn’t have to GET ready; I WAS ready!”

Pam&Dawn - LOLwithGod bookWe can be like Jack and Caleb. We can be ready for the time God asks us to step up, step in, or step Devotions for Women on the Goforward. That is really one of the main reasons Dawn and I wrote LOL with God: Messages of Hope and Humor for Women, and why I wrote Devotions for Women on the Go.

If we, everyday, prepare ourselves with a consistent quiet time with God, we will be ready when He calls us into battle ~ and the results maybe life-saving, life- changing, or life-altering for others.   

2 Timothy 4:2 gives a clear command: “… be prepared in season and out of season….” Luke 12:35 encourages, “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.” And 2 Corinthians 9:3 shows how fellowship keeps us accountable to be ready: “But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be.”

To aid my own readiness, I have quiet time baskets in many rooms in my home with Bibles, a journal, and a devotional in them. In addition, on my desk are several translations, several more daily devotionals, and journals. I also have the Bible on my smart phone and many devotionals are electronically delivered to my Inbox. I want the tools of being ready at my finger tips so I can dig into God’s Word. I want to be ready.

Are you ready?

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