Category Archives: Goal Setting

Tips for Spending Time With God

Tips for spending time with God

Tips for Spending Time With God

On occasion readers post comments on different blog posts that I feel deserve more attention than just a reply at the bottom of a post. This week is one of those occasions. A reader recently posted a comment with some questions on my post “How to Overcome Feeling Unloved or Unwanted”. I’d like to take some time to answer her questions and provide some additional resources that I think might be helpful for her and others struggling with spending time with God.

This might also be a timely message for others too since the start of the year is a common time to evaluate spiritual growth and set some goals to grow stronger and spend more time with God. You might find some good tips within the post or other resources to help you kick start and/or maintain some of your spiritual New Year’s resolutions.  You can also check out Tips to Start Reading the Bible on a Regular Basis for some extra help and encouragement too.

A comment from Tina

“As great as this article is, I still can’t grasp the concept that “God” loves me…I know partly this is due to me not spending enough time in his word, but for me I never really got much of a true understanding of the Bible and his Word 1. How do I know what to read? 2. What is enough time to spend with God?

I find comfort in being around others… amongst other things, but I want to find comfort in God. 2016 was a very very hard year for me. For the past 4 or 5 months I have felt so UNLOVED, lonely, and rejected…I have prayed countless times for God to just take me away, because the pain I feel on most days has become the norm.

It hurts the most when the one person you love, says one thing but acts different….the same person that I once was all he ever wanted and because I have felt so unloved my entire life, once the triggers started happening it made me become clingy and probably push him away (although he never said it)…My point is not to get advice on the above, but instead I feel the most unloved when things like this happen.

I wish I had the belief, peace, joy, and faith, but honestly it is hard for me to fathom that there is a God…I am very skeptical, logical, and need to be in control and those 3 things are disastrous to truly believing. I get so discouraged about this. I have prayed endless prayers to stop my unbelief and doubt, to prayers about understanding, etc.

I can’t take any more on my own the stress, sadness, and heartache is making me sick. It is so hard to see and understand God when you feel like everything is against you. I truly wish I was stronger, more confidence, and self-esteem. I wish someone (outside of God) would love me like I love. I am so genuine and all that’s brought me is heartache. I sit in my room or in my car with just with tears flowing wondering what I could have done in my life to feel like this. I am hurting and can only hope that I can find happiness and joy inside of me.”

Dear Tina…

Continue reading

Life Lessons to be Learned in Fantasy Football

Here are some Life Lessons to be Learned in Fantasy Football

Life Lessons to be Learned in Fantasy Football

I recently joined a Fantasy Football league.  For anyone that knows me well, this is probably extremely shocking news.  Most people might say to me, “Don’t you have enough football in your life already?”  You see, my husband and son are avid football fans…of ALL football.  My son plays.  My husband coaches.  They’ve played Fantasy Football for years.  My husband occasionally plays flag football with the church.  They both watch…and watch…and watch…both NFL and college ball.  So basically, football is a 7 day/week phenomenon at our house with all the practicing, playing and watching.  Thus, why I’ve come to despise it.  I’ve often referred to myself as a football widow.

You might see then why joining a Fantasy Football league seems counterintuitive.  However, a friend somehow convinced me that it will be good for me (and my family), and for some crazy reason I tend to agree!  More or less, it’s a “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy.  My choice to join them is based on wanting to be a part of something that they enjoy so much, even if it’s not an interest of mine.  My hope is that I will also learn to love and enjoy it as they do (well, maybe not quite as much!).  My friend promised me I would have fun, so I’m going to hold her to it!  I also look forward to the benefits that come from sharing experiences together.  According to clinical psychologist Dr. Willard Harley, recreational companionship is one of the top five needs for a man in marriage.  In fact he puts it this way, “The couple that plays together stays together.” (Source: Harley, Willard F. “The Second Thing He Can’t Do Without–Recreational Companionship.” His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2001. N. pag. Print.)   

Although I don’t necessarily agree with all of Dr. Harley’s insinuations that unmet needs are the cause of affairs, I do believe in the importance of shared or common interests and in recreational companionship.  Eric and I do this in other areas too.  For example, we both love going to auctions and estate sales, we love being outdoors and on the water, as well as enjoying a few other common interests together.  Now, football (or any sport for that matter) might not be my top preference, but it IS my husband’s and also my son’s.  Therefore, because it’s important to them, I’m choosing to make it important to me.  Who knows—I might even really enjoy myself!  I won’t know unless I give it a try.  Don’t get me wrong though, I still definitely think there can be a ditch there.  When our lives revolve around football I think that’s really sad…and almost idolatry.  For now though, I’m choosing to be a part of the madness. 🙂 And I might as well get some good blog posts out of it as well! 

Here are a few life lessons I’ve learned from Fantasy Football so far…

Continue reading

What’s the Meaning Behind the Wings?

What’s the Meaning Behind the Wings?

What’s the Meaning Behind the Wings?

This past weekend we celebrated my sister Shawna’s birthday.  I absolutely loved her theme and decorations centered somewhat around wings (she had a movie-on-the-lawn watching Maleficent).  She’s so talented and gifted at that (as I’ve written about before).  However, my favorite part of her birthday was that in lieu of gifts this year, she hosted a fundraiser instead.  She joined A21 in the fight against human trafficking.  A21 informs that “Human trafficking is modern day slavery that fuels the growth of organized crime, undermining health, safety, security, and the basic needs of humanity. It is the fastest growing crime in the world.”  Shawna used a wonderful and brilliant analogy about wings that fit right in with her Maleficent theme.  Here was her message:

Hi friends,
I have decided to join A21 in the fight against human trafficking by hosting a small fundraiser for my birthday (in lieu of birthday gifts).
Please note that your gift may have just been a card or kind word (which I love!). And you can still donate that as well! A21 has a “how you can give” page and one of the ways to give is to write letters, make a card, or just send a small craft or something to brighten up the day of those who were rescued! Please check out A21’s page for all the ways you can donate!!
A21 aims to rescue and rebuild lives that have been affected by human trafficking and actively operate with ten offices in nine countries.
THANK YOU for choosing to support me as I work to raise funds that will free victims and restore lives.  If you would like to learn more about the issue of human trafficking globally, please check out the Human Trafficking page on the A21 website.
My theme for my birthday is Maleficent. In that movie her wings were stolen and she could no longer fly and she lost hope. She regained her hope (and her wings) through seeing the kindness, grace, and love in another.
Those who have been trafficked have also had their wings stolen. I ask that you partner with me in showing those in need kindness, grace, and love. Help me give them back their wings!!
~ Shawna

I absolutely loved her wings analogy!  Wings hold special meaning for me too because Continue reading

What’s Stopping You From Running the Race?

What’s Stopping You From Running the Race?

What’s Stopping You From Running the Race?

Do you ever have those weeks where you just feel like you’re running a race?  OK…so I’m going to be completely honest with you and tell you that what I had originally intended to post this week isn’t completely finished yet.  We have definitely been “running the race” in our household lately!  It has been pretty busy with the end of school nearing for my kids including all of their end-of-the-year activities.  College finals were this past week for both my husband, Eric (taking his—FOR THE VERY LAST TIME!!!) and for me (giving finals and getting my course grades finished up and posted).

We also had my sister-in-law’s graduation for her Master’s degree (Congratulations Sis!), along with an array of other goings-on…baseball (when it wasn’t raining), church meetings, my niece’s band concert, a teacher conference, and a birthday party which included a full-blown panic attack and angry momma-bear incident by me when my son fell off of a platform without railing head-first while playing at a local paintball complex (where we WILL NOT be returning due to their lack of safety precautions).  Thankfully, my son is fine and was obviously protected by angels because he could have easily broken his neck the way he fell.  On a positive note though, we have been super excited to be preparing for Eric’s graduation this week!  WOOT WOOT ERIC!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!  I don’t know who is more excited…me or Eric?  His degree has been 11 years in the making (due to only being able to take 2 classes at a time while working full-time and supporting a family), so he’s been running the race for quite some time now in that arena.  He’s worked really hard for it, so he is probably a little more excited than I am. 🙂

Then, with Mother’s Day this past weekend, “running the race” seems like an understatement.  I’m sure many of you can empathize with all of the busyness of this time of year.  Instead of trying to rush and finish my original post, I decided to pull something that I wrote several years back.  That’s the benefit of writing things down and saving them for a rainy day (quite literally here in Oklahoma lately).  It actually seemed to suit the occasion quite well too because I had entitled it “Running the Race”.

In honor of Eric running the race and finishing up to move on to another, and in honor of all of YOU who are also running the race in a variety of ways, here is a reminder that I had about running the race…

November 7th, 2010

I received a small picture in my mind, somewhat of a revelation I guess you would say, after having gone through a small problem and then seeing God come through.  I had gotten to a point of extreme frustration, and I was so angry I didn’t feel like doing what I was supposed to do—which in my case at that moment was to pray, ask God for help and invite Him in, and lastly to take authority over the situation by speaking God’s Word out loud.  I think I was too busy and stubborn, wading around in my sorrow and anger to just do what I knew to do, what always works.

After the fact, Continue reading

How Are You Making Excuses With God?

Are you notorious for making excuses? Do you even make excuses with God? Learn how to stop making excuses with God...

How Are You Making Excuses With God?

We’ve been discussing setting goals and making Vision Boards over the past several weeks.  I remembered when I first starting doing mine that I experienced quite a bit of doubt, especially on the Vision Board.  Some of those dreams, visions and goals just seemed so lofty and out of reach to me, and I found myself making excuses for why I might never achieve them.  Then I heard a quote from Steven Furtick: “If the size of your vision isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God.”  That really struck me and hit me right in my pride!  Anything great that God calls me to do MUST be beyond my reach in order to force me to rely on God and not on my own merits, talents or efforts. 

What about you?  When you think of great dreams and visions for your life do you experience some self-doubt?  Do you find yourself making excuses?  Are there some things that you are hesitant or even scared to put in writing or picture form?  Good!  That means then that you will HAVE to lean on God to help you achieve them, and you and others will see that only God could have helped you do that “impossible” thing.  He loves to show off by the way! 😉

Recently, I was looking back through one of my old quiet time journals.  I came across an entry back in February of last year (2014) where I was doing exactly what I just described to you.  I was making excuses with God.  At the time I was really feeling God leading me to write, blog, speak, etc.  It was a crazy, scary concept for me to even imagine.  Then conveniently the story of Moses kept coming up (hmmm…could that be God’s voice?).  I was reading through the books of Exodus 3 and Exodus 4.  God was calling Moses to be a leader, but Moses protested when God told him to go to Egypt to lead the people out.  He kept making excuses with God (this sounded very familiar to me!).  Funny thing though…Moses learned something that I’ve had to learn the hard way too–you can’t argue with God.  He always wins.  Making excuses doesn’t work with Him because He always has a counter. Continue reading

How to Create a Vision Board

Learn the steps to create a Vision Board

How to Create a Vision Board

Now that you’ve learned to set SMART Goals and how to take some action steps to achieve those goals, it’s a good idea to create a vision board.  A vision board is simply a visualization tool to keep you focused on your life goals and dreams.  It’s a vision for your life in the form of a collection or collage of pictures of your goals and dreams to be displayed somewhere where you will see if often.  

You have to see something before you can have something.  For example, you can’t go to a builder and ask him to build your dream home without having something in mind.  It’s been said that you become what you behold.  The bible describes one example of this in 2 Corinthians 3:18–that we will reflect like a mirror what we are looking at—just as when we look to God, He transforms us into His likeness.

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)  

Proverbs 29:18 says that “where there is no vision, the people perish”.  We have to have that vision in front of us to make it happen.  There is an amazing, transformational force in what we set our heart (spirit), mind (soul) and eyes (body) on.  Many modern theorists and success coaches refer to this transformation as the “Law of Attraction”.  The Law of Attraction basically states that you will attract into your life whatever you think about –that your mental perspective will attract external circumstances.  This is not a new concept–the bible encouraged focusing on the positive long before the Law of Attraction theories.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

I heard about some powerful examples of visualization bringing dreams to reality.  One you may have heard was about Jim Carrey writing himself a check for $10 million for “acting services rendered” then carrying it around in his wallet (where he would obviously see it frequently as he would open his wallet).  Check out his interview Continue reading

How to Achieve Your Goals

Learn some specific steps to take to help you achieve your goals

How to Achieve Your Goals

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of writing goals and how to set SMART goals, I’d like to give you some practical tips and steps to achieve your goals.  It’s very easy just to write goals and set them aside, but we won’t be as likely to follow through and achieve our goals unless we take some additional steps.  Adding some action steps and some accountability will significantly boost the probability of reaching our goals, dreams and vision for our life.  Most people leave these steps out and that is often why people don’t see their goals to completion.

To take the next step to achieve your goals, after you have written your SMART goals (made them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, & Time-Sensitive), you should establish some specific actions steps (or short-term goals) for each of them.  By working toward completing these “mini goals” you will reach that bigger goal and achieve your goals in the long-term.  Making and taking smaller action steps is a way to baby step or snowball into a larger accomplishment by taking off bite-sized pieces.  Even God does things in steps and stages.  He knows that we can be overwhelmed easily, and He directs us in steps and stages to success…little by little.

“The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.” Deuteronomy 7:22 (NIV)

“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23 (NLT) 

Next, it helps to identify some potential obstacles or barriers that you may come against for each of those goals, and then come up with action steps to overcome and/or prevent some of those obstacles.  It’s not a question of “if” you will encounter hurdles, but “when”.  Decide ahead of time that you will not let any hindrances stop you or get in your way.  You CAN achieve your goals!  You are Continue reading

How to Write SMART Goals

Learn how to write SMART Goals

How to Write SMART Goals

We recently talked about the importance of writing your goals down because people who write their goals down are much more likely to achieve them.  We learned that writing goals down will help you to be Happy, Healthy and Prosperous!  We also discovered that the bible has several references about the importance of having goals and vision and writing them down.  Today I’d like to share HOW to write goals or better yet, how to write SMART goals.

First, when writing SMART goals, it’s important to keep in mind that you need to write out your goals in the form of a positive statement.  In other words, write what you want NOT what you don’t want.  For example, if you have a goal to pay all of your bills on time use positive wording instead of negative wording:

Negative: I don’t want to be late on any of my bills next month.

Positive: I want to pay all of my bills on time next month.

Do you see the difference?  It’s the exact same goal, just said in a different way.  Your mind tends to lean or focus toward what you think on or say.  In this case, “Late on my bills” will stand out instead of “pay bills on time”.  It’s kind of like advice parents are given when correcting children.  I remember hearing or reading somewhere not to tell a child “Don’t spill your milk” because the brain then unconsciously focuses on “spill your milk”.  Guess what, quite often…they spill their milk!  On the contrary, if you were to say “Be careful with your milk—be sure it stays in your cup”, they are focused on the positive instead of the negative.  It’s almost like a magnet pulling an object toward itself.  We are like magnets that will pull what we focus on toward us.  

This honestly is just a good life skill anyway!  Focus on the positive, not the negative.  It’s also scriptural:

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

The next step to writing SMART Goals is Continue reading