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It’s nice to ask people. We do it all the time. It’s almost become a casual greeting, a nicety that we trade between good friends. But the truth of the matter is when it comes down to being helpless and hopeless and at the end of your rope, only the prayer that you offer from your heart and soul to God can really be trusted. Have you been doing any desperate praying lately?

Email, text-message, twitter, blogs; all of these things are tools that can easily become curses when they become substituted for talking face-to-face. It’s amazing how conflicts get resolved and big things shrink in size when we look into each other’s eyes and talk face-to-face. You can’t send someone else to do your talking for you. You have to do it for yourself.

You have two responsibilities: the leadership you have in your marketplace job, and the leadership responsibility you have for yourself. We seem to focus on the former and forget the latter. Bottom line is no one can lead your life for you. You have to do it. You have to think and be proactive, plan, make decisions and choices and then put those plans into action.

No one is beyond the need to say, “I’m sorry.” Not only to God, but to other people. We oftentimes wound people and are not even aware of what we’ve done. We can be smug and say it’s their problem or we can recognize there are times when we have to go with humility and repent. When is the last time you’ve come to God and said, “I repent. I am sorry. I’ve changed my mind about my behavior and choices,” or to a trusted friend or family member to bridge the gap and reconnect a broken relationship?

You’re a human being. You have a limited amount of time, resources, and energy. God created Sunday as the Sabbath rest. The sacred rhythm is six and one, six and one. Work six days. Recharge on the seventh day. When is the last time you took Sunday as a full Sabbath, you gathered with other like-minded people to worship God, and then you spent the rest of the day relaxing, recharging, recuperating; doing the stuff that you want to do, or better yet, nothing at all? If you’re tired and weary, it’s not your job, it’s not your family, and it’s certainly not God. It’s you. Only you can unplug and retreat and recharge. Don’t blame anyone else for your weariness but yourself.

 Too often when we miss-manage money, we allow our debt to make our decisions for us. It’s the famous song that so many people sing on the way to work here in Nashville on Monday morning, “I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go.” No one can help make smart choices and make your decisions for you. Start right now to take back the power of your choice, and never give it away.

One of the best days of your life is when you discover that the quality of your life is not measured by the quantity of the things you say “yes” to. I’m convinced that we say yes to way too many things, and our lives end up diluted. At the end of the day we accomplish little and are weary and worn out. Figure out what’s really important to you. Say yes to those and no to everything else. It’s like this. When you walk across the magazine rack let your eyes go across a thousand titles that have no interest to you, and lock on the one that does. Be focused. Only you can do that.

It’s your life. And there are some things that people can help you with. But these are the things you can only do for yourself. Use this  as a way to carry on a discussion with your family and ask yourself this question: “Are we doing our own praying, talking, leading, repenting, recharging, decision-making, and saying “no?” Or are we waiting for someone else to do what only we can do for ourselves?

David Foster


One Comment

  1. There is one thing missing from the list that may be the most difficult and most rewarding.
    You could probably give 10 sermons on it, and although we might understand it better, it wouldn’t make it any easier for us to practice.

    Deep down, we know that doing this one simple thing can create win-win situations for ourselves and for a lot of people around us, but we’re so selfish that we prefer the lose-lose scenario, and we procrastinate until it just doesn’t help anybody. Without exception, when we do this with purpose and conviction, it makes all the difference in the world – not only for ourselves, but for others affected by our action or inaction.

    Like the other items on David’s list, sometimes we’ll try it here and there, do it half heartedly, or “not do it, but just say we did”, and instead of helping a little bit, our lack of commitment makes things worse.

    Many of us can go our whole lives practicing this behavior only under certain conditions. We will rationalize it by thinking that everyone that practices this behavior only practices it under the most favorable conditions that make it palatable to themselves.

    And the people that don’t even attempt to practice this behavior, they are easy to identify because we generally avoid them. On the other hand, people that do this habitually and naturally have no problem making friends, achieving unexpected successes, and generally have less drama and stress in their lives.

    When I ask other people for this, I feel awkward and inferior. Their decision can sometimes ruin my day or establish a life long friendship. It’s something that, when other people do it without my asking, makes me appreciate them more and work harder and smarter for them (albeit, sometimes with no better results). This is not something you say, although it can be said, this is something you do, and continue to do.

    For some people, developing this trait can be so stressful and painful that just the thought of it is more than they can bear. In fact, some people will abandon their religion, church, and friends to avoid the pain associated with developing this ability. But once they figure out how, when, and why to apply this ability they will appreciate situations that they use to complain about.

    Within a simple prayer, Jesus said “give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us.” He states it as a simple matter of fact: thank you God for our day, our food, our forgiveness of sins (based on our repentance), and “we forgive those who trespassed against us” – no strings attached. Perhaps it was with conditions: Food, Time, and the most important pre-requisite, our repentance for our own sins. But the ‘and’ says to me, don’t even bother asking for the first three without offering up forgiveness – unconditional forgiveness of others who trespassed against me. And the best part is, like the first three items, it is for my own benefit!

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