Promises, Promises

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in I AM (Actually, He Is!) Revealing God's Character, Identity | 0 comments

Every person in the world has been given an empty promise. Someone has told you they would do something and then they didn’t. Each new broken promise adds scar tissue that builds up in the form of mistrust, cynicism and pessimism. Faith in anything, or especially anyone is in short supply.

When you are repeatedly disappointed by empty promises it’s hard to recognize truth, honor and faithfulness when it stands right in front of you.

I’ve been both the giver and receiver of un-kept promises. As the recipient I haven’t spent much time looking for “good” reasons I was lied to, I just felt the pain. An un-kept promise is a lie. The pain I feel is much less about what wasn’t done as what was done. The person’s lack of commitment is much worse than them not doing a chore or showing up for a meeting.

As the liar, who delivered an un-kept promise, I have typically had pretty good reasons… and I do focus on them to give myself a break. I don’t believe I’ve ever made a promise to anyone that I intentionally planned to break, but with each new broken promise, future promises become much less meaningful.

Bottom line? Don’t make promises unless you feel certain you can keep them. Stuff happens. Sometimes we have a flat tire or get the flu so are unable to show up. But if you are honest with yourself, those things can usually be predicted and prevented. When there is an unexpected crisis that you can’t work around, it is the rarest of occasions.

When people are almost always true to their word, we allow for the irregular blunder. That’s human. When people almost always don’t keep promises, we lose trust. Sadly, being trustworthy is becoming a recessive character trait.

Even if you were raised with constant empty promises, there is a readily available role mode. Jesus always keeps His promises. His words are never empty. Here is a link to some of God’s promises to remind you that it’s ok to let the doubt go and embrace trust again.

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To Re-ignite Purpose, Reconnect with the Purpose Giver

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), Identity, The Blog | 0 comments

There is a lot of talk about people “reinventing” themselves. Lady Gaga and Madonna have done it countless times. This is really all about changing yourself, as far as people can see, to appeal to them in a fresh way.

But we are not inventions, we are creations. Reinventing ourselves isn’t possible because we were created as God made us. Each of us is unique with a special calling and purpose for life. When we find that our purpose or mission gets stale, is it time to go after something different or someone else’s purpose?

I believe the answer to that is almost always no. Assuming that you have taken the time to hear from God about what He wants for you and have pursued that, He doesn’t typically take people in another direction. Moses, Joshua and Esther all had assignments. While I’m sure each of them faced times of feeling discouraged, frustrated, unpopular or even bored, they stayed on the course God set for them.

Moses didn’t likely say, “Maybe I should get a tattoo or dye my beard; then the people will want to follow me. I just need to reinvent myself.” I doubt that David said, “Maybe if I get a drum and a little more base in the background, these songs would be more popular.”

They knew that the outward packaging wasn’t nearly as important as the One who created the contents. Each of us is unequalled in our abilities to answer God’s call and stay faithful to it. If you are getting discouraged in your purpose… feeling like the honeymoon is over… it doesn’t mean you need a new hairstyle or especially a new spouse. It just means you may have forgotten who called you and lost sight of the passion that initially accompanied the call.

A good marriage therapist will help troubled couples get back in touch with how they felt when they first fell in love. The same is true for you, in life and in following the mission(s) the Lord has called you to. If you are bogged down in focusing on growth, profit, success (of marriage, ministry, kids, or business) you aren’t as free to simply attend to the things you love and let God be responsible for the outcomes.

All of us need to focus on not becoming stale in our relevance and relatability to others. It’s a good thing. I’m in favor of fashion updates. If you’re still wearing your “mom jeans” or your ‘70s sweater vest, rethink it.

But fulfilling your purpose doesn’t rely on reinventing yourself, it depends upon reconnecting with your Creator.

To re-ignite purpose, reconnect with the purpose giver.

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Weight Loss: God’s Way

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 0 comments

Just about every woman I know expresses some concerns about her weight. I learned some enlightening and inspirational tips from Michael Scott Lowery’s book. Check out his post to see if he can offer you something of value.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Weight Loss: God’s Way

by Michael Scott Lowery

Year after year, weight loss is the number one New Year’s resolution. Man’s wisdom is evidently not sufficient to successfully address the problem. Has man’s wisdom let you down in this area? I know it has. It always does.

Is God interested in your need to lose weight and to be in good health? Does God say anything in the Bible that will provide a divine solution to your weight loss challenge? Yes and yes!!!

You need to get a revelation that living life at your ideal body weight is God’s will for you. This is your birthright as a Believer. As a matter of fact, what you eat matters to God.

You also need to get a revelation that the Bible is the greatest diet, health, weight loss, and lifespan-increasing book ever written. Why wouldn’t it be? It was written by the Creator of our bodies, Who desires to prosper us in every area of life, certainly to include health.

Let’s quickly look at a single verse from the Bible that will springboard you into your weight loss journey. In this one verse God gives us His basic dietary outline. You could replace every weight loss book on the planet with these ten words; God’s solution to the obesity epidemic.

… eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness. – Ecclesiastes 10:17, KJV

Eat in due season simply means that you should eat when you are hungry and that you should not eat when you are not hungry. This addresses emotional eating, gluttony, anorexia, and the problem of damaging your metabolism via drastic dieting techniques.

For strength tells you what to eat. For example, eat nuts and seeds – not candy, eat fruit – not cookies, drink water – not soda, etc.

And not for drunkenness tells you to not overeat and to avoid those unhealthy things, even if consumed in small quantities, that will leave you mentally and physically drowsy.

The application of these ten words is all of the practical wisdom you need to reach your ideal body weight. God’s ways are always simple, effective, never-changing, and freeing.

You can find more Biblical wisdom and insight in my book, God’s Weigh to Your Ideal Body Weight, which Biblically addresses the issues of excess body weight, poor health, and decreased lifespan in the Church. Learn more and get your copy at www.godsweighministry.com and on Amazon. You will be glad you did.

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Who’s Loving the Leader?

Posted by on Apr 6, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), Identity, The Blog | 0 comments

You are a leader. You may be the CEO of a big corporation, the director of a ministry or the mom of a six-year-old, but you are surely leading someone. Leadership requires a specific skill set. When you are on duty in your leadership role, you are tapping into those skills full-throttle.

  • We know you must be positive and optimistic. Eeyore (the gloomy donkey from Winnie the Pooh) does not possess this quality…he also has no one following him.
  • You have to be able to go with the flow; yoga may help with flexibility in your body, but leadership requires a flexible mind-set.
  • Communicating what you expect and listening to what the concerns of others are is critical.
  • Control junkies are not good leaders. As Elsa says, “Let it go.” Learn to delegate.
  • Take the long view. Good leaders are committed and don’t give up easily.

That’s a heavy load unless you are channeling Mother Teresa. An often over-looked quality in leaders that last is self-nurturing. It is impossible to stay ahead of the team (physically, mentally and spiritually) if you are only focused on their needs and the shared objective.

True, it equips you to take webinars to enhance your skills or work with a coach to make you a more effective director. But that can also add to the depletion many leaders experience internally.

Leaders need love too.

Here’s the question to ask yourself: Who’s loving the leader? Who’s loving on you? If you aren’t first loving yourself, you are likely to completely omit this from your battle plan.

Here’s a little checklist quiz for leaders:

  • Are you able to stop talking and thinking about your leadership goals and be fully focused when you’re with the people who love you?
  • Do you seek out opportunities to be silly and laugh, maybe even look a little foolish?
  • Is it easy for you to switch gears to sit on the porch and watch the wind blow through the trees?
  • Does your back, neck or other parts of your anatomy feel loose and pain-free or like they are strung by piano wire?
  • When/if you take time to connect with God does your mind find its way back to the job at hand?
  • Can you fall asleep and stay asleep, feeling rested in the morning?

There are no answers posted upside-down at the bottom of the page. The healthy answers are obvious; especially to a smart leader like you. If you are a little (or a lot) out of balance, apply the old adage, “physician heal thy self.” Leader, lead yourself!

Up the value and intention of loving yourself and embracing love and time with others. Learn to be still. Discipline your mind and spirit to take a break. Invite God to join you. He’s the ultimate leader and He knows how to love you best.

Those who rely on and follow you will benefit as thoroughly as you do and maybe they’ll follow this practice as they lead others.

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Doing Someone Else’s Job

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 3 comments

Getting clarity about who you are typically makes it a breeze to figure out what to do. Many people simply head down a career path for all the wrong reasons without figuring out their own gifts as well as what a career truly entails.

Years ago when teaching a college journalism course I gave an assignment to my students that often ended with big surprises. Most of them were freshmen and didn’t have a clue about what they wanted to do. They had to pick a career and learn everything they could about it such as:

Starting pay to maximum potential at retirement and benefits.

Education and experience requirements.

Was travel or late nights expected?

Would they likely need to relocate?

How fast could they advance?

They also had to get bold and creative to secure interviews with an entry level person as well as the highest level employee they could find. (Bank teller and Bank Vice President.)

The presentations they gave were terrific. The best part was that nearly 80% of them realized they didn’t want to pursue the career they had chosen! I helped them dodge a bullet.

Some of them were following in parents’ or older siblings’ footsteps, some were looking for fame, others were focused on making a load of money. They hadn’t taken the time to learn what their life would be like and the real-life cost of how to reach success.

There are people who thrive under pressure while others do best in a relaxed setting. Some people enjoy travel and others are home-bodies.

If you have landed in a place that isn’t a good fit, every day is a struggle because you’re doing someone else’s job. It may be hard to believe but there are folks who would actually be thrilled to step into your position.

I’ve known a lot of people who’ve changed careers when they come to terms with the fact that their profession wasn’t what they hoped. It takes courage, sacrifice, determination and planning; but it can be done.

My daughter got a degree in early childhood education. After completing her student teaching requirement she knew unequivocally that she did not want to be a teacher. She felt trapped and remorseful but fortunately began to pursue a new path. She is currently finishing a master’s degree and is passionate and confident that being in medical social work is exactly right for her.

It’s never too late to make changes. Sometimes you can’t quit your job and go back to school. But perhaps you could look for another position within your current field that might be a tiny step in a different direction and keep the momentum rolling. You will feel better AND you left a vacancy for that guy who is right for the job.

Contentment can be challenging when you’re doing someone else’s job. If you could have a do-over, how would you answer this question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Is there a way you can incorporate some of the best facets of that job into your life now?

Please share what you would have liked to be or how you have found fulfillment and contentment in a position that is a strained fit. Your comments will encourage others.

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A Generous Character

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, Identity, The Blog | 0 comments

The cashier smiled as he started to total up my purchases and said, “The people who just left said to give the next person their remaining Kohl’s Cash, so you get an extra $2.36 off.” He was so pleased to give me this gift and I didn’t mind the couple bucks going back in my wallet. It wasn’t the amount of money, it was the gesture that mattered.

Generosity always sends a message: Grace. You may not be deserving, you may not have earned the little extra, but I’m giving it to you anyway.

Being generous isn’t just about giving away money or “stuff.” It’s a character trait. It is an overall description of those who live it out daily. I can’t think of too many things I’d rather hear from someone describing me than, “She’s really generous.”

The opposite of generous isn’t greedy, it’s self-focused. It’s when you matter more than the people you’re with or serving.

My husband helped a 93-year-old man (total stranger) in the men’s room at a restaurant recently. He assisted him getting in and out of the stall with his walker and then had a lengthy conversation on the way (it was slow-going) back to the tables. My husband described it as a truly meaningful moment and encounter. He was moved and impressed by the man’s humility and kindness as well as some life experiences he shared. If my husband had been in a hurry to get back to the table or felt annoyed by having to help, he would have missed a precious conversation. He also would have missed the chance to bless and blessed.

When I’m speaking to an audience, I try to be generous. I want to take plenty of time to learn about the group and its needs before I begin preparing. I take a pulse often and change things up if it seems that the faces staring back at me aren’t gaining anything. I engage and compliment people who interact.

Whether in your everyday life, in business or ministry, generosity is not optional if you want to do it well and with the biggest impact. I encourage you to seek out ways to be generous as you start and go through each day. The opportunities will be plentiful and the rewards even more.

If you have thoughts and stories about generous moments, please share in a comment below. If you’d like to chat with me about speaking for your group, you can fill out the contact form on my website. I promise to be generous with my time.

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This Old House: Childhood Experiences Shape Our Identity

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Identity, The Blog | 0 comments

Seeing the couple of old houses I grew up in brings back so many jolts of memory from my childhood that have receded slowly over time. What did that dog next door look like? What was the name of that boy that was always following me around? Where was our playhouse in the yard? Experiences fade, but yet they make us who we are. As you ponder who you are, what memories from your past jump out and wave a flag? Even if you aren’t from the South, you’ll surely love Sophie Hudson’s shared experience below excepted from her new book.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

This Old House (excerpted from Home is Where My People Are)

by Sophie Hudson

When I type in Mama and Daddy’s old address on “the Google,” as Mama calls it, the street view puts me smack-dab in the middle of an intersection about a mile from the house itself. I’ve traveled through that intersection thousands of times—to the point that I have all of its options memorized.

 …I guess I expected that clicking my way down Pine Tree Road on Google Maps—and clicking to see the house where I grew up—would fill me with all sorts of nostalgia. I thought that it would prompt me to think back on all the funny and hard and awkward moments that I associate with my childhood home. I imagined I’d get to the point where the house was front and center on my computer screen, and I’d reflect long and hard about The Mistakes I Made, The Drama I Created, The Times I Cried, The Lessons I Learned.

I thought that, given our history, the house and I would have ourselves a moment. Courtesy of Google and Apple and the worldwide interweb.

But the house and I didn’t really have a moment at all. Oh, the house was special—no doubt. It was special because it was ours. It was special because I grew up there. I can see so many lessons just from the way Mama and Daddy took care of those twelve acres; over the course of our time there, they remodeled, they added on, they reroofed, they painted. They raked, they mowed, they tended, they watered, they pruned, and they weeded. They figured out what was broken. They fixed it.

And Lord knows that they planted and they sowed.

But the Google Maps, as it turned out, taught me something that I wasn’t really expecting.

The house is significant, yes. But really, it’s only part of the story.

Because what flat-out captivates me is the road.

 

 

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