Risk, Courage and Wisdom

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, The Blog | 0 comments

Playing it safe usually seems like the right choice. Why step out on that little limb when you will likely fall a long way to the ground, right? Unless there’s a howling kitty or a valuable kite stuck in the tree, that’s probably good wisdom. But sometimes there is potential gain that’s worth taking the risk of that long drop and painful landing. Some people are risk-takers simply for the adrenaline rush. They don’t even need a good incentive. (Swimming with sharks, base jumping and skateboarding on a 40-foot drop are all activities we could choose daily, but most of us say no thanks.) Others remain in a safe zone unless someone drags them out by their hair. “You must do this presentation or you won’t pass the class.” As with most things in life, finding good middle ground for risk-taking will net the best results. Here are a few things to factor in as you consider taking a risk.

  • Don’t go “all in”, hold something back. Whether you are buying a rental property or deciding what fashion statement to make, it’s best to try it out on a manageable scale and not risk everything.
  • Assess the value of what you may gain. Will you learn something? Will people respect you more? Will you help someone else? Will your confidence ramp up? Will you have a new love?
  • Why haven’t you done it already? What has held you back from taking this risk? What fears are grounded and what fears are mostly imagined?
  • Is the risk of doing nothing greater than the risk you are facing? What do you have to lose if you don’t take this chance?
  • Is this truly an opportunity or an unnecessary gamble?
  • Is this a one-time offer or will I have a chance to take this risk again when circumstances are better?

I’m in favor of taking wise risks… remember the name of my radio show and blog? Bold Living. I believe Courage + Wisdom = Bold Living. Here are a couple of Bible verses to remember when you are evaluating a little risky business:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

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Knowing Yourself in a Relationship

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in MARRIAGE | Permanent with Purpose & Passion | 0 comments

This book veers off course of my normal choices, but thought you might enjoy a change of pace where marriage books are concerned. Personally, I’d add a lot more spiritual involvement into the mix, but that’s just true of my way in general. Rawlings tells his truth and shares relationship perspective boldly. Check out the excerpt below and let me know your thoughts, especially if you read the whole 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 

Knowing Yourself in a Relationship

Excerpted from Chapter 10- You Can Never Go Back of Charles Rawlings’ book It Really is That Complicated

Do you know who you are?  Most people do not know themselves and they are led passively through their life by the currents and eddies that is their limited world. Most people acquiesce to society’s demands and mores. They become what is expected of them and do not know themselves and live lives of quiet desperation. Why is it important for a person to break out – to learn about themselves… to know themselves?  As one author wrote (this was shared with me just yesterday by the hooker’s best friend) : “To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.”  The Artist’s Way How many of my readers can truly look inside themselves and say – “My soul is alive”?

Well, my readers, is your soul alive?  Can you look around you and tell the world, “I prefer this, I prefer to be my own person, I prefer to experience life on my own terms, I prefer to be and feel who I want without the world’s interference”? Can you tell the world and society “I am doing it my way.” How many of you can say or do this?  Very few, if my suspicions are correct. In so doing, however, you open yourself up to new experiences, new life events and as a ripple effect new and seriously improved, unique relationships with people… not to mention your significant other. You begin to become you. You begin to learn yourself. Most importantly, you begin to learn not to be afraid, not to fear the currents and eddies that constitute this life. You begin to trust yourself and in yourself.  Knowing yourself and having no fear begins to open new vistas – nothing life or people do to you or can do to you will affect your actions. You become your own person.

 

 

 

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Challenges and Advice for Young Moms

Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Identity, PARENTING | Never Ending Story, The Blog | 2 comments

I asked for input from moms under 40 and was a little surprised at what I found out. Not much has changed since I was a young mom. Women still struggle with the same things. It gave me a sense of relief (because I’m past it) and a little sadness for the young moms who are still facing all those same issues.

This Mother’s Day, instead of focusing on our older moms (whom we all love and appreciate) I thought it would be appropriate to spotlight the younger moms who are still in the trenches. Want to take a look at what they are dealing with?

Primarily four concerns are plaguing them, just as they did me and many of my mom-friends 20-plus years ago.

  • Time management- how to get it ALL done in one day.
  • Making sure kids have everything they need to grow, mature and fulfill their potential.
  • Keeping the spark hot and staying connected to their husbands/ For single moms: having time and courage to meet someone new.
  • Maintaining an identity and self-value.

Here are a few bits of wisdom I’ve learned (often from making mistakes) and gathered from others over the years.

It is absolutely and unequivocally impossible to accomplish everything on your list in a single day. The sooner you can accept that and be ok with it, the less you’ll struggle and feel like a failure. Simplify and prioritize. I know—you’re thinking, “How brilliant…I’ve never heard that before!” But hearing it and doing it are different animals. Your family must eat, but missing a T-ball game occasionally will not damage them. Everyone should have clean clothes on, but they don’t have to wear the ones they like most. Do your best to under-schedule your day. You seldom will succeed and if by chance you end up with a little down time, grab it with both hands and don’t add to your list.

We read parenting books and go to mom’s groups and are told that we have the most important job in the world… shaping our children is up to us. No pressure, right? I remember wanting my kids to get a chance to try as many things as possible. That included at least one season on almost every kind of sports team, various musical endeavors (violin, piano and cello to name a few), acting and dance classes, riding horses, learning to water ski and surf during the summer… you name it and they did it. This is a terrific way to find out what your kid is good at and passionate for, but the problem lies in teaching them commitment. When you have a “let’s give everything a little try” mentality, there is an implicit message that if you don’t like it, you move on.

My husband and I tried to do both…offer them the “sampler experience” while explaining to them that they couldn’t quit until the season/class was completed. This can lead to burn-out for both parents and kids. Maybe a good compromise would be to try to find a weekend, one-shot opportunity when they want to experiment with something new, but when they decide to be on a team, they have to stick it out?

The practice of disciplining kids can be a real hot button between moms and dads. I will confess that this was the one issue my husband and I argued about the most. I was more lenient and he was tougher. In retrospect (and hearing from my adult kids) I can say I wish I’d deferred more to my husband and we’d been a little tougher on them. The key to winning in this case is having time to talk things through and getting soundly on the same page before the big stuff comes up.

And speaking of husbands, it is really difficult to make time for talking and connecting when kids are demanding your attention every waking minute. Most people don’t have vast resources to pay a babysitter for frequent date nights. But however it happens (trading child-care with other couples, family helping or sacrificing in another area to pay a sitter) alone time is essential. I suggest spending only a quarter of the time talking about kids and another quarter talking about practical issues like broken appliances and finances or jobs. Set a boundary and reserve half your date time to talk about how you’re feeling, being playful, flirting and affectionate. It may not sound romantic but scheduled romance is far better than no romance.

If you’re a single mom, you may have even more on your plate and no one to share the load. It may be helpful to find other like-minded single moms to trade child-care with and also to support you emotionally. Be sure you have a little time away from your kids (and work) to breathe, relax and even socialize. You won’t meet the love of your life sitting in front of the TV in your yoga pants. There are fun and meaningful things you could be doing on occasion to connect with the outside world.

All moms have a tendency to play the comparison game, and believing that they fall short. Some women seem to have it all together, but you’d likely be surprised at what’s really going on in her home and in her head. Do your best, according to your own life, resources and schedule. Own it with pride.

One last thought, you will not always be a mommy first. There will come a day when you have a little more time to explore your own interests and nurture your gifts and step into a purpose that doesn’t revolve around your kids. It’s a good idea to try to begin that process now. Even if it’s only 10 minutes a week, try to begin stepping into your identity and the calling God has on your future.

If you’re not feeling the love today, remember that what you’re doing is exceptional, almost impossible and of the highest value. You were called to be their mom and the One who called you is equipping you daily.

Share your challenges, memories, advice or encouragement in a comment below. Happy Mother’s Day!

*Special thanks to my daughter-in-law for contributing greatly to my research.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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