Archive for the ‘self improvement’ Category

How many times have you been on a training course or attended a conference, where at the end you are asked to complete a feedback form? These feedback forms often ask us to rate between 1 and 10, how useful we found the course/conference, or what part of the day we found most helpful, as well as what changes we think might improve the course for those who attend it in the future.

Image if we had to fill in a feedback form every time God did something for us, or he taught us something! We’d end up spending all our lives filling in feedback forms!

The point is not really the feedback forms, it’s about our reaction to what God does for us on a daily basis – Do we give him feedback? Do we pray? Do we thank him for all he does for us?

We may not fill in a feedback form each day for all God does for us, but we can pray daily and tell him how grateful we are, even when he doesn’t answer our prayers in the way we hoped – He always answers our prayers, and he answers them in the way he knows is best for us.

As some of you will know, I’m a big football fan, so if I’m home and there’s football in the telly, you’ll find I usually watch it. Well as few days ago I was watching a match involving Manchester City, and part way through the second half they made a substitution, where they brought on Gabriel Jesus. When Jesus came onto the park, the commentator said, “Maybe Jesus can change the fortunes of City tonight”.

This caught my attention as it reminded that just as Manchester City hoped Gabriel Jesus could help change the fortunes of their team when they brought him onto the pitch, so we can change our fortunes if we accept Jesus Christ into our lives.

Over the last few months I’ve been walking around my local area quite a lot. While doing this, I have noticed, even when walking predominantly along the main roads, I have seen very few other people walking!

It doesn’t seem that long ago that when walking along those same streets, you would see a number of other people also walking. I guess it’s another sign of how dependent we all are on our cars or public transport, and just, dare I say it, how lazy many of us have become.

Yes it’s easy these days, when we’re so busy all the time, to jump in our car and drive for less than 5 minutes to our next location, rather than take a few additional minutes to just walk that short distant. At a time when we’re being told that obesity is a major contributory factor to serious health problems, should we not be walking between locations, rather than taking our car?

If we walk rather than drive, not only will it aid our own health, it will also be better for the environment, and our carbon footprint.

We all have times in our life when we face challenges. e.g. the death of a loved one, unemployment, serious illness. Based on some of the things I’ve learned about myself and from talking to others, I want to share with you some things to think about when you’re facing some tough situations. I hope you find this helpful:

Admit you’re struggling

You may not realise just how much you’re struggling. However I’m sure your family or friends will have noticed a difference in you. So if someone asks you if you’re ok, don’t just say ‘yes’ really look at yourself, and be honest with yourself. After all, if you don’t know you’re struggling or in trouble, how can you start to help yourself?

Don’t hide

When you’re struggling you’ll probably feel like you want to hide away from everyone in a darkened room or in a corner. That is one of the worst things you could do! The best way to keep your emotions under control when you’re struggling is actually to keep busy. When you’re busy there’s more chance you’ll focus on the task in hand instead of continually thinking about all your problems, as that will bring you down even more.

Say ‘No’

Are you the kind of person who always says ‘yes’ when someone asks you to do something? If you are, this one might be very difficult for you, but please consider it as I believe it really is quite uplifting to say ‘No’ sometimes. You may be struggling to do everything you’re already trying to do. So remember you do not need to do everything you’re asked to do. So say ‘No’, and use that extra time to take control of your life and your emotions.

Help

You probably think I’m just suggesting you seek help for yourself from either a friend or a help care professional, however I’m also suggesting you also help others too. One of the times I was struggling, I discovered a friend was also going through a really tough time and I definitely found that by talking with them, and trying to help them, it helped me focus on someone else’s problems instead of my own. Being able to offer support and help to someone else raised my spirits, as it showed me I was still useful and helpful to someone. So speak to others about how you’re feeling, as you may be surprised to find they too may be going through a difficult time and would be grateful for your support too.

Trust

This may be my final suggestion, but it is in fact the most important one – Trust God! God is with us all the time even when we ignore him or forget him. God will always answer your prayers – Maybe not today or tomorrow, but he’ll answer them. Maybe not in the way you wanted or expected, but he will answer your prayer. So trust Him! Believe in God!

In the last week, I’ve noticed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that number of friends have taken on the ’10 year challenge’ which requires the person to post a photo themselves as they are now, and one from 10 years ago. It’s been interesting to see the difference (or not) between the two photographs, but it also got me thinking about how when we think of ageing and the changes it brings to us, we tend to think about the external or visible changes, rather than how the person has changed on the inside.

When I look back at myself 10 years ago, I see a different person looking back at me from the one I see in the mirror today – The difference is not just in how I look but in who I am today. I’ve experienced many different events and emotions over the last 10 years which have changed my perspective on life, and also the kind of person I am.

How about you, how have you changed over the last 10 years? Are you more loving, empathetic, relaxed, positive or more grumpy, cynical, critical, negative?

I simply pray today that we don’t concentrate so much on our outward appearance that we forget to see the beauty within ourselves and others.

This week I’ve provided several descriptions of a Christian, and the qualities you’d expect them to have.

Descriptions are all well and good, but in reality none of us ever truly live up to what is expected of a Christian. In fact none of us ever live up to God’s expectations of us. And this is all because we are human, imperfect.

The good news is God knows we’re not perfect, accepts us as we are, and is willing to help us be the best we can be – It’s simply a learning process.

A common new year resolution that I’m sure we’ve either made for this year, or have made in the past, is to go on a diet.

I’m sure have read my last sentence you’ve immediately thought about food, haven’t you!

Well consider the following picture, which reminds us that our diet is not just about what food we eat or what physical exercise we do.

How you as a person feel physically, emotionally and spiritually is based on everything you experience via all your senses, and how strong your relationship is with God. So take care of your whole self, as your physical well-being is important, but so is your emotional and spiritual well-being.

So we’re nearly at the end of 2018. It’s a time when we look forward to the new year, and also a time when we look back over this last year.

As we look forward to the start of a new year, we often think of it being a time for making changes in our lives, for starting new things to try to build a better future for ourselves and those we love. As we look back over this past year there’s probably been some things we’d all rather forget about, things we wished had never happened, and others that were so amazing they will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

But how was your 2018 from a Christian perspective? Was it a year where you were God was completely at the centre of everything you did, did you keep Him out of your life altogether, or was it somewhere in between those two where you let God into part of your life, but not all of it?

When we accept Christ as our Saviour and friend, we promise to give all our past failures and sins to Him, and ask Him to be at the centre of all we do by giving Him our heart.

So as 2018 comes to a close tomorrow, please consider whether there have been parts of your life that you’ve kept from God this year. Make a commitment now before the new year starts to make God be at the centre of all you do.

There are things we all fear, but there are also things specific to each of us, that we fear. For example:

  • fear of failure;
  • fear of growing old;
  • fear of making a fool of yourself;
  • fear of being alone.

Whatever your specific fears, don’t let them overwhelm you! Instead focus on your dreams, and believe you can achieve them. Positive thoughts, make positive results, so be led by the dreams in your heart.

Can you change the way you think? Of course you can!

If you go into a task thinking you can’t do it, you won’t. However, if you go in to every task with a positive attitude, believing you can do it, it increases your chances of success sevenfold.

So change your I can’ts into I cans, and you can achieve so much more!

Be positive! I can’t. I can.