From Steve Chandler

Periodically my Dad will forward me e-mails he receives from Steve Chandler’s newsletter. I am not familiar with everything this man stands for and from my understanding he is not a professing Christian. But there is so much to be learned from the deep thinkers of our world, Christian or otherwise. Have you ever watched movies or read books and seen the Christian theme despite the lack of “Christian” actors, directors, script, or title? My Dad has made it a habit to recognize these things and point them out to us kids as we grew up. While many people do not accept Jesus as their Savior, some may simply be ignorant while others refuse, everything ultimately turns back to Christ, His morals, lessons, and Truth.

With that being said, I would like to share with you one of Steve Chandler’s excerpts now:

 

So what are you thinking that makes you so afraid?

“Well, I’m thinking I could go out of business…”

Well, OK, you could go out of business. Are you thinking you are likely to go out of business?

“Let me look at that. Probably not likely.”

All right, it’s good to identify that you’re not likely to go out of business, that’s different than I will go out of business.  We’re starting to dismantle this thing.  We’re starting to undo it.

Now what if you did go out of business? Could you handle it?  What would your life be like?  Would your life be ruined forever?

Is there a chance you could re-build in another professional format that would be even stronger? Let’s always make friends with the worst case scenario so that it doesn’t bother you anymore…..so that it doesn’t slow you down and keep the brakes on all day.

Because if you are really honest with the thought that is causing the fear, and you really stay with it, and look at all the different variations and permutations, that very thought loses its power. Because it loses its truth. And you soon see it’s just a thought. And thoughts have no reality.

Once you see that, you are free to go out and create the reality you want.

Steve Chandler
www.stevechandler.com

WIN

In May, my brother had to take me to the airport in order for me to get home to Rhode Island from Pennsylvania. It was a great hour and a half ride with my younger-but-not-so-little brother. We had a chance to catch up on each other’s lives and get into some of the nitty gritty of life-decision-making and goals.

While this was a time I treasured with him, he taught me something that I will never, ever, forget. Something that no book I’ve read could have taught me better or some speaker on a stage could have illustrated more eloquently. He taught me about how to win in life. Not just at an athletic event or some specific scenario, but my 17 year old brother taught me how to win at everything.

Driving to Baltimore for a cheap flight is one of life’s necessary evils when you live in southern Pennsylvania. On this route we must pass through a tunnel that is huge and takes you underwater in Maryland. As we entered this tunnel we joked about a few different things and I shared how I don’t mind driving through tunnels as long as the traffic continues to move. When traffic stops is when I’m convinced a tile is going to come loose in the side, water will pour in, and we will all drown. My brother thought about it and then said to me, “yeah, but I always win in those situations.” He continued to explain by giving examples of everybody’s daydream nightmares of bad guys and bad situations. You know, the scenario that runs through your mind of a robber in your home when you are there, a car wreck, a burning home…a flooded, underwater tunnel, etc… Or even the outrageous ones where a tiger attacks in your backyard, or a dragon kidnaps your girlfriend. We all have these crazy, often unwarranted, imaginary, situations that play through our minds. For some of us they are truly imaginary, very fictional and near impossible. For others, they’re very real to us and cause us to fear a great many things and to live very cautious and paranoid lives. For my brother, they cause him to become more confident in himself.

Sidenote: we have always called my dad Superman. I think he truly believes he is invincible. After being with him and his best friend since childhood recently, and hearing of what they did in the cornfields of Illinois, I am starting to think his confidence is justified. The man should be dead or greatly, permanently injured by some of the stunts he pulled as a kid. Maybe my brother inherited his winning/invincible mindset?

My brother explained, that since childhood, whenever those imaginary situations enter his mind and play-out, he always wins. If it’s a tiger attacking in the backyard, he tames it or wrestles it until it’s dead. If it’s a car wreck, he walks away with just a scratch. If it’s a burning building, he gets out safe and sound. If it’s a robber in the house, he takes him out. If it’s a bad guy in a street ally, he shows him who is boss. If it’s a flooding tunnel, he guns the gas pedal on the car, runs, or swims, whatever it takes to get out and he does. Let me note here that my brother, while very strong due to his wrestling training and passion for fitness and weightlifting, has never had any formal training in combat. He has never taken a kick-boxing class, done karate, tai-kwon-do, jiu-jitsu, anything. To my knowledge, he has never even hit anyone in a forceful or angry manner (joking is another matter…he IS a teenage boy). Therefore, his mindset of always winning every encounter with a “bad guy” or deathly situation has absolutely no logical grounding. 

There is a portion of me that wishes to attribute this to all guys, thinking they are invincible and can take on anything, and that as girls, we fear more things because we tend to be more fragile and cautious. But that is not true either! I know a great many boys and men who fear things. And for logical reasons. They do not believe they are invincible and the world and culture actually applaud them for it. Because to the world, to our culture, it means that they are living in reality, that they aren’t being unrealistic or silly. 

I applaud my brother.

He has a great many, very large, hopes and dreams for his future. He just graduated high school and he is about to embark on a journey to make all of these dreams come true, and I believe he will, 100%. Because he has the winning mindset. If he can swim, jump, climb, run to safety and win every battle that confronts him in his mind, then he will win anything he puts his mind to. Whether he puts his mind to becoming a firefighter or being wealthy enough to keep a limo and personal driver, he’ll do it.

So Caleb, get out there and win at life! I believe you will, you’ll do every bit of it. And what you taught me will stay with me forever. Even in the past couple of weeks I have already been consciously trying to implement it into my own thought life. I am jealous that you learned this so early on, but I am appreciative that you did and that you shared it with me.

Go win little brother!!

ImageImageImage

 

The Handbook

 

I believe it is high time we all stood up and gave the adults around us a round of applause. Why? Because they’re grown-ups!! And I don’t know about you, but being a grown-up is pretty tough stuff.

In the movie Sabrina, (the new one, with Harrison Ford in it) a fiance who is aware that she is trying to hang onto her betrothed asks him, “do you even know what marriage is?” The nervous man, caught off guard by the question, furrows his eyebrows and concentrates hard on the floor tiles while he slowly answers, “sure! It’s that thing where you hangout a lot and scratch each other’s backs and button each other’s hard to reach buttons.” While humorous as that answer is, how accurate it is in the way we think about being grown-ups when we are younger!

Being a grown-up in my mind as a child meant no school work. It meant being able to drive. There was a certain kind of freedom attached to the word and idea. Being the type-a that I am I was well aware that there would be responsibilities involved with being an adult, but as I approach that stage of life I realize just how little I actually comprehended of those responsibilities.

Once I heard one of my pastors give an illustration of how there was a severe storm in his area. He had experienced a minor surgical procedure earlier that day and was on meds for the pain while scouring the internet about the storm and tolerating his four children running and playing throughout their home. Panicked because of the storm and also a bit out of sorts with his normal calm, cool, and collectedness due to the drugs, he felt overwhelmed by the impending possible danger and was trying desperately to determine what to do to keep his family safe. While this was an illustration used to make his audience laugh at the time, something he pointed out has stayed with me. He said, there is no handbook to being an adult. There is no chapter that says, “When in a severe storm in a 2-story home in Maryland with 4 children, wife, dog and doped on meds.”

My husband and I moved to Rhode Island 3 weeks ago. We moved for a new job to this place where we know no one and have been excitedly anticipating the new adventure. What we did not appropriately anticipate was our vehicles breaking down one after the other for the course of 3 weeks. Our two vehicles are very old but have run fairly smoothly and all the repairs we have done on them have been relatively cheap. Our prayer has been that they would last us another 2 years. Our first day in Rhode Island, after driving from Texas, resulted in one of the vehicles breaking down. Fixed it. 3 days later the same vehicle broke down. Fixed it. 5 days later, same vehicle catches on FIRE while I am driving it.

Did you know that there is no chapter that says, “When the car catches on fire in a place you have never lived before with no friends or family and husband can’t get to you because he rode to work via carpool”?

There is no chapter that says, “How to get a new license in a new state when yours is about to expire but the DMV is only open during the hours you’re at work at your brand new job.”

There is no chapter that says, “How to get a job in a new place when you have a dumb-phone and unreliable vehicles.”

There is no grown-up handbook. Nothing that gives you all the answers. When life throws questions in your face, decisions that MUST be made and you’re all on your own to make them, there are no guidelines. And this is why I think it 100% necessary that we stand up and applaud those people that you consider to be awesome adults! In my feeble 22 year old opinion, my parents have surpassed any synonym of “awesome” that I could come up with. I find it fascinating that they not only kept me alive, but kept me alive, fed, and clothed along with 3 other children at the same time!! Incredible. 

*applause*

I cannot even comprehend the number of tough decisions my parents have made during my lifetime that have caused my life to turn out so great. How did they know what they were doing?!? It amazes me how little we understand about adulthood until we realize we’re entering into it. It amazes me how I can be 22 years old and remember days of playing on the trampoline and running around the backyard with a hose on the swingset as if it were yesterday. I still feel like a 10 year old. I get silly to the point of annoying other people sometimes, I pitch fits when I don’t like things sometimes, and every now and then a good cry is necessary. I want someone to fix the physical and emotional hurts I feel with a kiss and a moment of cuddling, and I want an older authority to tell me the answers to my questions with confidence that they have the right answer, without saying “I don’t know”. 

It’s not the chores that I can’t handle. Those responsibilities I’ve learned. When to wash your sheets, vacuum the floor, do the dishes, put gas in the car etc… (if you don’t have answers to those…just get on pinterest!) It’s the bigger things that I didn’t know existed that I want a handbook for. And yet, people keep growing up and surviving and having babies and keeping them alive. 

When I got married I remember thinking about my feelings. My feeling was that I was 10 years old, not old enough to get married! And yet there I was, on the threshold of matrimony. And I remember the moment when I really began to grasp my mother’s views, thoughts, and feelings. I had no idea what I was doing to get married, move away, and be a grown-up. And that’s when I realized, neither did she. She didn’t know how to handle her daughter doing all of those things or how to handle only having 3 children at home. This was all new to her TOO. And neither one of us had the answers, we both just had to keep moving forward. So far we’ve both made it. But I did know something that she didn’t…I knew she would be splendid. I knew she would make the right choices and know all the right things to say and do because I’d been watching her do it right for 20 years. I’d been watching her be a grown-up for all that time. And in all that time she always seemed to do it right. Little did I know until that time that we were in the same boat. Moving forward, making decisions while holding our breath and praying it was the right one. 

So all you 20-somethings out there! You’d better stand up and give the generation before us an applause and thank them for being grown-ups so that we can have an inkling of how to do it ourselves!

Sincerely,

A Grown-Up in Training

 

What I’ve Learned From Spider-Man

This was the first year in 10 years that my youngest brother was not Spider-Man for halloween. He sadly reported to me the day after halloween, “I didn’t have a Spider-Man costume that fit.” Literally, since he was 4 years old he has been Spider-Man every year. At that ripe young age he was the kid who didn’t take the costume off, ever. It was peeled from him in his sweet slumber so that my Mom could wash it and return it to his body before he awoke. As the youngest, he also had, what our friends now inform us was, a mullet. The baby of the family had long ringlets all the way down his back and Mommy couldn’t bear to cut them yet. So our little Spider-Man with the strawberry blond ringlets is a picture none of us will ever forget.

But this Spider-Man fad (that has lasted over 10 years) was not just about an obsessive 4 year old. It’s amazing what comic book characters can teach you. In fact, until today, I don’t know that I had fully realized it myself.

Spider-Man found himself with something he did not seek out; a skill, a talent, a power. And it was something he did not necessarily want. At times it was a gift and at other times it was a curse. And throughout comic books and movies he battles with it. He uses it as a gift to benefit himself and others. He also uses it as a curse to hurt others. And sometimes, he tries very hard to be rid of it completely. But he can never succeed in that task. It is a part of him. A piece of who he is.

And as it goes, the whole premise of the Amazing Spider-Man hinges on a single sentence.

‘With great power comes great responsibility.”

I recently began attending a women’s Bible study at our church. The first lesson I attended was on Jezebel – a strong-willed, controlling woman; something I can be guilty of myself. But what was realized in this lesson is that I (nor anyone else) do not have to be ‘guilty’ of being strong-willed, or powerful. God gave me these attributes not so that I could spend a lifetime being stripped of them, but so that I could use them effectively under God’s covering and learn when to pipe down and allow God to use them in me. These attributes are gifts from God. But they are responsibilities as well. And as we all know ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ A gift from God, meant for good, is what our enemy will go after, to try and make it into a curse.

In the beginning, God gave Eve as a gift to Adam and satan took that gift and made her into something less than what she was supposed to be.

If God has given me a strong-will, the enemy is going to attack that. He’s going to try to make me go overboard with it so that I’m left believing that it is something negative. With that thought, I will proceed to pray for God’s assistance in ridding myself of this “sin” that is in me. I will then spend my life trying to not use something that God actually gave me to use for His glory.

It is my responsibility to use the gifts I have been given under God’s authority and to redeem them from the negative ways that the enemy has prompted me to use them.

God created each of us for His glory; a gift to Himself per se. And the enemy continually attacks each and every one of us, trying, everyday, to turn us into beings that will curse God rather than bless and glorify Him. It is our responsibility to use our lives, our talents, our personalities, to bless His name and to continue to be a living gift (living sacrifice) for Him.

We return to Spider-Man, who was given something he often deemed as negative, something he tried to be rid of on more than one occasion. Something he cried out against, with a desire to be what he thought he should be as a person. But he often forgot, or refused to realize, that it was a part of him. It was a piece of what made him who he was. His job, his responsibility, was to harness the power, the skill, the talent, the personality, the attribute, and to use it for good. To use it for God’s glory.

God has given you the power to influence others and to be a light for Him in your own unique way. Are you misusing or trying to subdue or hide that power?

Don’t.

Seek God and learn how to harness it.

Responsibly.

What is your gift turned negative? What is your trait the enemy tries to turn into a flaw?

Perfection

This week has been a whirlwind. And so was last week. And so will next week be. I’m used to a busy schedule. I keep things organized within my calendar (thanks to a great example from my Mom) and do a fairly good job of getting to everything on time and completing my daily to-do lists. But last week and this week have been wearying. I was so sleepy last week, which is to be expected at least one week of the month so it didn’t bother me too much. But to experience a second week of feeling weary is throwing me off. There is the feeling of not only sleepiness this week, but of weariness. When it happens two weeks in a row I can see it in my eyes. When someone else says, “you don’t look good” its one thing, but when you can see the weariness yourself you know something is up. I can recall a handful of times in the past 4 years when I’ve experienced this kind of weariness. Bags form around my eyes, my schedule is filled to the brim, my eyes are not as bright, and while I continue to make accomplishments and rise out of bed at the appropriate time each morning, there is no satisfaction in it except that I am anticipating the end of some busy week or some big event that is keeping me so busy.

But this post isn’t about weariness necessarily. It is meant to be about where my mind goes, or has gone during this bout with weariness. The past two nights, though we retired early as usual, my husband and I laid awake for a bit talking and feeling too awake to sleep. I expressed my feeling of weariness and he pulled me close and informed me that I need rest. Not just sleep, but rest. That is what I have him for, to remind me about rest and to remind me that a Sabbath is necessary and to make me take it.

The second night (last night) as I, once again, expressed my feeling of weariness and he reminded me that need for rest, I delved a little farther and shared with him my feeling of failure this week and last.

In high school, I heard a speaker at a youth group retreat speak highly of his wife. They had 4 adopted children and he was sharing how wonderful his wife was as a wife and mother. Apparently, she rose early every morning, before he got up, went for a run and had breakfast on the table and ready to go before children or husband stirred from bed. I do not specifically remember him saying anything beyond that, but I’m quite sure she was stupendous in house-keeping and cooking and completing to-do lists as well.

This image stuck with me. While this small story about his everyday life really had nothing to do with his message, it stuck to me. “I want to be her” was my thought. I shared with my husband what, in my mind’s eye, I want to be as a wife. The house-keeping will always be kept up with and the to-do list will be completed by the end of each day, a workout will be completed and healthy food will be served. Not to mention a successful business, a balanced calendar, a consistent relationship with God, and plenty of time for friends and building relationships. Without outwardly laughing at me (because it was not funny at the time, obviously) my sweet and sympathetic husband, while holding me close, said to me, “so, you want to be perfect?”

“Well of course I do want to be perfect! I just want to…..”

get it all done, accomplish things, be amazing, be….perfect.

Yes.

In order to not say “I want to be perfect” because obviously that’s impossible and I would never say that, I opted for a better phrase,

“I want to be Superwoman.”

“You what?”

“I want to be Superwoman”

While you are probably laughing at this it was not funny. It was said in sincerity and somehow my husband caught that and, again, did not outwardly laugh at me.

We discussed this a bit more and I realized the absurdity in what I was saying without admitting that he was right. And I began to consider my Mom.

I consider my Mom to be perfect. But she does not always have the laundry done; there are often heaps of it. She does not always have a cleared kitchen sink, there are often dishes. She does not always have the floor free of dog hair; there is often dog hair and dirt. She does not have a quiet time every day. She does not always make her bed. She does not always rise with the sun (in fact, in my life, it has only been in times of dire necessity in my life that I have seen her do such). She does not always complete her to-do list. But she is perfect.

In high school, I had a moment of a ridiculous breakdown of feeling that I would, one day, be a terrible mother. How I came to this conclusion? I didn’t drink coke. I didn’t crochet or sew. And I wasn’t very creative. These are things my Mom did and I viewed them as things a successful Mother did. These were things about my Mom that classified her as ‘Mommy’. Of course, I’ve come to realize that these are things that are a part of her personality and who she is as a person, not just a mother and that there will be different things my children find in me that classify me as ‘Mommy’.

So how is my Mom perfect if she does not do all the things I just expressed to my husband that I felt were necessary to be perfect?

I don’t know.

I guess it has to do with the fact that my siblings are my best friends, I graduated from high school, I played sports and did activities that I loved, I had friends, I have a backbone and integrity and discipline and motivation. It has something to do with the fact that my Dad IS Superman, that, even though we may have consistently slept in late we also stayed up late…as a family, talking and laughing and dreaming. It has something to do with the fact that even though the house was messy and there were clothes to be folded on the couch and dishes to be done in the sink, my friends were always welcome in our home. And it has something to do with the fact that when I need help, advice, or a hug they were not withheld.

Somewhere in there, there is perfection.

And I don’t know how to achieve it, but I’m realizing now that achieving perfection is possible, but you might have to redefine the word: perfection.

I WILL be Superwoman one day. I don’t know to whom or by what definition I will achieve that, but one day I’ll have a definition of perfection, of Superwoman, for myself that will be attainable. For now, I will go try and re-define.