Know Yourself. Lead Yourself. Lead Others.

Perhaps much of our struggle lies in that we attempt to lead others when we haven’t yet learned how to lead ourselves.

My new life coach/counselor is having me read the book, Better Than Before: Master the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin. In this most worthwhile read, the author proposes that there are 4 basic tendencies: the upholder, the questioner, the obliger, and the rebel.

These tendencies cause us each to have different styles of doing everything: living, loving, habit formation, absolutely everything….

And if we haven’t taken the time to assess ourselves – we may just be attempting to apply someone else’s habit-system-solution which may actually be counter productive in a person with our particular design.

So as I’m reading this book in an attempt to finally conquer a life-long struggle with procrastination and become more productive, I am learning that I am a rebelwith just a touch of obliger.

And… I must confess. At first I thought this odd combination of tendencies was just a bit unfair. Perhaps God was expressing a warped sense of humor when He created me. I mean, how the heck am I supposed to get myself to do anything when my natural tendency is to resist outer expectations and inner expectations… mixed with a touch of people-pleasing tendencies!

Oh, and to top it all off – my professional background and passion for changing healthcare for the better tends to land me in positions that are typically filled by the 100% obliger type. (You know, the “You say jump – I’ll say how high” follow-every-rule type?). So… I work in the most highly regulated industry ever in roles that are supposed to enforce those regulations and create structured frameworks to bring about positive change. Yet I have the tendency to want to do the exact opposite of what I’m told. What’s up with that??

So….. This morning I was talking to Father about this. (The Maker-of-my-soul-Father – not my earthly father, Dad, a.k.a my most faithful blog reader who I’ll call later!). And, since Father’s ok with His kids being real with Him, I let Him know my frustrations in a “What were you thinking when you designed me like this?!?” kind of way. And He lovingly and graciously asked me, “You want to lead and make a difference for me, right?”. Yes, of course. Then He softly spoke this simply profound truth to my soul:

If you can lead yourself, you can lead anybody.

So, in other words, if I can convince this stubborn-rebellious-wild-child-wrapped-in-a-sweet-submissive-compliant-looking-shell to do what she’s supposed to, I can lead anyone??

EXACTLY. (If God texted, I am pretty certain it would always be in bold, italicized all-caps).

Huh. What about that. Maybe my Maker knows what He’s doing after all.

So let’s stop over-complicating things and just get to know and love Him, ourselves, and each other. Then we can simply live and love well as we walk out this crazy adventure called life!

Resilient Beauty

So there’s this tree just outside my hotel here in beautiful Virginia that started showing off these beautiful blossoms a couple weeks ago at our first unseasonably warm day. What’s so amazing about this is we’ve had more than a couple hard freezes since then. But this tree continues to blossom – blessing us with beauty in spite of harsh external circumstances.

As God does so often, He reminded me of spiritual truth through a beautiful natural example. Beauty does not have to be diminished by external circumstances.

It is not easy – but it is possible to be so deeply grounded and rooted in the strength and power of our Maker that the deepest freeze the world has to offer cannot rob us of our beauty. In fact – because of the greyness of the world around us, our beauty will be even more vivid in the landscape of the pain around us.

You see, this tree was probably planted by the hotel owners when they opened the place over 20 years ago. Even though it may not be the largest tree from what we can see, it has had years of developing a deep root structure and careful nourishing and tending to by its landscapers.

May my life be a beautiful testimony of the strength that can only be developed over time as I learn to lean in to the deep abiding power of my Maker.

“They are planted in the house of the Lord. They grow strong in the courtyards of our God.” – Psalm 92:13 ERV

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I to you, you will produce plenty of fruit. But separated from Me you won’t be able to do anything.” – John 15:5 ERV

What God Wants Us to Hear the Most


The following is from “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God” devotional reading plan on the YouVersion Bible App by Mark Batterson (Day 4). This reading encouraged me so very much today. Too good not to share! You aren’t the mistakes you’ve made. You aren’t the labels that have been put on you. And you aren’t the lies the Enemy has tried to sell you. You are who God says you are.

You are a child of God.

You are the apple of God’s eye.

You are sought after.

You are more than a conqueror.

You are a new creation in Christ.

You are the righteousness of Christ.

All our identity issues are fundamental misunderstandings of who God is. Guilt issues are a misunderstanding of God’s grace. Control issues are a misunderstanding of God’s sovereignty. Anger issues are a misunderstanding of God’s mercy. Pride issues are a misunderstanding of God’s greatness. Trust issues are a misunderstanding of God’s goodness. If you struggle with any of those issues, it’s time to let God be the loudest voice in your life!

God doesn’t love us because of who we are. God loves us because of who He is.

When we succeed, God says, “I love you.”

When we fail, God says, “I love you.”

When we have faith, God says, “I love you.”

When we doubt, God says, “I love you.”

Love is His answer to everything. Why? Because He is love. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you any more or any less. God loves you perfectly. He loves you eternally.

God wants us to hear what He’s saying, and we must heed His voice. But much more than that, He wants us to hear His heart. So He whispers softer and softer so that we have to get closer and closer. And when we finally get close enough, He envelops us in His arms and tells us that He loves us.

We’ve been deafened by the voice of conformity, the voice of criticism, and the voice of condemnation, and the side effects include loneliness, shame, and anxiety.

The good news? You not only bear God’s image but you know His voice. It’s His voice that knit you together in your mother’s womb. It’s His voice that ordained all your days before one of them came to be. It’s His voice that began a good work and His voice that will carry it to completion.

Where is God leading you? How is God talking to you?….

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”- Philippians 1:6


Today, I started a YouVersion Bible App 5 Day reading plan called, “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God”. Wow…. did that every strike a chord with what this heart of mine longs for!

In case I’m not the only one who wants to learn to better hear the voice of God – for direction, for peace, for joy, for so-very-much, – I’ve included this link for you to join me in this study over the next 5 days.

I love the new feature of YouVersion that allows you to go through a reading plan with others. All you do is read the short devotional thoughts and Bible verses and then you can leave your thoughts and comments if you want.

Just click here to try it!

Let’s grow together!

Perhaps Our Math is Off?

Sometimes I have wondered why my life seems to be “off”…. off-kilter, off focus, off everything. Perhaps it is because #MyMathIsOff? That’s why I’m learning to live out some “new math”.

Paul wrote about this way a couple thousand years ago. I don’t think he had a cool cartoon from the internet to go with it at the time though!

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” – Galatians‬ ‭6:7‬

It’s a new day. A new year. Let’s grow!

Happy Moving-Forward Monday!

My friend, Keisha, likes to name the days with alliteration and encouragement. Well, today, I’ll follow her lead and call this a Moving-forward Monday! Let’s throw off the heaviness of past regret and take the next best step forward!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭