Taking Notes on Life

In my book The HandBook: Five Forces To Form Your Future, I discuss the importance of taking notes on life.  Life moves so fast and if you and I are not careful it will pass by without us learning vital lessons along the way.  What I mean by “taking notes on life” is simply that we must pay attention to everything that is going on around us and make mental notes on what is being taught through the circumstances and situations of life.

blurrynotebookimages

One of my instructors from college, Dr. Arlo Moehlenpah, who now attends the church I pastor, can be found constantly taking notes. In every service, conference, retreat or gathering I have been with him, I have watched him take notes.  I asked him not to long ago what he does with those notes.  He informed me that he files them away so he can access them later.  He related a recent story of how these notes he has collected over the years have helped him.  Dr. Moehlenpah is currently preparing for a missions trip to Europe and in his time of study he went to the files of thousands of notes and came across some he had taken of a minister’s message from way back in the 1980’s. These notes from decades ago are helping him prepare for what he will be teaching in his upcoming missions trip.

This ought to be our approach to life.  We grow by listening and paying attention to what goes on around us.  We learn by watching the choices others make and how those choices effect the future of their lives.  We were not created to be an island unto ourselves, we need other people.  I also mention in The HandBook that life moves at the speed of our relationships and friendships. You will never become the person who God desires you to become if you live life quarantined from everyone else.  You can avoid a lot of pitfalls and trouble by paying attending to what others are going through in life and how they handle adverse circumstances.

Watch how other people respond to circumstances, learn to ask questions, take in everything around you and write it down or mentally file it away because there will be a day you may be able to use that information.  It may help you avoid some trouble in the journey ahead. For me personally, I have to write things down.  I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go and if something strikes me as interesting or something I need to remember, I write it down.  I watched my grandfather Sargent do this for years and I always thought it to be humorous but now I see why he did it.

Life moves so fast we would do well to write it down as best as we can.  I hope you can learn to take notes on life.

~DS

IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOU TRIED TO CAPTURE LIFE?  SHARE WITH US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

 

The Struggle In Becoming

There is struggle in becoming.  No one is exempt, unless you’re Richie Rich, then yeah –  you pretty much got it easy in life!  But for the rest of us common folk, life is all about struggle in becoming what we have been created to become.  This is nothing new.  History is replete with accounts of men and women who endured great struggle in order to eventually fulfill their God-given destiny.  Here is an account of a young man in the bible that had such an experience:

power_struggle
  • Knew from a young age that greatness awaited him.
  • Turned on by his own family who sold him to slave traders.
  • Was lied on by his bosses wife and was not given a fair trial to prove his innocence.
  • Spent several years in prison.
  • Finally released, going from prison to palace where he became second in command in the nation of his captivity.
  • Was given a plan by God to get his nation and those surrounding, through a 7 year famine.
  • Spent the rest of his years  in a position of authority and prestige while his family was nearby him.

We know this to be the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis.  But if you would have looked at it from the perspective of what this guy went through, you would’ve never thought he was going to amount to anything.  Even with all those fancy dreams Joseph had, early on in his life,  it didn’t look to promising for him.

But that is the way it often works.  Each of us are called to “become!”  That is our divine destiny, but the path getting there is often riddled with struggle, frustration, wrong choices and difficult circumstances.  That doesn’t mean you weren’t meant for something great, it just means you are being developed along the way.  The struggle is where you gain the strength!  Without the struggle you wouldn’t be able to appreciate what God is making you into.

Many believe the trouble in becoming is a sign they are not doing something right or have somehow fallen out of the “will of God” for their lives.  Is it possible the pressure of the journey is just to make you more like God intended you to be?  Instead of fighting the process why don’t you just ask God for the grace to get you through it and keep trusting that He knows what is best for your life?

I have lived by a very simple statement and if you have ever read any of my stuff you have seen it:

“Your attitude determines your direction and your direction is more important than speed!”

It is our attitude about life and what we go through that determines our direction and if you get your attitude right, you are going to get where God intended for you to go.  May not be overnight, but you will get there eventually.  So I encourage you to keep moving forward!  Don’t quit just yet.  I have a feeling you are almost there!

Here’s to your future,

Darin Sargent 2 signature copy

Just Because You Are Young

Today I return home after being with a group of students, who gathered in Salt Lake City, that were from the states of Montana, Wyoming and Utah.  I spoke at a youth conference they put on each year and it was a pretty awesome time.  I have been extremely privileged over the last 20+ years to speak to thousands of students and each time I do so I go away encouraged that God is raising up some awesome young people in this generation.

529f8079b2d4ef3c790ec12515d68ba2

Popular culture would have us believe that this generation has no hope and things look bleak on the horizon of their lives, but I would beg to differ.  There has never been a more talented, gifted and “willing to make an impact” generation than the one that is currently on the scene.

Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (NLT)

This got me to thinking about this generation of youth and what Paul meant when he said “don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young?”  In my mind, looking back on my youth (which really wasn’t that long ago LOL), I began thinking of a few areas I could talk about that I think the youth of this generation should consider.

Momentum

Well, I have gone and done it!  I have jumped back into my Master’s program and now I am wondering why I took time off when I was so close to finishing.  I could list a million excuses but the truth is life came along and caught me off-gaurd with stuff I wasn’t expecting.  I made a choice to step away for the last couple of years and now I am kicking myself because I was very close to wrapping it up. I am having to gear up and go after it again and that is easier said than done.

Maintaining Momentum

I think there are couple lessons I would like to share in this transitional time of my life:

  1. It may be easy to step away but you lose momentum once you do: So often we think it is not a big deal to step away from a commitment or something we have been investing our time and energy into and that we can quickly pick up where we left off. The opposite is true. Momentum is sometimes difficult to get back and it may take awhile to achieve. If we are not careful we will make excuses and assume it really doesn’t matter if we step aside.
  2. Once you stop or step away it takes more energy to get started again – Once you have stopped moving forward in a certain direction, after having tremendous momentum, it is difficult to pick back up where you left off and move forward. In my opinion it takes a couple of necessary ingredients to get back in the flow:
    • YOU HAVE TO FOCUS – Paying attention to details.  Focus on what is the most important things in your life and zero in on those things!  We can get sidetracked so quickly by everything that is going on around us.  Sometimes you have to put blinders on and just keep moving forward.
    • YOU HAVE TO CUT SOME THINGS OUT – I had to make some decisions on what is truly important right now in my life.  I had to trim away things I was a part of that were taking away from the end goal.  Sometimes we can get involved in so much that we become distracted.  If you and I are not careful we can live up to that old adage; Jack of all trades, Master of none!  You have to ask yourself – what am I really wanting from my life?  Once you know that then you may have to trim some fat so to speak.

Thankfully life is all about fresh starts and new opportunities.  They say that today is the first day of the rest of your life!  So I challenge you to look at what you may have started that you have stepped away from and get some renewed focus and try again!  You may  have to back up for a better start!  I know I have had to do that many times in my life.

Moving forward,

Darin Sargent 2 signature copy

 

 

 

What lessons have you learned by stepping away from something you may have started?  Leave us a comment.

3 Insights Into Marriage

This past week my wife and I were privileged to speak at a marriage conference held in Little Rock, Arkansas. I am thankful for the opportunity to pour into couples that are interested in making their marriages stronger.  It was a great 3 days as we discussed the importance of what a godly marriage looks like and how we can continue to grow in marriage and in our relationship with God.

marriage

God designed marriage to be a representation of what His relationship with His church should look like.  I believe our churches are only as strong as our weakest marriages.  The greatest example we can give the world about the love of Christ for His people is to reveal it in our relationships, especially in the relationship of marriage.

Yet the truth is that sometimes our marriages do not look like what the Word of God says they should.  In fact, so often it is just the opposite.  We tend to think we can compartmentalize our lives and be blessed of God.  What I mean by that is simply this; I have my church life and I have my home life and they are two different things!  That is not the correct way to view our lives and it often leads to major problems in our relationships.  You cannot expect God to bless you if you are one way at church or on the job or with your friends and another way when you are at home with your family.

Successful lives only truly exist when our private life matches our public life.  When what we show in public is how we live in private! This takes character!  Character is who you are in the dark, when no one is around to see you.  I have noticed that we often elevate people based on talent and ability and neglect to consider their character.  I say it often and yet it remains true – You can only go as high as your character is deep!

In our marriages and relationships let’s be who we are called to be by God.  We are called to reveal Christ and that starts in our marriages and family relationships.  I think there are a few ways we can do this: