We have all been hindered by personal viewpoints in our lives, either formulated by our own perspectives of our failures or past circumstances. Sometimes we are even tripped up by the words and actions of others. What is so sad is that these perspectives often keep us from moving forward, keeping us from getting past those limiting moments in our lives.
This morning I woke up, early than I desired to be honest, and these three perspectives began to take shape in my foggy brain. It is nothing earth shattering but I thought I would just write them down and maybe somebody, somewhere would find strength in these primitive early morning thoughts. Now please understand, this was a few hours before my first cup of coffee, if it doesn’t make sense we can blame it on that! 🙂
My Past Cannot Define Me – Be honest, how often have we allowed failure, trials or struggles define who we are moving forward? Too often to count I am sure but if the truth be told, your past has no defining power over your life if you decide those things are behind you and there are NOT YOU! I refuse to allow my past to decide who I am in my present or in my future. It was the Apostle Paul who stated; FORGETTING those things BEHIND ME – I PRESS…!
My Present Cannot Limit Me – Look around you… Go ahead and examine your current circumstance and condition and you will quickly discover that what we think we need to keep pressing forward is usually not in our grasp. This is where FAITH comes in. I may not see how I can move past the current obstacle in my path but I do know a God that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all I can ask or think so I choose to look to HIM instead of the mountain in my present journey. I must not allow what I cannot see to limit the perspective of my destiny. I must keep pressing forward…
My Future Cannot Frighten Me – The biggest problem Israel had when spying out the land was FEAR! God had given them the land but their own perspective convinced them they were not able to step forward by faith into the promises of God. I refuse to allow what is coming around the next corner, even though I can’t see it, to keep me from putting one step in front of the other. I still believe that the steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord! They may be ordered but I must do the stepping!
Hopefully today someone can take these three perspectives and incorporate them into your life. God has great things in store for you and most of the time it is our OWN perspectives that keep us from moving into the promises of God. Lift up your eyes today – you have a GOD that is FOR you and not against you!
If it hasn’t been challenging enough living life single-handedly, I am facing a new challenge with an upcoming surgery on my right shoulder. Now if you are not aware, at the end of my right shoulder is the only hand I possess, so to say the next few weeks are going to be a bit challenging is an understatement. However, if it doesn’t challenge you it will never change you! My grandfather used to say – “Boy, ain’t nothing but a hill for a stepper!” I am not sure what he was driving at but I guess he was talking about this one word that has been a driving force in my life, attitude.
I believe it was Winston Churchill who said: “Attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference!” I believe that statement is true. Attitude is the driving force behind every decision, emotion, action and thought in our lives. If our attitude about our current situation is faulty then the direction we move will lead us to the wrong destination. Will challenges arise? Will there be moments where it feels like you can’t take another step? ABSOLUTELY… However, if I can understand my attitude determines my direction and once I set it correctly, it will lead me in the correct path, then I am halfway to making it to the right destination. Attitude is everything!
When facing challenges, attempting to operate with the correct attitude, we must remember a few things I am convinced will help us:
You can only correct what you are willing to confront – Hiding behind an excuse, blaming someone else for your condition or just being plain lazy, will never get you to a place of overcoming whatever challenge you may be facing. I have to confront my attitude about the circumstance and strive to look at it from the right perspective. View affects vision and if I am not looking at ‘it’ correctly, I will try to find a shortcut through the problem. I have to face it and push through it!
You are never exempt from a challenge – Life Happens! Struggles come and struggles go and understanding they happen to EVERYONE is a step in the right direction. Some people only think bad things happen to them. Look around – someone, somewhere has it worse off than you and is facing a more difficult trial than you are. Don’t let your attitude get sour during the trying times – Remember that God is with you and He will not put more on you than you can handle!
Finally, This too shall pass – I love the scripture that states, “Weeping may last throughout the night, but joy comes in the morning” Hang on, you are going to get through this and hopefully once you do, you will be able to look back and see the lesson that was necessary for you to learn in the struggle. I know it is easier said than done when you are in the middle of it all but while you are walking through the valley pick up some stones that will remind you that God is for you and has a plan for your life.
Well, I better sign off. Just wanted to encourage someone in the middle of the struggle – Keep your head up – there is some good stuff ahead of you.
If you have been a follower of my story or a frequent reader of my blog, then you know the story of my 4th grade teacher Mr. Jenkins, and the impact he made on my life at a crucial time. In 2009-10 I released the children’s book “Thank You Mr. Jenkins” and was excited to see the impact this story had on teachers, students, parents and those facing unique challenges in life.
For some time now I have been considering revising and updating this book “Thank You Mr. Jenkins.” I am in the process of talking to a publisher about getting this book rewritten and expanded and I am excited about the possibilities of those it can impact even more in the future.
Below is a video that we had recorded a few years back detailing this story and introducing Mr. Jenkins himself. It is a little long but it goes into detail concerning the impact this teacher had on my life and his perspective of a day that forever changed me and my perspective of who I am. I hope you will enjoy this story and pass it on to teachers and those that help make a difference in the lives of students or those struggling with differences. I pray this story will continue to make an impact in lives across the world.
Currently, in the Sargent household we have 3 teenagers but in just a couple of weeks that will all change as my oldest turns 20! It is hard to imagine that my wife and I are at this stage of our lives. Seems like yesterday when we were bringing our first born home from the hospital. Time waits for no man and unless we recognize the stages of life, time will pass us by and we will not capitalize on the importance of each segment of life. There are lessons to be learned in every season, some good and some bad, but necessary none the less.
As a parent every stage is important. The things my teenagers are being taught currently could not have been taught to them when they were 5 or 6. It would have been impossible for them to comprehend at that moment in their lives. But now, lessons that will sustain and guide them as they grow older are being taught and hopefully they are being grasped. However, sometimes as a parent you have to put on your teachers hat and instruct as life reveals difficult assignments everyone must face. To ignore these moments is to ignore the incredible opportunity we have been given as parents to shape and govern the trajectory of our child’s life.
There are many lessons that must be taught. Things such as: the importance of faith, wholeheartedly loving and living for God, the quality of human life, respecting others, understanding the value of our time, talent and treasure etc… The list goes on but each is as important as the other in the development of our kids. This all hit home recently in a decision my wife and I made with our kids when it comes to cars and driving. Yes, we are at that stage – two of our kids are now driving!!! (Can someone say INSURANCE COSTS?!!!)
We have told our kids that if they want to purchase a vehicle, they must save half of the money needed to buy the vehicle and whatever they save would be matched by us. Now you must understand something – my middle daughter who is 17 IS A SAVER!! She socks it away like crazy. This is great but BAD when she reminds us often how much she has been saving for a car. All I see are dollar signs flashing as I begin to compute my end of the deal and realize I better do something quick or we are in trouble….
These type of decisions and guidelines sound great when they are 11 and don’t have ways to get much money but now, when she is 17, I may have to sell my other arm to match the offer I made. I thought I was being clever and teaching them a valuable lesson, and I was but now I have to keep my end of the bargain. So, I have decided to sell my truck and get me something used and reliable to get around and find something for her that will get her from point A to point B without breaking down on the side of the road. Of course she is excited and I’m nervous but such is the stage of the life we are in right now. I have learned as a parent I must keep my end of the bargain – it teaches me a valuable lesson as well as my kids.
Each stage brings new fears as well as new joys as we see God work in the lives of our children. I want to continue to guide them through life by providing wisdom and mercy. They will not always make the right decisions but I must recognize these moments as opportunities I can leverage to teach the valuable lessons necessary to become what God has destined for them to become. This is tough but it is important!
It’s that time of the year again – the San Diego County Fair is up and running. It is always a great time for our family. Fried twinkies, chocolate covered bacon, krispy kreme donut chicken sandwiches – you know all those “healthy” food choices we somehow talk ourselves into eating because, “Hey – it’s the fair!” One of the areas at the fair that I enjoy spending time, is standing under the bungee jump! I could be there for hours, watching people go up in that little basket, standing out on the edge, deciding if they should take the plunge or not. The decision to bungee jump always seems like a good one in the company of the familiar, but once suspended a few hundred feet in the air, all alone, it’s a different story.
One of these days I am going to try it but for now I enjoy watching. This year is no exception – I stand there, my neck craned upward as I waited for someone to jump out of the basket that is suspended in what seems to be thousands of feet in the air. However, the disappointment comes when you stand looking up for an extended period of time, getting a crick in your neck, and the individual will not jump. They stay on the edge of the platform and refuse to take the plunge. You always feel a little upset that they didn’t go through with it and lost the opportunity to hear the approval of the crowd below.
As I stood there looking up into the sun waiting for the individual to jump, I was reminded of how often we stand on the edge of opportunities in our life, refusing to take the plunge because of uncertainties or the unexpected. If we are not careful we can spend our lives constantly standing on the edge, afraid of the unknown or waiting around for someone to give us a push before we venture out of the “proverbial boat” and walk on the water.
When standing on the edge here are a few things to remember that may help you take that next step:
UNCERTAINTIES ABOUND It doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 45, you are going to have uncertainties about that next step. There will NEVER be an opportune moment to do what you are feeling called to do. You can not wait for the “atmosphere” to be just right, you have to take the next step. You can live your life with excuses that keep you from going to the next level or you can do what so many have done before you and step out into the possibilities that await.
AT SOME POINT YOU HAVE TO JUMP If you don’t you will never know if you can make it. One of the challenges we often face is that the next step seems like it leads to nothing but open air under our feet. FAITH is required to step out of the comfort and the security that you have become so accustomed to and take that leap that propels you into the unknown. It is often said that you will never know till you try. I remember in high school wanting to join the wrestling team. Now, I know what you are thinking – WHAT? A one armed wrestler? You bet!! I remember the feeling of, “what if I don’t make the team or what if the coach laughs at me or what if the cheerleaders cheer for my opponent!?” I decided to go for it and guess what? I made the team and succeeded at it also. I remember winning matches that finished with the other guy crying because he was beaten by a one-armed guy! Not something you want to go home and tell your dad at the dinner table. I loved it. I loved the challenge and I loved the lessons wrestling taught me, but had I never took the leap to try out, I would have never known the taste of overcoming. It set the precedent for my life and I will forever be grateful for those experiences. The first step is the most important one but it is also the most fearful. Trust that what has been placed in your heart is worth the risk and go for it. This leads me to my next point.
IF YOU FAIL, TRY AGAIN! The possibilities of failure are certain but it is in failure that we often become stronger and wiser. Failure is the best teacher in the world because it forms something in us that solidifies our resolve if we allow it to. History is replete with people who kept at it even when failure continued to raise its ugly head. It was the failure that spurred greatness in their lives. Don’t look at failure as something that is final! Failure is the necessary ingredient that forges fortitude in you as a human being.
I believe that in each of you is a destiny unlike any other that is just waiting on you to take the leap of faith. The world is waiting for someone like you to provide answers they are so desperately looking for. It may be a business or a book but it’s inside of you just waiting to come out! Go for it! Don’t stand on the edge and give up!
Two Keys to Becoming Effective in the Life of Others
It is Memorial Day. I sit in the living room of my home looking outside at the beautiful foggy San Diego county weather and I am in a contemplative sort of mood. You know those moods you get in when you have the opportunity to slow down and reflect on life and what is going on around you.
Well, this is one of those days and seeing that it is Memorial Day – a day of remembering – I am extra reflective. I am able to sit down with my computer, type away at the keyboard for this post, ready to enjoy the day with my family, and I am free! I am not worried that some enemy from another country is going to break into my home and take me hostage or hurt my family. The reason that I feel this way is because there have been countless men and women that have given their lives so that I can have this privilege – so that my family can enjoy life and freedom. They left a legacy so amazing that it is impacting generations to come.
We owe quite a debt to those that lay down their lives for what we so often overlook and seldom celebrate. Today I am grateful for the sacrifice made by many so that I can enjoy life, happiness and freedom. Thanks for the life you lived and the life you gave so that I can have these privileges.
Being in this reflective/contemplative mood also made me begin to ask myself the question – What am I currently doing to leave a legacy that others will look back on and one day reflect on the impact that was made? How am I viewing the opportunities in my life to change the way people live theirs?
We all get selfish! Admit it – go ahead – we do! We live the majority of our lives thinking about US! What am I getting out of this? Where am I going in my life? Who is going to help me out? The list could go on but if the truth were told – true significance comes from how I spend my life in helping others. Real worth of living is discovered in the impact made in the lives of those that you have a chance to influence.
I have had the distinct privilege of being around some great people in my life. I prayed early in my twenties that God would allow me to have the opportunity to be influenced by great men that have spent their lives investing in others. Their influence has helped shaped the individual I am today and I am grateful. I want to return the favor as I move through this life by doing two things. These two principles are simple yet important. To leave a legacy we must be willing to:
SPEND OUR TIME INVESTING IN OTHERS – don’t be afraid to take the time to invest in the life of someone near you. Time is a precious commodity but the time spent in reaching out to others pays massive dividends that you cant put a price tag on.
ALLOW OUR STORY TO IMPACT OTHERS – We all have a story and it is unique to you. A life map of where we have been and what we experienced along the way. As I get older and recognize the season of life I am in, the more I recognize the lessons I have learned from the things I have been through! Those lessons can help impact someone if you are able and willing to relate it in the correct way. I have often stated – there can be no impact without contact! So many go through things griping and complaining about the struggle instead of picking up lessons that need to be learned in those difficult times and sharing it with others. The lessons discovered in struggle and difficulty are the building blocks of impact and influence. (TWEET THIS)
So I guess what I am saying on this Memorial Day is – go out and make a difference in someone’s life. It is really rewarding and I promise you – someone, somewhere is going to someday remember you and be thankful for you and the impact you made in their lives!