Effort

Effort doesn’t always equal accomplishment. Have you tried something with all your might and been unsuccessful?

Sometimes the point of the task is whether we even tried — making the effort is actually the goal.

Other times, the point is to complete the task. To be finished. To move through the steps and then, presto! You are done.

Other times the goal is to finish the task so it is the best it can be, whether or not you have limitations.

Once my husband had a boss who tried to set the office goals 10% higher than the previous year. There were no additional resources in the way of people or budgets, just a higher goal — expecting more effort (and results) from everyone.

Sure, we can probably all work a little harder and make a stronger effort.

Unfortunately, this boss was unsatisfied with the progress that was made (indeed, progress was made) and the very next year asked for another 10% increase in effort and accomplishment from everyone. Of course, they did not offer a budget increase or additional personnel, just more effort and, technically, less resources than the previous year. Also, no increase in salaries.

People can kick it into high gear for deadlines and special projects but to be at high delivery all the time is unreasonable. And it means there is less of you in other important places, like home and family. Isn’t there more to life than work? Isn’t an employee better in the field if they have a work/life balance?

You can ask for more and more effort but it doesn’t mean the positive results will be seen.

Effort is like energy — we only have so much to give and then there is a need to refuel by gaining new skills and training or by letting the mind and body rest. You need energy to give your best effort. And while rewards along the way can help with motivation, there is still only so many hours in the day.

And there are still no guarantees of success.

 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. [Colossians 3:23-24, NIV]

While I agree with this verse, take caution that you aren’t involved in an unhealthy system that routinely asks more and more of its people. Unfortunately, the church can be one of the greater offenders in this arena. If your personal time is dwindling because of the routine requests of your employer, it might be time to make an exit plan!

God’s blessings on your week!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: INTERRUPTIONS

Boxes

I have packed and unpacked a box or two in my life. I suspect that is just a part of my life. We ship out orders and we unpack product. We pack up for festivals and unpack and then repack. And then we do it again. I am a good packer though not a perfect one. When it comes to packing our vehicle for events or when we move, my hubby is the man! It seems he enjoys the challenge of playing “Tetris”. Even if he doesn’t really enjoy it, he does a great job so I back away and let him have at it.

Sometimes my boxes are a time capsule of memories.  Good, bad, fragile, pointless, expired, new, fat clothes, skinny clothes, things from my mom, things from my kids, a sweet note from my hubby.

When I die and there will be a number of boxes to go through, let it be known here that there are boxes of stuff that I just hadn’t thrown away yet. But hopefully less and less as time goes on because I am planning on going through a few between now and then!

It is good to put things in boxes those things that you think you want but you aren’t sure. If you wait a while, the decision might get easier later on – either you know for sure you want it or you can let it go.

Pondering what to carry through life is a pretty huge job. There are physical things that may have value (monetary or sentimental) but then there are emotional and spiritual things.  If we are too bogged down with things it makes it harder to get to the next place because we are lugging our “possessions”.

During Bible times, there was a lot of travel. Much of it was by foot but sometimes it involved an animal too. It seems we have so much stuff these days that traveling is a bit bogged down. Maybe living is a bit bogged down.

I am thankful we have thrift stores and missions where we can donate stuff. But I need to be better about not collecting it to start with.

How about you?

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. [Colossians 3:1-3, NIV]

Purging and Packing!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: SUCCESS vs FAILURE

For a moment…

Flower and insect w
A moment on a flower

I always wondered why the chemical process to curl hair was called a “permanent” but it really only lasted about three months. No wonder we are a confused society.

There are times when things are permanent, of course. Sometimes that can be a relief and sometimes it is overwhelming. It depends what it is and it depends on our perspective. Sometimes I get all cozy and comfy in a place – so much so that when it is time to move along, I might stomp my feet a little. I liked it “here”.

But it is all temporary, particularly in light of eternity. The relaxing beach vacation, the place you live, the job you have, the routine of your day…it can change so quickly.

So, for the moment, see who and what is around you. Don’t fret about the future, don’t get stuck in the past, find things to enjoy about where you are and what is happening around you right now. You are in a place where God can teach you so much.

Be present. Be teachable.

We will only be here for a moment.

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:5-7 NIV]

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38-39 NIV]

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. [Colossians 3:1-3 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Consignments ~ April 10

Have you noticed Consignment Stores are popping up everywhere?

There have always been thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, auctions, and garage sales. But there just seems to be a lot of new consignment stores lately.

I have two rules about those kinds of places:

  • never buy underwear
  • never buy toothbrushes
Call me uptight, but that is how it is.

It is fun to peruse these sale spots. I always love a good deal. But someone, somewhere, paid full price for that item. And now they are letting it go–for next to nothing. Sometimes it is literally sitting out on the curb with “Free” posted next to it. There are many reasons why that could be but it got me thinking….

I have made some big ticket mistakes in my life and I am willing to share what I have learned for FREE, or nearly free! Maybe it is human nature, but it seems some people just have to pay for a few mistakes for them to be valuable lessons learned. I would rather pick up the first-hand wisdom at the second-hand store, if you know what I mean; at least I can gain the wisdom at less than half the price!

What about you? Do you have some expensive lessons you have learned that you can share with others at a reduced price?  Maybe it has to do with that first credit card? Maybe it has to do with trusting someone too soon? Maybe it involved not trusting God’s Word and His boundaries only to experience some significant emotional pain?

My prayer is that as you travel through His healing and forgiveness you are able to discern which lessons to share and when. Not every lesson learned is necessarily meant to be shared.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17 NIV

PrayerPoint ~ Kindness ~ March 7

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Have you ever been overwhelmed with someone’s kindness towards you? I have been on numerous occasions. Sometimes it is just the simplest of thoughtful words or actions but placed in a certain time and space and it becomes a significant moment. Maybe it was the element of surprise–like a bunch of Spring flowers poking through on a dreary mid-February day. Or maybe it was a glimpse of the love behind the action.

You did this for me?

Showing kindness doesn’t have to take an entire day to plan. It might be making a batch of cookies and taking a plate of them to your neighbor. It might be helping an elderly neighbor get their medicine or a trip to the doctor. A quick note that lets someone know you are praying for them as they travel through a difficult time.

I am an idea person so I can easily come up with many clever ideas to share kindness but lose the list or run out of time before I actually act on them. Don’t fall into inaction by over-analyzing and plotting out your acts of kindness. It may take a little intentionality at first, but soon you will find yourself extending kindness in a very natural way. Let kindness be one of those things you wear every day!

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:12-13 NIV

Blessings on your week!

Liz

Connecting….because of a quarter….

Do you ever run through the errands of the day and find that you were so focused on your ‘to do’ list that you breeze right by people? I find the tighter my schedule is booked the less room I have to greet or simply be polite. It simply doesn’t cross my mind with my tasks getting full focus.

And then I go to Aldis.

Ever been there? It’s a bag-your-own-stuff discount grocery store with some pretty good deals. There is a catch though; if you want a shopping cart, you need to pump a quarter into a contraption on the cart. You do get the quarter back at the end of your shopping trip.

Pulling up, I have to start my search for a quarter within my vehicle. Then I try to give my quarter to someone else who is done with their cart and likely not very interested in walking all the way over to the cart corral. I have had people not even take the quarter I ‘owe them’ because it was passed on to them from the person before. Others have offered me 2 dimes and 1 nickel in trade because they couldn’t find a quarter in their car. I have made eye contact, smiled, and engaged in a tiny bit of a conversation because of this quarter-cart arrangement. Everyone is pretty friendly and willing to smile and it can have a positive impact on your day. I really don’t do this any place but at Aldis because there isn’t that commonality of the quarter involved.

Extending kindness often doesn’t cost anything, just a little time.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 NIV

If you have never been to Aldis, I suggest you give it a shot. There are some great deals to be had there. You might just end up saving money on your grocery bill, meet a smiling face, engage in some pleasant human interaction…

… and someone may let you keep their quarter too!