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Who’s in Charge Here?

 

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Joshua 24:15 tells us to “choose today whom we will serve.” I choose to also adopt that as “choose today whom I will love.” I use them interchangeably. I watched my dad do it daily in his marriage, in his work, in his relationship with me and my brother, with his friends, and with the strangers he loved.

When we are in charge of our choices, we are in charge. I got chastised recently by several for stating I was in charge in my Facebook status. There’s always the inevitable answer to “Who’s in charge of your day?” “God is!” I have an ongoing joke with someone dear to me about who’s in charge of our mutual interests, projects, etc. I may be in a subordinate role, but I still say when and often where… and then put him in charge. So, who’s really in charge? My joke to him is I am perfectly willing to allow him to think he is in charge.

If I choose to put someone else in charge of my day, who is in charge… ultimately? The design of the Christian faith is that it is by choice. God is not lord and dominion over us just because of our zip code. He is a choice. Our faith is our choice. We are in charge of our choices. Every day.

I choose today to seek to love the people I serve... and to serve the people I love. I choose to reach out to a hurting friend. I choose to have that difficult conversation. I choose to find peace in the midst of chaos. I choose to act. I choose to get up and move and take a walk, even though it is raining. I choose to go to the store, even though I have zero energy to do so. I choose to write in spite of worries in the back of my mind about a yet-to-be-determined health issue.

I choose to move forward, press on, and make my family, my business, my friends, and myself priorities. I’ve spent too many days choosing another way—by not choosing, by letting life just happen and reacting and making bad choices. Or the days I did absolutely nothing when I allowed emotion or health be in charge.

Today, my health is in question. My technology is uncooperative and in crisis. Fear, worry, panic, and grief are all familiar issues that try to distract me right now. But today, I am in charge. My health and energy levels may try and dictate my activity level, but I am still in charge. I am up. I am breathing. I am moving. I go for a walk in the rain. So, not even the weather is in charge today.

I have a plan for my technology crisis—to end it, that is. Meanwhile, I have something that works, which is more than I had last week, because today I am in charge. It may be messy. It may not be pretty at all. I will make mistakes. But my mistake will not be doing nothing. I make the choices. I make the phone calls for more appointments with medical professionals for tests and assessments when I know the results scare me. But I do it anyway. I don’t surrender to fear. Not today.

I take charge of my sacred spaces. I choose to be still. I choose meditation and prayer. I choose gratitude. I choose to take the next steps. I choose not to make the same bad choices I used to make. I choose not to return to the path that will lead me back to my rock bottom. I choose that it’s okay not to be okay, but to keep moving forward anyway. I choose that today is enough. I choose to modify and allow myself to sleep late this week. I choose to back off of high pace and give myself permission to relax and be calm and combat the stress in my life right now.

It is not okay to stop. It is, however, okay to slow down because right now, I just need to slow down. I choose to act on something I learned while reading that book today. I will choose tonight to offer my “report” of my day. I was in charge. These are the choices I made. These are consequences I faced today. These are victories today. These are where I came up short.

I am at peace with all of it and optimistic about what I will do with tomorrow. I was given this gift of today. This is what I did with it. It is my gift back at the end of the day. I own it. I take responsibility. I can’t blame others. I can’t say, “I just didn’t feel like doing anything today.” My gift cannot be an empty box. That would just be… silly and quite embarrassing. Because quite frankly, that could very well be every day. I choose to fill my box. That only gets done when I’m in charge. I own my life and I make the necessary choices.

I can’t die today. That would look very bad on my report. I’m not finished yet because I spent too many days NOT being in charge.

You are in charge today. So, take charge! Make your knowledge work for you. Use your skills, gifts, and victories to love the people in your life you serve and to serve the people in your life who you love. Let God be in charge of God stuff. You are in charge of the rest of it… and the choices you make as to what to do with it.

Start with taking charge with your first waking breath of the day and don’t stop until you surrender your report at the end of the day. Try not to do anything in between that would look bad on your report. You can surrender your day to God, but you are still in charge of the choices that get you from breath to next breath. In the morning, you can say, “I surrender this day to God.” At the end of the day, you can report the results of that surrender to be sure it truly was in alignment in total surrender to God.

What’s going on your report tonight?

 

IMG_3655MelAnn Morales is a L.I.F.E.Strategist & Empowerment Coach. She is passionate about recreating that space between a rock and a hard place to win at the unfair game of life. She can find powerful life lessons in what she sees or experiences in every day life and excels at creating powerful habits and strategies that keep life moving forward when it encounters crisis or the unexpected. She hijacks the status quo. She “unschools” her two children. She enjoys photography, cooking, movies, reading, music, the outdoors, and the adventure of travel and new experiences. You can find her at melannmorales.com.

Stingy Love: The Dirty Secret of Jealousy

 

IMG_0150-2Stingy Love.

Authentic feelings.

Integrity.

This past week, I felt a feeling that makes me uncomfortable. It was the ping of jealously. Then, I felt guilty for feeling it. Then, I felt mad. Then, I felt resentful. I was jealous of another woman’s success. There. . .I said it out loud. True confessions. I was looking from the “outside” at what I thought was somehow “better,” and I was getting caught up in the “Comparison Chaos.”

None of this feels good. It actually made me feel nauseous. I felt “yucky.”

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.

The truth is, I want you to be successful. I want to celebrate your success as a person, as a fellow traveler on the path of life. I want to cheer you on and have you cheer me on, too. But I have to remember that you cannot read my mind, and that it is not under my control what you do or don’t do. I have to remind myself that all that glitters is not gold, and that what I see on social media is not the entire picture. It is one snapshot moment. I have to watch out for the snare of envy. When I am caught in that snare, I am not doing the work that God has called me to do.

It is my job to do my work, clean up my side of the street, and love you with no strings attached. It is not my job to watch you do your work and talk about your work and wonder why my work is not looking like your work. Get it?

It is not my job to get you to like me or love me, to patrol you, to coerce you or to force you. It is my job to love you and do what I have committed to doing for you—regardless of the outcome. It is my job to cheer for you, pick you up, cry with you if needed, and love you along the messy path.

Be willing to give love.

Be willing to share the victory.

Be willing to let go of expectations.

Be willing to be vulnerable.

Be willing to be generous with your praise.

Be willing to cheer for your sister in Christ.

It is time to release yourself from your own bondage. Be you. There is no need to compete with your authentic, true, gorgeous self!

diane-nacwesignDiane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. Find out more about NACWE and why 165 women joined in the first year at www.NACWE.org. Connect with Diane at www.facebook.com/DianeCunningham for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.

Leading with Love and Truth

 

The Value of TruthTruth is one of the highest forms of love, and love is the wellspring from which Christian leadership must flow. Our call and design to lead is more than simply achieving an endeavor or accomplishing a goal with others. We lead by the influence of our character and the power of imprint that it leaves on those who join us.

I have experienced rich personal growth from the influence of many leaders, some even life-transforming. I have also experienced the opposite—bruises left by betrayal, abuse, or dishonesty. I have had to forgive, examine my own heart, and move forward without being overwhelmed by a trusted leader’s wrong actions. No doubt, most everyone can say the same. Leaders are people and people are fallible. We all make mistakes. We are prone to misperceptions, miscalculations, and miscommunication. And while we can never prevent what another does, we can learn from those situations to better our own character as leaders.

One thing I have learned to greatly value in leadership is not the glory of perfection, but sincerity and truthfulness. A good leader not only takes responsibility for what she says and does, but also works to make sure her words ring true without deception or falsehood. Years ago, a person’s word was held in high esteem. Contracts could be made with a handshake, because truth and integrity were supremely valued. In today’s world, however, dishonesty and falsehood are, unfortunately, a common practice in every realm from civic leaders to corporate heads to education halls—and even among spiritual leaders. I, too, have had to learn to be careful that my words are sincere and not hype or misleading.

Leaders are visionaries with goals to accomplish, and falsehoods can be an easy tool to manipulate people and circumstances for personal agendas. Another word for falsehood is a lie. It is a form of communication that works to control outcomes by creating false perspectives and expectations—ones that are often intentionally never realized. Telling a “little white lie” now and then may seem unimportant to some, but such thinking can lead to a lifestyle of deception. And deception is a work of darkness.

As Christian leaders, we are to be conformed to the image of the Son as people of integrity and love without pretense. Sincere and truthful words show others that we value them. After all, God loved us so much that He sent us the Truth, and Jesus loves us enough to lead us in truth and give us His Spirit of truth. Truth and sincerity are the foundations of a true relationship, and leadership is about relationships.

In a world clouded with deceptive gimmicks and illusory means to get something, let us walk in the light with humble hearts as leaders who love enough to speak with words that are honest and true. In so doing, we achieve more than desired goals with what we do; we help shape lives with who we are.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
Psalms 19:14

Nicole-headshotJ. Nicole Williamson is an inspirational speaker, author, and CEO of King’s Lantern International, a motivational ministry. Certified with AACC and a licensed minister with a Bachelor of Theology, she trains in personal development through empowered thinking, authentic identity, and intimacy with God. Her books include The Empowered Woman, Heaven’s Secret of Success, and Freedom in the Light. She and her husband live in the Dallas, Texas area. For more information, see www.kingslantern.com.