In the Process of Thinking Big…Don’t forget to Think Small

God said something to me today!

I’ll be honest, as someone who is supposed to teach others how to have a relationship with God, and to actually hear from God, I’m always somewhat startled when He chooses to speak to me. Anyway, today He said something to me.

Let me set up the scenario for you, so you’ll understand the context.

This week I’m at the beach. My oldest son, Jeremy, is getting married and our youngest son Nate is his best man. I get to perform the ceremony. How cool is that? Anyway, this morning I went for my normal morning run. When I’m out of town I normally run further, because the scenery changes, so I ran 4 1/2 miles before I realized how long I’d been running. I decided to stop, buy a drink, and sit and look at the beach for a few minutes, before running back.

As I was sitting there, I became enchanted with the size and power of the waves. I watched a little boy running away from them, and nearly get knocked down by one. I saw a couple walking the beach get splashed unexpectedly. Mostly, however, I just saw the beach being pounded by wave after wave after wave. I have been to the beach many times and I never get tired of watching the ocean display God’s glory. In that moment, I did as I’ve done so many times before…I bragged to God about His handiwork.

I prayed, “God, this is so majestic; so powerful, and You made it all. Every wave I’m seeing today was shaped by You! You are so incredible and worthy to be praised! What a mighty God I serve!”

Have you ever had such emotions flood you when you see God’s creation? Which part of His creation brings those kind of thoughts to your mind?

Anyway, as I was praying, I sensed God say something else. It was almost as if He said, “Hold on Ron, (I always love that He knows my name) you’re talking so fast and thinking so big, you may have missed something.” I paused to listen to the God I was talking to and it seems I heard Him say:

“In the process of thinking BIG, don’t forget to think small.”

I looked down and saw the sand all around me. I was instantly reminded that God made every grain of sand. I’ve been told that no two grains are the same. My God knows each one of them and the Bible seems to indicate God may know how many grains there are…I think He does. Instantly, this passage came to my mind:

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18

I don’t know exactly all God was teaching me in that moment. I know I’m a big thinker. I always have a new dream. I don’t think He was telling me not to think big. I’ll obviously never out-think Him and He tends to stretch us towards big dreams in HIs word (…no eye has seen…no mind has conceived…what God has prepared…).

For now, I think He was simply, kindly and gently reminding me that “In the process of thinking BIG, don’t forget to think small.” I’ll continue to process that thought and how it may apply to my life in the weeks to come.

Do you have insight or thoughts for me as to what that could mean? What could that mean if you applied what God said in your own life?

BTW, If you are struggling to hear from God you may consider reading this previous post:

Hearing a Word from God

Has God been saying anything to you lately? I’d love for you to share it here.

Challenge: Let’s Make It A Great Week!

This is a random Sunday afternoon post…

I want to encourage us to have a great week this next week…

I believe and strive for continual improvement…

In my experience, this happens best when we make intentional changes…

That’s the point of this post…

This next week, I want to encourage…challenge…even dare you to make an intentional change to improve something in your life

I’ll go first…

This week, I plan to pray more specifically…

I frequently use a prayer list, but I seldom follow it…

This week I want that to change…

Now your turn…

It can be anything…about any subject…just so it’s an intentional change to improve your life…

What intentional change are you going to make this week to make things better in your life?

GO!

A Life Message: Asking the Right Question

I met with a young man recently who is passionate about growing in his relationship with God, being a better husband and father, becoming more active in the church and community and excelling in his work.

He’s sensing an internal, self-induced tension to do more and be better in each area of his life.

His question to me was basically, how can he balance all the things he wants to do or feels he needs to be doing?

I certainly understood the question. It’s a pressure I’ve experienced many times in my life, especially during certain seasons. In fact, I’m sensing it again as I entered the empty-nester phase of life. I do believe in order to be successful with all the demands a person has, one has to get better personally, physically, spiritually, emotionally and relationally, before we can achieve more but, I think there may be a better answer than that.

I gave him one word of advice that has helped me during those seasons. Perhaps you need to hear this as well.

I challenged him to consider if he was asking the right question.

Instead of asking…

What should I be doing?

Maybe he should be asking…

Who do I want to be?

I have found that when I consider the person I want to be that the actions I need to take to get there become clearer. In fact, many of the actions I may have thought I needed to take, become less important, because they don’t seem to help me become who I say I want to be.

Which question are you or do you most need to be asking?

Friday Discussion: Help Write Your Obituary…Epitaph

For several years, I spent some of my reflective time in an old cemetery in our city. The older the tombstone, the more likely to have an epitaph inscribed. This short sentence or phrase was intended to capture the heart of the person…the way he or she lived his or her life.

If you Google my name “Ron Edmondson”, you’ll easily find my blog, that I’m on Twitter, my church, and some other blogs that I’ve commented on or that have featured some of my writing. What you’ll also find is that I died June 11, 2008. I was an attorney in Texas, apparently well-respected, and I left a loving family. Of course, that’s not the real me, but who knows that in 13 years…or any day…it won’t be.

I’m not trying to be morbid, but when I ran across this Google listing, I couldn’t help but consider what they will write about me some day. By the way, most likely, others will have to say or write something about you some day also.

What will the say?  Perhaps, more importantly, what do you want them to say?

Do an exercise with me. Help write your obituary…your epitaph…beyond your date of birth, birthplace, occupation, and family listings…Those are the basics…everyone gets them listed.  When you get past those points, what will they say?

The Difference in Knowing and Doing

There is often a difference in…

Knowing…

And…

Doing…

When it comes to right things…things we should know and do…

It’s true for all of us…some more than others…

You can know the right things to do…and never do the right things…

In my experience, not doing is often a bigger problem than not knowing…

Many people who know never do…

Yet…

The margin between knowing and doing may determine the degree of success you attain…

Understanding your margin sets you up to address the problem…

What is the current margin between your knowing and your doing?

That Inner Nervous Energy…Some of Us Thrive On It

Do you know that nervous energy you get when you face the uncertainty of life?

You feel it when you assume a overwhelming risk…

It’s that emotion…that adrenaline rush…almost an inner fear…

Yet something inside prompts you to proceed in spite of the nervousness…

You feel it deep in your gut…

Ever felt it?

Well here’s the reality…

Some of us…as awkward, difficult, stressful, and even painful as it can be…

Live for that emotion…

You’ll find it in entrepreneurs…
You’ll find it in church planters…
You’ll find it among risk-takers…
You’ll find it in extreme sports enthusiasts…

I think the Apostle Paul must have had it…

It’s an inner drive to achieve, to accomplish, to pursue big dreams, conquer huge obstacles…

And achieve what others will not attempt…

I think it can be a God-given emotion…

It can be abused…

It must be used carefully…

But it shouldn’t be wasted…

Can anyone identify with that emotion I’m describing?

When’s the last time you felt that nervous energy?

(Share other examples of people who seem to enjoy this emotion.)

One Principle of Attaining Success in Life

Here’s a principle I’ve learned the hard way:

Sometimes the most successful are not the ones who do it perfectly but the ones who do it…

Whatever “it” is…

Many times we wait until the perfect timing, until all our questions are answered, or until the perfect set of circumstances are aligned before we move forward. In the meantime the world keeps moving and those who move, even though conditions are less than ideal, realize the victories others miss.

What dream, vision, call of God do you need to move forward on today?

The Inner Resolve to Overcome: Lesson from this week in Chicago

I’ve been amazed this past week at the resolve of the people of Chicago. Reportedly this week saw the worst snow storm since 1967.  I’ve not been through a blizzard before, so this was an experience.  You can read why I’m here in THIS POST.

What amazes me is how the people responded so quickly.  Even before the storm hit, people were taking precautions, but during and after the storm, people spread salt, shoveled snow, pitched in to help one another, and quickly got back to normal.  Many places were closed early Wednesday, hours after the snow ended, but many were open by the afternoon.  By Thursday everyone was seemingly back to normal. There’s still a lot of snow on the ground, you have to be careful where you walk, but people have gone about their business…in spite of the largest snow the average Chicagoan has ever seen.




Watching the quick response of the Chicagoans this week prompts me to ask:

Why?

Because there is an inner resolve in people to survive…to recover…to succeed!

  • We saw it in our city after the devastating flood last year.
  • We saw it in our city after the 1999 tornado destroyed most of downtown.
  • We see it in the aftermath of earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and famine.
  • I’ve seen that resolve firsthand in Brazil, and Lithuania and Sierra Leone.
  • I’ve seen it in families who lost everything in a house fire.
  • I’ve seen it in individuals whose lives were wrecked by adultery, cancer and financial devastation.
  • I’ve seen it in individuals, who in spite of paralyzing injuries, continue to live with great joy.

There’s an inner drive in people to overcome.

I love seeing it…

I think it’s God-given…

I’m thankful for the times I’ve been able, by God’s grace, to pick myself up and move forward.

If you are experiencing the bad side of life these days, may I be a voice encouraging you to draw from that God-given inner resolve to push forward! The best is yet to come if you will pursue it!

Who has a story of recovery from tragedy that inspires you?

Do you have a story?  What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you…you lived to tell about it?tell me NOW!

I’ve written before about failure in these posts: (Click on the title to read)

7 Ways to Recover from a Major Failure or Mistake

How to Recover from Failure

5 Principles I’ve Learned from Failure

Failure Can Lead to Success

Writing a Life Plan, Part 5

It’s day 5 of our life planning series. We’ve attempted to take it step-by-step, in a simple format, to write a plan that will help us achieve some specific goals for the new year.

If you missed any of these posts, be sure to catch up by reading:

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Today we have our final step — and it’s a good one — in fact — it’s my favorite.

Possibly yours too!

The last step in our life plan is to…

CELEBRATE THE WIN!

In fact, you must!

It’s critical to any long-term success.

Build a reward in for the completion of each of your goals. The size of the reward can be based on the size of the goal and the size of your budget, but it should be enticing enough to keep you motivated.

It’s been said that what gets rewarded gets repeated — and that seems to be true from my experience.

Find a way to celebrate achieving your goals this year.

Using our hypothetical goals, here’s an example of what this might look like:

Lose 10 pounds – Buy a new outfit — or two.

Improve my marriage communication – Plan a special vacation together or eat at your favorite restaurant.

Pay off my credit card – Buy a new couch — but pay cash for it.

Read through the Bible – Give a Bible to someone who needs one.

Write a book – Get a weekend away to do nothing — absolutely nothing.

These are just hypothetical. You can come up with something better for you for celebration. It is important that you reward yourself though.

Obviously you may need to get help accomplishing some of these rewards, but that’s part of the beauty of Step 4. As others are included in your progress they will be enticed to help celebrate your win.

That’s the planning process. Simple enough?

I’d love to hear from you if you are going to attempt this process. Leave me a comment.

Here’s hoping for an extra productive new year!