What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing?

fear

What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing? That’s a question I like to ask people I know. It’s a question that gets to your core passion. Fear however has a way of paralyzing us. Fear causes us to shrink back…to doubt…. and in many instances, not even try.

Fear is a part of life, and some fear is helpful. You’re afraid to stick your hand into a fire or to jump off a cliff. If you weren’t afraid of anything, you wouldn’t live long. But most fears are crippling and influence your decisions in negative ways.

Imagine you’re walking through the woods and get a thorn in your arm. You would likely remove it and go about your life with little thought of that mild injury. But imagine if you didn’t deal with it.

Eventually, that thorn would affect many of your decisions:

  • It would become infected and sore.
  • You would be careful not to bump anything.
  • You’d avoid most sports.
  • You would protect yourself anytime someone walked to close.
  • Eventually, you might even develop a special cover to tape over it.
  • Then you must worry about finding clothes that fit over it.
  • You couldn’t swim because the tape might come off.
  • It would affect your sleeping position, and so on.

 

Fears are the same way. A fear of talking to strangers affects the decisions you make in your social life and career. We avoid all types of things to ensure we don’t stir up the negative emotions caused by our fears.

The more fears you have, the less freedom you enjoy.

Try these techniques to transcend your fears and claim the level of freedom you deserve:

  1. Become more aware. There’s a big world out there with a variety of perspectives. Yours might not be the best perspective. You might believe that a fear of public speaking is totally normal and justified. But is it? What is the worst that could happen if you make a mistake? No one is going to stone you.
  • Look at all your fears and make a list of them.
  • Decide which are causing your life the most grief. Which fears do you spend the most time working around? Which are the most limiting?
  1. Determine why you’re afraid. What are the possible consequences that cause you to be afraid?
  2. Deal with your fears a little at a time. For example, if you’re afraid of public speaking, try giving a speech to your child, nephew, or niece. Then trying giving it to three of them. Build up your tolerance until you can speak to thousands.
  3. Use techniques to lower your fear. There are many tools for dealing with fear:
  • The Emotional Freedom Technique is popular.
  • So is the Sedona Method.
  • Hypnosis and meditation are also options.
  • You can also use a psychologist if you’re not making a lot of progress on your own.
  1. Use a journal. Writing can often be more helpful than thinking. We take the things we write more seriously than our self-talk. You talk to yourself constantly throughout the day. What will one more thought accomplish? Use a journal to record your thoughts, fears, and your progress.
  2. Develop a new understanding of failure. Many of the silly fears we have are related to a fear of failure. Ask yourself what can happen if you fail? Failure can be a great thing if you learn from it and apply it to your life.

Imagine a life without any irrational fears. Now let me ask you the question: What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing?

You have a choice. You don’t have to keep your fears. Spend some time each day dealing with your fears and reclaim your life.

Live life to the full!

Stop being afraid!

Just do it!

No pain … no gain.

No risk… no reward.

If you don’t get over your fear, at the end of your life the words “If I only _____” or “I wonder if I ______” will leave you with a feeling of regret.

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25 Reasons to Be Grateful Today

It’s sometimes hard to look around us and find something to be grateful for. But there are so many little blessings that make our life worthwhile! Looking for them will help us develop a grateful heart and increase the joy of our blessings tremendously. Need something to be grateful for today? Consider these…

  1. Life itself – The blessing of being alive, of breathing and thinking. Never take it for granted!
  2. Health – This one becomes more precious only when you lose it. But good health is truly a blessing to give thanks for.
  3. Family – Our children, grandchildren, parents, siblings and spouse. Even extended family make life worthwhile and worth living.
  4. Your five senses – hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell. Can you imagine a life without these blessings? Even losing one of them is a heartache. Combined, they fill our lives with… life!
  5. Work – While we sometimes fuss and wish we didn’t have to work, the blessing of a job to provide for our family is definitely something to be grateful for in these uncertain economic times.
  6. Sunshine – Think of the joy of walking outside and letting the sun kiss your face… hmm… can you feel it?
  7. Rain – Although it seldom comes at what we consider the “right” time, rain is so necessary to our very survival. Thank goodness we have it!
  8. Food – So many in the world don’t have enough to eat. What a blessing it is for those who do!
  9. Loving relationships. The old song says, “love makes the world go ’round.” How true it is! Be thankful for the love in your life.
  10. Friends – Friends are the family we choose to love. And how wonderful they are!
  11. Hugs – A loving touch can remove sadness, uplift a spirit and heal a heartache. Definitely something to be grateful for.
  12. Freedom – The freedom to live and breathe and think your own thoughts is one of the greatest joys in the world.
  13. A home. It doesn’t have to be large or even impressive, but a home filled with love and laughter is a comfort for the soul. Give thanks for yours!
  14. Your education. Many people underestimate the value of education but those who’ve acquired it know what a blessing it is.
  15. Kindness – Only when faced with the opposite—unkindness—can we truly appreciate the kindness we’re shown by others.
  16. The future. Hope for the future is what gives us strength for the day. Be thankful for what the future may hold.
  17. Memories – While we certainly don’t want to dwell in the past, an occasional visit down Memory Lane can be a good thing.
  18. Laughter – There seldom seems to be enough laughter in our lives so enjoy it where you find it and give thanks that it touched your life.
  19. Honesty – Truth is hard to come by in the world we live in. That’s why it’s such a blessing when we do find it.
  20. Nature – The trees rustling in the breeze, a gentle stream, squirrels and rabbits scurrying around the yard. Give thanks for the beauty and comfort nature brings.
  21. Music – The sound of music (no pun intended) has an almost mystical, supernatural affect on the human psyche. Think about how good the music you enjoy makes you feel. That’s something to be thankful for.

Living life with gratitude will help you find contentment and comfort no matter what the day may hold. Search for your own reasons to be thankful today… your whole attitude and demeanor will be changed!

Favorite Quotes from A.W. Tozer

Just thought I would share some of favorite quotes from A.W. Tozer. (Aiden Wilson Tozer was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor.)

“God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which he must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.”

“Rules for Self Discovery:
1. What we want most;
2. What we think about most;
3. How we use our money;
4. What we do with our leisure time;
5. The company we enjoy;
6. Who and what we admire;
7. What we laugh at.”

“I want the presence of God Himself, or I don’t want anything at all to do with religion… I want all that God has or I don’t want any.”

“Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as high as it will.”

“One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team.”

“When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”

“The man who would truly know God must give time to Him.”

“Justice is not something God has. Justice is something that God is.”

“True faith rests upon the character of God and asks no further proof than the moral perfections of the One who cannot lie.”

Set Yourself Free!!

set-free

Only in the past few years have I really become comfortable being me. Let me explain: I became a pastor in 2000. At that point – fresh out of Bible College, I felt like I needed to have a certain persona. I had to act a certain way, dress a certain way and basically be the person others expected for such a position.

Here I am 17 years later and I dress how I want to dress and say whatever I’m led to say. I use grace with my language of course but there are times when tough love is needed and I bring it. The reality is; I have finally become comfortable being me. Some people will like me and others not so much. And you know what? I’m good with that. Even Jesus had haters.

Authenticity is underrated. It’s more than being honest with the world. It’s about being honest with yourself. There are many advantages to being authentic. Most importantly, you’ll no longer feel the need to change your words and actions to impress others. You can relax and be yourself.

Before you can be authentic, it’s important to know yourself. If you don’t truly know yourself, you will basically mimic others you admire. That isn’t the true “you” either. Authenticity becomes possible when you know what’s important to you. At the very core is your values and goals.

Embrace authenticity and present yourself honestly:

  1. Give up the need to appear perfect. God made you unique… a masterpiece and that is good enough. And the great thing is, when you don’t need to appear perfect, you’re in the position to be honest. Avoid putting on a show for the rest of the world. You’ll only feel bad about yourself later or worse, you will wear yourself out with this life time game of charades
  •  It’s okay to be less than spectacular. Be the best at being yourself.
  1. Know your values and live by them. If you know your values and live by them consistently, you’re already doing well in the authentic department.
  • Make a list of your values and determine the five that are most important to you. Are you living your life according to these values? Would it be obvious to others that you hold these values? Remember: It’s one thing to state your core values…and it’s something else to actually live them out!
  • Make your decisions based upon your values. Be willing to share your values with others. This will also give you a level of accountability J
  1. Notice when you’re not being authentic. It’s not easy to be authentic all the time. You might find yourself transforming based on the situation. A first date is a good example. Are you being authentic or pretending to be someone you’re not?
  • Take note of those times your authenticity starts to wane.
  • People tend to compartmentalize their lives. They are one way at work and someone different at home. They are one way at church and then act differently at home. STOP!! That seems sooo tiring! And… it’s also fake.
  1. Know your goals. What do you want out of life? Do you know? Are you willing to let others know? By knowing your goals, you can you live your life accordingly.
  • Make a list of your short-term and long-term goals. How well do they align with your values?
  • Again it’s easy say my goal is ______ or my dream is to _______. You say it’s your “dream” but if you aren’t taking steps in that direction (forward progress) then what you have is merely a day dream that will never be realized.
  1. What are your defining characteristics? Describe yourself honestly. Now ask yourself if a casual acquaintance would describe you the same way? How about someone that knows you well? How about your closest friend?
  • What are your “negative” characteristics? Are you impatient or messy? Are you willing to allow others to see these characteristics or do you attempt to hide them?
  • Remember – nobody is perfect! Stop trying to hide all your flaws. You can actually learn to laugh at yourself. It’s ok….
  1. Simplify your life. Get rid of everything that’s sucking the life out of you. What you choose to keep will be representative of your preferences and your true self. You will find your true “you” by stripping away the non-essentials. Start with the clothes you never wear, the things you never use, and the activities you don’t enjoy. Only keep the things that mean the most to you. Wooohooo… do you feel the stress level lowering?

7. Do what you say you’ll do. Keep your word and follow through on your promises. You’ll feel more whole and live with consistency if you develop this one area. As you live it out, others will know that “what you say is what you do!” When your words and actions match, you’re demonstrating authenticity.

Life becomes easier when you’re living authentically. You’ll no longer feel the exhaustion that comes with constantly changing your opinions, attitudes, and personality to please others. You’ll no longer feel the need to protect yourself from others. Be authentic with your thoughts, words, and actions.

I hope this helps! I hope you are one step closer to being “set free” Que up Skynard’s Freebird – and know everything is going to be ok. This blog post is a wrap! Till next time. JH

Ground Hog Day Kind of Life

Do you have big plans and aspirations for the future? Do you act on those plans and aspirations each day? Exciting goals are easy to imagine. They even feel good. But putting them into action is another story. Too many people live their lives in a way that only preserves the status quo. There is status quo and then there is a type of Groundhogs Day Life! Ground Hogs day as in the movie starring Bill Murray. In the movie, he woke up every day to live the same day. On awaking the ‘following’ day he discovers that it’s Groundhog Day again, and again, and again.  He lived the same day for what seemed like years. Seeing the same people at the same places and ending the day with like fashion, exactly like all other days. He was stuck and didn’t know what to do. Many of you reading this are also stuck. Stuck in a rut. Stuck in a funk. Stuck in a dead-end job. Whatever the case, breathe…. Smile… you are not alone. So many people live the “Groundhog Day kind of Life” They just happen to think it’s normal. I can’t help but think that we were created for more than the same ole groundhog-day-ned-ryersonsame ole. Am I speaking to you? Do you feel like life has to be more than the nine to five and living for weekend?

So how do we break out of Ground Hog Day? What did Bill Murray’s character (Phil) do? He started trying new things. He started pushing himself to learn new skills, learn new languages and try new things. Here are few suggestions to help you breakout of your routine

Live each day in a way that changes your future:

  1. Imagine your average weekday. Use yesterday as an example, unless something unusual happened.
  • Consider what you ate and drank.
  • How much exercise did you get?
  • What did you do with your social life? Did you spend time with anyone else socially?
  • Did you call any friends?
  • If you’re married, what did you do to enhance your relationship?
  • Did you do anything to increase your income or advance your career?
  • Did you learn anything new that would be useful in the future?
  1. Consider your average weekend. Ask yourself the same questions.
  2. Imagine living those same days over and over for the next 10 years. Where would you end up? Based on your food intake and exercise output, where would you expect your health and body composition to look like in 10 years?
  • Do the same with your finances, social life, marriage, and career. After 10 years of living your average day, what is your prediction?

Let’s use a hypothetical example, Billy Bob.

Billy Bob is in his 40’s. He’s divorced and works as a low-level manager at a large corporation. He’s not in horrible shape, but could stand to lose 20 pounds. He’s saved some money, but he doesn’t save regularly.

Consider Billy Bob’s average day:

On Monday, Billy Bob stops at the local coffee shop on the way to work for a café latte and a muffin. Breakfast sets him back $9 and 1,400 calories, but he has a decent job, so he doesn’t worry about it too much. He figures he deserves it anyway.

He arrives to work somewhere between exactly on time to 15 minutes late. Not late enough to get into any trouble, but a little late is the norm, so people notice. He’s not setting the world on fire at work, but he does enough to keep his job secure. Like most people, he avoids work if he can get away with it. He figures he deserves to be paid more if they want more work.

He eats lunch out of the snack machine and drinks a bottle of water. Water is good for you, he thinks, so it’s not a horrible lunch.

He drives home at 5:00 and watches the news while his frozen dinner is cooking. The meal isn’t healthy, but it’s not too bad either. He eats dinner and surfs the latest dating websites looking for the gal of his dreams. He finds one woman that appeals to him and he pastes the same introduction email he’s sent to 100 women before.

He watches a little more TV and then reads 20 pages from a science fiction novel. He’s feeling industrious, so he washes all the dishes and pays some bills before getting ready for bed. In bed, he plays on his phone and texts his high school friends.

Monday through Friday are similar days. (Groundhog Day)

Where can Billy Bob realistically expect to be in 10 years?

Is your average day remarkably more meaningful and productive? Where will you be in 10 years? Are you living a day that will lead to positive changes in your life? Or are you simply passing the time with short-term comfort in mind?

As you live your day, ask yourself what the long-term implications of your current task are. Does that task matter?

Andy Stanley, a pastor in Atlanta GA has a book entitled The Principle of the Path. In the book, he has a saying that has stuck with me over the years. He writes, “Your direction determines your destination.” I live in North Carolina. If my goal is to drive to Florida, I should not be on Interstate 95 Heading north. Why? It’s simply the wrong direction. I can proclaim and decree my goal of getting to Florida all day long. I can shout it till I’m blue in the face but that fact remains – direction determines destination. It applicable to driving but it’s just as applicable to life. So… What direction are you heading? I that what you wanted in life? If not…. It’s time to change course. Hope this helps J

Grace & Peace, Jeff Hoglen

 

 

 

Living Consciously…Living on Purpose

Do yolife-to-the-fullu sometimes feel like you’re just going through the motions? You get up, go to work, come home, have dinner, watch television, and go to bed. The next day, the routine starts all over again.

But what if you could become more connected with your own experiences? You’d enjoy life more, feel happier and more content, and have more control over your life. By living consciously, you can get back your life! Make a decision now to live more consciously!

What Does it Mean to Live Consciously?

Living consciously involves re-gaining control over your life. Rather than doing something automatically and with no real thought, you’ll ponder what you want to do and how you want to go about it.

Living consciously means you get to see the people you wish to see and take part in the activities you prefer. When you live consciously, you consider what you want to eat and how you want to spend your hour of free time. You discover true freedom of choice.

Living Consciously in Everyday Life

You can see how living consciously ensures you’ll have a more fulfilling life. When you check back in to your own psyche, you’re in the driver’s seat. Sure, you still must arise in the morning, attend work, return home, and dine, but you give yourself more options to choose from in how you go about it.

When you live consciously, you can vary your daily routines or put in something that makes them a little more interesting:

* Maybe you can get up 15 minutes earlier a few times a week to do that exercise DVD you’ve been wanting to get to.

* Tired of eating cold cereal every day? Mix up your routine by having a piece of fresh fruit and some hot oatmeal or something else you’d like.

* Refresh your evenings by taking a walk after dinner, having a rousing conversation with your partner about something funny from the day, or playing with your kids or pets.

Work

When you get to work, talk to the boss about that project you’ve really wanted to do. You’ll re-kindle your interests and experience the satisfaction that comes with consciously working on projects you desire to do.

As you do your routine tasks, concentrate on what you’re doing. Are you doing your best? Have you considered more effective, efficient methods for the tasks or projects at your job? The more you notice what you’re doing, the more you can strive to excel at the job. Living consciously at work can win you promotions.

Free Time

In the evening at home, ponder what you truly want to do. Maybe you want to hang out with the guys in your neighbor’s garage for an hour. Or you really want to take up beading jewelry again.

Thinking consciously enables you to discover that you have the control in your life to do whatever it is that brings you joy, pleasure, and contentment.

Putting It All Together

To live consciously is to cease wasting time doing activities you’re not really interested in. When you make a personal vow to live consciously, you’re opening the door to a new, more joyous existence.

* What do you truly seek?

* With whom do you choose to spend time?

* How can you spend leisure time in ways that re-charge you and bring special joy?

* How can you become more psychologically engaged in your work to increase your performance?

* Are you taking care of your physical self the way you want and obtaining the results you desire?

Your answers to these questions will lead you down the path of conscious living… living on purpose… living a life of purpose.

Go ahead and take the first step in your journey toward reclaiming your life today. Say to yourself: “I will live consciously every moment of this day.” Repeat it tomorrow and the day after and embrace the joys of creating the life you desire.