A Journey of a Thousand Miles

This entry is part 3 of the series Motivational Quotes

Motivational Sayings with a Twist:

 

Two weeks ago, we looked at: If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly! 

Last week, we saw the cure for procrastination was Do the Next Thing!

Today, we’re looking at a topic close to my heart: Motivation!

According to an ancient Chinese proverb: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 

We need to be motivated to start out if we’re going to achieve our goals. read more

Do the Next Thing

This entry is part 2 of the series Motivational Quotes

Stop the World! I Want to Get Off!

Have you ever gone through a stretch when life threatens to overwhelm you? There are just so many things to do, so many challenges to overcome, so many demands on your time, that it just seems impossible. You want to throw up your hands in despair and shout, “I’m outa here! I can’t do it all!” I’ve been here many times, and I suspect you have too.

Elizabeth Elliot

I recently read an excellent article by Elisabeth Elliot, the influential author and missionary widow of the martyr, Jim Elliot.

Elizabeth describes how, following the death of Jim, she faced a life full of confusions and uncertainties. She lived alone on a jungle station with an entire church of new believers now looking to her for guidance. She had a ten-month-old baby daughter, fifty newly-converted believers and no spiritual leaders, a diesel generator to operate if she wanted electricity in the evenings, an airstrip to keep clean, a boy’s school to supervise, a women’s literacy class to teach, and medical work to do. Not to mention the normal duties of a young mother and dealing with her own grief in the loss of her husband. read more

“If a thing is worth doing….”

This entry is part 1 of the series Motivational Quotes

If a thing is worth doing

I was brought up with the saying, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

So I grew up thinking if I couldn’t do it well, it obviously wasn’t worth doing at all!

Why do anything if it wasn’t going to turn out perfectly?

Then the other day, I was startled to stumble across this expression:

'If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.' G.K.Chesterton. Really? Click To Tweet

As I pondered this unusual expression, I came to see the danger in the original belief. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” Doesn’t that paralyse us with a fear of failure? Isn’t only the Lord perfect?

Confession time here:

I hate to fail! I would rather not tackle a project than do it and fail. It puts me under an inordinate pressure to perform to the best of my ability.

Last year, I faced a book deadline, which I was battling to reach, followed with an already planned Book Launch (for the book that wasn’t yet published), I had family traveling to join me for the Book Launch—and I got flu. All at once. Just before, and immediately after the flu, (and before the Book Launch) my husband and I went on two family visits in different directions, but both approximately four hours drive away from home.

I had computer problems. (But of course! That’s inevitable when there is a deadline involved!) And my blood pressure shot off the charts, involving three trips to the emergency room.

You think that was bad enough?

D’you want to know the real killer?

I had signed up to do the A to Z Blogging Challenge! And that meant 26 posts on one topic, ranging from A to Z. I had to do it! I had to produce a good post on each letter on the topic, which I may add required a good deal of research. Why did I have to do it? Because I’d committed myself to doing it. All the well-meaning teachings of my childhood flooded in.

  • You can’t break a commitment.
  • Your word is your bond. You said you’d do it.
  • You believe the topic is worth doing . . . and if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well!
  • I’m a Christian. If I don’t complete it on time, I will let the Lord down.

Now you understand, each of these were important!

  • The Book Launch was organised. It would be very inconvenient to a lot of people to change the date.
  • There couldn’t be a launch for a book that was not yet available. So it had to get done.
  • The family visits? Both could probably have been postponed to a more convenient date, but I really wanted to see my brother and family on the one visit, and my son and family on the other.
  • And the A to Z? I love the A to Z Challenge. But how important was it? I could have dropped from the challenge and still covered the topics at a later stage! But that would have meant failure! And that would never do! If the job was worth doing . . . it was worth doing well!

Right?

WRONG!

As I thought of G.K.Chesterton’s rendition of the phrase, I saw this so clearly. I could still have done the challenge. But I could have done it badly! I could have said, “No way! This is too much pressure. It is causing too much stress. I believe in the topic, and I want to do it. But I’m going to do it after the book launch!”

I started to think of all the other times I’ve persevered with projects for really one reason only: to give it up would have meant failure! I had started it. I needed to do it well! Which meant I had to complete the task.

Renewing of your Mind?

I’ve always taken this passage of Scripture to mean I must make everything perfect. But is it perhaps saying, take another look at what you’re doing? Maybe it’s time for a fresh approach. A renewed way of thinking?

The article I was reading (and unfortunately, I can’t remember where this was) gave several examples.

  • If you don’t have time (or motivation) to take a bath—rather wash your face and hands than do nothing.
  • If you can’t face making a well-balanced meal—eat an apple instead of going hungry.

I can think of others.

  • If you can’t get a full-time job—get a part-time job. Just do something!
  • If you can’t get up early in the morning— get up later! But get out of that bed!
  • If you can’t be bothered getting up and getting dressed—get up! And wear your PJs.
  • If I can’t visit someone in hospital every second day—I can at least go once and show I care.

The idea of doing things badly frees me up. It doesn’t mean I need to turn out shoddy work, but it does give me a license to try something new. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t matter! I don’t have to wait until the perfect moment to start.

If I try a new restaurant and it doesn’t work out well, that’s fine. I’ve learned for next time.

If I start out on a book topic and realise it’s not going the way I’d hoped, I can change my mind. I may come back to it later, or I may never come back to it. And guess what? The world will keep on turning!

A cure for stress and anxiety?

Since coming across this expression, I’ve found a huge relief from stress.

If we allow ourselves the freedom to avoid always needing perfection, we will find it is true. If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth the risk that it might not be perfect. But at least we’ll have tried!

So how about adopting this attitude for a period and see if it doesn’t free you of some anxiety and pressure?

What do you think? Can you think of something you could tackle if you take this attitude? 

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly!

Tell me what you think in the comments below, and as always, if you leave a URL, I will get visit you back!

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful Thursday 2018 – The End!

This entry is part 4 of the series Thankful Thursday

A very belated Happy 2019 to you all!

On the 4th of January, I posted my first “chapter” of a year-long journey. I embarked on a challenge to write about 2018 thanks that I could give during the year 2018.

It really was a challenge too! To start with, it wasn’t too difficult, and I only had to come up with around 6 thanks a day. Easy.

Because I chose to post them online, I had to write 39 thanks a week, and post them each Thursday, under the header, Thankful Thursday. read more

Miriam Part II ~ Gifted Leader

Miriam Part II ~ Gifted Leader

is another Out of the Shadow book.

Meet Miriam, the gifted leader!

Would I find enough information to fill an entire book? That was my question when I first set out on this journey with Miriam. Imagine my surprise when one book became two.

Most of us know about the little girl who watched over her three-month-old brother as he sailed in a basket boat on the crocodile-infested River Nile. Her story is told in Miriam Part 1 ~ Devoted Sister, which ends as the Children of Israel gather at the exit to Goshen, their home for many decades, and prepare for their trip to the Promised Land.

Miriam ~ Gifted Leader takes up her story at around eighty years old. Yet, as we will see, this was no fragile, elderly woman. She had far more energy than I have, and I imagine more than you. About to embark on an incredible journey that would take the rest of her life, she faced adventures and horrors of terrifying magnitude. Throughout that time, she showed herself to be a gifted leader. This in a time when women were not regarded as capable of taking the lead.

This story commences as the previous book ends. I invite you to pick up your bundles and get behind our leaders as we prepare to take our leave of Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the life of slavery. We will follow Miriam as she steps out of the shadow of her famous brother, Moses, and becomes a true leader in her own right.

If you recognize this elderly lady from the previous Miriam book, you are right. She’s the same person. She’s just aged as we all do!

If you have read this book, please will you pop over to Amazon and leave an honest review? Thank you.

The Entertainer Blogger Award

About the Entertainer Blogger Award

A special thanks to Debbie Harris for nominating me for this Entertainer Award, along with many other entertaining and inspiring bloggers. I’m delighted to be part of this line-up! Deb writes an entertaining blog that covers adventure, travel and beautiful photography. Read her application for this award here, as it gives you some insight into the person behind the name!

read more

Share Your World ~

This entry is part 17 of the series Share Your World

SYW asks: What would be your ideal fantasy way to spend Monday?

On board a plane headed for Monte Negro to visit my daughter. While on the plane, I would love to be able to draft a novel that I know will be accepted for publication by a publisher.

SYW asks: What one person that you are out of contact with would you like to say thank you to?

 

 

SYW asks: List your favorite toys or games as a kid?

Do annuals count? Those were always my favourite Christmas gift, and as an only child I got far too many toys at Christmas! But after all the parcels were opened, I retired to my bedroom to read a pile of annuals my parents always gave me, like Schoolfriend, Girl’s Crystal, Girl’s Own. I’m not sure if they were called annuals in America? They were large books filled with stories in comic form, fully illustrated in colour. I don’t think you see these any more in the shops. I know when my kids were young, they were already becoming ridiculously expensive and some of the sto

 

SYW asks: What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

Need Time Out? – Devotion

In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 1:28 KJV).

Eugene Peterson, who wrote The Message version of the Bible, puts the verse this way: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.”

Do these words bring tears to your eyes? Do you feel a deep ache at the thought of a “real rest”? Yet rest is not a luxury. It is an essential part of our make-up. If we don’t rest voluntarily, we will become ill—and rest will be forced upon us.

 

Have you ever stopped to read a book and been consumed by guilt? Do you sometimes sit down with a cup of your favourite beverage and gulp it down before anyone sees you? Have you switched your PC screen for a “quick game” of Solitaire, which may not have been all that quick after all? Do you sometimes want to scream at yet another interruption from those demanding children? (Yes, those same ones you wanted so badly and love so dearly!)

My friend, don’t succumb to the lies from Satan, “If you stop work and take a rest during the day, you are weak and lazy,” he’ll tell you. “What will people think if they see you taking a break?” “A whole day off? Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t afford to take time out.”

God, the Almighty Creator, needed rest. He worked for six days—then he took a whole day’s break. If God needed time out, I guess I do too. And you.

Sydney Harris said, The best time to relax is exactly when you do not have the time for it. 

My challenge for you right now is, choose a period of time, or even an entire day, out of the next seven days, and mark it off on your diary or your calendar as “Time Out for Me!” And then stick to it. You’ll be surprised. The world won’t stop turning. You will return to your writing, your work or your family situation with more enthusiasm and inspiration. God took time out. He expects nothing less from us, His children.

Do you wake up each morning and wonder

Why your life seems to keep spinning by?

At the end of the day when the house becomes still

Do you fall into bed with a sigh?

Do you long for the days when your time was your own?

Then feel guilty for thinking that way?

They’re your children, they’re precious, you do love them so,

Yet they need you each second, all day.

Do you wonder if God feels that way when you call?

If He ceases to care what you do?

Well my friend, that’s the wonder, He’s always right there,

He never takes time-out from you.

©Shirley M. Corder 2006

The Unlikely Messenger – Devotion

“In my distress, O LORD, I called to you, and you answered me. From deep in the world of the dead I cried for help, and you heard me” Jonah 2:2 GNB.

Imagine the scene:

Here comes Jonah, squishing along the beach. He’s covered in the stomach contents of a fish and smells of vomit. His skin and hair are bleached white from stomach acids. Seaweed drapes around his shoulders. This man has a message from God? You have to be joking! Yet amazingly, the people of Nineveh listen to this unlikely messenger. They repent and turn to God.

At the beginning of my cancer treatment, I prayed that I would continue to be a witness to others of God’s love. But toward the end of the year my thinning hair looked and felt like straw. My complexion was so pale and spotted that my sons said I was “transparent.” My eyes were sunken because I had lost so much weight. I don’t think I looked quite as bad as Jonah must have looked, but I didn’t see how God could use me. Yet surprisingly, He did.

Many people listened to what I had to say. They saw God at work in my life and asked questions about my faith. The Lord opened doors for me to write about my experiences so that others would be encouraged. 1

Years later I wrote about my experiences in a book of meditations. Many people have contacted me to share how the Lord has spoken to them through one or more of the messages. Yet they don’t even know me. I am only the messenger.

As I’ve thought many times about the story of Jonah and his terrifying fish ride, I have seen over and over again that it is not the messenger that makes the difference—it’s the message. Often when we are at our weakest, God can use us to spread His message of love and forgiveness.

As writers, how often do we face a writing project that seems beyond our abilities? We believe God wants us to tell a story, but we don’t have the experience. We lack the knowledge. We are too young. Too old. Inexperienced. Not well enough known. Whenever you feel that way, remember the story of Jonah. And remember, it’s not the messenger that makes the difference. It’s the message.