I live in the most liveable city in the world; Melbourne! I am sure that those who live in Melbourne will agree with me that it is also the most changing city and the changers start with the temperature. I am currently (dare I say) enjoying this season of winter. I am cosy and warm indoors, the sun is shinning, there is no grey skies to be seen and it really doesn't feel like it could possibly be 7 degrees celsius outside.
Yet, as I look across the landscape the trees are bleak with no evidence of life. I can't see any birds enjoying the fruit of the tree or bees enjoying the nectar from its flowers. There is no leaves to cover the nakedness of the branches. There is no identifiable markers to tell me what type of tree it is. Because I was instrumental in choosing the tree, I know what to expect come spring, summer and autumn.
In spring which is not too far away the tree will be buzzing with bees as the blossoms start to appear and transform the bleakness. Come summer the tree will be filled with birds and bees as they enjoy the juicy peaches (I hope to get some before its all eaten by the birds). Come autumn the leaves will begin to fall and not before giving me radiant hues of reds, oranges and browns of lavish colour.
I am no garden expert and to be honest I prefer to get plants that need little or no attention from me. I couldn't really tell you what the best time is to fertilise the peach tree or any such thing needed for the great results I enjoy in summer (thanks to my husband and nature). What I can tell you is that to enjoy the fruit; time has to be invested in pruning it, fertilising it etc The tree needs care in order to produce large, juicy fruit.
You and I are not trees; I am hoping you will agree with me that we are more valuable than any tree. However, I like to use trees as object lessons. Our ability to live, grow and thrive depends on how well we take care of ourselves. We need to pay careful attention to the environment in which we place ourselves. The people who shape us and the way we think and more so what we believe will ultimately determine our capacity to be fruitful or successful.
I encourage you to view every season of your life as an important time for rest and reflection. Your ability to produce the results you want in life is dependent on it. Ensure you invest time wisely in relationships, make time to cut back or prune the things that have not aided your development. Create quality time to assess your goals and develop your gifts and skills.
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven" Ecclesiastes 3:1. This was written by King Solomon, a person known for many things and one of those was wisdom. So don't lose heart and spend time dwelling in discouragement when things go wrong. Learn from it; see it as a time to pull out the weeds.
Today the first day of August 2017, consider your season; what activities are you undertaking to be fruitful? What does fruitfulness look like to you? If you were a tree would you consider one fruit a success or many? How do you plan or choose to intentionally engage and participate in your current season.
I would love to hear about your season and the steps you are taking to ensure your next season is fruitful/successful? What does success look like to you? If you have been stuck in a season for too long, what is keeping you stuck?
Have you ever given thought to what draws a moth to the light, bee to nectar, fish to the water, dog to a bone, people to love? Within our DNA is knitted the need to love, beloved and nurtured. A moth is not drawn to the flame that destroys it, rather to the light. Have you ever noticed that a bee will only drink the nectar from a flower that is open wide, a bit like people are drawn to kindness that is shown to them.
Kindness is a invitation and is understood because love resides in each of us. Many try to camouflage love with words, yet truth is seen and experienced through the actions that follow. When someone tells you they love you, test it before you get too close.
Always keep in mind, engrave it on your heart not all that things that glitter is gold, just as not all who say 'I love you' mean it from the heart or will express it with kindness. Love does not hurt, does not boast, does not envy, does not dishonour, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs - in essence love does no harm,
Don't get me wrong we can be hurt from loving someone, when they don't love us back the way we expect them to or the way we understand love.....; but love does not cause shame, fear or guilt. If you are drawn to someone who is hurting you; be it physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, socially... its time for you to consider why you are drawn to the flame that you know is causing you pain. It is possible that you don't believe you deserve love or you may have a misrepresented view of love.
One way to test if something is genuine is to engage with our senses. Does what you see, compliment what you hear and what you feel? Is the charming words adding flavour to the behaviour that follows and is it long lasting or short lived? Keep in mind language can be behaviour and behaviour is can extension and expression of words, the two must compliment each other.
Do you think life is what you make it? Do you think that you can decided how your story goes? Do you think perhaps its time to start a new series rater than a new chapter or a new page in your life? You see, we go through many seasons in life and I think sometimes we keep writing the same book adding pages or chapters, when we should perhaps start a new series.
What's your thing reading or watching movies? Either way, I am sure that if you find a good story, you will keep following it. When I see a book and the title appeals to me, I open the pages and read the table of contents. Each chapter has to be as appealing as the title, the stories within each chapter needs to capture me. As with life some books are short stories and some are long. Have you ever thought of the tile of your life story. Will you have a large book with many chapters that tells your story? Will you choose to write a series sharing the various seasons of your life and how they unfolded? Will you choose to write at all or will someone else be telling your story?
I like is journaling, it is a great way to get thoughts, ideas and dreams down and I believe it is best done on paper with a pen in hand. I also like reflecting from time to time as I read from old journals. This is not to live in the past but rather to see how the journey has unfolded. I like to reflect on the lessons learned and the things that have been overcome. To re-evaluate and set goals that haven't been achieved and perhaps given up on.
If you're wondering when is a good time to start a new series rather than new chapter or a new page; I would suggest the moment when you decide to set a new goal, change careers, move house, finish school... or when you decide to get out of your comfort zone. You see the pages are the days we get in life. The chapters are the daily living. Each series represents the choices we have made through the seasons. You might even have a series within a series, as the writer is the same person but each new book should be an improvement from the one before; as lessons are learned and the journey unfolds.
Take a moment to stop and reflect - is it time for you to start a new book, is it time to say goodby to a few things in your past, is it time for a fresh beginning. If you answered yes to any of these then I encourage you to take a moment to finish your last chapter well. Its time for you to step out with hope and with faith take a leap to writing your next book. Be encouraged it's never too late to have new dreams or to follow your dreams.
In the journey of life, we have many lessons to learn. Age does not stop the process of learning. I believe the day we die is the day we stop learning; yet how well we learn and implement that which we have learned, is dependent on how we recieve feedback. The type of feedback we get is the part in which we learn how to navigate along the journey. Negative feedback often has traits of criticism. Possitive feedback comes with correction. Criticism will open the mind to fear and fear of failure enters the heart, where love should be.
Criticism is based on falt finding, putting down, judegement based on the percieved outlook of the person giving the criticism. Often, this is done with lack of knowledge or understanding and it can even be the the lack of wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge and understanding to a situation. Those who are critical often struggle with low self-esteem and self-worth as fear of failure resides within.
In life we become products of our learning environment. So, take heart and be mindful of the lanugage you use towards yourself and others. Will you act out of love to correct or will you act out of fear and criticize? The language used in correcting starts with 'I' and the language used in criticising starts with 'You'.
I encourage you to stop and reflect on your perceptions of others and even yourself. When we correct with love are desire is the best for the other person. We learn best through love, we grow best becasue we know we are loved, we do our best because we believe we are loved and accepted.
Welcome to 2017, the year in which I encourage you to move. If you want to experience change in your life. If you are tired of being stuck in the same place. If you are fed up with living life in the same manner as 'Groundhog day'. Then my dear friends its time for you to move.
This is the year to begin to live with intention and one of the key ways to do that is to get out of your comfort zone, it is time for you to move. Have you considered that the only thing really standing in your way of living your dreams and fulfilling your purpose is you?
I am certian that 2016 has been a year of good times, sad times, tough times, yet you have made it. I encourage you to begin each day of 2017 as you open your eyes and realise you are alive, with a grateful heart for your life. start each day as if it was a new year, not just a new day. Embrace each moment as if it was a new opportunity.
respect your Values
By starting your day with a spirit of gratitude you are creating movement. By taking time to be thankful that you made it thorugh the night, the endless posibilites you have in 24 hours that could make changes in anothers life creates movement in your mind. By getting out of bed and putting your gratitude to work is creating movement in your body. This wholistic movement of spirit, soul and body will bring about positive change in various ways. First to you and then to those around you.
Evaluate your intentions
The ups & downs of life are inevitalbe, yet if you keep moving - it will bring you closer to the goals that you have placed ahead of you and open your senses not just to dream but to have vision. It all starts with taking one step at a time and it can start today.
We look forward to journeying with you in 2017. Our desire is that you will walk in peace, bubble forth with joy and rest in love. Leave 2016 behind, grasp each new day with anticipation. Encourage those you meet, be patient with everyone, don't seek revenge, strive to do what is good. Apply these rules to the person you great each morning in the mirror so that you can step out in confidence.
Have a great month, better still take a step into a great year
Articles to encourage you as you journey through life. Our hope is that you will be encouraged to live, love and learn as you journey through life intentionally.