Want an Easy life? Do what’s hard!

We don’t like the hard things in life. The easy path is the most desired. But, it is the hard path that actually makes like better.

Easy Choices lead to a harder life

  • Exercise: The easy choice is to not do it, but stay on the couch instead. Not exercising leads to an unhealthy life.
  • Food: The easy choice is to eat junk food, not clean food. Junk food makes life more miserable.
  • School: The easy choice is to not finish, or to take the bare minimal. In general, the less education you have, the less opportunities you have.
  • Job: The easy choice is to do the bare minimum. The bare minimum gets you nowhere in life.

Hard choices lead to an easier life

  • Relationships: The hard choice is to stick with your spouse, even when he or she disappoints you. Yet, there is nothing as fulfilling as a healthy marriage.
  • Parenting: The hard choice is to discipline your child and tell him no. Yet, this makes it even easier to parent.
  • Money: The hard choice is to not buy that item you really want. Yet, the less you spend, the more you have.
  • Knowledge: The hard choice is to actual study something yourself, rather than listen to the “experts” on television. Knowledge is power.

All the blessings I have in my life have come from making the harder choice. Want an easy life? Do what’s hard.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos

How has doing the hard things made your life easier?

1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Is your adult “you” like your “child” you? Which “Animal” are you?

I feel like a completely different person than who I was as a child. Some things are the same, but I’ve changed.

  • I hated public speaking, I love it now
  • I wasn’t that athletic, now I am
  • I lacked confidence, now I have it
  • I didn’t apply myself academically, I do now
  • I was clueless with fixing things, now I can

Are you more or less like who you were as a child? Here is a fun and quirky way to look at it: Animals. Which one can you identify with?

1. A turtle – you are about the same as you were as a child, but a little out of your shell and comfort zone

2. A snake – you have shed your old skin and slither in newness

3. A fish – you left the aquarium for deeper waters

4. A butterfly – you have completely transformed from a caterpillar, spreading your wings to fly

I see myself as more of a butterfly. I have grown up, developed, and matured into something more.

Is there a different animal to describe your transformation? Let me know. Have fun with it!

1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Need to, but don’t want to? How to shift your mindset to get it done.

We need to go to work, exercise, take care of our family.

Life is about responsibilities. We must take care of ourselves and others. It isn’t always easy.

What if we don’t feel like it today?

We don’t feel like lifting weights. We don’t feel like taking our dog for our walk or cooking supper. But, we need to.

How do we get ourselves to do it? Some not-ideal options:

  • Don’t do it at all, it just creates more problems and work for the next day
  • Guilt ourselves into doing it, this just brings more misery
  • Wait till the last minute, this only makes it harder to complete

This is the best thing to do:

  • Remember why it’s important – it’s important for me to exercise today because…
  • See the benefits of the activity – I don’t feel like it, but I when I do it, this positive result will occur…
  • Commit to just a few minutes of the activity – if it’s exercise instead of saying, “I must run for 30 minutes today,” say instead, “I will run for 10 minutes today.” The commitment is less intimidating. Chances are, you will wind up running the 30 minutes anyway. It’s all about taking the first step.

What do you have to do today?

1. Remember why you need to do this

2. See how it adds to benefit to your life

3. Take the first step and go from there

Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Don’t Feel like it? Do it anyway!

I didn’t feel like it today.

I recently had a rough weekend. Not only that, I barely slept a wink one night. All I wanted to do today was get home from work and do nothing.

  • I didn’t feel like running
  • I didn’t feel like writing this essay
  • I didn’t feel like eating with my family

So, guess what I did?

  • I went running
  • I wrote this essay
  • I ate with my family

Why did I do these things, even though I didn’t feel like it?

  • My family, exercise, and writing are priorities of my life
  • Success is often just showing up, even when it’s not easy
  • I knew I would feel worse for not doing these things
  • Good habits lead to good habits
  • I knew once I started exercising, writing, etc., I would “feel” like it

What do you need to do today, even if you don’t feel like it? Do it anyway. You won’t regret it!

Galatians 6:9, “ And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

I love to work, but struggle with resting.

I know how to work

I have been working most of my life. When I do work, I give it my all. What I struggle with is not working.

It’s easier for me to work than rest

After work, I go home and work on the house. On a day off, after resting for an hour or two, I need something to do. While on vacation it takes several days just to unwind. Is it just me, or are you like this, too?

8 Reasons we don’t Rest

  • Something always needs to be done
  • We feel useless or guilty when we aren’t productive
  • Our identity/sense of self-worth is wrongly connected to productivity
  • Our minds are never silent or still
  • The adrenaline factory is running 24/7
  • Busyness distracts from the problems of life, so rest intimidates us
  • Maybe we don’t realize the importance of rest
  • Maybe we don’t know how to rest

So, how do we rest?

I am still learning how to rest, but this is what I have observed:

  • If your job drains you physically, rest by doing something mental.
  • If your job drains you mentally, rest by doing something physical.

I find rest in exercise, writing, music, and being with my family. Whatever gives you rest, don’t feel guilty.

We need to rest. We aren’t robots!

Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

What does the Bible say about Halloween?

People love Halloween, but what does the Bible say about it?

My neighborhood is littered with ghosts, goblins, and ghouls. People love this holiday. Who doesn’t like a bucket of Tootsie Rolls!

Does the Bible talk about Halloween?

Not directly. The Bible was written long before the phrase, “Trick or Treat.” People celebrate Halloween, to some degree, because they’re fascinated with good vs. evil, death, and the afterlife.

The Bible does talks about a spirit realm

  • Not ghosts, goblins, or haunted houses, but rather a spirit world with Satan and his demons, battling against God.
  • Good battling against evil.
  • The flesh battling against the spirit.
  • Death itself is not the end, but the beginning of something eternal.

Halloween is more than costumes and candy

  • It’s a reminder there’s more to life than what we see.
  • It’s a reminder that death is real.
  • It’s a reminder that good and evil exists.
  • It’s a reminder that we’re more than flesh and bones, we’re spiritual.

The Bible teaches victory in the end

  • Good wins over evil
  • Life conquers death
  • God defeats Satan and his demons
  • In Jesus Christ, we are more than conquerors
  • We’re to fear no evil, for His rod and staff comfort us, Psalm 23

As you “Trick or Treat” and eat all those skittles, think about the deeper elements that lie within.

Romans 8:37, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

I Still Date my Wife

My wife and I have been married 26 years, but I still date her.

That sounds super weird! Actually, we went on a date just last night. It was to a simple pizza place, but we had a wonderful time together. Dating my wife doesn’t mean:

  • We’re deciding if we’re right for one another
  • We’re playing the field and seeing other people

What does it mean?

It means we’re intentional about spending quality time together. We try to go on a date once a week, if possible.

  • Sometimes we go see a movie
  • Sometimes we just go for a scenic drive
  • Usually, we go out to eat

We need this because:

  • Life is super hectic
  • We have three children living at home
  • Both our jobs are stressful and demanding
  • There are days we barely see one another

Going on these “dates”

  • Helps us get away from the chaos for a moment
  • Gives us time to talk about life
  • Teaches our children what a healthy marriage looks like
  • Allows my wife and I to still have fun together
  • Keeps our marriage strong and vibrant, even after 26 years

Are you Married? Take your spouse out on a date. Make is a regular practice!

Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”

Want to improve your life? Smile more.

Smiling is the one of the easiest ways to drastically improve your life.

I learned this lesson from my dad. On his business card it read, “Smile, you’ll feel good.” To be honest, I don’t always smile. When I don’t smile:

  • People can get the wrong impression of me
  • I can look mad, even when I’m not
  • I can come across as cold and distant, not warm and friendly

When I do smile, it changes everything. How?

  • It makes me feel better
  • It changes my attitude
  • It helps me connect more with others
  • I often get a smile in return, which helps the other person feel better
  • It just makes the world a better place

We all know this, but if you’re like me, you don’t smile enough. Why?

  • We don’t think about it
  • We think we’re smiling, but we really aren’t, (think half-smile)
  • We’re not intentional about it
  • We’re too focused on ourselves, our phones, etc.
  • We feel vulnerable when we take our guard down

Let’s make it a practice to smile more!

  • Look in the mirror and see/feel what a true smile is
  • Practice smiling
  • Make it a goal to smile to 5 people today

It can change your day, attitude, relationships, etc.

“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.” Tom Wilson

Proverbs 15:13, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.”

11 Lessons from 11 Marathons, Part 2

I ran 11 marathons from 2008-2017. Here are 11 lessons I learned, Part #2 of 2.

6. Help others along the way

In one of my marathons, someone trained with me and ran the marathon, too. He lost like 80lbs or so as a result! True success is not just crossing the finish line, but helping someone else cross it with you.

7. Don’t wait till you have time

There is never really time to train and run for a marathon. There is never really time to do anything in life extra. Make time for it. Do it now.

8. Enjoy the journey

Marathon training can be miserable. I had to remind myself that I chose to do this, that this is fun. Life gets miserable at times, too. Remind yourself to relax, smile, and enjoy it.

9. Take time to savor the success

Do you know what I always did after running a marathon? I planned the next one. I never stopped to enjoy the accomplishment. When you accomplish something, don’t just rush on to something else. Stop. Smell the roses and the sweetness of success.

10. Take care of yourself

Recovering from a marathon takes time. I had to slow down for a few days, eat good foods and drink lots of fluids. If I went right back to full speed ahead, it would lead to injuries. Make sure you recover after busy weeks, completing a tough task, etc. If you don’t, you will crash and burn.

11. Success spills over into all of life

Completing the marathons didn’t just improve my exercise and health. It has helped me in my job, tackling rough times, etc. How can your successes help you in other areas of your life?

Hebrews 12:1, “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

11 Lessons from 11 Marathons, Part 1

Exercise is not just about the physical benefits. It informs and inspires all facets of life.

I ran and completed eleven full marathons in the years 2008-2017. I hope to complete more, but whether I do or not, here are eleven life lessons I treasure.

1. Just show up.

How did I complete the marathons? Being consistent in my training. Most of life is just about showing up and being consistent.

2. Don’t let obstacles get in the way.

Some days I didn’t feel like running, or the weather was bad. I had to get up and do it anyway. Sometimes, you will not feel like going to school, work, etc. Do it anyway.

3. Small steps lead to big success.

I’d never ran 26.2 miles when I starting training for my first marathon. My longest run was probably three miles. Then my longest run became four miles, then five, etc. Success leads to more success. You cannot go somewhere you aren’t headed.

4. Some people will understand and support you.

My wife and family fully supported my running. Others did, too. “You are running a marathon. That’s amazing. Good for you. I wish I could do something like that.” When you start a business, write a book, or do something unique, some people will be your greatest cheerleaders.

5. Some people will not understand or support you.

“You are running a marathon? Why?” Someone actually asked me once, “Did you win? If you aren’t going to win, what’s the point?” Some people will not understand what you’re trying to do. They might joke about your goals and dreams. They might even discourage you from doing it. Do it anyway.

What life lessons have you learned from your endeavors?

6 more lessons to go! Part two, tomorrow!

2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”