BEER

 

During a recent trip, I was pondering this ‘great race’ of mine; this journey I’ve traveled so far in life and the possibilities that lie ahead. As I reflected on my “pushin’ 50” years, four distinct life lessons came to mind, which I’ll call B-E-E-R. I know, it’s a bit of an odd word to correlate life lessons with, but it works… and helps me remember the things in this life that are important.

 

  1. B-alance

I am like a 3-cylinder car engine; each cylinder representing my body, my mind and my spirit. I need to feed each one with healthy fuel and keep each ‘cylinder’ functioning at full potential for the engine (me) to run balanced and operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. Just like an engine needs all the cylinders to be functioning properly and working together for maximum performance, to get the most out of the life God intended for me, my mind, my body and my spirit need to also be healthy and working together in proper balance.

‘And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.’ – Luke 2:52 (MSG)

  1. E-xcellence

I’ve had the blessing of being able to watch and be mentored by some amazing leaders who have modeled superb leadership. I have learned that in all areas of my life, in some fashion, I am a leader – whether it’s a given title/position or more of a ‘silent’ role of just being a good example to those around me. Either way, I have come to understand the importance of excellence in all I do. Someone is always watching and I cannot expect others to do something I am not willing to do and model myself.

In addition, years of research and studies have shown that the most successful leaders in every area of our society have two distinct characteristics that show up repeatedly in their character profile. Those traits are Humility (putting others before themselves) and Purpose/Determination (minimizing distractions and focusing on the goal).

‘In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord Christ.’ – Colossians 3:23-24 (NCV)

  1. E-ndurance

Over the years, I’ve learned the value of being intentional in all I do. Striving for intentionality not only helps me stay on track but it also helps me to endure the difficult times. Sitting back and taking a ‘passive’ role in life will typically not get us anywhere. Looking back, those areas of my life that I’ve excelled in and seen long-term success are those areas that I’ve been determined to set goals, been intentional about building relationships to help myself and others see their dreams become a reality and been willing to endure and sustain through the difficult times.

‘And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.’ – Galatians 6:9 (LB)

  1. R-elationships

I’ll admit that there have been people who have really annoyed me, gotten on my nerves and have been generally a ‘thorn’. Many times, it has been those people I’ve gone out of my way to avoid and try to distance myself from. But as of recent, my thought process has changed a bit on this. I’ve become less concerned with the ‘odd’ nuances and personal lifestyle choices of others and increasingly focused more on building healthy relationships. Why? Life is about relationships.  It’s just the way we were made. We inherently desire the company of others, so when we choose to distance ourselves, we suffer.

But what about the ‘bad’ behavior, you might ask? Well, I refer back to #1 and #2. If I am living a healthy balanced life and modeling excellence (humility and purpose), my focus will be more on love, care and compassion and less on those things that might get on my nerves. And if I do want to see change in others, I first have to model that ‘change’ within myself and then be determined to build those relationships that will provide the opportunity to set the good example. Like the saying goes – we have to be the change we want to see in the world around us.

This doesn’t mean that all relationships will last a lifetime, but what it does mean is that I choose to put myself in the category of running too people instead of running away from them.

‘If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.’ – Philippians 2:3-4 (MSG)

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I know it takes effort; but striving to live a balanced life, modeling excellence in all we do, enduring through the difficult times and keeping the ‘prize’ about building the healthy relationships that we all need, definitely makes life so much sweeter. So, cheers… here’s to B-E-E-R!

** Note: This Perspective post is part of my soon to be release, ‘The Doggy Bag Devotional‘ – a full year bible devotional for people like myself who can struggle with bible reading retention, understanding and life application.

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