As always, let’s open in prayer. “God, we invite You into this time together. The Bible teaches that where two or more are gathered in Your name, You’re right there with them. So, please guide us today as we consider which resources to use. Amen.”
Resources #4 – Your Contribution:
1. Classes – Is it worth your while to consider adding more knowledge to your skill set? It’s never too late to get more schooling. Check out a traditional college, a local junior college, online college courses, churches, clubs, libraries or the workplace. Education is often key to moving ahead in many areas.
2. Conferences – Does your field of interest hold conferences throughout the year? Take every opportunity to learn from leaders and even peers in your area of interest. Conferences for parents and couples are often held through local churches. A favorite author or leader you know may be sharing information on a speaking tour. Dr. Henry Cloud, whose books and teachings are quite helpful, recently invited followers on Facebook to join him on a free teleconference call as he spoke about his latest book. Ask your library if they’re aware of any free classes or conferences.
3. Volunteering – Offering up your time and skills may benefit you in establishing new relationships and gaining new experiences. Helping others is a way to open our eyes to new situations and opportunities we may not have considered before. It’s often sacrificial and yet rewarding at the same time. Volunteering for an organization is a great way to get to know if you’d like to work there, too.
4. Counseling – Difficult circumstances take a heavy emotional toll. A good counselor may be able to give the needed impetus for change if hope is draining. I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking Godly counsel when we’re at the end of our ability to cope. Please don’t let shame or the mistaken belief that you should be able to figure everything out on your own hold you back from seeking help. Ask your local church for their recommendations for vetted counselors (their credentials are sound and they have good, current reviews), and check them out yourself. At least give them a fair try.
There are many other resources available, such as magazines, online websites, TED videos, YouTube, churches, libraries, etc. The monetary cost of some may be quite high, while others cost little or nothing. Please keep in mind that some resources may be far from what we hoped they would be. In fact, we may walk away from resources knowing for certain what NOT to do! There is one verse, however, that comforts and encourages me a great deal. In Psalm 16:7-8 King David wrote: I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” With God in our heart, at the most difficult moments He will indeed counsel us, for free, and ensure that we will not be shaken.
Resources #4 – My Contribution:
As we wrap up our focus on resources, there are two important points I hope you really get:
1. As you focus on your one clear objective, you need what I refer to as the “little wins”. Little wins come by making small but positive steps forward. Realistically, even the perfect book, class, conference or counselor will only take you so far. What’s critical is your attitude about it. Too often we evaluate each resource as either a success or a failure. That mindset will quickly depress even the most stalwart among us! I chose instead to view each resource as a step made with the right intention – with hope – forward. That is what counts – thus a small win. Did you make the step for the right reasons? I only consider a resource a failure if I chose it with the wrong motive. An example might be, “Did I read that book or take that class, hoping to get rich quick?” “Did I expect that counselor to point out how wrong my spouse is?” These are not good motives! Examining our motives and lining them up with wise, loving, Godly values will enable us to have an inner peace knowing we really did try our best, even if the resource didn’t live up to our expectations. That inner peace is a benefit and a definite win. If the resource was helpful, then it’s an even bigger win!
2. Looking at resources this way puts the responsibility for our choices, even the choices of the resources we choose to utilize, back on our own shoulders. In this way we take control of our lives. It’s not someone else’s fault that we’re not where we need to be or we don’t have what we want. And, if God doesn’t supply a resource when we think it’s needed most, it’s up to us to figure out the best way to move forward. Is God using this to build patience in me? Is my ability to endure growing? Is my faith being stretched? Is God disciplining me? (He disciplines those He loves!) What is a good lesson from this situation? What is it I need to see? Please see this as an opportunity to learn! Each time you learn a true and sound lesson, it’s another tool in your toolbox readily available for your future. And that’s another win! I’m hoping you’re saying, “Ah, yes. I get it!”
Join me next time for Step 4 – Reaching My Objective. Until then, may God help you have the right motives and see the true small wins in your life. God bless!