it any coincidence that “encourage” sounds a lot like “in
courage?” I think not. Look at the definition of encourage: Give
support, confidence, or hope to someone. The definition of courage
is: The ability to do something that frightens one. Strength in the
face of pain or grief.
you encourage someone, you give them courage. When you encourage, you
“in” courage them. How cool is that? It is like emotional
surgery, or maybe giving a transfusion to someone. Here is the truth:
Everyone needs to be encouraged! There is nobody walking this planet
that does not face a moment of doubt, fear, or insecurity. We all
have to face those moments and we all need to know that there is hope
for us and what we are facing.
we have to encourage ourselves! Self talk is powerful and can either
propel us or hinder us from fulfilling our destiny. Encourage
yourself every day to face your fears, overcome the obstacles which
have held you back, and reach for your goals. Just because you have
failed does not make you a failure, Amigo. Learn from the pain, and
go for the gain. The game is not over.
hope that you will encourage yourself as well as others. It is like
giving water to a thirsty soul, and we are all thirsty.
have all had times where it seems like the sky is falling, everything
you do is blowing up in your face, and the stress level is off the
charts. Ever feel that way? Hopefully you don’t allow yourself to
live in the stress zone. Stress is a killer. It will zap your
strength and literally can take your life. It can make you focus on
the negatives if you let it.
Don’t do that. There is nothing productive with whining, griping, and letting negative thoughts rule your life. When nothing’s going right, what’s left is trusting God. It should not be the last resort to turn to God, but sometimes we ARE trusting God along the way and things STILL blow up in our face. What is up with that? Well, I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know why God allows things like that to happen to us, but I still trust Him. I know God has our back even when it seems like there is no hope. He is still there…working for us. If He is for us, who can be against us?
feelings often get in the way of our faith. If we don’t “feel”
the presence of God, we might think that He has abandoned us. That is
a lie from the Devil himself. He wants us to believe that God does
not love us and is not there for us. Don’t ever let that thought
enter your head.
is hard for most people. I believe that we have a choice when we hit
the wall in our finances, our relationships, or even in our faith. We
can give up or we can get up. Don’t allow feelings to rule your
faith. Trust God. Believe in Him and His Word. Surround yourself with
positive God-fearing people. Pray…pray…pray. Praise God in the
storm. Let Him help you navigate your way.
3:5-6 says: Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. Lean not on your
own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He WILL
direct your paths.
the lyrics from the song Waymaker: “Waymaker, miracle worker,
promise keeper, light in the darkness. My God…that is who YOU ARE!
jury was only out for a short time before the verdict came down:
Murder. The jury only took a short time to come to sentencing: 10
years. This verdict not only surprised most of us but it angered many
who felt like justice was not served. People were already trying to
stir up the public with the injustice that they felt they had
is the miracle that unfolded before our eyes: Brandt, the brother of
Botham Jean got on the witness stand to talk to Amber about the
victim’s impact. He looked Amber Guyger in the eye and told her that
he forgave her and only wished her well. He did not even want her to
go to jail. He wanted her to know that the love of Christ was there
for her, and he loved her as he did anyone. He then asked the judge
if he could hug Amber Guyger. She said he could, and it was
incredible! The two of them embraced and the tears flowed.
miracle was not over. After the trial, Judge Kemp did something
unconventional: she went to the family members of Botham Jean and
consoled each of them and hugged them. She then went to Amber Guyger
and did the same thing. She gave her Bible to Amber and told her that
she needed Christ and to read the Bible starting with John 3:16. She
then hugged Amber. It was an incredible moment in legal history. I
don’t think anyone can recall such a moment of healing in a murder
is what grace looks like. This is what forgiveness looks like.
live in a microwave society. We want what we want, and we want it
now! The problem is, growth takes time. Take a look at plants and how
they grow. The seed has to be planted in good soil, watered, and
given the proper amount of sunlight. It takes time for the seed to
sprout and become what it is destined to be. Take away any of those
elements and it will not grow.
you are frustrated with your growth (spiritually, physically,
emotionally, socially, financially), take heart. Don’t get frustrated
with the process. Keep the goal in mind and stay focused. Have faith!
When you haven’t seen a child for a few months, aren’t you amazed
with how much they have grown? The funny thing is that the child does
not see what YOU see. Sometimes we are too close to really see the
changes taking place in our own lives.
a child is conceived, it takes 9 months for the child to be born. You
can’t rush the process. It is nature’s way of preparing the child for
living outside of the womb. Look at the obstacles you face with
different eyes. God’s timing is perfect. He is always on
time….every time. Quit worrying about how things appear and trust
that God will help you through it. He will help you grow and fulfill
try to rush the process. You just might miss the blessing of the
journey. Enjoy the day you have before you and learn to live in the
moment. Your destiny will unfold when it is time.
can be frustrating at times for everyone. We have all faced times
where nothing we were doing was working and failure seemed
inevitable. Recently a young couple I know was trying to get the wife
into a good hospital that would give her physical rehab as well as
was just one little problem: they had NO insurance. The first
hospital that they were going to have to consider was one that had a
terrible reputation for mistreating patients. Unfortunately there
were few options because of the severity of the need. One quality
hospital surfaced to offer help, but they wanted a tremendous amount
of money. The mother was willing to do what she could, but the
hospital requirements were just too much. They had pretty much given
up all hope of finding a place that would help her get the care that
all of their options had failed, God came through. Out of the blue
the hospital agreed to take her and wasn’t haggling over the money.
We can’t explain it. There is no logical or monetary reason that they
should have helped, but they did.
was thinking of a few scriptures (and there are many) that drive this
1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.
Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in
all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in
every good work.
4:19 For my God will meet ALL your needs according to the riches of
His glory in Christ Jesus.
time your back is against the wall, remember….But God. He is with
us, for us, and able to do what no man can do.
knows how a GPS works. It calculates where you are and helps you get
to where you are going. When you make a mistake….no problem.
“Re-calculating” assures you that you will still get to your
destination. It simply re-routes you from your current location. Is
it perfect? No….but neither is teaching.
We imperfect teachers teach imperfect kids who live in an imperfect world. We hit a lot of obstructions on the road to success. We deal with kids who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected. Some come to school without being fed or even properly dressed. Some have learning disabilities and many just need to know that somebody cares about them. Couple all of that with the personal challenges that every teacher has and you can see that the journey is one that can be frustrating and tiring for everyone involved.
teaching GPS mentality gives us the flexibility to deal with all the
craziness that comes our way every day and not lose our focus or our
mind. A sense of humor is part of the programming as well as
reminding yourself that “This too shall pass.” If you can learn
not to sweat the small stuff, it makes the journey a lot more fun.
Anticipate roadblocks, potholes, crazy drivers, and delays. That is
just the way life goes. Sometimes the road is smooth and sometimes it
seems like it is all under construction.
support is critical to the ultimate success or failure of the
academic journey. A school system will rise or fall depending on the
leadership. If teachers and staff are valued, listened to, supported,
and encouraged, they will have a great chance of reaching their
goals. If they treat the staff as objects to be used for their own
success, there will be a great deal of dysfunction, backbiting, and
problems. High teacher turnover and teacher burnout will be evident
where the staff is not truly appreciated and supported.
is not fatal unless you give up. It just means you have not succeeded
yet. Allow yourself and your students to learn from failures and from
the journey itself. Encourage one another and learn from everyone you
meet and everything you do. Life is a marvelous teacher if we are
willing to observe and learn from it. Own your mistakes, but don’t
let them define who you are or limit where you are going.
of the best parts of the teaching GPS mentality is having a peer
portal. This allows the sharing of ideas with your peers. The things
that work and don’t work may easily be incorporated if everyone
will share their best practices. Just knowing you are not alone is a
great comfort when you are going though a rough spot in the road.
Peers can teach you shortcuts and detours that may very well be the
difference between success and failure for you and your students. I
know that teaching can be draining, frustrating, and you may want to
quit every other day. If you are called to teach, don’t quit,
commit. Commit to the journey, the kids, to your peers, and of
course…to yourself. Future generations are being impacted by what
we do one day at a time…one child at a time. Investing in children
is the best type of Social Security there is.
has been said that talk is cheap, meaning that people will often tell
you what they think you want to hear. It is a pet peeve of mine when
people do that. I try to be a man of my word. I have not always
succeeded at keeping it, but I don’t intentionally mislead people
with what I say. When I can’t keep my word because of circumstances
out of my control, I at least try to explain it.
think I may be in the minority when it comes to keeping my word.
Perhaps it is due to how I was raised. I admit that I am old school
in many respects. I was taught to keep my word. In fact, when I was
caught in a lie, Mom literally washed out my mouth with a bar of
soap. LOL. I never forgot that lesson. Do parents still do that?
I am too naive. When someone tells me they are going to do something,
I tend to take them at their word and move on. Sadly, I have been
burned many times in life by people who just tell me what I want to
hear. I have had to learn the old adage the hard way: “Fool me
once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
am eternally optimistic and trusting by nature, but I have learned
that not everyone who calls you friend is a friend. Not everyone who
says they love you really loves you. Their actions will tell the
truth. Pay attention or pay the price.
has to face this question: Why am I here? It is not something to take
lightly, and it is something that each person must answer for
themselves. Nobody can tell you what your purpose is. They may help
you identify it, but ultimately is is up to each one of us to figure
out this great mystery.
find it interesting that some people figure this out as little kids.
They dream of being an astronaut and pursue that dream with great
tenacity till they fulfill it. Other people go through life and never
figure it out at all. That is one of the greatest tragedies I have
observed. That is why you see people doing jobs just for a paycheck
and hating every moment of their day. They have sold their purpose
for a paycheck.
recently asked me what they should do about their career, but they
did not like my answer because it put the responsibility back on
them. I told them: “Pray about it. Ask God to help you
identify what it is that you should do with your life. Once you have
identified your passion, pursue it till you find your
purpose. Don’t let anything or anyone sidetrack you from it.”
many things in life, finding your purposes is both simple and
complex. It is simple in that there are only 4 steps. It is complex
in that you have to be discerning and be willing to fail. Don’t let
the fear of failure keep you from fulfilling your dreams. Everyone
fails. Failure is not fatal unless you quit. The bottom line for each
of us is that we have to take responsibility for the choices we make.
If you are still trying to figure it out for yourself, pray. Ask God
to help you identify your passion, then pursue it until you find your