Friday, January 23, 2015

The Sweetness of the Early Hours

I love the early mornings.  And I mean really early.  I am usually up between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m., although I am drifting in and out of sleep.  These days the lyrics of Francesca Battistelli's When the Crazy Kicks In are running through my mind when I am trying to wake up.  "Come meet me in this moment, before it all begins, these plates start to spin, the crazy kicks in..."  More often than not, it is really hard to accept that invitation.  

In The Power of Positive Praying, John Bisagno outlines how Jesus prayed.  He noted specifically how Jesus prayed in the morning.  

“'And  in  the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed' (Mark 1:35 kjv).

'Those  that  seek  me  early  shall  find  me.' (Prov.  8:17  kjv)

Following His example, you will find the sweetness of the early hours to be the best. When He is first in your day, you will be first in His. Jesus was our model and teacher in prayer. By His life and His lips our Lord’s constant fellowship with the Father pointed to the necessity of ours. If He must pray, how much more must we, and that with all our hearts.

Jesus didn’t pray merely as an example to us. For thirty- three years, He lived as a man, tempted in all points like as are we. He prayed because He had to pray. He prayed because He must. If the Son of God prioritized prayer, how much more must we? And His prayers were answered as will be ours, if like Him we pray in His will, in His Word, and in faith.

For that’s the power of positive praying."

I think it is time to start accepting that morning invitation!

Friday, January 9, 2015

48 Days to the Work You Love

As many are wrapping up holiday vacations, I am sure there are more than a few of us who are quietly dreading going back to work.  Whether it is a mean co-worker or boss or work that is generally unfulfilling, there is nothing harder than spending eight hours a day at a place you do not want to be.  I think it is timely that B&H Publishing recently released an update to Dan Miller's 48 Days to the Work You Love.  This book is a call to action to working professionals to not give up on finding a fulfilling job. Miller lays this out beautifully in the introduction. 

"This book will address 'who do you want to be' as the starting
point for 'what do you want to do.' The more you know yourself
the more confidence you can have about doing work that fits you.
And the more you know about yourself, the more you recognize
the freedom you have in choosing work that is meaningful, purposeful, and profitable."

I feel like I know myself pretty well and have many ideas about things I would like to do that I would find more interesting.  A lot of those "dreams" feel out of reach because, to be honest, there are bills that need to be paid.  Apparently, I'm not the first person to make this excuse. 

"For many people, work has become nothing more than a paycheck and benefits. It is an accepted stance to hate our jobs and to belittle the boss and the company, while patting ourselves on the back for being 'responsible providers' for ourselves and families. Give up your freedom and you’ll have two cars in the garage, a fine house, a nice vacation once a year, and you will no longer have to suffer the agony of choice."

Luckily, there is hope for us.  

"Each of us, no matter what age we are or what kind of work we’re doing now, can learn to bring the same excitement to our work that we experienced as a child at play. I believe each of us can pursue work that is a reflection of our best selves—a true application of our calling in life."

"For many of you, 48 Days to the Work You Love will present a process of waking up the dreams, passions, and visions you had as a child. For many people, the mergers, downsizing, firing, forced retirement, and other forms of unexpected change in the workplace in the last few years have served as a clarion wake-up call for dreams that had gone dormant. Many people were given the opportunity to take a fresh look at 'Who am I and why am I here?'  The moment you express a desire for something more than repetitive, meaningless work, something more than simply punching the clock, the moment you realize that meaningful, purposeful, and profitable work really is a possibility, you’ve already taken an important step toward reawakening the dreams and passions you may have had as a child. All of a sudden, complacency and 'comfortable misery' become intolerable. The idea of putting your calling on the shelf becomes intolerable. Not only do we have the opportunity, we have the responsibility to spend our working hours in work that will elevate us to our highest calling and transform the world around us."

If you have decided you are willing to take the leap, Miller guides you through how you can search for the next opportunity.
"48 Days to the Work You Love outlines a new process of looking at what you are going to be when you grow up. How has God uniquely gifted you in (1) Skills and Abilities, (2) Personality Tendencies, and (3) Values, Dreams, and Passions? From these areas you will see clear patterns from which to make career and job decisions. These patterns create a compass, providing a sense of continuity in the midst of inevitable job changes and workplace unpredictability. Looking inward provides 85 percent of the process of finding proper direction; 15 percent is the application to career choices."

As I have grown older and realized how much I can excel in some jobs and fail in others, I realize the crux of Miller's key argument.  

"Work is not a curse of God but one of the benefits of living on this earth. Finding the work you love is not a self-serving goal; it is a required component of fulfilling your true calling."

If you are feeling unfulfilled at work, Miller's process may be the jump start you need to pursuing your next career move.