Archives For Freedom

Unspoken Expectations

Zechariah Newman —  September 19, 2013 — 4 Comments

“Why is this taking so stinking long?!” These were the words spoken to my wife today. I, like everyone struggle with patience. It is amazing to me how long things seem to take until we get there. Then miraculously it wasn’t that bad. We are almost numb to good things sometimes, but notice everything that we don’t have. Isn’t the mind a funny thing? So why does everything feel like it takes forever? It is because of our spoken or unspoken expectations. I started writing and had such unrealistic expectations. It was like I expected the world to go, “Hey check out this guy!” “Have you heard of him, Zechariah Newman?” “He knows what he is talking about.” Sign up and follow him.” My friends and family would say, “Wow you were born to do this! How can we help?” As you could guess this didn’t happen to the degree I thought it would. Most don’t say a thing and most don’t care. This is not a bad thing. They love me and I love them. The truth is, not one could live up to the false image in my mind. It is as if I had attached blue thumbs up and sharing of posts as love. So where do we go now? Where do you go when you realize your expectations are unspoken and unrealistic? These 4 things help me set realistic expectations.

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1. State them. Rocket science I know, people cannot read our minds. Why do we forget this? “They should know,” is what we think, however this is not true. If we don’t state what we expect of others we cannot get mad when this unspoken expectation is not met. In any relationship we enter into both friendly and romantic, we will come into it with a certain set of expectations. Say what you expect so others can choose whether to oblige you or not. Make sure that this is done politely and that you are open to a “no.” The key is to clarify, not to get what you want.

2. Ask someone. Ask someone not involved for their unemotional opinion. Not gossiping, let me repeat that not gossip. Merely state what you are expecting of someone else and if that is reasonable or not. What we often do is ask many people until we find an opinion that we want and then ask a bunch more people just to make ourselves feel better. Don’t do this. Find a wise and honest person. I have a man I meet with Wednesday mornings. He has told me I’m a moron a time or two. I love him and he is like an older brother to me. Thanks, Joe.

Proverbs 11:4 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

3. Pray. Phone home. The Bible says in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Ask our Father in heaven. Be still enough to hear. Do what He tells you to do. It is as simple and as hard as that.

4. Lay It down. This is the hardest thing to do and the thing that will give us the most peace. We all need a moment like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Before being thrown into the fire for not bowing down to the golden image, they say that God can save them but then they say this, “But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:18. There comes a moment where we need to lay down what we want. Put the big boy or girl pants on and go, “That hurts, but God has me in the palm of His hand, mold me Father.”

I have been molded and changed more by unmet expectations, rejection, failures, and many other painful things. Don’t run from pain. Embrace it. We are all going to let others down. Let’s pledge to live in an atmosphere of grace. Pray, ask a trusted advisor, communicate your expectations, then lay it down. Set a boundary of expectation and then commit to forgive people even if they don’t meet it. We don’t need to allow people to continue to cross a line. We do need to forgive and love in spite of it. Blessings on your journey!

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Recognition is something we don’t talk about enough. It takes intentional living to often tell people in your life how much you mean to them. A sincere heart-felt compliment is so unusual that it can totally switch the direction of someone’s life. I still remember many compliments I had in my youth that continued me on the path I was going or made me rise to a new level. Remember that our words are so powerful; they bring life and death. Here are three things that will help you to tell those in your life what they mean to you.

“Leaders are brokers of hope.”~ Napoleon

1. Constructive criticism. Our society is so focused on constructive criticism that we fail to help people excel in their strengths. Be careful here. Most people don’t have a problem letting you know when something is wrong. When something is right we barely here about it. The best example I think of is as a parent. If your child brought home a report card full of A’s and one D, what would you focus on? It is natural to focus on the bad grade. We want them to come up higher. The problem with this is that we are reinforcing the child that if you just try harder you will be good enough. Obviously we need to correct, but let’s spend more time praising the A’s. Take more time to tell loved ones how awesome they are.

“People say motivation doesn’t last, well neither does bathing, that is why we recommend both daily.” ~ Zig Ziglar

2. Be specific. A general praise is great as it is much better than saying nothing. If you want to get the most out of praising people be specific in the action or personality trait that you want to encourage. We are specific with correction so let’s be specific with our praise. Here is a quick example. My wife partners with me to chase my dreams. She talks highly of me to others and is a great mom because she is patient and loving to our kids. These are just the first four things that came into my mind this morning even though there is so much more that I appreciate about her. The point is I could say, “I love you.”, which I do many times a day. However, I also need to praise that which is so cool about her. I know I married up so I need to let her know. Let’s make a goal to let those we care about know it.

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3. Be intentional. Praising and recognition is not something that happens naturally so we need to be intentional about it. Look for things daily. A compliment has to be real. Look for opportunities to give honor to people. I talked about perspective here, but it bares reminding that we will delete things so if you are looking for good things you will see them. If you are looking for things to correct you will see those too. Catch someone doing something that you admire today and encourage it. Otherwise they could stop doing the things you admire.

These are just some quick things to think about. Let’s speak life and hope into those around us. You will see them walk a little bit taller today. Make the world a better place one word at a time. I will leave you with this. I appreciate that you have chosen to take the time to read my post. Thank you for taking what I am doing seriously. Be blessed, restoring those around you.

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A Need For Peace

zechariahnewman —  September 10, 2013 — 1 Comment

Peace is crucial to having a fulfilling life. There will always be things in this world trying to steal our peace. If we are not proactive and just sit passively, we will live a life of anxiety and fear. The moment peace is removed we get into emotions. Emotions are up and down and are unpredictable. We start making bad decisions and saying a bunch of stuff we should not say.

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If you have accepted Christ into your heart, submitting to His authority, I have great news for you. You have peace! In John 14:27 it says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” That means if God lives in you, you have peace! It may be a mature sequoia tree or a little mustard seed, but if you are born again peace is in you. God will work with you daily if you call out to Him to help you.

There are three areas we need peace. Peace with others, peace with ourselves, and peace with God. We all have strengths and weaknesses. If we are going to be in relationships with anyone they will annoy and irritate you in one way or the other. We need to see the good in each other looking past the faults.

My biggest struggle is peace with myself. If you can’t look yourself in the mirror without liking the person in the reflection, it is a bad sign. One of my mentors pointed out to me that when you sin and then beat yourself up over how dumb you are to still struggle with that, you are sinning again because you are cursing God’s creation which is yourself. I love that and I’m asking God to change me. He’s changing me and I have much more peace with myself.

If you can’t admit that God is God and you are not, you will never have peace. You don’t need to have all the answers. I over reason things. Don’t fall into this trap. When we are constantly reasoning and trying to plan exactly how everything will go we are trying to be God. I don’t know why bad things happen, but what I do know is God is God and I am not. I will ask a lot of questions when I get to the other side. Until then I choose to believe Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

All of these are areas in which we need to be pursuers of peace. If anyone of them is not at peace we can feel it. We will be running around with a clenched jaw mad at the world and not knowing why. What is your peace worth? I would say it’s worth way more than the time we give it. Let’s be pursuers of peace. Peace is something the world cannot offer. Full peace is something indescribable until you are in it. It is that calm in the midst of the storm. Shalom and be blessed.

What are some practical things you do to keep your PEACE?

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Are you thinking your dream to death? I’m guilty of this. I get excited about something and nothing can stop me. Then when the excitement wears off, I think the thing to death. I can often figure out the fatal flaw or build a huge mountain in front of me. I was reading about David and Goliath and noticed something. He was offered armor and didn’t take it then when Goliath challenged him, it says he ran at Goliath and killed him. No thinking just doing. These 3 things help me to be like David!

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1. Get out of your head. David didn’t sit there and think, “should I fight him or not? Should I wear the armor or not?” He went with His God and his past experiences with the sling. He had killed bears and lions protecting his family’s sheep. He did not over analyze the situation, but truly believed with God all things are possible. If you are like me your problem is not in analyzing, it is thinking about it for days. When confusion sets in you have thought about it too much. Most decisions do not need a lengthy process to determine.

2. Action flowed. Figure out the pros and cons and pray about it, but make a decision and go. It helps me to make a deadline and go in the direction I feel is needed at the deadline. It is the second guessing that will eat your mind alive. So, also make a “no matter what” deadline. I’m running this way no matter what until this time. Commit to go and run toward your dream.

3. God was and is enough. In the end if you have God; you have enough. What separates a giant from a tiny shepherd? The power of the almighty God. We need to truly embrace who we are in Christ to have victory in our lives. God was enough for David, He is enough for me, and He is enough for you. Walk with your shoulders back and head high because you are a son or daughter of the most high.

So I will leave you with this. Face your giants, whether a new habit you need to start or one you need to stop. Dream big dreams and face your Goliaths. Take heart in these words of David in 1 Samuel 17:45 -47, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”

 

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This last weekend I went away for two nights fishing on the upper Deschutes with my dad, brother, and his friends for my brother’s bachelor party. It had been far too long for me to get in the woods away from it all for a few days. How times have changed. At one point there where many people including myself around the campfire with our smart phones out. Someone made a comment and I thought, “What am I doing?” I put my phone away the rest of the trip. It is so easy to get in the habit of checking twitter, Facebook, email, texts, and calls. In this ADD culture it is more and more difficult to unplug. I did and lived to tell about it.  Unplug and get into nature for these 3 reasons.

fly fishing deschutes

1. Slow down: I love hunting, fishing, and camping because everything slows down. Everything in our society is getting faster and faster. It makes it even more important to get into nature and unplug yourself. When the sun sets and you sit around the campfire feeling the warmth of the flame on your sunburned cheeks is so relaxing. Telling stories and connecting as human being is something that is hard to do yet is so important.

2. Focus: I have found that when my phone is off and I’m in nature, I focus a lot more on what others are saying. The connection level that happens when you are in the wilderness is amazing. Doing activities together and just hanging out focuses you on relationships. Waiting for that fish to bite the fly or the deer to walk out in the open. Being focused on one thing is so good for us to do whether it is relationships or nature itself. In a normal day I usually have multiple technologies on at the same time. This was a great reminder to focus.

3. Admire: Nature is so beautiful. I see God’s handy work in it all. From the waves lapping against the shore, to tall Douglas firs, mountain tops, birds in the air, and all the other wildlife.  I love to sit and admire everything. In Oregon we are lucky enough to have the ocean, forest, and high desert. If we don’t unplug we will miss the majesty of nature. We need to remember what it is like to be alone with our thoughts. There is a certain clarity that happens when we sit and just look at what God has blessed us with.

So slow down, focus on one thing, and admire the beauty around you. Unplug and remind yourself that you need more moments of margin. It will change your perspectives and your decision-making.  Every major influencer throughout time, including Jesus, went off into nature and got away. You and I are no better. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t need to get away. Make it apart of your life. Unplug and live your life.

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There is such a miss conception about our circumstances. It is so easy to think that life would be different if ___ changed. To even utter in this time of depression that our outlook on life is what affects our moods is so obnoxious. Unfortunately or fortunately however you look at it is true. Our attitude determines more of our direction in life then we want to admit. The battlefield that rages in the mind is a fierce one and often times it is one step forward two steps back. Thoughts translate into words which breed life.

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This week I want you to try something that I heard while listening to Zig Zigler. I’m going to focus on your job, but it translates into any area of your life.

Step one is to write down things you like about your job. No matter how much you hate your job, if I made you write down your likes what would you say? Here is a list of mine:

  1. I like my job because I get to run my own business.
  2. I like my job because I affect other people’s lives.
  3. I like my job because I work with fun people.
  4. I like my job because I get to meet neat people.
  5. I like my job because I lead people.
  6. I like my job because I get to serve people.
  7. I like my job because I make money.

Step two is to look into a mirror so you can look into your eyes and say with feeling this list except change “like” to “love.” I know this sounds cheesy but just try it. See if your attitude does not change over time. Our attitude determines whether we rise or shrink back.

Let’s use our words for good. Focusing on the life around us instead of the death. If we are not faithful in the season we are in, we are not going to enjoy the next season. So take control of the battlefield now. Move past hate and fall in love. Change your surroundings by changing your mind. He who is faithful with little will be given much.

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Money is not a complicated thing, however, our actions with money can be very complicated. Many times we over complicate it and add drama. The truth is if we did three simple things we would have enough money and would not let dollars and cents be a stronghold in our lives. This post is not about investing and borrowing. To find out more on those decisions click hereThese 3 things should be lived out daily with finances.

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1. Give 10%. We must be giving. We should not be closed fisted, but instead have an open hand. This is impossible to do unless you are giving part of your money away. Giving frees up the heart, kills envy, and renews the mind to remember that life is so much more than money. Like anything in life this is a muscle that needs to be built. If you have not been giving it will be a stretch for you, but it’s worth the effort to lower your lifestyle to have money to give.

2. Invest 15%. Are you planning for your future? How are you going to eat when you can’t work any longer? How are you going to pay for unexpected bills? I know these are not things that are fun to think about so we usually don’t until it’s too late. We need to be putting away at least 15% of our income and build savings and retirement. If a couple hundred-dollar bills ruins your life there is a problem. There is a level of peace when there is more than a few dollars in the bank. You will make different decisions and get better sleep.

3. Live within your means 75%. It is your choice whether this includes debt payments or not. My wife and I have decided to stop borrowing money on anything other than our home. It may take us longer to become wealthy because of a lack of leverage, but I believe the freedom and peace is worth the sacrifice. If this is not the choice you make that’s okay, but at least make sure that you don’t pass the point of bills being more than income. That is not a fun place to be.

I know that these three things are not earth shattering, but most things in life that are simple are where the real change happens. If you have gotten yourself upside down with bills it will take a lot of effort to dig out of them, but in the end it will be worth it. Give, save, and live within the rest. This is the key to a life of freedom and peace with finances.

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Facing Fear

Zechariah Newman —  August 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

I have countless fears that I have failed to meet head on. Thank goodness I also have fears that I have been running from and turned and ran towards. I use to have two big fears that I now enjoy. One is public speaking, which I am now doing more often and love it. The other is of bears. The bear phobia started when I was fifteen. My dad and I went fishing in Alaska and I had the brilliant idea to buy and read the book, “When Bears Attack.” Smart move I know and only the wisdom of a fifteen year old. Well, three years ago I read “Fearless” by Max Lucado. It is a great book and I highly recommend it. I decided that I would face one of my biggest fears and go bear hunting. I have a friend that bear hunts and he agreed to take me out. That morning we sat and glassed and saw nothing. That was probably a good thing because I was so nervous I was shaking a lot. That evening we went out again and I bagged a three hundred plus pound male black bear. There are two lessons I learned about facing your fears.

1. It is all in the mind. Unreasonable fear like red-eye, five thousand pound claws like Wolverine and an appetite for flesh like the Walking Dead is ridiculous. I really don’t know what I had in my mind, but it was over the top. All fear that prevents us from enjoyment is unrealistic fear. There are some fears that are wisdom. I believe that you know the difference. First step is to recognize if the fear is unrealistic. Try facing it. You may enjoy it. Just make sure that you are stepping out with someone who is supportive and not mocking you.

Fear can turn kittens into tigers. (tweet that)

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2. Reasonable fear makes it enjoyable. Reasonable fear adds excitement and makes things fun. That’s why some people like scary movies. Not this guy. Once I have gotten over my unrealistic fear, the small fear I feel is what makes bear hunting and speaking fun for me. When your heart rate increases and you are not sure what is around the next corner, it brings excitement to the journey of life. Could I be hurt by a bear attack? Yes, but the chances are not that great. You are more likely to be killed by a moose than a bear. The tiny chance makes it enjoyable.

Do not be controlled by fear. The Bible tells us to not be afraid in many different ways over and over again. We usually have our “buts” that we love to throw in. The fact is unrealistic fear freezes you from having a life that is enjoyable. Speaking and bears are just two examples. You don’t need to go bear hunting unless you want to. Make sure that your fears are not holding you back from a life that you want. Be strong, take courage and be Fearless!

 

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Fallen down? Broke your word? Walked in the flesh? Join the club. I feel like Peter this morning after denying Jesus three times. It is so easy to say, “Yes Lord I will stand for you,” and then it’s a whole other ball game when we are actually in the heat of the moment. I told God that I would not put my time with Him below writing, but I did. Slowly but surely they switched places. Frustration began to build until I reached out back to Him and got in my Bible first thing this morning. It is amazing how the word washes us! I feel new and hope has returned. I’m back on my feet and ready to fight for His kingdom and glory. I learned these 3 lessons from Rocky and Peter!

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1. Retake the test. God is so cool. We don’t fail but just retake the test. In God’s school there is no “F” instead there is a “try again.” There are consequences to our actions, but we will keep taking tests until we pass them. It feels to me like God is saying, “Get back up son and try again.” Just like a child learning to walk, He picks us up and tells us “try again.”

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.”~ Micah 7:8

2. Chance for redemption. I love the Rocky movies. He fails, then trains and redemption comes in the end through the battle. Peter denied Jesus three times and Jesus after His resurrection says three times, “Do you love me?” Then He said, “Feed my sheep.” He asked the same amount of times that Peter rejected Him. I’m sure that this strengthened Peter in the end when he was martyred.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”~ Thomas A. Edison

 

3. We are still a rock. Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter when he was anything but a rock. He does the same for us. You are called out by what you have not attained. He calls you the rock before it is true. We need to accept what He calls us and walk in it as if it is true, not something we are trying to obtain. God calls us righteous so walk in His righteousness. This is not something to gain rather something that has been given by Jesus’ shed blood and resurrection. This is what makes us like a rock; our righteousness in Christ.

We all fail. We all feel some days as if God made a mistake calling us. We all feel anything but righteous. What God says about you is the truth. Hold on to that. Just like Rocky and Peter we need to get back up off the mat. Renew your strength in God and fight on!

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When did we start caring so much about what other people think? I love watching my kids and think, “I love that they’re unashamed.” They tell me what they want when they want it. They also have no problem telling me how they feel. When they holler that they have to poop or stick their finger up their nose to get a booger makes me laugh. Don’t get me wrong, we are teaching them manners, but it is the spirit in them that is awesome. The world has not laughed at them and has not told them to be ashamed. These 4 things help me to be authentic like my kids.

You are unique. Play the music of your life loudly and proudly be unashamed. (tweet it)

Photo: Having fun editing  :)

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1. Know who we are in Christ. Do we really know who we are? Sometimes I forget, do you? We are made righteous through the shed blood of Jesus. Yes, we still screw up. God sees us as perfect. Jesus stood in the gap and said give me that sin. It’s mine! Give it to me! We need to recognize and know that we are a new man or woman. The old is dead. Live like it.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

2. Be you. I’m not like you and you are not like me. We need to be comfortable in our own skin. When I’m not free to be me I feel phony because I am being phony. When do we forget this simple thing? Don’t attempt to be different like some do. Just be you.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~Dr. Seuss

3. Hang around the right people. I say this a lot because it affects so many things. You will be who you hang around with. Hang around people who challenge you to be better, but love the core of who you are. It’s the spirit man who should remain the same and the fleshly man who should change. The more we die to the flesh, the more we will change and be a light to the world.

“It’s difficult to soar with the eagles when you’re scratching with the turkeys!” ~Unknown

4. Focus on your strengths. Manage your weaknesses and put everything in you into your strengths. Don’t be like Rudy, instead be like Michael Jordan. The difference is, one didn’t have the natural gifts to play the sport so played for 2 seconds in college and the other was a sports super star.

“My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.” ~Bill Gates

So walk with your head high. Don’t be embarrassed when you fall. Just say, “I bonked” like my kids say. They fall, get up and keep going. Focus on your strengths, on who God made you to be, and surround yourself with people who believe in your awesomeness! Be authentic!

What are some ways that help you to be authentic?

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