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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  :)

http://kcnewmanphotography.zenfolio.com/

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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The way circus elephants are trained demonstrates why we struggle with breakthrough. When young, they are attached by heavy chains to large stakes driven deep into the ground. They pull, yank, strain and struggle, but the chain is too strong. One day they give up, having learned that they cannot pull free. From that day forward they can be chained with a slender rope. When this large animal feels any resistance it stops trying because it believes it cannot break free. How often are we like this? We have failed, therefore we don’t get back up. We are defeated before we start. I heard someone put it this way. We don’t fully believe we can attain that which we are working towards so we give half effort and get half results resulting in a stronger belief that we cannot.                         Photo By:      http://kcnewmanphotography.zenfolio.com/1069189_120665741437120_47305734_n

Belief is so important because our minds are always deleting things. I have said this before but it bares mentioning again. Have you noticed when you buy a new car, all of a sudden you see your car everywhere? How did you not see this before? Because our minds are constantly deleting things. It is important to have an attitude of HOPE for this reason. The reason why most of us don’t accomplish our dreams is because we set our goals inside our mental barriers where it’s safe. What if you stretch out to new thoughts of possibilities? A sure-fire way to know you are headed in the right direction is if you are doing something beyond yourself. Something that needs divine help and other people to come alongside you.

Think of how many other barriers have turned out to be only mental obstacles:

  • “Landing and moving about on the moon offers so many serious problems for human beings that it may take science another 200 years to lick them.”~Science Digest, 1948
  • “Rail travel at high-speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.”~Dr. Dionysus Lardner, 1793-1859
  • “Heavier than air, flying machines are impossible.”~ Lord Kelvin

Restore your mind. Stretch what is possible. Don’t be like the trained elephant. Open your mind to how big the possibilities God has for you may be. Our attitudes should be; if God can bless anyone and make anything happen, He can make it happen for me. I choose to believe that God has a destiny for me. I refuse to feel tension and shrink back. I will continue to hold tight to that which He is calling me. Will you hold tight to where He is calling you?

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I have sat here and worked on my opening paragraph for about an hour trying to figure out what to write about. The thing that keeps me going is passion. I would love to get paid to speak and write but if that was the reason behind my actions I would have stopped by now. What are you passionate about? This is the only thing that will keep you going when everyone else quits. Life is not a straight line. There are ups and downs. Your dream will take more time and energy than you ever thought possible. Some days you will want to throw in the towel so you need the passion behind you to keep you going. These 5 things will keep your passion alive to achieve your dreams!

1. Have a routine. I hate routine but the truth is we need one. I am writing this because I routinely post on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. So I am staying up late simply to get this ready for Tuesday morning. Growth comes when we push through the hard times. It is easy to write when inspiration hits, but to grind it out is what the pros do.

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”~ Mike Murdock

2. Greater calling. You need the greater why behind it all. Writing to hopefully write books someday is not going to cut it. I write to inspire and change people’s lives. Now that keeps me up writing. To restore and encourage growth that is what brings me alive. Think about it. What is your great calling?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”  ~ Oscar Wilde

3. Be yourself. I am not you and you are not me. Be yourself in your unique gifting. If you are trying to be someone you are not, you are going to be to tired and worn. Be yourself so you can chase after what is really in your heart. Stop wearing a mask.

4. Exercise. We all need it. Make it a priority. I get almost all of my creative ideas when I run. This is a must in my life. If you haven’t exercised in a while start slowly. To give you some hope, I couldn’t run a quarter mile without stopping two years ago and in the fall I ran my first marathon (26.2miles). You can do it!

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~ Jim Rohn

5. Eat healthy. I struggle in this area the most. What we eat is fueling our bodies. Eat meals that give you energy, not ones that take the energy out of you. It takes more time but it’s worth it. Let’s make a pact to change one eating habit this week.

I hope these quick tips help you to have a greater level of passion so you can do what you are called to do. Change is not easy, so focus on your passion and change the little behaviors. In time these little changes will change your life!

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Who struggles with feeling like you are not good enough? I do. I love to work at several things and I have moments of confidence and moments where I feel like I suck at life. Speaking and writing are such vulnerable things because you are putting a little piece of yourself out there each time. Rejection of a piece I wrote often feels like rejection of me. We all long to be accepted, championed and for someone to tell us that we are special. The problem is that every person is going to be rejected and ridiculed. These 4 things keep me confident!

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”     ~Vincent van Gogh

1. I’m made for a purpose. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Every Veggie Tales show ends in, “God made you special and He loves you very much.” We tell our kids this, but have you taken ownership of this for you? You are an intricate part of His plan designed for a special purpose. Hold on to this even when you can’t tell what the heck He made you for.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”~ William Shakespeare

2. Delete the bad. Our minds are always deleting things. Have you noticed when you buy a new car all of a sudden you see your car everywhere? How did you not see this before? Because our minds are constantly deleting things. It is important to have an attitude of HOPE for this reason. Let’s continuously delete the bad. I had five comments this past week on how much my writing has impacted different people. How cool is that? I also had one person telling me my advice was terrible. I will choose to delete that one!

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~ Aristotle Onassis

Photo By: KCNewman Photography

 

3. Save the good. The Israelites were instructed to build monuments of remembrance at different points in their journey. We should do the same. This will help us remember when we were unsure and it worked out. I’m going to start writing down positive comments, answers to prayer, victories, and hopeless situations that became victories. There is good and bad that happens daily; choose to save the good.

4. Set a timeline. When you are starting something set a timeline. You are going to do the new task until a certain date then check if it is fruitful. If you don’t, a negative comment can derail you especially early on in the process. I have decided to write twice a week for a year and check if there is fruit of the effort by the end of the year. It really helps when I have a blog post that gets two views or a few hundred. Both have happened. The timeline has helped me to keep going when I had two views on a post.

“Our  greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always  to try just one more time.”            ~ Thomas A. Edison

This subject is so important because if we don’t have confidence we are going to hesitate and give a half-hearted approach. This will lead to a less than desirable result, reinforcing the unbelief in ourselves. Restore your hope and faith! Take a note from the Veggie Tales saying, “God made you special, and He loves you very much.” Now act like it!

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In October I ran the Portland Marathon. I felt great and wanted to set up my next marathon. I signed up and paid to run the Eugene Marathon that was in April. Rachel said, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? We do have Hope due in February and you will be pretty tired. Are you sure you will have enough energy to train?” Rachel mentioned this right before I finished filling out the entry form online. Well, this was offensive to me. “She doesn’t think I can do it,” I thought. “I will show her and signed up anyway.” Surprise! She was right. I wasn’t even close to ready and didn’t run the race. As I discussed in 5 Steps To An Awesome Marriage, I have a tendency to not follow through and my wife is great at following through. I learned these 3 things from my failure.

Proverbs 31:10-11

10 A wife of noble character who can find?     She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her     and lacks nothing of value.

1.Truly listen to your spouse. I heard the words that she was saying, but I wasn’t listening. I had made up my mind and that was final. She could “support” me or not, but I was doing it. If I believe Proverbs 31:11, I think it would be a good idea to listen to her. I can be stubborn but when the Bible gives a promise, I try to do what it says. Men listen and weigh what your wife is saying.

2. Rely on those with different strengths. I love that my partner in life is my opposite in a lot of ways. I need to weigh what she says even more. She looks at the world through different glasses than I do which gives me a much better perspective. I was looking through the lens of, “This was great. I want to do it again.” She was thinking, “Hello we will have a newborn.” I needed logic, then to weigh out “Will I run on four hours of sleep?” Find someone you trust that has different strengths. If you are a dreamer, find a realist. If you don’t dream, find a dreamer.

3. Failure does not define me. I got knocked down. I failed in listening to Rachel and at running the marathon. I am back on my feet, apologized and acknowledged her wisdom. Also, Hope is five months old so I’m able to have enough energy to run again. I am not defined by this one time of failure. If I let it eat me up, I wouldn’t be running and I may even have resentment toward Rachel for being right. Get back up off the mat if you have failed. Learn, grow, and don’t look back any longer. (Tweet It)

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content  with your failure.” ~Abraham Lincoln

If you have failed to listen, join the club of the stubborn. Let’s learn and grow. Actively listen to those with different strengths. Acknowledge that others may be right. Listen to your spouse and move on when you fail.

What things have you learned from not listening?

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Achieve Your Dreams!

zechariahnewman —  June 10, 2013 — 4 Comments

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” These lyrics by John Lennon described my life. Now I’m a recovering dreamer going toward a visionary. It seems as if most of us are dreamers. We go around with grand dreams saying things like, “If I win the lottery” or “if only I get a shot.” The problem is if my shot comes now I’m not ready. We see shows like American Idol and Hells Kitchen thinking how lucky they got picked and now life is great. This is not reality; the reality is it takes work and those people have put in a lot of time and effort before that brief shot. They were ready. These 3 contrasts helped me discover I was a dreamer and set my course towards visionary!

1. Victim thinking Vs. Empowerment. I didn’t even realize I was being a victim. Pretty sad yet the truth. I blamed other circumstances for different things. For example,          (1) when my pay check wasn’t what I wanted, (2) the economy, (3) those employees, (4) competition, (5) industry, (6) family, and (7) God. When we say, “Why God why, when God when?” I believe this is the heart of a victim, at least it was for me. Empowerment is different as it takes personal responsibility. If finances are bad, I’m to blame. If relationships went sideways, what can I do? If God is quite, did I do the last thing that He told me to do? It is completely focused on my part. In relationships, whether it is man or God, it focuses on my part of the partnership.

“Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.” ~Bill Hybels

2. Passive vs. Active. I was passive waiting for my fortune to turn. When you sit passively life happens to you instead of you happening to life. Reading my Bible was about as active as I got. Even waiting on God is supposed to be an active stance. What we really mean when we say this is, “I’m going to sit here and do nothing.” Active is uncomfortable; it is where do I want to be and how do I get there? It requires change in action. Change in thinking. Change in the questions we ask. Visionaries focus on what needs to change to fix the problem.

“Let your actions betray your uncertainties. Be not afraid.” ~Bob Goff

3. Not paying attention to the present vs. Realistic about present. This is what dreamers do. Someday mentality. They may say, “Someday I will have time to workout, fix my finances, eat right, be a good spouse, parent, write a blog.” Someday will never come. Today is never focused on and tomorrow the dreamer will focus on the next day. Visionaries are all about today. Focusing energy and passion into the day while still being focused on the vision yet paying attention to the steps today to create that vision. For the lives of great men and women are made up of many days.

“You have to be brutally realistic about your present circumstances and wildly unrealistic about your future circumstances.” ~Jon Acuffhttp://kcnewmanphotography.zenfolio.com/

So if you realize you are a dreamer instead of a visionary the first step has already happened. Your eyes are open! A choice lays before you. Do not let the sun go down without making a decision. Do you keep dreaming? Or do something now and change your today. Do what God has called you to today. Make small choices that affect your individual calling today. Be weird, become a visionary!

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His Yoke Is Easy

zechariahnewman —  May 29, 2013 — 8 Comments

Mathew 11:30 30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I remember the first several times I read this and thought “bull.” Maybe this is not “spiritual,” but it’s the truth. Living the way God wanted me to did not seem easy and light. Still doesn’t sometimes. Out of pure frustration I looked into this more, praying for insight and direction. Nothing I was doing felt light and easy, rather straining. What was I doing wrong? When God are you going to make it easy? Those were my questions then and the following explains what it means to me now.

Yoke is defined as a device for joining together a pair of draft animals.

In John 15:5 it says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” So we need to be joined up and remain into God then our burden is light and His yoke easy.

So how do we remain in God? We submit our will to the spirit of God.

Augustine wrote, “Without God we cannot, without us God will not.”

An illustration of the two verses listed above came to me; it’s like driving a screw into a board with a drill. All we have to do is plug it in and our torque goes way up making it easy. The drill has been there the whole time but it’s true power only exists while it is plugged into an electrical outlet. Have you tried to use a drill without power? Of course not, but that is what I do with my life sometimes which is just as useless while I’m unplugged.

This is what I have done in the past and do not recommend:

I have plugged the power cord into myself. Epic fail! All this leads to is self-condemnation and frustration. I have plugged the power cord into others. Talk about disappointment. Expectations for others are a big way to feel jaded. I most often do the on/off method. Plug-in, unplug, plug-in, unplug. This gets exhausting. I try my own will and effort then give up, plug into God then life’s burdens get easy (well at least the straining stops). Then I slowly place the burdens back on my own shoulders until I have had enough again.

“On our knees we are the most powerful force on earth.” ~Billy Graham

So if you have unplugged, plug into God our source. All else is vanity leading to death. Partner with Him, yoke together with the creator of the universe and He will give you peace, joy, strength, and fulfillment. He does not promise no problems, but a new lightness comes in when you remain in the vine.