Archives For freedom

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.

Free-money1

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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When there is a bend in the road we need to slow down. The only way the road ends is if we don’t turn with it. I love country drives when I don’t know where the road goes. Simple turns take the road in a direction that I never imagined. Jon Acuff refers to these moments as “hinge moments.” When we look for huge changes in life we miss the small things that will really change our world. Most of us want to believe that we run along and jump onto another road. This is not how effective change usually happens. The only way to be able to see these hinges is if we are not rushing through life. I need to slow down. Do you? I get into the doing in life instead of the being. I can be extremely task oriented, pushing harder and faster until I run off the road. These 4 things help me to slow down so I see the “hinge moments” in my life.

road-sign

1. Be still. It is hard for me to sit at the feet of God with no agenda. No praying or music. The amount of time is not as significant as just some time. If you are like me two minutes feels like two hours. Just sit and listen. If God brings something up, put it at the foot of the cross and go back to listening. He is the still small voice. We need to plan in time to just listen. Most of the time we give Him our requests and praise instead of listening. Maybe He wants to say something?

  “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”~ Psalm 46:10

2. Turn off technology. It is sad how hard this is for me and many others. No computer, phone, and t.v. Schedule it in if you have to. The world will get along just fine without you for an hour. Be present with your kids, spouse, friends. Nothing is more obnoxious than pouring your heart out to someone and they look at their phone.

3. Exercise. Sometimes you need to do some intensive cardio to free up your mind. If you exercise regularly it will change you mentally more than physically. This decompresses my mind so I can relax. I look at the world more confidently and see things I didn’t see before.

“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.”~ Thomas Jefferson

4. Margin. We need to plan margin into our day. Some days I’m rushing from the moment I wake up to the second I go to bed at night. How are we going to hear or see any whispers from our heavenly Father or turns in the road with no space in our schedule? Plan time of space into your day.

Slow down and enjoy your life. Stop doing and start being. If you don’t find healthy ways to slow down, your body will eventually make you slow down. Life changes too fast so we need to be in the moment. We need to flex and turn with life by adding stillness and margin. Caution: there are curves ahead.

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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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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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People often say that money doesn’t make you happy. I believe that this is true, but I also believe that a mountain of debt is a sure-fire way to be unhappy. Debt is one of the deep dark secrets that no one talks about. I’m not here to convince you not to borrow, though I think you should think about it. Debt is a current of water pushing against you. Everything you do requires an amazing amount of effort and energy; nothing is easy. Investments are different. They are like you are going with the current making everything easier similar as it is paddling down stream. Debt robs you of these three things!

1. Hope. I remember when my wife became pregnant. It was our “plan” for her to stay at home. I say “plan” loosely as it was more what we wanted. We couldn’t make it on my income alone because of debt payments. Even though we knew the whole time we wanted her to stay home when we had kids, our choices didn’t all align with that. We had no hope until we stumbled upon Dave Ramsey! Mountains of debt robs you of the hope to have what you desire. It is like a thief in the night, causing our minds to see all the negatives with money and none of the positives. Restore your hope. It is possible to pay off debt. We made a plan and she went back to teaching for nine months when our oldest was one and everything she made went toward paying off debt. It was the longest nine months of her life! My wife is now at home with our three kids. We did it because of Hope!

“Never spend your money before you have it.”~Thomas Jefferson

2. Peace. Do you remember what it was like to have no debt payments? Ever lose sleep because of debt? I have too. It is such a nasty destroyer of peace. It creeps into your mind and worry sets in. Worry is the opposite of peace. Sometimes when we have had debt around for so long we have grown accustomed to the feeling of worry. This is not the way it should be. There is a better way. It requires sacrifice and hard work.  What is your peace worth?

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”~Warren Buffett

3. Freedom. Do you remember the scene from Brave Heart? The one in which William Wallace yells, “Freedom!” Financial freedom allows for so much. To give like no one else can give. It allows you to be spontaneous to go when you want to go. When you  have the pounds of pressure that debt brings, you lose a lot of your freedom. My wife had to go back to work when she didn’t want to. We couldn’t give as much as we wanted to give. Our money was all chained up to bills with other people’s names on them. What freedom would you have with no debt?

I believe debt can steal these three things from you. Debt stole these things from us. James 1:5 states, “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.” I believe that this is true. Ask God and He will show you the way. Remove the chains of bondage. Be free!

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God made you for a purpose. When I hear this most of the time I think, “When do I get to start living that purpose out.” I believe that this is a common mistake. We put the purpose of our lives at some distant point in the future barely out of our grasp. Our whole life can go by before our eyes without even knowing it while waiting for our purpose to be here. What if your purpose is now? When can you start enjoying your life? Life should be like running. Your eyes are up, you have a route, but you focus on one step at a time while you take in the surroundings. These 3 things help me to enjoy the day.

next step!

1. You are preparing for something. (Eyes up) To continue to use running as an example, when you are training for a marathon you have to put in a lot of hours of training. I don’t enjoy every training day but I have learned to enjoy it most of the time. It is preparing for the race that gets me most of the time, not the race itself. So find something in what you’re preparing that you enjoy. I like seeing the wildlife when I run, the feeling after running, and I think creatively when I run. Enjoy this time of preparation in your life!

2. You have a route. When I take off running, I have a route designated and a time that I am trying to be done by. This rarely happens exactly as I plan, but I leave with an idea of where I’m going. This does not mean that I am not enjoying the run, in fact it frees my mind up because I don’t have to think about where I’m going. I can just be in the moment. Areas in my life that I have decided to go on a certain path I have peace. It’s those areas of my life that I have put off decisions are where I struggle with joy. Decide a path and go. If it’s wrong you can redirect, but stop taking up today wondering.

3. This day is the only day like it. (Focus on the step) Enjoy the insignificant days. As my family, business, and church involvement grow, I always think I wish I would have enjoyed _____. You never know what is happening today that you are going to miss. Even the things that seem like a pain will be missed. It is a pain some nights getting my kids ready for bed when I’m exhausted, but I’m 100% sure I will miss it. So even when I am exhausted, I think “I’m not going to be able to do this much longer.”

So be like a runner with a focused gaze on the finish line yet living out each step. Don’t wait to start living. Be fully alive today by charting your course, preparing, and taking it one step at a time.

What things do you do to focus on this step?

 

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Are you lusting after your dream? I do sometimes. Lust is an overwhelming desire or craving. I believe pursuing our dreams turns to lust when we can’t be happy with our life until we achieve what great grandeur is in our minds. I’m trying to put the dream in its proper place but to be honest it is hard to do. I have found certain things to be successful in increasing patience which leads to me putting my dream in its proper place instead of lusting after it. These 3 things help me to chase my dream and not lust after it. 

“And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:15

1. Trust God’s timing. Do you believe God’s plan for your life is perfect? Do you believe He knows you better than you know yourself? Don’t give some religious answer. My first reaction is, “Yes I trust God with my life. Well with this part of my life at least. If I give Him access to all of my life I will have to sell everything, have no friends, and do things I hate. No, no, no, I can only put Him in the church box.” Then I wonder why it’s hard to wait. If we truly are allowing God into all areas of our life He will give us the desires of our heart or He will change your heart. Trust God with your whole life, including the timing.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”   ~Epicurus

2. Gratitude. If I am lusting after my dream, I am ungrateful for everything in my life. All I can focus on is everything God is not giving me. How could He be so unfair and give other people my dream? Oh the humanity! This is no way to live. When I focus on my three beautiful kids who are healthy, the finances I do have, the influence I currently have, I am excited for the day, energized and ready to go out to the world with a smile on my face. Attitudes of gratitude are attractant. Your dream will happen sooner when you are grateful. (tweet it)

3. God of abundance. God’s blessings are not a finite resource. Other people receiving things earlier than you does not negatively affect your dream. If you don’t understand this, it is too easy to covet and lust. Your friend will buy a big house, expensive car, have kids that listen, a spouse that adores them, and you won’t be happy because you’re too busy wishing it was you. Be happy for them! They are your friend so rejoice in their happiness and triumph. God has more than enough for you to get yours.

“Instead, I have an abundance mentality: When people are genuinely happy at the  successes of others, the pie gets larger.” ~Stephen Covey

These 3 things help me and I pray they helped you. Don’t waste valuable time lusting and start taking footsteps toward your dream. Live life the way God designed it. God’s promises are true; hold on to that. Restore your hope and faith. Trust the one that created you!

 

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Stretching yourself is hard to do but it is the only way to grow. We try to avoid pain and discomfort but the truth is there is only one way to get stronger. I recently went back to my hometown for one of my closest friend’s wedding. I had a great time. I golfed with eleven guys all of which were much better than me. Fine dining with three forks with one above the plate which took me a while to figure out. I knew one person in the wedding party prior to the weekend. My point is, was it uncomfortable? Of course at points I felt left out and like a fish out of water, but I also had a great time. These 4 things will help you push through discomfort so you can grow!

comfort zone 55 Inspiring Quotations That Will Change The Way You Think

1. Everyone is uncomfortable. Do we really fully understand this? We all handle our insecurities differently. Some go, others quit, and some talk non-stop. We are all unique. Stop believing that the person you think has it all together isn’t insecure because they are. We all have something about ourselves that we wish we could change. We wish we could talk less or talk more. Other people are too busy worrying about their own insecurities to even catch yours. Walk in this freedom.

“People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.”~Saadi

2. Small victories. Start small. Don’t go from zero to sixty. Build up small experience where you can, push through discomfort and get a quick yes. Isn’t it nice when we push through and get a desirable outcome? If you do this enough, your mind will learn that pleasure comes after discomfort. Often this is enough to push through to bigger victories.

“The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” ~ Bill Clinton

3. Practice. This goes with #2. Small victories over time will build and confidence in uncomfortable and new things will be a result. The more I push myself into the uncomfortable, the more my discomfort stops getting a vote. This is only the result of practice. Something else happens. I gain more life experiences and there is less time that I’m feeling awkward. Next time I have three forks I know what to do.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.~” Nelson Mandela

4. Eyes on the prize. All of these experiences gained me new relationships and new life skills. Also it reminded me of how other people are uncomfortable around me. It made me think of what made me more confident. Do you want to learn something new, meet new people, meet new business contacts, or share the gospel? All exciting things are also uncomfortable. Keep your eyes on the excitement; the spice of life.

Follow these 4 things to increase your growth! Do not stay where you are comfortable rather branch out to new and exciting things. Break out of the normal routine and change your life one step at a time. A world of opportunity awaits on the other side of discomfort.

What things help you to break through discomfort?

 

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