Swim Upstream (Part II)

Last week, we began unfolding five (somewhat) simple ways to reinvent ourselves. I’m not talking about anything superficial, like a hair cut, a new wardrobe, or weight loss; nor anything drastic, like changing careers, switching religions, or moving to El Salvador. These are small tweaks that will not only change the way we see the world, but also how we live in it.

3. Talk to Strangers, Its OK! (Meet people & make friends)

Prov 18:24a says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:” (King James Version)

The pastor/scholar in me will admit, there is some debate about the true meaning of this passage. Certain words in the original language cause some to believe that this verse warns against having too many friends; as to say, to crave social interaction (or to be friendly) can ruin a man. I understand this concept completely, because I am a people pleaser. People pleasing can cause one to compromise core values in order to be accepted.

However, to reveal our-true-selves as warm friendly, is the only way to make friends. You may be surprised how many people actually love YOU!

Angela and I met a couple last year. While I am usually reserved and quiet, these two made me feel comfortable enough to let my guard down. Even though we’ve only known each other for less than a year, I wouldn’t trade our relationship for anything. They have quickly become some our closest friends, and I believe God ordained it to be so. So contrary to what momma taught you, it ok to talk to strangers; you’ll never know what great relationships may be formed from just a simple “hello”!

4. Read a Book (No, seriously read a book)

I am absolutely thrilled, at the fact, you are reading this right now. People catch a glimpse of me because I have taken a few moments out of each week to share an idea or thought. However, people who write books, generally, devote hours and days to this concept; and, for any subject you may want to learn more about, there is a book.

Make reading, as Oprah (the Magnificent) would say, a learning moment. In many cases, you may only learn that you don’t agree with what you read, but that knowledge can be used to strengthen your own opinions. Learning is more about self discovery, than world discovery.

(Let me add, for my Christian brothers and sisters; reading books about the Bible is great, but it can’t compare to reading the Bible for yourself. Let me challenge you to read at least one book, this year, from the Bible that you have never read completely. You’ll  gain so much, in your faith, from the most obscure books, like Nahum or Philemon.)  

5. Trim the Fat (De-clutter your life)

Any butcher, worth his salt, knows that the flavor is in the fat. In order to get that rich taste of a good steak, he must know to perfectly balance fat and meat. There are few things worse than biting into a big hunk of fat! Life is often the same way, because, it is possible to have too much of a good thing on your plate.

The fat, in our lives, are all the unnecessary things that may be enjoyable, but ultimately weigh us down. While, we may enjoy watching a child run the wrong way (to third from home) or painting in the art class, we may find, upon looking at the whole picture, that they may cause more harm than good.  Keep in mind, you can’t possibly do it all.

The Biggest Loser is one of NBC’s biggest reality hits (excuse the pun). On this show, people devote lots time and effort to losing weight. However, the average working spouse and parent can’t devote six hours a day to working out.

I am certain that if we re-evaluate our time, we can find a way to de-clutter. When you free yourself from the things that weigh you down and devote your time to the things that are most important, the quality of your life will completely change.

Hebrews 12:1b teaches us to, “…strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.” (New Living Translation)

In conclusion, if you are anything like me, you have probably already given up on your resolutions; but I am inspired to discover a better me. Join me and we will learn how to live everyday to the fullest. We may have a long way to go, but dive in any way!

© 2011 Djoaquin Publishing, All Rights Reserved


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