Be Who God Created You To Be! – Part Three

As we look at having a powerful and positive self-esteem we have seen:

1> Guard your self-talk

2> Stop comparing yourself to others

3> Move beyond your limiting beliefs

Often when it comes to believing and having faith in ourselves, we are agnostics. We simply don’t believe in me. People, in general, don’t believe that they can accomplish great things. But the greatest limitations people experience on their lives are usually the ones they impose upon themselves. As industrialist Charles Schwab said, “When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.” In other words, as soon as you change your self-limiting thinking, you will be able to change your life.

Author Jack Canfield offers a solution to self-limiting thinking. In his book The Success Principles, he recommends the following four steps to transform limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs.

      • Identify a limiting belief that you want to change
      • Determine how the belief limits you
      • Decide how you want to be, act, or feel
      • Create a turnaround statement that affirms or gives you permission to be, act, or feel this new way

That’s really good advice. Once you do it, repeat that turnaround statement to yourself every day for as long as you must in order to change your self-limiting thinking. 

For example, let’s say you would like to learn a foreign language to improve your career or better enjoy a vacation, but you don’t think you can do it. Once you’ve identified that belief, define how not learning that language is limiting you. Then describe what it will be like when you learn that language. How will it make you feel? What will it enable you to do? What might it do for your career? Then write an empowering statement that affirms your ability to learn the language, outlines the realistic process you will use to learn it, and describes how you will be impacted by this growth. Remember, in the end, it isn’t what you are that holds you back; it’s what you think you’re not.

4> Add value to others

Because people with low self-esteem often see themselves as inadequate or feel like victims (which often starts because they actually have been victimized in their past), they focus inordinately on themselves. They can become self-protective and selfish because they feel that they have to be to survive.

If that is true of you, then you can combat those feelings by serving others and working to add value to them. Making a difference — even a small one —  in the lives of other people lifts one’s self-esteem. It’s hard to feel bad about yourself when you’re doing something good for someone else. In addition to that, adding value to others makes them value you more. It creates a cycle of positive feeling from one person to another. 

5> Do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing

One of the best ways to build self-esteem is to do what’s right. It gives a strong sense of satisfaction. And what happens whenever you don’t do the right thing? Either you feel guilty, which makes you feel bad about yourself, or you lie to yourself to try o convince yourself that your actions were not wrong or weren’t that important. That does harm to you as a person and to your self-esteem.

Being true to yourself and your values is a tremendous self-esteem builder. Every time you take action that builds your character, you become stronger as a person — the harder the task, the greater the character builder. You can actually “act yourself” into feeling good about yourself, because positive character expands into every area of your life, giving you confidence and positive feelings about everything you do. 

Be Who God Created You To Be! – Part Two

Here is a truth to ponder: “If you put a small value on yourself, rest assured the world will not raise the price.”

If you have a low self-image and don’t value who you are and where you are in life, here are some things you can do to bring your opinion of yourself up to a healthy level.

1> Guard your self-talk

Whether you know it or not, you have a running conversation with yourself all the time. What is the nature of yours? Do you encourage yourself? Or do you criticize yourself? If you are positive, then you help to create a positive self-image. If you’re negative, you undermine your self-worth. Where does negative, critical self-talk come from? Usually from your upbringing. In the book The Answer, the authors talk about the negative messages children receive growing up. They state: “By the time you’re seventeen years old, you’ve heard ‘No, you can’t,’ an average of 150,000 times. You’ve heard ‘Yes, you can,’ about 5,000 Times. That’s thirty nos for every yes. That makes for a powerful belief of ‘I can’t.’

That’s a lot to overcome. It can take a long time to start believing in yourself; believing that you can change. If we want to change our lives, we have to change the way we think of ourselves. If we want to change the way we think of ourselves, we need to change the way we talk to ourselves. And the older we are, the more responsible we are for how we think, talk, and believe. Don’t you have enough problems in your life already? Why add to them by discouraging yourself every day with negative self-talk?

When I was growing up, my father would always say, “If you set your mind to it, you can do it.” And, after hearing it hundreds, if not thousands, of times I actually came to believe it. And since my early twenties I have been saying the same thing to myself whenever I come to a place where I need to change, head in a new direction, learn a new skill, or do something I have never done before. 

You need to learn to become your own encourager, your own cheerleader. Every time you do a good job, don’t just let it pass; give yourself a compliment. Maybe even reward yourself. Every time you choose discipline over indulgence, don’t tell yourself that you should have anyways, recognize how much you are helping yourself. Every time you make a mistake, don’t bring up everything that’s wrong with yourself; tell yourself that you’re paying the price for personal growth and that you will learn to do better next time. Every positive thing you can say to yourself will help.

2> Stop comparing yourself to others

What happens when you compare yourself to others? Usually it’s one of two things: either you perceive the other person to be far ahead of you and you feel discouraged, or you perceive yourself to be better than the other person, and you become proud. Neither of those is good for you, and neither will help you to grow.

Comparing yourself to others is really a needless distraction.; the only one you should compare yourself to is you. Your mission is to become better today than you were yesterday. Yo do that by focusing on what you can do today to improve and grow. Do that enough, and if you look back and compare the you of weeks, months, or years ago to the you of today, you should be greatly encouraged by your progress. 

Be Who God Created You To Be! – Part One

A prophet friend of mine once said, “If you don’t place any value on who you are and what you do, don’t expect others to!” That is so true. If you are willing to work for nothing, then you do not value yourself or what you are able to do and offer others and should not expect others to value you and your abilities either. He also said, “If you don’t respect yourself then don’t expect others to respect you!” Again, it is along the same lines but is also seriously true.

Self-esteem – the way you see yourself, seeing yourself for who you really are and knowing what you are good at – is the single most significant key to a person’s behaviour. Zig Ziglar, who was a powerful motivational speaker when I was first saved said, “It is impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves. We can do very few things in a positive way if we feel negative about ourselves.” 

Nathaniel Branden, a psychiatrist and expert on the subject of self-esteem, says, “No factor is more important in people’s psychological development and motivation than the value judgments they make about themselves. Every aspect of their lives is impacted by the way they see themselves.” If you believe you are worthless, then you won’t add value to yourself.

It is a well-known fact that a low self-esteem puts a ceiling on our potential. If your desire to do something is a 10 but your self-esteem (what you think of yourself and how you see yourself) is a 5, you will never perform at the level of a 10. You will perform as a 5 or lower. People are never able to outperform their self-image. Nathaniel Branden puts it this way, “If you feel inadequate to face challenges, unworthy of love or respect, unentitled to happiness, and fear assertive thoughts, wants, and needs — if you lack basic self-trust, self-respect, and self-confidence — you self-esteem deficiency will limit you, no matter what other assets you possess.”

So, back to my friend the prophet’s comments. The value we place on ourselves is usually the value others place on us. 

A man went to a fortune-teller to hear what she had to say about his future. She looked into a crystal ball and said, “You will be poor and unhappy until you are forth-five years old.”

“Then what will happen?” Asked the man hopefully.

“Then you will get used to it.”

Regretfully, that’s the way most people live their lives — according to what others believe about them. If the important people in their lives expect them to go nowhere, then that’s what they expect for themselves. That’s fine if you’re surrounded by people who believe in you. But what if you’re not?

You shouldn’t become too concerned about what others might think of you. You should be more concerned about what you think of yourself. Remember, you don’t have to accept what people say you have to be. You can be who you want to be. 

If you put a small value on yourself, rest assured the world will not raise the price. If you want to become the person you have the potential to be, you must believe you can!

Next time we will look at the steps to build your self-image so that you can become who God created and designed you to be. The ‘who’ you should be and have the potential to be.

Sometimes I Feel Stuck!

Authors call it writer’s block.

Athletes call it a slump. 

Economists call it stagnation. 

Pastors call it burnout. 

Swimmers call it treading water. 

Off-roaders call it spinning their wheels. 

Retailers call it sluggishness. 

Scientists call it inertia. 

Retirees call it the “every day is Saturday” syndrome. 

Sailors call it the doldrums.

But I have good news. This is not God’s intention for your life.  Read more

The Key To Personal Growth – Part Five

Making the change from coasting through life – personal, relational, and professional – and being intentional about growing, learning, and maturing include:

1> Asking the big question now

2> Do it now

3> Facing the fear factor

The five fears that you will need to overcome to move forward into intentional, daily change and growth are:

A> Fear of failure

B> Fear of trading security for the unknown

C> Fear of being overextended financially

D> Fear of what others will say or think

E> Fear that success will alienate peers

Which of those fears most impacts you? You can certainly relate to one of the five more than the other four. But it really doesn’t matter which fear affects you to most. We all have fears. But here’s the good news. We also all have faith. The question to ask yourself is, “Which emotion will I allow to be stronger?” Your answer is important, because the stronger emotion wins. I want to encourage you to feed your faith and starve your fear.

4> Change from accidental to intentional growth,

People tend to get into ruts in life. They get in an easy grove, and they don’t try to break out of it — even when it’s taking them in the wrong direction. After a while, they just get by. If they learn something, it’s because of a happy incident. Don’t let that happen to you! If that is the attitude you’ve developed, then you would do well to remember that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the length!

How do you know if you’ve slipped into a rut? Take a look at the difference between accidental growth and intentional growth:

Accidental growth – Plans to start tomorrow

Intentional growth – Insists on starting today

Accidental growth – Waits for growth to come

Intentional growth – Takes complete responsibility to grow

Accidental growth – Learns only from mistakes

Intentional growth – Often learns before mistakes

Accidental growth – Depends on good luck

Intentional growth – Relies on hard work

Accidental growth – Quits early and often

Intentional growth – Perseveres long and hard

Accidental growth – Falls into bad habits

Intentional growth – Fights for good habits

Accidental growth – Talks big

Intentional growth – Follows through

Plays it safe Takes risks

Accidental growth – Thinks like a victim

Intentional growth – Thinks like a learner

Accidental growth – Relies on talent

Intentional growth – Relies on character

Accidental growth – Stops learning after graduation

Intentional growth – Never stops growing

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one make. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”

If you want to reach your potential and become the person you were created to be, you must do much more than just experience life and hope that you learn what you need along the way. You must go out of your way to seize growth opportunities as if your future depended on it. Why? Because it does. Growth doesn’t just happen — not for me, not for you, not for anybody. You have to go after it! 

The Key To Personal Growth – Part Four

The sooner you make the transition to becoming intentional about your personal growth, the better it will be for you, because growth compounds and accelerates if you remain intentional about it. Here’s how to make the change:

1> Ask the big question now

The first year I started to engage in international personal growth (1963 as I entered the last year of high school and was mentored by the school principal and my home room teacher – two men who believed in me) I discovered that it was going to be a lifelong process. During that year, the question in my mind was “How long will this take?” A number of years and several full-time university degrees later the question changed to “How far can I go?” That is the question you should be asking yourself right now — not that you will be able to answer it. I started this journey and adventure 58 years ago, and I still haven’t answered it. But it will help you set the direction, if not the distance.

Where do you want to go in life?

What direction do you want to go?

What’s the farthest you can imagine going?

Answering those questions will get you started on the personal-growth journey. The best you can hope to do in life is to make the most out of whatever you’ve been given. You do that by investing in yourself, making yourself the best you can be.  The more you’ve got to work with, the greater your potential — and the farther you should try to go. Give growing your best so you can become your best.

2> Do it now.

For you to succeed at personal growth and development you need a sense of urgency. So, the words “do it now” are good to remember and to repeat. Do it now! Growth is that urgent and that important in your life. 

The greatest danger you face in this moment is the idea that you will make intentional growth a priority later. Don’t fall into that trap! Late in 2009 I read the following:

Can there be a more insidious word? Later, as in, “I’ll do it later.” Or, “Later, I’ll have time to write that book that’s been on my mind for the past five years.” Or, “I know I need to straighten out my finances … I’ll do it later.”

“Later” is one of those dream-killers, one of the countless obstacles we put up to derail our chances of success. The diet that starts “tomorrow,” the job hunt that happens “eventually,” the pursuit of the life dream that begins “someday” combine with other self-imposed roadblocks that lock us on autopilot.

Why do we do this to ourselves, anyway? Why don’t we take action now? Let’s face it: The familiar is easy; the uncharted path is lined with uncertainties!

So, you need to start today! Do it now. 

There are two more things you need to do to get started… tomorrow we will end this short but important series of blogs and look at those two important elements. 

The Key To Personal Growth – Part Three

We are looking at the key to personal growth. There are many. But people defeat themselves before they even start.

1> People assume that they will automatically grow as they live

2> People think that they don’t know how to grow

3> People are waiting for the “right time” to begin a personal growth plan

4> People are afraid of making mistakes

5> People are looking for the best way (the perfect way) before they start

6> People don’t grow and mature because they don’t feel like doing it. 

This is something I read some time back. It was written long before Nike Shoes coined the phrase “Just Do It.”

Just Do It

We hear it almost every day; sigh, sign, Sigh.

I just can’t get myself motivated to … (lost weight, test my blood sugar, etc.) And we hear an equal number of sighs from diabetic educators who can’t get their patients motivated to do the right things for their diabetes and health.

We have news for you. Motivation is not going to strike you like lighting. And motivation is not something that someone else — nurse, doctor, family member — can bestow or force on you. The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it. 

Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation, and then guess what. After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.

You are more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action. So, act! Whatever it is you know you should do, do it. Once you get started you will find the motivation to stay with it because it is making such a difference in your life.

You may not feel inspired to aggressively pursue a growth plan if you haven’t started yet. If that’s the case, please trust me when I say that the reasons to keep growing far outweigh the reasons to start growing. And you discover the reasons to stay with growth only if you stick with it long enough to start reaping the benefits. So make a commitment to yourself to start and stick with it for at least twelve months. If you do, you will fall in love with the process, and you will be able to look back at the end of that year and see how far you have come. 

7> People believe that others are better than they are.

In other words, others can do it but you can’t. So, you feel intimated by the knowledge, skill, and ability of others and so you just don’t go there. You don’t challenge yourself to learn from them because you are intimidated by their position, success, education, and knowledge. You just give up and don’t relate. 

You need to intentionally pursue personal growth, and the best way to grow is learning from others who have been there and done that. Yes, you will feel like you are always behind and trying to catch up. Yes, they are better, smart, and more successful than you are. Get over it. Get over comparing yourself with others. You need to learn to be comfortable with being out of your comfort zone. It will always be well worth it.

8> People don’t pursue personal growth because it appears much harder than they thought it would be.

I don’t know any successful people who thinks growth comes quickly and climbing to the top is easy. It just doesn’t happen. People create their own luck. How? Simple. Preparation (growth) + Attitude + Opportunity + Action (doing something about it) = Luck

It all starts with preparation. Unfortunately, that takes time. But here’s the best news. You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight. If you want to reach your goals and fulfil your personal potential, become intentional about personal growth. It will change you life. 

The Key To Personal Growth – Part Two

The third reason many people don’t set a plan for personal growth and development is that they are waiting for the “right time.”

3> It’s not the right time to begin.

John Maxwell tells the story of his father telling them a riddle which went like this: Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many are left? John, like most of us, answered “One.” To which his father responded: “No. Five. Why? Because there’s a difference between deciding and doing!”

Frank Clark, American politician, said, “What great accomplishments we’d have in the world if everybody had done what they intended to do.” Most people don’t act as quickly as they should on things. As I was pondering this thought in October, 2019 I read the following, “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.” How true! Years ago I received several prophetic words about writing books. I can honestly say that a week does not go by that I don’t think of those prophetic words. But, the longer I waited to start writing the less excited I became and the harder it was to actually start. I was waiting for the “right time” and it simply never came along. 

Maybe you are waiting for a good time to start growing. Now is a good time. Maybe you are waiting until you need to grow — I mean, really need to grow — so as to get that promotion you have been wanting. Maybe you don’t feel any pressure or even a slight desire to grow personally. Regardless, whether you feel prompted to or not, now is the time to start growing. A quote, one of many I collect, states” “Life lived for tomorrow will always be a day away from being realized” (Leo Buscaglia). The reality is that you will never get much done unless you go ahead and do it before you are ready. 

If you’re not already intentionally growing, you need to get started today. If you don’t you may reach some goals, which you can celebrate, but you will eventually plateau. Once you start growing intentional, you can keep growing and keep asking “What’s next?”

4> I’m afraid of making mistakes

Growing can be a messy business. It means admitting you don’t have the answers. It requires making mistakes. It can make you look foolish. Most people don’t enjoy that. But this is the price of admission if you want to improve and mature.

Years ago I read all of the books that Dr. Robert Schuller published. In one of them he wrote, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you wouldn’t fail.” I have since asked, I am sure, several thousand young leaders and disciples of Jesus the same question. Those words encouraged me to try things that I believed – even knew – were beyond my capabilities. 

If you want to grow, you need to get over any fear you may have of making mistakes. As author and professor Warren Bennis asserts, “A mistake is simply another way of doing things.” To become intentional about growing, expect to make mistakes every day, and welcome them as a sign that you are moving in the right direction.

5> I have to find the right way (the best way) before I can start.

Similar to being afraid of making a mistake, the desire to find the “best” way to get started in a growth plan is a killer of any potential growth you might have had. Don’t go looking for the best way before you start on your growth journey. Just start. You have to get started if you want to eventually find the best way. It’s similar to driving on an unfamiliar road at night. Ideally, you’d like to be able to se your whole route before you begin. But you see it progressively. As you move forward, a little more of the road is revealed to you. If you want to see more of the way, then get moving. The same is true for personal growth and development. 

More next time… 

The Key To Personal Growth – Part One

I am a reader. I always have been and hopefully always will be. In a good week I digest and absorb several books that help me to grow personally as well as in my chosen profession as a preacher and teacher of God’s Word. In a tough week when things don’t go as planned I manage to read, work through, and apply the truths I discover from one book. Setting aside regular reading time has been a habit of mine since I was in high school. There is very little that can derail that decision made many decades ago. 

I remember a quote I wrote down from James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh which said: “People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” 

If you focus on goals, you may hit the goals — but that does not guarantee growth. If you focus on growth – growing as a person in all aspects of life — you will grow and always hit your goals. Most people can see the gap between where they are and where they want to be – who they need to be. The distance between here and there is a growth gap. And we all need to work through how we are going to bridge that gap. 

Here is the one thing that is certain: To bridge that gap, to grow personally you have to be intentional. Personal growth, development, and maturity do not happen by accident. 

In my research over the years I have discovered a number of misconceptions about personal growth and development that often hold people back from being as intentional as they need to be. 

1> People assume that growth is automatic.

They assume that they will simply grow and mature without any or much effort as they just live life daily. When we are children, our bodies grow automatically. A year goes by, and we become taller, stronger, more capable of doing new things and facing new challenges. I think many people carry into adulthood a subconscious belief that mental, spiritual, and emotional growth follows a similar pattern. Time goes by, and we simply get better. The problem is that we don’t improve by simply living. To grow, develop, and mature, we have to be intentional about it.

Musician Bruce Springsteen commented, “A time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to become and start being the man you want to be.” No one improves by accident. Personal growth doesn’t just happen on its own. And once you’re done with your formal education, you must take complete ownership of the growth process, because nobody else will do it for you. 

If you want your life to improve, you must improve yourself. You must make that a tangible target. In other words, grow up and be responsible.

2> People think that they simply don’t know how to go about growing personally.

You hear people say, “I don’t know how to grow.” So, they never develop a personal growth plan. Go ahead, ask most people, “Do you have a personal growth plan?” Guaranteed, most people will say no. Most people simply don’t have a plan for growing and improving. Why? Mainly because they don’t know how to grow.

As a result, many people learn only from the school of hard knocks. Difficult experiences teach them lessons “the hard way,” and they change — sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. The lessons are random and difficult. It’s much better to plan your growth intentionally. You decide where you need or want to grow, you choose what you will learn, and you follow through with discipline going at the pace you set.

As you begin your own growth program you will begin to get excited about the potential that you begin to see. You will begin to see growth opportunities everywhere. Your world will begin to open up. You will accomplish more. You will learn more. You will be able to lead and help others more. Other opportunities will begin to present themselves. Your world will simply expand. The decision to grow and develop as a person will impact your life more than any other decision you will make in life. 

More next time…


Sometimes The Fire Dies


The Scriptures frequently comment on living the Christian faith with passion

It is very clear that as believers we cannot be passive

We must embrace the truth and engage with the world for that truth

Jude 3b “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” 

TPT “(I) felt the need … to challenge you to vigorously defend and contend for the beliefs that we cherish. For God, through the apostles, has once for all entrusted these truths to his holy believers.”

“vigorously defend and contend…”

My personal favourite Scripture regarding living the faith with passion – serving Jesus with my heart and soul 

God spoke it to me … planted it deeply in my heart in July of 2007

Romans 12:11 “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” Read more