I’ve become more and more aware lately of my “default modes.” These knee-jerk tendencies of mine can be good, bad, or really, REALLY ugly; they may be  innately ingrained in me or have been shaped by my experiences, but either way, they inform my view of life and how I process it. My negative default modes can be quite the stumbling block for me. We all experience this, don’t we? Half the time we don’t even realize that we’re viewing that disappointment, that painful situation, the thing we’re so afraid of through a broken lens. The truth is that we simply can’t see the truth of these situations clearly until we wade through the muck blocking it. But, our natural tendencies to avoid pain, stress, pressure, uncomfortable situations, danger, etc. create that time-honored fight or flight response in us. Sadly for us, when it comes to facing those not-so-savory internal or downright scary external giants, we often choose flight. We run. We procrastinate. We avoid. We do anything we can to escape those confrontations.

When we feel powerless to change either our circumstances or our reactions to them, feelings of helplessness creep in. Helplessness unchecked breeds hopelessness. And from there, friends, it’s just a slip n’ slide ride down a rabbit hole towards desperation, despondence, and despair. And those are places that God never intended for us to be. You see, those fears, those ingrained destructive default modes that shape the way we view and deal with life are all a guise, masked tools of muck the Enemy uses to distract you from seeing things clearly so that you can’t process them in healthy ways.

Whatever you’re facing today… whatever baggage that came into that situation with you… when life doesn’t go according to plan and you are left figuring out how to handle it… know that you have another option. You can choose fight mode. And you don’t have to do it alone. When we make the choice to walk in step with God, who is worthy of every thought you have and default in you, slowly but surely, He will lovingly help you replace your fleshly defaults for His holy ones. He loves you enough to take you on that journey and show you how to have a joy and peace in the midst of your struggles that you could not ever have imagined would be possible. Before you know it, you’ll be processing the ups and downs of your life through a perfectly crystal clear lens… His!  ~The above post was written by our guest author, Kristen Utley~

Join the conversation we had on Girlfriendit Radio with New York Times best-selling author, Terri Blackstock, about her latest book, If I Run, which details the lives of two people’s intersecting quests for truth amidst seemingly insurmountable circumstances.

Looking through His lens,

Hearing Your Voice   

We live in a very noisy world. On a recent trip to Cairo, I (Lisa) realized just how noisy a city could be with the unending sounds of car horns, people conversing in the streets and other aspects of daily life. On one hand, it made the city feel alive, on the other, it was almost deafening. One could easily feel lost in the crowd, silenced by the noise.

Amidst the noise and confusion of life, we each need to find our place in this world and listen and hear our own voice. In each season and stage, whether it is as a young adult, a young mother raising children, or entering mid-life, each stage ushers in unique challenges and various voices. Many times we allow the voices from the past to silence us, and voices around us in the present to over-ride the still small voice of God. Some voices need to be silenced; with others we need to lean in more for wisdom and insight. The challenge is to distinguish between the two!

Ask Yourself:

  • What voice dominates my air waves? Is this good?
  • Who’s voice matters most?
  • How do I hear the still small voice of God?
  • What will it take to silence the static to hear God’s voice?
  • Am I ready and how will I use my voice?
  • And finally, do you truly believe your voice matters??? (Many of us struggle with this one, if we are honest?)

Joining our show this week are two special women whose journey through life has led them to discover (and continue in the discovery) their unique role and voice.

Sharon Ramsey: Married to globally recognized Financial Expert and Radio/TV Host, Dave Ramsey, Sharon is a dynamic woman and leader whose voice impacts generations. She is also the coauthor of the best seller, Financial Peace.

Dr. Natalie Eastman: Natalie is the author of Women, Leadership, and the Bible: How Do I Know What to Believe? A Practical Guide to Biblical Interpretation.

Podcast: http://ow.ly/IXFxq

When Dave Brailsford became the Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky, which is Great Britain’s cycling team, no British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France.  He made it a goal to win that race within 5 years.  That was 2010.   

He approached the challenge with the belief that marginal gains lead to remarkable results; if you simply improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, you would see great improvement.

They sought to make marginal gains everywhere, both in the obvious and not-so-obvious places:

Nutrition of the riders
Weekly training programs
Ergonomics of the bike seat
Weight of the tires
Discovering the pillow that offered the best sleep
Best way to wash their hands to avoid infection

After all of this effort, Team Sky went on to win the Tour de France in just 3 years, far ahead of their goal!  And at the 2012 Olympics, the British cycling team won 70% of the gold medals.

So, what can you tweak by 1%?

What if your 1% was taking just 5 minutes of your evening to incorporate this simple discipline?

  • Each night, or at the end of your work day, write down the six most important things that need to be accomplished the next day.  Let go of tomorrow’s worries by prioritizing the tasks the night before.  In the words of Elsa, Let It Go.  Knowing that you have taken the time to think about the next day, and put it on paper, you can relax and get the rest you need to tackle it… tomorrow.  

Let’s learn more tips from Small Business Big Pressure: A Faith-Based Approach to Guide the Ambitious Entrepreneur author Darryl W. Lyons, CEO and CoFounder of PAX Financial Group.  We will also be talking to Krista Evans from Bloom, a ministry for church planters’ spouses.
Seeking those 1% tweaks!

Self assessments are always good and questions are a great way to take inventory of one’s self! Here’s some questions from a recent Blog by Seth Godin on December 8, 2014 that will be helpful if you dare to ask?! It is always favorable and in good taste to invite a trusted friend into the conversation with you. Keep learning and growing. We are with you in the journey!

What’s next?

What does a good day look like? A good week?

Who do you want to work with?

Who are you trying to please?

What sort of feedback brings you down?

What’s your tolerance for being misunderstood? By whom?

Is it about process or projects?

Which part of the project makes you happy?

At the end of the project, what would you like in return?

What diminishes the work?

How high do the stakes need to be?

How close to the edge do you need to dance? Risk? Resources? Failure?

What will you take? What will you give? Who will you connect?

How much freedom will you sacrifice to get what you want? How much commitment will you promise?

What are you measuring? Smiles, comments, traffic, cash, media response, friends, peers, insiders, outsiders?

Will they miss you when you’re done with this?


Listening To Your Life Speak

This is a resource that can be used for your own personal reflection or share with a group of women.

“We may be little, insignificant servants in the eyes of a world motivated by efficiency, control and success. But when we realize that God has chosen us from all eternity, sent us into the world as the blessed ones, handed us over to suffering, can’t we, then, also trust that our little lives will multiply themselves and be able to fulfill the needs of countless people?”   ― Henri J.M. Nouwen


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