Today You Guard My Heart – Todd Stocker.com

guard heart my.001Your heart is in a cross-hair.  Your heart is the mission of destruction for another.  Your heart is singled out by the enemy of all that is good and he partners with the part of you that pushes against wholeness and peace. 

The attacks come in unexpected waves.  The negative side-comment about your abilities by someone you love.  The internal comparison birthed by your envious pride that wants to be the best at all costs.  The grave-digging that happens when you think about the woulda, coulda, shoulda of the past.  All of these attack and overtake your peace. 

Maybe, for you, that’s today. 

Your heart is broken.  Your emotions wrecked.  And the small tear is ripped wide by the incessant rehearsal of what was said to, around, and about you. 

Yet all is not lost.

All is not abandoned.

Once the emotions — depressed or angered — subside and reasons crawls back onto center stage, you can repair your heart in partnership with the breath of the Spirit.  On the days when you feel crushed, you are not destroyed.  Through the nights of sleeplessness when death seems preferred, life takes hold.  In the moments when you are confused about your job, your family, your purpose in this world, you do not need to be without hope. 

The simple prayer, “God, today, guard my heart” encourages two barricades: one of his hedging and one of his comfort.  You do not want to see what destruction was planned by your enemy that God’s intelligence thwarted.  I shudder to ponder it.  But that which does lobs high over the walls of your strength is allow by God so he can continue or clarify his purpose in you. 

Guard your heart.  Take the assaults as opportunities for re-strengthening.

“We are pressed but not crushed …” – Paul, the Apostle

Peace!

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The Importance of Training – “Lone Survivor”

lone_survivorI just watched the movie “Lone Survivor.”  A true story of Marcus Luttrell, it details a four man team being “inserted” into Afghanistan with a mission to take out a Taliban terrorist.  The mission went bad and the team was overrun by a militia force. Only one of the four survived – Marcus Luttrell.

Like those around me, I sat in the movie theater dumbfounded, stunned, really, at the bravery of these men.  With courage and determination, they took bullet after bullet and yet were able to outwit their enemies for hours.  At one point in the movie I thought to myself, “This really happens; day in and day out in the schedules of our deployed military.  YIKES!”

What also occurred to me, as I watched the men stumbling through the brush, was the key role their training played in what they did.  The countless hours of pushing themselves mentally and physically on the training field bore fruit in their action on the battle field.

While you can’t prepare for everything that happens to you in life, you can develop personal disciplines that will help you weather the unexpected that happens.

  • Harness your personal power of choice.  Most people succumb to the lie that they have no or very little choices in life.  While you can’t control everything, you have power to choose how you’re going to respond.  Sometimes the response is to do nothing.  Other times the response is to make a move and move fast.  But make sure your response leads you to positive outcomes.  Are you going to allow bumps in the road to defeat your attitude for today?
  • Have a mental plan.  Luttrell and his team practiced knowing when to “push left” or “push right.”  They even knew when to “fall back” when the situation crumbled.  Thinking through options, mentally visualizing next steps and taking small daily action all play into mental toughness.
  • Stick it out.  Perseverance pays dividends. I like the quote by Muhammad Ali, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit.  Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
  • Lean into God.  Even if you’re not a spiritual person, the understanding that you are part of something bigger in this life is woven into your core and is a great benefit when you are having to make decisions.  Ask Him for guidance.  He promises to give it to you as it works into His purpose and plan for life.

Train everyday and you’ll be regarded a champion.

Peace!

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How to Beat Distractions

One of the greatest stories of leadership is in the Bible, the book of Nehemiah.  The story chronicles Nehemiah’s vision and mission of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. Deluged with enemy attacks and coercion, Nehemiah had to trust his gut and his God and keep focused on the task at hand.

One distraction came when some of Nehemiah’s enemies found out how well he was doing and tried to get him to leave his mission to meet with them.  Nehemiah told them something that all of us who call ourselves leaders should repeat daily.  He said, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”

How many times a day do we get distracted and unfocused from that which we are called to do?  How many times do opportunities present themselves but they do not fit with your own personal or organizational mission?  Stay focused on that which you feel call to do and you’ll complete that for which you are wired.  When you feel distracted, remind yourself like Nehemiah did, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”

Peace,

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(For a complete message on this topic go to “THIS ONE THING”)