Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Expecting and Welcoming Change

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

~ II Corinthians 3:18

There comes a point in life when the things that used to work for us no longer do the trick. We have carried our styles, personalities, charms, and attitudes as far as we can and it seems that they’ve reached their expiration dates. It’s time for something new. A transformation on the inside so great that it begins to affect our external environment. This is no easy feat, and must be approached with openness, desire, and most importantly, the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Change of SeasonsLife is change. There is no use in fighting it. If ever we are to keep up with the ways of creation, we must be prepared to continuously evolve, learn more about ourselves and our environments, and be willing to modify our methods at the drop of a dime. This is scary business to most people, who prefer the comforts and securities of those things that are familiar, and the sanctity of routine.  This accounts for most of our automatic and auto-pilot style of living.

But when change occurs, we do not have the luxury of cruising. We are on our toes, paying attention to every detail, keeping our eyes open for viable solutions, and all of sudden constantly in prayer. God was there the entire time, but for most people,  His Presence seems much more welcomed, revered, and appealed to during the times that the structure of our lives is shaking.

Be Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually Prepared for Change…

We can be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for the times in life when we receive subtle signs or blatant messages that “A CHANGE IS COMING… A CHANGE IS HERE.”  How do we do this?  By EXPECTING IT.

That’s it. That’s the answer. There is the plan. No more, no less. EXPECT CHANGE.

The Plan:  Expect Change…

Once we reach the point where we expect change to occur, it can no longer catch us off guard or cause us to lose our balance. We knew it was coming and so we were mentally prepared for it. There is the ability now to maneuver as needed to continue focusing on our goals since we had already factored in the potential for a shift to occur while we were executing our plan.

This keeps us in a position of power, especially when we remember the reason that it is okay for change to happen – because it is all in God’s hands anyway. When we have a strong faith, we are not dismayed or frustrated when things don’t go according to our plan because we remember that the Master Plan was conceived and in progress long before we got here and long after we’ve moved on. Why? Because things are always changing, it’s the nature of creation. And thank God, because who wants a life of no thriving, growth, or development? That would make us no more than rocks – who even change over time at a much slower pace, but still transform.

All of creation transforms. So why not open our arms and welcome it, and experience the life that God has for us that is far beyond what our human minds can imagine in this moment.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Tapping Into Your Energy Reserve

“Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty;

Open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.”

~Proverbs 20:13

Running Uphill

The day drags on and it seems as if you don’t have another ounce of energy to give. Even breathing seems to take too much of an effort. Every blink burns with the desire to keep the eyes closed. Sleep is the most attractive thing on Earth to you right now. But you know sleep is the last thing you’ll get. With more work to do than hours in the day, and without the luxury of handmaids, manservants, and assistants – the success or failure of your projects are all… on… you.

The smartest thing we can do is stay connected to a power greater than ourselves. We are people of great faith, but sometimes even that falters. We need to be understood and forgiven in our times of weakness, and for doors to still be opened to us even when we experience a period of doubt. Our minds and bodies are incredible systems that have accomplished tremendous psychological and physical feats, but sometimes it feels like it can’t go another step without some rejuvenation. This is when we need something more powerful than us to energize our spirits and help us see things through in miraculous ways. Skill, talent, and ability mean little if there is no sense of direction or motivation; and until we understand that all things should be used for the glory of God, we are aimless.

Remaining on track, remembering all of the things that need to be done to stay ahead, and keeping the faith can be exhausting. But we must keep going. We must love our destiny more than we love sleep. We must love opportunities in our children’s futures more than we love rest. We must believe in the power and favor of our Lord more than we believe in the possibility of our failure. Living by the P.U.S.H. philosophy, we Pray Until Something Happens. This way of life is not an easy one and is not for the faint at heart. It is for those who somehow find that extra bit of energy when they thought they had nothing left to give, who ran a couple of more miles after they considered stopping after mile one, and who know that if they just keep putting one foot in front of the other God will make a way to reach their destination.

Being too tired to fulfill our dreams and God’s intended purpose for us leaves us poor in spirit and poor in life. But opening our hearts and eyes to His unlimited power propels us forward from within, feeding our spirits with the bread of life, and turning His highest vision for us into our reality.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Poetry & Musings

youth.

It was under there the whole time.

I took it for dead, not looking past the wooden casing that symbolized

that its work had been done, its battle had been won. But not the war.

Maybe a part of me wanted it to be over, to lay it to rest.

I was exhausted and so was my youth.

But no sooner had I made peace with our last days together,

did the thunder clap a rhythm that brought us back to life

like a cosmic defibrillator.

It wasn’t over. There was still more to love. Still more to war.

I’ll mistake you for dead again, my youth.

I’ll believe the murmuring of the crowd and the mirror’s lies,

long enough to accept it as truth.

But you won’t let me.

For another hundred years tiny rocks will sneak into my sandals

as my calves ache and my thighs burn from the climb.

And you’ll tell me that I love it.

I’ll vehemently deny you, and bury you

and attempt to prove that I can’t take another step.

Until I am waking up to us dancing to that eternal rhythm,

telling you that I love it.

Grateful that you are always there.

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Preparing For Game Day

Preparing for Game Day

You stare at yourself in the mirror intensely as you lean over the sink in the bathroom at your office. Is that sweat on your forehead? Yes it is. Your heart is beating faster and you realize this is a slight anxiety attack just before you have to give a presentation to your administrators. Although you have spent plenty of time researching statistics and collecting data in preparation of selling your idea to this group of stern decision-makers; you now realize that you did not take the time to focus on the way you would present yourself.

The above is a common scenario where one realizes that intelligence alone is not enough when it comes to connecting with people in professional situations. When its time to close deals, attain new clients or get approvals to implement new ideas; much more is being looked at than how much knowledge you have. It is imperative the individual is sending a message to their audience that conveys they are competent and able to lead any team to accomplish the proposed vision. No one will be convinced by a sweating, bumbling, shaking presenter behind the podium who cannot seem to pull it together.

The key thing to remember is that every person may experience a bit of nervousness anytime they are being put in a position where they may be subjected to the judgment and critique of others. It is a natural reaction but the difference between those who are successful in these situations and those who are not is that one group finds their center and pushes through the tension; and the other does not. Here are a few ways to make sure that you are not in the latter:

Affirm to yourself that you are already familiar with the material.

Repeating this in your mind and in the mirror will allow the idea to sink in on a subconscious level so that you do not experience extra tension from fear of not remembering what you need to present. Just make sure that you have actually familiarized yourself with the material! That’s the easy part. The more challenging part is fully processing the fact that you are knowledgeable on the subject so that you don’t have to concentrate on it so hard. Then you can focus on more important things such as keeping your breath steady. This takes us to the next suggestion…

Do breathing exercises to relax yourself and set a comfortable breathing pattern.

We always hear about the importance of being able to control our breath because it helps us control our minds. You want to give the mind something to focus on, so by directing it to the way you are breathing, you are killing a few birds with one stone. The physical benefits of the deep inhale and exhale are that it will slow the heart rate and allow more oxygen to the brain which will naturally put you more at ease. As the mind is focused on the breathing pattern, it does not have as much time to wander on to self-defeating thoughts or ideas that would create more anxiety. In addition to the internal effects, externally you will be projecting a warm, calm and balanced disposition.

See yourself there before you get there.

Mostly everyone is familiar with the technique of visualization. Athletes, public speakers, political figures, performers and many others understand the value of envisioning the entire scenario in the exact way they want to experience it. Doing this gives us a sense of familiarity. When we engage in the actual activity, our mind will go back to what was visualized previously. We feel more confident since we’ve already had the experience in some way; it helps us feel that we are prepared with what to say and what to do. Be very detailed and thorough in your vision. You will want to see yourself moving through the entire situation, from the time you walk into the room and greet the audience to when you are answering questions after opening the floor for feedback.

Clear your heart and mind through meditation.

Know the difference between visualization and meditation. Find somewhere quiet, turn off all distractions, sit down in a comfortable position and be silent; that includes silencing your mind. Instead of doing your visualizations in this moment, you want to dedicate some time to clearing your mind. The thoughts may be swimming around your head but you are not focusing on them. You are looking past them and searching your heart. Determine what you feel there. Fear? Courage? Love? If you sense fear in your heart, try to let go of any of the ideas in your mind that are causing this feeling. Feel free to ask your Higher Power to help you release any negative emotions and to fill you with confidence while you’re in this space.

As you inhale and exhale deeply, focus the mind on your breath and notice how you begin to experience something too deep inside of you to be explained here. Find that place of peace. If you don’t find it the first few times, continue over time until you do. It exists in everyone. It is from that place within you that you connect with how powerful you really are. As you realize this, the self-doubt and self-consciousness will dissipate. The more you are able to connect with yourself in that way, the more trust and appreciation you gain for yourself. When the day comes for you to speak with eloquence, confidence and to be self-assured; your mind will reflect back on the state of realization and peace that you attained for those moments and you will be empowered as you stand before any group of people.

We have all met book-smart individuals who seem to have everything going for them intellectually, but don’t reach their fullest potential. When you look a bit closer, you notice that they would prefer not to speak up when they have good ideas. They would rather not be in front of large groups of people. They seem to shrink when face to face with intimidating characters. You realize that they lack the inner-strength and confidence needed to excel socially-demanding environments. It is about being able to connect with others. It is about knowing who you are and feeling comfortable enough with yourself to let others know too. It is about breaking through all psychological barriers so that you can effectively express yourself in a way that others will believe in your competence and will be willing to work alongside you to help accomplish your vision.

Whether in professional or personal settings, these suggestions can be practiced by making them a part of your daily routine. This way you will always be prepared to rise to any challenge, even the unexpected ones. You will want to spend more time on your visualizations when you are specifically aware of upcoming events. The more we practice, the better prepared we are on GAME DAY.

~ CCB