Sharpening Your Ax

If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success. Ecclesiastes 10:10

So you want to cut down a tree. Is it worth the time to sharpen the ax before you use it? Even if it takes a few minutes and some effort?

ABSOLUTELY!

Please don’t waste your limited energy trying to do hard things without the best tools you can use. When you take a minute to plan the best way to tackle a project, you save time working as well as work itself. Time spent getting a little bit better at different skills will give you sharp tools in your tool box, preparing you for each task down the road.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser… Proverbs 9:9a

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. Proverbs 19:20

The more you know and apply, the better you can do what you need to do. The wiser you are, the better you will be able to know what needs to be done.

Wisdom seeks teaching and absorbs it, and wisdom brings success.

A Little Bit Better

Today’s the day — the first day of the new year! Whether you are a dedicated resolution maker or just enjoy a fresh start, it’s a milestone day for all of us.

My challenge for you this year: Get a little better at something of value. You don’t need to become an expert this month, just improve a bit. Take some time to look at your areas of responsibility, list your strengths and weaknesses, and tackle one weakness. Just one.

Remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.elephant-1598359__340

Looking at the Proverbs 31 description is usually intimidating and overwhelming. The breadth of knowledge and skill used there is impressive. But take a deep breath, step back, and think of all the things you already do. There is a wide variety there! If you continue that trend, adding a little more each year, learning something new, sharpening your tool set — think of how much more skill you will have in a few years. You are capable and are able to become even better.

This can be a brand new skill that would be useful but you’ve never tried before (like bread-making or book-keeping) or just getting a little better at what you already do (cleaning the house or studying or calendaring). Either way is progress.

Take advantage of the resources available to you, whether that be through people you know or online or at the library. We are blessed with so much to use for learning. A friend holding you accountable helps a ton (and keeps you from settling for less out of laziness or discouragement).

Sharing what you are learning to encourage others is a fringe benefit of these efforts. We’d love to hear what you will tackle and your plan to do it. Comment below or on social media. We’re in this together.

Happy New Year!

 

Personal Goal-Setting Session Giveaway

Are you thinking about New Year’s resolutions? Are you afraid to think about them because they’ve failed before?

Personal coaching is a tool for you to use as you seek to handle all your responsibilities calmly and confidently. Strategies and support are at hand as you successfully create a resolution — or just a personal goal — and then work the action plan to see it happen. Instead of viewing goals as a certain failure, you can face each year with confidence!

IN their own words

Enter the giveaway for one personal goal-setting session below. You can win and walk away with clearly defined and achievable goals to make 2018 a great year.

 Enter Now

FYI: Learning

Following is a collection of links that may be of interest to you related to our current topic. Note, listing does not imply endorsement. Please evaluate for your own situation.

Encouragement — life-long learning is always in season

Benefits

Break it down — why learning is good for the whole person

Homeschooling — a mom on benefits of raising children who continue learning, hopefully motivating parents to lead by example

Not just for men — well-written encouragement to broaden our horizons

Heavy research — showing who and why and what results came of continuing education, personally and professionally

Resources

Online — 10 online educational sites

Udemy — a plethora of online classes

A Healthy Mind

…mens sana in corpore sano. (Roman poet Juvenal)

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:37

When we think of health, we tend to think of physical health. It has a tendency to be front and center — sometimes due to serious health concerns of loved ones, sometimes because of the neighbor who bought stock in the gym or the many ads containing people who seem bursting with physical fitness. We also periodically think of our spiritual health — usually related to how daily devotional times are going. Mental health also comes up, but it’s often related to our churning emotions or simply needing a day of rest rather than medical issues.

Our physical health does have value on this earth. When our muscles are strong and our systems healthy, we have the energy and strength needed for our God-given responsibilities.

But how often are we concerned with how our brains are working, whether our thinking is sound? Once out of the educational environment, it doesn’t come up that often until old age approaches.

It should. I am intrigued by the studies that explore how mental activities affect the health of the brain, specifically related to age and Alzheimers. I am a little confused, though, by how we tend to think that we can set cruise control after the first 20+ years until we think we are approaching the last 10. That can be a lot of years, which would be many wasted opportunities.

So much could be said on this topic, but I will simply beg this:

Stretch your mind AND stretch your muscles. Work your brain AND workout at the gym. Both will have lasting value when driven by transformed hearts striving to love God with all that we are.

There are many ways to do this, from reading a book to doing a daily crossword to taking a class to memorizing Scripture to engaging in adult conversation. Learning a new language or a new skill will really stretch you, but the rewards match the effort. However you can, please find some ways that work for your current stage of life.