This is Not a Dress Rehearsal! How This Fact Should Change the Way We Live

As the New Year rolls by and everyone is working on making resolutions and turning over new leafs, I want to share with you something on my heart that I hope will inspire you to seize the New Year and today with more passion and purpose that ever before.

I was listening to a podcast by Michelle Barnes, a successful woman in my industry that I look up to, and she said something that hit me right between the eyes. As she was talking about achieving goals in life, she said, “As far as I’m aware, this is not a dress rehearsal.”

Think about that for a moment. Life is not a dress rehearsal. We only get one life and it’s a very short one at that. Our thoughts, behaviors and actions are of utmost importance because they influence the outcome of our life.

I come across all kinds of people in my line of work. There’s the chronically overwhelmed person who is always too busy to look outside of themselves. There is the second guesser who wants to make a change in their life and achieve something important to them but instead wastes all their time thinking about it and questioning every angle that they never actually make it happen. There’s the person who is living life asleep at the wheel because they’ve never had the ambition to sit down and figure out what they want or where they’re going.

I’m not saying we all have it figured out or that we even should. I do think it’s important to have an idea of what direction you are heading in life and to make sure you are on the path to living the life you want, but even if you have no idea what you’re doing in life, that still doesn’t mean you have to waste your life.

As a Christian, I know God has a purpose and a plan for me, even if I haven’t figured out what it is yet. All I need is to walk through life following Jesus and doing the good things He has planned in advance for me to do. I know I am called to love and serve others. I am called to treat people how I would want them to treat me. I am called to become a better person everyday. I am not called to be lazy but to work hard and make the most of the gifts and talents God has given me. I am called to honor God with my thoughts, motives, and actions.

I can’t take today or any day in this life for granted. As long as I have life and breath, I am here to serve God to the best of my abilities. This is not a dress rehearsal. I will never get another chance at today. Someday, I have to stand before God and give an account for every word I have spoken and every thought and action I have ever done. I better be ready.

My hope in writing this is to encourage you to look at your life and evaluate if you are truly living it to the fullest and making the most of every day. Maybe you need to make a big change in direction for your life- the time is now. Maybe you aren’t happy with the turn your life has taken or you have flaws that hinder your quality of life- recognizing that is the first step, now go out and work towards improving in those areas! Maybe you need to look outside yourself a bit more and invest in the people around and make an impact on them.

You only have one shot at today. You may only have one chance to impact that person you walked past in the street. You don’t know how long you’re here for. You are the only one sitting at your desk, you are the only one in your marriage, you are the only one in your specific role in your child’s life. Invest in other. Smile at the person you walk past in the street. Listen more than you speak. Give more than you take. This is not a dress rehearsal and you only have one shot at today, so make the most of it!

Goal Crusher Guide: My How-To System for Achieving Your Dreams

Fear and How it Keeps You Down

As I am reading “Your Beautiful Purpose” By Susie Larson, I’ve had some major breakthroughs in my understanding of fear and the role it has in my life. I hope you get value from this as well!

Are you aware of your fears? Do you know what they are, where they stem from, and how much control they have over the way you live your life?

Recently I have had a rude awakening to fears that have been deeply rooted in me for years- and the scariest part is, up until now, I didn’t even know they existed! Think about that. I didn’t even know they were there, and yet they had been controlling my thoughts, actions, and happiness all this time. Yikes!

Did you know that your fears are closely linked to your calling? That’s right. What you are afraid of is not an accident. It is strategic. Now I’m not talking about trivial fears, like the fear of heights, or of spiders. I’m not saying that if you’re terrified of public speaking that you are supposed to become a motivational speaker. Hear me out:

God has a plan for your life. He gave you gifts, talents, and abilities that are intended to be used for His purposes. He gave you passions and desires to guide you on how to use those gifts and talents.

Satan also has a plan for your life. His plan is to do whatever it takes to keep you from living out God’s plan. He wants to destroy, distract, and derail you.  Did you know that Satan realizes your potential before you even do? When he sees the potential you have to do great things for God, he sets himself on a mission to make sure you never accomplish all that you could and that you never realize your potential. If he can get you living life on autopilot, of if he can distract you with your busy schedule, or anything else to keep you from branching out and investing your time and talents somewhere else, then he is winning. A big tool he uses to do this is Fear.

Fear is deceptive. Just because we’re afraid of something doesn’t mean we should be. It doesn’t mean our fear is based on truth. In fact, what we are afraid of may not even be real! How many times have you not done something because you’re afraid of what others would think? Well the reality is, they aren’t thinking anything because you haven’t even done it yet! On top of that, you don’t actually know what they will think! In this scenario, you’re afraid of something that isn’t a reality, and isn’t based on facts or truth. Nevertheless, it’s controlling you.

Often times, the devil uses fear to keep us from using our gifts and talents for the Lord. The very thing you are afraid of may be the very thing that could unlock your potential and enable you to do great things in your life. I’ll give you an example:

I am just starting to realize that one of my gifts is to invest in and love others. I’ve always done this naturally and it honestly always has bothered me. I’ve found myself in countless one sided friendships, I’ve had people think they can walk all over me because of how nice I am to them, and I’ve been hurt. Alot. It’s hard to find other friends that give the same level of love and loyalty that I think is a no brainer. I often times feel let down by friendships because to me, I don’t feel like the other person is being that great of a friend.

After years of having friendships end in disappointment or hurt, I began to draw back. I told myself to cut people out and became increasingly guarded with other people. Now yes, it is always important to be cautious in friendship and to guard yourself to an extent, but what I was doing was different.

There is a difference between being cautious and being withholding. I found myself withholding my friendship. I would withhold acts of service to to others thinking, “They don’t deserve that from me.” Well, maybe some people don’t and it’s ok to draw that line, but the reality is: God tells us to love others, He tells us to do unto others as we would want them to do to us- NOT do unto others and they HAVE done to us. He gave me the ability to invest in others and to make others feel special. He gave me eyes to see people in a different light and see the good in them even if others don’t. Those are gifts, and they are to be used- not withheld because I’m scared of getting hurt. Satan was using my fear of getting hurt to keep me from using some of my biggest strengths. I am SO glad God is making me aware of this fear, otherwise Satan would be winning big time in that area of my life right now!

So, ask yourself right now, what are you afraid of? What things are controlling you? Here’s some ideas:

  • Are you so afraid of rejection that you don’t put yourself out there enough to make a difference? (Guys,  if you don’t have any haters, you’re not playing big enough.)
  • Are you too afraid of failing that you never even try and therefore will never accomplish all that you are capable of?
  • Are you too afraid of change to take a risk and change your life in a way that you should?

These are just some ideas I am throwing out there. I challenge you to think about your life and think about the areas that you are gifted in. Are you using those gifts to their full potential? Or are you being held back by fears and insecurities?

God created you for a purpose. Are you fulfilling that purpose? I encourage you to break the chains of fear today. Begin to unlock your gifts and talents and put them to use! You will be shocked by your ability to positively impact not only your own life but those around you!

VICTIM Mentality vs. VICTOR Mentality

My Dad used to tell me “Don’t compare the inside of you to the outside of others.” Think about that for a moment. 

As we go through life, we are constantly seeing other people’s lives from an external perspective. We see their staged and edited photos on instagram, their prepared facebook lives, their smile when they are out in public, etc. We see someone else having the success we want and we wonder why everything seems to be falling into place for them while everything is falling apart for us.  We think we see others getting everything they want while we may not even know what we want in life, or we have been waiting for a long time to see it become a reality. 

What happens next? We get discouraged, or worse, we have a pity party. We become focused on our obstacles and limitations and we ask “Why me?” Why do I have to deal with this struggle? Why is my life more difficult than theirs? Why does this have to happen to me? 

The victim asks “why me?” A person with victim mentality is focused on their limitations. They focus on the here and now. They are consumed with how busy and chaotic their life is, how big of obstacles stand in their way, and how much harder they have it than others. The victim will always be a victim. They will never overcome. They will never succeed in the midst of their trials. As Ray Higdon says, “If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them.”

The VICTOR however, asks a different question. Being victorious over our struggles and obstacles requires us to realize a few things. 

First, the victor realizes that everyone has obstacles, and overcoming them is a choice. Success very rarely just falls into someone’s lap. As the saying goes, “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.” When the victor sees someone experiencing success, they are not discouraged, they are inspired. They say “If that person could do it, then SO CAN I.” Instead of asking “Why me?”  when they look at someone else winning in life, they ask “Why NOT me?” They know that someone, somewhere, in a more difficult situation than themselves was able to succeed, so THEY CAN TOO!

The second thing they realize is that they are worthy. Their dreams are just as important as the person at the top. Their talents and abilities are meant to be used and they are doing themselves and the world a disservice if they keep them hidden away. They know that they are worthy of happiness. That they are allowed and able to have the life they want to have. They ALLOW themselves to pursue their dreams and they know that they are capable of achieving them. When they see someone who has something they want, they look and say, “I want to go after that too. That person has it, so why shouldn’t I?”

Lastly, the victor learns to EMBRACE their obstacles. When it came to trials, my Mom and Dad taught me to practice something they called “The 4 E’s”. The 4 E’s stand for: Expect, Embrace, Endure, and Enjoy. The point of this this philosophy is that trials are inevitable. Your trials are going to make you who you are. Without your hardships, you won’t be able to help someone in this particular way, or inspire someone who has gone through something similar. Expect trials in life, Endure them because you’re not in control, Embrace them because there is a purpose and a reason that you are going through this, and Enjoy them because they are a good and necessary part of life. 

The Victim asks “Why Me?” The Victor asks “Why NOT Me?” 

So ask yourself honestly, which mentality do you have? Do you fight to keep your limitations or do you fight to overcome them? Do you believe you are worthy of success or do you believe your dreams can’t really happen for someone in your shoes? Do you expect trials and use them to empower you or do you get mentally and emotionally derailed by them? 

I’m sure we all struggle with being a victim- I know I certainly do at times! However, when we know better, we do better! Understanding our thinking habits is the first step to improvement!

I hope this post helps you not only identify what thinking habits you need to improve on, but I hope it also inspires you and encourages you that you CAN achieve what you want in life! You do not have to be a victim of your circumstances. You can be a victor, you can be the person you want to be and live out your life purpose in a way you never dreamed was possible. The only thing ultimately standing in your way, is you.