Thursday, 26 April 2012

Good intentions aren't good enough

She looked shocked. 'But, I did it out of the best intentions!'
'Best intentions!' I wasn't happy. 'What exactly was the good intention? How can you say your intentions are good, when you have betrayed my confidence?'
'I am so concerned for you, I felt you needed more prayer, so I rang a few people and asked them to pray.'
'How many people?'
'Well...I don't know...I didn't count...'
'Good intentions are not good enough! That does not excuse your behaviour.'

It is many years since I was part of this sad conversation. I recovered and life continued but I leant something that day. We must be accountable for our actions, without hiding behind the excuse that we meant well. I often remind myself that good intentions are not enough. Good behaviour, coming from sound decisions, is essential.

My husband is a business coach. He helps business owners to grow healthy businesses. One of the first things he requires is they live 'Above the Line' where everyone takes Accountability, Ownership and Responsibility for all their decision. There is no place for Blame-shifting, Excuses, Denial. 
In other words you can choose to live as a Victor or a Victim. Victorious people live above the line. Because they know they'll be accountable for their decisions, they consider them carefully. If the decision is wrong they will take responsibly and fix the mess, make amends, or pay damages. They will say, 'I should have better trained my team member,' rather than blame the team member. 

In a victorious life there is no place for blaming our spouse, our parents, the dog or our sad childhood experiences. 
Victor don't use the kids as an excuse for being late.
Victim: 'I never received an email!' Victor: 'Sorry. I must have overlooked that email.' 
Victim: 'It wasn't my fault. Someone changed the settings.' Victor: 'I didn't check the settings.' 
Victim: 'I'm not yelling!' Victor: 'I over reacted. My apologies. Can we try again?' 

 If you look at the first letter of the words above you'll see that victims, those that don't take ownership, end up in BED, the doona over their head as they feel sorry for themselves. But as you begin to take accountability you find an OAR in your hand, a tool that can be used to move yourself forward. It took me a couple of years of practice to make 'Above the Line' a permanent way of life. The chart remains as a constant reminder on the wall of our house. It brings a productive and harmonious home where we live beyond good intentions.

What about you? Do you practice taking responsibility or do think good intentions are good enough?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The labour pains are beginning

When the nine months is up a woman has no choice - she must bring her baby into the world. Although I've never given birth, I've assisted at the births of six beautiful babies so I understand some of the struggle required to produce a strong, healthy, noisy baby.

But now I'm facing my first birth. Well it feels like that to me. In six weeks my baby is due to be born. I know it is a girl and she is already named. Though the Bud be Bruised will be released on 2nd  June with much fan fare and fun. The question that exercises my mind is this. Will this baby book survive? Will she grow to be strong or will she be a one day wonder and fade away?

And so I labour with everything that is within me to bring forth the full potential of what God has planted. Today we have the 'show' - the first tangible evidence that the birth in eminent. Yes, my publisher has a few copies of the book. On Saturday, I'll hold a copy in my hand. It's very exciting, but, I remind myself,  it is just a bundle of paper. The real book won't be born until it is in readers hands and flowing into their hearts. The real book is the message of hope and love that awaits to leap off the pages.

What if she is still born, if the books land on bedside tables and overstuffed book shelves, gathering dust rather than inspiring minds? What if the book doesn't cry out to be read? What if it is opened and then discarded and forgotten?

I have done everything I can do throughout the two year gestation period to bring forth a strong, healthy specimen. In the inner places, the story was formed to honour God and inspire others to know Him, to love Him and to walk in faith. It was crafted to be an enjoying, compelling read.  But now as the labour begins, the reality will soon be exposed. 

How I work over the next few months will effect the size and scope of the impact of this powerful little book. And like any mother in the birthing suite, I need support people. I need ambassadors, reviewers, gossipers, and friends. Anyone that can tell others about the book. People who can open doors far and wide until this book is in such demand that Koorong will be asking for stock, libraries will be ordering it, and I'll be invited to speak all over Australia.

So get ready! I'll put everything I have into pushing this book as far as I can across the nations. All I ask is that you get a copy, read it and recommend it to others. Pre orders are open, but I'm yet to get payment methods finalised. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Whose favourite kid are you?

'Ma, are you okay in there?'
Miss Four's little voice wafted through the cubicle door. Witt the help of her big sister, she was ready to go swimming and was getting a little impatient.
'Thanks, Darling. Ma's okay.'
As I opened the door, she was propped in front of me, arms wide, bottom out, head back. She wore her brand new pink and white bathers. She spun and twirled for me, knowing that I would confirm her stunning beauty. We left the changing rooms heading toward the surf. Miss Four walked the sand catwalk to the beach, sure the whole world was watching her entrance.
She loves the surf. Her eyes sparkle as the wall of water overshadows her. She screams and grabs my hand, expecting me to swing her out of the water. Her sister encourages her to hide behind me. Soon she discovers she can duck behind my expansive behind and be protected until the white water passes!
It's no wonder Jesus loved the little children. I'm sure they accepted his love and returned it triple fold. They never question His love for them, his motives or his genuineness.
 I'm trying to become more childlike in His presence, because that is the gate into the Kingdom of heaven.
Many adults think I'm a little crazy when I pick up a special rock on the beach and claim God put it there for me, or when I exult over the extravagant sunrise God colours for me. Or when I stoop to examine the tiny flower that blooms so confidently beside the path, somehow avoiding the boots of thoughtless, hurrying humans.

Yet this craziness opens the door of heaven. An extravagant creator loves to have his handiwork noticed, photographed, exclaimed over. In my little corner of Australia, I often see koalas, many beautiful birds, water fowl and an occasional wallaby. All this on my morning walk. So I claim I'm God's favourite - and so I am!
However God is always seeking more favourites. Applications are open. But you must have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to fall in love with Him. But guess what? He's as keen to have your love and admiration, as Miss Four was for my admiration, love and protection . So keen that if you ask, he will open your eyes, ears and heart. Try it! You'll be amazed at what you see.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

He loves me

He loves me! What a stunning moment when I first realised that a certain someone loved me- I mean really loved me! He's not just saying it, he really means it. He likes me! me! Someone actually likes me, wants to spend time with me. He looks at me as though he can't believe his luck, as though I'm the most beautiful creature on the earth.
Can you remember that feeling? I remember Steve asking me to marry him. To me it was unbelievable that anyone would want me for their wife! In a flash, I said 'Yes' in case he changed his mind. Surely no one else would ever want this plain, overweight, loud-mouth farm girl! Yet he did. He even said that God had hand picked me out for him, that we were destined to be together!
When I'd been married to this saintly, patient, godly man for about twenty years, I found someone else who loved me. Two people who like me! Now don't get confused. Quite a lot of people like me, but to really love me, flaws and all, to want to spend their life with me, well that's different.
Now this second man had been wooing me quietly for lots of years. Sometimes I listened but I kept him firmly at arms length. Several times I ignored him for months, choosing my marriage instead, putting Steve first.
This other guy offered me the world-position, riches, power.
'Nah! You're all talk! I don't believe you really love me.' I turned my back again.
Then one day I understood. He loved me so much that He sacrificed His life so that all the stuff I hated about myself could be cleansed, forgiven, changed, restored and made new. He did that for me! Can you believe that?
Just this last week, He has convinced me that He wants me beside Him for all eternity. I am engaged to the King of Kings. He has chosen me. I take His breath away. I captivate Him.
Today as I think of Him resolutely preparing to go to the cross, to willingly endure such horror, rejection, pain and shame, so He could take me as His bride, I melt inside. No longer do I see myself as Cinderella, the daughter who He allowed in His house under sufferance. No I'm His ransomed princess, the love of His life! Jesus, how I love you!
 (The Pic? Just something He left on the beach for me last week!)
PS. He loves you that much too :)