All in a Moment.

February 4, 2010 - One Response

Have you ever found yourself praying really hard for a situation you are in?

Maybe it’s about making a decision about a new job, a move to another state, or a relationship decision. Or maybe it’s while you are waiting for test results from the doctor…

Let me walk you through a moment I had. And I stress ‘moment’ because it’s amazing what can happen in a moment…

A few months ago I went to the doctor for a routine physical exam. I returned two days later to get my signed physical form stating that I was in perfect and excellent condition. While I was there, I decided I would have my blood pressure checked. So the nurse told me to follow her out of the waiting room… Let me state that at this point I’m in a great mood… I mean, I’m giving high-fives to the nurses and chest bumps to the doctors.. I mean I’m in a great mood, bouncing off the walls and whistling. I’m pretty sure I had pockets full of sunshine…

The nurse straps my arm into the machine to check my blood pressure and then says, “Oh yeah… something funky showed up in your blood work. You have elevated liver enzymes. I don’t think I would worry though, because they can cut it right out. The doctor wants to see you right away so he can talk it over with you.”  – And those were her exact words. 

My response was this, “………….”

And I was thinking, “Cut what outta what outta who?”

You could hear crickets in the room and I’m pretty sure I saw a few tumbleweeds floating behind the nurse…

All in a moment.

I then found myself being scheduled for an ultrasound to check for liver cancer, then I found myself with a needle in my arm as nurses took 75 gallons of blood so I could be  tested for HIV, Hepatitis (a,b, and c), Autoimmune Hepatitis, multiple different parasites, mononucleosis, and because of other symptoms- I was scheduled for an MRI on my brain….

All in a moment.

I then had to do what nobody likes to do in this situation: wait.

It’s a very humbling period of time. A time where you literally don’t know if your time here is up. A time of reflection and a time where you are thinking about all the things you haven’t accomplished.  Wondering… is this really it for me?  It’s a moment where it’s basically you and God.  Your family can love you and your friends can support you.  But only your God can offer that unfathomable dimension where you come to terms with your life and death, and understanding that the time spent on earth is very miniscule in perspective of Eternity.

We become so short-sighted by our problems and situations with work, family-conflicts, traffic jams, petty misunderstandings, and often times our own pride. 

Then… that moment happens.

It’s in these moments that God snaps His fingers and says, “Hey, look at Me. Look down the road. See the big picture.”

“It’s these moments that seem so ordinary to outsiders or those just watching, but become so extraordinary when you enter them.”

While I am still unsure of the cause of this health issue, I can thankfully say it isn’t caused by any of the aforementioned problems.

It’s in these moments we gain insight, perspective, understanding, wisdom and vision… We are commanded to live our lives to the fullest.

And it’s all about embracing the moments we have been given.

Seek them. Live them. Enjoy them.   

And of course… Shut up and smile.

~Andrew Stout

The Man in the Mirror

February 2, 2010 - 2 Responses

 

Are you looking for a way to control the uncontrollable?  I just found a way to do exactly that…

Step One: Find a mirror.

Step Two: Look in the mirror.

Step Three: Realize that is the only person you can control.

When you come to the understanding that you can only control you, you then have the ability to control your attitudes, thoughts, and actions.  When this happens you have peace and gain understanding of outside factors:  A relative that only thinks about themself, an aunt that dies unexpectedly, a spouse that walks out on you in the middle of the night, a boyfriend that uses you as a punching bag, the doctor that tells you that you have the same disease as Benjamin Buttons and you should probably buy a pair of training wheels for your Schwinn…

You can’t stop it from raining, but you can be the sunshine in the room.  You are the weather. My point is that you can only control you. But by realizing so, you gain control.  

 While at the airport, there were some guys getting on the plane. One of the guys had a seat in first-class and his friends we’re giving him a hard time about it as they packed themselves in the back of the coach section.  Well the plane had brake problems and would not be able to fly-out so they had to switch planes. The particular plane they moved to did not have a first-class section, so the friend that was in first-class now lost his seating and joined his friends- crammed in the back of the plane. As they did this, the guys were cracking on him about how he lost his first-class seating. The particular friend replied with, “No, now we all have first-class.”  As Erwin McManus would say, “Most people are waiting to be bumped to first-class, while some bring first-class with them.”

You are the weather.

Why is it that nearly everytime you see a picture of yourself, you comment on how you don’t like the way you look or you say how awful you appear in a video? We tend to only count our blemishes instead of our blessings.  It’s time to look in the mirror and see the blessings and expect the greatness that lies in each of us.  “When you associate yourself with your environment you tend to become a victim of the system or circumstance.”  Evaluate your environment or circumstance.   Do you react to the moment or are you proactive to the moment? Take control of your mind and heart. Only you and God should be able to control your pulse.

Don’t let somone else’s bad day affect your attitude. Next time you get caught-up in becoming a victim of somebody else’s negativity, it might be a good time to take a quick glance at the person in the mirror. . .

~Andrew Stout

Potent(ial)

January 15, 2010 - One Response

This past year I had the opportunity to spend two months in Brazil and also some time in Haiti. And interestingly, it seemed everywhere I went I would hear about potential; about how much potential our culture has and how much potential our generation has.

And I’m sure, individually, you all have heard someone tell you that you have potential. “Joe! You have all the potential in the world!” or “Kristine, you are just FULL of potential!” Erwin McManus adds, “And if you’re 20-25 years old, it’s a compliment.  That untapped capacity, that hint of greatness not yet developed. Potential: a word of praise. And then you’re 30, and you still have all this potential.  And it’s great! Then you start pushing 40 and you have all this potential, and that’s good. Then you get to 50. If you’re 50 years old and someone looks at you and says you are full of potential, you need to excuse yourself, step into a dark closet and never come out.”

Do you see what happened? What once was a statement of promise is now an assessment of lost opportunity. You see, there comes a point when you are not supposed to be full of potential.  You’re supposed to be full of talent and product. There must be that shift from where we had potential to where we are potent.

SO…  I’ve been trying to think about ways to develop potential. And you can kind of come up with that classic list of things in your head, like: Have a great attitude, be disciplined, seek greatness, yada, yada, yada… And those things are critical and must be done, but I think a simpler way of encompassing all these things is to, “Sieze the moment.” I’m not saying “live for the moment,” there’s a difference. One is about yourself, the other is all about the Kingdom. I’m saying, Seize the power  of the moment you’re in. Because that’s all you have. And Because that’s all you’re promised.

God did not have to create you.  The fact He did, should say something to you and about you.  Let me paint you a picture. . .

God is up there doing God things… You know- creating the Universe, designing the Solar System, putting the earth on its axis.  And He gives it a spin and steps back and says, “You know what this world needs? This World needs a, George.” And “This world could really use Michelle.”  He has given each of us a unique, one-of-a-kind assignment from Him. And He has given each of us the gifts and the potential to fulfill our purpose.

The question is: What are you going to do with your potential? What are you going to do with this moment?

 Click here.

                                                                                                                            

 ~Andrew Stout

It’s time.

January 14, 2010 - Leave a Response

It’s just time.

Time to be positive and time to enjoy this journey. It’s a new year and with the new year, come new resolutions. Why do most new year’s resolutions only last about a week? – Because there is no planning.  We all have read the quote, “If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.”  As cliché as it is, it’s true.  So this is the game plan: Be positive. Control the thoughts that enter your mind. Confront the pessimistic, Filter the unconstructive, And eliminate the negative.  It’s time to set goals (short-term and long), it’s time to be visible and get out of our comfort zones, embrace our community and world, and serve the God that gave us life.  

Let’s get on board this odyssey called life and get the most out of the moments we have been given.  It’s time to shut up about our problems and fears. It’s time to get ourselves together and move forward. It’s time to accomplish goals and reach dreams.  It’s just time. So shut up, smile, and live like you actually have a heart beat.

~Andrew Stout