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11 April 2012 · 4:32 am

Feed Your Soul

“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other way.” ~ C.S. Lewis …

It is interesting to imagine our spirits requiring fuel to run properly. We are all aware of the necessity to consume food in order for our bodies to have the nutrition and calories to sustain itself; and the need for petrol for our automobiles in order for them to function properly. Yet how often do we feed our souls? And when we do, what exactly are we feeding them?

The world may often seem like it has what we seek, but it does not. We will never find fulfillment in life without nourishing our souls. And as C.S. Lewis points out, our spirits were created to be sustained by our Creator–it is through God that we are able to function properly as spiritual beings… and that is exactly what we are.

Place your trust in God and let Him lead you in ways that are healthy and good. He knows what you want, He knows what you need, and He will guide, protect, and provide for you everything your soul requires in life.

Feed your soul.

Questions to consider:

What are some ways in which you currently feed your soul? What kind of spiritual nourishment and sustenance does this provide?

Can your soul find fulfillment and purpose without Him? Why?

Why might it be difficult to place our trust in God and in life? How can we entrust our spiritual well-being to our Creator?

For further thought:

“Remember always that there are two things which are more utterly incompatible even than oil and water, and these two are trust and worry. Can you call it trust, when you have given the saving and keeping of your soul into the hands of God, if day after day you are spending hours of anxious thought and questionings about the matter? When people really trust anything, they cease to worry about the thing they have trusted.” ~ Hannah Whitall Smith

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Express Gratitude Daily

“Wake up every morning with a thankful attitude. Expect something good to happen in your life today.” ~ Joel Osteen …

Generally, the first thing on our mind when we wake up is either “I need to shut off this alarm,” or “is it morning already!” And even after we get out of bed and begin to wake up, we are typically still focused on other things such as our morning routine, where we have to be, or the tasks that lie before us. However, when we make gratitude a regular part of our morning routine, we robe ourselves in an attitude that will attract goodness and blessings throughout the day. Additional, we embrace a healthy awareness that is required to be receptive to those blessings.

One thing that has added a new level of complexity to my mornings at a stage in my life many years ago is having children. I now have additional responsibilities after waking up that include ensuring my children are out of bed, dressed, fed, and taken care of or ready to leave for school on time. Still, additional responsibility does not mean that I cannot embrace gratitude at the start of my day.

Having gratitude each morning takes a conscious decision on our part. Perhaps we can make it a daily routine to take 30 seconds after waking up to find gratitude in our heart for the day that lies before us. Maybe listening to a song that reminds us of all the beauty of this world–such as “Beautiful Day by U2,” or “What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong”–is all we need.

The attitudes we embrace each morning will determine so much of our experience for the day. Make it a goal to start each morning with positive and uplifting thoughts, and then stay focused on the blessings and the privileges you have available to you throughout the day.

Take 30 seconds to express gratitude for the blessings of the day.

Questions to consider:

What are the first things you think of when you wake up in the morning?

What are some of the things that distract your thoughts in the morning?

What are some of the blessings in your life? What are some of the privileges you enjoy each day?

For further thought:

“Most mornings when I awake, I am pleasantly surprised to find I am still alive. On occasion I have been known to wake up mean and irritable, but even then I can choose not to stay that way. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may not come. Today is the only slot of time I really have. What a shame to blow it. I want to make today the very best possible. . . . Before I crawl out of bed, I thank the Lord for another day and ask for strength. Maybe I am to clean the house, or work at the office, or talk with a friend over lunch. The tasks are not the issue; my attitude is.” ~ Marabel Morgan

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Be Completely Present For Those Who Need You In Their Life

“We can never untangle all the woes in other people’s lives. We cannot produce miracles overnight. But we can bring a cup of cool water to a thirsty soul, or a scoop of laughter to a lonely heart.” ~ Barbara Johnson …

Life is about helping others. It is about being there for our brothers and sisters when they need us, and them being there when we need them as well. But as compassionate individuals, it can sometimes be difficult to discern just how much help we are obliged to give to others. I know many individuals who feel it their duty to stop at nothing but to solve the problems of others completely. Of course, they have the best of intentions, but most problems require at least some level of effort from the individual facing them.

When dealing with problems in our lives, a small measure of change is generally required from us. And change cannot come from without, it must come from inside us, and it will only come to us when we are ready for it. This often makes “untangling the woes in other people’s lives” a futile endeavor, for it may take years for them to embrace the necessary change within. However, what we can always do is be there for them while they are dealing with the issues by bringing “a cup of cool water to their soul and a scoop of laughter to their lonely heart”–by helping to heal their mind, heart, body, and spirit.

We all face problems in our lives… even those we love dearly. Yet it is not our duty to solve the problems of others; it is our duty to help them to heal so that they can have the best opportunity to face the issues they need to face to experience real growth from within. For what we really need in life is someone who can be there by our side to help us when we fall and to let us know that we are never alone.

Be completely present for those who need you in their life.

Questions to consider:

Do we generally feel that compassion requires us to cure the woes of others?

How can we bring laughter and support to those in need?

Who are the friends you look for in life? Are they people who will solve your problems for you… or people who will always be there with by your side when you face difficulties in life?

For further thought:

“The truest help we can render afflicted people is not to take their burdens from them, but to call out their best energy, that they may be able to bear the burden.” ~ Phillips Brooks

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Discover A Sincere Appreciation For The Blessings In Your Life

“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” ~ Henry Ward Beecher …

Henry is right on here–gratitude is perhaps the strongest magnet available to us for finding heavenly blessings in our lives. Our lives are filled with abundant graces and mercies, but if we are not keeping an awareness of our blessings, much less making the effort to attract them to ourselves, we will discover but a very few of them.

This is the law of attraction: what we give out, we attract more of. When we give of our love and compassion, we attract more love and compassion back into our lives. And when we give of our talents and our time, others give back to us of their talents and time. Likewise, when we embody gratitude in our lives, we attract more blessings our way–blessings that increase our thankfulness.

Life tends to mirror what we give to it–being a good person attracts good people and things into our lives. But we must embrace a sincere appreciation for the blessings we have, sort of like opening the windows of our house so that the fresh air and sunshine can come in. If we can do this, we will find more of the things we value deeply–more heavenly blessings–that we ever imagined possible.

Discover a sincere appreciation for the blessings in your life.

Questions to consider:

Why might we take things for granted?

How can gratitude and appreciation be like a magnet in your life?

What are some of the things you attract to your life through your attitudes and perspectives?

For further thought:

“How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child’s personality. A child is resentful, negative–or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.” ~ John Templeton

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Adopt A New, Positive Daily Routine

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~ John C. Maxwell …

I know quite a few individuals who, for some unknown reason, believe that they can be successful in life without putting forth any effort. But because success is not something that any one of us is entitled to in life, these individuals are often met with disappointment. Success is something we must earn–it is something we create by making small changes in our daily routines.

Consistent effort is an essential ingredient to success; without it, we fall short. That is because success requires that we are actively doing the little things–day in and day out–that serve to cultivate personal growth, build up the world around us, and bring us closer to it. Examples of such could be putting forth the effort to complete our daily demands, or listening to others and showing genuine concern for their needs and wants. It could also mean including others in our discussions and accepting them for who they are, or incorporating a 30-minute walk or cutting an unhealthy snack from our daily routines.

The key is changing something that we do each day that will bring us closer to success. It may not guarantee us fame, power, or wealth, but those things are not really elements of success, are they. Success is reaching our goals and becoming the person we are meant to be. And with every positive change we make, we replace failures with positive gains–each of which will help bring us that much closer to reaching success in the areas of our lives we are working on.

Adopt a new, positive daily routine.

Questions to consider:

Are there truly any real shortcuts to success?

Why do we generally place so little importance on our daily routines?

What are some small positive changes you can make in your life? How might you go applying these?

For further thought:

“Success is not built on success. It is built on failure. It is built on frustration. Sometimes it is built on catastrophe.” ~ Sumner Redstone

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Accept That Others Have Their Own Equally Valid Truth And Knowledge In Their Lives

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” ~ Albert Einstein …

Who am I to judge? I have read in countless places that the measure in which I judge others, will be the measure used to judge me, and the more I experience in life, the more sense this makes to me. I have my beliefs–things I deem Truth and Knowledge–shaken and disproved time and time again. And worst of all, the things I have judged others for–lack of patience, anger, parenting style, movies and TV shows viewed, music listened to, and on and on–I, too, have found myself at fault.

I am sure you know of someone who feels that they are the experts in “Truth and Knowledge.” Perhaps they shout from the pulpits, or the offices and classrooms, or even from on the couch with a beer in hand. In their mind, they know what is right and wrong, and are willing to point out the shortcomings of others, all the while ignoring their own. But as Albert points out, eventually their own arrogance will be the cause of their mockery, for they deem to place themselves on pedestals instead of at the helm of their ships.

Genuine truth and knowledge is obtained when we come to the realization that our own knowledge is limited, and that truth is a matter perspective. And when we are able to accept others for who they are, without passing judgment over them, that is when we best serve ourselves.

Accept that others have their own equally valid truth and knowledge in their lives.

Questions to consider:

What sort of things do you judge in others?

Why is it so tempting to feel that we are in a position to judge others?

What would life be like if we were all less judgmental towards each other?

For further thought:

“If we judge others, it is because we are judging something in ourselves of which we are unaware.” ~ John A. Sandford

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Tend To Your Thoughts So That They Might Add Deeper Purpose To Your Life

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, do not count on harvesting Golden Delicious.” ~ Bill Meyer …

When farmers and gardeners plant seeds in the beginning of the season, they know exactly what will grow from those seeds. Not only that, but they know exactly how to plant them (how far apart and in what order), when to plant them, the spacing between them and the design of planting for best nutrient supply, sunlight, and watering. They truly know and understand everything it takes to produce the greatest amount of their desired crops when harvest time comes around.

As Bill points out, the process of planting seeds for an expected harvest is really quite similar to our thoughts and the outcomes we experience in life. If we wish to plant the seeds of living our lives to the fullest, we do so by focusing on healthy and positive aspects of life and on our possibility and potential to create good in this world. Of course, we need to nourish and maintain these seeds, and provide a healthy environment for them to grow and develop, which includes providing supporting water and nutrients. Most importantly, we must tend to our crops, providing them constant maintenance, care, and upkeep… which includes removing the weeds as they start to appear.

As the farmers of our minds, we reap what we sow. What you are planting in your life today? Are your thoughts the seeds that will bring you closer to the harvest you are expecting?

Tend to your thoughts so that they might add deeper purpose to your life.

Questions to consider:

If you were to gather the resulting produce of your thoughts over the last several months, what would the harvest look like?

What would you need to plant in your life today to grow something more positive? What are some ways you could do so?

Think of some individuals who plant and harvest positive thoughts in their lives. How are they able to do so? How could you begin to adopt some of their practices in your life?

For further thought:

“If you realized just how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” ~ Peace Pilgrim

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