Recently I spoke with a friend of mine who served as a Regional Manager for President Barak Obama in the 2012 elections. I called her because I was concerned about all of the recent criticisms and allegations leveled at the President and his Administration. I asked her how does the President seem to operate so calmly under this heavy undo pressure, and her response helped me to answer a question that someone had asked me. Her response was that the President simply remains focused on the job duties that he faces on a daily basis and allows others who are assigned that position of “handling” public relations and opinions to do their jobs. Recalling comments that he has made in the past, I remember him saying, (paraphrasing), “I have to do the job that the American people elected me to do.”
And that is a perfect example of what we, as God’s elect, must do wherever we work or serve. We have been placed in positions that are critical to the up-building of the Kingdom of God. As executives and administrative support to some of the greatest leaders on earth, we have been charged with serious responsibilities. The implications and ramifications of the situations and circumstances that we handle affect the lives of men and women that our leaders are charged to teach, lead and nurture. Our focus must remain on the job at hand and insure that we help them to stay on point while they are pulled in so many different directions.
We understand that personal agendas and motives can sometimes potentially impede or stall projects, and policies and procedures as mandated by our leaders. We that are strategically placed must utilize our natural skills and spiritual gifts to help keep the ship on course. We should re-affirm our commitment and dedication to the Creator and the mission.
In Biblical times, we turn to Daniel, who was described thusly: “Now this Daniel was distinguishing himself above the other supervisors and the satraps, for he had an extraordinary (excellent) spirit. In fact the king intended to appoint him over the entire kingdom.” (Daniel 6:3 - NET) I believe that we all agree that Daniel operated in less than ideal circumstances while in captivity under King Darius. When his colleagues tried to find ways to accuse him to the King in order to dissuade him from promoting Daniel, vs.4b says: “But they were unable to find any such damaging evidence, because he was trustworthy and guilty of no negligence or corruption.” The only thing they were able to charge him with was concerning serving his God.
God has imparted to each of us gifts and talents, but He has also put strength and power within us to overcome the things around us that would draw us away from serving to the best of our abilities. We must learn to draw from within to keep pushing forward and keep our focus on the “prize” that Paul reminds us to strive for in Philippians 3:14 – 16. From the Message: [12 – 16] “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything that God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.”
The path is set before us, and many times we must have tunnel vision in order to maintain the level of commitment that is necessary to continue the journey. Focus, discipline, determination…these are the watch words that will help us to disregard negative comments from others, overlook unwarranted actions, and plow the fertile ground that we have been placed in to sow. How do you work in a spirit of excellence in a difficult environment? Persevere and you will be rewarded by knowing that you have overcome to claim the prize and taste the victory. Defy obstacles and just keep moving forward. Dig deep within and you will find the inner strength to finish your course.
A Life-Affirming Experience
The end of August 2012 was an historical period in the lives of men and women who came to Dallas, Texas to be equipped, supported, mentored, and ministered to by the members of C.E.A.S.E. and its guest speakers and facilitators. And we can say without equivocation that God met us there, and we were able to fulfill that mission.
We want to certainly thank each of you that were able to attend this year's C.E.A.S.E. Conference which had as its theme: Advancing Administration: "Solving, Simplifying, and Serving." The Conference proved to be a time of fellowship, education, enlightenment, and fun for all of us. But most importantly, for myself and others that I talked with, it was a life-affirming experience.
It is important that we understand that there are others in the same place that we are, and that they share the same goals and desires that we have set for ourselves. We were challenged to think and to act!
As we sometimes do, I have been contemplating my future, and wondering where the next phase of my life will take me. I have worked for my present employer for over 30 years, and am starting to consider retirement, not from the working force, but to transition to something else. As I was traveling to Dallas, I sat next to a beautiful woman who SAID that she was 84 years old, but did not look it. She said that she learned to play the piano when she was 75 years old, and now is taking Spanish classes.
With the emphasis on youth and staying young, many times we can feel that we have nothing else to offer or anything else to conquer, but as we listened to our speakers, we were encouraged to put action behind the theme, Applying Administration and serving one another by sharing the knowledge, skill and expertise we have as more seasoned or mature administrative professionals, with those who were younger in years of service, to strengthen their confidence in being called for such a time as this. With that sharing we benefited from the exchange they gave in being strong and having new ideas and insights to take the work even further. The Bible does say, "he calls the young because they're strong and the old because they know the way." I John 2:14.
The interesting thing about life is the ability to transform and to transition from one important phase of life to another. Even in our busy days, if we can learn to balance and prioritize, there are so many things that can add value to our existence. One of my co-workers took classes in Mandarin last semester, and this semester, began an advanced class of Spanish, in which she is already fluent, and if her schedule permits next year she will continue to advance in Mandarin. One of my college professors said that she takes a class every semester at the school, where she works, in a field that she is not familiar with so that she can always challenge herself.
For those of us who feel "trapped" in a place where life may have become mundane, there are so many things around that challenge us to learn something new every day. My heart's passion is to teach, and in order to do so, I have to broaden my horizons and hone my skills; so that is my new quest. But must I learn new subject matter or explore the vast avenues that are still open to me in the field where I have sowed seeds all these years?
Through the speakers, teachers, facilitators and psalmists, at the C.E.A.S.E. conference, we came to discover that where we are planted for this season in our lives, we must FULLY develop in every way that God has for us. It helped to affirm that the things that have been floating around in our heads, and stirring our hearts, are the things that God has ordained for us to do to complete the course that He on which he has set our lives. Go forward in the field that you are in, and determine if you have done all that you could to develop, enlighten, encourage and empower the people that you serve. Have you explored every "nook and cranny" that this place has to discover? If not, ask God to help you dig a little deeper!
A few months ago, I came up with a great idea, I thought, and that was that we should include a blog on our website. I started out with great enthusiasm, and actually wrote a couple of articles. But then, I found myself floundering, and did not understand why, so I went to the only source that I know, and I asked God why can’t I seem to get from base one to base two.
Then, I realized that I was trying to write blogs about the technical side of being an Administrator/Administrative Assistant/Support Staff person. And for those of you that know us, Beverly is that side of our team. I am on the other side, whether right brain or left brain, I don’t know. I am the one that is touchy-feely, and always want to reach out and see how people are feeling;, what is going on with them. Both of us have areas of strength in the technical side and human side, but we have to acknowledge where our greater interest lie. [Just a side note, I had an iPad first, but guess who knows how to work all of the programs – I mean apps; knows about the games, and gives instruction to the other on how to operate the device. Not calling any names, but her initials are B.R.]
So, this is about you today, and a check-in to see how you are doing in this chaotic and maddening world. Sometimes during the summer, things seem to slow down with family as far as school for the children, hectic schedules for work, and the fast-paced life that we live. Summer connotes long walks, vacations, relaxation, enjoying family and friends that we haven’t seen for a long time, and generally re-grouping for the latter part of the year.
Doesn’t it seem that the first few months of 2012 have passed by in a flash? We had a wonderful break for the 4th of July, but it is hard to believe that next Wednesday is already August 1st. The Bible speaks of the fact that “for the sake of the elect” God would shorten the days. But it seems that I am still operating on the old system of the “lazy days of summer.” Trust me the time almost passed me by before I realized that we are coming into the home stretch of these beautiful days of summer.
Have you had a chance this summer to take advantage of any book clubs, any tours around your area, any plays in the park, or any concerts in the outdoor venues in your area? Did you and your significant other, or your family have some days of just pure fun? Make sure that before these wonderful days pass that you purposefully stop and do just that. And if you are in the parts of the country that have experienced the sweltering heat wave of 2012, find some FREE and fun things to do with your spouse, your children, your girlfriends, the fellas, or whomever you choose, or maybe spend some quality time with yourself.
And remember that if you have set out to “find yourself” this summer, start with God and he will help you. For when you find yourself in God, you have found the perfect place to rest and relax.
A few weeks ago, we had a wonderful prayer call, and we were blessed following to have a conference call with interested parties that wanted to know more about the upcoming 2012 C.E.A.S.E. Conference. We are excited about what God is doing for us and for C.E.A.S.E.
During the conference call we talked about something that I know concerns all of us and that is time management. I mentioned that I wanted to make sure that if someone teaches that in one of our sessions that I could attend that session. Beverly mentioned that she has come to understand that there is a “new norm” as it relates to managing time and the diverse assignments that we have come across our desk everyday. It is a new level of prioritizing and execution.
The challenge that we face today is that as we strive to work in excellence, not only are we pulled in several different directions, but so are our leaders and congregations, our families, as well as ourselves. In order to prioritize and function properly, planning becomes even more crucial. And one important element that many of us are confronted by is the need to delegate responsibilities to others, whether they are other staff members or dependable volunteers.
There are several sources that can assist us in time management online and in reference books. From Amazon. com, I found three books that peaked my interest:
One that caught my attention was Time Management in An Instant: 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day, edited by Jodi Brandon. A few of the first 10 chapters: Assess Your Time Management Skills, Understand Your Relationship with Time, Get Out of Time Denial (oops, how’d she know?), Design Goals in All Areas of Your Life, and Make Your Goals Specific.
Julie Morgenstern offers a look at the whys and wherefores of your challenge with time in the book entitled, Time Management from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule, and Your Life. The book is divided into five sections that can be studied independently and then joined together to work through the fight to cope with your struggle to reign in your time. Part I, Laying the Foundation, Morgenstern asks “What’s Holding You Back?” In Part 3, Analyze – Tuning in to Who You Are. And in Part 4, Strategies, she deals with “Time Mapping: Creating Your Ideal Balance.”
And finally, David Allen, in Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, in Part 1, challenges us to see “A New Practice for A New Reality.” How many times have we heard the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result? (From Amazon.com: “Allen's premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve effective productivity and unleash our creative potential.”)
Have you completely read and tried the strategies from all of the books, CD’s and DVD’s that you have bought or borrowed regarding time management? You may not need to buy any new books perhaps you should go back and read the ones that you already possess. Did you try Blanchard’s suggestions from the One Minute Manager that you bought a few years ago?
Whichever strategy that you utilize, we are encouraged to employ the various devices that are at our disposal for keeping track of calendars and projects. The new technology of “syncing” everything so that all of the tools are able to remind us of what we need to do is helpful in making sure that we can put our finger on what we should be doing or where we should be headed. And those of us that still defy all of the technology, and rely on one manual method or the other are reminded by the savvier among us that there is hope.
And of course, we know that the internet is a source of vast sites that present articles and testimonials that will attest to the transformation of the authors from time-wasters to time managers.
Time management is not enhanced by frustration and despair. In order to continue to execute the tasks of the day, take momentary breaks during the day to review completed assignments, walk away from your desk and distract yourself for a few minutes, drink water (important to get in the allotted amount needed for daily hydration), do that new two-minute exercise that you learned that reinvigorates you, or just take a few deep-cleansing breaths to get the oxygen flowing again.
Continue to manage your time as you have heard in all of the seminars and or have read in the books that line your shelf, and don’t let time manage you.
We have recently been through a great recession that costs many people
millions of dollars in losses, portfolios and property. It has caused
most of us to do some great soul-searching and it brings us to the
question, what is my greatest investment? Most of us have found that
the answer lies within us, and that is, "you are your most significant
Who are you and what have you been gifted to do? You were first of all
fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator, God, endowed with the
special gifts and talents that were unique only to you. You were given
a personality and abilities to offer to the world the distinctive
individual that can contribute the fullness of your love and personhood.
Do you know how important you are to the universe? You were created
with a purpose to fulfill; one that no one else can accomplish, but you.
As you have matriculated through life, you have become educated and
experienced, and if you are blessed you have found your place, and your
niche in society. Your family and friends look to you for strength and
wisdom, and they know that if they seek your guidance, you will help
them to fulfill their destiny. But, the question today is what about
What have you done recently to continue to protect your investment?
What are you presently engaged in that will keep you sharp and on point?
Have you returned to school either to earn another degree or taken
on-line courses that will strengthen the skills on your job? Or have
you been reading books that will uplift you, and help you to realize
greater potential? Have you had the good fortune of honing your cooking
skills, found a greater love for your talent of decorating or making
beautiful flower arrangements? Have you found the secret of enjoying
your downtime by resting and taking care of you?
Whatever you can find to do that will help you to be a healthier and
happier person helps you continue to be in tune with your place in
God’s universe. Allow yourself the chance to do that. All of us will
not climb the great mountains of the world, or make great medical
discoveries; but if you can find your hands involved in an endeavor that
will bring a smile to your face or the face of someone that you care
about, it is a sign that you are staying involved in the pastime of
Through this blog, we will suggest opportunities for taking a look at
yourself through the prism that is reflective of God, for as Ilyana
VanZandt recently mentioned, where you are, know that He is there with
you. Have you had the good fortune of participating in any of the Life
Classes on OWN or have you seen any of the revealing lessons that others
have learned through their life?
What we are really saying is, participate in life; allow your
perspective about life to be broadened, and you will find that your
horizons are great!
Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know if you have suggestions and continue the conversation to help us invest in ourselves. This is..."The Coach's Corner."