Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"On Fire": How AMBITIOUS Are You?


"And Caleb said, 'He who attacks Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give Achsah my daughter as wife.' So Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it; and he gave him Achsah his daughter as wife. Now it was so, when she came to him, that she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. So she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, 'What do you wish?' She answered, 'Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water.' So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs."---Joshua 15:16-19(NKJV)

A few weeks ago...

I was having dinner with a woman who is still in what I could consider to be emotional- conflict-mixed-with-deep-rooted-denial over a guy. He's not a Christian (he doesn't even represent Christ-like traits from the way she's broken down the relationship). He was (repeatedly) emotionally abusive towards her. They were sexually active. In fact, off the top of my head, I have nothing really positive to say about their relationship (although she insists he was a "good friend" to her). And while her desire/hope to still want the relationship to work out is a blog within itself, there was one thing in particular she said that had my blood pressure rising:

"I don't feel like my purpose can begin without a husband." (Preferably him.)

What is wrong with that sentence? Oh, let me count the ways.

1) All of mankind was born with a "general purpose" and that's to reflect the Godhead's image (Genesis 1:26-28). You don't need a man for that.

2) There is an *individualized purpose and calling* that we each have (Psalm 20:4 & 33:15, Romans 11:29). You don't need a man for that.

3) Once you accept the Lord into your life and are baptized, spiritual gifts start to come into play (I Corinthians 12). You don't need a man for that.

4) Two of the most powerful people in the Bible were single: Christ and Paul.

5) To assume that you should be in a relationship for your life to truly begin is a huge waste of the time that you have now. Plus, it's actually a bit arrogant to take on the approach of "Until I get a man, I'll do basically nothing." Or at least nothing big. (Oh, it's also a form of idolatry too being that you're putting your want for a husband over what God wants you to do *TODAY*.)

This resolve was confirmed just this morning as I was talking to a husband about how his wife basically has no life. By that I mean, she doesn't really have much of a life---eh hem, she has chosen not to have much of a life---without him and so it makes her needy and nagging and miserable.

And do you know a big part of the reason it's come to that? It's because all she ever really wanted was a husband. And now that she has one, she doesn't really know what else to do.

Disturbing, right? Yet it's a huge warning and wake-up call if you allow it to be...

If what consumes your heart and mind, more than anything else, is when you're going to get married, who you are going to get married and what the hold up is (James 1:4), not only are you not taking advantage of this very precious time that you have NOW (Romans 8:28, James 4:13-16), but you're also setting yourself up to not be the best kind of helper (Genesis 2:18) once it is time to be brought (Genesis 2:22) to your beloved. In fact, I just said in a devotional on yesterday that when God said it was not good for man to be alone and so he would make a helper for him, being that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17), "help" means *good help*.

This brings us to the lead Scripture for this post...

Although they pretty much only get a "one-paragraph shout-out", one of my favorite couples in the Bible is Othniel and Achsah. Why? Because they are a great example of what it means to be something that I discern *every godly covenant couple* should be: ambitious: "having a strong desire for success or achievement" and "necessitating extraordinary effort or ability".

Othniel showed his ambitious nature by attacking a place and overtaking it.

Achsah showed her ambitious nature by having good business sense. (Peep her negotiation skills with her father.) She actually brought something to the table.

Yeah, a lot of married people could learn a thing or two from this couple because it really is unfortunate how many men are not clear about their purpose and/or do not have a strong work/ministry ethic. It's also pretty disturbing how many women got married with financial, emotional and self-esteem debt, all the while believing that a man should "fix it". Husbands are not supposed to be the "cure" for our problems. We're actually here to make the quality of their lives better.

So, as you go about this first day of April, take out some time and really think about this one question: "Just how ambitious are you?" Aside from a husband, what would you like to achieve and what are you doing about it...TODAY? Because I have said it before. Not only will reaching goals do wonders for your self-worth and validation but it can actually be the thing that will bring you to your man as well. Usually ambitious people are drawn to other ambitious people, after all.

That said, if you'd like some tips on how you, *right now*, can become more ambitious, I read a good article on that this morning:

1. Make a Commitment

Goals require commitment and dedication. There’s no other way around it. If you are struggling with committing to a specific goal, go back and start the process over. You may not have identified the goal just right, or you may be lacking the necessary motivation to see it though.

2. Keep Track of Your Progress

Just as it’s important to put all of your goals down on paper, it’s equally important to track your progress. You can do this with a goal tracking worksheet, a goal management tool or a method of your own. The key is to regularly check-in on your goal progress and take note of where you are and where you need to go before your next check-in.

3. Break It Down

It’s good to have big and very ambitious goals, but many times, you can make them more attainable and realistic by breaking them down. A set of five smaller goals that will get you to your ambitious goal can be a lot more manageable and a lot less overwhelming.

4. Get Help

You may need external support to accomplish your goals, or maybe you are struggling with the commitment factor and need someone to hold you accountable. While your goals may be personal to you, that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. If you need help, support or just a cheerleader, ask someone your trust.

5. Be Willing to Revisit and Revise

Your regular goal check-in process is the perfect time to consider if the path you’re taking to accomplish your goals is valid. You may find that you have more clarity after you’ve outlined your goal. It’s okay to make changes and modifications, as long as they support what you set out to do.

6. Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Thinking about the big picture is important, especially with long-term goals. While there will be times when you’ll be so focused on working to move forward that you may not consider the end result, it’s necessary to take time to think about where you’re going. Envisioning your success can help keep you motivated.

7. Be Consistent

Consistency and routine can play an important role in reaching your goals. Be consistent when you have progress check-ins, how you track your advancement, and how and when you focus on your goals. The more routine you can make the process, the easier it will be to keep going.

8. Let Your Goals Grow Up

Life changes and so will your goals. You may have a few long-term goals that span the next few years, but if you consider them set in stone, you may miss out on modifying your plan to fit current business, lifestyle and societal changes. In order to keep your goals relevant and realistic, let them change and grow as you do the same.

9. Focus on Positive Thinking

As cliché as it may be, positive thinking can empower you to reach success. If you consistently think negatively, you may be sabotaging your entire goal process. Positive thinking and self-affirming mantras really can get you through the most challenging parts of reaching your goals.

10. Celebrate Every Success

You can’t expect yourself to work steadily toward a goal without any type of reward along the way. Not only is that bad for your morale, but it can diminish the power of the entire process. Take time to celebrate every success for every goal, no matter how big or small. It will build your confidence and commitment and make it easier to keep pushing to reach those large-scale future goals.

What do you do to ensure your own success? Are there certain processes that you use to make it easier to strive for even the most ambitious goals?

OK, so you caught how the first point was about being committed, right?

This verse comes to mind: "Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established." (Proverbs 16:3-NKJV) And when it comes to ambition in general, so does this: "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich." (Proverbs 13:4-NKJV)

You know, when you read about the Proverbs 31 woman, she was indeed married. Yet a part of the reason why she was praised by her family was because she was so ambitious.

Ambition. It's definitely something to think about. *And (prayerfully) do something about too*.

Not once you get married, but right now...in your singleness.

Too funny. I just heard this (kinda) throwback as I was completing this. Ah. #confirmation (LOL)




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