Get Off the Treadmill ©

P.E.A.R.sPeriodic Encouragement And Reminders
Get Off the Treadmill ©
by
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Last night, I was re-reading a book by Larry Julian (“God is My CEO”) on business planning and development. (Larry is a consultant who specializes in leadership development and has worked with both small and large companies, including: 3M, AT&T, and General Mills.)

In the introduction, Larry shared the following story:

I was recently asked to conduct a leadership program for a group of San Francisco sales executives.  As part of my preparation, the leader asked me to weave in a module on stress management.  During the program, I discovered that the entire group was on the brink of a collective nervous breakdown.  They were under relentless pressure to produce results.  All felt as if they were strapped to a treadmill whose speed kept increasing.

I wanted to help them find the root cause of their situation.  The group however, wanted me only to equip them with skills so I could help them run their treadmill faster and better.  In essence they wanted me to teach them how to go down the wrong path more efficiently.

The bottom-line had become their god.  It was insatiable.  No matter how hard they worked, it was never enough, nor could it ever be enough.  These executives were talented, intelligent, capable people who somewhere along the way, lost focus on what is truly meaningful and important.  They had become slaves to bottom-line pressure and, as a result, become professionally ineffective and personally burnt out.

* * * * *

I, for one, know it’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace and demands of life and feel the tug to seek out a quick-fix or some magic process that’s promised to produce more clients and more money.

There are, in fact, many organizations in the business and professional world that offer seminars and coaching programs each of which promise to teach systems and methods aimed at creating financial success.  Some are based on marketing techniques; some emphasize internal restructuring of the business or professional practice; some suggest personal testing for employees, and some recommend special customer or client interview processes.

Though each of them can serve as useful tools, they often become just another parallel target point (or as Larry Julian says, another god) used as a stepping stone toward what still remains their ultimate god – of bottom-line financial success.

These “solutions” don’t solve the underlying problem, however.  They may help us continue down the wrong path more efficiently, but…, it’s still with the wrong bottom-line focus on a treadmill that keeps right on turning.

The Bible, (as usual) sums it up best with these words: “A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”  2 Peter 2:19b

Thus, whether it’s financial “success” and/or the systems and processes to pursue more of “it” at greater speed and “efficiency”, it will not remove our anxiety or stress if we stay enslaved to them as our gods.

Another good reminder is Psalms 46:10 – “Cease striving (be still) and know that I am God.”

Charles Stanley says in his book, “Success God’s Way”.

Friend, I wouldn’t swap places with anybody in the world who has money, notoriety, or power but doesn’t have God.  What he has won’t matter in the least five hundred years from now.

For I have never met a financially wealthy person who wasn’t a little fearful at the prospect of losing his wealth, or who didn’t desire to amass even more wealth [or to keep running on whatever treadmill he had placed himself] ‘just in case’.

[On the other hand] the God focused and spiritually mature person is freed from striving.  He lives in a state of steady confidence [off the treadmill] born of a relationship with God – while at the same time living in the hope of greater and greater things that God will unfold, reveal and bestow.”

Have a great week!

Bob Alderman

(and to my family, Love Dad)

original writing 4/13/04 – republished 2017/01/11

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr..  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

The Magic of Stories ©

P.E.A.R.s™ – Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

The Magic of Stories ©
By
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Do you remember when you were a kid how great it was to hear the words: Once upon a time…?

If you were like me, every experience that began with those words (or their equivalent)  immediately increased your adrenaline flow and brought your attention to a focus ten levels higher than it had been before you heard or read that wondrous, shorthand  pronouncement of “get-ready-something-great-is-going-to-be-shared”.

Why is it that for adults and children alike stories have such magic?

Some of the answer lies in the entertainment “packaging” which almost by definition is part of every story that’s ever been told.  (It’s somewhat like a present; meaning, the story form provides the same excitement created by bows and colorful wrapping paper covering a box with a gift inside.)

However, the real magic of the story process (like a beautifully wrapped present) comes from the value found inside.

Whatever the scientific explanation might be (and I’m sure there is one if we were interested in knowing it), just about every man, woman and child enjoys, learns more from and responds better to stories than they do to propositional instruction.

People will remember the model of your life in how you lived it, much longer than they will the glitter of your financial “successes” and accomplishments. Or, returning momentarily to the gift analogy, it’s the thought that matters.

I personally, however, like the way John Eldredge explains the reason for the effectiveness of the story process in his book, “Waking the Dead”: Propositions [straight statements of fact] speak to the mind, but when you tell a story, you speak to the heart.

A proposition is helpful for certain things.  Sacramento is the capitol of California; water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your shoes are in the front room, under the sofa. But propositions fail when it comes to the weightier things in life.

While it is a fact that the Civil War was fought between the years 1861 and 1865 and that hundreds of thousands of men died, you don’t even begin to grasp the reality of the Civil War until you hear the stories.

This is even much more so the case when it comes to the truth of the Bible.  God loves you; you matter to Him.  That is a fact, stated as a proposition.  Why then, aren’t Christians the happiest people on earth?  It hasn’t reached all their hearts.  Facts stay lodged in the mind only – they don’t speak at the level we need to hear, which is the heart.

When you hear or read the greatest story ever told, the Bible, the message is shared in some instances as propositions.  However, in far greater frequency, its truths are presented as stories and parables.  I don’t think anyone would ever doubt that God knew what He was doing when He presented His instructions for living an abundant life in story book form more so than as a text book.

True stories, of course, as used by God in the Bible are always of greater impact and value in the long run than are fictional tales.  Also, the greatest stories of all time in the sense of how they capture our attention and move our hearts, share virtually the same plot.

Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy fights for girl, boy wins girl back – is perhaps the most moving story line of all.  The second most compelling to us (founded not really on a different plot, but only a variation of the first), involves covert battles in which an inconspicuous hero begins a rebellion and then fights a war to overcome injustice, transform a wrongful condition and restore his people to their rightful glory.  Sometimes the story line is about an individual person and his or her struggles, yet the elements and steps are the same.

Think for a moment about some of your favorite stories.  For children they might include Beauty and Beast, Cinderella or The Chronicles of Narnia.  Teens and young adults may gravitate to Star Wars, The Matrix, or The Lord of the Rings.  Perhaps for the older generation it would be Titanic, Braveheart, Gladiator, Cutting Edge, Hoosiers, etc.

Using the titles you might put on your own list of favorite stories, see if you can identify the theme, the message, the moral, the hope and the triumph running through them that grabs your heart and moves your inner most feelings of rightness.

You know why that is and where it comes from?  God.

In our very being, spirit, soul and heart, God has planted in us the inherent knowledge that we once enjoyed a closeness with Him; have fallen away from that rightful position; are in a war to recover our glory as children of His family and image, and that a covert battle occurring on our behalf and to which we are invited to join, is being lead by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Transformation, rescue and restoration with hard fought victories when the focus is consistent with God and His holiness are found in the theme of virtually every story in the Bible – and more importantly, in the overall message and offer of the Bible from beginning to end.

* * * * *
Why are we enchanted by tales of transformation?, asks John Eldredge in his book.  Why is it the essential part of any great story?  Because it is the secret of Christianity, and Christianity is the secret to the universe.

He then shares several lines from Cinderella where the prince, after searching all through the kingdom for the maiden whose foot would fit the glass slipper, finds her and  overcomes the resistance of the evil stepsisters (representing the devil) who had tried to keep them apart:

And Cinderella had to be called and then went and bowed before the King’s son, who gave her the glass slipper.  Then she seated on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy wooden shoe, and put it into the slipper, which fit like a glove.  And when she looked up and the King’s son looked at her face, he recognized the beautiful maiden who had danced with him and he cried, “This is my true bride!” He then took Cinderella on his horse and rode away with her.

As in Titanic – when all the glory of that wondrous ship was gradually restored at the end of the movie in the majestic ballroom within its steel hull at the bottom of the ocean and the young maiden all in white walks down the stairway to resume the joy of life in spirit that had been lost with the iceberg sinking – God’s story and offer in the Bible is even greater.

May you read His Book with all its chapters, adventures, propositions and teachings – not just for the magic of its stories, but as the Greatest Story Ever Told and receive into your heart His offer to restore your glory in Christ forever.

Have a great week!  (And to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig. publication 5/13/05 – Updated 1/3/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr..  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

THANK YOU!

The Reason for P.E.A.R.s ©

P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

The Reason for P.E.A.R.S ©
by
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Every week as I put together a P.E.A.R., it is my hope that someone, somewhere, somehow will be motivated, encouraged or reminded by its words of the special place and service intended for them in God’s plan for this world and eternity.

I never know how that might happen or what the exact results or cause and effect might be. I leave that up to God and just try to share as best I can the extraordinary, amazing, often unbelievable and incomprehensible reality of the purpose and fulfillment God offers to each of us – if we become willing to seek and grow closer to Him.

If you’ve never (or perhaps at least not for a long time) paused to consider your relationship with God and why you’re here, the comments from several authors may provide a wonderful insight for you. But before sharing their thoughts, there are three questions I would like you to consider:

1. Do you know how truly unique and important you are to God?

2. Have you ever wondered what He intended for your life?

3. Would you like to become more fulfilled in whatever days or years you have left?

As you reflect on those questions (not just now, but repeatedly in the coming days), the following words may become especially meaningful to you:

“The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren:

We don’t realize how truly unique each of us is. DNA molecules can unite in an infinite number of ways. The number is 10 to the 2,400,000,000th power. That number is the likelihood that you’d ever find anyone just like you. If you were to write that number with each zero being one inch wide, you’d need a sheet of paper 37,000 miles long.

“The On Purpose Business” by Kevin W. McCarthy:

Our “spiritual DNA” [if you will] provides the “purpose…from which our vision and missions sprout. From a divine perspective, purpose is God’s will for your life. Purpose is infinite and eternal.

“The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson:

Like the generic code that describes your unique passions and abilities, your Big Dream has been woven into your being from birth.

“Half Time – from success to significance” by Bob Buford:

I believe God created us the way we are and enabled us to live the way we do for a purpose.

“Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge

God set the heart within every man and in doing so offers him an invitation: come and live out what I meant you to be.

There is no one who can replace you in your life, in the arena you’ve been called to. If you leave your place in the line, it will remain empty. No one else can be who you were meant to be.

Don’t ask how. How is never the right question. How is a faithless question. How is God’s department. He is asking you what. What is written on your heart? What makes you come alive?

“Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper

What Christ offers: doubly belonging to God, and being able to do what you were made for.

Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Don’t coast through life without a passion.

Whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts.

“Success God’s Way” by Charles Stanley

You were no less chosen for the plans and purposes He has for your life than Moses and Joseph were chosen by God. God did not create you and then scratch His head and say, now I wonder what I can do with this person. No, He created you to be and to do very specific things in your life.

“Disciples are made not born” by Walter A. Henrichsen

Are you laboring to build the Kingdom of God or are you building your own little kingdom?

At your death will you be able to say to God that you did the work he had for you to do?

* * * *

The last two authors (Stanley and Henrichsen) provide, I believe, a good summary of these excerpts when they say:

Encourage others to find and pursue their specific calling” – “…for you’ve not done anything until you’ve changed the lives of men.

I want to close with one of my favorite verses from the Bible as I believe it summarizes God’s perspective and desire as expressed by the above authors:

For the eyes of the Lord search back and forth throughout the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward Him, so that He can show His great power in helping them.”      2 Chron. 16:9 – Living Bible

May that become a realization to you personally and a goal to which you will dedicate your life.

Have a great week!

Bob Alderman – (and to my family, Love Dad)

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr..  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com