We’re Expecting!

Bet that headline raised a few eyebrows! No, neither of us are pregnant. Phew! Now that we have that cleared up, let us say again that we are expecting. Are you?

Let me clarify. When we hear someone is expecting, we most often think they are “expecting” a baby … sometime in the near future. But expecting can refer to something other than a pregnancy.

One online dictionary refers to expecting as “the idea of looking ahead to something in the future.” At this time of year we see many forms of “expecting” happening all around us. Children are expecting whatever they asked Santa for at the mall. Adults are expecting to see their children smile from ear to ear when they tear open their presents. And everyone is expecting more sweets than one should consume in a year.

The expecting we are referring to is much more enduring than any of these temporary pleasures. As we near the end of 2017 and roll into another new year, what one or two areas of your life do you want to be better than they were this year?

Notice we are not using the word “hope.” Hope is great. Hope is important. And without hope, we’d truly be lost. But expecting takes hope to another level, doesn’t it? It might even be a little too confident sounding for some folks who might say “we can’t expect anything … all we can do is hope.” With all due respect, we totally disagree.

When we set goals, make plans, and execute new initiatives in 2018, we aren’t doing so with a finger-crossing kind of hope. Rather, we do so with an expectation that we will be successful. We’re not saying that everything turns out as planned … nothing is perfect, and we often fail. But when we do, we simply adapt our plans and renew our forward movement expecting good things to happen.

Wouldn’t you rather have a high degree of expectation that something you desire will work out the way you planned? All of your plans can if they are reasonable, detailed, and hold you accountable in some way.

We ask again. What are one or two things do you want to be better in 2018 than they were in 2017? Are your finances in shambles? How’s your marriage or key relationship? What condition is your spiritual life in? Is that new job or promotion working out the way you wanted it to? What about your health and diet goals? We could ask about many other areas here but you get the point.

Which areas of your life could use a tune-up, or maybe a complete overhaul? What are you doing about it? Are you simply hoping things get better? Or are you stating priorities, setting goals, taking your first steps, and getting help from others when needed?

Look, it’s up to you. If you are like the rest of us and there are some areas in need of work (minor or major), then make 2018 your year. You can do this! You need to do this! You know you do!

Where do you start? Here’s a few basic steps to get you started:

  • Take plenty of quiet time (an entire day or more if you have to) and prayerfully consider where your life is and where you want it to be.
  • Envision what your life will be like one year from now when the changes you are expecting actually occur.
  • Decide what needs to happen in the first month. Then the second, third, etc.
  • Seek out experts to guide, encourage, and keep you on track. A coach, for example.
  • Start expecting a new, better you!

Move beyond hope in 2018. Start expecting greater things than you ever imagined.

Drop us a note if we can help.

 

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors | Speakers | Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

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How the Grinch Saved Christmas

 

It’s that time again. The season for giving is upon us. The Christmas music is playing, the tree lots are open, and a few lights are going up in the neighborhood. It all sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? But, the truth is, the real meaning of Christmas has been lost in all of the consumerism. Black Friday now actually starts on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day! Why sit around and spend time with your family and friends when you can go buy something on sale?

It all makes me think of the Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We’ve all read this classic story by Dr. Seuss about the cranky, mean, Grinch trying to steal Christmas from all the Whos in Whoville. He snuck in late one Christmas Eve and stole their wrapped presents and cheerful decorations that awaited the Whos on Christmas morning.

Why would anyone want to do this? Well, the Grinch lacked any joy in his life, and his heart, we are told, was a tiny, shriveled little thing incapable of feeling anything for anyone other than himself. He really didn’t want all the pretty packages he stole, but he sure didn’t want the Whos to have them either. He was trying to steal the source of their Christmas joy just because he didn’t have any.

Andy Stanley once said “I wonder what I would have if I didn’t know what anybody else had?” It’s easy to try and keep up with the Joneses and lose sight of what really matters to us. It’s a trap that leads to a joyless life because you are never going to get enough in that scenario. The great industrialist, John Rockefeller, was asked one time “How much is enough?” He reportedly said, “Just a little bit more.” If Rockefeller — the very icon of wealth and prosperity — didn’t have enough, what makes us think we ever will?

Our joy can’t be tied to our possessions. The Whos had it right. When they all awoke Christmas morning, they were astonished that all their gifts and decorations had been stolen. At first, they weren’t too happy. All of the work. All of the money. All of the surprises. Gone!

Luckily, Lou Lou Who arrives on the scene and makes this now famous declaration:

“I’m glad he took our presents. You can’t hurt Christmas, Mr. Mayor, because it isn’t about the gifts or the contest or the fancy lights … I don’t need anything more for Christmas than this right here: my family.”

Immediately Mr. Mayor, and all the Whos in Whoville, knew Lou Lou was right. They had focused too much on the wrong things … competing with their neighbors for the most decorated home, the biggest gifts, and more. But after Lou Lou’s declaration, all the Whos began to celebrate Christmas without the presents or decorations.

The Grinch was confused. Of course, we know he later learned that the key to the Whos’ Christmas joy wasn’t based on stuff—it was based on giving. And when they didn’t have presents to give anymore, they gave of what they had: themselves.

This was so moving that it changed the Grinch forever and his heart grew three sizes. The same person who wanted to silence others’ joy was now transformed into a joyous, generous giver himself.

So, what about you? What is your focus this season?

This Christmas, may we, too, be givers. And, if we are lucky, our hearts will grow three sizes, refocusing us once again on the true reason for this blessed season.

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