Discover all the positive things life has in store for you by moving up and moving forward today.
Up is the movement and direction toward possibility--"with God nothing is impossible." Up is the movement of reaching. Up is where we're going. When you watch birds take off, they don't fly down, they fly up. They leave the ground after they've found their food. They leave the place where they have come for their nurturing and their nourishment, and then they fly up, they soar.
Moving up, you will begin to discover who you are. So make the decision right now to fly, to change your life by moving up toward God and toward moments filled with yeses and possibilities in life.
Picture yourself as an inflatable boxing toy with a weighted base, a bop bag. Every time you hit that toy, it falls over, but it bounces right back up. Nothing can keep it down unless it's deflated. Refuse to decompress or deflate. When someone punches the breath out of you, inhale. Let God's spirit breathe new hope and life into you. Believe who He says you are, not what others say to defame and degrade you. You are a child of the King, bow to no negative circumstance or critical diatribe, stand up!
Steps to Stand Up
• Believe who God says you are, not what detractors label you.
• Stand up with stand up people; stop sitting down with negative, "ain't it awful" folks.
• Leave the sitting chair of your past behind; decide your future...
• When you get "sick and tired of being sick and tired," don't give up...stand up!
Never let fear keep you from speaking up. God hasn't given you a spirit of fear, but has imbued you with power, love, and a good, sound mind to give voice to your dreams, visions, ideas, and thoughts. So what if you miss the mark with a speech or message? So what if you stumble a bit, mumble, or stutter? Find your voice. Work on your diction. Work on your timing. Work on your voice, presentation, substance, and style. Speak up.
Steps to Speak Up
• Pray and listen to God's leading and direction right now. Ask God to help you to "open your mouth and increase your territory" (prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10).
• Prepare what you are going to say and then practice articulating your message clearly.
• Embrace a bold and courageous attitude.
• Speak up and create an environment and legacy for others to speak up. Start working with those around you.
To look up means taking the time to find a place within yourself and around you to renew your spirit. Be intentional. Take a spiritual health break. When all is dark around you and no light shines at the end of your tunnel of despair, look up! Knocked down? Look up. Perplexed and confused? Look up. Surrounded by trouble...and depressed? Look up!
Steps to Look Up
• Set aside a quiet time to pray regularly. Talk with God as you would a friend.
• Get up and walk; don't just sit around bemoaning your problems.
• Ask God for a vision for your life.
• Choose to become new again. Allow God to do a "new thing" in you (Isaiah 43).
Reading allows us to continue achieving and growing. I want to know what trials people faced and how they overcame them. How did they rebound when they were knocked down? How do we go from being miserable to fulfilling a mission in life? Grab a few moments each day to read. Go on a trip without ever leaving home. Discover a new world of imagination, reality, and mindsets. Expand your territory: book up!
Steps to Book Up
• Set a time each day to read, even if it's just for five or ten minutes.
• Decide on a business or professional journal or paper to read weekly or even daily.
• Talk with a pastor, teacher, or professional about books they are reading.
• Read Scripture regularly.
Kissing up is being kind even when the other person slams or persecutes us for no good reason. It's blessing those who really seek to do us wrong or do us in. Blessings are in store for those who choose to be kind, to kiss up, regardless of the attitude or actions of others. Not everyone we kiss up to will someday respond. That's not the issue. Kindness flowers out of who we are, not how others respond!
Steps to Kiss Up
• Don't allow rejection to cause you to give up.
• Remember to plan wisely before you initiate connecting with people.
• Refuse to compromise who you are or your values.
• Take the initiative to connect with those whom you will bless and who will bless you.
Listening up is a valuable gift you give to another person of your time and attention. Don't let others abuse that gift. Set boundaries. Marriage, friendship, or being related isn't a free ticket for abusive dumping. When you need to rest and refresh, turn the phone, beeper, or e-mail off or just don't answer. Go to a quiet, secret place, to commune with God and be renewed. Remember that prayer, a form of listening up, is not just telling God about what you want. It's also listening to God for what He wants; God has wonderful plans for your life if you will just listen up!
Steps to Listen Up
• Keep a pad and pen close by you at all times so that you can listen to God and jot down what He speaks to you.
• Take a sabbatical rest. It may be for a day, or weeks, or months. You may need a vacation in order to get away from the bustle and hear God.
• Take a crisis one step at a time. Listen to God for guidance about each step you should take.
• Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Speak to hear and understand before you respond.
In Isaiah, God says, "Do not consider the former things nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth." You are to walk in the newness, which means you must let go of past negatives--ideas, people, and feelings. Setting boundaries, moving on from toxic relationships, deciding to change, and releasing old patterns and bad habits while learning new and constructive ones requires courage, work, and commitment.
Steps to Hang Up
• Hang up when the relationship is controlling, manipulative, intimidating, abusive, or addictive.
• Prepare yourself to hang up by praying, seeking wise counsel, facing the facts, and taking action.
• Set healthy boundaries, refusing to relate to people who tear you down instead of build you up.
• Move up to positive, prosperous healthy relationships after you hang up on the old and embrace God's new for your life.
Consider the reciprocity of peacemaking that results from making up: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God." God's blessing comes upon those who live our reconciliation. Make a list of those with whom you need to make up right now. Begin to write, call, e-mail, and visit each one. Forgive. Release. Refuse to take or carry the bait of offense. Jesus said it this way, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." You've heard it and said it in the Lord's Prayer. Now live it.
Steps to Make Up
• Approach those with whom you are offended and reach out to them with forgiveness.
• Choose to forgive before others repent...even if they don't repent.
• Focus on forgiveness instead of hurt, anger, and offense.
• Pray out loud the Lord's Prayer and speak the Beatitudes.
Waking up to long-term gain may cause you some short-term pain or sacrifice. Scripture reminds us that trial produces patient perseverance, and patience builds character and this process produces hope that doesn't disappoint, outpouring love from God, and power through the Spirit. The process of waking up may be painful, but it does produce character and maturity. Don't give up what's important, wake up to it.
Steps to Wake Up
• Set priorities in line with your life's purpose, not your immediate demands.
• Deepen the close relationships in life, particularly family.
• Take time for what's important; refuse to waste time on draining relationships that have no staying power.
• Be there now and take time with those you will be with throughout life's journey.
Cheer up is about just doing something fun. It's about laughing, doing something that brings joy to your soul. From prison, St. Paul wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice!" Find joy for your soul. Everything in life does not have to be hard. A missionary friend in Belgrade often quoted the ubiquitous proverb, "Life is hard and then you die." Life doesn't have to be that way. Cheer up!
Steps to Cheer Up
• Associate with people who cheer you up instead of tear you down.
• Choose to respond with joy; reject the myth that other [people] or things can make you happy.
• Laugh at yourself. Don't be so serious and stodgy.
• Think up ways to cheer up others; by giving cheer you will receive cheer!
Starting Moving Up
Up is a choice, not a command, and it is certainly not something that will just happen. Up takes time, effort, attentiveness, and commitment! Identify people around you who seem to specialize in an up in which you need improvement and growth. Let them mentor or coach you. Hang with them. Ask questions. Imitate them. Develop a hunger and thirst for moving up.
It will be an exciting journey for you. Your engine has already filled up for you. God has just been waiting for you to say you're ready to go up. When you're ready, God's ready. Let's go forward. Get up. Start up!
By Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook
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