Do you have a certain way you like your workspace to be arranged for maximum productivity? Or a certain way you like the kitchen to be set up before you start creating food masterpieces?
What about you, students, do you like your room, or schoolroom, a specific way before you knock out the day's work? I know I have spaces that are designed in such a way to set my mind in the mode of work! At the school, it’s my little sitting area with the couch and the chair. Don’t get me wrong, I can work at my desk, as I do most often and I can get a lot done, but the good stuff like chapels and devotions...all that comes from the couch with the Cougar themed throw pillows!
At home, I have a few spots like this as well. The first spot, but second best, is in my bedroom sitting on the bed. I arrange everything out on pillows for easy access. I have chargers and pens and notepads close by so I don’t have to get up. I have my water and coffee on the nightstand ready to drink every thirty seconds! I can get work done in this space!
My favorite spot at home, however, one you may already know because I mentioned it in a previous devotion, is the porch off the master bedroom. The front of our house has this wrap-around porch that goes from the kitchen door, around to the front door, and then around to the master bedroom door.
Outside that door, we have a few chairs, a table, a footstool, and now...a hammock! (I’m not going to lie, I’m not getting much work done on that bad boy!) In those spaces, I can focus, read with comprehension, write with creativity, and think with clarity. I need these spots. I must create a productive atmosphere to get things done.
This is what I wanted to talk about today. In chapter 6 of “I Declare War,” Levi Lusko talks about how his family is a Disneyland family. He and his wife have been going for years, and it only got better when they had kids. He talks about how Disney works hard to create a memorable atmosphere for everyone who enters the park. They do this with pristine gardening, piped in smells around the places where you eat, and remarkable customer service from the staff. It’s a magical world where memories are made, but it takes a lot of hard work to make it happen.
Levi points out that it took a few tweaks to make Disney what it has become. Did you know that Mickey wasn’t the mouse's original name? It was Mortimer, and he was originally A RAT! Can you imagine going to visit Mortimer at a rat-themed amusement park?? NOPE...I’m Good!
Thank you, Walt Disney, for rethinking that one! Levi says, “Small tweaks, not huge shifts, will lead you through enormous breakthroughs.” I love this quote! How many times has this quote been true in my own life...way too many to count for sure!
Levi then goes on to say that we need this same kind of attention to detail in our own spiritual lives. This same kind of drive and passion. This same kind of dedication to making moments memorable. He points out that we need to create an atmosphere of faith and most likely it will take small tweaks with the words we use to make it successful!
The words we use about ourselves set us up to fail or succeed. You can imagine how this works, right? You wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and you have two options:
Option A: “Looking good today son! You're going to kill it!”
Option B: “Dreadful…just plain dreadful! Go back to bed to save everyone the disappointment!” OK, OK, maybe that’s a little harsh...but I’ve had those moments!
How about at work?
Option A: “This project was designed for me! I got this!”
Option B: “I’m going to mess this up badly! I don’t know what I’m doing so how will I ever finish??”
We win or lose the battle with our words long before we ever start.
Day after day, we create a memorable space that conjures the same attitude every time we return. You tell that bathroom mirror several times that you are ugly, it’ll remember and remind you daily! You slam your hand on your desk and declare you can’t do it, it’ll remember and tell you that you’re a failure at the beginning of every project!
Your words and attitude about who you are can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe it, your behaviors will align to fulfill those beliefs!
Levi talks about how hard he struggles with this war on words, but to be honest I think a lot of us do! As Christians, we realize how far down the rabbit hole we were before Jesus pulled us out, brushed us off, and changed us forever. We are so different, yet still, remember. It’s hard not to let the old self dictate who the new self is.
I’m so thankful that with the Spirit of God living inside, we are capable of having faith that speaks life. Faith in what Jesus did for us, how He changed us, and how He made us new. In this faith, I try as hard as possible to speak life-giving words instead of words meant for death.
Through faith, I work to create an atmosphere of magical, memorable, productive moments that set me up to succeed instead of sulking in failure. If the Lord above speaks life-giving words over me, then surely I can do the same. What Would Jesus Do...He wouldn’t say those ugly words we curse ourselves with, that’s for sure!
So how can you change a toxic atmosphere...just a few tweaks!
- Read what the Lord says about you. Daily read God’s Word. Scripture is filled with the love that Jesus wants you to realize He has for you.
- Talk to your Savior every day...several times a day...all day! Whatever it takes. Think of Jesus as your personal therapist who always has an opening and never has a one-hour time limit. He’s a Wonderful Counselor who cares deeply for you and wants to hear from you.
- Count your blessings. Thank God for all the good in your life. Your children, your parents, your job, your school, your friends, your pets, your home, your….you get the picture. Have an attitude of thankfulness about everything. And on the dreary days when everything is a big bummer, find something, anything, to be thankful for. “Lord, thank you for _____________ (maybe it’s coffee or flowers or air or not being within an arm's distance of a baseball bat!).
- Love people! Let others know how good your Messiah is by showing them Jesus through your words, actions, and kindness. Let the Lord work through you in your family, community, workplace, and school to make a change in all the spaces you live in.
Just a few tweaks, and you’ll see enormous breakthroughs!
I pray that during our time of quarantine you can take a moment to evaluate the environment in which you live. Home, work, small group, church, and all the other spaces. Are you getting stuff done in those spaces? Are you spiritually productive? Do you need to make a few tweaks? If so, take this opportunity to make it happen. Because trust me, you want to be a Mickey...not a Mortimer!
Ephesians 4:21-24, “Assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Beginning tomorrow Pastor Nolan's daily devotional will have a new look but the same encouraging and challenging words you have come to expect. If you missed any of them, they are available on the website under Cougar Quarantine Blog.