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Dan Miller Christian Blog and Commentary

Dan Miller

48Days.com

Recently I attended an art show and reception at our local library in which my wife Joanne was one of the featured artists.  During the course of the afternoon I also wandered over into the library and naturally found myself in the business section.  Not seeing any copies of my books there I then did a quick search on the library computer and found that the 5 copies of 48 Days to the Work You Love they have in circulation were all checked out with an 18-person waiting list for those as they are returned.

So I walked up to the desk and talked to the two nice ladies who were overseeing the library on this lovely Sunday afternoon.  They confirmed that their five copies of 48 Days to the Work You Love are indeed always checked out and always have a long hold list.

I then suggested that I walk out to my car and get three additional copies that I would give them immediately.  But after a brief raised eyebrow they quickly agreed that they had no policy for that and there was no way to integrate those books into their system.  No “thank you” or “that would be great” or “we’ll figure this out.” The only solution they could come up with was that I might call the library director on Monday, although they thought she was on vacation for a couple of weeks.  I went back to the art show and drank another round of Joanne’s wonderful summer mint tea. 

Don’t you love it when you walk into a place of business and immediately see signs that say:

  • NO REFUNDS
  • NO EXCHANGES AFTER 30 DAYS
  • NO CREDIT CARDS
  • NO CHECKS
  • WATCH DOG ON DUTY

So if a customer in your restaurant finishes their meal, and then is embarrassed to realize your policy about no checks or credit cards - will you refuse their check because it’s “against policy?” 

Would you stay in the 20-mph speed limit in a school zone at 3:00 AM in the morning if your child’s head was bleeding and you were on your way to the hospital - because it’s against the law?

Would you accept a church leader's command to regularly beat your son because of the Proverbs 13:24 reference?" He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

Would you obey your boss’s command to serve the hamburger, even though you saw it being picked up from the floor after an accidental spill?

Do you send your check to the organization seen on TV rather than help your out-of-work niece with her rent this month because giving to her is not tax-deductible?  

Do you politely send your resume to the company you want to work for rather than call or show up because they say “No phone calls please”?

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Here in my office I have a wooden plaque that says:  “There are no rules here - we’re trying to accomplish something.”  Thomas Edison

What are the “rules” and policies in your life that are keeping you from receiving new abundance and success?

Here’s a question from a reader – an engineer.  (We’ll call him Bill)

“I’m at a job that I hate mainly because I feel like every day I’m set up to fail. There’s no job satisfaction. I go to work and try my best but the bosses and organization demand excellence in everything that we do. That is a good goal to have but there’s no way to accomplish all that needs to be and do it perfectly. ………So why would God place me in a situation like that for 8 years??”

Bill, be very careful about asking “why God put you in this place?” I certainly believe God is omnipotent – but I don’t think He micromanages the little details in our lives. I think our own decisions lead us to where we are. But that’s hopeful, because that means you can make new decisions that put you in a different place immediately. Don’t wait for supernatural movement — just start by seeing what you can do to move yourself in a new direction in the next 30-60 days.

When I found myself at the negative end of a business deal a few years ago with $430,000 owed to creditors I’m sure I could have asked, “Why did God do this to me?”  But instead, I looked back at the series of decisions I had made that put me in that position.  Yes, in reading Proverbs each day I was amazed to see the Biblical principles I had violated in getting me to that unfortunate crisis.  God had not done that to me.  I simply made decisions that resulted in that end result.  And that also meant that instead of just being miserable I was able to very quickly make decisions to walk out of that horrible experience.  

Sometimes we assume that our current situation reflects random, individual, disconnected events.  Or that God has put us in a situation where we are frustrated and set up to fail.  But seldom is either true.  Rather, we are where we are because each decision we make is a step in a particular direction.  And over time that direction determines our position in our work, our finances, our health, our relationships and our spiritual well-being.  If you think God did this to you, then it justifies doing nothing until God changes your situation.  And in doing nothing I see people open the door to blaming, resentment, anger, guilt and depression.  I think God deserves better from us.

You can look back and see how the path you have been following has gotten you to where you are.  If you don’t like the direction it is taking you, what are you willing to do to put yourself on a different path?

  • Look at where you are now.  Look back 3 years and you can identify the decisions you made that put you right where you are today.
  • Where do you want to be 3 years from today?  Are you willing to make the decisions to lead to that end result?

Dan is the author of the New York Times best-selling 48 Days To The Work You Love , No More Dreaded Mondays and the newly released Wisdom meets Passion. He has been a guest on CBS' 'The Early Show,' MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Mathews,' Moody MidDay Connection, and the Dave Ramsey Show. Dan has spoken at the White House Christian Fellowship, and is in high demand at national conferences on aging and changes in the workplace, and at universities and churches.  Over 130,000 people have subscribed to his weekly newsletter, his 48 Days Podcast consistently ranks in the top 3 under Careers on iTunes, and the 48Days.net business community is viewed as an example around the world for those seeking to find – or create – work they love. 

Soul-less work?

Is busyness crowding out the room for the success of your soul?

The story is told of a South American tribe that went on a long march, day after day, when all of a sudden they would stop walking, sit down to rest for a while, and then make camp for a couple of days before going any further.  They explained that they needed the time of rest so that their souls could catch up with them.    (from “Sabbath” by Wayne Muller) 

Are you working and living without the benefits of having your soul catch up?  Are you feeling like your work is soul-less and little more than a method of producing a paycheck?

In the “busyness” of modern life, I fear we have lost the rhythm between activity and rest.  Just as exhaling without occasionally inhaling will cause you to turn blue and pass out, busyness without rest will cause you to “pass out” from things that matter.   “I am so busy.”  We say this as a badge of honor, as if our exhaustion were a trophy, and our ability to withstand 70-80 hour workweeks a mark of real character.  We convince ourselves that the busier we are, the more we are accomplishing and the more important we must be.  But is this really so?  Does more activity really mean more accomplishment?  To be unavailable to friends and family, to miss the sunsets and the full moons, to blast through all our obligations without time for taking a deep breath – this has become the model of a successful life.

Can we really distinguish essentials that matter in our efforts to get more things?  Just this week I worked with a very competent lady who has reached the pinnacle in her profession, with a world class apartment and a beach house for the weekends.  Although her income puts her in the top 1% nationally, she has lost the sense of fulfilling work.  One of her expressed goals is to “smile more on my way to happiness.”  

"If you are losing your leisure, look out.  You may be losing your soul."

          - Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) U.S.-born British essayist, biographer, critic

Embrace Sabbath days and times in your life.  Wisdom, peace, contentment and insight about fulfilling work will grow in those times.  Take a walk, give thanks for simple things, take a bath with music and candles, turn off the telephone, pager, TV and computer – carve out those times for restoration and spiritual breathing.  Even Jesus got away from the crowds periodically.

From the Bible:  

“Then Jesus suggested.  ‘Let’s get away from the crowds for a while and rest.’  For so many people were coming and going that they scarcely had time to eat.  So they left by boat for a quieter spot.” Mark 6:31 (TLB)

Direction for Today:

How has your striving for success crowded out the Sabbath in your life?

 

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Dan is the author of the New York Times best-selling 48 Days To The Work You Love , No More Dreaded Mondays and the newly released Wisdom meets Passion. He has been a guest on CBS' 'The Early Show,' MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Mathews,' Moody MidDay Connection, and the Dave Ramsey Show. Dan has spoken at the White House Christian Fellowship, and is in high demand at national conferences on aging and changes in the workplace, and at universities and churches.  Over 130,000 people have subscribed to his weekly newsletter, his 48 Days Podcast consistently ranks in the top 3 under Careers on iTunes, and the 48Days.net business community is viewed as an example around the world for those seeking to find – or create – work they love. 

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