It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged.  The silence has felt like a spiritually induced ‘hold’.  I’ve written, but haven’t been moved to post. This blog has actually taken 3 different turns itself. It’s definitely been a strange time.

While I enjoyed writing about people who live out loud for Jesus, as well as topics that get you thinking, the Lord has me taking Witness and Ponder to a different format and focus. The format will be more of a resource, than a web journal, and the focus will incorporate more coaching elements. I believe this is what God was hatching all those months on hold! 

Most people take what they love and become an expert in it.  But not me! I’ve taken my biggest weakness and have become credentialed in it.  I’m certified in emotional intelligence and am a Professional Life Coach, but, even so, I still have to strenuously work out the spiritual and emotional outcomes that I want in my life.  Just because I know what to do, doesn’t mean it’s easy for me to do. Can anyone else relate?
Knowledge, of course, is valuable, but in many cases can just be something that I know and don’t activate.  For instance, I know about healthy eating and financial stewardship, but I don’t always do what I’m supposed to do.  Even something as small as a good intention that doesn’t get carried out is an example of the uselessness of the knowledge that I hold. So, if knowledge is power, how can it be so impotent for me at times?
Here’s what I’ve learned: Knowledge doesn’t make the changes in our lives without harnessing motivation.  However, motivation (the reason we have for acting) is a creature unto itself with a natural bent toward selfishness or fear. On their own neither knowledge or motivation are tremendously valuable.  What makes them powerful change agents is wisdom.  
This fascinating virtue is the sinew that wraps the bones of knowledge and motivation, and propels them into action. Wisdom not only knows what to do, and wants to do it, it actually summons self-control in order to get it done. Wisdom is not sedentary and it does not stockpile. It is dynamic and purposeful. I used to think that wisdom was a combination of knowledge + experience, but I’m convinced now that wisdom’s distinguishing mark is ACTION.  Wisdom knows what is good, is motivated to have what is good, and is willing to do what is good. In short, wisdom does what knowledge knows.
And what’s even more beautiful is that all you have to do is ask God for it!
If any of you lacks wisdom,
you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5
Aspects of wisdom involve self-mastery. According to the Collins English Dictionary, “Self-mastery is the ability to take control of one’s life without being blown off course by feelings, urges, circumstances etc.  Self-mastery is that condition whereby your body is your servant and not your master.” This skill is one of the most important facets to self-leadership and the most critical component to great leadership. Beyond leadership benefits, self-mastery’s domain is the bridge between the soul and the self.
This self-control is something that my soul longs for each day; because I don’t want the chocolate chip cookies to win, I don’t want to blurt out unedited thoughts, and I don’t want my feelings to get the best of me or injure others. I have been blown off course more times than I care to admit, and I’ve worked hard to mitigate that!
This is the new focus of this blog. We’re going to aim for soul freeing, character building, Holy Spirit fueled self-control! Uh-oh, am I losing you? Are you slipping away with “ughhhh” thoughts? Hang in there for a minute.  
I know this doesn’t sound sexy or exciting, in fact our world shouts the exact opposite, but if we’re all honest we know that one of the things chipping away at our soul is the pitfalls of trying to be the best version of ourselves. Think about the people you respect and those you don’t.  As Christians we tend to respect those who have a higher level of self-control, and a giving spirit. This doesn’t come naturally for most of us, in fact self-leadership is my struggle, self-control is my deficit, self-mastery is my hard place and, because this is so, I’m convinced God has called me to be the, “If I can do it, anyone can do it!” poster child for this.   
That’s why I’m passionate about sharing the insights and tools that I use as an emotional intelligence coach. Jesus has spent decades developing these skills in me. I wish I could say that this weakness has become a strong, ripped, sculpted muscle, but I can’t. It is, however, hard-won wisdom from decades of self-development in both the emotional and spiritual realms. It is tested, approved and driven by the proof of my own transformation.
If that is something you want too, then take this turn with me. As we lock arms I will share what I have studied, been inspired by, and personally lived out. You will learn the tips, tricks, and tough-to-tackle stuff that will keep most pain and embarrassment (the by-lines in my life story) away. The end goal here is to shorten your learning curve. To shave off years or even decades of learning the hard way and to even become unstuck if that is where you find yourself. Our focus will be the undercurrents of our emotional and spiritual selves, because they are microscopically entwined. Our goal will be emotional and spiritual harmony, because the gift of that is peace. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
The only thing we can ever hope to control is ourselves, and that’s a critical component to self-leadership.  Self-leadership applies to anyone who leads a family, a flock, or a fortune 500 company, because all of us need to lead ourselves well. I do however, have a soft spot in my heart for ministry leaders, so if you have a Christian friend in that arena, please share this with them.  The hope is that God will forge this process with grace and that the wisdom he offers will be the catalyst for the change you desire. I know it can be done! So, take this turn with me; start now and watch God move in your life!

What specific area in your life is God calling you to exercise more self-mastery?
What would life be like if you were able to summon the necessary self-control?
What is the first step you can take to create a small victory?
Who can encourage you and help you pray about making a change?
Where would you want the most help from God?  Ask for it in prayer as you pray for wisdom.

The practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and behaviors to achieve your objective/s.  (Bryant & Kazan 2012)
The ability to take control of one’s life without being blown off course by feelings, urges, circumstances etc.  Self-mastery is that condition whereby your body is your servant and not your master. (Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers)
Restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.
(Merriam Webster Dictionary).
The quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right, coupled with just judgment as to action, sagacity, discernment, or insight.

(Note the ‘action’ involved in each verse.)
Matthew 11:19b:
But wisdom is proved right by her actions.
Luke 2:52:
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.
Proverbs 4:5-13
Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.
Do not forsake wisdom and she will protect you; love her and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.

Want to improve your self-mastery? Consider a coaching session with me to help you explore obstacles that get in your way and ways to overcome them. As a Christian Life Coach, I can help you move from where you are to where God wants you to be. If you’d like to explore this further, then let’s chat. I’d love to be your champion in what God is calling you to do!

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