But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…
This month our E-Newsletter is concentrating on what it means to train ourselves. From the time we were born, we have had to learn this skill. We trained ourselves to walk, to eat with utensils and other necessary life skills. After we started to school, we trained ourselves to sit still, listen to instructions and to play well with others. All through life we must continually learn what it means to train ourselves in one area or another.
When we join First Place, we train ourselves to eat healthy foods and to have a lifestyle of regular exercise. We also train ourselves to pray, have a regular time of Bible study and to memorize scripture. At some point, we trained ourselves to do everything we do well today.
Doing what I need to do instead of what I want to do.
Training ourselves is nothing more than deciding we want something bad enough to do the hard work to bring it into existence in our lives. A perfect example of this in my own life is my use or misuse of time. I have always struggled with doing what I need to do instead of what I want to do, but as my life gets busier and busier, this pattern no longer works for me.
I have a good friend who is extremely organized and she talked me into buying a Franklin Covey planner last December. This was almost laughable since I have been to many time management seminars and own four planners, which I have never used. After buying the Franklin Covey planner, I used it a few days in January before I gave up and continued on as before.
In August, my friend offered to meet with me every Monday from 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. so that I could plan my work for the week. We call this my 9/27 meeting. The reason for this is that one of my life verses is 1 Corinthians 9:27, No I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
This meeting has made a huge difference in my life and in the amount of work I am getting done every day. I thought a lot about this and have come to some conclusions, which I will share with you.
- It is impossible to train yourself to do something you have no desire to do. If you find this is true in some area of your own life, the only thing you can do is pray and ask God to give you the desire. After He places the desire in your heart, then the training can begin.
- God will take over the training if we ask Him. As I began to pray about this area of my life and tell God that it seemed hopeless I would ever change, He sent a friend willing to invest in my life and ministry. God has worked so many miracles in my life thus far, why did I doubt that He could help me get organized? God does His best work when we admit we can’t do a thing to help ourselves.
- We all need accountability partners. I bought the planner last December, but didn’t start using it until a friend was willing to invest the time to teach me how and then to check on me to see how I was doing.
Wherever you are today, take heart. Change is possible. First Place is designed to help you train yourself until you achieve the balanced life you desire. All you need is the desire to change, God to help you do it, and friends who will encourage you.
God’s Word is the catalyst for true and lasting change. As we learn what the Bible says and memorize verses that will help us change, transformation begins. I leave you with one of my favorite verses about the power God’s Word has for permanent change. All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16.
First Place National Director
Carole was a member of the original First Place group that began in 1981, and became the national director of the program in 1987.
When Carole attended the First Place orientation in March of 1981, she eagerly anticipated what God might want to do in her life. She had recently seen an old friend that looked great and who reminded her that they were soon approaching 40 years old. Carole determined she did not want to be “fat and 40.” She joined First Place and soon lost 20 pounds. Learning how to bring balance to her life, she became a First Place leader to motivate others to achieve this goal.
Carole is a popular speaker and author of the books, Choosing to Change, First Place, Today Is the First Day, Back on Track and Begin Again. Carole regularly leads Conferences, FOCUS Weeks, Workshops and seminars across the country in the areas of personal balance, fitness, encouragement a