Choose suffering

There are good habits we should incorporate into our daily lives that I hear quite often – meditation, gratitude, exercise, being present, acts of kindness, etc. etc.

They are life-changing for me and I have no disputes about any of them.

But here’s one that’s not too common – at least in its delivery:

“The more voluntary suffering you build into your life, the less involuntary suffering will affect your life” – Tim Ferriss

Try something new every day – with an emphasis on something you fear.

Exercise with a little more distance, weight, and repetition every time.

Have one uncomfortable conversation daily.

Add a few minutes more every day to the time you spend with your loved ones.

Write one more good reason why you believe in and stand for something.

Write one more good reason why people believe in and stand for something you don’t.

Live on one less item or dollar every day.

You get the picture.

The bits of pain, inconveniences, annoyances, loathing, and extra time will pay off with stronger muscles, increased tolerance for inevitable attacks, more compassion, and prime you for both survival and bigger opportunities that you couldn’t have taken on had you not grown to meet them.

This is something I wrote in my journal exactly one year ago today, and never elaborated on it. So when it popped up on my journaling screen today (I write daily in DayOne, and there’s a feature on the app that notifies me of posts I wrote on that day a year ago and years before that), I had to take the opportunity to share it, and share with it some examples that help me live it more and intentionally.

I hope they turn the tide in your favor, too.


Do your part. Leave the outcome to him.


Written on this date, two years ago. 

This was an amazing message for me this morning. I am reminded that as long as I am doing what He wants me to do, and do it according to His standards…it’s a success, regardless of the outcome.

Very often when I get busy and distracted, I focus too much on the world’s metrics of success – Company sales quotas, profit projections, anticipated returns on investment, how many followers and likes are on Facebook/Instagram, and the list goes on.

While they are helpful to a certain degree, most of the time these standards are set by industry norms, other peoples’ expectations, and other irrelevant and temporary benchmarks.

I am NOT normal (clearly lol!), I should only be catering to an audience of One, my guiding post should be eternal and unchanging one, and I am uniquely-equipped to pursue a unique purpose that cannot be measured nor compared.

God’s will done God’s way never lacks God’s support; obedience – not the end result – is success; and when I don’t have to worry about what happens, I stress out less and can focus on the task at hand.

Have a great Monday, All.

Devotional: His Vision, His Way, His Timing

“Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’” (Gen. 22:2)

Today’s devotional talks about how God works. First, He inspires us with a vision or calling that consumes and excites us. Then, before it becomes a reality – and it will be a reality, because it is God’s will – there is a test in the deep valley of humiliation. This is where achieving the vision seems discouraging, there doesn’t seem to be any activity or support in making it happen, and there is temptation on trying to go ahead of Him and achieve it by your own means.

Such was the case when Abraham received God’s promise that he would be the father of many nations, and because God’s timing wasn’t Abraham’s timing – and because his wife got older and older and way past childbearing condition – he took the matter into his own hands and had a son with Sarah’s servant. He tried to fulfill His word in the wrong way.

God – I am very susceptible to taking action and going without You; and while it’s well-meaning and a display of really wanting to serve the Kingdom, it’s short circuiting Your effectiveness, my results have a lesser chance of success, I am not leaving room for miracles, and it’s playing God and thinking I know better than my Heavenly Father. Please give me the patience to go at your pace; and have the faith that His will, done His way, will never lack His seeing it through to fruition and so much more.

Devotional: A Remnant That Prays

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’” (Luke 11:1)

This devotional – coupled with yesterday’s message at Saddleback Church – emphasizes the importance of prayer in our daily lives. It’s not just a 5-minute exercise or a to-do item to cross off the checklist, but a conversation and a way of living that needs to happen all day, every day. It helps me discern and know God’s will as I am faced with so much input – purpose-driven work, good but misaligned work, irrelevant work, bad work, temptation, temptations, difficulty, etc. that my head spins, and I have a high chance of making poor or subpar decisions without His wisdom. And if I want to play a game I can win, I need to bring my all-star player with me.

A really cool parallel that Os Hillman makes in today’s passage is that prayers are like the rail for God’s work. God’s will and my work are the locomotive that is full of power, waiting to be put into motion; but it will either crash, not get very far, or not go at all without prayer.

I am reminded that prayer is NOT a flat tire that should only be used when things go wrong; and not to limit God’s power, day after day, by not taking God with me first and throughout everything I do. Big or small, good times and bad, it doesn’t matter…I want to make God authority and invite His favor into every little thing I do and think.

Truly open to what God’s says? Or listening for only what I wanna hear?

This is a passage that moved me exactly one year ago while reading “Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority” by John Eldredge – a book that was gifted to me by one of my favorite friends in the world.
“And as I do, I am also keeping my heart open to whatever answer he has for me. This is crucial. If I am really only open to hearing yes or no, if I am not really asking God’s counsel but have already decided in my mind what I am going to do, then the whole thing is play-acting. Surrender, true open-handedness, on the question before me is crucial to hearing from God.”

I worry about wanting what I want so bad that I fool myself and others into thinking it’s God’s will; or if it is His will, that I short-circuit by not waiting on Him or doing things my way.

Devotional: Predestination and adoption

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The above passage comes from Ephesians 1:14.

One of the strongest desires that we human beings have is a sense of belonging and significance. I can never feel alone or neglected – only empowered – because God my Father loves me unconditionally by choice and creation, (regardless of what I do or don’t do), and I am family heir to the kingdom

Knowing your team

This message was sent to all franchisees of a brand that I developed in the past (that later on went public; so it carries some merit). It’s a great reminder that one of your biggest investments – one of your biggest parts of your business that is in your company – is taking care of the home team. Happy customers, profitability, culture, etc. all take care of itself thereafter.

Tip of the Week: Knowing Your Team

How happy are your team members?
Extremely happy?
Looking to leave?
Can you confidently answer the question? Does your answer include the words “I think”? Or is you answer, “I don’t know?”

Are seemingly happy team members quitting for what seems like no reason?

How in touch are we really with our team members?

Do you employ a team? Or are they just a bunch of people who work together?

How do we find the answers?

First let’s understand why people don’t feel content in their jobs:

The may be surprising to realize that most people don’t quit their jobs because of money. If money comes into the equation it is generally about a perception of fairness issue. “Others are paid more for less work or less dedication.”

Quantity of hours. Team members being unhappy over not receiving enough hours can be about not being able to pay bills, but is often times a perception issue, “I am not getting as many hours as others.” Sometimes the issue of hours is about team members feeling that they are being pressured to work more or longer hours then they can handle.

Favoritism. Team members feel that some of their colleagues are given preferential treatment, praise or privileges that are not afforded to all.

Criticism. Team members feel singled out or are being publicly admonished.

Lack of appreciation. Team members feel as though their work is taken for granted or not noticed.

Internal disputes between team members. Sides are taken, and a negative environment is created for all.

Not being set up for success. Team members often feel that they cannot accomplish goals because of poor training, or not having access to the necessary tools. This creates frustration and possibly quitting.

Problems outside of work adding to the pressures of the job.

What should we, as managers of people do?

Always take five minutes out of every day to sit down and have a one on one conversation with a team member. Ask them how they are feeling, if their schedule works, what they feel they need to be successful.

Foster an environment of fairness and openness. The team looks to the manager to set the example.

Listen to what team members are really saying. Don’t just brush issues of as having a bad day. People need to feel heard.

Conduct exit interviews when a team member leaves the company’s employ. This is a good opportunity to hear the truth; after all there is nothing to lose at this point.

The biggest investment you can make at your company is in your team. If your team is happy, guests are happy, there is low turn over, there is heightened efficiency, and it’s a total win. If even one team member is miserable it can damage the whole business. Just communicate and the wins will more than justify the time.

Devotional: Having faith in spite of circumstances

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He can direct your paths.” (Prov. 5:5-6)

This devotional is a reminder that there are times – most times – where circumstances happen out of my control. We may have taken a wrong turn; someone had made a poor decision that affected us; or things just hit us like a ton of bricks out of no where.

These are moments where we need to either activate our faith to trust Him, activate our faith to move forward, or both – and they’re normally painful and never easy to do.

But we need to remember that God is sovereign, you can’t lean on your own understanding, thank God in advance for His bigger plan that will be revealed, and pray for the peace that surpasses understanding. He will direct our paths and we will be getting out of this desert period.

Devotional: God’s timing

“But the angel said, ‘I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news. But because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true on time – God’s time.” (Luke 1:20)

This story talks about a priest named Zachariah who – along with his wife – feared God and had a clear conscience in upholding His law and loving the Lord; and how the angel Gabriel had come to him during his priestly duties to give him the good news that he would have a son. Zachariah didn’t believe him because he and his wife were way too old to have children – even if the news was from God – and so Gabriel muted him until the day God delivered the son he announced.

Although verbally and consciously I am certain of God’s provision on His timing; but I’m pretty sure there are times I get ancy and exhibit disbelief in my actions. I go on ahead and do things I’m certain God will give me, but on my own time and terms. I am impatient – which is partial obedience. And I know that partial obedience is the same as full-on disobedience. And time and time again, it either doesn’t work, it doesn’t work to its fullest potential, it does work and creates an ego that destroys me later, and it’s inconsistent and unreliable. I’m tired of not doing it right the first time, and tired of getting wishy-washy results – and they always happen when God’s not at the heart of it all.

Lord – in this story, Gabriel had to mute Zachariah’s ability to speak. I pray for the strength to be able to mute my own feelings and completely, wholeheartedly, and wholespiritedly trust You on not only what You’ve promised to provide for me, but that it will come right on time when I need it most.