The Power of a Small Gesture!

We took a family trip to London a few weeks ago. Maybe you saw some of the personal pics on my Facebook fan page. It was so much fun – my first time in England, and my first time back in Europe since living there as a kid. One night, after going to the West End to see the hit musical Wicked, I was tired, but knew if I didn’t do my hair before going to bed, I would regret it the next morning. My hair is as light as cotton, so no style survives eight hours on a pillow – even a satin one. Despite how tired I was, I stayed up, washed it and then stood in the mirror twisting my hair. My husband, already under the covers about to drift off to sleep, looked over curiously and asked if I would show him how I twist. I did. He twisted it. The next morning I untwisted it and loved it. I declare, that man can do anything!

 

As he brushed out my tight curls to make sure they were as smooth as possible before twisting them, he said, “I just love your hair. It’s so pretty, so soft.” I felt an unexpected wave of emotion. It wasn’t the first time he’s told me how much he loves my curls. But I guess the combination of him doing my hair and genuinely appreciating its beauty felt like salve on an old wound. Caught off guard by the tears I felt welling up inside, I said quietly, “I know you will probably never understand why your words about my hair feel so good, but thank you.”

To be honest, until I was 35 years old, I really didn’t like my hair at all. I did all that I could to make it look different than the way it grows out of my head. I didn’t think it was long enough, straight enough, thick enough, pretty enough. What I was really saying to myself is that my hair wasn’t acceptable as is. When I finally went natural in 2008, I was shocked to see that my hair, without chemicals, is hair that I like. More than acceptable, it is authentically me. And to have that punctuated by Jeff’s compliment as he cared for my hair that night was a beautiful thing. Being fully accepted and appreciated just as you are frees you to fully be you.

Words are powerful and healing. The words you say to yourself, the words you say to others and the words you ingest from others. This week, I invite you to affirm someone in your life for the authentic beauty you see in them. Don’t keep your thoughts to yourself. Share them. Be genuine. It only takes a moment to bless someone with your words. Whether it is your spouse or your child or a co-worker or friend, your words just might be the healing salve they need that day – the words God uses to speak truth to their soul.

My challenge to you this week:

Affirm the beauty you see another that they may not see in themselves.

Journaling assignment:

Who needs your words of affirmation this week? What could you genuinely say that would be meaningful and even healing to that person? What are you waiting for – when will you say it?! Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have your copy of my brand new book Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable yet? Get it here now or any of your favorite retailers!

Gear Up, Don’t Give Up!

There’s often a point as you are moving towards your vision when things just get hard. You get tired. The road is longer than you expected it to be, and you wonder if things will ever come together. And to be honest, you feel like giving up. In fact, you can try to convince yourself that the vision is not all that big of a deal. You don’t really want it that much. Yeah, that’s right. You’ll be just fine without it.

But your spirit knows that is not true. And today, I want to encourage you to gear up rather than give up. Gear up for the final stretch! Stay in the game. Admit you want it. You really want it. And you are willing to go all out to get it. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll deal with the devastation then. But today, you’re all in! Fear of disappointment tempts us to pretend our desires aren’t that important. Courage says, “I want it and I’m willing to risk failure and heartache to get it.” Where is this message true for you right now? Maybe it is the relationship you desire or the financial breakthrough or the dream career or a family of your own or healing from a health challenge.

I just want to encourage you today to be bold and courageous. Be willing to be ridiculed for being a dreamer, an optimist, a fool. Your tenacity will be rewarded, one way or another. I’d rather be a dreamer, an optimist or fool than a settler, a pessimist and full of regret.

My challenge to you:
Gear up, don’t give up! The road might be long, but it will be worth it.

Journaling assignment:
What does this week’s message mean to you? In what way do you need to gear up for the long haul? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

Will You Be Joining Me in a Few Weeks?

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I am so excited to announce that we are hosting our THIRD Coach Training Intensive for the year in just a few weeks! This intensive is an accelerated personal and executive coaching course that also features our popular bonus Business Development Day for those who want to grow a highly profitable coaching business. This intensive is designed to focus on the needs of professional coaches, business owners, psychologists/counselors, corporate managers and other leaders. The Coach Training Intensive will equip you with the skills to effectively coach clients, team members, staff, and others as they navigate through challenges and opportunities. See an exclusive peek inside our weekend intensive and see what YOU can experience in November!

Join me, my team of instructors and aspiring coaches just like you from all over the country on

November 1-3, 2014 in Atlanta, GA at the InterContinental Hotel.

This Coach Training Intensive will help you:
• Become a more sought-after leader who motivates and develops the potential in people.
• Learn how to attract and sustain a steady, profitable client base.
• Gain the latest research-based skills in coaching and applied positive psychology.
• Earn 22 accredited coach training hours approved by the ICF (International Coach Federation).
• Connect with like-minded individuals in a fun, faith-filled environment.
• Lay the groundwork to become Certified Personal and Executive Coach (CPEC).
• Walk fully in your life purpose and maximize your own potential!

Don’t miss out on this wonderful experience! Registration closes on midnight Monday October 20th.

Click here to register TODAY!

For questions, contact Erika Davis at 800.980.8208 ext.88/ edavis@cappinstittue.com

May and June 2014 Graduates

May CTI group

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Is Your Light Bright Enough?

“… Let your light shine before [others], that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
— Matthew 5:16

This week, I would like to remind you of one of your most important “divine assignments” – being a light that draws people closer to God. No matter what your purpose in life, this is an underlying mission: Living your life in such a way that people say to themselves, “There’s something different about that person and I want to know how to experience some of that peace, joy and love in my own life.”

Matthew 5: 14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Here are five ways you can exemplify this principle:


1. LOOK FOR WAYS TO BE A BLESSING
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Letting your light shine means letting all that is good within you come forth. There is so much negativity swirling around us on a daily basis that when good enters our environment, it brings light to the darkness. It is a refreshing burst of clean air. Be sensitive to the needs of others. Find ways to be a blessing – even simple ways such as being a courteous driver, thoughtful friend, and kind co-worker.


2. REFUSE TO BE JUDGMENTAL.

One of the fastest ways to dim your light and turn people away from God is to judge them. You can acknowledge that a person has done wrong without condemning them for it. Remember that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Perhaps you would never do what someone else did that was terrible, but you know what? There is something you’ve done that was wrong – and God forgave you for it. You experienced His grace and mercy. Be merciful to others. Everyone does things for their own reasons – right or wrong. Let God be the judge. Choose to pray for those you feel tempted to judge. Embrace and support them if they are trying to do better. When you do this, they will be more likely to be curious about the faith you profess.

3. SPEAK UP FOR WHAT IS JUST.
Notice, I did not say, “Speak up for what is right.” Too often, we confuse “being right” with “doing right.” Focus more on the latter. In every instance and especially every conflict, it is essential that you treat people justly – to ensure that those who cross your path are better off for having done so. If you are in a work or personal situation in which others are being cheated, disrespected or done a disservice, let your light shine and speak up. You can do so in a way that is direct, yet calm and non-judgmental.

4. LET GO OF THE DESIRE TO “FIT IN.”
If you are going to let your light shine, unfortunately, it will be hard to do so and fit in everywhere you go. In some environments, simply smiling and speaking to people in a kind way will cause you to stand out. Choose to be more concerned with being a vessel of God’s truth and love on a daily basis than fitting in with those who do not share your values.

5. DON’T HIDE YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE.
One of the most common ways you can dim your own light is to pretend publicly that God is not central to your way of life. If God is an important part of who you are, there is no need to have a private relationship you keep to yourself and a public persona that never acknowledges your own spirituality. You don’t need a Bible on your desk or a preacher’s robe to share your faith with others. When opportunities present themselves to share where your strength comes from in difficult times or to acknowledge how God has protected or blessed you, be honest. Your faith is a part of who you are. When you free yourself to be who you are, you also free others to be who they truly are.

My challenge to you this week:
Identify at least one way you will “brighten your light” this week. Then intentionally set out to be a vessel of love and light in the world.

Journaling assignment:
In what ways have I dimmed my light? How can I go about becoming a brighter light that attracts others to God by the way I live my life and treat others? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

My NEW Book, Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable is in a Store Near You!

I’m so excited that my new book, Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable officially launched today! This book is so special to me because like you, I’ve been stuck. More importantly, the life I live today is better than I even imagined – and it’s all because I made a decision and found the courage to break free of fear and get unstuck. It is a decision. I want to help you step into the amazing life God imagined for you. If you find yourself stuck in a job, frustrated in your relationships, repeating a cycle of debt, or unable to sustain momentum towards your goals, then I wrote Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable for you. Head out to the nearest bookstore to pick up a copy for you and a friend!

Order today and get a FREE in-person workshop with me, and two more gifts FREE.
(Must order THIS week!)
Follow these three simple steps to get instant access to your gifts:
  1.  Order Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable in store or online by this Saturday, October 4th
  2. Email a copy of your receipt or receipt number to getunstuck@valorieburton.com
  3. Instantly receive your gifts!
      • FREE: An in-person workshop. The book is your exclusive invitation to join me for the Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable workshop. $399, your admission FREE.
      • Instant access: The Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable webinar.Watch and take notes. The webinar is packed with eye-opening questions. $39, FREE for you.
      • Download instantly: The classic teleclass that got rave reviews. The Seven Secrets of Highly Effective Goal Setting teleclass was life changing. Now you can experience it by instantly downloading the recording! $39, FREE download.
      • Be Unstoppable inspirational quote cards: Stuck? Just read one of the inspirational messages, and move another step in the right direction.

The Most Important Step to Getting Unstuck!

Why is it that we ignore the truth? Or even hide from it? You had an inkling that the person wasn’t who they appeared to be, but you got involved anyway – now you feel stuck trying to get out of the relationship. You knew instinctively it was not time to buy that thing you just knew you had to have, but you wanted it, so you got it. Now, you’re stuck with the bill, and it is causing problems. You didn’t want to take on that project. In fact, your stomach turned when you were asked to do it, but your people-pleasing personality led you to say “yes,” and now you’re stuck, resentful and completely overwhelmed! You knew that wasn’t the right career path for you, but out of fear or insecurity or bowing to what others might think, you chose it anyway. To be clear, I don’t say any of this to beat you up. I say it so we can start this journey in a place of honesty. The first step to getting unstuck is a simple one: Tell yourself the truth. And behave based on that truth. It is easier said than done. Telling the truth and acting on it ruffles people’s feathers. It may make you quite unpopular. It will make you uncomfortable at times. But nothing gets more people stuck than ignoring that still, small voice that persistently speaks if only we will listen.

Telling yourself the truth is bold. It is a simple act, but one of the most courageous. And it will set you free and on a path to a life that is absolutely unstoppable. Answer some simple, but bold questions:

-What are you afraid to admit?
-What are you really afraid will happen if you take action?
-Whose approval are you so afraid of not gaining that you forego your dreams, your wisdom and your freedom?
-What do you avoid for fear of facing the consequences of change?
-And what would you have to let go of in order to move towards the life God imagined for you?

I realize these aren’t easy questions, but I believe the answers lie within you and they are so powerful, that when you answer them truthfully, your next steps begin to unfold in a big way. You can run from them or ignore them, but they are not going away. That’s the power of having the courage to tell the truth.

Truth awakens you from the deep slumber of lies. In pretending we don’t hear the voice of the Holy Spirit or resisting the guidance of that voice, we get to live a lie. “God, did you say this man I’m dating is not ‘the one’? That couldn’t be you. We’ve been together too long. I’ve invested too much. If I don’t stay with him, then what? I’ll be alone again. I’ll never meet anyone else. God, that can’t be you. No, that wasn’t you. I’m going to stick with what I have.” And more years progress and the relationship doesn’t. You feel stuck. Or maybe it’s not the relationship. Maybe it is your money habits. You know you need to be a better steward, speak up and negotiate what your contributions are worth, but the idea of doing so scares the dickens out of you. You imagine yourself groveling for a better salary and being thrown out of her office or telling the dealership you want a better price and they laugh in your face. “No!” you imagined being yelled at with disgust. “Who does she think she is?!” And so, you are quiet. You don’t just want a better deal or higher pay, you need it. But feelings of insecurity may lead you to pretend all is well financially, even when it is not.

Truth telling takes courage. But if you are to be free and live the amazing life you were created for, it is necessary. Embrace the truth of what you know deep down and you take the first step towards becoming unstoppable. This week’s newsletter is adapted from Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable, which will be officially released this week, Wednesday, October 1! Order it this week and get a free, half-day workshop with me and more gifts when you email your receipt to getunstuck@valorieburton.com. Click here to get your copy now!

Challenge: Listen to the divine inner wisdom that whispers the truth to you. Do not ignore it. Do not hide from it. Have the courage to embrace it – regardless of the fall out. Get ready to be unstoppable.

Journal about it: What is it time for you to admit? What action would you take if you embraced the truth? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

If You Are Tired of Starting Over, Stop Giving Up!

In what area of your life have you contemplated giving up lately?  It crosses the minds of even the most tenacious – I’ve been there. And this week, I feel led to encourage you to hang in there.  I know, I know. You’re tired.  You thought things would have taken off in your career or business by now. You’ve tried and tried to make the relationship work, but you’re losing hope that it ever will. You’re on your third diet in five months and you weigh two pounds more than you did when you started.

I saw this quote recently:

“If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.”

It is such a simple concept, but in our fast-food world of instant gratification, it’s a concept that we need to be reminded of. The temptation to give up is one of the most enticing temptations you will ever face.  Rather than running towards something new, try digging your heels in right where you are.  Manage your expectations about how quickly things must happen and find the lesson that’s being offered to you in your frustration.  Ten years from now, what will you wish you had done in this season of your life?  Will you wish you had stuck with it? What reward will you reap for staying the course?  Perseverance is not usually fun, but it works.

Don’t get me wrong. Starting over is sometimes a necessity. No need to continue down a path to nowhere.  In such cases, it’s best to turn back and find a new path.  But when starting over is not a necessity, it is a setback. And often you discover that the new thing you pursue – the new job, the new relationship, the new diet – only presents a new set of challenges, often not so different from the ones you have right now. They’re just new and repackaged.  If that’s you right now, on the verge of giving up – out of exhaustion, disappointment or impatience, try these three strategies:

1.  Get some grit.

Research shows that “grit,” that tenacious spirit that sticks with it, is a determining factor for success in school, sports and business. Make a decision not to give up until you reach your goal. Remove “giving up” as an option.  When you do, you can refocus your energy on finding solutions to the challenge before you.

2.  Get some perspective.

When you become worn out on your journey, the negative emotion narrows your perspective and you begin to only see more of the negative.  Isolating yourself can cause you to falsely perceive that you are the only one dealing with your challenge. Not true. Reach out to positive friends or family to get encouragement.  Read articles or books about people who’ve succeeded at your goal – all of them have surely faced failure and disappointment on the road to success. Put things into perspective and you begin to see that the test you are enduring right now will ultimately become your testimony.

3.  Get some rest.

Sometimes you just need to stop trying so hard to make things work.  Give yourself a break. Pray. Trust. Believe. Relax. Research shows that as you move towards goals, you deplete your energy.  Replenish your energy so you can keep moving forward. Getting unstuck takes energy.  Make sure you’ve got plenty for your journey to success.

My challenge to you:

Don’t give up!

Journaling assignment:

In what area(s) of your life are you tempted to give up?  Ten years from now, what will you wish you had done during this season of your life?  Will you wish you had stuck with it? What reward will you reap for staying the course?  Is it time to make a decision that “giving up” is not an option? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Don’t Go It Alone!

The most persistent fear I have repeatedly overcome is a fear of rejection. The irony of this people-pleasing fear is that it can manifest in a lot of behaviors, one of which is solitude. Without consciously connecting your fear with your choices, those whose core fear is rejection can make a habit of going it alone – insisting they are independent rather than scared, focused rather than collaborative. Perhaps you can relate.

Years passed before it occurred to me how solitary my work is. I write alone. I speak on a stage alone. And in my years of coaching, I coached alone – by phone. For ten years, I worked from home, my team scattered about in their home offices in other states. Until one day, a couple of years after moving to Atlanta – alone – I no longer had the grace to work in such solitude. For ten years, I’d wanted to work from home. Then suddenly, I resented it.

“Alone” is where moments of inspiration unfold. “Alone” is also where moments of isolation steal your joy. We must have a balance. I was passionate and purposeful in my work, but something was missing: Connection. On my journey to more joy these last few years, it is connection that has transformed my life. I made it a professional goal, not simply to inspire and achieve, but to connect. I got an office, hired my first full-time employee to work alongside me – literally, not remotely. Then I expanded our coach training program to include a six-month certification program – twice a week live webinars in coaching, positive psychology and business development. In the beginning, I created and taught every subject, every class – alone. Again, something was missing: Connection. I wanted others to teach, not just me. And if I thought about it, I knew a lot of talented, experienced, passionate experts who would impact our students and do this vision together with me.

Everything in life is more meaningful when you make connection the goal. Connection isn’t “networking.” It is isn’t simply collaboration. It isn’t just communication. Connection is love. It is the moment, however brief, when your soul aligns with another and you serve one another’s needs in some way. It could be a smile, a touch, an idea, a word of encouragement, or act of support. But connection makes life and work juicy.

So I began inviting others into the process – people who could carry the vision forward, teach the curriculum I created, and do this thing with me together. To be honest, it was hard to let go. “Will they get it right?” I worried. “Will the students complain?” I took the leap. They got it right. No one complained. In fact, I don’t even think they missed me! Today, we have five instructors who are as passionate as I am. We have graduated hundreds of students whose lives are transformed. And I don’t go it alone.

LaFern Batie, Kim DuBrul, Christine Duvivier, Breon Michel and Lisa Sansom bring coaching to life in ways unique to their powerful experience – and that makes the program richer than it could ever be from my just my perspective. As for me personally, I just have a whole lot more fun. The first time I sat in one of our training events while Kim and LaFern tag-teamed to teach felt like someone truly had my back. The responsibility was now shared. The program could run without me! We collaborated on improvements. We laughed together. We’ve created an experience – for our coaching students and ourselves – that could never be replicated in isolation, but only through the beauty of authentic connection.

Journaling assignment:
In what way(s) are you trying to go it alone? What would connection give you that is currently missing in a project or goal of yours?


Next step:

Reach out. Connect. Don’t go it alone.

For more on how to get unstuck, pre-order my brand new book Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable and get three free gifts! Click HERE for details.

For info on our last Coach Training Intensive of the year, click here.

5 Lessons to Remember When You Are Feeling Stuck, Frustrated, or Unsure!

As I journaled one day about the lessons God has offered me thus far in life, this is what came to me. Perhaps you’ve learned these along your journey as well. Sometimes in the hectic pace of life, we need a reminder, and that is what I am here to offer you today: 

 

1.  Nothing Is Permanent.

I first learned this lesson at six years old, which was the first time my family moved. We left my birthplace of Florida and moved to Germany. I moved eight times by the age of 21 – to cities in Colorado, South Carolina, California, back to Florida, and later to Texas. Growing up in an Air Force family, I quickly learned to adapt to new circumstances, new people, and sometimes even a new country.

Nothing in life is permanent – a fact that should encourage you to revel in the joy your life brings, and minimize your frustration when you encounter circumstances you don’t like. There is something in your life right now that is not permanent. If it is something you love, in what way can you embrace and enjoy it more? If it’s something you dread, just hold on a little longer. This too shall pass.

2. You are Either Living on Purpose or Living by Accident. 

 

Too many people wander through life haphazardly – latching on to people, jobs, and things just because they crossed their path. Then they wake up one day wondering, “How on earth did I get here?” I call it “living by accident.” In order to create a fulfilling life, you have to be purposeful in your decisions.

Don’t make your decisions without reflecting on how your decision will impact you long-term. Pursue the things that empower you to express your values and talents. Choose to be around people you feel good being around – inspiring, supportive people who are moving in the same direction as you. Know your purpose, and live in it every day in your work, relationships, health, finances, and spiritual life. In what way do you need to begin living more on purpose?

3.  Fear Does Not Necessarily Mean ‘Stop’.  

 

 Fear is as powerful as you allow it to be. Most of us feel fear and interpret that feeling as a warning to stop moving forward. In truth, we should interpret most fear as a natural emotion that pops up every time we venture to do something outside of our comfort zone.

When you feel fear, keep moving. It’ll stretch you beyond your comfort zone and closer to your goals. What are you afraid of right now that is keeping you from your best life? Will you make a decision to move forward despite your fear?

4.  Less is More.

More than ever, our culture is fixated on proving your worth through your money and material possessions.   Entire televisions shows are dedicated to showing you all the stuff other people have. After a while, it can be pretty challenging not to compare your “stuff” to everyone else’s.

True self-empowerment comes from knowing that nothing material will ever prove your worth. Your worth comes from who you are – a child of God – and the impact you make in the lives of others. Don’t worry about impressing everyone else. Instead, focus on impressing God by living the purpose for which He created you: Serving and blessing others in a way that only you can.

5. The Power to Change Your Life is in the Choices You Make.

This is perhaps the most powerful of lessons. Better choices create better circumstances. It’s not what happens to you that most impacts your life. It is how you respond. Your choices create your future. What kind of future are you creating with the choices you are making today?

You can choose to enjoy your life or to be miserable. You can choose to be flexible or keep hitting a brick wall at work or in a relationship. You can choose to pursue your dreams or keep making excuses for why you can’t achieve them. The choice is ours. What new choice do you need to make in your life?

My challenge to you:

From the list of five lessons above or the list you created when you journaled, choose the one that you most need to apply to your life right now. Make a decision to take an action in the next 48 hours that will enrich your life in a meaningful way.

Journaling Questions:

What is the most important lesson your life is offering you right now? How will you apply this lesson in your future? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Joy Comes in the Morning!

I visited Colorado Springs for a speaking engagement and a few meetings. A friend picked me up at the airport, and took me to dinner. We then headed to Glen Eyrie Castle and Conference Center, where I’d be staying during my trip. Before arriving, I had received a generous invitation from a staff member at Glen Eyrie to stay at no expense in the biggest and nicest room at their Christian retreat center nestled in the foothills near picturesque Pike’s Peak. The property, a castle built by a civil war general for his wife, was established in the city of Colorado Springs in the late 19th century.

I’d been told the location was beautiful, but it was dark when we arrived, and upon proceeding through the gate, I began to feel a bit apprehensive. We drove along a winding road with no street lights and small, dark cottages sprinkled here and there. It seemed like the scene just before something crazy happens in a scary movie. We pulled up to the home I’d be staying in. It was just after 10:00 pm. One light was on in the house and I thought I saw a man sitting at a desk near a front window. We walked up to the large, ornate wood door with a heavy metal knocker. Taped to the center of the door was a note with “Valorie” scribbled on the outside and a key inside. It instructed me to the location of my room inside this bed-and-breakfast style cottage.

We walked through the foyer, then a long, stately dining room with a fireplace and seating for 14 people, and finally a vast living area with paintings of people I imagined were long gone. The lighting was nearly non-existent, and as we proceeded through the house, I thought, “Where am I? Who else is in this house? Are the former inhabitants still ‘with us’?” I knew I was being silly, but the thoughts and questions were gaining speed. We arrived at my room – a spacious pink bedroom with a long, hall entry way, an antique canopy bed, living area, work area and a huge bathroom. My friend saw the apprehension on my face. And his wife looked a little apprehensive about leaving me there, too.

“You don’t have to stay here,” he assured me. “We can go the Hilton right now if you want.” I gazed through one of the dozen, 10-feet high windows in the room. It was pitch black outside so I couldn’t see a thing. But I wasn’t feeling excited about staying.

“It was such a generous offer, and I would feel terrible about coming here and then leaving to check into a hotel,” I said.

Just then, I heard a motherly voice call out, “Val-or-ie?” I turned to find a lovely, older couple – the home’s hosts – enter the room.

The husband, perhaps sensing a little tension by the way we were scoping out the room, said lightly, “Don’t worry. There are no ghosts here. :) It just looks like this because you came at night.”

A little embarrassed, I said, “Oh, I’m sure it’s lovely in the daytime,” hoping I was right.

The host’s wife proceeded to tell me a few things about the room and the house. She said something about an unconventional wake-up call at 5:30 am, but I thought she was kidding. “Good night,” they said before retiring to their room.

“Well,” I said to my friend and his wife. “I’ll stay tonight and let’s see how it goes.”

“I’ll be back to pick you up in the morning,” he offered, “Just pack your bags if you want to check into a hotel tomorrow, and we’ll take them when I pick you up.”

Uneasy, but undeterred, I readied for bed and decided that my apprehension was unfounded (but left the hallway light on for good measure :).

Around 5:20 a.m., I was suddenly awakened by the sound of a woman laughing – well, kind of cackling. It was almost a giggle – little short, choppy bursts of laughter. The first time I heard it, I thought it was a bit strange. The second time, I thought, “Boy, something must really be funny.” I tried to go back to sleep, but she wouldn’t stop her funny little giggles.

“What could be that funny this early in the morning!?” I thought, now feeling a bit annoyed.

Then it occurred to me, the hostess warned me the night before that I would get a wake up call around 5:30 in the morning – from wild turkeys gobbling outside. I jumped out of bed and looked outside, only to see huge, wild, black turkeys shuffling about on the lawn. In the background was a spectacular mountain view, and I could see the edges of a large, stone castle peeking from behind the tall, evergreen trees on the property. The scene from the 12 expansive windows in my room was captivating. I took a deep breath of gratitude and inhaled the divine beauty of nature. Then I laughed at myself for my reaction the night before.

During my three days at Glen Eyrie, I took walks, meditated and enjoyed the scenic landscape and peaceful environment that surrounded me.

I gleaned a simple lesson from this story:

Sometimes, you have to persevere through the uncertainty of darkness to experience the beautiful vision that comes when light is shed on a situation. Things aren’t always as they seem, especially when we have a limited view.

In what area of your life are you apprehensive because you can’t see what’s coming? Are you ready to bail out quickly before you can see the whole picture? This week, I offer you a challenge: Refuse to allow irrational fears to pressure you into making hasty decisions – whether in your personal or professional life. “… Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” Psalm 30:5 promises. Stick around and see what God has in store before you take it upon yourself to “fix things.” When you finally see what morning looks like, you may just find you were in the right place all along.

Journaling assignment:
In what area of your life are you tempted to make a premature decision? Is God prompting you to wait a little while longer before showing you the bigger picture?

My challenge to you this week:
Be patient. Refuse to make a hasty decision. Instead, endure a little discomfort until you can see the bigger picture and can make a more informed decision. Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!