I truly love the concepts in this lesson. Instead of being consumed with our WMDs (What’s Missing and Disappointing), we have something marvelous, stimulating, and worthwhile to occupy our minds: our Genius Zone. It is extremely imperative that you have topics ready to think about (Rooms to Move Into) and shift to. Your Genius Zone is one of the best Rooms ever to Move into because so much joy and pleasure is associated with it. When the WMDs rain down, we all want to escape and your Genius Zone is a healthy, positive escape! Finding my own Genius Zone was a huge part of my personal emotional healing. Your Genius Zone will always be a safe, predictable Room to Move into when the WMDs of life begin crashing down.
First, be sure and read Lesson 5 in Happy School, Where Women Learn the Secrets to Overcome Discouragement and Worry.
Day 1, Part A
Dispelling the Myth of Ease and Constant Pleasure
If you ask random people about their goals, one goal you will often hear is, “Getting financially free so I don’t have to work.”
Hey, I’m up for getting financially free, too, as that gives one certain freedoms and choices. But none of the choices are so “I don’t have to work.” Work, when using your Genius Zone, is a gift from God and one of the most pleasurable and fulfilling aspects of life. (You don’t have to get paid to call something “work.” Stay-at-home mothers “work” and there are a slew of people who use their time to volunteer or to engage in meaningful activities in which they don’t get paid.) Just know that pursuing a life of ease and constant pleasure is only sought out by those who are not well instructed. Despair is certain to follow when one pursues pleasure and ease as their primary goal. The mind was created to only be happy when it is engaged in pursuits.
Years ago I remember meeting a man in his 30’s who was a trust fund baby, and therefore never had to work. His financial situation afforded him a fabulous opportunity to get in touch with his gifts and to use them to make a contribution to society. Instead, he drank a lot of alcohol and occasionally painted landscapes. Of course, painting is a wonderful activity and for many, a worthwhile calling. But this man had no true purpose. Not only did he have a drinking problem, but was plagued with depression. How wonderful it is to have purpose and something worthwhile in which to focus the mind! Dedication to your purpose and having an aim outside yourself engages the mind and brings satisfaction. Lack of purpose is always coupled with despair. (Just to be clear, most trust fund babies are not like the one in the above example. Many use their lucrative financial situation to build great lives of service. But this person was not well instructed in how to build a satisfying life.)
Leisure is a reward for work and for being productive, not an end in itself. All of us know people who retire then become terribly bored. I know a doctor who retired, and then started up his practice again. “I found out it was boring reading crime novels and playing golf every day,” he told me.
Making a meaningful contribution with your Genius Zone is stirring to your heart. Much human flourishing lies on the other side of using your Genius Zone. It is one of the true secrets of happiness.
The culture can sometimes erroneously define happiness as an all-expense paid trip to some tropical island. But that’s actually not the correct description of true and lasting happiness. A huge aspect of happiness is more like working diligently for and winning something meaningful that you have fought hard for. It’s not the absence of responsibility, but working toward accomplishing significant goals that you deeply care about.
I knew a man who, when he was young, had so much talent and potential. He won awards in his early twenties for his outstanding personality. But he was madly in love with pleasure. He chased women, booze, and the easy life (he became corrupt in his business life.) Before he died in his 60’s, he was terribly depressed and in deep despair. Of course, no one is truly happy without virtue, but in addition, he never harnessed his talent and put it to good use for the contribution of others, an important aspect of happiness. He only spent his many talents and gifts on his own desires. In the end, it’s a pathetic existence.
I also know of a woman who didn’t chase illicit pleasures, but chased money, country clubs, status, and other hobbies, all of which were totally geared toward her own pleasure. She didn’t do anything illegal (well, maybe a few little things) but she never did anything with her (vast) skill set for others. She used all of her gifts to focus back on herself. Old age is sad for these people.
God gave you your interests and skills so that you might use them to glorify Him and to benefit others. In this process, you receive a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction. God’s ways and plans always come back to bless us.
Remember, God gave Adam and Eve work to do before the fall. Work is part of God’s best design. And working in your Genius Zone is amazingly stimulating. It takes a lot of pains to discover your Genius Zone. Filling your head space with your Genius Zone is a great antidote for discouragement and depression. In fact, it is one of the main solutions to overcoming your discouragement and worry (along with not swimming around in your WMDs, but quarantining those rascals!)
This, my friend, is a path out of the dungeon of ruminating all day long about your WMDs. You are getting ready to embark on a new life of emotional freedom.
Day 1, Part B
Massive, Continual Boredom is a Surefire Sign You Are Not Using Your Potential and Capabilities
Chronic boredom is a sure-fire sign of living below your capabilities and potential. Often, people are ridiculously bored but so afraid to take a calculated risk. They are afraid of failing and then, what others might say or think. Deciding to use your Genius Zone is a choice you make in your heart with the Lord. And then, you throw your fearful heart over the fence. Your body will follow. Now you know how to control the Parade that Marches across Your Brain (Move into Another Room) so when the fear of putting yourself out there arises, you know what to do!
Recently a young girl in one of my groups told me she was terribly bored with her life, but because she was continuously criticized by her family as a child, she is now petrified to “put herself out there.” I explained to her that she is an adult now and that she can reframe, replace, and refute her family-of-origin’s past criticism. (And then of course—voila—there’s the beauty and majesty of quarantining.) Her parents’ critical remarks do not define her; God does. He made her with gifts that He wants her to share with the world.
It’s time to confront your boredom and your fear of failure, don’t you think? Fight to find a life you’re excited about using your Genius Zone and gifts to contribute to others in a meaningful way.
No one is coming on a white horse to rescue you from your boredom. It is your responsibility to create a life that you enjoy—not your husband’s, not your children’s, no one but you. Life is ticking away. Don’t waste any more time. Remember, throw your heart over the fence and your body will follow.
Finding Your Genius Zone, Purpose, Calling
If you wake up every day filled with dread or boredom, feel stuck or trapped, or feel you have no direction, then today’s lesson is for you. The combination of wealth, a loving family, and a strong social network may seem like the recipe for a perfect life, but until one finds, and uses, their Genius Zone—the area where their gifts, interests, and a need collide— a fulfilling dimension of life is missing.
“Discover where a deep gladness meets a need. There’s true joy in offering what you sense you were made to give,” claims the Genie in Lesson 5 in Happy School. Humans are aiming creatures. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
To help you get started in discovering your Genius Zone, as well as pinpointing your God-given calling, please open your journal and brainstorm some answers to these 8 questions and prompts.
Number #1: What makes you feel alive and energized? What puts you in the zone? What do you do that gives you joy and makes you lose track of time? What do you love to do? What did you like to do when you were a kid? When have you been your happiest?
In college, I was the rush chairman for my sorority, which meant I had to plan different parties with themes for incoming freshmen for several days. I remember sitting on my mother’s balcony porch with papers scattered all around me, writing new lyrics (about our sorority) to old songs from the classic South Pacific movie. I think I was in heaven. Even at this young age, I rejoiced in writing and creating. Search your past for these moments when your heart sang.
Number #2: What comes easy and naturally? Your Genius Zone will be somewhat of an easy and natural area for you, a downhill stream. (However, just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you enjoy it. A friend of mine won national piano competitions as a teen. But piano was her mother’s dream, not hers. She didn’t truly enjoy playing the piano. Of course, your Genius Zone will be somewhat natural for you, but remember, it is also very important that you enjoy it!)
Number #3: When did you feel most proud of yourself? To find your Genius Zone and purpose, you’ve got to drop from your head to your heart. What is the core part of you that you want people to talk about at your funeral?
Number #4: What do others appreciate about you that makes you happy when they say it? In what areas do people compliment you that delights you? Which of the compliments “sing”? If you tell me I have a well-organized kitchen, I think, “That’s nice but ho hum.” If you tell me my books have helped you, I swing from the chandelier.
Number #5: What drives you? What pain, injustice, or unhappiness have you witnessed that is upsetting to you? Is there anything that touches you so deeply that it drives you? Often, a powerful purpose can come from powerful pain. What do you think needs to be changed about the world? Sometimes Genius Zones turn past hurts into ways to help others heal.
Number #6: What qualities do you most admire in other people? Name some people you admire. Whom you admire is revealing. List three or four people. Is there a pattern?
Number #7: In the classic, 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, Steve Covey said to “begin with the end in mind.” This is similar to having a vision. Write down what you want to have accomplished when you’re 90, and then work backwards. I remember being in Virginia and homeschooling our six kids. I could not have been busier. But I wrote out a vision, a plan that I formed in the presence of God. My plan was to conquer my problems and then write answers for others to the problems that I faced. God answered that years later with the Genie series. If you are in the middle of diapers, meals, homework, and soccer practice, you can still plan for the days when you will have more time (I promise, they’re coming). Even if you are covered up with toddlers and babies (I know this precious season well), you can start with “the end in mind” by using naptime to read and to learn more about your Genius Zone.
Number #8: Take a solo retreat. A lovely friend of mine in Virginia would check into a monastery for a weekend of silent retreat to get her head on straight. She would spend the weekend pouring over her Bible and in prayer to hear from God. If you can’t get away for a weekend, how about an afternoon in the park with a Bible and a journal? Remember, always stay close to the double sticks of dynamite, prayer and the Word. It is in these two superpowers that you will find direction (I should say, supernatural powers). “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).
Now that you’ve written down answers to those questions in your Quartz Journal, start praying over them, and rereading them. Answers often rise to the surface. If what you wrote seems ridiculous later on, cross it off. Add everything you get from your time with the Lord. Prayer is your most valuable aid, as the Lord will whisper, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Is. 30:21) Many of our problems would disappear if we would simply engage in the practice of the old hymn, Sweet Hour of Prayer.
The people in your life who are supportive and positive will be able to help you too, as you share your ideas with them. (If your mother is like Darby’s in Happy School, then don’t share your ideas with her. Pick positive people who care about you.)
Harsh realities are definitely a part of life but instead of pulling the covers up over your eyes and hiding in anger and fear, use your Genius Zone to step out, get out of the stands, and into the arena. You have a work to do. Take the bread, take the fish, and feed the thousands. Accept the race you’ve been given and run it.
The Need is Not the Call
You only have 90 to 100 years to live (I’m an optimist here) so you can’t accomplish everything in your lifetime. Therefore, you’ve got to be exceedingly intentional and primarily invest your time and energy in the calling that God has given you.
Just know that others will try to persuade you to sign up for their call. Many years ago I got a phone call from a pastor’s secretary and she said, “I want you to know that the pastor has approved you to be on committee X.” I was pretty upset, because I didn’t want to be on committee X. After a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally said, “I don’t think that’s what I’m supposed to do.” The secretary was aghast! “But the pastor has approved you!”
It takes a strong sense of your calling to say no to strong people. I am certainly not advocating laziness. And I detest selfishness! But you do have to get in touch with your calling—your purpose, your narrow lane—so you will know when to say yes and when to say no. Prayer is the only way to hear from God on this. Read His Word, pray, and wait on the Lord. He will reveal His marching orders. His will become apparent. Your walking buddy won’t know God’s will for you; but the Holy Spirit does.
Another example of when the need was not the call was when our oldest was 11 and I was homeschooling with six kids. An elder in the church called me and said that the elder board wanted me to become the director of the church nursery. I almost fell through the floor when he told me this, as I was barely making it through each day. And in addition, I’m terrible at administration. I somehow sputtered out how busy I was with the kids and the homeschooling and that I didn’t think I could take that on. And then, in a strong, authoritarian voice, he said, “Well, then, what exactly do you intend to do to serve at church?”
At this time, I was using my gifts the best I could, meeting with women, doing a little mentoring and counseling, but it wasn’t anything organized. Being a “Titus 2:4-5 young woman” was my calling at the time. Remember, the need is not the call and likewise, the voice of a strong person in leadership is not the call either.
You don’t owe people an explanation for what God is telling you to do (except, of course, your husband). Learn to say, “That sounds like a good cause and I wish you success, but that is not the call I have from the Lord at this time.” Don’t allow pushy people to influence you.
Your call may be something unique. I’m often surprised when people tell me their callings. Recently, one of my friends, whom I greatly respect, called me and told me that someone wanted her to do a certain ministry. Although I knew she was extremely equipped to do so and it was a need, she didn’t really feel led to do that ministry. Then she shared the area she felt God had called her to, and it was intercessory prayer for the nation. She said she feels like she should get on her face before God twice a day and intercede for our nation’s sins. I was very struck and humbled by what God has asked her to do. What a beautiful calling. Again, I never would have predicted that to be her calling. But like my Sunday School teacher of yesteryear said, “I barely know what God is telling me. How would I know what He is telling you?”
My favorite pastor of yesteryear, Adrian Rogers, used to say, “The need is not the call.”
I read the most encouraging footnote this morning in my Life Application Study Bible. It was a note discussing the spiritual gifts that are given to the members of the body of Christ. For example, God gives prophets the ability to be bold and articulate. He gives leaders the gift of good organization and good management. Those who are to show mercy are happy to give their time to care for others. And those who are to encourage others know how to motivate others. This was extremely freeing as I once again realized I don’t have to do everything. I’m just to walk in the calling I’ve been given.
Major Ian Thomas, the author of the classic, The Saving Life of Christ, came to speak at a church service that I attended years ago. The sermon was about how Jesus “was sent.” I still have the old Bible where I circled in red ink the word “sent” from that night. In the book of John, the gospel declares over and over and over that Jesus “was sent.” You have also been sent. God knit you together in your mother’s womb and equipped you with certain gifts so that you might offer them back to the Lord and to others.
The old hymn, Jesus Makes Us Shine, has a perfect line in it: “You in your small corner, and I in mine.” Not many of us are called to be Beth Moore. And I don’t have to feel bad that I’m not more organized or that I’m not so great at taking meals to everyone. God gave me a portion of gifts and I am to develop them and give them back to Him. Remember that charming Christmas hymn, The Little Drummer Boy? “I am a poor boy, pa rum pum pum pum. I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum….I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum, I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum.”
Years ago I heard a sermon discussing the historical event when Jesus fed the 5000. A boy gave Jesus his lunch of five barley loaves and two fish. The sermon was entitled, “I Have a Hunch He Wants Your Lunch.” I have a hunch he wants you to discover your gifts and give them back to Him, as well.
Walk in your gifts. Find your calling and your ordinary days will become fulfilling. I know you have responsibilities (and I plead with you to first always be faithful to your responsibilities and priorities)! But as is possible, start moving toward structuring your life so that you have more time to walk in your calling.
Becoming a Goal Setter as Well as a Goal Achiever
Many people are proficient at setting goals, but it’s a whole other ballgame to be proficient at achieving goals.
If you haven’t already done so, please write out your current top four to six life goals in your journal. Remember to begin with the end in mind and write out the goals you want to accomplish in the next 10, 20, or 30 years.
After you are clear on your top four to six goals, it’s time to formulate a plan. Businesses pay business coaches thousands of dollars to say, “Show me your plan!” Many of us unknowingly string together wasted days, instead of living intentionally with goals and a plan.
Goals are the end product, and your plan is the yellow brick road to get there. No one accomplishes their goal when they merely declare, “I want to lose 50 pounds.” You must have a plan. Maybe you want to start a non-profit ministry. Maybe you’ve decided you want to homeschool your kids. These things don’t appear out of thin air; there must be a plan.
So take your goals and make a plan.
Another important aspect in achieving goals is the stunning quality of having the willingness to prepare. Intuitively we know this truth as we do it all the time. If we have a wedding, we spend months preparing. Have you ever paid attention to the amount of studying and preparation a law student puts in to take the Bar exam? And as you know, women spend an insane amount of time preparing for Christmas each year. Actually, we are rock stars at preparing for many things.
But when it comes to our life goals, we wing it. We say, “Que sera, sera.” (Whatever will be, will be.)
Preparation is such an important concept in life. A helpful tip is to plan the next day the night before. This habit itself helps you to be marvelously productive. You put specific work to be done in your day’s schedule like it’s an appointment. This is how you get things done—being exceedingly intentional.
For example, health is a very important subject around my house. Therefore, I know what food I am going to fix for most of the week, and especially for the day. I don’t just show up, and because nothing is prepped, eat chocolate chips. There is spinach to be washed, cabbage to be chopped, chicken to be thawed. I don’t wait until I’m ravenous to prepare because you know as well as I do if I get to that point, healthy eating isn’t going to happen. Every day you lay bricks and then one day you will have built a cathedral (or in this case, a thin healthy body.)
Beware that every goal is going to have a difficult aspect to it. Many business coaches call conquering these difficult aspects, “Eating Frogs.” Maybe it’s research you need to do or merely an unpleasant task you need to accomplish. Whatever it is, determine to Eat Your Frogs while you still have Willpower Points in your day. As we said last week, Willpower Points are like a bowl of nuts, and when they’re used up, they’re gone.
Know that in 100 percent of your goals, you will encounter obstacles and opposition. I find it hilarious when people say, “My goal is difficult, waa, waa.” Uh, yes. It wouldn’t be a goal if it wasn’t hard. None of us have the goal of eating ice cream because that’s easy. The great missionary, Hudson Taylor, is quoted as saying, “Impossible. Difficult. Done.” He knew how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.
One obstacle you will definitely face when trying to reach your goals is procrastination. Some experts call this resistance. Oh my, how this one trips me up! I often hear my Lower Self trying to get out of Eating a Frog. She whispers, “Wouldn’t this be a good time to organize your closet? Isn’t this a good time to call that friend that you’ve been meaning to call? Shouldn’t you get online and see if the tennis shoes you want are on sale?”
It’s quite a remarkable and unparalleled dance to say no to your Lower Self (Lesson 4) and, at the same time, learn to make yourself follow your plan and do the things you know you should. Mega-successful former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry, said he makes men do what they don’t want to do so they can achieve the dreams of their lives.
There’s a lot of talk about people being brilliant and genius. Being brilliant and genius is as common as March winds and May showers. What is rare and breathtaking is a person with serious goals and vision using discipline to hammer away at their goals.
Success in reaching your goals is not an accident. It is an outcome of discipline, perseverance, and virtue. Working on your plan and overcoming resistance is extraordinarily powerful to reaching your goals. Everyone wants to be successful, but no one wants to do the work. The bridge between wishing and accomplishing is discipline.
Start with a modest goal. Eight years ago, I had so much resistance and procrastination that I could only make myself write one hour a day. Now I’m writing four hours many days. You can grow in your ability to work on your goals. Just get started.
I want to warn you though. After you get clear on your Genius Zone and get concrete goals from the Lord (this can be wildly exciting), you’ll still experience days when you’ll wonder if you heard right, as your goals do not seem to be taking off. This morning is a great example. I got up at 5:30 a.m. and in the dark, I heard the negative Parade over a couple major WMDs. But I know how to corner that pesky Lower Self. “Get some coffee, your Bible study, and your journal and you can whack this thing.”
Of course, that is exactly what happened. The Word convicted me of some sin, my journal reminded me of how to refute my Parade, and soon, I was whistling, bearing down on my goals. This is why it’s so necessary to be clear and hear from the Lord on your purpose, your calling, and your goals, so when the dark, foggy, overcast days appear, you’ll know this is part of it and continue to plow. If you are not clear on your goals and calling, you will bail when times get hard or when you can’t see much progress on your goals. This is when you have to persevere. Spend the needed daily time in prayer, talking to the Lord, asking Him what He wants you to do. This is walking by faith.
Persevering through the darkness and dryness is only possible if you are clear on your calling and goals.
During the terrors of Nazi Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, author of The Cost of Discipleship, escaped to France and was safe with his sister. But because he had a calling and a purpose from the Lord, he went back into Nazi Germany to try to help, ultimately sacrificing his own life. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall and heard what he and the Lord talked about during his time in France. These people who walk so closely with the Lord are my heroes.
Listen well. Persevere in your calling even when the way is dark. Remember: Impossible. Difficult. Done.
Day 5, Part A
An Amazing, Predictable Room to Move into When WMDs Descend
I talked to a lovely 40-year-old woman this morning. She is balancing middle-schoolers, a household, and a job. Over the years, she has repeatedly told me that her main stress, her main WMD (What’s Missing and Disappointing) is an unwanted issue with her health and it still occupies much of her thinking.
If you will carefully listen to the Parade that Marches Across your Brain when you are upset, discouraged, or annoyed, you will always hear a WMD that you were just thinking about. You must learn to recognize when you are thinking about a WMD. And as you now know, you do this by listening in to your own self-talk.
My friend said to me, “Negative thoughts about my health issues are trying to bury me. I am doing everything I can to overcome my problem: praying diligently over it, trying to research answers, and talking to multiple doctors and health professionals who might help me. But after I’ve done all that, I know I need to quarantine my negative thoughts about my health and instead, think about my goals and purpose (then she listed a couple things that she was excited about).
I almost shouted, “Hurray!”, as almost every time I’ve talked to her for the last few years, she has repeatedly dwelt on her health issues. (I do get this as health issues can appear to be overwhelming.) I said, “Wow, that is such growth for you. You are fighting the incessant discouragement of your health issues (her WMD). You are winning by knowing that you’re doing everything you can to fix them, but then after that, quarantining those disappointing thoughts by Moving into Another Room. Bravo for you!”
You’ve got deep neural pathways that try to pull you back down into ruminating about your WMDs. Now that you’re listening to your self-talk, you will be able to hear it more and more. After this week’s lesson, hopefully you will have identified your Genius Zone so you’ll always have a predictable, productive, helpful Room to Move Into (but making a grocery list works, too).
Quarantining your WMDs and then actively engaging in your Genius Zone will truly change the emotional landscape you live in. You will love having this secret to pull you out of even the darkest discouragement. You must have a Room to Move into and nothing is better than the room of your Genius Zone and calling.
Day 5, Part B
Achieve Mastery in Your Genius Zone
Achieving mastery in your Genius Zone is not so you can develop some huge ego and be on the top rung of some social ladder. I am suggesting you develop mastery in your area because you reflect God when you exhibit excellence. Not to mention, what outrageous delight you will experience when you achieve a level of mastery in your Genius Zone.
Maybe you’re a tech person. You can improve and excel by taking courses, reading books, and attending seminars to hone your skills. Or maybe you’re a sales representative. Again, opportunities and the choice to grow and develop mastery are available everywhere.
If you take care of preschoolers, then do it in an excellent fashion. If you are a homeschooling mom, then don’t just get by but do it in a quality, top rate fashion. This idea of mastery and excellence is all through the Scripture. Examples include when God created the world (ha, the best example ever), when Solomon built the temple, and even when the Apostle Paul penned the breath-taking, brilliant epistle of Romans. Do excellent work. None of us get much pleasure or satisfaction from being mediocre and halfway about things.
To develop mastery in your Genius Zone, you have to be intentional. “I will work on growing my Genius Zone three hours a week by listening to podcasts, ordering an online course, or calling someone successful in my chosen field and ask if I can be mentored.” Eventually we all get older, but having developed something high quality and of value to offer others can be one of the great things about growing older.
We indulge in pleasure (Lesson 4) instead of contributing to life by becoming masterful with our gifts and giving them away. Become hugely competent with your gifts. Focus on your gifts instead of on your self-indulgence. Create a life you love centered around your gifts, so you don’t have to numb yourself with your bad habit. Discover your Talent Bank and your Genius Zone and give it away. Fill up on life, not your bad habit.
The Apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Tim. 1:6).
Gladness and delight are waiting.
Day 5, Part C
The Power of Your Previous Neural Pathways
It’s the same four to five WMDs (What’s Missing and Disappointing) that will continually derail you. There is an obstacle in my life in regards to my top life goals, as I’m sure there are obstacles in your life regarding you reaching your top goals. Last night before I went to bed, I accidentally stumbled into reading about someone who has conquered, overcome, and therefore reached her goals (exact goals that I have, only some that I have not achieved.)
I felt sad, reading her story. I mean, good for her and everything. Well done. But then, the thought comes, “Why not me? Why does she get to overcome her issue and I’m here, sitting like a lump on a log, looking at the ashes falling through my fingers?”
Awww! I hope you caught it. I hope you heard my pathetic Parade, the recurring scheme that the Enemy uses to discourage me. My negative thought was that God helps others, but He is not going to help me, and that I’m never going to overcome and solve my problem, yada, yada. Quarantine those loser/idiot thoughts, I scream to myself. Move into Another Room, I plead with my Higher Self.
You and I both have some deep neural pathways but keep Moving into Another Room. Keep walking in your calling and Genius Zone, quarantining the cries of your WMDs.
Sometimes all you can do is know the call and walk in it, even if there’s no outward evidence that you’re having success in reaching your goal. Just keep listening to the Lord, be intentional, and walk ye in it. “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” –Newt Gingrich, American politician, historian, and author.
I can smell that ole beast of discouragement, trying to put his large, ugly face up against my window. But I pull the curtains. I Move Into Another Room in My Brain. I get busy on the calling and purpose for which I was created, fanning into flame the gift of God.
Friend, this is an escape strategy for you. You can fight and win over discouragement, but your Enemy doesn’t want you to know this. Fight each battle as it presents itself to you. If there is an unpleasant scene on TV, you change channels, right? Now you can do this with your mind by Changing Rooms in Your Brain.
I want to mention that you’re in a spiritual warfare, and you “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but… against the rulers of the darkness of this world…” (Eph. 6:12). Be sure, be sure, be sure, to make time to meet with God to wrestle with this unseen (but very present!) Enemy. Know your Bible well and use it as a sharp sword against the Enemy. A lot of trouble in your mind is cleared up when you consistently read the Word and are able to hear from God. This will protect you from the error of leaning in to your feelings, intuitions, and instincts (which often shove you in the wrong direction). The One who brought the world into existence knows how to solve your problems. Spend much time waiting on Him and searching His Word for answers.
A Word of Warning
Sometimes when we discover our Genius Zone, we become so enamored with it that we neglect our priorities. I see this all the time, especially if one has been in an addiction or a serious bad habit and now the Genius Zone is a respite from the pain of the past, and that’s good! Nevertheless, we must remember that we are called to be responsible. Our first priorities will always be seeking God and loving our husband and children. In addition, as a priority, young women are called to “manage their households” (Titus 2). You are not married or chained to your household, but you are in charge of taking excellent care of it.
Just beware that if you are in love with your new Genius Zone, it is easy to go overboard and ignore your priorities.
Using Your God-given Gifts Means Saying No to Many Things
Time is of the essence. You have the freedom to choose what you get to do but there are only so many hours in a day. Therefore, you have to say no to a whole lot of things so that you can say yes to the things God has called you to do. I love Titus 2 because it’s very loud and clear about what the different life stages are to be doing. I also love Proverbs 31 because it’s equally accurate and revealing about the things women should occupy themselves with.
You can only do a few things. Being too scattered means you do nothing well. Maybe in another season, your responsibilities will change and you’ll be able to add more activity, but you know right now which responsibilities and which priorities you are to focus on.
For example, one of your priorities is to seek God. (“He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” Hebrews 11:6.) I remember being in a group in my early 30’s and everyone was moaning about how much trouble they had getting up to have a quiet time. “Why don’t you just go to bed earlier?” I asked one girl.
“Well, the kids are down so I just start watching TV to relax and then get interested in an old movie and I end up staying up.”
We all have situations happen to us where we sometimes make these choices. But if you’re truly trying to seek God, then my hunch is that you need to go to bed early so you can get up early or else you’ll skip your time with God. Maybe you can have a quiet time while your toddlers are riding piggyback on your back, but I could never hear from God in that craziness.
A family and a household take a lot of time to do well (and many women add a full-time or part-time job to this.) Therefore say no to many things, say yes to a few, and spend a lot of time in the presence of the Lord, so you can discern what to do and what not to do.
I love Psalm 32:8-9: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”
Prayerfully, carefully, get your marching orders.
I know I previously thought that a life with constant pleasure and ease was my goal. But now I realize You have given me gifts that You want me to develop so I can reflect You when I give them away. I did not know how to think correctly about my gifts, Lord, and I am sorry I have wasted much time.
Now I am thinking about my gifts and interests, and I pray that You will guide me into the specific zone that You have marked out for me. Don’t let me get off the path that You have designed.
There are many choices I could pursue, but I will spend time with You, and I know You will direct me. Bring the right verses, people, and circumstances to my mind and help direct my thoughts.
I admit my fear has kept me in the stands and out of the arena. Please clearly show me what Your will is, so I can walk in it. Give me courage to throw my heart over the fence. Help me be intentional, saying no to many things so I can say yes to the few that You have chosen.
And please, Lord, do not let me neglect my God-given priorities. How I love my family! Please remind me how seeking You and taking care of them are my priorities.
In Jesus’ name,
Questions for Group Discussion
- Have you been bamboozled by the erroneous myth that ease and constant pleasure are the secret to happiness? Did you realize that God gave Adam work before the fall and that it is a part of man’s fulfillment?
- Do you struggle with massive, continual boredom? Do you realize this is a sign that you are not using your potential and capabilities?
- Read over the answers you wrote to the questions and prompts in Day 2 in Discovering your Genius Zone. What stands out to you and why?
- Do you have a situation in your life where you have responded to a need but it is not a calling?
- How well do you set goals? Are you a natural goal achiever? Do you struggle with procrastination, fear of failure, or what others will think? How are you with facing obstacles?
- Now that you’ve determined your Genius Zone (or are beginning to), what would mastery in your area look like?
- Are you a person that has trouble saying no? Do you have a new commitment to say no to some activities so you can say yes to the ones God has for you?
One Last Thought
Recently I’ve had a perplexing problem swirling in my head for a few days. I’d think about it, quarantine it, and then think about it some more. Honestly, I hadn’t made any headway in solving it. Then, I talked about it with a dear friend. Even as I was explaining it to her, the “path opened up.” I mean, I knew the exact next step to take. All those wads of string in my brain got untangled. This is why I repeatedly badger everyone to get a group (at least a buddy!) with whom to go through this material. Your group will be good listeners and your mumbo-jumbo thoughts will get sorted and straightened out as you explain things to them. I really prefer “in person” but I realize everyone is being cautious because of the current Covid situation. When you’re ready and feel it’s safe, be sure to get together in person.
I’ve said this many times, but the best way to learn anything is to teach it. Go through the material once, and on the second round, lead a couple others through it. Explaining principles to others is an amazing way to deepen your new neural pathways.
Remember, this is a five year program. No one reads this material or the book, Happy School, and are able to completely rewire their brain in a single attempt. But this is the path out of the jungle of negativity and discouragement. Get started on all these new habits, and before you know it, you will bump into the joy that is right around the river bend.
Remember, you are not the victim but the producer of your emotions. That, my friend, is some of the best news I ever discovered!
To your happy heart,
P.S. I’d love to hear how you are implementing these principles. Please write me and share your examples. Reply to this email or write me at JulieNGordon2012@gmail.com.