I am so excited and honored to be the Last Stop on the Blog Tour for the book, I Dare You To Change by Bil Cornelius, Pastor of Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi, TX. I came across this blog tour through my friends, Alisa Wagner and Christina Ketchum (twin sisters), who are amazing women of God and who have been so inspirational to me. I have never met either of them in person - Christina redesigned my personal blog almost 2 years ago now, and then also designed my entire website for My Smart Hands - Phoenix, my baby sign language company. And then, I started reading her sister Alisa's work on FaithImagined.com. Several months ago, the blog tour for I Dare You To Change was announced, and I was able to be one of the participating blogs!
Our local church that my family attends, Paradise Valley Community Church, has been stirring up change for the past couple of years. Last year, their main theme was "Metamorphosis", which means transformation. This year, it is "Catalyst", which is an agent of change. So, a life change has been brewing just below the surface for me, and "I Dare You to Change" made me take the practical steps to finding answers to the questions like "What areas of my life are causing me pain?", "What will happen if those areas don't change?", and "What will happen if those areas DO change?". And those were questions from just the FIRST chapter!
I kept a journal, just like Pastor Bil recommends, and it was a very eye-opening experience, to go back chapter after chapter and see the progress I was making at discovering what my dreams are, and what the practical steps are to being able to see those dreams become a reality.
As I began defining those dreams, and sharing them with my husband, he was surprisingly on board! I mean, all of these plans involve taking risks - and my husband's job has been shaky over the past couple of years. So, for him to be on board, even in those circumstances, really confirmed to me that God is the author of these plans, and not just something I'm trying to push through on my own.
I've been able to clearly define the things that I am passionate about, and in short, they are:
1. Being able to participate more in my children's everyday lives
2. Being a wife that demonstrates the qualities in Proverbs 31:10-31
3. Making a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children, as well as the lives of children with special needs
4. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family
5. Pursuing a business opportunity that benefits families and local communities
With those clearly defined goals, I will now be able to clear out a lot of the clutter that tries to take up the limited time that I have. When I was a Mary Kay consultant, I listened to the CD of National Sales Director, Pamela Shaw, and she made a simple statement, but it is so true, "Time spent in one area, is time away in another area." Pastor Bil encourages us in his book to filter out the things that do not align with our goals. It's much easier to say "No" to something good when you have a clear direction of where you are headed. There will be things in your life that seem like it would be good to do them, but if they aren't getting you closer to your goals, you may have to put them aside, even if just for a season.
I'll wrap this up by saying, Change is Hard...you really have to want it, and be ready for it, and pursue it with all you have. You're going to stumble - anything worth doing is going to be challenging. If you have been doing something a certain way for a long time - such as having the tendency to argue with your husband just so you can be "right" (who me?) - reading Proverbs 31 one time, isn't going to all of a sudden cure you from doing that. It's the continous effort made day in and day out that will achieve the final result.
If you've been feeling that there are areas of your life that you want to change, but you just aren't sure where to start, or what steps you should take, I encourage you to walk through Pastor Bil's I Dare You to Change. Keep the journal, please don't skip that part. Go back and re-read the book a second time (that's what I'll be doing). And if you fall, get back up.
This book has been tremendously helpful for me, and you have a chance to win a FREE copy! Just post a comment here on my blog to be entered, the deadline is Midnight on Sunday, 02/06/2011. The winner will be randomly selected, and multiple comments by the same person will count as one entry.
Here are some links to more information about "I Dare You to Change" by Bil Cornelius.
I Dare You To Change Website
Book Trailer Link