The courage to choose

“I choose not to care, it’s my decision. If I had not said a word about it, no one will notice. My secret is safe. Maybe me not caring is not a big deal. Perhaps why am I so preoccupied? I am sure that they don’t care that I don’t care. Anyway, it is his or her problem. I didn’t make the mistakes, they did, and do you want to know something? I have enough problems myself to get involved with someone else’s issues. One other thing, they are not asking for help and I should respect that, right? why should I be so concerned to help them? I mean, I can see that the path that they are going will not end well, but they can figure it out by themselves, I did. Anyway, its to much of a hassle and as I said before, I got things in my plate also.”

You and I have found ourselves having internal conversations like these at some point in our lives. Many of us will not even admit to having them, but the fact remains that we have all struggled with this in one way or the other. And we choose. We choose to stand still and do nothing and keep on our merry way. Life will be unchanged for us and we will not be inconvenienced with a pause of our busy lives. Its all great, for us life remains uninterrupted.

Or we can choose to act. We can act at the expense of being inconvenienced and rejected. We can act being almost certain that we will not be thanked or recognized at the moment. But we act with the expectation of the promise of a life changed. We act on the expectation of a disaster averted, and when we do, the feeling of relief is unexplainable. And it doesn’t take much from our part. Sometimes it is like moving the lever to change the tracks of a train to avert a colission. We have all seen it in the movies, when someone makes this effort to move that lever so the train can change from one track to another. It seems to be a very big effort at the beginning, but when it is done, the relief is so visible, that for those that made the effort, it was worth it. In many of the cases no one on the train even notices, but their lives have been spared from disaster. Lives directed into the correct track, and it is just awesome.

This reminds me of Matthew 9:36. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. Jesus saw the crowds he had to act. He saw their condition and decided to do something. And he knew he was going to be rejected. He knew that his effort would not be recognized at the moment or even thanked. His secret ambition was the promise of changed lives, disaster averted and redeemed souls. And he chose. And it cost him. but for that reason my life and yours were changed. He made the effort to move us into the track that would change everything.

What about you? Have you had these internal struggles. To act or not to act? Sometimes it only takes a small effort from our part and almost all the time it will not cost us our life. The effort will be just a nudge, a word, a smile, a conversation, an invitation, a handshake. But we must choose to do so. I promise you that the feeling is amazing. You will see the train changing lanes, but more importantly how your own life has changed, because you had the courage to choose.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Perdona a los demás

Si leyéramos la historia secreta de nuestros enemigos, encontraríamos en la vida de cada hombre suficiente angustia y sufrimiento para desarmar toda hostilidad – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 Si ustedes perdonan a los otros sus ofensas, también su Padre celestial los perdonará a ustedes – Mateo 6:14

Running on empty

I have stories while in college where my friends or myself pushed the envelope and we ran our vehicles to the limit. We wanted to know how far we could run while the gas gauge showed that we were running on empty (sometimes it was just because we had no money). It was and exhilarating feeling and fun at the time. We had very few life commitments and we thought that it was cool. I know what you’re thinking, what in the world were they thinking? Isn’t that the dumbest thing to do? Looking back I admit it was foolish. What if we’d had a real emergency and had no fuel to go on?

We were ignorant to the obvious, we would be out of gas soon. This created even bigger problems because we ignored a fact about the vehicles system: when a car runs on empty, usually because of constant usage and time, dirt and other unclean components accumulate in the gas tank. When it is pushed to the limit of running on an empty tank, it can damage the vehicles system and become a costly and unnecessary repair.

Usually, the times my car ran out of gas were in times when I needed to get somewhere the most. It was times in which I was not playing that foolish game, but forgot to replenish the tank. Not a good feeling at all.

There is a good resemblance to our lives. When we stop replenishing we run the risk of getting stranded in the most difficult places, without spiritual, physical or emotional fuel. It happens all the time. We forget the most important things in life. We stop being inspired, and we walk through life as if the charge we have, will be enough to carry us through. Our heart, our mind and our soul needs refueling, constantly. We can kid ourselves that we will be ok, but the truth remains that we know deep inside that we are not. Our priorities start to drift and we loose focus.

Running on empty creates a greater and tougher experience in life. We create a lot of smoke, and we find out pretty quick, it is easily dissipated by even a small wind. When this happens, discouragement kicks in. Because all of the focus has shifted to efforts that have no substance and that are unsustainable on a “one tank”. These are the moments when we start to feel restless, we see signs of burnout and sometimes even feel depressed. Our thought process is blurred and we make mistakes. I think that we run on empty on the belief of our infallible talent, that we are above everyone else and we have it all figured out. Somehow the rules of life apply to everybody else but us and that we have something special that no one else has. In reality what we are showing is a prideful heart and a sense of entitlement. It’s similar to when the tank is empty. It clogs the system and the vehicle doesn’t run well or it even won’t run at all. Dirt and foreign objects are interfering with the normal flow of supply.

We need to realign our lives to the basics. In our spiritual journey, nothing is a replacement of daily worship. In business, new prospects and clients are the lifeline that replenish the cycle. At home, nurturing our relationships everyday is a must. With your body, rest and eat well; you get the point. Don’t run on empty.

Slow down and get back to the basics, you might need it in the moment you least expect. Having a full tank will at least give you spiritual, emotional and even physical margin, to endure the tough times. Replenish your life, and stop running on empty.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012

To finish well

What will you story say at the end? Is your story worth saying? I make myself these questions everyday. Is it because of how I see myself in the story? Do I have an “ordinary” life and reading about all of the other extraordinary ones, creates an angst in my chest of, not being “there” or having “it” (whatever any of those mean). I think about the end, a lot. I think of how my actions today will impact the lasting memory of my likeness in the minds and hearts of those I love. Will my life reflect greatness? Will my actions exude my highest and most noble thinking? I hope so. In fact, I pray so. What will my story say to those that will remain? What is my story saying now? This really gets to me.

Recently I attended a mens group called Seven, that met for seven weeks at seven in the morning on Fridays. We explored the seven questions that rattle the minds of most men. Great conversations and even better community. The theme that really got to me was that of leaving a legacy; finishing well. How will I be remembered? How will my wife, my son and my daughter be impacted in the days, the months and the years to come? What will my grandchildren say about me? More importantly, what will God say about me?

I am a big fan of movies that depict true stories. I feel attracted to them when I can relate to many of those to whom it happened to. But if you are like me, what really stirs my heart are the endings. The underdog finishing on top, or the dejected changing his or her ways, or the stories of how the human resilience conquers the most difficult situations; epic endings. Maybe I feel attracted to them because I wonder if my story will be memorialized as those that have made it to film, not because of fame or fortune, but because of the inspiration it can bring to generations to come. Will my story inspire someone else to achieve the impossible? Will my life change the course of someone else’s story? Can I make a difference for the world to see? Will my story be epic? Have you made yourself these questions, or is it only me?For some of us, when we look at our present life we recognize that by our standards, we are not living an epic tale. And we question our existence, over and over again. I don’t know the answers to any of the questions I have made and are still making to myself. But I know they will be answered in due time.

So I have resolved that until those answers come, when I’m faced with impossibilities, I will continue to believe that all things are possible. When i feel discouraged, I will continue to inspire and be inspired. When I’m talked down and demeaned by others, I will continue to think like an eagle when everyone else around me is not. When handed the worst, I will continue to expect the best. When all seems at a lost and at a dead end, I will continue to trust that God has a plan for my life and for those I have been entrusted with. A bigger, greater, brighter, stronger and more wonderful plan than what I can possibly imagine. When faced with small minded people that want to water down my existence, I will continue to dream BIG because I serve an unmeasurable God. When wronged by someone I consider a friend, I will continue to believe in friendship, because it is the face of kindness in the world. When there is no clear path, I will continue to live my life based on the possibilities, because living by fact alone ignores any faith and greatness. If times are scarce, I will continue to give even when all is taken from me. If shunned by the world, I will continue to love. If I fall, I will brush off the dirt, clean my wounds and get up every time. When faced with injustice, I will continue to fight for those that cannot fight for themselves. If I’m left as forgotten, I will continue to remember those in need even when nobody else acknowledges me. And by doing all of this, I trust, I hope and I pray that I will be able to answer many of my questions and dilemmas. Maybe you should do the same.

I long for the day when I bow before the Almighty and lay my crown at his feet and say, “Lord, I made it. There were times when I thought I’d fail, but I made it”. That day, that glorious day, I will know that I finished well.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012

Your race

Many times while I’m alone I ponder where I am and where am I headed in life. It is sometimes a challenge because there are so many voices around, and many “benchmarks” that are available. So many bloggers, writers, preachers, politicians, professionals and in the end everyone has a different opinion about almost everything. At times, it is just overwhelming to reach a definitive conclusion of where should my steps go. Have you felt the same? When there is uncertainty of what to do next. That uncertainty is so powerful some times that it becomes paralyzing.

Making decisions is basically what we do every single day. We either get good at it or someone else does it for us and we reap the consequences of the decisions made for us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel comfortable by being controlled by someone else’s decisions. Just think for example about all of the laws that have been enacted by our elected officials, (yes, you and I or someone else voted for them to do so, but that is besides the point) that when you read them you say, “What were they thinking?”, or what about the policies that have been “thought up” by your boss that seem to make no sense at all and creates more work for you? We all have experiences of decisions that have been made that affect us. I know, there are bigger reasons we have laws and rules in place, but the fact remains that because of them we are required to make decisions every day.

Every day, every decision, big or small is important. Many are simple but other are life altering. It’s all connected no matter how simple it seems, so you want to get good at it. Recently I read in the book of numbers an interesting story about Joshua. He was being handed the leadership of the people of Israel and these were the instructions: “He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the Lord. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.” Talk about precise instructions! Wouldn’t that be just a perfect arrangement? Yes I know, it feels a little controlling, but in the end if was the best for the people of Israel.

For me today, I seek the exact relationship with God, but not through a third party, a prophet, a priest or a pastor, but by delving into God’s word. The precise instructions of how to live and finish well in life, are written in it. And the more we seek, the wiser we get. The problem with our times is that we want immediacy. Flip a switch, touch a button, click a link, you get the point, and we forget that just as our bodies take time to develop, the same is true for our character. It’s a process, but if we do not seek to get good at making decisions that can alter our lives and those around us, someone else will do it for us. The sad part of this is that, unlike the people of Israel that were being directed by God himself, you will have no one else to blame but yourself for the decisions made by someone else for you. When you don’t decide, you are actually deciding.

Take courage and find your path in life. You might have been avoiding it just because it was easy to read someone else’s blog, or article and unconsciously you walk in life by “their” view, not yours and in the end you carry with all of the consequences, good or bad for that. Don’t live anybody else’s view for your life.

The day will come when your eyes will open for the last time and you will breathe your last breath. A day will come when a final sentence will be said about you. What will that be? I truly hope that I can say as Paul told Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Run in life with all your might, all your heart and all your strength, but run your race.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

Want this inspiration of coffee by email every morning? Enter your e-mail to subscribe at the top right of this page under the box for “Subscribe”. Like this writing and want share it? Just add your comment below on “Leave a Reply” or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or by email using any of the buttons next to “Share this:”

© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

A moment

What is a moment? It really depends on what you are talking about. I like the definition that is attributed to physics: Moment of force (often just moment) is the tendency of a force to twist or rotate an object. This is an important, basic concept in engineering and physics. A moment is valued mathematically as the product of the force and the moment arm. The moment arm is the perpendicular distance from the point of rotation, to the line of action of the force. The moment may be thought of as a measure of the tendency of the force to cause rotation about an imaginary axis through a point. In mechanical and civil engineering, “moment” and “torque” have different meanings, while in physics they are synonyms. So in other words, a moment is actually movement, thrust or change. A moment.

Have you ever felt that you have received something you knew you didn’t deserve? That feeling that tells you deep inside that you are the luckiest person in the world. It’s that moment when you realize that “a moment” has happened to you. A moment that will change the entire course of your life. And you know inside that it is a good one. I had one of those. A moment in which everything became clear in my mind. A moment that defied all of my understanding. It was that second, that instant in which I knew in my heart that I had an undeserved gift before me.

It was a Sunday. I thought it was going to be like any other Sunday. But that day, hope was met by a promise and a “moment” was birthed. It was surreal. Time stopped and everything around me blurred completely. I opened a door and there she was. And I whispered to myself. A “moment” overcame me. Little did I know that this Sunday, and this “moment” would change everything.

Sixteen years ago today, I married that girl. I still remember her blue dress, her smile and her beautiful voice. Today her smile still captivates me, and her voice is more beautiful than it has ever been. That “moment” started an adventure that continues to develop every day and creates new “moments”. That day I opened a door and today I continue to open doors for her, but today we walk through them together. Something amazing happened that day. I ask our Lord to give us many more years so we can walk together, cry together and dream together and have more “moments” together.

Don’t ignore the little “moments” because they can birth the greatest adventures in your life.

I love you baby. Happy anniversary!