1. I forgot to give attribution credit to the picture I used. That's been fixed on the post.
2. Sarah includes a verse at the beginning of each chapter, so I want to make sure I include that. It's also been added to the post. I'm going to call those Focus Verses and will make sure to have them in each posting.
I guess my brain was so full of April Fools' yesterday that I forgot those details!
How did everyone do with the negative thoughts challenge? I had three negative thoughts before I even left the house this morning! It was kind of sobering today to realize just how many negative thoughts crossed my mind. It was also so easy to get mired down in the negative once I allowed myself to entertain a negative thought. I'll definitely be paying more attention to the thoughts I have and not letting myself dwell on the negative. I lost count around 11 today, so hopefully some of you did better than me!
Today's chapter is called A Dedicated Life
Focus Verse: Child whom I bore! The son I dedicated to God! (Proverbs 31:2b, The Message)
Gulp. This one is a tough one for me. Maybe even tougher than wrangling all of my negative thoughts! Sarah starts this chapter with the story of a woman she met who, along with her husband, dedicated her life to helping war-torn women in Africa. From there, Sarah transitions into talking about some of the most dedicated people in the Bible- the gatekeepers. The gatekeepers never left their job and spent all day and all night around the house of God. Can you imagine being that dedicated to a job? Obviously, I don't have that kind of dedication because I barely even want to spend an extra minute there most of the time, much less all day and all night!
Sarah connects success and dedication, which is interesting because I don't think I've ever looked at it that way. What she says is true though. Those who are successful are dedicated to something that they love, and the more they love it, the more dedicated they are.
Another trait of those who are dedicated is guarding what is sacred, whether it is sacred to them or to others. There are so many things that can be considered sacred to people. For me, my beliefs, family, and close friends are sacred. I'm dedicated to those things, and if anything or anyone tries to break me from those, then I reevaluate my relationship with that thing or person.
Trust and responsibility are also traits of dedicated people. Those who are dedicated will be seen as trustworthy and responsible. I can see this relationship because I've had times where I struggle being either of these things, and it's usually because I'm not truly dedicated to a particular thing. For example, when I was working on contributing a chapter to a book, I was really flaky, missed deadlines, and did an all-around poor job on it. Now I can see that I wasn't really dedicated to it. I was roped into writing it because they had a space to fill, and it wasn't a priority or sacred to me, so I was irresponsible and just did the bare minimum. Of course, that's not the right attitude to have, but if you find yourself abandoning responsibilities or being untrustworthy about something, then check to see if you're really dedicated to it.
A fifth trait of dedicated people is that they will do whatever needs to be done. Yep, I didn't display this trait at all in my previous example! I also have found myself not displaying this trait at work, which makes me realize that I need to rededicate myself to my career (but I'm still not spending the night there!).
A final trait of dedicated people is that they get to give. As Sarah says, when you live a dedicated life, you will give to others in a variety of ways. You may even get to give someone a better life! How is that for amazing?!?
There is a downside to dedication, though. If you're obsessively dedicated to something, then other areas will suffer. We all know or have known of someone who was so dedicated to his career that eventually his family fell apart because he didn't invest in them. Or, how about that girl who is so dedicated to her relationship that when it ends, she has nothing else because she's pushed everything else away? There's a difference between wise dedication and obsessive dedication.
However, there is one dedication that won't lead you astray: the dedication to Christ. Here's what Sarah had to say about being dedicated to Christ:
When you dedicate your life to serving the cause of Christ, you dedicate yourself to what Christ is dedicated to. Life works out wonderfully because Christ is dedicated to your success, your family, your marriage. You can be dedicated to everything you want and need to be when you dedicate your life to Him.Today's challenge has two parts. The first part is to think of a few ways that you can be more dedicated to Christ and less dedicated to things that don't matter (like, ahem, staying caught up with your Facebook feed, Amber). The second part is more long-term, and we'll revisit it at the end of the month. Prove your dedication by taking responsibility, volunteering for jobs no one else wants, or figuring out how to guard what is sacred to you. I can't wait to hear what you guys do for this challenge!