Life on Life Coach Cheryl Baker

Leading YOU Forward

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One Life investing in the Lives of others so that they Go and do likewise.

August 2017
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Do You Know Your Own Strength?

Posted By on February 1, 2011

“Each of us has certain strengths.  We were born with them, they will always be our strengths, and we delight in them.  Work happens best when we discover these strengths, put them to use, and focus on developing them.  Trying to improve our weaknesses is like trying to teach a rabbit to swim or a snail to race, God’s design for work is best when it goes from strength to strength.”  John Ortberg in the book, The Me I Want To Be, Becoming God’s Best Version of You, quoting Marcus Buckingham.

“According to Marcus, the simplest definition of a strength is an activity which, when you do it, makes you feel strong.  There are certain activities that thrill and challenge you, and others that bore and drain you.” Ortberg, page 220.

Do you agree with this? Do you know your strengths?  The best tool used to discover your natural strengths is the RighPATH Online Behavior Assessment followed by Life on Life Coaching.  If you have not done it yet, check it out here.

The Last Day, A Novel

Posted By on May 2, 2010

I was in the Borders Bookstore looking for a good “beach book” even though I am not planning a trip to the beach any time soon.  I consider a beach book to be a novel that I read for the pure fun of reading. Sometimes books give a boost to my heart and mind similar to what the Bible does for my hungry soul. I was looking for a book to get lost in.

The book I chose, The Last Day by James Landis, was on one of the display tables set up in the middle of the store.  The novel had me at the first sentence;

“I meet Jesus on the day that I get home from war.”

The book not only had me, but also kept me until I read the last sentence the next day. I won’t quote the last sentence here.  The book is well worth your time to find out for yourself what it is.

The main character is Warren, a 20-year-old sniper for the US Army, coming home from the Iraq war. Warren narrates the details and dialogue of a day spent together with Jesus visiting his life, the people he loves, religion and war. I found the interaction between Jesus and Warren to be reverent, moving, and faith-building. The more Bible you know the more faith-building it will be, but even if you are new to the Bible you will love the representation of who Jesus is in the book. Here is a glimpse of what you will get:

“There is a hole in your shirt.” Jesus touches it. I can feel the tip of his finger over my heart.”

I expect the hole to close up. It doesn’t, but I suddenly felt wonderful. Immortal. It’s not a new feeling. It isn’t even all that unusual.  It’s the feeling you get when for a moment you’re in harmony with time and space. It’s the feeling of being alive. It’s the warmth of life.

“Let’s change shirts,” he says.

I look around, “I guess I didn’t bring my duffel.

He smiles. “I meant, lets exchange shirts.”

I put on his shirt.

He puts on mine.

The book has War, the name family and friends call Warren, narrating back and forth between being a soldier in Iraq and being with Jesus in New Hampshire.  I learned things I had not even thought about on the culture of war, guns and ammunition, Iraq, living, dying, and love.

Although I am not familiar with the author,  I love the book.  I agree with the quote from Publishers Weekly, “…[The Last Day] is worth a dozen Shacks.”   I recommend it not only for the beach but also for small groups and book clubs as it will make for great discussions.  You can read more about the author and the book at thelastdaybook.com.

Enter Their World

Posted By on February 4, 2010

The One who can sympathize with our weaknesses “gets it” (Hebrews 4:15-16). He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). He entered our world as one of us. We are called to be like Him. We are to care enough to enter the world of our friends. To lay down our lives for those we love.  And if you are a coach or leader in any capacity, lay down your life so that you “get” those you serve (John 15:13).

Jesus, who loves us with everlasting love, entered our world asking good questions.  Try reading one of the gospels and keeping a tally of Jesus’ questions.  You will learn a lot about love and service.

When was the last time you really entered someones world with questions that go deep?  By having the courage to do this you may find that rather than protecting themselves, they open up to you. By opening up to you they hear God. They might begin to experience His healing to their situations in a special, specific, and personal way.

Everyone needs someone who loves him or her enough to ask the deep questions of life. 1 Corinthians 13 says that if we don’t have love we are nothing more that a clanging cymbal or a noisy gong. To ask deep questions without love can feel intrusive, even offensive. This is why coaching or shepherding the heart is so easy for us to miss.  We don’t want to offend. We try to coach or shepherd the behavior instead. But this is how Jesus did and does it;  heart first –  behavior second.

As a leader, coach, friend, parent, supervisor etc. this is our part:

  1. Pray, ask God to fill you with His love  for others.
  2. Enter their world with this love.
  3. Coach and shepherd their hearts not their behavior in love
  4. Watch Him work.

I know that life is a journey very much like a roller coaster ride. It is up and down, fast and slow, scary and fun all at the same time. It is very common to lose direction, want to change direction, or just need a little help moving forward in the same direction. Sometimes all that is needed is a map. As a life on life Coach, I would love to come along side you in your journey.  Please contact me to schedule a complimentary session.

Spin a Great Yarn (not the kind you knit with)

Posted By on January 26, 2010

I have an uncle who can spin a great yarn.  With my siblings, we would spend hours with him, listening to his yarns.  Just when we thought he was done, he would say, “In other words…” and start all over.  I would wonder where  all that knowledge came from. We loved him for that and those are some of our fondest memories at Uncle Jackie’s house.

One dictionary entry for yarn is “a tale or story, especially one that seems exaggerated or hard to believe.” We all have yarns to tell. I am talking about the stories of our lives. God is the author of our life yarns or life stories. Some do  sound exaggerated and hard to believe.  But they are true. And they are meant to be told for several reasons.

God Uses Our Stories

  • Our life stories uniquely reveal God like no other stories do.
  • God uses our life stories to transform lives.
  • Each story is part of the Greatest Story ever told, the story of redemption.

God Wants Us To Tell Our Stories

  • When we experience God’s grace and goodness, we like to tell about it.
  • If we love the Author of our stories then we will love the stories.
  • We don’t resist because we think our stories are boring, confusing, weird, shameful, or ugly. They probably are, but we remember that the Author is perfect.

Story Telling is Serving Others

  • We glorify God and we honor other people when we tell our life stories.
  • We give our stories away at the right time to the right people.
  • The stories of our lives are not really about us but about God.
  • The stories are not ours to keep to ourselves. (Don’t be stingy).

Our Stories Give Hope

  • A properly written out, prayed over, and told story draws people to God.
  • Stories cause people to ask questions about your faith.
  • Our life stories are illustrations of the good news of our salvation.

Our life stories are as unique as our fingerprints. A life story properly written out, prayed over and told to another will remind the teller and the hearer that God is who the Bible says He is. Your story matters!

The Bible warns us of what will happen if we fail to tell our life stories,

“All that generation also were gathered to their fathers, and there arose another generation after them that did not know the Lord nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10

This verse tells us that when stories are not shared it has a detrimental effect on the next generation.  Why didn’t they tell? What do you think? What great life yarn have you heard lately? What great yarn have you told lately?

“Come and listen all you who fear God and I will tell you what He has done for me.” Psalm 66:16

I am a Christian Coach. I have mentored, taught and coached women for over 20 years now. I specialize in spiritual formation, leadership development and grief recovery. I am putting together group coaching opportunities now and one group is 4 weeks on storytelling.  Contact me or comment if you would like more information.

A Holy Curiosity

Posted By on January 20, 2010

“What are you doing? Why? How come? What’s that? Why? What’s this? Why? How?” Doesn’t this list of questions bring up fond memories of spending time with young children? There is no end to their questions. They want to know all things about anything and everything.

Children are so curious. They explore, question, and wonder. Curiosity is how children learn. When they are curious about something new, they want to explore it.

For most adults, our curiosity has faded. In my coach training I learned that curiosity is a coaching skill.  When curiosity takes us below the surface level of life we approach people, situations, and ideas with a quest to know more. We want to explore and discover.

Developing a better sense of curiosity can improve our life and increase our learning.  Not only that, there is a biochemical benefit to curiosity.  When our curiosity rewards us, our brain produces dopamine, a chemical that lifts our moods and gives us a sense of well-being. Who couldn’t use a little more dopamine?

What killed our curiosity? Since curiosity is the natural bend of young children, we have closed the doors of thinking like a child years ago. Things like fear of the unknown, busyness, apathy, avoidance of stress, trauma, and insecurity have stopped our sense of wonder.

Our potential — emotional, social, and innovation — is expressed through the quantity and quality of experiences. I wonder if the less-curious make fewer new friends, join fewer social groups, and take fewer risks.  Just wondering.

Jesus said,”Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. Mark 10:15

Children ask questions. Children think anything and everything is possible.  Isn’t that refreshing? We must never lose our holy curiosity and our child-like wonder.

Let’s keep our curiosity muscles strong by being curious at least twice a day.

Deal?

All Talk – Part 2

Posted By on January 18, 2010

From the previous article Its All Talk – Part 1, I mentioned that we are all prone to an unbalanced one-sided relationship with God. By human default, we do all the talking. So, how do we learn to hear and recognize His voice?  Here are 7 proven ways to hear God talk to us when we take the time to listen.

  1. Scripture – The Bible is intentionally called God’s Word.  Because that is exactly what it is, the very words from the mouth of God. What have you heard from Him lately?
  2. People – Someone said, “God wears people as His uniform.” That means God surrounds us with His messengers. Most people are not even aware that God is using them to speak to us. Sermons fall under this category. Are you listening?
  3. Creation – Creation uniquely speaks God’s voice to us. The heavens declare His glory.  What is He saying to you in His heavens and earth?
  4. Circumstances – If we listen well, God speaks to us in everyday circumstances.  Is there a troubling event in our life?  Maybe He is saying, “Trust Me.”  Are we worn out?  Maybe He  is saying “Slow down, come to Me, I will give you rest.” Are you hearing His voice in your life?
  5. Silence – His still small voice within gives deep intuitive thoughts that are not our own. The key to hearing God’s voice in silence is releasing our own agenda and waiting for Him, often in solitude.  Are you quiet enough to hear what He is saying?
  6. Dreams – I woke after a certain dream one time and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I heard God’s voice of comfort and assurance.  How awesome it was to hear Him while I slept. Pay attention to your dreams but remember that God-given dreams and scripture will never ever conflict.
  7. Journals – Many of the autobiographies we read today are actually the journals of great Christians. Aren’t you glad they journaled? If we slow down enough to write out our spiritual questions and struggles we just may hear God answer us.

Here is a word of caution – Not all voices are God’s. Always measure what you hear against His written word and His revealed character.

Here is a word of exhortation – Get with a small group of believers regularly. Join with others who seek to hear God’s voice themselves and you will mutually help each other listen well.

Let the wise listen and add to their learning,
Let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5

What are your experiences with hearing God’s voice?

All Talk – Part 1

Posted By on January 17, 2010

Have you ever been in a relationship where everything was all about the other person? The time you spend with this person is all about their needs and wants. The focus is on their children, their career, on and on. This person likes you and likes being with you, yet seems not interested in you personally. He or she doesn’t take the time to hear what you have to say or discover who you are.

If you know and love someone like this, then you are in an unbalanced one-sided relationship. Who wants that type of relationship?

I hate to say it, but the God of all grace, who deserves all glory in heaven and on earth, has seriously unbalanced, one-sided relationships with His children. That’s us and we are the talkers.

How does this happen? Well, our prayers usually begin with praise and thanksgiving.  Right? That’s very good. Then next comes intercession and petition where we lay out our problems and those of our family and friends before Him. We tell Him we want His help and healing. We tell Him we want His joy and strength. Then we say, “Amen” and walk away. Alas, We are doing all the talking.  Sadly, we have made our relationship with God all about us.

Good relationships involve listening as well as speaking. Granted, listening isn’t easy by any means. Human beings speak with gestures, inflection, and facial expressions and we still have problems listening and hearing each other. How much more difficult is it to listen to Someone we can’t even see or hear?

Each and every one of us are prone to an unbalanced one-sided relationship with God. By human default, we do all the talking. So how can we improve our listening skills toward Him? How do we learn to hear and recognize His voice?  Read my next post It’s All Talk – Part 2. I will share 7 ways we can hear God speak if we take the time to listen.

By the way, did you know that God initiates all prayer?  We aren’t the originator of our prayers, He is.  Our prayer life is a response to His work within us.  You can never pat yourself on the back for even having a prayer life, it is His work within you.  I guess this is the subject of another blog, but in the meantime as Steve Brown often says, “You think about that.”

Any comments?

How to Start Journaling

Posted By on January 12, 2010

In my ministry as a Life on Life Coach I often ask those I coach to begin journaling about the things they are processing. Somehow, the act of putting pen to paper (or fingers to computer keys for that matter) cause the things we discuss to become a cognitive learning experience. Journalers use memory, perception, judgment and reason not just emotional, volitional responses to coaching. Journalers think, write, see, read, decide, think some more, write some more and good stuff happens.

Below are some suggestions for journaling if you haven’t done it before. Or maybe you haven’t journaled in a long time and want to pick it up again.

First, here are a few tips:

  • Buy a small journal with about 30 pages.
  • Date each page.
  • Write no more than a page a day.
  • Skip a page if you can’t get to it one day, you can return to it later.
  • Have fun.
  • This one is a suggestion – Journal with a buddy or with a group.

Journal ideas to try:

  • Romance Journal – Obviously, you could write something romantic about the love of your life in your Romance Journal.  This is always fun and keeps you thinking good thoughts. But here is another idea – If you are struggling with your prayer life or quiet time, begin journaling daily love letters to Jesus.  Tell Him all the reasons why you think He is wonderful.  The fact that He is the Lover of your soul will become more and more real to you.  Watch your love for Him increase and your prayer life grow.
  • Gratitude Journal – If depression or sorrow has come into your life, don’t waste any time in beginning a daily Gratitude Journal.  Everyday list something you are grateful for and why you are grateful for it.  Try to write about something different each day.  Your difficulties sort of move to the back as you focus on what God has done for you.
  • Joy Journal – This is the funnest of all journaling. Everyday write something that brings joy to your heart and a smile to your face.  Since I have adorable grandchildren, the cute things they say do more than make me smile. They crack me up. Animals are funny, so are some blogs. Heard any funny jokes lately? Watch that joyless mood of yours lift. What a great treasure you will have one day for someone who might need some joy.
  • Will of God Journal – Wouldn’t if be fun to write a book about the will of God? People always say they wish they knew what the will of God is for their life. You can help them out. All you need is a Bible, a journal and a pen.  As you read the Bible, journal something you learned from it that is clearly God’s will for the lives of His people. It is easier than you think. Try it.

What are your experiences or ideas for  journaling?

Contact Cheryl

Posted By on January 4, 2010

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