Here’s A Sign We Can Live With…

I love a good headline and because I’m a sucker for a great one, I read an article, “Five Signs We All Need on Our Desk,” by Carey Nieuwhof.  Nieuwhof, a pastor and church leadership, change, and parenting guru, said he doesn’t have these signs, but he should.

“Shut up,” “ask more questions,” “it’s not binary,” “it’s not about you,” and “success is a byproduct.” Most of these would-be signs are self-explanatory—we often forget we have two ears and one mouth, so we talk twice as much as we listen.  We also know when we serve others, there’s a special kind of joy that comes automatically.

Most things aren’t binary—rather than yes or no, a third option may be the solution. Asking more questions saves a ton of misery, and his success/by-product theory suggests if you do what you’re called to do– what you enjoy, success will follow. He said if you’re doing whatever it is for the money, you will probably miss the mark.

I agree with his signs, and they reminded me of my own favorites scattered on my desk, walls, and shelves. Please add yours.

Passion: Nothing in the world has ever been accomplished without passion. Whether it’s work or play, be passionate about it or please, please leave it alone.

Be a voice, not an echo. This one gently reminds me that I have a voice—I should speak boldly, courageously, and clearly if I want to be heard. I try to think critically and strategically so I have something important to say when/if I speak. The companion sign, from 1Corinthians 16:14, quietly adds “Let all that you do be done in love,” for good measure.

Two years ago, when I spoke to fourth graders, I brought a sign that says, “We rise by lifting others,” and shared it as a symbol of hope and peace for the future. The youngsters responded and their replies said they heard me loud and clear. These five words are a roadmap for how we treat one another, how we share our time and treasure—everything. We can use thousands of flowery words but nothing more eloquent will emerge, in my humble opinion.

I believe dreams are God’s way to push us forward and my plaques seem to bear that out. “Believe in the power of your dreams,” “Dream big dreams,” “Imagine the possibilities,” and “You’ll never know how far you can fly until you spread your wings,” are words I embrace every day.

On the days when I literally can’t put one foot in front of the other, the tiny picture frame with my son and grandson in it remind me that I’ll never reach my destination if I only travel on the sunny days. I pray for strength and courage, and I keep stepping.

My all-time favorite poster is one I keep by the door.  It features a kitty cat in front of a mirror looking at a ferocious lion. The caption reads “What really matters is how you see yourself. ”Whenever I see Kitty, I think of Helen Reddy’s classic song “I am Woman!”

Finally, some signs and plaques don’t just belong on the desk, they should be stamped on our hearts, like this one from *Henry Drummond: “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Please don’t miss an opportunity to matter—make this a sign to remember.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

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