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Three Unalterable Facts!

Living life has its challenges.

One of the challenges is, what do you do with the storyline in your head? What is it that you tell yourself in the privacy of your mind? You know, in that private world of quick explanation, what is the voice that comes over your inner PA system?

If you haven’t checked that voice, it probably sounds quite derogatory. It probably reaches to a moment of failure that has fought the test of time and broadcasts it back in living stereo to the isolation of your unique world.

“You’ll always come up short, when it matters, you won’t be there.” That was mine, what is yours?

I call this inner voice, or voice over, The Swirl in my book, Path Out – Eliminate the Swirl. Use this link to obtain your copy. https://philsovdi.com/book-offer/

Reject the voice of condemnation! Renounce it! Literally say, “I renounce the lie that…” Don’t allow it to play through one more time knowingly.

Correct thinking, correct biblical thinking, will master that voice and create the new sound over in your thoughts, but you are going to have to spend some time on it.

So, here are three facts that I’m using and you are welcome to adopt.

    1. God’s default position toward me is that he loves me. “God loves me!”

    2. God has a purpose for me to live and fulfill. “I matter!”

    3. God only expects me to be me. “I don’t have to be like anyone else!”

When I keep these thoughts foremost, they conquer the swirl and video loop that wants to play again.

Here’s how it works:

When I face a challenge or shortcoming, I immediately call these three facts.

  1. God loves me, so I know that he is working through love for my best interest and best outcome. I can go to the bank on it! He will not reject me or let me go. He’s got this. (1 John 4:16, NIV)
  2. He’s got me on my purpose. He is directing the course of my life. I will fulfill all that he has for me and all that he has promised. This issue before me is engineered for my good and my best interest. It will work out okay because He surrounds me. (Philippians 1:6, NIV)
  3. I’m the only one here in this personal moment. God doesn’t want me to try and be anyone else. He uniquely created me and gave me the circumstances that have led me to this moment, and he will uniquely bring me through. I just need to respond to him and let him do what he is doing trusting that this ‘personal touch’ is well placed and directly appropriate for my best outcome. (2 Timothy 2:21, NIV)

This is faith at its core. Trust that God is and that he is working in my life. Or, trust that God is and that he is working in your life. (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

Change your focus, He’s got this!

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Don’t Forget To Be Friends

Life gets big, fast, and sometimes all too confusing. 

Remember when things were simpler when it was just you and him, or maybe you and her?

Hey, did that actually happen or was that a mythical moment with a mythical couple?

Why just this morning the SUV has left the driveway at least three times, and that was before 9:00 am; not once would you have been presentable had you been pulled over.

It’s called life. Not a prison, sentence, or punishment; it’s a full-on privilege.

I know you needed a moment, I just wanted to remind you of that. We all do.

We started out as friends; we liked spending time together. I would do crazy things to get to be with her and see her smile. Even if I only got five minutes during her lunch break and then have to drive back to where real life happened, I did it for fun, for friendship, for love.

We’ve seen others succumb and lose their focus. It could have happened to us. Somehow we picked up a little tidbit. Somehow we learned to push back on the rapid, the consuming press of time, schedule and appointments. We learned that we have to be friends and stay friends. Working on friendship in the middle of life is no easy task, but we’ve been able to do it up until now and determinedly we’ll do it into the future.

You can too. Stay friends.

PELI3530

If you want to work on your Marriage, let me help!

The Marriage Consult

Mastering Obstacles

I am excited about this new tool that I have developed for Mastering your personal Obstacles called Mastering Obstacles.

This tool will walk you through a powerful process of challenge, change, and growth. It will address the mess in which you may find yourself and give you a trajectory out of that very mess.

You may need help navigating through your obstacles, (reach out at phil.sovdi@gmail.com) but you can have a clear vision for freedom and change. 

Mastering Obstacles

 

 

 

When ‘Fake’ Matters

What do I care if the rock panels on your house are fake or not?

It would matter only if I were planning to purchase your house, or if I was going to use your house for ideas for my own home, then it would matter.

Fake is relative to who you are and what you do and what you need.

If you were building a set for a television shoot, fake is irrelevant; it just has to look ‘real’ from the viewer’s perspective.

However, if you are building a life and want ‘real’ in family, friendship, and faith, then non-fake is imperative.

So, who are you? What do you do? How do you do what you do? Are you for real?

And, does it matter?

Monday Morning Blues

It’s Monday morning and who wants to go to work? Really, who wants to leave their weekend behind and embrace the repetitive mundane?

Well, that is indeed one way to look at it.

Or, we can adjust our thinking. Why would we want to do that?

Monday is going to happen whether you are on board or not; whether or not you jump in with your game face, or drag in, hauling your coffee with your IV hookup.

The fact is you can choose; what a great gift. You can choose to live with a good, great, or excellent attitude, or you can choose not to. Too much for a Monday morning? That’s why I waited until now to send this.

Choice is a gift from God. I think he holds it as one of his highest values. He must; it is what makes us human.

Don’t give your choice away to someone or something that will marshal it for another cause. You’ve been given the gift, so use it.

Choose.

Choose to live well, to hope strong, to have faith that God has ‘got this’ and knows where you are at, and what needs to happen next.

Don’t settle for being pushed around by a Monday or anything else that wants to usurp your gift.

You get to choose. So, choose by choice, not by default or any other imposed criteria.

We get to make a choice, so, Happy Monday! You are alive and ‘Get to.’

Hollow Love

Who gets to judge? No, really, who gets to set the bar or examine the evidence?

The simple answer?

Others.

That’s right, those who are looking, those for whom it was intended, those who are casual observers and those who read or heard our words. They get to judge. Actually, whether they get to or not, whether we give them permission to or not, they will and they do judge.

Just recently we completed a document that gives our view of love, its importance, value, and prominence. The document says it well. I like the words that have been crafted and the way they sound when you say them. However, if the recipients of that document would not say that we love, if they would not tell you that when they think of us that they know they are loved, then that document only proves to be noise.

I can tell you all day long that I love my wife. But, if my wife does not feel the love, if she does not think those thoughts when she thinks of me, then my words at best are hypocrisy and at worst a direct lie because I don’t get to be the judge.

I can tell you all day, extrapolate all the nuances, I can even have it nicely written out and ornately decorated on a tablet. But unless it reaches its target and resonates with my wife, decorated or not, it is hollow.

Years ago, I would not have been identified as gentle.  Many other descriptive words that would have been used for me. Hopefully, some of them good, but ‘gentle’ would not have been one of them. 

Then I was reading and came across these words, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5, NIV) I think at that moment God spoke to me asked me a question. “Phil, are you known for your gentleness?” Before I could build a case in my mind he continued, “Would your daughters call you gentle?” The word ‘Gentle’ became very personal, and I had to admit that I didn’t think it would be used to describe me. I realized at that moment that the picture of ‘me’ needed to change.

As I wrestled with my thoughts and how I was going to make this happen, I came upon the criteria that I have used ever since. It doesn’t matter what I would tell you about myself that matters, it is what others would say about me that exposes all and tells the truth.

Today, I believe that each of my four daughters, and my wife, would tell you that I indeed am a very gentle father.

So what about love? What do others say? Do our words have the depth or do they resonate as hollow?

Make a solid contribution to your marriage this Valentines. Let those around you say of you, “He or she is the most loving person that I know.”

I can help you get there in your marriage. I’ve created a tool that you can use. Its called The Marriage Consult. Here’s the link, https://philsovdi.com/the-marriage-consult/

Is God Religious?

A couple of nights ago I was prepping a couple for their wedding this Saturday.

Part of the prep was to look at the ‘Love passage’ from 1 Corinthians 13. As we were going through it, it occurred to me that God isn’t religious.

I got to that thought by reading through and discussing, ‘what love is,’ with this couple. Then, in my mind, I linked the passage from 1 John 4:8, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (NIV)

Through the pen or stylus of John, God describes himself as ‘love.’ Love has nothing to do with protocol, although it can be included in the protocol. Love has nothing to do with tradition, although without it, tradition could be quite dry.

God could have described himself in an infinite number of ways, but he chose love. He didn’t say, I am the God of dotted ‘I’s’ and crossed ’T’s,’ he could have, but, he didn’t say that. From the pen of the one who spent three unbelievable years with Jesus, the one who heard him say, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father,” John writes, “…God is love.”

That’s it, that is all you need. That is all I need. Three up close and personal, very personal, years and searching for the right word John says it is ‘Love.’

John knew that Jesus wasn’t religious. He watched and heard him call those who were religious some pretty shameful things. He heard Jesus say, “You need to do what they are saying, the good things, but don’t be like them.” It is like John’s observation was saying, don’t switch the relationship from personal to performance. Jesus never did.

Why not take a walk with Jesus through the pages of scripture? Don’t read to prove something, instead, read to get the whole picture, and I think you will begin to realize that it was all personal with him. Jesus showed it was people that mattered to God, not religion. In fact, the only way that religion mattered at all was when Jesus said, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” That statement was even more up close and personal as it came from Jesus’ half-brother James. (James 1:27, NIV) God then and now desired to have intimate, personal, connect with people who were being kept away from him by the religion that was supposed to bring them to him.

So, today, God isn’t looking for you to get religion. I kind of think he hopes you won’t. Instead, God is looking for us to have a personal relationship with him that is only available through Jesus.

Difference Maker

I woke up this morning thinking about the Difference Maker.
I know, it’s Christmas.
There are no chestnuts, the fire isn’t open, but it is on, and it is warming the room nicely.
Mrs. Claus just gave me a morning kiss, and there is a light dusting of snow outside. There are tracks in the snow, but I see no hoof marks.
The lore, the fun, the imagery, are all on cue this Christmas morning. And, oh yah, some of the kids are sleeping in, not kids anymore, even though the stockings are hung with care.
I had a conversation with a great friend on Christmas Eve, and we talked about, “Why does it seem like there are two Gods? One who seemed to be intolerable of any misstep and one now who seems to be okay with it.” This big question came out of a year of his reading through the Bible.
Has God changed? Does he tolerate what he used to punish? Or, does he not care anymore? Is he too weak or obsolete to matter?
We spent a few moments discussing it, what an excellent question for Christmas.
James, Jesus’ half-brother, gives a perspective from personal up-close observation, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV)
God is absolutely pure; absolutely holy; absolutely true; absolutely just, and he is absolutely loving. He has not, did not and will not change from these attributes, to name a few.
What has happened is that the impossible gap between him and us has been obliterated, what used to be a barrier has now become a bridge.
Our human history shows a less than stellar track record. Our rules, our systems, and our agendas are at best weak. They have fallen short, they have hurt and injured. That is why we needed Christmas, that is why we needed the Difference Maker.
God hasn’t changed, but our approach to him has. We now can come with the full assurance of faith because the babe in the manger has made such a difference.
There is so much more to this story.
Merry Christmas!

Wonderweird

It’s Christmas, or just about, the most ‘wonderweirdfilled’ time of the year.

This is the time of year where we are reminded of all the wonderful things that we can be thankful for and all the screwed-up messes we would like to forget.

Oh, how I wish that all was calm and all is bright.

I referred to it before, but Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly (Prudently) with your God.” (NIV) along with Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV)

These passages relay a humbly, tenaciously, cautiously lived life. That is what we are called to. Regardless of acceptance or reprisal, ours is to live these words out in worship before our God who sees all and knows all. It’s not complicated, but oh boy, sometimes it’s quite difficult.

I have discovered that I am responsible for no one else but myself when it comes to the things that I can change.

So change, I will.

What you do and how you respond, is entirely up to you.

Dumped On

There is no other way to say it. “This last week we got dumped on.” The Great Canadian North backed the truck up, filled the telescopic rod with hydraulic fluid and let ‘er’ go. Services stopped, vehicles were stuck, people were sent home, and the dig-out started and lasted all week. We had been prepped the week before with a practice run, but the alert for this last week somehow eluded us.
In my conservative opinion, small ‘c’ not to be confused with our political, which is our second or third favourite past-time, I think we got more snow in this last week than we did all last year. But, I’m no weatherman.
Life as we know it had to stop and alter its course. Some of my ‘usual’ got canceled, and that affected others and delayed their arriving home which rippled all the way down to the babysitter, who may have been cheering for the extra dollars; or, maybe not.
Things changed, babies were conceived, at least that is true from the last dump that happened here several years ago, and life had to reorient if only for a moment.
All that rearrangement, without apology, for gentle white snow that landed with a wallop.
What about you?
Have you ever been dumped on, I mean metaphorically speaking?
Have you ever had to alter, reorient, change, or stop life as it is to redirect?
Probably if you haven’t, you are barely old enough to read. If you have lived life in the real world, the chances are high that the telescopic rod has lifted and thrust its load your way.
So, what do you do when life unloads on you in a moment of time?
The first thing you’ll do is to stop. You’ll probably have to. Once you have picked up your shovel, snowblower, or backhoe, you begin to sort your way through the mess. But, when the mess keeps coming, that is when you will need to try a different tactic.
Take Job, pronounced ‘Jobe,’ for example. Here is a guy who has a book by his name contained within the Bible. He got dumped on. Just when he thought he had more than he could bear, the ‘B’ train unloaded.
Job handled his life and his tragedy with amazing patience and trust. You can catch this fantastic example and the message from this ancient stalwart of a man. Forty-two chapters, which is about thirty-six pages, maybe an hour and a half read, or two coffees will impact your life exponentially. Try and read it in one go; you’ll be glad you did.
Then, you can also catch some of my thoughts on this from Conflict #5 in my online book, Path Out – Eliminate the Swirl. Just follow the links.

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