The Space Between


“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  ~Viktor E. Frankl

Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, but most notably he was a Holocaust survivor. His most well-known book, “Man’s Search For Meaning” records his existential journey to unearth hope in a hopeless environment in order to survive.

Some thoughts that come from that book:

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.”

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”

“I do not forget any good deed done to me & I do not carry a grudge for a bad one.”

“Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone.”

The space between is all about your choice.

The space between is the hard journey from where you started and where you want to be.

The space between is where life really happens, but we rush through missing the lessons intended to expand our experience on earth because we falsely believe life is somewhere other than where we are.

In order to absorb every atom of life and experience growth and freedom remember this trinity:

1.  Slow Down: Technology and culture have increased our busyness and hurriedness. We are forever in a rush, angry, aggravated, stressed and undone. If you find yourself saying “I don’t have enough time” constantly, then you need to choose to slow down, budget your time and prioritize some time to simply “be.” We are a nation of “doers” and our over-doing it is robbing us of life. Give yourself permission this week to simply be with no agenda. Sit and read, or simply find a great coffee spot and drink slowly, savoring the flavor, aroma and experience.

2. Show compassion: When we show compassion to people, we are training our soul to see value in life. It is very hard to show compassion if you are in a hurry or constantly judging others. When you begin to love people, as they are, not as they should be, there is a shift that takes place inside of you. A shift that removes a jaded spirit and a judgmental spirit. We are never able to slow down nor show compassion when we try to rocket through the space between. Compassion adds beauty and instills hope and meaning. Hope and meaning are necessary ingredients in a full life.

3. Breathe deeply: To breathe deeply will cause you to slow down. Breath is life, and North American’s are the shallowest breathers on the planet. Breathe in slowly and deeply…as you hold your breath, thank God for life, yours and others. You will notice that your energy levels increase as you breathe deeply, and it causes you to slow down. As you slow down, you will finally be able to see that person who simply needs your compassion. Maybe it is just a hello, or a note or moving a garbage can…people need compassion the way we all need to breathe. As you breathe deeply remember that you are most like God when you extend love, grace and compassion to others.

4. Embrace the mystery of God: Stop trying to figure God out and all the mysteries of the universe. The moment you have God figured out, you no longer have God. Believe it or not, the mystery of God can help us through the space between far better than the best “pat answers” that so many religionists peddle. Somehow God is good, able and involved even when we suffer from a circumstance…How can that be? If we slow down, breathe, and practice compassion, God’s presence is manifest in such a way that answers pale in comparison to the God who is there.

Spend a little extra time this week enjoying the space between, because as Frankl said, In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Choices, they will change your future


Everyday we have a number of choices set before us. A choice is a spiritual portal, an opportunity to exercise either faith or fear. In so many ways the truth of the matter is that making a choice is often the most spiritual thing you do.

Each choice carries an incredible amount of potential. You can choose one way and move closer to God, or choose another way and move away from God. Choice is the gift of freedom, but it also requires faith if we are to stay aligned with God throughout the day and move towards a God-centric future.

It has been said that we are the sum total of the choices that we made 10+ years ago, and who we will be in 10 years will be a result of the choices that we make today. In this sense, choices will change your future. The question is, are you making the choices that will create the best future.

Tonight, I did some meditating on great quotes about choices.

May the following thoughts about choices from others inspire you to see each of your decisions as a divine opportunity to move closer to God and experience the life He created you for!


“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him.” ~Jim Elliot

“Every choice you make has an end result.” ~Zig Ziglar

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ~William Jennings Bryan

“Of the blessings set before you make your choice, and be content.” ~Samuel Johnson

“The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.” ~Bill Meyer (1892-1957);Baseball Manager, Coach

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~Viktor Frankl

“Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.” ~Peter Marshall

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” ~Rosa Parks

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr

“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.” ~Leo Buscaglia

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~Buddha

“We are our choices.” ~Jean-Paul Sartre

“You cannot continue on the same path and arrive at a different destination. Make the choice to have your actions reflect your goals.” ~Steve Maraboli

“Far too many of us value the freedom to choose rather than the choices that make us free” ~Erwin McManus

“On a daily basis we’re faced with two simple choices. We can either listen to ourselves and our constantly changing feelings about our circumstances, or we can talk to ourselves about the unchanging truth of who God is and what He’s accomplished for us at the cross.” ~The Cross-Centered Life

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! ~Deuteronomy 30:19

“… choose this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 25:15

Attitude: how high will you soar?

On many occasions I have asked people what they believe is the most important factor in moving towards success, reaching goals, and accomplishments.  I have received many answers like, “luck…money…training…knowing the right people…and even God.” Those are all great answers, but in my experience there is one thing that is commonly found in the men and women who achieve much and that is the state of their “attitude.”

Thomas Jefferson noted:

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

I agree with Jefferson. A persons attitude greatly affects his beliefs, choices, and the way he/she see themselves and the world. I have often said, “Give me a person with a positive attitude and a strong purpose and passion and I can give them the tools to do anything…but if you give me a person who has all the education and tools but lacks passion, purpose and a positive attitude, there is not much I can do.”

Bad attitudes sink teams…Good attitudes encourage teams…
Bad attitudes destroy hope…Good attitudes believe in something bigger…
Bad attitudes never see the potential…Good attitudes see the invisible…
Bad attitudes major in sarcasm…Good attitudes major in faith…
Bad attitudes keep people stuck…Good attitudes free people from limitations…

One of the problems facing us today is how our culture honors, elevates and seems to worship sarcasm and the negative. Most of the sitcoms and young adult shows center around curmudgeonly characters who view all things from a negative lens…merely watch the plethora of reality Tv options and you will experience a steady diet of self centered negativity. This is the primary programming language infusing the current and next generation, and that is worrisome.

If you struggle with the “gift” of sarcasm, or a negative filter…there are some things you can begin doing to reclaim the way you think.

1. Infuse your mind with the positive: This is so critical. Most of the data that people fill their minds with is negative. The news, TV shows, etc. Choosing to fill our minds and souls with good stuff is crucial. Read inspiring stories, faith stories, positive and spiritual quotes. Choose to watch media that is positive and limit the negative media assaults. Pray, meditate, ruminate, read sacred Scripture and books that elevate your soul. In short, become aware of the data that you are feeding your mind and soul with. You will become like the data you fuel yourself with.

2. Choose to be positive: This is where self-awareness is necessary. Most people are not very self aware of their emotions, attitudes or thoughts. Slowing down enough by practicing some regular times of solitude and silence will greatly help you become more self aware. As you become self aware, you will find that you have the option to make a choice about what you are thinking. When I find my mind in a negative or pessimistic state, I always stop and ask God to help me release those thoughts to Him as well as reinfuse my thoughts with positive ones that flow from who He is. In my mind and heart I say, “I choose to think positive God-thoughts.” This helps me identify the negative thought patterns and acknowledge that I don’t want them in my mind.

3. Practice Gratitude daily: This is so powerful! If you don’t have a cheap spiral notebook go out and get one today! It will be the best .79 cents you have ever spent. Once you have it, find a spot in your day to stop and simply write even one thing that you are grateful for. Even the fact that you have a notebook and a pen and are able to write is something to be thankful for!  The more you invest in looking for the things to be grateful for and writing them down, the more you will experience a growing sense of thankfulness for life.

4. Limit the time you spend with negative people: This one is a bit harder because some of the negative people in your life are probably family and friends. If that is the case for you, note how much time you spend with those who are negative, and then invest more time to be around people who have a positive attitude and will expand your soul. The adage that you become like the people you hang out with is true. So pay attention to the thoughts, beliefs and things people say. As you become aware of the attitudes of the people around you, the better you will be able to make decisions about the time you spend with them.

5.  Choose to smile: This might seem trivial but it really isn’t. Right now, right where you are at, stop….take a deep breath in and out and then plant a big ol’ smile on your face! Come on just do it…can you feel how it begins to change how you feel and see things…it is really hard to be mad, angry, bitter or negative when you are sporting a big smile. Throughout your day as you practice self-awareness, make the choice to smile big…it will flood your soul with better feelings and thoughts which will help with your attitude.

Here are some great quotes on attitude to start reprogramming your thought life with!

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.  ~Maya Angelou

When you pray for anyone you tend to modify your personal attitude toward him.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.  ~Viktor E. Frankl

We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  ~Charles R. Swindoll

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.  ~Zig Ziglar

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.  ~Khalil Gibran

Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results.  ~William James

Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.  ~Victor Hugo

The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  ~Charles R. Swindoll

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.  ~Voltaire

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.  You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.  ~Roald Dahl

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.  ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5

Change- SNQ 8/15/12

Change is inevitable. Change is necessary. Change is hard. As life speeds along at an ever increase rate, we are faced with the reality of change. How we handle change will greatly affect the level of enjoyment we have in life. Fighting the inevitable is always a losing battle, so why do we do it?

When you are facing a change or a transition, it is really important to consider the following:

1. Acknowledge the Change: Denial isn’t helpful when it comes to change, it actually creates a high level of conscious, as well as subconscious stress. When we acknowledge the change, we are freeing ourselves from the hostage situation that denial creates. Another form of denial is minimizing change. When we minimize the potential effects of change we are not really acknowledging that we will be facing life differently. When we finally acknowledge change, we bring it to the light where it can’t go underground and affect our subconscious behavioral patterns.

2. Celebrate What Came Before. Too often, since we don’t like change, we choose to simply “power through it” and jump into the next great thing. This leaves a sense of unsettled-ness within. When we celebrate the transition, we give honor to the good things as well as grieve the hard things that preceded the change. This creates a sense of closure concerning the change, whether it was good or bad, which in turn helps us move forward without the baggage that, denial, minimizing or too fast a transition create. Closure is crucial for a healthy transition.

3. Remind Yourself That Change Helps You Grow. If we never experienced change, we would never grow. Remind yourself that change creates growth opportunities and will reveal the health of your emotional soul. You’ll need to remind yourself often…so in those moments when the stress from change is reaching the tipping point, remind yourself that God is larger than your circumstances and that the change He is allowing can be used to enlarge your faith.

Here are some great quotes about change:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
~Reinhold Niebuhr

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.  ~Arnold Bennett

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.  ~Ellen Glasgow

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.  ~Carl Jung

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.  ~Maya Angelou

If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.  ~John A. Simone, Sr.

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.  ~Confucius

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.  ~Confucius

Christians are supposed not merely to endure change, nor even to profit by it, but to cause it.  ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.  ~Frank Herbert

Change is the only constant. Hanging on is the only sin.  ~Denise McCluggage

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.  ~Andre Gide

In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.  ~Warren Buffett

Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you… yet, someone survived… You can do anything you choose to do.
~Maya Angelo

By changing nothing, nothing changes.  ~Tony Robbins

Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.  ~Walter Anderson

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.  ~Jim Rohn

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.  ~George Bernard Shaw

You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.  ~A.A. Milne

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.  ~Mark Twain