The Rule of Seven – Revisiting An Important Series Of Posts

My apologies to my loyal blog followers.  After 123 straight days of posting, I took a few “days off” – first, to attend and present at the National Eating Disorders Association’s 2012 Annual Conference and then to draft a Proposal, tentatively entitled, “The Dad Initiative – Committed to Healing, United in Hope,” which I hope will fundamentally alter the face (and success rate) of eating disorder treatment by fully engaging one of its most under-utilized assets – dads!  I’m not gonna lie about it, the last several days have been a bit on the exhausting side, not physically, of course, but emotionally.  It’s never easy when you’re trying to change the status quo, to find ways to make a difference.  But, I believe, it is critically important to expend the effort necessary to try.  I believe it is an integral part of being.  Perhaps, in the coming days, I will share the outline of The Initiative, the fruits of my labor.

In the meantime, however, it is on my heart to re-visit a series of posts that I authored in the infancy of this blog for several reasons.  Selfishly, I need to be reminded of what I wrote – and “re-writing” it helps me do that.  Second, I had very few followers in those early days and am hopeful that my presentation over the weekend generated or will generate a new group of “followers” who might be able to benefit from the posts and not otherwise dig down deep enough in the blog archives to find them.  Finally, I’m prompted by what’s known in the “direct mail” industry as The Rule of 7.  Simply stated, the Rule of 7 is predicated on social research studies that show that a mail recipient needs to receive a direct mail marketer’s message at least seven times before they even realize that the marketer’s business exists, let alone take the time to actually focus on and learn more about that business.  Obviously, I trust my followers to get it the first time, but just in case . . . bear with me for a few days:

Desires of the Heart

All of us have what I like to refer to as “desires of the heart” – those things that are most important to us, that we dream about, that we long for, that we aspire to.  Depending on where we are on the continuum that is our life’s journey, those “desires” may include searching for “Mr. or Mrs. Right,” finding the perfect job, getting accepted at the college of our choice, re-connecting with an old friend or making a new one, repairing or finally allowing ourselves to move on from a broken relationship, forgiving or being forgiven, overcoming addiction, being reminded (or discovering for the first time) that we are loved and that we are worthy of love and/or truly finding peace with and accepting who we are – to name just a few.  Whatever they may be (and they are different for everyone), I believe such desires (and the thoughts and actions they inspire) are essential to a healthy, focused and fulfilling life. They are what keep us moving forward.

Unfortunately, if we aren’t careful, they can also become a source of discontent. Part of the reason for that, I think, is that we tend, consciously or subconsciously, to impose our own “timetables” for the achievement of those goals and/or the realization of our dreams and desires.  We also tend to formulate a vision of what our lives will “look” like and how we will feel when (and if) those dreams/desires become a reality. Invariably, when things don’t happen as soon as we think they should (which often is the case) or when “the package” that arrives doesn’t look and feel precisely the way we thought it would, we become frustrated, angry and, on occasion, bitter. Worse yet, in our quest to “acquire” what we typically have too narrowly defined as “what we want,” we often overlook opportunities to realize other dreams and/or desires that, though not precisely what we originally had in mind, held tremendous promise to change our lives in a positive way.

Believe me, I wish there were a way to guarantee that all of us would realize the desires of our heart and that it would happen for each of us sooner, rather than later.  But, it simply doesn’t work that way.  The truth is there is no way to know when, how or even whether those desires will materialize or if they do what they will look like. There are simply too many variables in the equation – not to mention the “curve balls” that life inevitably tosses our way, usually when we least expect them or were hoping for a “belt high fastball” right down the middle of the plate – to borrow a baseball analogy (or two).  However, I have come to believe that there are certain things we can do to maximize our chances of realizing those dreams and desires and, using the next few days “posts,” I thought I would share at least a few of them with you – all of which were largely inspired by a 1 ½ minute clip in the movie “Facing the Giants.”

The scene involves an encounter between Grant Taylor, the head coach of the fledgling Shilo Eagles football team, and Mr. Bridges, a faith-based administrator who makes it a practice of walking the halls of the high school and silently praying as he passes each student’s locker.  In it, Bridges tells Taylor that he once heard a story about two farmers who desperately wanted and needed rain. Both of them prayed for rain, but only one of them actually went out and prepared his field to receive rain.  “Which one,” Bridges asks Taylor, “do you think trusted God to actually send the rain?” “Well,  the one who prepared his fields to receive it,” Taylor unhesitatingly responds, to which Bridges asks the probing question: “Which one are you?”  “God will send the rain when He’s ready,” Bridges continued, “you need to prepare your field to receive it.”

And so, I believe, it is with our dreams and the desires of our hearts.  Stay tuned.

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