Category Archives: overcoming obstacles

How to Become an Everyday Hero

When we think about heroes, characters with super-powers or people who perform death-defying acts of courage typically spring to our minds. But USA Today recently reported that 20% of Americans have done heroic deeds. Professor Philip Zimbardo from Stanford University conducted a study that was supported by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Using a national sample of 4,000 adults, Zimbardo’s team discovered that 20% of participants qualified as heroes.

How could this be true?

 These participants had

  • helped during a dangerous emergency,
  • taken a stand against injustice, or
  • sacrificed for a stranger.

Heroes are ordinary people,” Zimbardo states. “You become a hero by doing an extraordinary deed.”

Who Are the Heroes in Your Life?

We all face opportunities to step up, do the extraordinary, and become a hero to someone.

Sometimes those we hold dear fall short during times of need, and the people we expect to spark our hope shroud it in their own despair. Interestingly, Zimbardo’s study also revealed that someone is more likely to act in a heroic capacity if they have walked through personal trauma or have been involved in compassionate outreach.

The world longs for heroes, and we can see the evidence in top-running movies and televisions shows. Social psychologist Scott Allison of Richmond, Virginia puts it this way: “We love heroes because of what they offer us—hope for a better world.”

So how do we become an everyday hero? I suggest the following:

  1. Respect people and live peacefully with others. My mother always said, “Don’t underestimate anyone because you never know what tomorrow brings.”  Sometimes when we are happy, strong, and powerful, we are tempted to ignore the least among us. However, we never know where heroes will come from.
  2. Trust God to bring the right people and circumstances into your life at the right time. Proverbs 16:9 tells us “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” God may send a hero to speak wisdom, to intervene on your behalf, or to stand beside you as an advocate.
  3. Manage your expectations of people. The people you believe will be your heroes may not be equipped to help you and may need help themselves.
  4. Acknowledge people who step up. Gratitude opens doors and fosters a hero’s heart. Heroes often place others first as a lifestyle.  
  5. Be a hero to someone else. This may be as simple as making a phone call, taking time to listen, checking on someone, answering a call, showing unexpected kindness, standing beside someone against injustice, helping to open closed doors, or promoting someone’s well being. Use your power and influence to make a difference.
  6. Stand beside ‘heroes in the making.’ Support the heroic efforts of others and encourage family, friends, and those in your circle of influence to join you. Model what it means to act as a hero and a person of integrity, honor, and positive influence, and consider mentoring others.

I thank God for everyday heroes—people who positively influenced not only my life but the lives of my friends and loved ones and in so doing made the world a better place. I salute you and dedicate this blog to you and to all everyday heroes.

Can you name someone who’s been an unlikely hero in your life? How did their action influence you? I’d love to hear your story.

Peace & Health!

Dr. Clem


Does Our Spirituality Influence Our Health?

I have been always interested in the relationship between spirituality and health. I’ve noticed that when I feel closer to God, I’m more likely to pay attention to other areas of my life. Similarly, being spiritually dry can cause imbalances in other areas of life. Taking time to cultivate spiritual growth also helps me focus on God and reframes my purpose in life.  According to FamilyDoctor.org, spirituality is the way we find hope, meaning, comfort, and inner peace in life. Research demonstrates that the body, mind, and spirit are connected.

Dr. David Anderson, co-founder of StayWell Health Management, states that approximately 40% of all deaths in the United States are premature due to unhealthy lifestyle choices such as tobacco use, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, misuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as accidents. Other contributors to early death include genetic predisposition (30%), social circumstances (15%), poor access to quality health care (10%), and environmental exposure (5%).

Our behavior and choices influence not only our future, but our bodies, minds, and our spirits and souls. Health influence the way we relate to God and others. Prayer and meditation also contribute to a sense of peace and calm. Maximizing health is an important aspect of our spiritual pursuit.

Maximizing our health provides energy and focus for spiritual priorities.
When we feel well, we have more energy to invest in maintaining spiritual disciplines and ministering to others. When we’re fatigued or in pain, it’s hard to maintain a schedule, exercise, stay hydrated, and eat healthfully. Sometimes just reaching for a water bottle can seem overwhelming. The more we can maximize our health, the more energy we have for spiritual priorities.

Caring for our health is part of stewardship of God’s gifts. Stewardship isn’t just about giving money to God. It’s about managing all the resources He’s entrusted to our care. One of the most important facets of our stewardship is caring for our bodies, which are the physical means through which we express love for others. Caring for our health enables us to carry out the double-love command: love God, and as a result, love others as we desire to be loved.

Health struggles can draw us closer to God as we learn dependence and trust. Even when we do not enjoy good health, caring for our health can be an act of devotion to God. When we are ill, struggle with pain, and deal with physical frailty, we can choose to turn to God, trust Him, and thrive in our dependence upon Him. Life often doesn’t give us the answers we want, and it’s in those times that our faith is put to the test. These moments often draw us closer to God than times of health and prosperity.

How has God used your health to grow your spiritual life? Or has your health pulled you away from pursuing faith?

In what ways do your physical health and spiritual health connect, and how do you balance both areas to your benefit? I’d love to hear from you.

Peace and Health,

Dr. Clem


Wisdom Wins

For all my life, I’ve pursued wisdom. I vividly recall my mom encouraging me to hang out more with older people, especially those with grey hair because they are great sources of wisdom. My parents planted this seed in my heart when I was a child. They also taught me to look beyond actions and behaviors to causes, effects, influences, consequences, and relationships. Education became part of my pursuit of wisdom—acquiring knowledge that could be applied to transforming communities, people’s lives, and positively influencing the world.

But what is wisdom?

The word often defines wisdom as higher knowledge or application of knowledge. I have gained wisdom through personal experiences, observing and interacting with others, and trying new things.

As a woman of faith, I look to God as my ultimate source of wisdom (James, 1:5), as human knowledge and reasoning are always limited and flawed.

Aristotle believed that wisdom is the understanding of causes. Understanding causes involves the ability to analyze cause and effect, interrelationships, and therefore, understand interdependence. For instance, a wise person understands that today’s decision will influence life down the road. They understand that time is a commodity to be invested and not spent. And they also comprehend the many ways their actions (and inactions) influence others.

Wisdom sees the bigger picture and makes decisions that respect the goals and values of life.

For me, values of life encompass faith, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and investing in my community and in others. At the core of wisdom is love for others that allows us to make decisions that override selfishness and me-first, right-now, make-me-happy motives.

Wisdom

  • considers the bigger picture.
  • evaluates outcomes on others.
  • makes decisions with long-term goals.
  • is motivated by mercy, grace, and love.
  • waits for the right moment and circumstances.
  • gracefully responds to the hurt, disappointment, and grief of others.

The journey to gain wisdom never ends.

For me, acquiring wisdom and learning from others has become sweeter with each passing year. As part of my self-study,  I recently came across the Center for Practical Wisdom at the University of Chicago.

https://www.uchicago.edu/research/center/the_center_for_practical_wisdom/

I believe that life should be a journey to acquire wisdom. What about you? What are your thoughts on wisdom? I’d like to hear from you. Comments are always welcome.

Dr. Clem


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