/Deb Holland

About Deb Holland

I am passionate about leveraging strategic teaching tools to help people build lives of joy and victory!

Destiny: Sustainable Pace

Welcome back!

After you’ve charted your course, you’ll want to set a pace that can be sustained over time. The effort and energy required will vary depending on your task at the time. No whitewater rafting trip involves paddling nonstop at maximum effort. You spend a lot of time on the water conserving energy and paddling your hardest only when you really need to, otherwise people get exhausted. If someone is spent and unable to paddle it weakens that side of the boat, which can be dangerous depending on the size and complexity of the rapids. Don’t weaken your efforts or endanger your destiny by paddling full tilt the second the raft gets on the water. You’ve charted your course, and other than dealing with the unexpected, you’ve already plotted out the spots that will require more effort than others. Give yourself time to settle into the raft, get a feel for conditions, and trust your plan enough to follow it.

It is true that great achievements can sometimes mean we are out of balance for a short time. But those times need to be truly temporary. Building our destiny at the expense of our health or our family defeats the purpose. It may be that your start-up phase requires the most adjustment from you and your family. Time, logistics, and finances may all need to shift. But if you’ve done a mindful, strategic job of thinking things all the way through, you’ll have come up with a plan to minimize the impact. This is when self-discipline becomes a defining characteristic of your life. Some folks never come up with a plan to achieve their goals. Even fewer have a plan and do what it takes to get started. Even less get underway and stick with it when it gets hard. That means the self-disciplined person’s changes of success are pretty darn good! It’s going to take discipline to follow your plan. You’re going to roll out of bed some days, see the next rapid on the map and declare “not today!” That’s fine, breaks are absolutely necessary, but get right back to it as quickly as you reasonably can or you’ll lose both your focus and your progress.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to wisely discern the pace that genuinely works best for you at this point in the journey.

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Destiny: Strategize For The Long Game

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Planning our destiny is a lot like running the rapids. What appears to be the easiest way through a challenge may actually set us up for greater difficulty later. We have to be thinking at least three steps ahead: 1) what’s right out in front of us, 2) what’s in the middle distance, and 3) what’s around the next bend. We’ll need to develop mastery over how to navigate conditions and steer our destiny around whatever rapids arise. We can run scared hoping there won’t be any wind, storms, or rough waters. Or we can simply accept that the river has much to teach us about life, and then have a lot of fun planning, strategizing, and enjoying the ride around the obstacles. Now that you know what the planning process entails, it’s time to get started. Determine where you are right now in relation to your destiny, and what needs to be done to get the raft in the water. Perhaps you have a fantastic idea but haven’t thought through the details yet. That’s great! Your starting point is to decide the stretch of water you want to run, find or make a map, and then plan the trip using the three steps above. You’ll need to assess what progress can easily be made with the resources you already have, and what resources are needed to close the gap. Perhaps you have a decent raft but the puppy chewed up one of the paddles, and a trip to the sporting goods store is in order. That will take time, logistics, and money. It will be the same for every aspect of your planning. And right now if you have no idea about what’s needed to get out on the water, that’s ok too. Let yourself have fun exploring options.

A final note on this topic to those of you who tend towards great enthusiasm and quick action like I do. Pause long enough to consider your family, your career, and any other responsibilities you have while you are planning your adventure. The point of this book is to help people find a way to make their destiny their reality while honoring their current obligations. As we’ve previously talked about, most of us can’t afford the time, or money, or both, to quit our jobs as we embark on this new journey. It can be a nettlesome challenge to squeeze money out of the budget and carve time out of the calendar, but for most of us that’s the reality. It’s one of the rapids we’ll have to face as soon as the raft is in the water, and chances are we’ll encounter those submerged rocks again and again. But remember, we can have fun navigating those obstacles. By coming up with a plan to deal with the right now, middle distance, and next bend phases of operations, we put ourselves in a position to one day enjoy that well deserved gourmet dinner along the riverbank.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to take a good look at the three distances, and then launch out into the current.

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Destiny: Navigating For The Now & The Next

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The planning doesn’t stop once you’re on the water. As soon as the raft shoves off from shore, you’ll need to confirm conditions. Most rafters will tell you they’ve had experiences when the weather was beautiful at the time they left the house, and the forecast looked great. But then after they launched the raft, ominous clouds quickly gathered and they had to temporarily land for safety’s sake. You have to use your own intuition and wisdom once you’re out on the water to confirm it’s a safe time to be rafting. You don’t want to be paddling with lightning flashing all around you, foolishly insisting that the weatherman said there wouldn’t be any storms that day. Confirming conditions for yourself is something you’ll do for the entire trip. But you also don’t have to stand vigilantly in the front of the raft, squinting at the horizon for any speck of trouble. That will give you the opportunity to take an impromptu swim at no extra charge. Being overly focused on obstacles can be just as dangerous as not seeing them at all. You want to enjoy the trip but stay mindful of conditions. The weather changes fast. So does life. Live the present moment with everything you’ve got, but know that on some occasions you’ll need to delay plans, change course, or take an unanticipated breather. Just go with it, and continue to enjoy the trip.

Navigating was always my favorite part of running the river. I was usually in the front of the raft, responsible for looking immediately out in front of us, watching the middle distance, and listening for what was coming around the next bend. Knowing that people’s safety depended on me, I took my job seriously and relished the strategic opportunity it gave me. My sole job in those instances was to “pick a line,” a rafting term that means choosing a path through or around the rapids and any other hazards. Every river has its own personality and they have plenty of quirks just like people do. On some rivers, you could pick your line to the left and stay that way for long stretches because the topography just worked out that way. But on other rivers, if you picked a line to the left for the rapids right in front of you, the current would then sweep you wide right and set you up for a rough ride on the next rapid after that. In those instances picking the easier line to the left on the first rapid was actually more dangerous. I’d call the line to the right on the first rapid, which was technically tricky but doable, to set us up for proper positioning on the bigger, tougher second rapid ahead. Once I picked the line, I’d bellow out “KEEP RIGHT!! KEEP RIGHT!!” and everyone else on board knew that meant we were taking the line to the right around the rapid.

Rarely do you choose to go right over the top of a rapid. It’s a great way to flip or tear the raft. Sometimes despite your best efforts you go over the top and you just have to deal with it, but it’s always a worrisome moment because people can get hurt. Some rapids are so huge however, that picking a line would pull you into the powerful edge and dreaded eddies on the side, so going straight through those was your best options. Those types of rapids were above my skill level, so I never called those kinds of lines. Once I knew everyone had heard which line I had picked, I’d shout out “PADDLE! PADDLE! PADDLE!” Everyone knew this meant to paddle for all they were worth. Once everyone was digging in I’d yell “HOLD YOUR LINE!” repeatedly until we were through the rapid. Finally I’d call out “EASY!” and people would know that particular rapid was successfully behind us and it was time to rest.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to scout the conditions and pick a line that sets you up for success.

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Destiny: Study The Trip In Advance

Welcome back!

Planning our destiny requires the same kind of knowledge of the terrain and reading of the environment as a whitewater rafting trip. If you’re seeking to launch out into a new industry, you’ll need to study what the current business practices are. You’ll need to learn current market conditions in your area. You’ll want to try to predict what challenges lie ahead, and literally draw yourself a map or timeline of what’s to come. Perhaps your area is supposedly saturated with the kind of venture you really believe you are called to. You’ll need to think of ways you can set yourself apart. Perhaps there aren’t many products or services like yours offered in your area so there is little competition now, but the market is bound to grow. Think about what you can do to establish yourself and continue to build your market share despite what the competition does.

Of equal importance is thinking through what personal obstacles you may encounter. If you have health challenges you’ll need to take those into account. A diabetic wouldn’t launch out onto a day long raft trip without the proper supplies on board. In the same way, you won’t want to launch out into your destiny without making sure your medical needs are provided for. If you struggle with pain or fatigue, plan to work on your destiny during your freshest hours. If you’d currently limited in what you can do, plan to have someone help you with any physically demanding tasks that are beyond your capabilities right now. Or maybe you already know that you’re going to have to deal with significant resistance from some of the most important people in your life. Planning ahead for ways to ease their minds, address their objections, and enlist their support can be one of the wisest strategic moves you can make. Planning can be a really fun process if we let it. If we can view it with the same excitement a rafter feels when they stop out onto their porch the morning of a trip, we’ll experience one of the many benefits of living into our destiny, which is a revitalized interest in life.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to start mapping out the conditions you’ll face as you’re getting up and running.

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Destiny: Detailing The Plan

Welcome back!

Making our destiny our reality is a lot like a whitewater rafting trip. It’s our job to meticulously plan for every conceivable variable, then put the raft in the water and get going. But beyond that, the trip will take on a life of its own and we need to have confidence in our skills to either guide us safely through or tell us when to land.

Successful whitewater rafting begins with a map of the area you want to run. These maps are usually waterproof and are intended to be taken with you on the river. They mark where the rapids are and what class they are. What won’t appear on the map, but is something you’ll look for and learn every time you’re out, is what specific hazards are on that particular stretch of water on that particular day. Perhaps there’s a felled tree with an eddy that spells trouble. Or a submerged piece of debris that can damage a raft if it catches it. Or it may be that what shows on the map as a roiling Class IV is only that way very early in the season when the water flow is highest, but in late summer when water levels have dropped to their lowest, it’s a yawner of a Class II. Knowing the challenges you’ll face in advance will help you meet them strategically.

Once you have the basic knowledge of the area down, the next step involves studying the expected weather conditions. Weather is always the biggest variable on the trip. Two things are critical to know: whether or not storms are predicted, and what the wind is like. Many rafters like myself will still go out if there’s a chance of rain, but absolutely not if thunderstorms or high winds are predicted. I’ve had otherwise placid stretches of river turn into vigorous workouts because the wind was so strong. Once you’ve got all that figured out and the trip is a go, it’s nothing but pure excitement while you drop one car off at the take-out point, pile everyone into the rig for the drive to the put-in point, and then get out on the water!

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to start studying the terrain of your life and the prevailing winds, so we can get you safely out onto the water.

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Destiny: Chart Your Course

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Once you’ve discerned what you believe your God given destiny is, you’ll need to chart your course for reaching it. Back home in Montana we do a lot of whitewater rafting. I was like a lot of people, with skills proficient enough to regularly run Class III rapids, up to an occasional Class IV, without a guide. Those fortunate enough to spend more time on the water possessed the technical expertise necessary to regularly run Class IVs. For those of you unfamiliar with this awesome sport, Class V requires helmets and a huge risk tolerance, and Class VI represents commercially unrunnable water. What every whitewater enthusiast will tell you is that planning is critical for the trip, regardless of the level of difficulty. You have to know the water level, rate of flow, current and expected weather conditions, speed and direction of the wind, specific known hazards on the route, and of course, the best spots to land for lunch or dinner. While at first it is a cumbersome process to study maps, consult weather reports, take a dry run through the area, and talk to those who have made the run before you, over time these skills become second nature and at some point you can pretty much step out onto the front porch and know whether or not it’s a good day for rafting. You also develop the ability to make instantaneous decisions out on the river, because you’ve learned to take all of the information coming at you and quickly synthesize it into the most likely plan for success.

What every whitewater enthusiast will tell you is that even with the most expert knowledge and safest possible plan, crazy things can still happen. Every one of us, if pressed to answer the question would admit that this is half the thrill of the sport. It is mentally challenging, physically rigorous, and absolutely subject to the forces of nature. Back home I’ve unintentionally but safely gone backwards through a Class IV without a paddle. Yet in East Tennessee, a Class II I wasn’t expecting right around the first bend almost flipped me out of the raft. Every river is different on every day you run it, and that’s half the fun.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to look forward to the planning of your destiny trip.

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Destiny: The Final Piece To Our Personal Puzzle

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One of the most beautiful aspects of our destiny is that it will never harm us. Our physical and emotional health will not be compromised because of it. Fulfilling it will require us to live in balance, make wise choices, and be good stewards of every blessing we’ve been granted. It offers us a spiritually nourishing life with no regrets, and an honorable legacy that will long outlive us. It will give us the eternal joy of hearing our Father commend us for a job well done and a life well lived. The end can come much sooner than we expect. I know people who fretted for years over their retirement, who put off doing what they really wanted to do in life. However, they really shouldn’t fret about their retirement, and instead, you should take a look at these retirement tips to help make sure that their retirement is fine. Otherwise, if they worry about their retirement and put it off, they might find that day test results come back and suddenly, there are a lot less tomorrows than they had hoped for. As the curtain of their beautiful life drew closed, regrets welled up, and there were no more chances to get things right. I know others who woke up to their normal life that day, but by nightfall one of their family members was gone. So my friends, today matters a lot more than you think. This destiny topic isn’t just a bunch of cotton candy, esoteric fluff that only applies to groovy type people. Destiny belongs to all of us, and while it might seem silly right now, I can promise you that a day in your life will come when the meaning of all this becomes crystal clear. For your sake, I truly hope that day arrives for you before the clock is running out.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to consider the unavoidable topic of your own mortality, and what you want to accomplish with whatever time you are graced with upon this earth.

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Destiny: Just Make Progress

As you think about all of this, keep in mind that very few of us have the luxury of abruptly changing our lives and heading off in a new direction. For most of us it’s a progressive process. Please do not decide that your real gift in life is camping, and then run off and quit your job, move your family into a nylon tent, and declare your destiny as fulfilled. If camping is truly your greatest passion, then perhaps you can keep your day job, but offer summer camp experiences for kids or adults. Or perhaps you and your family will prayerfully discern that you want out of the day-to-day corporate world, and you either build or buy a campground to run together. Of course, camping is many people’s passion, but we need to be making money in order to live comfortably. That’s why you’d need to try and make a business out of camping. If you’re thinking of running a campground, make sure to find an area with a lot of space for guests. You could also consider getting some vital tools to keep on-site too. For example, a lot of your campers will probably need a splitting axe to make firewood. This is normally a camping essential, especially on those colder nights. Campfires are perfect for evenings at a campground too, so make sure you can provide your potential campers with an axe for them to find firewood. Running a campground could be fun, especially for those with a passion for it. However, if your calling is to be an artist, then you may need to keep your day job while you produce work and arrange showings at galleries in your region. There are as many variations of dreams as there are people reading this book. The point is that you find a way to recapture what your heart longs to do and then find a way to get started on it without jeopardizing the rest of your life.

It’s also true that our destiny may not ever pay enough to be our sole source of support. But it may be enough to supplement the family income as a lucrative sideline. Or it may never pay a single dime but it makes you feel complete and it gives you an oasis from the stresses of your normal daily obligations. Not every destiny will make you materially rich. But every destiny will make you spiritually rich. I happen to be bold enough to believe that for many of us, pursuing what we are most meant to do will eventually lead to a level of income sufficient enough to sustain us. The financial outcome isn’t the point however, and that is best left to God anyway. We need to focus on what is completely within our control and let God handle the rest. Our job is to do every bit of what we can to birth our destiny, to grow it, develop it, and send it out into the world to have a positive impact. When we are faithful to that call, when we invest ourselves into creating the product or the service, God may bless us beyond our wildest dreams. But if that’s not how it turns out, we will still have created beauty, provided joy, made a difference, and changed the world for the better because we lived.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to strategize about how to get going in a way that works best for you and your family.

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Destiny: From Appointed to Anointed

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God made you with unique interests, skills, and talents. For some tasks you will be gifted. For one, anointed. One of the sweetest things in life is figuring out what that anointing is and then living into it. Work becomes effortless, the ordinary becomes sacred, and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Previous toils and struggles begin to pay big dividends, both tangibly and intangibly. Everything starts to make sense and you gain powerful forward momentum. If thinking back over your life’s dreams doesn’t bring you any clarity, then think about what your current roles are, and which ones you like best. Think about what your greatest passions are. Think about what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what other people comment on that you do really well. Perhaps it’s parenthood and your destiny is raising children who will go out and change the world. Perhaps it’s being an artist, or a business owner, or a teacher. Chances are excellent someone encouraged you about your destiny, and you just didn’t realize it at the time. What are the mementos from childhood that you have buried in a long forgotten box in the garage? Are there pictures you drew? Photographs you took? Stories you wrote? Business plans you sketched out? A note of thanks someone gave you from the time you taught a class, or did volunteer work, or simply helped out a friend? There has to be something that stands as a signpost directing your way. God speaks to us through others and perhaps the words were part of our ancient history, but they are there. Go on an excavation mission, dig up the memorabilia, ask those around you what they see as your gifts, and think back over those happy memories of creativity or service that stood above all the rest.

It can also be very enlightening to think about what you’d do if you could do anything without constraints. Suspend for just awhile the reasons your left brain will throw at you as to why something couldn’t possibly work. If your thinking still includes the phrase “yes, but” then you haven’t grown quiet enough to hear the message yet. Think about how you’d choose to spend your time if you didn’t have to worry about obligations or finances. This is a time to infuse your spirit with the grand possibilities of life. It’s a time to rekindle the spark you once had for that special something you loved to do. This is how you sort through your life’s experiences, get past your current frame of mind, transcend your situation, and discern God’s call for your life. Notice I did not say you decide. It’s a process of discovering what God has already placed there. It’s how you go from appointed for whatever you are doing now, to anointed for the task ahead.

If you and God haven’t exactly been on speaking terms lately, then find a way to make up and get back on the same page. Otherwise, your destiny will stall in its tracks.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to step into your anointing. It’s an awesome place to be!

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Destiny: Let The Fun Begin!

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Once you’ve reached this point, the preparations have been completed and the fun part can begin! So far you’ve done the hard work of deciding to get started or beginning again, creating defensible space, claiming your resurrection power, finding healthy support, and unshackling yourself from the past. All of those things were necessary prior to actually getting started on the work of building your destiny itself. Just like painting a house, the prep work is necessary but sometimes a real pain to go through. It requires choices, conversations, trips to the hardware store, drop cloths, tarps, buying supplies, and endless taping. Few of us enjoy prep work. But it’s incredibly worth it, as it clears the way for progress. Think of all the time you’d have to otherwise spend cleaning up spills and messes after the fact. Congratulations on completing the prep work! It is a step some folks never take and it shows in the results they get. By being diligent and committed to the first necessary steps, you have equipped yourself well for the rest of the journey.

We discern our destiny by listening to our own hearts and watching for God’s signs of confirmation. We develop our intuition until recognizing God’s fingerprints on our life becomes a routine occurrence that keeps us on the right road. Our destiny is a Divine Gift from God, the reason for our being here, our work upon the earth. The primary way to discern our destiny is to pay attention to our dreams. Not necessarily the nightly kind, but the kind that live deep in our hearts and make our spirit feel vibrantly alive and thriving. Our dreams come from God and are how He gets our attention to move towards what we’re meant to do. Chances are the interest or talent has been there since childhood. Perhaps it got buried under criticism in our youth. Perhaps it was shelved because other people expected or demanded that we give it up for something they deemed more sensible. But if we get still and quiet, we’ll hear our dreams whisper that they have been there waiting for us all along.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to have fun figuring out what your destiny just might turn out to be. 😉

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