/Deb Holland

About Deb Holland

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

Destiny: Betrayal Of Group Culture

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Keep in mind that as much as they may love you, whether it is conscious or not, a few people may have a vested interest in keeping you stuck. Your pursuit of your destiny may be seen as a betrayal of group culture that dictates a person shouldn’t be educated, sober, kind, or financially successful. But family bloodlines and group memberships do not mean lifelong bondage. Ultimately, you are a child of the King that that tie supersedes any other.

You need to decide for yourself if you’d rather look back and be happy because you pursued your destiny, or if you’d rather look back and say other people were happy because you didn’t. It’s unfortunate that some groups place so much pressure on their members to conform, rather than supporting them to grow into the fullness of what God has called each individual member to be. Only you can judge if this is your situation. Even if that’s the case, it is probably not necessary for you to sever relationships completely. You can still go enjoy Thanksgiving dinner or other gatherings without discussing this aspect of your life. It isn’t really about people’s presence in your life, it’s about the power you allow them to have over the decisions you make. My personal policy is that when someone starts paying my mortgage and takes over full responsibility for all my obligations, then they can start telling me what to do. Otherwise, I get to make the decisions. I don’t listen to people who aren’t invested in me, my family, or my dreams. I’ve seen too many lives be seriously limited by the company people keep.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you as you decide whether or not the group cultures you are a part of are going to help you get where you really want to go.

By | March 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Destiny: Not Everyone Can (Or Should) Take The Trip With You

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Finding healthy support is a vitally important step to take towards making your destiny your reality. We did not create our life alone and we won’t create our destiny alone either. Your destiny will be a gift to people, and so can the creation of it when you allow carefully vetted others to assist you. Another reason for bringing others on board early is because there are dark forces and mean spirited peopled with hidden agendas in the world, and we need to protect ourselves from them. We will handle these situations far more effectively, and withstand them with minimal impact, if we have the benefit of wise counsel and encouragement from healthy people we can trust. We need to have at least one or two key people who have our best interest at heart. A person whose voice lifts us up above whatever negative we may be encountering. One positive voice raised above the din of chaos can be enough to power us through the turbulence and see us safely through to the other side.

Not allowing others to strip us of our God given gifts and vision is critically important. People need to be given their proper place and degree of power in our life. Simply put, if you try to build your destiny based on another person’s will rather than God’s will, your efforts are doomed to failure before you ever begin. The entire point of this is to become who God called you to be, not who other people expect you to be, or demand that you become. This is perhaps the first time in your life when you must make your own decisions. This is not the time for your parents, siblings, friends, spouse, co-workers, or anyone else to make the choices only you can make. Take a good look around. If the people in your life are not setting an example you can follow to reach your own goals, then it’s wise to blaze your own trail.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to figure out if there are people in your life who present an actual threat to your future, and then figure out how to recalibrate those relationships so they don’t damage you any longer.

By | March 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Destiny: The Story Doesn’t End With Good Friday

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If you’ve reached this point and have a fresh sense of hope that God can solve your problems and you deserve to have a satisfying life, you may still be held back by a lack of belief in yourself to create something new. The power of the resurrection applies here too. The story doesn’t end with Good Friday. The run rose and the tomb was empty. Christ’s story wasn’t meant to end in defeat. And neither is yours. The entire point of the resurrection was to arise! You are being called to do the same thing. Rise up out of the ashes, be that first defiant blade of grass, dare to transcend all that’s transpired before and create something good to move forward with. For right now all you need to do is believe it’s possible. If you don’t believe in yourself yet, that’s fine. God is right there waiting and you can believe in Him – and let Him believe in you – and rely on His power until you can trust your own. If God had the power to raise Jesus from the dead, think of the new life He can breathe into your dreams. He can revitalize them in a way no one else can. Don’t fret about not feeling creative or capable right now. You’re still preparing to make your destiny your reality. Trust that when the moment in time comes for you to take creative action, God will provide you with the fresh ideas to start and complete the work.

Perhaps the best time to work on your destiny is late at night, after the kids are in bed and the house is quiet. Maybe you need less sleep than the average person, and you can get up one hour earlier than normal and tend to your dreams. It’s possible you have time you could carve out on the weekends. Or a hundred other solutions that might work for you. Whatever your particular logistical circumstances, the point is that all you need to do is figure out what time you can set aside to make space for the ideas to come to you, and God will bless you with creativity precisely when you need it. Don’t worry if you’re feeling too frazzled to find inspiration, or feel like you have to have all the answers right now. Incremental progress still gets the job done. Inspiration will come when you need it to. If it’s not happening, then you must not need it right then. Just make space for it and your destiny will be revealed to you in stages. Trust that God’s hand is in yours, leading the way.

Creating space for God to work in and through us makes our personal resurrection complete. It’s not enough to accept just the crucifixion, because the real power of the cross lies in the empathy tomb. If Jesus had simply died He would have been a martyr, not a savior. It is the glory of Easter morning that provides us with victory over every earthly circumstance we could ever face. Making our destiny our reality requires declaring our own Easter morning, and rising up and into the future where God’s glorious blessings await.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to proclaim Easter in your own life, and rise up from whatever burdensome crosses you have endured in your own life.

By | March 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Destiny: The Resurrection Wasn’t A One Time Deal

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If you’re still not convinced your problems are fixable, consider this. If God could raise Jesus from the dead, He can solve our problems too. The resurrection wasn’t a one-time deal and there’s no earthly problem you could possibly have that He can’t overcome. There are too many stories of miracles to believe otherwise. If you believe in the resurrection, and dare to hope once again that God may be able to help you after all, but you’re still feeling defeated or ashamed or a thousand other versions of unworthy, life up your head and take a good look at Calvary Hill. The cross is empty. Jesus died there in place of us. For us, so that our sins are forgiven, our slate is clean, and we can truly begin again. The cross story has already been taken, so you’ll have to find a different one. Find a way to make peace with whatever is troubling you. If it’s something you can make amends for without causing further harm, then mindfully, prayerfully go do it. If it’s something you can never make amends for, then you can still resolve to spend the rest of your life making better choices and having a positive impact on the communities you are a part of. We are not condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past, whether they are generational or of our own making. We have choices. Stop hanging yourself up on the cross Jesus already vacated. It’s counterproductive. Jesus hung there so you didn’t have to, and what He asks of you in return is that you live the life He paid the ultimate price for. You can’t do that if you keep trying to take His place rather than your own.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to believe in yourself, and in the God who is waiting to deliver you.

By | March 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Destiny: Divine Power

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When you are following God’s call for your life, you have access to Divine Power. When you’re on your own, you’re limited to your own human strength. You won’t be able to see as far, create as freely, or strategize as well without God’s help. There is no greater danger to any obstacle in your path than pairing your natural ability with God’s supernatural power. Once we align our will with God’s will, quantum leaps of progress can be made, hurtling us towards the finish line much faster and with less stress than we could have achieved by plodding along on our own. But here’s the key – you have to allow God to help you! God is gentleman and honors the free will He gave you. If you really think you know more than God, and can achieve more without Him, He’ll respect that choice and let you carry on, at least for a time. But like any good earthly father, God loves it when we sit at His knee, ask for advice, and accept the help that He is so eager to give.

Two false thoughts stop many of us from accepting God’s grace and provision in our lives. We either believe that our problems are too big to be solved, or we believe we don’t deserve success. Imagine watching your earthly children make that decision. They made a mistake when they were eight, and now they’re convinced it’s a permanent situation nothing can ever fix and they’re condemned to a life of misery because of it. That breaks your heart, doesn’t it? With everything in you, right now, you want your children to know they are loved, not condemned, and that past mistakes do not define future achievements. You want them to realize we can learn from our mistakes and do much better the next time around. Friends, know that God holds us with the same tenderness in His heart and stands ready to unleash Divine Power into our lives. We don’t have to earn His mercy. It’s our gift if only we’ll accept it and rest in the assurance He can still do a good work in us, regardless of what’s come before.

Until next time, I’ll be praying that you get back on speaking terms with the God who loves you.

By | March 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Destiny: Maintaining The Zone

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Once we have a clear zone, maintaining breathing room is essential. Allowing God to man our lookout tower provides us with the best possible protection. I can rest secure and focus when I know Great Spirit is watching over me and guiding me away from trouble. This happens when I listen. There are many ways God speaks to us. Our gut instinct, the little voice inside our head, our intuitive feeling of being led one direction or another, or a remark someone makes that resonates with what we are going through, are all God’s ways of talking to us. When we live in a mindful space of heeding God’s will and wisdom, we are far more likely to recognize overgrowth or trees for what they are, and take steps to stop them from making us vulnerable. Think about how you hear the voice of God in your own life, and what messages have been sent to you so far about your destiny. Learn to listen more attentively, and the ideas that seem so elusive now will suddenly be given to you, and the problems you were so convinced couldn’t be solved disappear at a time when you least expect them to.

Creating defensible space takes some hard work initially, but the zone of protection you set up can last for years to come. This is a stage of great vulnerability for your destiny, when you realize what it is really going to take to make it happen. Most of us don’t realize that the pursuit of a tangible dream, means we need to do some internal clearing of intangible debris. You may need to clear in stages, or in layers, or circles, or whatever fits for you. It may take several rounds of clearing the brush and the trees before you stand back and decide the zone is secure. Remember that the short term sacrifices can be amazingly worth it later, providing you with a level of security, freedom, and happiness you didn’t think was possible. God’s like that. He wants to bless you abundantly.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to listen to your gut instincts and trust yourself about what is healthy to allow inside the zone, and what isn’t.

By | March 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Destiny: Release The Seeds

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Releasing the seeds past fires have freed from their shell can propel your destiny far beyond what would otherwise be possible. We may have suffered at the hands of other people, caused suffering with our own bad choices, or had random painful events make a mess in our lives. God is with us while we clean up the damage, and He is the one who can turn what happened to us into some kind of good. While still acknowledging the pain it caused you, think about whether or not there is anything from the past you can use now for your own benefit, or the benefit of others. This does not mean we suddenly decide what happened was ok. The point is, it did happen and regardless of whose fault it was it’s up to us to find a way under, over, through, or around it so we can move on with our lives. If we were the victim, we can heal by allowing God to transform the harm that was done to use into something good. Usually that means we help other people heal from their wounds as well. It only takes one person to shine a ray of hope into the darkness for others to believe in what is possible. Conversely, if we are the ones who caused harm, we can make amends to the best of our ability, make healthy choices now, and accept God’s mercy and grace. Living in the past is destructive to the here and now. We need to deal with it and then let it go. What we learned from the mistakes we made can provide us with the motivation and wisdom to make better decisions for the rest of our lives.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to discern what is truly your responsibility, what isn’t, and then deal with it and then let it go.

By | March 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Destiny: Let The Pruning Begin!

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Once you’ve defined the zone, it’s time to haul out the pruners or maybe even the chainsaw. Whatever it takes to clear out the internal and external clutter that distracts us, crowds our space, and creates unnecessary risk in our lives. Those who are less confident with tackling tree pruning duties to reduce external clutter tend to call in experts like The Local Tree Experts to help manage the trees. Getting their external space under control. Keeping your external spaces trimmed is important for health and safety. Fire that begins in overgrowth is slow moving and not very hot. While brush in and of itself is not likely to start a catastrophic fire right away, it certainly adds powerful fuel to nearby trees if trouble breaks out later on. Tall trees represent the most dangerous threat to defensible space. Fire can race across terrain with lethal speed by leaping from tree-top to tree-top. Trees burst into lames with a heat so fierce it incinerates the tree almost instantly. The force and speed of the flames can throw embers great distances and touch off spot fires on the ground. These fires gain power, create their own wind, and can become a life threatening inferno destroying everything in their path.

In modern life, TV time, the internet, social media, jangling cell phones, hobbies, sports, and a diversity of other activities can overgrow our time and crowd out the opportunity to work towards our destiny. They can make easy marks for clearing out or at least thinning. All it may require is doing each activity one night a week instead of two, to free up a significant amount of time. Perhaps you can DVR your favorite shows to watch later in the week when it won’t interfere with whatever prime time you need to work on your destiny. Perhaps you can use your lunch hours at work to run errands, return phone calls, and take care of other logistical needs, so your after work hours are free. Make your choices mindfully however, because you don’t want to strip away all of the unique-to-you activities that make your life meaningful, or you’ll just end up resenting your destiny and quitting on it anyway. You need to be happy enough in real time to maintain your stamina and your sanity. Hang on to those activities that mean the most to you, and make your choices so you can live in balance, not deprivation. The three things that can slip away from us the fastest as adults are rest, play, and peace. If we are to facilitate healthy terrain within our defensible space, it is essential to preserve those things that spiritually sustain us and will give us the strength for pursuing our destiny. It is the only thing that will keep the overgrowth from creeping back. You’ll want to clear away the trees and brush that present an obvious threat, but there’s no need to pluck up every blade of grass from the lawn.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to pick up those pruning shears and get to it!

By | March 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Destiny: Define The Zone

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While the details will be unique to each of us, defensible space is something we all need in our lives. Today’s modern lifestyle can be filled with clutter and stress. We are frequently bombarded with noise, distraction, and issues far beyond our control. It can be very easy to grow weary, to lose sight of our priorities, to allow our lives to become one long procession of checklists and obligations. To wait watchfully and tensely while we try to gauge which direction the wind will shift next. At that point, the stage is set for a catastrophic fire in the future. Defensible space saves us and clears away the unnecessary old so we can build something new, and trust it will last for the long haul. It is created by defining the zone, clearing out the overgrowth, and thinning the trees, which allows the sunlight and the rain to reach the ground again. It is maintained by making sure we release the seeds that the scorching heat of life has freed from their shell. How do we do this? Let’s look at each step in turn.

The first step is to define the zone. We can’t possibly protect something if we don’t know what it is. This means the first step to creating defensible space is figuring out what the zone of safety needs to be. Of course, there are no guarantees nothing bad will happen despite your best efforts, but what we are trying to accomplish is minimizing risk. If you had a house in the woods, you’d use the proper calculations to determine how many feet away from your house the trees and brush need to be without posing undue danger. It’s equally important to make the necessary calculations with your destiny. First of all, determine what kind of zone you need around your career, personal well-being, and family so you can keep those aspects of your life healthy. Only you can decide what’s needed. Second, think about the primary investments you’ll need to make in your destiny: 1) time, 2) money, 3) logistics, and 4) energy. Those are the four things that most adults today find are in short supply. Think about how you can be creative and disciplined in defining what zone is truly necessary to make your destiny your reality. There’s the ideal, the bare minimum, and lots of options in between. You’re the expert on your own life and your own destiny, and how to align the two so all your priorities stay reasonably in balance.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to make wise calculations about your own life, and the defensible space you need to move forward.

By | March 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Destiny: Defensible Space

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Now that we’ve gotten started, our next task is to create defensible space around our destiny. Not everyone will be in favor of our new life, and we need to protect our fledgling efforts because they are still vulnerable at this stage. As our next analogy illustrates, we can’t leave our destiny exposed and at risk. We need a clear zone around it so there is room for any fires that may come to sweep around rather than tear through. The following is a student sermon I delivered during the brief time I attended seminary. It explains what defensible space is, and why it is critically important to mitigating risk. In many ways, it is my signature work. If I had to pick just one message to teach for the rest of my life, this would be it. Enjoy.

I was richly blessed to live in western Montana for most of my life. It is a land of stunning beauty and awesome people. Back home, forest fires are sometimes a fact of life. There are lookout towers spread throughout the western part of the state, which is heavily forested with trees and homes. Folks live in these towers, high above the trees, where they can see a 360 degree view for miles in every direction. Lightning strikes are a common cause of wildland fires. Every time a storm passes through, the lookouts watch for the tiniest wisp of smoke and call it in. If the fire is located in easy enough terrain, ground crews and trucks respond to contain the fire as quickly as possible. If the fire is in steep or difficult terrain, or is far enough away from the roads, smokejumpers and slurry bombers are dispatched to fight the fire. There’s a smokejumpers base in Missoula, and these hardy souls actually jump out of airplanes near the fire, to start fighting it before it gets out of control. Slurry bombers are retrofitted aircraft that hold a huge belly of pink foam that puts out the fire. Their work is dangerous, amazing, and lifesaving.

During the worst fire season in Missoula during the time I lived there, the fires raced to the western edge of town. Blue Mountain, an areas where the dogs and I had taken many wonderful hikes together, was engulfed in smoke and flames. The scene all over town was surreal. I worked at the hardware store then, and spent my days helping firefighters load up on supplies. The smoke was so bad that I couldn’t see across the parking lot at work, and it wasn’t long before the ash began falling from the sky like snow. That night when I headed home I could see the eerie glow from the fire just a few miles away. I knew that not far from where I was, those firefighters I’d helped all day were bedded down in tent cities on the edge of town, trying to grab a few hours of sleep in shifts as the fire conditions allowed. When I got home, not just the smell, but the smoke itself was in the house and I couldn’t get it out. The normally bustling, easy going Missoula grew very quiet, and uncharacteristically nervous. My dogs were nervous. And then when fire broke out on the eastern edge of town, very close to the University of Montana where I attended school, I grew nervous too. I watched as the slurry bombers accomplished their extraordinary feats of physics and dove straight down towards the ground to lay down a line of pink foam ahead of the flames. Again and again, the planes would swoop over the mountain, dive so close it took your breath away, drop the foam, and pull up sharply to return to the airbase. When the flames reached the foam and stopped cold, my friends and I stood there, amazed. These are the sorts of things one sees during fire season in western Montana.

These are the sorts of things we see in our lives, are they not? Times when the western edge of our lives is burning, and before we can regain our bearings, the eastern edge erupts. Times when our days are focused on finding enough supplies to survive. Times when our lives are so filled with chaos we can’t see our way clear from point A to point B. Times when circumstances give off an eerie glow, when we sleep in shifts as conditions allow, when not just the smell but the smoke itself pervades our homes and maybe even our hearts. Times when happiness turns to anxiety and it feels like it will last forever.

In Montana, forest fires are viewed with a wary understanding. Everybody knows that forest fires are periodically necessary to clear out the overgrowth, to thin the trees, to allow sunlight and rain and nutrients to reach the ground again. There are some seeds that are not released until the intense heat of a forest fire frees them from their shell. If fires never happen, disease can take over the trees. If fires never happen, the trees and overgrowth can become so dense that it sets the stage for a catastrophic fire years later. It is not a question of it, but when. Catastrophic fires cause damage far beyond what’s normal. They do not simply clear out the overgrowth, they torch everything in their path. They cause destruction that takes years to heal. Everybody knows this. Every fire season is approached with a cautious eye. You know the fires are necessary, but you hope they don’t happen to you. You hope one doesn’t hit too close to town, not just because of the life threatening risk they pose to people, animals, and property, but because they are stinky, messy affairs. They fill the air with thick, acrid smoke. The ash swirls everywhere in a fine mist that’s hard to clean up. Life becomes tense with a helpless feeling of watching the encroaching flames and not knowing which direction the wind will shift next. Everybody back home in western Montana has a story like this about the fires. About the years when the rivers had to be shut down to all recreation because it was too dangerous to be on them. Years when little kids and the elderly were advised to stay inside. Years when everyone, was advised to stay inside. And in some years, when the fire was bad enough, the only thing that put it out was the snow.

Our lives are like these forest fires. I do not believe that God deliberately throws down lightning bolts into our lives, but I do believe that He is with us when they strike. With God by our side, we can use these times to clear out the overgrowth and prevent a catastrophic fire later on. And there are seeds within us that are not released until the scorching heat of life brings them forth. Our lives these days are choked with overgrowth, are they not? Sometimes our lives become so dense with busyness and burdens that the sunlight, and the rain, and the nutrients cannot reach the ground. Fires present us with an opportunity to clear all that junk out and for the new seeds within us to flourish.

In Montana, the one lesson the fires teach everyone is the critical importance of defensible space. This is a term used to describe creating a zone around a home in which fire cannot easily spread. It means clearing out the trees, and the brush, and the overgrowth around a home so that if fire breaks out nearby, your home will be safe from the crowing trees that burst into flames, and from the embers that can touch off spot fires. It means allowing yourself and the fire crews room to work around your home to save it if it’s in the direct path of the fire. Our lives are like this. In such troubled times, it is wise to create defensible space around our home, our family, our very soul. As the forest fires of life rage around us daily, you don’t want tall and vulnerable trees standing next to your front door. You don’t want a bunch of brush in your backyard where your kids and dogs play. You want room in which falling embers won’t touch off a spot fire. You want room for God to work around you and within you.

Whether lightning in your life has already struck or you are viewing the overgrowth with concern, God is with you. He offers you the most amazing gift possible every day you wake up: the chance to begin anew. Regardless of whether you are standing among the charred and smoldering ruins of a life you once knew, or sitting on your front porch considering exactly which trees need to come down, God is with you. Let Him help you create that defensible space, whether it is setting better boundaries, accepting help from others, or giving up whatever is preventing you from living a full and happy life. Let Him help you push up those first defiant blades of grass the spring after a fire has hit. The new growth that announces to the world: you do not have me beat, I am coming back! Let him nourish the new seeds the fire has liberated. Let Him man your lookout tower, so that when lightning strikes again, He sees the very first signs of smoke, and sends His angles, His smokejumpers, to see you safely through.

Until next time, I’ll be praying for you to ponder how the concept of defensible space applies to your own life. We’ll cover it in more detail next time.

By | March 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments