Imagine the Creator of the Universe sitting across from you as you map our your day, week, and life. Who better to counsel, encourage, and help you to live fully and make a difference every day than the One who has known you from your very first breath? These sixty coaching sessions offer strategies for success using Scriptural guidance, encouragement, and fresh ideas to propel you into a meaningful life.
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About the Author
Author and speaker Jay Payleitner has served as freelance radio producer for the Salvation Army, Prison Fellowship, Voice of the Martyrs, and National Center for Fathering. His books, which include 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, Lifeology, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List?, have sold more than 500,000 copies. Jay is a national speaker for conferences, retreats, and weekend services with messages on parenting, marriage, creativity, storytelling, and finding your life purpose. He also served as Executive Director of the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative. Jay and his high school sweetheart, Rita, live in the Chicago area where they raised five great kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood. Visit him online at jaypayleitner.com.
Read an Excerpt
If God Were Your Life Coach
60 Words of Wisdom from the One Who Knows You Best
By Jay Payleitner
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2017 Jay Payleitner
All rights reserved.
How are you today?
Today, if you hear his voice. ...
A casual sincere greeting is exactly what you might expect when you connect with a life coach. "How are you today?" But somehow the question sounds different coming from the Creator of the Universe.
His voice doesn't sound like anything you've ever heard before.
Have you imagined God's voice? At the baptism of Jesus, you certainly imagined a sincere fatherly tone resounding the words, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11). If you're sincere about asking God to be your life coach, that vocal quality would bring you comfort and confidence. And that kind of message is exactly what you would be hoping for.
Throughout Scripture, God's voice seems to take on a variety of tonal qualities. In Acts 9, God's voice would come across as profoundly ominous after a heavenly light thunders across the road to Damascus and Saul is knocked to the ground. "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" The encounter left the murderous zealot blind and ultimately transformed.
Of course, Adam and Eve heard God's voice in the Garden of Eden and were more than a little afraid (Genesis 3:10). Fear of God is a good thing, especially if you've just been hanging out with a crafty and influential serpent. When God called to the man, "Where are you?" you may imagine the voice similar to that of a father preparing to discipline his seven-year-old, who should have known better than to leave his new bicycle in the driveway. There's a reason we call God, "Heavenly Father."
Moses, Abraham, Samuel, and David all heard the audible voice of God. Right out loud. It's actually possible that you may also experience that miraculous blessing. But walk carefully. There are way too many crooks, false preachers, and self-serving hotshots claiming some version of, "God told me. ..." More times than not, their supposedly audible mandates cannot be supported in the Bible, and there is no group of wise counselors ready to hold those charlatans accountable.
This book returns chapter-by-chapter to Scripture for life-coaching advice. Otherwise, you may as well be reading one of the other ten gazillion books on how to be a success in the eyes of the world. This book makes no such promises.
Still, no matter what you read — here or anywhere — keep listening for God's voice in your life. Whether audible, from a trusted friend, in a reliable publication, or a still, small, barely perceptible whisper. He has only good things to say and he does care about how you are today.CHAPTER 2
No, really. How are you? Unlike most of the time you hear that question, I am actually hoping for an answer.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good.
2 TIMOTHY 3:2-5
During the course of a routine day, you may hear some version of that phrase more than a dozen times. "How you doin'?" "Hey, how are you?" "Wassup?" But if you're honest, you'll admit that most of the time the greeter doesn't really mean it. To be even more honest, most of the time you say such things, you don't really mean them either.
That's okay. That's even expected. Don't beat up on yourself.
Most people really are more worried about themselves than others. Especially in the course of a busy day. We have things to do, people to see, million-dollar deals to negotiate. It's not that we're monsters. We politely smile and speak words of greeting, but we don't really have the time or desire to start a real conversation.
If we see a neighbor in their driveway, we imagine the worst-case scenario: We say, "Hi, how are you?" And they reply, "Well I'm mostly fine. But I have this killer toothache, and my health insurance rates just went up again, and my car engine is knocking like a vinyl siding salesman, and my teenage son just got a face tattoo, and my water softener is out of salt, and it would be great if you could carry these forty-pound bags of salt into my basement."
Not many people want to be part of that conversation. Does that mean we are being self-centered? In a word, yes. But that's part of the human condition. Consider the description from the third chapter of 2 Timothy. Continue reading in that chapter and you'll discover those words describe people living in the end times. In other words, the farther we get from Jesus, the more likely we are to be proud, ungrateful, unloving, brutal, and so on.
What does that mean for anyone beginning this journey of God as your life coach? Step one might be to admit your selfishness. Sure, you're not the worst person in town. The guy down the street is meaner and more self-centered than you'll ever be. The woman in your power Pilates class is a total she-devil. But you must admit, most people do generally care more about themselves than the rest of the world. Without a doubt, when it comes to beloved members of your family, you sacrifice greatly and would even give your life. But caring for strangers and acquaintances is not typical human behavior.
We're just being honest here. If this sixty-chapter process is going to work, we need to set that as a ground rule. Commit to honest and open self-appraisals. Don't live in denial. Don't pretend you've got things under control. Admit you have needs. Be a little vulnerable.
Then God — your life coach for this adventure — just might be able to use you in ways you would never expect.CHAPTER 3
You see, I do care. You are what I care about most.
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
ZEPHANIAH 3:17 NLT
If you're going to allow God to be your life coach, you're going to have to trust him. This Old Testament verse offers you a five-part reason why you can put your life in his hands.
First, he is with you. Some people imagine God as a far-off impersonal being who swoops in once in a while to punish or rescue. That couldn't be further from the truth. He created you. He cares about you. He knows you well. He also knows about the dangers of this fallen world. He's not going to leave you to fend for yourself. Even during difficult moments when he may seem far away, he's holding you in his loving grasp. Isaiah 49:15-16 says, "I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands."
Second, he's strong enough to deliver on his promises. He didn't only create you, he created the entire universe. The word "mighty" is an understatement. The word "savior" is undeniable.
Third, this passage from Zephaniah confirms that you are delightful to him. When we think about God we should be awestruck and overwhelmed. When God thinks about us, he is delighted. Feel free to imagine him smiling with pride. Even when we mess up, he looks into our hearts and sees that we are seeking him.
Fourth, with God on our side we need never be afraid. Because we're human, fears will bubble up into our lives, but he promises to calm them. That's the great power of his love. Fear vanishes.
Fifth, our existence makes God sing for joy. Which seems quite remarkable. But actually it makes great sense considering our whole purpose is to give him glory.
So when God says, "How are you?" he really does want to know how you are. He wants to know what's on your mind. Your hopes and dreams. Your frustrations and failures. Go ahead and tell him all the things you might reveal to a human life coach in the first few sessions.
Of course, God already knows. He is God after all. But he also wants you to know that he cares. When he asks questions, he is helping you focus your aspirations and unpack the gifts, tools, and resources already at your disposal.CHAPTER 4
My Child ... I'd like to help, if you'll let me.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
This much-loved proverb delivers the most essential decision you need to make when you enlist God to be your life coach. Trust not in yourself. Instead lean on God. He can handle the full weight of everything that comes your way. All you have to do is ask. He is all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful.
But the one thing God can't do is make that decision for you. That's on you.
Letting go of our own way of thinking and choosing to trust someone else is never easy. We have our preconceived notions and established patterns. "This is the way I've always done it." "I'm comfortable with the ways things are." "If it's not broken, don't fix it."
That's why we have to be intentional about setting aside our old way of thinking. We're stuck in our own rut of what we know and how we do things. Our heart dreams about new and better ways to experience life. Our head rejects that idea.
How often do we fail to take advice from someone who is in a position to actually show us a better way? We sit in a classroom and think we know more than the teachers. We hire a coach to improve our public speaking skills, tennis backhand, or exercise regime, but as soon as the consultation is over we return to our old bad habits.
It's not that we're afraid of change. It's just that we don't like it. Sticking with the status quo is much easier.
Still, there's something very attractive about the fifteen words of Proverbs 3:5. We want to let go and let God.
Here's an idea. When you come across a compelling bit of Scripture — on a poster, from a speaker, in a book like this — take the mind-expanding step of reading that verse in context. You'd be surprised at how often the words surrounding a passage adds depth, fresh understanding, and clarification to the initial idea. In other words, if you like Proverbs 3:5, read all of Proverbs 3.
Here's just a taste.
Do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. (Proverbs 3:12)
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. (Proverbs 3:7)
Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you. (Proverbs 3:21-22)
The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. (Proverbs 3:33)
There is a better way. We just don't know it. Yet.
So, are you ready to trust, lean, submit, fear, and be wise?CHAPTER 5
Let's start with a few questions.
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord, I want to see," he replied.
See if you can relate to the man in this true story from the gospel of Luke. I know he's blind. He's a beggar. And someone you may not instantly relate to. But, if you stop and consider his plight, you will realize both his ailments are common to all humankind.
I confess that if I saw him on a Chicago sidewalk shaking a cup or holding a sign asking for money, most of the time I would walk past with little change of expression. While the image of those less fortunate souls always stays with me, rarely do I stop and help them out. And I certainly don't identify with them.
I'm not blind. Nor have I ever asked for a handout. (Or am I? And have I?)
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
He called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"
"Lord, I want to see," he replied.
Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." (Luke 18:35-43)
So often, when you open the Bible, you'll find a passage with multiple meanings and applications. This story of Jesus healing the blind beggar could certainly be a reminder to help the less fortunate. It could also be a lesson in how we should approach Jesus with a humble and broken spirit, "Have mercy on me." In the blind beggar, we also find a model of persistence and faith.
Still, there's another lesson that's equally as compelling and applicable to our lives. Tucked in this real life drama is a strategy of how we relate to God as our life coach. We can be sure that Jesus knows what the man needs. Jesus already knows his physical impairment and what's in the man's heart. Still Jesus asks, "What do you want me to do for you?" The man replies with a specific request. And Jesus delivers.
In other words, don't be wishy-washy when your life coach asks questions. Be honest and sincere. Admit your blind and broken condition. It's okay if you don't have all the answers. Discerning your gifts and goals is an ongoing process. Even when you finish chapter 60 and close this book, there will still be many unanswered questions. And that's okay.
Never fear questions. They help get to the heart of what really matters. Expect Jesus to be sincerely and constantly asking, "What do you want me to do for you?"
Excerpted from If God Were Your Life Coach by Jay Payleitner. Copyright © 2017 Jay Payleitner. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 How are you today?,
2 No, really. How are you? Unlike most of the time you hear that question, I am actually hoping for an answer,
3 You see, I do care. You are what I care about most,
4 My Child ... I'd like to help, if you'll let me,
5 Let's start with a few questions,
6 What brought you here?,
7 What do you want?,
8 What do you really want? Because, I have what you need,
9 Are you ready to commit? I am waiting to empower you,
10 Let's step back and do a brief self-assessment,
11 What are your resources? I've already given you a long list of useful gifts and talents,
12 I've also given you strategies for using your personal resources for good and noble purposes,
13 What are some of your current frustrations? There's often a reason I allow you to feel a bit unsettled,
14 What's your favorite excuse?,
15 Allow me to make some observations. I see all of time and space. And I promise you, the plan works,
16 You're normal. But I've given you everything you need to be so much more,
17 You're exceptional. But that means I will be expecting much from you,
18 You're doing a lot of things right,
19 You already have everything you need to be everything you want. I guarantee it,
20 But there are obstacles. And, yes, there is a reason I allow you to stumble once in a while,
21 Are you caught in the grip of fear?,
22 Is envy stirring dissatisfaction with your life?,
23 What triggers your anger?,
24 Having doubts? Let's get them out in the open,
25 Laziness is not part of my plan for your life,
26 Where do you turn for security? (I'm right here.),
27 I have a plan for any and all insurmountable obstacles,
28 Beware of the slippery slope,
29 Don't be fooled by the cult of intellectualism,
30 Don't make the mistake of feeling self-sufficient,
31 I've got good news for anyone feeling unworthy,
32 Sin is preventing you from putting your past in the past and living your best life today,
33 Even worse, sin blocks you from spending eternity with me,
34 The good news is that I've provided an answer to the problem of sin. It's Jesus,
35 What my Son did for you is the single greatest truth you need to know and accept. But don't worry, it won't cost you anything,
36 So have you accepted the gift? Are you sure? It breaks my heart that so many people stumble through life without really knowing me, hearing my voice, or savoring my plan for their lives,
37 Check your guilt level. Can you feel my heart breaking or my righteous anger each time you sin?,
38 Check your hunger for the Bible. Does your heart value the truth of My Word?,
39 Check your willingness to suffer for Christ. At first, this idea may not be easy to grasp,
40 Let's take care of business right now. Accept grace,
41 Congratulations, you're a new creation. Not only do you have a place reserved in heaven, but you also have access to a new resource. A compass. A strategist. A guiding light,
42 Now. Finally. You are ready for the most exciting adventure possible. This is going to sound strange coming from a life coach. But ... it's not about you,
43 It's about me,
44 And it's about others,
45 Not sure, where to start? Allow me to help you set your priorities,
46 You've got some work to do. But that's good news,
47 Let's go back and review your plan. It's really not a bad plan. But it's limited by the world,
48 Take your good plan. And let's compare it to my plan,
49 In your good plan, your character and integrity emerge from a personal code of ethics guided by cultural norms. In my plan, you are made in my image,
50 In your good plan, your financial security grows out of your hard work and wise investments. In my plan, everything you have belongs to me,
51 In your good plan, your work and career provide income and the satisfaction of accomplishment. In my plan, you're working for me,
52 In your good plan, marriage fulfills our need for lifelong companionship and romance. In my plan, marriage is all that plus it reflects the relationship of Christ and the church,
53 In your good plan, a family offers each member security, provision, and a personal board of advisors. In my plan, family is all that plus the building block of society,
54 In your good plan, your friends and acquaintances expand your worldview and provide new perspectives on life. In my plan, relationships build the kingdom of God here on earth,
55 In your good plan, health and physical fitness help you play hard and live long. In my plan, it's time to put your body to work,
56 In your good plan, education leads to knowledge, respect, and influence. In my plan, those attributes equip you to point others to me,
57 In your good plan, your creativity generates something that has never before existed. In my plan, your creativity proves I exist,
58 In your good plan, your faithfulness brings comfort and direction in this life. In my plan, my faithfulness delivers power from the next life to make a difference in this life,
59 Can you see how my plan and your plan are the same plan?,
60 Let's circle back to where we started. I haven't changed. Have you?,
About the Author,