You were created to live that life—you were designed by God for greatness! Before you were even born, God placed within you a special gift that no one else has and a purpose that no one else can fulfill.
It's not easy trying to live up to your true potential when life gets in the way. It's difficult to see the greatness within you when it becomes weighted down by the stress of a life out of balance. Even as a culture we are losing our way: we're forfeiting our health and self-esteem—37 percent of us are clinically obese; we're overcommitting and overspending—personal debt is at record high; we're not feeling the love and failing our relationships—46 percent of our marriages are ending in divorce; we're overworked and underappreciated—50 percent of us wake up each morning to face down a job we hate. On top of all that, we've forgotten how to have fun, our faith is weak, our hope is shaky and our Christian principles are constantly tested.
Thankfully, the Bible has a lot to say about these things. The Oola principles incorporate biblical teachings into practical, effective platforms to help you overcome the world and create the awesome life you were meant to have. You'll learn how to avoid the 7 OolaBlockers that prevent you from accomplishing your goals and you'll learn how to apply the 7 OolaAccelerators that propel you forward toward your greatest potential. Plus, you'll learn how to create balance and fulfillment in your life by optimizing the 7 F's of Oola: Fitness, Finance, Family, Field (career), Faith, Friends, and Fun.
Be a part of the 'Oola phenomenon' and experience that awesome feeling of living the OolaLife. God has built you for greatness. Why then settle for ordinary when extraordinary is within you? Start living the OolaLife today!
"But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."
–Luke 12:31 (NIV)
About the Author
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ARE YOU FOCUSED, HAPPY AND GROWING?
"I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."
— JEREMIAH 29:11 GNT
A she slowly approached the corner and turned onto the highway, headed for his youngest son's football game across town, Matt Logan reflected on his workday and how blessed he truly was. He had a great family, a loving wife, and four awesome kids. But more than that, God had brought Matt to a close relationship with Him — and to a passionate and grow- ing community church with a children's ministry his family loved.
As a dad, Matt recognized the impact that knowing Jesus could bring to a kid. Hadn't his own children — two sons and two daughters — grown in confidence and maturity and patience and benevolence? His daughter D.J., especially. Short for Deianerah, she had a sunny disposition and an infectious smile. She was level-headed, a deep thinker, with tremendous love for her family and friends. Steady and sensible, she was passionate about life.
And now, today, D.J. had started the first day back at high school — a senior on campus for her very last year. Excited for her and enthusiastic about her future, Matt was eager to hear all about it. She was on her way home by now, but after the game, Matt knew he'd get a lively and exuberant earful of the latest and greatest on campus.
Well, this is odd, he thought, as he rounded the final turn and encountered traffic on the small-town road he'd driven a thousand times before. It led past the high school, but as the afternoon sun dipped slowly to the horizon, Matt realized it was far too late for typical after-school congestion.
Something must have happened, he assumed as he saw they were turning traffic around and sending cars back down the highway. A vague feeling of unease prompted Matt to pull to the side of the road. When he did, a traffic cop approached his car.
"Can I see some ID, sir?" the policeman asked respectfully. "We're diverting anyone who's not a resident."
Handing over his driver's license, a sense of foreboding began to flood Matt's agile brain. Like a jolt to the senses, his heart raced slightly, and his mind began to panic. Eyeing Matt's name on the license, the officer hesitated.
"Come with me, sir," he said, taking Matt to a closer vantage point.
There, in the distance, was D.J.'s car — wedged into the back of a school bus with Matt's precious daughter trapped inside. She'd been texting a note about her first day of school, unaware that the school bus had stopped in front of her. Now, hours later, as the first responders and paramedics still worked feverishly to free her shattered body, Matt prayed as he'd never prayed before.
Let her live. Keep her safe. Don't let her die, Matt begged the Lord.
But it was no use. Injured beyond saving, D.J. died later that night at Mayo Clinic in Rochester surrounded by her parents and siblings. Soon, her classmates and friends poured into the hospital, grief- stricken at the unthinkable and desperate to process their pain.
In one brief moment of distracted driving — something D.J. knew was dangerous and illegal — she had made a choice that ended her life.
How do Christians deal with it when unexplainable things like this happen? thought Matt. How can I make sure that no other family has to bear the pain that we are suffering now?
As news of the accident began to circulate, local reporters called to interview Matt. Seeing the news, an insurance company called to ask him to speak at their upcoming young drivers' training day. Soon, another invitation came in. Then another.
As Matt continued to grapple with the overwhelming loss of his daughter, God began to develop a new purpose for his life — to edu- cate teens about distracted driving. Instead of focusing on his own loss, Matt — like so many Christians we'd met — had taken up the role that God had placed on his heart.
We fell silent for a time as we ourselves began to process the sheer heartbreak of Matt's story, wondering how, as a Christian, he would make sense of such a senseless tragedy. His story made things real for us. It reminded us that it is possible to slow the hectic pace of modern-day reality long enough to get closer to God and discover His unique calling on your life.
Not only were we challenged to examine our own mission with Oola, but we also recalled the hundreds of stories of God's infinite grace we'd heard from fellow Christians who were faithful, but — like Matt — still needed a game plan to regain a sense of purpose and refocus their shattered or simply exhausted lives.
WHAT IS OOLA?
For you, Matt, and for the hundreds of thousands of Christians we've met who are already walking in faith but want to grow in other areas, Oola is a state of awesomeness. It's derived from the term Ooh la la! — that feeling you get when your life is balanced and growing in the 7 key areas of life: fitness, finances, family, field (career), faith, friends, and fun.
It's living the amazing life that God intended for you.
It's you, completely focused on the bigger picture, with your daily activities firing on all cylinders and free of past missteps and with a lot less stress about your current circumstances.
It's a life guided by faith in God — living the unique calling that He's placed on your life — whether you belong to a church right now, are considering a faith walk for the first time, or whether you're get- ting reconnected to Jesus after being hurt or dispirited by organized religion or loved ones in the past.
Forget about what the world says you should be, do, own, or want. You and Jesus are in sync about what matters most to you. He's got this.
And it's this authenticity that will make you a Christian whom others want to know, support, and get close to. Don't be like anyone else on Earth. With Jesus on your side and you working your Oola plan, you'll finally be true to yourself, as well as be acting in the highest good.
WHAT GOT YOU HERE WON'T GET YOU THERE
Realize, too, that if you've been focused on excelling in your career, growing your finances, creating a beautiful home, or building a network of business relationships and industry achievement, you've probably created an amazing life for you and your family. If your kids have been focused on sports, academic achievement, or extracurricular activities, they've probably got a great start on their future.
But while many people think this kind of success equates to "hav- ing it all," the reality is that you really don't have it all without faith.
In fact, we hear story after story from high achievers — people at optimum levels in every other area of their lives — who say either they couldn't have gotten there without a close relationship with God, or that the level of success they now enjoy has inspired them to become more faithful.
How important is this real-world evidence that faith is the key element? We mentioned in the Introduction that, when the first Oola book — which we self-published — began to gain traction in the marketplace, we approached publishers in New York about bringing out a revised edition for the broader trade channel. While they were excited about its success so far, one of them said we'd have to delete the Faith chapter in order to make it acceptable to mainstream buyers. While we hadn't really emphasized faith in our Oola talks and events previously, his comment gave us pause.
What did we really believe? we thought. What were our own experi- ences (and those of our readers) with asking God to help bring balance, purpose, and success into our lives? Although we realized that it might negatively affect book sales, in an instant we knew our answer: the only way to have a complete life — one that is deep and rich — is to include faith.
From that point forward, we boldly began to introduce more and more stories about God's purpose and intent in our posts, speeches, and book signings. We surveyed our audiences, kept track of what we heard, and interviewed more and more people. Eventually, we came to the overwhelming conclusion that virtually every one of our readers believed that faith in God is still an elemental factor in achieving the life you want.
The truth is, today, far too many people are successful but not happy. They've put their faith in things that fail. Only God is unfail- ing. And only God will repeatedly show up for you as you work your way toward creating your OolaLife.
IS SOMETHING NEW CALLING YOU?
To further the point, many people — perhaps you — have already arrived at the ideal life. You've got a wonderful family, great relationships, a comfortable home, and a terrific lifestyle, all because of hard work, determination, and divine influence in your life.
But have you ever considered if something new is calling you?
Stories abound of super-successful entrepreneurs, church leaders, and corporate executives, as well as artists, athletes, and retired people who branched out into humanitarian work, teaching, or advocacy.
Whatever inspires you, this book will give you a roadmap to main- taining balance as you grow in a new direction and pursue God's new calling on your life.
Perhaps your OolaLife is missions work or bringing sense to our political climate or caring for a family member or sharing what you know with peers in your industry. Whatever new thing is calling you, Oola for Christians can help you grow in passion, enthusiasm, and discernment — all while making sure things are solid on the home front, too. Plus, imagine the impact of the Oola message on those who'll support you as you branch out. Get your family members on board and watch them grow to enjoy the OolaLife, too.
FAST-TRACK YOUR FUTURE IN JUST 21 DAYS
If we could recommend just one self-help book that would get you to the next level, we already know which one we'd choose: the Bible. As the world's first book about balance, achievement, relationships, and healthy living, it's still the best, and not surprisingly, it's also the most published self-help book of all time.
To help you dive deep into its teachings and learn from the life of Jesus as recorded in Scripture, we've populated the chapters of Oola for Christians with instructive verses. But we've also gone one step further and created a 21-day Oola for Christians challenge to encourage you to read God's Word and implement it in your life.
To register — it's free — go to oolalife.com/christians-challenge.
We've also created an Oola for Christians Companion Guide to support you on your journey to your best self. It's perfect as a self- study or even for teaching an Oola small group. For more info, go to oolalife.com/devotional.CHAPTER 2
GOING THROUGH A SEASON ON THE WAY TO OOLA
"We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose."
— ROMANS 8:28 CEV
While Jesus tells us, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," He also knows that everyone has free will and follows their own path in creating the ideal life. Sometimes, that path means going through a season of struggle. Whether it's a health crisis, exploding debt, a troubled marriage, being out of work, or simply someone in your life — teen- ager, spouse, or controlling ex — causing you grief, this is your season to survive, emerging on the other side of it more prepared to tackle your future.
For others, it's your season of opportunity, where the world has opened its riches of possibility to you. If you're already doing well, tapping into a close relationship with God means there is so much more you can do. You'll take your life to the next level in a season of opportunity.
Oola for Christians coauthor Heather Thomas lived through a season. In fact, living through years of anguish and consequences is what gave her the heart and mindset to join us in this project.
* * *
IF THERE'S A BREATH LEFT IN ME
by Heather Thomas
Eighteen, nineteen, twenty, I counted as I swallowed the last handful of prescription pills from the bottle. After an afternoon of binge drinking, shame, and misery, I'd decided to end my own life. A few days earlier, my three small children and I had celebrated Mother's Day alone, but my thoughts were far from maternal. By ending it all, I actually believed my kids would be better off with their grandparents. Without me, they'd be free to grow up solid, right?
The crazy thing is, I'd grown up in the church — a pastor's daughter, no less. I knew Jesus. But somehow, I'd lost my purpose, and with it, my will to live.
Eight years earlier, I'd met a man at church who I thought was the love of my life. Soon after, we were married in Panama on a missions trip and then welcoming our first child back home in Boca Raton, Florida. Though becoming a wife and mother had interrupted my original plan of traveling the world, planting churches, and winning souls for Jesus, there was a certain appeal in having a helpmate join me in my vision.
Little did I know the wreck my life was to become.
Married to a man who was secretly using OxyContin. I struggled to protect my parents (and now my kids) from the harm and reputational damage of my husband's drug-induced lies and volatile habit. If my dad's congregation really knew the truth, I thought, my parents would look bad. And with more and more people disbelieving my fake marital bliss and sketchy explanations for his absences, I knew things already looked bad enough.
Too prideful to confide in anyone, I coped with the anguish in secret — always covering for my husband — my life alternating between emotionally abusive episodes and uneasy silence.
Finally, stretched to my limit, I filed for divorce. As a pastor's daughter who was now single and financially broken, depression soon followed. As part of my coping mechanism, I occasionally turned to sleeping pills. It wasn't the best solution or even a good one, but at least for a few hours, I could dull the pain and deaden the shame — checked out, numbed out, passed out.
By the time that fateful Mother's Day came and went, I was beyond making rational decisions. As the pills and alcohol slowly combined and sent me toward oblivion, a friend stopped by unexpectedly and found me on the floor. Level-headed enough to help me purge what I'd swallowed, my rescuer stayed with me while I slowly came to.
As the taste of alcohol and bile lingered on my lips, I lay there feeling miserable and degraded and ashamed. What was I doing? I'd nearly thrown away the life I'd been given, the beautiful children I'd brought into the world, and the magnificent future that other people had empowered in me.
Truly waking up to my reality for the first time in years, oddly I couldn't help remembering what I knew about the creation story in Genesis. When God breathed life into man, my dad had taught me, He also instilled in man His purpose.
I can do something with my life, I thought. As long as I have God's breath in me, I have a purpose.
Vulnerable now, with the truth about me exposed, I committed to doing the hard work of getting my life back on track — hoping that God would show up for me.
I knew that I needed help: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. But I also needed an outlet for what I knew I could do for other Christians. I'd been raised with the expectation that I would accomplish awesome things for the world — giving, helping, and mobilizing people for some greater good. Leadership and ministry were qualities my parents had instilled in me. But I'd lost my compass. Shepherding was something I knew I needed to do.
This legacy was in the back of my mind as I thought of my own recent past. How many Christians are hurting, as I had been? How many need to reconnect with their purpose, passion, and God-given talents?
Within days, a friend recommended that I attend an event at Florida Atlantic University. Two Christian guys — Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl — spoke about something called Oola.
Where you are is simply where you are. It's not who you are, they said. You are designed by God for greatness and a purpose. Why settle for ordinary when extraordinary is within you?
In that moment, I knew what I had to do. They'd given me permission to dream again. As I grabbed a Sharpie and wrote out an Oola dream sticker, I told myself that the words I'd inscribed were just the beginning.
Go on another missions trip, I wrote. When I slapped the colorful round shape onto the side of the old VW Bus, I felt something change in me. It was the defining moment of my life. It would reset my life to the point in time when my dream had been interrupted and would allow me to move on with God's original purpose for my life — more prepared, more focused and more passionate.
While it's been work to take back control over my life, the Oola formula has shown me that you can't do great things in the world if your life is secretly a train wreck. Thriving and growing and firing on all cylinders is necessary to fulfill God's purpose for your life.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Oola For Christians"
Copyright © 2019 Oola LLC.
Excerpted by permission of Health Communications, Inc..
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
Section One: WHAT IS OOLA?,
CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS OOLA?, 00,
CHAPTER 1: ARE YOU FOCUSED, HAPPY AND GROWING?, 00,
CHAPTER 2: GOING THROUGH A SEASON ON THE WAY TO OOLA, 00,
Section Two: THE 7 F'S OF OOLA,
CHAPTER 3: OOLAFITNESS, 00,
CHAPTER 4: OOLAFINANCE, 00,
CHAPTER 5: OOLAFAMILY, 00,
CHAPTER 6: OOLAFIELD, 00,
CHAPTER 7: OOLAFAITH, 00,
CHAPTER 8: OOLAFRIENDS, 00,
CHAPTER 9: OOLAFUN, 00,
Section Three: OOLABLOCKERS,
CHAPTER 10: FEAR, 00,
CHAPTER 11: GUILT, 00,
CHAPTER 12: ANGER, 00,
CHAPTER 13: SELF-SABOTAGE, 00,
CHAPTER 14: LAZINESS, 00,
CHAPTER 15: ENVY, 00,
CHAPTER 16: FOCUS, 00,
Section Four: OOLAACCELERATORS,
CHAPTER 17: GRATITUDE, 00,
CHAPTER 18: LOVE, 00,
CHAPTER 19: DISCIPLINE, 00,
CHAPTER 20: INTEGRITY, 00,
CHAPTER 21: PASSION, 00,
CHAPTER 22: HUMILITY, 00,
CHAPTER 23: WISDOM, 00,
Section Five: 3 SIMPLE STEPS TO THE OOLALIFE,
CHAPTER 24: STEP ONE: THE OOLAWHEEL, 000,
CHAPTER 25: STEP TWO: THE OOLAPLAN, 000,
CHAPTER 26: STEP THREE: THE OOLAPATH, 000,
Free Worksheets and Bonus Tools for Living the OolaLife, 00,
About the Authors, 00,
Other Valuable Resources, 00,