by Dan O’Deens



Giving always makes me feel good.   Giving thanks not only makes me feel good but adds value to others.   Giving releases negative stressors and invites positive energy.


  1. LAUGH

Laughter is still the best medicine.  I have learned to laugh with others and laugh at myself.  Don’t take everything so seriously.  I have a belief and value system that encompasses my life.  I have even used it as a mantra for organizations that I have led.   Where FAITH and FUN come together.  Laugh More!



Why worry?  It does not improve my plight!   Worry is a time waster.  Take the same amount of time as you do worrying and pray for the same amount of time.  Give ‘it’ to God.  Your ‘it’ is whatever you are worrying about.  The reason we struggle to pray is because the very essence of prayer is utter dependence on God.  I like to be in control.  When I no longer need to be in control I am more free to rest.


  1. WORSHIP and MEDITATION – Think About the Right Things

Worship is a part of my life culture.  It is not a compartment in my life that I pull off the shelf.  It is the way I choose to do life.  What I give my time to is what I value.  I ascribe worth only to things eternal…the WORD of God and People.  I give my time to give all the glory to God and to point people to the God I love.  Meditation is simply ‘focused thinking.’  Set your mind on Philippians 4:8



We live in a world of social media.  It first takes up too much time.  Second, it is filled with negativity.   This is exhausting.  Take a break every once in a while from social media.   Use it as a tool not a lifestyle.  Focus on victory and celebration.  Take your eyes off yourself for a while and read the stories of how God is using others to redeem desecrated space into sacred space.  Celebrate the wins…small and large.   Take time to process the good that God is doing in your life and through your life.



The most difficult aspect of leadership is ‘self-leadership.’  We are the sum total of the choices we make.  We will become like those we choose to hang with.  I value my family and will always make them my top priority.  I also value young leaders or those who also love young leaders.  They get my time.  I don’t have time for ‘everyone,’ but will try to make time for anyone.   Time is no longer the priority.  People are.  Whoever I choose to give my time to has my FULL attention…at that time.



My mantra in life is “Breathe Life.”  It is a tattoo on my arm andit is the name of the Organization I  lead.   I really believe it.  God breathed His life into mine so that I could breathe my life into others.   I breathe in and I breathe out.  I do it a lot.  And everyone in a while I have to stop and take a huge ‘cleansing breath.’  Have you ever done it?   It works.   Just breathe!  And my family and friends know me all too well.  We (family and friends) are all hanging in the family room at night and all of a sudden…”WHERE IS DAN?”  Of course it is totally rhetorical.  They all know.  He simply got up and went to bed.   I sleep.   I process all day long.  I am a visionary architect.  Do you realize that while you are sleeping your mind is ‘filing’ all of your thoughts from the past day.   Give your mind time to file!



Some will disagree with me on this one.  I now have 35 full time years of ministry experience and a ‘day off’ has never been a part of my structure.   Now don’t hate.  Trust me, I have had plenty of days off.  Time off has always been more important to me.  Just because it is “Monday” does not need I need a day off.  That may stress me out even more, if I have a big project due on Tuesday.  I have always been afforded the opportunity to be flexible professional.  I chose to take time off so I could go to my kids ballgames or plays.  We need to take ‘time’ to get away or we will burn out.



Life does not need to be complicated.  One author wrote, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff…it’s all small stuff.’  Chill out.  Relax.  Learn to understand the principle that most of the pile sitting on desk that we think is ‘urgent’…isn’t!   Try it.  Just leave it for a month.  Really…just leave it.  Life will go on.   A month later you will come back to the pile of tasks and throw most of it out, because so much of it is ‘dated.’  Focus on the people tasks not the ‘to do’ tasks.



I do rest.   But make no mistake I could not rest well if I did not go to bed knowing that I had worked hard.   We are made in God’s image and likeness and we are creatives.  WORK HARD…Jesus did!  And He did not work a 5 day workweek.  He worked 6 days then rested.  And on the 7th day…YUP…HE FULL OUT RESTED.   Jesus often took time off and went to the shore.  He took a day off after a very Creative week.  For me.   I work hard and I play hard.  For me.  I have to unplug and get away.   We personally invested in this.  Every November we go to St. Maarten’s and every February we go to Cabo Mexico.  (we are older now….it is easier).  Why those places?  Because we LOVE IT.  We love warm.  We love the Ocean.  We love Beauty.


Where do you REST?  How do you REST?   You have to PLAN IT or it will not happen!