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A Citizen with a Purpose

I’ve recently struggled with how to speak into and about the deeply broken
climate of these un-United States of America. I wrote a social media post
recently, then removed it after a few comments clearly revealed I was
risking not being endeared…and I was, based on my own fear, not “keeping
peace.”

But, to fully embrace my personal purpose – “to guide Human Beings back to
their True Self, embraced by, embracing and reflecting LOVE” – means I must
speak for those Human Beings who are in multiple ways being denied their
unique purpose to live out their Truest Self as image-bearers of God.

I’m deeply concerned and angered by…  Continue reading

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I Vote Everyday. What Am I Voting For?

I just took down a Facebook post from an hour ago. I was rather
straight-forward about my growing frustration with our political reality.
After a few comments I realized my desire to “voice” my heart to defend
people who have been disrespected, marginalized and even dehumanized was
tangled up in a seemingly no-win debate among people – who really care
about our country. Because my desire wasn’t to begin a political
conversation, creating side-taking banter about candidates or partisan
preferences, I deleted my post.

Then, I decided to post what’s really key to me. What I’d most like to say
– in a political conversation or not. This certainly isn’t complete, but
this is my heart… Continue reading

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Give the Gift of Purpose

Maybe you’re one of those gift-givers who actually thinks about the
appropriateness of a gift. Does it “fit” the character, interest and
personality of the person? I know people like this: my wife, Laura, our
daughter, Liv, our friend Shelley. There are a few people I know whose joy
comes, not only from giving, but from giving the perfect gift – for THAT
person in their life. Maybe you’re one of those gift-givers: you want to
give gifts that have a sense of real purpose.

Is there someone on your gift list…

Keep reading… Continue reading

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Lasagne Lessons

Lasagne. It woke me often last night. Every time I woke – ten, twenty, a
hundred times – dry, sauceless lasagne was all I saw. No, I didn’t have
heartburn; I wasn’t sick at all. Not physically anyway. Instead, a dark
cloud of failure enveloped each plated memory. Turns out my night-long,
Italian pasta dream had continued from a real-life experience just hours
prior… Continue reading

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What’s the Big Deal about a Day Off? Really.

too busy woman.jpg

It’s easy for many of us to just go, go, go. After all, this is the one and only life we have. Once we discover how we’re wired, what our talents are and what our purpose is, it’s time to “get to it,” right? Maybe. But we often burn up the wonder of discovering why we exist because we don’t know how to exist without working every day of the week.

Why is it so difficult for us to unplug? To take a “day off?”

Here are five reasons we often lean in to our own demise.

*Note: if your work is in a church, feel free to replace “work” with “ministry” if that helps you.

1.     We are unaware of the energy we expend. 

My wife, Laura, chides me about my notion that I can always “get just one more thing done.” When I’m in that mode, I’m not thinking about how I feel or what may be required of me after this “one more thing.” I think I can do it all.

Many of us believe we have a limitless supply of energy. We don’t know we believe it, but our behavior reveals the truth. Just one more phone call. One more conversation. A few more minutes of research. Then, although we had an unlimited sense of energy for “work,” we’re too tired to engage meaningful conversation with our spouse, visit with a friend or focus on our family.

Worse yet, a moment here, an hour there – it all adds up. And the cumulative result is sheer, life-sucking exhaustion. But until we crash and burn, we keep going. And going. And going. We keep spending energy. We’re okay, we tell ourselves, this just has to be done. ‘Til we are done.

2.     We confuse the words STOP and QUIT.

I remember an evening years ago, meeting an associate in the hallway who (ironically) asked me what I was still doing at the office. This wasn’t my first day working into the evening; it was my third or forth that week. I suppose with a tone of both pride and martyrdom, I remarked about having so much to do; it was “such a busy season.”

She looked at me and said, “There’ll always be another season. After this one will be another one, and another after that. You’ll have to learn it’s okay to stop for the day.”

But to me, stopping meant quitting. It meant being irresponsible. And it certainly meant I wouldn’t be perceived as hard-working. Maybe that was it – as a perpetual people-pleaser, I wanted others to see me “not quitting.”

Regardless the reason, I’d twisted up these two words together: stop and quit. I believed they were synonymous. But, I slowly learned that I could stop and not quit. The work can always be picked up again. But, I needed desperately to STOP. To take a break. To be done for the day.

3.     We don’t know what to do with “time off.”

Most of what we read and hear about leadership is geared toward how we lead in our business, in our church or non-profit – whatever and wherever is our workplace. We don’t lack for resources related to our work: leading, building, growing, solving, innovating, processing, analyzing, reporting, succeeding. Don’t misunderstand. I want to lead better, build people, grow and develop, solve problems, innovate ideas, process challenges, analyze trends, report and succeed.

But. We know far less about what to do with “time off” from all the above. The risk is that we ONLY know how to lead, innovate and succeed. What else is there?

How do we relax? What does it mean to engage a relationship with no agenda or expected outcome? What does it look like to just walk? How do we nap with a deep sense of peace? Can we simply watch a great movie, take in a play or listen to a concert? How do we STOP and simply “BE?”

4.     We don’t know how to listen without thinking about how we’ll talk about it.

Another challenge with “time off” is that if we actually stop work and everything related to work (email, social media, reading about work), we easily fill the space with other things. Good things, things that are healthy to engage for replenishment: an inspiring movie, reading a novel, sports, travel or time with friends and family. All good. All important to refueling.

But, there is another option for that space: quiet. Blocking time to listen to the Voice within us, to nature, to God. I’ll make this personal for me. Too often my reflective journaling has a subtle but distinct second thought aside from the content: “this will be good to share with my team.” My deep soul work can become a talk tomorrow. The picture of the sunrise during my quiet morning can be taken for my next social media post. Suddenly, I’m not practicing quiet. I’m not reflecting for my soul’s sake. I’m leading. I’m planning. I’m working.

Everything easily gets turned into an illustration, a story, a lesson, a piece of encouragement for someone else. Someone else we lead or feel responsible to in some way. What if we simply listened. Soaked. Dug. Felt. And that’s it. What if our gain in the quiet is lived out rather than talked out? What if our insight is for our own growth and not the next piece of wisdom that makes us a better leader?

5.     We want everyone around us to model our hard-working lifestyle.

Again, with a focus on productivity, high expectations for effectiveness and ultimate success, we demonstrate our priorities for our team. I have to talk about how busy I am, so they are encouraged to work just as hard. I need to set a pace of sacrifice so they understand the stakes are high.

And in doing so, we most certainly convey our priorities. We communicate that work is more important than marriage; productivity is valued above relationship; and the work of our hands trumps the sacredness of our soul.

What myth have you bought into?

Will you…

  • schedule time away from work?
  • honor that time?
  • give yourself to a full 24-hour period away from all work-related efforts?
  • experiment and discover what gives you rest and refuels you?

What else prevents you from taking time for YOU?

Continue reading

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What’s the Big Deal about a Day Off? Really.

too busy woman.jpg

It’s easy for many of us to just go, go, go. After all, this is the one and only life we have. Once we discover how we’re wired, what our talents are and what our purpose is, it’s time to “get to it,” right? Maybe. But we often burn up the wonder of discovering why we exist because we don’t know how to exist without working every day of the week.

Why is it so difficult for us to unplug? To take a “day off?”

Here are five reasons we often lean in to our own demise.

*Note: if your work is in a church, feel free to replace “work” with “ministry” if that helps you.

1.     We are unaware of the energy we expend. 

My wife, Laura, chides me about my notion that I can always “get just one more thing done.” When I’m in that mode, I’m not thinking about how I feel or what may be required of me after this “one more thing.” I think I can do it all.

Many of us believe we have a limitless supply of energy. We don’t know we believe it, but our behavior reveals the truth. Just one more phone call. One more conversation. A few more minutes of research. Then, although we had an unlimited sense of energy for “work,” we’re too tired to engage meaningful conversation with our spouse, visit with a friend or focus on our family.

Worse yet, a moment here, an hour there – it all adds up. And the cumulative result is sheer, life-sucking exhaustion. But until we crash and burn, we keep going. And going. And going. We keep spending energy. We’re okay, we tell ourselves, this just has to be done. ‘Til we are done.

2.     We confuse the words STOP and QUIT.

I remember an evening years ago, meeting an associate in the hallway who (ironically) asked me what I was still doing at the office. This wasn’t my first day working into the evening; it was my third or forth that week. I suppose with a tone of both pride and martyrdom, I remarked about having so much to do; it was “such a busy season.”

She looked at me and said, “There’ll always be another season. After this one will be another one, and another after that. You’ll have to learn it’s okay to stop for the day.”

But to me, stopping meant quitting. It meant being irresponsible. And it certainly meant I wouldn’t be perceived as hard-working. Maybe that was it – as a perpetual people-pleaser, I wanted others to see me “not quitting.”

Regardless the reason, I’d twisted up these two words together: stop and quit. I believed they were synonymous. But, I slowly learned that I could stop and not quit. The work can always be picked up again. But, I needed desperately to STOP. To take a break. To be done for the day.

3.     We don’t know what to do with “time off.”

Most of what we read and hear about leadership is geared toward how we lead in our business, in our church or non-profit – whatever and wherever is our workplace. We don’t lack for resources related to our work: leading, building, growing, solving, innovating, processing, analyzing, reporting, succeeding. Don’t misunderstand. I want to lead better, build people, grow and develop, solve problems, innovate ideas, process challenges, analyze trends, report and succeed.

But. We know far less about what to do with “time off” from all the above. The risk is that we ONLY know how to lead, innovate and succeed. What else is there?

How do we relax? What does it mean to engage a relationship with no agenda or expected outcome? What does it look like to just walk? How do we nap with a deep sense of peace? Can we simply watch a great movie, take in a play or listen to a concert? How do we STOP and simply “BE?”

4.     We don’t know how to listen without thinking about how we’ll talk about it.

Another challenge with “time off” is that if we actually stop work and everything related to work (email, social media, reading about work), we easily fill the space with other things. Good things, things that are healthy to engage for replenishment: an inspiring movie, reading a novel, sports, travel or time with friends and family. All good. All important to refueling.

But, there is another option for that space: quiet. Blocking time to listen to the Voice within us, to nature, to God. I’ll make this personal for me. Too often my reflective journaling has a subtle but distinct second thought aside from the content: “this will be good to share with my team.” My deep soul work can become a talk tomorrow. The picture of the sunrise during my quiet morning can be taken for my next social media post. Suddenly, I’m not practicing quiet. I’m not reflecting for my soul’s sake. I’m leading. I’m planning. I’m working.

Everything easily gets turned into an illustration, a story, a lesson, a piece of encouragement for someone else. Someone else we lead or feel responsible to in some way. What if we simply listened. Soaked. Dug. Felt. And that’s it. What if our gain in the quiet is lived out rather than talked out? What if our insight is for our own growth and not the next piece of wisdom that makes us a better leader?

5.     We want everyone around us to model our hard-working lifestyle.

Again, with a focus on productivity, high expectations for effectiveness and ultimate success, we demonstrate our priorities for our team. I have to talk about how busy I am, so they are encouraged to work just as hard. I need to set a pace of sacrifice so they understand the stakes are high.

And in doing so, we most certainly convey our priorities. We communicate that work is more important than marriage; productivity is valued above relationship; and the work of our hands trumps the sacredness of our soul.

What myth have you bought into?

Will you…

  • schedule time away from work?
  • honor that time?
  • give yourself to a full 24-hour period away from all work-related efforts?
  • experiment and discover what gives you rest and refuels you?

What else prevents you from taking time for YOU?

Continue reading

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Getting to Answers Without Questions. Really?

Are questions better than statements?

Of course, the “right” answer is “yes.” Which is precisely the challenge of
asking questions: We think we already know the answer. I admit it. I often
do.

When I do, my arrogance spews observations as judgements (This can be
especially true with family or others close to me. Ugh.). My
narrow-mindedness is expressed as nothing more than biting accusation
dressed up as “truth-telling.” And my claim to “truth” leads me to
directives and corrections with little room for push-back or open
human-to-human dialog. This confession is no fun.

Surely I’m not alone in this. 

Look at your own relationships and interactions. In how many conversations
– in your workplace, on your team, in your church, in your home – do you
actually ask questions? Meaningful questions. Too often our dialogs are a
back-and-forth exchange of statements we already share with each other. We
craft questions to draw out… Continue reading

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Getting to Answers Without Questions. Really?

Are questions better than statements?

Of course, the “right” answer is “yes.” Which is precisely the challenge of
asking questions: We think we already know the answer. I admit it. I often
do.

When I do, my arrogance spews observations as judgements (This can be
especially true with family or others close to me. Ugh.). My
narrow-mindedness is expressed as nothing more than biting accusation
dressed up as “truth-telling.” And my claim to “truth” leads me to
directives and corrections with little room for push-back or open
human-to-human dialog. This confession is no fun.

Surely I’m not alone in this. 

Look at your own relationships and interactions. In how many conversations
– in your workplace, on your team, in your church, in your home – do you
actually ask questions? Meaningful questions. Too often our dialogs are a
back-and-forth exchange of statements we already share with each other. We
craft questions to draw out… Continue reading

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Discipleship as Story: A Shared Journey of What It Is to Be Fully Human

I’ve been to India twice now. On both occasions I took in a trip to Agra to
visit the Red Fort and the famed Taj Mahal. I was traveling with my family
on the second tour and wanted them to experience all I had in my first
Eastern adventure. 

You see, my first tour was with a native travel guide who completely
immersed herself in the history and legacy of her country. She told stories
about the people and events that had inhabited the sites as though she had
experienced them herself. She was connected with the story. She told it as
if it was her own. I listened with keen interest, hung on every word. I was
invited into her world, her history, her life. I not felt I knew her
country and her heritage; I believed I knew her. 

Eager for my wife and daughter to experience the same riveting interaction,
we embarked on the two-hour ride to Agra from New Deli. My eagerness waned
as… Continue reading

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