Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Sacred Pause

He has hit the pause button, and all the world seems to be moving forward and I am frozen in time. It is a sacred pause, not necessarily one accompanied by peace and serenity. In fact, it seems more like Jacob in Genesis 32 wrestling with "a man," always recorded as God himself. He was no longer young and impetuous, Jacob had walked more than a few miles, not many smooth. He was reduced to struggling with God for a blessing. He would not let go.

I understand this. This wrestling. This not letting go.

The sacred can be messy. And in this season, during this sacred pause, much has changed. Much has been lost. Not all that is lost is bad and wrong, yet I yearn for the familiar and predictable.

I'm coming to realize like Jacob, to wrestle and not let go. Bless me.

All that is lost is not really what He wanted to define me. I lean into the confidence that I am marked for something more. That ahead is something altogether different, not better necessarily, we are never promised that. That there is a "more" to this story, my narrative.

Abraham was called to leave what he knew and simply walk out in faith. It was in the walking. It was faith.

Our culture is a tricky one. It rewards self-starters, self-effort, self-fulfillment. Recognition and relevance earned. Performance in all things. It leeches into the church and into our faith as a cancer or toxin. A reversal on truth. Living is dying, joy is dependence. "If you abide in me...."

This sacred pause, where so much is stripped away and I see things so much more clearly yet still through a very distorted glass, might well be the blessing.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wholeness & Worship

I have no sooner finished a book this morning (Undone by Laura Sumner Truax) than I have picked up another one (Yearning by Craig Barnes). I'm not even through the first chapter and I already want to share some of its treasure:

Much of the spiritual advice Christians offer to each other assumes that wholeness is God's great desire for humanity....

What we find in Scripture is the incredible promise that God has broken into our brokenness to find us there. There is no promise that, having found us, he will paste our fracture lives back together....

God's healing has more to do with  learning to worship than it does with getting this life fixed. What God is eager to heal is the sickness of the soul and the blindness of the heart that takes us down a painful road away from his love. Worship is the means by which our eyes are opened.


Saturday, November 2, 2013


This past week I drafted an executive speech for one of my client's All Employee Meeting. It was the final such meeting of the year and I've drafted three of the four quarterly speeches this CEO has delivered.

In January it was all about casting a vision for the year wrapped in an executive charge of Attitude, Actions and Accountability. In July the message was a charge to Execute after a weaker than desired quarter. And this past week the message was about Finishing Strong.

But more importantly the message was about choosing. They needed to embrace collaboration with one another; they needed to choose teamwork. It is the only way they would finish strong. Essentially - they needed each other.  "Teamwork is not a virtue, teamwork is a choice." - Patrick Lencioni

In reality we choose every day. We choose if we'll work with others or not. We also choose  if we will hope and believe and press forward when times are challenging. That's what I needed him to deliver.

It's a speech I need to give to myself these days. Choose well. The result of your choosing is often the result. Choosing is all about the result. Sort of a reap and sow situation.

Funny, I realized this morning that the speeches I'm writing for the CEO could well be the speeches for my own life. In January it was all optimism and plans for the year -- all about my attitude, actions and accountability. I was incredibly busy with this client who needed me to work nearly full time. Even still I was engaged in a lot of "stuff."

Then came July, Todd had resigned his position and the reality of change did not just amble alongside me it came crashing in. You always think you are prepared for change. You think you're doing the right thing and then you realize you aren't really sure what that it. The reality can be strikingly different than you expected.

And now October. Ah, October. My client base has grown, and those clients are asking for more hours. All so very good in my business when they are "buying" you and your skills every single day. The weight and pressure of that is ridiculous. It is so very personal. But so many other things are hanging by a thread; so much uncertainty. So many things that were not supposed to be yet are.

Well I realized this morning that I too need to choose. My ability to finish strong during this tougher than expected year is really about choice. And frankly, I'll tell you I haven't been choosing all that well. In fact I think I've been defaulting...which of course is a choice as well...defaulting to anger and fear and frustration.

Time to choose. For every negative and frustrating and scary thing in my life (and yours!) there is a choice.

Time to choose belief.
Time to choose love.
Time to choose forgiveness.
Time to choose healing.
Time to choose hope.

Colossians 3:15-17

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.