Yesterday, I experienced a common event in my life. A smart aleck remark entered my head, and I had to decide if I really wanted it to come out of my mouth or not. In this case, I decided to keep it to myself. The key to this decision was asking myself a simple question: What is my hopeful outcome?
This is a question I am striving to keep at the forefront of my mind. Too often I fail to consider that question, and I end up behaving in ways that are not helpful. So, I am working to be intentional with my words and actions so that I choose those that have a higher probability of positive outcomes, especially with regard to those with whom I am interacting.
For years I kept the shades of my office closed. Sure, it made my office a bit darker than I preferred, but the view of the parking lot did little to add to the restful environment I hoped to create. So, the shades remained closed.
Until one summer day when I suddenly had the urge to let some sunlight in. I opened the shades just a bit and saw a hint of something shocking: a tall leafy tree had grown just outside my window! How long had it been growing there – months? A year?
Take a minute and really think about this question:
Did you know that most of us will spend almost half of our adult lives working?
So what do we really want from that half of our lives?
We want our work to matter, don’t we?
We want our work to have purpose and meaning!
In Genesis, Eve is called "the mother of all living." I believe that means every woman is a mother, because every woman brings life to the world in some way.
We encourage. We feed bellies and hearts. We nurture hopes. We create beauty. We birth dreams. And yes, some of us also have physical children. But that's not the only way to bring life into this world — it's one of many.
It is hard to miss that spring is upon us. Stepping outside, we can see that the landscape has gone from tones of browns and grays to green leaves, purple redbuds, and white dogwood blossoms. It is a reminder that the seasons are transitioning. Not only are the seasons in transition, many of us are in the midst of preparing for the school year to come to a close, graduations, planning for summer jobs, summer sports, summer camps, summer trips and maybe even a little rest?
Can we allow ourselves that? Among the planning and pressures of this time of year, I think it is not only allowed, but very necessary. It won't happen on its own though. Rest is not a summer vacation we plan; rest is a rhythm we find.
The teenager came to live with us because he needed a safe place. One night he missed his curfew by a large margin. When he saw us waiting he asked, "Do I still get to stay here?"
There were consequences for his actions, but first he needed reassurance. We wrapped our arms around him and let him know that this would always be his family.
My 4th grade daughter plays basketball at the local boys and girls club. Her coach who happens to work here at Soderquist Leadership was relaying a story to me about a recent practice.
Since we are in a smaller town, there are 4th-6th grade girls on the court at the same time, so the size disparity is really great. Ann was instructing her girls how you could come from behind and steal the ball. The smallest girl on the team looked at Ann and with a horrified look exclaimed, "You mean you want us to steal the ball?" This idea of being sneaky and stealing was really against her sense of right and wrong. As she wrestled with it, Ann assured her it was part of being in competitive athletics and it was ok.
Have you ever had a spiritual knot that needs untying? You know – a nagging question, a perplexing issue, maybe a lingering doubt that has your soul in distress? In such times, I am dependent on my soul friends – deep friends in the Lord who listen to Him and who listen to me. Those who gradually help me loosen that spiritual knot, whatever it might be.
The early Celtic Christians in Ireland and Scotland had a lovely name for such a person: anamchara. It means soul friend, a confessor, one who walks the path of faith with us.
That looks like annihilation to the human eye. But Paul had changed his way of viewing death. He looked at it from God’s perspective. The Greek word that is translated “departure” is a word that is also used by soldiers in the field striking his tent, packing his gear and heading for home. Departure. The same word is used also for sailors who are in foreign port who cast of the moorings and sail for home. Paul got it right I think. Death is not the end. Only a departure for home.
Some of the greatest books and movies ever written involve the joining of unlikely friendships. They fascinate us. We watch these seemingly misplaced characters wrestle out their differences and in the end we celebrate their success.