We all have the image and story in mind when we talk about the Promised Land. The people of God were freed from captivity in Egypt and began their journey to the Promised Land. And some of us right now feel like this is where we are at. Maybe on the journey. Maybe still not yet freed. Or maybe we are in the Promised Land and do not even realize it. I think our Promise Land experience has a lot to do with our Promised Land perspective. We may be in the PL right now, but because our hearts are not right, our attitudes are a bit “off”, we can’t fully submit to authority, etc, we think we are in captivity. Be faithful in seeking God on where your heart is and attitude and thoughts etc. This is the lens that we need to use to see where we are on our PL journey. If we are not careful…I think God will take us on a reverse trip to the PL. I think sometimes God needs to take us out of the PL that we are in right now and take us on a trip to captivity in Egypt, to work on some stuff inside of us. If that is you…work on those things…get right with God…get your perspective right…make necessary amends…seek wise counsel…put your travel plan together…and then get back to your place in the PL that God has prepared for you!
Today, I feel we live in a culture that is eating, living, and breathing titles. It has become a standard of success or a destiny to shoot for. It has become this thing that is attached to our email signatures, our business cards, on our slides during presentations, etc. I get that we need those titles for identification purposes and so another individual can clearly know who to come to when a problem arises, or sign offs need to happen, etc. And I know that a good and humble leader can also navigate these areas well. The downside comes when that title is what you lead with…when that title becomes what you feel entitled to…or maybe when that title is where your very identity is wrapped up in. I love what James taught me about this. In James 1:1a it starts with “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”. See, this could have gone two totally different ways from the same author. It could have went the way that we just read together or maybe like this. Hey, its me! You know..James…Jesus’ brother. You know the Messiah. The One doing all of these miracles. And so on and so forth…yada, yada, yada. But, I think James knew what approach was going to speak louder and clearer to more people. Think about how you are using your title?! Are you using it humbly or using it to boast? Are you using it to help others or to use others? Are you using it to advance the Kingdom of God or your agenda? Just some random thoughts from my quiet time.
You know what I like?! Is when people talk about struggling with trusting God for whatever situation in their life and someone drops the standard church answer…Well in Proverbs 3:5 it says to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. And that is true. Do NOT misunderstand me. But let’s be honest. It is not always that simple or easy. Or, it is easy to be in this frame of mind when everything is rocking and rolling. But, I have spent some time recently journeying with someone very close to my heart. They heard God ask them to walk away from a career that they had worked very hard to get and that God blessed them with. They were very good at what they did. Everyone had amazing things to say about them and their work ethic. Questions came like, “why would God give this just to take it away?” and “He knows this is my hearts desire, so why?” Those things are hard to answer. Lets remind them of trusting in God but lets also give them a big hug. A shoulder to cry on. A safe place to vent. Lets not quote scripture, mic drop, and be gone. Lets take journeying with them serious. Lets commit to seeing this through with them. Lets commit to pray faithfully for them. Lets stand in the gap with them.
Lets let them know that while they are growing in trusting in God that they can trust in us!
This is an interesting post. It is very transparent and honest. Yesterday, I got asked something new. I got asked to join a team. I did not give the meaning of this much thought at the time, but as time lapsed it really hit me. I am 41 years old and I had never been asked to join a team in this sense. I was never that gifted athletically growing up…I know, I can see the shocked look on your faces through the web! Seriously, it was so bad that I was on the other side of the spectrum. You know… We will take the little girl with the three legged cocker spaniel and you take Funk. I am not saying I have not been on some incredible teams…I have been so blessed in that aspect. I have just never been officially asked to join a team in the sense that I was yesterday. This was about commitment. This was about honor. This was about digging in through the good, bad, and ugly. This was about sacrificing for something bigger than myself. This was about not quitting on my team. It made me feel really good! I wanted to pass on this great leadership nugget. Don’t just fill a spot on the bus. Invite someone to be part of the dream! Cast the vision. Share you heart. Make sure they know the cost. Then make the official ask. I guarantee it will change your team dynamics for good.
As we are about to turn the corner into the second half of the year I wanted to shoot this out. It is about goals. Hopefully, you set some goals at the beginning of 2016. Now is a great time to look at those goals and see where you are at. It can be a great time to make some minor tweaks to them. Remember, set them high enough to challenge yourself but not too high that they are all unattainable. If you see some that are clearly on one side or the other…make the necessary adjustments. It’s ok to shift mid season. You wouldn’t realize halfway into a road trip that you were going the wrong way and keep going, would you? Second, if you didn’t set any goals at the beginning of the year, do not let that keep you from finishing strong. Don’t wait for 2017. Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today! Take some time today and set some goals. You can read here some thoughts I had at the beginning of 2016 on setting goals. You are responsible for your growth! Not your boss, your parents, your pastor, etc. They all play a role in that growth, but at the end of the day, if you do not grow it is your fault. Are you going to grow in the second half of 2016?!?!
Who are you hanging with?!?! Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I do not know if the number side of this is true, but I do know the people you hang around is important. If I was to list my inner circle crew here…I won’t because most of you know I was a professional meth addict and can’t remember jack without printing off my emails and using 540 post-it notes a day as reminders, I would forget someone’s name. But if I did list them, it would be a very short list. It is not because I cannot make friends but because I care more about depth than width in my list. I want to be surrounded by people who encourage me, build me up, support my dreams, talk me off of the ledge, have my back when the bottom falls out…those types of situations. BUT, I also want them to tell me when I am blowing it, making bad leadership decisions, the message I gave sucked, I didn’t give my full attention or best effort. I don’t want people who only tell me what I did that was great…most of us know what we are good at. I want people who speak freely, in love, into my life to make me the best version of me that I can be. People that help me live out my God-given potential and calling. So this is part one to this blog. Here is question one: Is who I am hanging with making me become the Version 2.0 of me? If not, it is time for some course correction!
Here is part two. Am I that kind of person to other people in my life? Am I there to invest in someone? Am I there to help someone take the next step towards their dream? Am I there to help someone get to the next level? Do I have their back? You get the point. This is also two-sided. Am I there to speak in love to a difficult area that needs correcting? A difficult growth edge? An obvious moral area? We cannot have all grace and no truth! Here is the second question: Am I helping someone become a better, new and improved, Version 2.0 of themselves? If not, evaluate that today on the drive to work or home from a meeting. Ask God to place someone in your life that you can pour into!
Yesterday I made the last trip back and forth from Durham to Knoxville in the moving process. This started out as 119 days that we would be separated as a family. As of today we are on the 4 day countdown clock! This was a lot tougher than at least I thought it would be. The first few weeks I was in push back mode. I found myself having difficult conversations with God. I could tell I was extra moody and was not myself spiritually. Like anything in life…we have a choice. I could have kept on wrestling this process OR I could lean into it. I chose to lean into it and look for the blessing in the journey…the testimony in the test…the growth edge for me in this season. I am coming out of this season with the greatest dependence and trust in God than I ever have had. I have this new and deeper understanding of my God given calling of the pastor of my home. I know I can endure anything for a season to walk in his plan and purpose. I know better than ever that where God guides, he provides. I have a deeper understanding of denying myself and taking up my cross. The list goes on and on.
So here is my question. What situation do you need to lean into right now in your journey so God can continue to develop the work which he started?!?!