Leading All Alone

"Redwood Giants," Photo by Alex Gorham on Unsplash

"Redwood Giants," Photo by Alex Gorham on Unsplash

When you're on the front lines, it can often be a lonely place.

You're one of very few who have dared to step out of the status quo.

At times, there are few who understand the weight you carry and the burden you bear. And just when everyone else catches up to you, you pioneer again. Because that's what great leaders do. They expand the realm of possible and then invite everyone who comes behind to follow. And then they do it again and again.

So why would anyone willingly choose this life of obscurity, of being misunderstood and often resisted? Who in their sound mind would choose this unique road of near oppression?

If you've found yourself there, it's likely not something you felt like you found. Instead, it found you. It's not something you chose. It chose you. You can't escape it, you can't isolate it, and you can't quarantine it.

You, my friend, are a leader.

A leader goes boldly to the places no one else has yet ventured. Resistance and all, you trudge forward, knowing the ground you take will, in turn, result in many having the opportunity to step in, following your footsteps.

The truth is, you see things that no one else does. Where everyone else simply sees a jungle of confusion, chaos, and unclear future and direction, you see the possibility of paths being forged. With a machete in your hand, you yield a path that gives clarity to those who come behind you.

I will continue to pray that peace would pervade and that hope would swallow you whole.
Know that I am always in your corner and I am cheering you on.

Content with Discontent

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

Alright, friends. I know there are many of you in this place we call "stuck." You don't know what to do, how to get unstuck, and it's driving you mad. 

 

Maybe it's you, or maybe it's everyone else that's the culprit... At least that's the way the tapes play over in your mind. 

 

The reality you see is this:

You're being overlooked. Everyone around you is getting the opportunities you wish you had. Others that started out behind you have now exceeded you on your desired path to success. 

 

How do we learn to be content with the discontent? How do we do it and not have it result in apathy, instead driving us to self reflect, self assess and pioneer forward once again? 

 

Content with the discontent. 

It's not an easy place to be. Frankly, it's a skill few possess. 

Most begin pointing fingers of blame. Blame at the circumstance, blame at the leadership or others. But rarely do people learn how to live at peace in a place and season they would never willingly choose to be. 

 

Far too often we approach the current season with an unrealistic mindset. We think, if I just wait it out long enough, the stars will eventually align. 

 

Stars aligning. It just doesn't happen that way. 

 

Life is less like the powerball and a whole lot more like a treadmill. 

 

We sit on the couch of our lives, waiting for the lottery to strike us.  Waiting for lightning to strike.  Waiting for the stars to align in our favor. 

Meanwhile, the person next door gets on the treadmill and puts in effort day after day. Prepares themselves with winning habits. 

 

So here's the real question. 

 

What do you want for an outcome? If there's something you feel exceptionally passionate about seeing happen.... a role you want to fill, things you want to accomplish.... Is it your desire to see those things happen, or to live in the land of disappointment? 

 

If you don't want the current discomfort, then learn everything you can in your current season. Change everything within your power now. Prepare yourself with championship habits now. And most importantly, recognize that we go through seasons. Some of them we would choose and others we must endure.  

 

Do you have championship habits? Let’s not be a losing team because we don’t have a winning mindset.

When we choose to foster championship habits now, we will reap the benefits of those habits one day in the future.

Leadership Costs

 

Leadership costs. 

A lot.

Sometimes more than you wanted to give. 

 

The secret is keeping a pulse on the non-negotiables that you cannot afford to give. 

 

Look at it this way. There's a unique thing you were placed here for. 

Most likely you started doing THAT, or you set out to do it. 

And you were successful. 

So you were stretched and added new responsibilities to your plate. 

 

All good.

Until. 

 

Until the things you do that you weren't made to do outweigh the things that you were made to do. 

 

Until you carry more weight than you were designed to. 

 

Until the pain of continuing is greater than the pain of change. 

 

If you're a good leader, you will recognize when you hit the warning signs. 

 

If you're a great leader, you'll continually keep it in check, making small adjustments over time to stay fresh, to stay in your sweet spot. 

 

Ultimately, that's what it's about. Being who you were designed to be and doing what you were designed to do.  No more. No less. 

 

We must recognize it's not our job to be anyone's savior and it's not our responsibility to carry everything.  

It's our job to facilitate -- not carry. 

 

There are things we have to carry. But we have to be okay believing in the people around us to carry their portion of the load, releasing them to do it, and to even make mistakes and screw some things up along the way. Isn't that how we learned, too? Someone gave us enough rope to do something significant, knowing full well we could have hung ourselves. 

 

So, dear leader, this day I plead with you. 

May we lead offensively rather than defensively. For the sake of those we lead, let's lead from a place of health where we are fresh, leading from a place of strength and from our sweet spot.

The Purpose in the Shadows

Photo by Jahanzaib . on Unsplash

Photo by Jahanzaib . on Unsplash

 

The shadows.

The shadows are a place most of us wouldn’t willingly choose to spend our days.

They’re dark.  Uncertainty is lurking around every corner.  

 

But it’s in the shadows that true formation takes place.  The shadows are the place that ideas, calling and purpose can be worked out and wrestled through.

 

Nearly every person who has risen to great success, great leadership and great wisdom started in the shadows.  In obscurity.  In the shadow of someone else. 

 

If we are truly honest, we would prefer to bypass the seasons of obscurity for the spotlight.  And yet by doing so, we potentially short circuit the much bigger masterpiece that God has begun painting. 

 

You may at times have felt as though you are hiding in plain sight. 

You are not alone!  I have been there.  And some of my greatest heroes have been too.

 

Returning to the shadows

The shadows are not just a place that we occupy early in our development and formation. They are also a place to which we return to be reminded, reformed and refreshed, again and again.  When we return to the shadows, we can wrestle free from an arena of onlookers and experience renewal.  

 

Coming out of the shadows

For what it’s worth, this is a tidbit of what I have learned about coming out of the shadows.  

Don’t rush it.  Don’t preempt anything.  Wait patiently for the day God will move you back into the light.  

I liken it to the picture in the New Testament when some of the apostles were in prison and God opened the barred prison doors.  They did not use brute force or strength to get out.  They waited patiently for God to work in his timetable. 

We can be guilty of trying to orchestrate things in our favor, to drum up attention before it’s truly our time.

 

I heard Billy Graham asked once, “If you could do it all over again, would you have started preaching sooner?”  Dr. Graham answered, “Absolutely not!  I would have prepared more and started speaking later."

 

There is something Dr. Graham is alluding to, something we see in many other influential leaders.

 

Joseph.  He went through ultimate obscurity, living as a slave in prison, spending time interpreting dreams and waiting for his release.

 

David.  He was anointed king early on in his life and then he returned to the field to continue writing, cultivating his craft, resulting in him being ready when he was put into service for King Saul, and ultimately when he stepped into leadership as the king.

 

Jesus.  He lived in obscurity UNTIL GOD brought him into the desert and released him into his ultimate mission and calling.

 

Sometimes we live in long periods of obscurity where we are hidden from sight, away from the public.  And sometimes we live in obscurity while living in plain sight.

 

Sometimes our true calling hides behinds the curtain of ministry. 

 

Remember this: Faithfulness and opportunity are built over time, not born over night.

 

We go through seasons of obscurity and others of prominence. But it's in obscurity, in the shadows, that we endure and are stretched, producing great rewards in us, rewards in character, relationship & opportunity. It is worth it.

 

Clamp Down or Let Go

Photo by RKTKN on Unsplash

Photo by RKTKN on Unsplash

You know how it goes. Stress is building. Pressure is mounting. You have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. 

 

So how do we respond? 

 

I once heard it said, you find out what's really inside when the cup gets tipped over. 

 

Much of leadership, much of life is a lot like a kettle filled to the brim, sitting on a stove on medium heat. Everything is careening at the surface, on the brink of boiling over.

 

I'm there right now. 

 

The to-do list is a mile long, the days seem shorter, and the number of people who need my time and input are increasing. 

 

Again I ask, how do we respond? 

Do we clamp down or do we let go?

 

I must admit, I usually default to buckling down and tightening my grip, often to the point of white-knuckling. 

 

And I'm painfully aware this day that I default to this. 

 

What we are called to do is the exact opposite:  LET.  GO.  

To become people who are grounded because we don’t control everything.  

To rest in the fact that God never intended for us to be anyone's savior.

To recognize that we have the opportunity to experience a rest for our souls even when our load is heavy.

 

Jesus invites us to choose to defy our instincts and let go of our burdens when everything inside of us screams to clamp down.  

So let's do it. In response to Jesus' invitation...

Let go.

Running Away or Running Toward

Photo by Simon Wijers on Unsplash

Photo by Simon Wijers on Unsplash

So often, we claim to be running toward something -- toward the goal set before us, toward the preferred future that is brighter than our past. 

 

Arguably, I have said for so long that I am running for the sake of, for the cause of, in the name of Jesus. 

I have worn my relentless pace as a badge of nobility as I labor. 

 

And yet, I am beginning to wonder about all of this running. Are we actually running toward something? I do indeed hope so! I so desperately hope that we are sacrificing for a greater aim. But I wonder if we are actually running FROM something.  It could be our fear of something, a past that has scarred or jaded us in some way. 

We may actually be masking our fears. 

 

It's as if I have said more times than not, "I'm busy doing important things. Eternal things. Whatever you need from me right now must take a back seat to whatever I am focused on."  I have neglected and ignored at times the people and things that should be receiving the fullest measure of my attention. 

 

Cloaked in our sacrificial striving is a frail and self-conscious individual who is actually more afraid than strong. 

We are leaders because we would rather control the narrative and set the agenda than face our own demons. 

 

But I say, enough. 

 

Bring the skeletons out of the closet. Face them head-on. 

 

Become aware of the acute uncomfortability that exists when you cannot sidestep the hard questions by casting more vision. 

 

We become more like politicians than people the longer we lead large organizations. 

 

We sidestep the discomfort in the name of clarifying the vision and articulating the mission. 

 

 

What would we become if we actually allowed silence to swallow us whole? 

What if we withdrew from being the mouthpiece and listened to some painful answers to questions we should have asked long ago?

 

What is my dark side? What are my blinds spots? What should I have changed long ago? What is merely tolerated about me that I have the power to change? 

 

Do yourself, the people you lead, and those closest to you a favor, and ask. 

 

Then listen. Truly listen to the responses and take them to heart.

If you are the leader you position yourself to be, you will not stop there.

Find ways to take responsibility for what you now know, and make changes. 

 

Your world will be forever changed as you lead out of vulnerability. 

Being Before Doing

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We are all busy. And we are all desperately seeking the secret sauce for running at a healthy and sustainable pace. We do a lot of things. And doing is important. 

 

Do, but don't forget to be.  

 

You have to input to output. 

 

We can't give what we don't have. 

 

You are passing along what you have in you. It's either more of Jesus or more of you. It all depends what you're inputting. This world doesn't need more of me; it needs more of Jesus. 

 

As people, we have a sense of urgency for all of the things we need to do. 

 

Too much to do and not enough time to do it in. 

 

We feel burdened and weighed down by the load of responsibility we carry. 

 

Even Jesus says, "Let the dead bury their dead. As for you, come follow me." 

 

We can always come up with a "but I just have to..." excuse. 

 

Following Jesus means FIRST listening to him and learning from him. SECOND is living like him. And THIRD is doing things for him and teaching others to do the same. 

 

We replicate what we are. We impart what we possess. 

 

So do a reality check today and take inventory of your own soul. 

 

How are your priorities looking? Are you putting out more than you're taking in? 

 

Get control of your schedule today and ultimately your life will be one worth replicating. Run yourself ragged today and ultimately your life will be forgotten / worth forgetting.  

 

The choice is entirely up to you. 

 

Stop putting off for later what you should do right now. 

 

The Methods & The Message

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The message is sacred. We must hold firmly to it and remain unwavering in our convictions. 

 

But the method? Methods change. The method is merely a tool to help reveal and unearth the real treasure: the message. 

 

Far too often we confuse the two. 

We become religious about the way and means used to deliver the message. We mistake a preference or style as the sacred, when in reality the only thing that should be held to without release is the message. The Word of God. The living, breathing, active message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

 

That message is locked away inside of every human. Each was fashioned by the Creator as a means of bragging on an aspect of His character and nature. 

Once the treasure is unlocked, the eyes of the soul are opened wide to the blinding brightness of a light that illuminates and brings clarity to the whole meaning of human existence.  I am here, you are here, for something much grander than 90 years of slumber, wake, eat, toil and repeat. 

 

Hold unswervingly to the truth. The form of megaphone you choose to pick up to shout the message from a rooftop -- that can change. 

 

Today, choose to let the message of hope take root in your soul. 

 

May we never confuse the sacredness of the message with the method. 

And may we always hold loosely to the method of delivery and tighten our grip on the One who has been, is, and will be. 

Drown Out Every Voice

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Voices. There are so many fighting for our attention. Our affection. Our allegiance.

 

They all lobby against each other tirelessly. 

 

We are bombarded constantly by a barrage of suitors seeking to win our heart. And often, they do. 

 

We jump from one love affair to the next, leaving our hearts in a constant state of turmoil. 

 

There are just too many voices. At some point we have to drown them out. 

 

 

 

That's when I heard it -- the one voice that seeks to rise above the rest. The voice spoke. 

 

Drown out every voice but one. 

Tabloid Chaser

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So many of us spend our time and energy looking for the story that doesn't exist. 

 

We assume there's an ulterior message to be found. 

 

We read into everything people say or the things that happen and then come up with some wild tale of how someone is secretly edging us out. Or when someone says something, we believe they are subliminally trying to say something without saying it. 

 

Let's stop chasing the tabloid stories in our lives. 

 

The apostle Paul said to take every thought captive. That means, before you let the thought run freely through the caverns of your mind and begin to shape how you think and what you believe, you stop the thought and make it subject to the truth. Essentially, you interrogate that thought and determine one of two things: 

This thought is either truth and should be given freedom to shape the way you think and live, or it is a lie -- a distortion and perversion of the truth, sent by the devil himself to be implanted in your belief system, with the express intention of destroying your life. 

 

Too quickly we can allow a renegade thought to take residence in our minds and beliefs, giving way to another that should be considered an outlaw, ultimately leading to a distorted, messed up life, filled with untruths. 

 

The devil is a terrorist. He is the most ruthless of all. And essentially when we choose not to take our thoughts captive and make them subject to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we are harboring terrorist activity in our very soul. Which, by the way, is a temple of the Holy Spirit. 

 

If you wonder why you are in such a state of turmoil so often, it might be because you are at war within your spirit. The terroristic, renegade thoughts that should be outlawed are fighting with the spirit of God within you for the real estate of your soul. 

 

"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Moments & Momentum

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Today. 

Are your choices about the moment or about momentum for the future?

 

Is your first priority today concerned with perception or about producing health for the future? 

 

Your movement in a particular direction will over time result in you reaching a destination.

Either where you want to be, or far from it in the land of disappointment & regret. 

 

God is not asking you to give your soul to every person and conversation and situation you encounter. He is, however, asking you to address those things with an intact soul. 

 

Are you a binge liver or a balanced liver? 

 

Pace is associated with endurance. Never with speed. 

 

Don't demand something of yourself God is not asking of you. 

It Is Well With My Soul

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It is well with my soul.  That’s a mind-blowing statement. 

 

I’m sure you know the ancient song that chants the statement in an anthem of hope.  I grew up singing it often at my church and I often hear it ring out over funeral settings.  But today, those words struck me upside the head in a very different light.  You know, it’s the statement you’ve heard over and over, but then came the day you actually understood it.  As if it had been stated for the very first time. 

 

IT.  IS.  WELL.

 

IT.  The situation.  The trial.  The reality.  The current peril.

 

IS.  How things are.  Present tense.  Admission of reality.  Apart of my existence. Tangible what’s what.

 

WELL.

 

It means I am at peace with the situation.  It doesn’t mean the situation is good.  And it doesn’t mean I want it or like it, but it does mean I have reconciled my core to accept the reality that God has allowed in my present tense.  And when we can move to that place, we move to a perspective that allows us to recognize the turmoil and heartache, but not to fall prey to it.

 

This life takes some pretty painful twists and turns, leaves us sometimes speechless, with a pit in our stomach, shaking our head at the affliction we may feel.  The loss of a loved one.  The death of a dream.  The pain of a chronic illness. And it might not be peril at all, it may simply be uncertainty.  

 

Regardless of the weight of our present circumstances, the heart response we must move toward is the same. We have to have enough gall to say to God, “this is what I see, feel, and am going through.  And I don’t like it.  I can’t stand it.  In the deepest part of my being, I wish it was something it’s not.” I think we are sometimes too afraid to tell God what he already knows, as if he is waiting with his magical lightning rod to zap us.  But the opposite is true.  When we can feel comfortable enough in our own skin to honestly process with our Creator the reality He has allowed, it means we can then have the opportunity to move to a place where we can say in all sincerity, IT IS WELL.  

 

And that, my friends, is the difference between the person who is tormented by the heartache they have faced along the way, and the person who rises above it. 

How we respond will determine what we will become.

Creating an Environment of Growth

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Creating space.  Creating environments. Curating the content.  The way we go about doing it will determine what world we create. 

Do we create a life-giving or a life-sucking environment?

 

The choice is entirely up to the architect. 

 

The challenge is that most of the architects creating space in our churches today are institutional thinkers. That's not entirely a bad thing. Institutional thinkers have an ability to understand some of the large scale leadership obstacles that need to be considered. 

 

But the potential downfall may be greater. 

 

Far too often we answer problems through the wrong means. We peer through the wrong lens. We come from an improper perspective. 

 

Too often we find an institutional answer to a relational problem. 

 

People want relationships. Authentic ones. They don't want a program or an organization in which they are merely a number. 

 

The greatest human desire is to know and be known. 

 

In our efforts as church leaders to create space for that to happen, let's be mindful as we make decisions and help facilitate space for growth, that we don't unintentionally kill the very thing we are attempting to nurture. 

Let's be mindful that many of the problems we attempt to solve are relational problems. And relational problems require relational solutions, not institutional ones. 

 

People connect with people. Not with products and systems. 

 

Learn your audience. 

Find out what matters to people. 

 

Ripple Effect

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A stone is dropped in water. 

 

To the stone, all that's felt is the impact of hitting the water. 

 

But the byproduct of that impact is the ripple effect. 

 

Think about it. It doesn't just impact the place where contact with the water was initiated; it goes in every direction. Sometimes ten times the distance from the original site of impact. 

 

So the next time you feel weary or wonder if the hard work you are doing is worth it, the next time you feel insignificant or that your efforts go unnoticed, remember this:

 

You are a stone in the hands of Almighty God and He is throwing you at the water with supernatural force; you, your efforts, your story and your legacy are making waves for all of eternity in EVERY DIRECTION. 

 

Don't worry about trying to control the narrative or orchestrate the outcome. Focus your energy and efforts on creating the biggest splash imaginable and let the waves roll naturally. 

 

You, my friend, are a world changer. One splash at a time. 

Afraid Of What I'll Hear

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Busy.  Noisy.  It's how we live, it's the way we roll. 

 

I watched my neighbor's garage door go up at 7:27 am, which brought me to think about how I woke up to an alarm clock this morning…. which brought me to think about how Jesus "rose early" and withdrew to pray.

 

I know we always focus on the part about Jesus making time TO PRAY.  But I'm caught on the fact that he MADE TIME and did it early, before the day of reoccurring iPhone alarms….

 

There's honestly no way in our world today that Jesus' pace could and would happen.  How was he able to do it?  No assistance, just waking up REFRESHED and ready for the day at hand.

 

Here it is.  He was able to rise early because he went to bed early.  Back then, the world shut down when then sun went down.  When it was dark, you slept. 

 

Today? We use superficial light to stay up hours past sunset and use a superficial device to wake us up so that we can hit the ground running once again. 

 

It seems today that our world is spinning faster than ever.  And that the people living in it are wearier and wearier.  So what are we afraid of?  Missing something?  Missing out on something?  Or are we ultimately afraid of what we will hear if we slow down to a pace we can actually hear our own thoughts?  To a pace where we can hear a whisper that’s screaming to our souls….

 

If we don't have our medication of choice in hand to help us fall asleep…. TV, sleeping pills, sound machine, alcohol…. it's different for everyone, but it's interesting to me that we often need help falling asleep and need help waking up.  I have one friend who sets 3 alarms in his room, in different parts of the room, to ensure he gets up!

 

I no longer think "there is something wrong with our world today…" but I am starting to believe there is something wrong with the way we are choosing to allow our world to turn.  It's not the fault of "the world".  It's on me.  It's on you.

 

So today, let’s choose to be those who allow the pace that God intends dictate and supersede the pace that people intend.  There’s always something happening that you’ll miss out on.  But if we choose to be people who are not finding our strength and security in being awake for everything, we will be people who are awake for the right thing. 

 

Pick the right thing over the everythings of life today.  And let your soul be refreshed. 

 

Selah.

Escaping from Your Soul Unrest

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When transition happens around us, we are forced to wrestle with the question of transition within us.

 

I can distinctly remember a time when I wrestled with such a thing.

I asked, "Am I supposed to be doing something different?" 

The answer was as clear as an audible response. 

Don't do anything different. Prepare for something different. 

 

This is, in my experience, the hardest place to live. 

In between the already and the not yet. Living in the gap between what has already been established and that which we know is coming, though we don't know what "it" is just yet. 

 

Preparation. It's the work of champions.

Preparation means doing what needs to be done, regardless if you feel like doing it. 

It's having the motivation to see something through. Past aspiration to the point of completion. 

 

Many people have big aspirations. Fewer yet see their aspirations acted upon to the point of reality. That takes massive amounts of hard work, intentionality and perseverance. 

 

So the question is this: 

If you were not modifying or tweaking your current reality, and you had the opportunity to start fresh and clean, what would you do? 

Maybe consider preparing for that. 

 

Preparing for the unknown is more about the little obscurities that no one will notice than it is about the big moment. It's organizing your book shelf, going through old files, it's spending extra time in the Word, reading and reflecting.

It's ordering your private life so you are ready to step into a public arena and thrive. 

 

For too many people and for far too long, we wait unmotivated and unnoticed, hoping fate will strike. And when it does, we have failed to build in the disciplines to propel us into the next chapter. 

 

Stop theorizing and start taking action. 

Stop talking and start listening. 

 

Your calling isn't to a task or geographic location.  Your calling is to His voice. 

 

A day at a time. One thing at a time. 

Be attentive. Be alert. He is always speaking. The question is, are we listening? 

 

The only escape from your soul unrest is not to quit early, and it's not to find a place where the grass is greener. It's not to back down or quit.

The right escape is endurance and attentiveness to His voice.

 

Tune your ear and wait patiently. For the timing of our God is always perfect.

 

 

Do You Live Inspired?

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So here's the question of the day. 

 

Do you live planned or do you live inspired?

 

Planning is a good thing.  We all plan things; we prepare. Honestly, without planning there's a good possibility we would wander around aimlessly for much of a lifetime. 

The true value, in my opinion, when it comes to planning, is intentionality. Living on purpose. Setting and attaining goals. 

This has to be the backbone for life, for moving forward and accomplishing the things we are set on the earth for. 

 

But HOW we go about accomplishing to that end is entirely up to us. 

We have a choice if we are going to hollowly go through the motions or if we will live inspired. 

 

I have found I can't do much outside of inspiration. I can't write a song unless it's sparked by a moment of inspiration. Sure, I may finish the song while functioning in a mode of purposeful discipline, but the song idea will never start until inspiration strikes. 

 

Living inspired does not equal living undisciplined. 

 

Living inspired does not mean being unmotivated in moments of non-inspiration. 

 

Living inspired means to look forward. Not backward. 

 

Here's the biggest thing I just have come to realize in my world when it comes to inspiration: 

I can get caught in indecision because I'm waiting for inspiration to strike. 

 

And the truth is, there just are some things you will not get inspired about. Where you choose to eat for lunch is not something you are always going to have an inspirational moment to help you decide to turn left or turn right. To eat a burger or brat or sandwich or salad. Sometimes you just have to make a decision! 

We can't wait for inspiration to strike like lightning. Sometimes we have to live in the discipline of making wise decisions day in and day out and allow the inspiration, when it does strike, to serve as a catalyst to continue to propel us forward. 

 

So make a decision, put one foot in front of the other, and move forward. 

Wisdom & Noise

There are a lot of people with a lot of things to say in this world today. There's a constant barrage of opinion and conjecture filling the status feeds every second of every day.


It used to be just the writers for the New York Times or Time Magazine were the voices we heard. It used to be that controlled media was the only platform from which to share content.

Not anymore.

Today, everything is different.

Anyone can have the potential for a global-reaching platform through social media. All you need is an email address and a password. 

 

But having a platform and having a voice are not the same. Nor is either one a right of entitlement, even though we can oftentimes think so. We can falsely believe that we have earned the right or that we even deserve to have a platform or have a voice of influence. Sometimes, we can even think that one is owed to us.


A platform is earned, and it's earned over time. But I think we sometimes make the mistake of placing our concern and desire for having a platform in front of our care for developing our voice. A voice doesn't emerge in an instant; it is actually more like a sculpture that is carefully and diligently chiseled, bit by bit, piece by piece.  Every one of us has a voice.  The question is whether or not we are developing it.


Though it may not be what you want to hear, you don't have the right to be an influence on people's lives simply because you have a Facebook account. Post all you want, but you will ultimately only be received as a voice of influence when you actually have something to say, when people know they can trust you.


Part of the issue I see is we simply have so much to say, but in reality, we are not saying anything.

 

I would rather have something to say and no platform to speak from
than to have a platform with nothing to say.

ONE IS WISDOM.  THE OTHER IS NOISE.

A voice will be earned when great care is given to every word shared.

 

With having a voice comes great responsibility. When we take that responsibility seriously, I am a believer that the platform will take care of itself. Good content always finds a way out.


May we always be people who add value to the world we live in by sharing wisdom. There is enough noise already without us adding more to the narrative.

 

"....be ready in and out of season to give an account for the hope you have....” 1 Peter 3:15

To Be Famously Great

Do you want to be great or do you want to be famous?

In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lucy asks, “How can Beethoven be great if he never had his picture on a bubble gum card?!?”

It’s a fair question to ask, especially considering the methodology in which our world operates when it comes to greatness. 
 
I would propose that our world has redefined greatness and added to it a qualifier of being famous.  There’s this misnomer that your greatness isn’t qualified until you’ve made a splash of fame.  Let’s face it; we judge how ‘good’ someone is based on their number of followers on social media, how many records they have sold… and all the while, there’s a guy who lives across town who can write circles around the chart-topping writer, who can play the touring guitar player under a table.  Don’t believe me?  Go spend one night in Nashville, listening to open mic night.  There are massive numbers of those who have the chops and are awaiting their chance.

Most everyone chases the fame.  And they chase the famous.  And they aspire to BE the famous. 

But how many of us know that many of the famous are not the great ones.  Sure, every once in a while someone comes along who possesses all of the greatness, but also has made a famous splash.  James Taylor, John Mayer, Garth Brooks….

And then for every famous one, there are a hundred greats whose names will never trend on social media.  So my question is simply this:  Which do you aspire to be? The great or the famous?  Here is the reality – if you aspire to be great, then you cannot measure your success against being famous.

Fame is fleeting.  

Every famous person I have ever met all have one thing in common: they have yet to find their sense of arrival.  There is still a longing for something beyond their current reality.

So let it be said of us that we are the generation that flips the script from chasing fame to embracing our unique God-given path; that we each chase greatness, giving our best and leaving nothing behind.

 

Eeyores & Aussies

 

"We live at the edge of the miraculous.  One step away from a transformation." 
That's how my fortune cookie put it recently.

So often in life, we get caught up in just surviving.  Making it through and still being alive, escaping as much hardship and heartache as possible.  And in our overburdened, weighed-down, survivalist mindset, we lose out on the adventure, the possibility, and the potential that is around every corner.

Think about it.  Around every corner is something.  And depending on our perspective, we hear that and see the potential in one of two ways.

“Around every corner is something or someone lurking…."
This mindset is filled with fear.  Everything is a potential burden, a potential for disaster.  Everyone’s out to get me.  It’s just a matter of time before something breaks down.  I’ll never get ahead.  I’m destined to be stuck.  Someone else always gets the miracle.  This is the "Eeyore” mentality. 

The cup is always half empty, if that.  In this mindset, we begin defeated before we even start. 

“Around every corner is something or someone awaiting…"
This mindset is filled with faith.  Everything is a potential blessing, an opportunity for celebration.  Everyone is a fan and a believer in me.  My best days are still ahead of me.  The best is still yet to come.  In this mindset, we are overcomers before we even start.  This is the mindset I like to call the “Aussie” mentality.  

When I was in Australia a few summers ago, I was both captivated and inspired by the mindset of the people there.  They spoke about everyone and everything with such a sense of hope. Every person I encountered was always speaking to the potential.  It was one of the most life-giving experiences I have ever walked through.  

We live on the edge of the miraculous.  But only if we choose to see it, speak of it, and lean into it.  

We also live on the edge of disaster.  But only if we choose to focus on it, speak of it, and believe it.

Friends, let’s be those that choose the miraculous.  And I don’t just mean choose to live on the EDGE of the miraculous. Let’s be those who think about, speak about, and live FULLY IMMERSED in the miraculous.