Friday, March 28, 2008

When to say...

The popular Boundaries curriculum is based on the wisdom of knowing when to say "no" and when to say "yes." Its an excellent study that gives people permission to set appropriate boundaries for themselves in order to live a healthy life.

The problem is that sometimes we have to say "yes" when we don't want to, or we have to say "no" we don't want to. Most of those times is when we have to submit to authority.

Most people don't like authority. They distrust it and want to do things their way. Sure, they want guidance, but they don't want to be told what to do after being given the guidance.

I always want to understand the "why" of the task assigned to me by an authority. If I don't know the "why," I ask. Not in a spirit of cynicism and rebellion, but in a spirit of a willingness to learn and understand.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Eeriness

This Easter didn't feel the same to me as it has in the past. I'm not sure why. We had an Easter egg hunt with our daugther, I was at church all weekend, we visited with family from both of our sides, I ate Jelly Beans the day before...I'm not sure what was missing. Maybe it was not getting an Easter basket for our daughter. Or maybe it was the nonverbal communication between my wife and I not to get anything for one another for Easter and then sticking to it. I heard three messages on Passover, Freedom and the Resurrection. Maybe its not just Easter, maybe its my disconnect with God.

I really stink at practicing the spiritual know...reading the Bible, praying, worshipping and having fellowship with other believers. What's odd, however, is I've always stunk at those things. So why would this year feel any different. I don't know, I just felt an eeriness to Easter this year. I can't pin point, but it really did feel different.

Did Easter feel different for anybody else this year? Any thoughts...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

How's yourself doing?

My 3 year old daugther recently caught me talking to myself and asked me why I was whispering. I said I was just talking to myself. She wisely asked "How's yourself doing?" I laughed and told her how funny that was.

I thought about it later and have come to the conclusion that it is an excellent question to ask. "How's yourself doing?" I mean I spend most of the day asking people how they are doing or helping people with their problems, that I often forget to check in on myself. The question "How's yourself doing?" is a simple way to assess what you are doing, thinking and feeling and why your are doing, thinking and feeling those things.

Its also helpful to ask ourselves this question because more often than not when others ask us how we are doing they don't really want to take the time to listen. They just want people to think they care when really they are just asking because it has become a cultural norm in society to ask without caring or being willing to listen to a response other than "good" or "okay" (I don't think I'm the only one who has done this and had this done to them).

So let me ask you this morning, "How's yourself doing?"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Moment of Truth

I guess its a little too easy to blog on something I just talked about on Sunday morning, but I needed a topic so here it is:

The show the Moment of Truth is an interesting way to make people lean into to their own ugliness. I like the show because it forces people to face truths about themselves and about their personal relationships. Its interesting that the motivator is money. I guess that's the irony of the show: they use people's greed to get them to expose other vices in their lives. Its like one vice is the motivator for other vices. Some contestants are smart and stop with only minimal damage done to their relationships, others however, take chances and walk away with no money and damaged relationships. If your going to risk important relationships, at least win some money!

The latest contestant I saw was a married woman with four children. She said "yes" when asked if there were any secrets in her life that would break up her marriage. Ouch. The husband didn't want to know the secret. I would want to know, because even if the truth hurts, the best thing we can do is lean into it. Its only by leaning into it the truth that the path of healing begins and real relationships develop. Their marriage now faces an undisclosed secret that is already a seed of discontent and if left alone will grow into a tree bearing divisive fruit.

We don't like to lean into ugly truth, but sometimes its the best thing we can do. Most of us don't have money to motivate us to lean into our own ugliness, so we have to find something else that will drive us. Often, a hidden ugliness will create problems for us and those problems become too hard to face alone and become our motivator. I think often our motivator for facing our own junk is the result of not facing the junk in the first place. For example, I've talked to people who are depressed because of something they have done that they know is counter to living a life opposed to God's truth. So they get tired of being depressed and confess their damaging behavior to someone they trust in order to get free from it.

I don't think its necessarily a bad thing to be motivated by the results of a vice in order to face a vice. There's this idea in the Bible about good fruits and bad fruits. If the results of bad fruits in our lives (the results of our vices) lead us to pursuing good fruits in our lives (joy, peace, kindness) then hopefully we will eventually be smart enough to give up the bad fruits altogther so that we can live the kind of life we all want...a life full of hope, joy, peace, beauty, forgiveness and grace.