Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Best Moment of the Day

Yesterday I was home with my two sick daughters because my wife had to work (she works part time and does not get sick pay). They both have the flu. In some ways it was a rough day: both the girls were not themselves, I had to wipe and suction noses every few minutes, they didn't eat much, I probably caught their flu and my 8 month old just wouldn't sleep (when she finally did sleep she slept over 2 hours, but it took that long to get her down). In other ways it was a really good day: I spent quality time with both of them, my 4 year old was cuddly, we relaxed most of the day, we watched a movie (a rare event in our house) and it felt nurturing and purposeful to be home taking care of my two sick daughters.

The second best moment of the day was when my wife came home from work. It was a huge sense of relief to have her home to help with the girls. Plus, there's a certain nurturing a mother gives her children that no matter how hard I try, as a dad, I can't provide.

The best moment of the day was just after the 8 month old went to bed for the night and I had just gotten out of the shower and walked into the living room. My wife and 4 year old were cuddling on the couch and reading a book. I laid down on the other couch and just stared at them. It was such a beautiful moment. I thought about taking a picture, but I'm glad I didn't, because the experience would have been lost. I've seen them read and cuddle before, but this was different. It was a holy moment. I felt so fulfilled and thankful to have the family that I have (even when they are sick). Its easy to claim that praying and reading the Bible are holy and spiritual things, but I believe this moment was just as holy and just as spiritual. Perhaps moreso because it wasn't planned or just happened.

May you never miss a holy moment God has for you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One thing

Can you guess who this is? He's extremely important to his team, yet he's not very well known. He is one of the best at what he does, but what he does goes highly unnoticed by the casual fan.
His name is Rhys Lloyd. He's a kicker for the Panthers and all he does is kickoff. He doesn't kick field goals, he doesn't punt, he only kicks off. He does one thing that most teams take for granted. Why would the Panthers allow a player who does one small thing take an extremely important roster spot? Because he does what he does really well. If you can find a guy that gives you ten yards everytime he touches the ball, you want him on your team. That's what Rhys Lloyd does, he kicks the ball in the end zone on almost every kickoff. Which has given the Panthers defense an approximate average of 10 less yards they have to defend against for the opposing team to get in the end zone. He's a small part of why the Panthers are 2-0 this year.
What does this have to do with anything spiritual? Glad you asked. If you can do something really well, you should develop it even further. Some people will tell you to focus on improving your weaknesses. I recently learned it is just as important (perhaps even more important) to work on your strengths. As John Maxwell says, on a scale of 1 to 10 the highest you can get if you work hard at a particuar thing is 2 notches. So, if you are a 3, the highest you could probably get if you worked really hard is a 5, which is still mediocre. However, if you are a 6 or 7 at something and your work really hard at it, you could possibly raise that level to an 8 or a 9, which is getting close to being one of the best at what you do. The point is, if you can do one thing really well, you should focus on growing that gift or talent into something of excellence. God has gifted each one of us with something, are developing that gift? Are you building on your strengths and gaining confidence in yourself and in God, or are you focusing on your weaknesses and hoping to improve something that you might not be able to become excellent at anyway? I hope you will think about it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

I recently watched Kung Fu Panda...I thoroughly enjoyed it. Its an animated kids action movie that has a pretty simple point. I've learned that a simple point is often a good point. The point of the movie is "believe." Told you it was simple. Here's a synopsis of the movie:

Po is a lazy, irreverant slacker panda, who is also the biggest fan of Kung Fu around...which doesn't exactly come in handy while working every day in his family's noodle shop. Unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po's dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five -- Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey -- under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard Tai Lung is headed their way, and it's up to Po to defend everyone from the oncoming threat. To do that he has to learn Kung Fu quickly so he can take hold of the dragon scroll and fulfill his destiny as the dragon warrior. As others start believing in him, he starts believing in himself and is able to pull of a miraculous defeat of Tai Lung.

Throughout the movie anticipation grows as to what will happen when the scroll is opened by the one chosen as the dragon warrior. The anticipation is strong, yet the event is well...uneventful. Po opens the scroll and there's nothing there except a reflection of himself. The point is that he must believe he can be the dragon warrior and defeat Tai Lung. A major part of the journey is that someone else must believe in him first.

No deep theology here, I just think we all need someone to believe in us. Someone who is for us. Someone who has our best interest in mind and thinks we can be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We all need someone who belives good things for us and is a part of our journey towards those good things. And I don't just mean God. I mean, theologically I believe God is for us and wants us to be faithful to the calling he has for us. But I mean in our relationships here on earth. God created us for relationships and even though this next part may be cheesy, I believe it. It reminds me of one of the lines from the book The Shack: "I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing." Nobody believes in Po at first and he's hurt by it, but as people start believing in him and he starts believing in himself, he finds he can do amazing things.

If hurt and healing comes through relationships, then we should all take inventory of each of our relationships and ask ourselves whether they are causing hurt or bringing healing. Do you believe in the people you are in relationship with? Are you a positive or negative part of their life? Is there healing in your words, or is their venom? Are you the kind of person you want to be around? What is it like to live with you, work with you, play with you, eat with you? These are hard questions, but I hope you will ask them about yourself and become a more loving person because of them.