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Pace

The older I get, the more I have to actually think about pacing myself.  When I was in my early twenties, when I still had thick, wavy hair, I could stay up till all hours of the night and hit the ground running the next morning with no problem.

Now, I can still stay up late and get things done (in fact, I am most definitely more creative and productive at night). The difference, is…instead of hitting the ground running, I often find myself hitting the medicine cabinet for migraine relief. Or at best, feel myself dragging through the next day.  This is especially unfortunate at about 5:30pm when I’m finally getting ready to leave the office and discover a: I have a 7pm meeting at church or b: I’ve forgotten about a 7:30pm game or band concert for one of my children.  At that point, all I can do is regroup and somehow power through, right?

About that time, I realize that staying up late wasn’t such a good idea after all.  Instead, I should probably accept the fact that I’m middle aged or pretty darn close. I need to pace myself. Life’s a marathon, right? I want to live to see my grandchildren one day.

I’m reminded that even Jesus paced himself. He took time to get away and recharge.  He took time to rest. He took time to pray. If it’s good enough for Jesus, I’m pretty sure it’s good enough for me.

What’s so hilarious is the fact that most of the things I’m doing can easily wait till tomorrow. No one’s pushing me as hard as I’m pushing myself.  What about you? Do you have a good pace of life? Do you balance home/work/friends/fun well? Instead of giving God a big “part” of your life, do you include God in all the parts of your life?

Well, this has been a good break from the rest of my day…time to get back to “work”.

what matters most?

So here’s the question….what matters most to you?

Let’s see if I can help you make your list: your family (spouse, children, parents, siblings), your physical health, your relationship with God, your job, your finances, your mental or emotional health, watching your favorite TV shows, eating your favorite foods, playing golf or some other activity, sleeping, reading, etc…..the list goes on and on.

What’s interesting is that most of the people I know would have similar lists to the one listed above, albeit in different orders of priority. What I’m curious about is— is your list (and my list) really true?

Seriously, let’s face it – what matters most gets our time and attention (and money). If you have a sweet media room in your basement….just sayin’… (by the way, I have a pretty sweet media room in my basement, and YES, you can come over and watch Captain America: Winter Soldier with me in 3D.

But I challenge you to really think about what gets your time, attention, money, and focus. Is it your work? Lately, my work has been consuming the VAST majority of my time, attention, and energy – at the expense of sleep, and restfulness, mostly. I’m not proud of it, but I know it’s true. Heck, I don’t even have time to watch all the shows I’ve DVR’d, even with skipping all the commercials.

After my body shut me down hard this week and prevented me from being able to go to work, I began to get the message: STOPPPPPPPPPP!!!!! All the time in the day still won’t be enough to ever complete everything. Tomorrow’s still coming and there will be more than enough to do then. It was as if a lightbulb not just went off, but exploded in my mind: I’m just not that important. You see, when I start trying to “do it all” or “be it all” or whatever, it’s actually a form of pride, as if I think the world just won’t make it unless I accomplish (fill in the blank). In truth, the world has done pretty well without me, and will keep spinning when I’m gone. But the PEOPLE who love me would rather I find a healthier rhythm of life, since they’d like to see me stick around a while.

So, I’m going to make the effort to not try to do it all, and find a better balance to life. I’m going back to my list: God, family, then everything else. It’s a little tricky, since my “work” is being a pastor. That’s when the lines can seem to get blurred. By I am finding peace in knowing that I’m not God, and thus, I’m not “responsible” for everyone He’s put under my care. I’m responsible for myself and my family first and foremost….now if I can just quit being busy long enough to really let that sink in. Pray for me, and I’ll return the favor.

Open your eyes. Look to the left. Look to the right. Did you see it or miss it?

What I’m talking about is a blessing. Lately, when I’m paying attention to life going on around me, the more “aware” I am the more I notice God’s small blessings. When I’m too consumed in myself or the “important” things I’m doing, I miss so much. I bet you do too. Here’s an example:

A couple weeks back, I had the opportunity to spend a whole day with my sweet daughter. She had a 5th grade solo/ensemble competition where she was going to play her clarinet and asked me to be her accompanist. How cool is that? I’m pretty sure I was the only Dad who got to play for his daughter that day. We also had a father-daughter dance coming up later that evening. After waiting for literally 2 hours for her score to be posted, time was getting tight for us to grab dinner and make the dance. In situations like these, I typically go into crisis management mode and try to expedite things in order for us to get everything done. She finally received her score (a 1, by the way!!) and we headed to the car…more like jogged to our car. I was already thinking two steps ahead and trying to figure out where the closest restaurant was and how we could eat and run as quickly as possible. Then it happened.

My daughter said, “Dad, check that out” pointing to the sky. “Huh?” I replied. “Dad, look out the windshield. Look at the sky, it’s so beautiful!” She was right. The sun was cutting through the clouds in a way I hadn’t seen before. She grabbed my iPhone and snapped a pic.

Chloe's iPhone pic

Chloe’s iPhone pic

How had I missed it?

I was too consumed in my plans, my timeline, my goals, my..my…my….

She was present in the moment. She was paying attention to life going on around us, beyond us.

The moment was amazing and humbling. My children teach me so much, even when they have no idea. God used that small incident to remind me that He is in control. He is the maker of the sun and clouds and the heavens. He made my daughter and me. He created music. It’s His story. He invites ME to His party – and it’s full of blessings.

Just look around…there went another one….

Don't we look awesome together! She got her mama's looks for sure!!

Don’t we look awesome together! She got her mama’s looks for sure!!

Being a Leader

Are you a leader?

The short answer is a resounding YES. All of us are leaders in some way. If anyone at all cares the slightest about what you say, do or think, you are influencing them to a degree. That influence is leading them to something or somewhere or someone.

Some of us have more leadership quotient than others, and the more you have to offer, the more responsibility you have to lead – and lead WELL.

For me, God has continually challenged me in new roles of leadership over the past several years. From thrusting me into preaching when our last church lost our senior pastor to now changing roles from Worship Pastor to Executive Pastor, to the most important role I have – that of husband and father, God consistently moves me forward to help me grow and develop as a leader.

I am grateful that I don’t have to make the journey alone, though. I am blessed to have great role models in my life and people who come alongside me to help me navigate this journey I’m on, especially since I lost my dad two years ago.

If you don’t have a mentor or mentors, I encourage you to think about who you’d like to “be like”, people in your life that you look up to, and ask them to help you become the leader and person God wants you to be. I bet they’ll say yes with no hesitation.

And if you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, GET IN THE GAME! Be a leader, for Christ’s sake! Literally…for Christ’s sake. Our world needs you to step up and lead.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to know stuff.  If I hear about a story on the news that intrigues me and I am clueless about it, I won’t rest until I learn enough about it on my own to have an understanding of it for myself.  I was the student who would press teachers for more complete answers. I can’t tell you how many times I said, “Dad, why does such and such happen…”.  I’m a lot older now, but I’m still longing for answers today.  The difference is the questions I’m now asking.

Today, it’s more about why life turns out the way it does, or why people have to endure so much pain or hurt.  For me personally, it’s wondering about the future, wanting to make the very most of every day and asking God to reveal His plan for me in that regard.  I think of my children and wonder what their lives are going to look like when they grow up.  If only God would show me around the bend a little bit…then I would be better able to navigate my life.

In truth, I know it’s a lie.  God knows what I need and gives it to me. Enough for today.  It appears that I’m on a “need to know” basis with God.  There’s a part of me that is frustrated by it, but another part of me is thankful.  I know God has my best in mind and goes before me to lay a path for me and my family.  He holds me up with His righteous right hand when I am weak. 

So, while I’d still like to have more answers, I know I can trust God today. Today is my gift from Him and what I do with it is my gift to Him.

 

But now the topics have changed 

Obedience

Why is it so hard for us to obey? Maybe it’s just me. Sometimes I just want to do what I want to do, regardless of how it might effect anyone else. Do you ever feel like that?

The Bible is full of passages where God tells us that we should obey, the benefits of obeying, the consequences of disobeying. Why, then, do we still struggle with obeying?

My children struggle with obedience. They’re amazing, great kids! They love me – I know it. Yet, they still disobey. I think it’s something we’re all born with. A natural tendency to disobey. Adam and Eve laid the groundwork for all of us, didn’t they?

I also have learned that obeying comes at a price. Sometimes God wants from us what we don’t want to give. Our freedom. Our will. Our desires…all laid at His feet. I have seen God lead me on paths that I would never choose for myself. I have also seen the results of me taking my own path when I knew better. Yet still He loves me. Forgives me. Waits patiently for me. To surrender. To obey.

obey.

Lucky Me!

Lucky Me!

What a blessing to spend an evening with my sweet, sweet daughter. Any dad knows how special it is to have a daughter. Chloe, you are such a blessing in my life.

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