(Sort-of-random thoughts from the Gulf Coast after a memorable Christmas, my first real vacation in four years, and the delicious taste of clarity, vision, and blackened grouper…)
You know it’s time for something different when going through airport security seems preferable to the schedule you’ve been keeping.
Our recent travels have been a nice reminder that all of life doesn’t have to be lived in the bunker – even if you love the people or causes you fight for when you’re in it.
I’ve been reminded lately that life was meant to be lived connected with other lives. The kind of connections may vary, of course, from lives that profoundly touch us once to love or friendship that lasts forever. Regardless, the bottom line is that “solo” equals “so low” or “slow go” if you stay in that gear too long.
Show me the lives you have crossed paths with in the last 24 hours, and I will show you the lives you have influenced somehow, to some degree – whether you necessarily want to be an influence or not.
You know those maps you see from time that puts the little arrow or dot on it and says, “You are here!” I’ve always wanted to make a sign, without the map, that says that… You are here. (Implication: Be here, not somewhere else mentally or emotionally.)
Stick with me… at least I know I’m weird.
I heard from a Reliable Source that tonight when the sky is the darkest and the air the coldest, there are still rays of hope and light waiting to burst forth upon your day. That’s true in the natural. It’s true in the spiritual realm, too.
Until the end of time as we know it, you always have a reason to cling to a promise from God and to hope in the steadfast faithfulness of God. Darkness and discouragement should never have the final say in the lives of people who dare to call themselves “believers.” (I know… you knew that already…)
I’ve been reminded lately that everywhere I go, I pass somebody who is fighting a battle, in the crosshairs of the enemy, whether they know it or not. The same goes for you. And while you’re tempted to believe that some people are just jerks or careless or clueless, the truth is that they (and you) are always on Satan’s agenda. How would that change your perspective if you always were mindful of it?
I’ve mentioned a lot in the past that I nearly always have a song on my mind. The other day Carrie, my daughter, tells me that she almost always has a story playing out in her head. Hmmm. I got to thinking maybe I was on to something. Does everybody have a back beat or a rhyme or rhythm or story pulsating in their life sort of like “the song in my heart,” or the “rhythms in my soul.” So I ask my wonderfully practical wife about it. Does she have some sort of story (already knew about the song) playing out in her head? She just gave me that, “Baby you’re still weird” look. Really it was more of a “you’re still weird and so’s your kid” look. “No,” she muttered.
One of the things I love about personal and spiritual growth is the way the Holy Spirit has a way of unpacking the meaning of different ideas or themes in my life over the years. You may think you know what grace or hope or salvation means. And it’s not that you’re wrong. It’s that your view is incomplete.
I want to remind you that you’re the inspiration for a host of people around you to do something, somehow, in some direction. Own your influence. You bring far more – far more than you may be aware of or are feeling in the moment.
I’ve been listening to the morning news. I’m in a hotel breakfast area so it’s hard not to. Here’s a summary in case you’ve been busy: The governor didn’t know. Target didn’t know. The economists didn’t know. Now you know.
There two ways to pack for a trip – like it matters or like it doesn’t. When I pack like it matters the clothes are carefully folded, somewhat ready to wear, etc. When I’m headed for an appointment with a washing machine back at the house, I just toss everything in there. That works for suitcases and shirts. But when it comes to packing my life or you packing yours for the Trip Home, it’s probably a good idea to pack as though it matters.
Back to that “you’re the inspiration” theme for a minute. One of the reasons we don’t always recognize the influence we have is because our impact on others in different zones or arenas. You may want to have your greatest reach in one area, such as motivating people, and not believe you’re seeing any results. Meanwhile, in another zone, such as infusing the lives of people near you with wisdom, you’re lights-out.
Some of the people who have influenced me the most probably never knew it at the time. I want to change that somehow. Have you given any thought to who your silent influencers are? Maybe it’s time for some footnotes or credit or a thank you.
Here’s something you’ll never hear me saying: “They’re having a sale at the airport mall – let’s just get it there.”
My guess is, no one needs to remind you what your goals or resolutions are – but you may need more than one reminder of why they’re important to you. I need those reminders-of-the-why every once in a while.
Okay, this just in. According to the guy at the boot store in the airport, you are an inspiration in more ways than you know. He says that the reason people shop for boots at the airport is because they’re too busy to shop for them at home, and the layover gives them just the time they need.
I just don’t know what to do with that, other than to say, “Yes, that makes sense.” If that’s really the case, though, I know a few other things that they should put in airports. Like driver’s license renewal counters. IRS kiosks. Dentist offices. Treadmills. Oh, the possibilities!
My dad spent a huge part of his career in construction safety. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but it’s pretty plain to me that somebody needs to send Miley Cyrus a hard hat. Among other things.
If you could see in print some of the things my son and I have talked about over the last few years related to college football, it would look something like this: “I so hope we beat them. That guy’s an idiot. He doesn’t know when to shut up. Ha! Did you hear he got fired? What? Really? Woo hoo! We’re so excited he’s now our offensive coordinator! What a brilliant decision!”
If you have something really important or really good to say, make sure you’re more in love with the audience than you are with the message. Otherwise you may find that when you’re passionately sharing your message, nobody’s there to hear it. Inspiration starts when we’re together… really together.
I used to think stories were just for kids. Now I know better.
I used to think that I didn’t need to specialize, despite the many different times people have told me, “You need to focus on one thing or one area.” I heard that message again this week. Maybe it’s starting to sink in here a little. Despite all my hollering about “what’s wrong with me being a generalist?” the truth is, I do my best work, regardless of the zone, when I’m razor-focused on one thing.
One… seems as though I’ve seen that theme lately. From the looks of things, the Lord may be serious about that one.
Tonight I was reminded again (I get reminded of things a lot) about hidden influence. When a former student or client reaches out and a grade or assignment isn’t involved, it speaks loudly to me of influence. But that’s not reserved for a sage on the stage. You have your own version or expression of inspiration and influence, and you’re wrong if you believe otherwise. Until you see the evidence for yourself, take it from me on faith – the end of your influence has yet to be seen or felt.
Time to go. Later.
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