Desire

I was talking to a friend recently. He’s at something of a crossroads. Ready to move forward, but stuck where he is. Wanting something different, but not sure how to define it. Caught somewhere between disappointment and desire, he hears the lament of the Grouse.

That’s a voice I’m all-too-familiar with. And I suspect you’d say the same thing. When I hear the Grouse speaking, the voice sounds exactly like mine. And when you hear its moody whine, it sounds like yours.

The Grouse often sounds logical. Sometimes fearful. Sometimes it takes on a protective, caring tone; at other times it mocks you. Sometimes it whispers, sometimes it sings. And sometimes it screams like a spoiled child.

Crazy thing is, nobody can hear the Grouse but you. But it’s as real as Minnesota snow in January.

The Grouse is an internal voice that stays quiet so long as we play it “safe,” and never attempt to change anything. But let a man dare to dream in the wake of big disappointments, and out comes the Grouse. Let a woman turn her wishful thinking into bold action, and the Grouse will start sounding the alarm.

The goal of the Grouse is to get you to do nothing. Stay comfortable. Don’t offend anybody. Avoid disappointment at all cost. Don’t embarrass yourself or make anybody else uncomfortable either.

Just. Don’t. Change. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Why Chariots of Fire Remains One of My Favorite Movies

Chariots-Of-Fire

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
-William Blake, “Jerusalem”

I was a single seminary student in 1981 when I passed a bulletin board poster for the film Chariots of Fire. Rex Reed called it “A masterpiece.” Vincent Canby described it as “an exceptional film. Unashamedly rousing, invigorating.”

I figured it was on the seminary bulletin board for a reason, so I bit.

I’ve been smitten ever since. Through 32 years of marriage, three kids, 8 grandchildren, and various twists through life, that movie with its iconic 80s soundtrack and cast of young dreamers still captures my imagination. But only recently have I stopped to consider, at the urging of counselor and life coach Dwight Bain why this film still resonates nearly 35 years later.

I don’t care whether you love it, hate it, or have never even seen it. Behind the partly-fictionalized story of Great Britain’s 1924 Olympic team lies the epic question that challenges anybody who ever aspired to anything:

Why do you do it?

I won’t rehash the details of the plot which you can easily find here or here. I’ll just say that four characters in the film reflect four driving motivations. At any given time, any of these characters can represent my driving force for what I do, and each has its place. These motive checks allow me to consider whether my “why” is useful to my life purpose and goals.

In other words, I may be doing the right things, but for impotent reasons.

Why do you do what you do? [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

Start your engines

It’s hard for Alex to force himself to go to work these days. The honeymoon there is way past over, and the only reason he shows up now is a paycheck.  He compares himself to others who have gone way too long without any job, and feels guilty for complaining.  But this work situation is starting to affect his health, his relationships, and his confidence.  He’s been looking, but no other possibilities have presented themselves.

What does Alex do? Does he endure or does he walk away?  Does he press on, or does he “step out in faith” in search of new opportunities?

Tyler and Jennifer have reached a similar decision, not about work, but about the church they attend.  The congregation has been hit hard with splits, neighborhood transition, and pastoral changes.  They have been a part of this fellowship since they married, and have faithfully served.  But they have moved to another neighborhood themselves, and it feels harder and harder to go back to what feels like a sinking ship.

What do they do? Is this a time to be “steadfast, immovable,” and all that? Or is it a time to “mount up with wings as eagles” and fly away?

(Yeah, you can make the Bible say just about anything you want it to in cases like this.)

These kinds of questions are common for any believer… [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

(The Squeeze, Part 2)

In the previous post I introduced the idea of the squeeze – that when life comes calling or the world comes knocking and we get squeezed, whatever is on the inside comes flying out.  Specifically, when life or the world squeezes, two things quickly become evident – what’s in your character (your decisions) and what’s in your heart (your desires).

That why Peter addresses this encouragement to a group of Christ followers who were living life in The Squeeze:

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:1-3, NIV).

When Our Flesh Demands Relief

People who are hurting instinctively crave relief.

NOW!

Like Job, the tendency is to move from “Lord I’m trusting you for deliverance” to “Lord stop it now or explain yourself!

When we stubbornly hold onto the demand for God to change things, five kinds of behavior emerge. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Sand Castles and Dandelions

by Andy Wood on August 18, 2009

in Esteem, Life Currency, Love, Words

A famous writer once described a beach scene where two children, a boy and a girl, were building an elaborate sand castle near the water’s edge.  It had gates and towers and moats and internal passages.  Just when they nearly finished the project, a huge wave tumbled in and knocked the whole thing down.  Instead of bursting into tears because of losing their hard work, the girl and boy ran up the shore from the water, laughing and holding hands, and started work on another castle.

It seems so instinctive to children.  Take the most wonder-filled moments the day has to offer – a castle made of sand, or a dandelion just waiting to be carried by the wind – and look for someone to share it with in love.  But time and age have a way of turning our hearts if we let them.  Castle-building becomes the higher priority, and dandelions become annoying weeds.

Here is the author’s takeaway:

All the things in our lives, all the complicated structures we spend so much time and energy creating, are built on sand… Sooner or later, the wave will come along and knock down what we have worked so hard to build up.  When that happens, only the person who has somebody’s hand to hold will be able to laugh.

sand castlesLike anybody else who’s been around a while, I have my share of regrets.  One of them has been the tendency to walk away from relationships when it was time to “move up the beach and build the next castle.”  Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to have some people in my life who wouldn’t take “Good-bye” as the last word, and that’s a good thing.  Had it been left up to me, that relationship would have faded away.  I’m working on changing that.

In the previous post, I mentioned that even in an isolated prison, the Apostle Paul found a way to stay close to the people he loved.  In particular, he was a master at using words.  All throughout his life and ministry, this man knew just what to say or write to draw people to him, and to Christ.

Maybe we can learn some things from Paul’s example.  Once you know who’s in your heart (or who you’d like to have there), here are some ways to keep them close: [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

CraftsmanshipHaving a son soon?  Still pondering the little guy’s name?  Here’s one for ya – name him after that famous guy in the Bible.  Call him Bezalel.

Here’s the press release from Moses:

See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship; to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work. He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs (Exodus 35:30-36).

Did you see that?  Here was a man who was anointed and pointed, fired and wired by the Holy Ghost!

For construction.  Did you know that God can supernaturally fill you with a love and passion for things that get your hands dirty? [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }