Fear

icebergs

These are the days of a thousand moving parts.  Things will settle soon, as much as things ever actually “settle” for me, but for the last six months we have been in the process of a major interstate move.  We have moved a household, moved a business, and moved more than a few boxes.

Sometimes there are seasons of “transition.”  That doesn’t even begin to describe this.  And what makes it even heavier is that in the past there have been teams of people – people by the dozen – to help with the process.  This time it’s been the two of us, aided by some herculean efforts of some friends and family.

And should I mention today’s news flash?  I ain’t gettin’ any younger.

All of this on top of a regular work schedule that hasn’t waited for anyone or anything.

We all go through seasons like that – thankful that they’re just seasons.  We move.  We welcome new babies into the family.  We change jobs or careers.  We face upheavals at work.  We take on more than we think we can handle.  We are confronted with a fire or destructive weather event.

And all the parts start moving – some of them groaning all the way. [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

Anxiety2

Found myself making a list the other day.  It was really helpful, and I suggest you do the same.  It’ll be good, clean fun. So grab that pen or loosen up those fingers and let’s brainstorm.

Ready?

Make a list of all the things you still don’t know.

Okay, from the sound of those crickets, I’m assuming that may be a bit too broad.  So hone in on one specific area.

The economy? That’s a good one.

Your kids of family?  Excellent.

Your work situation?  Awesome.

Regardless of the venue, when you allow your mind to focus on what you still don’t know because the future is uncertain, you’re giving yourself a heart-engraved invitation to be anxious in the purest sense of the word.  We experience anxiety whenever we are pulled in different directions.  That’s literally what the word means.  Anxiety certainly includes worry, but it isn’t limited to that.  Any emotional impasse can be classified as anxiety.

Recently I was reading the prayer of a really anxious man, and got a whole new perspective on what to do when I’m feeling anxious. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

(Get Out of the Boat, Part 2)

Boat in storm

There’s a 92% chance that nobody will ever criticize you for playing it safe.

There’s an 11 out of 12 probability that when all hell’s breaking loose, it won’t be advisable for you to throw yourself headlong into something even more stressful.

There’s only an 8% likelihood the circumstances, life, people or even God would ever ask you to do something completely unprecedented, electrifyingly dangerous, or humanly impossible.

So you can probably just skip this post and resume your normal activities.

Unless…

Unless today’s that one-in-twelve – or once-in-a-lifetime – kind of day. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

leadership failure

Nobody who takes on a leadership role sets out to blow it.  I’ve never heard of a CEO who dreamed of halving his market share, a pastor who fantasized about getting the right foot of fellowship, or a government leader who longs to go from hero to zero.

But leadership failure happens.  Often. And while it can happen quickly at times, usually there are warning signs.  Unfortunately, most of the time we wait for hindsight to convince us of what foresight and insight have probably been hollering all along.

If you’re a leader, or have the ear of one, you may want to pay attention to these seven warning signals before it’s too late. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Christmas FearIt isn’t “Peace on Earth.”

It isn’t “Good will to men.”

It isn’t “Wise men still seek Him” or “Joy to the world,” true and wonderful as all those things are.

Read through the different accounts of the first Christmas, and the most common thing you will find is a variety of ordinary people like you and me coming to grips with their fears. And the message of Christmas again and again is, “You don’t have to be afraid.” [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

CriticOnce there lived a hard-to please husband whose wife was determined to try her best to satisfy him, if just for one day.

“Darling,” she asked that morning, “What would you like for breakfast? “

He growled, “Coffee and toast, grits and sausage, and two eggs ‑ one scrambled and one fried.”

She soon had the food on the table and waited for a word of praise.  After a quick glance, he exclaimed, “Well, if you didn’t scramble the wrong egg!”

Now that’s hard to please!

Of course, critics are nothing new. As long as people have aspired to rise above the level of the mediocre masses there have been people who attacked their motives for doing so.

As long as people have exhibited qualities of leadership there have been those in positions of power who used verbal attacks, “coaching,” and “constructive criticism” to “keep them in their place” and maintain control.

As long as somebody has offered to try to make something better by (gasp!) changing some things, there have been gossips and fish heads who questioned their right to be there, or anywhere for that matter.

Other than politics, nowhere will you find more criticism than the kind that’s hurled around in the name of God or religion. And if that describes you, I have a message for you:  God just called and He wants His name back. [click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

Water CrownEver see something funny that wasn’t intended to be? When language could be interpreted a bit differently than its original meaning?

Example:  One day when the kids were still at home we were on the way to school and passed a local hotel. In their attempt to be friendly to an industry meeting there, they posted this message on the marquee:  Welcome Pest Control.

Yeah, that’s probably not what you want to see when you’re checking in.

More to-date, once a year I teach a strategic planning class for Crown College – a fine Christian school in Minnesota. Like most schools, Crown has an online system for maintaining accounts, library access, classes and the like. In their case, it’s called “my.crown.”

A few months ago, Jeff, the IT guru there, sent notice that the system was having some technical problems.  The message:  My.Crown is Down.

Go ahead, call me weird. But put in a different context, I just thought that was sorta funny, in a Dr. Seuss kind of way. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

faceplantDid a face plant a couple of weeks ago.  On concrete.  It was ugly, and so was I for a few days.

The irony of the situation was that I was bolting from one meeting to another, with a cross-town drive in-between.  And the place I was in a hurry to?

A radio interview about the mental health of people in the ministry.

I wasn’t exactly expecting to have my own tested in the process.  But that’s the price you pay when you’re trying to move at the speed of light on a sidewalk designed for the speed of pedestrians.

For just a minute I thought I was seeing the light of eternity.  Turns out I was just seeing stars.

Aside from the wounds to my forehead, knees, hands and pride, I did learn a few things, such as what an “orbital nerve” is.  Oh, and that there is more than one kind of black eye.

But the most important thing I was reminded of is that my ability to maintain my rhythm and step in this world of the falling is no comparison to God’s ability to hold me, heal me, and shepherd me home.  Regardless of how I may stumble in a temporal world, in the one that matters most, He won’t let me fall. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

AvoidanceImagine you are going into an office that has two points of entry.  Either door leads into the same large area.  It’s during office hours, so you know both doors are unlocked.  The first door you come to is closed.  The second, a little further down the hall, is open.  Which door do you go in?

I actually had that conversation with someone who challenged me.  We were going down the hallway and I passed the first door – the closed one, and walked in through the open door.

“Why did you do that?” Krista asked.

“Do what?”

“You walked past a perfectly good door to go through the second.”

“Because the second one was open,” I said, a little baffled that someone would actually question that.

“But the first one was closer,” Krista said.  Krista was a high school senior, our next door neighbor, and wonderful babysitter.  She was also literally a genius.  We had lots of deep conversations like this back in the day.

Then I blurted out this little gem of wisdom that revealed a lot more than I planned: [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Earth Apocalypse“The earth is degenerating these days.  Bribery and corruption abound.  Children no longer mind their parents.  Every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.”

Wow.  Not sure how the author of that actual little quotation made the logical leap, but leap he did.  Yes, some dishonest people have their pockets lined to serve the interests of a powerful few.  Do you doubt that?

Yes, children have a mind of their own.  That apple didn’t just fall from the tree and knock us on the head this morning.

Yes, everybody seems to want to write a book these days.  Here’s mine.  You can get it for three bucks.  Please buy it.

But are those our “Shocking Signs of the End of the World?”

Hardly.

Anyway, those pearls of wisdom came from an Assyrian tablet, dated 2,800 B.C.E.

How about this one? [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }