The Best Life

Transcending the Places that Hold You

12 December 2014

Aragorn: What do you fear, my lady?
Eowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.

“It is very important to transcend the places that hold you.” – Rubin Carter, in The Hurricane

There are only a few things that have ever really scared me.

  • The selfishness of my heart.
  • That I might not be worth loving.
  • That my love for others was fraudulent.
  • That I might disappoint God.
  • Injustice towards my children.

These have each taken turns possessing my attention, consuming my spirit. I have been, and though my spiritual muscle has been beefed up through use, continue to be vulnerable to them.

They come and go, in decreasing intensity, as my days go by. I hate them, but they have also become my friends, my most faithful allies in ushering me to my place, on my knees, before God.

But there is one fear that is ever-present. It eats at me consistently, and it is my best of friends, my most loyal ally in keeping the fire of love burning between me and my Maker. It stirs me to belief and action when I look it in the eyes, and it stares at me awaiting my attention when I momentarily ignore it to settle in and watch TV.

It is my fear of contentment.

There is a good kind of contentment. It is other-worldly, and captured by a verse in a book that chose me long ago, written by a man who has been dead over 2000 years, but is still teaching me: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Paul, in Philippians 4:13

That contentment does not scare me. That is the kind I crave. A capacity to be and live the same wherever I am, with whoever I am with, in whatever circumstance, doing everything that I should do, no matter what, because of His strength.

It is the bad kind of contentment that I fear. It is captured by another verse in that book: “We do not want you to become lazy , but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. We want you to show diligence to the very end.” – Heb 6:11-12

I can see it so clearly, even as I sense most others around can’t, or won’t, mostly because they don’t have or make the time to acknowledge it. I feels a bit like Neo and his crew in the Matrix, surrounded by people living busy, hurried, even good lives, but oblivious that they are mindlessly subscribing to a system that is designed to keep them asleep… or content.

I fear being content with that system. The system woos me. It courts me. It invites me to submit, to comply, even offering to slap some Christian labels on me that I might enjoy, and just enough difficulty to feel like I’m a martyr for Christ, without really being one. It’s like it knows me.

But my fear of contentment keeps me going. It keeps me believing. It keeps me dreaming. It keeps me rebelling, creating, insisting, and moving. It keeps me loving.

I do NOT want to lose that fear, and I am in more danger of it than I have ever been, because I have the choice to make my current spot very comfortable, and that is seductive. But if I drop nicely into this system, and I allow use or old age to make me accept them, I would be dead already without even knowing it.

And ignorance would be “bliss”. That is why it is tempting.

But it would not be life. That is why I’m grateful for my friend… my fear of it.

It is very important to transcend the places that hold you. The only perk that I can think of that an actual prison has is that it is clearly visible, and its dangers overt and obvious. The invisible one that all of us live in, not so much.

I have no bow to tie this piece up with, even though it is Christmas. I write it as a warning, and it is not for you.

It is for me.

I Wish Christmas Created This in Our Kids

5 December 2014

You know… because Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and stuff like that.

 

 

 

The Life of a “Believer”

3 December 2014

“Whether you were born within the trappings of a world system with all of its assumptions, or within the trappings of a religious system with all of its self-declared other-worldliness, the life and message of Jesus is your salvation. He is the way out for your soul, the truth that will free your mind, and the life that your heart is longing for.” – Yours Truly

If you can look at the world and religion and see the the beauty and fraud in them both…

If you can look at the atheist and theist and see their common plight…

If you can see the good in the bad…

If you can look for truth to live by, rather than error to point out, ridicule, or criticize…

If you can offer your heart vulnerably, be hurt, attacked, accused, betrayed, or abused, and then offer it once again…

If you can have faith when no circumstance in sight justifies it…

If you can maintain hope with none agree there is any…

If you can persistently love those who will never return it to you…

If you can rid yourself of all sarcasm…

If you can trust because you  value your practice of it more than the reliability of its object…

If you can bear with the ones who will never overcome their struggles…

If you can see all women as mothers, sisters, and daughters…

If you can see all men as fathers, brothers, and sons…

If you can see yourself in every sinner and in every saint…

If you can face your fears when you have the option not to…

If you can choose suffering to relieve others, and boldly ask others to do the same…

If you can see both extravagant praise and malicious ridicule as poison for your soul…

If you can see the most vile and the most noble of people as equals…

If you can exhaust yourself in loving without losing your peace,  joy, and rest,

And if you can hear the still, small voice of God within you and heed it each time, regardless of where it leads or what it costs…

…then eternity has filled your heart, dear one,

Spirit has swallowed up Law,

the Kingdom has come for you,

and you have entered the life that Christ purchased for you,

the life Christ lived, and now lives in you,

and you, only you, can rightly be called a Believer.

It is a life of tears, but not despair.

It is a life of sacrifice, but also abundance.

It is a life of pain, but with unspeakable joy attached to it.

In this life, the life of a believer,

All things work for good and therefore are good.

All things are redeemed, and therefore valuable and sacred.

So in this life, the life of a believer,

The whole world is their inheritance,

They walk it humbly, but as kings, co-heirs with Christ.

The Great Invitation – Being vs. Doing

19 November 2014

“When I was focused on doing God’s work, I was fast-paced and exasperated, accomplishing much. When I focused on being God’s man, I became peacefully and refreshingly busy.” – Yours Truly

We in Christian circles are familiar with what we call the Great Commission of Christ in Matthew 28 that exhorts us to go and make disciples of Jesus. We are equally familiar with what we call the Great Commandment of Christ in Matthew 22, which exalts love for God and neighbor above all else.

These are defining words out of the mouth of Jesus for anyone who would claim to follow Him. At least they should be. And they should become noticeably defining characteristics in those same people, or it would be right to question their stated association to the name of Christ.

Okay, so there is that.

But there are some other words, recorded in another verse, that I believe are equally worthy of our attention. Worthy of our lives. Vital, even, should we desire to live anywhere close to the Great Commission and Great Commandment lifestyle. As a matter of fact, it is the ignorance of these words that may explain how it is that many professed Christ followers fail to the live a life that is marked by a Great Commandment loving demeanor or a Great Commission disciple-making fruitfulness.

I realize I may not be the first to do so, but I don’t know anyone who has, so I’d like to call it the Great Invitation. And it is found in Matthew 11, and like the Commandment and the Commission, is spoken by Jesus himself.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Notice that just as there are two commands in the Great Commandment, there are two (maybe even three) invitations in the Great Invitation, both of which promise rest. It is Andrew Murray who pointed out to me that the first invitation is to come to Jesus, and that by doing so, there is an immediate gift of rest for the weary. There is an initial burden lifted. It could be argued that the very meaning of “coming to Jesus” in an initial way is to receive his offer to unburden yourself of responsibility for the heavy weight of sin and put it on his shoulders (The relief I feel just by typing it is palpable!).

Invitation #2, Murray taught me, is to take the “yoke” of Jesus, and to learn from him. Jesus is inviting us to become his students, his scholars. He is inviting us to apply our attention to who he is, how he is, and what he says, and not merely for education’s sake. He is literally promising a transformation into a life of even deeper rest (“for your souls,” he says this time). But only if we become master students of his. And just in case someone wants to disqualify themselves as not good “mastery” material, Jesus ends the invitation by saying that his “yoke” is easy, and his burden is something that the most feeble of people can carry.

The order of these Great Things matters. The Great Invitation is listed by Matthew long before the Great Commandment, which is likewise listed long before the the Great Commission. Don’t think it matters? Well, just try to go and make disciples of Jesus without first developing a deep heart of love for God and others and see how long you last. Or just try to develop that deep heart of love without giving the burden of your sins to Jesus, or without becoming his pupil, and see how long you last. Yes, the order matters. Way too much damage has been done to the name of Jesus by churches that try to make disciples from something other than a heart of love. And way too much weariness, discouragement, and despair has come to individuals who try to maintain authentic love for God and people when they have not yoked themselves up with Jesus, abiding with and in him, and (most importantly) he in them.

The order matters, but the order of these “Greats” is not the headline for me in this post, it is the number of them. The proclamation I’m making today, is that I have been guilty of promoting the Great Commission/Great Commandment lifestyle without properly elevating the enabler of them both – the Great Invitation. Not consciously, of course, and perhaps many of my hearers have assumed the Invitation when I’ve spoken of the Commandment and the Commission. But no more will I fail to elevate Matthew 11 to the status of Matthew 22 and 28.

Why? I don’t want to “make” a bunch of exasperated “doers.” I want to co-create with Christ the making of disciples. When someone is focused on “being” a disciple, they will “do” plenty, but without the burden of feeling like they are the savior, and it all rides on them.

May we who follow Christ life the Great Invitation, Great Commandment, Great Commission life. And may those of us who play any part in leading church families lead them into being Great Invitation, Great Commandment, Great Commission churches.

God help us.

Wounds and God’s Glory, Love and God’s Face

30 May 2014

“To genuinely love another person is to see the face of God.” – Victor Hugo

“In my deepest wound I saw your glory, and it dazzled me.” – Augustine of Hippo

If the above quotes are true, then I saw God’s face, and His glory, last week.

A priceless part of my annual sabbatical has been the practice of going to Houston and moving in with my friend and mentor for a few days of going with him where he goes, joining him in what he does.

Jim is one of the few people I know, perhaps the only one, who has a life where something like this is possible.

And while many people I know have lives that are worthwhile, none but Jim have one with whom I would do this.

Why?

Because every single moment spent with Jim is spent with people. Further, these people are with Jim in order to discover how to “take the mask off,” discard it, and excavate Christ who resides within them.

And I get invited to join.

Join what, you may ask? The experience of truth community, inexhaustible grace, and rock bottom introspection. The experience of hope in life after death, and just as powerful, in life after wounds (emphasis on the word experience).

I get to parachute in and engage with folks who I have parachuted in on before and reunite around our shared desire for life, and I get to meet some brand new folks who have joined in on the journey. And here is the kicker – even though I am a stranger or infrequent visitor to them – I am welcomed in.

All the way in. I am welcomed in to the messiness and woundedness of their lives, and at a level that demands the messiness and woundedness of mine. I am loved, outrageously, and I am called to love, outrageously.

And right there… in that space… I see the face of God in them, and the glory of God in me.

You can probably tell that I’m struggling to find words to describe this experience. I can do no better than the ones I list below. These words describe what I saw, what I experienced, and what I appreciated most, from the moment I stepped off the plane to the one where I stepped back on:

Dad, Anne, Jake & Heather, Jim, Kate, Jeff & Stacy & Jace, Bruce, Teresa, Chad & Liz, John, Jason, Kathy, Pam, George, Taffy, Michelle, Renay, Laura, Mary, Karuna, Carly, Sue, Wayne, Braveheart, Taylor, Jeffrey, Don, Joe, Jason, Kevin & Amanda, Loren, Sarai, Ryan, Kathy, Aaron, Jennifer, Blake, and JT. And then bonus! More time with Dad, followed by a day of bliss with Ashley, Drew, Jackson, Grayson, and Andy. And then bonus of bonuses, it was all capped off by Kacy.

I saw the face of God. I saw His glory.

It was an experience of life and it required nothing and everything of me. Just as Jesus told me it would when he said that to find my life, I must lose it.

As I sit here closing this out, thinking of who and what Jim is to me, desiring to replicate the same kind of life, community, and fruit that he does, I received this blessing from a friend who really works hard to “see me” – and I finish this piece with it to honor who Jim is to me, and as a proclamation of love for the world that this is what I want to be in it and towards it. (And thank you, GM. You fuel my spirit)…

“’The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.’ Therefore, Brian, you sir are a hero and a saint.”

 

 

“Taking” My 10th Sabbatical

29 May 2014

“You dare not give up the stability of your life that is ‘hid with Christ in God’ for anything – no matter how great and worthy the purpose – for it would be the death of you.” – a still, small voice inside of me

”For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3

I’m smack dab in the middle of a 3-week “sabbatical,” or break, from my normal duties, my tenth since being with the Southwest church family in Amarillo, TX.

When I was leaving the West Houston church family after 14 years of loving a city through a student ministry to love another city through a church ministry, the team that had been discerning with me about this most unlikely move sent me “an offer.”

Included in it was an annual 3-week long “sabbatical.” This was on top of vacation.

I received it as an awesome gesture of the leadership’s heart, but had no intentions of ever planning on “taking it.” It seemed luxurious, extravagant, unfair, unproductive, inefficient, burdensome on others, and wrong. But I was surrounded by voices that spoke positively and encouraging about it, and by a leadership that without my permission planned it into my calendar.

There I was, in 2005, with three full weeks of not being able to hide my lack of connection to God with the excuse, “I don’t have time.”

I wish the dilemma on everyone.

Ten years and many such experiences later, these 3-weeks now seem necessary, death-defying, communally beneficial, ministry quality improving, equipping of others, and right.

What I wouldn’t have done if it was left up to me ten years ago, I wouldn’t do without if it is left up to me now.

It is interesting watching the reactions of those around me who hear of this annual blessing that must be simultaneously “given” and “received” to be had.

It triggers satisfaction in some, ranging from declarations like “That is beautiful,” to “That is so good.” On the extreme, it has triggered tears of gratitude and disbelief, tapping into some deep wounding that has come from the burnout that they or someone they love had experienced.

In others it triggers bitterness, ranging from comments like “Must be nice,” to silent head turns of envy. On the extreme, it has triggered anger towards me, with overt invitations to give it up so as to not make those who do not have such a blessing not feel slighted.

I used to receive the former folks eagerly as affirmation that I’m doing the right thing “taking it”  each year. And I used to take the latter defensively, either making plans in my head to “not take it” to prove my sensitivity to others, or making lists in my head defending why I should or had the right to.

I say I “used to” do those things, but I still do both, just not with quite the intensity that I used to (perhaps this post is actually me doing it once again unwittingly. God knows, I must let it go).

But I am learning that any attempt to live the life of Christ always be in holy rebellion against, and in stark contrast to, thousands of societal rules, even among Christians, so that when something like an annual sabbatical, even when offered, will always get the occasional response of “how dare you take that.”

But at this point in my life, I dare not give it up. Without often withdrawing to solitary places to pray, to be still and know that God is God, to learn that His Kingdom runs and advances without me running and without me intentionally advancing it, and that He loves me, not because of my work, but simply because He is love, I would not last a minute. I must be conquered by God’s love, not by God’s work, in a world that values, rewards, respects, and justifies those who die busy.

I’ve already died that death. Busyness killed me once. That was quite enough.

Now my life is hidden with Christ in God.

If the peaceful, joyful, righteous, relational life He promises is merely an idea that I speak of in the midst of a frantic, stressful, fast-paced life of busyness, I’m offering the world nothing of value at best, a false gospel at worst.

Writing Down a More Beautiful Life

14 April 2014

“Write down the revelation.” – Habakkuk 2:2

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the crazy outgoing guts to do it, and the vivid imagination to improvise as you go.  The worst enemy to creativity and excellence is ‘stuck-ness’ caused by self-consciousness and self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

I have not taken the time to write much as of late. And the quote above from Sylvia confronts me in this. I have just not had the “crazy outgoing guts to do it,” having allowed myself to settle into a “stuck-ness” caused by an unhealthy self-consciousness (cleverly disguised as a healthy self-awareness) and an debilitating self-doubt (cleverly disguised as humility).

I have some very good excuses for not writing much, all of which are unarguable and easily defendable, but I will spare you them, because, if you go but one thin layer underneath, this is not about that.

If my writing is about a selfless sharing of my life, and about the raw need to keep it real, and about my desire to improve on the truth that I have found in order to adopt what is truer, then there is no excuse that can satisfy my own spirit.

No one can “hold me accountable” to writing. There is no moral imperative they can appeal to, no literal life and death that they can point towards, nothing so detrimental about “not writing” that they can show me, no “job description” that I was hired to do that can be threatened. Not to mention that any effort at offering accountability for anything is more than easily dismissed by the one being “held.”

You can’t make an elephant move by saying it must, or should. The elephant must want to move.

And we are all elephants.

So I must do the work of wanting to write. I must be about the journey of attributing it some sort of value, if there is indeed any to be had. Any use that it has for others is nice, and sometimes encouraging. But that is not enough. Having a witness or two to my life interested just enough to read about it is important to most. But it’s not enough to keep writing either.

Ultimately, I have some lonely work to do that can only be done by myself and God.

He and I alone must wrestle about meaning. About life. About ease and suffering, and when each is called for. About potential vs. kinetic energy within me. He and I alone must wrestle. He against me, and me against me. I’m grateful that He and I are on the same side, because it will take both to subdue the part of me that is growing old enough to not care anymore. To not try anymore.

I don’t want to not care. And I don’t want to not try. But the gravity toward it is so strong. And I’m scared to mess something up, at this point, by acting too boldly.

You all get that this is not about writing, yes? I do. I totally get it.

But for me, today, it is the useful prop that God is using as a heart-excavating probe. You have one, too, if you’ll just have the guts to see it.

So I cannot speak for tomorrow… but today, when I didn’t feel like writing, I wrote. This is God and I warring against the part of me that would just as soon go about life doing the bare minimum, or just hurriedly meet the many demands coming my way so that I can justify myself from any sort of higher calling, or just do the house chores while watching TV and call it being a good husband while getting others to agree with me, and then calling it a day.

This is personal. It always is. I can write about it, but there is a part of it that cannot be shared. It can only be known, and explored, and exploited by me and God. It is our work to do. It is our battle against not caring. Against not trying. Against not dying before I actually die.

It is a battle against not loving.

May God help us.

Underneath My New Mask

10 April 2014

“To the doubting and afraid, there is no vision.” – Your Truly

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Old Proverb

There are certain things that can stop me. Vulnerabilities of mine have never stopped surfacing and re-surfacing all my life, although they come in new disguises, sneaking in through new circumstances. In the past, they have been obvious and large, and therefore pretty easy to spot, and through practice I have learned to steel myself against them. I am at a place now where they are subtle, unnoticeable to anyone, oftentimes to myself. These new-old enemies are hidden not behind a good and productive life, but within it.

Doubt and fear are their names.

In my life, doubt disguises itself as humility, and fear as wisdom. Since I have a strong desire to be both humble and wise, I’m very vulnerable to doubt and fear stealing my life for long periods of time without me noticing.

My dad was a US Marine. He also has a limited version of color blindness that had him always asking me and my brothers whether two dress socks matched or not. This color blindness, somehow, gave him the ability to spot a shooter out in the brush who was wearing camouflage. He said his commanding officer, when scanning the horizon would say, “Mashburn! Front and center!” My dad would look where everyone else had and seen nothing, and then point and say, “Right there.” Identified and exposed, of course, this meant doom for the enemy.

I want that ability with my new versions of fear and doubt.

I remember a student in my youth ministry that was dating a guy who was bad to her, proving himself incapable of loving her, to the point of physical abuse. But even with this unquestionable and inexcusable behavior to clearly point at, my young friend suffered from doubt and fear. She doubted whether the boy’s behavior was her own fault, and she feared losing him for a variety of (false) reasons.

Her doubt and fear blinded her. She could not see the simple truth. And she was perishing.

One day, she found enough courage to speak the truth meekly to me, who got to play the role of “trustworthy, truth-telling friend” (Side note: my desire to have these makes this role one of my favorites). It was just enough for truth to come rushing in, which brought with it sight, filling within her a brand new reservoir of bravery.

Sight and bravery! I pause here as I write, moving to a place of worship. The thought is breathtaking to me, for whenever I’ve seen (or been) a person with these, the Kingdom comes. Goodness falls with a earthshaking crash. Evil is confronted, fear no longer strong enough to stop it. Ahhh…sight and bravery.

I went with her to his house, and though I offered to do it, she wanted to ring the doorbell and face her fear herself (wisdom), though she promised to not step inside the house out of my sight (humility). The return on facing her doubt and fear? Nothing short of a brand new life.

We all need people playing the role of “trustworthy, truth-telling friend” on occasion, especially when we are first learning these secrets to life, but as we make a habit of overcoming doubt and fear, and we become more addicted to sight and bravery, we have a ever-growing need to become our own trustworthy, truth-telling friend. 

Of course, we will still need others. But I am learning that I am in ever-increasing measure needing the integrity to do it myself, because with experience in overcoming, come new skills in hiding. Hiding becomes easier, and we become adept at doing it in plain sight of everyone, appearing to not be hiding at all. And as always, there are plenty of people around to conspire with us, agreeing with us, joining us in our delusion that we are doing and being and becoming all that we are supposed to be.

Are you doing and being and becoming all that you are supposed to be?

Others can tell you whether they think you are or not, but for someone to do that proactively and effectively is rare. It is a bit more possible when you take it upon yourself to invite others to tell you, but even then it is rare to find someone who will, because few are skilled at it, let alone willing, and the request is so uncommon.

We swim in a whole culture where fear and doubt are disguised as humility and wisdom.

So… here is to my continuing adventure at becoming someone who is able to look at the landscape of my “good life” and spot the “camouflaged shooters” of doubt and fear.

I welcome any and all who want to join me.

The Do-Gooder’s Battlefield

31 July 2013

“To be doing good deeds is man’s most glorious task.” – Sophocles

“For we are God’s workmanship , created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – St. Paul 

The first battle that must be won for a person to become an unstoppable force for good is the battle over self.

From the moment we are born, we are concerned with, consumed by, and communicating what we perceive to be our needs and wants. Sometime between birth and the successful arrival of a person as good, he or she has come to grips with this truth and overcome it.

The second battle that must be won for a person to become an unstoppable force for good is the battle over pride.

Ironically, this is a second battle over self. Doing good has this incredible tendency of making you feel good, and on top of that, it gets you a lot of praise from others, which also feels good. As a result, it is difficult to not end up finding your value from these things. This makes the doing of good a means of feeling good about yourself, making it prideful. Some get stuck here, becoming masters at doing just enough good to feel good and/or impress others. But many realize their doing of good has ceased to be for good, and they overcome pride.

The third battle that must be won for a person to become an unstoppable force for good is the battle over effectiveness.

For statisticians or capitalists who require a good return for their labor, becoming an unstoppable force for good is not possible. The doing of good is the do-gooder’s reward, not the results. By definition, if you require a good return, then you will be stoppable in your doing of good if there is not a good return.

The fourth battle that must be won for a person to become an unstoppable force for good is the battle over judgmentalism.

Nothing stops a do-gooder quicker than his or her own judgment of the worthiness of a recipient. Do-gooders do not judge the worthiness of recipients, they assume the worthiness of a recipient. This allows him or her to never waste energy discerning whether to do good or not, and directs it towards what is the good that needs to be done.

The fifth battle that must be won for a person to become an unstoppable force for good is the battle over self-martyrdom.

Even though a do-gooder knows he or she cannot do all the good that needs to be done in the world, they do want to feel like they are doing all that they can do, so each one seems to go through a season (if they trust a guide, it is shorter, but for most, it is horribly long) where they say yes to just a bit more than they can or should or are called to handle. Do-gooders are paradoxically strong and fragile, able to maintain a decent performance at “too much” for long periods of time, the cost being their inward peace, their emotional steadfastness, their physical health, and their energy for God and loved ones. The payoff of this self-inflicted, just-over-the-edge-but-sustainable schedule is the ability to say with (delusional) confidence, “I am doing all I can,” pointing to their self-martyrdom as their proof. Burnout and bitterness is the inevitable result of this, and it must be conquered if one wants to be a life-long doer of good.

The sixth battle that must be won for a person to become an unstoppable force for good is the battle over diminishment.

Many do-gooders feel under-qualified, or dis-qualified, to do good. What’s more, there is usually at least one “foe” who will be glad to validate and even try to prove that this is true. Doing good, however, is never a matter of qualification, but willingness. There may be certain good things that a person needs that you can’t do, but there is never nothing good for you to do for them (even if it is sometimes the doing of “nothing” – which it often is). There is a fine line between humility and diminishment, and do-gooders become masters at separating them.

The sixth battle that must be won for a person to become an unstoppable force for good is the battle over demand.

Life long, unstoppable do-gooders naturally become very good at doing good. At some point, a tipping point is reached, and opportunities for doing good, that he or she used to search for eagerly, not come knocking, calling, and emailing, most all of them legitimate and worthy. Add to that, the ideas of brand new ways to do good start rushing into the do-gooders imagination, each one possible needing a lifetime of investment to pursue, develop, and leave behind as a legacy. Many do-gooders shrink back at this point, drowning in opportunity, paralyzed in inability to prioritize one above another. The strategies for doing so are almost as numerous as there are do-gooders, but if they are to be unstoppable, they win this battle somehow, someway.

I’m certain there are many other battles ahead that I have yet to experience, and some current that I have yet to identify. Anyone have some?

Hello, World

4 April 2013

“When awaking from a deep slumber, forces conspire in opposition.

It takes courage to wake up, fortitude to get out of the proverbial bed.

The bliss of the moments between sleep and awareness are seductive,

We want them to last, and when they must end, we want them to end with more sleep.

Those eager to wake up are motivated by one of two things: driven-ness, or life.

The former wake one up from a place of resigned, robotic desperation…

…desperate to succeed.

…desperate to not disappoint.

…desperate to maintain.

…desperate to impress.

But the latter, those who awake for life, full life, those are the pure in heart.

They see God.

…in all circumstances.

…in all people.

…in creation.

…in themselves.

May I see God? May I be pure in heart? Oh, how superior this sounds.

You have tasted life from the dead place of sleep walking. And you have tasted life from the living place of purity.

It was when you were young. You woke to each day saying hello to it, welcoming it, and offering yourself shamelessly, creatively, moment-by-moment, with eyes twinkling and wide open. I did not need to look or feel grand, it just was, and you knew it and embraced it as a child.

The Kingdom of Heaven can not be enjoyed, will not be yours to enjoy, unless you change and become like children.

- from the pen of Yours Truly, effortlessly, with wonder about what it means

 

I took my daughter to breakfast this morning, and we shared both roaring laughter and tender tears. She is the real deal, engaging in life, dealing with her surroundings, learning about her emotions and the hearts and wounds of others. And God.

Part of the roaring laughter (and somehow the catalyst for the above piece), was this video she spontaneously made yesterday. I still can’t stop laughing, watching the combination of her using her creative, story-telling mind and her mom’s creative, visual-altering software:

 

“Nikki” complaining about “Chlorine” stealing her boyfriend

Have a fully alive day.

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