We (Geri and Pete) recently watched a movie that we have talked about for days – Temple Grandin. The movie describes her life as an autistic young girl who courageously overcomes the limitations and severe challenges of life with autism in the 1960’s when so little was understood about it. She goes on to high school and college, and today is a professor at Colorado State University. Through the telling of her life with autism, Temple gives to the world numerous gifts. Two of those gifts, in particular, resonated deeply with two of our foundational spiritual practices. 1.We Each Need a “Squeeze Machine.” Temple created this “hug box” or “squeeze machine” to help calm her down as a hypersensitive, autistic person when overwhelmed. We too know what it is like to have our nervous system overloaded by the crisis of life. Every one of us needs a means to calm us down and to. Read more.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love (John 15:9). I have just concluded an active season, more active than I would have liked. I am sobered how easily, through one or two new commitments, the pace of my life quickened. Rushing increased. My anxiety level heightened. I struggled to remain thoughtful. Contemplative Leadership of ourselves, out of which we lead others, is challenging. I have to remind myself of the following four guidelines that are indispensable if I am “to remain in His love.” 1. Do One Thing At A Time— For me this means being present in every meeting, whether it is in worship, a one-on-one mentoring time, answering an e-mail, or watching my daughter’s track meet. This means limiting e-mail to fixed times during the day and not trying to squeeze more into the day than God intends. 2. Honor Transitions– Taking time between meetings at church is very difficult but key. Read more.
I just completed an Updated/Expanded version of The Emotionally Healthy Church that is to be released in February, 2010. So this led me to quite a bit of reflection on what is the process for pastors and leaders to engage EHS, especially now that 30+ churches (as of last spring) have finished the Church-wide initiative. 1. Begin the Journey The most important thing we can do is to engage the message in our own lives, and to apply personally the powerful biblical themes explored in this book. Begin reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Nelson, 2006) and/or The Emotionally Healthy Church (Zondervan, 2003 and 2010). Remember, we lead out of who we are. 2. Introduce to Leadership (EHS in Small Group) Gather a small group of your key leaders around The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Workbook (Willow Creek Publishing, 2009) and begin providing an experience for your leaders to “go beneath the tip-of-the-iceberg” in. Read more.
Geri and I have been working on her book, “I Quit”, since last summer. One to our themes relates to overfunctioning. Most of us in leadership struggle with this, including myself. Like an archeological tell, the depth of the issue only becomes clearer with time. Overfunctioning can be defined as: doing for others what they can and should do for themselves. One way to remind yourself to settle down and wait upon the Lord and His timing is to remember the following five principles: 1. Overfunctioning disguises itself as caring Martha disguised her overfunctioning as caring for the needs of others. In trying to accomplish too much, she lost sight of herself and her guest – Christ Himself! She offered hospitality at the expense of herself. She confused caring about someone with having to take care of them. 2. Overfunctioning perpetuates immaturity In Exodus 18, Moses mistakenly believed his self-sacrifice was serving the people. In actuality, he became the largest obstacle,. Read more.
I am often asked what I do for my Daily Offices. The answer is not too complex. I generally pause 3-4x a day – morning for a longer period, midday, evening and compline (right before going to bed). I have been meditation on and praying the psalms now for over 3 and a half years, using the schedule found in the end of the Book of Common Prayer. (I have also made it available as a download from our resources at the EHS and NLF website). I don’t keep to the daily schedule with dates but just keep moving along day by day. I think it works out to praying through the Psalter every 5-6 weeks. This is my bread and butter. I generally will take 2 ten to twenty minutes blocks of silence somewhere in my offices (almost always in the morning). I almost always have a devotional handy (like the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Read more.