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Tag Archives: listening

Why Can’t We Slow Down?

Slowing down can be terrifying because doing nothing productive leaves us feeling vulnerable, emotional exposed and naked. Overworking hides these feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness, not just from others but also from ourselves. As long as we keep busy, we can outrun that internal voice that says things like: I am never good enough.                   I am never safe enough.                   I am never perfect enough.                   I am never extraordinary enough.                   I am never successful enough. Do you recognize that voice? Far too many of us use workaholism to run from these shaming messages. I count myself among them, though I would consider myself more of a recovering workaholic at this point. When meeting someone for the first time we usually ask, “What do you do?” We ask because, in our time and culture, identity is defined in large part by occupation or job title. It is how we typically define ourselves. Read more.

Why Transformation Takes So Long!

Last week at our two-day EHS Consultant Training, Wendy Seidman shared Bloom’s taxonomy of how people learn to help us understand why it takes so long for individuals and church/ministry cultures to “get” EHS. The following is her adaptation of Bloom’s classic work on the process people need to move through to really “get” something like EHS: 1- Aware. People hear about EHS for the first time (e.g. Sabbath, slowing down, past’s impact on the present, grieving, learning to feel). 2- Ponder. People think about it, trying to understand or sort through issues as they gather more information. At this point they don’t have a clear inclination for or against it. (e.g. They continue reading, listen to messages, go through the EHS Course, learn a few EHS Skills, talk about Sabbath with others). 3- Value. People think it’s important, find value in it, and commit to it, saying, “I really believe in this EHS. Read more.

Patient Leadership

“Impatience is, as it were, the original sin in the eyes of the Lord.  For, to put it in a nutshell, every sin is to be traced back to impatience. I find the origin of impatience in the Devil himself.” Tertullian (160-220 AD) In a brilliant essay entitled “Of Patience,” Tertullian wrestles deeply with a theme we rarely talk about today – i.e. God’s nature to be patient. I have been pondering this essay for the past few weeks, reflecting on the intersection of leadership and patience, especially in my own life. The following are a few challenging quotes from Tertullian’s exegesis of Scripture worthy of prayer and reflection for every one of us in leadership: God allows Himself to become incarnate: in His mother’s womb He awaits (the time of birth) and after His birth suffers Himself to grow into manhood, and, when an adult, shows no eagerness to become known, but bears. Read more.

Removing the Clutter

Etty Hillesum, a Dutch Jew, knew she was about to be sent to a concentration camp. In A Life Interrupted, she describes how she knew she could only take with her one small backpack to sustain her as she entered hell. In her mind, she pondered and planned, mentally packed and unpacked that small bag, before finally deciding on a Bible, a volume of favorite poems by Rilke, a bottle of aspirin, an extra sweater, and a chocolate bar. Etty struggled to define what was valuable to her, and what would sustain her on her journey. A stripping-down, a letting-go was inevitable as transport to the death camp came closer. If we are going to have an interior life, out of which we lead, it demands we limit what is in our knapsack, or backpack. Not knowing how to listen to our interior world puts us, our family, and the people we lead in. Read more.

Removing the Clutter

Etty Hillesum, a Dutch Jew, knew she was about to be sent to a concentration camp. In A Life Interrupted, she describes how she knew she could only take with her one small backpack to sustain her as she entered hell. In her mind, she pondered and planned, mentally packed and unpacked that small bag, before finally deciding on a Bible, a volume of favorite poems by Rilke, a bottle of aspirin, an extra sweater, and a chocolate bar. Etty struggled to define what was valuable to her, and what would sustain her on her journey. A stripping-down, a letting-go was inevitable as transport to the death camp came closer. If we are going to have an interior life, out of which we lead, it demands we limit what is in our knapsack, or backpack. Not knowing how to listen to our interior world puts us, our family, and the people we lead in. Read more.

Finding Your Voice

  One of our key tasks as Christian leaders is to do the kind of interior work so that we find our own voice i.e. the voice God has given us for the world. That is no small task. This has been a life message of my mentor, Leighton Ford, over the last 30 years. When I was with him last month, he shared this wonderful poem by Mary Oliver. It has served as a rich companion to my meditation on Jesus as He bravely launched His ministry and resisted the Evil One (Matt.3-4). Too many people never find their own voice and simply repeat the things they have heard for their entire lives. Too many of us don’t lead as a result. May God give us grace to be brave and let our voices be heard. Take some time and prayerfully read this lovely poem. Then go back and read Matthew 3:13-4:11 and. Read more.