I have been working hard in these months writing The Emotionally Healthy Leader (Zondervan, 2015). The following is a sidebar from a chapter on power and wise boundaries that I trust you will enjoy: Do an honest inventory of the power God has granted you. To be faithful we need to be profoundly aware of the various sources of power God has granted us. We are at risk to use it poorly if we ignore or minimize our power. Unresolved family of origin dynamics that are buried alive resurface when joined with power. The workplace and church are key places where our triggers and “hot buttons” will emerge. Enlist wise counsel to monitor dual relationships. Mentors, therapists, wise elders and mature friends give us perspective and counsel. It is critical we know our limits and defer to others discernment. Watch for early warning signs of danger. People change. We change. The church changes. What works now may not work. Read more.
When we are forced to acknowledge our very limited real control over what happens to us, a “thin” place opens up – one that is filled with spiritual possibilities and gifts. David Benner says it well: “Surrender is simply inner acceptance of what is. There is probably nothing more difficult for humans. But there is also nothing more freeing.” While many demands scream for our attention, I remain convinced the most important thing we do, especially as pastors and leaders, is to surrender our will to His. Towards this end I have been experimenting with a well-known practice known as Welcoming Prayer. It provides a framework for how to respond to something emotionally upsetting with a spirit of surrender. Cynthia Bourgeault describes the three simple movements or steps as follows: 1. Focus on the difficult emotion (e.g. anger, fear, depression, shame). Face it directly and feel it in your body. Don’t try to change. Read more.
The Holy Spirit invites each of us to spaciousness and lightness, “to be a feather in the breath of God” as Hildegaard described it. Jesus described His yoke as “easy and light” (Matt. 11:28). I came out of my 13 week Sabbatical with three very clear invitations from God: to deepen/broaden my prayer life, to write, and to feed His sheep both at NLF and beyond. Yet, after only three weeks back in my “active” routine, I found myself challenged and besieged. The demands were both external and internal. Breaking old habits and developing new rhythms with God is no small task. After one and half days in which I attended too many meetings, talked about too many things, engaged in too many conversations, and ignored my body that was telling me to stop, Ireturned home to “reboot” my life. In order to center I did the following: 1. Meditated on Ps. 130-131. “I. Read more.
“There is a mysterious attraction to interior silence in the depth of our beings. The attraction is like amagnet that draws us to silence.” Thomas Keating. The high point for Geri and I during our Sabbatical was a 10 day Post Intensive Prayer Retreat at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. We had dinner with a group of 23 people, introduced ourselves, and then entered the Grand Silence, one that would last the next 9 days. No talking. No eye contact. Geri and I had just spent a week in the desert of Colorado but this total immersion began to break something up in me that I am still not sure I can describe. It remains a bit inexplicable. Jesus told Peter: “When you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you. Read more.