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.
For years I heard the maxim: “Hire to your weaknesses.” A more important truism, however, might be: “Hire to minimize your toxicity.” I used to idealize gifted leaders who were “successful,” projecting on them a weight they could not bear. Getting close up to them always revealed their “dark” side, their limitations, and their toxicity. I found out they too were sinners, deeply impacted by the Fall just like me. What can we do then? None of us wants to unleash our toxicity into the organizations and communities we lead. Here are three suggestions: 1. Grow in Self-awareness. Ponder. Reflect. Invite feedback. Slow down to listen and ask questions. My 22 year old recently commented on the way I took for granted the time of a young New Life staff person who was waiting to meet with me. After defending myself for a few minutes, the Holy Spirit quietly whispered, “Shut up and listen.” I. Read more.
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153 AD) was the greatest Christian leader in Western Christendom in the 12th century. He was a very active abbot with a “sphere of influence” over tens of thousands throughout Europe. I spent a good part of my annual retreat last week pondering just one of the insights from his sermons on the Song of Songs — that our thirst for God, and His love, only increases through eternity! All I could think of was what a contrast this was to the leadership seminars and books we promote in our day. Bernard writes that in heaven: We find satiety (i.e. the state of being full beyond the point of satisfaction) without the sense of having indulged too much. We find a desire to penetrate deeper that which is never quenched, yet which has no sense of unrest about it. We experience the eternal and incomprehensible desire that knows no. Read more.
How is our trip going? It is a bit complex to give an easy answer, but the following are a few ponderings. 1. We have deep rhythms of silence and solitude that we need to acknowledge. See my previous blog for more on this. What does an “emotionally healthy, global partnership tour” look like? What are the unique factors that have to be built in – at least for us? How does the gift of limits apply to Geri and I as we step into this new arena? 2. We cannot develop and release a movement of EHS abroad – it must be God’s doing, not ours. There is great expectation for the movement of EHS as it continues to spread. We will continue to offer our few loaves and fishes, (Ps. 127) as a mustard seed and let Him take care of the rest. It is a wonder that a number of churches and denominations were. Read more.
Emotionally healthy spirituality requires you to go through the pain of the Wall, or, as the ancients called it, “the dark night of the soul.” Circumstances and crisis beyond our control interrupt our plans. Chapter 6 of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality unpacks this theme, but a further insight has emerged for me over the years. It comes from someone who spent a lifetime in prayer and silence, a French Carthusian monk, Augustin Guillerand (1877–1945): Someone (God) wounds our soul with a wound that will never heal, and it is through that wound that He finds His way to the very center of our being. Ponder this today as you walk through your own setbacks, disappointments, and difficulties. Think about it: How else can God peel away the hard layers of our false selves in order to free us?
Patience is a form of wisdom. Some things must unfold in their time. A child that rushes a baby chick to hatch ultimately kills it. The straining and process of birthing is God’s way to prepare the chick to survive into adulthood. In the same way, God rewires and forms us into our true selves in Christ, burning out that which does not belong to Him, through our slow sufferings and struggles. God’s process cannot be hurried. As Rilke says: “Have patience with everything that is unsolved in your heart, and try to cherish the questions themselves. Perhaps one day… gradually… you will live right into the answer.” Move towards your goals, but with a sacred patience. Prayerfully ponder the questions to which you have no answers. He will lead you into the answers.