Obedience is the Hinge Upon Which All Doors Turn

It is an amazing thing to walk with the Living God.

If you have been following me at all you know I am in a few weeks of intentional resting; to help in that endeavour I am now sick these last few days!

Yet things just keep coming together; movement and leading and critical pieces coming into play at CCIM are carrying on regardless.

Continue reading Obedience is the Hinge Upon Which All Doors Turn

What Would It Be? Choose That One Thing To Be About

It is just so easy to be doing busy work. Putting in hours and effort on that which is peripheral to the actual work; postponing the actual work with what I call edge work.

I’m sad to say that I’ve been one of the worst at this. Years back a new connection said to me, what is it that you are about?

He asked this question after looking at the many things I was doing at the time. It was a great question and it often takes a fresh pair of eyes to see what we are chronically blind to ourselves.

Continue reading What Would It Be? Choose That One Thing To Be About

Refusing to Fix

I work with indigenous leaders around the world. Many of them are in third world countries, some of the poorest in the world. Many of these leaders are working amongst the most difficult of circumstances trying to live the love of God to their own people.

Due to difficulties, both the chronic and the unexpected, I am often approached for tangible assistance with the needs facing these pastors and evangelists and early on as we were nailing down the scope of our work at Capturing Courage we were tempted, and tried on a few occasions, to fundraise to meet various needs around the world.

All of these efforts met with dismal failure. We couldn’t even raise $1 to help with a toilet door! And we began to realize that our work is not one of tangible help with the problems at hand, rather we truly are only called to grow leaders in terms of spiritual transformation, emotional wholeness, and in strong leadership skills.

In this and as I continue to work with leaders, those given assignments bigger than themselves, I have really settled this year on the fact that I would be doing them a disservice if my help removed from them their difficulties.

My eyes are wider and my view is broader and I understand like never before that for leaders to be leaders they must be well versed in difficulty. They must in fact be grown in capacity to head into trouble and to creatively look for solutions that are right at hand but often just out of sight.

This inner capacity within each one of us is only grown and strengthened in the face of difficult things. Difficult things grow us up. Our stamina is increased when we learn the love of God in what is the worst.

The ability to carry on, to remain abiding in God no matter what, is a skill all its own and one that must be acquired by leaders if they are going to go successfully forward to which they are called.

For it is not difficulty that undoes us. It is the nagging questions about the presence of God in the midst of these difficulties, these are what really undo us and it is only in difficulty that these questions about God can be fully answered.

Tree roots must go deep in order to withstand storms and it is drought that sends them deep.

What the many who approach me for help don’t know is that I’ve weathered my own many difficulties. I’ve walked a path of strain and faithfulness woven together for many, many years. And while I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face for a lot of that time I now look back and see that those years were the investments years paving the way for the rest of my life’s journey.

The spiritual authority, the leading that I am called to was birthed and nurtured and grown through those most difficult years. And now, as I visit and mentor and pray for leaders be it online or in person or over the phone across oceans I encourage leaders to embrace the difficulties that they are facing.

Are they hard? You bet. Are they crushing? Yes. Are they pushing them to their edge? Yup.

But this place where we end and our Lord begins is the richest place to be. Standing in the tension between faith and all that doesn’t seem to be working is in fact the call of all leaders. For leading is not about telling others what to do. It’s not about organizing building projects or arranging pastors conferences.

Rather, those who truly lead us, showing us the way, do so on the basis of how they themselves have met God. Where has God become real for you? This is where you lead from. And here in the shadow of your own journey others are nurtured and grown and empowered to go forth with strength of their own.

Every capacity a leader grows and allows within is a capacity that all around can catch hold of and make their own.

We need to be capacity building people. And capacity is built in the difficulties. Period.

What satan intends for evil the Lord makes good. What has been robbed from our lives will be replaced many times over. The losses we have experienced are the seed-beds of fruitfulness for others.

Imagine a portion of your heart, the part that all the stress and harm and difficulties go. Imagine that as life goes on and the difficulties surmount that this portion of your heart is stretched out of all proportion. Imagine your heart being stretched by difficulty as hard circumstance after hard circumstance is poured in.

Now, imagine that this portion of the heart can contain just one of two things. It can contain the grumbling, the bitterness, the rushing to fix things, the impatience, the complaining, the disillusionment, the harm, the hatreds, the unforgiveness, the doubts about God, and more.

Or this stretched out part of your heart can be inhabited by the living God. Entering the Lord into our grumbling, into our bitterness, into our rushing to fix things… you get the picture, turns our cauldrons into reservoirs.

And once we have been pruned and threshed with all chaff burnt away we are then in possession of strength and stamina, belief and wisdoms that cannot be taken away. Ever. The solid knowing of our Lord Jesus Christ is a possession that will not rust or decay. And this is how leaders are made.

I don’t rush to fix anyone’s problems any more. I wouldn’t do them the disservice.

A Reinvention

I’ve reinvented myself a few times over. From fearful and shy to settled and leading requires a few changes to one’s inner core along the way.

And as I’m looking ahead at 2014 it occurs to me that another reinvention is necessary. While the foundation is well laid within my own life and the life of Capturing Courage International the necessary and expected increase requires my own growth first and foremost.

This is the same for all of us. What has gotten us to today will not get us to the tomorrows that we want. Each new phase of life requires an expansion within our heart and mind. Our internal capacity is, after all, what grows our life.

My own process of inner growth always begins with identifying the parts of myself that I am not happy with. Where am I holding back? What still frightens me? What parts of my life are still not quite working?

I take hard looks at the outward identifiers of relationships, finances, daily habits, health, and more. What do these tell me? What have I been not wanting to see or admit?

And then I begin asking even more questions:

  • What might growth look like in this area?
  • How might I like that to be?
  • What small changes will create big shifts?
  • If I made one change in this area that would make a difference in all the other areas what might that one thing be?

Key to all of this is refusing to rush to conclusion.

Rather, we hold the questions open for some days, letting them settle in and through all the layers of our being. Questions like these will tap into our inner gut if we refuse to satisfy them too quickly with our own best wisdom.

We gather all possibilities, all brainstorming is laid out, and we wait.

Visioning then begins. How might I like to see myself? What would that particular shift do for me, how would it impact my life?

And in my mind’s eye I see myself with this new skill or that new confidence. I envision the changes I want to see, I may even feel the changes in my emotions and the way my body reacts to things. I then leave my visioning in my mind’s eye. I back away and allow my mind and will to go after what I want. Emergent energy takes over.

This process is easily 50% of the work alone. It is not so much the precursor to work – it is much of the work. Where most rush to change the outward those who take the time to shift the inner picture will end up with growth that sticks.

This is how I’m spending the last days of 2013 – I’m hanging out with myself in the depths of my own thoughts, in curiosity I am questioning, envisioning, and moving towards my own best future.

And as 2014 moves along I’ll add my own best efforts, due diligence, disciplined hours, healthy habits, and hard work to the mix, and we shall see how things have turned out a year from now.

Looking Ahead

We are coming to the end of another year and at this time many of us take stock of what this last year has been about and what we might like the next to be.

I’ve never been one for new years resolutions. Making promises to ourselves about what we will or will not do becomes self defeating most of the time. Better to just do it rather than speak about it.

I prefer to envision who I want to be in the coming year. What shifts within my person would I like to see, what new skills might I like to acquire, and if the year could be marked by something, what might that be?

As I’ve been thinking about this for myself, and really doing a review of my last five years, I realize just how many changes there have been in my life these five years and how everything is now settling out.

So as I look ahead I’m not looking at any large shifts anymore, I’m looking ahead to small, steady incremental strengths and for the many new roots to simply grow deeper in every area of my life.

What I’m really going for in 2014 is to fall in love with myself and my life more than ever before; I want to fully drink in the beauty of this life as I know it.

What about you? What might 2014 be for you?

God Cheers

I’ve two sons and just a couple weeks ago they moved into their first apartment on their own. I’m tickled pink for them.

There is such a contentment and satisfaction and swell of pride as they move out and continue to grow forward in their own lives.

I’m thinking this is exactly the feeling that God has as we step out and into our own lives.

Just as I am cheering for my sons God cheers for us.

Thanks Lord.

Choose Difficulty

Each one of us bear a burden, a passion, a compelling within our beings. this bearing is meant to birth something for others. But for this to happen we must not push away the bearing or give up in the waiting. The waiting time is the investment time. waiting proves our motives and our love, while it also increases the power of the bearing.

If we want to see miracles and transformations in this world then we must take on a bearing for that thing. This is an investment of soul and personal energy, and we must be able to then wait, bearing and investing still, until the time is right to begin harvesting all that was sown.

Continue reading Choose Difficulty