Unexpected Maturity

I’m the proud Nana to another baby boy. Kaison was born almost two weeks ago and like all babies has already tucked into our hearts just like that.

With the exception of his older and slower to adjust big-brother Dorian.

Now Dorian is a mere 15 months old, and has been the sole benefactor of his sweet mamma’s attention. Until now.

Day One found Dorian taking in this wee bundle with sidelong glances. That evening he sat on his Mamma’s lap touching Kaison’s ear and hair as baby nursed. All was appearing to be well.

Until the next morning.

Upon waking, and seeing that baby was still there and nursing as before, Day Two found Dorian in a well of tears and meltdown and despair. He spent the rest of that morning refusing to have anything to do with Mamma. He wouldn’t look at her, wouldn’t hug her, was simply angry.

Each morning thereafter, Days Three to Eight, was a repeat. Each morning Dorian woke to find Kaison was still there and broke down into tears.

On Day Ten I babysat the boys and was amazed. Dorian is a changed little boy. Where before he was high-maintenance, demanding, needy, is now a matured little man.

I’ve never had so easy an afternoon babysitting. I hear this is the same at home. Both his Mom and Dad are exclaiming at how easier their life has become now that another boy had joined the family.

Watching this maturity in Dorian unfold I am reminded of the power of futility. Years back I learned about the necessity within us to have the ability to go from mad to sad. That only as we can go from mad to sad are we made resilient and able to emotionally mature.

When Dorian was born, he was mad. The moment he was laid on his Mamma’s tummy his expression and cry was one of anger. And he’s been mad ever since really. Now he has learned futility – ‘No the baby is not going away. Yes the baby is here to stay.’

And in that futility he has matured years so it seems. He’s only 15 months old, but carries himself like he is much older.

This gift of futility, the ability to go from mad to sad, is there for all of us to enter into.

My own failed marriage was this gift of futility for me, a car accident years back was the same, failures, pain, loss, you name it, all of it helps to mature us. No matter what it is we have the choice of staying mad, or of allowing futility.

I am convinced that at the core of humility is this ability to enter into futility. When our best laid plans, the ideals by which we live, the rose-colored glasses that come with narrowed vision, are all laid down and we realize that we just can’t make everything work out the way we like, this is when we really begin to live.

Pushing hard against reality, demanding things go a certain way, simply leaves us fragile.

Anti-fragile, on the other hand, is about strength from the inside out, it is about humility that cannot be humiliated, it is about a deep knowing that no matter how bad things might get, we are okay.

Pride laid down, always reaps harvest of life. Dorian matured ten times last week. He is more settled with himself, less demanding of others (and life in general), and seems to understand that there are others besides himself.

Something we might all be grateful to learn.

Shedding Idolatry

I’m in process of moving. Thankfully I have the summer months to fully complete the task, and so each day holds just a bit of packing, organizing, and deleting stuff.

When all is said and done, my seven pieces of furniture and my twenty-or-so boxes of long-term storage will tuck nicely away at my folks place.

I’ve been working on downsizing a long time now. Intentionally learning to live with less my life is increasingly freed up to more.

More relationships, more blessing, more ministry, more writing, more of nimbleness and ease of movement as the Holy Spirit directs.

I’m gearing up for full-time overseas ministry. Something for which I’ve been preparing for thirteen years now.

Here in the west we are dying of stuff. I’ve written about it before as I’ve been on a minimalist kick for some time. With a vision bigger than the things I own or the house I live in I just can’t imagine being under the curse of possessions anymore.

But it hasn’t always been this way. I was a consumer with the best of them. A decorator with excellence. Always looking to make just this corner or that wall just right.

Like most of us I took comfort and found security in my stuff, my home, my things. Thankfully the Lord broke me of all that.

A few years ago there was a time that I lived on a mattress on the floor of a small room. I had a foot of space to one side of the mattress and about three feet at one end. That was the amount of space I could call my own for some nine months time.

What a gift that time turned out to be. I’ve never been the same since.

I came to find that home is in my heart and that I can take it with me anywhere.

I came to find that God meets me no matter my circumstances.

I came to find that stuff simply binds us.

In fact, I am convinced, that stuff keeps us from finding home in our hearts.

The hunger we might experience for justice, for work greater than ourselves, for impact beyond our own worlds, are quite expediently silenced and satiated with our stuff. And it sickens me.

We are so lost here in North America – so lost.

Meanwhile we send our stuff overseas, thinking that they need the same numbness that we have come to know, and we’ve got it all backwards. Turned upside down and we don’t even know it.

My trips to Africa are some of the most relaxing times of my life. With my possessions on my back, my care in the hands of those I visit, simplicity of fellowship has no requisites or fancy packaging.

The simplest of spaces, a few sheets, a wool blanket, an old pillow, a bucket for bathing, make for the richest of times.

Meals are simple, beauty is different. Home is found in the heart of others and comfort comes from the inside out.

Ezekiel, speaking of Sodom and Gomorrah says this, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” (16:49 ESV)

I don’t know about you, but this applies to me, and most everyone I know here in North America.

Think about it. Let it break you. Come under its conviction. May it change your life.

For myself, I just can`t do this anymore. While it`s been some years of changing and shifting and seeing with fresh eyes, and while there will be more of the same to come, I can`t imagine going back to a life consumed with comfort.

I gave enough of my years to that idol. It`s time for other things now.

Find out about the work I do around the world HERE

An Excellent Feminity – Proverbs 31 Paraphrased

The following is a paraphrase of Proverbs 31 that I wrote in 2009 – Enjoy:

An excellent femininity who can find?

SHE has more dimensions than any precious jewel.

The heart of her husband trusts in her,

she invests in her man’s prosperity.

Perceiving what is good for him (and while refusing harm),

she fully engages—

Continue reading An Excellent Feminity – Proverbs 31 Paraphrased

Pausing

Pausing to give thanks in the middle of the week is not only a good thing to do, but perhaps it is more necessary than we think.

For in the pause of those moments we are re-calibrated into our creativity and our work and our rhythm.

Taking a moment to stand still harnesses our energy to carry on through the rest of our work week.

(We’ve stopped the leaks of energy that occur when we are denying, running, or thrashing)

We’ve grounded ourselves to reality and we can go forth in strength.

Steadiness

It is through rough waters that we must particularly hold the rudder steady.

Focus and steadiness coupled with strength of will are the ingredients to a successful journey.

There is a verse in the Bible’s Old Testament where we read of Isaiah ‘setting his face like flint’.

These words are exactly it much of the time.

Where life is scary or uncertain and when the rough winds are blowing it is about staying the course and setting our faces like flint despite the odds.

Load

The loads that we carry. We first find them as burdens and something to be avoided.

Next we come to understand the loads of our lives as places to grow and mature.

We then take on loads, assume responsibility for them and here is where our leadership grows.

Then, one amazing day we realize that loads are profound privileges.

Nothing can stop us once we’ve got this.

Pain

What is your point of view on pain?

Do you stay far away from it, ensure you stay in it?

Pain is something we all deal with. How we deal with it makes all the difference in the world.

Most pain is an opportunity to grow and challenged in some way we’ve not yet learned.

Some pain must be walked away from or lose our very souls.

Freedom is key either way.

What is your relationship with pain?