Seasick

In Uncategorized by benjamin

Hilary and I just celebrated our 10-year-anniversary in Kauai, courtesy of my grandmother’s timeshare. We had a wonderful time, except for the five hours we spent on a catamaran.

I’ve always gotten seasick. Big boats, little boats… even carsick in the backseat on windy roads. And yet, it’d been awhile since I felt the turning of my stomach, so I had a little bit of unfounded optimism…and Hilary really wanted this experience. So I bought some Dramamine and did it.

Bad idea. I was green from the jump. Spending most of the trip looking straight ahead to the horizon, I was the definition of boat-party-pooper.

The experience was brutal for me, and I know I put a damper on Hilary’s level of enjoyment. (Nah, she can make anything fun.)

Know yourself.

Trust your gut. Or, at some point, your gut will throw up all over you.

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The GOAT

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G.O.A.T.: Greatest Of All Time

I used to want to be the best at something. It almost didn’t matter what—indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, shooting three-pointers in the rain with an eye-patch…. Just something, anything.

Companies and brands are taught to target small niches—I.E.: “I’m the best personal trainer for widowed men under six feet tall with webbed feet in Anchorage, Alaska.”

Our country and culture is obsessed with being “the best.” The problem is, that goal is nearly impossible and constantly a moving target. The best athletes in the world, for example, are only the best for a few short years. They mostly retire between 25 and 35 years old. And someone is coming up behind them to break every record. If being the best at a thing is your goal, you’ll be continually frustrated.

Solution: Focus on being the best YOU.

What would the best version of YOU do to start the day today?

How would the best version of YOU approach this problem?

What would YOU at your best be reading?

When would the more productive YOU go to bed at night?

If we direct our focus in this manner, we might just find that we grow and achieve AND actually enjoy our unique, God-given lives.

Only you can be the greatest YOU of all time. And it’d be a bummer to settle for less.

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Death and transformation

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“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!” -1 Corinthians 15:51

Death is about being transformed.

Ultimately, in the end of this chapter of the Human Experiment, we’ll all be transformed into eternal bodies—whatever that means. In the meantime, every “death” is a hint of that future transformation.

When a loved one dies, it’s a reminder that this is not the end. Transformation is coming. Eternity is knocking.

When a dream dies, it’s an opportunity to transform. To shift from a self-centered view to a more expansive view of life and God.

When a reputation, an ego, or an agenda dies, it’s an opportunity to transform. The eternal God is inviting you to become more of your real design, and connect to the story behind the smaller stories.

“What’s dying is not the deepest self, but our dependence and over-identification with the mental ego and its projects, and our cultural conditioning and over-identification with it, including our roles in life.” —Richard Rohr

Embrace the struggle. Find hope in the death. Life is springing up. Newness is offering you a fresh start. It was never about the thing in the first place. It’s alway been about you becoming more of who you were designed to be, in connection with your Designer.

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Ambulance Ride

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I just saw a photo of the daughter of some good friends of mine. She’s about ten years old, and the photo was of her on a gurney being put into an ambulance.

It wasn’t an image you’d ever want to see—of anyone, but especially a child.

It’s scary. The image is haunting. It reminds me that EMTs are picking up people all over the place, every hour of every day, and one day, they might be picking me up.

Life is short… and fragile. Our lives are vulnerable, and nothing is guaranteed.

Take a deep breath in.

Be thankful if you didn’t receive any news of a health-scare today. Say a prayer for the people you love. Better still, make a call, wish them well. Tell someone you love them and appreciate them.

Then, get back to you work, or be present wherever you are. Because you’re still here with more to contribute.

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Revisited

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“Always be joyful.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16

“Always” is an intimidating word. I’m not anything “always.”

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” -Apostle Paul (Philippians 4:11)

Paul actually wrote the words at the top, too. He was clearly a confident overachiever.

But what if you’re revisited by the doubts… and the depression… and the anxiety… and the temptation…? What then?

I mean, we fought it off so many times. We did the counseling, got the help, practiced mindfulness, prayed a ton… But back in it creeps.

What do we do?

We begin again.

We refuse to be discouraged or give up.

No one gave up on you when you were learning to walk. “What a loser! He can’t put one foot in front of the other. Forget it. He’s bound to the stroller.” Nope. They kept standing you up… over and over and over. Eventually, you started walking. But you still fell a lot. And you improved. Your legs got stronger. You didn’t quit. And now, walking is like breathing. You even sometimes run-maybe.

When you’re revisited by haunting thoughts or struggles from the past, recognize what they are—an opportunity to get stronger. Accept the challenge and walk forward. If you fall, get back up, steady yourself, and walk again.

One day, “always” and “whatever the circumstances” will be a real thing for you. Just keep getting up and taking more steps.

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Notice

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Observation is the mother of creativity.

Many people don’t think of themselves as creative. That’s false. Sure, some are more artistically inclined, but make no mistake, you are creative. And they are creative. We are all creative.

We were born with the creative gene—made in God’s image.

The fundamental way to cultivate your creativity is to notice more stuff.

Notice…

  • the people around you

  • the structural designs

  • the marketing strategy

  • the look and feel of space

  • the pace of the meeting

  • the tone of the voice

  • the softness of the fabric

  • the harshness of the edges

Notice… pay attention… see, feel, and consider.

We’re all sharing ideas all the time. And we’re all moving the Original Design forward.

Notice and live in this moment. Creativity is in you and at your fingertips.

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Shortcut to honor and influence

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Want to know the shortcut to honor and influence?

“They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.” -Psalm 112:9

A lot of people seem to miss this. The natural instinct is to think that you must HAVE more—gain more, be followed by more, increase your net worth—to have more influence. It’s almost counter-intuitive, but the opposite is true.

The shortcut to honor and influence is to be a generous giver.

Think about it… Who are the people you most respect? Who has influence in your circle or network? Forget fame. It’s fleeting and shallow. Think honor and influence… significance.

It’s likely someone who is GENEROUS.

Sure, it helps to have more-than-average resources to be generous. But, I promise you, they were generous before they had the additional resources. No one who is generous wealthy was stingy when they had less. Generosity is a muscle that needs to be built up. So start now!

By the way, today is “Giving Tuesday.” Giving Tuesday started in 2012 when two organizations–the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation–came together to promote generosity before the chaotic spending that ensues around Christmas time. Obviously, the movement is relatively recent, but important.

Consider who you can surprise with generosity today. Your church? The organization that had an impact on your when you were young? The people that influence your kids? The person who inspires you?

Even though it’s even cooler when you giving quietly, you may want to post something on social media, just to encourage others to do the same. Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

In this new season I started a non-profit called Hope For Life. Right now Graeme Cowgill and I are leading the vision to take hope outside the walls of church and empower more leaders to multiply their impact, exponentially—and healthily. If you feel inclined to support our non-profit* you can give at HopeFor.Lifevia PayPal or check.

Whatever the cause and whoever the person, give something away today. Give a little more than is comfortable. That’s how giving becomes “generous giving.”

*Non-profit status pending, but all donations will be eligible for tax credit in the 2018 tax year.

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How to get your feelings hurt

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It happens. Even to those of us who are difficult to offend. All of us have at least one or two weak spots…

If they criticize that it cuts deeps.

If he forgets the special day it devastates.

If she rejects you when you… then…

You know what I mean.

A friend of mine was recently uninvited to participate in a music project. For her, it triggered pain. Not just today’s pain, but years of pain. This rejection reminded of past rejection. This event was supposed to help heal past insecurity. Now it’s just compounded. To make matters worse, she flipped, and she rejected the “rejector.” Her words and her reaction triggered insecurity in him. Now’s there’s more hurt feelings and awkwardness—like a cycle of wounding.

But it doesn’t have to go like that.

Try an experiment:

Here’s how you can get your feelings hurt in a more productive way. (Not that I want your feelings to get hurt, but, you get it.)

  1. Notice the pain. Don’t go into denial and pretend you’re unhurtable. Pay attention to your emotions and feel what you feel. But don’t respond yet.

 

  1. Wait before you react. Don’t react in emotion. Take time. Remove yourself from the situation. Breathe. Do something with your hands (like weave a whip). Train your mind to stay in control of your emotions. You can control your emotions or your emotions will control you.

 

  1. Find the source. This thing hurts because a prior thing hasn’t healed. Your emotional reaction is probably slightly more dramatic than the situation warrants. And that’s because of pain from the past. You don’t need Dr. Phil, but you do need to be aware…and desire healing.

 

  1. Believe an empowering story. You can let this rejection steal your value and sense of self-worth. Or, you can believe positive truths, encourage yourself, and grow further. You get to choose to believe what this situation really means.

Using my friend’s story as an example: Maybe this isn’t the musical project for you. Maybe there are people better for the job. But you have a unique contribution that they don’t and there’s a project that’s a better fit. And maybe this was just an abrupt way to get your focus onto something else that has more benefit to others and more potential for you. Maybe you get so fixed on what you want and think you deserve that you’re missing what’s best.

There’s more for you…not less. And maybe this hurt is about that.

Maybe this pain you feel is actually going to promote progress… If you let it.

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Thankful to stay

In Uncategorized by benjamin

Recently, I interviewed my good friend Tim Timmons for the Spirit Farm Podcast. (Subscribe to the podcast! Tim’s Interview will release in December.)

Tim has lived with terminal cancer for 14 years. Which is amazing, since he was originally given five years to live.

What’s more amazing is the WAY that Tim lives. He has an attitude of gratitude. Tim is making the most of his time—loving his family well, writing uplifting songs, pointing others to consider how we’re living all 10,000 of our weekly minutes. (www.10000minutes.com) He’s an inspiration to many.

I don’t want it to take a cancer diagnosis to get my attention. I want to choose inspiration before devastation.

Let’s be people who learn from guys like Tim, from blogs like Chewables… and choose gratitude now… in regular moments of normal days.

Have you decided yet how to integrate a pattern of gratitude into your day/week? Now’s the time.

Is it a morning habit?
Meal routine?
Nightly closure?
All of the above?

If the idea of a consistent habit is daunting, don’t let it be. If you forget or miss, who cares! Just begin again. And again… and again…

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Thankful as a way

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Thanksgiving is more than a day. It’s a way of life.

You might be stuffed, stressed, and ready to sleep all day, but don’t fall into the trap of just going back to business as usual, and going through the self-centered motions of American holidays. Thankful is your new normal.

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God…” -Psalm 50:14

What if your primary “religious” activity was that of being thankful? What if, instead of hoops, hurdles, and handshakes, you practiced gratitude as a way of life?

Jesus also said something similar to the lyric above:

“Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” -Matthew 9:13

People who know they are “sinners”—or in need of a generous Savior— God—are grateful people. And they’re grateful because this God gives them mercy and grace before they even ask for it.

What would it look like to stay thankful? Like, gratitude being your default setting… When you’re stuck, you hold down both buttons and reset to gratitude.

… Before you eat, you say thanks.

… Before you buy, you check your gratitude attitude.

… Before you get up, you get your spirit up with thankfulness.

… Before you hit send or click submit, you check your heart: “Is this something a THANKFUL person would say or send?”

Thanksgiving isn’t a day. It’s a way.

Maybe we can learn to become THANKFUL as the new normal.

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