"I believe in the love of God, it is an orphan's wildest dream, it is a Narrow Little Road, it is an ever widening desert stream" ~ Red Mountain hymn

"This narrow little road may be filled with both abundant joy and humiliating sorrow; surely, even its promised Divine acceptance cannot assure it's travelers absense of profound rejection. Indeed, this narrow road may be filled with a great many things, but the one thing it truly lacks is regret!" ~Debbie Sue

Saturday, August 27, 2011

beyond your best part 2

When I say busy, I mean busy... we all get caught up right?

In my first series blog writing I said that I would be sharing these truths from this book over the next six weeks, but I also said that we are all so bombarded with the work that is before us that it is hard to invest in learning and education... well, let's just say that I'm right there with ya folks and this adventure may be either a few months or a year to get through this amazing book. Either way, I hope that you enjoy the truths that surface in the midst of pursuing new life together.

I promised that I would explain more of the difference between the success and character ladder this time around, so here is a brief description:

Our world is keen on pursuing whatever opportunity gets things done, at whatever cost, that makes you look good and brings maximum affirmation and acceptance; that my friends is the success ladder. We can so easily become seduced to ignore the immanent submerged dangers until they irrevocably rip out the bottom of our well-built plans. If you are wondering what a few WARNING SIGNS might look like, here's just a few:

Needing to impress others
Strained relationships
A nagging sense of failure
Becoming defensive at slightest criticism
Hiding your skills while fearing discovery of your true self
Lacking the will and strength to trust God wholeheartedly

These belief systems leave us with a consistent feeling that we are making good time but have no idea where we are going...

Many of us set sail, indending to accomplish something significant, only to find that we have unknowingly drifted off course. We are undoubtedly aware that change seems urgent, but we never feel any closer to where we need to go. In overwhelmed desperation we begin to try anything and everything to get back on the "right path;" whether it be a new relationship, a different job, a better house, a baby, a nicer climate, stronger will-power, or the latest self-help program- all become, in turn, just one more heartbreaking, dry attempt at a prodigal child finding their way home.

This book offers an amazing opportunity to climb a completely different kind of ladder... yes, you will be a lot higher up which means that there will be a lot more risk involved, but I can truly promise that the risk will be worth it!

Mostly because you will find yourself no longer facing the risks and the steep climb alone, but rather you will be learning- alongside others- how to live within safe environments of trust. These types of environments are meant to envelop us and awaken our hearts; to nurture all the well-designed plans that God has for us and draw in a community that integrates our hearts and hands to nourish our relationships with God and others.

This is definitely "life work" my friends. I believe that wherever this climate exists, there is both safety and protection guided by submission and reverence for Christ and for one another. Productivity and creativity can blossom- which is really the deepest longing in my heart- especially for me with JAMPACT Studios. Trust will flourish and character will mature. Let Christ be lifted up!

Trust me friends; life can be transformed from self-promotion and protection to character and life-giving vulnerability. I wish I was there but I'm not. Together, we will begin to experience the kind of character that transforms our lowly bodies and empowers our capacities while truly keeping them in check. We will become people of character rather than just people of worldly success.

I invite you to explore these principles my friends; not just in theory but in action.

I believe that we must all reckon with character in the end, for it strikes the last blow in any battle!

Friday, August 12, 2011

beautiful broken adventure

This has been quite the last few years for me. I've been trying to come up with a few words that might describe the journey but its been a long time coming.

How do you describe... a life of choosing to love even if it makes no sense to you or those around you, making another nation your home and willingly giving up your comforts and securities, fumbling over your own insecurities and failures, changing your mind one hundred times, walking away from what the world deems successful, giving into temptation, falling in love with a culture, losing family and friends to terrible disease, seeing a dream more clearly than ever, breaking off a future with someone, facing a life threatening illness, and starting your life somewhere new... how would you describe that in a few words?

Here's my best shot...

beautiful broken adventure!

To be honest, most days I wake up still wondering what on earth I'm doing in Boise Idaho with an HR/Recruitment job that I have nill educational training in and yet totally love with a passion (mostly because of the people I work with).

I think about my dreams and the passions that fill my heart nearly every second of the day- teaching, writing, psychology, travel, and using the arts to both shape my own character and help lead others toward life and joy- and I can't help but wonder how this beautiful broken adventure has shaped who I've become and where I'm heading with these dreams that won't surrender.

Maybe you are not like me. Maybe you never sin or wander or feel lost. Maybe you feel like you have it together and all that is good is on your side. You are strong, vibrant, successful, peaceful, attractive, confident, and worthy. Perhaps you wake up everyday convinced that you are on the right path- exactly where you need to be- and you move confidently forward each day knowing that against all odds you've already succeeded, and yet paradoxically consider yourself one step closer to where you are going (ultimate success and fulfillment). Maybe you don't care what other people think and you refuse to compare yourself to those around you. Yep...maybe you have wings and a halo. I've seen you and met you before (mostly in magazines, tv shows, and even churches). You are mankind's unrealistic expectation- our Master- and you invade as many hearts as possible with the intent to discourage and then destroy.

Or maybe you are like me... confidently at rest about very few things and totally confused about everything else. Or perhaps you hold dear one truth that gets you through each day; for me, the evidence of the love of God poured out on my life.

I truly hope for your sake that you feel more certainty about your life and your future and where you are going than I do, but if for some reason we are more alike than different, let me share with you a few words of comfort and hope that I've learned along the road on this beautiful broken adventure.

Though I don't know specifically where I'm going, I do know one thing... I'm loved deeply and so are you! That's a truth people, and it's worth holding onto. This thought alone brings tears to my eyes when I really stop and consider the depths, and the implications.

Each day I wake up often confused about where I'm going and how I'm gonna get there. Yes, I constantly question how I'm investing in my future, my finances, my health, my love life, and if I'm running away from anything God has for me.

Friends, the truth is, I feel consistently bombarded with thoughts about what I'm supposed to do, where I'm supposed to be, how I'm supposed to live and yet when I stop and quietdown I realize that I'm absolutely confident about one thing... who I'm called to love... today.

So what does this mean for you and for me?

For me, it means that I have a choice to make. I can spend my life looking back at the past, at the hurts, at the disappointments, and I can also waste fleeting moments fretting about an unknown future... OR I can deeply love and invest in the souls that I interact with on a daily basis. I can stop looking back. I can face my fears and cling to what is good. I can embrace truth. I can love with all my heart even when it hurts and makes no sense. I can live with joy in the moment. I can let my heart truly be at rest. I can change lives. I can do the impossible. Better yet, I can BE the impossible; that peaceful, joyful, loving, vibrant, godly woman that I long to be with all my heart!

Sure I have dreams. In fact, sometimes I feel like I have more dreams and goals than hairs on my head (especially since I have been losing so much hair from malaria and probably stress/worry). A beautiful woman in my life said today that "life is short." Trust me she knows. And I've had my fair share of reminders the last few years myself. So let's not lose sight of why we are here. Let's not look with regret on the relationships or choices that invoked love or passion in our hearts, or walk away from the moments we have to plant those seeds of love in others today!

LOVE be with you!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

beyond your best 1

I just started reading this amazing book given to me by some dear friends Dr. Paul and Rebecka in Liberia called "Beyond your best."

So far its been rocking my world just challenging me to re-look at the current way that I am doing life and how I measure success. This incredibly healing book has begun shaping and motivating me in certain directions when it comes to life, work, school, and relationships.

The arching premise is that if you take the "y" out of "your success" you begin to build an incredible future while climbing the "character ladder" rather than the "capacity ladder."

I will explain more in depth the differences between the two in my writings over the next 6 weeks. I would certainly highly recommend the book to anyone but I know that so many of us feel so swamped that we believe that we can't even set aside time to encourage, inspire, and challenge our hearts through reading or education (even if self-taught). Well that thoght process is toxic friends and in reality, no one is responsible to motivate our behinds or stir up our souls.

So I've been thinking if I could just take little notes as I go and encourage/challenge you with the gems that I have personally found, it might draw you in or at least tilt your thought processes enough in the midst of the daily grind that you just may find yourself willingly stirring yourself.

This whole book is really about making things not necessarily easier, but simpler for sure.

Starts with some words spoken in Scripture that Jesus makes very clear; "unless you become like small children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

So lets start by thinking about the simple and elemental ways of a child. Children generally understand the important things- the profound things in life. They don't spend their days picking truth or love apart like pulling the pedals off a daisy until the beauty is gone or at least unrecognizable. They simply accept truth and love with their hearts when they trust those who are sharing it with them.

So I guess we have to deal with the question "Do you legitimately trust Jesus?" to move forward in an open and honest direction with the topic.

Once we deal with the realities of what a life of trust looks like we can begin to ask oursleves some harder questions like....Will practicing the principles I learn through this journey of climbing the character ladder lead me to deeper, more loving and meaningful relationships? Will applying these ideas inspire vision and hope in myself and those I influence? Will wearing the lenses of trust, truth and hope help me to see who I really am and help me become all that God intends me to be?

Here's a start...

"If we take care of our character then our reputation will take care of itself"