Tag Archives: action

I Think I Found the Secret

It was 2 years ago today. I was on the road somewhere between Indianapolis & Nashville. It was a cool but full of sunshine morning & my first mission after checking out of the Super 8 I’d stopped at around 12:30am the night before was to find a Starbucks. A few exits down the interstate with a Caramel Machiatto in hand & my soundtrack set I was ready for the drive to Nashville.

I was on mission “Take a Break from Appleton” & in the middle of wrestling about what to do with the my life. Would I stay at the church I was working at or leave? 6 weeks prior I had been in Nashville when God punched me in the gut with a stranger’s question which left me reeling as I realized I had been ignoring His still small voice for months now.

Truth be told, somewhere my head knew that it was time to move on & my heart knew it was no longer at home in Appleton, but the two hadn’t yet communicated with one another. That phone call or email or text message…whatever it was…came on I-65 somewhere south of Indy that morning. I don’t remember a lightening strike “ah ha” moment, but I know that when I arrived in Nashville later that day I told a friend I had come to peace with the decision to leave my job.

I didn’t know, then, that it was possible for a city to woo me. For a city to be a community that would teach me relationship. For a community to be people that would teach me what it meant to truly do life with others.

I was at the Nashville Public Library yesterday & was taken by this quote from Martin Luther King Jr. on the wall:

At last I’d found words that seemed to perfectly answer the question “why.” Why Nashville? Two years later I now know that it’s because a city wooed me. And a city can woo me because a city is a community. And the movement that has taken place in this community I know today is love. Love that encourages, supports, challenges, & ultimately inspires. If there’s a secret, I think that’s it. And for me, that secret has made all the difference.

I also discovered a challenge on Saturday at the library:

It’s pointless to discover the secret if it doesn’t move me to action. And the time for action isn’t when I go on a hunt for a new secret in a new city in another lifetime. No, the time is now. The place is here. If I’ve been inspired then I’d best do something with it.

 

Be Passionate About Something

Please don’t settle. Don’t settle for complacency. For simply surviving life.
Live it. Enjoy it. Savor it. Treasure it.
Anything less and you are cheating yourself.
Cheating yourself out of joy. Of experiences. Of memories. Of relationships. Of laughter. Of beauty.
And if you cheat yourself I believe you are cheating the world. Because the world won’t get all God created you to be if you’re settling.

Be passionate about something.
Whether it’s photography or mowing lawns, writing stories or making jewelry, building houses or making coffee, playing music or singing or cooking, being a parent or preaching or traveling.
Whatever it is, be passionate about it. Care about it. Refuse to settle.

And invite other people into your dream for life. Share your vision. Give the rest of us the joy of seeing you come to life when talking about your dream.

 

Learning to Love. Discovering Community. Living Justice.

When I visited Nashville a year ago I kept putting off going back to Wisconsin. First I was going to leave Sunday. Then Monday. And finally convinced myself to hit the road on Tuesday.

But after that Monday evening I was sure glad I stayed. I like to think that was God’s plan all along. Because that Monday night God planted the seed in my heart that He might have something for me in Nashville. And that something was community. It was learning how to love. How to simply be. All with the thread of justice running through it.

A friend invited me to come and hang out with what essentially was a big group of friends who got together to make food and serve it to the homeless in downtown Nashville. I remember leaving that night with a million thoughts in my head but blown away by the fact that I had shared my story…a 5 minute, honest, from the heart, version of it…to more people in those 3 hours than I had in probably 3 years. And I didn’t even know those people.

The group now has an official name – People Loving Nashville. And still meets every single Monday night…rain, shine, tornados, snow…you name it.

When I go and sit on the floor in a big circle as we gather for a devotion before heading out I am overwhelmed at what is around me. It’s a group of mostly 20 & 30 somethings, all with incredibly different stories, all from different churches…some not from any church. No one comes out of obligation. No one is getting credit for being there. They come compelled by one thing: love. And that love is the foundation of a community not just among those of us serving but the people we serve as well. It’s grown in size since I first visited but it still feels like a big group of friends getting together to cook some food and give it to those in need. A community strung together by love and a heart for justice.

After missing far too many weeks in a row I made it back downtown last night. And again I was overwhelmed. As I sat in that circle I couldn’t help but think of being there almost a year ago to the day…that first time was actually today…April 26th…and the community that I discovered that night. It was and is one of the most beautiful expressions of being the Church…of living justice…I’ve seen.

I don’t have it all neatly sorted out…perhaps I never will. And maybe that’s okay. But, I’ve discovered this past year that love, community, and justice all seem to go hand in hand. Sure, they can exist independently but their meaning and purpose is most fully seen when they mesh together in messy layers.

I found it fitting last night that the devotion last night was from 1 Corinthians 5 focusing on renewal…about leaving behind the old and living in the new because that is what Christ won for us with His death and resurrection. I have left a lot behind in the last year. A lot that too often I want to drag with me. But God has worked renewal in my life through love, community, and living justice. And it was all planted on a cool but muggy April night in Nashville.

 

 

The Fear of Success

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. ”  – Marianne Williamson

I become more convinced every day that in general that statement is true. We seem to be more afraid of success than we are of failure. We think it’s failure we are afraid of but only because it’s easier to admit. After all, people expect you to be afraid of failure, but being afraid of success seems kind of ridiculous.

I have to count myself guilty of fearing success. In an effort to be as humble as possible…to not do anything that may be mistaken as pride…to guard against ego, I stay as far away from my own success as possible. I will work to help others succeed all day long, but myself? Not so much.

With success comes accountability. With success comes the risk of bigger failures. With success comes the risk of losing control. With success comes responsibility.

But, with success also comes an opportunity for God to be glorified. I’m grateful for the voices of wisdom in my life who’ve pointed out to me that failing to act because I fear success is wasting my gifts. It’s saying to God, “sorry, I just don’t think you’re big enough to keep my heart from pride, to keep my ego in check.”

But the truth is, Christ lives in me. And through Him I can do all things. And that includes being successful without becoming prideful. So, I’m resolved to tackle my fear of succeeding. Will you join me?