Headed to Oaxaca!
I know that it has literally been forever since I posted on this blog. I apologize! I will be leading a team of people to the FFHM Children’s Home in Oaxaca Mexico from July 27th – August 7th. We will be using this blog to send photos and updates from Oaxaca. I am looking forward to serving God at the Children’s Home again!
At times, beauty is indescribable.
You simply cannot comprehend the beauty let alone put it into words. In that moment, the words escape you because you are so captivated the magnificent beauty before you.
As I am writing this, I sit before such beauty. Everything is breath taking. Each breath I take is filled with fresh mountain air mixed with the sweet smell of pine trees. The sun shines brightly and glimmers off of the water of the placid lake. The granite mountains rise high above the lake and the light wind swiftly runs through the canyon. The different sounds of birds chirping in the trees all around and the sites of mountain goats in the distance remind me that I am far away from my everyday life. The awe of untouched beauty; serene, peaceful, quiet and beautiful. I am amazed of God’s power to create such an incredible place. In this moment, I am surrounded by true beauty.
After a busy summer, I needed a break. I took a three-day backpacking trip to the Wallowa mountains in Oregon. Be motivated to take a breather from your Monday and think about where you have experienced such beauty in your life?
Both your life and the text message are communicating something.
A text message is sent to another person to communicate something. In order to communicate well, the message is sent in the context of a relationship. You have a relational connection to the other person so you are sending them a text message.
Have you ever texted the wrong person or called the wrong number? All of us have. It’s usually an awkward interaction and overall an uncomfortable experience. Why? Because there is no context of relationship.
One time I accidently texted a wrong number and instead of the person texting me back with a nice “sorry wrong number”, they called me and were furious because I had woke them up. It was not pleasant listening to this guy unload on me by calling me every name in the book. The problem… no context for relationship.
A message is best communicated through a relationship, especially a personal relationship. God understood this fact. God desired to communicate a personal message to you. His personal message is that He personally loves you. Jesus loves you. God’s message is hope in the midst of hopelessness.
Your life and a text message both communicate something. How you live communicates something to everyone around you. Think about it. If you call yourself a follower of Christ, does your life communicate God’s personal message of love?
How are you communicating the love of God into your workplace, school, friends, family and community?
Everyone has had those moments in their life where time slows down and they feel like everything around them feels real, vibrant and just awesome. I had this experience when I was climbing Mt. Hood in Oregon. It was my first experience with mountaineering after graduating college. I spent the night camped on Mt. Hood with three other guys with the purpose of getting to the top (summiting) the next day. I couldn’t sleep that night so I was ready to go when my alarm went off at 1am. I stepped out of my tent to a cool breeze on my face. It was dark enough to visibly see the stars, but light enough from the moon to see the massive mountain above us. As we began our journey to the top, time seemed to slow down enough for me to take in each moment. Everything seemed real; seeing the magnificence of God’s creation, hearing the crunching sound of my boots in the snow, smelling the pungent sulfur spewing from the mountain and feeling the sense of being alive. When we reached the top, we were far above the clouds and I was in awe of the incredible beauty of the sunrise. Everything felt real, vibrant and just awesome.
The whole ‘mountaintop’ experience taught me a lesson though. The truth is that we cannot always have these time-slows-down amazing moments in our lives, but we can experience life in fresh new ways. The key is choosing to be fully present in each moment. What do I mean by being fully present?
I chose to be fully present while climbing the mountain. It was a choice that I made to not get distracted by the clamor and noise of my everyday life. I chose not to let the stresses of work and the worry of the future consume my thoughts. If I would have let these thoughts take over while climbing, I would have missed out on what it meant to climb Mt. Hood.
I CAN have these small mountaintop experiences by being present while in conversations with people, while at work doing my job and even while I do the mundane everyday tasks like doing the dishes at home. In a conversation with your friend, it is about really listening to his/her cares and concerns instead of letting your mind wonder to what bills you have to pay or what homework is due that week. It is about making memories by playing with your kids instead of choosing other things to entertain them. Being fully present is about pushing away the distractions of tomorrow and focusing on that moment of time.
Will being fully present always be as exciting as climbing Mt. Hood? No, but you will see life in a different way and you won’t miss out on special moments and memories.
What are you letting distract you from being fully present in relationships, your work and at home?
Everyone has been there. You throw ourselves on the couch in utter exhaustion. You put our head in your hands because we are overwhelmed. Life is difficult. It is a battle at times. We fight many battles: the daily battle of working, the weekly battle of connecting with family and friends, the monthly battle of paying your bills and the yearly battle of getting older.
Being a leader is even more difficult. As a leader, you must mentally and spiritually stay above the daily battle. Leaders must be able to mentally and spiritually stay above the battle so that they can physically lead others on to capture the vision that is set before them. When the leader gets caught in fighting the day-to-day battle, they can become distracted from the vision and lose the ability to lead.
I had this happen to me recently. After leading an event called Love Springfield (A three day event to bless the city of Springfield), I was exhausted and got bogged down in all the details following the event. It felt like I couldn’t think straight. I struggled to tie up all the loose ends after the event and could not get refocused for a week! I failed to stay above the battle of the day-to-day stuff and let all the details take me down.
Leaders set and cast vision to others. They have to be able to see above the battle in order to lead others to victory. I have seen many leaders get stuck fighting the battle and inadvertently let the vision and mission die. One leader that I know has let the vision wane in their life because are stuck in the battle. This leader has lost the vision and has become complacent.
When leaders are able to get a higher perspective they are able to effectively lead others to experience victory in life. What are you doing to stay above the battle? What steps can you take to re-ignite the vision for you life?
I am on a journey of discovering who I am and who I want to be in the future. I have looked into the reality of my hypothetical funeral and have gained new insight into how I want to live each day. I have found out that each decision I make can either build into my envisioned legacy or dismantle it. The truth is that you or I will leave a legacy, but the question is what type of legacy will you or I leave?
What is set in stone is that you are born with a character and you leave with a character, but what you get to choose in this life is the type of character you create for yourself.
What is character? Good question… Google it! Just kidding, here is my definition of character: It is the will do what is right even when it is difficult. Another definition of character that I have heard is the ability to do what is right when no one is looking.
In whatever comes my way, I am determined to be remembered by Stefanie (My lovely Wife) in these ways:
I want my wife to remember how deeply I loved her and gave myself wholeheartedly to her. I want her to laugh and smile about the humorous moments and jokes that we had between one another. I want her to know without a doubt that I lead our family well; always spiritually and physically caring for our needs. I want her to know that God loves her and so did I.
The first key to character is having one.
The second key is to determine to be a person of solid character.
Your character is a reflection of who you are. I don’t have control over my circumstances and what life throws my way, but I do have control over the decisions that I make in the midst of them. Who I am as a person (Personality, Values, Character) determines how I will react to life and the decisions I will make, so I will determine to be someone of great character. Just like it is my choice, it is your choice too.
How do you want your spouse or significant other to remember you? Leave a comment below! Let’s chat about it.
I am not a morbid person. I don’t like to dwell on the reality of death because it isn’t a pleasant thought. But have you ever thought about what people would say about you at your own funeral? When I thought about the question, I gained some valuable insight into who I want to be as a person. Journey with me for a moment into a hypothetical situation: let’s say that you can ‘attend’ your own funeral and hear or watch the funeral from above. I know a little creepy, but track with me for a moment. You are able to hear and see everything from the music, the scripture or poems, the eulogy and even the conversations afterward. What comments would you hear from people following the funeral? What reactions would you be able to see on people’s faces?
Ok let’s not spend too much time dwelling on the actual funeral or this blog post will turn morbid. I am an optimist to the core. My wife dislikes it at times because the world could be falling down around us and I would try to see the hope in the situation. My optimism kicks in when I think about this hypothetical situation. I hope that I will see a celebration and hear positive and uplifting comments from people, but how will I know for sure?
It starts with today. How I live today affects my tomorrow. I want my today to shape who I am tomorrow. I can’t leave it up to chance because it is too costly for me. I plan on making an impact in people’s lives and making a difference in the world. I will leave a legacy when my time is done on earth but the question is, “what kind of legacy will I leave?”
I will be starting a blog series called, “Living a Legacy: Determining today who you want to be tomorrow”.
Each week I will be revealing what I want God, my wife, family, friends, co-workers and people to say about me at my funeral.
Stay tuned as I open up my life to you and I hope (optimism) that you will begin to live a legacy by determining today who YOU want to be tomorrow.