Enough is Enough

tumblr_static_enoughThis morning I began reading a life of being, having, and doing by Wayne Muller.  I never got beyond the opening chapter.  The chapter “A Life of Enough” made me think.

…the bar keeps rising, nothing is ever finished, nothing is ever good enough.  So we work and add and never stop, never back away, never feel complete, and  we despair of ever finding comfort, relief, or sanctuary.

So many good-hearted people I know are exhausted.  (p. 3)

Whether they are parents or teachers, business people or community volunteers, doctors, clergy, nurses, or civil servants, they each in their own way feel victim to a relentless assault of increasing expectations, activities, demands, and accomplishments that overwhelm any spaciousness or ease in their daily lives.  (p. 4)

What then is our work on the earth?  In a world gone mad with speed, potential, and choice, we continually overestimate what we can do, build, fix, care for, or make happen in one day.  (p. 5)

With some people, “enough” is never quite satisfactory.

  • They boast about how long they worked at the office the night before.
  • They imply that unless one works weekends, they really aren’t making a sacrifice.
  • They challenge by comparing you to others suggesting that you could be doing more or doing better.

Yet, perhaps there is something to be said for working hard and then stopping at the end of the day knowing that for today, this is enough.  Recognizing the place of “enough” may allow you to work many years with joy and energy.

 

Beware of the Self-Proclaimed Expert

ExpertYou probably know a person like this.  He is a self-proclaimed expert on most any subject.

  • You mention a car that you are thinking about buying.  The self-proclaimed expert will tell you all about it.
  • You talk about wanting to vacation on the Gulf Coast.  The self-proclaimed expert will tell you where you must go.
  • You speak of a problem in your work.  The self-proclaimed expert knows what you must do.
  • You speak of difficulty in your marriage or with your children.  The self-proclaimed expert can tell you exactly what you must do.

Such “experts” can be amusing or even irritating depending on the situation.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

Start2Learning

See “Why You Should Commit 30 Minutes to Daily Learning (Without Fail).”  Maybe I enjoyed this because I believe it in this so strongly.  I try to learn something every day.  I may read a book, listen to a podcast, or read a periodical.  In a very short period of time, one can learn something.

Work

From The New York Times, see Tony Schwartz’s article “When Employee Engagement Turns into Employee Burnout.”

Organizational Culture and Productivity

See “Toyota’s Jamie Bonini on Organizational Culture.”  See what Manoush Zomorodi has done with these ideas in this post on her blog New Tech City.  I find this helpful.

Reading and Podcasts

Right now I am reading A Brief History of Thought by Luc Ferry.  This past week I also read a few short stories by Flannery O’Connor.  One of the periodicals that I look forward to skimming is Books & Culture: A Christian Review. Excellent articles.  I also become aware of a number of significant books through this journal.

Note that I am selective about what I include in this post each week.  More than anything, I want to include links and resources that I think might be helpful to you in some way.

 

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start.jpgYou may will find the following resources interesting or helpful.  Most of these are resources that I have come across in my reading.

Preaching

I recently read “The People’s Preaching Class” (The Christian Century).  This post is about Fred Craddock, longtime professor of preaching and author of several important books on preaching.  I will always cherish the week that I spent in Fred Craddock’s summer preaching class at Emory University.  This class was not only inspirational but taught me much.

Time

Jeri Dansky has written an interesting piece in Unclutterer entitled “Getting Work Done Using Time Blocking Techniques.”  I will often set my 25 minute clock (app) on my phone.  I find this very helpful so that I can focus.

Books

See “On My Shelf: Life and Books with Tim Keller.”  I have a great appreciation for Tim Keller’s writing.  This is a sampling of what he reads.

Prayer

From Mike Bickle see “E.M. Bounds Books on Prayer (Public Domain)

Story

I’ve learned much from Nancy Duarte!  See “How to Tell a Story.” (video)  These videos are usually helpful and practical.

Culture

From Newsweek, “Dying Dutch: Euthanasia Spreads Across Europe.”  Very interesting and insightful article.

 

 

How You Can Mentor Another

mentorThe following post consists of nine practical steps that might be helpful to you if you wish to grow in the ministry of mentoring.  This post is meant to be helpful.

1.  The power of mentoring is in “coming alongside” not in giving someone more information, suggestions, advice, etc. You bring the presence of Jesus. The goal is coming alongside to help that person mature (spiritually, emotionally, relationally) in order to honor God.

2.  Make a list of FIVE people whom you might mentor. (The more specific you are regarding the identity of these people, the more likely you will actually act.)

3.  Pray for these FIVE people

  • Pray for opportunity, an open door with one or more of these people
  • Pray for your own desire and willingness to follow through
  • Pray that you might for an awareness of how to be most helpful to these people.

4.  Consider these possible approaches to mentoring these FIVE people: long term, occasional, seasonal. Discern which one (or more) of these FIVE you need to approach.

10 Qualities of a Good Dad

Ten(1)The other day, I was on Facebook and saw a picture of “Will” with his daughter.  I felt so proud!  Will is a good husband and dad.  I have great respect for him.

Being a dad may be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Yes, it has been joyful. However, it has been difficult at times.  I had (and have) a lot to learn.

Even as I write these words, I can envision a number of guys in the Central Texas area who are doing such a good job as “daddy.”  The guys I have in mind are in their 30s and 40s.  They continue to grow and learn.  Some had good models growing up and some didn’t.  Regardless, these guys have worked hard toward becoming good dads.

The following are some qualities of a good daddy:

1.  A good daddy is consistent.  Children get confused when a certain behavior causes dad to laugh one moment only to cause him to become angry thirty minutes later.

2.  A good daddy models good character.  Teaching a child is important.  Good character that is modeled is powerful. However, bad character on display can make a lasting impression as well. When we lived in Kansas City many years ago, I heard our neighbor scream at his daughter one day.  (She was about about six years old.)  What he called his daughter was awful!  I have wondered what this child, now 26 or 27 years of age, must remember about her home life.

3.  A good daddy teaches his children by his example.  Some fathers do far too much telling and too little showing.  A mountain of good words does not compensate for a regular bad example. However, when a father models integrity, respect, and kindness before his children, they are blessed.

4.  A good daddy allows his children the opportunity to see his faith.  For example, when you are faced with a decision, it can be a real teachable moment for that son or daughter to hear you explain why you made the decision you did and how that decision flowed out of your faith.

5.  A good daddy understands that “fussing” at a child, naming calling, or threatening is not discipline.  Such behaviors may be more about a father’s own frustration and anger than serious, intentional discipline.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start_button_gifI was home with the flu last week.  (I wouldn’t wish that on anyone!)  There were a few sites that I stumbled upon while I was out.  You may find these helpful (below).  I also finished Wayne Muller’s book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives and Ian Paul and David Wenham’s Preaching from the New Testament. Finally, do you read “How I Work” which appears at lifehacker.com each week? This is a great series.  I read each one.

This may help

Note the recent New York Times Article, “If You Want to Meet That Deadline, Play a Trick on Your Mind.”  The title alone caught my eye.  Interesting piece on ways to manipulate your perception of time which can actually help you meet your goal.

Creativity

Ann Handley wrote a good piece on creativity based on a video by Sir Ken Robinson.  One particular sentence stuck with me from her post:  “…creative people know that creativity finds expression in many ways.”  Creative people, regardless of what they do for a living, look for different ways to do what needs to be done.

Secrets

See this interesting post by Oliver Burkeman, “Why We Tell Strangers Our Secrets.”  Also note the article in Harvard Magazine “Choosing Confidents” based on the same research.

Decisions

See Shane Parish’s post “The Decision-Maker: A Tool for a Lifetime.” (I realize there is something to be said about spiritual discernment which really isn’t discussed in this article.  However, I still find these kinds of posts interesting and even helpful.)

 

Fight Back With Joy (Margaret Feinberg)

JoyMargaret Feinberg is a fine author. I have read two of her books and was blessed by both. She has been through a difficult fight with cancer. In her most recent book  Fight Back With Joy, she shares the unexpected lessons she discovered along the way.

Margaret speaks of a defiant joy, a joy that is not disqualified by life’s difficulties and one’s sufferings. All too often, joy is reduced to something that one experiences when things are going well. Consequently, when life is relatively smooth and God’s power and presence are evident in our lives, we may speak of our appreciation for the joy that we are experiencing. Of course, this joy is a gift from God and is very real. Yet, what happens to joy when one is going through a difficult time, a time of pain and suffering? Where is joy when the one closest to you betrays you? Where is joy when you learn that you have a dreaded disease?

What I appreciate about Margaret’s book is that she has written it during one of the most difficult times of her life.  She reminds of the great circumstances that we are experiencing as believers, the abundant grace and mercy of God.  She speaks with vulnerability and with a desire to glorify God through the most difficult season of her life.

This book deserves to be read widely.  Many men and women who are dealing with pain and turmoil will be blessed by this book.  (You can purchase it from Amazon here or Barnes and Noble here.)

When People are Impulsive

making-your-own-decisionsIt is true.

Some people are slow to decide and slow to act.

Some groups are so afraid of making a mistake, they miss opportunity after opportunity to make a difference.

Some churches are so bogged down in committees they rarely take action.

There are some people, however, who seem to act impulsively with little thought.

Some people are impulsive with their words.  They say what they think and appear to have no filter.  Feelings are hurt and damage is done.

Some people are impulsive with money.  They spend first and think about their purchases later.

Some people are impulsive in their ministries.  In a sermon, a preacher suddenly makes a few unplanned, ill-timed remarks.  Is the Spirit prompting this?  Perhaps.  Yet, sometimes these remarks may be the product of impulsiveness.

Some churches are impulsive.  They have no real process for anything.  Consequently, the leaders frustrate the members of their congregations.

1.  A team of ministers and a group of elders discussed making a change that would impact the church.  They decided to sell their present building and move to another location.  They discussed this among themselves  for months.  Then one Sunday, they made an announcement regarding their decision to make this change.  There was tremendous push back which actually baffled the leadership group.  They could not figure out why people in the congregation seem agitated.  Yet, there was absolutely no process.

2.  One Sunday, a minister preaches a particularly difficult sermon.  He has been thinking about a particular passage and subject for the last two years.  He has reached a few conclusions about the interpretation of one particular Scripture that is quite different from what many in his congregation have heard before.  He preaches this sermon and later seems surprised at the questions being raised by a number of people who are deeply involved in the life of the church.  The reaction was not what he expected.  His response?  “I thought people here would be more open to God’s Word.”  Yet, he has been thinking about this subject for two years.  Those who heard the sermon had 25 minutes to process his thoughts.

3.  A group of church leaders decide to make some major changes to the congregation’s Sunday school.  This decision was made after the leadership team talked about the matter in a few elders’ meetings.  Yet, there was no real process involved.  The decision will impact teachers, Sunday school supervisors, children, visitors, and others.  Yet no one bothered to talk with other these people before it was announced.

Some people and some churches are anything but impulsive.  They can be paralyzed with indecision, frustrating their families and their congregations.  Yet, some individuals and some leadership groups are much too quick to send someone to a microphone to make an announcement before doing the necessary hard work to process a possible decision.

Impulsive individuals and impulsive churches can move quickly.  Yet, long after the action is taken, they must now spend an enormous amount of time and energy cleaning up.

Neither indecision or impulsivity get an individual, group, or church very far down the road.  There are no shortcuts.  Determining the best process for a decision and then following through may actually get one down the road more quickly.