Archive for March, 2011

10
Mar
11

How Might God Use Me? Or You?

Entrepreneurs are some of my favorite people. Throughout my career in the business world and even now I have always been impressed to see the way they become seized by a vision of  the “not yet” and then set out in dogged pursuit to produce something out of nothing. Usually when we think of entrepreneurs we visualize people who walk around with their hair on fire, taking extra-outrageous risks, walking the thin tightrope between success and utter failure every day. In my experience, a lot of that stereotyping is absolutely true.

But because I have sat and talked with many of these folks I know that even though many of these pursuits pay off with a huge financial reward, for most of them the chase is not about the money at all. It is about following a passion… it’s about facing down challenges and prevailing… it is about being engaged in the thrill of raw creativity… it is about having a compelling vision for life that makes them eager to get out of bed in the morning and face the new day. That said, the money is a really nice little side benefit that none would turn down, to be sure.

As unique and wonderful as this special breed of person is, I believe that within each one of us is planted a similar kind of seed. When I read in the Genesis creation account the phrase that tells us, “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them,” (Gen. 1:27), I read in this passage an intention of pointing us to the characteristics that we share with God, not the physical traits, per se. (after all, God is spirit, not flesh!) Being made in God’s image means that just as God is defined as love, or as relationship, so are humans. And just as God is understood as raw creative energy, the One who brings Order out of Chaos, Something out of Nothing, so also are human beings “wired.” I believe we are born to create.

And so the question we each wake to every morning is, “What is mine to create?” In pondering this question, do not be intimidated by the initial loftiness of its sound. To answer it, you don’t need to be an artist. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur. You don’t need to possess special gifts or talents in the areas we traditionally think of when we think about being “creative.”

You first need to just commit to knowing yourself fully and completely. (As Jesus tells us in Luke 8:17, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”) And you need to believe with absolute certainty that there is something God intends to use you for here on earth that is a purpose that cannot be accomplished by anyone else. It is yours and yours alone to create.

And I can promise you that when you connect with it and when you are actively engaged with it, you will feel an aliveness coursing through your veins that you have never felt before. You will jump out of bed and say, “Thank you, God, for the gift of this day!” You will have no doubt about who you are and why you are here. You will see every roadblock and disappointment you encounter as challenges to your resourcefulness and not as dead ends. You will have an attitude and an energy that is evident to everyone you meet. They might not understand it, but they will be inexplicably drawn to it.

And as you remain connected with God and with your new-found purpose, you will find yourself joyously echoing the words of Esther who realized that perhaps she was indeed born, “For such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14).

That is my prayer for you today.

08
Mar
11

The problem with Florida

Don’t get me wrong… today – Tuesday, March 8, 2011… I am loving the fact that I am sitting here on Anna Maria Island dabbing lotion on my newly sunburned cheeks while my workmates back in Kansas City are facebooking about the giant snowflakes invading their skies. If I were Roman Catholic I would have to do a BIG bunch of penance for the glee I am taking in the misery of my friends.

But here is the thing: I am not sure I will ever be able to fully embrace or even trust a place that has no seasons. There is something about it that is just wrong, intrinsically. Life has seasons! Dark helps us appreciate light. Pain helps us appreciate un-pain. Absence pumps up presence, and winter makes summer a whole lot sweeter when it comes. A never-ending consistency of experience – even if that experience is made up of everything we think we crave – dulls the mind and flattens the spirit, I would propose.

And when you are in a place (as I am today) where the shared basis of human community is people who have escaped from somewhere else, you really have to tread lightly. Any questioning or challenging of the proposition that “Of course this is paradise! How could it not be??!!” will be swiftly and effectively dealt with. My wife’s sister moved from LaCrosse, Wisconsin to Phoenix 20 years ago and will not tolerate anything but rave reviews about the AZ weather. Joan and I take a little naughty delight in counting how many times we can make her say, “But we love it here!” in the course of a single conversation. The current record is eight.

In the end I am glad that places like Anna Maria Island and Phoenix exist. They provide great targets to set your sights on when the snow keeps falling and the cabin fever has finally gotten out of hand. But just as I could not eat strawberry shortcake for every meal, I seriously think I would freak out with 80 degrees and sunny every single day for the rest of my life.




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