In the ninth grade, I remember the first time I moved into a yoga pose. Pretending to be meditating, I closed my eyes, crossed my legs and brought my thumbs and middle fingers to touch. I was in the school cafeteria. I had no concept of yoga except this—and I was quickly reprimanded by my concerned christian friend—that Christians can't meditate. It is against God to do such a thing … And for many years, when I heard the words mediate and/or yoga, that was the experience that came to mind.
I love the benefits of living an active lifestyle. I am not a competitive person, but I find an incredible amount of joy in finding my edge. Most of the time. But, it's not always easy to stay motivated.
There have been seasons, where training for an event was just what I needed. There have also been seasons when training for an event or setting too many expectations and goals became more stressful then helpful.
Pumpkin spice lattes, a few cozy pieces added to my wardrobe, we have a series of birthdays to celebrate—ahh—some of my favorites things...
Do me a quick favor: take a few moments to think through your September calendar. As you mentally go the activities, special events, work projects and celebrations—did you make sure to include a few lines for yourself?
Most of us listen with just 25% efficiency. Chances are that even when we are not speaking or on our smart phones, we are thinking about what we will say, rather then being present and truly listening to what is being said to us. This week we will dive into some practical ways to practice how to listen, love and lead well.
Whether we are talking about raising our children; who we work or volunteer with; and/or anyone of in our sphere of influence; are we the person that we want them to intimidate? Or are we still hoping someone else is going to rise to the challenge and take on the work of making a positive difference?
Active listening and being present is a lot of work. By nature, we think of ourselves first. So putting anyone before ourselves takes mindful effort—but so is anything worth having. So how do we make this a reality when we already feel pulled in so many directions?
Learning to listen well will make ours far richer then only focusing on ourselves. I think most of us want to listen, love and lead well. I also think we tend to give up when we allow ourselves the excuse that "we just aren't wired that way" or we are too busy today, maybe tomorrow...
I also know that somedays I fail at listening. I have went through the motions, but could not truthfully tell you how the people that matter most to me really are doing. Even if they tried to tell me! When those days are over, maybe I made it through a few more items on my to-do list, but I am far less content with how I spent my time. When this happens, it is always a reminder that my short term desires are not worth living my life for, but the people God allows me to get know and share life with are.
How about you? Do you have any other tips or practices that helps you listen well? I'd love to hear them if so.
Trail running… my first real introduction to meditation. The biggest difference being if you happen to follow a rabbit trail of thoughts—there is a really strong chance you will bite it and hit the ground.
I can’t even remember why I wanted to start running trails. However, I will never forget the miles of running on jagged rock and mud—and aide stations that have Nutella pita sandwiches and M&Ms—and the necessary focus to what was in front of your feet.
My heart goes out to the families affected by recent events.
Racism is real. Just as real as slavery, and human and sex trafficking--modern day oppression...
I think this is a really good time to ask the question Joe (our local church pastor) asked on Sunday. “Are we living our lives to create a better life, or a better world?” From my vantage point, more people, including Americans, have been choosing the better life. Whenever we care more about ourselves then those around us—then we have been choosing selfishly.
Everyday we we make small and big decisions regarding what we believe and what we value, regarding ourselves and others. All our decisions add up and shape who we are.
I believe our nation is where it is, because as a collective, we have been choosing “us vs. them”—ourselves verses everyone else. When we value our own comforts more then what God values-the orphan, the widow, the captive, the weak and oppressed-then eventually, our actions will catch up to us. God never pushes Himself on us, but He does desire we choose His way over our own. If we choose to go our own way, then He will continue to love us—all the same—but His values and His love will not be evident because He will leave us to our own ways.
Each day, we get to decide if it is really worth waking up and claiming our day for just ourselves, or also for those around us, locally and globally. This doesn’t mean we all leave our day jobs, however, it does mean that we don’t just look inward. For those of us that desire cultural change, we must also look upward (to God’s truth) and outward (to what is going on around us). We take notice of where we are, and we lead from there.
“… ‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you would spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.'” - Isaiah 58:9
We have to do more then talk about what oppression looks like, and who is to blame. If we all have been the center of our own attention, then maybe there are more at fault then those who make the news... Change will come when we take selfless action to do away with the oppression.
Sadly, the positive actions toward change will not heal the recently broken hearts. but prayerfully, will play a role in the healing process that God desires to play in their lives, and in our own.