I have the fun and privilege of talking to many people each week by phone, email, chat and in person at Base Camp, retreats, on radio interviews, podcasts and over a cup of coffee. Each person’s story is fascinating and their questions both profound and common. So, from recent conversations, let me offer a few thoughts that may be helpful.
Adjust with the seasons. Life continually changes and when we lock our self into one particular way of living, we will become stuck, frustrated, disappointed and questioning. There are times when we can navigate our days by clarity and desire. But there are also times when the fog is so thick that we doubt that we ever had either. This is when discipline is needed. Yes, discipline…that word that seems to be in opposition to desire. C.S. Lewis wrote, “A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people), like a crutch that is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times: but of course it is idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits, etc.) can do the journey on their own!” You see, there are times when “desire” looses it legs, and discipline must carry us. There is a beautiful dance between desire and discipline.
Develop your splendor. It is easy for us to neglect the development and training of our particular glory because it comes fairly easy to us. Instead, we put out time and resources into the development our weaknesses because they are painful and difficult. As a friend said me, we will almost always choose the relief of pain over the increase of pleasure. We need to take the time to enhance, focus and hone the God-given splendor / effect of your life: read, experience, ask questions, offer and reflect. Erwin McManus wrote in Uprising, “Our capacity to run free is related to our commitment to stand firm. There is a discipline of the heart that marks the free spirit. All of us long to play the song in our souls, and more of us would do so if it didn’t require endless hours of studying the notes.”
Live fully in your world. All to often we disengage from our surroundings and friendships because we live in the “what about” world. You know, “what about what missionaries go through”, “what about the hardship those in Haiti and Japan are experiencing”, “what about the Middle East situation”. Dallas Willard wrote in The Divine Conspiracy, “Every last one of us has a ‘kingdom’…a realm that is uniquely our own, where our choice determines what happens…in the range of our effective will…In creating human beings God made them to rule, to reign, to have dominion in a limited sphere.” So, don’t let that which is not within in your influence (other kingdoms) diminish or deter you from offering your glory to those in your world (your kingdom).
Utilize what you’ve got: We are all longing and looking for that group of people whom we can create, battle, achieve and journey with. For most of us, the cry of our heart has been the U2 chorus, “But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” We look for something that we believe “should be” vs. “could be”. We believe that finding and developing this “fellowship” should be easy, since God wants this for us and we need it. I’ve found that we always possess more than we are aware of. We look over and around what is already available to us. Of those whom I create, battle, achieve and journey with, some are local while others are distant. Some of these friendships are fairly new and some historic, but regardless of longevity, we need each other and we’re turning into something.
I hope that something I have written here has been helpful. It has for me.
Wanting to learn, move, offer and advance,