Do You Have Trouble Being Still?

 

479345205Waiting. Late Gen X’ers and Millennials have never really had to do much of it. In fact, we cringe at the thought of it. Thanks to fast food retailers, express trains, HOV lanes, and supermarket “10 items or less” checkout stations (just to name a few), we’ve gradually lost any and all tolerance for waiting.

I’ll be the first to confess that I have a low tolerance for waiting. (If you want proof, just ride to work with me one morning and see how well I handle traffic jams.) Recently, as I grumbled to myself about having to sit still for a few extra minutes, I had a revelation. I realized that I get easily frustrated when someone doesn’t answer my call, text, or email promptly. I never want to wait in line at theme parks. I start to steam when that friend (whom I love) says they’ll be there at 6:00 pm but doesn’t show up until 6:10pm. I often don’t even have the patience to wait on the elevator to move two floors (ridiculous, I know).

While processing all of these instances, I realized that I have a serious problem. Is it really such an inconvenience to my schedule to have to be patient for just a few tiny moments of my day? Of course, the answer is no. But there’s a greater lesson to be found here: Waiting is a part of life. No matter how advanced technology may become or how many more choices we’re offered in this life, we’re always going to be required to wait on something or someone.

Whether it be in the work environment, relationships, or leisure, waiting is never comfortable or pleasant. But we could all testify to the fact that waiting has proven profitable at times. We must remember that the big thing God has waiting for us just beyond the horizon is only found through seasons of being still and patiently trusting a greater plan.

Scripture is full of great examples of how waiting proves valuable in the end. Psalm 46:10 provides probably the best advice ever for waiting: “Be still, and know that I am God.” In other words, breathe in, breathe out, and simply trust the one who knows us best and what’s best for us–our Creator.

Consider your own life. Do you have a low tolerance for waiting? Do you feel entitled to have everything “your way, right away”? Do you need to take time to be still, trusting in the Lord’s perfect plan and timing over your own?

Do You Suffer From Commitaphobia?

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com•mit•ment(noun) the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself.

Do you struggle with this word? Does it scare you to death? Do you cringe at the very mention of it?

If so, hear this: You’re not alone.

People fear commitment–especially those in their 20’s and 30’s. Commitment includes a binding contract. It requires keeping your word. It demands selflessness. And in a world where people grow up being told they can be and do whatever they desire, well…commitment doesn’t always mesh well with that standard of living.

I was a victim of commitaphobia (fear of commitment) for several years. Growing up, I wanted to be a part of so many things–sports, arts, church, academics. I wanted to be everybody’s friend. I feared missing out on, well, anything. And, essentially, I didn’t. But in the midst of giving pieces of my time to almost anything and everything, I lacked genuine commitment. And guess what? I actually did miss out. I missed out the best parts of truly getting to know others. I missed out being a vital part of a team. And I never fully developed skills and talents that I could have if only I had stayed or played longer.

For any relationship, career, or hobby to experience vitality and joy, a genuine level of commitment is a must. Sure, you can make anything work for a period of time. But you’ll never really learn to swim until you dive into the deep end. The deep end is mysterious, uncomfortable, and requires much endurance, but it makes you stronger and better.

When I committed to jobs, I found passion and fulfillment. When I committed to friendships and relationships, I found real community. When I committed to marriage, I found harbor and hope. And when I committed myself to God, l found purpose.

Commitment is not an end; it’s a beginning. Commitment doesn’t close doors of opportunity; it opens them. Commitment is not giving up; it’s giving in.

To what or whom do you need to commit? What’s holding you back?

Go ahead–commit. Don’t let a fear of missing out keep you from truly missing out. 

Change–Face It and Embrace It

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A lot can happen in a year.

For me, 2012 was a year that brought a lot of change–change I wasn’t quite prepared for. But in the midst of the many unexpected changes along the way, I’ve experienced some of my life’s greatest blessings. And God has made me better–for Him and others.

Facing Change
I’ve always been the type of person who thrives on change. I like trying new things, new ways, at new times, and at new places. New experiences always make me appreciate old ones. New environments always give birth to a fresh creative spirit. New relationships always prove to better define past ones.

But as good as change can be, it’s never comfortable. Change requires surrender, and surrender demands a shift in pride. All in all, these are small sacrifices when it comes to the fruits of change.

My 2012 was uncomfortable. I surrendered several comforts along the way. My pride was then shifted. And now in 2013, I’m able to look back and see the fruits.

Embracing Change
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from facing change, it’s that you must also embrace it. It’s in the moments when you open your heart and mind to the changes that lie ahead that you begin to see God do a work inside you that’s beyond your realm of understanding. And the rewards are plentiful.

In 2012, I decided to embrace the changes before me. I surrendered my small realm of thinking and allowed God to do what only He can–make me better. I decided to trust His plan instead of the ones I had crafted on my own. And I discovered a life so much more abundant than I’ve ever known.

I survived several changes within my job and work structure. The fruit was found in embracing a new position in which I truly love and am able to creatively and passionately use my skills and talents for His glory. I allowed myself to invest in the pursuit of new relationships. The fruit was revealed when God opened my eyes to the most beautiful relationship in my life for the past twelve years–and in less than three months, I’m marrying my best friend. God has the most unique and beautiful way of orchestrating His plans. Let’s not hold Him back!

In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, we learn that “for everything, there’s a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (ESV). So often, we coast through seasons of life without acknowledging God’s perfect plans. We attempt to craft our own plans–and we fail. So we try again. And again. And eventually, we finally open our eyes to God’s perfect plan and begin to experience the abundance of His love. Don’t postpone joy.

In work, relationships, or life experiences, how do you deal with change?

Are there situations of change that God may be asking you to face…and embrace?

No matter the change that lies ahead, remember to look for God in the midst of it. Allow Him to change your heart and transform your life. And then–a year later–bask in the fruits of His plan and provision. A change can do you good.

Got Passion?

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You can’t teach passion. But you can catch it. In fact, it’s quite contagious. And like an infectious disease, it will sneak up on you from out of nowhere when you least expect it. It can slay giants, knock down walls, and open doors of opportunity. Passion can transform a person and change the world.

However, unlike a real contagious disease, passion can be quickly dissolved. In leadership, we see it happen too often. Without a constant feeding of passion, we lose momentum, focus, and love for the game (career). Without passion, we surrender to the opponent. And where there’s no passion, there’s no followers. 

Consider yourself and your place of leadership. Are you constantly feeding your passion? Do you notice it to be contagious to your teammates and spectators?

When you feel your passion starting to wane, consider these three tips for keeping the passion alive:

  • Surround yourself with passionate people. If they’re not the people on your own team, look elsewhere. Whatever the case, seek inspiration daily.
  • Unplug. Rest. Relax. Ultimately, don’t let yourself burn out. An occasional recharge is necessary.
  • Work hard–especially when others don’t. Exercise your mind and body for wisdom and strength, which leads to endurance.

We must never let a lack of passion from teammates or coaches distract us from playing hard and being champions in our work. Passion is essential for leaders. It must be continually fed in order to be continually spread.