Meaning not Purpose

revival

When someone speaks about their own spirituality it may or may not speak to our own free will.  That’s ok.  We certainly don’t need or appreciate megaphones on the street corners telling us how incorrect our lives are.  At least I don’t.  When ever I see these folks downtown, I challenge them face to face.  And try to correct them – their approach is always old testament – not the new one.  Both testaments have circular references to each other – but the new was built on the old one, further the new one exists because of the old one.  That’s was the path – or the way I always understood it.  The “megaphone” aspect of ministry has always been more noise than signal.

First (enter denomination here) of (enter city’s name here).  To clarify, I was never denomination first.  Is any authentic person denomination first? Denomination wasn’t even second for most of my younger life.  I was myself first and this enabled me to be different in many people’s eyes.  I was, and am, still perfect with this notion.

I was maybe fourth or fifth denomination.  Mathematically, I was 1/5 religious denomination and 4/5 me, the authentic 4/5 which may have made others question me or make others uncomfortable when they were around me.  I grew to accept that about them – but now I realize I was more worried about what folks thought about me, more than I should have.

As time has gone on, being around other authentic people and learning about their authenticity has helped me lean into my  own.  Leaning into this wasn’t always easy for me, but over the last 8 years I’ve own and accepted who and what I am.  It’s not the bar that’s raised in from of me that I had to clear or reach – there’s not longer a bar – the bar was pushing me to be the things I thought I was “supposed” to be.  NONE of that worked for me and just caused immense pain and emotional scarring.

Experiences, friends, education, and self awareness helped me find and understand the puzzle pieces of myself which form an amazing picture of me – not the bar I thought I had to clear.

As I move through the rest of my life some puzzle pieces will get replaced because of changes in my physical or emotional geography.  This grande picture will just get more definition, clarity, and color.  This is how it’s working for me now, and I don’t see any changes coming soon.

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A New Year

Happy New Year

Well, I made another lap around this life and tacked on another year to this life, grateful and blessed I made this far.  So on my birthday before I start another lap, I stop (full stop, no distractions) and think.  What went well, what didn’t, where did I want to go and didn’t get to, and where am I heading based on the trajectory I’m on right now.

I write my goals on something the size of a business card and tuck inside my wallet, and revisit it when I’ve got downtime – actually airports coupled with a good pair of ear buds are good for this exercise.  I work in a world where 5-year plans are popular but there’s too much that can happen in 5-years, but I get the idea of putting things in place for a 5-year goal.  My target is just one year, not five.

I set about putting a few reminders around my home and work to remind me about these goals I’ve chosen to apply.  Now most of us have some type of performance plan our jobs ask us to incorporate but that’s not the type of goals I’m talking about.  Here’s a short list of a few candidates I consider each year: good listener, enthusiastic, passionate, visionary, role model, integrity, organized, knowledgeable, credible, empowering, patient, understanding.

You can incorporate many of these into other things you do day-to-day, and they can add that extra challenge to those things you’re working on to hone yourself through the next year.  And out of that list, pick no more than four or five.  You’ve got to take these goals and apply them in small portions, think baby-steps.

Just be aware of what you want to enhance about yourself and tweak yourself as needed, or when you see one of them slip.  Those are the moments you need to catch yourself and say, “hey, I’m working on that…  why didn’t I handle that opportunity better?”  Don’t shame yourself, just coach yourself, make a mental note and move on.  Don’t get hung up on it, move on.  It’s ok, we’re still learning about ourselves, well, I can’t speak for all of the readers of this blog but I certainly am always looking for room to improve.

Happy New Year!

oFc