I went for a good long bike ride yesterday. It was likely my last ride for a while. With the unseasonably warm weather this last week, I have been riding every chance I get, because I knew change was coming. When I put the bike away last night, I knew I would likely be done with it for a few months.
Yesterday’s high was 60. Today’s was 20, as a winter storm rolled through. This is the kind of storm that is a game changer in Nebraska — the kind that says winter is settling in, so I may as well get used to it… so the bike went up to the rafters.
I am not a big fan of the cold. I would much rather be on the boardwalk at Mission Beach in San Diego. For the last several years when winter set in, I could move from some of the things I love to do outside, and go into a gym and watch my kids play basketball. For several years that kept me pretty warm. Those years of coaching and watching them play were as good as it gets. When our youngest graduated from high school this last year, I knew this winter may be a bit colder.
Biking for me has always been great therapy. It is a chance to get alone, get quiet, think, get a good workout, and enjoy the sights and sounds of a ride on one of my favorite trails. I always feel better, more refreshed, often more inspired after a good ride. But for the next few months, I will need to find a replacement: something to fill the gap, something to replace the bike… and the gym.
This will not be easy.
I need some ideas, maybe some perspective. So what do you do to get out of the doldrums? How do you bring some joy, refreshment, fun, exercise, and inspiration into the cold and gray of winter?
Today, I watched the sun rise over the Atlantic. It was incredible. Quiet mornings by the ocean always offer me a great mix of reflection, awe, and anticipation. This morning was no different. The colors were incredible. The only sounds were the rhythm of the surf. I was pretty locked into the moment.
Then came the noise…
…some equipment to clean the beach, a few workers doing their jobs.
Things really changed after that. In fact, the noise changed everything.
Sometimes we have to focus, do your work, get things done despite all noise around us. That’s just life . But sometimes we need to make some sacrifices, move, change things up, and make some adjustments to take some of the noise away.
I found another great spot this morning, got away from some of the noise and just listened. It was worth it — way worth it to find another spot .
So it raises the question: what is causing confusion, disruption, noise, in your life and what do you need to do about it?
Have you ever gotten to a place where you felt dead in the water? Just no wind in your sails? A place where you just really need to hear from God; you need some direction or some sense that He is directing you. You need His holy wind to fill your sails. I have been there many times, and I found myself there again a few months ago. It is a hard place. It was a long time of stillness, a long time of just waiting, searching, hoping for a sense of His holy wind.
I think through the years I have realized there are those times — sometimes extended times — when there is just no movement, and seemingly no sense of His voice or direction. But I have also found there seems to always be a breakthrough. Sometimes it comes in the most surprising and unpredictable ways. I also know it is important to keep searching for it, keep waiting for it, keep expecting it.
I find that I am really thankful not only for those times that His wind blew through, but also for the times of stillness, because it is in those times that I keep searching and seeking him. It was in those times that Harbor Ministry was launched, and in those times that I came to grips with the loss of my parents. It was in those still times that I wrote journals for my kids as they went off to college. As I think about it, it was in those times when I felt He was most silent that He was speaking pretty clearly.
Over these next few weeks I am determined to go and to listen, and to wait for the holy wind.
So how has God worked in your life? When have you have really sensed His presence and His leading? What has that looked like for you?
Last year when we started Rogue for guys 35ish and up, I was already swamped. Harbor Ministry was really gaining momentum, and we had just started the fourth RHYTHMinTWENTY group. It was a crazy pace, and we were dealing with some tough stuff in our family at the same time. I knew Rogue would add another significant piece. But through all of that, I had sensed God’s leading. In fact, launching Rogue confirmed again how God has typically worked in my life; an idea comes, it is consistent with the vision, passion, and things I deeply care about. Typically I start to engage the ideas with people I would love to join with on the journey. If there is some synergy and confirmation from those close, I take the next step. If my mind starts to race and I have trouble sleeping as more ideas come and momentum builds, it’s a good sign.
Then a significant moment always comes: a crossroad. A time of risk is required. Very seldom have all the ducks been in a row. There has always been risk. There was always a significant step that needed to be taken. THEN His confirmation has come.
In the case of launching a new leadership event like Rogue, I struggled with doubt, and I wondered…
What if no one comes?
What if I can’t raise the necessary money to make it happen?
What if people do come, and it sucks?
But I know for me, there is a time when I have to step out and really risk. For me, all the things I have wanted to do — the things God has drawn me to — included risk, and there was that moment… there was a point where I had to choose to face the unknown and step out.
So I know it is critical to remember… to remember how He has typically led and directed me in the past, because it can provide a great pathway toward what is next.
We do a thing with the groups of leaders we work with in the Rhythm and Rogue events where we take a look at the last year. We think through the highs and lows, the successes and failures, moments of frustration and great fulfillment, and we talk it through with others.
One of our Rogue groups.
We take a step back and look for any themes, or anything God could be telling us through it all. I think in a lot of ways, He is already talking to us; whispering to us through the day-to-day events of our life. As I was preparing for a recent talk on this, I thought again about some old scrapbooks I used to keep as a kid. Lets be clear: I don’t do scrapbooking now. I don’t do scrapbooking parties. I like football, a good drink, fishing — you know, guy stuff. But when I was a kid I kept track of everything. I was the one who would keep extensive scrapbooks of our family vacations, travels, sporting accomplishments, etc. I just did not want to forget and I did not want others to forget either. One summer when I was eleven, I actually journaled all the fish I caught. I mean every fish. I may post it. It’s a good read!
As I was looking that over I realized again why I love putting together the RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue events. Something in me loves pulling people together for shared life experiences — the kind of unique and memorable experiences that stand out. The kind of experiences that make a difference, that mark the journey for people.
So, are there some things that stand out from your younger years? Things you were passionate about? Things that were unique that might offer insight into to your calling in this next season of life? Give it some thought and let me know what you come up with. Sometimes we just need to slow down enough to look, access, listen. He may already be speaking.