I cant seem to get that picture from my last post out of my mind, there is just something about it……
There could be a lot of reasons. Maybe it’s the road… well traveled, a bit worn, but still inviting…
Maybe it is the lure of that familiar yet mysterious mountain range… a constant reminder for me of this mysterious God who continually invites us to step out, to take a risk… stay on the journey and continue to pursue Him. It might be this adventurous pursuit of the unknown that I have so often been ready to give upon, or at least been tempted to take an easier road.
Maybe it is the tension I feel when I see it, There has been so many times when disappointment, fatigue and frustration at God’s silence have set in. at times I have felt beat up, and have wondered if it is worth staying on the road.
At the same time there is this pull, this invitation and challenge, the need for risk, the call to not just settle… to not give up, or give in, but to keep seeking out that mountain range all the way to the finish line…
Maybe it is just the pure love of the mountains that keeps me moving, seeking, hoping for more.
Last week as we finished up a RHYTHMinTWENTY group in that mountain range , I was reminded that those glimpse we get of God—those brief moments when the windows to what this life was supposed to be like open up—make it all worth it.
It keeps me on that well-traveled road looking for more.
I have driven west toward the Colorado Rockies probably close to 100 times over the years. And I never get tired of this sight.
When I first see these mountain on my drive west, I still get excited. The remembrance of family, friends, adventure, fun and amazing ministry moments never gets old.
Last week I was driving to my favorite spot , Crested Butte, Colorado, to finish the third year with one of our RHYTHMinTWENTY groups . Heading to the event this year felt different though. I felt like I was in irons… and I knew I had been in a spiritual slump for a few months. Over the last few years we have had thirty different RHYTHMinTWENTY or Rogue events. It has been an incredible run as we have seen God work in some amazing ways, but I did feel weary and wondered for the first time if I and others in the ministry could keep up this pace.
Then something happened. Twenty guys showed up. They were excited, full of anticipation, and ready for whatever God had for them in the three days we had together. It became clear to me again, that we have an enemy that does not want this to happen. So we chased what it means to live with a life-changing kind of rhythm, and explored what it looks like for young leaders to finish well. Twenty world changers spoke again and again about how this rhythm journey had impacted their lives, their families, and the many they influenced. Those three days for me personally were deeply impacting, and God used those guys and our time in the mountains to renew my vision, increase my resolve , and ready me for the launch of new groups and whatever else He has in store for Harbor Ministry in the months ahead.
So once again, in a different way, a glimpse of the mountains brought needed excitement, hope, great resolve and anticipation for whats next.
I am going to keep pursuing those mountains on the horizon. You should as well! Just a glimpse can make all the difference.
Have you ever made it to the top of something and found it was not quit what you expected?
On vacation recently we were at this historic hotel in Memphis. This place has one of the more bizarre (okay, kind of dumb, yet great…) traditions I have seen. It’s called the march of the ducks. Everyday at 5:00 p.m. sharp, to the cheers of many, these ducks come out of the fountain in the middle of the hotel lobby, and march along the red carpet to the elevators. They ride those elevators to the top of the hotel where they live in duck luxury. Hundreds of people, including us, crowd into the hotel to watch this march, which is followed by a lot of hype and a invitation to go to the top of the hotel and celebrate.
We actually waited in line for the elevators and went to the top… where we found a flat cement roof, a 110-degree heat index , very few places to sit, closed displays… and no ducks. The real attraction had already taken place. It was a good view and all from the top, but not what we expected, and not worth the wait. I am not sure what we hoped to find up there, now that I think about it, but for sure something different than what we experienced.
I was reading something that Richard Rohr wrote recently in his book Falling Upward. He talked about one of the mistakes we make in life is that we work hard, we strive, but don’t thrive. We climb the ladder of success, but we never pause to really assess what is at the top of that ladder. He observes that “we are more about getting to the top than finding out what is at the top.”
It struck me that if that is our journey—if we are so busy climbing, moving, striving, and we have not taken the time to pause, to process, to assess, and to remind ourselves of the passion and mission that God has placed on our heart, in the first place—we may just lose ourselves along the way. We may just get to the top and ask why did I give all my time, and passion to this…….
Been thinking again about the edge. I have wondered if I really believe what I wrote a few months ago.
In a February 16th post I wrote:
” I began to wonder if these messages of safety, of pulling back, of not getting too close we heard as children, and this image of staying back from the edge and not taking a risk have stuck with us as adults, especially in our spiritual journeys. I wonder if pulling back from the edge keeps us from experiencing the kind of life we were meant to live. I just wonder if there is a lot more to think about here.
“What if the edge is actually the place we need to go? What if there is opportunity, adventure, risk, needed perspective, and life-giving mission and necessary vision that can only be seen from that vantage point?
“What if it is actually more risky to settle in, stay safe, stay back in the places where we are familiar and comfortable? What if the most dangerous choice is actually staying a few feet back, settling in and allowing our view to be hindered?”
I have been forced to go to the edge lately to take a different look and to get some new and needed perspective. I would view myself as a risk taker, someone who is not willing to settle and stay in the comfortable. But that perspective of myself has been challenged lately. Sometimes I think I am more likely to stay safe… stay back, and stay in a routine than I thought.
Yet I have seen time and time again that in my spiritual journey, in my key relationships, in the mission God has given me in Harbor Ministries, that minus some needed wake up calls in my life I can trend toward a safer view and stay back from the edge. Circumstances in these last few weeks have given me a push to the edge. My wife did some of the needed pushing recently in our relationship and it has caused me to re-engage her in some better ways.
I have also felt flat in my spiritual journey recently and I’m realizing I’ve been going down a path I have journeyed before…. where I am so busy doing…. that I have neglected a passionate pursuit of God myself. That pathway lead to near disaster in my past. I was beginning to forget again what that passionate pursuit needs to look like in my own life, so I am trying to take some steps to bring some needed wind back in my sails, before things get real crazy soon.
I know this. It is time to be challenged and not coast. Time to not just encourage others, but to pursue this mysterious God of ours myself with the same level of intensity that I am challanging others with. Time to get up to the edge and see what steps God wants me to take from there. For now, one of those steps I think, is to just enjoy the view…
When was the last time your tank was really full? A time when you could say I am right where I need to be. I’m not looking elsewhere. I’m not restless or thinking about something else. A time when you where just fully in the moment, and you sensed you were gaining some much-needed energy
It is something we talk to guys in leadership about all the time. In order to lead, to engage people, to have a life of deep impact, it is critical that we are leading from a place of strength.
One of the things I have neglected over the years is recognizing this truth: To be a effective leader, we must lead with strength and courage, steadiness and balance. To do that well, our lives need to take on a certain “weightiness” — a weightiness that comes from a full tank. So I have found myself thinking lately about those things that really fill my tank: The things I love, that I’m passionate about. The things that actually give me energy, not take it away. Things that are just plain fun. When I have neglected these things, I have trended toward coasting, drifted toward becoming mediocre and even feeling some entitlement.
Recently I had a number of tank-filling experiences converge. I had just finished a RHYTHMinTWENTY gathering in San Diego with a great group of young leaders from all over the country. Even though those days take a ton of work and so much goes into them, they are incredibly life-giving. When I’m at a Rhythm event, I feel like I’m right in the middle of what I should be doing. After the gathering, my son stayed on and we hit some sights, including a Cubs/Padres game at Petco Park. It was a collision of so many things I love and am passionate about: time with the family, sports, time on the Mission Beach boardwalk, time with some awesome young leaders, working with great leadership teams for Rhythm and Rogue, San Diego..
I came back from those few days, NOT spent, but with a full tank.
So what is it for you? What brings you life? What energizes you? What fills you up? Make a bucket list for the summer. I bet you will see some huge impact as a result..