I was catching some needed “space” today. A few hours of quiet at my favorite coffee house in a neighboring city. I was needing some inspiration, some quiet, some direction for the months ahead. Heading into today, I felt myself getting frustrated. I am not really sure at who, but part of me really needed to hear something specific — to get some nudging from God on the next steps I need to take.
Then the thought came to me… have you done the things you already know you need to do? Have you taken the steps and moved toward the things that you already have some direction on?
So I found a couple of my most recent journals and began to remind myself of some things that had come to mind over the last year. There was plenty there for me to think about and explore, and I was reminded of several steps I needed to take, things that were already on my mind, already on my radar, things that I know I need to create some movement on. As I re-read some of what I have written over the last year, I wondered why God would need to give me more until I responded to what was already there. I am also thinking some of this stuff is going to be hard work; it is going to require a ton of energy and passion to see it through.
Not sure where I saw this, but I am reminded as well of a Shakespeare quote I stumbled across a while back. “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a full sea we are now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”
That quote hits home today, and it seems pretty profound. So I am going to read on in my journal and see what else I have missed. Time to listen, watch, and ready myself to… take the tide when it serves.
I hope to see you there as well.
I just can’t seem to get this movie,”The Secret Live of Walter Mitty.” , out of my head. He was a dreamer, and I really like dreamers. Problem was, he just lived in the dream phase, and never stepped out. He didn’t actually have adventures, he did not actually chase anything, or experience things; he just daydreamed. One of the many things I really loved about this movie was some of it’ more subtle messages.
All along you think the hero — the focus, the amazing person, the star of the movie — is the rogue photographer. Walter is chasing this photographer around the planet. The guy lives a life of unpredictable, incredible moments. And he is known for his ability to capture those rare, exotic, and epic moments.
Yet, in the end, the real hero is not this photographer, but Walter himself. His regular, “mundane” job is made fun of at the beginning of the film, but in the end his loyalty, his faithfulness, the excellence with which he does his job, is what is celebrated.
Walter’s challenge was not to doing his job. His challenge was to live a life with a sense of awe, and mystery, and to have a willingness to risk and seek adventure within the essence of who he was and what he was created to do. His challenge was to not get stuck in a rut, to not bury his desires, talents, or his passion, but rather to bring his unique, distinctive gifts right into the day-to-day realities of life. Walter was then called to choose his desires, soak in the moments, and to connect deeply with people.
So I wonder what that looks like for me… embracing the realities of my life but remaining determined not to settle… to live life with a sense of discovery ….. to embrace mystery and be willing to risk; not recklessly risk but risk and take some chances… to continue to step out, and keep pursuing the calling, the hopes, the dreams, God has put on my heart.
By doing that, and at the same time being faithful and true in the day-to-day realities of life…… that is the challenge …. and that may be a heroic way to live.
These last couple of weeks I have been struck with the images, scenes and impressions from the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”
There are many things in the film that are compelling. In a lot of ways, the movie represents some of the dream of RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue and what we hope for those guys who start these journeys. We hope that something will awaken in them, that there will be a dream: a desire to live life differently with a sense of adventure and a willingness to “make the jump”, and to move without guarantees. We hope there will be an excitement to engage in the mystery of God’s calling and the life He hopes for us to live.
There is this fantastic scene near the end of the movie where Walter catches up with this famous photographer he has been chasing around the world. The photographer is in the Upper Himalayas waiting for this rare moment to capture an image of a snow leopard. Eventually the leopard appears, but instead of taking the picture, the guy just learns back and says something like, “Sometimes I don’t take the picture. Sometimes I just want to be fully in the moment. I don’t want to miss anything by messing with the camera.” What follows is a beautiful, deep time of quiet, when the two men soak in the beauty of this rare, spontaneous moment, that was given to them.
That scene represents how I want to live this year — with a sense of awe, with a sense of intentionality and focus, but leave plenty of room for quiet, spontaneity and those rare moments that may come my way. I want to breath in all of it, the people, the opportunities and the mystery of whatever comes my way in the months ahead. So, here is to giving that, my best shot…..
In the cold and gray of winter, I found my mind wandering back to a great summer memory. One of the highlights of 2013 for me was three days of being unplugged, surrounded by nature, my son and good friends.
Sometimes, you have to go fishing.
I learned that from my dad. He was a farmer and the summers were some of the busiest work times. But when I was little he would tell me that whenever it rained an inch we could go fishing. And he always followed through. Even if there was a ton of work to be done, we would still head out. I picked up some great life lessons there. One is that there is a time for everything; a time to work, a time to play… and a time to go fishing.
The last three days have been a great escape. In fact, I was able to shut off my mind, the phone and work more than I have in a long time. It is amazing how hard it can be to step away from the routine and from business, even to do the things you love most. Last week, it took some time with my oldest son, good friends, and a road trip to South Dakota to get me to totally disconnect. Today I feel much more ready for the busy season ahead of me. Sometimes you have to find a way to really change things up, get out of the routine, and go.
It was just three days but they were filled with great stories and unique moments like the rodeo-riding, car mechanic waitress who told us we’d better keep our rooms clean or she would kick our butts. She was the hotel maid as well! Or the classic fishing moment that seems to always happen, when one of the fishing guides took my friend and his son to another spot because they weren’t catching anything. Two minutes after they left, we caught one walleye after another and brought in a boat load of fish. Then there was late night cards and the “exceptional” movie we watched, Sharknado.
It didn’t take much; just a little planning and a willingness to hit the road. In some really unique ways, God met me there. He met me right in the middle of doing the things I love most — sharing unique experiences, family, friends, travel, lots of laughs and some fishing. Whatever you love to do, take time to get away and enjoy it. Slow down this crazy pace you keep and hang out the “gone fishing” sign once in a while. Life is way too short and chasing the things you love to do will give you what you need for the rest of it.
See you on the lake.
During the holiday weeks, I’m taking some extra time to enjoy my family and create new memories. Today and next Thursday, I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite blogs from 2013. I hope you and your family had a restful, renewing and just plain fun Christmas. And I hope as well, that God will use the next few days to help prepare you for the moments that await you in 2014.
Originally Posted July 11, 2013
I have always sought after times of extended quiet. In fact one of the themes of my life has been this longing for times to dream, listen, process and just shut off the noise. It started when I was really young and would wonder back to the pasture behind our house and think about the places I wanted to go and the things I wanted to do. There is often peace in this quiet, but I have learned not to seek the quiet for safety; for me, dangerous things often happen in the quiet.
Several winters ago a major blizzard hit on Christmas Eve. For a few days we were completely isolated. It took a major winter storm to force me into a needed change of pace. The quiet mornings gave me space to reflect on the previous months. It had been a rough year. I was at a point of transition and had been through a season of fatigue, boredom and restlessness that was the making for a perfect storm.
In that forced, desperately needed quite, God reminded me of the unique and sometimes difficult ways He had broken through and revealed himself to me .
If not for that time in the quiet, I would have been in real trouble. God took me through some minefields where I experienced brokenness and personal searching. He brought me to a point where I was willing to give up a dream for a new ministry to young leaders that had been on my heart for years. I was ready to step away from all of it.
Then my phone rang.
It was a random call asking me to go to Ecuador to speak at a leadership conference. The topic? What it looks like for a leader to stay the course and finish well. At that moment I could not have felt less qualified, but thanks to the prodding of a wife and a sense from God that I could not bury, I went.
In the quiet on a mountain above Quito, Ecuador, God began to renew my dream of investing in emerging leaders. He stirred awake longings and fueled my hope. He also reminded me there would be costs: being on the front lines of spiritual warfare, fundraising, relational and professional risks.
The blizzard raged on, but in those cold, isolating winds I felt some renewal in my passion to pursue Him again in the quiet and solitude. Through the years it has always been worth the fight to get these times alone with God. This time it just needed to be forced on me.
I believe the same is true for you as well. You can find renewal, and likely some dangerous adventure if you practice seeking Him in extended times of quiet. It is for sure worth the fight!