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Posts Tagged ‘lessons learned’

When I set out to blog, I made the commitment to be transparent in my writings and never sugar-coat the stories of my faith journey.  It is easy to write about the good things that God does in our lives.  Yet when we slip or when things aren’t working out quite as nicely as we would like, we can easily gloss over or ignore a significant part of life that likely carry’s meaning to many, simply for the sake of putting up a good front.  Today I am compelled to share a recent chastisement from the Lord.  Partly this is to highlight an aspect of God’s nature that is often mis-characterized.  Also, it is because the trap I fell into is very easy to slip into even if it is hidden in plain view.

In my last post, ALL, I wrote about Jesus’ declaration of the greatest commandment and what our love of God with all that we are looks like.  What you don’t know is that I wrote that a week ago under what I sensed was the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  But I hadn’t quite finished it.  While we have had a lot transpire in our family over the past week, there is no reason why I didn’t finish the post sooner.  I had clear nudges to do so, but I kept busy and I kept putting it off.

For much of my life I have risen early to spend 1 – 2 hours in bible study, prayer, and occasionally blogging.  But for the last week I would wake up very early, usually before my alarm would go off, with a strong sense of needing to spend quiet time with the Lord.  But I would reason that I could pray just fine snuggled in my warm bed.  Somehow one or two sentences in prayer would occur and the next thing I knew it was an hour or more later.  By the time I would arise, it was time to start the day’s activities.  Needless to say, my attempts at a quiet time were rushed, stilted, and not really a time of connection.  It was more like a child rushing through the kitchen late for school, snatching at whatever they can for breakfast before sprinting out the door.  It might have the appearance of eating breakfast, but nutrition it was not.  My quiet times had become like that – an appearance of the right thing, but connection with God and edification, it was not.

Tuesday of this week I did respond to the nudge.  I was up early and I got into the Word.  Afterward I slipped outside where a light rain was falling.  With an awareness of my lack of direction lately I whispered a prayer, “Lord, please steer me.”  Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “The boat has to be moving for the rudder to work.”  Oh my!  I am used to God’s encouragement and gentle correction, usually when I turn in repentance after I realize I have made a mistake.  In this case, I had been a little lazy for several days, but I assumed that getting up early was a good sign on my part.  The rebuke was firm, clear, and thankfully cut through my self-satisfaction.

Since our relationship is with the omniscient God, there is no hiding our true thoughts, feelings, and motivations.  If we are not careful, we can slip into self-deception and “think” we are fine.  But, getting into the Word, spending real connected time with the Father is the antidote we all need.  When we do, He will guide us into the way of truth and life.  And if we need more than a little nudge, He can provide that too.  The important thing on our end is to embrace His loving nudges and His firmer chastisement and follow Him diligently.  It ties into the last post.  When we are giving Him only part of our attention, part of our heart or soul or mind or strength, we are falling short of His high calling upon us.  It is not God who is lessened when we are not fully devoted to Him, but us.

Friends, I pray that your walk will be marked with consistent progress and Godly joy and peace.  But, when you do begin to veer off course, I encourage you to readily accept and embrace the Lord’s loving correction, however He may give it.  He loves you with an everlasting love.  He knows you intimately and His desire is always for your good.  Jeremiah 29:11 affirms this.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,  “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Be blessed my friend.  And be God’s blessing to someone today.

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I am in Montreal having my exit interviews before leaving my company.  There have been the obligatory where do you stand with this project and who are your primary contacts for that activity?  A lot of information given and a few war stories shared.  It is down to the last few hours of employment with the company I have worked for 23 years.  I guess I am getting a little nostalgic.  As I think back over the time I see mostly faces and remember mostly shared experiences – experiences that have shaped me, changed me, helped make me the man I am today.  While many of the experiences were hard and challenging at the time, growth and maturity were most often the result.  And many of the experiences that were so uncomfortable at the time are now the source of laughter and merriment in hindsight.

As I have thought about my last words to the friends I have made and the persons who make up this company I am leaving, I realize I probably won’t be able to effectively communicate all that is on my heart…  lessons learned but not yet common practice…  opportunities that stand right before us but often overlooked or unrealized.  A few thoughts stand out.

We make it harder on each other to be successful sometimes when we really need to see that we are on the same team.

The importance to be more diligent at communication than we often are because poor communication only makes it harder the next time.

The absolute necessity of being able to admit we have made a mistake when we have and to turn around and make things as right as we can.

The need to know and understand our co-workers at a deeper level.  The best sports teams have that special ingredient outsiders often call “chemistry”.  That comes from knowing and valuing those you work with.

Twenty three years of immersing myself in my work has marked me.  I do not want to leave feeling I have not done my share to “pay it forward” for those who have poured into my life.  Today’s few words, and this blog for that matter, are my attempt to do that.

As I spoke with my brother last night the thought hit me that every one of us will have times of exiting.  It may be a job like myself, it may be a group you’ve belonged to for a long time, or certainly the exit of this life for the next.  I am curious, what is the key point or points that you would want to be sure to share if you are given an exit interview before you leave this life?  What one thing have you found to be the most helpful truth in this life that you would want someone to know?  Please comment back to me with your thoughts.

May the Lord make His face shine upon you.

May the road rise up to meet you.

May all your experiences enrich you.

And may your life be full to overflowing.

I wish you all the best today, in Jesus Name.

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