For whom the clock tolls

What reminds you of the goodness of God?

(Yes, this is the actual clock)

The grandfather clock in our dining room sounds its Westminster chime every fifteen minutes (unless I forget to wind it).  I’ve heard it eight times this morning since I got up and started my morning with a double espresso, a cup coffee, a protein bar, my rocking chair, my Bible, and the God who made it all possible.

This morning, I am especially thankful for that clock.  I had planned to write something different this week, but the consistent chimes called me to remember the goodness of God and His gifts to His beloved children.

That grandfather clock was a gift, almost 10 years ago, from a dear friend, mentor, and hero. If I shared all my memories of Tom, I could write a book.  I was his pastor for 17 years, but most importantly, he has been my friend for over 30.

He was my right arm for many years in taking care of church facilities and business so I could focus on people.  He supported me and encouraged me.  He was “thrifty” with the church’s resources, but generous with his own.

We laughed together, prayed together, cooked the monthly men’s breakfast together, and ate Mexican food together.

He was a surrogate grandfather to my favorite son.  When the boy was in elementary school and his grandparents lived too far away to attend all his activities, Mr. Tom stepped in.  Nothing could have increased my admiration for him any more than to see the way he loved my son.

His dear wife, Jan, started our Wednesday night supper ministry.  When our rotation of volunteer cooks wasn’t working out, she told me she would cook every week as long as she didn’t have to clean up afterward.  The dishwashing rotation worked out and our attendance for Wednesday evening activities tripled within a few months.  Tom was her “assistant.”

When she passed away, Tom grieved deeply and kept pressing on, serving the Lord through his church, following the Texas Rangers, and being the kind of friend and neighbor everyone wants to have.

It wasn’t long after Jan’s passing that he was in our home.  In conversation with Mrs. Sweetie, a grandfather clock was mentioned in passing.  A couple of days later, he showed up with a grandfather clock.  It has been marking time and reminding us of the blessing of friendship for almost a decade.

A few days ago, Tom beat cancer.  Now, some will say cancer got him, but nothing could be further from the truth.  You see, cancer’s power is limited.  It can be devastating for awhile, but only for a while.

Because Tom was a follower of Jesus, he is now reunited with Jan in a place of indescribable beauty, health, and peace in the presence of Jesus Himself.  Cancer is finished!

When his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, and neighbors think about him, they won’t think of the way he died.  They will think of the way he lived and loved for 85 years.

When our grandfather clock chimes, cancer won’t come to mind for me at all.  I can only be grateful that I had a friend whose memory will always serve as a reminder of how our lives matter to God.

Start with a clean sheet.

A new year is a new trip with a new story.

 

It’s a new year! 2018!

It doesn’t seem possible.  You may feel like 2017 can’t possibly be over because you didn’t get everything done that you had planned to do. And since some of us will be writing 2017 on things for the next several weeks anyway, we’ll just extend it for a while.

Or not.

Where will 2018 take you?  Wherever you go, I hope you’ll find clean sheets.

How’s that for a New Year’s wish?

Think about it for a minute.  You may travel this year for business, or vacation, or to visit family.  When you arrive at that hotel room or bedroom in someone’s house, don’t you want the sheets on the bed to be clean?

If you have to spend a night in the hospital this year (we hope not, but it could happen), don’t you want clean sheets on the bed?

Think about it for a minute.  Isn’t the alternative just … gross? (Is that still a word?)

Now, I’m going to make a sharp turn and switch metaphors.  (I started to say either a “left” turn or “right” turn, but I was afraid someone would interpret it politically).

What will your story be this year?  Whatever it is, I hope it’s written on a clean sheet.

Imagine you get an actual handwritten letter in an envelope in the mail (since most of our correspondence comes via email or text, we may have to really use our imaginations).  Don’t you want it written on a clean sheet of paper?  Or is it ok to just repurpose some other old correspondence and write around it or over the top of it?

That’s not nearly as gross as dirty bed sheets, but it doesn’t say much about how much someone cares about you if they can’t even spring for fresh paper!

Here’s my point in all this silliness: a New Year is a new trip with a new story.  We need to start fresh.

I’m setting some significant goals for 2018. I hope you are as well.  But do you know what can prove to be the biggest hindrances to reaching those 2018 goals

That would be our 2017 goals, whether we reached them or not.

If we reached them, we can be tempted to maintain the status quo and miss this year’s opportunities.

If we missed them, we can be paralyzed by failure as we keep replaying our mistakes and missteps in our heads.

Either way, too much looking backward can keep us from moving forward. 

 

Too much looking backward can keep us from moving forward. Click To Tweet

 

Here’s a little tool to help you start the new year.  Take a clean sheet of paper (or open a new document on your computer) and write these words at the top of the page:  It is January 1, 2019.  I am …

Now write three statements you want to be able to say about yourself at the end of this year that you can’t say right now. Write them in the present tense, as if they are already true.

Now, what do you need to start doing TODAY to make those statements more likely to be true?

Your life matters to God.  He has given you a clean, fresh, new year.  What will you do with it?

Take a deep breath. Right now.

Delayed post-Christmas posting (but it still applies)

Note: I wrote this post ahead of time for newspaper publication during Christmas week.  Then I took a much needed “screen time” break.  I thought it was still worth sharing here.

 

 

Christmas 2017 is now Christmas past. What does your house look like at this very moment?

Every home is different.

Some are experiencing post-Christmas “hangover.” I’m not talking about those who had too much to drink.  I’m referring to the approach of letting the celebration linger over a few days.  New toys (for kids and grownups) are still strewn about among the other trappings of the Christmas celebrations.  Decorations are still up.  The last leftovers from the feast are being creatively repurposed at mealtimes.  Out of town guests are slowly trickling out the door with “sad” goodbyes.

Some are experiencing post-Christmas “letdown.”  The pre-Christmas preparations were intense.  So many responsibilities.  So much cooking. So much decorating. So much shopping. It was weeks of full-on, full-blast, full-speed Christmas prep right up until the guests started arriving. Now, everyone has gone home.  It’s time to start getting back to normal.  But normal feels a little empty after the adrenaline rush of the past few weeks.

Some are experiencing post-Christmas “back to business.” The decorations went back in the boxes the day after Christmas (or maybe even Christmas night). Break’s over. There’s work to be done.  2018 is right around the corner and we need to hit the ground running.

Some are experiencing post-Christmas exactly what they experienced pre-Christmas and on Christmas:  the same loneliness, isolation, neglect, need, sorrow, grief …

May I make a suggestion?  (If your answer to that question is “no” then please stop reading now because I’m going to make it anyway.)

 

Take a deep breath.

 

No matter what your house looks like, what your life looks like, what your job looks like, or even what this very moment looks like … take a deep breath.

Inhale slowly.  Hold it.  Exhale.

Do it again.

The air that you are breathing is God’s gift to you.  The ability you have to breathe is God’s gift to you.

 

The air you are breathing and the ability to breathe it are God's gift to you. Click To Tweet

 

Look at these words again.  The ability you have to see is God’s gift to you.  The ability that you have to read come through someone who was God’s gift to you.  If you are wearing glasses or contact lenses, those “helpers” are God’s gift to you.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

“For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:8)

Christmas is not an isolated day (or even a few days) in a vacuum.  It is a reminder that the God who gives us every good thing we have, the God in whom we live and move and exist, came near to us in the flesh in the form of a baby in Bethlehem.

Your life matters to Him.  Right here.  Right now.  No matter what circumstances you are in at the moment.  No matter what today feels like.  You matter.

Breathe that in.

Be careful with the Baby!

Let's be Christmas people, not just Christmas talkers.

 

There is nothing quite like a baby.  Seriously.  A baby can turn the crustiest old coot into a blubbering idiot.

There are great moments in sports when you get to witness a strong, self-assured man’s man holding a newborn for the first time.  All that confident machismo dissolves as he tries to figure out what to grab, what to support, and what end goes up.  The look in his eyes can best be described as abject terror.

We know we have to be careful with a baby.  In fact, when my youngest grand-blessing was born just over 3 months ago, her big sister (not quite 3 years old at the time) told the nurse in the hospital, “Be careful with our baby!

There’s a lot of talk about a certain baby this time of year.

He was born in Bethlehem.  His birthing room was a barn.  His cradle was a feeding trough for livestock. His birth announcement was delivered by angels to shepherds.

You’ve heard all the songs.  You’ve seen the artists’ interpretations of what it may have looked like.

You’ve been reminded that this season of the year is about celebrating His birth and that He is the reason for the season.

Has anyone reminded you to be careful with the baby?

My purpose today is to remind all of us who cherish His birth of three ways to be careful with how we treat Him during this season.

  1. Don’t use Him as a weapon. Can you imagine reaching into a cradle, grabbing a newborn by his ankle, and swinging him like a club?  How ridiculous!  How careless!  Well, I am of the opinion that we are guilty of using the Baby of Bethlehem as a weapon when we use this season to demand our way.  Criticizing those who say terribly offensive things like “Happy Holidays,” suggesting that they have bowed to political correctness, or maybe even questioning their commitment to Jesus – these are some ways that we can weaponize the Baby. (Scroll to the bottom of this post to link to some of my previous ponderings on “Happy Holidays”)
  2. Don’t use Him as an excuse. New parents get a brief pass for being somewhat self-absorbed. After a few days, they are just obnoxious.  It is incredibly easy to be self-absorbed in our Christmas celebrations.  Everything has to be perfect – the lights, the decorations, the parties, the meals, even the church gatherings.  Being so focused on the details of the celebration that we can’t see people is one way that we may be using the Baby as an excuse to be Christmas talkers instead of Christmas people.
  3. Don’t keep Him in the manger. Jesus was briefly in a manger in Bethlehem as an infant. I was briefly in a nursery in a hospital in Abilene, TX as an infant.  The story of my life has continued to unfold over the past 56 years and it isn’t done yet.  There are people who will be diligent to celebrate the birth of Jesus in this season, but will fail to consider that (1) He grew to adulthood while never committing a sin, (2) He died a cruel death on a cross on a hill outside Jerusalem, serving as a perfect, sinless, substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world, and (3) that He rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, where He is currently seated at the right hand of God and is interceding on our behalf.

His whole story is eternally significant and that is what helps us understand how our lives matter to Him.

Let’s be careful to embrace the whole story and be Christmas people.

 

Related Previous Posts

Happy Holidays! (December 8, 2015)

The truth about “Happy Holidays” (December 15, 2015)

Keeping Christmas in Christ (December 22, 2015)

The perfect gift is over-rated!

HOW we give and receive matters most.

 

What are you getting for Christmas?  What are you giving? Which of those most excites you?

As children, that was a no-brainer.  Obviously, the most important thing was getting that most coveted item that would make life absolutely perfect. We had plans of how we would enjoy it forever.

And if we didn’t get it, we were pretty sure that we were unloved and we would probably end up alone, homeless, and destitute.

Somehow, we survived the disappointments of Christmases past and are not living as homeless hermits foraging for berries in the woods.

And those perfect gifts that we actually received?  The ones that would make our lives complete?  Where did they end up?  And didn’t we shift our attention to some other perfect gift the next year?

When we grew up, we found a new pressure: giving the perfect gift to those we love. After all, “Every kiss begins with Kay.”  And nobody—I mean NO. BODY.—wants to get a new dust mop or package of underwear for Christmas!

Can I tell you a secret?  It’s not about the gifts.  Seriously, it’s not.  It’s about HOW you give and receive.

This is a transition post.  It’s the last one in a series of the most important lessons I have learned over the past forty years of “church work” and it looks forward to some Christmas and New Year thoughts to finish up 2017 and jump into 2018.

 

The Life Lesson

I’ve already mentioned Christmas, so here’s the life lesson: We need to be consistently developing our competence as both givers and receivers.

Some people are terrible receivers.  Projecting a sense of entitlement, they can’t manage a sincere “thank you” and act as if they either deserve the gift or it is beneath their standards.

Others are terrible receivers because they treat a gift as a transaction.  They may actually see the gift as an obligation to “return the favor” or “pay back” the giver in some way.  They can’t enjoy someone else’s generosity and they rob the giver of the joy of giving.

Some people are terrible givers.  They see every gift as an investment, expecting something in return.  They are offended when the receivers don’t write a thank you note.  They may even make the receivers’ response a test of whether they will ever give again.

Others are terrible givers because they give to get rid of stuff with no consideration for the circumstances of the receivers.

I didn’t give any real examples of these because they all have something in common: a focus on the GIFT rather than on the ACT of generous giving and gracious receiving.

I will, however, share a couple of examples by way of personal confession.  I tend to be very generous with my money, but not so much with my time.  That’s an area of giving competence that I need to be developing.

A friend told me over three decades ago that I didn’t know how to take a compliment.  My receiving competence has progressed since then, but I still struggle with it.  A simple, “Thank you. That means a lot.” is usually the best response, but I tend to complicate things with self-deprecating humor or trying to find a return compliment.

Our lives matter to God.  We demonstrate that we have embraced that reality in HOW we give and receive more than in WHAT we give and receive.  The perfect gift is seriously over-rated.

Right now, I give you my sincere thanks for the gift of your readership.  It means a lot.

You need to know your sweet spot

It changes everything

 

You have had these moments.  You probably have them on a regular basis.

You’re in the middle of doing the same necessary task you’ve done time and time again. You know it has to be done.  It’s part of what keeps things running.

You’ve done it so many times that you could do it in your sleep.  In fact, you suspect that you may have actually done it in your sleep.  You know it inside and out, backward and forward.

It requires almost nothing of you except time.

Simple, right?  No biggie.  Just do it.

As much as it pains me to say this, sometimes that’s the right answer.  Just do it.  Take a deep breath and git ‘er done.

It would be great to delegate

It would be great if we could delegate all that stuff to someone else, but the truth of the matter is that we don’t always have someone else to delegate it to.

Sometimes someone else has already delegated it to us!

Because much of my work is done with leaders, I address the issue of delegation often. I challenge them about the importance of identifying tasks that they can delegate to someone else and identifying the right persons to whom to delegate those tasks.

But the truth of the matter is that sometimes the right person for this task doesn’t exist within the church, organization, business, or family (yet).  And it still needs to get done, so …

But this post is not about delegation.

Now, hold on there a minute! Why would I even bring it up, if that’s not the subject for today?

An important lesson

I bring it up because of another important lesson that I didn’t learn nearly early enough in this forty year journey of “church work.”  I kept thinking the goal was to get to the point where other people were doing the “have to” things and I could just do the “want to” things.

My problem was that “want to” didn’t have much clarity or purpose. And there was that pesky problem of not having enough people to pass off the “have to.”

Here’s the lesson: when you understand your “sweet spot” it changes the way you do everything. 

 

When you understand your “sweet spot” it changes the way you do everything. Click To Tweet

 

The mistake too many people make is not understanding the difference between a “comfort zone” and a “sweet spot.”  In the comfort zone, we eliminate things.  In the sweet spot, we transform things because we do even the “have to” things with a sense of the bigger picture of God’s creative purpose.

Instead of asking how to avoid those necessary-but-uninspiring tasks, we can begin strategizing  how to bring our sense of calling, purpose, and wonder into those very tasks.

So, here’s the question of the day: Do you know your sweet spot?  Have you identified what was present in those moments when you thought, “This is why I’m on this planet!”?

If not, there’s your starting place.

Let me know how I can help.  I’ve written several posts addressing sweet spot.  Just type “sweet spot” where it says “Search my blog” at the top right hand corner of this page.

If you’ve got your sweet spot figured out, how can you bring it into the “have to” tasks?

Your life matters to God.  Make the most of it.

Good job! My bad!

4 Important reminders about your team

Photo credit: turtleonafencepost.blog

 

If you see a turtle on a fencepost, there are a lot of things you don’t know about the situation.  One thing you know for sure is that he didn’t get there by himself.

None of us gets anyplace worth going without the assistance of partners on the journey.

As I look back over my forty years of “church work” I remember the faces of hundreds who have been my partners.  Hundreds, even thousands, have partnered in ways I don’t remember.  But they partnered nonetheless.

There are two places you should never send your partners.  One is “under the bus.” The other is “hung out to dry.”

If you find yourself on top of the fencepost, in a position of leadership, you got there one of two ways.  You either stood on the shoulders of those who boosted you willingly or you stepped on those who were unfortunate enough to get in your way.

One of the greatest measures of leadership is how you treat your team.  Great leaders take the blame when things go wrong and share the credit when things go right.

 

One of the greatest measures of leadership is how you treat your team. Click To Tweet

 

As I think of applications of this, at least four principles come to mind:

  1. Your team does not exist to help you succeed personally. If you succeed at the expense of your team, it is a cheap measure of success.  When I hear of another casualty of an “underperforming” staff member, it makes me wonder about the leadership capacity of the person on the fencepost.  It also makes me wonder what metrics are being used to measure success.
  2. Team members will be loyal to leaders who are loyal to the team. Someone is more likely to willingly give you a boost up on the fencepost if they believe that you will reach down and pull them up behind you. They will run through a wall for you if they believe you would run through a wall for them.
  3. A culture of integrity, innovation, and movement cannot coexist with a culture of fear. Leadership guru Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” I recently heard a successful CEO describe the conversation he has with his employees.  He told them, “We are honest here.  If you mess up, you might get yelled at.  But you never have to worry about losing your job.  So, don’t be afraid to mess up.”  I don’t know that I want to get yelled at, but I’ll run the risk of a colossal failure while making an attempt at something amazing if I am working in a fearless culture.
  4. The customer is not right when he disrespects your team. Stephen Covey said you should treat your employees the way you expect them to treat your best customers/clients. Problems with the team should be addressed in private with the team.  Never give anyone the idea that he can play the members of your team against each other for personal gain.

Those people who have helped you get on the fencepost will continue to do so when they hear you give the team credit for your success and when they hear you take responsibility for their failure.

Jesus said to His team, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)

It is worth it all to hear Him say, “Well done!’

You can’t be too thankful.

Lack of gratitude is one of our biggest hindrances

 

Be careful!

This is the second most common two-word phrase that Mrs. Sweetie says to me.  It ranks just below, “Love you” and just above “Bring coffee.

Ok, I might be exaggerating about the coffee.  She doesn’t really say that.  It only requires a look!  (Every time I almost dig myself out of the hole, I just jump right back in …).

It is actually because she loves me that she tells me to be careful.  She wants me to get back home safely when I travel.

She wants me to keep all my fingers when I’m out working in the “shop” (this is a code word for a building full of stuff, including tools that I have no idea how to use).

She wants me to not fall through the ceiling (which I have done before) when I’m in the attic looking for the carcass of whatever is emitting the non-therapeutic aroma (which may or may not be described in detail in a future post).

She wants me to be able to continue bringing coffee in the morning. (Oops! I did it again …).

There are certain contexts (highways, workshops, and attics, to name a few) where you just can’t be too careful.

There are also contexts where you just can’t be too thankful.

And here’s the kicker, I really can’t think of a context where that is not the case.

In my forty years of “church work” I’ve discovered that one of the greatest hindrances to legitimate success and significance—in any context—is a lack of gratitude.

 

One of the greatest hindrances to legitimate success and significance is a lack of gratitude. Click To Tweet

 

During this season of the year, we will talk a good game.  We’ll talk about what we’re thankful for as we prepare to indulge in family, food, and football.  And we may even let it linger for a little while so we don’t get on Santa’s naughty list.

But, far too often, our default is to concentrate on what we are lacking … on the goals we didn’t reach … on the disappointments and sorrows … on how things didn’t go our way … on what we have lost.

I have often thought that some holidays are poor substitutes for what should truly be. What if we treasured and honored our moms and dads every day? We wouldn’t really need Mothers Day and Fathers Day.  What if we treasured and nurtured our marriages every day?  We wouldn’t need Valentines Day.

What if we lived truly thankful lives?  What if we saw our blessings even in the middle of our disappointments.  Would we really need Thanksgiving Day?

But, looking at it from another angle, maybe we need those days as an intentional reboot of our perspectives.  Maybe those days aren’t substitutes, but compasses that help us reorient toward life’s true north.

Maybe one day is a good reminder that the other 364 matter to God and that we can’t be too thankful in any of them.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7, emphasis mine).

 

With thanksgiving, I better get the coffee ready. (Oops …).

Just stop it!

No one else is going to maintain a healthy schedule for you.

 

I couldn’t tell you how many workshops or seminars I have kicked off with this hilarious Youtube classic: Stop it!

 

 

 

And just when I think I’m showing it for the last time because everyone has seen it, I get a room full of people who are seeing it for the first time.

Of course, in our highly sensitive culture, I have to offer a disclaimer.  No, I don’t think this is a proper method of therapy for people who truly have mental health issues.

But, wouldn’t it be great if it worked?

Would you like to know some of the people I’d like to try it on?  (I’m pausing here to let you decide if you want to keep reading). Still with me?  Ok!

I’d like to try it on busy and exhausted pastors and other leaders.  Forty years of “church work” has led me to this conclusion about leaders in any context:  No one is going to tell you to stop it unless what you are doing is inconveniencing them.

 

Words most pastors/leaders will rarely hear:

“You are working too hard and doing too much.  How can I help?”

“You need to be delegating more.” How can I help?”

“You are putting the church/organization/business before your family.  How can I help?”

In the context of what I’m writing about today, I’m going to completely skip the words of complaint and criticism that many of these leaders regularly hear from people who think it is the job of the leader to serve them.

There are, however, some positive words that are spoken:

“Our pastor works so hard.”

“He’s always there when there is a need.”

“I don’t know what we’d do with you.”

Do you know what those two sets of statements have in common?  Both of them acknowledge that there is someone who is pouring his or her life into a meaningful cause.  They are working long hours, taking on great responsibility, and choosing to serve a greater good.  Their work is noticed and appreciated.

Do you see what is different about those two sets of statements?  The first set will help this pastor/leader maintain a healthy approach for the long haul.  The second set is a recipe for burnout.

 

What you need to know:

If you are the leader, here’s what you need to know: You are responsible for maintaining a healthy schedule.  No one is going to do it for you.  You will be congratulated and celebrated on your way to burnout.  Learn to say, “no” and “not now.”  Invest yourself in equipping and empowering people, rather than just doing things for them.  Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

 

Dear Leaders: Don't be ashamed to ask for help. Click To Tweet

 

If you are not the leader, here are two suggestions: (1) Be sure you are saying those words of appreciation to the leader.  (2) Be willing to say, “How can I help?”

Our lives matter to God.  He intends for us to do this together.

Addictions will destroy you.

How compulsions can turn into Life Drifts

 

Anyone out there remember this tv commercial from the 1980’s?

 

Whether that commercial was effective or not, it was memorable.  And it made a valid point: drugs will destroy you.

Drugs are not the only addiction available, we have so many to choose from.  Some of them are even found among the best people you know – honest people with high standards and impeccable integrity; people who are doing all the right things and making their communities better places to live; people who would never even put themselves in a position to become addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, or any other substance or activity that they would be embarrassed about if it were to become public knowledge.

Yet, their addictions are slowly eroding their true calling, their sense of worth, and their effectiveness in living with purpose.

How do I know this?  In my 40 years of working with people in a church context, I’ve both seen it and experienced it.

I haven’t always had a name for it.  That came only in the last few months, but how I wish someone had introduced this to me early on in “ministry.” I am abundantly indebted to my friends Dave Rhodes and Will Mancini who, through a life planning journey called Younique, introduced me to the concept of “Life Drifts.”

I don’t have the space available here to completely unpack the three Life Drifts, so let me summarize how these compulsions (that’s a much more palatable word than addictions) work.

Life Drift One – Appetite.  When appetite becomes my compulsion, I am driven by my perceived needs.  I am afraid that I’ll never have enough.  Not just tangible and materials things.  I’ll never have enough friends.  I’ll never have enough love and acceptance.  So, I’ll do whatever it takes to obtain those things, even if I have to overspend to buy them.

Life Drift Two – Ambition. When ambition becomes my compulsion, I am driven by my perceived weaknesses.  I feel guilty about how little I’ve accomplished.  My guilt says I will never accomplish enough to be significant. So, I’ll do everything that is asked of me and then some.  I’ll feel guilty every time I say “no” because that choice will represent something I will fail to accomplish.

Life Drift Three – Approval. When approval becomes my compulsion, I am driven by my perceived rejections.  I feel ashamed of every one of them.  My shame says I will never be enough to truly merit acceptance.  So, I will endeavor to be the very best at everything.  I won’t even try it if I don’t think I can eventually perfect it. I will try to earn acceptance by public achievement. If they don’t accept me for who I am, at least they will approve of what I do.

My friends, I have lived those Life Drifts and, if I am not careful, I can easily go there again.

But, I have learned that my life matters to God and, in Christ, I am satisfied, strong, and accepted.  And I am free to be all that He has created me to be.

Are you addicted? Are you drifting? Your life matters, too.