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finding meaning in the mundane

Category: Thoughts (page 1 of 3)

Identity Crisis

Artwork Image of Thomas a KempisA friend of mine recently told me this, “It is none of your business what others think about you.”  I thought that was pretty insightful.  It felt freeing to me.  I don’t need to care what you think of me, because it isn’t my business anyway.  It’s true right?

Then I read what Thomas a Kempis wrote in his book The Imitation of Christ.  He writes, “Place all your trust in God; let Him be your fear and your love.”

Too often we place our trust in what others think of us.  Or what we can do for others.  In fact we allow ourselves to be defined by what others think of us.  The reality is that we need to place all of our trust in God.  That includes trusting God with our identities.  When we allow others to occupy the place in our mind that is rightfully God’s we do ourselves and God a huge disservice.

So what do you think?  Who is shaping your identity?  Do you have an identity crisis on your hands?

~Peter

The Three Stages of Impatience

Impatience, Funny Chicken Egg

The other day I went through the drive through at my local Starbucks.  It was the afternoon and I was really thirsty for an iced black tea lemonade.  I pulled in, placed my order, and pulled ahead to the window like I was asked to do. I love this Starbucks.  I used to go there all the time to work and read.  They have great Barista’s that know how to give great service.

However, this particular afternoon, I sat there and watched my iced tea sit in the window while the five Barista’s hustled around in their coffee haven all looking at me through the glass.  I found it very odd at first that the individual who made them didn’t just hand them to me and scan my phone for payment.  That was stage 1.  Then I entered stage 2.  I began to notice the time.  I said things to myself like, “THIS IS TAKING FOREVER!”  Frustration began to eek out at this point.  Then stage 3 welcomed it’s way into my little car.  Stage 3 is the full on temper tantrum, including looks to the Barista’s on the inside.  Finally someone came to the window and apologized and just gave me the drinks for free.

Had it not been for their exceptional customer service, I would have been hot to trot.  Right?

Chances are you’ve been hot to trot too!

Okay, maybe not at my corner Starbucks waiting for iced black tea lemonade, but maybe it was at your favorite restaurant.  Maybe it was this morning waiting for your kids to get their shoes on.  Maybe it was waiting for your husband to mow the lawn.  I don’t know what your particular flavor of impatience is, but I do know that we all experience it.

One of the hardest things for me is to be patient in the midst of felt pressure.  I didn’t need that iced tea right away.  In fact, I wasn’t even in a rush.  I just felt that I should have had it quickly.

Do you want to know something funny?  I caught myself writing this in a paper for seminary the other day.  Take a look at this screen shot…

Read the last line again.

Can you believe that?  It is true.  I long for the experience that leads to understanding, but I am so stinking impatient.  I need to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy the journey that I am on and pick the fruit along the way that will lead to understanding.

What about you? Have you ever struggled with having patience?  What was the last thing that made you feel impatient?  Let’s help each other…

~Peter

My Axioms (just slightly less cool than Bill Hybels’)

One of the best leadership reads that I have laid eyes upon was a book by Bill Hybels called Axioms.  I would highly recommend that you pick it up and read it.  It is a great read, it is quick, short chapters.  (I like that!)  They may be short, but don’t be fooled.  Those babies are chock filled with tons of wisdom.

After reading his book of axioms, I decided that I would write a few of my own.  I give you, a few of my own axioms.  I’ve come up with/collected these over the past several years.  They probably aren’t all original thoughts, but they have been adapted and tweaked to fit my life.

  • People matter more than process
  • There will be times when I need to give up the right to be right
  • Love the way that I have been loved (1 Jn 4:19)
  • I usually find out my wife is right two months after she speaks
  • View present ministry with a lifetime perspective
  • It is more about being with God than doing things for God
  • When conflict arises, relationships must rise more

What pearls of wisdom do you have?  Let’s hear some of your axioms.

~Peter

Climbing into Sheep Pens…

When we were in Israel we went to a place called the Nazareth Village.  Nazareth Village is a re-creation of what Nazareth could have looked like during the times that Jesus walked the earth.  It was pretty cool!  I’ll tell you that it was far better than I originally imagined it would be.  One of the first things that we bumped into while we were there was a sheep pen and two shepherds.  Our guide stopped us there and shared some facts about shepherds from the days gone by.

Did you know that the shepherds would pen the sheep up?  Of course you did.  But in your mind what did you think that the pen would look like?  In my mind I think of Sean the Sheep…  (can you tell that I have little kids?)  What I mean is that I think that the sheep are kept in a large, open field.  Like there would be a wall around the field, but for the most part those sheep could graze and go crazy in their pen.  I viewed it a bit more like the way that the shepherd boy David penned them up in the old sunday school flanel graphs.  But that’s not the way that it worked.  They would’t do that!  They kept the sheep in a tight little pen.  “Why” you ask… Great question.  It was so that there was less area for robbers to break in and steal sheep.

We were told that the shepherd would sleep laying down in front of the gate to this small pen.  Why?  Another great question!  It is because you can’t very well lift a sheep over the fence without making a really loud noise.  This loud noise would in turn wake the shepherd.  That was a quick way to get a fist in your face, or a stone thrown at your head.   You can however avoid all that by opening the gate and letting them out pretty quietly.  Sleeping in front of the gate was a safeguard against loosing sheep to thieves.  Smart stuff right?

This pen, may have looked something like this:

Pretty cool huh?  Especially when you think of what Jesus said:

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.  To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.  A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.  ~John 10:1-5

What do you think? Does this change anything you’ve thought about what Jesus was saying?

~Peter

The Ninja Assassin in Me

AOL ICON

Do you remember AOL?  I bet some of you don’t remember what AOL even stands for.  In fact some of you may not have even known it stood for something.  So, I’ll not tell you.  Let’s see what you remember.

But seriously, AOL developed one of the most iconic noises of that era.  It was that blessed noise, “You’ve got mail!”.  They made a movie based upon it, cleverly titled, “You’ve got mail”.  To me, that sound was like a beautiful chorus of sweet baby cherubs singing the Hallelujah chorus.  I was so excited when I would get an email.  I can remember waiting five minutes to establish the connection, trying to call a different location because the AOL phone number was busy, and then waiting for everything to load.

It was like Christmas morning when you would hear, “You’ve Got Mail”.  And to make sure that there would be presents under the tree when I got there, I would sign up for anything that would be willing to send me an email from time to time. “Would I love to hear more about this exciting new product to reduce ear hair?  SURE!  I’m only 14 but you can never be too educated right?  Sign me up!”  Bam, now I’ve got mail.

How times have changed.

Now I don’t hear “You’ve Got Mail” anymore.  In fact all I hear is a small chime.  But now, getting email is much more than listening for the baby cherubs.  We use email for far more than my 14 year old mind could have dreamed of.

Now the goal of my email box is to eliminate with the precision of a ninja all foreign and unnecessary emails.  The unsubscribe button and I have become friends.  I am ruthless when it comes to junk email.  I cannot have a cluttered up email inbox.  It is not good for me. When it gets crazy cluttered, I loose sight of others emails, and I can easily become distracted by “The 10 quick and easy steps to rid yourself from the plague of ear hair!”  To keep my email clean I have to do this.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time:  Am I as ruthless with sin as I am with junk email?  

What I mean is, do I work equally as hard to get rid of sin in my life?  Do I work to diligently to rid myself of the evil of sin?  Do I push towards the goal of Christ likeness with the same tenacity that I apply towards keeping my inbox pure?

I think that many of us have a very soft view of sin.  If we truly believed that sin is as harmful as it is we would act like it.  It would change the way that we live.  We would set up certain protocols when temptations entered our life.  We would work diligently towards eliminating sin’s hold on our life.

I wish that I was more of a sin assassin than a junk mail assassin.

What are your thoughts?

~Peter

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