Resolutions

Happy New Year!  Yes, it is the beginning of a new year and the time when many of us set goals and resolutions for ourselves.

Some of us are fairly disciplined and can maintain action beyond the 30-40 day mark to actually form a positive habit in our lives. Others are not so disciplined and will have abandoned our goals in a couple of weeks. Still others of us are so disillusioned and disheartened by our past inability to stick to a resolution, that all goal setting, dreaming and vision casting are simply abandoned.

Certainly there a number of reasons why goals are discarded.  But what if one reason we fail to stick with our goal and resolution is because it really isn’t ours to begin with?  We just think it is a good idea because everyone else is doing it. But maybe your admirable resolution isn’t something I am physically, financially or emotionally capable of achieving at the moment. Guess what…that’s ok!

Or, what if the goal is for us but the manner we try to achieve it doesn’t fit? What if we are adopting an execution plan of another instead of seeking and implementing one tailored made for us? We may have similar goals, but the way I achieve mine may differ than yours. The action plan of someone who thrives on solitude and structure to accomplish a goal looks vastly different than the one who needs people and variety. And that’s ok!

And what if sometimes it just takes awhile to figure out what works well for us. That’s ok too.

Maybe this year it is time to have a bit of Grace for ourselves and others. Grace to grow and learn. Grace to develop our Divine gifts and talents uniquely. Grace to know that each is fearfully and wonderfully made and Grace to call that forth from one another.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

” Let us consider how we may spur one another to love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

 

Square Peg Round Hole

Ever try to put a square peg in a round hole? Doesn’t work. A round hole is for a round peg. Seems pretty logical and basic, doesn’t it? It’s something a toddler can learn playing with any shape sorter toy.

Then, why as adults do we often live frustrated, aimless or stuck? Could it be that we have been trying to put a square peg in a round hole?

The goal of a shape sorter toy is to place all the varying shaped pieces into a box through a corresponding shaped opening. Similarly, there is a common goal and purpose for our lives; to glorify Love. Yet, we are each shaped uniquely and, therefore, how we each go about fulfilling our purpose will be unique. I can only live as me and you can only live as you. To live exactly as another is not possible. When we neglect to see this uniqueness and attempt to create carbon copies of each other we will live frustrated. It is like trying to place a square peg in a round hole.

Certainly there are basic principles that should guide and direct all of our paths. (The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal.5:22)  Yes, we can learn important things from one another. (As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Prov.27:17) However, even Jesus’ ministry, whose purpose is always constant and consistent, chose to manifest Divine Life in a variety of  ways; from placing spit-filled mud on eyes to speaking just a word, from over throwing money changing tables to touching the untouchables. Consistent in purpose but varied in outward manifestation.

Today may we remember that we are not a copy but an original. May we be bold and brave to live as ourselves and not someone else. And may we be free to be consistent in the purpose of Love but varied in its outward manifestation.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

 

 

Hanging it on the Wall

ArtPrize!  Downtown Grand Rapids is once again transformed into a city wide art gallery. The competition hosts 1500 artists in over 160 venues and brings 400,000+ visitors to the downtown area. It’s an incredible event that celebrates imagination, creativity and vulnerability. Art … Continue reading

Mission 101

You are a one of a kind masterpiece. There has never been and will never be anyone exactly like you. ‘Thank God!’  some may be thinking!  But it’s humbling to think that each of us is truly unique.  There is no one else with the intricate mixture of personality, talents and passions as you.  Although fundamentally we may share a common purpose, you have a specific assignment; a mission that is unique to you and one which only you can fulfill.  Others may have similar missions but it will never be lived out in the same manner or with the exact results as yours.  Your mission is your mission and your life is important and vital.

So what is a mission?  In the book The Path…Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and Life, author Lauirie Beth Jones says,

“A mission is a clearly defined area of responsibility that is assigned by a High Headquarters, which is part of a larger plan and is felt as a ‘calling’.”

Simply stated, a mission statement is a written down reason for being.  It is the purpose and motivation behind your actions.  It is a statement about the lens through which you see life; the core value that motivates and drives you.  Ideally a mission statement should be a single sentence, easy to memorize and recite, and understandable to a twelve year old.

A personal mission statement is something that is true about you at all times.  It is not limited to a job, role or geography because those things will change in the course of a lifetime. The best place to start crafting a personal mission statement is to identify your core value by asking yourself a few questions.

What quality would I most like to represent to the world?  What am I passionate about?  What do I get excited and enthusiastic about and why?

The truth is we each are living out a mission whether we can articulate it or not.  The question is whose?   Oh may our answer be Love’s!

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

My mission is to stir-up, inspire and speak Divine encouragement!  What’s yours?                                                                       

Out on a Limb

This past weekend I received the craziest text from my sister-in-love. It was a picture of her dog Xander up in a tree!  Xander is a 75 pound cockapoo with a very adventurous and focused spirit. He obviously was chasing or on a scent of something. Before he knew it he found himself in danger on a tree limb high above the ground, unable to turn around and descend. He was one stuck pup! Somehow my sister and nephew coaxed Xander into a blanket /net which helped to break his fall. He landed unharmed and with a shake of his head was off on another adventure!!  Crazy dog!

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There’s Xander!

Xander’s tree climbing mishap is a perfect illustration of what can happen in our lives both personally and corporately when we are sidetracked from our original purpose and focus on the wrong things for too long. If we aren’t careful we can find ourselves in some pretty unnecessary, uncomfortable or destructive situations. We may not intentionally set out to be stuck high above the ground on a tree limb but if we don’t take inventory from time to time of what we are doing and the direction it is taking us the tree limb is certainly a possibility!

Where is your path leading you?  Is it taking you closer to your purpose or drawing you farther away?

Sometimes we can be so preoccupied by our own lives. We can get on a path that is motivated by self-interest, self-promation and self-preservation and that always leads to a dangerous place. Why? Because a life motivated in that way draws us away from our first and ultimate purpose in life; to bring glory to our Father.

Today may our lives be filled not with self but with Divine purpose. Today may our lives be focused and motivated by Love. Today may our paths lead to glory for the One who loves us beyond our wildest imagination!

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

Drifting Away

When you hear the word drift what images or thoughts come to mind?  Do you imagine lying on an inner tube, relaxing as the current takes you downstream?  Drifting is wonderful if it is a hot day and you are on a small body of water where the shore is in reach.  But on a vast body of water?  It may start out relaxing and enjoyable but when you open your eyes and the shoreline is difficult to see, now that’s another story.

Drift……to be carried slowly by a current of air or water; a continuous slow movement from one place to another.

Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer and Chris Horst is an intriguing book about the slow changes occurring in an organization that lead it away from its stated purpose and identity.  They call this mission drift.  However, it isn’t just organizations that can suffer mission drift if they aren’t careful.  You and I can as well.

In what areas are you drifting right now?  Sometimes it is hard to identify because drifting is subtle and slow.  Over time, if left unchecked,  it has the power to lead us off course and into some dangerous territory. There are a number of ways  we are prone to drift from our purpose or mission.  Probably the best way to identify those areas is by asking and honestly answering:

Does what I think, say, and do line up with who Love says I am?   

This question is not meant to bring condemnation.  It is intended to keep us alert and  focused on the things that we each are designed and created to do. For when we live in our purpose lives are healed, reconciled and edified. When we live in our purpose life is peaceful in the chaos, hopeful in the depravity, and joyful in the pain.  When we live in our purpose our Creator God is the focus and He is glorified mightily.  And this is really what life is ultimately all about.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

Rum pum pum pum

Everyone needs a good gut laugh now and then. You know, the kind that melts stress, gives the old abs a workout and adds some depth of character to the face.  I got just what I needed when the non-profit organization I Like Giving sponsored an event featuring comedian Michael Jr.

This guy is funny.  Very funny.  What made him so memorable to me, however, was the way he intertwined Truth throughout his comedy routine.  He shared how God challenged his approach to comedy and the subsequent mind shift that transpired.  Where as before he would  seek to get laughs, now he simply presents his gift and gives the audience the opportunity to laugh.  He isn’t seeking to get something.  He is seeking to give something.  This approach has opened doors to ushering laughter into places where laughter is hard to come by; prisons, homeless shelters and child group homes.  Boy does this challenge and speak to my heart!

How do you and I use our gifts? Are we looking to get or to give?  If I am looking to get there is incredible pressure on me to perform.  I can easily try to control, make things happen and force the outcome. Ouch!!   But in giving there is none of this pressure.  I am responsible for just my part.  Now that’s freeing!  What is it that I am trying to get anyway?  Approval, recognition, rewards in Heaven?  I might very well receive these things. They may be byproducts of my obedience, but where is my focus?  On me.  If I seek to give instead, the focus and honor shift to the One who gave me the gift to use in the first place. He is glorified.

Present my gift and give.  Reminds me of the little drummer boy.  That little boy presented and laid his finest gift before the King. Then the boy picked it up and played his best for Him.  Rum pum pum pum.  And HE smiled.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

Unhindered

You are a masterpiece. You are no accident, no mistake. You are not unwanted and unnoticed. You are the Creator’s most outstanding of creations. You are one of a kind. You were chosen before the foundation of the world was created. Your inmost being was fearfully and wonderfully knit together. You arrived at exactly the proper time in history. You are a treasure of great worth, a pearl of tremendous value. Never before and never will there be another as unique and magnificent as you. You are a Masterpiece!

Masterpiece. What a beautiful word. What would life look like if you and I truly believed and embraced this? How would our world be different if we were not only to be the Masterpiece but live the Masterpiece?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are His MASTERPIECE, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do!” Eph. 2:8-10

It is very clear that salvation, life, is found in no other place than Jesus Christ and faith in His death, burial and resurrection. Salvation is from grace alone. God didn’t and doesn’t wait until we have it all together and doing all the right things to extend His love and life to us. God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

What’s the purpose of good works then? It’s here that we often get confused and misunderstand their role in our lives. Good works do not give or ‘keep’ us in salvation. Never has. Never will. When we think they do we can get mighty self-righteous or become pretty discouraged and hopeless.

Good works are how we display God’s glory. A masterpiece reflects and displays valuable and priceless characteristics. It is the artist’s most outstanding and brilliant work. We are God’s living masterpiece. When we move and operate in the gifts and talents He has given us we can’t help but display Him. We actually become a sweet aroma of God to those around us. We become salt and light. We become a city on a hill that can’t be hidden. We draw others to Him and we cover this earth with His’s glory!

I have heard it said that our ultimate purpose in life is to know God and make Him known. Put simply, faith in Jesus Christ is how we know God and good works is how we make Him known. However, how we each make Him known, how we live the Masterpiece, is as different and unique as each person. To live the Masterpiece is to respond to God fully as the person He created and redeemed me to be. This is what Bob Hamp of Freedom Ministries calls true freedom.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews12:1

We each have a race to run. The specifics of the race are unique but the outcome is to be the same; Glory to God.

Unhindered is a place where you and I will be stirred up, inspired and encouraged to discover and run the Divine race marked out for us. Our world is filed with people craving and looking for purpose! It’s time to rise up and be the persons we were created to be!

UNHINDERED…live the masterpiece!