Courageous Moments

By |March 7th, 2016|

We don’t remember the days of our lives . . . we remember the moments. One of the leaders I’ve watched experience transformational growth just described his experience as; “One of the single most significant moments in my life.”

Transformational moments can’t be predicted or manufactured. They happen suddenly and unexpectedly. While we can’t guarantee when they will happen, we can almost guarantee when they won’t happen. I’ve never had a marker moment when I was merely watching TV or washing my car.

The moments that have shaped me the most have all happened in conversation.Not the casual sort, but the courageous kind that springs from the soil of mutual trust. In her bestselling books, Brene Brown repeatedly talks about courage as a “heart” word. She reminds us that the root of the word courage is cor ― the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant, “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”

I just had another conversation like that. God has graced me with dozens of quality connections with leaders around the country ― virtually all of them are men younger than I. No surprise there, right? What surprises some is that one of the men I enjoy a head and heart connection with happens to be my successor. In the opinion of some that’s not only unlikely, that’s impossible. Some think that leaders in transition (the one going out and the one coming in) are competitors, not allies. After three years the jury is no longer out on the health of our relationship. It’s strong and that’s no accident. We both dare to speak our mind by telling all of our heart.

Courage isn’t neck up, it’s heart up. Until we are willing to be transparent and […]

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Change Starts with You!

By |February 1st, 2016|

 

 

If you have been married longer than a day, you have probably found yourself blaming your spouse from some issue in your marriage.  It is easy to get into the trap of thinking,“If only he would________, then I would __________.”  You can fill in the blanks with any issue or problem, and the formula will yield the same result: no result.  The “if only” mindset leaves you focused on the issue and what you believe are the problems in your spouse and keep you stuck in a cycle of frustration and stagnation.

However, there is hope!  You just need a new formula.  Instead of “if only he would_____________, then I would_____________,” formula, try “I will _____________.”  The truth is change starts with you!   If you will begin to focus on your behavior and take responsibility for what you are responsible for, you can begin to create change in yourself, which can lead to change in your marriage.  Try thinking of one thing that you can do different today.  Maybe you can stop rolling your eyes, or pick up your mess without commenting on his.  No matter how small the behavioral change, focus on you.   Change starts with you!

If you or your spouse are interested in learning more skills to help improve the quality of your marriage, consider coming to the 7 Principles That Make Marriage Work  workshop on February 13th from 9 to 12 in the Compass Center.  For more info on the event, see the Workshop tab on our website.

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The Greatest Gift

By |December 23rd, 2015|

 

Christmas is almost here. As you read, many of you are anticipating what you will open on Christmas morning, hoping at least one of the gifts from your list will be there.  Some of you are awaiting the grinning faces of your children opening gifts that you dutifully and joyfully purchased and wrapped.   While others know there will be no gifts under the tree this year, or maybe no tree at all.

The truth is none of this matters.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe that Christmas matters, but the gifts don’t.  The gifts that can come under a tree, are only things.  You can have all the things in the world or no things at all and be empty.  Whether you are rich or poor, you have a family to celebrate with or no family at all, and no matter how many gifts you will give or receive.  I want you to consider this simple truth.  The greatest gift has already been given. It is the person of Jesus.   Who, in all of his majesty and glory was born from a virgin’s womb, sent to the Earth by God the Father to live, die, and resurrect to save us all.  That is the greatest gift of Christmas.

This Christmas, I want you to focus on this great gift, Jesus.   Have you received this gift?   Does your life show the evidence of having received this gift?   How can you share this gift with someone else this Christmas?  Let Jesus change everything this Christmas.  Let him quiet your mind, fill your heart and be fully present with him in this moment. The greatest gift will fill you with joy in spite of your Christmas circumstances.   Soak up […]

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Practicing Presence in the Season of Presents

By |December 11th, 2015|

Let’s face it, there is a lot of noise at Christmas!

Go into a store, and you will hear the noise. The bells ringing outside remind you to donate money. Christmas carols blaring keep you cheery so you will buy more gifts, and the voice of children and adults rattle off their Christmas lists. But that’s just the external noise.

The louder noise plays out in our hearts and minds, the noise of past pain, perhsps the loss of loved one or Christmas wishes that never came true. Past pain tells you“there isn’t hope,” “you can’t get over it,” or “I will always feel sad”…noise.

Then there is the noise of expectation, that little voice in your heads that compares your Christmas to the Christmas of those around you. This voice whispers lies like, “Their family is happier than mine.” “They bought their kids better presents than I did.” This voice, drives you toward whatever you think is ideal, but leaves you feeling deflated when you aren’t able to keep up with Jones’.

And there is also the noise of busyness. “I have to go to the holiday party.” “I have to wrap all the presents.” “I have to decorate the house.” The list goes on. The noise of busyness fills our minds with a long list of “to dos” that keep up distracted, tired, and numb.

With all this external and internal noise, it is difficult be present in the moment during the Christmas season. Past pain, expectations, and busyness pull you out of the present and keep you disengaged from the moment.

When you are listening to all this noise, you don’t truly connect with God, yourself or others, and it is easy to become stressed and depressed by […]

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Holidaze!

By |November 23rd, 2015|

As we approach the holiday season, it is easy to get bogged down with the stress of shopping, attending holiday parties, and meeting the expectations of family and friends.  We can easily become hurried, frazzled and down right agitated by what we perceive as the pressure of the holidays.  If we are not careful, the holidays turn into a holidaze!  However, with a few guiding principles, you can lower your holiday stress this season.

1) Set realistic expectations for yourself.  Perfectionism is especially rampant during the holidays as many us try to create the “ideal” for every aspect of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  However, if you start off with healthy expectations, you can really reduce your stress.   Pick three things this season that are really important to you and focus on making only those things excellent, not perfect.   Let go of the rest!

2) Let yourself say no!   Many of us are guilty of saying yes to everything and everyone because we want to keep everyone happy.  The trouble is when you say yes to everything you end up exhausted and burnt out.  Instead of everyone being happy, you and those around are disappointed because it is impossible to keep everyone happy!  This holiday season, practice saying no out of love for yourself and others.  Ask yourself these questions to help you know what to say no to:  1) Am I saying yes out of guilt to make another person happy?  If the answer is yes, change it to no!  2) Is this event/thing a priority for me or a close loved one? If it is not a priority, say no! 3) Will saying yes deplete or increase my energy and ability to love God, myself […]

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You will reap what you sow

By |November 10th, 2015|

“You will reap what you sow. “ This is a powerful concept that is woven throughout scripture.  I think for many of us, we don’t understand the real power of this concept.

It is easy for us to hear this concept and apply it to what we believe are other people’s bad actions.  “They will reap what they sow,” we say in judgment.  But often times, we fail to apply this concept to ourselves. When you really, understand this concept, you see that it doesn’t just apply to the “bad things” that others do.   It tells us that there is cause and effect in our lives and our relationships, which can be positive or negative.

What about applying this concept to your side of your relationships? Do you recognize that what you sow, through your words, actions, body language, and even your thoughts, yields a result in your relationships?  Today, I want to challenge you to examine your relationships.   What kind of yield are you getting?  Do you sow words of love and encouragement into your relationship with your spouse?  What about your children?  Your friends, coworkers, and even your enemies?

If you notice that your relationships aren’t going the way you want, it may be time to examine your part.   You can create an environment for good or an environment for bad.   Try today to choose your words wisely, smile frequently and think about the positive qualities of those around you.  You will likely find that you begin to reap better relationships!

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Look in the Mirror

By |October 27th, 2015|

Many people spend their life looking out the window. They peer through the curtain, focused on the outside. What’s outside their heart, their mind, and their thoughts. These people focus on problems and look to blame others for their struggles. They think things like: “I didn’t get the promotion because my boss is mean;” “I can’t go to church because there are too many hypocrites there;” or “My neighbors are always making too much noise, that’s why I never get a good nights sleep. “ All these thoughts are externally focused and lead to emotions like anger, anxiety and feeling out of control.

The truth is people who are always looking out the window can’t ever be truly happy, because they have given away all their power. They stare out the window, paralyzed, fixating on all that is wrong with everyone and every situation in their life. Change and happiness are possible, but they require a different point of view. Instead of looking out the window, we need to look in the mirror. When we are struggling with anger, anxiety and feeling out of control, usually it is because we need to deal with ourselves. We need to peer into own heart, mind and thoughts and pay attention. The real power to change, lies within dealing with yourself. If you are tired of feeling stuck, try looking in the mirror today. You may find the answers, you have been looking for. It might be painful at first, but spending time understanding your emotions and dealing with your own thoughts and motives will eventually lead to feeling better. One of the best ways we can “look in the mirror” is by walking with a counselor or coach. […]

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All We Have is Time

By |May 27th, 2013|

Time has always fascinated me. No human can live free of its clutches. Time is constant and rapid. Our life is but a minute dot on its expanse. God, existing outside of time, gives us time, not for us to serve it, but for it to serve us. King Solomon exclaimed, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” – (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Time matters. Since we are only on Earth for a speck of the timeline, let’s manage our time wisely and make our minutes count. Here are three considerations to motivate you in managing your time:

We all have heard this from those who have lived life longer than we have, but we ignore it until we wake up one day and realize how much time we’ve lost. The second hand is ticking as you read this. God gives us time to steward. This line from a Psalm depicts this truth so eloquently:

“A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night” – (Psalm 90:4).

We need to realize every hour, minute, and second is precious. Because my life on Earth is finite, I put more thought now into my time with people and what I do during the day. I give time with God my first priority. Like the Psalmist continues to passionately express, our time on earth is short; be wise and realize…

“Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, […]

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Meet you where you are

By |May 8th, 2013|

We Show up

What is it that makes a difference for people who are struggling? Is it what we say? Is it what we do? We naturally want to do something about a situation when people share their circumstances – offer a solution, suggest a course of action. But one of the most valuable things we can do is simply to show up!

By spending time with others, we eliminate their aloneness. Some of the most lonely people I know are in a room full of people. They often feel alone in their circumstances and their challenges. We let clients know by our presence that they do not have to deal with anything by themselves.

Hear their story

What we hear for the first time as you begin to share your story, may very well be the first time you have heard it out loud as well. We are providing not only a relationship, but a place you can vocalize what you are experiencing in your life. The exercise of putting your story into words can be extremely helpful in itself.

There is no judgment. No condemnation. Just listening and reflecting. For these moments, your are the priority. Someone listening to you like you are the most important person on the planet. You may tell more than you want to. And all of us will be the better for having heard it.

Matthew LaGrange

“Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”-Winnie the Pooh

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Spring Cleaning

By |May 6th, 2013|

We all have a closet or drawer in our house where we store our junk. For some of us this is a small drawer to throw extra pens or loose change. Others, like myself, have a whole junk closet filled with old books, games that are no longer played, clothes that don’t fit, parts to household electronics that we can’t find, and the list goes on.

This year, as I started my Spring Cleaning, I began with my junk closet and found many of the above-mentioned items. Some of the items were painful to see, reminding me of how things used to be. Other items, brought both joy and sadness, like the pair of vintage blue dress shoes that belonged to the grandmother I lost several years ago.

All this cleaning got me thinking about how our hearts and minds get cluttered. Much like the closet full of junk in the hall, we all have memories and feelings we have stuffed away in the recesses of our minds. Thoughts we hope will just go away. Feelings that resurface over and over, that we try to avoid. Thinking that if we pull them out it will cause too much pain. We hope instead we can just close the door and forget. The trouble with this is that just like the junk piles up in the closet our feelings have a way of sticking around and getting in the way until we deal with them. Hurts turn into anger, anger turns to bitterness, bitterness leads to hurtful actions which bring guilt and then shame. So what is the trouble with this? With all the emotional junk piled up we don’t have room for the good. It is important that […]

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