Tag: truth (page 2 of 3)

Is There a Safety Cone in Your Tree?

The other day a friend and I were walking around Lake Harriet and all of a sudden I stopped. Something weird caught my eye. Something was not quite right.

I looked up, and this is what I saw.FullSizeRender-32

So many questions!

Who? Why? How come?

And did anyone else notice, or just walk by, oblivious?

It made me think of a talk at the Global Leadership Summit and wonder how many cones are in my tree that I’m unaware of. Continue reading

Is the Story You’re Telling Yourself True?

Confession: I haven’t been a raving Brené Brown fan. I like Brené Brown’s material on vulnerability, but I don’t love it. It hasn’t been revolutionary for me, probably because I’m too open as it is. I don’t need any encouragement in that area.

However, last month at the Global Leadership Summit, she spoke and I wished so much that John had been sitting next to me so I could elbow him about every other word she said. (Never mind that he would have been elbowing me too.) The material, from her new book Rising Strong, was painfully relevant.

According to her, “Our brain is wired to make up a story to explain every difficult human interaction—whether it’s true or not. That story helps us interpret the discomfort by protecting our ego and self-image.” Continue reading

5 Reminders For Your Heart

We’ve been in San Francisco over the weekend for Maggie’s graduation with her Masters from Berkley.  This is that time of year – one of graduations and weddings and new ventures and births of every kind. It’s a season of marking moments. Looking back and looking forward. As I was reflecting on this I thought it’s a time when maybe our heart needs reminding of some things.

So, today, a list of 5 Reminders your heart needs as you launch into whatever new things God has for you: Continue reading

When You Feel Unvaluable

My top three strengths are “activator” and “achiever” and “woo”. That means I really, really, really want to do ALL OF THE THINGS, to be awesome, and to have you like me.

So it stung, hearing the words. Out loud.  Again. A phrase similar to others I’ve heard over the years.

My husband John was recounting his day and a meeting he had had with a member of the church who had listened and given insight on the future of our faith community. John and his colleague in the meeting asked this awesomely awesome guest to return for another hour of conversation.

Of course this will be pay-rolled!  We value your gifts and talents and expertise, so ABSOLUTELY we’ll pay you for your time!”

“Said no one to me ever”, is the place my slightly over-dramatic mind went to as I listened to him.

Validation. Whether you’re twenty-something, or….well, not… we all long for it and even when we get it in one form, we want more, or different.  We’re desperate to know we matter.  We add value.  We make a difference. Continue reading

What to do With the Catchy Tune, “Not Good Enough”

The other day ended up being one when the refrain “not good enough” drowned out any other tune.  Like a pop song on the radio you can’t get out of your head, the words persisted.

They were magnified through headphones of my experience throughout the day.  They were the  filter through which I heard the well-meaning words of my husband.

I couldn’t fix a problem.  “Not good enough.”

My idea wasn’t taken into account. “Not good enough.”

Someone was chosen over me.  “Not good enough.”

I didn’t win. “Not good enough.”

“Every single thing you’re doing in your life, someone else is doing a better version of it!”

This has never happened to you, right?

Or maybe, just maybe… Continue reading

When You’re on the Receiving End of a “Crucial Conversation”

I wrote Monday about the most impactful message we heard when we went to Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit this summer.    I came home from the summit inspired, informed, and motivated to apply all of the things.

However I wasn’t expecting for anyone to apply anythings to, well… ME!  Within 24 hours of our return, not one, but two different friends individually decided they needed to have a “crucial conversation” with me. Continue reading

How to Have a Crucial Conversation

Recently we met for dinner with a young couple we love whose marriage is in crisis.

Another friend’s teenage son entered rehab.

Two had to fire employees.

One needs to break up with her boyfriend.

AAAAARRRGGGHHH!  For the love of world peace!

In each of these situations a crucial conversation (or series of them) was called for.  Conversations where emotions ran high.  Sometimes there was a difference of opinion.   Perhaps there was hard truth that needed to be clearly, but gently communicated.

John and I often repeat something our friend Nancy Beach once said: “Leadership is a series of hard conversations.”  I think that might as well be “LIFE is a series of hard conversations.”

In August we took a large group from our church to the annual Leadership Summit at Willow Creek.  The most pertinent talk for many of us was called “Crucial Conversations” by Joseph Grenny.

He said, any time you find yourself stuck, there are crucial conversations you’re not having, or not having well. Continue reading

Fathers and God

Happy Father’s Day!  It’s raining here in Minnesota and our church picnic has been moved inside for later.  As I sat down and started writing this morning, considering people reading this in different places, I wondered what you might be thinking and feeling.

Some people have a really hard time thinking of God as their heavenly “Father”, because their experience of a father has been less than heavenly.  The fathers in their lives have been absent or abusive, or untrustworthy, or controlling.  So to call God “father” is not helpful.  I get that.  You may be more comfortable with an image of God as a mother, or a shepherd or a place of refuge. Great, go for it.

I understand too, that on Father’s Day there may be tangled hot mess of regret, anger, and confusion.  About Dads and God and longing to feel loved in ways you haven’t experienced, and trying to forgive hurts you don’t deserve.

There are many dad’s who don’t live into the name well.  Just like there are Christians who are hypocritical and mean-spirited and don’t live into the name well.

But not all dads disappoint all the time.  I’ve been privileged to know many extraordinary dads throughout my family.  My own dad, my grandfather, my brothers, and my husband… None of them perfect, but all of them remarkable men who each have modeled different godly characteristics that have enriched my understanding of God. Continue reading

Sprinkles and Naming Stuff

It’s Fearless Friday!  I hope you’ll join us on our One Word adventure this year.

Recently I was with two different friends, at different times, in different places who, with hesitation and eyes cast down, admitted their dreams to me.

You know,the big dreams of what they’d really like to do and be. They were afraid to say them out loud.  Afraid they’d seem too…big.  Too crazy.

But they were brave and told the truth.  And it made me think of this video I saw recently.

I watch this and I think, aren’t we all just like this little guy with evidence smeared all over, afraid of admitting to God what He already knows?

Afraid to name either the smelly garbage or the shiny brilliant hopes that seem crazy, but that are as clear to Him as the sprinkles on our face.

What is it that you’re afraid to name?

It’s not like God doesn’t know, but still He graciously asks us the same the questions He’s been asking for centuries.

“What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)

“Why are you here?” (1 Kings 19:9)

And maybe most importantly, “Why are you so afraid?” (Mark 4:40)

You know what terrible thing happened when my friends shared what was in their hearts with me?

Absolutely nothing.  They didn’t implode and disintegrate.  Bob Costas didn’t come on T.V. and broadcast the ridiculous news that two idiots had said some wacko stuff.

When they told me I was delighted!  I was excited for them and I wanted to enter in and roll up my sleeves and help.  And with my response, there was, on their faces this look of relief…and almost wonder that they had named this big thing and were still there and it was ok and not so scary after all.

Could it be that even though God sees all of our sprinkles – the evidence of every hope and fear, every dream and sin and wound – He invites us with His questions to come to Him and name it all so that we see that it’s not so powerful or scary after all.

And then He brushes the sprinkles off our face and says, “Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it!”

And so begins His work of refining and redeeming, equipping, and guiding.

What is something you’ve been afraid to talk to God about – a crazy dream, a deep wound, a secret sin, a profound desire – and what’s happened when you’ve named it with Him?

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The Voice of Fear on Fearless Friday

I do not think of myself at an insecure person.  So writing these next sentences feels a little like Lance Armstrong must have felt coming clean with Oprah.  Except for the fact that I don’t have millions to lose and I’ve never won a bike race and I’m not a guy. Ok, it’s totally different, but here’s my confession.

I’ve been decidedly daunted this week.  Perfectly paralyzed. Buffeted by the winds of self-doubt and discouragement.

This seemed to come out of nowhere, but when I stopped to pray and reflect I can trace the beginnings to a Tweet.  Yep, it took just 140 insensitive characters to take me down.  “Really?”  you’re saying.  Really?

And then there was a post by someone who made me furious and jealous at the same time.

And a word here or the lack of a word there…

Holy Buckets!  Just days ago I was undaunted…bullet-proof, regardless of any spitballs that might be spat my way!  And now the spiral into the comparison trap that left me in a heap of ” Not good enough.  Not good enough.”

Ever end up there?  Maybe by a different road, but still?

Who or What is it in your life that brings up those feelings of fear or insecurity?

Recently I read this quote by Rick Warren that made me respond “Yes!”:

“Insecurity is an internal alarm that says you’re trusting in something that could be taken from you instead of [trusting in] Christ.”  

So I’ve been stewing and praying (sometimes the two look a lot alike) about how to deal with this.  It’s messy and it’s a process and it’s not easy.  Here are a few of the things I’ve been trying.

1.  Identify the voice. When you feel angry, or fearful, or jealous, or small, do you stop and think “Where is that coming from? Just who or what is really saying that to me?”  Why am I giving it such power in my life?  Why does it bring up this strong emotion in me?  Does it tap into a past wound that I need to address?

2.  Challenge the voice with the truth.  “Bring every thought captive to Christ.”  What would Jesus say in response to this narrative?   If the story in your head says anything other than that you are gifted by God, fearfully and wonderfully made, cherished by Him, created for good works that He has for you, it’s a lie and you need to tell it to shut up. (I know, easier said than done!)

3.  Manage what or who you’re allowing to get in your head.  For me this means ruthlessly putting up some boundaries.  Fasting from some social media, and un-following some people who are wonderful but bring out my worst self.  It may be totally different for you.  It might involve the people you spend time with or the shows you watch or where you go or whatever…

Why is this so important?

Because if we listen to the voice of fear and insecurity when God calls us to go, we’ll stay.

When He calls us to stay the course, we’ll run away.

When He calls us to speak, we’ll remain silent.  And I truly believe that all of our voices are valuable and needed in the kingdom.

Those are a few of my strategies.  What helps you?

P.S.  I wrote this and afterwards I saw this great image posted by John Acuff.  Happy Friday!

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