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Performing or Being?

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You walk into a gathering of strangers and you are outside the comfort of your own skin: naked and emotionally exposed. You stand there thinking, “I need to talk to someone…just standing here is embarrassing.” Or maybe, “Dear heavens above…please, everyone just ignore me” and then you randomly and repetitively swipe your phone to pose as occupied. In either case, you know what happens next because it always happens—some insensitive bloke invades you. On a lucky day, it’s your barber or cosmetician—they’re the best because they already know all your silent soul-borne flaws; but, that’s not today. Today, it’s the extravert across the hall who is out to prove himself. He steps into your space, leans in for the kill and asks the question you’ve successfully avoided to this point.


Your mind locks up, then spins; your adrenaline rushes; you look for the closest escape route, but the self-consumed beast is standing between you and it—there is no way out.


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You Are Worth More Than That!

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A young girl is told by her dad that she looks fat in her clothing: her dad, functioning out of his inability to communicate. A young boy is told by his teacher that he’s not applying himself: the teacher speaking out of her inability to understand how the boy learns and frustrated that he’s not with the rest of the class.

Think back. You had one or more experiences like this; likely they were defining experiences and may even hurt now as you remember. These memories are damnable, destructive and debilitating; and, today I want you to see them for what they are.

If I were horrible at money management, would you form your investments on my advice? If my marriage were a wreck, would you formulate your marriage on my opinions? Why, then, would you allow yourself to be defined by comments others have spoken out of their inabilities? The phrase “you’re stupid” was likely told you by someone who was competitive and needed to feel better about his or her self. The phrase “you damned s…

Are You Sitting on your Wag

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I have a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier named Peanut Butter: we call her Peefee for short. Over the last nine years, she’s become more human than dog. We talk to her and believe she understands our language, we assume she can speak to us, we even convince ourselves that “she just wants to be with us” when we’re sitting around, despite the steak on our plates. After all, Peefee would never be so shallow as to spend time around us because of what we can give her—she’s way too sensitive for that. She’s often the first one to greet me when I walk in the door; always brimming with exuberance and excitement. Irrespective of any doubts I may have about her actions or emotions any other time, I know for a fact she is excited to see me at the door.

I think the fact she can express honest emotion at one point only makes the times she reacts out of selfishness that much more difficult to discern. After all, if she can greet me with happiness and excitement at the door, couldn’t that mean she …

We All Need Hope

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I’ve dealt with debilitating migraine-type headaches for years. Any time I would lift more than ten pounds…it was inevitable. I couldn’t even carry groceries from my car to the house. Two or three times each week you could find me laying on the floor of my bedroom with heat packs on my eyes, neck and upper back. When I wasn’t there, I was in the shower with the power-massage setting of the shower head shooting water squarely between my eyes: something about the pounding of the water short-circuited my brain and while there…I felt no pain. 
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I would go to the shower then back to the floor; to the shower; back to the floor…12-18 hours later, I’d feel alive again. After years of this, I was growing hopeless. Would I ever be without pain?

One day, I prayed in desperation: “Lord Jesus…I need some kind of breakthrough…Please!” The best way to explain what happened next was that I experienced a download: in an instant I had an understand…

Disrespect: Your Teacher

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Imagine…you are sitting near someone you have known for years: you can choose whether it is family or friend. Think of a specific person. Do you have them in your thoughts? Imagine a conversation with that person where they become very disrespectful. They squint their eyes; the skin over their nose crinkles; they purse their lips; the tension in their jaws increases; and, all of this happens just before they open their mouth and the tone of their voice changes. Maybe they interrupt you in mid-sentence. Maybe they continue to talk over the top of you as you try to speak. Maybe they lean toward you as they are speaking. Can you think of a time this happened?
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Disrespect can be a skillful teacher if allowed. Rather than defending yourself, consider going against your knee-jerk reaction. We want to be heard. We want to be recognized. We want to be needed. We want to be understood. We want to be pursued. WE do. WE. “We” also …

Leadership by Potato

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My grandfather grew potatoes. The process looks like this: take a potato; let it sprout in multiple places: the little sprouts are called eyes. Cut the potato it into 7 or 8 pieces so that each chunk of potato has an eye on it; plant the chunk of potato in the ground; water and care for the potato and pretty soon it shoots above ground with no visible signs of any real growth, other than a useless leafy surface plant. Underground, the eye uses the attached chunk of potato for food and starts growing; then it sprouts roots and begins pulling nutrients from its surroundings. For grandpa, later in the year that he would take his pitchfork, gently dig around the potatoes and harvest them. The huge edible potatoes were under ground, hidden from sight. Then, after harvest, the process starts all over again.

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We need to lead by potato. Let’s take our leadership, split it into 7 or 8 chunks and then discriminatingly plant these leaders…

Emotions as Tools: Feel Your Interactions

Friday night 10:19PM, my mother is in the emergency room: she feels like she can’t breath; she’s not getting oxygen. Six years of cancer treatments led her to this day. Her body is giving up. My sister and I try to comfort her; all I can do is just stand there. She’s in pain. The nurse gives her a shot of morphine to help. That was it. The shot relaxed her enough, she quit fighting to breath and in five minutes she died. The shot only sped the inevitable. Her body had already quit. The doctors wanted to try and keep her alive, and I was the one that said, “Let her go. She’s done.” I went home and cried like I have never cried before. Crying so deeply that I couldn’t breathe. I sat in the shower for two hours and couldn’t stop. Only twice in my life have I experienced crying at that depth.

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Change scenes. It’s 2PM on a Saturday. Beautiful music is playing. Double doors swing wide open across the room from where I’m stan…