Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It Could Make the Difference

Hey Valiant Leader, Faithful Follower, Committed Attendee: 

Do you feel like something has stalled in your organization, ministry or small group? Have you seen your team grow stagnant and uninterested in what you're doing, or at the very least, do they appear to be simply going through the motions? Does what you're doing seem like hard work when it didn't seem that way before?If you answered yes to any of these questions, I'd like to ask you another one. Are you praying for those in your organization, small group, place of leadership or those in leadership over you? That could be the missing link.

Those places we serve are made up of people. People have lives. Life gets hectic, scary and weary at times. This all trickles down into our teams. We need to cover our people in prayer, regularly. These are folks we've been given to do life with, or at least a small part of it, and in order to get things done, it works best when everyone is functioning at the top of their game.  

Please hear me. I'm not saying that you should pray for your people so that their stuff doesn't get in the way when it comes time to get down to business. No! In fact, dealing with our stuff in the midst of trying to take care of business can be very helpful for the group at large as walls are often down and people tend to get honest when they feel safe. That's all good and necessary at times. However...  
We honor those we serve alongside when we bring them before the Father's throne. Whether it's your Sunday School teaching partner, a committee member, or small group leader, we should lift these souls up to the Lord because we never know what may be going on in their world the rest of the time when we're not with them getting things done. Some will share and give us some insight, but not all. Let's listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and lift up those individuals when He brings them to mind. In fact, let's be intentional about making this a regular thing.

I recently embarked upon on a new discipline. In the past, I'd pray for my team especially when I knew they had tough circumstances going on in their lives, when my heart was especially grateful for them, or when thoughts of individual team members continually came to mind... Now I keep a Prayer Journal and I pray for each of them on a specific day of the week. I've never kept a prayer journal before, although I've written prayers in my regular journal. Keeping a journal just to record prayer requests and answers, is a new discipline for me - one that I'm still working on getting the hang of, for sure. Yet I'm enjoying remembering my team members on a more consistent basis.  

I love my team! I have never been so challenged before by a group of ordinary everyday women, who love Jesus and love people. It sounds cliche'. but serving alongside them inspires me to become better as a leader. Their love for me, service to me and to others whom they serve, humbles me deeply and humbled is where I need to stay. 

I want to be the leader they deserve and a leader who honors the Lord in her service. I also want the same for them. So I pray.

It's good for us to pray for those we have influence over. In fact, it is right that we do so. Praying not just for our efforts in the things we do, but also for those in which we do them for and with, helps prepare the way for God to move and work in us, our places of influence and relationships, and also in others.  So as you're prepping, making plans and dreaming, don't forget to pray for those working along side you and for those you're working for. You might just begin to see a difference in what your team does and how they do it.

Friday, August 14, 2015

For The Love of GREAT Books!

Hey, friends! It's Friday and I am coming out of my hunkered down project laden fog, to bring you something a little different from me - my Friday Five.

I've been a part of what feels like a really interesting experiment, that is, from the outside looking in. I'm on the Launch Team for Jen Hatmaker's new book, For The Love, which releases on Tuesday, but you can get it now in Barnes & Noble stores. 
As one on the inside, I've just got to tell you that this is the real deal. A quirky, authentically fun and outrageous community has formed from this little group of 500, only four of which are men. BLESS THEIR SWEET HEARTS!
To see how this book has created such a community, not a following - a community, is quite astounding! Women from across the nation and a few countries are getting together for meet-ups, doing mug swaps, praying for one another and planning a big launch party shin dig coming up in just a few weeks, courtesy of the book publisher and our fearless leader, author and party host!
Y'all it is crazy and today I'm going to share with you five of my favorite quotes from the book. (Thanks for the invite, Mrs. Disciple!) I think after reading my favs you'll understand a bit more about me, my personality, calling, passion and what makes me tick. I'm joining with several other bloggers in a link-up, something I've never done. So check them out and then go by the book! You can pre-order it online (and get FREE stuff) or drive over to your local B&N and get yours today!
So without further adieu, here's my Friday Five...

Worst Beam Ever!
"...We have beautiful lives begging to be really lived, really enjoyed, really applauded - and it's simpler than we dare hope."
You had me at "beautiful lives!" How much time do we waste lamenting the life we've been given because we fail to see the beauty in it, in us, in those we're given to impact? Sisters, friends, we've got to stop wishing our lives away, waiting for "that" day when we'll be happy because our lives will somehow magically look like the perfect picture in our head that we feel our lives should've looked like all along. Just stop that! Life doesn't work that way, sweetheart.  Your life is beautiful even if it sucks right now! Do you know why? Because there is beauty within you and all around you. You've just got to CHOOSE to see it.

On Calling and Haitian Moms
"But then God changed my life, and everything got weird. I discovered the rest of the world!"

This quote makes me chuckle just a bit because things are still getting weird in my life. I've always given myself away rather unselfishly, or so I thought. For years, I was always the first to volunteer to serve when there was a need. I was the "go to" friend when someone was in crisis or needed help. I am a servant at heart. It's what I love, and then I started doing what I love every day and getting paid for it. SCORE!!! What could be better?
Now there is nothing wrong with getting paid to do what you love. In fact, I wish it for everyone! It's just that in my case, it just so happened that about the same time that transition began, I also started a little something called Faithwalking. You can read about that here in my last blog post. The Lord was changing my life, my perspective, my wants, and my bent. 
I liked my bent. I didn't want anybody messing with my bent. It kept me "safe" and walled off from the crazies and utterly demanding and hard to love people.
Faithwalking opened my eyes to something I never saw before. I was probably one of the most self-absorbed people I knew. Oh, I loved helping people and giving myself away for the Kingdom, but if it meant inconveniencing me a little too much, then... My boundaries were so firmly in place that it would take a wrecking ball for me to allow grace to seep through a crack if I felt inconvenienced. Not good.
I'm a leader and that character flaw began to expose itself when I least expected to and at the most inconvenient and inopportune times. UGH! That meant somebody had to do something about that because it's not all about me and what I want all the time. ...unfortunately. Thankfully, Faithwalking and my new role, helped me to discover the rest of the world. 

On Calling and Haitian Moms
"You don't have to wait another day to figure out your calling. You're living it, dear one."

Friends, listen. Stop wondering about your calling. Almost everyone around you who is intimately connected to you, knows what your calling is and you're still there trying to figure it out. If you'll stop trying to catch that elusive idea of a calling and simply settle into who you are right now, right where you are, you might just find that your calling finds you. You're wearing it every day when you're being who God created you to be, fully confidant in your strengths and your abilities and in the Master Craftsman who thought you up. Stop trying. Start being.

Run Your Race
"Everyone is good at something. Some make a living with their gifts and some just bless the world."

Don't you want to be someone who just blesses the world? I sure do! I know people like that and I love being around them. Yet we've all been given a little of God's nature or character in us. My pastor calls it the Cherylness or (insert your name)ness of God. No one is exempt. Even my friend's handicapped daughter who is an adult and can't speak, take care of herself, and spends her days watching Disney cartoons (which she LOVES), has a gift of simple beauty and simplicity which she gives to the world. I marvel at how peaceful I am when I walk into her room.
Sweet friend, don't you for one second believe that you have nothing to offer to the world.

Tell The Truth
"When you tell me the truth about yourself, I no longer hide from you. You become safe for me."

This is basic Faithwalking 101, actually what we learn in 201, but you get the point. The world doesn't need any more fake, superficial people - especially not Christians! I don't want to be around fake people and I certainly don't want to be one. Vulnerability is a risk, but oh, how sweet it is when it's reciprocated. Let's be fully ourselves, without superficiality and let's make that the norm. Okay? 

Porches As Altars
"If Jesus is the heart of the church, people are the lifeblood. There is a reason He created community and told us to practice grace, and love, and camaraderie, and presence. People soften the edges and fill in the gaps. Friends make up some of the best parts of the story."

Big gatherings are exhausting for me. Lots of people hanging around and hovering makes me want to find a soft lit corner and pretend I'm sleeping so that people will leave me alone. There. I said it. Don't get me wrong. I can work a crowd like nobody's business, but when I'm done, I shut down like funky town. There is no second wind or going the extra mile. I'm out! But set me at the kitchen table or in my living room, or out on the deck with a few girlfriends and I am the me you really want to see. Small, intimate gatherings are life-giving to me.
We all need sacred moments with friends, and there is nothing more sacred than sharing a moment so funny with your tribe and watching one of them laugh so hard she starts to tinkle a little. Ahhh... This is life! 

There you have it - my favorite quotes from For The Love! Go get yours today and I promise you'll soon have some favs of your own.