Before You Give 2020 The Toss

toss

I initially thought 2020 was a bit of a wash as I could only recall falling short on all the goals I had set.

Leading up to 2020 I had made some huge shifts and changes. A completely new career was on the horizon in a completely new industry with a predictable schedule and vastly limited global travel in comparison to the past many years. I spent the whole month of December 2019 goal planning mapping out the coming year with great anticipation. I was ready to harness this “shift” and make some great strides towards some personal and family goals. I felt like heading into 2020 I turned out the lights on a lifetime in one “full time” career and business and shut the door behind me as I entered into a completely different world and as soon as the door shut behind me, March of 2020 hit and it felt like the “lights” got turned out on the world.

I kinda felt in these last few weeks as I looked back on 2020 that I was just now emerging from the ‘daze and confusion’ of  a world flipped on it’s head. Time certainly, the older I have gotten, feels like a BLINK – but I am not even sure I blinked in 2020? Kinda felt like I have been standing jaw and eyes wide open staring in amazement at what has transpired in the last 10 months.

I had bought a countdown to Christmas 2020 calendar just after Christmas 2019 as a reminder that Christmas 2020 would be here again before I knew it and to not let the year pass without massive awareness and push towards the things I had determined I wanted to work towards. As I left my office the other day I folded the calendar up and did the walk of shame over to the trash and stuffed it in with a sigh and a huff under my breath. Shaking my head as I could only summon thoughts of how I had fallen so short.

As we sit on a new year I was contemplating if I wanted to spend the energy and time reflecting, planning, goal setting heading into 2021? or if I would be better served to just take some quick notes and “deal” with 2021 as it comes. I landed on the coles notes version – which basically consisted of a conversation in my head – yada yada yada – rub a dub dub thanks for the grub, so be it, lets get moving on.

So I kinda just dropped it and decided to move on, but God is so good and he “picked it up” and handed it right back to me. After a good healthy dose of dishevelled chaos amongst the holidays Jen and I found ourselves sporadically caught up in getting some order back in the house.  Even the kids got in on it. As we all diligently worked away on different parts of the house, filling recycling bins, cleaning out shelves and rearranging dressers,  a journal of mine somehow found it’s way onto my bedside dresser. At one point I glanced at it and thought – oh where did that come from – I thought I barely used that I should get at that later – and then hastily headed back to restoring the order around the house.

Later that day – you know – in one of those dreamy moments during the holidays when the house is tidy the kids are settled in and not arguing and you can find a corner in an open area of your house and actually sit peacefully undisturbed; I found myself cracking open the journal I spotted earlier – only to discover it contained all my work, notes, review and journalling I had done back as the clock flipped from 2019 to 2020.

Oh friend you probably need to hear this too!

How horribly good we are at discounting ourselves, at noticing not how far we have come but how far we fall short. I felt like God was whispering in my ear holding me tight and looking through that journal with me. You see I can fiercely and adamantly explain to you in great detail where I dropped the ball. But there in my notes amongst all the ball drops lived some “home runs”  very specific and outlined goals with timelines on them that I had in fact accomplished. What became evident to me is I had doubled down on some of the things that were my highlights from the previous year. Some of the take away lessons had in fact been lived out this past year and I had barely noticed the significant shift as I was so distracted with my short comings.

I walked away from this moment with two thoughts.

(1) I must put my notes / thoughts somewhere close  – where I am reminded of them and can see them frequently – I literally wrote them out and went through the exercise and did not “look” and them after that. Had I reviewed them more often throughout the year I would have noticed the progress and reminded myself of WHY it mattered.

(2) I must celebrate the victories – take time for review – reflecting on lessons passed and look ahead as I build on them. I was so hyper aware of where I missed the mark and I found myself choosing to partner with a lamenting and frankly grumbling, indifferent spirit, dragging a sense of discouragement into 2021. God showed me the highlights, the take aways, He impart me with some wisdom heading into 2021 and as always He revealed the power of forgiveness and took from me the burden and shame I was planning on holding on to. That is the difference of condemnation over conviction. With condemnation we choose to pull our short comings into the dark and suffocate under the weight of shame. God has shown me his way is conviction. Where short comings are shamelessly brought into the light where they can be forgiven and we can move forward in freedom with new found wisdom.

So maybe you need to hear this too – you have done better than you are allowing yourself to believe friend. God’s great plan did not require you to hold onto or succumb to the burden of your short comings. I am personally thankful for this season, where we celebrate the redemptive love of a baby born in a manger with the most powerful gift we can receive – forgiveness.

Psalm 86:5 “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”

 

 

Finding JOY in Small Beginnings

Foundation (1)Sometimes our past successes are stumbling blocks for our current day commitments.  Personally I have known all levels of fitness.  In my 20′s at the height of my fitness there were few days I missed and many days I did multiple workouts in a day.  Years later my level of commitment to endless workouts weened as the reality of bigger commitments like parenting stole the spotlight and shook my normal foundation. However in the height of parenting, just as we welcomed kid number 3,  Jen (my wife) and I, found our way into some epically committed eating habits that had crazy benefits to our minds and our over all health.  I am talking months on end of commitment to only the foods that sustained us, very discipline, and the results of such were amazing. Somewhere into baby 4 and a crazy travelling work schedule we loosened our grip. No shame, just life.

Life ebbs, life flows and slowly we find ourselves navigating into habits we are not always proud of and sometimes the journey away from that highlight can be discouraging as you look back to what once was and realize how far the journey back to that height really is. But just like we found ourselves far from it not over night, but day by day, consistently over time, if we decide to we can find our way back.  Often the problem is we just want to hop back into the HIEGHT, without doing the climb.  We want to be 100 percent day 1 and that level of commitment out of the gate can be discouraging and overwhelming. We often despise small beginnings and instead of embracing them, we put off our todays until we can commit to all in, all out, going at it with all we got. This ALL or nothing attitude often lands us in the lap of nothing because when us humans find an end to ourselves and can’t do it ALL we are forced to succumb to the sobering realms of nothing.

So why not commit to finding JOY rather then strife in the process. We so often FIGHT back, take a defensive posture, will our way through, stubbornly bite off more than we can chew. We let shame lead and control us rather then gratitude for the ability to make space and embrace opportunity.  This is me sharing my present journey and commitment to find joy in what seems like SMALL beginnings – but this is HUGE. It is OK to start where you are at, start small and embrace the present.  Find JOY and gratitude over the process. Instead of delaying the start because everything feels so overwhelming let’s embrace the “start” knowing it is not really a start. Our past has lessons to lean on and burdens we can make peace with and lay to rest.You are not starting over. You are just become more focused on the journey.

What does this look like for me right now? I am committed to at least 20 minutes a day of movement in the mornings no focus on intensity – just focus on enjoyment of the process and gratitude over my ability to move.  I can already see small beginnings multiple as I find JOY in them, the intensity, the duration, the mindset, and the space you make for them naturally expand as you embrace it rather than fight it.  So what do you say ? Ready to lower the pressure to start ALL in, which results in you constantly putting it off?  Lets embrace small beginnings and find JOY in our today.

 

 

 

Honouring The Foundation

Foundation

Last week in the early morning hours I went into the ‘kids bathroom’ (as we call it in our house) – only to find as I closed the door there was a ton of resistance as the bottom of the door rubbed up against the floor. Right away I panicked – as a couple other doors in the house had been shifting and becoming hard to shut – but nothing like this – this was some serious shifting. My head JUMPED right to the entire foundation of the house is completely out of whack.  It must be it’s past.  You see this house has been renovated and remodel but it once was a grow opt.  So here I am thinking years of the moisture or whatever it takes to make a house a grow opt has taken its toll.  Panic and worse case scenarios started to settle in. The foundations would have to be ripped up , newly completed work will have to get ruined -the anxiety, worst case scenario wheels were turning.

While I did not have time to deal with it right then, the seed of worry and anxiety was planted. Fuelled again later while at work when I received a text from my wife Jen “the kids did something to their bathroom door, it is so hard to shut”

My response “ugghhhh I know its bad I think the whole house is shifting. I will have to look and deal with it later.”

So later that evening down on my knees I discovered the issue. I retrieved a butter knife from the kitchen and slide it under the door to reveal a tiny piece of lego that had become wedge under it. BAM just like that the door opened and closed like butter. No faulty shifting foundation issues. A simple tiny piece of lego.  

2020 has SHIFTED the landscapes of our lives.

I do not know about you but it has caused a lot of doors that normally open and close easily to be met with some unexpected friction and when friction builds our reaction can be over the top electric frenzy.  We are not always cognizant of the swell of frustration building below the surface as we pile on the load of our shifting daily climate.  This often results in the seemingly simplest of things putting us over the edge. Making it particularly important in this season to take heed and be sensitive to the motives and thought patterns behind our reactions. Realizing we can easily let a small piece lego be our tipping point. The issue is not that we tip but the damage we can cause to our foundation when we do flip. We tend to take our shovel of frustration out on the very foundation we are standing on. The relationships with the people closest to us. It’s the quick, not thought out, harmful, harsh, biting, words with a spouse, our kids or a facebook friend. The emotions bubble over and the consequent reaction is a weakening and destruction of the very foundation of some of life most meaningful and impactful pillars, the relationships with the people around us.

This massive 2020 shift presents a powerful opportunity to become anchored with strengthening your foundation rather than chipping away destructively at it when things do not work like they should. To choose to recognize when our emotions are boiling over and step back, get down on our hands and knees are remove the small piece of lego and return to a place where we honour our foundation rather then destructively chip away at it.

It is so easy to make all the wrong, tedious, frustrating things in life an external problem and assign them a person or group to shoulder all the blame.  But as long as something remains external from you, you are living a viscous cycle of being a victim to it and a mere piece of lego can put you over the edge.  The change, shift, transformation we seek will always be an arms length away from us when we decide to forfeit or bypass ownership.

So when the LEGO gets stuck under the door today – choose to get down on your knees, see it for what it is and after taking a deep breathe instead of ripping apart the foundation – lean into it, honour it and hold the relationships in your life at a high regard. Equally when you encounter someone that is frustrated by the friction the day has presented them don’t take it personally, give them some understanding and grace.

IMG_4011

 The culprit.

 

There Is No Shame In The Struggle

There is no SHAME in the STRUGGLE

Often times SHAME can trap us in our struggle. SHAME is a powerful, painful and heavy burden to be pinned under.

As we navigate this uncertain, turbulent, opinionated and anxious time we are either very consciously aware of how much it is rocking us or getting a glimpse of moments where we recognize the underlying shaking of the foundations we have built our present selves and certainties on.

With our HUSTLE driven culture it is easy to get trapped into owning SHAME. SHAME because you are struggling. There is even shame in admitting to the struggle.

Our culture worships at the alter of grit and perseverance.

We apparently will sleep when we are dead.

We know stuff.

We know with every obstacle comes opportunity.

That we can choose to grow, get ahead, or give in and fall behind.

That the biggest thing standing in the way is ourselves.

 

All great, well meaning and required attitudes to grow and conquer.

But you can’t get ahead or get anywhere when you are shackled to shame over the fact that you have your doubts, you struggle, you fall short, don’t always make the cut and can’t always stay focused on the bright side. Frustration, anger and shame can easily become our closest companions when we reach the end of ourselves.

I DO NOT believe we have endless capacity.

We have a cap.

We will and do wear thin.

We fall flat, come up short.

Reaching the end of our limited capacity sucks. But it brings us face to face with our humanity. It can be a blessing and answer to prayer.

One gift my faith has taught me is SHAME is not of God. Shame has a way of pinning you down, trapping you, suffocating you and the more you let it pile up sometimes the harder it is to find the strength to be freed from in. You either live an exhausting life trying to out due, outwit or one up  shame OR exhaustion comes from camping out under the weight of shame for far too long. The cornerstone of my faith is the light that comes and makes the darkness of SHAME flee.

It is GRACE.

Freely given forgiveness, not earned or worked for but offered by and given as a gift that anyone anywhere is free to receive. (See Romans 3:24)

We are human.

Lack of control and uncertainty is hard and sometimes we heavily lean on unhealthy devices to mitigate our inability to fully cope. Don’t be fooled nobody is navigating this properly or perfectly, nobody on this side of heaven has all the answers. It is OK to struggle. There is no SHAME in the struggle.

Fight

fight

My last blog I talked about the blessing of resting in the act of relinquishing the illusion of control. That we really only have control over one thing, ourselves and how we hold space or conduct ourselves in daily uncertainty. Read about surrender HERE.

The word surrender is often associated with weakness. It’s like letting the drawbridge down and slowly emerging from the battle, little white flag in hand with the weight of defeat bearing down on your slumped shoulders. That is not the type of surrender I am talking about. The surrender I speak of lays at the feet of a spirit of humility and comes with FREEDOM and empowers you with a willingness to FIGHT.

When we fight from a place of FEAR looking to gain control over things we do not actually have control over, the result is exhaustion and uncovering the end of ourselves. But when we fight from a surrendered spirit we exercise our awareness of our limits. We know that fighting is working with what we have and the belief that it is enough.

Sometimes FIGHTING is the act of surrendering our pride.

Re-evaluating how we respond to things and having the willingness to face the uncomfortable answers about ourselves. It is hard work to ask ourselves tough questions and to open our mind to different answers. It requires us to let go of past hurts and grievances and acknowledge our part while forgiving the part others played.

The way we have always done things has been disrupted and we often find our comforts in easy to follow, non disruptive, “sweep it under the rug” routine.

So amidst the rubble of a pandemic world in this disrupted place,

this raw place,

I am choosing the opportunity to surrender to the lessons and FIGHT the urge to fall back into the same routine. My guard is up and I am paying heed to what gets my “firsts” and going to battle to establish what gets rule over my life.

Who & what are the first minutes of my day being given to?

I am fighting to establish a new routine. A routine where I am not giving my leftovers to that which is most important – but I am prioritizing who gets what leaves my hands “first”

The first minutes of daylight will not be given to Facebook, insta, email or worry. I choose to spend my first minutes of the day immersed in God’s word. In prayer, in worship, in thankfulness & gratitude. He who has given me everything will be given  the first fruits of my day.

A life worth living has to be fought for. We are in a place where our only option for any sense of control is contained in our ability to govern ourselves.

From a surrendered heart we can use our limited resources to FIGHT by reacting to whatever comes our way today ?

OR

We can establishing a strong statement over what will RULE the day. Take up our gloves and position ourselves to respond vs react to today.