Tag: lazy

Feigning exhaustion

I love to run. That’s no secret. I’m among the <.03% of people that actually looks forward to long runs in oppressingly hot, humid weather. I look forward to my feet pounding the pavement, the the breeze (or lack thereof) whipping through the low spots, and the feeling at the end that, though I’m lying on the ground in a pool of my own sweat, I’ve done something significant. Though, in ultimate irony, I arrive at the same place I started.

My son’s developing this love as well. When he sees me getting ready for a run, he gets ready, too. He ties his shoes on extra tightly. Gets his bottle of water squared away. And queues up the songs he wants to hear as we run.

It’s simultaneously cute and manly.

He runs in ~.5 mile stretches. He’ll run ahead of me for a bit, taunting me as he looks back. Or he’ll run right beside me, talking about how much he loves being outside.

Then .5 mile hits, and he gets bored.

So he starts feigning exhaustion. Breathing hard. Retching his shoulders. Slowing down his words as if to catch his breath.

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 9.27.54 AM

Rex’s “I’m tired, but not really…” face

“I think…*big inhale, big exhale*…I want to ride in the stroller a while. I’m…*big inhale, big exhale*…getting…*pause for dramatic effect*…a little tired.”

So I strap him in the stroller as we trudge out a few more miles as he jabbers on about monsters, soccer practice, and one of his new-found friends at church.

He wasn’t tired at all! He wasn’t gassed. Wasn’t sore. Wasn’t out of energy.

He just wanted to quit for a while, and he knew what it looked like when daddy was tired. So he did that.

I wonder if we do the same thing in life?

We give up because we get bored. We want something new. Different. Shiny. And what we’ve been doing…well, we’re going to feign exhaustion so we can jump back in the jogging stroller.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. – Paul, Galatians 6:9-10

You see what God’s called you to do. You’ve see it more clearly than you ever have.

  • The ministry he’s called you to start.
  • The small group he’s called you to launch.
  • The book He’s led you to write.
  • The person He’s called you to love.
  • The place He’s called you to go.
  • The job He’s told you to take.

Your “personal best” is way, way better than your perceived “best.” What you can do, who you can become, and the potential that you can accomplish is massively bigger than the expectations culture places on you. Or what your boss thinks you can do. Or who your spouse thinks you can become.

Because you serve a God that’s bigger than others’ expectations.

You have caught a vision for who God wants you to be. You’ve seen where that idea could lead. You’ve realized who it could impact.

But it’s not shiny anymore. It’s actually kind of boring, and the new smell has worn off. It used to give us energy, but now it feels more like a job.

Don’t. Quit. Now.

You’ll reap nothing if you quit now. They’ll reap nothing if you quit now.

Obedience is found in doing the right thing, even when it doesn’t feel right. Even when it feels boring, mundane, and work-like.

It’s time to keep running.

No jogging strollers allowed.

 

 

 

Insecure, lazy leadership

image credit: CreationSwap User Matt Gruber (edits mine)

 

There’s a buzz going around about ‘releasing people to _____.’ You can insert any of the following words in that blank:

  • lead
  • serve
  • start projects
  • launch ministries
  • do their job

On the surface, this sounds noble. It sounds like you’re fighting the dreaded “micromanagement,” a 4-letter word in churches, businesses, and any organization trying to move forward. Micromanaging is not the way to create a culture of healthy growth for leaders. It does not produce future leaders, nor leave current ones thrilled by any stretch of your imagination.

“We’re releasing people to _____” also sounds like you’re intentionally giving leaders the chance to lead, ensuring that you don’t box people into a  proverbial box…or a glass case of emotion, if you prefer. No leader worth their weight in homemade laundry detergent (it’s cheap…trust me) wants to be boxed in…so “release them to _______!”

My concern

I have concerns about this line of thought. Though it sounds noble, I’m afraid that in many cases this is just a mask for ‘I have no idea what I’m doing’ or ‘I am not really willing or able to put time into developing leaders.’ Instead of truly being a noble move, it covers over deeper issues of incompetency (I don’t know what I’m doing, myself), inadequacy (I’ve not been trained at all, myself), or insecurity (I’d rather people not know that I don’t know how to lead them).

Turning someone loose to lead doesn’t mean you abandon them. If you want them to help fulfill the vision for your organization, leaders need direction, oversight, and development. “Management” may not be popular, but it’s vital.

Let’s be fair

It’s organizationally unfair to “release someone to serve” if they haven’t properly developed. It’s not fair for the individual, who’s been thrown in over their head. It’s also not fair for the organization, who now has a leader in place without the necessary tools, and who’s not trusted to lead.

It’s okay to “release people to _____,” but don’t neglect development. Spend great care developing your leaders. The time, money, and resources you spend on development will reap huge dividends.

In the small group world where I operate, I’ve said this phrase, too. I have nuanced it like this: “I’m allowing group leaders to be the shepherds of their group.”

But I didn’t do a great job of developing leaders over time. So that’s going to change.

With our newly implemented coaching structure, combined with our leadership development pathway, we’ve made some major changes. Instead of having trainings as isolated events, they’re connected, increasing in depth through each step. This allows us to take a new leader from “I have no idea what I’m doing as a small group leader” to coaching other group leaders into deeper spiritual health.

We want to be able to “turn leaders loose” in good conscience, trusting them to lead their groups with great effectiveness. To do this, we’ve got to do our part of helping them develop.

Question:

Ever heard the phrase, “We’re releasing people to _____.”?

Ever seen it as an excuse for laziness?

* image credit: CreationSwap User Matt Gruber (edits mine)

 

#5 in 2011: Spiritual Procrastination

I’m taking a break from my blog between Christmas and New Year’s. I’m re-posting a couple of your favorites (based on clicks) and a couple of my own favorite posts from 2011. I hope you enjoy! I’ll be interacting in the comments section, so if you comment, I’ll respond. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

The most dangerous word for your spiritual growth is “tomorrow.”

image credit: Creation Swap User Jeff Borriss

I’ll share my faith with my friend…tomorrow.

I’ll start praying more regularly…tomorrow.

I’ll start reading my Bible…tomorrow.

I know God want me to _____, so I will…tomorrow.

I’ll start treating my wife with respect…tomorrow.

I’ll become a better parent…starting tomorrow.

I’ll quit doing ______…tomorrow.

I’ll choose to forgive…tomorrow.

I’ll choose joy, not anger…tomorrow.

I’ll choose to serve…tomorrow.

I’ll take charge of my spiritual growth…tomorrow.

Stop. Saying. Tomorrow.

Today is the day.

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. – James 4:13-14

*image credit: Creation Swap User Jeff Borriss

 

Theological laziness

Image by Redeemer Fellowship

We tend to take the easy road. The one that’s quicker, easier, and microwaved.  And that’s not all so bad with a lot of things.  Emails are much faster than letters.  Cell phones are much faster and more efficient than landlines.  Buying a book on Kindle is faster and cheaper than buying a physical copy and paying for shipping.

But when it comes to theology, don’t do it. Becoming a parrot is much easier than becoming a theologian.  But it’s not helpful for the Church.  And in the long run, it will leave you intellectually and theologically paralyzed.

At points in my life, I’ve felt pigeonholed into giving the right answer, quoting the right author, and listening to the right preachers.  Learn to think, talk, and write like the good guys.  Sure, I was encouraged to read the other writers/pastors, but just so I would know their side of the argument.

But we need to think for ourselves.  Read.  Study.  Listen.  And arrive at our own conclusions…not just haphazardly arrive at the same conclusions as the popular conservative, conference-speaking, book-writing pastors of our day.  Because we can read the Bible for ourselves.  And we can think for ourselves.  And we can develop theology ourselves.* We don’t have to consult other men and women when we are articulating our theology.  And when we consult them in place of thinking for ourselves, we miss out on a great benefit of study: discovery.

God still speaks

Call me crazy, but I still think that God speaks today, and He’s not just speaking to the popular pastors.  He’s speaking to me.  And you.  And all other believers.

Standing on the shoulders of giants is different than standing behind them yelling, “Yeah…what he said!”  Standing on the shoulders of giants means that we learn and grow from those who have gone before us.  Standing on their shoulders means we don’t simply lay hold of their conclusions…the ones it took them years to arrive at.  That borders on intellectual thievery.

Most people tend to take the easy way out.  When it comes to theology, don’t short-circuit the work on God in your heart.

Have you ever been lulled into taking the easy way out when it comes to understanding the things of God?

Disagree with me?  Leave a comment below and let’s discuss it!

*Hear me correctly: I’m not trying to divorce myself from our church fathers.  There’s a depth and richness to their writing that’s difficult to find today.  And there’s great wisdom in learning from those who have gone before us, and who are continuing to presently pave the way.  I’m just not linking myself so tightly with them that I can’t use the brain that God has given me to actually do what it was intended to do.  Think!

 

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