Areas of Focus: I am Connected

To recap: This year I am not committing myself to any new year’s resolutions, instead I am choosing different areas of my life that I want to focus my time and energy in.

Last week I began sharing my intentions around openness. Today, I consider the centrality of connection.

We are all connected. We live in a living web of relationships with one another, the creation, and the Creator. These relationships do not happen automatically, they need care and attention to stay healthy and living.

As I look at my life, I find so many disconnects and loose connections: relationships that are important to me that I have allowed to over stretch, strain, and unravel.

What are the connections that I want to nurture this year?

First connection is with my Creator.

It is easy as a leader in a community of faith to give the topic of prayer a lot of lip service. I believe deeply in the importance of spending time in the God Space of prayer, however, it is easy to slip into a polished, neat, and merely polite spiritual practice.

I call it the professional believer syndrome.

I pray in the context of worship. I pray in hospital rooms and in living rooms to provide comfort. Most of my praying is done in the capacity of being the designated pray-er. But do I spend time alone in prayer?

It is a challenge to spend time with my Divine Beloved as a simple believer without reference to my job description within my community of faith. It is hard to shake that sense of ordained duty so I can rest in the Presence.

When can I today just be a child of God in the presence of my Beloved?

Another relationship to nurture is with the beauty and wonder of the Creator Spirit.

I want to live as a participant in this creation rather than simply a spectator. Naturally I sit back and passively see what happens. Yet part of our truth is that I am made in the imago dei so I am able and energized by the process of creating.

A big part of practicing this area of intention will be through this site, as I write and share music and images which express the unfolding words and ideas about God’s fully dimensional life. I also want to find new ways to be a part of God’s ongoing creative process.

What fresh wonder and deep truth can I creatively share today?

Finally, there is my desire to nurture the relationships with those people I love.

I am an introvert who can easily fall into acting out the stereotype of being anti-social. In loving my deep solitude, I neglect the people around me whom I love dearly. I am energized with my time in silence, yet, I have to remember the truth that I am richly blessed by the loving relationships of my family and friends. Those relationships are not automatic or easy and I need to continually choose to tend them.

What can I do today to strengthen my loving relationship with the people in my life?

Your Turn:

What disconnections are robbing you of light and life?

What connections do you want to nurture and strengthen today?

Share in the comments.

One more post in the series to come: wholeness.

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Who is my Neighbor?

This is a wonderful question to ask and explore as we consider what it means to live our fully dimensional life.

It is great when Jesus answered the question with the story of the Good Samaritan. It is also good when children spent time with the best neighbor they could know: Mister Fred Rogers.

This week’s trio of links reminds us of the enduring wisdom of Fred Rogers who is one of those people that I have always admired and appreciated.

A Caveat: Just because I link to a particular resource does not mean I completely agree with everything the author or the website says and stands for. Some links are meant to invite us to different perspectives on what it means to live.

Act 1

One of the things I appreciate about Fred Rogers is his economy of words. He talks and says only what needs to be said. Then he listens. I think both parts of that represent his giftedness. Here are a collection of quotations from him.

 Mental Floss Blog, 20 Gentle Quotations from Mister Rogers

Act 2

This is a video from 1999, when Fred Rogers was inducted into the TV Hall of Fame. His remarks are gentle yet pointed.

Even though he speaks of those working in the television industry, his thoughts on being servants of the good apply to our communities of faith.

How do we make good attractive? That is an excellent question.

Act 3

I had originally set this aside for a Midweek Music video. But since Mister Rogers is the topic, it fits in this week’s trio of links.

And what will your imagination lead you through today?

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Areas of Focus 2013: Open

open

Left or Right by David Harward

This year, instead of setting myself up for disappointment by making new year’s resolutions, I am identifying areas of focus. Using a set of daily questions, I want to nurture the intentional use of my time and energy that doesn’t set limits on what I will accomplish or get attached to the results.

The tag cloud in the right column shows three sky view areas of life focus: #open, #connected, and #whole. These ideas continue to orient my own life work, my writing, and my ministry. These provide a structure I use for fully dimensional living.

The first major area is that of being open.

I want to remain open to all the possibilities the Creator has in store for me and for our world. To do that, the world has to remain full of possibility and promise. Without that, there is no point in looking up and around.

So where do I see myself closing my life down? Where do I find myself stuck and frustrated? Where do I need to choose God’s openness?

My first area of focus is in maintaining an attitude of Exploration.

I close down when I decide to be content with what I already know, or with what I think I know. This usually happens when I settle for answers. Answers are great until we let them be show stoppers. When we cease exploring because we have the treasure we seek, we become locked in. We trade the freedom of curiosity for the security of the answer. We stop exploring life. Sadly, much of our education emphasizes the accumulation of answers that can be spit out at the proper time. They can be memorized without really understanding or experiencing.

An explorer is never content with an answer. Answers will be found, but as stepping stones for more questions. And freedom is found in seeking the questions.

I want to keep looking for new things every day. I want to learn more about the eternal Essence of the Universe, the fathomless intricacies of the human being, and experience the wonders of creation. I want to keep the questions open.

What new thing can I explore today?

Another open area of focus is Generosity.

It is easy for me to want to hold tight to what I have and so I hold back what I know. After all, this mortal existence is defined by its limitations and scarcities. So I would be completely justified to not share what I have gathered for myself. I deserve that, right?

The problem is that a non-generous life is a closed off life.

What if my ideas and skills were are given to me by the Essence of the Universe as a stewardship to share with others around me. Then in my choosing to hold tightly to “my” stuff I betray that greater purpose: my deeper why for living.

Openness in receiving needs to be balanced by an openness to share. I need to spend my energy finding ways to spread the light. This is done with enthusiasm and generosity because the Source is eternal and extraordinary.

What can I give away today with freedom, gratitude, and compassion?

The third specific focus in the area of openness is partnership.

I confess that I am very comfortable doing stuff on my own. I have this idea that I can be pretty self-sufficient. If I don’t know something, I can either learn how to do it or get by without it. While I enjoy learning to do many things in my life, the idea that I can do everything I need to do alone is wrong.

This is a hard lesson for me, a natural individualist, to learn. I need to practice living, serving, and ministering in partnership with others. I need to join with people who have complimentary gifts and strengths to mine. Together we are able to do more than any of us can do alone.

Who can I partner with today in doing what needs to be done?

Your turn:

Where do you find yourself closing doors and putting up walls? How can you move more openly into God’s freedom, wisdom, and community?

Share in the comments.

My thoughts on areas of focus related to being Connected and Whole are coming next week.

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Put the Happy in the New Year

Happiness is infectious.

One of the great gifts of God’s grace is the gift of the New!

In the morning we awake and we have a new day unfolding before us. After 7 days, we can redirect our activities and find a new week to follow and co-create. And on a grander scale we can designate times to reboot our lives.

Season changes, birthdays, anniversaries, and changes in the calendar year give us a great opportunity to choose God’s ever fresh life.

May you enter into this new day and new year with joy.

This video shows the happiness of new opportunities.

Will we try to avoid the joy, or will we let it transform us?

I’m going with transformation.

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