“Perspective is central. What you believe about this decade will be the primary factor in shaping what this decade becomes.”
What we believe in our core assumptions shapes everything.
If we believe we are entitled to things, if we believe we “should” be in charge, calling the shots and answering to no one, then these beliefs will sabotage the preparation for kingship that this decade provides, this crucible of preparation into which our very own King is inviting us.
How do you interpret this decade? I don’t mean your ideals, I mean in your belly, in the bowels of your being. Another angle to reveal these deepest beliefs is this: what do you believe when you wake up each day?
For me, this question always reveals the civil war raging within me between the false self and true self.
Here’s what the false self believes most mornings:
-It’s up to me (fill in the blank… career, marriage, parenting, finances…)
-I’m not understood
-I’m really only loved and appreciated when I achieve and come through for others.
-I’d better “get my shit together and figure it out.”
These beliefs shape everything.
By way of example, for years, self-hatred shaped my self perception. And I was completely unaware. I drove myself, day after day to achieve the proverbial “more” in the category of fitness. It was always elusive. Until two years ago some friends prayed over me, helping me to identify an agreement I made with self-hatred. I broke the agreement. And everything changed. I have enjoyed fitness in ways that I never before was able to enjoy it. I’m kind to myself in new ways; energized, self-accepting, and finally open to choices toward self care.
Remember, scripture is clear that believing is seeing. Paul says we must believe in our heart in order to be saved – from the inside out (Romans 10:9). Do you recall that Jesus denounced the cities where he did the public miracles for their lack of belief? More people witnessed miracles there than any place on earth up to that time… and belief remained nearly non-existent (Luke 10:13).
Believing is seeing.
(For a healthy reminder, watch this scene from Bruce Almighty)
What do you believe about the decade in which God has you?
As I pray and come into agreement with who God is and what He is doing, I feel the false self peel away, like a snake shedding it’s skin. I feel the life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit fill me. My interpretation is restored, yet again.
– God exists.
– I am a son. I have a loving Father who is providing, protecting, bestowing generosity.
– The Holy Spirit is prompting me, inviting me to respond to His wild ways. Joy is the fruit. The path is not linear and the vision is not long term. But the choice is available. I can choose in this moment to follow and to have life that is truly life.
– Jesus’ life, His inextinguishable life, is available now, in this moment. I am grafted in. He is increasing my awareness of how and when I operate out of the false self. He is offering me Life so that I can choose, offer, and respond with the impossible-made-possible, in love. He is dismantling the false self within me, step by step, and restoring the true. He is showing me what love looks like, right here, right now. In Union.
– The spiritual context of this day and this decade is excavation and restoration. The bulldozers are here, digging, digging, digging. I am the apprentice of the Father in Kingdom-living. Right where the rubber meets the road today. In blood, in sweat, in tears. He is training me in the way of becoming a whole and holy man. I’m not the man yet I want to be, but I’m not the man I used to be (okay, now I’m sounding like Tim McGraw, but it’s true.)
– He is training me to yield my strength. To be harnessed in love, by His will, His way, and His remarkable intentions for my life that exceed what I even ask for or can imagine.
– I believe this is a decade of preparation. The stakes feel huge, but in reality they are smaller than what is ahead. The invitation is to risk, to trust, to choose love, to watch for the outcomes. To learn. To grow.
– These are the “hidden years.” Frustration is healthy. Dropping my pencil at 5 is a holy and loving act.
– I want to become good soil. Today.
I believe. Help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)
What do you believe, on the deepest level? About this decade? About this day? Those core assumptions shape everything. And they are central in determining the outcomes of this decade of character over kingdom.
It was one the best weekends I can remember having in quite a while.
And I am convinced this is the reason: I turned off the smart phone and went off the grid for two days.
I was available to three people: my wife and my two kids. My world shrunk, if only for moments. And it was holy.
After I got over the initial withdrawal symptoms and the clamoring objections of the seven reasons why powering down was a “bad idea” (insert irresponsible, naïve, unnecessary, unwise, uncaring), I could feel some shift from the inside out.
I was caught off guard by how quickly I could be present to God, to my wife, to my kids.
The context and external activity for the weekend was quite typical: a date with Cherie, adventure with the kids, watching a Steelers game at the local sports bar, family meals. But internally it was an entirely different story. I was present; my attention was undivided.
Psalm 86 has David pleading for an undivided heart. I don’t fully know what that’s all about, but I think he is on to something absolutely critical and life changing. This weekend I felt undivided, whole, less ripped with anxiety and stress.
I was present.
The pace, the accessibility, and the endless choices (and decisions) in our technological and postmodern world are incompatible with the way of the heart. (see Henri Nouwen for more).
What if our commitment (and addiction) to being absolutely “available” through our smart phones and email actually renders us mostly unavailable to those under our own roof, to our own hearts, and to our God?
We must find alternatives in order to live with that undivided heart and be truly and substantively present to God in the moment-by-moment rhythm of our days.
This season of the masculine journey is arguably more challenging than any other. Young marriages. Young kids. Young careers. Demands on every side.
What better season to cultivate the interior life than when any choice towards it seems utterly foolish to the world around us in light of the incessant demands?
“You shall know them by their fruit.”
remarked Jesus. A quick and clear test of most things to know if we have found ourselves on the narrow path. Carry a decision to its logical outcome. Test the fruit, as Oswald Chambers suggests.
This fruit is really good. Really, really good.
This choice to narrow our focus, resist the temptation to be endlessly available, and to be fully present to the moment at hand bears such beautiful fruit. Perhaps we’ll actually catch the look of longing to play and connect in our son’s eyes. Like when I got to witness his joy yesterday chopping down a small tree for the first time, with an axe, all by himself. Perhaps we’ll have the capacity to let the beauty of our daughters actually sink in and affect us, like when I was able to sit in the garage and watch my little princess do a spontaneous dance for me on the tailgate of my truck. Perhaps we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of our wife moving through the kitchen and be present enough for her to take our breath away. Perhaps we will actually hear the still small voice of our Father calling us His beloved son…
Put a reminder in your digital to calendar for Friday night to power down the digital IV for two days. Pay attention to what’s behind every reason that surfaces not to do it. And then ask Jesus into that very place.
It is interesting that Jesus was one of the great proponents of this bold and daring act in the first place. If you recall from Mark 6:30-31, it was Jesus who, in the midst of the chaos, invited His closest allies to come away to a quiet place and take a rest from the “constant coming and going” of people and their needs.
Go Off the Grid for a while.
Who knows, maybe it’ll become contagious and we’ll all sleep a little better in the days ahead. Perhaps by going OTG we might actually bless others and in some way minister to them, freeing them to follow our lead. Perhaps we’ll all have more of the abundant life, and leave more footprints on the narrow road we so long to travel…
Holy Spirit, how do You want me to go Off The Grid?
When do You want me to do it?
What is keeping me from doing it that is not from You? Show me how to clear the debris. (Isaiah 62, Hebrews 12:13)
I confess, I can’t do this alone. I need You, Father. I receive a Spirit of Sonship. I need You, Jesus. I need Your LIFE, Your inextinguishable life flooding into me, washing out all the other voices and demands. I receive You. Holy Spirit, show me the way. I choose to follow…
While a remarkable read on worldview and spiritual warfare, Chapter 15 has enough profound insight on the Twin Thieves that seek to remove us from the Present moment (and our true union with God) to change us for all eternity…but even more, for LIFE, today. A must read from spiritual warfare to lifestyle warfare.
The following is the description from Amazon:
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.