Friday, December 23, 2011

Pace, Tone & Rest - Discipleship 157

As I get older I'm learning more and more about what it means to find rest. I've been on vacation for the week leading up to Christmas, and I've begun to notice that it takes me more time to finally hit a space of rest and renewal the longer I go in between taking vacation time. I'm not sure what the correlation is with this all, but as I get older, it seems like it gets more difficult to rest on a regular basis. There is always something that needs to get done, some place I need to be, and somebody that needs something from me. But in all the hustle and bustle of life, am I actually doing myself more harm than good by running myself ragged?

The ironic thing is that in the fast pace of life, I don't even recognize that I'm flirting with an unhealthy space in my life. It's only when I intentionally unplug with regularity that I discover the symptoms of over-exertion. The added dynamic to this conversation is that as a husband and father, I set the pace and tone for life for my entire family. My wife and kids take their cue from me as to what is and what is not a healthy rhythm for life.

So this is the problem...but what might be the solution? I'm still working on that. What I do know for certain is that regular scheduled moments of rest are absolutely vital for the long-term health of my family and myself. Resting does NOT mean running away from responsibility, it means intentionally prioritizing one's responsibilities. There will always be more stuff that needs to get done, there will always be someone else that needs something from you, and there will always be another reason why choosing to rest doesn't seem like the best option. But, if you truly desire to have the most significant impact on others that you can, you must be willing to demonstrate a healthy pace and tone for life that others are willing to learn from and even mimic for their own lives.

Consider this as we head into a busy holiday season. What is does that pace and tone of your life say about what's important to you? Can others discover what true life and true love is by observing the rhythm, pace and tone of your life? My hope is that the answer to both of these questions is yes for my life so that I may inspire others towards life and not confusion. I think I've still got a lot to learn...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A heart is the symbol of love - Discipleship 156

Christmas is nearly here. My house is full of anticipation with my three little kids excited to various degrees about this season and what it brings. My wife, of course, is the most excited of us all! She can hardly wait for our kids to experience presents, family time and lots of caroling...

I've been thinking about the symbol of the heart as of late. Partially because of my own fascination with its' function in the human body, and partially because of what the heart often symbolizes.

Our younger son, Deklon, was scheduled to be born a week prior to his actual birth. Because my wife was overdue, we were sent for an additional ultrasound to make sure the baby was okay. During the appointment we got a sneak peak into our son's anatomy, which included the view of the heart. I was amazed at the level of intricate detail I witnessed on the screen as the ultrasound technician passed over his heart where we were able to see a fully functioning and healthy muscle...all four chambers working together in great symmetry and harmony.

Did you know that if our body experiences heart failure it begins to die? Probably not an out of the box concept for anyone to comprehend. But it remains true...without a heart we will die.

The heart seems to be the universal symbol of love (if you don't believe me just wait till February when consumer culture goes rampant with the pursuit of the dollar and capitalizes this symbol of love!!). In the same way that we can't live without a heart, I'm not certain that we can live without love. If you think about it, I think you may agree with me. If we are not loved, or do not experience love the quality of our lives in greatly impeded.

Consider this during the Christmas season...if the heart is the symbol of love, and we truly cannot live without love, what sort of symbol could be used to describe your own life? Those who claim to be followers of Jesus must represent people say they can't live without you because of who you are or because of who God is and how God is using you to show them love?

What do you think about love?