Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hurry up!



Recently on our family cruise my husband and I were waiting in a long line for the breakfast buffet. I began to get rather frustrated with the people in line. They were moving as slow as molasses. I’ve never tested how fast molasses really moves, but you know…. 

What  irked me was that this line as long as an anaconda did not have to stay that way!  People moved in slow motion as they reached for a grapefruit or selected a box of cereal. They seemed to be giving serious thought to selecting a sausage. I wanted to scream, “What’s wrong with you people? It’s sausage. This doesn’t require an executive decision. Grab and move! Grab and move!”

I quipped to my husband, “For a person who is on the move, this line that is not on the move but could very easily be is rather frustrating.” He gently said back to me, “Babe, you’re not supposed to be on the move this week. This isn’t the week to rush anywhere. Just relax.”

I will admit that was hard advice although I knew he was right. And, I will also admit I could not just stand there and “waste my time.” In my previous life I was World Director of Productivity. So as people in front of me took their sweet time, I took it upon myself to rearrange and straighten items in front of me like small cereal boxes and butter pats that were not in perfectly straight lines. I thought my husband would die.         

On the same day, I decided to stay on the ship while my family all went on excursions. I was sorely in need of a day of rest. My testiness at the breakfast bar proved that if nothing else.   

Especially with some things I have faced in this season, I need to be intentional about taking some time to breathe. Breathe again. Not have to think so quickly on my feet. Not be the answer person. Not make any decisions. Not solve a problem. Take some moments to just be. Make a “stop doing” list.

Leaders need to be relentlessly intentional about moving slower on some days so we can keep moving faster on others.
  

Monday, December 04, 2017

Have you chosen a word of the year?




Selecting a personal word of the year has been my custom for many years. The word is my theme of the year and something for me to focus on, to build my faith and to grow. Each year I look for ways to remind myself of the theme…everything from a decorative sign with the word, to a piece of jewelry.

This year my word is resilient. 

All my life I have had to be resilient, and some years more than others.  I know it is this way with everyone to a degree. No one is immune to pain or problems. But frankly, some people are more resilient than others.  I have been studying those who are most resilient and trying to learn from them.

With 2017 coming to a close,I have things to bounce back from. There are parts of my life I’m absolutely slaying and other parts that are out of my control. If I could control it, I would have already given everything I have to slaying it.  The challenges remaining are out of the realm of me being able to change them aside from prayer. Thankfully, prayer is our most powerful recourse. Prayer changes things. In the meantime though, (it’s called the MEAN-time for a reason!) I have to find a way to flourish through things I never dreamed I would be facing.

I am thankful for a heavenly father who knows what we need when we need it. In the course of my master’s work, I was assigned two books this semester that prepared me for my current season. They are Rising Strong by Brene Brown, and Leadership Pain by Sam Chand. I would recommend these two books to everyone, particularly leaders. 

At some point you are going to face some things you never asked for, never expected, can’t control, and cry a river of tears over. My advice as a fellow traveler is to surround yourself with the right people. Find those who have walked through whatever it is that you’re going through successfully, and get their wisdom. Read wisdom from those you more than likely won’t have opportunity to meet.  Pray your guts out, and ask other people who know how to pray and fast to join you. While prayer is a hand grenade, fasting is a bomb.

Prior to reading the book Leadership Pain, I saw almost nothing good about pain. I’ve changed my mind. Dr. Sam Chand says, “You’ll only grow to the threshold of your pain.” The greatest leaders are the best pain processors. The leaders who are entrusted with the most pain produce the greatest work. So, if these things are an indication, and I believe they are -- get ready. The biggest and best things are yet to come!

What is your word of the year?

    

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Day I Almost Suffocated at a Women's Conference

Years ago I was in a place of deep depression. I was reading my Bible, maybe more than ever, because I was in such a desperately low place. I was praying daily. I was seeking God. I was not only seeking Him, I was begging Him to help me, to speak to me, to do something that only He could do.


In the midst of this, I was the speaker at a women's conference. I've never stopped working or serving for the past thirty years, even when I've been in a low place. Some people might say, "Well, that's your problem, right there!" I guess one could look at it that way. I just see it that even on my worst days I get up, dress up and show up.  And believe me there were plenty of days I didn't feel like doing any one of those three things.

On this particular occasion I was the keynote speaker, but the host of the conference was also speaking in one of the sessions. As I sat there, I experienced something that was common for a women's conference or church service. So common that I share this story with no concern that people will figure out where I was, or that I will point anyone out specifically.

As speakers go, the host of the conference was popular and passionate and everything most people are looking for in a conference host or leader. I don't remember what the text of her message was or even the main points. All I recall is that the majority of the message was her telling the women gathered what they should be doing that she assumed they were not doing. And the message was that if they just did what they should be doing, life would be so much different. 

"Ladies, you need to be in the Word more! If you were in the Word as you should be, the things you are experiencing would not be happening as they are!"

"Ladies, you need to pray more! If you just had a prayer life like Anna, if you would just tarry with Him for one more hour...if you would just press in like the woman with the issue of blood...if you would just seek Him more...your problems would seem small!!!"

"Ladies, you need to praise God more! If you would just praise Him, he would set you free as He did Paul and Silas when they were in a prison!"


Do we need to be in the Word? Yes. Do we need to pray? Yes. Do we need to praise God? Yes. And I was doing all those things, yet as she shouted all these things we should be doing,  I felt like I was going to suffocate. It took everything I had not to run out of the room. I was talking to myself in my head saying, "Stay here, just stay here. It's going to be okay..."Some may say that I was only responding this way because of being in a depressed state. But in retrospect, not being in that place of depression anymore, I can tell you that while being depressed impacted the way I perceived things, it wasn't the entire cause. And actually, that moment changed me as a leader...forever. After I got through feeling like I would suffocate, I had an wake up call that changed the course of how I communicate.

It was an epiphany for me that people don't respond to a steady diet of just hearing what they should be doing. Life is much more complex than that. You can do everything you should be doing and still deal with the current problem you have. I have prayed, I have fasted, I have wept on the altar, I have renounced every sin, I have served my guts out - and people I love have still died. I have read my Bible until the wee hours of the morning, and yet, people I have trusted have deeply wounded me. I have praised God, and still have loved ones who are horribly sick and in need of a miracle. I have experienced some of the most painful things in my life and witnessed them in the lives of others when I was doing all the things I should be doing. Hearing a message on all I should do when I'm doing all I can do makes me feel a lot of guilt that is not from God. The fact is, doing all the right things doesn't zap your problems away. If that was the case, things the apostles went through and the outcome in their lives would have been vastly different.(Do he research on how most if not all of these guys died.)

Recently I was in one of my classes for my masters at Southeastern University and our guest instructor for the day was Dr. Sam Chand. One of the main things he taught us was, "Don't let anyone 'should' on you." It seldom produces long term results to rag on people about what they should be doing. They hear what they should do from everyone from their mother-in-law to their doctor. But pastors/speakers do this week after week. (Insert shouting preacher here) "YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT JESUS!!!!" Meanwhile the congregation sits there and thinks, "Okay...tell us WHY."
 
That day at the women's conference was a turning point for me. I have been guilty of a lot of "shouldy messages" in the course of my ministry. How many people had I emotionally suffocated with a list of do's and don'ts without telling them about the person who can change their lives?  I realized that my mandate as a preacher was to open the Word of God and share WHO He is and WHY He came and WHAT He could to do in their lives. My job was to study the Word of God and find a way again and again to share all of that in a fresh new way that the Holy Spirit would inspire me to do.

Part of the struggle is, it's easier to preach a shouldy message. You don't have to dig in to the Word of God to study and explain anything. All you have to do is get up and shout at people about what they should be doing. Studying the Word of God in depth takes work. And, it's a lost art in the ministry. That's not my opinion, it's a fact. I sensed this in the past but didn't really have any hard evidence about it. Recently, I read a book for school that I was assigned called The Pastor Theologian by Gerald Heistand and Todd Wilson. At face value I assumed it was going to be the boring book this semester. Truth be told I was kind of dreading reading it even as I paid for it and put it on my Kindle. But I was wrong. It was life changing! Reading it fired me up even more to delve into God's Word and  prepare messages that would reveal the character of God to people and result in transformation in hearts and lives through the power of God.

As an imperfect vessel, I slip now and again and should on somebody in one of my messages, but I make a conscious choice to not do that as much as possible. Am I resisting the work of the conviction of the Holy Spirit in a person's life? Absolutely not. But the point is, it's His job to convict, not mine.

My job is to share the Who, what, when, where and why. The why is only secondary to the WHO. And, the Holy Spirit draws them to change...not me.

What has your experience been when you hear all that you "should" be doing in a message? Has it brought about life transformation in you? What kind of messages have brought about life change through Christ in your life?

Photo: Freedigitalphotos.net 

Friday, August 04, 2017

Sometimes It Pays to Say Nothing!


Sightseeing for two days led to a craving to do nothing and everything at the same time, yesterday.

Sleeping in.
Staying in jammies.
Reading.
Watching movies.
Cuddling.
And all that's great about spending a quiet day together.

When evening came, Larry said he wanted to try a spot that was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. It's a place called Sherman's with locations in Palm Springs and Palm Desert.

Something hilarious happened soon after we arrived. The server overheard Larry and I having a conversation about the selections on the menu. We were just talking in the same manner that we always do, but she took something more from the conversation. Something we never said!  Larry overheard her tell her co-workers, "These people are food critics!" She thought we were there to scope it out and write a story about the place. We decided to say nothing and let them think what they wanted to. You know what they say about assuming. Staying quiet was a great decision because after the server told this to her co-workers, they were practically falling over themselves to make us happy! Little samples came to our table. Was this so terrible that we didn't correct their assumption?  I decided to let it go and ask for forgiveness in my bedtime prayers.

Although the service was over-the-top because they assumed we were professional food critics, the food really did speak for itself. 



Take this pie for instance. See those little crunchy things on the outside? Those are crushed up cookie crumbs. It's "Marion Berry Pie." The bottom and sides are a cookie crumb crust, then cheesecake, then mixed berries on top. Divine! Sherman's makes all their own desserts. I was impressed. 


The most difficult thing was knowing what to select...


I could clearly understand why Guy Fieri decided to feature this place. Larry chose the Coconut Cake for dessert. He wasn't disappointed.


During my time here I've been working out with Revelation Wellness but dear sweet Lord, it can only do so much when it's up against this!

Would I recommend Shermans or dine there again? Absolutely. Although I'm not a professional food critic I'll gladly spread the word and leave a review on Yelp.

I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner but by far my favorite part of the day was our time together with nothing to focus on but rest and each other. And, I know if I'm ever out of a job, I can probably train to be a food critic fairly quickly.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

3 Things I Learned in the Desert

"You learn something new every day!" I wish I would have coined that phrase but of course I didn't -- it's an old one. Each day I look for opportunities to learn and usually learn more than three things. Yesterday was no exception as Larry and I spent the day at Joshua Tree National Park, taking in the sights.



I had no idea what I was in for. I mean, I knew it was a desert, but oh my lands, it's the mother of all deserts! It's a desert on steroids. The first thing anyone needs to do is get yourself a Big Gulp before you go, because it will take you a minimum of two hours to drive through it. Don't let the word PARK fool you. This thing is the size of the state of Rhode Island. No, I'm not kidding. And it will take you two hours only if you don't stop at any of the exhibits along the way, which of course, we did. Speaking of a big gulp, the first thing I learned is this:

1) If you want to know where you should eat or drink, just watch where the old people are headed.

I talked a bit about this in my last blog post but it bears repeating. You won't find anything to eat or drink inside Joshua Tree Park. But, outside one of the entrances to the park there's a gas station that has everything from slushies to hamburgers.  I went in to use the restroom one more time before our journey and wanted an unsweet tea as well. This place had everything BUT the tea. And honestly, it didn't look very clean.  I couldn't believe the chaos down to the backed up line at the register and little kids running around begging their parents for candy. I sound ancient now, I know.

In the midst of this commotion what do I spy? There were a bunch of elder folk across the street. Why, pray tell? There is a lovely little coffee shop with freshly brewed tea as well as crafts for sale. And, it was clean as a whistle!. Why does anyone say clean as a whistle? Somebody's mouth was on it. And for all we know, it was not clean. So regarding the old folk, watch this and see if I'm not right! Older folk, they like good quality food made from scratch in an extremely clean environment. You could do a white glove test where the seniors eat. Despite the fact that nobody wears white gloves anymore. And it's quiet. Old people like peace. You will not be disappointed when it comes to food and drink, as well as the environment. Old folk were the first ones to say, for heaven's sake, SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT!

I acquired a mammoth iced tea and we headed for our jaunt through the wonderland that is Joshua Tree Park.


This is a Joshua tree. It got it's name because the first people who discovered the tree -- the Mormons bless their hearts said it reminded them of the biblical account of Joshua lifting his hands to the sky in prayer. It's interesting that all through our time of driving through the park, applications to the Bible were coming to my mind. Everything from the fact that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, to God being our rock. I also thought of Proverbs which says that it's better to live in a desert than with a nagging woman. (Proverbs 21:19) Honestly, the desert is beautiful. OF COURSE it's better than a nagging woman. It doesn't take a king to tell us that. Which brings me to #2...

2)  The desert gets a bad rap at times.

It's awesome. Stop and get a drink before you go into it, and everything will be fabulous. Don't bring a nagging woman with you.


The gigantic rocks were my favorite part. It's off season here so there is hardly anyone around. Plenty of times Larry and I came to an exhibit and there was no one around. We could have gotten away with a lot. I was awestruck about how loud the silence was. I mean it was deafening. But in those moments, God spoke many things to my heart. I understand over and over how people hear Him so clearly in nature.


Larry and I are in the photo above but you can barely see us. Look at the size of that rock. The first person in history to see this had to shriek, "Oh my lands!" 


We took our time going through the park, stopping at most of the exhibits and getting out to take pictures. On the first day we arrived in California Larry and I made a California playlist on Spotify. We listen to it in the car every time we go to another place here. It's all songs about California. Everything from "California Girls" to "Hotel California." For yesterday we made a desert playlist. It had everything from "Desert Song" to U2's "The Joshua Tree" album. Which brings me to #3

3) If you want a great marriage, you have to plan for it.

And if you don't have a marriage and want one, put this on your #relationshipgoals list. I knew the importance of this before I went on this trip, but yesterday was a refresher course in why it's important.

As we were driving through the park listening to our desert songs, sipping our gargantuan drinks, I thought to myself, "I never imagined it would still be this good 30 years later..." I was reminded that a huge part of it is that we plan for it to be. None of this just happened on it's own. When it comes to memories Larry is as big a planner as I am, and many times even more. He always says, "making memories" is our family theme. I'm so glad I married someone who keeps this a priority.

Maybe things aren't the same in  your life and family, and you want them to be. George Eliot once said, "It's never too late to be what you might have been." I believe this applies to marriages and families too. It's not even about vacations or spending money - it's about getting a thought and following through with action to do something as simple as making a free playlist of songs for the one you love...listening to music together, or going on an evening walk together.

I learned all this and more in my experience at Joshua Tree. I hope all my friends get to see it at least once in their lifetime.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

3 Things I Learned Today on my Birthday



For sentiment sake, I'm writing a post about my birthday because I'll read it in a few months or years and look back on it fondly. Bloggers love reading our own stuff whether other people do or not. We're actually obsessed with our own words. We love seeing ourselves write as much as some people love hearing themselves talk.  It's the thrill of the post.

I woke up and got a cup of coffee and read some of Isaiah as well as I Samuel, and some teaching on leadership by John Maxwell. (In my house I have a painting of Jesus on one wall and John Maxwell on the other.)  While I was reading my husband brought me breakfast in bed. He's awesome like that. I try to reciprocate in ways that make him happy.

After savoring the breakfast I didn't have to cook, I began checking out the information from the first day of Revelation Wellness. It's a new program I'm trying at the invitation of my friend, Jodi Garvin. I started doing this partly because I believed if Jodi is doing it, it had to be legit. Jodi doesn't do anything "weird". She's a really stable person. The other reason is, if it had to do with physical wellness, weeeelllllll, I've tried everything else so why not this? (Don't believe me? Ask my niece Lexi. It's a running joke with her about how many diets and programs I've been on. If there was a Teen Challenge for eating, I would have already signed up for the program. For some people it's heroin, others are on crack, yet others of us are on Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Frosted.)

As soon as I signed up for this Revelation Wellness, I realized the first day was August 1, my birthday and it starts with a 7-day detox. I was like, NOPE...not having that revelation! No, no, no. August 1 is NOT the day of revelation or detox for me. But then I realized that it's not a 7-day detox that is food oriented. At least today it wasn't. Who knows what's down the pike on this thing but at least on my birthday, I was safe...

So, I woke up, and did everything we were instructed to do including the workout video. I don't mind working out on my birthday. Cutting out coffee with cream, now that's another story. Back up, jack! You might as well ask me to quit breathing.  I was once talking to someone who said something about giving up coffee and living more years. And I was like, "If I give up coffee, I really don't want to live anyway." To which my husband says, "You have a problem." Well yeah, who doesn't have at least one problem?

So, after the Revelation Wellnes workout video it was time to shower and get ready to  go to the Palm Springs Tramway. The tramway is the world's largest rotating tram car. It travels over two and a half miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon to the wilderness of Mount San Jacinto State Park. While we were riding in the tram car, it rotated slowly, offering picturesque and spectacular views of the valley below. Yes, it really was like that...it almost sounds like a professional brochure. Well it is, I stole that from the Tramway website.



While the weather where we are staying in Palm Desert has been about 110 degrees everyday, up on top of the mountain it was about 65. Are you a man? Do you want to know what the change of life feels like for a woman? Just go to Palm Desert and stay outside for a few minutes. Yep, that's it You have now been baptized into menopause.


It was absolutely breathtaking! We did have to watch out for a few things along the way...


I was definitely watching with every step I took. Snakes are not my thing. Even though I'm Pentecostal.


My husband enjoyed being King of the mountain!


We enjoyed walking along together...


We let it be known we had been there...


 Some nice passersby took our picture for us...and we returned the favor.


Stopping along the way for a photo here and there was a welcome thing, as we had a few mile journey. (All my fitbit steps for the day!)


After a few hours our journey came to an end and it was time to take the tram back down the mountain.


It was time to go back to Palm Desert, take a shower and get ready for dinner.

I forgot to take a photo of my dinner. (I was more interested in eating it. It was a fabulous piece of prime rib! I didn't feel a bit guilty having just hiked for several hours plus that little Revelation Wellness workout.)





I did take a photo of my iced tea, however. No sugar at all, real or fake. I know that's a sacrilege being that I live in the south. But bear with me, it's one of the only sacrilegious things I do in life. That and preaching from the Message Bible occasionally. So, the reason I loved this and took a photo was the server brought me a carafe of tea to refill my glass as well as another lime, when she brought the first glass of tea. Yep, little details like this amuse me. I'm all about details. This has driven a lot of people who have worked with me to the nuthouse, or the altar or both.   

Throughout the day went through about 500 posts on Facebook of friends and family wishing me a great birthday. I read every single one of them and thanked God for all the people who posted who make my life so filled with love.  


After dinner it was time to come back to our home-away-from-home in Palm Desert, to get in our jammies and snuggle and watch a movie.

And oh yeah -- I forgot that along with all this, we fit a stop to Jack in the Box in for lunch. Don't judge. Now Jack in the Box would be another addiction if I lived out west. Apparently God knew he could not put me out west possibly for that reason. That and the fact that Larry and I don't drink. Alcohol that is.

Each and every day I try to learn something new or have a takeaway. So here are mine for today...

1) It does a person a world of good to be outdoors! I am seriously considering doing something outdoors for every one of my birthdays from now on. A walk outdoors cures a lot of what ails you.

2) Older people give some fabulous advice.  They aren't always right (who is?)  but many times they are. After church on Sunday here in Palm Desert, Larry and I met a retired couple who live here. Larry asked their advice on where to go while we're here this week. They recommended the Palm Springs Tramway and the restaurant we went to tonight. They said, "Their prime rib is out of this world!"  They were right. Listen to old people. They know about great things like the best places to eat, and other things that will save you a lot of time and trouble.

3) Revelation Wellness doesn't make you give up coffee. So far so good. Maybe you'll wanna try this?  It's a program that doesn't make you drink your coffee black or cut it out. So far I'm liking it.  (Lexi, stop laughing!!!)

On to another year of savoring as much coffee and life as possible.

Monday, January 09, 2017

What is Your Word of the Year?



For a number of years now, I have selected a word for the year as a theme. This year, I was delayed in settling on a word. Evidently I'm not alone. I have talked to several friends who said they didn't have their word of the year by January 1.

After much deliberation, my word for 2017 is grace.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
 
Pastor James McDonald says:

"You never really experience the grace unless you see the need for it—and even that realization comes by grace. The power of Jesus' grace is not fully seen until weakness is fully acknowledged. The moment you are overwhelmed with your absolute helplessness is the moment you are ready to hear Jesus say, I’m all the grace you need."

Without God we'd all be sunk, in general. But there are times in your life where you desperately need something from God in increasing measure. I desperately need more grace for the days ahead and I know there is more for me.

One of my grandmother's favorite songs was, "A Very Special Grace." She listened to a recording of Pastor Dan Betzer singing it over and over again. I learned the song through being in her home and hearing it so many times.

A very special grace in times of trouble.
A very special grace, to see me through.
A very special grace, to heal my heartaches.
Now Jesus wants to give, that special grace to you.

I am thankful for His grace and have a lot of it on special order for 2017.

Grace, grace, grace, Lord.

Now, what is your word for the year?  It's not too late to choose one.


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

When You Write Something and Experience Loss as a Result



Writing about some things can cause you to lose everything, or nearly everything.

I've written a lot, and I've lost a lot.

I've also gained.

But the losses tend to stick in your mind more with anything. So we avoid loss if possible. It's called "loss aversion" and it's real.

Reading about some issues is rare simply because people are scared out of their mind about what will happen if they write openly about it. If you dare to write about some challenges in a public setting, the consequences can include loss of relationships, job, income, and a lot more.

I'm going through a challenge at this time in my life that is quite common. Although it is normal, I hear it is one of life's greatest challenges. Due to not wanting to experience further loss that what I'm already experiencing, I'm not going to share what the issue is. But I will say this. I've combed through Amazon to find even one book about it. I have surfed the internet. And there is not one book about it. Not ONE! At least that I can find, and I'm a pretty good searcher. Meanwhile, millions of people are trying to navigate the same thing I am.

How could this be?  How can millions of people struggle with something that not one person is writing about? And so I asked my wonderful assistant Erika who is also a friend I confide in, "Why is nobody writing on this? Is it not a need? Am I alone?" She responded that it's a huge need but nobody wants to write about it because they don't want to lose more than they are already losing. And she said I could probably write a bang up book about it and get a ton of readers, but also agreed -- I'd lose big time. Neither of us felt the loss was a good idea. So...

On some subjects I've written about I've "taken one for the team" so to speak and been the person who braved the inevitable loss enough to help other people. I gained a lot in catharsis and readers, and yet the losses were so painful.

I don't believe any writer is called to lose everything over and over and over again. You have to choose carefully what you risk everything for.  I've taken risks to write and I'll do it again. Just not about every subject that comes along. But here's what I want to say about this today... 

When writers take a leap of courage to write on any sensitive subject, we need to appreciate them. When a writer takes one for the team, those whose lives are changed by their writing are one of the main rewards for all the loss they inevitably face. Not the only one - but one of the biggest. So when someone writes about something that requires tremendous bravery, let them know what a difference it has made for you.

Somewhere, there is a woman at her computer right now daring to write her story about going through and overcoming the current struggle I am also facing.

She is weighing the consequences.

She desperately wants to help people.

And yet she fears the aftermath.

She is in the process of making the choice to press forward to write about it.

I can't wait to read her book.

And, I am eager to write my letter of thanks.

I hope my note of appreciation for her taking the hit for all of us who need her words will be just one reason she smiles and says, "it was worth it."





 Photo credit: Deanna Shrodes, taken at the Hemingway House in Key West. In Hemingway's writing studio.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

5 Things to Do After a Big Event


THRIVE 2016 is now over and what a time it was! I am trying to be a better leader in the area of what to do AFTER an event that I lead.  For most of my years in leadership and ministry, I would scarcely celebrate or focus at all on what just happened and would go bolting head first into the next event at 500 miles an hour. A few years ago I asked myself why. There was an urgency to get things done and get busy on the next thing. BUT, I realized I was doing myself and my team a disservice by racing into the next thing without celebrating the last thing.




This season is particularly challenging because I am leaving in two weeks with members of our team for Africa for 16 days. I feel an urgency to race ahead but I am holding myself back from doing that.

Here are five things I've found it's important to do:

1) Celebrate

I have observed that Pentecostals in particular seem to be not-so-good at this. I think part of it is the admonition that is banged into all of our heads to "give all the glory to God." Do we need to give God all the glory? Yes. We do. At the same time, God's people need to celebrate what He has done. And that includes celebrating what He has done through His people. We need to say, "Yay God!" and "Yay team!" and revel in the amazingness of what just happened. Don't rush the celebration. We were meant to enjoy God. To enjoy leading. To enjoy our team. To enjoy the results.  It's okay to get excited and go a little crazy.

2) Take time to thank people

The larger the event the more time it will take. You won't thank everyone appropriately on the last day of the event or even the day after. Take time to write notes over the week or two following the event. Post on some Facebook walls and give kudos. Text and make phone calls. Nothing outstanding happens without teamwork, so appreciate your team.



3) Rest

In years past, I got up at the crack of dawn the day after and showed up to church or the office the next day at regular time. It's getting harder and harder to do that at the speed I'm running and quite frankly it's a bad idea. So this time I made a change. Aside from two debriefings, I slept most of the time for the next 48 hours.  That was necessary to gear up for the season I'm getting ready to walk through. If you want your leadership to be for the long haul and not a sprint, this is essential.

4) Solicit feedback 

You won't sort through it all right away but start asking for it and prepare to listen and make appropriate changes. People who are afraid of feedback won’t reach their destiny. Can they be successful? Yes. But they will not reach the potential for which they were destined. If you aren't afraid of feedback and you will take it seriously, you are unstoppable. 

5) Know what's normal for this time

Do you feel a little depressed? That's normal.

Do you feel like you want to get away from people for a while? That's normal.

Do you feel a little "snappy" or irritated when people ask you for things before you've had rest? That's normal.

Take care of you, so you can gear up for the next big thing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I Will Not Be Surprised if a Bear, A Lion or an Uncircumcised Philistine Show Up At My Office Today!



God knows my name.

And on strategic weeks like this one - the week of the THRIVE Conference,  I feel like every demon in hell knows my name too.

 Every year at this time, things come seemingly out of left field and pelt me until I feel like a wrung out dishrag. Souls are in the balance. The enemy is fighting hard. Last year at THRIVE over 50 women made decisions for Christ, several hundred women were filled with the Holy Spirit and there were too many healings to count. Believe me, satan (I refuse to capitalize the loser's name) is not happy about this. Our team has fasted for 30 days this year just as we did last year.  I am not surprised that the hordes of hell seem to know where to find me. 

Fortunately I have some prayer warriors on speed dial. There is none greater than my Dad.


My Dad and Me
My father is a person who gets up really early every morning and goes into his "prayer room." (When the movie WAR ROOM came out, I told him, "Dad there's a movie that just came out where the lead character is just like you, only she's a woman named Miss Clara...") This past year for Father's Day I got him a little "Armor of God" soldier to go in his prayer room. He loved it. He begins every day 365 days a year with bible study and prayer.  I'm really glad especially on weeks like this one that I know my Dad is diligently praying for me.

Yesterday after his early morning prayer time he sent me this message:


Deanna,

In warfare preparation is 90 % of the battle. We must think like the enemy... where is he going to hit? Where might he attack? How do I prepare for the attack? 


Elisha, David, and Joshua are three examples of the importance of preparation. When David was a lad he killed an attacking bear and lion to protect the flock. Then he heard of a 13 foot tall giant. He must have been thinking,"God helped me kill a bear and lion and he will help me kill the old uncircumcised philistine!" We have to understand new levels new devils! David was anointed three times.. a prophet, a priest, and a king! (1 Samuel 16:13, 2Samuel 2:4,  2 Samuel 5:3)

Elisha was a farmer who gave up all to follow Elijah. He was Elijah's servant. He was fully prepared and received a double portion of Elijah's anointing. Although we find ourselves in a long war, we can get stronger while at the same time, the enemy gets weaker. 1 Thessalonians 1:8 Stand fast in the Lord! We can stand because of His grace Romans 5:2. 1Corinthians 16:13 

Standing in the battle includes watching, being courageous, and being strong. 

Know God has this and YOU! 

Love Dad


 No matter what lands on my doorstep at home or work today , I know God has it and He has me.

God has you too.  I asked my Dad to pray this morning for anyone reading this who may be facing a battle today. He said he would be glad to pray last night and this morning for all of you.

Know that someone cares, and you are covered.