Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Killing Creativity

We've all seen it happen before.  Someone starts a new job, school, ministry, program, etc and they walk in with such fire and all kinds of great ideas.  Unfortunately often the day comes when that person loses the fire, the creativity, and the vision.  I've seen it time and time again and have experienced it as well.  Now while there could be a thousand different reasons for this I believe we shouldn't overlook one of the causes- killing creativity.

When someone no longer feels like they have the freedom to run with their ideas and do what they do best, everyone loses.

So what can we do to make sure we aren't killing creativity in those around us?  Well there is a great article here that lists how creativity gets stifled in most situations and it's definitely worth a read.  But I have one more reason to add to that list- the perceived lack of trust.

If a church hires a pastor believing he is the person God has chosen for the job but then proceeds to second guess his every decision, that lack of trust is going to tear that person down and possibly quench their fire.

If a business hires someone qualified to do a job and then over manages them every step of the way to the point that the person is not free to do what they do best, that's going to take the wind out of their sails and make them a less effective and more mundane employee.

On the flip side if we all spent more time building people up and giving them the freedom to shine than we do criticizing them and seeking to control them the world would be a better place.  Just my thoughts for today.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

If The Mayans Are Right

Last Sunday in church the speaker mentioned the Mayan theory that the world is going to come to an end this December.  Immediately on one side my mom whispered "you better book us a trip" and on the other side a friend whispered "you better start your business".  We all had a good laugh, but that conversation and the Mayan theory has stuck with me ever since.

This theory is widely disputed and it seems as though very few people buy into it as truth.  And while I in no way believe it, I have to ask: if we knew that it was true, how would that change how we live today?

Just think, if our time on earth was going to expire in less than four months, what would change in your life?

Would you spend more hours at work than are necessary?  Or would you go home on time and spend quality time with family and friends?

Would you continue to be glued to your cell phone, sending endless texts and religiously checking your email?  Or would you put the phone away and allow yourself to be fully aware and awake in each moment that you're given?

Would you allow fractured relationships to stay broken?  Or would you choose instead to forgive and take the first steps towards reconciliation?

The truth is no one, not even the Mayans, know when our time on earth is going to end.  In Matthew 24:36 Jesus makes it very clear that only God knows when that is going to happen and He gives no one on this earth a preview.  Whether that's from the end of the world or our time to die, not one of us can know when our days are going to run out.

That said, shouldn't it change the way we live?  Shouldn't we look at every year, every month, every day, every moment as if it could be our last?  Not because a Mayan told us it could be, but because we are not born with an expiration date that we are privy to?

James 4:14 teaches: "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."

I don't know about you, but I truly desire to live out each moment I'm given to the fullest and make my life count for something that will outlive me.  And while I don't believe the Mayans are right, I do welcome the urgency that thinking about the end of our world can bring to our lives.

Let me leave you with a few thoughts on making your life count from the book "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper:

"You get one pass at life.  That's all.  Only one.  And the lasting measure of that life is Jesus Christ."

"It was becoming clearer and clearer that if I wanted to come to the end of my life and not say 'I've wasted it' then I would need to press all the way in, and all the way up, to the ultimate purpose of God and join Him in it.  If my life was to have a single, all-satisfying, unifying passion, it would have to be God's passion."

Monday, August 06, 2012

Your Home Team

While the Winter Olympics are still my favourites, I have been watching a lot of the coverage of this years Summer Olympic Games in London.  One of the things that has struck me the most, partly due to commercials like the one at the end of this post, and partly due to the commentators, is the difference that family has made in getting the many of the olympians to where they are today.

Story after story has been told of mothers and fathers being behind their kids 110% of the way; of brothers and sisters encouraging, supporting and challenging their siblings to bring out their best; even of aunts and uncles who sacrificed to bring these athletes to where they are today.

It's amazing the difference that your home team can make.

This brings to mind something I read in the book Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist.  She wrote:

"Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people." 

I know in my own life I wouldn't be where I am today without my home team.  Some of these members are family, like my mom who would get up at 6 am on Sunday to bring me to hockey.  Others are friends and others still are employers, teachers, coaches and neighbours and each one of them have made a contribution to my life that has been invaluable to me.  

Some of my home team members have changed over the years, others have been there from day one, but they've each brought their own unique contribution in encouraging me, inspiring me, and supporting me.  And I desire to bring the same to them.  To be as Shauna put it "a middle-of-the night, no-matter-what person".  

That's not a role only reserved for Mom's and Dad's of olympians, that's a role that we each can take on to bring out the best in those around us.