The Heart Message

Some Brazilian friends who I know we share much heart language

Some Brazilian friends who I know we share much heart language – They hate this picture, but I love it!

I have been immersed in a number of cultures as of late. Translation, it means I am in the midst of many languages, many accents and needing much translation. Throughout the years, I have been learning something very signficant. Many times, when your hearts are in alignment, translation is unnecessary and interpretation comes naturally. Words become superfluous and understanding sets in.

I am so grateful of all the experiences that I have had in the last few years. I got to say, that at first, it was quite frustrating not being able to understand what was being spoken. I felt like I was in the dark a lot. As an American, we just have to know things, right? However, the more I was in these unknown situations, the more I felt comfortable not knowing what I did not need to know. I started to get a feel for what was and wasn’t important. I learned through this that we spend a lot of our time talking about things that really don’t matter on a heart level. Now, it is frustrating in the other extreme. I rather be left in the dark about some things especially ones that I can’t feel your heart in.

I feel like I can feel that moment that someone starts to share their heart. It’s like I need to lean in just a little bit closer, try just a little bit harder and tune in just a little bit louder. You don’t have to ask me if I understand because if I don’t, I will ask you simply because I feel like this is something I want to know and something I want to share with you. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t quite get all the words but somehow I understand completely. It’s like my internal being is saying: heart message received.

In all of my travels, I learned that relationship is the reward to be valued. At the end of the day, experiences are great but they are greater when they are shared with those you love and those you grow with. I want my heart message to be received no matter where I go, who I am with and what langauge I am speaking. What’s your heart saying these days?

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You don’t need a title but perhaps you do

My dad getting access to my office as a visitor!

My dad getting access to my office as a visitor!

When I was working as a consultant, I used to hear that book title fly around all the time, “You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader”. I do agree with that because leadership is simply a characteristic. Some people have it and some people don’t. No matter who you are, whether you have it or not, you can get it and you can get more of it. However, many people try to find their identities, who they are, in a mere makeup of letters. They strive their whole lives in an ambition for a title. They think that having one they will finally arrive at their destination. I think this is a severe misconception of what a title actually is and what a title actually does.

Now, I’m serving as an “intern” at a church in Montana. That’s a title. I don’t really find my identity in it nor do I derive any bit of who I am as a person from that title. I don’t mind when people call me by intern and when people don’t call me by that title. I could really care less. I’m not offended either way. I was the same when I was working as a consultant. When I got promoted, it required a new title by company policy. I felt pretty jazzed and grateful that I’m fulfilling this new position but it didn’t make me any more or any less of who I already was.

A lot of people think they need to have access to get a title but that’s completely backwards thinking! Titles aren’t an ends to something but a means to it! Titles actually give you access to what you are supposed to be doing, what you’re called to do. Yeah, your destiny! Titles equip you and give you a means to arrive at that next destination. For example, since I am an intern, I have access to the church’s projected calendar, the pastor’s office even while she may not be there, the passwords for the computers, etc.

So, while I’m not hung up on my title, I’m not opposed to them either because I know its value as a currency to get what I need. There have been people throughout the history that have misused and abused their titles or hurt others by giving them the wrong title. While titles may seem insignificant, it has a significant value in its appropriate context and when it goes wrong, in a very inappropriate context. My title as “intern” really has no value outside the church I serve in, if it did, I might have to question the weight I’m giving this title upon my identity.

Titles carry with them a weight of responsibility and a destination map. Let’s not be so frivolous with how we give them out or how we hold them.

Stay on course!

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As I was driving with hail-like structures falling from the sky (at 2 days from April), a car had run over that puddle on the other side of the jersey rail and had splashed the largest (probably coolest) array of water onto my side. The whole of it splashed unexpectedly onto my windshield as I scrambled to ensure my wipers were on that super fast annoying mode. In that moment, I had a flashback to when I was in college. I was driving my pastor back to the airport and right in front of me, a car slides on the icy roads and slams into the jersey rail. In that moment, my pastor quickly grabs the wheel and tells me, the most important thing I must do is to remember to keep on the course that I was going. During this water array, I had that same experience. I couldn’t see the road ahead of me but I simply had to remember that I was going in the right direction before the water had splashed. In the midst of not being able to see right in front of me, I had to remain secure in the fact that I had done everything to stay on the right course. How true is it that in life, often those unexpected scenarios come onto the scene and the very thing we want to do (avoid) is often the most harmful thing that we could do given the rest of our environment. If I were to veer in any direction, I would have definitely hit another car or perhaps the jersey rail.

On this drive, we also listened to a myriad of songs from a wide variety of genres. In many of these songs, the artist would lament how they would change their life for the one they loved. Phrases like, “if you would only smile back at me” or “I would do anything for you”, etc. I’m sure you may now have a tune that goes along with such lyrics. These words, however, are just… sad. If your world could be changed by a look, a comment or an action of one other person, you have created for yourself a life of destruction. There’s an incredible burden and pressure upon the other as well as a great fear within you of what may go wrong, which would be a whole lot given this world. In this, I am learning each day, how much identity is so important. Who you are determines the lens through which you see the world. An insecure person most likely thinks that the world is conspiring against them or no one cares about them. What a small and inhabitable world to live in.

I feel like these last few years have been a molding season. I remember my first response when that car veered to the jersey rail, in merely looking at the accident, my hands started to take the car in the wrong direction. I feel like what happened today is indicative of my heart condition of who I am. This time, the “happenings” were directly at me but instead of freaking out, I simply remembered and trusted the decisions I had made to get there. Today, I can say the same about me. What used to shake me from the world, those comments, those looks, those behaviors, these no longer have any power over me because I remember who I am, I remember the course that I am on, I remember where I am headed. I remember my heart. So where’s your heart? What can make you veer off the course that you are on? Is it worth it?

“Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you” Proverbs 4:25

 

Destined to be

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We’ve all thought about our destiny. Some call it fate. Some call it future. But destiny has a special place in my heart because it means I have a destination. I am positioning myself to head towards that place. I might not have a full picture of what that place looks like yet but I have a pretty good idea on what it might involve. Have you ever thought about the fact that each person on this earth, past, present or future, has a unique destiny? Aside from those lives that end in unfortunate tragedies, can you name two very successful people that you consider to have fulfilled their life’s calling to have ended up at the same place? It cannot be done! Amazing right?! Anyone who was who they were meant to be ended up leaving a marked history for the rest of us. Which leads me to you.

You are created to be you. There is no one else like you and there never will be. You are the only you that God has ever created. You are the answer to a problem that the world so direly needs. You are here for a reason and there has never been such a time like this that God would release you here right now. As Leif Hetland once said, “Be you. Everyone else is taken”. How much has the world told you who you have to be? How many people live in their lives today doing what they don’t want to be doing? How many people go to work wishing they were somewhere else? Money? Power? Those things are conditionals. They are conditioned to bring and indicate you to the place that you need to be. Knowing who you are will help you know where you are meant to be going. Many people ask small children, what do you want to be when you grow up? How come we never ask, what are you passionate about now? Isn’t this a better condition for what they will be? Let’s stop confusing the “doing” for the “being”. It is from our very being that we release a special part of God that has been uniquely placed within us.

Why do we glorify some positions over others? No matter what you are doing, it matters that you can do it with joy. Joy is not just an emotional expression but an overflow of who you truly are. You cannot give what you don’t have. So why do we burn ourselves out on what we are not meant to give? What would the world look like right now if each and every one of us was doing exactly what we were meant to do?

William Preston says, “Don’t go anywhere with your gifting that your character can’t keep you”. How many of us are appalled by what the media picks up on Hollywood celebrities? How quick are we to make judgments about them? However, how many of us are willing to pray for each of them so that they are built up in character so they can withstand the pressures of media, money, power and influence? How many of us think we will do better? There are times and seasons for each of the things that we walk through. But wherever you are, make sure you are meant to be there. If you are meant to be there, make sure you are getting everything you are meant to get. Each moment is an act of equipping but each moment can also be enjoyed. Aren’t you most enjoyable when you are being the real you? I know all of us want to skip some steps to get to the places that we want to go. I know it seems daunting to drop everything to chase after our dreams. But “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Each of you has a unique dream in each of you that you are meant to fulfill. Your destiny is yours and only you can capture it. You are destined to do so. So do the world and especially you a favor and go fulfill who you are in this world! Go be you! The world has been waiting for you to be revealed.

“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” (Romans 8:19, NIV)

First Impressions

They’re important. There are those cases where upon first glance you have already shared the decision to be in each other’s lives forever. There are also those unfortunate cases that you want to run away from. Then, there’s everything in between. Depending on who you are and what is the pending desire of your heart, your first impression will vary. If you’re a consultant, you’ll see the potential of the people and the surrounding environment. If you’re a musician, you’ll be hearing the tones of the life around you. How crazy is it that you’ll never have the same first impression twice? I know that sounds like a very trivial observation. However, if you think about it, even if you are determined to fill your entire life to always have a first impression of something, someone or someplace, you will still run out of time before experiences. Amazing!

If you’d see me in person, I would probably invade your personal bubble rather quickly and give you a hug and you’d absolutely love it, feeling warm and loved all over. However, in this place, I’ll invite you in mine. It’s been such a journey and I’m not sure I have the words to properly express the glorious road that I’ve been on. A little over a year and a half ago, I started to test the waters in living out the very things that I had dreamed of as a child. When I whetted my appetite, I simply decided I wasn’t satisfied with a taste. I needed way more. Now, I may not have the perfect job and the cute little apartment but I couldn’t be happier. Instead of saying “I’ll get to do that one day”, I get to live out that “one day” each day at a time. These one days have taken me to places like Argentina, Brazil and Peru and will be taking me to Tanzania and back to Brazil. They have also allowed me to enjoy some of the finest cuisine the world has to offer and meet the most amazing and intricately beautiful people.

It’s like you can turn your heart’s ears to the creation around you and you will start to hear the song that is rising up. I imagine it like Mickey in Fantasia not only creating sounds but also pictures. If you just tune in, not only will you hear the song but you can see it. You can also partner with the Creator and change it! Why is there so much pleasure of walking into a room that is properly decorated for a holiday? Because you experience the holiday simply through the creative expression of it. In the same way, you can change the off-key expression into a beautiful harmony. That is my hope for this blog. I would like to discover, create and capture the creative melodies and harmonies that the world is singing.

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.” Psalm 96:1