Missing Brennan

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Our lives are influenced, enhanced and affected by so many people. Some of them we know well, some…not so much. In my life one person that I had the honor of knowing to some degree was Brennan Manning, and his impact lingers still.

For whatever reason, I came across a review i wrote on his book, “The Furious Longing of God.” As I skimmed my words from years ago, my heart sighed, “I miss Brennan.

To me, he was the most perfect, imperfect person, who had been bathed in the ferocious grace of God, who could articulate the divine love and yet still, like me, struggle.

His words pierced my soul with the grace of God, inspiring me to love more, judge less, rest in divine mercy. Although most of his books carried the same theme, it is a theme that is still desperately needed, the Good News of God’s love through Jesus to the broken-down, wayward ragamuffins.

Here is the quote of Brennan’s that I stumbled upon causing me to remember with thankfulness his impact in my life.

“The ordinary pablum of popular religion caters to the idealistic, perfectionistic, and neurotic self who fixates on graceless getting worthy for union, while allowing the prostitutes and tax gougers to dance into the kingdom. Our strategies of self-deception persuade us that abiding restful union with Jesus is too costly, leaving no room for money, ambition, success, fame, sex, power, control, and pride of place or the fatal trap of self-rejection, thus prohibiting mediocre, disaffected dingbats and dirtballs, like myself, from intimacy with Jesus. Until we learn to live peacefully with what Andre Louf calls “our amazing degree of weakness,” until we learn to live gracefully with what Alan Jones calls “our own extreme psychic frailty,” until we let the Christ who consorted with hookers and crooks to be our truth, the false, fraudulent self motivated by cowardice and fear will continue to distance us from abiding restful union.”

Generating Good

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Generosity is a brilliant word and a powerful concept. Kahlil Gibran states , “Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” That is worthy of pondering for a bit.

From this word we understand other things better, like, generate, generator, generative.

Generosity generates something…
It creates something…
From nothing, generosity breathes life and regenerates something beautiful.

However, generosity is not simply about money and wealth. It is a lifestyle that is always humming with creative goodness that brings light to dark places, food to starving spaces and beauty to desolate places.

Steve Goodier sums up the scope well:

“Money is not the only commodity that is fun to give. We can give time, we can give our expertise, we can give our love or simply give a smile. What does that cost? The point is, none of us can ever run out of something worthwhile to give.”

Generosity also has the power to free us from a myopic life of self-everthing. Self-service, selfishness, self-reliance, self-worship. The worship of self has run across the borders of narcissism in our culture, and generosity has the ability to heal us of this most pernicious disease. The Buddha noted:

“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.”

The following video is a commercial from Thailand…it reveals the power that a little generosity has to make the lives of others better, and when you do that you cannot escape the personal benefit generosity re-infuses into your own life.

That video causes an unsolicited smile to form on my lips…

Being generous feels good and the scientific stats reveal that generous people are healthier, happy and live longer lives that are worth living.

The Bible has scads of passages about generosity, here are a few to help you pray and invite a spirit of generosity into your life:

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:25

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  2 Corinthians 9:7

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Luke 6:38 

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Psalm 112:5

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.  2 Corinthians 8:12

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Luke 6:30

May you realize just how rich you really are and find yourself coming alive as you become a generous soul that gives especially when there is no chance of repayment.

Colin Powell’s 13 Rules

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I stumbled upon General Colin Powell’s Rule. I was amazed and thankful that I subscribe to the lion’s share of his rule, albeit with slightly different wording. Should you need some guiding principles to move you this year, I’d suggest these.

General Colin Powell’s Rules:

1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad, then get over it.
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your
position falls, your ego goes with it.
4. It can be done!
5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone
else make yours.
8. Check small things.
9. Share credit.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Mining Out Your Limiting Thoughts

shutterstock_422678236It’s a new year and many people are gearing up to forge a new “me.”

Goals are set, promises made, club memberships purchased and the god of best intentions is beckoned.

Unknown, unearthed, subconscious, limiting beliefs are perhaps the biggest destroyer of good intentions and goals. You also might call them life commandments, or subconscious beliefs, either way, there are limiting beliefs within that tend to sabotage’ our best efforts.

Often these negative beliefs are formed through pain, disappointment, unmet expectations or even betrayal. For example, if you have ever experienced marriage betrayal, you might have declared in your soul “I will never allow myself to be hurt like that again.” This internal statement become a subconscious life commandment that can keep that person from entering into a new relationship out of fear of being hurt once again.

You will have greater success moving towards your goals and desires when you first invest the time discovering the limiting beliefs that you have. This will give you the opportunity to identify and then “Flip the Script” as you transform limiting beliefs into positive and dynamic beliefs.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself to mine out the limiting beliefs that potentially dwell within your soul:

  • When under pressure I ……………………….……………………….
  • I often feel guilty about ……………………………………………………….
  • When …………. happens I stress out and feel like …………….
  • My Achilles’ heel (greatest weakness) is ……………………….
  • I am always trying to stop …………………………. from happening.
  • When the unexpected happens I ……………………………………
  • I always try to ………………………………………………………..
  • The biggest obstacle that stops me loving and approving of myself is …………………
  • What drives most of my behavior is ……………………………………….
  • I am afraid of ………………………………………………………..
  • I seek my ……………’s approval (always / mostly / usually / occasionally)
  • My most frequent negative / uncomfortable emotion is feeling ……………………….
  • The feeling I dislike the most is ……………………….
  • I need to learn to ………………………………………………………..

As you honestly and ruthlessly answer questions like these, you will become aware of which beliefs are really driving your choices and behaviors.

Once the beliefs have been identified, it’s time to flip the script, rewording these life destroyers into positive, life creating beliefs, for example:

  • I’m just not wired that way…can be flipped to -I can do all things through Christ!
  • I don’t have time to make the changes…can be flipped to – I will maximize the time God gives me
  • I don’t think that way…can be flipped to – I will change the way I think
  • I’m just not smart enough I guess…can be flipped to – I will have the mind of Christ
  • I never get any breaks…can be flipped to – God will deliver anything that I require
  • God has it out for me…can be flipped to – God loves me unconditionally
  • I’m just not gifted enough…can be flipped to – I am fearfully and wonderfully made

As you become more aware of the beliefs within that betray you, you are not a hostage to those limiting life commandments! In 2017 choose to flip the script and change your limiting beliefs into unlimited potential!