Swallow Me Up


I long to abide in you
To dwell with you
To rest in you
But for some reason I can’t;
My mind wanders
My spirit is restless
My choices are divergent
My schedule unrelenting
Sorrow and sadness cling to me
My soul is tired
I wonder if I’ve lost the story
But you remind me;
To be lost is to be found
To be known is to be loved
To wrestle with doubt is to find faith
To shed tears is to realize intimacy
Pierce through my darkness so that I may see you
Forgive me
Re-align me
But most of all, don’t leave me;
You are all that is good
You are all that is true
You are all that I need
You are beauty painted with ash

Swallow me up in the ocean that is You.

Sayin’ It Like It Is


“God if you are real, speak to me!” Have you ever spoken those words? Have you ever been in a place where your throat was dry from crying out, and the requested thing just wasn’t materializing?

I know many people who have shouted out that prayer. I also know many people who are afraid to speak those words. Fear that God won’t love them anymore if they revealed their struggle. Fear that once the words are spoken, they may not like the God on the receiving end. Fear that they will be “found out” and are not as spiritual as their friends think.

Ironically, when we admit our struggles to God, He pours out an over-abundance of grace, showing us that His loves for us is constant, even on our bad days.

When we tell God what we honestly feel about His leadership in our life, we find a loving father who responds differently than the image we created in our minds…when we allow God to reveal Himself He is not furrow-browed and steaming mad. He is the prodigal’s father, arms held wide, eyes that are tired from prayer but full of compassion, and a heart that has enough grace for the entire universe.

When we have the courage to speak honestly, we no longer fear being “found out” because a truly spiritual person does not live a duplicitous life…he lives honestly, “warts and all.”

King David from the Hebrew Bible has always been one of my favorite people to study. He is so complex. He loves God so much, yet makes choices that are anything but holy. He lived his spiritual life out loud.

David unashamedly danced before the LORD…

David longed to build a house for God…

David repeatedly showed grace to a man hell-bent on killing him (King Saul)…

David also allowed his sexual desire to cloud his thinking, the result was adultery and murder…

David also trusted in the size of his army at times rather than the size of his God…

But through all the events of David’s life, God was an internal humming in his soul, calling him back again and again to a relationship. In Psalm 69, when David is obviously overwhelmed, he said:

“Save me O’ God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.”

Life is hard…

Life is an assault of joy and pain…a medley of highs and lows…a symphony of dissonance and resolution.

If David’s thoughts and story ended there…it would be pretty sad, bleak, and depressing. But David choses to make a mind-shift in the midst of his honest reality. This shift is powerful. This shift is a game-changer. This shift can move you from the darkness to the light.

In verse 13 he says, “But I will pray to you.” David knows that he needs a hope bigger than himself, and God is that hope.

Eyes lifted up…

Circumstances bleak…

A heart drowning in pain…

BUT…I -will- pray to you. David commands his soul. He doesn’t allow his circumstances to command his destiny, God alone has the sovereignty to do that.

So he prays to God for help, believing that he will be heard…and he was.

David’s prayer moves his soul to worship…

Worship is a thin space between our reality and the presence of God…

Worship realigns our thoughts, motives and begins to expand our faith because we are immersing our mind with truth, God’s inspiration and perspective.

When we finally get God’s perspective, our circumstances have far less power to dominate us, and we are unleashed to believe and trust that God is at work…even in this.

In verses 30-36 David lets loose:

30 I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the Lord more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hooves.
32 The poor will see and be glad—
you who seek God, may your hearts live!
33 The Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his captive people.

34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and all that move in them,
35 for God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then people will settle there and possess it;
36 and those who love his name will dwell there.

David is experiencing a different soul-ular reality by the end of this Psalm.

He moves from: “Say it like it is” to prayer which allows him to again “Say it like it is” from a different perspective that is life-giving instead of life-depleting.

So if you need some rescue from the miry depths today, say it like it is…pray…and then say it like it is.

God loves your honesty and He smiles when you exhibit faith in the midst of the storm…remember, you matter to Him.

Don’t Wait For UPS To Deliver Your Life!

UPS truck

There is a big difference between dreamers and doers. I have been both of these at different times. The world needs dreamers. Men and women who see what could be, not just what is. Dreamers remind us that imagination and creativity flow from God the master artist. Since humanity is made in the divine image, the interior sense to create and dream should never be squeezed from our souls like water from a wet cloth. Remember when you were little? You had a sense of wonder, creativity and dreaming which was as natural as breathing. As we age, it seems to slowly dissipate and is replaced by things like “rationalism” or “survivalism.”

We also need doers too. Very often the doers around us don’t take time to dream, they just want to get the job done in a timely and efficient manner. This “Get er’ done” mindset also comes from the divine design embedded in each one of us. God is a God of order, not chaos. I appreciate the doers in my life. I also love being a person who enjoys doing, creating, activation and moving. Hands to the task, knees to the earth. Doers experience a tangible result and the feelings of accomplishment. None of the things that IO have accomplished in my life would have happened if I was only a dreamer…we must become dreamer that do.

When the dreamer in you blends with the doer in you, magic happens! The best doers in history were also dreamers. The best dreamers were also doers.

1. Don’t Wait For UPS To Deliver Your Life!

Can you imagine approaching life this way. You might say, “Well I prayed and told God that I needed a wife and so now I’m just waiting for the UPS driver to deliver her to me!” That will only work if you are looking at illegal mail-order brides which I really don’t recommend! One problem with this outlook is that it can easily be spiritualized as “waiting prayer.” I encourage you PRAY AS YOU GO! God is not going to deliver you your life and dreams if you are waiting for Him to do it all. An active life with God is a life of action. God is a dreamer and a doer, and if you desire to see your life expand, you too must unleash the dreamer-doer duo with in you. So stop waiting for the UPS truck and start moving towards whatever it is you are dreaming about.

2. Do Set a Plan of Action To Accomplish Your Dream.

The dreamers who translated what they envisioned into reality did so by writing down actionable steps. Then they to took those steps in order to move closer and closer towards their goal. The best way to set up a plan of action is to ask yourself some clarifying questions.

  1. Who can help me with this dream/goal? Who do I know that has success in this area?
  2. What is it exactly that I want to see happen, or what is it that I am trying to accomplish?
  3. Where can I get information about this, or where can I get more help/advice?
  4. When do I want this to be accomplished? Set a definite date to work towards.
  5. How will this become a reality? What steps do I need to take to see this come to fruition?

There are many more questions that you can craft based upon the goal you have. Look at those questions and begin to write your own. Each question will help you move closer to achieving your dream.

3. Don’t Determine Your Future From A Fear Mindset.

If you start with a negative mindset, dreams quickly vanish. Fear attacks your dreams with questions like, “What if I fail?”, “What if I’m not good enough to do this?”, “What if people don’t like my dream?”, “What if I lose money trying this?”…and the list goes on. If this is the way your thinking tends to go you need to reboot your mindset from a negative fear-based one towards a positive faith-filled one… and this happens by replacing your mind-data. Here are a few ways to reboot your brain:

  1. Input some positive faith-based, inspiring material. Read the Gospels, inspiring authors, movies with a redemptive element. You see, you become like what you fill your mind with. Entertainment today is highly sarcastic  negative and defeating. Spend some time finding resources that inspire you and build your faith!
  2. Change your internal questions. Instead of asking questions like, “What if I fail?”, change it around to. “What if I succeed beyond my dream? Do I have a success plan?” You can look at all the fear-based negative questions and see a positive alternative and then ask those questions instead. This is a major reboot as well.
  3. Commit to ongoing positive, faith-based input. Also, continue to change your mindset by asking positive question when fear starts to raise negative ones.

I hope you choose to be the person who welds together the dreamer and the doer inside of you. When you do you’ll no longer wait for the UPS driver to deliver the life that God has already created for you and is waiting for you to step out and grab it!


10 Excuses That Will Keep You Stuck


I know, I know…there is always an excuse for not doing something. In my life I have heard many excuses and erroneous beliefs by people who think that they are stuck, against the wall and that things just can’t possibly work for them. This infectious mindset is a dream and goal killer that will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Check out the top ten dream killing excuses I have encountered most. With each excuse I have written a rumination that I hope will push you past the wall that is created by that excuse. Life is too short to give up, throw in the towel, or choose to not even get to the starting line. I believe in you, so read on.

1. It’s Way Too Hard!

Well, it might be hard, but nothing of lasting value comes easy. File this excuse in the round-bin and determine to push through until you get a break through! As I consider the things that have given me the greatest amounts of joy and purpose, I quickly realize that “hard” was a part of the journey. Working through a hurt relationship…a mom in childbirth…launching a new endeavor…helping a team achieve their shared potential ..helping someone find God…helping someone find freedom from life’s hurts, hangups or habits. What are your greatest joys?

2. I Don’t Have Enough Education.

Well I have one easy word to say to this excuse…GOOGLE. Seriously, information is overabundantly available and easy to acquire. Another word is…YOUTUBE. You can watch and learn pretty much anything you might possibly need to know, along with a ton of stuff you don’t need to know with a click of the mouse. Read…learn…invest time in research. You might not have a degree, but all the information you need on any given subject is available if you look for it.

3. No One Will Buy It.

Well, they might not, BUT…just spend some time watching infomercials and that will change your mind. Just today I saw infomercials that are raking in millions on products like “Forever Lazy”, “Smokeless Cigarettes”, and “eco-friendly cooking pans!” Another great show to watch is “Shark Tank” where people are selling investors on some pretty crazy and unique items. You simply need to think through the”whys” of your idea and start thinking about how to communicate your idea to the world.

4. Better To Be Safe Than Sorry.

I have heard this voiced from the lips of risk managers for years! And every time this excuse is vocalized a dream dies somewhere. Play the movie forward…you are on your deathbed…your life is flashing before your eyes…all the dreams you had and the possibilities that found their genesis in your soul are playing… yet none of them finding fruition in your life because you played it safe. You struggled to make ends meet in life all-the-while making someone else, who took risks, wealthy . You gave your ideas away and other people not only did well with them, the idea made a major life changing impact. I think you’ll be sorry you always played it safe.

5. I Don’t Have Any Experience At This.

This might be true, but remember there was a time when:

  • going to school was something you had never done.
  • falling in love was a feeling you had never had.
  • driving a car had never been attempted.
  • playing a particular sport was completely unknown in your experience.

All of these are excuses based upon fear of the unknown. Your life has been built on many “firsts” so don’t let this one bench you!

6. I Don’t Have Enough Time.

This is by far the #1 excuse I hear. In my book Sacred Space I note that the average American will spend a total of 15 complete years  in front of a TV or computer screen by the time they are 65 years old. That’s a whole lot of Pinterest, Facebook and Dancing With the Stars and it is amazingly sad to me. Everybody has the same number of seconds, minutes and hours in each day. The difference between those who accomplish much and those who accomplish little is in how they manage their time. Perhaps it’s time for you to master your schedule instead of things, events and other people mastering your time.

7. If I Succeed There Will Be Greater Expectations of Me.

This is a bit deeper, but is still rooted in fear. Many wonder, “What will people expect from me if I succeed at this?”, “Will I be able to meet their expectations?”, “If I can’t meet their expectations then I just can’t move forward.” My response to this is three words…”Not Your Monkey.” Sure, people will have elevated expectations of you, but guess what? They already do and you probably just don’t know it. At the end of the day you need to be able to stand clean before God, not your neighbor. What other people expect of you is their monkey not yours so let it go! It’s time to stop being controlled by the expectations of others by setting good boundaries based on grace and truth.

8. I Don’t Have People To Help Me.

Well, I have been there for sure. Sometimes I have felt very alone as I have moved forward, and other times I have had a great team around me. What I have learned is that when I commit and move forward with all of my heart, like minded people appear! If I had waited for people to come around and support me before any initiative, most of those ideas would still be on the launching pad. Instead, when I believe I have the right purpose, I start moving and visioning and the right people naturally connect with the vision. Had I not started though I would have never connected with those people. So decide, determine and detonate! Your team will appear.

9. It’s Been Done Before.

This is true, in fact King Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 1:9

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Everything is a synthetic remix of something else. A good friend of mine, and record producer, once told me that there is nothing new in rock music that the group Boston hadn’t done in some fashion! Whatever it is that you are considering, just make it yours.

10. If I Fail I’ll Be Crushed.

I really get this. Fear of failure is what keeps a large number of people from pursuing their dreams. And the truth is…you might fail, more than once. I take solace in the truth that most success stories were birthed in some failures,for instance:

  • Henry Ford went broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Co.
  • R.H. Macy had seven failed businesses before he hit it big with Macy’s in New York.
  • Harland Sanders’ recipe for chicen was rejected 1009 times before a restaurant finally picked it up.
  • Walt Disney was told “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
  • Thomas Edison was told  in his early years that he was “too stupid to learn anything.”

If you have found yourself uttering any of these excuses it is time to let them go, set your sails, and move forward.

I also came across the following info-graphic on Facebook today that I thought was worth ruminating over.  ~Monty

success indicator