It’s okay not to be okay….

“It’s okay not to be okay…” I heard this statement for the first time at Grace Community Church in Washingtonville, NY about 2 years ago. The Pastor of the church Jarrod Jones (challenge you to listen how he does this here and the rest of the message) is a good friend now and I remember thinking at that moment, that is easy to say but do they demonstrate it? I guess you could say I doubted it… but after sometime with them and seeing how missional they are, well let’s just say I am now longer a doubter. The key to that statement is the follow up… “It’s not okay to be okay, but we don’t want you to stay there and we love you enough to tell you the Truth”

Jarrod Jones

However, after listening online to Jarrod a few times, being there a few times… one day the Holy Spirit of God worked on me and the thought occurred… do I believe it? Do I personally love people enough to say they are “okay to not be okay” as a friend of mine, or co-worker, someone in my community or church? I am embarrassed to admit that I discovered this was not true of me all the time… but I know I don’t want to stay there:)

Maybe you are reading this and you have the same problem. I often find myself judging people that don’t think the same way, act the same way, or say what I say, or believe what I believe and I have built up a wall of some sort to say, “well, actually you are not okay to not be okay” if you I know you. This is a dangerous place to be!

Can I encourage with this?

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love… Ephesians 4:1-2

When I live with humility, gentleness, patience and catch the last statement – bearing with each other in LOVE! I truly can understand and practice the statement “it’s okay not to be okay”.

Love will determine how I view others, how I treat others, encourage others and will determine my love for Jesus as I love the way He wants me to…

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

I must be okay with myself and others not being okay – understanding the deep love Jesus has for me who is not “okay” will allow me to love others who are not “okay”!

So, from one not okay guy to whoever might be reading this… We are deeply loved by the one has made us okay – because of what Jesus has done for us!

Encouraging your team! Learning to express thankfulness…

You want to see someone excited about their work and have a smile while working – keep them encouraged! I know we could talk about having a clear plan, priorities, position and pay… but I want to focus on simply being a leader who encourages.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”William Arthur Ward
As a leader, manager, supervisor or anyone who works with people being thankful for them is one thing, expressing it is another! Take time to encourage those you serve with. Everyday I have to work on this personally… I am very grateful for the people I have the privilege to serve with! In fact I serve alongside some of the smartest, most creative and highly productive people you will ever meet but sometimes I get lost in the actionable steps and forget the most important actionable steps are to say “Thank-you” or what I appreciate about the team member.

Continue reading “Encouraging your team! Learning to express thankfulness…”

Just stop and listen!

We have all been there… you are in the process of sharing something and the receiver of your words cuts you off and begins to give you all the answers they think you need! Without fully listening, trying to understand, they just want to rush to sharing with you how much they know! If you are like me I have had this happen numerous times… sadly I have done this to others numerous times. Stephen R. Covey said it best  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” 

The other day in the course of trying to explain something to one of my children they felt the urge to keep cutting me off and filling in what they thought I was trying to say and in that moment I blurted out… “JUST STOP AND LISTEN”!  You have probably have said those words yourself at one time or another but there is a something to be said about those four words. The next time someone is sharing a concern, a heartache, a problem they are facing, pain, fear or any other situation they might be feeling may I suggest the following…
Just Stop
  • Stop talking and interrupting them.
  • Stop thinking of how you can respond, it might take more work and constraint to just listen.  Winston Churchill said it this way “Courage is what it takes to stand up and also speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”
  • Stop believing they came to have you just talk over them with everything you think you know. On-line the other day I read “When you talk you are only repeating what you already know, but if you listen you may learn something new.”
  • Listen deeply – it may take hours, maybe days!
  • Listen distraction free – put down the phone, turn off the music and just listen. Interesting little fact from Alred Bendel: “The word “listen” contains the same letters as the word “silent” 
  • Listen openly – be open to hearing all things without blinders on. It is easy to listen through filtered ears and thoughts, listen just to listen.
  • Listen with love – I have heard this statement, but do not know the original author, but I love it. “Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you, and speak in such a way that others love to listen to you” Love the person through whatever they are trying to communicate and in a loving compassionate way.
At some point today I guarantee you will have the opportunity to just listen! Can I encourage you and I… “just stop and listen”
What other practical ways do you just listen?

You don’t have to fix everything!

“It’s a  guy thing”…. we have to fix everything. In my younger days(whatever that means) I felt the urge to fix everything. If I saw a problem I had to jump right in, be the hero… save the day. Well the older I get… still pretty young in my mind but none the less, older I am getting. I realize I can’t, don’t have to, and won’t be able to fix everything. (BTW-this is still a daily battle)

These questions of late keep resurfacing.
  • Why am I  arrogant enough to believe I can fix it?
  • Who told me I had to fix everything?
  • Why do I feel like I must be the hero of the day?
  • Whats to say my fixing is what is needed?
  • Does the person or organization even want it fixed?
I am reminded daily that I have the power to change nothing… only God can change people, plans and problems. Yes, we have a responsibility to work hard, to deal with problems, serve people and to plan, those are all important items. What I am really talking about is – being self-reliant, deceived to think we are the great fixer-uppers, people solving, problem solving gurus. When in reality we have nothing to offer ourselves, but we have a God who can!
So, my “fixing” if you will must be in Jesus, through Jesus and all about Jesus!
When compelled to “fix” something take a few moments and ask these questions.
  • What am I really trying to accomplish here? Am I looking to Glorify Jesus and make it about Him… or is this about me?
  • Have I prayed about this and asked is this about me or about Jesus being Glorified?
  • Do I need to just rest in the Lord and let Him lead in the situation and lead in me?
  • If it is in my workplace, church or community involvement is this even mine to try and fix? Have I been asked to get involved? (yes, I know that sometimes it takes someone standing up and leading, but we all can admit to jumping in ahead of God)
  • Have I taken time to really listen and learn, or am I just trying to fix it?
  • Maybe, just maybe Jesus doesn’t want me to fix it, because He is working on fixing me.
I am so compelled to fix things daily, but each day Jesus is “fixing” me to the reality that He is all I need, my problems need, the people I interact with need and He holds the plans. Why, because Colossians 3:1-3 is a great reminder that I am in Jesus, my thoughts and actions should be about Jesus, and my life is hidden in Jesus! Notice it does not include me… just Jesus!
It is abundantly clear, Jesus doesn’t need me to fix anything… He has it all under control!
So, whatever you are trying to “fix”… might be time to stop.