Participating in Mystery

Recently a colleague referenced this book by Pat Schneider:

After doing my usual thing of sampling it on Kindle, I purchased it. (NOTE: “Usual thing on Kindle” means if I’m enticed to highlight while reading the sample, it’s more than likely an eventual purchase.)

At first I wasn’t enticed, but then came these two lines from the same paragraph:

When I achieve true waiting, true listening, something happens that I experience as a gift…If I am made in the image of the creator, then I am myself a creator, and my acts of creating participate in mystery.

That first line grabbed my attention. It aligns with several messages I’ve heard recently, the most recent while driving to Orlando yesterday. (NOTE: To radio DJs, your words carry power.) I’ve lived most of my life feeling like I’ve taken on a burden when someone shares intimate stories with me. I’ve been eased and encouraged lately to see these sharings as gifts, completely altering how I listen and experience the moment.

And that second line, it’s a different way to say what I’ve often told others. We are creators. We are creative. We were created to create. Opening our minds to that truth and expanding our definition of creativity frees us to “participate in mystery.”

16 more chapters. What light awaits?

A Few Lines from Presence

I posted about Amy Cuddy’s book Presence on January 31. I finally finished it today. What a great read.

The last two chapters were worth the wait. Chapter ten addresses what she called self-nudging. Here are a few quotes:

Presence is about approaching your biggest challenges without dread, executing them without anxiety, and leaving them without regret. We don’t get there by deciding to change right now. We do it gently, incrementally, by nudging ourselves – a bit further every time.

Focusing on process encourages us to keep working, to keep going, and to see challenges as opportunities for growth, not as threats of failure.

The more you reframe your anxiety as excitement, the happier and more successful you may become.

And chapter eleven captures the point of the whole book. “Fake it till you become it.”

Leaving Secrets

Posthumous secrets.

Some are good. We find out things that the person did that mattered, that impacted, that altered courses, that showered generosity without attention. We read things they wrote, produced, created that uncover meaning. The world is blessed by unexpected surprise.

Some aren’t good. We find out things that the person did that shocks, that hurts, that damages, that produces unanswerable questions. We hear things they chose, hid, manufactured that defy understanding. The world is grayed by unexplainable bewilderment.

May we live lives that leave good secrets.

Photo by Nathan Hanna on Unsplash

Too Comfortable?

This quote is a screenshot from a Sunday morning message given this past week by Pastor Jordan Easley of First Baptist Church, Cleveland, Tn. He’s in a sermon series entitled “How the Church Acts.” In this message, he addressed that the church is to be made up of people who live with purpose. It wasn’t a message that churchgoers haven’t heard before, but this statement shed a different light on the message.

What is a non-negotiable anyway? My words-something that a person won’t budge about. For instance, I’m an Alabama fan-not going to budge on that one. I don’t eat brussels sprouts-pretty sure that’s not going to change. You get the point.

So when it comes to churchgoers, how is it possible that they have non-negotiables? According to Pastor Easley, it’s possible because they’ve become too comfortable. He wasn’t necessarily referring to being too comfortable in our lifestyle; he’s referring more to our view of God, our relationship with the Giver of Life both now and forever.

This statement made me think the rest of the day. Made me question what non-negotiables I may have. Made me wonder if I could be drawn to making some and what would be the result. Made me wonder enough that I’m sharing it with you.

Non-negotiables won’t exist in heaven. Makes me want to eliminate them today.