Waiting For Permission

Have you ever waited to be noticed for weeks, months, maybe even years, only it never happened? Maybe it was a promotion at work. Or maybe it was for the cute barista at the coffee shop to finally make eye contact. Or to be invited into a group you’d watched from the outside. Maybe it was a life calling that would break you out of the mold of mediocrity and finally place you where you always knew you belonged.

I remember the faces of dozens of friends and acquaintances in their early 20s who tread water in their minimum wage jobs for years as they waited for God to initiate some sort of revival movement that would sweep them off their feet and make the rest of their humdrum lives unimportant and unnecessary. I was one of those people. If ONLY we pressed into prayer, intercession, and worship with more sincerity and passion, we would surely tip the scales and miracles, prophecy, and physical manifestations of God’s power would roll over the earth like a tide.

Dealing with disappointment

Then it didn’t happen. Then it didn’t happen again. Then it didn’t happen a third time. You get the picture. Something between my expectations and reality didn’t mesh. I was waiting for something that didn’t happen. And it wrecked me. Really wrecked me.

When your expectation of life is to see healings and signs and wonders every day and instead you feel like your prayers are fizzling out before they reach the target, it’s not long before Depression lies at the door, knocking.

What’s Plan B?

The first problem was that I didn’t have a backup plan. I had connected dots in my mind that weren’t connected by God. And in this imagined reality, all commerce essentially would halt and people would walk the streets in an unrestrained atmosphere of glory and majesty. I had read books about the Welsh revival. Azusa street. And more. I don’t know what all these other Christians are waiting for, but I’m willing to be the guy who ushers this back in again. 

The problem with planning on an unrestrained revival is that you’ve made no plans to earn a living. Or develop skills. Or form a family. None of these meager earthly things have been accounted for. So when revival fails to show, guess what? Depression it is!

Are you crazy or eccentric?

There’s a bitter culture shock that comes with realizing that everything you’ve planned on life being about is out of order and that you have wasted valuable time that should have been spent honing skills and practicing presence.

Oftentimes the difference between crazy and eccentric is the degree of wealth and success that result. If you bank your whole life on a risky investment and it pays off, you’re a genius. If it doesn’t, you’re a fool. I felt like a fool.

You never know what the end result will be before you start. The choice to act now comes with all kinds of risk.

  • What if you choose the wrong path?
  • What if you act at the wrong time?
  • What if the right path was going to present itself to you a month from now and you’ll miss it if you get distracted with this now?

The gurus and the ad agencies will tell you to JUST DO IT. And they’re not wrong. But they’re not always right. Sometimes action would be the hasty choice. I think it all depends on what type of person you are, and what your motivation would be to NOT “do”. What do you gain by inaction?

  • Sometimes we wait to hide from pain and risk.
  • Sometimes we wait because we fear our motives.
  • Sometimes we wait because the choice is unclear.
  • Sometimes we wait because we don’t know what we want.

I’ve waited for each and every one of these. But now, as I approach 40, I realize that I could have chosen to GO at every moment and it would all end up okay. In moments of uncertainty, action isn’t the enemy. You can press forward toward a temporary goal with an open heart and a willingness to be course-corrected mid-trip. I think that’s the answer. Bill Leckie used to call it “Ready? Fire. Aim.” It means action and motion and willingness and flexibility. Momentum is often achieved before the destination is visible.

You can’t steer a ship that’s anchored. Steering only takes effect when there is motion.

The Veil of Propriety

Early in my career, our digital agency staff went to lunch at a burger joint. While we sat and ate our burgers, the president of the company announced that I would henceforth have a new nickname. He dubbed me Mister Confrontational. I was a bit surprised. In my world, conflict is typically caused by a disagreeable sort of person who has staked their identity in proving other people wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a stand against error. But if that’s all you ever do, what do you really stand for, right? Standing against injustice is important, but abundant, life-changing life spreads through love, joy, goodness, and kindness.

So while conflict is necessary, it’s not meant to be identity. And yet, I’m here to talk to you about conflict. See what I did there?

Over the course of generations, we have adopted new layers of propriety. There’s so little we can say freely now without being labeled one wretched thing or another. There’s a fine line between avoiding hate speech and reducing freedom of expression to a meaningless propriety.

While I don’t wish to be remembered as Mister Confrontational, there’s a mission before us that must be accomplished. The veil of propriety must be torn in two. Like the thick veil in the temple separating everyday people from the manifest presence of God, the veil of propriety separates believers from unrestricted dynamic Ministry. The word in due season is often blunt and abrasive. Not rude and unkind. But it doesn’t play by the rules of propriety. It doesn’t pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. It doesn’t mask pain behind pride or fear of exposure. 

The dynamic and powerful demonstration of God’s love doesn’t flirt with shadows. It doesn’t acquiesce to political correctness. Don’t get me wrong: the ministry of God doesn’t expose every sin or pain. It is more balm and healing. Think of the love you’d have for a child who needs to have a festering bandage removed in order to receive vital soothing and disinfecting oils. This is very much a love process. At all times. 

Propriety holds a list of what is permissible to confront. And the list is brief. But God’s love touches all things. It applies to all matters. There are no “off limits” areas of our lives where it holds no authority. 

The veil of propriety is meant to be torn in our day. This era we now enter will be identified and remembered as the era in which the power of truth + love creates rips in the atmosphere. The air will surge with raw power. Reality will become more real. And mere words will no longer be mere. They will shape governments and set people free and transform the vibe of entire regions. The veil of propriety has settled over our land like a coma-induced drug. And the people are about to wake up.

Californians Call for a Calexit

You knew that half of Americans were going to be outraged no matter which candidate won. If Hillary had won, you’d likely hear a swell coming from the South, including Texas, of the desire to secede from the Union. But in this case, Trump won the electoral vote, and a group of outraged Californians are proposing secession instead.

After Donald Trump won the race to the White House, people across California took to social media Tuesday night to call for “Calexit” (or California exit), recalling Brexit, Britain’s push to leave the European Union…

The movement has racked up an impressive backer already. Shervin Pishevar, an early investor in Uber and well-known angel investor, said on Twitter that he would bankroll a campaign to make California its own nation if Trump won.

In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, he confirmed his mission.

“It’s the most patriotic thing I can do,” he told CNBC. “The country is at serious crossroads. … Calling it New California.”

He expressed a desire that California, the sixth-largest economy in the world in terms of GDP, might become a catalyst for a “national dialogue” as the country reaches a “tipping point.”

One nation, two ideals

While this is a broad sweeping unfair generalization, you could say that East and West coasts represent one political side and middle America represents the other. Ever since this article was posted on Facebook, I’ve imagined what a world would look like if the U.S. was broken into three separate countries.

Ideologically, it could be broken into two, but no way East and West coast can truly unite when separated geographically by a different country that used to be part of the same. More likely they would forge an international alliance.

The U.S. has maintained a “cohesive” whole all these years because each part of the country needs what the other parts provide. Back in Civil War era, the factories were up North and the farms were in the South. The factories would’ve had no goods to produce on their own and the farms would’ve had no customers to purchase on their own.

You could argue that the global market has changed this somewhat, with China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and other countries around the world capable of providing what middle America provides, possibly cheaper.

The unintended cost of separation

I hope this never happens. I don’t like communities, companies, or nations that lack diversity of ideals. Without middle America, I think the Coasts run themselves into the ground with debt from free services. They also lose a powerful connection to the positive side of historical family values. Without the coasts, I think Middle America discriminates, violates civil rights, and damages the earth by depleting resources and pumping poison into the ground.

I wouldn’t want to live in either location without the balancing effect of both ideologies requiring compromise on decision making.

I’m saddened that so many of my friends now feel disenfranchised. That they live with real concern about their safety, well-being, and practical exercise of equal rights of citizenship. This should not be so.

If you are angered by the results, I understand. If you think Hillary should have been elected over Trump, I would argue that you’re ignoring the depth of illegal activity. If you think neither candidate truly deserved to be nominated, I would say that you have a valid point.

My biggest takeaway is that we may need a change to the process of Presidential succession. 4-8 years isn’t working. I vehemently oppose the existing version of Obamacare, but I see how things could go indefinitely if every 8 years the nation overreacts to the flaws of the current President and the new opposite President just wipes the slate clean of all former Presidential initiatives. That’s just hitting the reset button every decade and getting nowhere. There’s going to need to be an adjustment made to that cycle.

I have no suggestions as of yet, but real thought needs to be put into how we build upon each candidacy, rather than waste entire lifetimes undoing each other’s best efforts.

Where do we draw the next line?

If you’re thinking that an exit is the answer, i have a question for you: Where will it end? Where’s the new line in the sand that a nation will not cross? On what issues will you not split over next time or the time after that or a generation later?

The moment one region or state secedes, all parties are a house of cards waiting to fall. You set a precedent that at some point it’s better to separate than to unify. With each new challenge, crisis, and catastrophe, we would all face new opportunities to secede based on the difficulty of unity.

If California leafy, who would be next? And within California itself, what happens when geography poses unconquerable differences? Do you split again? And again?

I think the point is that you can’t uncross that line, and it’s better to demand more of ourselves than to back out and set a precedent of escape versus compromise.

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It’s Better To Have A Clear Conscience On An Island Than Hide From Your Doubts In A Crowd

I just finished a compelling conversation about faith, spirituality, and what to do when one’s discoveries lead us away from the pack. I was taught at one church that people who hang out on the fringe are like wandering sheep, ready to be picked off by the wolves. This safety in the herd mentality seemed logical, so long as the herd is in the right place doing the right thing.

But what if the herd is wrong? What if the herd has been following the tail of the cow in front of their face for so long that it has no accurate sense of direction? The herd does offer some semblance of protection, but the herd may also end up stuck in a pit or running off a cliff. Momentum in numbers is either really good or really bad.

Don’t allow fear to choose your path. If your conscience isn’t clear, but the herd has scared you into compliance, you’re in the wrong place.

They say no man is an island. That may be true. But equally true is that someone has to be the first to discover the island. Maybe it’s you.

But don’t stay on the island by yourself. Bring a friend. Or twenty.

Success Depends On When You Tell the Story

We understand history based on where we are in the progression of the story. Most tales of entrepreneurs overcoming massive adversity are not told mid-story. There’s a good reason for this. If an entrepreneur came to you and told their story about how their manufacturer went belly up and their business partner over leveraged the business without partner approval, you wouldn’t be amazed and inspired. Because that story isn’t over yet. That person hasn’t reached the climax of the story where they overcome. 

It’s hard to know where a person is in their story if they haven’t overcome the major obstacle yet. So many people quit halfway. So one person’s failure might be the end of their story if they choose to walk away, while another person’s failure is a springboard to success as they receive and process the feedback of their failed attempt. 

But we love the stories of the overcomer. The winner. The person who bootstrapped and now sells a million plus each year. That’s amazing. We feel we can endure because of these people. Because of their stories. 

It’s why I hate sharing my own story when asked. I haven’t reached that point that will inspire and encourage. And so it sounds like life is just really really hard. I hate whining. When things are tough, you won’t find me savoring that “woe is me” attitude that’s made so many confessional and mommy bloggers famous. No matter how much we need to give ourselves grace to fail and be human, I can’t participate in the culture of failure that celebrates our failures and weaknesses and stops there. No, the failures and weaknesses provide us feedback, which we absorb to improve. 

Example: We moved to this property to homestead. I wanted to grow our own food to compliment the spring water feeding our house and land. But the business we owned has been a needy child. It has required more of my time than I anticipated, and the land has never had my full attention. And after three joy and pain-filled years, we no longer have goats. This stage of our business requires all hands on deck, and more flexibility for travel than goats will allow. So I made the painful but practical decision to trade our Nubians to farmers we know and trust. Our girls are well taken care of, and they are part of a much larger herd now. 

That’s sad in a way, because it feels like a setback. My ultimate goal of establishing a comprehensive permaculture design around our “forever home” is now on hold. We are ramping up two business ideas with the full intention of running them both in addition to the business we already have. There’s a legitimate goal we’ve set out to achieve, and achieving it would mean a different story for the rest of our lives. 

But I can’t tell you how we overcame disappointment and adversity to arrive at our dream destination… yet. But I will. Even if the dream changes yet again along the way.