If you haven’t learned this about me by now, you should know that I am intrinsically averse to the concept of replacing one-on-one connection with organizational participation. For example, when a Jesus follower gets to know a neighbor and begins to truly care about the status of their neighbor’s soul, the default solution is to invite the neighbor to church. What the caring person has unwittingly done is to bypass the expression of their personal care and instead attempts to introduce the recipient to an organization of people who have spent zero time getting to know her.

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In the course of pursuing the destiny for which youbwere created, you have no doubt already experienced a conflict you chosen not to engage. Some will accuse you of being inflexible or refusing to be challenged. And it might be true.

At the same time, it may be patently false. How easy to misconstrue the responses of others!

How much self-examination is too much?

At some point, you can’t continue to question everything. Questioning is a different mode than building, and if you never start building, you end up with nothing to show for your life. So at what point do you draw a line and say “No more questioning. I’m moving on”?

There is a time to tear down. And a time to build up. Wisdom is discerning when you’ve done enough demolition and examination and then choosing to transition to building and development.

Perhaps in projects that last generations, a person might devote their entire life to one mode: to tear down a sacred calf of the mind or to build a supporting structure for a much greater project for the generations who follow. But for many, if not most, parts of life, we have a duty to contribute something. To create something. To do so, one must abandon constant scrutiny and self-examination at some point. Otherwise the work never gets started.

There are times I’ve had little patience for people whose only contributions to my life incite conflict. Not because I fear or shun conflict, but because conflict is all they ever bring to the table. The first conflict or two are fine. They are coincidental. But when a pattern emerges, a choice must be made.

Do I spend my energy and time on this person who only seems to contribute when they disagree with me? Are they open to debate? Is our relationship built upon give and take? Or is it based on imbalance?

A person whose only contribution to a relationship is conflict has not earned the time to have their ideas continually considered and discussed. Time is one of our most finite resources and we must each determine how to spend it.

Healthy relationships top the list of priorities.

 

I’m not a big fan of televangelism. It comes across as flashy or melodramatic at times and lacks a certain grit of authenticity. So when Ricky Gervais published this tweet about faith healers, I don’t know if he was addressing the Hollywood version of people who pray for healing or all people who pray for healing in general.

Regardless of his intention, if you believe God still heals people, consider the gauntlet thrown down.

ricky gervais faith healer tweet

While I know that God still heals, it irks me to hear this challenge. Ironically, there are some psychics who actually hear accurate details too, but that’s not my focus here. The point is that Gervais is lumping the two groups together, pointing out that they don’t do these things because he thinks they are frauds. After all, if faith healers could really heal people, they’d work or at least hang out in hospitals and empty them out. If psychics really could see the future, they’d win the lottery all the time and avoid losing their businesses and avoid their own future health problems. Wouldn’t they?

I could chime in and argue that I know people who do visit hospitals regularly and pray for the sick they encounter. Not all of them are healed, true. But some of them have been. I could argue the exceptions to the rule, but what does that solve?

What right do I have to be offended? Gervais might be hitting a nerve that needs to be hit after all. Are all the people I know who pray for healing hanging out or working in hospitals? No. I know I’m not. Are any of them? Yes, at least a few.  But not the majority of them/us.

I acknowledge that faith healers do not work in hospitals, even though they contain an endless supply of people who need healing. And we haven’t heard about any hospitals where everyone walks out of the building fully healed and restored. I’m pretty sure even the corporate news channels would mention that if it happened.

You don’t see faith healers working in hospitals for the same reason that you don’t see psychics winning the lottery every week. – @rickygervais

And while I don’t appreciate having my friends and I lumped into the category of frauds, I must concur that we have room to grow when it comes to living our beliefs. We pray for people in parking lots and grocery stores and Starbucks, which is real and not the least bit inauthentic. We pray for people where we encounter them in our lives. But why aren’t more of us working in hospitals and healing everyone in the building?

I share my stories with you in case you’ve experienced something like it. You’re not alone. And we CAN get through this.

A few months after I gave my life to Jesus, people started prophesying over me at various church gatherings. Then after I completed the church membership classes, a few leaders in the church prophesied over me. 

I started collecting these statements and promises, but really had no clue what to do with them. In some ways those words made my life worse. They tortured me. I was destined for something great, and yet I was a cowardly, insecure young man with no sense of direction for my life.

Looking back, it hurts to consider that possibly some of the words received were just plain wrong. Maybe they were for someone else. Maybe they were misinterpreted. But what if the confusion I’ve felt paralyzed by for so long is the result of giving these prophecies the power to shape my life?

What if most of the prophetic words spoken over me were flesh or just in error?What if my life feels so out of sync because I let other people tell me who I am. Instead of telling the world who I am. Or asking Father who he says I am.
What if some of these crucial prophetic words from two decades ago mean nothing because they never confirmed much about my current or past life and therefore should be judged much more critically?

One of the best personal philosophies I have I got from nonbelieving entrepreneurs. And that philosophy is that I don’t have to wait for life to choose me. I can choose life and make it happen. And I really didn’t know that for most of my life.

It’s possible to feel an obligation to seek out, wait for, or work really hard to make prophecies come true. But when there’s a heart disconnect, allowing yourself to be limited by the parameters of a personal prophesy seems destructive. You are who God made you far more than you are what Joe Blow has the maturity and clarity to hear from God about you. 

If the prophecy is in error, it has the potential to weigh us down just as much as other people’s opinions or curses. Trying to live up to the wrong ideal is soul crushing.

I’m tired of confusion and error. I’m tired of floating through life. I’m ready to swim.

It’s one of the worst kept secrets in American culture. While we frown upon obesity and addiction, we often praise workaholics and treat them as the heroes of the 21st Century. 

Workaholism is a vice. It’s an unhealthy imbalance. Yet how many Prime Time tv series focus on a doctor, lawyer, or detective who works late into the night every night, to the detriment of their families? It’s become the most cliche character type in our day. 

Most of us will never be doctors. We’ll never be detectives. And we’ll definitely never be lawyers. But we watch these shows because we live vicariously through the dramatized excitement of their professions. Careers where lives hang in the balance every single day. It makes the mundane workday seem so exciting. You can never phone it in because someone needs surgery or an acquittal.

None of it’s real, of course. Those are our tv lives. Whether we answer phones, write code, take blood samples, or balance accounts, our day to day work is often the stuff that daydreams are formed to escape from. 

There’s a growing number of bored and unchallenged employees who’ve become fans of real-life entrepreneurs. Mythical business heroes like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Mark Zuckerburg. These people rose from the ranks of everyday high school and college students and took big risks that paid off years down the road. And we who are stuck in jobs we don’t like doing work that doesn’t fulfill us look to those people and live vicariously through them. Just like I imagine teenage girls live through the constant tweets and shows and articles on the Kardashians. 

I don’t track the everyday nature of most entrepreneur’s lives, but I know many of them work nonstop from dawn til dusk. They rarely if ever take vacations. They’re driven to arrive at a destination they’ve envisioned. 

I’m not saying don’t learn from them. I’m not even saying don’t emulate them. I just question where the line is. You know… That line where temporary hard work to achieve a major goal blurs over into working long and hard all the time as the definition and destination of one’s life.