the desert season

One month from today I will celebrate my 37th birthday, and unlike many others approaching the big 4-0, I am welcoming it with gladness.  I’ve never seen growing older as a limitation to my ability to grow better in every area of life!  However, if you would have told me that the past 6 months would be the beginning of a season when I would be wrestling with the biggest questions of purpose and vision for my life, I would have said, “no, way!”  I’ve spent the past 15 years of my life doing everything that I believe God has positioned me to do.  Yet, I find myself in this “desert season”.  I feel like I’m standing all alone on the desert floor with the burning heat pressing down on my mind, body, and spirit.  And this question still sears through my heart and spirit… “Who am I created to be?”  How can I be 15 years into this life direction and still not know the answer to this question?

Last month I was given the opportunity to take the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment and let me be the first to say, it was so accurate, it scared me!  I’ve never felt so emotionally and mentally dissected with such extreme accuracy.  I learned things about myself that everyone else has probably know for years, but this self-revelation has been liberating.  I don’t have to pretend to be someone else!  I don’t have to be something that I’m not!  I just can be me, because that’s who GOD created me to be!  Apparently I’m a born visionary leader and have the ability to move organizations through major changes.  Who knew?  Obviously not this guy!  Now it makes sense.  The gnawing desire to lead and make decisions that move people, plans, resources, and create a vision that takes us from where we are to where we want to be, isn’t just the mushrooms on the pizza from last night.  I was designed and wired by God to be this way.  It was HIS idea!  

The biggest revelation came when I realized that the one person that I struggle to lead is ME!  That one hurt… bad.  And then it hit me.  Of course I can’t move on to the next thing.  Why would a loving God place me, with all of my leadership gifts and potential, over a group or team of individuals when I still have yet to lead the only person I can really change, ME?  

Maybe you too find yourself at a personal, professional, or spiritual impasse.  Have you ever considered that God has designed you for a very specific skill set?  HE wants you to be ok that you aren’t like your boss, your spouse, or your friends.  You are created exactly the way God wants you to be.  Own it.  Embrace it.  Be it.  And then resist the temptation to be, do, or respond to what everyone else thinks you should become.  Now I’m not an expert in life, nor do I pretend to be a “life coach”.  But, I’m confident that if we will embrace the gifts and abilities that God has deposited in our life then, not only will we be able to answer our personal identity dilemma, but we will find ourselves positioned to help many others on this journey of faith, hope, and love.   

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still in the “desert season”.  Did you know that there are some amazing plants, animals, and insects that actually are designed to live, thrive, and prosper on the desert floor!  There’s beauty in the desert.  There’s even hope in the desert.  All it takes is changing your perspective and allowing God to reveal HIS unique design in and through you.  Remember, the “desert season” is just that… a season.  And the reality is that birth, growth, and even death all take place in every season of the year.  Hang in there, be faithful, and allow the love, power, and presence of almighty God to make this season the greatest personal leadership lesson you’ve ever learned.  There is someone waiting on the other side of your “desert season” obedience.  

Proverbs 3:5-6
(read this passage and let it refresh and strengthen your parched and weary heart)

 

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reality check

Do you remember back when you were a kid and you had huge dreams of being a firefighter, police officer, doctor, lawyer, or a cut throat corporate executive!  Ok, maybe the cut throat part wasn’t part of your dream.  But, you dreamed of what that job might feel, look, and sound like as an adult.

As a young boy I had vivid dreams of being an airline pilot!  I would loose myself in the  to command a huge airplane and control the skies as I soared like the birds.  Well, I didn’t become a pilot.  I don’t even work around airplanes.  I became a pastor!  My dream was to soar above the mountain tops but I found myself walking through the details of life with people on the hard ground!

So, did I fail?  Did my unfulfilled childhood dream leave me alone to ponder my unmet expectations?  Actually, not at all.  The last 16 years of my life have been filled with the most fulfilling, powerful, and rewarding experiences I could never imagine!  Yes, there have been times of drudgery, pain, and struggle.  That’s the reality of life.

A good friend of mine has been a captain for a major airline for over 20 years and his descriptions of the “reality” of the pilot’s life is not all that it’s cracked up to be!

What about you?  What was your childhood dream?  Did you fulfill that dream?  No?     Now, think about your current life, work, and reality.  Would you have the friends, spouse, kids, or co-workers in your life right now if you had followed your childhood dreams?  As a person who believes in the power of God, I can’t help but be reminded of this scripture in Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”

 

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the power of CHOICE!

Two days ago, the Boston Marathon was rocked with explosions that horrifically took the life of a beautiful child and two aspiring adults.  Instantly the atmosphere of this celebrated Boston tradition changed and turned into mass choas.  But what happened next showed the CHOICE the human spirit has to use the power of love to overcome evil.  Instead of running away for their lives, multiple bystanders decided to respond to this catastrophic change by serving and ultimately saving those affected in the blast zone!  When the authorities catch the person/s that caused this tragedy, there will be something that survivors can say to that person/s.  You may have forever changed the three families that lost their loved one.  You may have altered the shape or limbs of many peoples’ bodies.  You may even have changed the way marathons are structured from that day forward.  But, you will never take our CHOICE to respond to evil and resist terrorism.

WE WILL CHOOSE TO KEEP FILLING OUR WORLD WITH THE POWER OF LOVE!
WE WILL CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS!

GOD BLESS THE FAMILIES AFFECTED & GOD BLESS THE CITY OF BOSTON!

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fertilizer

The weekend is officially coming to a close and I actually have to be somewhere in 25 minutes so this will be quick.  Yesterday I decided to finally do some serious yard work!  I cleaned out the planter bed in front of our house, planted new flowers, restructured the rock border, and topped it all off with a good mix of fertilizer!  The bag says it’s guaranteed to produce twice as healthy plants!  But you know what?… that stuff stinks!  So, how can something that smells that bad, be so good for everything planted in it?  I realized that life is really similar.  There are times when our circumstances really STINK!  But, if we will stay put and try to grow in the hard times, the result is a much healthier ME in the end.  Because somehow, God takes those difficult, nasty, trying, and downright smelly situations and does something we never expected with them… He uses them to turn us into a beautiful rose that looks (and smells) like something we could never achieve on our own, HIMSELF!

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3 boys & some rocks!

I grew up as the middle of 3 boys and our home was full of energy.  We kept my parents running and never really allowed my mom to have anything nice, because we had a way of breaking everything!  Never did I think that I could be a daddy to one, let alone 4 kids!  Well, obviously God has a great sense of humor, and He decided to give my wife and I 3 boys of our own.  And yes, they have a unique ability to BREAK EVERYTHING!  

Looking back, I now realize what a tremendous responsibility and trust that God must have in me to think that I can raise boys to be men of Godly character and integrity.  My parents raised my brothers and I to put our faith in Jesus Christ, to be independent, to give 120%, and to never take advantage of others.  Now that we are grown, we all are hard workers, committed husbands, and faithful fathers.  Now, every time I look into the eyes of my 7, 5, and 3 year old sons, I do see the mischievous little boys that wrecked my parents home daily, but I also see something else, I see the makings of future men of God.  So, if you have a son, nephew, or kid brother and you catch him throwing rocks… just remember, one day he will be a man that will imitate what he learned from listening and watching YOU!  

PROVERBS 22: 6
“Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost.”

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“Cherish your D…

“Cherish your DREAMS. They are the CHILDREN of your deepest soul and the BLUEPRINTS of your richest destiny.” – Jeanne Mayo

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the beginning

So, this is my first blog post EVER!

I’m just a guy trying to DO LIFE BETTER.
I’m just a husband trying to LOVE MY WIFE MORE.
I’m just a daddy trying to RAISE MY KIDS w/ INTEGRITY
I’m just a pastor trying to “BE JESUS w/ SKIN ON” to someone in this crazy world!

here’s to hoping that YOU are trying to do the same.

-michael

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