“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

Six months ago, a man came to me looking for help. While his life looked blessed and rich from the outside, inside his soul has grown hollow and numb. He had no joy. Nothing moved him. Though he knew many things were still important to him, like his work and his family, it had all become abstract and academic. Nothing he did seemed to mean anything, or make any difference in his soul.

I know his story is not uncommon among men, and women too. We think we want a life that looks a certain way: to have a certain level of income, to live in a certain kind of home, to have this many kids or that many toys.

But what we really want is a life that feels a certain way: to feel our souls alive and truly free, to feel connected in deeply meaningful ways to others in love, to feel our lives matter and that what we do makes a difference for good in the world.

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In the outstanding PBS documentary series “God in America,” researchers provide compelling evidence to suggest that the United States was founded in large part on the concept of a national “contract with God.” That is, the underlying belief that we as a nation were called out by God to form a “more perfect union,” a union founded on certain commitments we would make to God, and as long as we held to those agreements, God’s blessing and favor would always remain on us.

The researchers go on to suggest that our national belief in that contract remains strong even today, in spite of the country’s ever-increasing secularization. It’s a fascinating exploration of our national story, one that I encourage every American to watch (regardless of your belief system). I especially recommend it to Christian faith leaders, as I think it provides great insight into the national narrative of the United States (i.e. who we tell ourselves we are), and how that works both for and against the work of God’s Spirit among us.

But nations aren’t the only ones to believe they have a contract with God. Most individuals I know do as well. It’s subtle, and we don’t often look at it directly, but for almost all of us, the contract is there, buried deep in our psyche. And once we really see it, it quickly becomes clear that it runs almost everything we do.

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I could feel the Tsunami coming. Frankly, it was overdue.

Like many creative types, I like having several different projects going at once in my professional life. In addition to individual and team coaching, I also head up the Destiny Project and Braveheart Intensive retreats, which are presented by a team of fantastic facilitators at various times around the U.S. and in Europe. I also serve as President of WayPoint Coaching Community, a Christ-centered collective of professional “transformational workers” around the country and overseas. And I’m working on the third novel in my Pearlsong Refounding trilogy.

I love it all, but it’s a lot to handle. Most of the time it’s pretty manageable, but every so often the ebb and flow of tasks in each of these arenas align to form a Task List Tsunami large enough and urgent enough to quickly drown me in feelings of overwhelm and resentment.

Oh, and self doubt. Did I mention self doubt? ‘Cause it’s not lost on me that I’m doing this to myself.

Used to be when these monster waves hit, I’d go into panic. I’d isolate, procrastinate, whine, play the victim, and binge watch just about anything on Netflix to avoid facing reality. Needless to say, that strategy was super effective.

But now (thanks to coaching! Coaching is awesome!), instead of curling into the fetal position and tossing up an S.O.S., I activate an S.O.P.

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“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.” ~ Helen Keller

On the wall above my bed hangs an epic photograph of the Dallas Divide. It’s located in southwestern Colorado, not far from Telluride. I’ve driven past it a few times, but I’ve never set foot in it. Aside from what I can see from a distance or in a photograph, the entire landscape is a complete mystery to me.

Every morning when I fumble my way out of bed, this photograph is one of the first things I see. I really like that, because it’s a daily reminder to me that new adventures are always out there, waiting for me to come and find them. Each one is just a decision away.

Adventure lives just beyond the boundary of the comfortable and the known in our lives. Like all things beautiful and dangerous, adventure is constantly calling to us, beckoning us out of our stayed and claustrophobic routines and into landscapes where anything can happen.

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Longing (noun) ~ a yearning desire, especially for something unattainable or distant.

God is perfect. And yet, He is full of longing.

It’s strange to think of longing as something a perfect Being would do. Most of our notions of God’s perfection imply a deep completeness. God is self-sustaining. God needs nothing. God lacks nothing.

I think all those things are true about God.

And yet He longs.

I’ve been wondering lately what to make of this.

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“The measure of a man is what he does with power.” ~ Greek Proverb

Whether you realize it or not, there is a question that guides you every day as a leader. This question determines in large part what you see and what you fail to see, what you respond to and what you ignore, and how you measure your effectiveness as a leader.

Although many guiding questions are possible, I have found these three to be the most common in my work with leaders. I believe each one reflects the primary developmental stage of the leader…i.e. the question that dominates your attention most of the time usually points to the developmental stage you are in as a leader.

Which of these three questions dominates your leadership?

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everyone is watching

“Heroes must see to their own fame. No one else will.” ~ Gore Vidal

It’s strange being a Christian leader in today’s rock star culture. It’s hard to know what to say about yourself, or whether to speak about yourself at all.

The Christian church, particularly in the West, is enamored with fame, and many of its leaders have mistaken being well-known for being Divinely-anointed, and personal charisma for the presence of God on their lives. Particularly in the Protestant stream of the Church, we have stumbled into a celebrity culture in Christian leadership, but with little or no clear criteria for what qualifies one to join the ranks of the elite, other than the capacity to grab the public eye.

For many faith leaders (including most of my coaching clients) this current love affair with fame in the Church has created a challenging conundrum around the quagmire of self-promotion. As Christ followers, we are called to avoid any self-aggrandizement, to let “another praise you, and not your own mouth” (Proverbs 27:2). We are taught the Way to Life is not through glorifying self but through glorifying God. So it’s clear on the one hand as leaders we should not be seduced into self-promotion, no matter how often or strongly the social media experts tell us we must.

There are no loopholes or workarounds for this. Not even the “humble brag.” That’s simply not the game we’ve been called to play.

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