Archives For December 2014

Top 5 Posts of 2014

December 30, 2014 — Leave A Comment

As I looked back over my most-read posts of 2014, I was surprised to find that three of the five were actually written in 2012 or 2013. I guess that either means my posts have gone downhill of late, or sometimes I hit on something that resonates year over year. I choose to believe it’s the latter. 🙂

Here are my top 5 posts in 2014:

1. 5 Leadership Conflict Styles (and Why You Should Know Yours!)

Back in the ’70’s, researchers Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann identified five main styles of dealing with conflict. Their research showed that people typically have a preferred conflict style. But not every style works effectively in every situation. As a leader ~ and most especially if you are a senior leader ~ you need to know which conflict style you tend toward most, and what the weaknesses of that style can be…

2. The 3 Levels of Listening


Have you ever talked with someone who was so present with you that it unnerved you? Someone whose full attention was locked on you, their focus so completely yours it made you feel as if you were the only person in the world? Someone who made you feel really seen, and really heard, in a way that was both wonderful and a little unsettling? If you have, then you’ve been in the presence of a skilled listener…

3. Building Trust: What IS Trust, Anyway?


In Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the first and most foundational team dysfunction the author cites is “absence of trust.” When it comes to team failure (or the failure of any relationship for that matter), the loss of trust is the “first domino”; all the rest of the dysfunctions ~ fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results ~ flow out of that fractured foundation. I say all that to emphasize what we all intuitively know: Trust Matters…

4. 4 Steps to Stop Being a Crazy Person

crazy-people-dont-know-they-are-crazyWe’ve probably all heard the saying: Insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over again expecting a different result. Brilliant. Love it. Sooo true. Unfortunately, simply hearing that saying hasn’t stopped me from continuing to live that way sometimes…

5. Why I Stopped Doing a Quiet Time


I’ve been doing a quiet time pretty much every day since I was 16. I’ve got stacks as tall as I am of journals and Bible study notebooks I have filled. The Bibles I’ve used over the years each look like a graffiti war zone of ink colors and highlighters and notes in the margins. I’ve got a bookcase full of study tools (now made irrelevant by the internet), and files full of study methods, prayer methods, journal methods. I’m all about the methods. I’ve even published books on methods for studying specific parts of the Bible. For the most part, this daily practice has been good for me. As far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough. In fact, it never really has…

So grateful for a terrific 2014! Looking forward to an even better year to come.

What are you most looking forward to in 2015?


“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name.” ~ Amos 4:13

The wind is howling outside this morning. It reminds me of a day a few weeks ago when the weather service issued a severe wind warning for my mountain valley. Now this is no minor thing; the mountains can funnel the wind in some mighty destructive ways up here. This particular warning said gusts could reach 90 miles per hour.

Needless to say, I was nervous about it. Sometimes the howling gets so fierce it feels like the house is going to rip right off the mountain. As I prayed that morning about the coming windstorm, trying (unsuccessfully) to surrender my anxiety to God and trust Him, I felt as if He whispered in my heart…

“Pay attention today. I’m going to teach you something about myself through the wind.”

Continue Reading…


“Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves.” ~ William Hazlitt

As I mentioned in my previous post, too often our efforts at self-discipline are motivated by feelings of self-hatred and self-rejection, rather than love or self-compassion. Any discipline fueled by shame, I said, cannot produce freedom. It leads only to a soul divided, at war with itself, continually bound in a struggle that can never be won.

To continue that thought…This internal war with self is what inevitably leads to war with others as well.

Here’s how that happens:

Continue Reading…


“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” ~ Brennan Manning

Something I heard in an interview the other day got me thinking. A well-known actor was asked about his preparation for a difficult role, and he said it took a lot of work but it was good for him because “Freedom lies on the other side of discipline.”

“Freedom lies on the other side of discipline.”

I’m really drawn to that statement. It’s a beautiful phrase, for one thing. Simple. Clear.

But…is it really true?

I think it all depends on what sort of discipline you mean.

Continue Reading…