Professionalism. This is a touchy concept for many creatives. We spend years honing our craft and developing the confidence we need to be able to “deliver the goods” when it’s time. Trusting yourself, your training and your practice is good, right?
Only up to a point.
The point at which it becomes “ungood” is when we trust solely in ourselves, our giftings, training and preparation. It is profusely ungood to forget that you are a steward of a gift given to you by God, through grace, to touch and bless the world. In proper perspective, our readiness to “deliver the goods” is only part of the equation. The other part is God’s part. This is the part in which we cannot and should not ever try to be responsible. Trusting ourselves is only good in the context of our stewardship of the gift entrusted to us.
It is also ungood to throw away your responsibilities as you are trusting God. This is the obvious mark of an amateur. It is also the mark of laziness. It’s an unhealthy attitude that is the source of much of the bad art that has come from the church for years. Ungood. Truly ungood. Your part isn’t everything, but it is significant.
It’s really about the fine art of balance. It’s about walking in the center of the road and staying out of the ditches. Reality is, the center of this road is partnership with God. He is your partner, and you are His.
”Practice like it all depends on you. In the moment, trust God, because it all depends on Him.” ~ Dan Maclean
My friend Dan hit the nail on the head in this statement.
We do our part.
We know our limitations.
We trust God.
“…that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
You are NOT without a covenant. You are NOT without hope. You are NOT without God.
Remember, you have a partner in everything you do. The best partner ever.
He has a partner in you, too… a good one, if I do say so myself.
For those of you attending the WFX Conference in Dallas this week, I am leading a session in the leadership and management track.
Secrets of Being a Creative Leader: Becoming The Church Others Want to Imitate
Wednesday, November 09, 2011 | 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Ministry Leaders and Tech Staff
Large (801-2000 Seats)
Hope to see you there!
We went on a short getaway last summer to rest and refresh. I fully intended to take some of that time to write and be creative. I thought we would just take a few days away, and step back into life as usual.
Not so much.
Here we are, five months later, and I am just now writing my first blog since our “little getaway.” It’s not that I forgot I had a blog. I felt it talking to me almost every day, at least in the beginning of my hiatus. It’s not that I didn’t feel the responsibility to this tribe. I thought about you often during the break.
I took a sabbatical from blogging for several reasons. I had run out of things to say. My “day job” as a pastor was demanding more of my attention, thought and prayer life. I was tired. I lacked focus. I needed some time. I needed real refreshing. I wanted more family time.
Five months is a long time to think about stuff, and honestly it took quite a while to even get back to ground zero. I have some takeaways from my sabbatical that I hope will help you.
1. Adrenaline is a powerful drug.
The human body is amazing, giving us the ability to power through situations and sometimes even gain superhuman strength from a hormone called adrenaline. It was meant to help us in times of crisis. I was living on it. Wrong answer.
2. Learn when and how to graciously say “no.”
I am a people pleaser. I want everyone to like me. Added to that, I like helping people. That has led me to seasons of over-commitment and overloading my plate. I can’t do everything. I can’t fix everything. Sometimes “no, thank you” is the right answer. I am learning how and when to pull that card.
3. Pace is more important than I thought.
I want to live a long, healthy life. That will require me to slow down and be more realistic with the tempo of my life. By the end of this year I will have taken more vacation and personal time than in any year previous. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I’ll also be taking my FIRST two-week vacation in my adult life.
4. You can only have a few priorities.
Author and speaker Jim Collins (Good to Great, Built to Last) has said that if you have more than three priorities, you have NO priorities. I have been taking time to pray, think and meditate on what is important to me, and limit my priorities to just a few. I can and should only do my part, and to do it well, I need to be more focused.
5. There’s no place like home.
After my commitment to God, my first and foremost commitment is to my family. Thank God we have a good and healthy one. I want to keep it that way. My family and my home are a shelter and sanctuary for me. I’m more determined than ever to spend quality time with the ones I love the most.
It’s good to have something to say again. It’s good to be with you. It’s good to be back.
Let’s help and learn from one other. Have you had any awakenings this year that will help us? Post a comment and let’s talk!
We could all learn a few things from Conan O’Brien. Like him or not, he is someone who is qualified to talk about creativity. He and his team have been doing live daily TV for long enough to learn what works and doesn’t work for them.
He recently talked to Fast Company, giving them a behind the scenes peek into the creative process that has driven his successful late night franchise for years. Of course, with the wisdom comes the wit. He just can’t help himself, I guess.
Here are a few of his jewels:
- Creating a show is like playing the horses.
- Prepare like crazy so you can wing it.
- Improvising is like surfing.
- Creativity should be fun.
- Fostering a collective comic sensibility is like cooking.
For the whole article, click the link below:
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” ~ Mark 6:31 (NIV)
As you read this, we are taking a few days at the beach to rest and recover. The work of ministry is intense, even more so in these days. We are taking some time with God and each other to let the sound of the waves wash over us and stare into the Gulf of Mexico. I do some of my best thinking here. I also do some of my best playing here. For me, it is therapy.
Don’t worry, I’m not blogging from this mini vacation.
I wrote this before I left to remind you to make time to rest, too. Make time for your families. Make time to recover and enjoy the presence of God.
God is in this rest business, you know.
“…Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30
See you soon. I’ll be rested and ready.
Debbie, my wife, has some things to say to you about family. She usually blogs, tweets and Facebooks about such things, but tonight she is talking live to a worldwide audience. She is the best wife, mother, friend and ministry companion I have ever seen. She knows what she’s talking about!
I would like to personally invite you to join the party online at http://www.emic.org/livestream.php
The live stream will start at 7:15pm CT and will be on continuous repeat until sometime tomorrow. After that it will be available on-demand.
Take this evening and join us online.
You won’t be sorry.
“If you wait for perfect conditions you will never get anything done.” ~ Riley Stephenson
My friend Riley posted that quote on twitter a few days ago. It was an on-time word for me, and I’m sure, many of his followers. He was paraphrasing a few verses of scripture, and, in my humble opinion, he was spot on.
“Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest… Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.” ~ Ecclesiastes 11:4,6 (NLT)
Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant… and if there’s no planting, there’s no harvest. So what do they do? They plant anyway. They make the most of less-than-perfect conditions and SEIZE the opportunity to begin. I like that word, seize. It speaks of getting off ones rear-end and getting busy. There’s nothing passive about it. I guess that’s why I like it so much.
Dreaming is amazing. Planning is amazing, too. However, there are pitfalls in this dreaming business. In the context of this post, the biggest pitfall is the mental picture we create for “how it will be” when we get there. The more time we spend dreaming, the more highly developed the picture will become. Herein lies the problem: it will rarely look like the picture in the dream when you arrive there in reality.
When it’s time to actually do what you’ve dreamt, you must be more aware of the season and opportunity than the mental picture that has given you hope all this time. Opportunity comes as hard work. Incredibly hard work, if I do say so myself. It will rarely be as easy as you think, but it will most assuredly be better than you think. The doorway to your dream becoming reality will always look more like the diamond in the rough than the sparkly finished product.
Let this serve as a warning to the thinkers, planners and dreamers. Apply yourself to the work of the dream. Without the work of the dream, no dreams are fulfilled. Apply yourself to the labor of it and the waiting will be much easier.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~ Thomas Edison
I couldn’t agree more.