Tag Archives: lessons

Book Report: ‘Sun Stand Still’

I’ve been reading a very challenging, very encouraging book: “Sun Stand Still,” by Pastor Steven Furtick. It speaks to that part of you that craves more faith, more audacity, and more results from your spirituality. The title references a sun-stopping prayer by the Old Testament hero Joshua. Furtick uses that prayer as a template for embracing the vastness of God and His ability to do the impossible. I have a notebook that is quickly filling up with quotes, notes and various pearls of wisdom. Some are personal; unfit for the blogosphere, but there are some catchphrases and idioms that I found general enough to share. Check out Furtick’s blog here. Check out the trailer for the book, if you’re so inclined (Yup, books have trailers now).

 

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Take Another Step. Then Take Another.

I’m getting better about seizing opportunities that matter. I’ve learned to concern myself less with not failing and more with taking those simple first steps. If my life was a TV series, this current season is much more action-oriented and exciting —  less philosophical and sappy than the last.

Sometimes it is that simple. Sometimes victory is in the first step

I had a job interview the other day. I dressed up, drafted my current resumé, and drove down to the job fair. I filled out the paperwork,  waited in line, and sat through the interview, choking down my nervousness. For the record, the interview went well (I should hear from them soon), but I’ m most proud that I went through the paces, after so many days of….not doing that.

The results are the least important part. The most important part is preparing, showing up and then doing it again and again if necessary.

It does not matter if the goal is creative, physical, financial, spiritual, interpersonal, or occupational. We may not know the gigantic, world-changing, master plan, but we all have a step to take today.

Take a step. Then another. Then another. Then another. (So on and so forth).

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Embrace the Process

Change is a slow process.

Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, vocational, or (especially) political, real change demands real persistence. If we could be honest with ourselves, we all struggle with the patience that is requisite. Sure, we can take a different route to work, or we might eat a different breakfast cereal, but deep, lasting change requires more grit.

I’m currently working on a new entrepreneurial endeavor. I’ll save the details for the official launch, but at the moment I’m still in the ‘product development’ stage. I’m ‘vision-casting’. I’m making. I’m packaging. I’m trying. I’m experimenting.

Frustration is frequent during these production sessions.  I’m reaching my limits as a creator more often than I’d like. I’m asking for help and advice more often than I anticipated. Ultimately, this doesn’t make my efforts less. It doesn’t diminish my ideas. It multiplies their impact. George Bernard Shaw put it well: “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

Most importantly, I’m learning to embrace the process.

This has been a microcosm for all my dream work and goals for upcoming years. I know that my Maker is developing a new product in me — in  my character. I’m learning that I need to become more inclusive, more patient, and more interested in long-term lessons than short-term riches.

It’s a privilege to have ideas and goals that are beyond me. It is an honor to reach my limits because it that weakness forces me to encounter the One who knows none.

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Dreamers

Sometimes, art takes time. My ideas usually have to marinate for a while before they come to fruition. In 2012, I want to learn to cook a quicker creative stew, to effectuate more than procrastinate. That said, the painting I’m revealing here today has been a long time coming, testing  even my considerable procrastination skills. Seriously, you don’t even want to know. 

The piece is called “Dreamers,” and it is a commissioned acrylic painting measuring five feet by four feet.* I was handed a check by a generous friend and simply told to ‘do something.’ After much self-doubt and deliberation, I opted to work from a quote that impacted me in two books I was reading concurrently:

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence

Okay. So my girl’s eyes are closed, but you get the point. What began as a lucrative art gig became a monument to my haphazard creative lifestyle. What should have been a two-month endeavor became a project older than some of my friends’ children. What started as sketch in my notebook became an image that speaks to me about self-realization. We create our preferred futures every day with our words and our actions.

Let’s be dreamers of the day.

*(Enjoy photos of the full painting below, with details and the original sketch).

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