Why Braver is Better than Perfect

Beach ocean waves

 

Eye rolls and you’ve-forgotten-how-to-parent-sighs couldn’t move me or make me say it unless you were family or a close friend.

Until this day at the grocery store.

I had spent an hour navigating my son’s meltdowns, while trying to ignore the staring-accusations of others who couldn’t have understood. Too exhausted to pretend that I didn’t notice or care,  I walked up to the woman who was sighing loudly and talking about my son and said, “Excuse me. I’m sorry that my son bothered you. I apologize. Actually, he’s having a hard time in the store. He has autism.”

There, I had said it.

And while she was somewhat grateful in her response, I didn’t say it because of her.

I said it because I needed to.

Not perfectly – just authentically and bravely.

In their book, The Cure for the “Perfect” Life: 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver! Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory encourages us to trade in perfection (Try-Harder Living) for Braver Living.

Cure-for-the-Perfect-Life-Cover-3D_Left

The book is FILLED with encouragement, stories, grace, quizzes, and ways that we can trade in perfection for braver living.

You can get their  book on Amazon

 

Why braver is better than perfect

Let’s be honest. Sometimes perfect sounds pretty good – a perfect evening out with my spouse, kids that behave in public, and effortlessly crossing off items from my to-do-list while pushing go and checking-off items on my dare-to-dream-big-list.

But that’s not my life – instead it’s anything but these. My ability to live up to others and my own expectations often fail and the harder I try, the more exhausted I become.

Brave is different. It breathes life and energy into my soul.

 

Brave doesn’t mean fearless

Even though I dream of Chasing Loins out of Pits covered in snow, I KNOW my frame. I know that I’m more likely to feel fear and be paralyzed by it before I can set my timer to run towards those things I’ve been dreaming, praying and trusting God for.

So, what if all that we have is a little desire to be brave?  What if our legs feel more like Jello than strong and graceful when we think about being brave?

What if God said, Go in the strength you have. This is what the Lord told Gideon. (Judges 6:14)

What if he said, he will be with us in the smallest drop of faith, and in the smallest steps and he will take care of the rest?

The strength we have today is enough.

 

Bravery creates movement for more bravery

I read a lot of productivity posts (oh, Lord help me.. read Part 1. Chapter 4 of The Cure for the Perfect Life — this is exactly why I read them)

People who have learned to be productive often talk about ‘batching tasks’  or using the momentum of completing a task or projects, and using it to complete something similar.

When I choose brave, it feels like it works the same.

Every brave act creates a current of grace that will carry us to our next one.

 

So, are you with me?

How do YOU want to be BRAVE today?

when the corners cut jagged and you don’t let go

 

Stack of magazines against blue background

 

small pieces of paper. pictures that I can’t see anymore. ripped out of old magazines.

memories once forgotten are coming into view again.

the corners cut jagged, and I run my fingers along the edges anyways. but I don’t feel them.

and I remember that I’ve tried to put the pieces together myself in ways that make sense to me. but they’ve never quite fit together and the pictures don’t look like I’ve always imagined they would be.

they aren’t beautiful. they are messy. broken. imperfect. and I run my finger along the edges again and decide that I want to feel the parts that hurt —  not because I like pain — but because i have to feel before I heal.

and the picture sticks to my fingers and I don’t let go this time.

 

end.

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday

The one person you need in your life

7225ad85a082f434ca90a047c9560a7f

What my mentor taught me 

-          The right question can take a friendship from zero to 100.

-          It’s healthy to cry.

-          Jesus adores you and me.

-          We all need flat-out-on-your-face-prayer

-          Praying in secret can include blankets, tents and flashlights if you want it to

-          Nothing is more important than our quiet time with Jesus.

-          We make time for what’s most important to us.

-          Even if you aren’t gifted for singing, and you want to sing, sing loudly anyway.

-          It’s okay to be sad, hurt, angry… just don’t live there.

-          If we never get what we want on this Earth, is Jesus enough?

-          Christian women stay the youngest, at any age.

-          People are always, always, more important than things

-          There won’t be dust in heaven (ha, this is probably specific to my mentor).

-          Not one sin is ever above God’s grace.

-         We all have the ability to commit the sins we read about in newspapers .

-          Keep healthy boundaries.

-          Pouring your life into others isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

-          The Bible is either true or it isn’t.

-          There are no coincidences with God.

-          If Jesus wants you to have it, he will give it to you.

-          Growing can be painful

-          Growth can include practical things like organization, time management, etc.

-          Great mentors have the patience equivalent to JOB.

-          A great spiritual mentor points others to Christ, not themselves.

edited: 4/19/2014

Do you have a mentor who has made a difference in your life?   What would you add to your list? 

 

Master The 12 Essentials of Church Communications

 

Why Communication Matters

I spent a few months working at a local church near where I live.

 

This church is doing GREAT THINGS.

For instance, when I was working there I found out that this church…

  • Assists people in its local community with food, gas or emergency shelter
  • Houses a stocked food pantry
  • Provides free or nearly free fun events for hundreds of children & families in the community
  • Provided over 1000 Thanksgiving meals for local people in need
  • Gave Christmas presents to hundreds of children and familes
  • Adopts and supports ministries and missions

 

These may seem simple and natural for many churches – but for the person who walked in off the street, it could have been a game changer. When I learned just how this church handled the desperate person at their door or on their phone, it was a game changer for me too! 

Communication Creates Connections

Churches, we are want to hear WHAT you do and WHY you do it!

I don’t need to tell you I stopped writing this blog post to take my neighbor to visit a very ill friend (unless I’m making a point) because it’s probably won’t help you understand me better – but there are specific things – that your ministry should be communicating to your members, neighbors and community to build relationships.

What you say communicates what you care about and why you do what you do.

Communicating Your Mission and Message

I’ve been following Church Communication Strategist, Tim Peter’s blog on branding and communications for awhile.  I think it’s one of the best blogs on church and ministry communications, and his information is a wonderful resource for people who are passionate about church communications.

Tim recently created the church communication training resource Sayge Resources to help ministries create and share messages.  He shares these important 12 Essentials communication practices that he believes churches need.

The 12 Essentials of Church Marketing and Communications are

Vision Identification
Vision Identification is clarifying who you are, what you do, why you do it and where you are going. You will receive very specific instructions and exercises to achieve clarity on your vision.
 
Guest Experience
Your first-time guest experience is critical to guests returning to your church, and possibly to any church.  The great part is you can improve any experience and we will give you the ultimate experience evaluation checklist to make improvements.

Social Media
Learning to use social media to reach the lost and to extend the influence of the church isn’t just a good idea; it’s a must.  The key to social media is interacting with your audience through great content and conversations.  We will give you an easy-to-use content calendar to develop and distribute content.
 
Brand Standards
Brand Standards are the compilation of documents where you articulate your key communication messages, establish a visual identity and explore ways to protect your brand.  Your church will receive a Brand Guide to help you create your very own Brand Standards document.
 
Communication Strategy
Your communication strategy helps you determine what, when and how you will communicate.  The development of a communication strategy is critical and we will give you a template to develop a compelling strategy.

Project Systems

Andy Stanley says, “The systems down the hall trump the vision on the wall.” If you don’t have systems in place, standards and strategy mean absolutely nothing.  You will receive practical methods and customizable project management system templates.

Web Essentials
Today’s church visitors will most certainly check out your church on the Internet before they attend for the first time. Your website should be a web experience, not just a website.  You will receive case studies and critical evaluation tools to help maximize your web experience.
 
Audience Connection
Ever been disconnected on the phone but not realize it until you have finished speaking?  Then you understand the importance of making sure you are connected to your audience. We will give you customizable focus group agendas and surveys to connect with and learn from your audiences.

Volunteer Mobilization
You have an army of creatively gifted people who attend your church every week. Learning to recruit, train and mobilize them will catapult your communications ministry to levels you never dreamed possible.  You will receive volunteer job descriptions and master lists on how to recruit and train volunteers.

Creative Leadership
Creative people are not easy to lead and motivate.  Understanding how to lead creative people, and those in authority over you who lack creativity is critical.  We will equip you as leader with practical ways to lead with meeting agendas, exercises and tips.

External Marketing
Most churches make the same marketing mistakes: the message is not unique; the content is not inviting; and there’s no long-term strategy in place. If that description fits your church’s marketing, it’s time to make some changes.  You will receive over 50 practical and relevant ways to market your church.

The good news is, you don’t need hours of research, big budgets and countless cups of coffee (ok,… maybe you will always need your coffee!) to master The Essentials of Church Communications.

 

The Sayge monthly training contains the wisdom of some of the greatest church communication leaders in our nation today. Each month you will receive a coaching video, comprehensive eBook, and hands-on application tools to help you master the 12 Essentials of Church Communications – at a great price.

 

 

Check out Sayge if you’re ready to take the next step in your Church or Ministry Communications

 

What’s the most challenging part of ministry communications?  Let me know in the comments! 

Get the gift of awe this year!

 

 

One of the most wonderful things about the Christmas story is that Jesus came to earth for EACH ONE OF US.  He loves us so much more than we can ever imagine; He knows the number of hairs on our heads ….

He knows exactly what EVERYDAY things will fill up our hearts in BIG ways and remind us of his love for us.

Margaret Feinberg has a new book and 7-session DVD Bible study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God which releases Christmas Day. (She’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.95 on Barnes & Noble!).

 

Her book shows us how to be more aware of God’s special-on-purpose-surprises. 

This is our personal invitation to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life – turn your prayer life upside down, stir our desire to live more abundantly, and take our relationships with others to the next level next year.

Margaret recently posted a great warning on her site that those who have read Wonderstruck have experienced the following symptoms:

-An inability to stop smiling
-An uncontainable desire to pray
-A loss of interest in judging others
-A quiet, unshakable confidence in God
-A renewed ability to see the wonders of God all around

These would make for some adventurous New Year’s goals — and we could keep our chocolate!!


God goes to great lengths to show us how deep His LOVE is for us.

God wants to bless our socks off in ways that he can.

 

There are times, I walk -around-with-an-all-day-smile at his love for me! Once, I wanted a small, nice wooden box to place some special scriptures in. I didn’t really have the money to buy one. A few weeks later, I stopped into a second-hand store, and there it was — a small cedar box, exactly what I had been thinking about. Not only this, but there was also a small version of a picture that I had been admiring for awhile.  I knew immediately they were for me!

I’ve sat in wonder at sky painted in colors that catch my breathe, and I’ve stared at the wonder of leaves that paint a wondrous picture of colors.  I’ve ran into old friends I prayed for the courage to call, and been amazed at how God opened doors I couldn’t knock down.  Small, personal, and specific made me feel loved, known and adored in a HUGE way. 

He does it for all of us, not just me.

So, how has he “awed” you and shown you wonders of his love for you? 

Want to learn more about Wonderstruck? Watch the Wonderstruck Video!