Category Archives: Marriage

The Difference Between Goal-Consciousness and Growth-Consciousness

 

personal-growth-bannerI highly recommend The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by Dr. John C. Maxwell. Whatever your industry, I believe the information in this book will equip you to reach higher levels of success.

I’m in an intense  growth mode right now. Where do I begin?

I’ve been growing incrementally over the past several years simply because of the people with whom I’ve been associated. This year I made a decision to grow exponentially. Why? Because I desire an exponential increase of results in several areas of my life, and for my results to grow, I must grow.

I resonate with the concepts Dr. Maxwell expresses. I was so excited to hear him speak live in Houston a couple months ago, and when offered the opportunity, I promptly enrolled in a 12-week video course by Dr. Maxwell highlighting each of the 15 Laws.

Today I’m submitting for your consideration the paradigm shift from Goal-Consciousness to Growth-Consciousness.

How are they  different?

1. Goal-Consciousness focuses on a destination whereas Growth-Consciousness focuses on the journey.

2. Goal-Consciousness stops when the goal is reached, but Growth-Consciousness keeps you growing past the goal.

3. Goal-Consciousness is seasonal or temporary; Growth-Consciousness is a lifelong pursuit.

4. Goals challenge us, while Growth changes us.

5. Goals motivate us and others, but Growth Matures us and others.

One mindset is about something you accomplish; the other about someone you become.

Make a commitment to grow intentionally. It’s absolutely worth it.

 

 

I Declare!

At the end of each year, I take inventory and evaluate how I did against the goals I set at the beginning of that year. I learned from a mentor the 4-step magic of Plan, Do, Check, Adjust. I repeat that cycle at varying levels of intensity with weekly, monthly and annual targets.

Often out of that year-end process will emerge a word or concept that I feel led to focus on  in the year ahead. My word this year is DECLARATION.

I have observed a different 4-step process to this point.

  1. Hearing.
  2. Believing.
  3. Confessing.
  4. Declaring.

 

One leads to the other. Hearing leads to believing. You can believe quietly for a while, but if you keep on hearing and hearing, then belief fills up and overflows from your lips. The force and emotion of the overflow is the difference between confessing and declaring. I have for a few years now been confessing promises I hold on to, repeating them quietly and almost apologetically as if to reassure myself. Eventually belief reaches another critical tipping point.  I now find myself declaring God’s promises with motion and emotion.

A higher degree of urgency, on a platform of deeper trust. Now more fully assured of His goodness I speak with greater authority from a place of larger calm.

I must thank my friend Becky George for sharing this video tool with me.  In my encounter with this video, I went through the 4 stages, just more quickly. As I listened, belief grew until I quietly read along with the video. These days I’m on my feet, reading loudly and much faster than the video, declaring entire sections from memory, gesturing with my arms, eyes flashing…

These words are from a book titled “I Declare,” by Joel Osteen. 

Quietly or aloud, enjoy!

Listen intently; Declare boldly!

Just Do It

img_2366I don’t blog much, pronounced “at all,” anymore, because I’m too busy living life to sit down and write about it.

Wait, that’s not entirely true. I don’t have time to sit and write the perfect, well-thought-out, highly-impacting, carefully-crafted piece that I would like to deliver. So instead I write nothing, since it can’t be perfectly planned and executed with brilliance. Does that ever stop you? Can’t do it perfectly so you don’t do it at all?

My challenge to myself this year is to stop and share an insight in the most polished form that I can muster inside of 10 minutes. The point is that even an unfinished thought expressed carries more power than a perfect thought unfired.

This is taking me to a song I learned when I was but a wee lad (who says that?). I think this off-the-cuff writing may reveal far too much about me, and now it is too late — the ship has sailed, the train is rolling.

Here’s that song that I learned over 30 years ago, and it made such an impression that 3 decades later I don’t need to look up the lyric, it’s still written on my heart:

Brighten the Corner

Do not wait until some deeds of greatness you may do

Do not wait to shed your light afar

To the many duties ever near you now be true

Brighten the corner where you are

 

Love,

Lenn

 

Alliance: Month 3 — I have a daughter!

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Wow, what a ride!! We are now 95 days into this alliance and I have already learned so much. I’m being stretched and challenged constantly. I’m also enjoying family life immensely!

One of my favorite revelations of the past couple months is the great difference between the statements “I am a father, ” and “I have a daughter!”

The first statement is about an offer of relationship on my part. My children may or may not accept that offer. I’m offering protection and provision and care and emotional support and presence, and commitment and on and on… That’s my offer and it’s wrapped in the statement “I am a father.”

The second statement is about how that offer is received and reciprocated. Will you simply take the provision and protection, or will you also return honor and affection, and submission to my authority?

When I last opened a window into this part of my life, both of the younger members of our team were adamantly refusing to be my children. They wanted a dad, but had no idea what that looks like and how it changes their lives. So any assertion of authority on my part was met with staunch defiance. The proverbial shaking of the fist and the cry “I am not yours.”

I’ve learned so much about the way I have related to my earthly and heavenly fathers. How deliberate am I about sonship? I have the best possible father who is in heaven, and He has blessed with an amazing father here on earth. So statement one is covered, but how am I doing at being a son to them? How am I doing at seeking their interests, their vision, submitting to their authority which seeks only my highest good? Am I operating as son or orphan? Do I want only the blessings but not the responsibilities of relationship?

The question applies across the board to all types of relationship. Do I simply have a great wife, or am I a great husband (pronounced: servant) to my great wife? Am I a son to my father in heaven? Am I a son to my father on earth? Would my actions indicate an identity of stranger, slave, servant or son? Am I honoring and affectionate or sullen and stand-offish?

Are you a son?

Are you a daughter?

On earth as it is in heaven?

Would God say of you “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased,” or is He only able to say of you “I am his/her father.”

Nothing pleases the heart of a father like watching his children walk in their identity as sons and daughters.

Great News, Y’all!!! I have a daughter!!! She was my daughter anyway because her identity is true regardless of her response. She was no less my daughter before she owned it. But now she knows it and that means she can receive so much more of the abundance encoded within that identity. Be at peace in this, friend, that you are a child of the King whether or not you have walked in that identity, but there is such favor and fullness when you put that identity on and wear it like a treasured robe!

She waits for me when I get home in the evening, she comes out to the car and takes my laptop, my camera bag, the food bag, she literally insists that I carry nothing. She won’t even let me open the door! Then she orders me to wait at the table while she dishes up the scrumptious meal my wife has created, and my daughter serves me dinner.

She asks me daily “Are you busy?” which is code for “Can you hang out with me?” If you know me, you know I’m busy. But I’m never so busy I can’t make time to hang with this beautiful creature/creator. She makes these great little movies on an app called Musical.ly and she delights in showing them to me.

We had a momentary disconnect last week. She yelled hurtful things at me. I put on a brave face, but as soon as she stormed out, I retreated to the office, curled up on the floor and cried. Not long after, she came to the door and knocked. I uttered a weak, “come in.”

She stood near my desk and said “I’m sorry.” I stuck up my hand and said “I love you.” She grabbed my hand and said “I love you too.”

Thank you Jesus! I have a daughter!

Life with Family: It ain’t easier; it’s just sweeter!

 

 

Alliance: Month One

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A month ago today I married my best friend. We’ve lived happily ever after. Wedded bliss. Cake by the Ocean. The End.

Except not.

This has been one of the hardest months of my life.  I was tempted not to write about it, but it may serve someone else to hear this story.

For the past 8 years I’ve known Darlene and her kids and I’ve been fun Uncle Lennox to these children for most of that time. We’ve done museums and beach trips and movie nights and board games and, for crying out loud, they’ve painted my nails and put makeup on my face! We’ve been in each others’ lives for so long I think I expected a seamless transition.

This transition has been anything but smooth. Now I’m not just fun Uncle, but a voice saying chores must be done and rules must be followed and consequences will apply and suddenly I’ve become persona non grata with these lovely kids. I’m confident we will find our way to a mutual respect and collaborative alliance, but that has not happened in these 31 days.

From each kid, at separate times, and at the top of their lungs, I have been told “I hate you! I don’t want you here! You don’t belong here! You ruined my life!”

It hurt! It hurts terribly. I’ve loved these kids for almost a decade. I call them my son and my daughter. Did I just get discarded because you don’t want to wash a dish? Wow, is that the value of this relationship to you? And then here come the manipulative questions of the enemy: Who do you think you are? What makes you think you belong here? Why don’t you go back to the easier path?

I say this for the benefit of the newly married step-dad who has had a similar experience. No, you’re not crazy, this happens.

Time for some good news. My wife has been a champion, always had my back, never wavered. Together we have welcomed help from professionals, from church, and from community. She has spoken over me the prophetic words that we’ve received from God. She has covered me in prayer. We have grown so much closer than we ever were before. Our connection is deeper than ever and our bond tighter than I realized possible. Our routine takes us to God and to each other every single morning.

Where is the goodness of God in this story? Let me show you! Day 18 “we” (pronounced: Lennox) had a melt-down at 3:37 pm, but had to leave at 4:30 to keep an appointment we had made a week earlier. The appointment? To receive prayer from a couple we respect highly, who have also walked the path of blending families.

So we got filled up from them with not only the advice of experienced parents, but they also spoke to the insecurities that surfaced in me. They counteracted and removed the falsehood “Who do you think you are? You can’t do this!”

The lie was exposed and dismissed within 90 minutes after it had been stirred up in my mind and before it had time to sink into my heart and insinuate into some corner where it could breed and fester unchallenged in the dark.

They prayed over me the truth of who I am, a Tarzan swinging from vine to vine, letting go of one vine before catching sight of the other, relying on the sheer confidence that it WILL be there! Bless God– He is faithful!!

They gave us pages and pages of encouragement and truth, and we had to interrupt them in order to get to our next appointment, which was the arrival of a team from Coast Hills Community Church to pray a blessing over our home. Turns out the pastors of Open Door Community Church, Jim and Penny, also showed up, bringing along two friends of theirs who were visiting from California. This convergence of three different worship communities proceeded to fill us up another 2 hours.

So yes, there was the hurt that exposed a lie in me, followed by 4 hours of truth poured on top of the wound, and all of that encouragement already on the calendar at least a week prior to the hurtful exchange. There is the goodness of God. There is His glory. He knew ahead of time we would need that power boost at that moment.

That was just one day of these 31. I can go on and on about how good this month has been, because in spite of this being the most challenging month I’ve ever lived, it’s also the most blessed and highly favored month I’ve ever lived. On all fronts, in family, in ministry, in business we are seeing the goodness of God in manifest ways.

I cannot wait to see what happens in month two!!!

 

Ring on my finger

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It’s a nice hefty ring. If I drop it just right, it makes a dull thud quite like the ring of power from Lord of The Rings. Darlene’s been wearing her’s since the day I proposed, because it doubled as an engagement ring and a wedding ring. But I didn’t get my ring until she put it on my finger on stage during our wedding last Saturday.

Speaking of wedding, they told me I’d be nervous, but that’s not at all what happened. We both had a lot of fun! It was a beautiful time and space, thanks to so many wonderful people pitching in. The music was elegant and perfect, thanks to Kristin and Kohler; the room was magnificent thanks to Erica and Danae and borrowed decor from Missi. I don’t even know who all contributed to that magical time. There was Allen who officiated, and Michael and Pat running sound, and the whole cleanup crew from CHCC, Jim Cook, We Three who played one song for us and then dashed away to provide music at another wedding in Newberg. Darlene’s amazing high-school friends slaved in the kitchen with desserts for our guests. Rachel did a masterful job coordinating timelines and logistics. There was so much love and support. We are grateful to the Kings and Warriors who came and stood with us as we spoke our vows. That was a truly powerful moment for me. We are grateful to the dancers and the clapping throng. Some of you flew in from another state to spend 2 hours with us and share a 5-minute connection. Thank you, each and everyone. 

I could not be any happier than I am to wear this ring. I could not be more proud or more grateful. In the 5 days since, something is definitely different. Darlene’s been my best friend for the past 8 years, but something is really different now. Not just sex. Talking about a shift in the way we relate to one another, a new sense of purpose and destiny, a new way of standing together in God’s presence. It’s amazing! I feel a quickening with the ratification of this Alliance. Things that would have taken years will be accomplished in months. Acceleration and Increase. Provision, Abundance and Favor. Joshua 1:8 — Be strong and courageous for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give to them as an inheritance.

Our honeymoon has been a time of rest and preparation. Today we return to our lives with a heightened sense of vision and mission. Living was always going to be hard work. Now a new element of delight comes into focus. It’s still going to be work; but fun too!! Because two are better than one!