Sunday, March 05, 2006

Feb 26 - Mar 5
As the picture of Colton shows, the biggest event of the week was Colton getting an EEG. Fortunately all was normal and so that is not the main thing I wanted to focus on this week. Instead I wanted to share what has been on the forefront of my mind for a while now: learning to live with a high level of uncertainty in the future.
Now in reality life is always both very uncertain and very certain. By this I mean that we really have no idea what is going to happen in the next minute. Just ask anyone who was on the beach when the tsunami hit or an earthquake struck or even when they fell in love. These things are not expected and are out of our control. At the same time God is certain. He is good and loving and unchanging and on and on, and I can bank on these things. No matter what happens He is certain. Oswald Chambers articulates this concept and the godly response much better than I in My Utmost for His Highest,
"Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon UNCERTAINTY as a bad thing... CERTAINTY is the mark of the common-sense life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation."
So this all brings me to what I have been feeling of late. Due to the fact that our visas expire this month and our NGO is being taken to court with the goal of shutting us down, I have been living in a sea of uncertainty for a few months now. How many times have I said something to the effect of, "we have to wait to do that until we get our visas"? In the same conversation we talk about renovations we may do on the house next year, and what we will take with us if we are forced to leave next month. I have found that I have grown accustomed to the feeling over time although numb is probably a closer description. I am somewhere in between deep faith that Jesus will be with us and take care of regardless of what happens (due mostly to seeing Him do it in the past), and a faithless laziness that just does not want to deal with all that is going on inside of me.
In many ways, however, I like living this way because it keeps me on the edge. There is the danger of it becoming like that low constant hum of the fridge that we stop recognizing after a while, but that has not happened yet as is evident by the fact that I am writing about it now. I am forced regularly to go to God and seek His guidance for how to spend the time I have here; every decision is made with the thought that we may not be here in a month; I have to wrestle with what faith means in this situation; I have to wrestle with the temptation to stop learning language or putting time into any long-term activity as it will feel wasted if we leave soon. These are all good things. I am learning to appreciate what Chambers says and to even do it sometimes. But I still have a long way to go. I pray the Lord keeps me in a situation in which I feel it so intensely until I have learned it is true even when everything "seems" more stable.
On another note, one thing I would like to include here is books I am reading with comments. This will force me to do this discipline whereas I don't seem to do it otherwise.
Wild at Heart- John Eldridge- God has put three pursuits in men's hearts- a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to win. Man is made to be wild and dangerous. Satan corrupts this and we see abuse and violence and so on. The world tries to squelch it and we see emasculated men. Most, if not all, men have been wounded and most of them by their dads. They were told they did not have what it takes until they believed it.
I agree with a lot of what he says in the book and it speaks to something deep within me. I think most people need to read the book if only for the chapter on the "beauty to win". I think he nails what women want and who they are and how they have been wounded right on the head.
Waking the Dead- John Eldridge- Reading this one for the second time as we study it together as a team. Very similar message to Wild at Heart, but this is to a more general audience. The heart is central to life and most of us have had our heart taken out and so we walk around like dead people. Jesus promised to give us life abundantly. What happened? He uses mythic tales which have three eternal truths- life is more that what we see, their is a battle for our souls taking place, each of us plays a crucial role. He uses four streams to explain how we get the life Jesus promised- Walking with God, Receiving God's intimate counsel, Deep restoration, & Spiritual warfare: the battle for our hearts- and all of these come together as we live in community.
I recommend this book as well. Very significant impact on my life.
Boyhood and Beyond- Bob Schultz- Reading this one slowly. Using it as I talk about becoming a man with my boys. It is not really that great, but has some good solid ideas. I prefer Raising a Modern-Day Knight as a tool for raising boys to become men.
First, Break All the Rules- Coffman? & ?- It is at the office, and I can't remember the authors names. I have not read much management type books so this one may be par for the course, but I am finding it wonderful. In terms of leading my team and running our office it is very helpful. Interviewed over 100,000 employees and 80,000 managers over 25 years and analyzed the data and determined what is key to successful businesses, namely great managers. It is very practical. I don't have time to write everything about it. 12 key questions to ask, focus on outcomes, four things great managers do, and on and on. I tried to do something with our team in terms of goal setting and it did not go well. I was not sure why and was blaming the team members in my mind. I read the chapter that covers the idea of goals setting and saw that I made a common mistake. They predicted exactly what happened in our situation. I saw that I had gone about the wrong way and have since been revising the way I do this with the team.
Jesus, The One and Only- Beth Moore- I started reading this one because we had it here, and I was looking for books on Jesus. I am only reading it now because I hate to not finish a book. It is not bad, but it is definitely written for women. I don't know if all of Beth Moore's books are written to/for women, but this one is. In reading it I feel like I am interrupting a women's time and don't need to be there.
The Treasure Principle- Randy Alcorn- Just started this one. He carries out the idea that it is better to give than to receive. The most joyful person is the one who gives the most. I need to hear this. I am trying to put it into ptractice. We'll see what happens.  Posted by Picasa

D - One of the books you mentioned - First, Break All the Rules - is highly regarded where I work, at Dell, Inc. I'd say it's better than average. Thanks for your recommendation about Waking the Dead - I will pick that up. Valerie Davis
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