Truth or kindness?

Ever notice how rare it is to find someone who speaks truth in a kind way? Many of us have to be worked up to spout off the truth, and then in ways that are not helpful.

Truth alone can be brutal                                           Kindness alone can be people pleasing

oven

TRUTH baked in the oven of KINDNESS can be digested and used to nourish.

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Don’t worry, be grateful.

Happiness -> Gratitude?    or       Gratitude ->  Happiness?

 

Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything …and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers, if you do this – you will experience God’s peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will keep your heart and mind quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Cutting out the negativity, 30 day challenge

The Zero Negativity Challenge  was mentioned in a previous blog… a 30 day promise of NO negative messages conveyed through words, body language or tone. My family was game, willing to try after a discussion about humor and talking styles.  It builds a safety zone through respect, and encourages self awareness for needs and wants as you learn to ask, and not demand, things from others. This means that the two people, or in our case four, who sign the agreement will let the other know if they feel respect and understanding, and likewise if they hear/see/notice put downs, criticism or dismissive comments.

Zero Neg
True story – our two young adult kids who live at home were both enthusiastic about signing this agreement with us. Thirty days we would all watch what and how we said things to each other. And as our kids and I turned to leave the den, signed agreement in hand, there broke out a discussion that included some criticism regarding a mutual friend accompanied with eye rolling and the works…  after waving the newly signed paper and they quickly added, “this starts tomorrow!” which got quite a laugh from all of us.

It is really difficult to go a day, yet less a month without letting hurt, disappointment or resentment creep in via criticism or sarcasm. This agreement is really a challenge to self regulate, or as the ancient philosopher said “know thyself”. In your day to day, when are you being dishonest and saying Yes to something you really don’t have the energy or motivation to fulfill? When are you past the point of hunger and your blood sugar is wavering or you’re tired and instead of taking a break, you soldier on? Then within moments your voice tone gets snappy or louder or feeling resentful/put out the criticisms or put downs come sliding out because your feel overwhelmed and underappreciated?

Come on, try it. Just for a day – encourage each other and build each other up. It’ll make them wonder what you’re up to. 🙂

A Tale of Two Leaders

If you live anywhere in the NW, you’ve probably seen or heard news reports on a local mega church leader.  This leader is no stranger to controversy, and being in a visible leadership position guarantees some criticism… but the number of former staff and members/attenders who felt their concerns and questions, their push for change were not addressed has peaked into action, and the leader is on leave.

If I could put one thing on his To Do List while on break, it would be to listen to Bill Hybels, Pastor of mega church Willow Creek Church back in the Chicago area.  Please click on the video below to hear an inspiring confession of fear and an amazing story of the process of change, it’s really worth it!  You see, when he was ready to face reality, to hear about the true culture around the church –  he took action steps to correct it.

How?                  (hint)   ear-clip-art-1

Listening!  First Pastor Hybels  invited a third party consultant, Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI), to ask the hard questions, and offer safety/confidentiality and follow up to the staff members’ experiences and concerns.  This is the man who is the founder and head pastor of one of the most influential churches in the country…

Today, more than 20,000 people worship at one of Willow Creek’s six regional campuses each weekend. Churches from around the world look to see what God is up to at Willow, and to find encouragement and equipping for their own ministries. Willow Creek remains, above all else, a local church of Christ followers—a place where people matter to God and to us, where together we seek to live out God’s vision of being an Acts 2 church.

What if our local leader could do the same, ask a third party consultant and learn to really listen?  Listen for understanding – the courageous, difficult task of letting others’ experiences to be heard, and to be valued and acted upon?  There may be many apologies needed here too, many coffees and lunches where relationships are addressed and put right.

It’s been done in Chicago, and it could be done here in Seattle.

To bring this point closer to home, in my home we are committing to:
the 30 day Zero Negativity Challenge (ZN), to build trust and a safe haven to honor our different ways of doing and being.  Watch for the results in one of my future blogs. Or better yet, take your own ZN Challenge and add your comments next month!

 

Heroes from childhood series – Monty Roberts, the man who listens to horses

HERO

noun (pl-roes 

  1. a person distinguished by exceptional courage,nobility, fortitude, etc

 

Cleaning out one of our bookshelves the other day, (we are downsizing and off to see the world in a year or so), gave a chance to glance through books that had a big impact on my life. If a person who questions what they are told is a brave human being, then one who questions what has been modeled by family and culture and finds new ways to create respect and love is a hero.

Monty Roberts, of “The Man Who Listens to Horses” fame has an a-maz-ing story!  If he is an honest cowboy then some of his life stories belong in the movies. From Monty’s earliest years riding and winning in horse shows with kids 5 – 9 years older, to his boyhood adventures camping overnight and observing the wild horses and their communication within the herd, to his stunt riding and a brush with stardom and friendship with James Dean to his dreams coming true with the most well planned out horse stables in the country off the beautiful coast of California and success with choosing, training and riding some talented race horses… and then an unbelievable triumph over an unbalanced business partner who nearly destroyed it all, to his command performance with the Queen of England and the Queen Mother.  His extraordinary way of “joining up” with horses and earning their trust without whips, tie ups or violence allows for the trust of a horse that has never been ridden to accept the bridle, saddle and rider in just 30 minutes!

Monty developed and refined his techniques, similar to other horse gentlers,  in spite of what some family members, the horse culture of the past, his school teachers and more than a few nay sayers told him was possible. He persevered and held to his vision through ridicule and alleged abuse to bring this observant, respectful way of handling horses (and people) to the main stream.  Monty, aged 79  is still in the saddle at “The Flag is Up” Ranch in California teaching these skills to others from around the world and offering Horse Sense and Healing workshops for veterans.

Hurt, not harm

But wait, love doesn’t say or do things that might hurt others, right?  That would go against everything I learned in my Scottandinavian, evangelical Christian background.

On the other hand:

What about “let your yes be yes, and your no be no”?  What about growing up and speaking the truth kindly? What about stop deceiving each other (or ourselves) when we do things we really do not want to do? Are these loving actions?

Sometimes there are hurt feelings when we don’t live up to expectations, spoken or not. Sometimes we share what we see, what we feel or would like and … it does hurt, at first. In an ideal world, we might all want the same things and coast happily along together, rather than the constant negotiation of different needs and wants.

 “Even if I caused you sorrow, I do not regret it.  I see that my letter hurt you,
but only for a little while – yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry,
but because your sorrow led you to repentance.. and so were not harmed in any way by us.”  

There can be surface, fragile connections when we are ‘nice’ to each other.  But when we care enough to bring something up with kindness, there is room for change, restoration or deepened relationship with each other!

What about your experiences relating to speaking up respectfully for what you want? Did you receive what you asked for, lose a friendship, create understanding?