SPRH – Appolo 13

Square Peg in a Round Hole

How often are we trying to get things to “fit”, to work together, when they were never designed to do that? Sometimes we just have to make it work, re-engineer on the fly, and that’s fine, particularly in emergency situations. But do you remember how exhausting that movie is? Emotionally wrenching (Hanks does it again in Gravity, IMHO!) Who wants to live that way all the time?

Isn’t it preferable to engineer your life in such a way that things fit, comfortably, organically? And how great to have a community, a team of folks like in this clip, helping us to problem solve our way toward better living.

Plug into the community now.

Wake up and dream

These aren’t day dreams. These are life dreams.
These are kingdom dreams, God-sized dreams.

Sleeping dreams are weird – like a trip with Alice down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass. They are the result of a swirling mix of your subconscious mind, your anxieties, and whatever you had for dinner. Like I said, WEIRD. They may be scary, or fun, sad, heartwarming or erotic. More often than not, they seem completely detached from reality.

And yet how often do we let them control our reality? How often do we shy away from a challenge because of some nightmare of the danger or risks involved? How often do we pursue a path of unhealthy self-gratification or self-glorification that originated in a dream state? We consume stories in prose and poetry, songs, TV and movies – some of which create a very literal interpretation of these dreamlike experiences – I’m thinking of The Matrix series and Inception. You may know of others that like an MC Escher print fold dimensions inside each other as though each of us were a series of interlocking Mobius strips.

The 2013 holiday release of the new Kristen Wiig and Ben Stiller movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – a remake of the 1947 film starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo – is based on the James Grover Thurber (1894-1961) story from The New Yorker magazine. Mitty is a character who lives in his imagination, with his real life bearing no resemblance to his dreams. Eventually he awakes to this situation, and makes a conscious decision to go and do something else, to Wake up and dream.

Thurber is reported to have said, “Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.” So many of our dreams have us looking in anger or fear.

God’s dreams for us begin with our waking to what is real, right here and now, in our very midst. God with us, Emmanuel. God here in the sorrow and struggle, the laughter and love. The prophet Jeremiah tells us that God’s thoughts toward God’s people are of blessing, and a future with hope. (Jer 29:11) God’s dream is to restore that which has been lost, or that which we only glimpse “as through a veil dimly.”  (1Cor 13:12)

The first and last scenes of the Bible are of a beautiful garden in which human beings are in harmony with one another, they undertake meaningful creative work caring for the world as a central feature of their blessed state, and they are in communion with God who dwells and walks among them. Their home is God’s home. This is the vision, the dream which God is continually dreaming for us and working with us to unfold in and through us.

“And they called him Emmanuel, God with us.”

Most often the Bible uses the word wake with reference to calling people to pay attention to what is happening around them, to shake off the stupor of their sinful and slothful ways. Shake off the haze of the culture which invites you to deny the reality of God and the spiritual world, and even your own spirit. Shake off the sleep that lulls you into believing either that you are the only thing that matters, or that you do not matter at all.

The sojourners from the east came, wise and wealthy – and thereby powerful – yet they humbled themselves before the child Jesus. Shepherds, the least and lowest, the most despised among Jewish society, found themselves with personal engraved invitations to the party of the ages. The “reality” in both situations would have told them to stay away – one because they were too good, and the other because they were not good enough. Yet through dreams and visions they all came to realize that the invitation was for them, and for everyone – “Peace on earth, good will to all.”

What will your dreams reveal, when you begin to let yourself dream them? What is God longing to show you? What is being prepared for you to be and do in the world so that others might experience Emmanuel? Whether you’re a shepherd, a wiseman, an innkeeper, a carpenter, or a young and innocent woman, you have a role to play in the unfolding drama of God’s dream. Will you open to it?

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These reflections were written in preparation for a sermon on 12/29/2013, first Sunday after Christmas. The sermon scriptures were:
Isaiah 52:7-10  ~  Psalm 98  ~  Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)  ~  John 1:1-14

MindTools Resource Page

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My go to site for quizzes, assessments and resources for personal and professional development is MindTools.com.

This site has 1000+ pages of resources conveniently divided into an array of categories:

Access the main page here: MindTools.

From their “The Toolkit” Page


Use links below, in the menu on the left or on the Toolkit menu above to access the Mind Tools toolkit.

Leadership Tools
Whether you’re in a leadership position now, or you’re working towards this, you can become an exceptional leader!

Team Tools
Learn the full range of skills you need to manage a team successfully.

Strategy Tools
We’ll show you the strategy tools taught on MBA courses, and how you can apply them to your situation right now.

Problem Solving Techniques
Devise better solutions to the problems you face by using the skills set out in these articles.

Decision Making Tools
Add some rigor to your decision making with these tried-and-tested approaches and processes.

Project Management Skills
Find out about the formal disciples of project and program management and change management.

Time Management Tools
Beat work overload, increase your effectiveness, and achieve more.

Stress Management Techniques
Learn a range of techniques with our holistic approach to reducing stress.

Communication Skills
From listening to writing emails, running meetings and giving presentations, these tools are vital to your career success!

Creativity Techniques
Learn some powerful and reliable ways of generating the fresh, new ideas you need.

Learning Skills
These articles help you handle information better, learn more effectively and remember things better.

Career Skills
Don’t leave your career progression to chance! Find out how to develop the career you want.

They also have memberships for individuals, organizations and businesses to use in their HR / People Development strategies. Find out more here: MindTools Corporate.If you know of other great sights, or have observations/critiques on this one, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Best Jobs and How to Decide

“What do I want to be when I grow up?”

Whether you’re trying to decide that as a high school or college student, during a midlife “there must be more” crisis, or after a layoff, divorce or other life upheaval, this is an important and difficult question.

One source of data for consideration comes from CNN.com:
Best Jobs in America

You’ll also want to ask yourself:
What do I want out of life?

and:
What am I best at?

As you work through all of that, be sure to have conversation partners who can help you with reality check and creative thinking – both are important in the process and are enhanced through dialogue with other perspectives.

Let us know how we can help.

GROW

This is a useful acronym for a basic process of coaching. You can use this with yourself, in a group where you are a member, and in coaching others.

Goal – What is the desired future state toward which you wish to move?

Reality Check – What is currently going on? What are the feelings, thoughts, actions that brought you to this present, and are keeping you here? What strengths and deficits are part of that picture.

Options for steps forward – What can I/You/We do to move from our present reality to our preferred future? What else? And what else? This is the brainstorming session of the process, where there are no silly, dumb or bad ideas. The more we limit ourselves during this phase, the less our prospect of reaching our goal with success and significance.

Will – “What will I do?” This is the place where I choose a path forward, from all the options identified above. Between “Options” and “Will” critical evaluations and discernment will be made. We also recognize that trial and error, failure and trying again are critical to the process of development.