Pandora is one of my best wise counselors. During our time in Egypt we were discussing some opportunities to serve with some other ministries. We both agreed the new open doors fit in our focus for this chapter of our life. She shared with me, “Roy God does not do rabbit trails. We need to look for the convergence; how God is fitting these puzzle pieces together.”
That wisdom has set me reflecting before the Lord for his perspective on our life. Where do we sense God’s converging work? I see it as the Lord mixing baking dough. As he dusts the dough with a new ingredient he gently works the dough with his hands until it is consistently worked through.
For us the dough seems to have two primary ingredients; individual people and ideas. In the past month I have spent time with four different leaders in churches and ministries. After our time they would share how helpful the time was and how they had greater clarity for moving forward. YES! The Spirit showed up and used me to deliver some of what they needed. It is fun to deliver God’s mail.
The doors opening for Pandora use her rich background in special education but often branch off in other life on life conversations and burdens to pray for others.
In recent months I have received encouragement and opportunities to do some additional writing projects. Pandora is creating new presentations and also developing tools for consulting. It seems God is letting us share ideas from what we are learning here and overseas with the people who share our journey.
So — Convergence for us is quality time with individuals and capturing, distilling and sharing ideas.
How about you? What does convergence look like for your life? What needs to be pruned or started?
A common challenge for the Ministry Leaders and Business Executives I coach is how they can learn from their daily encounters and experiences. The art of reflection is often neglected in the push to add another meeting or another appointment to the day.
Yet I am often reminded of the words of my mentor Dr. Bobbie Clinton, “The number one reason leaders fail to finish well is they plateau.” They stop growing.
Here is a simple way to stay in a learning mode which will allow you to make better decisions and relate to the challenges and relationships in your life with wisdom and discernment. You must create the space by hitting the pause button and reflecting on a short period of time. Once a week will not work. Too much is forgotten and goes stale before you can gain from it. Instead install a “startup” and “shut down” rhythm to your day. Here is a suggested pattern I use. It has been refined over the years as I borrow ideas from other leaders.
A PRACTICAL TOOL TO HELP REFINE, STRETCH, and CORRECT YOUR PERSPECTIVE:
The shutdown ritual should be they last commitment in your work day. Set the appointment with yourself in a quiet area. The same technique is very helpful as a recovery and buffer pause to capture key learnings after a messy challenging encounter.
SHUT DOWN APPOINTMENT WITH YOURSELF:
(10 to 30 minutes) at the end of each work day or right after a strategic meeting.
Use a consistent tool to capture your thoughts as you examine your day. Consistent capture tools may be 3×5 cards, a written journal or private document online.
QUESTIONS TO ASSIST YOU IN REFLECTION:
What did I see today about individuals with whom I had interaction?
What did I see today about our culture? (NOTE PLUSES AND MINUSES)
What di I see about myself today?
What do I offer up in thanks to God?
What do I lay before God in confident faith he will provide the way forward?
How do we want people work together differently?
Based on what happened today what 3 things do I need to do tomorrow and what do I change in my daily plan for tomorrow to create space for these actions?
PART OF THE SHUT DOWN RITUAL IS TO RETURN THE GIFT OF THE DAY BACK TO THE ONE WHO GAVE IT TO YOU.
LAST ACTION BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR WORK DAY…
HANDS — PALMS DOWN ON DESK.
THANK GOD FOR LETTING YOU STEWARD THE DAY.
TRUST HIM FOR GRACE AND STRENGTH TO BRING FRUIT AND GROWTH FROM TODAY’S WORK FOR HIS GLORY. GIVE THE DAY BACK TO HIM.
Once you have the shutdown routine in your rhythm add a “start up” routine
When you first wake up in the morning turn on to your back and look up. Raise both arms with hands palm up to God.
A sample prayer could be: “Father thank you for the rest during the night and now you are offering me a new day to manage. Today is a (work day, play day, rest day, family day, etc., define the major purpose for this day). You have gifted me with this day. Help me to be a good steward and invest it for eternal reward.”
Caution yourself to not pollute the day. If it is a work day don’t lose focus and waste time tracking your teams online. If it is a rest day do not pollute it with work. You get the idea.
Now begin a “perspective” and “getting current” mini-retreat
Read David Allen’s GTD – Getting Things Done book for an excellent overview of a weekly check in. To his words I would add these ideas. In a period of a storm of major changes you need this mini-retreat once a week. Let me suggest you set aside 1/2 of a day to fast, pray, rest, and look back over the recent days by reviewing your daily shut down notes and review your commitments to see if you have not drifted off course.
If you are not in a storm of change you may be able to do the mini-retreat every 4 to 6 weeks.
The most important person you lead is yourself . Poor decisions are made in a reactive rather than reflective mode. It requires discipline to engage in a time of pausing and reflecting which creates space for your thinking and feeling to get to an inner quiet and hear from God. Those who seek him and his wisdom do grow and develop confidence and contentment in their leadership.
One of the ministries God has assigned to me for this chapter of my life is to coach congregational and non-profit ministry leaders. After a recent appointment I was reflecting on what I had contributed. I recalled what the person had validated as being very helpful. I wrote in my journal to remind me to work at getting better at offering effective coaching, “Be very careful to translate inspired intention into concrete action.”
It is so easy to get excited and enjoying being flush with new thoughts and energy that only spin in one’s head or verbally spew out to those around us but fails to answer the questions, “So what are the next 2 to 3 steps that you need to take?” and “When will you begin these actions?”
Change only occurs as we act on our intentions. Faith in the power of God’s Spirit requires we risk; step out.
What has God made clear and stirred up desire to see occur? What is you next action needed? WHEN will you begin?