Saturday, August 29, 2015

Just Live

This was mostly written on Monday, August 24.

Happy Monday! It's the first day of a new work week! This is last week that my wife Toni will be seeing clients in her Cokato office. Next week she'll be fully invested in her Roseville work. This is also the first week of a new set of routes* that I'm driving for Metro Transit. So far so good.

On the weekend I was glad to get some work done at home on on Saturday while Toni enjoyed time with college roommates. On Sunday we worshiped at Mission Point church. That was a new experience for both of us. Not only because neither of us had worshiped there before, but also because they meets in a movie theater!** That wouldn't be my choice, but I'm not in control.

my sister Karen pins on Nicholas' Eagle Scout badge
Then, yesterday afternoon, we spent time with family at, and then after, my nephew Nicholas' Eagle Scout Court of Honor. The most impressive part of that for me was hearing from some of his friends about way Nicholas had influenced their lives in really good ways. One boy was particularly thankful because Nicholas invited him to a scout meeting several years ago -- and it was because of that invitation that he had grown personally and in relationship with others through the scouting program. So great to hear about!

It was great to hear from Nicholas and the scout leaders and Nick's friends. I enjoyed that even though the ceremonial aspects of the afternoon weren't really my cup of tea. But, just like I said about the worship service in the theater, I wasn't in control.


I've been thinking and praying a lot these days about the issue of "control of "control" and "influence" and "concern." A couple months ago Steve Wiese*** gave Toni a something to pass on to me -- a copy of his book The Illusion of Control. Steve is a psychologist who I went to see about 15 years ago at a time when I had to take time off from my pastoring work. 

Toni remembers how he helped me sort out things that I may have been trying to control or influence from things that I either needed to just go of or just pray about. She remembered how he gave me some little slips of paper and had me put, on each one, things that concerned me or that troubled me in some way. (At the time we were focusing on my pastoring environment.) He then had me sort the slips into three piles - those things that I could control, things that I couldn't control but that I could influence in some way, and things that were beyond my control or influence -- things that were merely concerns.

That's the main idea of Steve's book. I think I've learned some of it's lessons and have put them into practice. In many ways I have learned to let go of things I have no control over.
Note: I didn't finish writing this on Monday. The parts in italics were added 5 days later.
What the Lord is leading me to consider in these days is what areas of influence I need to release too. Honestly, there are times when even influencing others is beyond what I'm capable of, at least in terms of what I'm able to see or know. Earlier, as I began writing this, I posted this on facebook:
I wish I could change other people. But that's not God's way. So I will follow God's call to live faithfully in the midst of brokenness.
Sometimes, even often, that is God's call to me -- to not focus on others at all but to simply live as God wants me to even when I don't see any way in which my life or my presence is going to make a difference to anyone else.

This blog is an example of that principle. I write here, not only because I think it might make a difference to someone else, but because it's what God is calling me to do. In a way, this is my "art" -- like David had his lute, I have my blog, and my time with the Lord as I write.

God bless you today with His purpose in your life.


* I've been working as a bus operator since July 15 (after 5+ weeks of training). My first set (or "pick") of routes began then. The new pick begins now and continues through Dec. 11.

** A theater wouldn't be my choice for a worship venue. I prefer a setting that makes worship seem less "performance" oriented. I'm not in control though. I was told that the leadership was open to that setting because some people have had less than positive impressions or even negative experiences of church-like atmospheres. In any case, we were able to interact with other worshipers. After the message we were encouraged to talk and pray with 1 or 2 others sitting near us. That was a good thing.

*** Steve Wiese helped me personally many years ago. We connected again as I joined Per Nilsen's message planning team when he was senior pastor of North Heights. Since 2014's staff changes there we haven't been much in contact.  I don't think it's a coincidence that Steve Wiese's office is in the same building where Toni is sub-letting space for her massage therapy business.

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