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A few weeks back, I met a gentleman at church named Tim. Tim and his wife had been married many years (I can’t remember exactly, but it was at least 30) and weathered many trials through their marriage (cancer included).
Naturally I asked him what the secret was – as I usually do when I meet someone with an epic marriage. “How have they stuck together through everything?”
He simply replied,
The 15 second kiss.
Intrigued, I asked, “What do you mean?“… though I suppose I could have figured it out.
He responded, “Every day, my wife and I always give each other a 15 second kiss. It’s long enough that you can’t fake it – it forces us to connect.”
As a species, we have developed a “threat response,” a cascade of physiological, emotional, and cognitive events that occur when we perceive a conflict. We typically refer to this set of reactions as a fight, flight, or freeze response. Recent neuroscience research has shown that our brains and bodies can respond to certain interpersonal situations the same way we react to literal threats to our physical safety. Psychologists refer to these experiences as “social threats.”
If a couple is wise, even before they get engaged, they’ll ask their friends and family some big questions of their own. They will seek advice about developing domestic harmony, having a unified vision for financial peace and confirming their theological alignment. They will beg for insight into the melding of diverse backgrounds into a new family. They’ll gauge others’ opinions on the compatibility of their personalities, callings and life plans. They will ask for advice on wedding and honeymoon plans. Though these questions take different forms and concern different subjects, they are all essentially asking the same thing: Are we ready to get married?
But after the wedding day, the questions often taper off. Rarely do married couples ask themselves some of the great questions that helped get them to where they are. Having answered the initial question, “Are we ready to get married?” couples forget to ask the ongoing question, “Are we ready to stay married?” Like the former question, the latter can take many forms. For those of us who want to be really good at staying married, let’s revisit some of our original lines of inquiry to get some new answers to old questions.
“This picture makes me feel so many mixed emotions.. I remember the day I wore the dress in the very first picture. I remember asking for spanx to flatten my stomach because I use to feel so heavy and “fat”. Now looking at this picture, you can clearly see my hip bones. It makes me sad because I wasted so many years ashamed of my body when I could’ve been living the happy and healthy life I live today. It TRULY just goes to show you that your perceptions can lie to you. OR they can make you learn to enjoy life. Fortunately looking at the picture of myself in the red dress yesterday, I not only feel so grateful for the love and support I’ve had from fans, friends and family, but… I also feel.. beautiful. I’m so excited to live my life the way I deserve to and to the complete fullest. Demi Lovato 2014 VMA
It’s your job to motivate the troops, but what about the stragglers? Many leaders believe we’re all adults, so if some employees aren’t keeping up, ultimately you must fire them.
Before the problem gets to that point though, are you putting in the right effort to get your weaker employees up to par? Amy Gallo, a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, interviewed experts on how to correctly motivate those underperformers. Check out her suggestions below.
Address the problem head-on
Find the root cause
Make sure you are objective
Coach the employee and lay out the plan
Start a conversation
Follow up and monitor progress
Take action if needed
Reward them for changes
My year hasn’t exactly gone as planned. The company I founded,These Numbers Have Faces, went through stages of great growth last year, but the maintenance of it all has been really challenging.
For months I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Anxiety has come roaring back into my life and all the while, there are hundreds of talented students on the waiting list to join our programs in Africa.
To top it off, my wife and I are expecting our first child in only a few weeks time. We’re thrilled of course, but the future is downright scary.
Worry, fear, dread, regret.
We’ve all been there.
Ever wonder why Joseph didn’t sleep with Potiphar’s wife? He certainly could have. She came on to him often, and finally got so tired of his rejections that she lied and said he tried to rape her. Joseph ended up in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
But what gave Joseph the strength to not give in to temptation?
First, Joseph knew what was his and what wasn’t, and Potiphar’s wife was not his, and Joseph had a great deal of respect for Potiphar. Second, and second is important, Joseph knew his own destiny.
He’d been told in a dream he would become a powerful man. And that was beginning to happen in Joseph’s life. Joseph ran all of Potiphar’s affairs. He may not have known it then, but he was in training to run all of Egypt.
One of the most important elements of story has to do with what the main character wants. Does he want the girl? Does the football team want to win the state championship? If we don’t know what the main character wants, the story is boring and dull and it’s torture to sit through.
The same is true for a human life.
“There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in,” McKeown says. “And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital.”
That’s the crucial difference between blessing and burden. We can fill our time with very good things and end up saddled, straddled, and stressed. That’s because good things might still be trivial.
As McKeown shows, Essentialism is a lifestyle focused on discerning the difference between the “many trivial” and the “vital few.” Essentialists are committed to the vital few in every circumstance they can manage.
The benefits include not only lower stress, but the satisfaction of developing real excellence and making a vital contribution through our callings.
I broke up with my wife twice while we were dating. That often comes as a shock to those close to us, particularly because they can’t figure out why she dated me in the first place. I can’t either.
She was everything I wanted—everything I had dreamed of in a woman. Electric personality. Exotically gorgeous. Well-travelled. The uncanny ability to light up a room. A faith that was real and seasoned. The strength of conversation (she kept it going so I didn’t have to). The list went on, and as it did, I became more and more convinced I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my life waking up next to her.
Yet, even then, I broke it off twice. Why? (I feel two-thirds embarrassed and one-third extremely embarrassed to admit this)
Because it wasn’t easy.
Whether we are in school, raising a family, in the midst of our career or balancing a combination of these, we have been given many opportunities for stewardship.
For those unfamiliar with church speak, or who haven’t had the jargon explained to them, stewardship means a responsibility for another’s property. This makes sense when we realize that everything we have has been given to us by God. He wants us to use these gifts and do great things with them.
Time is one of those gifts. Discipline, diligence and excellence are ways in which we use his “property” to please Him. Being a good steward, though, means also doing something seemingly counter-productive with our time. We must rest.
OUT OF THE OVERFLOW – I sleep with the Pastor
We must start living our daily lives, and doing ministry out of the overflow of God. People need Jesus more than they need me, or you. We need to start praying for God to root all of us out, so we have more room to fill Him in. I want when people to see me to see Jesus. I want when I leave a place, or a conversation for people to desire more and more of Jesus. I want them to experience Jesus, not Jessica.
May the anointing of God start filling us, and the places we go. We sing these songs to be the lights of this world, or songs to fill us up and send us out. But are we just sleeping and singing corporate karaoke or are we truly awakening to the power of the words of these songs and desiring every cell in our body to be covered by Jesus.
Remember that scene from The Karate Kid in which Mr. Miyagi made Daniel wax his car? (What — you’ve never seen that movie?! Shame on you. Go watch it now. It’s a classic!)
The point of the exercise wasn’t to teach Daniel how to buff. It was to teach him the fundamentals of a craft he didn’t understand.
So Daniel spends weeks doing this repetitive, boring task, without really understanding why. Over and over again, he scrubs that car until it shines like nothing else — until finally he can’t take it anymore.
He didn’t sign up for this. He wanted to learn Karate. He wanted to be awesome. And this felt like a chore, a waste of time. But Miyagi shows him what he’s been doing has been preparation for all the moves he’s going to learn. In fact, he’s already learned them — without realizing it.
Daniel learns an important lesson here. And so do we when we commit ourselves to the work, not just the fruit.
What social research says about the power of vulnerability at work & at home.
Research shows that projecting as if we have it all together is both “dated” and “destructive.”On the contrary, when we’re willing to take off the masks of who we “should” be to admit who we currently are, we create a human connection that is not only necessary for relationship, but critical to inspiring (or leading or helping) others.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of inspiration. Brene Brown, a long-time student of vulnerability and the author of “Daring Greatly,”says it this way:
Our ability to be vulnerable forms the basis for our connection with others, a connection that is critical if we are to inspire others. (Read more)
Vulnerability inspires change. Peter Fuda and Richard Badham spent 5 years studying the effects of vulnerability in a professional workplace. Their conclusion?
When a leader (read: parent, pastor…etc) admits their own weakness, it invites a mutual accountability that creates momentum for change. This act of humility is seen as courageous and inspires others to follow suit. As more members of the team join the process, the snowball becomes more tightly compacted and almost impossible to stop.
Focus, Perspective, and Leading Well – Christine Caine
THE MORE LIFE I LIVE, AND THE MORE CIRCUMSTANCES I FACE, THE MORE CONVINCED I AM THAT IN ORDER TO FULFILL OUR CALLING, WE MUST BE SELECTIVE IN THE THINGS WE LOOK FOR IN LIFE.
If we as leaders truly desire to live out our God given purpose and destiny, we must make the decision to follow God with our whole hearts and maintain a passionate faith walk. I have come to the realization that the perspective we maintain actually determines the purpose in which we walk in.
As leaders it can be easy to become distracted and miss the plans and purposes God has for our lives because our focus is on unimportant, insignificant things (that just happen to be screaming the loudest for our attention!).
4 Places to Encounter Jesus That May Surprise You – Jonathan Merritt
A few years ago, I found myself in a time of profound spiritual emptiness. I’d been working in the church world for many years and my time of service was a period of sweet struggle. Crafting sermons, trying to make much of Jesus. Calling people to faith, and reminding those who found it to keep doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.
BUT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY MINISTRY HAD BECOME A JOB. ANOTHER WAYPOINT IN MY EFFORTS TO SAVE THE WORLD. I SPENT MORE TIME TALKING ABOUT GOD THAN TALKING TO HIM. MORE TIME DESCRIBING GOD’S PRESENCE THAN BATHING IN IT.
I had become a travel agent pointing to God like a far-off tourist attraction when I should have been travelling there myself.
I tried to balance my increasing workload with budding writing opportunities, a juggling act that often left both efforts unfinished. I was moving bricks from one stack to another. Worse still, I was moving farther away from the God I wanted so badly to draw near to.
So I decided to take a journey to meet the God of the Bible. What I discovered is that Jesus often shows up in unexpected spaces.
+ this great one:
We’ve all seen a thousand action-movie scenes that play out the same way: Two guys are locked in an intense battle. As the music drives toward the crescendo, the wrestling match nears a precipice. The good guy shows that he’s been establishing his victory all along. In a dramatic moment, he switches all his energy from fighting the other’s attack to leveraging it. The bad guy’s force becomes the very thing that flings him to his doom.
As parents, there are times when we feel like we’re in a similar wrestling match with our kids. The only problem is, we shouldn’t be—and we know it (Eph. 6:12). We must remember that the battle already took place. The attack Satan mounted to crush God is the very action God leveraged to seal Satan’s doom. As Christian parents, we have the great joy of a victory already secured at the cross.
Let’s face it, work/life balance is elusive. And to apprehend it isn’t as easy as putting the different pieces of your life on a scale and trimming where necessary.
That’s because work/life balance, and all of it’s assumed benefits, isn’t actually about balance. It’s about rhythm. And the natural rhythm of our life is something we, of the 21st century, traded away a long time ago.
1. Manage energy, not time.
It’s what chronobiology calls “Ultradian cycles,” or the patterns of life shorter than 24 hours. Examples of these cycles would be the 90-minute REM cycle, the 4-hour nasal cycle, or the 3-hour pattern of growth hormone production.
However, perhaps the more helpful reality we get from these cycles is what Leo Widrich crystalizes in his recent article, “The Origin of the 8 Hour Workday…” when he says,
The basic understanding is that our human minds can focus on any given task for 90-120 minutes. Afterwards, a 20-30 minute break is required for us to get the renewal to achieve high performance for our next task again.
This understanding of our brain’s natural rhythm challenges the validity of our 8-hr-straight work days with the absence of methodical breaks, as well as our propensity to manage our clocks, rather than our mental energy.
God doesn’t want us to live in isolation. I realized many years ago that I desperately need people in my life in order to fulfill my purpose. My parents invested in me, and so did teachers, coaches, employers, pastors, role models and good friends. I am not self-made, and neither are you. Any success we have achieved is the result of someone taking time to instruct, encourage or correct us. That’s humbling!
I’ve found six types of mentors who have helped me in my spiritual journey:
1. Distant mentors.
2. Occasional mentors.
3. Supportive friends.
4. Negative mentors.
5. Reverse mentors.
6. Spiritual fathers and mothers.
Seven Principles for Setting Goals that Work – Michael Hyatt
How do you make change happen? More than that, how do you make the right change happen? When there is a gap between what is and what you want to be, how do you cross that gap?
I used to think I had my stuff together. Then I got married.
Marriage is great—but it rocked everything I knew. I quickly realized my basic goal in life, prior to getting married, was to simply remain undisturbed.
This “disruption” came suddenly and was disguised as a 5-foot-nothing Swedish-Filipino woman. When I decided I’d rather not live without her, I proceeded to ask her to marry me—that is, to officially invite someone who wasn’t me to be in my personal space for the rest of my life.
This decision introduced my most significant experiences and most challenging experiences—none of which I would trade for the world.
However, I wish I’d had a bit more insight on the front end of our marriage to help me navigate it all.
According to most research, more than 50 percent of people who say “I do” will not be sleeping in the same bed eight years from now. And though Scripture alludes to the fact that adultery and abuse may be reasons individuals might end a marriage, I’d be willing to bet that most challenges experienced in marriage are the result of unawareness. Most people—myself included—jump into marriage with suitcases full of misconceptions and bad theology, entirely unaware of the unique beauty and paradoxical intentions of marriage.
There is no such thing as “The One.” – Tyler Ward
HISTORY. The idea of ”THE ONE” and a “soul mate” comes originally from Plato, the Greek philosopher.
In his book, the Symposium, his character Aristophanese suggests that the reason romantic attraction is generally so strong, was because at one point, we were all round people. Rather, we all were both male & female, and because of this, the human race became too powerful. So, Zeus split humans in two with the intention that we’ll spend our time trying to find our other half and won’t threaten the gods.
Sounds about right, eh?
REALITY. The spouse you spend your life with is your choice.
With as little as the Bible talks about initially getting married, it implies that it is a choice based on character & faith – not feelings or destiny.
The Cure for Burnout – Ann Voskamp
Turns out that you can spend your life looting the world, looking for acceptance, only to find that all that made you feel acceptable — were phony fakes of the real thing.
That’s why it never lasts. That’s why you get up everyday still desperate for something, someone, to keep saying you are somebody. That you are somebody who is okay enough, who is acceptable enough, who is more than good enough.
Sin is really about what you let determine your acceptability.
The conductor’s focus never wavers.
The symphony only happens, the symphony only makes music, when you are brave enough to simply turn your back to the critics and your face toward the place where the music’s made. I close my eyes, because I can, because I cannot. Music’s only made in the place of acceptance —– accepting the beautiful reality of the notes.
That’s the thing: We all get to choose where we set up the stage of our lives — before the Crowds, the Court, the Congregation, the Critics (inner or otherwise)-– or the Cross of Christ.
All except One will assess your performance.
Only One will accept you before your performance.
The Problem With Entitlement, Part 1 – The Actual Pastor
Paula D’Arcy was in her twenties when a terrible car accident (due to a drunk driver) took her husband and 21 month old child, leaving her pregnant and alone. She railed against God, she cried, she despaired. Almost everything she knew about life died in that car crash. But she gave birth to her second daughter, and slowly, she returned to life. This tragedy sent her on a slow journey towards a life and ministry centered on the things that emerged out of that tragedy. She calls these bedrock beliefs “The Things I Know For Certain.” Because they flow out of deep pain and loss, as I read them, they strike me as invitations into a different way of living, beyond entitlement and into gratefulness. I’ll list them below.
1. I am certain everything is a gift.
2. I am certain we are entitled to nothing.
3. I am certain the wells for joy and pain are not separate.
4. I am certain bitterness and healing are a choice.
5. I am certain that running from darkness only leads to greater darkness.
6. I am certain the darkness is held ultimately by light.
7. I am certain that the words from Scripture, ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’ are not poetic; they are actual physical reality.
Your twenties have been called the “defining decade”—it’s the time in your life when you not only make big decisions about your career, relationships and finances, it’s also when you figure out what being an adult is about.
Obviously, there’s nothing magical that happens when you turn 30 (or even 40 or 50 for that matter), but being well equipped when your starting out as a real-life grown up can help set the course for decades to come.
Here’s our look at the 20 things every twentysomething should have…