God’s Future: Some Introductory Thoughts

Australian religion and spirituality is in a state of flux. We find ourselves somewhere between what was, what is, and what could be.

Our world has (and is) experiencing seismic shifts in many facets of society, with religion and spirituality front and centre. Christianity is watching this future unfold, with arguably the most change and adaptation to come…if it chooses too.

god future

Christianity has been the religion of choice for most Aussies for a long time, and yet over the past twenty years, things have changed. Big time!

The place christians now find themselves within Australian society has moved. They are no longer at the centre of culture, but on the fringes. And this has implications for how God’s people do kingdom life. Unfortunately, we haven’t really adapted to the different landscape before us. We’ve been slow to react, but things are now starting to move—this is a great thing.

There are lots of reasons why these shifts have happened, but I don’t want to focus on those. I want to look forward.

My goal over the next few posts is to provide some thought provoking ideas that will help christians transition into what God may be up to in our beautiful country. The good news has never changed, but the culture it aims to reach is always shifting, and Australia in many ways is at the forefront of these shifts.

I’m not out to irritate, but to ask some questions and offer some direction to help move us forward. We need to do things differently, and as Einstein suggested, ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’. Let’s not go insane yeah?!

We can move to a different beat and let’s see what happens when we do. God’s future for Australia is bright, if we listen closely to the Spirit and follow where he leads.

We need to try something.

See ya tomorrow for thought #1.

limitations life coaching

The limitations of Life Coaching

Everything has its limits, and life coaching is no different.

Life Coaching:

  • does not aim to be, or take the role of a counsellor
  • does not heal issues from your past that are severely affecting your behaviour, attitudes and choices of your present
  • does not aim to examine your past, rather focus on the now and the future, using the past as a rear vision mirror only
  • is not a student/teacher relationship, but a partnering of people to achieve the coachee’s outcomes
  • does not repair damage done, but opens up new opportunities and creatively explores possibilities
  • does not fix dysfunction
  • does not aim to do the work for you, instead choosing to work with you

Get in touch if this something you’d like to explore.

I’m Starting to Feel Incredibly Vulnerable 

I’ve been writing now for 27 days straight, today is day 28.

And something weird is happening.

I’m starting to feel incredibly vulnerable. It’s a vulnerability I’ve never experienced before. I’ll try to explain.

vulnerable

I’ve shared personal stuff to people in the past, and although I’ve been vulnerable in those situations, the moments were pretty short-lived. All that was required was a moment of bravery and I was all good. I’d talk, say my bit then shut up.

Often I’d receive a faux applause from the people I was talking with because I was ‘so brave’. And during those times it was often a deep secret that I was revealing. I mean, who judges someone for being honest? Especially when it’s on such a deep personal level. That’s right, no one.

But this vulnerability I’m experiencing through this writing quest is different. It’s like people are really starting to get to know me. As I write every day, the things that are deep inside me are starting to come out. And my response has been different to all the other vulnerable moments I’ve experienced.

And this time, I just want to hide. Truly I do.

All I want to do is stop writing. I want to stop because it’s getting a little too close to home. I can’t even explain that feeling. It’s like I’m being watched as I do everything.

As I bare my soul, people are there.

As I explain what I’m learning, people are there.

As I rattle the cage, people are there.

As I share my opinion, people are there.

Continue reading →

It’s The Little Things

After a long line of stuff ups, emergency landings and shifting work overseas, Qantas have finally got one back. And they’ve done it well.

On selectedlittle things flights during Australia Day, passengers were surprised with an array of Tim Tam chocolate biscuits on their luggage as they picked it up from the carousel.

Sure, it was part of a new promotion that involves some international flights now carrying the famous biscuit, but a ripper gesture none the less.

It’s always good to see big companies do the little things, because it’s the little things that people remember, and it’s the little things that people will talk (and write!) about.

Well done Qantas and Arnotts.

You can read the story and watch the video here.

When The Wilderness is Your Only Friend

The sexiness of a new direction quickly fades. We take off on the journey of a lifetime only to find ourselves in a place we didn’t intend—a place that looks strangely like the normality we were escaping from.

wilderness

I’ve been through the wilderness experience often. As I’ve tried to move forward, I keep being held back. I’ve tried to ‘step out in faith’ when all that was being asked of me was to stop, and breathe and rest. Some of these experiences have lasted weeks, and others have lasted years. And still others I’m in the midst of this very moment.

I remember growing up thinking that the wilderness experience was bad. Like it was some kind of rebuke or that God had to remove himself from me and would use the time to teach or challenge or discipline me. I felt I had to quickly learn something to get out of the wilderness so I could move forward and embrace ‘all that God has for me!’.

I now see it much differently.

As we’ve shifted out of organised church, the wilderness has been our solace. It’s been the place where we’ve questioned everything, and where our thirsts for truth have been quenched. We’ve found friends in this place that have been our guides. They’ve shared our life, like an old friend that we haven’t seen for years.

Changing careers a year or so ago, led me into the wilderness, and it’s been such a relief. In the wilderness I’ve felt the rush of wind through my hair and tasted the future God is opening up. I’ve gained a glimpse of the person I truly am, and had layers peeled back to reveal what was originally there. There’s been a stack of moments where God has been distant and I’ve wondered what the hell is going on, but the urge to be fully present in this moment of wilderness has been strong.

It’s been important, it’s been needed, it’s been the best thing for me.

The wilderness was made for us. It was made for us to withdraw from the pressures of life and just rest. It was made to allow us the space to recover something that we have lost and just learn and rest and sit.

Jesus would often call his disciples out into the wilderness for a while to enjoy some rest. It’s like he knew the implicit opportunity that comes when we withdraw and just be alone, with ourselves and with him.

Community has nothing on an interaction with the holy one, and when we withdraw to the wilderness, often it’s the holy one that meets us. It’s often in the wilderness when our friends bail and we find ourselves alone and tired. It’s in those precise moments when Jesus meets with us on a deeply personal and transformative way.

If you’re in the wilderness, stay there. Embrace it. Connect with God, get to know yourself, reflect. 

Resist the urge to move on, simply because it’s uncomfortable. Ask God to show you the time to move, and only then do it.

This time in the wilderness is just for you—trust God knows what’s best.

10 Super Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood

We all find ourselves in a funk from time to time, and nobody is immune.

improve your mood

Heres 10 super easy ways to improve your mood:

  1. Go for a brisk 20 minute walk around the block. Exercise releases all sorts of chemicals which lift your spirits and create a happier you…almost instantly! 
  2. Watch kids playing. Approaching life with eyes like a child reminds us of the awe and wonderment life offers. So it stands to reason that if you are feeling a little blue, head to the playground or beach and watch kids play. If nothing else, it stops your brain from working for a bit and you just get the chance to admire their little creative and captivating minds at work.
  3. Listen to music or a podcast. I love this one after a tough day at work. Having my favourite music in the background, or switching on an inspiring podcast can be a lifesaver. It brings to mind the things that I love and helps me to be thankful. When those little ‘chills‘ come after listening to something, you know you’re on the improve.
  4. Take a power nap. A quick sleep can do wonders for you, your productivity and reducing stress levels. It helps us to refocus and kickstart the creativity we need to finish the day well, or to break us out of a funk.
  5. Share with a friend. This one has its limits. Find someone you trust, and vent. Take 10 minutes (max) and download what’s going on and allow yourself to feel crap. Once the time is up, move on. Use this sparingly. You don’t want to be the friend that always dumps crap on people.
  6. Eat well. The foods you eat will dramatically change how you feel. Try dark chocolate, fish, greek yoghurt, honey, asparagus, red wine, beef or eggs, just to name a few.
  7. Do the chores. Doing something that has no immediate ‘feel good factor’ can be incredibly beneficial. It’s the whole attitude of service that is at work here. For me, it’s the dishes, and I take my time doing it. Afterward, I feel much better. Plus, I’ve ticked a chore of my list. It’s a win/win outcome!
  8. List 10 positives from the last 24 hours. This can be challenging when you’re feeling a bit grumpy, but do it. It forces you to be mindful of the little things in your life that you can be grateful for. And yes, keep it to 24 hours. That’s so you focus on the little things, not just the larger, more obvious positives in your life. We do this one with the kids I work with and it has amazing effect.
  9. Read some tragic news. Bear with me on this one. Flick through the news and read something which makes you sad or grieves you. It has a kind of reverse psychology effect on me, and helps me be thankful and grateful for what I do have, instead of moaning about all the things I don’t. Again, use sparingly.
  10. Smile at a stranger. Smiles make the world go round, so give one to a complete stranger. Make their day better, and yours will be too.
  11. BONUS ONE: If all else fails, grab a cup of coffee. The caffeine hit will certainly perk you up!

It’s ok to be sad or grumpy or angry or down, but please don’t stay there. It’s not a nice place to be over the long haul, and the quicker you can nip a bad mood in the butt the better.

Improve your mood, and the world will thank you.

Is There Really a Need for Life Coaching? YES!

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m studying Life Coaching. It’s going really great. I’m enjoying learning some of the theory behind what I’ve done naturally for a number of years anyway, but seeing the framework around it gives me the understanding required to really make a career out of it.

life coaching

I did however have a moment of crisis the other evening when I wondered what the market for life coaching looked like. I started thinking about it because I’ve never had life coaching, well at least paid for it. I have had stacks of people impact my life by their timely words, but there’s never been a financial transaction, although I would gladly have shelled some cash for the influence they had on me.

It’d be fair to say that I sat firmly upright in my chair with a feeling of ‘oh shit’.

I know Life coaching has a mixed reputation, mainly because some people lump it in the self-help hoo ha arena, yet others put it in the counselling sphere. And the problem is that it doesn’t really fit in either of those categories.

I think we are also living in a time where we feel like we don’t need ‘help’. In years gone by, coaching was non-existent, especially in a professional way. It happened simply through being connected with a group of people in our community whom we could do life with and seek input as we went about making choices and decisions.

Then there are the ‘self-help gurus’ who have bled people dry and given them very little direction in return. In many ways it’s given the industry a bad name.

If you add all those things together, it doesn’t account for a very lucrative career option…

However, I am becoming convinced there is a need out there. Our world has changed dramatically over the last decade or two and we now have more decisions to make more often. Some of these are big, some are small, but they all lead to some sort of choice anxiety at some point. Which for me, is where the services of a coach are critical, and I reckon will be essential for our society in the very near future.

Having someone who is able to ask the right kinds of questions and gain an understanding for our real wants and needs is going to be priceless. A time is coming, in fact is already here, when we will pay anything that helps us live a purposeful, meaningful and abundant life. And that, is the role of a life coach—to release people into that freedom.

This will especially be true if the coach is able to work in a way that deeply connects, is well priced, creates real options, achieves success and steers well clear of the standard ‘therapy/counselling’ style that has plagued the industry.

I see it as being much more relational and creative. Coaching in the space where life happens for people will be a secret to that. Meeting people on there ‘patch’, in their environment and being able to quickly identify their uniqueness to help them move forward for the next step will be important.

I do sense there is a need amongst our super connected, choice anxious population for having someone (a coach) help give direction, ask good questions, clarify options, create alternatives and empower people to better ‘self-coach’ their own lives. 

Maybe the secret to growing a coaching business is in the method employed to do so. 

So the need within our communities is great from where I sit. It’s the way it’s done which will be the determining factor of success.

I’d love to know your thoughts. What do you think? Is Life Coaching something you’ve considered? If not why not? What would your ideal coach look like and do? Let me know over here…

Faith Enough

There’s a story where Jesus was walking through a town. He was being mobbed by the people around him. Among them was a woman who’d been in a lot of pain, well, bleeding continuously for 12 years. She had spent everything she had on the best healthcare in town, and yet she was no better. Not only that, she was an outcast.

faith enough

Her life was basically pointless.

This woman had heard about Jesus and the miracle worker he was. She wondered if she could get close enough to touch him, maybe, just maybe, she would be healed—of the bleeding, and the embarrassment.

She said to herself: “Even if all I touch are His clothes, I know I will be healed”.

And that was all it took. A simple touch on the cloak of the holy one and she was transformed.

* * * * *

When we read this story as a family it stopped me in my tracks. And I’m not really sure why.

Even if all I touch are His clothes, I know I will be healed’ has been running through my head and I can’t shake it.

Just imagine the fear and trepidation running through her mind—’even if I just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed’.

You’ve gotta remember that for a woman, an outcast and someone deemed ‘uncleaned’ by the religion of the day, to go and touch the man of the moment is unforeseen. It would be like you or I breaking security to get a feel of Obama’s jeans. It just wouldn’t happen.

But she believed. She took the risk.

She had certainly seen or heard along the grapevine the work Jesus was doing whilst in the area. He was healing dudes and casting out evil spirits after all. That kind of reputation doesn’t stay quiet for long. So she knew there was something about him that could help her and make her whole.

I mean she had nothing to lose really. She had no dignity, no money, no friends and no life. So why not give this Jesus guy a shot.

Why not just ‘try and touch his cloak’.

It’s an act of desperation, but a beautiful act of humility.

Sometimes I wish I’d just throw my hands in the air and say ‘if I could just touch Jesus’ I’d be all good—I’d be whole. Then again, maybe I’m not that desperate. Which is most likely the problem.

And that’s the invitation in front of me. And maybe even you.

The Problem With Most Conflict Resolution Solutions

…is that it’s assumed the two warring parties want to remain close.

think

Before anything else happens, the level of effort both parties want to invest to ensure the relationship works must be established—individually, then collectively.

If there is a deep, 100% commitment to making the relationship work, then begin the conflict resolution process.

If there is not, part ways amicably.

You’ll save yourselves and everyone around you a headache.