Are you trying to ‘Get out of a Funk’? Maybe you should try “Getting into a Funk”

We have all been in a funk haven’t we? We have all told ourselves that if we could just snap out of this Funk we would be all good! We could start experiencing the joy of life we were meant to have! But WHAT IF the Funk was the key!

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Well it is Monday Morning, and you are dragging yourself out of bed and wondering what happened to the pause we call the weekend.  I am sure you are like me, and wonder where it went, and how you are going to face yet another week.  

Where are you going to find the inspiration you need to take the plunge and just keep going?  Getting out of your Funk is a narrative that has been buzzing through your head for so long, that you feel you have lost of all sense of which way is up.  

You probably keep telling yourself that if you are going find any sense of order and control in your life, you are going to have to find some balance!

What if I told the key to the peace you are so desperately searching for isn’t found in Getting out of your Funk…What if ‘the Funk’ is actually what you need?

Funky

 

I am currently writing several post that are words over this season in my life:

Convergence, Margin, and Rhythm

As I am stepping into this next season, I am taking on some new roles and these are specific words that have been spoken over me, and have been prayed out for my family.  

This seriously encourages me, because they are the very three words that have been appearing in my journal, my personal prayers and in my spirit for the past 5 months!

At the Clark house, we are learning to discover new rhythm’s!  My oldest daughter, Madison, is learning to play the Bass!  She has always had a bent towards the arts and creativity, and is starting in the school band this year.

Mado Funk

God provided us with a new Bass, and the ability to purchase it from Aussie here in Colorado Springs!  This miraculous provision is yet another tangible example of the way God is speaking to me and my family.  

As Mado is getting into the Funk, we are learning a lot about Rhythm. Rhythm is a framework that I hope will encourage you to reframe the battle that we all face in structuring our lives so that they can be more effective and meaningful.  

There isn’t a better place to find Rhythm, than in that crazy genre of Funk!  When I am rocking on George Clinton and P Funk All-Star band I can’t help but move!

When I listen to Bootsy Collins slapping that Bass I get UNSTUCK!  

I love how George Clinton describes the true power of Funk.

 

“Funk doesn’t only have the power to Move, but to REMOVE”.  

How sweet is that?  When you get into the Funk you find that Rhythm has the power to REMOVE. 

Getting into The Funk has the ability to dislodge the things that cause our lives to come to a grinding halt! 

I want you to know that you are not alone!  The reason Funk exist is because we are all are searching for a way got get out from under the grind of life, and find the ability to harness it’s madness!  

Balance has often been a framework used to help us begin to tame the numbing madness of life, and the pull we all experience as we seek mastery over our days.  

I totally understand that metaphor, and why it is so appealing!  We are all pulled in so many directions, and feel like we are walking a tightrope, seeking to hold on and not stumble into an ever ending void of aimlessness!  But I also think that when we view it through that grid we immediately infuse tension into our solution!  

When we are seeking balance in our lives, we are forced to spread our energy and focus around, so that the weight of our commitments and obligations are evenly distributed to maintain stability.  That is all good, and the principles embedded in this conversation are valid, and will lead to more productivity and effectiveness.  My only reservation is the tension that emerges when something gets off kilter.  

In this scenario are we limiting ourselves? When the scheduled and allotted boxes that we allocate our lives to, don’t fit our day, we have tension.  We are forced to redistribute the weight to maintain harmony.   

What if the way there was a way to engage this dilemma in such a manner that provided us a flexibility of temperament that enabled us to give 100% of ourselves to each area.  What if this creative power of engagement and presence were a renewable resource and not as limited as we perceive.    

Please understand that I realize we all only have so much time and energy in a given day.  But what if the framework of Rhythm allowed us to escape the drain that happens as we scan our lives and experience tension when we sense our we are off track?  

I purpose that the Rhythm metaphor has the same goals and aspirations, but recognizes that like music, life is full of peaks and throughs. Life is full of Ebbs and Flows. Establishing rhythm, gives us the ability to adjust, focus, and structure ourselves to make the most of every moment.  

Yes, there are season’s that have varying different constraints and complexities, but it is through the long-arch of mastering these constraints that we create and DISCOVER RHYTHM.

So how do you find Rhythm in any given season? How do you adjust when you realize you are terribly off beat?  I hate to be so cliche and simplistic but you pause!  You listen, and you rediscover the the beat life was meant to be marked by and restructure to be in alignment with that melody!  This way to discover this is in your heart and in the pattern of the creation around you.  

What is the beat you want to live your life by?  What is the rhythm it was meant move to? I encourage you to take the time to pause, listen and envision the sound you are meant to be living?  

I want to sign off by encouraging you to boldly face this Monday and walk into it with a little slide in your stride, and a little dip in your hip and stay in the funk!

Thanks so much Have a great week!  

 I want to Thank Todd Henry over at Accidental Creative.  He is the author of the Accidental Creative and Die Empty and these books and his podcast have had such a profound impact on my life and thinking!  I don’t want to plagiarize in anyway.  These thoughts are from several years of digesting his work and ideas and have contributed greatly to this dialogue!  

A Letter on my Doorstep

blog collage 

A Letter from God on my Doorstep

I opened the door, and there on my doorstep was a personal, handwritten note from the Lord just for me!   I quickly opened the note and read the message inside.  As I read, it took my breathe away to see how personally and consistantly the Lord leans into our lives!  

The letter was actually from a friend living in Central Asia,  she was writing to thank me for an encouragement and prayer I had written her a few weeks ago. She and a fellow worker, had recently witnessed some extremely tragic events, and our community rallied together to pray for them.  In response to the news I prayerfully scribbled a quick note on a piece of construction paper  “Balm of Gilead” because i had just published a blog post about Jesus being the Balm of Gilead.

In the thank you note I found on my doorstep, my friend expressed how much she appreciated taking the time to write and pray for them in her time of grief. She saidshe was actaully moved her to tears.  

In her note she said that about a year ago, she and her co-worker had been in Scotland raising awareness about this Central Asian nation, and in that prayer meeting The Balm of Gilead was a prominent theme, and word of the Lord.

The Balm of Gliead

I really struggled with that post about Jesus being the Balm of Gilead, because it felt like a name of the Lord that I hadn’t fully encountered, and that I haven’t intimately known.

 Another part of my struggle was that I felt that it was a revelation relevant for another era, and not my own.

When I heard the news of what was happening that day, and how it had impacted my friends, I took the opportunity to reach out because I KNEW it was a word for them.

I share this story to introduce today’s name of the Lord, and to follow up on my last post #8 Name of The Lord  The Beginning.

#9 The Name of the Lord for TodayThe Beginning and the End.  

I have been chewing on this for a few days, and I haven’t been sure how to share this revelation today’s name of the lord. When i read the Letter on my front door I knew exactly what to say.  

I ended post #8 asking the question:

If you are anything like me, the exictmenthope and exlariation of new beginnings invebality hit the resisiatnce of self-doubt and fear.  I want to invite you to check out my next post, and discover how encountering Jesus as the Beginning and the End will give you as you press through that opposition and stay the course with confidence.

Today I draw strength from knowing Jesus as the Beginning and the End (Revelation 21:6) because my daily experience is that He is also the God of the middle.  

He is not just there at the Starting line cheering me on or waiting for me at the finish line.  He is with me in the race.  

As we look at the Psalms we the beautiful inheritance we have of this reality of meeting Jesus in the NOW.  As we see expressed in Ps 90:1-2

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

In my walk with the Lord, He has consistently spoken to me in personal and subtly ways through notes like I recently received on my doorstep.  

Granted this kind of experience could easily be perceived as subjective, but for me it is the goodness of God that is my dwelling place in all generations.  

Today I have confidence because I know He is in my beginnings and will be my God in the End, because He is with me now! He will always be my Dwelling Plave in every generation! 

I Just Thought You Should Know

thepracticalhistorian

On January 13, in the year AD 532 Byzantine Emperor Justinian attended a tense chariot race in Constantinople’s Hippodrome. The competing chariot teams were known simply as the Blues and the Greens, the colors they wore. But these were more than sports teams. They had become important political factions with which the people of Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire identified. They had become the face which the people wore to interact with their leaders.

And on this particular January day, the people were angry. Three days earlier, some of the leaders of both the Blues and the Greens organizations were arrested and sentenced to death by Justinian for hooliganism gone too far. When two of the hangings were botched and a surviving representative from each of the Blues and the Greens was carried off to a church to seek asylum, the supporters of both groups united to petition for…

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# 8 Name of The Lord for Today: The Beginning

And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” -Meister Eckhart

The Beginning:

And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 

Colossians 1:18

photo credit: zheem via photopin cc
photo credit: zheem via photopin cc

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” -Meister Eckhart   I love that idea, The Magic of beginnings

As we imagine beginnings, all of us see ourselves on the strating line, full of promise and potential, energized by the great dreams within us, itching for the opportunity to get out and Begin.

The more I have swapped stories with others on the highway of life, I have been sobered by horrible beginnings!  I have listened to the pain so many broken lives, and seen much tragedy, etched deeply into the introduction of so many peoples beginnings.   I personally have known that ache and longing for a new beginning! Have you ever screamed that thought…If I could only Start Over? 

I love that Jesus is the beginning of our new beginning.   If we long for the significance our lives were wired to have, we need to look a little further back in our story, and discover the truth and potential found in the person of Jesus “The Beginning”  Knowing Jesus, as The Beginning, helps us not only know the width of God but allows us to truly experience His depths as well.  

As we look to Jesus, The Beginning, I want to dip into the well today’s name is drawn from.  In Colossians 1 we see an extraordinary description of Jesus as the one that is the 1st born of all creation, Paul even makes the audiaous claim that Jesus is the very image of the invisible God!  (Colossians 1:15)

Paul opens this letter to the Colossians praying that they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, and have ALL spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Paul’s prayer is that they might know Jesus in such a profound way that they reengage life with a radically new mind and way of living. Paul’s life long pursuit is that others could encounter this new beginning, and completely reframe the trajectory of their life.  

When we are able recognize the reboot that is on offer, we will release our capacity to dial into the perspective of one who is our True Beginning. This discovery is what will propel us through the remaining years of our lives and set a course that is inline with Jesus truest intention.  

Being dialed into the Begining is essential to true longevity in living lives that truly matter. 

I know at the beginning of the course, we are filled with so much excitement for what might be in store for us in the days and years ahead!   I am also keenly aware of the anxiety that so often creeps into our thinking.  It hits us with questions like, Can I stay the course?  Do i have what it takes to stay on point?  Haven’t you already been down this road before?  

If you are anything like me, the exictmenthope and exlariation of new beginnings invebality hits the resisiatnce of self-doubt and fear.  I want to invite you to check out my next post, and discover how encountering Jesus as the Beginning and the End will give you as you press through that opposition and stay the course with confidence.

 

Absolute Leisure and Peace

thepracticalhistorian

In May of 1906 the Atlantic Monthly published a piece by American nature essayist John Burroughs who wrote of his experience camping in Yellowstone National Park with President Theodore Roosevelt. The trip itself occurred three years earlier in the spring of 1903, but Burroughs begins his essay by explaining that in the time since, he’s not had a moment to sit down and write about it what with all the “stress and strain of [his] life at [home]—administering to the affairs of so many of the wild creatures about [him].”

I can relate to that. I try to post to this blog every Thursday with some new snippet of history and nonsense, but sometimes I don’t make it. And now it has been three weeks since my last post. Summer is especially tough because my sons (7 and 9) are out of school and, well, what with the stress and…

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Discovering Life in the Margins

sunset

A New Space

The move is finally complete, and we are so enjoying life with a little extra space!  

Our new kitchen is amazing!  Meg has been watching Trisha Yearwood’s new cooking show on The Food Network, and finally has the space to whip up some good southern cooking!  

Even Madison has been inspired! A couple nights ago she made Breakfast for Dinner!  She was pretty proud of herself!  These are the moments that make a family strong, and it was so awesome to watch Meg and Madison have the space to work together.  

The kitchen isn’t the only place that has opened up new possibilities for us.  We have been loving the space to enjoy the sunsetting over Pikes Peak.  It feels so good for Meg find a few moments to sit down and have the space and freedom to read and journal.

I just put the girls down for bed, and they seem so settled in their new space!  Since moving it has been so easy getting them settled and to bed on time!  

Discovering Life in the Margins

I titled this post Discovering Life in the Margins because of the possibility that lies dormant in the whitespace of our lives.

A year ago, Meg and I packed up a Budget Rental Truck and headed west to come back to Colorado Springs.  It has been so good to be back, but it has also been a very busy and exhausting year, one that has been crowded and cluttered.  Our family of 5, spent 12 months in two adjoining hotel rooms.  As well as plugging into the many opportunities of serving the organization we are working with.

Our recent move has given us the opportunity the regroup, set boundaries, and thrive in the new found space.  As I look back over that last season I think we did okay but am really glad we have passed through it.

More than a Move, it’s a Lifestyle

Creating Space is more than a move it is a lifestyle.  I know everyone reading this post can identity with the season I am describing.  Your life is busy, cluttered and overwhelming. You are busy and overcommitted and lack space to do the things that bring you joy and vitality! 

We all long for the peace that our yesterday’s once held.  I know you have the same struggles I have, and that you have been in that rat-race yourself.

You are trying to reach out, and hold on to the freeing power of a little space, and yet feel like you are chasing ever elusive dream!  

As Michael Hyatt puts it in a recent blog post, “margin doesn’t just happen it has to be fought for”.  In order to define Margin He quotes an exert from Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard Swenson, M.D.

Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.

Margin is the opposite of overload. If we are overloaded we have no margin. Most people are not quite sure when they pass from margin to overload. Threshold points are not easily measurable and are also different for different people in different circumstances. We don’t want to be under-achievers (heaven forbid!), so we fill our schedules uncritically. Options are as attractive as they are numerous, and we overbook.

If we were equipped with a flashing light to indicate “100 percent full,” we could better gauge our capacities. But we don’t have such an indicator light, and we don’t know when we have overextended until we feel the pain. As a result, many people commit to a 120 percent life and wonder why the burden feels so heavy. It is rare to see a life prescheduled to only 80 percent, leaving a margin for responding to the unexpected that God sends our way.

Hyatt says most people don’t know what Margin is, and even fewer have ever experienced it.  If you are longing for a change  and the ability to hit the pause button in your life, I really encourage you to check out his post and read about Planning your Ideal Week.  

Another great article is from the guys over at Accidental Creative, called Re-Factoring: A Smart Way to Refine and Conquer Whitespace.

That is my aim in this next season!

I have seen the life that is starting to emerge in the whitespace, and I am jealous for more of it!

I don’t want to retreat! I want to continue to be a contributor, and a person that adds value to the world through my life.  

I know if I intentionally claim space in my life, by implementing margins, I will have more focus, energy and flexibility to engage the challenges my days hold.  

Thank you so much for reading, and I pray that you too can discover the life and possibilities that are embedded in the empty margin of your life!  

#7 The Name of the Lord for Today: The Balm of Gilead

gilead heart

The Spirit of peace and compassion will bind up all our wounds.

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?
                                     Jeremiah 8:22

Welcome to the lament of Jeremiah the ‘Weeping Prophet’

Jeremiah was a man confronted with the challenge of looking at his nation in light of what God had called them to be.  He was broken by the drift that had taken place. This was a people whose story was so unique! 

This nation Israel was a people scooped up out of the hands of oppressive slavery in Egypt and brought a land of promise to walk intimately with the living God.

As Jeremiah walked with God, and as he observed His ways, he was shattered by how far Israel had fallen. They had settled for lesser pleasures and lesser god’s.  

It is in the tears and agony of Jeremiah that this question comes exploding out of the text!  

IS THERE NO BALM IN GILEAD?

Gilead was a region famous for a healing balm that flourished there.  It was said that this healing salve from Gilead was so sought after it was worth twice it’s weight in silver.    

What was created to be sought after had become despised.  The healing that had once been given through this nation was now barren and void.  Surveying the brokenness of his people Jeremiah was devastated.  

Today’s name of the Lord: “A Balm in Gilead” met the longing of Jeremiah’s heart.  Jesus is the Balm of Gliead.  Like the balm that made Gilead infamous,Jesus was crushed for our healing.  

This fulfillment of this old testament prophet’s heart cry, gives me a deeper insight into the heart God. He is a merciful and compassionate God who is moved by the laments of His people.  He could have washed his hands cleans of this people on many occasions, but rather and He constantly chooses to engage our brokenness and pain.  

Jesus is a perfect example of that truth.  He came as ‘Emanuel’ and lived in our mess  so that he could lead us out of it!  The death of Jesus open our eyes to God’s relentless pursuit of us. Despite our rebelliousness He comes to lavish us with mercy and compassion.