• Release your expectations of acceptable outcomes
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    Release Your Expectations of Acceptable Outcomes

    The headline I recently read was this, “Sinkholes leave Florida neighborhood looking like cratered wasteland.” People of a Central Florida neighborhood are stuck in a nightmare after a dozen sinkholes opened, forcing the evacuation of a bunch of homes. Residents said the holes burst open as water started exploding into what looked like a geyser shooting out of a now-empty pond. Central Florida is sinkhole alley with porous limestone resembling Swiss cheese close to the surface. The holes in the limestone existed long before the neighborhood was built. Apparently, no one called in geologists to extensively examine the underlying soil and rock before all those houses were constructed. What strikes me is…

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    Those Darn Expectations!

    Every day we set them for ourselves and others and they are also set for you by others.  They are sometimes really low and sometimes really high but rarely are there none.  They judge, define and always create some level of anticipation.  They are a part of every relationship, every situation, every dream and really every thought that comes out of our brain.  They are (cue the booming drum sound Bom-Bom-Bom) – Expectations! Expectations are constant! Whether we want to admit it or not, we set them with everything.  Want proof?  Ok, you set one for this blog post.  See, I told you so.  Expectations are how we prepare ourselves or protect ourselves from the unknown.  They give us…

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    Why Kids Leave the Church After High School

    The Youth Transition Network has released the results of research about why 70% of students in high school youth groups have left the church within a year after high school graduation. One big reason is the unrealistic expectations that our young people sense from parents and church authority figures. When asked, “What does it mean to be a good Christian,” students responded with a long list of do’s and don’ts, always and nevers: No sex No secular music No fun No profanity No bad attitudes Be perfect Be a virgin Be wholly devoted to God Be righteous Be a role model Don’t doubt Have all the spiritual answers Always be…

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    Embracing Your Limits

    Sometimes life reminds us of our limits.  I had a humorous encounter with my limits years ago when a dear friend/mentor asked me for a favor. This woman had invested in my life in such meaningful ways I’d run through a wall for her if I could, so I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. My assignment was simple: drive her to the hospital for a minor surgery, listen to post-op care instructions from the nurse, and drive her back home. And here’s how things went south: 7:30am: Surgery begins. I take a few sips of horrific waiting room coffee, read the newspaper, and watch the Today Show. 8:15am: Surgery successful! …

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    He Was Not What They Expected

    (Para español, lea abajo.) He criticized the prideful, religious elite and dined with criminals and tax collectors. He spoke to shunned women and healed unclean and contagious lepers. He welcomed little children and gave mercy to the desperate and the weak. “Who is this supposed King? He does not behave as we had expected,” they thought.  They expected a warrior king, not a humble servant. They expected a savior from foreign oppression, not a Savior from their sins. They expected their long-awaited ruler to ride victoriously on a horse. The King of Kings rode peacefully on a young donkey. (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:5) They waved palm branches and put their…

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    The Guilt Game

    My friend worked on the apples while I peeled and chopped bananas for the fruit salad. I admired Lauri’s ability to organize this missions breakfast for a large church: recruiting lots of people to bring food, providing some of the food herself, hosting me in her home, caring for three children, and all the while struggling with chronic pain and physical limitations. As I contemplated all she did, I began to feel inadequate. I could never do something like this,” I lamented in my head. “I must be hopelessly disorganized. My friend seems to do this effortlessly, in spite of all the other demands on her life and energy. How…

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    Shame-Based Families, Grace-Based Families

    The messages of a shame-based family (NOT the one shown here!): “Don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel.” “Everybody has to put their needs aside so we can tiptoe around _____ and not make them mad.” “Why did you do that, you dumb b*tt?” “If you disappoint me this much, how much more are you disappointing God?” “Oh please, you’re not wearing that, are you?” “Loser . . . stupid . . . such an embarrassment . . . I hope nobody knows you’re my daughter . . . You’ll never amount to anything . . . I wish I’d never had you . . . You’re so fat. And ugly.”…

  • Heartprints

    Expectations!

    2015 was quiet the ride for me and my family.  With the number of ups and downs we had I’d swear we were on a roller coaster.  So much of this last year has been about adapting to new situations and overcoming challenges.  It was both rewarding and defeating and was filled with overwhelming joy and unbelievable sadness.  Overall 2015 wasn't all that we hoped for or dreamed of but then again perhaps our expectations were a little too high and maybe we set ourselves up a bit for failure by putting too much weight on what we thought the year should look like.     Don’t we all do…

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    Managing Our 2016 Expectations

    Back in the saddle of weekly activities,  2016 is already barreling along, the stock market and the weather jerking around like a bull in the Houston Rodeo. (Or…maybe that should be a bear?)  Whether we write down our goals and vision for the year ahead or not, we all have this picture of the way we'd like things to be. And then life happens. Here are some reminders to think about, pray about, as we try to live on purpose when life starts bucking around: We hold our expectations with open, God-trusting hands. Like Nehemiah, we may long to see certain outcomes and ready strategic plans for the moment when…

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    Peace on Earth? What about a Little Peace in the House?

    What comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Perhaps family gatherings, carols, Santa, the manger, shopping, debt, a favorite food, or decorating. Your mind may go to joyful or hurtful memories of the past or to anticipation of problems ahead. For those of us with heavy responsibilities to see that everything is done on time and everyone is happy, it can be difficult to find peace in the busyness of high expectations or ourselves and others. Our homes may end up as battlefields rather than the sites of joyous celebrations of the birth of God as man. This morning I was meditating on the truth that God wrapped himself…