Heard us on the radio?
This month, we’ve been partnering with 98Five Sonshine FM to bring you some new spots where we’ve been thinking about the changing of the seasons. We’ve come up with some short reflections to share with you, we hope they bring a breath of life, hope and courage into your daily routine. Here they are in written form, in case you want to take a closer look. Have feedback? Click here to get in touch, or come by and visit us at our beautiful campus.
Looking to the Future:
I wonder what you think when you hear the words “the future”? Recently a good friend of mine died very unexpectedly. It underlined for me that no matter how much we plan for the future, or how confident we are about it, we can never really be sure. Ultimately the future is only fully known to God. But we can make some firm decisions about it – about how we will live, whatever the future holds. For myself I have decided to live by the ancient wisdom found in the Bible. Micah 6:8 says “God has shown you how to live and what does the Lord requires of you? It is this – that you seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God?”Justice, kindness and humility – no matter what. And to build on these with the quiet conviction that while we know nothing about the future, we can be confident that God’s love will rise before the sun…
I can’t remember who said “Blessed is the one who dreams dreams, and works to make them come true” – but it has always struck me as being insightful. Most of us have dreams – and indeed if we don’t, it should be a cause for concern. But there is a big difference between having a dream and working to make it come true. Often we don’t – and hope that things will magically fall in our lap without our having to work for our dream at all. But life doesn’t often work like that, does it?Some of us never begin to work on our dreams because we consider them impossible. And some dreams are so big and vague that they probably are. An old Chinese proverb advises that “it is better to light a candle than to curse the dark”. It’s a sound principle. We might not be able to do everything we would like to , but that’s no reason to not do what we can. And if an army of ordinary people would set about doing what they can, we could build the kind of world most of us dream of – the kind of world Jesus dreamed of when he told us to love one another, even as God loves us.
Taking Healthy Risks:
Thanks to Brene Brown, this stirring excerpt from a famous speech delivered in 1910 by Theodore Roosevelt has enjoyed a renaissance of late.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the one who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends themself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..”
Risk accompanies any goal; whether its gathering the courage to ask for that first date, or saying yes to your dream job and letting go of financial security, or deciding to run your first marathon. The risk of failure, injury or heartbreak is real: but any future goal worth having, is worth risking for.
Living in the Present: Planning for the Future:
The sages in all faith traditions have always invited those who would become wise to stop chasing after the future, and to be present to what is unfolding in the present. We usually struggle with either planning for the future, or attending to the present, depending on our natural disposition and personality. There is a tension to hold here, isn’t there. If we want to enjoy being at the park with our kids, well, we better put our smartphones away and just play. But if we lose track of time and get home late for dinner, well those consequences are also real, as any parent knows! Sarah Wilson talks about the principle of ‘tilting’, as opposed to ‘balance’ which I think is appropriate here. At times we find ourselves at a crossroads, and we need to make critical decisions about the future. If we just keep living in the moment and hoping things will just pan out, we may end up feeling very disappointed. At times, tilting towards planning for our futures is appropriate, and deserves our full attention and creative thinking. For all the other times, there is the wisdom of the sages and the invitation to be present to the joy of the moment.