Friday, June 19, 2009

Dangerous Questions that Bring Life

"Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue naturally, and it only does so as the unintended but allowed, if not chosen, side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself." - Viktor Frankl

"You have to let it happen by not caring about it all that much, and certainly not nearly as much as the greater cause to which you have become a willing slave." Viktor Frankl

"I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your ability and knowledge. Then you will live to see success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it." - Viktor Frankl

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'" - Jesus Christ


I had a BMX race accident a few weeks ago, and shoulder surgery shortly after, and now, in the midst of a long recovery have been cursed/blessed with an incapacity to do my normal routine.

Cursed, obviously, because it is frustrating to be incapable.

Blessed, because it is usually through forced change that we do any changing. And since changing is my both my life and my message to the world, I am being blessed. I've had a lot more time to appreciate and evaluate the normal routine that I'm so committed to.

Using Viktor's powerful words above, I am asking:

Am I "successful"?

Am I happy?

Am I personally dedicated to a cause greater than myself?

Am I caring more for the cause I serve than my success & happiness?

Am I listening to what my conscience commands?

Am I carrying that out to the best of my ability and knowledge?

And to add Christ's even more potent summary of all of those:

Am I being faithful in the few things (that lead to the influence of many things), and thereby sharing in the happiness of Christ?

Are you?

I sat with a wonderful man today, a man full of passion and dreams, longing and loneliness, ideals and honesty, woundedness and love. And as he spoke, these already flared up questions screamed for my full attention.

This is important stuff for me to constantly stay in. It makes people uncomfortable sometimes, though I'm unsure why.

I think some people who identify me as their "preacher" are uncomfortable with any sign of uncertainty from their "preacher".

I think some people who identify me as a mentor are uncomfortable with me not having an answer for everything.

I think some people who look at the outward circumstances of my life (beautiful family, secure and meaningful job, etc) are uncomfortable with my constant pushing and questioning because I should merely be grateful for what I got (which I certainly am).

But it's important stuff for me to constantly stay in. And I invite you all, in this small way, down into the depths of my soul as witnesses, for what it is worth. Thanks, in advance, for listening.

So, without tying a pretty little bow around this piece, let me just answer the questions.

I am successful at loving people, serving people's hearts, and creating atmospheres where people are either invited, inspired, or allowed to do revolutionize their own lives. I am not successful at coaching, training, and mentoring other's to do so with regularity and consistency.

I am happy with the circumstances that I am within.

I am personally dedicated to a cause greater than myself. Most of my life, I have cared more for that cause (which, by the way, is helping people, through relationships, to live life to the full...that is, to become more like Christ) than being successful in that cause. More recently, I'm fearful that my focus has shifted to my success in doing so.

I think my conscience commanded my actions with brilliant clarity when I was needing healing from past wounds. I think I'm struggling to hear what my conscience commands of me in the absence of such desperation. In other words, motivation is easier to come by for me when I am trying to "fix something in the world". When I have come to an acceptance of things the way they are, it is harder to summon motivation and decipher what it is I need to do. Love is my motivation (even for this message), but what specifically to do and how to do it is elusive to me. I don't like it (but trust that it is doing it's work on me as God has appointed it).

Because of that last paragraph, unless I am doing this work that you are witnessing now, and doing it communally, I have to say that I have not been carrying out my work to the best of my ability and knowledge. It's just so much easier to do a good job than it is to challenge the status quo...both personally, and in the systems, structures and organisms within which each of us live.

This is my daily choice. Hourly, really. No...every minute.

When I have been, and when I am, a "good and faithful servant" to my calling in every minute ('the few things'), caring only for that faithfulness, that is when I see the unstoppable impact for good that my life is and can be. And when I do that, my I do THAT... am I ever happy. Am I ever.

And faithfulness is dying in every moment. From indulging my desire for ease of life, success-in-the-eye-of-men, ego-stroking behavior and thoughts and instead giving myself over to love, sacrifice, honesty, status-quo destroying truth-telling, relationships, contemplative prayer, and heart-enlivening activism.

Pray for me to live my best possible life.