This sharp looking guy is my friend Dave . He has entered the blog world. He loves Nebraska football and sweater vests. He is a gifted writer too. Check out his post about how to spend $15.5 Million in Lincoln Nebraska. I didn't even know that all of Lincoln was worth $15.5 mill ion.
The following story is a bit long, but I hope that you will take the time to read it and be encouraged.
I share the following with permission.
While in Florida a couple of weeks ago I received a phone call form a young man from our church that I have been spending some time with. Hanging out with him has not been anything real formal, just getting together for lunch and trying to be a source of encouragement to him. He is a terrific young man. My life is certainly enriched by spending time talking with him.
This incredible young man is in a challenging season of life. He and his wife are both fairly young, they have two children, they both work and both attend school. Can you say stress? It is obvious by there actions and sacrifices and commitment, that they treasure each other and make their relationship and their family a priority. I guess in part I want to be an encouragement to this young family because it wasn’t that long ago that I was a young father with two children who was working full-time and going to school. OK, maybe it was a while ago – about 15 years.
When my cell phone rang I had a suspicion that something was not right with my friend. I was correct. He quickly told me that he had really been stressed out over the last few weeks. As a result he was not in a great frame of mind, and one day when he came home after several hours without sleep, he and his wife got into a heated argument that resulted in him leaving their house. After that he went and had a few drinks, was out cruising all night and crashed into a tree with such force that he totaled the car he was driving. He was knocked unconscious and when he woke up he called a relative to come and get him. Miraculously he only suffered minor injuries – at least physically.
This excursion and accident created several problems. Foremost was the fact that the police picked up the demolished car and they now wanted a statement and an account of what happened. The dilemma for my friend? Since he had a previous DUI several years earlier, another conviction would mean the suspension of his license and possibly even jail time. Also, how would he make it, job, school, etc… if he could no longer drive? Talk about pressure to do the "wrong thing"! Most of those around him were encouraging him to just say that he fell asleep and not mention the fact that he was drinking. He was asking me what to do, but to his credit he was leaning toward telling the truth and letting things unfold as they may. I could sense that he wanted to do what pleased God and he was grateful to God for sparing his life in the accident.
My encouragement was pretty simple. “Honesty is always best! Jesus for you without a license is better than Jesus against you with a license.” We talked for a while, prayed, and then I encouraged him to talk with a friend who is a police officer and also an Elder at our church. Nice combo huh! The heat packing Elder was very, very helpful to my friend and very encouraging and “couraging” if you know what I mean. I must tell you that I was praying my socks off asking God to come through in a big way. Not so much that my friend would get off the hook, but that he would be honest and that God would honor that step of faith.
Well, Friday was D-day and my friend spilled his guts and shared the whole story. The officer took the account verbally then had him write everything down on a report. Ouch! Double spilling of guts! The officer who took the statement then went away for a while and came back with a list of six charges against my friend. And honestly, if the story ended right here it would still be incredible because my friend did the right God honoring thing and took a courageous step of faith. He did the right thing! But the story does not end here. God decided to intervene in a remarkable way… The officer dropped all charges except for something fairly minor! Wow!
My friend was blown away by what had happened. But the story still does not end. My friend drove home praising God for his goodness, provision and grace, and was anxious to share the good news with his wife. Well, at home some good news was waiting as well. Some friends had been moved by God to give (not borrow or use), but give them one of their cars to replace the one that was wrecked. Is that incredible or what? God honors those who do what is right.
This whole situation reminded me of the importance of being accountable for your actions, being humble, speaking truth and exercising faith. Psalm 25:9 sums it up well. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. My friend learned a great deal about God’s way. Me too!
Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name -so magnificent! so powerful! - and never overlooks a single one? Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, "GOD has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"? Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? GOD doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.
Isaiah 41:10 (The Message)
Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
Isaiah 44:8 (CEV)
Don't tremble with fear! Didn't I tell you long ago? Didn't you hear me? I alone am God-- no one else is a mighty rock
Being on vacation gave me the opportunity to do a ton of reading. One of the books I read was Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.
Gladwell has three tasks that he attempts to achieve with Blink:
Convince the reader that decisions made in the blink of an eye, (that is very quickly), can be just as good and sometimes better than decisions made over a longer time period of fact gathering.
To help the reader better understand when to trust their snap judgment and when to be wary of their snap judgment.
That it is possible to teach ourselves to make better snap judgments.
After reading Blink, I would say that the above tasks were mostly achieved. Gladwell makes a strong case, by using several case studies, that often our best decisions are made on the fly or in a blink. We just know the right thing to do, or not do, or the right judgment to make. He argues that this is much more than just happenstance and these quick decisions are rooted in experience, training, and developed through absorbed rules and rehearsal. In fact, Gladwell provides several examples that explain how at times, more information is detrimental to making a good decision. This really makes sense when you think of emergency situations that need an immediate decision and action. In fact an argument is made by Gladwell that a person usually cannot logically explain a correct decision that they have made.
The caution to all of this of course is that our snap decisions can be also be flawed and cause great damage. The key to avoiding this is preparation. At least that was my take away from what Gladwell wrote. If you prepare well, then in the heat of the moment you can draw on that prep work both consciously and subconsciously to make the best decision.
In some ways this book seemed to argue against itself. When it comes to "blink moments", Gladwell seems to be saying and providing examples of how the results can be awesome or awful. It works and it doesn't work? Still, I would recommend the book and found great insight into the DNA of a split second decisions. From a spiritual standpoint it is interesting to juxtapose Gladwell's thoughts against the work of the Holy Spirit in ones life.
Thanks to Scott Hodge, I see that Malcolm Gladwell has now started his own blog.
Good leaders are engaged with the people and projects they lead. This is vital and in my mind common sense. Good leaders know and practice this principle.
However, at times, whether a minute, a moment, or a month, effective leaders need to also disengage from the people and projects they lead. Doing so provides rest, renewal, the opportunity to better invest in vital relationships, to regain perspective, to unleash some creative juice, and to create great experiences that build lasting memories. The above list is not exhaustive, but you get the idea... it keeps the passionate, sold-out leader from becoming a worn-out, burned-out, bummed-out leader.
Disengaging is hard to do, but not impossible. Although I am still learning how, I have zeroed in on the following keys:
Admit the need to disengage. This is not weakness, it's wisdom.
Trust the people you lead. I believe the reason that so many leaders have a hard time disengaging, is that they refuse to trust their staff to handle things well in their absence. Ultimately this says more about the leader than the leader's staff.
Take Jesus with you. Too often when we appropriately "bail" on some of our responsibilities, we also bail on God.
Talk it into reality. Some of my best disengagement times started with a simple conversation. Usually starting with, "some day..."
Don't be fooled by disengagement's enemy - Escape! Spending countless and mindless hours in front of any type of screen, usually is escape. This could probably be a separate post all by itself.
Plan. Planning can create incredible disengaging opportunities that may not happen without the effort.
Be Spontaneous. Sunsets, starry nights, laughter, and a cute kid, all provide brief moments to disengage and refuel.
Engage. What? Disengage by engaging? Yep! Engage big time in something that you love outside of your normal leadership responsibilities.
Try something new. Try new places, new foods, a new type of book, a different type of music, and new adventures. Doing so demands greater attention and use our senses in new ways.
Don't allow the need for disengagement to be an excuse for laziness! Work your butt off, play your butt off! That gets to the bottom of it.
There are my ten. I would be interested in knowing how you disengage.
Yesterday was a dream come true. We attended the Daytona 500. Our seats were awesome and the race was terriffic. It was a little cold but that did not dissapoint our enthusiasm. Sure Jeff Gordon struggled, but his teammate Jimmie Johnson won the race.
Carol Ann said that she enjoyed the race, so I am taking her at her word. I do know that she enjoyed the pre-race Bon Jovi concert. Maybe that is why she is always asking me to grow my hair out!
We had scanners that allow you to listen in on the conversations between driver, spotter, and crew chief. Carol Ann really loved this feature, plus she was able to hear words like, *#$$@@!!!, &h#)^%%!, and #!^&%5 %%#22#4!!
You can check out the photos here or in my PHOTO ALBUM.
On Tuesday, I re-proposed to Carol Ann and gave her a new wedding ring. We did this on Cocoa Beach and it was very cool. I'll write more about our trip once it is over. Until then, you can enjoy some of our pictures at my PHOTO ALBUM or here.
Tomorrow, Carol Ann and I leave for Orlando, Florida. We are celebrating our 20th anniversary, even though that special day was marked June 14. Better late than never, plus the Daytona 500 does not take place in June. I plan to journal the trip through this very blog, but you never know. Stay tuned...