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The Daily Battle

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Appendix C: Bonus Material!

Welcome to the fight!

This picture above is very different than anything else in the book “Primacy of God” or on my website. My target market is men and I don’t include many pictures of women unless they’re in the background somewhere. But this woman and this rose are a perfect metaphor for our daily struggle. We are surrounded by desolation. It’s a rough world. We need to find the one beautiful thing, like this girl did, and focus on it. Be thankful for it.

Graham Cooke says, for every problem, there is a promise from God. With every promise, there is a provision and for every provision, there is a pearl. God doesn’t allow anything near us that wouldn’t benefit us, or grow us in some way. He is expert at redeeming the trials and wounds in our lives. He engineers circumstances that we pray to get out of because getting through them with Him instead is the only way we can become who we need to be to inherit the next blessing.

 

Abiding & readiness for the fight

We need 4 factors–Humility, Rest, Thankfulness & our Unique Identity.

  • Humility – To see clearly that God is up to something (blind faith works too.)
  • Rest – The enemy has no patients, its a characteristic of God. We can become relentless in Christ and wear down any circumstances through our standing in Christ.
  • Thankfulness – This should happen naturally but its a good practice. It’s the key to entering His presence which unlocks the gift associated with the provision.
  • Unique Identity – Look out for book 2 – Adventure to Identity

How do we fight our Daily Battle?

The key to fighting this battle to stay in a positive place, learning from God’s flow of provision and abundance is surrendering it all to Christ. I look forward to going into greater detail in book 2 but for now, here’s a great exercise from Sam Williamson.

There is no negative in God. Any time we run across shame, or fear, etc. imaging Christ on the Cross as he suffered for you. Ask him if he died for that specific thing. When he reassures you, let your thankfulness led to praise.

The Daily Battle

PS: The Daily Battle is when we surrender every negative to God.

 

 

The 1st Battle to Fight

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Appendix B: Bonus Material!

Welcome to the fight!

You most likely landed on this essay after reading the e-book, “The Primacy of God.” Or you may have simply stumbled onto it from my website. Either way, welcome to the fight. Everything you’ll encounter in the Cleric Path makes you what John Elderedge calls, “dangerous for good.” i.e. you know too much.

Don’t be frightened. God is with you. But it’s only fair to warn you.

Tactic: You enemy likes to lurk in the shadows until someone shines a spotlight on him. When he can’t pretend he doesn’t exist anymore he’ll try for intimidation and then try to get you to make an agreement so he’ll back off.

He’s a lier. He won’t stop messing with you, but don’t worry. Operate from a place of rest. Graham Cooke has some awesome teachings on rest. If you read five experts on spiritual warfare you’ll get five different opinions on spiritual warfare. It’s not a scripted fight.

BTW: Beware of relying on experience and stick to what the Scriptures say.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it, not because it’s not real, but because you don’t actually win by focusing on it to the exclusion of anything else God is trying to do in your life.

BTW: Know this, the enemy’s goal is to isolate you–from God and from your intimate allies.

That’s why shame is such an effective weapon. It’s very isolating. He’ll also use distraction, diminishment, disqualification, and depression.

Tactic: The enemy likes to tempt you, then when you fail he turns back and accuses you.

There’s a lot to this and I encourage you to seek out help from others if you feel oppressed or attacked, but I do want to cover only one aspect that I’m qualified to speak to. Then honestly, go seek more on the topic as you need.

One Final Note:

Before we begin, I want to point out one last thing on the topic of Spiritual Warfare. I personally believe that Heaven is a spiritual place, as opposed to the soul or body realms. We don’t see demons walking around in the flesh (just people who are clearly under oppression). We get scriptural references to the enemy visiting Heaven to argue over Job, and clearly, he pulled something physical off with a snake in the Garden of Eden, but when the enemy and his forces were cast out of Heaven I think they’re essentially stuck in the realm of the soul.

When I saw the “First Battle” I’m not talking about chronologically, I’m talking the first in order of flow. God’s love/glory/abundance flows into us through our place in Christ, transforms us, and then shines from us into the world. The first battle is at our place of connection to God. If we choose to take on that fight, the rest of them are much easier to fight.

The First Battle!

When Adam and Eve fell it’s called original sin, but it’s actually not. John Elderedge points out the lie, we didn’t author sin. That’s how tricky the enemy is.

“Sin is anything that separates us from God.” Mike Galeiotti

The fall created a rift. We were children who doubted the heart of God toward us. Adam and Eve’s first instinct was to cover their inadequacy with fig leaves and we’ve pretty much been doing that since. We sense, without having to be told, that we are in over our heads and we do our best to work it out on our own. But we’re not on our own!

God fixed the problem. Before Christ, they needed to believe that God would fix it and we must now believe that God did. We must take it personally. Our first battle is against anything that creates separation. Our first battle is with our own fig leaves and the wounds that inspire them.

In order for us to have a void in our experience of God’s abundance, we need to cooperate with the rock in the stream. We give permission somehow. We seed our authority in our own lives to something other than God. Often its when we worship our own intelligence, but generally its something that happened in our youth that the accusor convinces us to own.

To quote from Goodwill Hunting, “It’s not your fault.”

Even if, like me, you chose to do the terrible thing, it’s atoned for. We need restoration, the very thing that happens in a Christian’s life if they don’t hold it at bay.

Three Parts to Every Human:

When you become spiritually alive again, the Spirit of God communes with your new Spirit–in your heart (your most holy place). The Bible describes your body as a temple. That means your soul is the Holy place and your Heart is the Most Holy Place.

When Christ died the curtain between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was torn from top to bottom. This symbolizes the flesh being circumcised from your heart. IF we allow that healing God will flow freely out through your life. But we must journey with God to restore our understanding of who He is, how He sees us, and what His restored image looks like in us.

The First Battle is to Trust God’s Heart for you.

Now Read…The Daily Battle

 

 

 

Journey Plan: Evening & Morning

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(Note: this journey plan is actually the journey to be supernaturally rested in God, and intentional about the things I do/say/eat.)

Welcome to Spring!

I finally finished my Spring 2018 New Season (Policy Doc.) so it’s time to revise this Journey Plan (it was a little rough but I was flying by the seat of my pants).

Welcome to the Evening & Morning Journey. I love it when I can do one thing, or pursue a single set of efforts and have it move me forward on several goals. This journey is that sort of compound project, addressing…

  • My desire to be more deliberate about everything I do.
  • God’s desire to give me supernatural rest in Him.

I’ve read (soon to reread) the book, “The Power of Full- Engagement,” by Loehr and Schwartz on the powerful way habit can set us up for success. On the flip side, if you watched the movie, “Click,” starring Adam Sandler you realize the way in which most of us use habit. I tend to go on autopilot for periods of time, during which I can make decisions that deepen a rut instead of advancing me toward a goal. As a by-product, life seems to fly by when I want to savor it.

I have many hearts desires that don’t fit the typical flow of the world (I want something other than a 9 to 5 existence, retire a 72 to start enjoying life.) I also have a very full plate of urgent things that crowd out the important things that actually feed my heart. I bet I’m not alone in this situation. God’s answer is to give me His rest so that I can run and not grow weary.

I’ve been pondering this one for a couple months and I’m excited to launch it. So here goes the details.

What it is:

I’m forcibly slowing life down by journaling more. I’m going to track what I eat. I’m going to get up early and do my version of ‘morning pages’ (inspired by the book “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron). I’m also going to declare my allegiance to the light side of the paradox every morning.

Genesis 1 says, “the evening and the morning,” 7 times. To this day, Jews keep their Saboth from Friday night sundown to Saturday night sundown. I grew up with the concept actually, but that’s not why I’m going to try it out again. So I’ll be starting my day the night before. Each evening, I’m going to front load the next day, so that I’m prepped for success, but I’m also going to listen to a great audiobook from Graham Cooke called the Practice of Rest.

What I’m hoping God will do (heal/counsel/war/walk) with me

As I mentioned, I actually entered this journey a couple months ago and have been doing some elements of it longer than that. I sort of backed into this one, and I’m just now able to formalize it into a journey.

Note: If that seems messy, it’s sorta how it works half the time. Sometimes God tells us what He’s going to do and then we explore it with Him. Other times, God’s does something and then makes you aware so you can unpack it together.

I’ve been rocking my mornings for about a year now. But my attitude and productivity fall off in the afternoon and I go to bed pretty much dead. I’ve been feeling convicted in this new season, to work toward greater intentionality.

I make a lot of decisions on autopilot, and that’s generally okay, however, when it comes to things like eating, it can be sabotaging. 2 Cor 10:5 says to take every thought captive, which I’d frankly I’d always felt condemnation over. They always read it after 1 John 3:15 “if you hate…you have murdered.”

Recently God redeemed the verse for me. Now I’m seeing it more like an internal martial art. Consider Phil 4:8, “whatsoever is good, etc.” think on these things. There is no negativity in God so things like anger, shame, and fear are not of God. Which means I can give them to God and be free of them.

I believe God wants to upgrade my rest in this new season. My purpose in this journey is to crack open some of these automated decisions and increase my intentionality.

The steps I think we’ll take toward it

Intentionally slowing down the number of things I expect of myself in a day. Setting a hard bedtime with a quiet time (no TV) before it. I’ve espoused getting nightly connection time with God and my wife for years, but it doesn’t always happen. I want my mind churning on the right things as I sleep.

I’ve got an audiobook resource on rest by Graham Cook that I want to go through this month.

I want to tie new routines to existing habits like shower, brushing teeth, meal times, etc.

More steps to come.

Any resources I’m leaning on God to help with

God’s got to come through with help on my attitude and finding the root wounds that cause me to allow this level of busyness and overwhelm.

A potential resource I’m going to explore is a type of minimalism, founded on intentional living. This is a developmental part of things, not a work in process. Link to Jonathon Levi’s coverage of Cedric Waldburger.

Specific places I predict challenge (prayer requests)

More to Come

Start Date: May 15th

Journey Update: 5/5/18

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Welcome to Spring!

Andy “Sir Bunch Adventure Writer” Journey’s Update: May 5, 2018

If you stumbled onto this page prior to my main landing page here’s a link to the full list of current journeys and more info about what a Journey is.

Brief Overview:

I’m trying to update once a week on Saturdays, but as I mentioned last time, I’m giving myself a lot of Grace and Flexibility on that deadline because it simply may not be feasible. I also mentioned last time that I’d be at a men’s retreat all weekend last week so I wouldn’t get last weeks update done. Nothing like breaking the pattern out of the box, but that’s how things go more often than not with me.

Welcome to The Cleric Path, which is what I call this grand experiment in how to live more abundantly. This is a journey update I’m really excited about so let’s dive in.

God/Relationship/Family

May – Rewrite Primacy into my blog — ch10 of 10
I’ve been revising my next book on this blog as I go, and I’m finished with the revision. Don’t worry though, it’s not too late to read it for free. I’ll leave it up until I’ve finished the final steps.  I’ll give anyone who signs up for my list during this process a free digital copy of the book as soon as I’ve written the back matter and formatted it for publication.

I’d hoped to be finished prior to leaving for the Spring Boot Camp on the 26th of this month but it took until yesterday. I’m grateful to God for the content and to my awesome wife for helping me carve out time to finish this week. Reading it again, I’m blown away by how good this book is. Overall Score A-.

May – Upcoming (5/8/18) business meeting with my Awesome Wife to hammer out some details for the home remodeling projects.

Identity/Adventure

April – BCNW Retreat — Attended
No matter how much I anticipate the awesomeness of these retreats, I’m never disappointed. When I step out of the Matrix God always meets me with a special message. It was harder than ever to be without my family for the weekend but it’s important and well worth it. I’ll be unpacking my notes from the retreat over the next few weeks–stay tuned. Overall Score A+.

May – It’s a season change and I’m still waiting on God for some marching orders. In the short run, I’m going back through my notes from the Boot Camp. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

ORG (Growth & Success)/Learning

May – Evening & Morning challenge
I’m Excited by the opportunity take on a very unique challenge. God wants to help me learn intentionality. Stay tuned for a link when I’ve published a blog post detailing it.

June – Read Book “The Five Choices” /Summary to Blog — tabled to May
Haven’t started. Just plane bit off more than I can chew this month. It’s a common problem for me. This is a transition month and I’m glad to get time on projects like that I want to bring to a close before the next season gets in full swing. (I know April is technically the first month of Spring/ 2nd quarter, but much like the weather, Spiritual seasons don’t follow the calendar exactly.) Overall score, Jury’s Still Out.

Health & Fitness

May – Audition Nucific Bio x4 — ordered and started
I continue my trial of Bio x4. I do notice less hunger, more energy, and good stomach health. I’m still not implementing additional diet/workout, which will come soon, but it’s a good test of the product alone. Want to increased fiber etc. One side note about Bio x4, it’s one of those “take 5 minutes before each meal” type of systems. I hope to have a solution to that soon.

Increased step goal (7,500) is still going well B+ overall.

Daily Stretching — Not started, Tabled to May 15

Wealth & Freelance

June – Upgrade & Revise Blog — Table upgrade to next month
Work continues. Lots to do. I’ve been blogging almost every day. I still love it. I have not managed to raise the money for some of the upgrades I’d hoped to accomplish. So I give it a solid B overall.

Final Note:

April was a transition month for me. I felt that God was moving some chess pieces. I’m still feeling that, which is not to say that God hasn’t done some cool things already. I know this much about the coming season. God is setting me free of fear of public humiliation. He’s empowering me to add speaking my message, not just writing it.

I feel strange to do a half update like this, but there are still some things up in the air and I wanted to get it posted while its only 3 days late. LOL. God Bless.

PS. It’s harder to understand what I mean when I say journey without reading more about it in my next book, “The Primacy of God.

Humility: the Secret to Accelerated Learning.

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True humility is standing at your full height before something greater than you…

Just do an internet search and you’ll find posts like, “50 ways to be humble,” or “7 ways to tell if you’re humble.” Is Humility really something we manufacture through practice? Perhaps, but if so we’d have to practice it until it seeps deep into our character. It’s certainly not about fake-it-until-you-make-it.

Most of us struggle with the concept of Humility, but I think what we’re really afraid of is humiliation. There’s a big difference.

First off, we don’t have to search very hard to find humility. Just find someone who’s better at something than you are. Look at this great nation we have. We’re proud to be Americans, but we didn’t build this place, we inherited it. Brave men and women have fought and died to give us this peak from which to leap. It is ours to screw up and that should be humbling.

So often our response when comparing ourselves to others is pettiness and jealousy. We wish we were them, accept life is a package deal and we seldom wish we had the parts of their lives that come along with their greatness. So how do we respond with humility instead of envy? The answer is deceptively simple.

Being humble hearted is part of God’s Character. Galatians 5:22 lists “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” which paints a pretty awesome picture of God’s character. Given his power and worthiness, God is very humble. Look at how Jesus lived.

The neat thing here is that any characteristic of God is ours in Christ. When we delight ourselves in God we can reflect his character. What will happen when we do?

If Pride blinds us then humility brings clarity of vision.

There’s a connection between humility and simplicity. Perhaps that’s why so many religious groups, Quakers/Amish etc. I think that’s part of where humility brings clarity. When we’re humbled, it strips away things we think are urgent and leaves what’s important to our hearts.

I found 32 verses that seem to speak to humility, here’s a sample.

Eph 4:2, Phil 2:3, Prov 2:11, Rom 12:16, James 4:10, 1 Peter 3:3-4, Col 3:12, 2 Chron 7:14, Matt 11:29-30,

The key one seems to be Matt 11:29-30:

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Why, because we simply can’t do real life without God’s help. Without humility, we can’t see the places where God is trying to partner with us. We keep asking God to get us out of circumstances when He wants to be with us through them. It should be humbling to think how much God wants to grow your relationship intimacy. If you want to get into your Promised Land you need to head into places you can’t go without Him.

The other power of humility is the power to fail. If your focus is to protect your pride then you don’t risk. If you don’t risk you don’t grow. Everything you learned you learned through trial and error. Stop making errors, stop learning.

This is why Grace is so vital. Jesus couldn’t just die once for our sins and then turn it over to us. He had to create an environment in which we could learn–be Fathered, by God.

Christians really suffer here. To understand the power of Grace. We keep asking God for an answer and then running off to do it ourselves. It doesn’t work. We need so many things, like thankfulness, BUT it all starts with humility.

PS If we don’t have Grace for ourselves then we aren’t likely to be extending it to other people. If they’ll know you are Christians by your love, then we can’t just shout at people. “I’m a Christian,” and then not extend them Grace. If there is no greater command than to love, how are we going to shine the light of God into the world without Grace?

Future Post about Humility to be included as an appendix in the Primacy of God.

About Journey Plans

 

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(The goal of this post is to explain how I’ll be handling Journeys. Like weekly updates, quarterly course corrections,

What are Journeys?

The Goal of taking Journeys is to expose the wounds and agreements that act as constraints in our ability to behold the Glory and Abundance of God, be transformed by it, and share it with the world.

It might seem like skill building or goal setting, but it’s not. Like learning to ride a bike: you learn balance, yes, but mainly you learn how not to fall down. In the process, you fall down a few times and learn not to fear falling down. (What Randy Pausch called, head fake learning.)

What Journeys Do

Biblically speaking, there are four streams that flow from the Throne of God out through the saints–Healing, Counseling, Spiritual Warfare, and Walking with God. John Eldredge speaks about it in more detail, but in short:

  • Healing – God’s love restores a heart wound to its pre-damaged state
  • Counseling – Provides an understanding of a would or false identity
  • Spiritual Warfare – Battles for freedom from bondage to demonic thinking
  • Walking w/ God – daily interaction w/ God (clarifies our adventure, or our Identity & Relationship w/ God)

Seasonality of Journeys

We can easily divide the year into quarters (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th), but Spring, Winter, Summer, and Fall have a lot of blurry lines. Spiritual seasons work like natural seasons–off-kilter and changing a little every year. So journeys really start when they start and end when they end.

However, if you try to take on a challenge thinking, “It’s okay to pull a Crazy Ivan and change to whatever’s next whenever I feel like it,” then you’re doomed to play whack-a-mole instead of drawing the deep lessons God desires to provide.

So I’ve decided that even though it is okay to follow the Wild Goose and make dynamic course changes, I’m going to push through to a preset goal line the best I can. What that looks like is that a journey is either completed or I don’t give up on it until the start of the next quarter. It’s been said that we don’t have a lack of time, only a lack of priorities.

Most of us hang onto a list of things we ought to be working on but never seem to get to. It’s a form of ‘To Do List’ passive selection, where we never have to do the work of painful deck clearing we can just never get to some projects. But what happens when the things we never get to are important to our hearts, or to our physical reality? (e.g. dating your wife or losing belly fat, etc.)

To some extent its okay to allow a healthy level of ‘decision by procrastination.’ Americans are blessed with so many “good” things to do that we can live for years before we get to the “GREAT” things that would bring us satisfaction, character, health & wealth. In fact, if you are only biting off what you know you can chew how will you increase capacity or leave room for God to perform miracles.

So I choose to engage in the process of prioritizing, knowing that some journeys may be put off until it’s bucket list time. But journeys are actually a reverse process to goal setting, so we’ll get into that in the next section.

The point here is to pick a journey, or complementary set of journeys, for three months at a time, and don’t entertain a serious course change until that three month period is over.

Journey’s vs Goal Setting

“Human thinking looks is drawn to the negative!” – Mike Galeotti

Consider this: how much time on the evening news is spent on happy things that went well?

We look at our lives, and without spending much time at all on what we truly wish it looked like we highlight the things that aren’t right and make a list of things that must change for us to be happy.

We spend almost no time at all being grateful for what we have or what might have gone wrong and didn’t. We enter God’s gates with thanksgiving (Psalms 100:4). What if the key to abiding in God’s presence is focusing on gratitude.

Think about it. There’s no negativity in God. Therefore, any place you are experiencing fear, shame, anxiety, self-doubt, anger, hatred, etc. is a place you tolerate a void in your experience of His presence.

Like a mossy rock in a stream parting the flow of abundance around it. If anything is missing that’s what is causing it–not the lack of resources (time, money, energy, know-how, support, etc.)

So, instead of making goals to fix a problem we’ve noticed, we need a journey to eliminate the constraint. This can mean tackling a place that you’ve failed, but it’s inherently relational. It focuses on something good, which we can be grateful about–even if that’s just the promise that God will come through in that place!

Journey Plans

It can be a daunting plan to write down what/why/how etc. for a journey. Still, journaling is powerful because of the warfare that springs up during this process. Recording “what the hell you were thinking” when you took on this crazy thing, will help you reveal and cling to the promise of God that inspired it.

So hopefully you’ll find journey plans for each of the journey’s God and I are currently taking on. Ideally, I will identify:

  • What I’m hoping God will do (heal/counsel/war/walk) with me
  • The steps I think we’ll take toward it
  • Any resources I’m leaning on God to help with
  • Specific places I predict challenge (prayer requests)

Current Journeys Page & Weekly Journey Updates

I’m posting all my current journey’s to this page on my blog (because God has healed my fear of public humiliation). So I have a single snapshot of the season with links out to all the specific plans for each journey.

I’m also doing a collective update of all the journeys weekly, instead of updating each journey individually on each Journey Plan Post. This was a gut-level, judgment call, hoping that it would be easier to follow along and less time consuming to write. We’ll see if I’m right soon.

So weekly updates will include the status of journeys past and upcoming journeys.

Final Disambiguation: Journeys, Rebounds, and Walking with God

(I love the word disambiguation. It just means to clarify a place of confusion.)

Walking with God is a Spiritual stream from God through us. It combines the other three streams into a way of living out your Adventure.

You might see me take on a journey with the Goal of walking with God. How can I take a focused journey into a daily walk? I could be meaning one of two things:

  1. I’m taking a journey to get clarity of my Adventure.
  2. I’m taking on a rebound to create a positive habit.

We’ll take on a number of adventures in our lives, but your Adventure (capital A) is the unique way you reflect the glory of God into the world around you. It’s often referred to as your calling, or your purpose, or life mission. Your roles (father/husband etc.) and your assignment (pastor/banker etc.) will change over time but your Adventure will stay.

A rebound is a type of Journey which can only be achieved through focused iteration–like a gratitude journal, or new diet. These are some of the most challenging types of journeys to take on. Let’s say God creates a miracle three-day weekend alone in the mountains. You could suddenly make great strides on that book you need to write with God, but you are only going to eat 9 meals and go to bed 3 times.

I’ll soon review a book that I know speaks to positive habit forming that I believe will end up being a terrific resource for rebounds. I’ll post a link to it here…one day soon.

 

Personal Culture vs Lifestyle Design

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Lifestyle Design gets a lot of attention these days, and it deserves a closer look. At long last, folks are attempting to put things like success, happiness, and wealth into personalized perspective. They are asking the postmodern question, “if I pursue what everyone says is the American Dream, will that bring ME satisfaction?”

I wrote on a related topic in my post on stoic reality. The gist is that we do need personal definitions but we also need to realize that reality doesn’t care about your definition. Sometimes the things that are difficult in the short run bring more life in the long run. Sometimes we need to lean into discomfort, or even pain, in order to pursue more LIFE. Sometimes we need to risk personal disaster in order to live in line with our values.

The famous quote from William Wallace’s character in the movie Brave Heart comes to mind. “Everyone dies, few men ever really live.”

So, I advocate something I call Personal Culture. It requires you to create your personal definitions, but then test it against your values. The trick here is that most of us don’t really think through our values. It takes an intentionality that isn’t possible in the typical busy American schedule.

The Average American Life

(Note: I use the term American a lot before things I’m criticizing. I’m not bagging on the U.S. I love America. Out of all the ways we do government and culture, America has figured out the best over-all way. Since I myself, and most of my audience, live in America I’m using it to indicate typical way most of us live. )

The two biggest challenges facing most of us are fear and shame. I plan to write on these at greater length, but my mentor, Sam Williamson covered shame far more brilliantly than I can.

The thing that makes fear and shame so terrible isn’t the temporary grip on our emotions, it’s that they take hold deep in our identity and become a guiding force in our decision-making.

If we don’t live from God, we live from fear or shame…or both.

Guilt vs Shame

As I mentioned above, unless we heal the wound in our ability to trust God we won’t be able to slow our pace enough to develop an effective personal culture.  Guilt is a soul level issue that can motivate us to make changes, but shame is at the level of our heart.

Guilt says, “I did something bad,” where shame says, “I am bad.” –Chris Skaggs

They require different weapons to combat. If you have debilitating guilt talking actually does help. Talking with a counselor can identify shame, even create ‘understanding’ of it, but it cannot heal it. That takes God.

Sam’s post will describe how to heal shame, permanently.

Cleric Path

A major factor in walking the Cleric Path is living inside out, authentically, in line with your values. As the 1st book in the series, The Primacy of God, points out; abundance flows from God, through us/changing us, then out to other people. We must subordinate our lives to God or we are relegated to a life on the hamster wheel–trying to outrun our problems and succeed in our own strength.

When Christ said he came that we may have life abundant, I believe him (John 10:10).

Very few people I know, Christian or not, live a truly abundant life–including me. The Cleric Path is my journey to receive abundance. The vision is a bullet-proof Tarzan, who could manage a kingdom or lose everything and still function in my purpose. I want to be responsive to what Micheal Q Pink calls Spontaneous Wealth–those flashes of epiphany that seem to almost accomplish themselves which we commonly ignore for lack of time.

What’s the Differences?

The key differences between lifestyle design and personal culture are the direction of flow and the source of the answers.

  1. Clearly, I’m going to advocate for God as a solution, but hear me out. The secular answer to shame, for example, is to be self-compassionate, improve self-esteem, think positive, or recast our stories, etc. Basically, try harder/run faster on that hampster wheel. Which leads to more failure and more guilt. We must have a source outside ourselves to defeat something bigger than ourselves and believe me, our problems are larger than us.
  2. Instead of living outside in, where your actions arise from a desire to create a desirable environment, we must live from inside out. Want to stop playing whack-a-mole with your problems? Stop reacting to urgent crap and let your actions arise from who you really are.

 

Personal Culture (see also this post)

 

An effective Personal Culture has three elements:

  • Mythic Reality Vision
  • Intentional Pacing
  • Authentic Actions & Rebounds

Mythic Reality Vision

We need to get a bigger perspective. When we worship our own intellect we tend to blind ourselves to things that are beyond the scope of our influence. The result is we live in a smaller story where the right thing to do is everything you can do to improve your existence. Sure we want to help people but what can one person really do, right?

Well, we lack the perspective to effectively make decisions in our lives. Only by seeing ourselves in the context of the story God is living, can we begin to glimpse the factors beyond our immediate circle of influence. On your most triumphant day at work, the most truly important thing you did all day, in God’s eyes, was smile at your barista.

While we’ll never be able to predict the unintended consequences of our actions, positive or negative, we can view life through a larger lens by consulting God about every situation.

Intentional Pacing

If we can learn to trust God we can move at a slower, more deliberate pace. You actually get more stuff done. How? Well, when your actions arise from your authentic identity you feel more satisfied. You spend less time on urgent things that turn out to be meaningless (although sometimes you’ll swear its the opposite). You also gain a secret blessing called multiplication.

While the world is telling you to multitask (split your focus and do several things at once) God’s answer is to bless you with manifold outcomes to your single efforts. God is the original two birds with one stone guy. He has given his people crops they didn’t plant, and victories over armies without lifting a finger. He will bless you manifold if you do everything you do with Him.

Authentic Actions (Journeys & Rebounds)

Living outside-in is when you try to change your circumstances. You’re always reacting to your circumstances because that’s how you know what to do next.

Living inside-out means letting your actions arise from who you are and then living with the consequences. You actually end up living above our circumstances.

For example, God is always abundantly giving to you. If you lose your job you could drop everything and seek a new job to replace the income. Or, you could ask God what He’s up to. Are you now poor because you don’t have an income? Or are you now rich in time to work on things?

God does understand that you need to provide for your family, but if you live from the assumption that God has your back you gain the ability to look around for God’s blessing in the hardship. You are free from the myopic and self-limiting belief that without money you can do nothing.

I’m not actually advocating that you throw your hands in the air and take whatever life hands you. We are given stewardship over our bodies and our kingdoms, which means we are authorized to manage these things. In fact, Jesus told an entire parable about a rich man leaving talents with his three servants. It didn’t go well with the servant who buried his talent. His reason, BTW, was that he feared his Master and couldn’t risk losing it. If God gives you a hammer find a nail and start swinging–it doesn’t go well for that third servant.

So here are two Godly ways to pursue God’s abundance in your sphere of authority: Journeys & Rebounds.

Journeys:

Journeys – a mini-adventure to remove a constraint to the flow of good things from God through us to our unique audience.

If you want to improve your physical fitness, financial outlook, or organize your environment better you can take on what I call a journey.

A journey looks a lot like the sort of secular mission-driven effort to fix our lives through our own strength but there are a couple key differences.

  1. You take a journey with God and as a result, it should draw you into a more intimate relationship with your Father.
  2. While you are trying to accomplish the goal of the journey (changed situation) your goal is to reveal constraints (wounds) that impede the flow of abundance through you.

About Journey Plans

For more on Journeys see this post.

Rebounds:

Rebounds are habits we undertake to make incremental improvements. Where a journey is more like a project to lose 15 lbs by efforts x, y, & z, a rebound is an attempt to replace certain bad habits with beneficial ones.

The goal, again, is to bring you closer to God.

Examples of rebounds:

  • Prayer before meals
  • doing 5 pushups on the counter before you brush your teeth
  • keeping a gratitude journal
  • parking further from the door so you get more walking in

And so on. The idea is to replenish you by doing things that make you more aware of God, more aware of your decisions, and to increase the bring more heart satisfaction.

More on Rebounds coming in a separate post…(Link?)