Journey Plan: True-Up/Sharp Ax

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(Note: This Journey Plan addresses this Seasons plan to clean up loose ends and gain effectiveness. )

Welcome…

Not unlike the HouseFix Journey, this will list a lot of things I need to do. I’m also hoping that by explaining my reasoning you might get insight into my organizing system, which will be a subject of a journey and ebook in 2019. Sharp Ax/True-Up might seem a strange name for a journey, but it’s one of those cool combined action efforts, like the Eve & AM Journey. It’s actually short for four concepts that fit together so interconnectedly that it’s easier to track them together.

Sub-Categories:

  1. Sharp Ax – things I do to automate or improve efficiency
  2. LEARN – seeking out more understanding, more skills, better ways
  3. True-Up – Leftover or undone items needed to finish a project
  4. Finish Strong – The other 1/5th of the project that’s hard to do

What it is:

We can’t just do things to improve our lives, we need to also improve our methods of improving ourselves. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying something like, “if I had three hours to chop down a tree I’d spend the first two hours sharpening my ax.” That’s what inspired the name of that sub-category. If you take a course on speed reading, for example, you’d save time on everything you do every day, especially the process of learning. (I intend to take a course by Ben Levi on Udemy called, Become a Super Learner very soon.)

LEARN is actually one of my strengths and also a lifelong addiction of mine. I simply don’t feel right if I’m not ingesting new information.

The Big Difference between True-Up and Strong Finish…is nuanced. True-up is something God has put on my heart this season. I tend to get frustrated with a lack of progress and complain to God that I’m not making progress. God asks if I’m really out of actions I can take. It’s humbling to realize that I’m begging God for step 5 and 6, actually throwing a tantrum and refusing to take steps 1 thru 4 until He shows me the whole plan. Well, this category is for things the steps I can take.

Strong Finish relates to a core concept/desire I have for the Cleric Path. It’s something Mike Q. Pink calls spontaneous wealth. Most creative types get what I’m about to say, but I’ll try to explain. When you get a flash of brilliance that transcends what you could do in your own power. Most of us live our lives in a way that is too busy to even record those epiphanies much less take action on them. I call them Blessons, (Blessings + lessons) and I’m determined to take advantage of them.

What I’ve learned in trying to set aside time for these Blessons is that I tend to capture and use about 80% (4/5ths) of it before life rends me away. Finish strong is about being faithful to complete the remaining 1/5th in order to really receive what God is handing out.

 

The List So Far:

Sharp Ax – things I do to automate or improve efficiency

Laptop Clean up (renew virus protection, clean up junk files, esp pics in DBox etc)

Mobile office: incorporate my tablet so office/writing functions are more portable

LEARN – seeking out more understanding, more skills, better ways

Udemy class on balancing the endocrine system – current (link for more info)

 

True-Up – Leftover or undone items needed to finish a project

Laptop Clean up, delete old desktop notes & add new–(mission/vision/values/battle/message, etc. )

Finish Strong – The other 1/5th of the project that’s hard to do

Pea Gravel project in the backyard

Water heater run off

Make Daughter’s tablet kid-friendly

 

More to come…

 

Edited this far

Steps I’ll take and What I’m hoping God will do

While watching a kids show with my daughter, I heard a character mention mechanical advantage as connected to incremental efforts. It hit me like a rhino at full speed. Part of the reason change is difficult for us is that we need to know we’re working on grand things, but we’re seldom able to do more than just crawl to the next line. We’ve lost sight, well, I’ve lost sight, of the nobility inherent to surviving against all odds.

It’s not just the knight in shining armor who makes victory in a battle. It’s usually the human cockroach who knows how to keep himself and his friends alive through impossible odds that end up doing all the fighting on the front line.

My point here is that most of my victories didn’t result from my excellence as much as my obstinance. Most of the finish lines I’ve crossed in life weren’t danced across, they were crawled across or stumbled over.

I want that leverage that comes from focusing on the next step. I believe that one thing that will help is celebrating the ugly wins. Getting excited over the tiny victories. The same God who can give me peace in a storm can give me joy over the underwhelming successes.

 

Any resources I’m leaning on God to help with

God’s got to come through with joy.

Specific places I predict challenge (prayer requests)

I’ve got to remember that there is no negativity in God and no matter how busy I am, nothing is more important than fighting the battle over my attitude.

Estimated Start Date: Underway.

About ‘This Season’ Planning

Spring

This is the first “This Season Plan” I’ve posted on online. It’s the first I’ve done since moving most of my thought processing onto the website. (Putting this online is experimental, and I’m not sure I’ll continue after this one.) I’ve done quite a few since inventing the process about 10 years ago. So let me start with a brief explanation.

Metadata & Marginalia

I’ve alluded to this document before. It’s one of my “Master Docs.”

Have you ever gotten stuck in your own head while trying to sort your thoughts? I get it all the time. Back in the day before programs like Scrivener began to include associated metadata, we writers had to create documents with information about the information we were trying to create.

That’s the best way to explain. We knew things about characters that hadn’t been written yet. We needed to track location descriptions because places change over time. We needed sometimes to keep track of where items are at certain points or bits of information that the reader knows but some characters don’t. We had other documents for research, and still others to track changes made on the fly. For example, I could decide to eliminate a character entirely from the rest of the book and have to leave myself a note to scrub him out of previously drafted chapters on the first revision.

Collating this support material is a going concern, but nothing is worse than trying to keep it all in your head while trying to draft a book. Once I figured out what worked for my writing, I started applying similar techniques to my efforts to build character and become a better human being. I’m writing the novel of my life every day, and it requires metadata and marginalia.

Types of Master Documents:

Most Master Docs are “living docs,” meaning I’ll continue to revise them to keep them up to date. Sometimes I call these Policy Docs because the goal is to record my vision for something and to provide continuity.

Some Master Docs, like “this season” are serial by nature. They speak to a period of time and I expect to replace them a few times a year.

About This Season Planning:

I used to include a lot of specific marching orders in my season plans, but that stuff now tends to land in my current journeys list. The main goal of This Season Doc is to ask God what he’s trying to accomplish in me this season. In looking over some of my older docs I realized how deeply personal this can be, which is why I’m not sure I’ll continue to post these online, but…

  • I need at least one example so that those following along can know what I refer to periodically.
  • I think this season can be shared without getting too awkward.
  • Since I’m posting my Journey list and Journey Plans it will really help to see the stage of processing I use to settle on those.

Note: Don’t get mislead when I include the word “Spring” in the name. I tend to create two to three of these a year and they don’t line up with the physical seasons perfectly. (I always think there should be four but it doesn’t happen). So I name them after the part of the year that I start realizing that I’m transitioning into a new season.

The Reason New Seasons is Crucial to Growth & Breakthrough

Because God is a father. He is loving and kind and nurturing too, but He longs to Father us. How many times did Jesus complain about the disciples not getting it? Comments like, you haven’t gotten off the spiritual milk to the spiritual meat yet. The Father initiates His children. He’s about growth and breakthrough. We’re told He won’t give us what we can’t handle, but I firmly believe that’s a misquote. I think it says, He won’t give us what HE can’t handle.

I recognize a new season coming because I become aware of thoughts and behaviors in me that indicate I’m outside His stream of abundance.

  • Am I making decisions out of fear, anger, or revenge?
  • Am I avoiding something I think will be unpleasant even though I believe it’s important?
  • Am I disconnecting from God so I don’t have to hear Him tell me what I don’t want to hear?
  • Am I overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed or stuck in a rut?

These are classic signs of double-mindedness, a classic double bind situation, and disconnection from God.

Here’s what the hampster wheel looks like–I want a changed circumstance, so I ask God for it. I’m not actually able to receive what I want because of an unhealed wound in my heart, so God asks to heal my wound. When God draws attention to my wound I feel inadequate and ashamed. I get frustrated that I haven’t accomplished it in my own strength. I hear the enemy use that wound to accuse me of being the product of it. I make an agreement that a God who loves me wouldn’t agitate that wound. I perceive God as bad because I believe pain and risk are inherently bad.

All this stems from my lack of understanding the process of being fathered. I have to trust in God’s goodness (the Primacy of God) if I’m to let him make me someone able to receive what I deeply desire. So my lack of trust leads to hiding from God. I make myself busy. If He gives me a vision of my life with that desire fulfilled I try to make it happen myself. I’m like a shattered mug in search of coffee, empty and exhausted.

All our negative circumstances are symptoms of unhealed places in our hearts.

 

New Season Plan Template:

New Season Spring 2018

May 2018

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”— Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 (NIV)

Current Situation:

A brief outline of what I’m sensing, or how I’m feeling. What am I frustrated with?

Seasons Recap:

I usually cut/paste the results from the previous season. A quick review of it can be very helpful.

Bringing it all Together:

What would I do if fear weren’t a factor? What is God saying about my circumstances? What am I procrastinating about instead of doing? Is there an unrealistic obligation I’m holding myself responsible for? Should I trash it, do it, or renegotiate it to a better time?

Daily Battle:

  1. Choose the light side of the paradox. (Declare God is Good and actively showing me His favor.)
  2. Declare who God says I am. (New you in Christ)
  3. List 3 – 5 things I can do, even if I can’t see how they’ll fix things.

Who is God being for me this season? I’m built in his image, what part of His Glory is He restoring in me this season? If I reimagine my circumstances as part of a redemptive plan, what’s God trying to accomplish with them? Is there a theme to it all? What gift or superpower would result from me being healed?

The New Season:

A) Looking at the crossroads of my answers above, what do I feel God is saying right now about this season?

B) What outliers did I think of during this process? What things did God speak to that I wanted to ignore because I couldn’t see where they fit in?

Note: In my experience, the way forward either comes from group A or group B. Don’t be afraid if its group B. God might be addressing things in a roundabout way. It’ll be more effective to follow the wild goose than to force this to fit your expectations.

 

The Question of God’s Goodness

The Question of God’s Goodness

You may have noticed that I don’t differentiate between God’s power and His goodness. I have a whole section on God’s goodness coming up, but, for the left-brained among us, here’s a quick paragraph.

sunset-2754909_1920Good and bad are generally relative terms. What’s good for me is good and what’s bad for me is bad. I’m not personally a big fan of any kind of moral relativism, but in this case, it’s true. If you’re all powerful then what you say is good/bad becomes the standard for anyone else who isn’t all powerful, which is everyone. If you are all-knowing then you know what is Good/Evil and can choose to abide by it or not. Therefore, if you are both you need only decide if you’re selfish or selfless. Will you act in your own self-interest or will you uphold a universal right/wrong even if it causes you harm? If you are all powerful then you can accomplish your desires despite any constraints, so why would you violate the right/wrong standard?

This dips a little bit into those unanswerable questions like, can God make a rock so big that He can’t lift it? Except, that in this case, we have an example that gives us an answer. Sin. So many people are angry at God because of the wages of sin when in fact the fall of mankind proves that God doesn’t force anyone to behave. The fact that He created humans knowing we’d fall speaks to His character also.

He’s willing to sacrifice himself, heroically, to restore things to what he intended. He doesn’t have to avoid making humans, because he has a solution. All knowing combined with all-powerful equals always accomplishing goals. Therefore, God has no motive to be anything but good because abiding by any laws doesn’t prevent him from doing or having anything. It does, however, cause him pain. He suffered to restore us because He loves us, and therefore He’s selfless. Therefore He is good.

Stoic Reality

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Some criticisms of postmodernism are legitimate. I’ve said before that I’m using a narrow definition of the term postmodern. I’m interested in using the part of modern life and technology that have merit and improve life, while also searching out what worked in earlier times that’s been discarded simply because we have a new way to try. In short, Postmodernism (PM) to me is about searching for what works instead of what everyone else is doing.

One thing that’s missing from the postmodern approach is stoicism. Unlike most discarded things from earlier times, we didn’t just move on to a new way and never ask if it actually improves anything. No, stoicism, as I’m going to define it, actually runs directly opposite to the postmodern concept. Because a stoic is a person who keeps doing something even when it’s tough because, despite all indicators, its better than simply going with the flow.

Short Explanation/Description:

One of my mentors is a stoic with postmodern tendencies. I’m a PM with a secret stoic side.

If we came upon a man slamming his face into a walk I’d rightly say that this man lacks the creativity to think of a better way, or he is afraid to try something different so he just keeps trying the same thing hoping for a better result.

If we came upon a maze my mentor would rightly say that if we randomly turn right and left we could be lost forever, but if we pick a wall (right or left) and keep following it we’ll eventually reach an exit.

Conclusion–like so many things, stoicism and postmodernism are paradoxical.

There are two major points to Stoic Reality:

  1. Life’s hard, you must do it anyway, knowing that somehow makes it a little easier.
  2. You can’t predict the outcomes of your actions so you can’t let desired outcomes guide your actions.

Point one can be summed up as embrace the suck. Life will require risk (emotional/financial/physical) and no one gets out of it alive. Find a passion (something worth suffering for) to keep you going and then grind. Anyone who loves camping has learned that if you accept cold/wet nights, mosquitos, hard ground, scrapes etc. it’s actually a lot of fun.

Point two is a doozy. Our culture is based on setting goals and trying to achieve them. Postmodernism relies heavily on lifestyle design because it rightly points out that earning money just to keep score and win an imaginary game of life is exhausting and superficial. I’m a fan of lifestyle design but I can’t ignore the fact that we don’t really know which actions will result in the life we want.

You can take acting classes and audition every day and still never get a part. I understand that this is a “choose yourself” era. We can focus on a career path that makes our own efforts the key factor of success rather than some industry gatekeeper. But still, I can write/publish/market a book, but I can’t make anyone buy it (much less the thousands needed to turn it into a success).

Conclusion–It’s good to look around once in a while to see if you keep getting the same results. Is fear of trying something outside the box causing you to make the same actions over and over, hoping for a different result?

It’s also good to weed out personal agreements that hold you back. Things like, “pain is bad,” “risk is bad,” “I am what I do or have,” “if I only had X I could be who I am meant to be,” “good things are easy and come to you if you want it bad enough,” “Love always feels good,” “I’m unworthy to receive my hearts desire,” “if there’s a price to pay…” and so on.

How do we stand in the paradox of stoic reality and postmodern philosophy? Live from inside out. Look at your outcomes as an indicator of your fidelity to the reflection of God in you. If you’re miserable then you’re probably not being authentic. Chances are good that God is prompting you to do something your fear. It requires faith that he will bring about a good result, even though you secretly know what you hope that result will be. Sometimes God is not bringing a physical blessing, he’s enlightening your character to be more like himself.

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