New & Different Thoughts

Recently, I've repeated a seemingly odd phrase several times in the context of one-on-one's and Next Level Intensives. 

 Start thinking about the things you aren't thinking about.

I know, it's tweetable and yet somehow unclear. Let me try to explain. 

I can remember several times this lesson was taught to me, although different words were likely used, and it usually involved a mentor lovingly challenging me to either think through how something I said landed differently than I intended (or imagined) or how even though I was self-aware, I did something without much regard for the lateral or sideways impact on those around me (others-awareness). 

I remember once, after building up the nerve (which likely involved several shots of espresso!) — I asked my boss and mentor a crazy scary question. 

In what ways do you hope and pray that I grow as a follower of Jesus and as a leader in the next six months?

I normally don't like asking questions that involve open-ended feedback that'll likely expose a blind spot. But then again, it's usually only blind to me and it's very obvious for those around me!

You could ask this to your Small Group Leader or Staff Mentor. It won't feel great or be easy, but it will let you grow beyond your own self-perceptions. 

This has several applications, either other questions or next steps, within the Chi Alpha context. 

  • Ask your Small Group Co-Leader, "Is there anything I do while leading group that distracts or annoys you." 
  • Ask your Small Group Leader (if you're a Small Group Member), "How can I better serve you and be a team player?" 
  • Here's another one I thought of that applies to so many of us during class registration — how will your schedule impact your involvement in key things like TNW or weekend retreats? 

Okay, you probably saw this coming but I want to spend a few moments on that last question.  

Heather Zempel has this great series of talks about intentionality meaning that you make pre-decisions — often for yourself and yet, against yourself.

On a diet? Don't buy 10 pounds of chocolate at the store. Struggling with Facebook Addiction? Delete the app. You get the idea, right?  

I'd like for us to think about this concept in a slightly new and different way.

Since time management is life management according to Dr. Roy King (and I agree!), as you set your class schedule, be careful not to say no to things in advance that you might want to say yes to. 

Interested in being super plugged in at TNW in the Fall? What about joining the worship or production team? Or being a fellow and helping with hospitality? 

Then, choosing a class from 8-10pm on Thursdays probably isn't the best choice. In fact, choosing one that ends at 8pm still rules you out of so many potential opportunities.  

In other words, own your choices (realize you have them) and be strategic about prioritizing community over the perfect schedule. Or not. But as many of us know, we can't have it all our way (it's not Burger King), so may we choose to be intentional in our faith life personally and communally, even when it costs us or is inconvenient. 

Why? Because it'll always cost us. It'll always be inconvenient. Not just in college but when you have a career and a child in diapers. Or when you're 92 and retired.  

As David wrote (er, said), may we be careful not to offer God things that don't cost us. 

I'm praying over our community, for discernment in the small things — because it helps us steward the big things.  

 — Blane

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