Tag Archives: 1 Peter 5

The Flow and Right Timing

If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, he will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in his hands.
1 Peter 5:6 (TPT)

Along my life journey, I have come to experience what many others have described as “the flow.” Artists and creatives experience the flow as a spiritual, level four energy that empowers their creativity. As U2’s Bono discovered, “the songs are already written.” Athletes call it being “the zone” when the flow takes over and the ball slows down, they know what will happen before it happens, and their game elevates to an unprecedented level. Teachers and prophets experience the flow in both preparation and presentation. Rob Bell describes the flow when he experiences having a thought, a story, a metaphor, or an idea that “wants to be part of something” but he doesn’t know what it is. He records it, hangs on to it, and waits for the right time (which could be years later).

I remember experiencing the flow early in 2004. I just knew that I was supposed to do this thing, but exactly what it was and what it looked like was undefined. It was only a general notion, but I knew it at the core of my spirit. I even remember reaching after it but getting nowhere. Over time this thing I was supposed to do continued to reveal itself like little bread crumbs. Something would happen and I would think, “This is it! It’s falling into place.” But then, it wouldn’t.

That’s the frustrating thing about walking this earthly journey through finite time (as opposed to timeless eternity). We often find ourselves waiting, seeking, and longing for the right time or the right season for things. Wendy can tell you that I’m not always the most patient person when it comes to waiting. As an Enneagram Type Four, I tend to get pessimistic and overly dramatize my impatience and frustration. That’s when my Type Eight wife has no problem telling me directly what I know is true: the time just isn’t right.

In a bit of synchronicity that I honestly didn’t plan, the chapter today was the same text that I talked about in last week’s podcast, and the same text I taught on this past Sunday morning. That’s another thing that I have discovered along life’s journey. When the same thing keeps coming up in random ways, then there’s something God’s Spirit is trying to teach me in the flow. I should pay attention, meditate on it, and wait for it to be revealed.

The thing I was supposed to do eventually did reveal itself after about ten years. When it finally did fall into place it was at just the right time in a myriad of ways I won’t take the time to explain.

The ancient words for God’s “Spirit” in both the Hebrew and Greek languages are translated into English as “wind,” or “breath,” or you might say “flow.” I believe that sensing and experiencing the flow is simply tapping into God’s eternal Spirit who lives outside of time, but breathes into me bread crumbs and seeds which eventually lead to things in their due season and time.

What Peter wrote to the exiled followers of Jesus was that the waiting calls for humility. This past Sunday I defined humility as “the willing, conscious, intentional crucifixion of my own ego,” whose time frame is an impatient NOW, and who tends to demand that revelation and fulfillment happen in my time frame, not God’s.

If you want to know what tragically happens when we try to make the flow happen in our own way and our own timeline, see Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Macbeth and his lady are quintessential examples.

Have you missed the previous chapter-a-day posts from this journey through the Gospel of Luke? Click on this image and it will take you to a quick index of the other posts!

The Power of Expressing “Willingness”

not because you must, but because you are willing
1 Peter 5:2 (NIV)

My company measures service quality (e.g. “Your call may be monitored for quality assurance and training purposes“) and then we train and coach agents how to provide a better customer experience when talking on the phone or other mediums of communication.

I’ve always taught my clients that Rule #1 of Customer Service is “do the best you can with what you have” because every team member at every level of the organization is limited in some way. The problem is that we tend to get mired in the excuses and frustrations of what we can’t do instead of what we can. Front line agents may not be empowered to functionally do everything for the customer they would like to do, but they often underestimate the power they have to positively impact the customer experience simply by what they say and how they say it.

One of the most under utilized skills in customer service is expressing a willingness to help, to listen, to take responsibility, and to serve. In the business world we call it an “ownership statement.”

Here’s what I hear on about 95 percent of the calls I assess:

Customer: I have a question about my account.
Agent: Account number?

That’s an agent doing what they are obligated to do. But when you simply and consistently communicate a positive, willing attitude you improve the customer experience:

Customer: I have a question about my account.
Agent: Sure, Mr. Vander Well. I’ll be happy to help. May I have your account number, please?”

There is so much power in simply communicating a positive, willing spirit. And it goes so much further than customer service business transactions. This is what Peter was getting at in this morning’s chapter when he told the leaders among Jesus’ followers to carry out their responsibilities “not out of obligation but because you are willing.” I can improve how I relate with my friends, family, and loved ones simply by learning to consistently communicate willingness:

Friend: Hey Tom, are you available to help me move a piano?
Me: Happy to help. When do you need me to be there?

Wendy: Tom? Will you carry the laundry to the laundry room?
Me: You got it, my love. Laundry Man is on his way.

Madison: Dad? Can you get me a new insurance card?
Me: I’d love to, sweetie. Let me call our agent and arrange it.

I know it sounds simple because it is. We can positively impact every one of our interpersonal relationship experiences by simply and consistently communicating a little positive willingness. And, my experience is that “what goes around, comes around.” Give a little positive willingness and you just might find that “it will be given unto you.”

I’m going to focus on expressing willingness with every opportunity I’m given today. Will you join me?

Chapter-a-Day 1 Peter 5

from hqas via Flickr

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

The other night we were visiting with friends at their house. One of their children was angry over a host of childish issues and, while we were there, he decided to run away from home in anger. Wendy and I love this child and have watched him grow up. He’s like a member of our own family. It was interesting for us to watch him stew in his own misery convinced that nobody cared for the injustice of his life. We commended his parents later for not overreacting to his very public act of packing in front of guests. I especially appreciated when his mother lovingly reminded him to grab his pillow and a sleeping bag because he’d probably need it sleeping out in the cold that night.

I love 1 Peter 5:7 for it’s direct simplicity. I have leaned on this verse countless times, reminding myself of it over and over and over again as I’ve gone through particularly difficult stretches of life’s journey. There are so many times in life when we feel alone and isolated in whatever situation we find ourselves. “Life is unfair. Life is unjust. God doesn’t care. In fact, maybe there’s no God at all if this is the way life is!”

1 Peter 5:7 is an antidote for moments of personal crisis. I have found two distinct encouragements in the verse. First, I need to act to cast my cares and worries on God. This requires me not to keep my destructive thoughts and emotions to myself but to take them to God. I have talked to God, I have screamed at God, I have whispered desperate prayers, and I have wept before God like a baby. The act of physically and audibly getting your cares out is cathartic and healing.

The unburdening of soul through conversation with God makes room for the second part of 1 Peter 5:7, which is the important reminder that God cares. I believe this to be true, though there have been very specific moments along the journey that I’ve seriously questioned it. A petulant child even in an adult body, I have more than once fussed at Father God about His injustice and uncaring attitude as I spiritually packed my bag to run away.

After giving his parents and guests a good dose of teen-aged attitude coupled with the silent treatment while having a snack for the road, our young friend must have thought better of his decision to run away. Without saying a word he headed to bed rather than the front door. Someday he will look back and realize how silly it was allowing a momentary feeling of injustice to let him feel so uncared for when the larger truth of the matter was he was raised in a loving home with two parents who care for him more deeply than he could imagine.

And so this runaway has found the same to be true with Father God. Once I unburden my soul and get out my anger, fear, anxiety and pain I am ready for a dose of truth; God loved me so much that He sacrificed His Son for me. He cares for me and loves me more deeply than I can possibly imagine despite my refusal to see it in the moment.

Today, as I write this post, I am able to see it clearly and am grateful for all the times Father God has smiled quietly to Himself as He lovingly reminded me not to forget my pillow and my sleeping bag