Archive for the ‘Questions’ Tag

Who Are You?   1 comment


Image provided by wellhappypeaceful.com

Image provided by wellhappypeaceful.com

One of the interesting aspects of all the social and professional networking sites on the internet is the creation of an online profile.  Each of these websites asks questions in an attempt for you to share information which will introduce you to the world and identify connections with others.  A person has to determine what information she/he chooses to share and how to best describe one’s self.  The major question which is being asked is, “Who are you?”

I find this question a bit daunting.  Most of us begin to answer this question by describing our employment.  We have been trained that one of the key purposes of our existence is to work.  This alone is an interesting topic which is best discussed in another blog post.  Once a person describes the type of employment, then the challenge is to determine where to go next.  Should the next response be to talk about my marital status?  Should the next mention be about my children?  Should I tell about where we grew up?  All part of my life, but does it really answer the question of who I am?

I struggle with this question for another reason.  I struggle with it because at times I wonder if I really know who I am.  Again, I can share endlessly about the factual aspects of my life.  Yet, I know that a life is much more than a list of facts.  I know that a person is much more than his/her career, family, or place of origin.  However, if I am going to go beyond the facts, I have to spend time trying to understand who I really am.

Then there is the issue of how much personal information to share and how comfortable others may be with receiving the information.  There are appropriate boundaries regarding personal information which should be observed.

So maybe this is not so much about trying to fill out the information for a personal profile on a website.  Maybe that is just a catalyst to ask a bigger question of who I am.  What I am truly grappling with today is if I really know who I am.  What would I tell someone if I was asked for more than just the factual aspects of my life?  I think this is a question which will require a much longer process than just one day.  I guess I have created a challenge for myself which will take a bit of time.

What would you share if you were asked, “Who are you?”

 

In the Center   Leave a comment


Image provided by ripetolife.com

Image provided by ripetolife.com

I was looking today at a display that I have on my office door.  It actually is a combination of a few different gifts which I have received over the years.  One piece is a wreath celebrating my favorite college sports team.  In the middle of the wreath are a few hanging items which were gifts.  While I looked at my door, it made me think about what was in the middle of the wreath.  These thoughts led me to a question…. “What is the center of your life?”

As I pondered this question, I began to think of responses which I might make.  I came to realize that my responses reflected what I found to be important in my life at this time.  I think that this says a lot about what we place in the center of our lives.  For me it involved relationships, my faith, and my hopes.  Others might include career, home, family, activities, financial security, or some possession.  I find that what I choose to place in the center of my life are those things to which I devote my time, energy, and resources.  I would venture to guess that this is true for others as well.

So that leads me to ask you the same question….. What is in the center of your life?

Hope Within Tragedy   Leave a comment


Image provide by suegraber.com

Image provide by suegraber.com

This past weekend, tragedy struck our community.  A car accident claimed the lives of two young adults in their early 20’s.  The accident also left physical and psychological injuries on the one young adult that survived.  During times such as these, there are so many questions and aspects of life can seem so senseless.  A whole community grieves.  A whole community feels a sense of loss.  A whole community wonders why.

The grief comes from the pain that is inflicted upon the families.  Families who we see on the streets on any given day.  Families who we have had some sort of connection with or have witnessed as children grow into adulthood.  While we never can understand their pain, we understand that life is now completely different for them.

We also grieve because we sense a loss.  Most obviously, we sense the loss of life.  However, I think that we also sense a loss of innocence.  Instead of hearing a sad news story on television or reading of an accident in the newspaper, the story becomes our own.  We know these individuals and we no longer can keep a distance that creates for us a feeling of innocence.  The innocence of youth also disappears when faced with this type of tragedy.  We know that the individual who survived will have to face each day with the knowledge that two friends did not survive the accident.

There are so many questions.  Why did it have to be on that road?  Why did it have to be that night?  Why didn’t they take a different road?  Why were two killed and one survived?  Why did anyone have to die?  Why did this happen to people who are so young?  Why?  WHy?  WHY? No matter how loud or long we scream the questions, the answers never seem to materialize.

Yet, in the midst of tragedy, we still are able to find hope.  The sun continued to rise and set.  The physical healing has begun.  One DID survive.  There is truly One that has the answers to all of our questions.  The One is the One who is in charge.  The One is the One who can bring healing.  The One is the One that was there on that night.  The One is the One who provided a life after this life.  The One is the One who cradled the injured.  The One is the One who welcomed the two home.  The One is the One who gave them all life in the first place.  The One is God.  Our hope is found in the One.

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)

Searching for Answers   Leave a comment


Image provided by whatgodsaidtonight.blogspot.com

Image provided by whatgodsaidtonight.blogspot.com

There are times that I feel I am on a never-ending quest.  This quest started before I was even aware that it existed.  I have a feeling that this quest will continue until the day I take my last breath.  The quest of which I speak is the quest for answers.  It is a quest that I know I am not on alone.  I am confident that there are millions of other people on this same quest.  This quest can be very energizing and yet at the same time, it can be very exhausting.  This quest contains much joy but still is filled with frustration.  This quest is what drives scientists, religious scholars, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, leaders, and almost every human that I know.  Everyone seems to be seeking answers.

One of the amazing aspects of this search for answers is that there are so many questions.  The questions are based on our perspective, our experiences, and our current circumstances.  In fact, part of the search is a search for the “right” questions.  It is impossible to find answers when we do not even know the question.  So our quest begins with determining the question which we desire to have answered.

Another amazing reality on this quest is that there are so many sources trying to provide us with “the” answer.  There are ancient writings and contemporary discoveries.  There are experts from every venue to offer us input.  There are books, podcasts, articles, television programs, TED Talks, and the internet.  In fact, there is so much input that often it seems even more difficult to find answers because sorting through all the data just creates confusion.

I must confess, there are times I wish that someone (preferably the Lord) would just give all the answers to all the questions and I could be done with the quest.  However, that is not how the world has been designed.  When God created us, God chose to give to us an inquisitive mind.  God placed the first question in our thoughts and much like a flower opening to the sunlight, we continue to blossom with answers and new questions.

So the search continues.  I have learned that I must accept that for every answer I think I find, there will be at least three more questions that come from that discover.  I have learned that this quest for answers is the force that moves life.  I have accepted that there will be energy, exhaustion, joy and frustration which I will experience on the quest.  I am grateful that I make this journey not alone but with other humans and, most importantly, with my Lord.

Tragedy   1 comment


Tear Drop

Tear Drop (Photo credit: Brave Heart)

Sometimes I think that life around us is so full of tragic events that we tend to become numb to them.  We see stories in the evening news, we read about murders and accidents, we are made aware of violence and unrest in nations around the world, we hear of devastating natural events.  I cannot recall a day in the last year that there has not been some form of tragedy that has been shown to me or told to me.  Recently, our community has been filled with tragedy.  We have seen the deaths of some very young people in our community.  Between accidents and suicides, there have been some young lives that have been cut too short.

So how do we deal with tragedy?  How do I deal with tragedy?  This is one challenge that causes me to be so extremely grateful for my faith and that which I believe.  My faith tells me that although I have a lot of questions and I struggle to find answers, there is someone who sees and understands completely.  My faith tells me that the life which I experience on this earth is not the only life that exists.  My faith tells me that there is hope even in the darkest of times.  I believe in the resurrection of those who believe in Christ.  I believe in the forgiveness of even the worst action.  I believe in life after an earthly life.  These are the elements of faith which allow me to trust in something greater than myself or anyone around me.

As a leader, the other question that comes to my mind is, how do I lead people through tragic situations?  This actually can seem more daunting to me than the previous questions that I listed above.  The important aspects to keep in mind are these:

  1. Remember that you are working with people.  The key here is to recognize each individual as a person.
  2. Remember that each person deals with tragedy in their own manner.  This means that there is no “cookie cutter” approach that works.
  3. Remember to listen.  Don’t make assumptions that you know how the person is feeling or thinking.  Let them tell you.
  4. Remember to help them list the positive memories they have or the little surprises that have occurred even in the midst of tragedy.
  5. Remember to be present.  You must be available even if you think they are not going to come to you.  This is not a waste of your time but is one of the most important uses of your time.
  6. Remember to provide hope.  Do not use lofty words or great philosophical truths but instead help them to engage in activity (life continues) and looking forward (life will continue into the future).

There is nothing easy about tragedy.  If it were easy, we wouldn’t call it tragedy.  There is nothing easy about being a leader at tragic times.  But we are not alone.  We can rely on our faith and our beliefs.  We can be present and walk together.

 

Always Learning   Leave a comment


learning

learning (Photo credit: Anne Davis)

Today I am reminded of the great value of learning.  My thoughts begin with conversations in which I participated in last night.  One of the members of the group shared some insights that triggered potential opportunities in my mind.  Then again this morning, I was having coffee with my regular coffee buddies and  learned some information of which I was unaware.  As I have reflected on these conversations, I was struck by how I continue to learn in all types of settings.  That reality excites me.

An old saying comes to my mind:  “You are never too old to learn.”  I feel so blessed that I have the ability to continue to learn.  I also feel blessed that my fear in asking questions has reduced.  Maybe it is because of maturing, but I have found that I no longer have quite the level of fear that I once had when asking a question.  I no longer seem to be afraid of being considered less intelligent because I ask a question.  In fact, I have come to realize that I lack wisdom when I do not ask the questions.

I also have a higher comfort level in stating when I do not know something.  Again, it is probably because life has taught me that there are things in which everyone lacks knowledge.  With all the resources now at our disposal, both human and digital, there is always opportunity to find answers.  I find that listening to others and hearing input from various perspectives helps me to grow exponential in my knowledge.

This applies to my faith questions as well.  Faith is a very complex human understanding.  Faith has so many components and is impacted by a wide variety of experiences and concepts.  I always tell others that questions are a very positive way to grow your faith.  I greatly enjoy engaging in faith discussions with others.  I find every time that I do, I learn and my faith grows.

I am grateful to the Lord for giving me a mind to think and learn.  I am grateful to the Lord that learning never ends.  I am grateful to the Lord for questions and for the knowledge shared.

What will I learn today?

Letting Go   Leave a comment


Letting go

Letting go (Photo credit: against the tide)

 

One of the most difficult things for an organization to do is to let go of the things that have had so much meaning in the organization’s life.  Sometimes organizations have events or projects that have a very storied history but are no longer relative or connect with other people and their lives.  However, because of the history and the meaning that it has had in the past for the members of the organization, no one is willing to let the project or event take the normal course of life and die.

 

So the question is what should the leader of an organization that is struggling to let go of something that has been valued deeply within the organization in the past do, if anything.  I think there are a couple important actions a leader can take in such a situation.  First, it is important to collect tangible data on the project if possible.  How much is being expended in financial resources and human resources to continue the project?  How many people are serviced or impacted by the project?  What benefits are obtained by the organization through the project?

 

The next important gathering of information is in regards to the history of the project.  Why was the project started?  What was the intention or goal of the project?  What changes have occurred within the project over its life span?  Who has been involved in the project throughout its history?

 

The leader then needs to work with group in charge of the project to discuss the information that has been gathered.  The leader should ask questions regarding the value of the project (not just financial but not void of financial aspects).  Questions regarding if the original goals or intentions are still part of the organizations current goals and intentions.  Questions in regard to who is being served by the project and who is willing to be involved in the project.  Finally, questions that help the group reflect upon the relevance of the project to the life of the organization, its members, and those who are being reached through the project.

 

Through reflection and responses to questions, the leader can help the organization discern if the project or event has purpose to be continued or if the history of it should be celebrated but the event or project be allowed to end.