Dirty Snow

Snow is the picture of purity.  Snow white is the way you would describe this special color.  When the ground is blanketed with a fresh layer of light and fluffy snow, the view turns fluorescently bright.  Years ago, we lived in a home on a hill overlooking a nature center.  After it snowed, it was amazingly beautiful.  Like a Christmas postcard.  A silvery brilliance gathered on the branches of the trees and the ground changed to a consistent cottony blanket of goodness.  Everything is clean and white.  When the sun would shine, it would be so bright you had to squint in order to see.

Frosty Footpath - winter snow

Frosty Footpath – winter snow

As the snow lingered on the ground, it would begin to tarnish.  The brilliance would fade and become dull.  The snow turned gray with streaks of black and brown impurities.  The white was gone and what remained was dirty snow.

Then, after a period of time, it would snow again and cover the dirty snow with another blanket of pure white.  The scene was beautiful again.  Renewed.  Back to a brilliant white.

Last weekend, I attended a men’s retreat in North Georgia called Souly Business (link).  This was not my first men’s retreat.  I have attended a bunch through the years.  During the introductions, I was asked why I was at the retreat.  I responded, “Because I need to be here”.  See, I need a new coat of snow.  I need it to be all white again.

Retreats are a great way to get readjusted and reacquainted with the Father.  I felt like I have been in a good place lately, but I know that He always has more for me.  More love.  More life.

As I spent time during the retreat with the Lord, He gave me a glimpse of my selfishness and pride.  The dynamic duo!  I feel like when I humbly approach Him, and the daily noise is turned off, His love and holiness can make me feel like dirty snow.  Like Isaiah in the throne room.  Unclean.  Still snow- but tarnished a bit.   Ready for renewal.

Do you need a new blanket of white?  Some ideas-

Get Quiet- Find a quiet place and get away from the noise.  We live in a constant stream of audio and visual overload.  Break away- even for a few hours, all alone, to spend time in prayer and reflection.  He promises that He will be there.  You will hear from Him.

Find a Partner- Find a friend who can journey with you.  Someone you can share your struggles with.  Someone that can help you off load some of your junk.

Slow Down- It’s likely that He’s trying to speak to you but you are running so hard that you can’t hear Him.  Prune some activities that are overwhelming your schedule.

Truth Escape- Get back into the Word and a regular prayer life and get reacquainted with His voice.  Morning, evening, even drive time audio Bible, whatever it takes to get you there.  He’s waiting.  He’s a gentleman and you need to make the first move.

I know that I need this time.  A time to unplug from this world and plug into Him.  There is power in living a life connected to Him.  Not because I’m supposed to- because I need it.  I need a fresh perspective- a new breath of life.  I need His love.  I need a fresh coat of snow.

Do you get what I mean here?  Do you have ideas that you can share that help you hear His voice?  Click on “Leave A Comment” and let me know what you think! 

Copyright © 2013. Leading by Serving- Leadership is for Everyone!. All rights reserved.

4 Tips To Avoid A Freeze-Up

It’s funny how you can look back at decisions and be amazed at your choices.  When you look back it always seems crystal clear.  You think to yourself- “How could I have made such a bad decision?”  It can be downright frightening.  You realize that at the time it seemed like the right thing to do.  You had reasonably good information.  You are not really much smarter now, than when you made the decision.   You think- “How could my judgment be so clouded?”      

 

English: Silver snowflake

 Bad decisions generally require added work and risk.  If you make a bad decision you are often thrust into the clean-up mode.  You must straighten it out and make it right.  This is usually painful- at least on some level. I’ve made some bad decisions and paid the consequences and picked up the mess.   It’s not fun and it can shake your confidence.  You have a difficult time finalizing a decision and you freeze-up!  You just can’t decide.  Here are some tips to avoid the freeze-up in decision making:

  1. Learn from your mistakes!  Have you ever watched a dog with one of those invisible fences in the yard?  They first will get a shock when they reach the barrier and generally that is enough.  They will learn the exact location of the fence and stop abruptly before hitting the mark.  Sometimes we just think it will be different this time and we charge straight for the fence!  Why do we do it?  Even a dog is smart enough to learn.  Somehow we think it will be difference this time.  Don’t kid yourself.  Learn and avoid the pain!
  2. Do your homework!  You must be ready when you are confronted with a similar decision.  If you take the time to really think through the dynamics and results you will likely make a quality decision next time.  Often in the heat of the battle you will not have time to think objectively.  Your vision gets clouded.  Analyze what went wrong and what you could have done differently.  Next time you will be prepared and ready!
  3. Get advice!  I have shared some of my failures with friends and have received amazing advice.  We are all prone to a particular viewpoint and this perspective is not easy to change.  When you share your story you are also inviting someone in to help you unload your burden and help you heal from the damage of a bad decision.  Find a trusted friend and talk it out.  Don’t argue with them even if you do not fully agree.  Take some time and ponder the advice.  It may not be exactly on target, but I can guarantee that there will be nuggets of truth that will lead to reconciliation and healing.
  4. Jump!  Eventually you will confronted with a similar situation and you must be ready to risk again.  Regardless of how much preparation and learning that has occurred, there will still be an element of risk in moving forward.  However, you must move forward.  Avoiding, postponing or failing to act will only hurt you.  Risk is part of life.  You must be ready. 

We all freeze-up sometimes.  It’s a built in defense system to keep us safe.  The key is to recognize the freeze-up and to deal with it.  If you find yourself hesitating, you are likely to be confronting something that you have not completely dealt with.  Being cautious is good- but getting stuck is no good.  You must move forward and get back in the game.  You are needed.  There are folks that are counting on you!   

Do you have any hints to help in decision making?  Click on comment and tell us your story!