Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I CAN'T STANZ NO MORE

Last weekend, I went to the leadership summit- a conference for leaders in the church and business world broadcasted via satellite from Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois- at our church in San Diego. There were many memorable moments: some that made me laugh, others made me cry, and still others made me think and re-think the way I live life and lead.

As I reflected on what I heard and what I should do about it, I found a teaching by Bill Hybels- the senior pastor at Willow- to be an exclamation point at the end of a sentence God had been repeating to me for a while now. Bill was opening the conference and said that he had been thinking about vision. In specific- he had been asking the question, "What precedes vision?". Like before someone gets a vision to do something world changing, what happened? His conclusion: "Something in the world wrecked them from the inside out." Some statistic, some reality, some truth of the way things are caused an inner switch to be flipped that made them decide, "That's it. This cannot be. I will not sit by any longer and watch from the sidelines" Aids, hunger, teenage apathy, marriage pain.... you name it. Something inside bugs and then someone casts a vision to solve the problem. Andy Stanley, in his book "the next generation leader" defines a good vision as something that addresses what "is" in life contrasted by what "could and should be." Bill was saying that if you want to know your calling in life, then you have to stop running from the thing that wrecks you because it "likely wrecks the heart of God too." It's what could and should be. It's what must be done and cannot be ignored any longer.

For me, the thing that could not be ignored any longer was me. Yes, me. No longer could I look myself in the mirror and continue to accept certain things about my life as normal or as expected. Some things just needed to be told to get in line. Bill Hybels used the example of Popeye. He reminded the audience that in every episode, the hottie of the show, Oliveoil, would end up in dire straits due to the brutality of the villian, "Brutus". Inevitably, Popeye would end up tied up somewhere while Oliveoil's life was in danger and then he'd finally snap. When he did, he'd say, "that's all I can stanz and I can't stanz no more". Then he'd bust open a can of spinach, grow anatomically impossible biceps, and save the day.

Well, I grew up with Popeye and slept with a stuffed version of him complete with plastic pipe and all for the early part of my life. A few months ago my Mom gave him back to me. He's so worn that his clothing is see through in several places and he would fall to shreds in a good toddler tug o war. After the summit, I took him out of the box from under the bed and put him on my desk at work.



He's a daily reminder that there are things that simply cannot stay as they are. There are things that could and should be different. There are things that "I can't stanz no more." While there are plenty of things in the world that I can't stanz... the ones that I needed to address were in the mirror.

HERE'S THE VALUES I RE-DROVE DEEP INTO THE BEDROCK OF MY SOUL:

 My role as disciple of Jesus and child of God is the most important role I have. I cannot let my spiritual life slide.
 My physical health is a spiritual act of worship and a key source of energy to do His will.
 My role as a father and husband cannot be filled by anyone but me.

HERE'S WHAT THAT REALLY MEANS:

 I can't stanz no more going a day without praying with my wife. I can no longer accept that as a pastor, married for 11 years, that I don't pray daily with my wife. That stopped Monday.

 I can't stanz no more that I make time in my day to meet with an office collegue or an accountabilty group once a week but don't have a one on one meeting with each of my children. I will meet with each of them once a week. My McDonalds trips will surely quadruple in the near future but the alternative is quite simply unacceptable. I will no longer let my children not get my individual attention.

 I can't stanz no more that I let my body go from in shape to out of shape like a rollercoaster. I began a non-optional observation of my eating and regular excercise. My body is the temple of the Lord. I need to treat it as such. I began running 30 minutes a day. Why I let my health slide is beyond me. I can't stanz it no more.

 I can't stanz no more that I let the personal disciplines of fasting, solitude, prayer, or reading the word eb and flow in my life like the coming tide. Too much stuff in my life ebs and flows. My basic spiritual disciplines are supposed to be the thing that give me stability in the eb and flow of life, not the subject that ebs and flows. Enough!

I also decided I'm too stupid to do this without breaking it down to ridiculous simplicity. I made 3 lists. One that I check off daily, one that I check off weekly, and one that I check off monthly. They are the non-negotiables of my own life. They are the mandates that "I can't stanz no more" letting slide.

I pray God gives me the strength to do what he's called me to and the ability to avoid abusing his grace with complacency.

5 comments:

Kim Traynor 9:27 AM  

Great post! I wish I had a stuffed Popeye to remind me of what "I can't stanz no more!" I'll pray for you and your plan. Take care, Kim

Jackson 11:01 AM  

Dude, that Popeye is scary. How'd you grow up without serious issues?

Er...nevermind...

Anyway good post, since hearing Hybels at the summit I've been trying to identify that holy discontent in me, and what its source is. I think I'm on the right track. Anyway props on your decisions, and I hope you and the ones you love see some real benefits from them.

mandymiller5424 11:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
brian c. berry 10:16 AM  

I just got spammed in my blog comments. Wow. That's a first.

Amy 8:42 AM  

Hey Brian
I think it's awesome that God is teaching you. I'm hecka encouraged by what you wrote as I'm totally going through the same thing. Thanks for being honest!

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San Diego, CA
Husband. Dad. Jesus Follower. Friend. Learner. Athlete. Soccer coach. Reader. Builder. Dreamer. Pastor. Communicator. Knucklehead.

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