Meaningful work in a culture of compulsive busyness

talk for FOCUS, 12/6/17

So there I was: I’m leaving for Haiti in a week and I haven’t gotten a mosquito net, or pretty much any supplies for that matter. And I’ve booked my schedule so solid that I don’t have time to do it. Not good. That’s what compulsive busyness looks like.

What if, instead, we looked at meaningful work as the goal? What does that look like, and what are the pitfalls to avoid? In this talk, I walk you through a framework for defining your vision for meaningful work, identifying psychological obstacles, then picking a problem to solve and devising solutions.

Since the slides are a little hard to see in the video, here they are

Also, here’s the handout, I highly recommend you fill it in as you go

God isn’t distracted by your distractions

The truths of the spiritual life are usually simply yet profound, and we’ve heard it before. Until one day we hear it anew and it finally clicks. I’d always heard that distractions in prayer were something to not freak out about much, but it never really clicked until I heard “God isn’t distracted by your distractions.”

Why kids get bored with fancy presents, and other Advent thoughts

The parents scrimped and saved to have enough money to buy This Year’s Big Thing for their kids. The hottest must-have toy that every kid wants. Christmas rolls around and This Year’s Big Thing sits beautifully wrapped under the tree. The kids tear the wrapping paper apart and shriek with delight at the amazing toy that is now theirs. 15 minutes later, they’re playing in the box it came in, and stay there the rest of the day. What happened?

(well, perhaps they should’ve read this hilarious article of what kids really want for Christmas)

family and Christmas tree

An heir, a father, an enemy, a bodyguard: a story

Imagine you’re an heir to a kingdom. In America, that’s kinda hard, we very clearly and deliberately don’t have royalty or kings (though as a country we do practically worship celebrities, but that’s beside the point). You’re an heir to an exotic and wonderful kingdom, but you haven’t come of age yet, so you don’t get to take full possession of it.

“Give me your pain”

“Serve me, give me your pain, and I’ll take your pain away.” A tempting offer. And a hollow one too. As soon as we stop serving that thing, the pain returns: it’s been there the whole time. The only thing that will truly work is for someone to enter our pain with us rather than hand-waving the pain away.