Decluttering Life

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Hey everyone! Thanks for reading this blog post and being a part of this ambition. I enjoy blogging, and recently vlogging on life’s journey. If this is your first time reading my blog, I work as an associate minister in Indiana around the Indy area. I love what I get to do. I’m also a person who’s got a LOT of ambitions. Maybe you can relate, but sometimes I get overwhelmed at my ambitions and what to chase.

My internal wiring

Part of the reason (maybe the biggest part) is that I’m an Enneagram 8 = The Challenger. I also have a wing 7 = The Enthusiast. In a nutshell, I’m highly energetic and I like “excess.” Liking excess just might be the problem. Why? Because I can (and have) chased too much! I’ve had far too many ambitions. Now, having a lot of ambitions is great. In my opinion, it keeps people interesting. But my issue is that I want to chase all of the to the fullest extent AT THE SAME TIME. Can you relate?

AND, and this is hard to admit; I’ve found myself chasing the “wrong” ambitions. The wrong excess. Anything from “things” to ambitions that in now way play into who I am (like a singer/performer, although that sounds awesome). The goal for me is to narrow down those ambitions and find the ones that fit into what I actually want my life to be about. I don’t want to just ambitions that distract from my mission in life = to be a disciple of Jesus.

Not all excess is bad

Someone I learn a lot from when it comes to chasing excess (though I don’t think he was an Enneagram 8) is Paul, from the New Testament. That guy had some ambitions! Like, for real! But all his ambitions were in line with his life’s mission = to spread the Gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. The world was his limit. And he went for it. He must have done something right for us to still be reading his words and studying his journeys thousands of years later. I know he wanted to reach Gentiles. Maybe he also had the ambition to see a lot more of his world. Who knows… But all his ambitions aligned with what he wanted his life to be marked by.

For me, I know I need to be choosy. I need to be choosy about what I pursue when it comes to my ambitions. I must make sure they line up with my true north = Jesus and the mission he has in store for me. Whether it’s competing in CrossFit, doing something big in ministry, speaking more, being a great husband/father, whatever. It all will flow out of a desire to reflect the ONE I serve, Jesus. And with the mission to share the hope I have in Him.

Offloading Process

I think there’s times in our lives, and quite often, where we need to offload something. Bob Goff, famous speaker and best-selling author, says he quits something every Thursday. And they aren’t all bad things; just things that get in the way of the best things. I don’t like the word “quit” but what if that word can become one of the most holy things we do as a disciple of Jesus? Quit something that gets in the way of the best things.

Maybe if we offload the unnecessary and even some of the good, it will clear the space needed to take on the best. Then, if we take on God’s best for our lives, we will discover and pursue our most life-giving ambitions. That’s my hope for my life. And for yours as well.

Comment below on what you need to offload. And, if you want to watch my vlog on this, head over to my channel to find it! You can find my YouTube channel HERE.

How To Use Strength

Today I vlog on what it means to use strength. How to use it well and what true strength looks like. I hope you watch and subscribe to my YouTube Channel! How we use our strength shows how we love others well.

Find the vlog HERE

Languages of Love

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Have you ever tried to express love to someone only to find that your efforts weren’t appreciate? Or that maybe they don’t reciprocate love to you in the way that means the most? Why is that? Well, it could be that you’re speaking very different “love languages.”

There’s a book out there called “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman that will greatly help clarify the type of love language you speak. What means the most to you? What type of love languages do those you love speak and want spoken to them? Discovering one’s love language opens up an entire new realm of understanding. For loved ones, new romances. For those you share other relationships with, more appreciation and the feeling of being valued.

What Love Languages Do

When you speak someone’s love language, it makes deposits into their love bank. It “fills their cup” so to speak. It also leads to welcomed influence in that person’s life. Think about it, if you speak hard truths to somebody you’ve spent no time loving well, it doesn’t translate very well. But, if you have made those deposits into their love bank, it’s a whole new story.

I believe the Enneagram is a great tool to help us speak each other’s love language. The more you understand the person you’re trying to love, the better you can know how to love them well… See what I’m saying?

Love languages also help us live out Jesus’ words in John 13: 34-35 which all Christians should have tattooed on their hearts at all times: “A new command I give you, love one another as I have loved you. By this they will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Well said Jesus! Well said!

Why don’t we do this?

So this begs the question: If love languages are so great, why don’t more people try and speak them? Short answer = because it takes work! And when we value trying to push our own vision or goals over loving well, we neglect the hard work to discovering how to love others well. But it’s work that must be done!

Here’s a challenge for you this week: learn yours and other’s love language. You can find the resources in the book referenced above. Or, since they’re so popular, any Google search. Then do the hard work of beginning to speak them! Making deposits into other’s love bank is work worth doing! Let’s get started today.

Growth Mindset

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I’ve been trying CrossFit for about a year now. The past 5 months since building our home CrossFit gym, it’s been 6 days a week. The reason I tell you that is because it’s allowed me to practice the Growth Mindset; something my wife helps kids do on a daily basis. Well, I’m also becoming a student of the Growth Mindset. It looks like this in my CrossFit training.

  • Limiting Mindset = Ugh! I can’t do a muscle up!
  • Growth Mindset = I can’t do a muscle up! YET! But I will work to improve little by little until I can. It will happen soon!

It’s not about talent; it’s about ones mindset and ability to grow from failure. I started using this mindset for CrossFit but it’s quickly crossing over into all other areas of my life. Here’s how it looks in other areas of life as a human being:

  • Limiting Mindset = It will always be this way and we never communicate well.
  • Growth Mindset = We are not seeing eye to eye right now but we will take one step towards reconciliation and understanding. Then, we’ll keep making improvements and celebrate them along the way.
  • Limiting Mindset = I’m not doing exactly what I want to do and it’s frustrating. Oh well, I’ll never get there.
  • Growth Mindset = I’m not doing exactly what I want to do and it’s frustrating BUT I have much to learn and will continue to be a student. I know one day an opportunity may open up.

Do you see how it works? It’s not denying where you’re at or the hurt/pain you feel. It’s acknowledging it and then moving THROUGH it with a positive and growth mindset attitude. Sometimes we limit what we’re capable of (and what God wants to do through us) with a limiting mindset. And sometimes we are just plain lazy to not want to do the work it takes to think in an empowering way. Because we like it “right now” we’ve succeeded at becoming lazy minded.

A College Story

I saw this kind of thing play out big time when I was in college. I went to a Christian University to study preaching and church leadership. My family wasn’t really into going to church and I started to know Jesus in high school. Needless to say, I didn’t grow up in church and didn’t really know the “basics.”

Sitting in class my very first day of Bible College it became ever clear that I was behind. The limiting mindset started to creep in. Though I didn’t know what it was called then, I remember having a conversation with myself that went something like this: “stop being a baby and just do the best you can! You don’t know anything, yes, but you’re at a place that will teach you! So get with it Davis!” Chalk that up to my Enneagram 8 personality of telling it like it is LOL!

I still struggle between the 2 mindsets and I’m sure a lot of people do as well. It’s easy to make excuses and just say “I can’t.” But I’m learning to say “I can’t… YET! BUT, I will soon!” It’s so empowering. I have a long way to go but am committed to the journey. I don’t want my soon to be born daughter to remember Daddy as having a lazy mind and no will power to tackle the tough things in life. I want her to have a Growth Mindset. So, I’ve got to set the example. My wife is amazing at this and helps kids do it regularly. Now, I’m becoming a student as well.

In Summary

Next time you’re tempted to think you don’t have what it takes, learn from the mistake. Natural ability pales in comparison to skills learned through trial and error. Those are the lessons that stick with us the longest and that we learn to appreciate all the more. Welcome the failure as an opportunity to learn. If we can get this Growth Mindset thing down, we can teach it to the next generation. Imagine a world where the youth are empowered to learn from their mistakes instead of beat themselves up over them… What a world! Let’s start forming it right now. It starts with YOU!

WATCH THIS VIDEO if you want to see my vlog on this exact topic. Find it HERE

Help Overcome Limiting Beliefs

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Hey everyone, so I filmed a vlog recently where I talk about limiting beliefs and a step towards overcoming them. We’ve talked about those on this blog before. This time I filmed a video in my garage gym talking more about them. Feel free to check it out! I’ll post the link in this blog post. A step to beating limiting beliefs is a “growth mindset!” Watch and comment your thoughts!

Victim or Hero?

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Are you a Hero or a Victim?

This post came to me from reflection on the stories I tell and the stories I’ve heard others tell who are close to me. I’ll warn you, this might ruffle some feathers. How do I know that? Because it ruffled mine and I’m the one who’s writing this! But hang on because I think you’ll see like I am the need for what we discuss in this post…

Think of the stories you tell… The ones of a conflict, or a funny story. Maybe you’re a regular communicator and you use personal illustrations in your speaking engagements; think of your 3 most recent. If you recently had a falling out of a relationship, think of how you retell that story.

Now answer this question: Are you the hero or the victim in your story?

Why is it that in the stories we tell, most often, we are either the hero or the victim? We either came through and proved we were right or came through for someone… Or, we were the victim of somebody else’s wrong doing. What if…. What if we were neither? It takes a level of humility to tell a story in which you were maybe the antagonist (aka: you were wrong) or maybe you were the student (you learned something valuable).

Stories where we come out on top or maybe need to “vent” are fine but we lie to ourselves when they take up a majority of our stories. We “pass the buck” far too often (speaking to myself here). My belief is that when we start telling stories where we learned something or are vulnerable enough to admit we were wrong, there will emerge a new level of courage in our world. Others will follow in those footsteps.

I’m talking about authenticity here. Nobody is the hero all the time. And nobody is always the victim either. For my own life, I’m finding that I’m typically neither! I’m typically just a student learning or I’m wrong and need to learn from that too.

A challenge to reflect before you tell.

I’m challenging myself (feel free to join me) to reflect on the stories I tell myself and the stories I tell others. I’m reflecting on if I’m the “victim” or the “hero” too often. I want to be authentic and encourage others to reflect on a deeper level. In each conflict, situation, or circumstance we have so much to learn. I want to be a student of life and listen to what God is teaching me. Personally, I think that takes more courage than always writing the story where I play victim or hero.

Relational Maintenance

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Everything needs maintenance from your vehicle to the updates on your phone to your body and making sure it’s healthy. Our teeth, our minds, all the way to the floors in our home. Maintenance is a daily part of our lives. And we all know what happens when we neglect maintenance? That’s when you find yourself on the side of the road with a broke down vehicle. That’s when your furnace quits working in the middle of winter. The effects of “maintenance neglect” are always felt.

So what about relationships? Relationships in our lives are the most important facet of our lives. The health of those relationships determines so much: how we relate to our kids, our spouse’s happiness, our promotion at work, and so much more. Doesn’t it make sense that those things indeed need maintenance as well?

During Covid-19 I have heard a repeated theme of parents and spouses finding it difficult to work in the same house. No doubt that’s hard with all the different directions we all go each day with school, work, and more. But what if this time is a forced time to do some real “relational maintenance” on those relationships you’ve neglected? Maybe you didn’t even know you had neglected them…

My personal relational maintenance

Here’s where I’ve seen some maintenance required in my own key relationships = listening! In my household, we have a running joke that I will say “huh” after someone speaks even though I heard them. But I say that, sometimes, because I wasn’t actually engaged with the person speaking. Sometimes it’s because they didn’t speak loud enough but, more often than not, I just wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t actively listening.

So my relational management during this time is that when Sara, or anyone, starts speaking to me I want to put stuff down and actively listen!

Anyways, that’s just a little reflection that might get you thinking about your own relationships.

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Lately to partner with this blog, I’ve also created my very own YouTube channel focusing on the same kinds of things I blog about on here. I would LOVE it if you would head over to my channel and hit “subscribe” and also the bell to get notifications each time I drop a new video. Thanks so much for your support! This is a big ambition of mine and you guys reading and subscribing to my YouTube channel means so much!

You can find my channel HERE

Thinking Generationally

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Even though I turn 29 this week I am still considered “young” by many standards. I’ve noticed from my colleagues in ministry, that you’re considered young until about mid 30’s. And I hear from dear friends who turn 40 in ministry that they are now told they’re too old. So my question is, where’s the “golden years?” And, how do we pull the very best out of each generation?

Full disclosure: I’m not a genius and I DON’T KNOW, however I feel like we as leaders can start being a lot more strategic…

The first thing that comes to my mind is this: How are the generations represented in your planning? Do we inform the younger people of what the older planned in hopes they just trust and want to volunteer? OR, do we give them a seat at the table? This thought came to me after attending a conference where the year before it was all about “passing the baton” then this year there was nobody repressed from my generation (the millennials) anywhere on stage or in any workshop. The heart of the conference was so good but that was an oversight for sure.

Another thing that comes to mind is after you allow multiple generations in on the planning, do you also allow their voice to count? Or are they just a spectator as the “adults” do everything? We must recognize that the end goal is not just having the generations (especially younger) present but leaning on their influence, even if it’s not as long-standing as yours.

Disclaimer: We must recognize also that when we say “having a voice” we DO NOT mean “getting your way.” What we must navigate is how to allow each generation to have a voice and still be ok if we proceed without the end result looking like any single generations “preferred way.” It’s a tension for sure but one we need to navigate.

Our society would greatly benefit from thinking more generationally and not being timid to navigate the murky waters of including multiple generations in our planning, vision, and more. We truly do need each other. As you move on from this article (if you lasted this long) my prayer is that you would begin thinking more generationally in all you do. Whether it’s planning family vacation to planning where your company’s or church’s future is heading.

Does Legacy Matter?

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Does your legacy really matter? Your gut instinct answer is no doubt = yes. Most people understand that our legacy matters deeply and we want to leave something meaningful behind. Whether it’s in life, our old job, in our children’s life before they leave the house, etc.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my legacy. Today we had a lead team meeting where we were celebrating some of our staff who have been in ministry for over a decade (and some multiple decades)! Wow! What legacies they are leaving. I’m not even a full decade into full time ministry and I’m thinking about what my legacy will be in ministry, life, and more.

Does it really matter?

So does it really matter? Yes! If you have your “envisioned legacy” out in front of you that will dictate every decision you ever make. Do you ever feel like you’re busy but aren’t moving towards your goals you think matter? It might be because you don’t allow the legacy you want to leave to dictate your schedule. And that is why legacy matters in today’s post! Some of us have never sat down and thought about the different areas of our lives that we want to leave a legacy, let alone what that legacy will be. But if you can put in the work of making that a priority and looking at it often, you will gain some laser-focus like you’ve never had before.

So what next?

This begs the question, how do we start letting our legacy dictate our decisions? That’s a great question. And for starters, you have to know what you want your legacy to be. Here’s what I did, maybe it’ll be a help to you as you figure this out.

This is in no way “the only way” to discern your legacy but it really helped me gain clarity. I took an entire day, a paid day at work, and retreated to a coffee shop I like. I prayed and journaled for clarity before I even began. Then, I wrote down the main focus areas of my life (like relationships, vocation, faith, fitness, and more).

My next step is where the power and focus came. I wrote down my “Envisioned Future” which is what I hope to leave behind in these areas. Now, each decision I make, I weigh it against my “envisioned future” in each of my focus areas. And if something pressing on my time isn’t even in any of my focus areas, I let it go (a key to being un-busy).

Take the Legacy Challenge!

I would encourage you to put a date in the calendar to retreat and write each area of your life where you’re leaving a legacy. It doesn’t have to be an entire day; just devote as much time as you can. Then, write your envisioned future. But there’s ONE MORE thing you must do = revisit your envisioned future regularly. For me, it’s part of my every day morning ritual. So, take the challenge and start with your most obvious areas in life and begin laser-focusing that legacy!

Be Lovingly Curious

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This weekend is the “lover’s holiday.” Friday may bring a lot of joy and excitement for some. For others it could be like the Office episode where they hold an “anti-valentines” party and talk about all their horrible past relationships. Wherever you fall, this is NOT a post about Valentines Day. It just happens to go along with the theme of “love” so it fits this week’s holiday, but in a good way! Read on!

An undeniable best quality = Curiosity

An undeniable best quality in anybody, no matter where you’re at in life or what you do is = curiosity. Great leaders and great people are curious people. But curious about what, you ask? About other people! Great human beings are lovingly curious about other people.

Recently I had the privilege of leading a talk on the Enneagram to a group of small group leaders at a friend’s church. I loved that opportunity. We talked a lot about the Enneagram that night with the overarching theme being = be lovingly curious about other people! Because that’s what great human beings do. Great people are curious to discover more than just surface level of those around us; they go deeper.

Are you Curious?

Would you consider yourself a curious person? Do you love those around you by moving focus off of yourself and seeking to understand them? Do you come into a conflict or hard conversation with your main motive being an understanding of that other party’s view?

To know how self-aware you actually are, all you need to do is see how curious you are about other people. This weekend, ask a question of somebody you haven’t yet that goes beyond “how are you” and “what’s new.” Go to that 3rd question that reveals what they’re passionate about and reveals who they actually are. This sounds easy but you’ll be surprised at how hard it is to get there with people. So begin practicing today! If you liked this blog post, help me get the word out to more people by hitting the “follow” button!

Go and be a lovingly curious person of other “persons”