Dealing With Worry 04: Deal with Idealism

Image result for mind the gap

#teachingtuesday

There is a gap between what you are dreaming of and what is right in front of you. No matter who you are and what you are called to do. You can imagine it better. That’s why reality always lets us down. We have to learn to live with that, and not let our idealism let us become cynical and let us become full of worry.

I am all for dreaming. I don’t know another pastor in the UK who talks about dreaming big as often as I do. But one of the dangers of dreaming is that you will never actually fully walk in the fulness of a dream.  Not immediately, and sometimes not ever.

This will knock you out of being happy and knock you into worry every time if you are not patient with your dreams and are aware of the gap between dreams and reality. What I call the reality gap.

Basically, the reality gap is this: nothing is quite as you imagined it; nothing is perfect; no-one is perfect; there is no perfect church; no perfect service; no perfect leader; no perfect guest speaker; nothing is perfect.

There is always a big gap between the reality and the dream.  And nowhere is that gap first realized than when you start something new.  I have had a dream to build a 3000 strong mega-church in England since I was first saved in 1996.  And when that dream was just inside my head, it was easy to believe in a mega-church.  Now I have a church of 150 in London, that reality can obscure and frustrate the dream.  I have to remind myself that I am now closer to seeing my dream fulfilled than I have ever been.

You might have a vision to start a Bible College with 150 students and 10 sign up.  Guess what?  You are closer to that vision than you have ever been.  You might have a vision to start a business that makes a million pounds and you make £4.50.  Guess what – that’s the closest you have been so far!

Don’t let the gap between your dream and reality stop you dreaming.  NEVER let the reality gap knock you for six.  As Andrew Wommack (wisely) says: “Better to aim for the stars and hit the moon, than aim for nothing and hit nothing.”

It’s better to have a dream of winning 100 people to Christ and winning 20 than dream of winning none and completing it!  It’s better to have a dream of being out of debt by the end of 2013 and end up paying 1/2 your debt off, than doing and dreaming nothing and being more in debt than when you started.  It’s better to aim at losing 30lbs and losing 10lbs than aiming at nothing and being even podgier than when you started!

And because of the nature of ministry, we are especially vulnerable to the reality gap knocking us out and discouraging us to the point of quitting.

We launch out into the deep, expecting revival and thousands of salvations.  Instead its 5 people sitting in a living room.  You hire a hall and no one comes, and then you still have to pay the bills.  You appoint an elder then find out they never stop arguing with their wife.  You have chosen some beautiful songs for worship to have the band murder them, bury them, and exhume them and murder them a second time.  You invite a glorious guest speaker, they treat you like a second class citizen, no one comes but the chosen frozen, the people who do come tell you how much they hate your church, and then they leave with your people…

It’s hard when these things happen.  But the truth is that there will always be a reality gap.  The nature of pastoral ministry is that pastors often see the world in black and white, when it isn’t like that at all.

You expect a perfect worship service, but it just wasn’t that good.  Well – please keep in mind it wasn’t that bad either.  You leave the pulpit upset that it didn’t set the world on fire, but if it warmed a handful of people – celebrate what has happened.

You spend hundreds of pounds advertising in the local paper and only three new people came – and two of them were weirdos!  Rejoice in that – it was worth it!

I know you have a big dream – I have one too – but I tell you the truth, the most surefire way to kill any dream is to fail to celebrate every step towards it, to fail to enjoy an imperfect execution of a God idea.  At the end of the day, we are all very much human and any church and any business will inevitably reflect that. If you keep on hurting because you don’t allow for the gap, you will become a worried person and always be concerned it isn’t perfect.

Today, I had to send an email out to our entire mailing list three times over, once the link to give was missing due to technical issues, the second time, I mispelled an easy word wrong! I felt a bit of an idiot, but do you know what, within one hour we raised nearly £300 to tile the floor of a Roma church in Bulgaria. So, that’s better than nothing right?! I wanted to raise £2000 in one hour, but why get worried at something quite remarkable!

If you don’t grasp the reality gap, you will get angry at people who you feel are not progressing quickly enough, you will worry about people taking time to grow.  That will come across in all your relationships with people, and cause all sorts of problems.

Yes, you may be believing for 10 new people to be at church on Sunday, and maybe only 6 new people will come. CELEBRATE THE SIX, don’t worry about the four!

That’s how you deal with the reality gap, and that’s how you confront idealism. Keep dreaming, but just enjoy the journey too!

Write the Vision

#motivationmonday

Today, I will be catching up with the Dream Academy posts I have missed this week. Let’s start with something to motivate you.

Right now, get a notepad – the more expensive the better – and write in no more than 2 paragraphs your vision for your future. Write down what you’ll be doing, where you’ll be living, and the successes you’ll be enjoying

Nothing is more motivational than a written vision. Nothing. Don’t just read this, do it.

Food Around the World

I am currently in Bulgaria, speaking at a conference for church planters, and I am about to have breakfast.  I have no idea what they serve for breakfast in a Bulgarian hotel, so I am very excited about that… It’s a surprise!

In a few weeks, I will be in Sweden, then Kenya… All different countries, different cultures and different foods.

I have many people around me who come from different cultures with different recipes. Food has a power to unite people, to encourage people, to just make people feel good. When people are run down and sick, chicken soup… Bring them grapes…

Food has power. I’m not saying be a glutton, I’ve been there and had to adjust my attitudes and develop self-discipline. I’m saying God did make good to enjoy, and make sure you are eating food you enjoy and take time to enjoy food.  Why not try something new today?

Let us know your favourite dish below.

#feelgoodfriday

Wouldn’t It Be Awesome If…

#futurethursday

I don’t have my notes and research to post on How to Dream Big today, so I will leave that to next Thursday.  So today, while I am sitting in the airport, let me give you a few of my thoughts of a better future:

  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if church wasn’t where we went with masks on, but took them off?  I mean where we are just honest, and we save our Sunday best and our church behaviour for our families and spend all week shining, then come together to rest and be honest and authentic?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all stopped with selfish ambition and trying to be something we are not and realized that we complement each other and add strength to each other?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if we always built a strong enough bridge of love with someone before trying to correct them?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if instead of waiting for my ministry, my calling, my destiny, we just helped someone today, just emailed and encouraged one person, just loved someone, just did an act of kindness before the day is out?

Don’t wait for the change, be the change!

Wouldn’t It Be Awesome If…

#futurethursday

I don’t have my notes and research to post on How to Dream Big today, so I will leave that to next Thursday.  So today, while I am sitting in the airport, let me give you a few of my thoughts of a better future:

  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if church wasn’t where we went with masks on, but took them off?  I mean where we are just honest, and we save our Sunday best and our church behaviour for our families and spend all week shining, then come together to rest and be honest and authentic?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all stopped with selfish ambition and trying to be something we are not and realized that we complement each other and add strength to each other?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if we always built a strong enough bridge of love with someone before trying to correct them?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if instead of waiting for my ministry, my calling, my destiny, we just helped someone today, just emailed and encouraged one person, just loved someone, just did an act of kindness before the day is out?

Don’t wait for the change, be the change!

Wouldn’t It Be Awesome If…

#futurethursday

I don’t have my notes and research to post on How to Dream Big today, so I will leave that to next Thursday.  So today, while I am sitting in the airport, let me give you a few of my thoughts of a better future:

  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if church wasn’t where we went with masks on, but took them off?  I mean where we are just honest, and we save our Sunday best and our church behaviour for our families and spend all week shining, then come together to rest and be honest and authentic?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all stopped with selfish ambition and trying to be something we are not and realized that we complement each other and add strength to each other?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if we always built a strong enough bridge of love with someone before trying to correct them?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if instead of waiting for my ministry, my calling, my destiny, we just helped someone today, just emailed and encouraged one person, just loved someone, just did an act of kindness before the day is out?

Don’t wait for the change, be the change!

To Have Change You Must Believe For Change

Yes, #wednesdaywisdom on a Thursday because I have been a bit busy preparing for TV programmes, for the weekend, and for teaching at our Leadership Academy, and because I am flying to Bulgaria this morning to minister at a conference.

But here is the wisdom: 

To Have Change You Must Believe For Change
Anything you want to change in your life you must believe for. Sometimes we think change just happens personally like a new season just happens, but it’s not true.  You have to believe. You have to see the change on the inside to see it on the outside.
Stop living a que sera sera life and start rethinking the changes you want to see in your heart today.

Dealing With Worry 03: Take Control

Last week, we looked at the biggest reason for worry which is the fact that we often let things totally out of our control concern us and get into our thinking.

What is ironic is that the second biggest reason for worry is out failure to take control of what we should take control of.

God, life, your job, your family, your place in life, your ministry, has given you certain things that you are in charge of. When you are in charge, stop worrying about a problem, man up, face that problem and fix it.

  • As a dad, I don’t worry about my children being disrespectful because if they are, they will be disciplined.
  • I don’t worry about Tree of Life Church being an unloving place because I am the leader and I will lead it into love
  • I never worry about my weight. I’ve lost over 100lb because I finally realized I am in control of what I eat, when I exercise, and so on

It’s amazing to me how many people are worried about things they can change. 

This morning I woke up at 3am because I have to get a plane to Bulgaria, I am teaching at a conference.

Now there are two types of problems I may face on the way – things I am in control of, things I am not in control of.  Either way, I hope you realize I am not going to worry.

I actually woke up with a stabbing pain in my left eye and reduced vision.  That’s something I am in control of. I spoke life and health to my eye and now the pain is gone and my sight is back.  Rather than worry, I took charge, used my authority in Christ and changed things.

But what if I get there and the plane is not flying? What if a problem arises I cannot control? Well, I don’t worry then either, as I will mind my own business and walk with God and keep a clean conscience.

Life can be that easy.  You may disagree, you may feel you have to worry, but we will hit that next week!

Eat the Frog!

Image result for eat the frog#motivationmonday

Mark Twain famously said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What does this mean for us as we seek motivation on this Monday morning?

It means that most likely there is something on your to-do list that you just do not want to do. It is the thing you are most likely to leave to tomorrow. It’s the thing you are going to leave forever and never get done, but it has to be done.

In other words, look at your to-do list for today, for the week, and find the thing you don’t want to do but have to do, and just do it right now.  Once you have done it, your week can only get easier and you will have a better mindset than you had before doing it.

You know what the frog is – you know what you want done in your to-do list but you don’t want to do. If you wait until the end of the day or the end of the week to do it, it is staring at you all day and sucking your motivation, building pressure, playing on your mind and causing you unhappiness.

So many people start their day doing what they want to do, and don’t even need to do. To be a success today, do that thing you need to do, even if you don’t want to.  Grow up, and eat that frog!

Family #feelgoodfriday

#feelgoodfriday

What makes you feel good?  Family is one of the things that makes me feel good, had a great time playing board games with the three of my children that still live at home this evening, and now watching Countdown with my sons as my daughter is in bed.

You have to take aside time for doing things that make you feel good.  You have to enjoy the journey to tomorrow today.

Tomorrow is an elder’s meeting, training leaders always makes me feel good!

Have a great weekend people!