Monday, June 27, 2011

Integrity: Giving back that piece of Robe (Character Trait #2)

 According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, Integrity is currently in the top 1% of words looked up and is the 14th most popular word on Why is that? I think it's because people want to see integrity, they want to have integrity, but it's not always an easy word to define.

According to the Growing Kingdom Character book by Tom Yeakley, it is who you are when you think you are alone, or consistency regardless of context.  In my own definition, it is the consistency of your character that causes people to trust your leadership.

For someone that follows Jesus though, I think its not only integrity with people, it means integrity with God. After all, God sees everything and knows our heart. Acts 24:16 says, "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man."

Yeakley put out some challenging questions and statements.  Here are a few things that I'm challenged by from his writing and what I've learned about integrity:

  • Are you a person who keeps your word?
  • Are you developing behavior patterns of integrity or dishonesty in life? 
  • When you say you will call people back, do you?
  • Do you embellish stories in ministry to make them sound better or put a great spin on them?
  • Are you verbal processor? If you are when you discuss things regarding decisions or people that leave the impression that others view as a firm decision or let them know with a disclaimer that you are processing?
  • Dishonesty in the small, daily issues of life can create a character flaw that eliminates us from finishing well.
As I studied this, I also studied the story of  David sparing Saul in the cave. In this story, Saul is trying to kill David because of jealousy over his favor with the people. Saul enters a cave to relieve himself (sometimes the Bible cracks me up) and it happens to be the same cave that David and his men are hiding in. David cuts off a piece of Saul's robe at the urging of the men loyal to David. Afterward, the Bible says "David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe." So he goes out and talks to Saul and reasons with Him to the point that Saul is convicted and says "“You are more righteous than I."

This shows me a couple things. Integrity does count in the little things. Integrity is something that gets to peoples hearts. Integrity has to come by acting on the promptings of the Holy Spirit to do the right thing, say the right thing, and act in honesty in the right way.  And a man of integrity can be trusted as a leader.

I pray that the Lord would move me to be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit to act rightly. I pray that integrity would be how I lead. That one day they might say about me what they said about David. That I shepherded the women on campus with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.

The other thing that has been neat in this journey is that I feel like God keeps sending me back to life school in some ways. I read these things, and I think "Ay yi yi, I have so far to go to have this kind of integrity.

But the Holy Spirit prompts my heart saying "That's not the point. What I want you to know, dear girl,  is that I lead you like this. I lead you with honesty, With complete integrity. I follow up and follow through well. I am consistent to lead you in all contexts the same. And that does make me want to follow Him and Trust Him. And it starts to make me see how Integrity is so important to the character of a leader.

This Blog brought to you by a little piece of Robe returned by David.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gym Day #2: Funny Scenarios

This week my mom told me about how she saw a lady in her yoga class struggling and she thought "poor lady." Then at the end of her workout, she put her glasses on and realized it was a mirror and the lady was her.

This made me laugh really hard and I reminded myself that at the gym, laughing is a must.

With this in mind, I go to my second complimentary session with a Personal Trainer at the gym which I just joined last week.. Brian (the PT guy) makes me do jumping jacks, some kinda of wierd seal jumping jacks where I had the urge to bark like a sea lion loudly, lunges, and other shenannigans. As Brian goes on to teach me about some wierd pull ups, things start to get fuzzy. I am hearing him and thinking, this is wierd.  And then they get really fuzzy, and I start to get dizzy. He's explaining, I'm trying hard to focus and then I say something to the affect of "uh..i think I'm going to pass out." Brian makes me sit down as I refocus and drink some water. Feeling defeated a little, I have the urge to run out. But, I stay drink my water, and force myself to listen to Brian tell me about the new dog his wife and He got this week.

At this point, I think I've passed out because I see something that only could happen in an unconcious state. I see a middle aged asian man jump from the floor to a platform about 5 feet off the ground. Then I realize, I have not passed out and this guy legitally is jumping from platform to platform made of excercise balls and mats, combined with a slack line. huh. interesting. He looks like he should be in the Cirque de Chine in Dollywood.

At this point, I continue the work out and finish with victory flags. We'll see if anything happens Friday when I try it again.

This Blog brought to you by my mom's rendition of the Michael Jackson classic "Man in the Mirror."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Love:Sacrifice Required (Character Trait #1)

This week I watched a movie called "Paper Heart."  Set up documentary style, Charlene Yi is on a quest to discover what love really is. She interviews all sorts of crazy characters and eventually falls in love herself with Michael Cera (that kid from Juno). Though entertaining, it wasn't the best movie ever, but it did have a quote that stood out to me in light of studying "Love" as the first character trait in Tom Yeakley's book. The quote was given by an author who writes romance novels. Not that I think romance novel writers are anywhere near knowledgeable on love, but I think this one in particular was on to something:
"In an 'HEA ending'... happily ever after...There's always something where the characters are is sacrificing for the other and that's their sign that they're really in love with that person. So at some point the character has to make some kind of a personal sacrifice..."

Well said, romance novel lady, well said. 

Isn't their something in the human spirit that recognizes that real love cannot exist without sacrifice? Not just romantic love, but all love. The reason being is sacrifice equals selflessness and the opposite characteristic of  selfishness seeks only what can be gained for one's own good rather than thinking of the other person. That is not love. But a heart that truly loves others will sacrifice for the other person. After all, isn't that the example of Christ's love for us?  Wasn't he the ultimate sacrificing of self for our life to come ? And isn't He the one who IS love to start with?

The apostle Paul should have been in that documentary. I mean, that guy had a lot to say about love. As I studied 1 Corinthians 13 as part of my research on love in leadership, I was blown away by the Amplified version of this passage. Some of the phrases cut to the heart, i mean things like 
  • "if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).
  • Love endures long and is patient and kind; 
  • Love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, 
  • Love is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
  • Love is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); 
  • Love is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. 
  • Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking;
  • Love is not touchy or fretful or resentful; 
  • Love takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
  • Love does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
  • Love bears up under anything and everything that comes.
  • Love is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
  • Love never fails, never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end. 
Wow. Complete and utter conviction on the pride and the believing the best of others. But the encouraging thing to me was that throughout that passage God reminded me that the word love could be substituted for "God's love in us." How true that I can't love like this without Christ in me! And how amazing that all these things mentioned above is how God loves those who know and follow Him. 

And speaking of following, Yeakley's made some great points on love and leadership.
"Leaders who love will always seek the highest good for other people instead of using them as tools to accomplish a goal."
This point is so true! Likewise, Yeakley says that:

"Leaders who lack love tend to have a performance based value system rather than a love-based system built on the Grace of God."
As a leader in a ministry, I need to really take into account my heart and my motive. Is my goal only to have successful Bible Studies, people "doing" campus ministry well? Or am I basing my goals on sacrificing for the good of those I lead, desiring the best for those that are growing, and being with them even if campus goals don't get met. Goals are not nearly as important as people.

And truth be told, the leader's I've wanted to follow have not been the ones that have taught me tons of ministry skills, or been impressive by their ministry knowledge. But they've been the ones that loved God well, held goals with an open hand, and loved me through sacrificing things to help me in the process.

"If we focus our life on love, our leadership will be honoring to God and attractive to others." ~Tom Yeakley

As I've processed this, I realize sacrifice it so key to loving well those around us. I'm challenged to think, how can I sacrifice more for my family, the girls I disciple, my friends?  How can I encourage and build up with a value for the person, not a value for what they accomplish? How do I react if something or someone fails? How do I receive the prodical when they've run? I have a choice, to look for my gain, or to sacrifice for their gain.

I am challenged by my lack of love in evidence in my selfishness, but encouraged that God's love in me will have a positive impact on the world.. And ultimately it always comes back to looking into the face of Jesus, the one who defined love by sacrifice, and asking for wisdom to be more like Him. I mean after all, I can bank on it, cause love, or rather God's love in me, never fails, becomes obsolete or fades out to ending. And that is something worth seeking after.

This blog brought to you by Romance Novel Lady and her bright pink Barbuchi lipstick.