A few days ago, we arrived in South Africa to spend two weeks getting to know a bit about the people we will soon be living and working with. We recognize that the most essential communication skill, and one we will have to use extensively, is the skill of good listening. Listening is indispensable to good leadership. People who are genuinely listened to will feel valued, respected, and heard. And nearly always, people will trust you when they know you are truly listening to them.
Happy New Year to you, your family and those you lead. Welcome to 2019. I hope you are looking forward with excitement and promise for where 2019 will take you. God has been good to us and He has led us this far. I am certain God will continue to lead as we make our lives available.
In 2019, my family and I begin a major transition as we obediently follow God’s leading into a new phase of life. As of Jan. 1, Rhonda and I are employed by the Global Missions Department of our denomination (Church of the Nazarene), and we will be moving from Nampa, Idaho, to Johannesburg, South Africa, where Rhonda will serve as principal of Nazarene Theological College South Africa. As for me, well, we are not sure what my role will look like yet – that is for the principal to decide!
How do you respond when life treats you unfairly? What do you do when you are hurt by someone you love and trust? How do you respond when things are done to you by powers beyond your control? We all have stories of pain and disappointment. The question is how do you handle your pain and disappointment?
While these are real issues for me, I have lived most of my life trying not to let others see my weaknesses. I tried to appear as I perceived others to be: without weaknesses.
A desire is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. We have physical, emotional, spiritual and mental desires. Not all desires are good for us; the fulfillment of some desires would negatively impact us and/or those around us. Imagine what would happen if you went through with the desire you felt when a driver cut you off, or when a person cut in line in front of you?
You do not have to look far to find someone who has failed at achieving their life’s goals because they did not take the time to know who they were emotionally, how to control their emotions, and what motivated their emotions. You may have experienced consequences due to lack of awareness of emotional strengths and weaknesses; you failed because you thought you were strong in an area where you were actually weak.
You can’t seem to get on top of things at work; the to-do list at home is growing; time with loved ones is increasingly limited. You have come to accept your busy-ness and justify the lack of time with family with, “It’s not the quantity but the quality of the time spent together that matters.”
You sense the distance growing between you, your spouse, your children, or other significant persons.
Take care of yourself? You have no time to exercise, rest well, or eat properly. You always feel tired.
In Mark 7:21-22 Jesus warns us of what comes from the heart; things such as evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. You don’t have to work at these things; they come naturally to the human heart.
Take a child for instance; you don’t have to teach a child to be selfish, say no or throw a tantrum. You do not have to teach the child to hit, scream or get in a fight with another child. Rather, you find parents trying to teach their children how to be nice, caring, share and control their temper.
Some time ago I posted a blog on the challenges I faced when I first arrived here in New Zealand and started jogging. For those of you who missed that post or need a refresher you can find it here, How Rude! Now nearing the end of my stay here, I have noticed a very interesting change from my early experience.
In the last month or so, while out jogging, I have noticed drivers waving, even smiling at me as they drive by. Some even wave and smile before I have time to wave or smile first! Most surprising of all, I have noticed that some drivers are giving me the right of way! What a contrast from when I first arrived in January.
During the past few weeks of jogging here in New Zealand, I have become known as the guy who jogs with the blue shirt, black shorts, black and blue shoes and yellow cap. Yes, I jog with a cap because the risk of sunburn here is very high compared to other parts of the world. I jog three different routes; the route I take on a given day is determined by the distance of my run.
While jogging, I occasionally stop and talk with someone. I usually say my name, but not often do I get a name from them. We will converse about life in our different countries, and then it will eventually come down to talking about the weather. Many farmers and people who grew up on farms in the area live so naturally, the weather is an important topic!
I began thinking about how I am known in the community by those who see me jogging daily. I then wondered, how do people remember us after they have encountered us?