2013 Archives


The Unique Role of a Coach

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PASTORS-SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS-THERAPISTS-MENTORS-COACHES

What is the difference and when would I hire a coach?

Confession: I have been trying to write this post for a while.  As difficult as it was I knew I had to keep going because “What is the difference between all of these people and why would I hire a coach?” is the million dollar question for a coach working with Christians. The reason I found it difficult to write this post is two-fold. First there are no absolutes – every pastor, mentor, coach etc. will handle scenarios differently and each person will benefit from the relationship in unique ways. Second, even though I am a coach, I don’t want to downplay the importance of any one role. Each role plays a unique and vital part in every relationship. I have benefitted from them all!

There are some obvious differences between the roles, especially in the training etc. but that doesn’t always make it easy to decide who to talk to (and many times we talk to more than one person).  The similarity between them is that, unlike a good friend, these relationships are all considered non-mutual. Non-mutual people are sought out because they are set apart in your life as trained professionals. It doesn’t mean they are better people, more spiritual, closer to God, or the greatest thing this side of the Mississippi. It just means they are different than you in some way and they all have something unique to offer.

My hope is to teach you a bit more about coaching because it is what I do and it is one of the least known roles in Christian circles.  

The following is a fictional scenario about a woman looking for some help with a certain situation followed by the potential outcomes from each person.

Scenario: Katie is a 27 year-old Christian stay-at-home mom with a two-year-old and the hope of having another child in a few years. She has always been a writer at heart but never earned an income as a writer. She has a popular blog and has even had a few articles published in online magazines. One of her biggest life goals is to write a memoir. She has an amazing story to tell but feels stifled, unfocused and knows there is something keeping her from moving forward.  She isn’t sure what it is. Writer’s block is really upsetting her out and she is losing the bit of confidence she had that she really could write a book.

PASTOR

Her first thought is to talk to her pastor. After all she likes and respects her pastor and sees her as someone who is wise and approachable.  Her pastor offers her encouragement and prayer. Katie is reminded that she is loved and created in the image of a creative God.  She leaves feeling heard, encouraged and inspired.

SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR

Katie contacts a spiritual director on the recommendation of a friend.  She sets up an appointment and spends an hour with a wonderful woman named Shirley. Shirley asks formative questions that point Katie to Christ and listens well. Shirley helps Katie see where God is already working in her life. She empowers and encourages Katie to give her struggles with writing to God. Together they pray, listen and seek God together. Katie leaves feeling refreshed and renewed.

THERAPIST

Katie decides her sadness about feeling stuck as a sign she should return to her therapist. She decides to go see the therapist her husband and her visited for their pre-marital counselling.  They discuss how it feels and Katie is given permission to feel sad, to cry and simply ‘be’ however she is feeling.  Eventually her and Dave start talking about other things that are making Katie feel sad (she is lonely and misses her extended family). They then explore this place of loneliness and look into where it has come from and how it relates to her writing. Dave helps her uncover other areas that have hindered her confidence from her past.  Katie leaves feeling tired but hopeful.

MENTOR

Katie wonders if talking to someone who “has been there” would help. She finds Dan (who has written a memoir similar to the one she hopes to write) on twitter and contacts him about the prospects of being her mentor.   Luckily, he is willing. They set up a skype date so she can ask some questions. It turns out Dan has a lot to say and Katie has gleaned some helpful ideas. He tells her all the things he did to get published.  She is grateful for his time yet her memoir is no closer to getting done.

 COACH

Katie’s sister Barb hired a coach when she was looking for a new career. Barb assured Katie that her coach could help even though the topic was different. Katie was skeptical because the coach wasn’t a writer but trusted her sister’s recommendation.  She was sure she wanted a Christian coach because she wanted someone who shared her faith because it felt strange to work so closely with someone who didn’t.  Katie hired her sister’s coach Zoe. Zoe didn’t ignore or glance over Katie’s sadness she encouraged Katie to sit in that feeling and to be present to it. Yet instead of focusing on all the past reasons why she was sad she helped Katie cast a vision for the future – what would it be like to have a published memoir? What is the next step Katie needs to get it done? What is standing in her way? Zoe didn’t go backwards like a therapist. Instead she took Katie forward into the realm of what is possible. She didn’t impart her knowledge or experience on Katie like a mentor. Instead she walked alongside her and together they made a plan for Katie’s success.

Zoe encouraged Katie, saw her strengths and helped move her forward.  Katie was given some thought provoking ‘homework’ to which Zoe held her accountable. Katie felt encouraged, validated and heard. But most of all she had a new perspective on writing her memoir – one that made the book feel not only attainable but exciting!

Now that you have read the scenarios you can see the benefits of each non-mutual relationship and understand the unique approach coaches take. You could imagine that if Katie was someone who didn’t want to write a book, but instead was struggling with an eating disorder a therapist would be the answer. Or if Katie needed encouragement in her prayer life perhaps her pastor or a spiritual director would be the best option.  Katie could benefit from all of these relationships but a coach was the best fit to help her with her goal of writing a memoir.

What should I do when someone on the street asks me for money?

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 This is my first Christmas in ten years not being employed by Jacob’s Well, a small non-profit in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, BC.  In more ways than I can explain, Jacob’s Well shaped who I am today. It was a challenging and formative time, forcing me to face my fears, judgements and God’s call to serve the marginalized.  You can read the top ten things I learned during my time there here.  In all the teaching I did with my co-workers, there was one question that we were asked the most.  Can you guess what it was?

“What should I do if someone on the street asks me for money?”

I wondered the same thing for years too. And even while working there I asked myself a myriad of questions along the same lines:

I’ve been told by people who ask for money not to give it out because it gets used for the wrong reasons. Why do I do now when asked?

What should I do when I know you can eat for free more than five times a day in my neighborhood?

What should I do when I have money in my pocket and don’t want to lie but don’t want to give cash?

What should I do when I want to be a good influence (or maybe look good?) to my kids or friends?

Like I said before, I learned a lot of things during my time at Jacob’s Well, but what to do when someone on the street asks me for money is something that stands out.

 The answer: do whatever you want.

Not that helpful? Ok, I’ll expand. You must listen to your gut (or we would say the Holy Spirit). You must be open to listening though!  I do not say this flippantly. It is easy to just think we know what to do because we have made a firm commitment: “I will always give a dollar” or “I will never give money.” We must tune our ears and our hearts to that particular person at that particular moment. You have have a different response at different times. If you gave money every time or never gave money, it is ok if you are doing it for the right reasons.  Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

The most important thing is not to ignore someone who asks for money.  I am not saying you have to give them money (that is up to you, remember). But I can ask you not to ignore someone. Give them a smile, a hello, a polite head nod or a whole conversation but people deserve to not be ignored.

If not to someone on the street, give somewhere. God calls us to love, to fight for justice and to be generous (and a whole lot more). God cares deeply for the poor and marginalized. It doesn’t take much Bible reading to figure that out. If you don’t feel called to give to someone on the street then please do a little research and give somewhere. If you want ideas email me (I’m serious).

Remember we don’t know everything. We must remember that we (probably) do not know the story of the person asking for money. Chances are their journey is one that is complicated and harder than our own. People do not just wake up and think “I’m going to quit my job, be homeless and start panhandling on the street.” They have walked a long road and we must remember that we are all created in God’s image.

Don’t make assumptions. Please don’t assume the person you are talking to wants to talk to you. Imagine if you spent the night sleeping on the sidewalk, then had your shoes stolen, were hungry, cold, tired etc. Would you want to talk to a stranger? Probably not. It is ok to ask if they want to talk but don’t assume ‘you deserve’ their attention.

Have some respect. Lastly, if you do decide to give someone something instead of food please please, please, be kind and courteous. Would you want someone’s leftovers or dirty socks?  Don’t assume that someone on the street does either.  People are people, whether you have an address or not.

What do you do?

Hope for Kids in the Church

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I recently became a blogger for Momentum – The official (note, this is not the unofficial but official!) blog of YALT (Young Adult Leadership Task Force) of the Christian Reformed Church (which is my denomination by choice not by birth).  Although it would be easy to question my “young adult” status we figured I’m young-at-heart and I am passionate about issues that YALT addresses. Speaking of status, it would be easy to question my CRC status as I’m not Dutch and I’m writing for the such blogs.  However, I’m thankful they will have me!

Here is my second post:

I often worry about raising kids in the church.  Sometimes I can’t even believe I will have kids that say “Yeah, I’ve been going to church my whole life.” Really? I did that?  It’s not our particular church that I’m worried about; people at church really love our kids. I mean really love them. Friends offer to babysit for free (ok maybe that is loving my husband and I, but still!). One person brought them cool gifts like real industrial knee pads and brand new snow boots that didn’t fit their grandchild. At coffee time after church, my kids learn how to do fist pumps and high fives. A few neighbours from church play hockey with our kids (and our neighbor’s kids) when we are sick of doing it. My kids learn lessons in Sunday school about justice and generosity.  They also learn that God loves little tiny babies because they are invited on stage to watch when the babies are baptized.

Yet sometimes I worry because I hear so much about people who “grew up in the church.” Kids who felt forced to go to church every week; kids who were never told about other ‘options.’  There are kids who feel like their faith only exists because that is how they were raised. I also worry because I didn’t grow up there. I worry because I don’t know exactly what it should look like. I’m sure there are many parents who were raised in the church and still ask that question. I know, none of us are perfect but what should it look like? What do I want my kids to really know about my Christian faith? My prayer for them reminds me of this profound quote by Rob Bell, “My wife, Kristen, and I often talk about raising our kids in such a way that they have as little as possible to unlearn later on in life.”

Sometimes I envision them having conversations with new friends in the cafeteria at the small private liberal arts college they some how chose even though we couldn’t afford it (scholarship?). I imagine them reflecting on their childhood and saying things like this:

“My parents always told me that Jesus loves me no matter what – they were kind of annoying how much they said this.”

“I’ve always known what Jesus really wants from me is to love him and to love my neighbours. I grew up always knowing my neighbours and they are easy to love.”

“They definitely showed me that knowing Jesus doesn’t make our life perfect. We still road the struggle bus from time to time.”

“I know that Jesus loves the world but doesn’t love the way things go down a lot of the time. My parents were often talking about other parts of the world.  We used to light a candle before dinner and say what we were thankful for and why. And then when we blew it out we would share something we wanted to see change in the world.  We did eventually do a bit more praying together but the candle never changed.”

 What do you hope for your kids in the Church?

 

What I’m Into…

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One of the blogs I’ve recently discovered is Leigh Kramer‘s Hopeful Leigh (white sox fan!). Once a month she does this great link-up called “What I’m Into”. And as many of you know (ok, all four of my readers) I love referring things, people, places.  In fact, on my old site I had a whole page devoted to Vancouver (which I’ll resurrect at some point).  So when I saw the opportunity to write a “What I’m Into” post on my blog I jumped at the chance.

What I’m REALLY into and excited about this month is the fact my new website is DONE (no link needed, you are here!) And that my new online class: Juncture is half full! Now for the other great stuff:

What I'm Into button

Books

I went on a Christian Blog Book Bender (which I will now refer to as: CBBB) this month and read:

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. I haven’t been so excited about a book release in a long time. This did not disappoint.  I loved it with all my heart. I have also never used that line before.

When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman  Now, I didn’t really ‘grow up’ in the evangelical world but when I entered the Christian world it was an explosion of 1990 evangelical culture. Yet no matter how, when or if you lived in this world, this book is a beautiful memoir about how we grow, change and heal. I then had fun connecting with Addie over her Christmas/Advents posts where she used a few of my ideas.

Pastrix: The Crank, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. by Nadia Bolz-Weber. (I told you I was on a CBBB). I just cracked this open and I’m 60 pages in. Can’t wait to keep going!

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright. This is the book I put down when my CBBB started. I’ll get back to it.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. I’ve read this to my five year old at least once a day for the last week.

And to my two year old: There is a Monster at the End of this Book (more like ten times a day).

What’s Up Next:

My favorite Advent reader God With Us has come off the shelf.

And let the bender continue with Shaua Niequest’s Bread and Wine.

Lastly, a little fiction called Where’d you go Bernadette by Maria Semple – recommended to me by one of my favorite podcast celebrities Julia Turner (Slate Culture Gabfest).

 

Speaking of podcasts – I’m really into the Slate Double X Gabfest now and always. As well as This American Life (but I think everyone is into that).

 

TV

I pretty much fail in the TV department. We don’t have one but sometimes we watch stuff on el computer. Although… I love that so many people reference Friday Night Lights in their “What I’m into” post because that is hands down the best TV show ever. I am jealous of those who haven’t seen it.

My husband and I are sort of watching Orange is the New Black. But really my only TV watching (via my lame little laptop) is Parks and Rec and Modern Family while folding laundry.

The Good Eats

I’m always into food. This is hot on the rotation list right  now:

Pumpkin Chili

Crunch Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Pepper (Just cut up a cauliflower and roast it on a pan with olive oil and LEMON pepper for 30 mins). YUM!

This is the most fun I’ve had blogging in a long time!

Best discoveries

This was the most entertaining thing I saw this week primarily because it is the EXACT mix of songs we dance to around here right now. You know during the – HELP! it is 5:32, dinner is *almost* ready and everyone is going a bit nutso dance party. You should really watch it.

Unroll.me – just do it. It is amazing. I love not getting 40 emails about not much everyday.

Canva – graphic design for dummies in the most beautiful setting ever.

I promise to get more creative next month. Maybe I’ll be up all night to get turkey.

What are you into?

 

 

 

Why Ditching the ‘Quiet Time’ Could Be the Most Spiritual Thing You Do

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The sad truth is that many of us assess our ‘spiritual life’ by whether or not we have quiet times, daily devotions, devos, God time etc. Whatever we call it, this has become the unfortunate way many of us determine how close we feel to God or worse yet, how close we ARE to God. We ask ourselves:

Am I getting up early enough?

Am I able to stay awake before bed long enough to say ‘amen’?

Am I getting anything out of this?

 

Every year we make a new plan; buy a new journal; get a new devotional book from the next best author; set our alarm clock 20 minutes earlier. And a few days later we fade back into life minus the quiet time plus the guilt.

 The number one thing I hear from people when asked what they struggle with most in their faith is that they don’t have the regular quiet time they “want” to [read: feel like they should] have.

And almost every time someone tells me this they are convinced that everyone else they know bounds out of bed at 6am to pray for an hour everyday.

Guess what? This isn’t happening folks. Almost everyone struggles with the inability to keep a daily rhythm of prayer, scripture reading and other  [insert Christian word]. Yet we continue to beat ourselves up, buy the new journal, make a new plan year after year.

Regardless of the motivation to keep trying, it isn’t working is it?   And let me tell you the guilt you feel is not coming from Jesus.  (And in case you were worried, I’m not preaching a “just try and be loving and it will all work out” type of faith.) I firmly believe Christ is calling us to a bold life of faith, an unwavering stance against injustice and among other things, a recognizably different way of living.

However, we aren’t going to get there by feeling guilty for not having a quiet time.

So what then? Do I ditch the quiet time all together?

For some of you…yes. You need a break from the guilt. You need a break from evaluating your worth as a Christ-follower based on this one thing.  I encourage you devoted, lovely and guilt-ridden folks – break free! Run like the wind!  Nothing bad will happen to you.

Take that guilt awareness and put it toward God awareness (so cheesy and so true). Not everyone fits into the “sit down and pray and read your Bible” model.   Where do you see God at work right now? Do you see God in your conversations with friends? In your kids? In music? In the landscape around you? In serving others? In the busy chaos at the height of your week? Or In the deep sigh at the end of a busy day?

Look for God there.

I guarantee an encounter with Christ is more likely to happen there than in your guilt ridden moments trying to come up with a system to have a better devotional life.

 Once you let go of the guilt you will be more free and open to what Jesus is doing around you.  Who knows, maybe you will return one day to a regular, peaceful moment of spiritual connection but whatever you do, don’t call it a quiet time.

 

Blowing Up Evangelical Baggage

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Last week I wrote about my excitement for Sarah Bessey’s new book Jesus Feminist and how she was coming to speak with my women’s group: Preach it Sisters. Two of my favorite activities that Sarah is doing to promote her book are a community photo project and a synchro-blog.  One of the synchro-blog prompts is to explain why you chose what you did for the community photo project. Here is my rendition. Please note, I am writing about women because that is mainly who I work with. I am in full support of men being Jesus Feminists as well!

I blow up evangelical baggage for a living and I’m a Jesus Feminist. And the more baggage I blow up the more I realize how much we need Jesus and Jesus Feminists.

Seeing women the way Jesus does will radically change the way men and women engage the world.

As a coach, I work primarily with Christian women who come to me when they want to manage their time better. They want to honor God with their time AND feel like they are living with some intention.  Their choice to work with me might also involve making a big decision, finding a more fulfilling career, getting healthier. They want encouragement, accountability and results.  We work on these things, they get new jobs, they get fit, they make decisions; all these things happen.

But I keep discovering again and again that underneath the indecision, the lack of motivation, the fear of failure (or success) they are steeped in evangelical baggage.  It’s not their fault – and most of them don’t even realize they are living this way. They are living the “Biblical” principles they have been taught: principles surrounding how women should behave – that they should be supportive side kicks not leaders, or Sunday school teachers not pastors. Some are living straight up lies such as the idea that thinking good things about your self is equal to sinful pride. I’m sure their parents, their churches and their pastors meant well but somehow in the midst of it all the way Jesus sees them is lost.  The results: guilt, shame, inability to love themselves, and the belief that there is a very specific, narrow way God (and fellow Christians) want them to live as women.  It has left them thinking about themselves in ways OTHER than the ways Jesus thinks of them.

What happens when we embrace the Jesus Feminist in us? What happens when we believe this notion that women are people too? Or when we believe that Jesus is calling all of us to a life where God makes the call on our worth, our skills, and our vocation? Sometimes it takes a little work to wade through what we have been taught. Sometimes we have to blow up our evangelical baggage. What happens when we do this and women live as Jesus sees them? Here is a sampling from my work:

*She preached her first sermon even though she didn’t really want to call it a sermon because she wasn’t so sure about women preaching or her gifting as a ‘speaker.’

*She came to the conclusion that she doesn’t need to be perfect even though she is a pastor.

*She figured out that she was a great writer and it isn’t prideful to admit you are good at something.

*She decided to quit her “good Christian job” and take evening classes to pursue the field she is really interested in: stand-up comedy.

*She realized she needs major therapy after a traumatic journey into first-time motherhood.

*She decided that she wanted to marry the woman she loved and that she was ready to tell her Baptist pastor parents about it.

*She owned the fact that being a stay-at-home mom was where she really wanted to be.

Without even reading the book (yet!), they became Jesus Feminists by accepting the radical way that Jesus was calling them to the truth that they are not only people but they are beloved women created in God’s image.

Jesus-Feminist-definition

 

I am a Jesus Feminist

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I have something to share with you that I am really excited about. Like this excited:

I have been following, reading and loving the blog of Sarah Bessey for a while now. To be honest the first thing that attracted me to her blog is the fact that she is Canadian. There are so many amazing blogs of progressive Christian women (like SO MANY AWESOME ONES) but not that many of them originate in the Great White North (which is really more of an Annoying Grey Rain right now). Of course I do admire many things about Sarah’s blog aside from the fact she, and thus the blog, are Canadian. She also seems to like Tina Fey gifs which is an all around win in my book.

I love the honesty with which she writes. This isn’t a bitch session about parenting, it is a beautiful piece about how parents in their thirties are often…reallly…tired. So true.

I love her mission to share how Jesus made her a Feminist because it rings true with my own story from my initial days of church and feeling so confused as to why everyone wasn’t a tree-hugging feminist.

I also appreciate that she can write. I know that sounds lame but there are a lot of blogs out there (this one is no exception) that are written by people who are not writers.  Sure we can write, as in compose sentences in order, but this woman is a writer! This is why I am writing about her today. She wrote the following book and it is coming out tomorrow Nov 5.

jesus feminist

 

You can pretty much order it anywhere (Chapters, Amazon etc.). You may even get so excited that you join this group of cool people like I did.

The best part of the story is Sarah is coming to my little women’s group (along with a few friends we invited) THIS WEEK to talk about her book. I can’t wait!

Gay & Christian: One woman’s perspective

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I recently became a blogger for Momentum – The official (note, this is not the unofficial but official!) blog of YALT (Young Adult Leadership Task Force) of the Christian Reformed Church (which is my denomination by choice not by birth).  Although it would be easy to question my “young adult” status we figured I’m young-at-heart and I am passionate about issues that YALT addresses. Speaking of status, it would be easy to question my CRC status as I’m not Dutch and I’m writing about such things as this.  However, I’m thankful they will have me! My first blog post did not actually involve much writing because I interview my dear friend and former co-worker of many years Beth. One question I asked her was:

How has your journey of discovery and coming out as gay impacted your experience of faith?  What has been most spiritually formational in your journey as a sexual minority person? You can read her thoughtful and gracious answers here!

And if you are reading this from the lovely and today SUNNY Vancouver, please come to an event I’m hosting on Weds Oct 30 7-9 pm with New Direction Ministries. You can find out more about it in my last post.

A Better Way to Dialogue

Event

I’m excited to announce that I am hosting a workshop put on by New Direction (no, not One Direction you teeny boppers!).  New Direction Ministries is an organization out of Ontario whose mission is: Nurturing safe and spacious places for sexual minority persons to explore and grow in faith in Jesus Christ.

The workshop is called Generous Spaciousness.  Wendy Gritter, the Executive Director of New Direction and the leader of the workshop. The following few paragraphs are her own description of the workshop:  Generous Spaciousness cultivates a posture of dialogue centered around the core values of humility, hospitality, mutuality and justice.  Generous spaciousness is a way of being together that helps followers of Christ navigate contentious issues on which we have diverse perspectives.

Questions around the appropriate path of discipleship for sexual minority persons is one such matter that Christians are divided on – and one that invites us to work together to experience a sense of unity in our diversity.

The introduction of generous spaciousness into these conversations helps us to prioritize our love for one another, our commitment to honour one another’s consciences, and our concern for a life-giving witness in our contexts.

More details:  We will be led through a Christ-centered calling into generous spaciousness.  There will be a time for Q & R and then the opportunity for dialogue where we can listen deeply to one another and share our stories, experiences, and reflections to move forward with hope-filled commitment to Christ and to each other.

Full disclosure from ME:  I need to go to this because I need to learn how to be more gracious with people who have differing opinions from me (which is probably most of my own church). When I first heard about New Direction my honest reaction was HURRY UP! We don’t have time for this discussion – the way the church is responding to the LGBT community is RUINING the church and any hope of welcoming anyone new  – straight, gay and everyone in between. We need to wake up, be more Christ-like and welcome ALL people in! Then I went to one of Wendy’s workshops for church leaders a few years ago and saw the fruitfulness of this kind of discussion.  For me it is was a great place to start and a harsh reality check about where (most of) the church is today. It is a way for me to learn to have the conversation with people who I deeply disagree with (and who deeply disagree with me). I want to be more gracious in my discussions around this very difficult topic and New Direction has taught me a lot about this. Regardless of your views, you are welcome to attend.

Please join us!

Wednesday Oct 30th 7-9pm

Grandview Calvary Baptist Church 1803 East First Ave Vancouver, BC.

You can even add it to your calendar here: invite

Hang Up and Feel

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This video of Louis C.K. on Conan O’Brien has quickly gone viral for obvious reasons. Louis C.K. has become a funny yet poignant critic of our culture over the last several years (not to mention he basically made Tig Notaro famous and she if freaking hilarious!). The video went viral because of his “slam on smart phones,” as he repeatedly says he hates smart phones and doesn’t want his kids to have them. I’m sure most of us saw the link on twitter, facebook etc. on our smart phone. All irony aside, his basic premise is smart phones give us an out on feeling our emotions because they always give us something to do instead of pausing to experience how we feel. 

He offers a brilliant commentary on our avoidance of emotions. He talks about how people don’t want to be alone but instead choose to avoid those quiet moments where we actually begin to feel our feelings. He argues that we want to avoid those moments so much that we text and drive. He reminisces about a time when he was alone in his car and he began go to that dark place where he realized our world is really sad (of course a Springsteen song brought him to this place). He talks about reaching for his phone to text and catching himself about to avoid the sadness. Instead he pulled over and wept (apparently he “cried like a bitch” – which I sure just means “a lot”…).

If you think of those times when you are meeting a friend for coffee and you arrive first and are forced to sit alone at a table. What do you do? Take out your phone. It is so hard to be alone or appear to be alone. What if we actually let ourselves be alone and feel what is going on? The wise CK says we should, …”stand in the way of [the sadness] and let it hit you like a truck…you are lucky to live sad moments.” He goes on to talk about how his sad moment was met with profound happiness. In a way, allowing our sadness to be felt, we clear the way for our happiness.

Working with me often results in facing our emotions head on. I give time to let the emotions wash over us. By taking the time to do it we say this is good and worthwhile. We acknowledge what we don’t want to feel and that we would rather avoid. And then we wait for a shift. Sometimes the shift happens within a few minutes, other times it is weeks or months. But when it happens we realize it is worth it. Going “there” is worth it. We shift to a new place and gain a new perspective. Sometimes a good cry just makes us feel better. Other times we actually begin to feel healing take place.

Christians especially have a lot of trouble with this. We think if we rely on God our sadness will dissipate or that we “shouldn’t” feel sad because God is here with us.  In fact, this is just the opposite.  God is not only here with us, he is right there in the midst of the sadness. Who knows sadness better than Jesus himself? No one.

When you work with me we don’t just give time to sit through sad moments but I also take time to celebrate and be delighted in the moments that deserve celebration. Coaching is about the being (sitting in emotions – emotions of all kinds) and doing. People get a lot done when they work with me. They achieve their goals, they start new businesses, they gain satisfaction and joy in their lives. These are reasons to take time to celebrate! To say, yep, I did it! I am good at this.

Is it time to put down the phone (or not pick it up) and get real with what is going on?