12for12: Build Bridges

“We must build bridges of relationship that can bear the weight of truth.”  – William P.Young (Author of The Shack)

How many people in your life can you be completely honest with, hold nothing back and know that it will not effect the closeness of your relationship? Sadly this number is small for most of us…as we tend to run from relationships the minute they get challenging.  No body likes to be told their wrong, shown their flaws or told what to do…but an essential part of becoming mature adults is being able to hear tough words that allow us the opportunity of growing.  How can we grow up if no one ever tells us the truth? Just think of the countless singers who have had their dreams crushed when standing in front of Simon on American Idol they said it was the first time anyone had told them they couldn’t sing.

I want to build relationships in 2012 that I can be authentic, completely who I am while I am with them. I know that trust takes time to develop and cannot be rushed.  Are you willing to put extra effort into building strong relationships so both of you can be truly honest with each-other?

12for12: Back From The Dead

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies within us while we live.”  -Norman Cousins

One of the huge blessings of living back in Michigan is being able to be part of my nieces lives. They are 7 and 10 years old and have brought great joy to our family.  The other day I caught my oldest niece Aida smiling for no apparent reason. I asked her why she was smiling and she said something to the effect: “I don’t know why I am just happy!”  

What happens from age 10 on where we lose that default setting of joy? That is a huge question which I’m sure psychologists have well researched answers for…personally I think it has to do with how this world beats us down. When we were young we had big dreams of becoming astronauts, musicians and presidents, nearly everyone is happy to see us, they always greeted us with smiles and spent lots of money on us at birthdays and Christmas.  As we grow into adolescents more is expected of us, and more is demanded of us. Few invest in showing us the path into adulthood and soon we are just expected to act like adults. We learn along this journey that the world isn’t a very friendly place and that few attain their childhood dreams.  Instead of feeling “special” (see THIS post) we begin to feel like just a number, a “normal” person whose chief goal is simply to survive.  I hate the counsel usually given to parents of teens today that the teenage years are years which they need to survive. No wonder something dies within us…

We can learn a lot from children…perhaps the greatest being how to have joy in our lives for no reason at all.  What has recently died in you that could be resurrected in 2012? 

12for12: Who Ties Your Shoes?

“If I have learned one thing in this life, it is that God will not tie my shoes without me.”  – Doug Boyd

A simple quote with a profound amount of theology wrapped up in it.  A lot of Christians I talk with hold a view of God (theology) that has Him in complete control of their lives.  I see this as an escape from responsibility more than anything else.  It is a very bad theology that doesn’t recognize the clear teaching from the Scriptures that the type of relationship God desires with humanity is that of a partnership. He doesn’t want to do all the work and invites us to share control with Him.  In other words I believe there are things that we don’t have to ask God permission to do…paths we can take in life with confidence that God will walk with us.

What area of your life are you waiting for God to tie your shoes? Maybe the very best resolution you could make this year is to start tying your own shoes. :)

12for12: No More Clones

“The challenge today is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else.” – Unknown

There is something lodged deep within each of us that longs to be unique, different…someone who doesn’t conform to what everyone else is doing. In short we long to be special, to be somebody’s favorite.  I don’t think this is an evil desire and perhaps reflects our worth in our Creators eyes. Ever since the first TV was turned on we have been fed the lie that everyone acts and looks the same way.  I’m sure you have heard of the ancient dilemma: does art imitate life or does life imitate art? While I believe both happens, I think the evidence is pretty clear with the 100’s of students I’ve worked with over the years that usually: life imitates art…or specifically people imitate what they see on TV, in magazines and on the internet. Advertisers tell us what we have to wear, how we’re supposed to smell, what kind of cars if we want to be like everyone else. How many iPhone’s do you think were sold to people who had no idea what it could do for them simply because they saw a slick commercial and everyone at their work had one?

What a challenge for us in 2012…to be uniquely who God made us to be, rejecting the counterfeit substitutes that our culture sells us.  The world doesn’t need another clone…what this world needs is you being YOU.  

Are you up for the challenge of being yourself this year?

12for12:Two Great Days

For the next twelve days I will be posting some of my favorite quotes that I believe hold the potential to make this one of the best years of your life.  Would love you to interact during this series, sharing your own favorite quotes and thoughts.  They are in no specific order, here’s today’s quote:

“There are two great days in a person’s life — the day we are born and the day we discover why.”  -William Barclay

Obviously the day we are born is an important day because…well we wouldn’t have many other days if we didn’t experience that first one (deep I know). It’s this second great day that so few of us find and yet are longing to discover.  However tough they might be, the circumstances of our lives become meaningful when seen in light of our purpose.  I don’t think its possible to find true fulfillment this year unless we know and live out the purpose for which we were created.

Do you know why you were born?

12for12: A Blog Series

Happy New Year! Welcome to another year on my blog, I remain committed to making it one with many interesting posts and comments.  I decided on keeping the same design but I did change the colors up just a bit. (if you use a program to read my posts why not click over and check out the design?)

Beginning tomorrow I will be sharing my first blog-series of this New Year called: 12for12.  I will be sharing 12 of my favorite quotes, specifically quotes that I think have the potential of making this one of the best years of our lives.  If you have followed me for awhile you already know I’m a big quotes guy, I share a bunch of them each week on Twitter.  Words are powerful and I think they have the power to change us if we let them. I have always been fascinated by the fact that it was by words that God created the entire universe.

So why not check back for the next 12 days and share your own favorite quotes or thoughts to each post via the comment section or on Twitter (@GodsideKurt using the hashtag “12for12″).