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All Profiles > Rev. Dr. Steven Koski

About Rev. Dr. Steven Koski

I am at First Presbyterian because I am crazy blessed to get to serve an extraordinary, loving, compassionate, brave, creative, mission-hearted, curious, and fun community of faith. And for some reason they put up with me.

Before serving here, I was cheering loudly for the Chicago Blackhawks as Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, IL, a western suburb of Chicago.

I love being constantly reminded that I am one lucky guy to have married “up” to Laurie and to be blessed to be dad to two amazing young men, Jacob and Jonah. I love yoga. Although, the people next to me in yoga class look like pretzels while I look and move like a block of cement. I love walking the many beautiful trails of Bend. I love, love, love, love sports. My dream job would be a sports talk show host sharing my limitless sports wisdom with the rest of the world. I love Scrabble, a good book, U2, single malt scotch, theater, and ballet (not necessarily in that order).

You can reach Steven at [email protected], and follow him on Instagram: @stevenkoski.

Every day there are mountains to climb that feel insurmountable. The size of our mountains vary. That feeling of helplessness and despair is a feeling we all share, no matter the size of the mountain. The best way to climb a mountain is to keep going. Just keep going. You don’t need to know the way. The path is waiting to unfurl itself, to lead you in the right direction. You don’t need to make record time. Your pace is your pace.
I climbed South Sisters with two artificial hips and a recently surgically repaired back from a ruptured disc.
What was I thinking?! The actual mountain I was climbing was inside of me. I feared letting my physical limitations become the Lyft driver of my life refusing to leave the parking lot. I longed to convince myself and others that we are stronger than we think we are. Where we have been does not have to dictate where it is we will now go.
The shape and size of the mountains we face are different. The one thing we share is the same indomitable spirit. We all face difficulties and defeats. The human spirit is boundless and only defeated when it surrenders.
The one thing I learned climbing South Sisters is that if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when there’s a voice inside telling you to stop, you will soon be scaling mountains. Stop looking left and right at what others are doing convincing yourself they are better climbers. Stop looking backward at what was or what could have been. Stop trying to predict or control the future. Focus your energy on where you are. This moment. This breath. The next step. Just keep going. That’s how you scale mountains.
These past two months I have found myself climbing a mountain that appeared unexpectedly in my path. There have been many moments where it has seemed insurmountable. I don’t know what mountains you face. Michael Leunig shares How To Get There:
“Go to the end of the path until you get to the gate.
Go through the gate and head straight out  towards the horizon.
Keep going towards the horizon.
Sit down and have a rest every now and again,
But keep going, just keep on with it.
Keep on going as far as you can.
That’s how you get there.”
One more thing, stay hydrated.
Every day there are mountains to climb that feel insurmountable. The size of our mountains vary. That feeling of helplessness and despair is a feeling we all share, no matter the size of the mountain. The best way to climb a mountain is to keep going. Just keep going. You don’t need to know the way. The path is waiting to unfurl itself, to lead you in the right direction. You don’t need to make record time. Your pace is your pace. I climbed South Sisters with two artificial hips and a recently surgically repaired back from a ruptured disc. What was I thinking?! The actual mountain I was climbing was inside of me. I feared letting my physical limitations become the Lyft driver of my life refusing to leave the parking lot. I longed to convince myself and others that we are stronger than we think we are. Where we have been does not have to dictate where it is we will now go. The shape and size of the mountains we face are different. The one thing we share is the same indomitable spirit. We all face difficulties and defeats. The human spirit is boundless and only defeated when it surrenders. The one thing I learned climbing South Sisters is that if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when there’s a voice inside telling you to stop, you will soon be scaling mountains. Stop looking left and right at what others are doing convincing yourself they are better climbers. Stop looking backward at what was or what could have been. Stop trying to predict or control the future. Focus your energy on where you are. This moment. This breath. The next step. Just keep going. That’s how you scale mountains. These past two months I have found myself climbing a mountain that appeared unexpectedly in my path. There have been many moments where it has seemed insurmountable. I don’t know what mountains you face. Michael Leunig shares How To Get There: “Go to the end of the path until you get to the gate. Go through the gate and head straight out towards the horizon. Keep going towards the horizon. Sit down and have a rest every now and again, But keep going, just keep on with it. Keep on going as far as you can. That’s how you get there.” One more thing, stay hydrated.
Bravery is the antidote to perfectionism. Perfectionism keeps us from taking risks because we fear failing, or we fear we won’t meet our own or other people’s expectations, or we fear we will look foolish. This keeps our life small confined within the stiff boundaries of safety and comfort.
There’s a line in Mary Oliver’s poem Hallelujah that has pierced my soul this morning and created a holy disturbance, “And have you decided that probably nothing important is ever easy.” Wait?! I was promised easy.
We tell our children as they’re running out the door, “Be careful.” What if we told our children and ourselves, “Be brave today and grab someone’s hand and help them be brave too?”
The truth we don’t realize is that the careful path and the courageous path are both hard. Wisdom is choosing the right kind of hard. There is a hard that keeps you trapped living a life less than the life that wants to live in you.
There is a hard that leads to freedom and your rising.
Choose the right kind of hard. Nothing important is ever easy and there’s no such thing as perfect. Brene Brown wrote, “Here’s what I think integrity is: It’s choosing courage over comfort.”
Instead of “Be careful,” let’s tell ourselves and each other today, “Be brave. Choose the right kind of hard. Find a hand to hold on to and jump.” There’s a Native American proverb that says, “As you follow your heart’s path, you will always meet a deep chasm. Jump. It’s not as wide as you think.”
Bravery is the antidote to perfectionism. Perfectionism keeps us from taking risks because we fear failing, or we fear we won’t meet our own or other people’s expectations, or we fear we will look foolish. This keeps our life small confined within the stiff boundaries of safety and comfort. There’s a line in Mary Oliver’s poem Hallelujah that has pierced my soul this morning and created a holy disturbance, “And have you decided that probably nothing important is ever easy.” Wait?! I was promised easy. We tell our children as they’re running out the door, “Be careful.” What if we told our children and ourselves, “Be brave today and grab someone’s hand and help them be brave too?” The truth we don’t realize is that the careful path and the courageous path are both hard. Wisdom is choosing the right kind of hard. There is a hard that keeps you trapped living a life less than the life that wants to live in you. There is a hard that leads to freedom and your rising. Choose the right kind of hard. Nothing important is ever easy and there’s no such thing as perfect. Brene Brown wrote, “Here’s what I think integrity is: It’s choosing courage over comfort.” Instead of “Be careful,” let’s tell ourselves and each other today, “Be brave. Choose the right kind of hard. Find a hand to hold on to and jump.” There’s a Native American proverb that says, “As you follow your heart’s path, you will always meet a deep chasm. Jump. It’s not as wide as you think.”
The Bible begins, “In the beginning, God created...”. My Hebrew teacher said a better translations is, “In the beginning God began to create...”. And God continues to create and, as the bearers of God’s image, we share that same creative spirit and are Co-Creators with God.
The story isn’t finished. We hold within us the possibility of writing new stories for ourselves, others and the world. Our calling as Co-Creators is to partner with God gathering up what is broken and beyond repair and creating something beautiful.
Every day, 3 million pounds of garbage are dumped in Cateura, Paraguay. Families exist by scrounging for trash in the landfill to resell to buy food. It is an ugly place of despair, devastation and drugs.
Favio Chavez listened to the Indwelling Creative Spirit and was inspired to give kids hope through learning to play music. They had no instruments or money to buy instruments. That Spirit that creates something out of nothing inspired him with the idea to make instruments from trash. The Recycled Orchestra was formed made up of kids living in the slums playing instruments made of garbage. They have performed for Pope Francis and are the subjects of a documentary called Landfill Harmonic. Favio Chavez said these kids are not only creating something gorgeous out of nothing, they now see the beauty of their own lives.
Jan Richardson writes, “Now, more than ever, let us be the ones who will not turn away. Let us be the ones who will go further into the wreck and deeper into the rubble.
Let us be the ones who will enter into the places of devastation beyond belief and despair beyond imagining.
And there let us listen for the Spirit that brooded over formless darkness, and there let us look again for the God who gathered up the chaos and began to create.
Let us be the ones who will give ourselves to the work of making again and to the endless beginning of creation.”
Yes, in the beginning God began to create... and continues to create... and we are Co-Creators.
The Bible begins, “In the beginning, God created...”. My Hebrew teacher said a better translations is, “In the beginning God began to create...”. And God continues to create and, as the bearers of God’s image, we share that same creative spirit and are Co-Creators with God. The story isn’t finished. We hold within us the possibility of writing new stories for ourselves, others and the world. Our calling as Co-Creators is to partner with God gathering up what is broken and beyond repair and creating something beautiful. Every day, 3 million pounds of garbage are dumped in Cateura, Paraguay. Families exist by scrounging for trash in the landfill to resell to buy food. It is an ugly place of despair, devastation and drugs. Favio Chavez listened to the Indwelling Creative Spirit and was inspired to give kids hope through learning to play music. They had no instruments or money to buy instruments. That Spirit that creates something out of nothing inspired him with the idea to make instruments from trash. The Recycled Orchestra was formed made up of kids living in the slums playing instruments made of garbage. They have performed for Pope Francis and are the subjects of a documentary called Landfill Harmonic. Favio Chavez said these kids are not only creating something gorgeous out of nothing, they now see the beauty of their own lives. Jan Richardson writes, “Now, more than ever, let us be the ones who will not turn away. Let us be the ones who will go further into the wreck and deeper into the rubble. Let us be the ones who will enter into the places of devastation beyond belief and despair beyond imagining. And there let us listen for the Spirit that brooded over formless darkness, and there let us look again for the God who gathered up the chaos and began to create. Let us be the ones who will give ourselves to the work of making again and to the endless beginning of creation.” Yes, in the beginning God began to create... and continues to create... and we are Co-Creators.
“Experiment with being soft when your impulse is to be hard, generous when your impulse is to be withholding, open when your impulse is to close up or shut down emotionally. When there is grief or sadness, try letting it be here. Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling...be with the experience itself. Trust in your deepest strength of all: to be present, to be wakeful.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Sometimes I think the spiritual life is simply to be awake. The Bible says, “This is the day...”.Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. This day. Be awake to this day.
A student asked his teacher, “How can I draw closer to God?”
She said, “You can’t get any closer to God than you can make the sun rise in the morning.”
The student asked, “Why do I bother with all of these spiritual practices like prayer, study, serving others?”
His teacher said, “So you are awake when the sun does rise.”
Trust in your deepest strength - to be present, to be wakeful.
The Navajo teach their children that every morning when the sun comes up, it is an entirely brand-new sun, different from the sun they witnessed the day before. They are taught the sun is born anew each morning and it will live for the duration of one day. In the evening, it transitions with gracious colors to another world. As soon as children are old enough to understand, elders will take the children out at dawn and say, “The sun has only one day. You must live this particular day in a good way, so that you don’t take the sacred gift of the sun for granted. It is this day that asks to be shaped by your heart and your hands.”
What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how life is supposed to be or how we wish it will be someday. Sometimes when we pray for the miracle we hope will arrive some day we miss the thousand tiny miracles hidden in this day. The simple act of acceptance, of returning mindfully to each step of our path can bring us the miracle we need - our whole selves and the invitation to shape this day with our heart and hands.
“Experiment with being soft when your impulse is to be hard, generous when your impulse is to be withholding, open when your impulse is to close up or shut down emotionally. When there is grief or sadness, try letting it be here. Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling...be with the experience itself. Trust in your deepest strength of all: to be present, to be wakeful.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn. Sometimes I think the spiritual life is simply to be awake. The Bible says, “This is the day...”.Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. This day. Be awake to this day. A student asked his teacher, “How can I draw closer to God?” She said, “You can’t get any closer to God than you can make the sun rise in the morning.” The student asked, “Why do I bother with all of these spiritual practices like prayer, study, serving others?” His teacher said, “So you are awake when the sun does rise.” Trust in your deepest strength - to be present, to be wakeful. The Navajo teach their children that every morning when the sun comes up, it is an entirely brand-new sun, different from the sun they witnessed the day before. They are taught the sun is born anew each morning and it will live for the duration of one day. In the evening, it transitions with gracious colors to another world. As soon as children are old enough to understand, elders will take the children out at dawn and say, “The sun has only one day. You must live this particular day in a good way, so that you don’t take the sacred gift of the sun for granted. It is this day that asks to be shaped by your heart and your hands.” What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how life is supposed to be or how we wish it will be someday. Sometimes when we pray for the miracle we hope will arrive some day we miss the thousand tiny miracles hidden in this day. The simple act of acceptance, of returning mindfully to each step of our path can bring us the miracle we need - our whole selves and the invitation to shape this day with our heart and hands.
If life feels hard and you are struggling today it doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. It just means life is just damn hard sometimes.
Our culture rewards success, achievement, strength and overcoming obstacles. Parents say they just want their children to be happy. I wonder if a better goal is to teach our children how to be unhappy with resiliency and grace because sometimes life is just damn hard.
We don’t give ourselves room to struggle. We are quick to judge our day and ourselves as good or bad. If we are struggling it means we are failing life.
A friend slogging through the thick and sticky mud of grief said, “I’m failing at grief. I can’t stop crying. One minute I’m fine and ‘wham!’, I fall into a heap and I’m a blubbering mess.”
How can you fail at grief for God’s sake? It is not a test or a race with winners and losers. Grief is the sacred human experience of having had the courage to risk your heart loving.
Another friend shared over coffee, “I am so sorry. I’m not myself today. Life is just so damn hard right now.”
What kind of culture are we living in where we have to apologize for being human? Life is just damn hard sometimes. It just is. Struggling doesn’t require an apology.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said many misinterpreted her stages of grief - shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Many treated these stages as linear where you have to “succeed” at one stage to move to the next. If you don’t succeed it must mean you are failing grief. No. Kubler-Ross said she was naming common experiences of grief. They don’t necessarily happen in a linear fashion. Not everyone’s experience is the same. You can experience all the stages of grief in the same hour.
One of the greatest sources of stress is the picture we have in our heads of the way we think life is supposed to be and the expectation we hold of how we are supposed to be.
If you are struggling and life feels hard today it doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. It may just mean life is just hard. Try not to judge the day or yourself as good or bad. What is, is. Breathe. Be tender and kind to yourself. Be kind to others because chances are life is damn hard for them too.
If life feels hard and you are struggling today it doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. It just means life is just damn hard sometimes. Our culture rewards success, achievement, strength and overcoming obstacles. Parents say they just want their children to be happy. I wonder if a better goal is to teach our children how to be unhappy with resiliency and grace because sometimes life is just damn hard. We don’t give ourselves room to struggle. We are quick to judge our day and ourselves as good or bad. If we are struggling it means we are failing life. A friend slogging through the thick and sticky mud of grief said, “I’m failing at grief. I can’t stop crying. One minute I’m fine and ‘wham!’, I fall into a heap and I’m a blubbering mess.” How can you fail at grief for God’s sake? It is not a test or a race with winners and losers. Grief is the sacred human experience of having had the courage to risk your heart loving. Another friend shared over coffee, “I am so sorry. I’m not myself today. Life is just so damn hard right now.” What kind of culture are we living in where we have to apologize for being human? Life is just damn hard sometimes. It just is. Struggling doesn’t require an apology. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said many misinterpreted her stages of grief - shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Many treated these stages as linear where you have to “succeed” at one stage to move to the next. If you don’t succeed it must mean you are failing grief. No. Kubler-Ross said she was naming common experiences of grief. They don’t necessarily happen in a linear fashion. Not everyone’s experience is the same. You can experience all the stages of grief in the same hour. One of the greatest sources of stress is the picture we have in our heads of the way we think life is supposed to be and the expectation we hold of how we are supposed to be. If you are struggling and life feels hard today it doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. It may just mean life is just hard. Try not to judge the day or yourself as good or bad. What is, is. Breathe. Be tender and kind to yourself. Be kind to others because chances are life is damn hard for them too.
The world is not divided into leaders and followers. Everyone is a leader. Leadership is influence and we all influence others, positively or negatively, whether we realize it or not. We are all changing the world by our presence in the world. The question is what kind of influence do we wish to have.
The Book of Esther addresses all of us in these challenging times, “Who knows? Maybe you are right where you are for such a time as this?” We are the leaders we are waiting for.
Leaders exercise power in corrupt ways because leadership was never meant to be about power, control and domination. Leadership is about humility and service which is a matter of the heart and not the ego.
Most of the suffering in our world is caused by people needing to be important. Most problems can be solved by leaders serving a greater good.
Imagine leaders in all areas - politics, religion, commerce, community, parents - who are not in love with being right but doing what’s right; not in love with power but with the power of love; not in love with being important but with reminding the least, lost and lonely of their importance; not in love with “me” but in the possibilities of “we”.
Imagine leaders not in love with winning but in love with the grand idea no one wins until everyone wins; not in love with command and control but empathy and empowerment.
Imagine leaders not in love with success at any cost but in the lessons  learned through failure; not in love with showing their might but in the courage of risking vulnerability.
Imagine leaders not in love with being king but in the power of kindness; not in love with their own voice but in the grace of generous listening; not in love with revenge but with forgiveness; not in love with building walls but in building bridges.
The world will change if you can now imagine you are such a leader, the leader the world is waiting for. You, yes you, are right where you are for such a time as this.
The world is not divided into leaders and followers. Everyone is a leader. Leadership is influence and we all influence others, positively or negatively, whether we realize it or not. We are all changing the world by our presence in the world. The question is what kind of influence do we wish to have. The Book of Esther addresses all of us in these challenging times, “Who knows? Maybe you are right where you are for such a time as this?” We are the leaders we are waiting for. Leaders exercise power in corrupt ways because leadership was never meant to be about power, control and domination. Leadership is about humility and service which is a matter of the heart and not the ego. Most of the suffering in our world is caused by people needing to be important. Most problems can be solved by leaders serving a greater good. Imagine leaders in all areas - politics, religion, commerce, community, parents - who are not in love with being right but doing what’s right; not in love with power but with the power of love; not in love with being important but with reminding the least, lost and lonely of their importance; not in love with “me” but in the possibilities of “we”. Imagine leaders not in love with winning but in love with the grand idea no one wins until everyone wins; not in love with command and control but empathy and empowerment. Imagine leaders not in love with success at any cost but in the lessons learned through failure; not in love with showing their might but in the courage of risking vulnerability. Imagine leaders not in love with being king but in the power of kindness; not in love with their own voice but in the grace of generous listening; not in love with revenge but with forgiveness; not in love with building walls but in building bridges. The world will change if you can now imagine you are such a leader, the leader the world is waiting for. You, yes you, are right where you are for such a time as this.
The Bible says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” ( Philippians 4.8)
Yes, think about such things...
It’s so easy to be influenced, sucked into and shaped by the energy of the toxicity that surrounds us. The fear-based energy of criticism, cynicism, judgment and blaming saturates the air. Before we know it we can find ourselves reflecting the ugliness we resist.
Thoughts are energy. You are the curator of your thoughts What if you chose your thoughts as carefully as you chose the clothes you wear. Your thoughts influence the energy you will bring to the day.
You can choose thoughts that inspire and uplift. You can choose thoughts that leave you feeling defeated and discouraged.
You can choose thoughts that lead you to pitch a tent in the landscape of fear. You can choose thoughts that find a way through the dense thicket of fear to the spacious field of hope.
You can choose thoughts demean and dehumanize another. You can choose thoughts that help you see the image of the Divine in another.
You can choose thoughts that build walls and further division and distrust. You can choose thoughts that build bridges and lead to forgiveness and reconciliation.
You can choose thoughts that reinforce the lie that you are not enough. You can choose thoughts that reflect the truth that you are created in the image of God’s own goodness and you are more than enough, just as you are.
Yes, in the words of Dr. Seuss, whatever reminds you that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you feel, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...think about such things.
The Bible says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” ( Philippians 4.8) Yes, think about such things... It’s so easy to be influenced, sucked into and shaped by the energy of the toxicity that surrounds us. The fear-based energy of criticism, cynicism, judgment and blaming saturates the air. Before we know it we can find ourselves reflecting the ugliness we resist. Thoughts are energy. You are the curator of your thoughts What if you chose your thoughts as carefully as you chose the clothes you wear. Your thoughts influence the energy you will bring to the day. You can choose thoughts that inspire and uplift. You can choose thoughts that leave you feeling defeated and discouraged. You can choose thoughts that lead you to pitch a tent in the landscape of fear. You can choose thoughts that find a way through the dense thicket of fear to the spacious field of hope. You can choose thoughts demean and dehumanize another. You can choose thoughts that help you see the image of the Divine in another. You can choose thoughts that build walls and further division and distrust. You can choose thoughts that build bridges and lead to forgiveness and reconciliation. You can choose thoughts that reinforce the lie that you are not enough. You can choose thoughts that reflect the truth that you are created in the image of God’s own goodness and you are more than enough, just as you are. Yes, in the words of Dr. Seuss, whatever reminds you that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you feel, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...think about such things.
The Bible says, Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” Guarding your heart is acknowledging heart wounds. Physical wounds are visible. We wear bandages and are quick to tell their stories.
Heart wounds often hide in fear and shame. It is hard to heal a heart wound we pretend doesn’t exist. If we ignore heart wounds they become “infected” and contagious.
Heart wounds are not healed with the same logic we use to heal physical wounds. The paradox is the best guard for our hearts is vulnerability. A physical wound may need to be covered. Heart wounds need space to speak their truth.
Danna Faulds’ poem Allow says,
“There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt, containing a tornado. Dam a stream and it will create a new channel. Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground. The only safety lies in letting it all in - the wild and the weak; fear, fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of the heart, or sadness veils your vision with despair, practice becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your known way of being, the whole world is revealed to your new eyes.”
We guard each other’s hearts remembering not all wounds are visible. Every day we meet someone falling apart who looks all together. Those who seem happiest may be the saddest. Those who joke the most may cry themselves to sleep. Behind the widest smiles may be a broken heart. Behind the “perfect life” is a life struggling.
Guarding our hearts is holding one another’s heart without judgment and with tenderness and care. A wounded heart held in love can speak its truth and that truth may set it free to put the pieces back together into a new way of being.
The Bible says, Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” Guarding your heart is acknowledging heart wounds. Physical wounds are visible. We wear bandages and are quick to tell their stories. Heart wounds often hide in fear and shame. It is hard to heal a heart wound we pretend doesn’t exist. If we ignore heart wounds they become “infected” and contagious. Heart wounds are not healed with the same logic we use to heal physical wounds. The paradox is the best guard for our hearts is vulnerability. A physical wound may need to be covered. Heart wounds need space to speak their truth. Danna Faulds’ poem Allow says, “There is no controlling life. Try corralling a lightning bolt, containing a tornado. Dam a stream and it will create a new channel. Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet. Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground. The only safety lies in letting it all in - the wild and the weak; fear, fantasies, failures and success. When loss rips off the doors of the heart, or sadness veils your vision with despair, practice becomes simply bearing the truth. In the choice to let go of your known way of being, the whole world is revealed to your new eyes.” We guard each other’s hearts remembering not all wounds are visible. Every day we meet someone falling apart who looks all together. Those who seem happiest may be the saddest. Those who joke the most may cry themselves to sleep. Behind the widest smiles may be a broken heart. Behind the “perfect life” is a life struggling. Guarding our hearts is holding one another’s heart without judgment and with tenderness and care. A wounded heart held in love can speak its truth and that truth may set it free to put the pieces back together into a new way of being.
Don’t confuse activity with intention. Don’t confuse busyness with purpose. Don’t confuse productivity with worth. Don’t confuse achievement with wisdom. Don’t confuse exhaustion with essence.
A western missionary in West Africa wanted to bring medicine to a nearby tribe 50 miles away. He loved with a tribe whose custom was no one traveled alone so the tribe’s chief and elders traveled with the missionary. They traveled 15 miles the first day and stopped for the night. They traveled another 15 miles the next day and stopped for the night. The next morning the missionary said to the chief, “If we push ourselves and go 20 miles today we will make it to the village in three days.” To the surprise of the missionary, the chief said, “No. today we will rest. We have been traveling fast. We need to let our souls catch up with our bodies.”
I just read an article from an expert about how to maximize my productivity. I’m exhausted from simply reading the article. What I need is to someone to remind me my worth is not attached to my productivity. I need someone to remind me self-care is not selfish and that as I extend grace to myself I replenish the reservoir of grace I can extend to others. I need someone to maximize my ability to take myself less seriously and play more. 
How will you let your soul catch up with your body today?
Pour yourself a hot drink, make yourself comfortable, loosen your jaw, unclench your fist, slow and deepen your breath, open your heart, contemplate the word “Essence” and receive the gift of this Blessing of Rest by Jan Richardson -
“For a moment cease thinking about what comes next, what will you do, when you rise.
Let this blessing gather itself to you like the stillness that descends between your heartbeats, the silence that comes so briefly but with constancy in which your life depends.
Settle yourself into the quiet this blessing brings, the hand it lays upon your brow, the whispered word it breathes into your ear telling you  all shall be well  all shall be well  and you can rest  now.”
Don’t confuse activity with intention. Don’t confuse busyness with purpose. Don’t confuse productivity with worth. Don’t confuse achievement with wisdom. Don’t confuse exhaustion with essence. A western missionary in West Africa wanted to bring medicine to a nearby tribe 50 miles away. He loved with a tribe whose custom was no one traveled alone so the tribe’s chief and elders traveled with the missionary. They traveled 15 miles the first day and stopped for the night. They traveled another 15 miles the next day and stopped for the night. The next morning the missionary said to the chief, “If we push ourselves and go 20 miles today we will make it to the village in three days.” To the surprise of the missionary, the chief said, “No. today we will rest. We have been traveling fast. We need to let our souls catch up with our bodies.” I just read an article from an expert about how to maximize my productivity. I’m exhausted from simply reading the article. What I need is to someone to remind me my worth is not attached to my productivity. I need someone to remind me self-care is not selfish and that as I extend grace to myself I replenish the reservoir of grace I can extend to others. I need someone to maximize my ability to take myself less seriously and play more. How will you let your soul catch up with your body today? Pour yourself a hot drink, make yourself comfortable, loosen your jaw, unclench your fist, slow and deepen your breath, open your heart, contemplate the word “Essence” and receive the gift of this Blessing of Rest by Jan Richardson - “For a moment cease thinking about what comes next, what will you do, when you rise. Let this blessing gather itself to you like the stillness that descends between your heartbeats, the silence that comes so briefly but with constancy in which your life depends. Settle yourself into the quiet this blessing brings, the hand it lays upon your brow, the whispered word it breathes into your ear telling you all shall be well all shall be well and you can rest now.”
  • Be Brave.
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    Bravery is the antidote to perfectionism. Perfectionism keeps us from taking risks because we fear failing, or we fear we won’t meet our own or other people’s expectations, or we…
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  • “In the beginning God began to create…”
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    The Bible begins, “In the beginning, God created...”. My Hebrew teacher said a better translations is, “In the beginning God began to create...”. And God continues to create and, as…
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  • Enjoy the Little Miracles
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    “Experiment with being soft when your impulse is to be hard, generous when your impulse is to be withholding, open when your impulse is to close up or shut down…
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  • Thoughts Matter
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    The Bible says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such…
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  • Heart Wounds
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    The Bible says, Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” Guarding your heart is acknowledging heart wounds. Physical wounds are visible. We wear bandages…
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  • Don’t confuse activity with intention.
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    Don’t confuse activity with intention. Don’t confuse busyness with purpose. Don’t confuse productivity with worth. Don’t confuse achievement with wisdom. Don’t confuse exhaustion with essence. A western missionary in West…
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  • Be the Church
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    “If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time…
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  • Let’s save the world today by loving the world today.
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    A student asked, “Teacher, I am extremely discouraged. What should I do?” The teacher responded, “Encourage others.” There is this strange spiritual paradox that whatever we think the world is…
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  • Gratitude is a practice that cracks our self-protecting hearts wide open
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    I was watching a hockey game and the puck went flying at the glass. The fan behind the glass instinctively flinched and covered his face to protect himself. How often…
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  • Loaves and Fishes
    Posted: Wed, May 22, 2019
    There is so much sadness, pain and bewilderment in the world at this moment. I don’t know about you but I am starving for one good word. There are moments…
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