Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Most Difficult Prayer

Several years ago I began saying a prayer during daily mass called “The Litany of Humility” composed by Merry Cardinal del Val, secretary of state to Pope Saint Pius X. It was at a time when I was experiencing career changes, with responsibilities that seemed narrower in scope.

I began praying it out of a hope it would help in dealing with the changes more positively. After awhile, however, it seemed to be causing me greater anxiety as the prayer’s petitions were being realized, i.e. being excluded, overlooked, etc. This was disconcerting when success is clearly defined as being sought out and consulted more frequently. As a result, I stopped saying the prayer for some time since it seemed to make my attitude more negative.

So what was the lesson?

It’s becoming a familiar one in these posts – I was trying to outthink God and make judgments based on how the world judges, not how God judges.

After a time, I went back to the prayer and it became clear to me that it was really about a release from the desire for being preferred and approved. And that was exactly what had happened. As my yearning for these things decreased in answer to the prayer, I grew in using other talents with a greater intention of helping others and more focus on daily spiritual life. Realize that none of this was me; this was God answering the prayer.

I now pray the litany much more frequently with a sense of wonder and a realization that I have no clue what will come of it, other than that through surrendering and getting out of God’s way, his will can become more manifest.

Click on this link for the prayer, but realize that you may be in for a challenging time.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Why Am I Here?" - Washington, D.C. Edition

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2008) – I haven’t written directly here or in my strategy blog about “core purpose.” Not surprisingly, it’s top of mind for me as we sit in an airplane waiting to take off amid a violent thunderstorm on the runway at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.

Today was a presentation on strategic thinking to a very small audience at the ASMI Branding Excellence Conference. Shortly after arrival on Monday night, I became very ill - the same kind of illness that put me in the hospital overnight in Cleveland a couple of years ago through flu-related dehydration. I was incredibly blessed then to be traveling with Keith Prather, my strategic partner, who was truly the Good Samaritan. He stayed with me in Cleveland while his wife and daughters had to drive to Oklahoma for a dance competition by themselves.

Since then, my parents ask me on nearly every trip I take whether Keith will be along. I always assure them I don’t need Keith to travel with me and that the hospital stay was a fluke. Until last night.

Since that time two years ago, I travel much differently with a lot more meds and a realization that I’m not invincible. So without Keith as God’s representative, I have to depend on God’s intervention through other means, including my loving wife and our neighbor back in Kansas City. Of course, God provides, even to the point of the meeting planner offering to let me skip doing the presentation.

But God didn’t bring me here to not do the presentation; this is where my core purpose comes in. Despite having my regrets during the day about making the trip, my core purpose would say that there was someone in the audience that I needed to reach. The thing is I don’t know who it was, although I have my suspicions. Having said that, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were someone else that I hadn’t even talked with directly. That would be God’s way, and who am I to try to outthink God, since he provides the core purpose in the first place.

And now, we’re #1 for take off. God bless us.


P.S. We made it back, although we were more than 90 minutes late. Thankfully, our neighbor took my wife to the airport so that she could drive me home. She was a true sweetheart and waited the extra time because I couldn’t have gotten myself home that night. Thank God.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Poor in Spirit

I never understood what “poor in spirit” meant until an adult religious education class several years ago. And then my understanding was really enhanced last week by listening to a radio show on the Beatitudes.

The question the host asked was in what areas we consciously choose to be poor - even if we’re not materially poor? Where do we do with less, or do without as a reminder of our dependence on God providing for us.

That’s a challenging question for those in my area where we live and work amid some of the wealthiest zip codes in the state and country. There’s such a cultural pressure for bigger and more. As a marketer, there’s a clear bias to sell more and get more for it. And a variety of stigmas are associated with anything that's “less.”

Let’s all ask - what are we willing to sacrifice that’s truly meaningful to us?



Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Creativity Prayer - Take 1

Thank you for creation itself and the incredible gifts and talents you so generously entrust to me. May I recognize and appreciate these talents, always recognizing that they come from you and remain yours. Guide me in using them for the benefit of everyone that I touch, so that they may be more aware of your creative presence and develop the creativity entrusted to them for the good of others. Help me also to use your talents to bring a creative spark and new possibilities to your world, living out my call to be an integral part of your creative force. Amen