as personal as I can get

We have been in Rapid City, SD for 59 days and we are slowly acclimating to our new home here. We are enjoying our condo in the hills where we often feed the deer and turkeys. We enjoy playing in the snow, sledding, and everything in between. 

I am enjoying my work. For those that may not know, I am a student pastor at Fountain Springs Church. I have a team of 4 staff members and about 45 volunteers, we run a ministry of about 215 students (Middle School and High School) There are approximately 7,047 middle school and high school students in Rapid City.

We just finished up our Middle School and High School Winter Retreats where we had about 120 students participate. I am still blown away that I get to do this type of work. I realize that not a lot of people get the opportunity to shape the lives of students. I see my job as vitally important. I am building the future through these students and I have a window of opportunity to share truth, wisdom, and to inspire them to greatness. 

I'm reading three books rights now that are challenging me to the core: 

1. Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too 

2. How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In

3. The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits

The combination of teaching on fear this past weekend in mountains of Wyoming, the words that I am reading both in scripture, and in these books are challenging me to the core. In Gary's book Crushing it he writes, "In my experience, good communication solves all things. I advise everyone in this predicament to confront the problem head-on. Sit down with the people you care most about and say, "I am going to do something I should have done ages ago. The only thing that stopped me was my fear of what you'd say, but you need to know that I'm over that now. I don't need your blessing, but I do need to know that I will have your support when I fail. Because I will. Not spectacularly, I hope, but definitely in the short term. In the long term, though, I'm going to win, and it would mean the world to me to know you've got my back and are hoping for my success, not waiting for my failure" 

So that is what I'm going to do. Confront it. 

A couple years ago I had a goal of writing a children's book where I asked you to back me financially and help support me chase the dream. With your help, I was able to self-publish and get the book out in the world. I have unsuccessfully tried the same thing with a couple adult books. This is where it gets personal. I want to write and publish many books on a range of topics (hints the callahan books dot net domain name) but have started and stopped so many times because I have a crippling fear of what you may say when it is finished. What's crazy is, I have one of the best support systems anyone could ever ask for but I allow fear to dominate my thoughts in this arena. I let fear have the final word. There, I said it. I'm scared of what you will think. Wow, that was so good to say out loud. 

However, I will not let fear have the final word. 

313 days from now you should have a book. 

Do I have your support? 

the subtle art of giving a crap

Oh no, I said crap in the title, how will I ever recover from this? Ha. 

I want you to think for a second about the person that has made you feel most valuable. For some it may take awhile to conjure up an idea, for others it comes right to your mind. There are certain attributes this person has. Most likely they are humble, they are invested, and they deeply care (their body language, words, and mannerisms prove this) 

The subtle art of giving a crap starts in each and every interaction. It isn't a secondary goal, it is the primary goal. If we lose sight of this goal, it gets messy. When we look at how to interact with others we often jump to the conclusion that we need to learn about their wiring, their likes and dislikes, love language, etc to effectively communicate with them. When this is our starting point people can see through it. What they see is someone trying to solve a puzzle versus giving a crap. 

What if we started with a question? What if instead of looking for ways to move someone closer to a goal we have for them, or for us, or for our organization we simply asked the next right question and then listened? Listening is an art and a science and it takes concerted effort.  

When people see that we are listening to what they are saying and what they aren't saying, they see us as people that value them at a deep level. When people see that you value them, then and only then can you try to inspire them. The subtle art of giving a crap is found in the trenches of asking the right question and listening well. 

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Here is a quick guide to help you on your listening journey 

Every time you feel like talking about yourself, ask a question instead and then listen to the answer.

It's harder than it seems. Your mind will try and find the next words to fill the void once the other person is done talking. That's when you know you have work to do. When your mind is silent while you take in cues from the speaker that's when you know you are closer to the goal of listening well.

 

I have a dream

"Happy Fathers Day Dad!"

"WOW, thank you. Everyone sit down for a minute, I have something really important to say and I need you to hear this." 

"When you close your eyes what do you see? In fact, close your eyes for a minute." 

He pauses for longer than anyone expects, he takes a deep breath inhaling slowly and exhaling loudly so that everyone can hear him. He commands the floor. Like a general's speech before a battle, he is calm and confident and there is power exuding his every movement. 

"I have a dream that I can not seem to shake and I want to share it with you. I know you are not ready for it and most of you will ignore it's importance but it's Fathers Day and I have your attention." 

With a loud voice he continues.

"Every time I close my eyes it is there waiting to meet me and take me on an adventure. Sometimes this dream is in a good mood and sometimes it is rather terse. Nevertheless it is always watching and waiting hoping I will not get distracted with anything else." 

"I have a dream, when I close my eyes I see a day when 

no child sniffs anymore glue to murder the hunger pains

no sick person goes unvisited

no alcoholic drowns in his sorrow

no drug addict shoots up one more time to quiet the mind 

no prostitute gives herself away any longer

no orphan sleeps in the cold

no widow scratches around in the trash to feed her family

no person eats too much to numb the pain they feel

no prisoner is left to his/her depressive thoughts

no homeless person goes without a warm meal and a blanket

no well to do mother medicates to numb her loneliness

no pastor hides behind his pulpit or his theology

no businessman dines with his fantasy

no pimp continues to get away with selling another person

no person goes another day believing they are worthless."  

He stops for another long pause. After all, he does not want the gravity of what he has said to get lost. 

"I dream of the day that each and every person sees themselves as the Father sees them without blemish, with magnificent purpose, passion, and position.

A day where each person dances too long

sings too loud

stays up too late

drinks deeply

loves with abandon

hugs someone they do not want to let go of  

gives to all without any desire to see a return 

says things to others that ignite their soul 

laughs too loud 

reads too much 

runs around without a care in the world." 

He slows his cadence and his inflection. Everyone leans in. He whispers this last part. 

"I dream of the day that YOU see yourself the way I see you and you begin living that life. When you begin living that life the first part of my dream does not exist any longer." 

Can you imagine a world where each and every person was living the purpose of the Father?

What would that world look like? 

What do you see when you close your eyes? 

This is what I see. I am convinced that the first part of my dream is a direct reflection of people (you and I) not seeing our purpose clearly enough. Somewhere along the way our true purpose was thwarted, stolen, twisted, squashed, and handed back to us and we accepted it as is and began medicating. 

There is a different way. I am here to guide you in it. 

Fill this out and we can begin. 

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