Public vs Private

I have been reading Mark Batterson’s new book Soul Print. I was fortunate enough to receive a preview copy (more on that in a later post.)

He offers a pretty big challenge in the midst of one of his chapters. He is discussing integrity and doing what is right even when it is difficult. Batterson points out a truth about us as individuals: we are probably more concerned with how we look/act/talk in public than in private. The opinion of others is of pretty high importance so we watch the things we do when others are around.

Batterson flips that thought upside down when he writes this: One of my deepest desires is to be a better person in private than I am in public . . . I want those who know me best to respect me most.

I think our natural tendency is to play to the crowd when many people are around and then kind of let our guard down when we are with people close to us.  We are more concerned about the public “me” than the private “me.”  I wonder, what would it require of us to be a better person in private than we are in public?

Chazown

At different times in teaching, I have handed out note cards and have asked students to write their own epitaph, to put on paper what they would want said about them at the end of their lives.  Not necessarily the most cheerful way to kick off a lesson, but in essence, that is how Craig Groeschel comes out of the gate in his book, Chazown. In fact the first sentence of his book says this, “Most people take a long time to die.”

His purpose is not to be morbid, but to challenge the reader to consider the end of his or her life and thus provide motivation to make the decisions now that will impact how one’s life will be remembered.

Chazown is the Hebrew word for vision.  In his book Groeschel offers a challenge to live by our God-given Chazown and he also provides readers with tools to discover and live out that vision.

Throughout this writing he encourages a posture of asking God and listening to what He has to say about what His vision for our lives is.  While it is different for each person, Groeschel offers a process each individual can go through to help pinpoint God’s vision for his or her life.

He uses three circles; one circle representing your core values, another representing your spiritual gifts and a third which representing past experiences.  Where those three circles converge is where a person can identify his or her Chazown. It is a good visual to help people identify the vision God has for each one of us.

The rest of the book lays out what he calls the “Five Spokes of Chazown.”  Those are the chazowns (or “little c’s”) that apply to all Christ followers.  As we are obedient to God in the areas of our relationship with God, our relationship with people, our finances, our health & fitness and our work, we are able to live out our individual Chazown (“big C”).

One phrase that Groeschel uses throughout the book in various ways is this: Everyone ends up somewhere, but few people end up somewhere on purpose.” He applies that phrase to each of the Five Spokes and at other times throughout the book.  He continually underlines that we don’t achieve much accidentally; it is only as we focus on key principles and practices that we can achieve God’s purpose for our lives.

The book provides opportunities to stop and answer questions, to journal and consider the three circles and the five spokes.  It lends itself to both personal reflection and group discussion.  It is broken down into short sections that provides the reader opportunity to think about one particular area before moving to another.

While set up in an easy to read fashion, Groeschel provides plenty of principles and practices to challenge readers to apply what he is trying to communicate.  Chazown can help you identify what God’s vision is for you or help you celebrate and elevate the God-given vision you are already living out.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”  Check out an excerpt of Chazown

Do Everything Without Complaining or Arguing

Twice in the last few days I have been reminded of the scripture:  “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Philippians 2:14).  I wish it was because I have mastered the art of the “doing” without the “complaining” or “arguing,” but that is not the case.  Normally I don’t complain out loud…just to myself…but it is complaining nonetheless.  Apparently, it is an area God is still working on in my life.

A couple of days ago I had to perform a rather simple task.  It didn’t require a lot of me, just my time.  I, however, felt like someone else should be doing what I was doing, so I was kind of stewing a little bit about it.  Then I had Philippians 2:14 go through my mind.  Felt like God was reminding me to not complain, so I tried to be a little more mindful of that through the weekend.

Today, I did a little backsliding on the whole “complaining or arguing” area of my life.  There was something I expected to happen today.  It wasn’t an overly difficult task (at least I felt that way) and it didn’t happen when I thought it should.  It was something I expected, it didn’t occur, so I kind of stewed a little bit more.

While I was stewing about what I expected, something unexpected happened.  Something was brought to me that I wasn’t anticipating.  It was both thoughtful and appreciated and triggered that thought in my head that I had gone back into the “complaining or arguing” mode.  Again, God had to get my attention and remind me that I don’t have that area of my life quite mastered.

Interestingly enough, to kind of top things off, the expected thing I thought should be done, got done.  My complaining to myself about it didn’t make it happen and reminded me again how little complaining accomplishes in my life.

While it is cool how God uses things like that to teach us, it also reminds me that I still need to be taught.  I may not complain the rest of the day, but I need to be aware of its potential in my life.  God is still working on us and I certainly can’t complain about that.