Thursday, June 13, 2013

Itching Should Irritate & other lessons of a relevant life

Years ago, sitting in the back of a darkly lit church, one of those services that you rock out in the beginning and file out in the end, I heard a pastor talk about irritations. He said if something irritates you, then you are the person who needs to do something about it.

That idea irritated me.

He called it my "burden" and this thought has successfully burdened me ever since.

It isn't easy to narrow down that one or one thousand irritations that are yours to address. But in your life, as well as your business, this is one of those small, unassuming, yet distinctive road signs God places at the corner of Do You and Don't You Avenue.

If you want to know what you were created to uniquely do, make a list of your irritations.

If it ends up being nothing but a list of your family's names, try a second sheet of paper.

In Rework, a brilliant book of heretical business advice, authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson advise you to "scratch your own itch." Whatever you need, whether it's better accounting software, softer couch cushions, heartier chicken soup, a lipstick that doesn't taste like petroleum jelly, whatever need you have, fill it, whatever burden you carry, fix it.

Scratch your own itch.

I'm working on my list of irritations. Currently, I'm stuck on trying to understand the phenomenon behind uncomfortable shoes for women. Why do we strap pieces of cardboard with cheap rhinestones on our feet? It's painful to walk on so what sense does that make?

This I'm tabling for another day, but at least it's a start.

I've got a few other items, things like:
- government regulation
- the loss of individuality
- broken business models
- the stifling of creative problem-solving
- unqualified people in power
- skinny jeans
- insincere social interaction
- artificiality in any form
- the phrase "you can't do that"
- egos over prudence
- eggs with busted yokes

Outside of a lot of talk and far too many omelets, I've done little about any of it. But I can't forget it. I can't wiggle out from under this "burden" that I'm irritated for a reason. And I really do believe that one day I'm going to walk through a shoe store and become so disgusted with the comfort level available in women's footwear that I'll walk out the door and do something about it.

At least I hope that one day something irritates me that much.

On a side note, any thoughts on pillow-top sandals with cheap rhinestones?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hidden in Visible Sight

Books are my friends, except those written by H.G. Wells. The Shape of Things to Come and I have parted ways. Otherwise, when asked to catalog my valuables, I usually start with my hair, end with my life, and throw in a personally autographed copy of By The Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz somewhere in the middle.

This is why, when I'm at a particular loss of direction from God, I go to the bookstore. Books talk to me. They amuse me. They reach me. They are also aerodynamic enough to be flung at walls when I don't like what they say.

People are much harder to fling.

This is how I found myself at Mardel's last week. When I'm simply floundering with confusion and even scriptures aren't permeating my thick skull, I'll throw myself on the mercy of the bargain bins and beg God to send me some direction for under $7. What I'm seeking is scripture with commentary. I need someone not completely loony to share their interpretation or inspiration on scripture, since I no longer trust my own. Then I can either read it or fling it at will.

That's where I discovered The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby.

The title is what got me. Over the last few years, and increasingly more this year, I've wondered if God has a cataract right where I'm standing. I thought about writing a book about being The Unseen, but T.L. Hines already did. And I don't like the word "inconspicuous" enough to write a book about it.

In the first chapter, this section caught my attention enough that, first, I caught my breath. Then I grabbed my iPhone to snap a picture of it because it's a new phone and I'm currently obsessed with the camera function. Whatever position you find yourself in today, either too much in the spotlight or fighting out of the shadows, I hope this reaches you right where you are:

That's the message I want to pass along to you from the start - my personal witness as someone who at times has felt forgotten, uncared for, unloved, invisible. I truly believe I have a word from God for those lonely, aching times in your life. 
The message is this: Regardless of how you may feel, God does see you.
He knows your name, and He loves you - passionately and tenderly. 
He sees your needs, and He yearns to fill them. 
At any given moment, even when you feel most alone, He is working out a plan for your future. 
All you have to do is turn around. Trust him. Wait for Him. Keep your eyes open. 
One way or another, one day soon, you will realize that you, too, have encountered El Roi. 
And you, too, will be able to say, thankfully, "I have seen the God who sees me."