Is That It?

 

IMG_2155

Thirty-seven years, fourteen days, and fifteen hours and forty minutes ago, I almost said out loud, “Is that it?” The preacher had just said, “I now pronounce you husband and wife…” All I could think about at that moment was, “That’s all there is?” “We waited this long and spent this much and planned so intricately, and it’s over?”

The only thing over was that part of the ceremony. The work was just beginning. All-be-it, it has been considerable work. Right babe? Right…babe?

I’ve had it happen with holidays, destinations, stuff, and things. All the time spent dreaming and planning; the time of hoping and wishing is over in a moment of acquisition.

Life works that way.

We get that new car, and after a week we see someone has gotten a better car with more options on top of a better base package, for a thousand dollars less than what we paid.

Sound familiar?

Even though these things happen and happen with frequency, I believe that the question is a great question to ask, “Is that it? Is this all that there is?”

Some save the question for mid-life so that they can commiserate over it. Others try to ignore it all together.

Instead of allowing the question to intimidate you, come to the table with your sleeves rolled up and your strategy hat on. Ask the question. The fact that you are here to ask it means the answer is a definite, “No! There is more, way more.” The fact that you still have breath and thought means that a new course could be charted, a new normal can be achieved, a new standard can be realized; It just requires you to ask and answer boldly.

So, thirty-seven years, fourteen days, fifteen hours and twenty minutes ago, I ventured on a life-altering, sometimes terrifying, always challenging, and totally rewarding journey. It only required four words, “I do,” and “I will.”

What will you do?

If you would like marital direction please consider the Marriage Consult.

PELI3530

The Marriage Consult

Turn Up The Heat or Wait For The Weekend

The other morning I was listening to one of my favourite artists sing. She dug deep and punched out her lead line with a bit of a growl. I loved it the first time I heard it, and I loved it again this particular morning.

My mind instantly veered down a path of passion, and within moments I was thinking of the great company of witnesses in heaven. (Hebrews 12:1)

My thoughts went to Gideon, David, Elijah, and Ruth and Naomi all who lived fully human, just like us. Then my thoughts continued to the more recent; how about Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, and Mother Teresa? Then there are a couple of my favourite people who lived and sung with passion, Andre Crouch, and Dannibelle Hall. These people from ancient and recent past all stood with an, “I’ve got something I have to do!” attitude.

“Phil, you are going to be greeted and surrounded by a myriad of people that could literally be defined by their passion,” my thoughts injected. “Are these your people? Is this what you are known for? Are you living with passion? Is your passion for the right things?” (At times my inside conversation bothers me.)

Let me ask you. Right now I am asking where things are at. In the last twenty-four hours, has your passion shown through? Or, are you waiting for the weekend?

Time for some changes?

Me too!

Don’t Forget To Be Friends

Life gets big, fast, and sometimes all too confusing. 

Remember when things were simpler when it was just you and him, or maybe you and her?

Hey, did that actually happen or was that a mythical moment with a mythical couple?

Why just this morning the SUV has left the driveway at least three times, and that was before 9:00 am; not once would you have been presentable had you been pulled over.

It’s called life. Not a prison, sentence, or punishment; it’s a full-on privilege.

I know you needed a moment, I just wanted to remind you of that. We all do.

We started out as friends; we liked spending time together. I would do crazy things to get to be with her and see her smile. Even if I only got five minutes during her lunch break and then have to drive back to where real life happened, I did it for fun, for friendship, for love.

We’ve seen others succumb and lose their focus. It could have happened to us. Somehow we picked up a little tidbit. Somehow we learned to push back on the rapid, the consuming press of time, schedule and appointments. We learned that we have to be friends and stay friends. Working on friendship in the middle of life is no easy task, but we’ve been able to do it up until now and determinedly we’ll do it into the future.

You can too. Stay friends.

PELI3530

If you want to work on your Marriage, let me help!

The Marriage Consult

Mastering Obstacles

I am excited about this new tool that I have developed for Mastering your personal Obstacles called Mastering Obstacles.

This tool will walk you through a powerful process of challenge, change, and growth. It will address the mess in which you may find yourself and give you a trajectory out of that very mess.

You may need help navigating through your obstacles, (reach out at phil.sovdi@gmail.com) but you can have a clear vision for freedom and change. 

Mastering Obstacles

 

 

 

Monday Morning Blues

It’s Monday morning and who wants to go to work? Really, who wants to leave their weekend behind and embrace the repetitive mundane?

Well, that is indeed one way to look at it.

Or, we can adjust our thinking. Why would we want to do that?

Monday is going to happen whether you are on board or not; whether or not you jump in with your game face, or drag in, hauling your coffee with your IV hookup.

The fact is you can choose; what a great gift. You can choose to live with a good, great, or excellent attitude, or you can choose not to. Too much for a Monday morning? That’s why I waited until now to send this.

Choice is a gift from God. I think he holds it as one of his highest values. He must; it is what makes us human.

Don’t give your choice away to someone or something that will marshal it for another cause. You’ve been given the gift, so use it.

Choose.

Choose to live well, to hope strong, to have faith that God has ‘got this’ and knows where you are at, and what needs to happen next.

Don’t settle for being pushed around by a Monday or anything else that wants to usurp your gift.

You get to choose. So, choose by choice, not by default or any other imposed criteria.

We get to make a choice, so, Happy Monday! You are alive and ‘Get to.’

Wonderweird

It’s Christmas, or just about, the most ‘wonderweirdfilled’ time of the year.

This is the time of year where we are reminded of all the wonderful things that we can be thankful for and all the screwed-up messes we would like to forget.

Oh, how I wish that all was calm and all is bright.

I referred to it before, but Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly (Prudently) with your God.” (NIV) along with Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV)

These passages relay a humbly, tenaciously, cautiously lived life. That is what we are called to. Regardless of acceptance or reprisal, ours is to live these words out in worship before our God who sees all and knows all. It’s not complicated, but oh boy, sometimes it’s quite difficult.

I have discovered that I am responsible for no one else but myself when it comes to the things that I can change.

So change, I will.

What you do and how you respond, is entirely up to you.

Dumped On

There is no other way to say it. “This last week we got dumped on.” The Great Canadian North backed the truck up, filled the telescopic rod with hydraulic fluid and let ‘er’ go. Services stopped, vehicles were stuck, people were sent home, and the dig-out started and lasted all week. We had been prepped the week before with a practice run, but the alert for this last week somehow eluded us.
In my conservative opinion, small ‘c’ not to be confused with our political, which is our second or third favourite past-time, I think we got more snow in this last week than we did all last year. But, I’m no weatherman.
Life as we know it had to stop and alter its course. Some of my ‘usual’ got canceled, and that affected others and delayed their arriving home which rippled all the way down to the babysitter, who may have been cheering for the extra dollars; or, maybe not.
Things changed, babies were conceived, at least that is true from the last dump that happened here several years ago, and life had to reorient if only for a moment.
All that rearrangement, without apology, for gentle white snow that landed with a wallop.
What about you?
Have you ever been dumped on, I mean metaphorically speaking?
Have you ever had to alter, reorient, change, or stop life as it is to redirect?
Probably if you haven’t, you are barely old enough to read. If you have lived life in the real world, the chances are high that the telescopic rod has lifted and thrust its load your way.
So, what do you do when life unloads on you in a moment of time?
The first thing you’ll do is to stop. You’ll probably have to. Once you have picked up your shovel, snowblower, or backhoe, you begin to sort your way through the mess. But, when the mess keeps coming, that is when you will need to try a different tactic.
Take Job, pronounced ‘Jobe,’ for example. Here is a guy who has a book by his name contained within the Bible. He got dumped on. Just when he thought he had more than he could bear, the ‘B’ train unloaded.
Job handled his life and his tragedy with amazing patience and trust. You can catch this fantastic example and the message from this ancient stalwart of a man. Forty-two chapters, which is about thirty-six pages, maybe an hour and a half read, or two coffees will impact your life exponentially. Try and read it in one go; you’ll be glad you did.
Then, you can also catch some of my thoughts on this from Conflict #5 in my online book, Path Out – Eliminate the Swirl. Just follow the links.

Path+Out+2+Proof-2 copy.pdf_edited (1)

Book Offer

 

Address the Fear: Metaphor to Real

Two weeks ago, I had the incredible privilege to get some R&R at the beautiful Lake Louise Alberta.

If you are not familiar with it, it is just breathtaking in its winter splendor. It has a multiple of options for people to engage with the outdoors from hiking, skiing and skating to name a few.

My first day I took the 2K hike to the end of the lake, it was flat and level. It fulfilled all expectations and looking back at the hotel made for a stunning, soul rejuvenating view.

The next day I looked for a little more adventure. I decided to make the climb to the “Lookout,” forty-nine stories up according to my iPhone. “You access the trail behind the boathouse,” the barista told me as I was formulating my thoughts out loud.

“Is there any active wildlife this time of year?” I asked.

“The only thing I would be worried about,” she said, “would be the bears, but I think it’s too cold for them now.”

The temperature was hovering about -10c, it had just snowed the night before, and the four-foot-wide path looked somewhat used. It wasn’t entirely isolated. In and up I went.

About halfway up the trail, that had now narrowed to about two and a half feet, barely wide enough for a single person; I replayed the conversation. Yah, I agreed, it’s too cold for bears.  They would be in hibernation, wouldn’t they? I stopped caught my breath and looked around. Snow, dead quiet. I continued up the path.

I wonder if there are any cougars? Quieter. No, noise, just my deep breathing. They stalk. A three sixty look around. No stalkers.

Back to the climb. I wonder if this area has any wolves? Trying to sure my footing, maybe ten seconds from my last thought four-legs and black exploded past me, brushing my leg. My heart and body froze. Now staring me down not ten feet ahead and up from me was this huge black, motionless wolf, with… a collar? It took a few seconds to process what just happened. It was a dog, in the middle of nowhere and it wasn’t wagging its tale. The moment was still precarious, but at least now it was domestic. The dog was up the path, and so we were eye level.

What would you do? Exactly. I talked to it. In a microsecond of time, I remembered my dad’s words, fifty-two years earlier, “Don’t let him know you are afraid.” I kept the lilt in my voice and told it to go find its owner.

It blasted past me again and then it was gone.

A little unnerved, actually, a lot unnerved I kept going to the lookout.

The path had narrowed to about a foot wide and then without warning it happened again, this time it bumped me harder. I was losing confidence that this dog wasn’t just going to be on its way. Still, no owner was in sight. After a few moments of stare-down and lilt(y) one-way conversation, the dog was off down the trail.

Finally, I arrived at the lookout. It was amazing.

 

Here’s the Take-Away.

The devil is not omniscient; he doesn’t know everything. He is only a created being. He doesn’t know what you are thinking. He’s waiting for you to cut and run.

He will try and block your way to beautiful and purpose. He will do his best to make you afraid. He’s been defeated. Expose the lie. Tell him to go home. Find your refuge in God through Jesus. Keep on your journey to amazing!

Address the Mess; Emotional Duct Tape #1

Here’s how it plays out. I have watched this happen over and over.

We’ll call them Darrell and Amanda.

Darrell and Amanda opt to use emotional duct tape.

This time the disagreement is over whether or not Amanda should have bought the new upright Grandfather clock for $683.00 regularly priced at $999.00. Previous arguments have been in the $400.00 range.

It starts by Darrell walking in from work and seeing the new purchase in the entryway to the living room.

As it turns out, this purchase was not planned in the family budget nor was it even on their radar as a discussion item.

Amanda swears by the fact that this is something that she always wanted and that this price was the best price ever, probably never to happen again.

And, so the stage is set:

Darrell – What is this?

Amanda – I know isn’t it the best thing ever?

Darrell – It’s a grandfather clock!

Amanda – I know. I’ve wanted one of these all my life.

Darrell – This is the first I’ve heard of this.

Amanda – Darrell, it was the best price ever.

Darrell – How much?

Amanda – I saved over $300.00

Darrell – How much?

Amanda – I can use my reimbursement from my taxes last year toward it.

Darrell – How much?

Amanda – Just over $600.00.

Darrell – You did this without asking?

Amanda – I didn’t think that I had to ask for my own money. You are acting just like your father. So, demanding.

Darrell – You said that we would talk about our purchases beyond $200.00 Obviously I can’t trust your word.

Plenty of emotion, ample innuendos, and the ‘taping’ begins. Amanda wipes a tear from her eye, and Darrell leaves the house without saying a word.

He misses supper that night and gets home late.

Nothing said that night and the next day there is a strange silence in their home. Amanda knows better than to ask what is wrong and Darrell struggles for words.

About the third day, they start to acknowledge each other in the room, and things begin to calm down.

By the fifth day, things are great, and the marriage is incredible until…until the tape let’s go. Emotional Duct tape actually works, for the moment. The problem happens when used as a permanent solution. It then becomes thoroughly inadequate.

Instead of dealing with the issue in their marriage, these two choose to take the ‘easy’ way. They fix it with EDT and have a solution. Temporary at best.

Address The Mess: Sick! (Next)

Second: See the previous blog

The next thing that became a game changer was that I needed to be sensitive to the nudges and prompts that God gives out for those who are willing to be responsive.

I was prompted in my thoughts, “You were wrong in your dealings with Sam (not his real name) when you told him to get his act together regarding his marriage.”

Years earlier I had lost patience with a dear friend. He was struggling in his marriage, and I had coached and prayed and helped in all ways that I knew how. After many months of doing this I lost patience and just said one day, “Sam when are you going to get your act together?” I was only partway out of my legalistic tendencies. I was still learning how to live free and full of grace toward others.

Moments like this are pivotal, but I didn’t recognize it at the moment.

It was years later in a conversation with God when he brought this up. God had me. Guilty as charged.

I knew my next step was to contact Sam, own my stuff, and Seek forgiveness. I did and was able to grow from this ordeal. I hope he did as well.

It is so easy to fall from Grace. A nuance, a proud moment, a frustrated goal, all can take you into doing things your way and falling away from God’s ability and empowerment. It wasn’t my first encounter and probably not my last.

We need always to be walking humbly with God, Micah 6:8, but it is easy to morph to our own path.

I learned that to have and live a grace-filled life I needed to know how deep my mess went. It was deep.

I learned that we are no different. If left to my own devices, if my background, my family, my life and contextual circumstances were exactly like yours, I would make the exact same decisions that you have made. Every part, every dysfunction, that you experience would be mine and conversely mine would be yours. That is what addressing the mess looks like.

I am susceptible if I try to do life on my own.

I need Gods empowering every bit as much as you or anybody else because if left to myself, I would fall, I would do ‘human’ every time.

So, Grace is God’s empowering for us to do what we cannot do for ourselves. It is the outworking of who the Holy Spirit is in us. If I fall here all I need to do is address the mess, confess it to God, obey him, and once again recalibrate.

Then, only then, I can reach out and be helpful.

Path+Out+2+Proof-2 copy.pdf_edited (1)

Book Offer