The Encounter. It’s My Fault!

“It’s me. Sir, it’s my fault. There is no one else to blame. I did it. Did you hear me, sir? It’s my fault!” 

These words pushed out of my mouth as I was being berated, at a very large volume, at a very close proximity, with coffee still on his breath, with many colourful words, on a very busy Vancouver street corner, with a whole lot of people looking on. He went up one side of me and down the other. I knew with ample awareness and bountiful description that we, I, had created a mess. 

I had committed the unpardonable sin by not delivering, on time, an entire job site’s paycheques on payday morning. This was long before Direct Deposit; in fact, this one occurrence may well be the reason for Direct Deposit. You’re welcome. 

Yah, I would have been mad at me too!

It was a simple mistake. No, it really was. I was supposed to deliver 711’s paycheques to their new location just under construction. The complicator? The job site was directly across the main intersection from the 711 store that was already there. I had delivered similar packages many times before. When I went to the store to give it to the person who’s name was on the parcel, the store attendant knew nothing of it and wouldn’t sign for it. 

The simple solution was to deliver it to the correct address right across the street. But, who needs an address when you have the name like 711 directly on the package? So the next best solution was to take it back to the depot and let it be reprocessed from there. Had it been for something of lesser importance, that might have been the correct procedure, but not for this, and not for this day. 

Then, to make matters worse, I finished my deliveries early, so I went for a leisurely lunch. My boss, who was almost unglued, rudely interrupted my solace when I got back to my truck. He required that I end my leisure immediately and deliver this package to the rightful owner, who would have had plenty of time to practice his communication skills. This was all done over the 2-way radio (before personal cell phones) with all my colleagues to hear. 

So, 2.5 hours past the intended delivery time, the encounter. 

Before this encounter, I had recently learned that when you make a mess, you have to own it. I didn’t realize then that I would be part of a practical exercise in this skill. 

It absolutely worked. When the construction boss finally heard me, he immediately calmed and then lamely apologized for his overreaction. We were good, my company was saved, and I learned a LIFE Lesson with far-reaching applications. 

When you screw-up, you have to own your stuff. 

“So, the first step to getting free from conflict and staying free is for us to come out of denial and correctly process our lives. We need to live transparent lives by owning our stuff, our actions.” (Sovdi, Philip. Path Out: Eliminate the Swirl (Page 12). Kindle Edition.)https://philsovdi.com/book-offer/

Difference Maker

I woke up this morning thinking about the Difference Maker.
I know, it’s Christmas.
There are no chestnuts, the fire isn’t open, but it is on, and it is warming the room nicely.
Mrs. Claus just gave me a morning kiss, and there is a light dusting of snow outside. There are tracks in the snow, but I see no hoof marks.
The lore, the fun, the imagery, are all on cue this Christmas morning. And, oh yah, some of the kids are sleeping in, not kids anymore, even though the stockings are hung with care.
I had a conversation with a great friend on Christmas Eve, and we talked about, “Why does it seem like there are two Gods? One who seemed to be intolerable of any misstep and one now who seems to be okay with it.” This big question came out of a year of his reading through the Bible.
Has God changed? Does he tolerate what he used to punish? Or, does he not care anymore? Is he too weak or obsolete to matter?
We spent a few moments discussing it, what an excellent question for Christmas.
James, Jesus’ half-brother, gives a perspective from personal up-close observation, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV)
God is absolutely pure; absolutely holy; absolutely true; absolutely just, and he is absolutely loving. He has not, did not and will not change from these attributes, to name a few.
What has happened is that the impossible gap between him and us has been obliterated, what used to be a barrier has now become a bridge.
Our human history shows a less than stellar track record. Our rules, our systems, and our agendas are at best weak. They have fallen short, they have hurt and injured. That is why we needed Christmas, that is why we needed the Difference Maker.
God hasn’t changed, but our approach to him has. We now can come with the full assurance of faith because the babe in the manger has made such a difference.
There is so much more to this story.
Merry Christmas!

Joseph Series: Mess to Message

In a day of High-Speed Internet, anything short of instant is too long! To think that I used to think my 486 was fast compared to my XT, I just dated myself.

Wouldn’t you just like to wake up to success tomorrow morning? I would. I would love to take the mess of my life, my over-the-top struggle and just watch it vanish in Disney moment. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, that is not how gown-up life works.

It sure did not work that way for Joseph. He had to process his life, as do we; we really don’t advance, indeed grow and change, until we do.

Throughout the narrative, Joseph was referred to several times as successful in all that he did. That wouldn’t have been my version of success, I could easily come up with several other words, but from God’s vantage and perspective he was growing and changing even though, from mine, his life seemed to get worse. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to make sense to me, but God isn’t waiting for me to catch up or for my permission to get or give understanding.

We might even concede to handling the ‘Process,’ but make it happen now. Don’t make me wait until growth happens or seasoning takes place.

There is a little-concealed phrase in the great biblical ‘Hall of Faith’ that is easily missed. It says, “…whose weakness was turned to strength;” (Hebrews 11:34, NIV) the quote is an operational key for life. God uses weakness. Did you hear that? I know you read it, but did you hear it? God uses weakness, then, now, in your life and mine. Stop for a moment; read that last sentence out loud so you can hear yourself saying it; grabbing this concept is so crucial for your equilibrium and wellbeing. It means that the mess, the screw-ups don’t’ have to remain that way. It means that just as Joseph came through and out, you can too.

You can experience a transformation from mess to message. You can leverage your past for success in your future, but even better than that, you can leverage your past for someone else’s future.

Just because it isn’t instant doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Your life can be an incredible message.

Stay in the game!

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!

Path Out –

Chapter 1 Bought the Hat and T-Shirt

Defeat Conflict All Five Ways

You needn’t have been alive very long to suffer the emotional effects of conflict, trouble or misunderstanding. These effects have probably already lasted way too long.

When you have pain from mishap or wrong done, and you have wrestled with the hurt from a life that has gone sideways or soured, you have got to do something. Somehow you have to process your shock, hurt, remorse and grief.

It is Personal

Pain and hurt were brought home to me in a poignant and remarkable way. I had taken my family through the shame, regret and humiliation of bankruptcy. I had failed in business. As a Christian, I was against this failure and everything that had transpired to cause my life to fall apart. Caught in the middle and found guilty, I was reaping the full harvest of a life gone wrong, mine. I was in complete consternation. 

I had to move away from family and home to find work, just to make our ends meet, and, possibly find a way out for us. This separation only added to the guilt of my circumstance. I was alone with my thoughts, and I didn’t like them.

I had rehearsed the events that led up to bankruptcy ad-infinitum. I took that rehearsal to the Lord in prayer many times. I felt lousy, condemned and abundantly guilty.

I had owned my mess in its entirety, but the weight of it continued to oppress me. I knew it was my fault, and I knew I had to live with it.

After seven months apart I was able to relocate my family to our new home and try to start new. 

One more time I cried out to God and was asking him to forgive me. Then something strange and remarkable happened. I heard his response to my thoughts, in my thoughts, and it shocked and halted me. He said, “I can’t.”

What do you mean you can’t?

I immediately thought I had heard wrong, and so I challenged the thought. “You are God, who always forgives. Something is obviously wrong with my hearing and, or, my understanding.” I reprocessed the part of the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” I had forgiven and repurposed to forgive again. I came again, “You are God, who always forgives.” He responded, again in my thoughts, “I can’t forgive something you are not guilty of.” I was perplexed, hopeful and still halted.

I began to understand, and from that moment, began to find a lasting peace.

I had taken care of and owned “my stuff” for which I was guilty. I had thoroughly dealt with it in openness and confession but “it” was only part of the problem. I was stuck because I had seen “it” as the whole problem. There were four more ‘causes’ that worked into the complexity of the problem. It was only when I completely dealt with all five of these sources that I was able to walk out in freedom. I was forgiven, clean and on the path to restoration.

Five Sources of Conflict

The sources of conflict were: Myself; Others; The World Around Us; The Devil; and God.  These are the five areas that I needed to understand and now need to communicate with you so that you can make sense of your life and completely deal with your hurts and remorse of your past. They are the precise points where you can experience victory; a victory uniquely yours. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they [you] may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV) [Inserts, my own.]

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!