Lessons from Porch Pirates and Speed Walkers

treasLet me begin with a disclaimer: I am not a “Porch Pirate” nor do I in any way endorse snatching packages from anyone’s front door stop (or any other illegal activity, for that matter!).

But the rampant acts of porch piracy occurring as so many of us skip the holiday crowds at the mall for the convenience of online shopping has me thinking….

Those porch pirates don’t know what they have until they take the time to open the package.

Since I order absolutely everything on line, if a pirate dared pillage my porch, she might open the package to discover anything from cat litter to a plumbing tool to de-clog the bathtub drain, to the awesome Surface Pro computer I ordered a couple months ago to use for my writing and graphics.

But what would happen if my fictional pirate stole all 3 of those packages from my porch. Let’s say she opens the cat litter (poor resale value and she’s a dog person), and the drain snake, and decides it’s not even worth her time to open the third package so she tosses it in the trash.

Little does Ms. Pirate know that she just tossed an expensive piece of electronics aside because she assumed from her past negative experiences with the other packages that it wouldn’t be worth her time to open the box.

Now, we may not be porch pirates (I hope not, anyway). But I’m afraid we still have the tendency to leave so many treasures undiscovered.  

Unlike my “porch pirate” illustration, the real treasures are not in packages of factory-made trinkets swiped from a randomly selected doorstep and not even intended for the one who opens it. (Deep down I think we all know that all these things we work so hard for are not treasures at all – though modern culture and advertising tries very hard to make us think so). But the treasures we so often let walk by us undiscovered are people…. so many very amazing people we encounter day to day.

We don’t invest the energy to look beyond the weary smiles, the hi-how-are-you-I’m-fine’s to explore all the amazingness our Maker has put in the story behind the eyes of each person we pass by. 

Many of us on most days walk right by our opportunities to connect with incredible people and their amazing life-stories that our Maker intentionally placed in our path to encourage or teach us.

Instead, we typically move by others quickly missing these many opportunities to connect with our Maker’s fingerprints all over the story of their lives. Perhaps we don’t even see them. Our gaze may be fixed to our phones as we busily “pseudo-connect” with others in our make-believe social media world. Or, we may be working hard to get the-stuff that will someday be dust instead of connecting with people who bear the eternal mark of our Maker on their very souls.

A recent example of a treasure once ignored but now appreciated is a woman I often see walking near my workplace at lunch time. She first captured my attention because she walks like she means it! The main evidence of this is the fact that “typical” women’s uncomfortable, high heeled, pointy-toed work shoes (by the way…. if God meant for our toes to point and our feet to be at our uncomfortable angle – He would have made our feet like that) have been replaced with serious athletic shoes. Also, her walking pace is probably double the speed of my typical running pace. And, she’s typically very-focused – “in her own space” as she walks with earbuds firmly in place. And, she is doing this every single day! (This is probably what had me most impressed since sustaining a disciplined and consistent healthy lifestyle is one of my main – although sometimes illusive – goals in life).

So, I felt Maker prompting me to connect with this lady. I didn’t for days. My excuses were like, “She’s listening to something on those earbuds – I don’t want to disturb her”. The real reason is that I probably didn’t want to interrupt my own lunchtime pursuit of junk food and junk posts on social media (insert eye-roll here) so I don’t have to actually connect with people and face my own insecurities and fears of possible rejection. But I finally gave in to that ever-persistent “still small voice” and was I ever in for a treat!

On the day that I broke both of our strides of our normal lunchtime routines to make eye contact with her and say hello – she wasn’t perturbed with the intrusion at all. Instead she paused her gait, removed her earbuds, and smiled a most fabulous smile at me. I shared with her that I am trying to develop a healthy life-style and get moving more and that seeing her being so consistent with her walking everyday inspires me. She beamed. And then, the treasure of her story was opened to me. She shared that she had at one point weighed close to 600 pounds (and I would guess she is at least a good 400 pounds less than that now). Her persistent and consistent walking was part of what literally saved her life. Now when we pass, I try not to break her awesome stride, but our eyes meet and we smile and greet. Daily I remember and am inspired by her incredible story that I would have completely missed if I had not taken that moment to connect.

I have a feeling we wouldn’t have to binge watch Netflix so much if we took a little more time to enter into the amazing stories behind each other’s eyes.

img_2553I challenge you and I challenge me to take the time to connect with the people God places in our path today. Taking even a few minutes to connect with that cashier, that person on the walking trail, the man behind the counter at the DMV (I mean  – you waited an hour or more to see him – you might as well chat with him a bit) – might unwrap the very story you need to fuel your own journey today.

Calling that friend from church who has missed more than a month of Sundays, or taking the time to chat with your dog-walking neighbor, or calling (not texting) that family member who you’ve not spoken with a while will not only bless them, but you’ll probably unwrap a story in them that is just what your own soul needs, too!

We are designed to connect, so please don’t move through life so quickly that you miss the beauty of another human’s story. I promise you, a real life encounter with someone living and sharing their story is way better than anything we might watch on one of our many glowing screens.

What Do You Hide Behind?

An #InstaPrayer for deliverance from the perfectionism we hide behind….


It’s the messy and imperfect times in our lives that mold us the most and sometimes bring the most beauty. So why is it that we work so hard to create “perfection” (whatever the heck that is)?

These thoughts began during the #WeekendExperience at my Amazing Church. It was a beautiful morning full of #GodEncounters as we took the time to #HearGodSpeak with and through each other. However, I had a little angst when something was spoken to me and in resonated in me instructing me not to “hide behind my words”. As I pondered this (a.k.a. pouted over it) I was thinking, “I don’t hide behind hide words! I’m a communicator and a writer! Of course I use a lot of carefully crafted words! It’s one of my gifts!”. However, the more I thought about it… the more I realized that your gift can become your curse when – rather than using it authentically – you use it as a tool for unhealthy perfectionism in vain attempts to create “perfect” moments or to self-protect (“skirt around” the real issues) during difficult conversations.

I’m blogging about this because I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has struggled in this area. Your gift may not be words. It may be fashion or culinary creating, for instance. But the fashionista becomes a captive of her own craft when it becomes more than her creative expression and she refuses to leave the house or FaceTime with a friend until she has that “perfect” look. And the chef loses joy in his creating when he tosses a well-loved recipe aside because of one harsh review.

Oh, and then there’s the fact that your gift can become a god/idol to you and God’s really not cool with that. (See Exodus 20:3. And while you’re in your #BibleApp, check out all the times in Psalms when God is referred to as our rock and our refuge…. Not anything we do or have or anyone we know…. #GodAlone).

So… let’s just live, love, and share our gifts… perhaps before that 100th rewrite or rework in our heads of that conversation, outfit, or meal. Or, as it’s been said, “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good”. When you allow your gift to become your source of security – you’re risking it becoming a clumsy, uncomfortable, even destructive crutch rather than the beautiful life-giving blessing it’s meant to be.

And, as I do through my Amazing Church, professional counseling/life-coaching, and in support groups with others on journeys similar to mine, be sure to position yourself in places of authentic connection where you can learn more about yourself through relationship with God and others. It takes the eyes of others to see yourself clearly sometimes.

Ok, that’s enough words shared for now. And this time I’m not hiding behind them – but revealing a part of my heart through them. That’s what words are for.

Let’s become who we already are… together.

Don’t Let Disconnection Silence Your Song (A Parable from #AmazingBand Practice)

So…because I knew I was going to have to go directly from work to band practice at Amazing Church tonight, I loaded my keyboard and amp into my Jeep this morning. I thought I was so prepared.

However, when I arrived at rehearsal – I was unable to add any sound to the beautiful music coming from the other team members. 

Why? I had prepared everything – except what I needed to be connected. I left just one little bag at home. But that bag contained the power adapter for my keyboard along with the cables that connect it into the speakers. And without those connections, the keyboard and amp I had with me were absolutely useless.

Isn’t that how it is with life sometimes? We run around focusing on what we think is important. We think we’re prepared because of the big important-looking things we carry with us. However, when it’s our turn to play our part – we end up with an emptiness and a disconnected silence that chills the soul. When we stop doing what we need to do to stay connected to God and to each other, everything else is absolutely empty.

So, just like I am going to make sure I have everything I need to be connected to power and sound at the next rehearsal – let’s not forget the things we need to stay connected in life. Those little connectors can seem like the smallest things – like the offering of a smile, a listening ear, or a few moments of your time. But the result of taking the time to make sure you aren’t disconnected is absolutely worth the effort.

Learning to Walk Humbly

I can only lay down MY pride, not someone else’s.

God, help me to humble myself and pray for others, rather than trying to humble others and praise myself. Forgive me for getting it backwards.
In Jesus Name.

“If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – II Chronicles 7:14

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“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8