Spiritual Formation Recommendations 2013

This weekend I’m the spiritual director at the Renew & Refine Writer’s Retreat.

So many times as writers or creatives we fail to integrate Soul Care into ordinary life. This has a burnout or burn up effect. Eventually, we end up hurting not only ourselves but those close to us. Even worse we often end up damaging our ongoing work–our vocation (what we are called and gifted to do). Vocation is the very thing that makes life so meaningful and rewarding.

God’s wishes for us to be uniquely us. We have permission to work and be in a way that is life-giving to ourselves and others.

This is why a “Rule of Life” or regular rhythm of self care and God-awareness is vital. It’s not complicated but it’s so very necessary. You can just start with your calendar and clear out certain days for what you really need.

Jesus, in discipling his followers, said it this way:

Matthew 11:29

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” –from The Message paraphrase

Becoming a disciple refers to training–to process. The process of this life-giving training leads us to more abundant life. It’s not binary: all good or all bad. Dead end or open vista. It’s a bit of both and really a pilgrimage. Getting on with it is helped when we take up better habits that give us more breathing room and vitality, just like learning to pack a suitable backpack makes hiking and camping a better experience.

Some habits may involve integrating certain spiritual practices like morning prayer, meditating on Scripture, fellowship, unplugging from technology, or observing a sabbath rest, to name a few. Many refreshing options exist. Only by being habitual can we truly reap the benefits. Freedom can happen in a schedule crafted for breath of life. This is actually the real meaning of the word “religion”. Religion simply means “bind”…it’s the fiber or tether that helps us hold on to a sweeter and richer life. (Of course, the word has been spoiled and perverted in every which way, and some reject using outright because of all the baggage that comes along with it. Yet, in its simplest form “religion” refers to how we stay grounded and become our most fully human selves, if we don’t make our tether a noose or shackle instead!)

To be sure, this stuff of routines and habits is hard for me because I tend to do a whole bunch of things and once and push soul care to the side as “least urgent”. Too often I forget that just like I need food every day, I also need to care for my Soul (my whole integrated self).

The following are some great tools I’ve found quite helpful as spiritually enriching resources for devotional practices and learning how to have a deeper walk with God: Creator, Jesus, and Spirit.

Pick one that looks good to you, and get started.


Refreshing Devotionals (quick reads)

On soul Care

Regaining yourself – Prayer of the Heart

Empowerment through decoding Shame : Brené Brown



Dr Brené Brown’s insights have the power to be life changing because she articulates and deciphers some of our most damaging obstacles with clarity that we can understand. This is how we start positive transformation.

After you watch the video, tell me what had the biggest impression on you.

Find more at Brené Brown’s website.

My recommendations of Books by Brené

Free for the taking…

YEP. Good news about free stuff!

Right after we feast like mad and express our gratitude and thankfulness we charge out to buy and shop! I’ve always thought this was the strangest thing…But, the sales do seem unbeatable, right?

Confession: I can’t handle the bustle. I grow weary so fast from shopping, let alone doing it amid crowds and while fighting chock-a-block traffic. What about you?

Perhaps Cyber Monday is a different kind of bustle?…nevertheless….

I have some things for you. It won’t cost anything. And you don’t have to get “malled” or drive anywhere.

Click  “Kindle Bookshelf”. (4 FREE books)

On Monday 11/26/2012 all four of my digital (Kindle) books are free for the taking. ONE Day only. (One of the four has not been offered for free until now, and it won’t happen again anytime soon.)

Here’s a secret! If you DON’T have a kindle or a kindle app, you can still click to buy, and Amazon houses them for you, for whenever you want them, on which ever device you choose. So, if you’re getting a kindle for Christmas, click to get them now, and enjoy them later.

I do hope you enjoy them.

If you would please leave an Amazon review, I would be most grateful! I have lots of people reading, but hardly anyone leaving reviews yet. So, I need your help!

Season’s Blessings!


P.S. Spread this good news with a Tweet or two, please?

(If you miss your chance, don’t fret. Each is only $3. Way less than a latte at Starbucks. Amazon lets you read sample pages. Try each one and see what you like!)

Are you a mature Leader? {Mary DeMuth on Being a ‘Deeper Leader’}

Are most leaders mature?

“whaa WHAH!”
(That’s the “nope” sound from Sesame Street in case you’re wondering.)

A deeper leader leads from a place of integrity and maturity.

I’m very happy to be partnering with Evangelical Seminary to bring greater awareness and dialogue to the topic of Leadership and Spiritual Formation. Their new (part distance/part in-person cohort learning method) under 2 year graduate studies program prioritizes spiritual maturity in leadership training, and in our culture, it’s sorely needed.

I’m looking into getting a second masters degree. That’s how good this program is.
Are spiritually mature leaders important to you?
If so, there is an excellent opportunity to associate with the leadership resources launching at ES, and participate in promoting and nurturing spiritually formed leaders through a new variety of approaches. First of all you can help spread the word by sharing the information and resources you find at ES, and through their social media outlets. Articles, events, forums, go-to resources, guest writers, and more is coming.
Also, a synchroblog is in the works for the 2nd September (soon!) on the topic. Learn more on the Evangelical Facebook page or their website this week and next. (I will also post updates here.)

You can join in and be a part of something BIG.

If you are a leader and have a tribe or a blog, you can submit articles for consideration for a featured guest post spot at the Deeper Leader blog sponsored by ES. (Use the contact form on the right to express your interest.) This will pair you with some amazing professions in the the field of leadership, spiritual formation (sometimes called discipleship), leadership studies at the graduate level, and help nurture a whole new generation of better equipped leaders.

The first featured guest writer in this new phase is unveiled today! It’s none other than prolific author, the “living uncaged” Mary DeMuth. Read her contribution on leadership here.

Mary DeMuth is Living Uncaged!

Questions Answered (RE: Social Media) Part 1

Sleazy Lounge Party
Dan Tentler via Compfight

Thanks to those who sent in some questions!

I’ll feature two today.

From Cassy:

I’m not really sure how social media can help me. I’m trying to get a small “Startup” in the craft industry going, and it seems like a lot of people just tweet links to news or blog posts. And sometimes just random stuff. It seems like a waste of time, but maybe not. I’m not sure what to do. Is it worth investing my time in twitter and stuff like it?

Thanks, Cassy.

I would have to say, “yes and no” to the time investment question. You need to balance your time between getting your ducks in a row with your startup and making progress in social media. That said, don’t count out the usefulness of social media for your business. Many have found that it leveled the playing field and got them great exposure for cheap.

Done well, social media builds relationships, creates interest which leads to loyalty, and the best part….it’s FREE for message distribution (except for what your time is worth obviously).

The other piece of useful info I’ll mention here and now is that you must think of using things like Twitter and Facebook, etc. as a beacon-in-the-night, instead of a flare-in-the-air.

A beacon is regularly visible; It’s a planned signal. A flare is randomly shot and occasional. A flare can get you attention, but it won’t send out the kind of consist message (a.k.a. “branding”) that you need to keep your business moving onward.

Some planning is needed to create a congruent message or ongoing campaigns that will spread the word. You’ll need to be specific, stay on topic, and use the best channels to maximize efficiency.

This is where consulting may be of help to you. (I’ll be releasing a few free guides to help Startups soon–especially helpful if you’re a Do-It-Yourselfer. Check back soon!) If D-I-Y isn’t you, I’m available for personalized consultation as well. Check out the bottom part of this post for that.

From Joey:

I just listened to a webinar where the dude said it was super important to create attention in the Social Media universe with controversy, emotion and being shocking. It didn’t sit well with me, but I can’t deny the results he mentioned. What are your thoughts?

Joey, this is a good question.

I think your own convictions and personality play into making your decision. With each entry into the fray of Social Media, you are building your reputation. Your platform. Your legacy. Once it’s published and viewable, it’s trackable. Indefinitely.

Here’s a controversial word picture to help you understand. You can be a Shock Promoter on the interwebs or you can be a Herald. A Herald is a messenger, mainly. Like a lovely and charming girl you’re proud to bring home for mama to meet. A Shock Promotor is like the girl with the absent father who will do anything for attention. Cute as she might be, she still seems desperate and sleazy. That’s my take anyway.


Keep the questions coming, folks!

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