Category Archives: Insights

One of the best books I’ve ever read!

I just finished The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Talk about life changing, inspiring, uplifting. If I follow through and apply the principles that were clarified for me in this book, I will be a far more mature, desirable and useful person. Everyone should read this book! There were many parts that warrant sharing but this one toward the end, talking about sharpening your saw, really jumped out at me.

“Just as the education of nerve and sinew is vital to the excellent athlete and education of the mind is vital to the scholar, education of the conscience is vital to the truly proactive, highly effective person. Training and educating the conscience, however, requires even greater concentration, more balanced discipline, more consistently honest living. It requires regular feasting on inspiring literature, thinking noble thoughts and, above all, living in harmony with its still small voice.

Just as junk food and lack of exercise can ruin an athlete’s condition, those things that are obscene, crude, or pornographic can breed an inner darkness that numbs our higher sensibilities and substitutes the social conscience of “Will I be found out?” for the natural or divine conscience of “What is right and wrong?”

In the worlds of Dag Hammarskjold,

 You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn’t reserve a plot for weeds.

Once we are self-aware, we must choose purposes and principles to live by; otherwise the vacuum will be filled, and we will lose our self-awareness and become like groveling animals who live primarily for survival and propagation. People who exist on that level aren’t living; they are “being lived.” They are reacting, unaware of the unique endowments that lie dormant and undeveloped within.

And there is no shortcut to developing them. The law of the harvest governs; we will always reap what we sow—no more, no less. The law of justice is immutable, and the closer we align ourselves with correct principles, the better our judgment will be about how the world operates and the more accurate our paradigms—our maps of the territory—will be.”

I could go on and on but I won’t. I’m excited to integrate these lessons into my life, with greater awareness and understanding, and see what the results are down the road.


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Filed under Apples of Gold, Getting It Together, Great Books, Insights

Timely Reminders from Rent

A close friend took me to see Rent at a local theater in (early) celebration of my birthday. I had seen Rent before 5 or 6 years ago and didn’t really plan to see it again. It turned out to be an incredible experience, the whole thing impacted me in a much deeper way than it had previously. Here are a few things that impacted me deeply as I watched the show.

Roger, sings about glory, one song, one glorious contribution to the world before his departure from it. His death presses on him due to the fact that he has AIDS and he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be here. He fights against utter despair, trying to find a reason for whatever time he has left. I can’t imagine the hopelessness he feels, my troubles shrink in comparison and yet I have felt what he’s singing about, although less desperately, and so his song resonates with my soul.

Mimi struggles with addiction. When she tries to fight it, the dealer is there in her moment of weakness to lure her back in. Her addiction destroys her relationships and almost kills her. Watching the performance I was overwhelmed with her bondage and feelings of powerlessness. Again, I’ve never struggled to the extent Mimi does, but I’ve experienced bondage, to sin, bitterness, anger, despair, fear. As I watch her weakness and struggles, my heart aches for all of the people for whom this is an everyday reality.

The homeless people who sing several times about Christmas bells that are ringing, but not for them. The hardness of heart that can come in when you’re constantly overlooked and ignored, again, something I’ve experienced to a lesser degree.

I think everyone can identify with these characters to some extent. Who of us hasn’t struggled with despair, bondage, desperation, fear, feeling worthless, hardness of heart. And yet it’s so easy to have contempt for others or overlook the needs around us everyday. Seeing Rent again reminded me to strive to be compassionate and gracious with others but I know that only Christ can accomplish this. So I purpose once again to let Him do His work of grace in my heart, knowing that tomorrow morning I’ll need to purpose all over again.

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Filed under Insights, Service, Theatre