Category Archives: purpose

For Everything That Can’t Be Bought…

We are all attached to something.  Through our own ambition, we can become attached to more things than is necessary.  Family… friends… work… play… things… media… substances… ‘God’ stuff… and on, and on, and on…

The idea is to find a way to attach to what is absolutely necessary for us to stay centered on only the bare necessities.

Too much clutter in our lives at all levels… whether it be material, emotional, psychological, mental or spiritual… will leave us exhausted and lost.  Prime candidates for a sense of separation from what is important all the way through our life.

We must dedicate intention to the discipline of detachment.  We must ask ourselves on a continual basis: what can I let go of?  It feels like a risk to detach from all of the ‘stuff’ that is tempting our attention… There is an element of trust that comes into play that if I say goodbye to ‘this’… then the space that is left will be filled with what matters most.

At the core, we need to be willing to let go of the consumerist values of our culture, to embrace the intimacy of being content with less.  Consumerist values come in all shapes and sizes.  The easiest items that need to be relinquished typically take the form of material things.  Just look around your home… I’m sure there is plenty that can go that you haven’t used in a while.

Identifying the emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual items that have been shaped by consumerist values are a bit trickier to see.  All to often, these items are unseen, because they take root from within.

If you find yourself constantly on the go… (even immersed in the busyness of church life)

If you find yourself constantly ‘doing’… (even when the one you love would be content to just snuggle on the couch)

Then you are a candidate to pause and evaluate whether or not you just need to relinquish some’thing’ in your life.  Clutter… at any level, in any dimension… will erode the fabric of intimacy in your life.  Clutter… at any level, in any dimension… will prevent you from knowing and being know by the ones who are most dear to you.

Unfortunately, we are often blind to the things we find our lives attached to unnecessarily to… and then time goes on… and the erosion leads to decay.

Find practical ways to let go of the ‘things’ you don’t need… and you will find yourself the proud owner… of everything that can’t be bought… consumed… or controlled.  You will find yourself living as someone who can’t be bought… consumed… or controlled.

You will be free to simply… belong.


On Discouragement…

Moments of despair, sadness, or a lack of confidence can often times leave us disheartened.  After that, the internal mind-games begin, and if you aren’t careful, a downward spiral can begin to unravel our sense of worth.  It’s easy to then begin blaming yourself for the current state of affairs and begin to feel like a complete failure.

Questions will assuredly follow: “What if I had…?”  It is easy to become overwhelmed with the sound of, ‘I blew it’ playing over and over in our head.

There is a bigger picture to your life than what is immediately in front of you.  Even when things are going well… and it is especially important to remember this when life is down in the dumps.  If discouragement is not dealt with, the natural slide is one that leads to depression.  We must be taught to deal with discouragement before the bottom drops out.

The circumstances that lead to discouragement take many shapes, including but not limited to:

  • Carrying the weigh of one’s worries, cares, and fears all alone.
  • Events that our out of one’s control.
  • Circumstances that were handled poorly.
  • Current or past failures that creep in on how one sees their future unfolding.

It is important at the onset of feelings of discouragement to stop and ask a few questions:

  • What is happening right now that is making you feel discouraged?
  • Are these events out of your control?
  • What are three adjectives you would use to describe yourself right now?
  • How do you think that other people see you right now?
  • How are you handling your discouragement?
  • Does the plan you have for your life seem off-track now?
  • Are you able to cast a vision for your life 3 to 5 years from now?
  • Is failure in this area of your life an option right now?
  • Are you able to envision yourself succeeding again in any area of your life?

Feelings of discouragement need to trigger a ‘pause’ moment in your life.  A time to take inventory of where you are at, and where you could possibly be going now that an area seems to have reached a ‘dead end’.  As part of this emotional, psychological and physical inventory, you will need to draw into account previous times when you reached a ‘dead end’ and to remember how things ironed out for you.  It is important to have this perspective, because  you will need to remember that all thing, good and bad, do come to a pass… and life will continue on to brighter days.

Life gets ‘out of control’.

Every discouragement in your journey is an opportunity to grow and rediscover the person you were created to be.  This moment is not the end.  Feelings of discouragement are a natural part of being human, and nobody is beyond its grasp… but none of us need to be overtaken by its grip.  And when this moment passes, you can rest assured that in the future, there will be these moments again.

So… be realistic.  Understand that every mornings darkness is broken by the dawn of a new day.  The more positive events of the future are just as much out of your control as as the dark days you are in now.  Take this moment to rethink your goals and seek out new opportunities to grow.  Stop playing the ‘what if I had done something different’ game, and move forward into your new life.  When low feelings begin to weigh you down, acknowledge them, and talk through it with someone… then move on.  Write down your thoughts and feelings as a way to get them from just being internally processed and then revisit them a few months later.  Pay attention to where you have been in relationship to where you are now.

Most importantly… live in anticipation… be ready for new doors to open… new plans in your future… new confidences in yourself and in life around you.

Sharing a Blog

I’m looking for 4 other folks to share YadaOm with over the next year.

Think of it as Co-Writers rather than Guest-Writers.

If you are a writer who’s passion tends to lean towards ‘intimacy’… ‘spirituality’… ‘relationships’… ‘simplicity’ and ‘love’ (in any singular or combined form) and are willing to commit to one 300-500 word post per week, please contact me at  When contacting, please supply:

  • a sample of your work pasted in the email, or a link where your work is posted
  • a little background about you
  • and a realistic description of the type of commitment you can make
  • and an idea of where you would like to see writing take you

While I love writing for an audience that is interested in the ‘tags’ mentioned above, realistically, I am only wanting to dedicate one day per week to the topics in a form that is consistent with this site.

Not looking to profit anything other that the sense we are contributing to the conversation in a meaningful and thoughtful way… as well as networking and supporting each others writing endeavors.

It’s that simple.


Pay Attention

In light of some of the events in my life during recent months, I am often asked how my relationship… or time with God is going.  My answer, which is often unsatisfactory for the questioneer, remains simple.  My relationship with God is a daily knowing and being known by God, and I know that I belong there.

It’s nebulous for many who don’t understand the language of relationship in a way that I’ve nurtured it for some time.

The psalmist writes, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence.”  The knowledge that God is near settled deep into who I am at a very young age… long before I was able to find a verse from the Bible to back it up.  My experience of relationship with God was being shaped long before I could tell you where the verses were to back it up.  I’m good with that.

I’ve always been one to gaze deeply on God in the world around me.  There is a Belgic Confession that reads like this:  creation can be read as a most elegant book, wherein, all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God.

With my heart, eyes and mind open, I spend my time in a long gaze at God, myself, others and the world around me with the hope that I will see it all the way that God sees it all.

There is an attentiveness that becomes more natural to me as I give intention to my experience with everything that has been given.  It’s not all rosey in nature, for there is no doubt that pain and separation play a large roll in the day-to-day of life.  I often times find that there are more questions that surface than there are answers.  But who am I to even pretend that I could fully understand how the meaning of it all will look in the end.

This is all to nebulous for those who begin with theological answers that they attempt to fit all of life into.  To ask the question, how does your relationship with God look today? sounds to me like: how are you fitting God into your life?  Truth is, I don’t give much attention to fitting God into anything.  I don’t desire that much control over a life that finds awe and wonder in the whole of creation, simply by gazing at the interplay of creation, history, and the other human beings that cross my path.

I just stop… and pay attention.

Steep yourself…

A highly functional environment requires a project manager who will oversee the bottom line and order up more busywork to keep things moving along efficiently.  By providing definition to a situation, they are able to create a clear-cut list of actions that will produce the satisfaction of a job well done.

In such an environment, what matters most is what you are capable of doing, not necessarily who you are.  In matters of intimacy, the suggestion to do something is nearly always inappropriate.

We go through plenty of long stretches in our life without being aware of the presence of love in our midst.  Our search for knowing and being known, then belonging by and to another person often times gets replaced with a pursuit of money, sex, work, children, parents, various causes, competitions, education, etc… There are so many things in which we have to deal with, not all of which are intrinsically bad, but can become absorbing.  We have all been given the gift of time, and intimacy is the path that will lead us towards purpose.

Every so often, a moment comes that reminds us that it is love and intimacy that we desire, and we put on the lens of proper perspective in which we are willing and able to lay aside all of the things that have become diversions of efficiency.

We ask questions that come from our search for meaning.

A functional project manager for life is not going to be able to administer a task list go give us what we seek.  Instead we must learn to steep our lives in intimacy… initiatives of love… the trust that their are provisions for our heart that will give us the peace and security to not worry about anything else we may be missing out on.

In intimacy, we find all of our everyday human concerns met.

Let the winds blow…

I’ve spent much of the past 7 months simplifying my life.  That should be qualified by saying that I was not all that complicated a person to begin with.  From a certain perspective, perhaps none of us really are.  Simplification in the sense that I am talking about is removing the ‘functional’ pieces of my life that were present merely to fill the void where a sense of purpose belongs.

As I write that, it dawns on me that even the word ‘purpose’ has been saturated in recent years by a vision that ‘things’ (activities, possessions, degrees, promotions, etc…) can lead to fulfillment.  So I will break this down for clarity.

Things have a function.

It is nature that leads to purpose.

Saying that, there has been an intentional effort on my part to purge the ‘functional’ areas of my life down to a bare minimum, and allow myself to be absorbed in the nature and purpose of the relationships around me.  It has been a journey, sometimes resembling the breaking of an addiction.  In the moment when silence grows so loud, and the urge to create some noise with facebook or some other vice can distract me from the emptiness that has been created by years of moving from one thing to the next, I can feel my soul cry to be known by another.

How much of our life is filled with distraction… that we allow in?

Discovering nature and purpose, especially when removing the functional things of our lives begins (and returns back to often) with simply allowing yourself to just ‘be’ and to listen when the silence grows deafening.  When the uncomfortable moment between two people who are attending to nothing other than absorbing each others presence triggers the thought, that ‘we should be doing something’… you must absorb just a little bit longer.

As parents, we do our children a dis-service by buying into the idea that we can’t allow them to ‘get bored’.  Entertainment then becomes a thing in our homes that has a function to keep the little ones active.

Just past the point where you feel that some’thing’ needs to be ‘done’… there is a breakthrough in your nature.  The purpose for that moment manifests itself, with no effort on your part.  This is a moment of grace, that you will experience either on your own, or with someone you love… and then you know how to move on.

Recently, while sitting in an old wicker bench with someone dear to my heart, I began to think that we had been sitting looking over a lake for quite some time.  No words had been spoken.  A view of a nearly forgotten lake, squirrels running to and fro, mommy and daddy birds making the trek from their nest to a food source for their babies were the landscape for quite a bit of silent time.

I thought, ‘should I break the silence?’

Is their an element of ‘boredom’ that is going to need to be addressed with the introduction of some activity?

Instead, I chose to sit a while longer.  It was then that a wind came from the south.  I could feel it blow around us, and fill my ears with the comfort of white noise.  My eyes closed, and I rested just a bit longer until it died down and I looked over at my friend who had turned her head towards mine.

“Nice wind,” I said.

She looked at me, with a smiling nod, and responded “mmhmm.”

It was a moment of grace that provided a deeper purpose for our friendship.  One that did not cost us anything.  One that did not require us to do anything.  One that only invited us in to a place of belonging… to the world around us… to ourselves… and to each other.

A Soul Companion

In seeking to answer the question of what to invite into the place within us that nurtures intimacy, where we are able to be known by another, and in turn know them, most of the time we are able to determine or feel what is best for us.  However, sometimes we do find it difficult to make the right choices.

Relationships are created that leave us feeling empty.  Perhaps for a time, the flame between us burns and then quickly or unknowingly fades into a smoking remnant of what was.  This is why it is important to search deep into ourselves to discover the areas of healing that have gotten buried or tucked away.

Searching for areas where healing is needed within is often avoided for many reasons, most of which come down to a lack of intention and the almost natural ability to deflect the cause of our brokenness to some ‘other’.  Rather than deal with the root of the shame we may feel crouching in the shadows of our soul, we will medicate it with an indulgence of technology or blame.  In the mean time, an area that is crying out for love and attention comes to accept as normal the separation that exists between so many of us who live in relationships of convenience.

Separation is the antithesis of intimacy.

How many times from this numb existence have you at least whispered to yourself, ‘I’m not living who I am… there must be more than this…’?  This end of the rope place in your being can be the voice you need to hear that will provide a lens for what is really happening.

It is time for exploration.

Meditation and companionship are two  essential elements to navigating the inner places of the heart.  This spiritual direction is not necessarily dependent upon someone who is formally trained.  A journey to the heart is best done in the context of friendship.  The only requirement is an intentional attentiveness to the common places of your life that you willingly give attention to, and more importantly, to the places that are normally kept in the dark.

Human Longing

It is a special place where our needs and wants intersect in the purest of ways.  Often times, we are made to feel a sense of guilt or selfishness when we express the inner desires that many would categorize as wants.  Granted, it is easy to lose sight of the simplicity of life in such a way that the basics are drowned out by the excesses of all that we have at our disposal, and our wants do indeed become an unhealthy motivator for accumulating more things.  Things have a way of depersonalizing the very nature of who we are as people.  But they are a handy anecdote for the deficiency we feel when our needs are neglected.

At the core of who we are, is a desire for intimacy.

It is in intimacy where our needs and wants can be brought together in a way that brings fulfillment.  Human love… the comfort of trust… an inner atmosphere of joy.  These are the elements of life which call to us ever so softly from the depths of our soul.  It is from this place that we live outward.  It is into this place that we invite ‘the other’ into, with the hope that whatever gains access there, will not exploit or control.  Intimacy is what makes us more human.  Companionship with another person is where intimacy is nurtured.  This is our most basic need.

It is because we are human, that we have the ability to choose what we allow from outside of ourselves to intermix with the delicate areas of our soul.  The most fundamental question we should consider then when bringing the outside in, is… ‘What is going to make me more human?”

Often times, this question is answered by accumulation or experiences that we hope will allow us to do more and better things.  What we really long for is a human touch… meaning… and the knowledge of what it is to be and receive a blessing from another.

“Can I ask you a question?”

I was rendezvousing with a  friend at a  riverside park north of Fremont on M-20 in order to carpool to another location so that we could scout out a piece of land.  When I arrived, she was already there spending time watching the water go by, and had witnessed a local church having a baptism service for those who were taking their next step in the journey of faith.  Several people had made their approach to her as she waited with an invitation to join them, for she too could step into the water.

When I arrived, there was a familiarity to what was happening that my years of formal ministry had acquainted me with.  I smiled when I saw a gentleman with his acoustic guitar, and felt a small tugging to grab my Martin from the car to join him in leading some songs.  The tugging didn’t last long as my eyes found the one for whom I had come for, and I wondered how she was responding to this peculiar rite of passage that was taking shape to her left.

We greeted each other, and decided to head towards one of our vehicles in order to venture off to the land that awaited our expedition.  As our seat belts clicked into their places, I noticed that approaching the vehicle was a young man from the church who had a look in his eyes as if there was something that needed to be shared.

A light tap followed then the sound of the window rolling down.

“Do you mind if I ask you folks a question?”

Familiarity peeked my curiosity again, as I knew knew the script that was to follow.  There was no verbal response from us, only kind eyes that sent the message that he had our attention.

“If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would go?”

I smiled and looked over to my friend, who I knew was feeling a bit alien to the conversation that that this young man was beginning.  To ensure that the moment did not get any more uncomfortable for her (as this line of questioning is sure to conjure up), I leaned in to meet the dialogue with a bit more friendly of an introduction.  I reached out my hand, and told him my name.  Asked for his name and where he was from, then affirmed that his question lent itself to a long conversation, and that we were actually on our way out.

His response… another series of questions.

“Well, are you guys Christians? Do you believe in heaven and hell?”

I smiled again, and affirmed that while this is all worth a conversation, we were in motion to head out to our next location, to which we were met with the assurance that it would only take a moment to ‘know’ for sure what it would take to have eternal life.  Before I could respond, his follow up came with the most interesting words he had posed to so far.

“You can know what it means to live a fulfilled life.”

I paused here for a moment, looked over at my friend and saw a smile, then turned back to our dashboard evangelist and affirmed him.

“You’re right, I know that everyone should give thought to what it means to live a fulfilled life.”  In the back of my mind, I was thinking that it most assuredly wasn’t going to happen in the speedy quick one size fits all conversation that he wanted to blaze through.

Within moments, we were on the road and off to our next adventure.

While this is not a knock on the church, it is an example of how the marginalizing power of the ‘thing/function’ ethos has penetrated the sacred areas of our lives, even when it is dressed up as ‘spiritual’.  The young man at the window was no doubt filled with good intentions to see other human beings be able to experience a full life.  However, his method was far from relational, and leads me to wonder if the lens by which he viewed life had more to do with getting through a prescribed anecdote that had a predetermined outcome that was measured with statistical applause than actually seeing the person right in front of him discover their nature and purpose.

Secular to Sacred

The deepest wounds that I have experienced and perpetuated in this life have been because of the propensity to reduce people and places into things with a function.  Whether it has been done intentionally or it has become a systemic norm, we have been conditioned in some way to name and label plants and animals, styles and personalities, ourselves and others into categories that are designed to make things more manageable.  It is wonderful at first to have all these things coming our way, without having to bother with relationships or meaning.

In a lot of ways, this makes sense.  Someone is a parent, because they have children.  Someone is married because they have a wife or a husband.  Someone is an employee because they have a job.  Labels such as this are an entry point into knowledge and understanding of the culture and the world around us.  If efficiency were the end all be all to navigating through this life, then the better we are at categorizing the world around us, the more freedom we will have to do as we choose without having to deal with the messiness that is below the surface of the person sitting in front of us.

As a man, it is easy for me to accept the label of ‘husband’, and thus define that role in a functional way, that then allows me to view the ‘wife’ in the relationship in a way that can efficiently sustain a ‘household’.  I will take out the trash.  She will do the laundry.  We will eat at six o’clock.  To bed at nine thirty.  Before long, the convenience of this existence will lend itself to be rather efficient as we master the functions of our roles.  And the days will roll on.

Somewhere down the path, however, boredom will set in.  The inner longing of our nature will begin to desire a purpose that is greater than merely being a thing with a function, and we will be at a decision point.  So often, we do  not pause long enough to clearly see the choice that is before us, and simply respond to the longing by finding a way to become more efficient.  After all, something is wrong in the functionality of our relationship, then obviously, there has been an unraveling of control somewhere, and we need to gain it back.  Functionality is the key.

How can I be a more functional husband?

How can I be a more functional wife?

What more can we do to get control?

So, we strive to gain more of what got us in this mess in the first place.  Acquire more things.  Generate more activity.  Get more.  Do more.  Is it any wonder that after a number of years of this, we are genuinely puzzled that we as human beings are not any better?