365 Days of Inspiration

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Amazing Possibilities

This year we're going to talk about the theme of amazing possibilities. In today's Gospel, Jesus talks about the days of Noah and how everyone's just carrying on eating and drinking, and he alludes to the idea that they're just sort of asleep. They're just sort of wandering through life, sort of sleepwalking through life. And then at the end he says, “Stay awake.”

 

And so on this first day of the year--new year for the Church, first day of the year for the Church--we have a new beginning, and the first message that God has for us is “stay awake,” or it might be “wake up,” you know, because we might have fallen asleep. We might have started to just sort of sleepwalk through life. 

 

When you think about your day and you think about all the things you do, it's amazing how many things we do unconsciously. It's amazing how many things that we're not like fully awake for. Like I was shaving this morning, but it's sort of an automatic thing, right? There's a lot of other things going on in my mind: things that are going to happen today, meetings I've got today, things going on with the children today, you know, and maybe popping back and thinking about something that happened yesterday as well.

 

And so, how many minutes of each day are we actually fully awake, like fully present to who and what is happening right before us right now? And that's the first message of Advent--is stay awake or wake up and be present and be conscious and be aware of who you are and who God is and the amazing possibilities if we collaborate together.

You Have No Idea

If I say to you, “you have no idea what you're capable of,” how does that strike you? That's the

second line of the introduction of Rediscover the Saints.

As I looked at it after I'd written it, I thought to myself, “Are people going to be offended by that?

Are people going to be offended by the idea of you telling them that they have no idea what

they're capable of, or are they going to be excited at these new possibilities, possibilities they've

never been aware of before, amazing possibilities?”

The truth is is that we have no idea what we're capable of, what we're really capable of, until we

enter into a powerful collaboration with God. And in order to enter into a powerful collaboration

with God, we have to enter into an intimate conversation with God. We have to talk to him. We

have to be with him. We have to spend time with him. We have to get to know him. We have to

allow him to help us to get to know ourselves so that we can see the incredible possibilities that

are before us because, most of the time, we don't see most of the possibilities.

You go to the grocery store, you walk down the toothpaste aisle, you see the toothpaste that

you're used to buying. You don't see a lot of the other ones. You try and name all the toothpaste

that you see all the time in the grocery store. You probably can't name 20 percent of all the

toothpaste.

The reality is there’s probably 100 different toothpastes in their grocery store, but we don't see

them. We're so focused in on our own reality. And so, what God is constantly trying to do is to

draw us back, is to say “Hey, step back.” That’s what an artist does: an artist steps back to get

perspective. An artist steps back to get a bigger view of what's really going on. And so in prayer,

God's always inviting us to step back to get a bigger perspective.

Advent is designed to be an intense period of prayer. It's designed to be a moment in our lives,

a moment in our year, where we step back to get a new perspective on ourselves, a new

perspective on God, and a new perspective on what is possible.

We're all trying to make decisions at different times in our lives. Most of the time, we don't see

most of the opportunities that are available to us. And so, what I really want to encourage you to

do is, next time you have to make a choice, to take the choice to prayer, to lay it before God and

say, “God, all right, these are the opportunities I see. Show me the ones I don't either today in

prayer or this week in prayer or through friends that I talked to this week or experiences that I

have this week, but open my heart and my soul and my mind to see all the amazing

possibilities, the opportunities that I don't see because I get caught up in my own little world

sometimes.”

 

What Is Christmas?

For more than 20 years, I've been talking to people about God's dream for us to become

the-best-version-of-ourselves. It's this collaboration with God that helps us become

the-best-version-of-ourselves. If you look back on your day or you look back on the last couple

of days, there are moments where you can say to yourself, “Yes, in that moment I was at my

best. I was the-best-version-of-myself.” And there's a clear connection between that and our

collaboration with God.

When you look at the lives of the saints, these people were not, you know, out of their own

doing their own thing. Sometimes they're portrayed that way because yes they are pioneers, yes

they are innovators, yes they are great thinkers. But they were always collaborating. They were

collaborating with God, and they were collaborating with each other.

And so in many ways, life is an invitation to a collaboration, a powerful collaboration with God.

And it's through that powerful collaboration with God that we discover the amazing possibilities

that most of the world never sees because we do have a tendency to move through life

unconsciously, because we do sleepwalk through life sometimes, because we do get distracted

by the things that matter so little.

And so, God is constantly calling us to narrow our focus on what matters most--to give our time,

our effort, our energy, our heart, our mind, our soul, our life to what matters most. And the only

tragedy is not to enter into that collaboration with God.

As we head through Advent, we come to Christmas. What is Christmas? Christmas is the most

astounding collaboration between God and humanity. That's what happens at Christmas. And

God invites you and me to partake in that collaboration every single day of our lives.

 

Two Great Questions

I love questions. I love a great question to get me started in the day. I can chew on a really good

question all day long, and it takes me to a deeper place--my heart my mind my soul--gets me

thinking about myself and God and other people in the world in very, very different ways. And it's

one of the reasons I use so many questions in my books because questions take you places as

a reader. They take your places into your heart and mind and soul that I don't even know about.

But if we put the question out there, the Spirit will take the question and use the question and

lead you to a deep place with that question and help you to discover deeply personal answers to

your deeply personal questions.

When I was reading and preparing and researching to write Rediscover the Saints, one of the

things I was fascinated with is what were the important questions in the lives of the saints, and

were they questions that tied all of their lives together?

The reality is I believe there are a couple of questions that that tie it all together. The first

question is, “Are you satisfied with the direction the world is moving in?”

Are you satisfied with the direction the world is moving in? Usually when we ask this question,

the answer is no. And then the question becomes, “Ok, what are you going to do about it?” If

we're not satisfied with the direction the world is moving in, are we going to sit back and be

spectators and just see how that plays out? Or are we going to step out of our passive selves

and into the active self that God created us to be? Because God didn't create us to be

spectators, and if we really want to explore the amazing possibilities that God has in store for

us, we've got to go from the passive to the active.

The second question that I believe ties all of the lives of the saints together is, “Are you satisfied

with your life?”

Are you satisfied with your life? And if you're not satisfied with your life, what are you doing with

your dissatisfaction? Now the truth is we're probably all dissatisfied at almost any point in our life

with some part of our life. And so, what is God saying to you through your dissatisfaction? And if

you're not satisfied with your life, what are you going to do about it? What is God inviting you to

do? How is God inviting you to collaborate?

Because out of these two questions, the lives of the saints exploded out of these two questions.

The lives of the saints were dissatisfied with the direction the world, and they were dissatisfied

with their lives. And they came to God and ignited a powerful collaboration, and out they went.

And they live on in history because of their collaboration with God.

But where did it start? It started with their dissatisfaction, their dissatisfaction with their own lives

and their dissatisfaction with the direction the world was moving in. Are you dissatisfied? That

might not be a bad thing.

 

Simple & Genius

When we start to think about our dissatisfaction with the direction the world is moving in and

when we start to think about the dissatisfaction we have with our own lives or with some part of

our lives, that can be overwhelming. And when we get overwhelmed, we shut down. Ok, that's

not from God. When we get overwhelmed, we shut down and we stop acting and we go into

passive spectator state, and that doesn't come from God.

So God doesn't want us to be overwhelmed, and very often we get overwhelmed because we

complicate things.

You know, any fool can can complicate something. They say that true genius is able to take

something that is incredibly complex and present it in a simple way. And of course, God is the

ultimate genius. He is the ultimate genius, and so when we have a problem, we might think the

problem big, we need a big solution. When we have a problem, we might think the problems

complex, we need a complex solution. But God doesn't think that way. You know, very often

when we have a big problem, the genius of God is looking for a small solution to that big

problem. Or when we have a complex problem, the genius of God is looking for a simple

solution to that complex problem.

And so when we think about, ok, we’re dissatisfied with the direction of the world and we're

dissatisfied with our lives, we think this is huge, this is overwhelming, this is complex, this is....

We're never going to do anything about that, and that leads to great discouragement. And that

discouragement doesn't come from God either.

The reality is is that the solution is both genius and simple: holy moments. If we're not satisfied

with the direction of the world, the solution is holy moments. We're not satisfied with a part of

our lives or the direction of our lives, the solution is holy moments because the moment is the

only place we can be with God. We can collaborate with God. It's the only place we can love. It's

the only moment we can act upon. It's the only moment we can change. And so, God's

constantly inviting us into the present moment where he is ever-present to be with him, to

collaborate with him, to transform that one moment into something good, true, noble, just,

beautiful, and holy.

What does the world need? The world needs holy moments. What does your family need, your

friends need, your workplace need? It needs holy moments. What does your life need? It needs

holy moments because, out of those holy moments, explode peace and joy and love and all the

things that we hunger for, that we yearn for, that we're longing for.

We read the lives of the saints. We reflect on the incredible lives they lived. They all come back

to living life one moment at a time, transforming one moment at a time into something good and

beautiful and holy.

Good Fruit

In tomorrow's Gospel reflection, we read about John the Baptist and his famous call to repent.

You know, it's interesting that we hear these readings during Lent, and we also hear this reading

during Advent. We're constantly being invited to repent, which means what? It means to turn

back to God, and God as a loving Father constantly calling us back--constantly calling us to look

at where we are in our lives, different parts of our lives and ask ourselves, “Ok, where is an

opportunity to turn back to God, to collaborate with God more powerfully?”

And so in tomorrow's reading at church, the first part is about John the Baptist saying, “Repent.

Turn back to God.” But the second part is really important as well because Jesus talks about

producing good fruit. Jesus talks about producing good food. And the idea of repentance isn't

disconnected from the rest of our lives. It isn't, “Oh yeah, I did the repent thing, and now I can

get on with my life.” No, it's an invitation to realign our lives with God, with

the-best-version-of-ourselves, with our value, with our character, with everything we believe to

be good, true, right, just, noble. It is this invitation to this incredible realignment so we can yield

better fruit. We can yield better fruit because God wants you to produce incredible fruit. What is

that fruit? That fruit, holy moments is right at the core of that fruit. When you look at the lives of

the saints--you know, it doesn't matter which one you think about, you look at, you read

about--the saints were constantly producing the fruit of holy moments, just one at a time

producing good fruit.

The other thing that we read about in tomorrow's Gospel is who shows up. It’s the Pharisees,

right? They were Jesus’ great critics. Who are your great critics, ok, and what impact are they

having on your ability to produce great fruit?

I was speaking with a friend last week from the Caribbean, and he was saying to me, “You

know, nobody throw stones at a mango tree with bad fruit. You know if they're throwing stones at

the mango tree, it's because the fruit is good, and they want some of the fruit.” And the same is

true with criticism, right?

You have critics in your life, great critics and small critics, and they bring to you discouragement.

They bring to you spirits other than the Spirit of God. And so we have to be constantly aware.

These Pharisees were always around Jesus, right? They're always there. They're always

around. They're discouraging him, they're putting him down. they're discrediting him, they're

calling him a liar, they're saying all sorts of things about Jesus, you know? And Jesus just calls

them out. He says, “What kind of fruit are you producing, guys?”

And so again, tomorrow is an incredible reading. John the Baptist turned back to God. And

maybe you might think, “I'm walking with God” and that might be true. But there may be one

area of your life, one area of your life that is sort of tucked away, and you don't let God into that

part of your life. And this year he's calling you to look at that and turn that area of your life back

to him.

Tomorrow we're going to hear about: turn back to God, produce great fruit, and do not let your

critics determine the direction of your life. That’s a powerful Sunday reading.

Just Like You

One of the biggest mistakes we can make when we consider the lives of the saints is to think

that we are different. We do this in lots of different ways for lots of different reasons. We do put

the saints up on pedestals, and that's driven by a positive notion and a negative notion.

The positive notion is that we want to celebrate them. We want to celebrate their goodness. We

want to celebrate their contribution. We want to celebrate the beautiful lives that they lived.

But the negative notion of putting them up on the pedestal is that, when we put them up on the

pedestal, there is a danger that we absolve ourselves of walking the same path, of making the

same journey. There's the danger that we think to ourselves, “There they are up on their

pedestals. They're different. I'm not like them.” And that is an incredible mistake. That is a

mistake that blinds us to so many of the amazing possibilities that God has in store for us, that

God wants to share with us, that God wants us to pursue because they are not different. They

are men and women and children like you and me. They are sons and daughters of God like

you and me. They had hopes and dreams. They had fears and failures. They had people who

love them, and they had critics, and they had people who hated them.

You know, it's amazing how many people feel very negatively towards Mother Teresa. It's

astounding. It's like, “Hold on a minute. What's the problem here? A little woman is helping all

these poor people and encouraging people all over the world.” But some people don't like her,

you know. And worse than not liking her, some people, like, actively worked against her in a

lifetime, and some people wrote horrible articles about her when she died.

As God lays these amazing possibilities before you, there's going to be obstacles.

There's going to be discouragement. There's going to be doubts. Sometimes you’ll put doubts in

your own mind. Sometimes other people will put doubts in your mind. But the biggest danger is

that we fall into the trap of thinking, “The saints are different. We're not like them.” It's not true.

God is inviting you to a dynamic collaboration with him. Stay focused on that dynamic

collaboration and incredible things will happen.

No More Mothers Teresas!

We spoke yesterday about the idea that it's a mistake to think that the saints are different to us.

Another mistake we can make is to lose ourselves in imitating the saints--maybe sounds a little

bit contradictory--but the reality is is that the world doesn't need another Mother Teresa, or

Francis of Assisi, or Ignatius of Loyola, or Terese of Lisieux. God created one Mother Teresa,

and she lived an incredible life striving to become the-best-version-of-herself. And the world

doesn't need another Mother Teresa. The world needs you.

You know, God's given you a very unique mix of needs and talents and desires and hopes and

dreams and ambitions. He's put all of that inside of you so that he can draw that out into these

amazing possibilities, into these holy moments, into great relationships, and a great journey and

a great adventure and a great collaboration with him.

So he wants us to stay constantly focused on our collaboration with him. He wants us to stay

constantly focused on becoming the-best-version-of-ourselves through everything that happens

in our lives, through everything we do in our lives. He wants us to stay focused on helping other

people become the-best-version-of-themselves by creating holy moments--helping people,

situations, environments become all they can be, all God created them to be one moment at a

time, one holy moment at a time.

The world doesn't need another Francis of Assisi. The world needs you, and the world can't

wait. Look around. We talked about the question “Are you satisfied with the direction the world is

moving in?” The world needs you as God uniquely and powerfully and brilliantly created you,

and the world needs you now.

Occupy Your Beliefs

If you ask people to describe the saints, there's many different things they would say, but one of

the things they would say is they were men and women of great faith. What does that mean? It

means, well, they believed. They had great belief, they had strong belief, they had firm belief,

but that was only sort of one piece. That's only one side of the coin.

The other side of the coin is that they lived in their beliefs, that they walked in their beliefs, they

occupied their beliefs. They they allowed their beliefs to direct the words, their actions, their

thoughts, the moments of their day, the direction of their lives, everything.

When I reflect on my own life, you know, and I think about, you know, the moments when I was

not that happy or the moments when I was restless or the moments where I did things that I

regret, it was always because I stepped away from my beliefs. You know, my life got out of

alignment with my beliefs, with my values, with my character, with my God, with

the-best-version-of-myself.

And when our lives get out of alignment, things start to go wrong, you know? And when our lives

go out of alignment, God talks to us in a lot of ways, you know? He gives us a lot of feelings, a

lot of emotions, that say, “Red flag!”--you know, a flashing red light. Your life is out of alignment,

you know, or you just stepped out of alignment with your values, or you just stepped out of

alignment with what you believed to be good and true.

And one of the things that makes the lives of the saints so powerful is that they have these

beliefs, they have these values, and they're constantly trying to live in alignment with those

beliefs and values.

So as we make this journey, it's probably a really good time for us to sit down and think to

ourselves, “Ok, what are my beliefs? What are my values? In what ways is my life aligned with

those beliefs and values, and in what ways is my life not aligned with those beliefs and values?”

Or maybe what parts of my life are not aligned with those beliefs and values?

Because the saints, the power, you know--we say they were great teachers, and they were

great teachers. Some of them are great teachers because they were great preachers. Some of

them were great teachers because they were great writers. Some of them were great teachers

because they had this great touch with people, the ability just to be with people. But all of them

were great teachers because the fruit of their life, the strength of their life, the action of their life

supported what they believed, what they valued, what they held to be true.

You and I--we’re invited to live an authentic life, to live an integrated life, to live life in alignment

with our beliefs, with our values, with the best-version-of-ourselves, with God.

Where Are the Saints in Your Life?

When I set out to write Rediscover the Saints, I was incredibly intimidated. It was possibly the

most difficult book I ever wrote. And the reason is because there's so many books about the

saints. There's so many ways it's been approached, and as with my other books, I wanted to

find a fresh way to approach it, and I really struggled with that, you know for over two years.

So the approach that I settled on was to look at where had the saints entered into my life at

different points? Why had they entered into my life? Sometimes I was aware of them.

Sometimes I wasn't aware of them. Sometimes they came bearing a question. Sometimes they

came bearing an answer. Sometimes they came bearing both.

And the point I make in the book is that the saints are always swirling around us.

They're always there whether we recognize them or don't recognize them, whether we're

conscious of them or not unconscious about their presence. They're always there, and through

our collaboration with God, through our prayer, through our spirituality increases our awareness

of all things spiritual, and we begin to recognize the saints more readily in our lives and the

questions they're asking us and any answers that they are bringing to us.

My experience is that they tend to show up at unexpected times in unexpected ways and very

often for unexpected reasons, but it's always an incredibly fruitful encounter if I'm open to it, if

I'm aware of it, if I'm conscious.

You know throughout the book, I don't actually talk that much about the saints. You know, I talk

about, I give a lot of stories about my own life. I give a lot of stories about how the saints came

into my life at different times. I give stories about, you know, the names of my children and why

we chose them and what those saints mean. And I do that to show that the saints have always

been there in my life.

And one of my great hopes was that people would read the book and then go back and look at

their lives, and look at where were the saints in my life. The saints are always swirling around

us, and I think it's great for all of us to go back and take a look at our lives and see where the

different saints intersected and entered into our lives because they have been there. They are

there. They are swirling around all the time and they are great friends. They are great friends.

They will tell you what's up. They'll tell you how things are just like it is, and we all need more

friends like that.

A 2000 Year Old Twist

In tomorrow's Gospel, Jesus talks about John. You know in it, I mean just elevated praise, you

know, calling him the greatest among the prophets, none greater born of women. But then he

goes on to say that but the least in the kingdom of heaven will be greater than John the Baptist.

And it's a fascinating twist. It’s a twist worth sitting with. It’s a twist worth exploring. And it's the

source of great humility, you know?

If you look at John, I mean the humility is just--it's astounding. If you look at Jesus, the humility

is enormous. And when we hear this litany of things that the Messiah is going to do--you know

make the lame walk, make the blind see--the danger is to think, “Oh, that's not me. I can walk,”

or, “I can see,” or whatever. But we are the lame. We are the blind. We are the infirmed and the

crippled in a thousand different ways, and God is constantly trying to open our eyes to who we

are, to who he is, to the amazing possibilities, to the great collaboration. He’s constantly trying to

open our eyes, and what blinds us more than anything else is is his pride and arrogance. It just

blinds us. It blinds us to possibilities. It blinds us to the beauty of other people. It blinds us to

opportunities. It blinds us to perspectives we haven't considered. It blinds us to the truth about

who we are and who we’re being called to be.

Pride and arrogance--it just it just blinds us. And we're all guilty, right? We're all guilty. We all

have to fight against pride. We all have to be mindful and aware of pride and arrogance and how

easy it is to fall into that. And so we're left with this lesson of humility, and it's a lesson that our

world doesn't want to hear, right? Like so many of Jesus' lessons, it's a lesson the world doesn't

want to hear. It was not interested in humility. The world doesn't celebrate humility.

And so the question is, in that environment, how are you and I going to actively try to nurture

humility in our lives each day? How are we going to actively try to nurture humility in our lives

each day because it is it's a beautiful thing? You know when you see someone who is genuinely

humble, authentically humble, it's an incredibly attractive thing.

And that creates the facilitation that is at the core of what John was trying to do. John, he would

walk people up to God. He would introduce them, create the encounter, and then he would fade

away. And it takes incredible humility to do that. But he did it time and time and time again, and

he invites you and I to that same humility in our own way, in our own place, in our own time,

because there is nothing more attractive than holiness. And at the core of that attractive element

or nature of holiness is humility.

Anything Is Possible

The saints always come bearing gifts, and they always know the right gift at the right time.

Giving gifts is an art. You know, being able to give the right person the right gift at the right time

is something that requires a real thoughtfulness, a real awareness, much more than going out

and buying something. And the saints, the gifts of the saints, are obviously much more elevated

than anything material, but they always seem to know the right gift at the right time, and they

show us what's possible.

And today I invite you to look back on your own life, at the things that have happened in your

own life: beautiful things, amazing things, incredible things that have happened in your life,

maybe ordinary everyday things--but ordinary everyday things can be beautiful and incredible

and amazing.

One of the things, as I look back on my life, that constantly astounds me is the work the

incredible people here a Dynamic Catholic are doing and the way it is touching millions and

millions and millions of people.

But the group of people that stands out--I mean, we just wouldn't be here. We just wouldn't be

doing this. People say to me how do you do BEST ADVENT EVER for like a million people

when it's free for everybody. The answer is simple: the Ambassadors. I mean, my heart

explodes with gratitude every time we release a great program; every time we release BEST

LENT EVER or BEST ADVENT EVER; or every Christmas, every Easter, we're distributing the

books; every fall when kids are starting new programs.

How do they do it? They give ten dollars a month, and they pray for us. That's it. That's it. It's

that simple.

And they’re men and women just like you. And so today as you're having this powerful

experience of BEST ADVENT EVER, I want to invite you to become an Ambassador. Click on

the little button below and become part of a group that has recognized the Church is not move

in the direction they like it to, the world is not moving in the direction they'd like it to. There's a

dissatisfaction there, but they've said, “Hey, I'm going to do something about it. Sign me up. I'm

going to do something about it. I might only be able to do a little bit, but I will do my little bit. I will

not leave my little bit undone because the world's a mess because people left a little bit

undone.”

So you and me--let's decide here, now, today, we will not leave our little bit undone.

 

Live, Act & Speak Boldly

If all of these amazing possibilities that we've been talking about really do exist, why don't more

people discover them? What gets in the way? What what holds us back?

One of the biggest obstacles is fear. We're afraid. And we're afraid of really strange things.

We're afraid of being great. We're afraid of the greatness that God has put in us. We're afraid of

being the-best-version-of-ourselves. We're afraid people will mark us or criticize us or whatever.

We're afraid that we will fail. We're afraid that people won't like us. We're afraid that people

disagree with us. We're afraid of so many things, but fear belongs to people without firm

direction in their lives. I say it again because it really matters. Fear belongs to people without

firm direction in their lives.

When the disciples were out fishing and there was a storm and Jesus came walking on the

water and Peter said, “Well hey, Jesus if that's really you, then you know let me walk out on the

water with you,” and Jesus says, “All right, come on, Peter.” Peter starts walking out. We read in

the Scriptures that he had his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. He had firm direction in his life, and he

took his eyes off Jesus. He lost the firm direction of his life. He took his eyes off Jesus. He

started to think, “Oh, the waves are big.”

You know that's what we do. We say, “Oh, the waves are big,” or “Those people are looking at

me,” or, “That person doesn't like me,” or, “That person's thinking this,” or, “That person's going

to criticize me for that,” or we lose the firm direction of our lives and we become paralyzed by

fear.

Don't let that happen. How do we stop that from happening because we don't want it to happen?

When we think about it, we talk through it like this, we think, “No I don't want that.” How do we

stop it from happening? You have to go to a deeper place. You have to step into the classroom

of silence. Maybe you need to step in the classroom of silence for a little bit longer than you

have before. Sit with your God, and allow him to provide that firm direction on your life because,

when we have their firm direction on our lives, we live with boldness. We cast off the fear. We

act with boldness. We live with boldness. We speak with boldness, and that's when we live and

we act and we speak like a Christian. That's what they call that.

That's what they call that. When we live and act and speak boldly, that’s when we’re most fully

alive as Christians. Where does it come from? Not from us. It comes from God--comes through

us. But going into the classroom of silence, by finding that deep place where we can connect

with the-best version-of-ourselves and connect with our God and living our lives from that deep

place, that is when we begin to see amazing possibilities. When we live our lives from that deep

place, when we make the decisions of our lives from that deep place.

Life Is Messy

26 years ago today, I gave my first speech in Sydney Australia. And as I look back on that, as I

look back on that young man--you know, 19-20 years old, starting to write, starting to speak,

very idealistic--I had experienced the joy of encountering God and wanted to share that joy with

as many people as possible.

One of the things that I really wasn't aware of, I didn't have a high awareness of--one of the

things that I had no idea how much it would impact my ability to walk with people, to inspire

people, to reach people, is that life is really messy, you know? And one of the lines in

Rediscover the Saints that is so much more than a line for me--it's like a whole theme--is just

one line. It's just tucked away on page 12, but it's just a whole theme for me. And it is, “Anyone

who offers you an easy path is to be mistrusted.”

One of the things we try never to do here a Dynamic Catholic is pretend that the path is going to

be easy because it isn't. One of the fundamental truths of life is that life is difficult. You know, life

is difficult, and life is messy. And as I've talked about before in Resisting Happiness, everyone

we encounter is carrying a heavy burden. And when we're mindful of that, we're a little more

gentle with each other. In fact when we're mindful of that, we're a lot more gentle with each

other.

There's a beautiful line in the opening of a song in the musical Les Miserables towards the end

of the musical. And the opening line is, “There's a grief that can't be spoken. There's a pain

goes on and on.” And there are a lot of people in that place. There are a lot of people in that

place for different reasons, you know?

I think about the situation of sexual abuse in our Church over the last 50 years--it's not a

moment that is today--and the people who have been affected by that directly, indirectly. And I

hear this line: “There's a grief that can't be spoken. There's a pain goes on and on.”

I meet parents who have lost children, some to illness, some to accident, some to tragedy--all to

tragedy. And in those parents, I hear and feel this line: “There’s a grief that can't be spoken.

There’s a pain goes on and on.”

And you have your own grief, and you have your own pain. And it is critically important that we

don't pretend that you don't, that we don't pretend that we don't, that we acknowledge our grief,

that we acknowledge our pain, that we lay it on the altar of God and ask him to do whatever it is

he wants to do with it because life is messy. Life is messy, and life is difficult. And we should

never pretend that there is an easy way out, that there is an easy path. There isn't, but it is the

difficulties, the challenges of life, that help us to build character, to make us clear about who we

are and what we're here for.

God Never Underestimates You

Have you ever been underestimated--I mean, really underestimated by somebody? Maybe they

didn't know you--that’s a little bit easier--but maybe they really knew you, and they still really,

massively underestimated you. And how did that feel? You know, of course, we underestimate

other people as well. It happens fairly regularly.

We talk about these things, but one of the things we don't necessarily talk about is how we

underestimate ourselves. And one of the reasons this collaboration with God is so important,

one of the reasons that stepping into the classroom of silence and connecting with God is so

important, is because God doesn't underestimate you. He sees you exactly as you are. And now

some days, we might not see that as a good thing. But it is. It's a good thing. It's a beautiful thing

every day because he sees you exactly as you are. He knows exactly what you're capable of,

and he wants to send us out into the world so that we can experience the world with new eyes

and new ears and taste things differently and experience things to the fullest.

You see, God sees our potential. I have these beautiful little kids at home. And you know, when

we see children and we talk about children and we talk so freely about potential and

possibilities, it's like--it's just a natural part of the conversation. When you're talking about kids,

you talk about potential and possibilities, and everything seems possible.

When do we stop that? When do we stop talking about someone's potential? Whenever it is, it's

too early. It's far too early. And when do we stop thinking about our own potential? Whenever

that is, that's far too early as well.

There's this concept that the being of something changeable is not only what it is but what it still

can be. It's a beautiful thing. This is one of my favorite concepts. It's just a little twist to it, but it's

worth the work--the being of something changeable. Ok, you’re a being, and you’re changeable.

You're not static. You're not a rock. Ok, you’re being, but you're changeable. You are not your

past. You are not what has happened to you. Your future is not determined by your past. Your

being in your changeable. And tomorrow is not written in stone. And that's why amazing

possibilities exist.

So the being of something changeable is not only what it is today but what it still can be. And

that piece--what it still can be--that’s potential. And your potential is astounding. You have

astounding potential. It doesn't matter how you feel trapped, how you feel stopped, how you feel

separated from the world, how you feel unable to contribute. God will use all of those

circumstances and your unrealized potential to unleash amazing possibilities in the world, if you

will sit with him and collaborate with him. And he will never he will never underestimate you.

So let's stop underestimating other people. Let's stop letting other people underestimate us. And

let's stop underestimating ourselves.

What Is God Saying to You?

Tomorrow's reading, Gospel reading, at church, we've heard a thousand times. And so when we

come upon those readings in church we've got to dig deep. We've got to dig deep for a little bit

of extra focus because it's so easy to let it glide by: “Ah yes I am familiar with. I know that.” So

we’ve got to dig deep. We've got to find an extra layer.

And tomorrow's reading is one of those readings. It's out of chapter one of Matthew's Gospel,

and it's about the birth of Jesus.

Then the angel appears in a dream and speaks to Joseph. When's the last time God spoke to

you? He's speaking to you. Let me change the question: When's the last time you heard what

he's trying to say to you? When's the last time you opened yourself up and said, “I wonder what

God is saying to me? I feel really overwhelmed. I wonder what God is saying to me through that

overwhelmedness”? You know, “I feel really tired. I wonder what God's saying to me through

that tiredness?” or, “I'm angry. What is God saying to me through that anger?” or, “That situation

really disturbed me. What is God saying to me through that disturbance?”

What is God saying to you? Because over and over, there is almost not a reading where God is

not communicating with humanity in the Bible. It is the central theme. God's relationship with

humanity--he wants to communicate with us. He wants to speak to us. He wants to collaborate

with us. He wants to show us the amazing possibilities.

So Joseph set his path, he decided what he's going to do, and his path is good and noble. And

in the culture of his time, nobody would have questioned or said, “Oh, you're a bad man,

Joseph, for doing that.” And he'd set his path. But then the voice of God comes into his life and

says, “Joseph, I want to set before you an amazing possibility,” and he did. He said, “This child

is special. This child is God with us, the presence of God. I'm asking you to take care of my

Son.”

That’s powerful. And so Joseph reorients. How often do we get stuck in our view or we decide

this is how it's going to be and it has to be this way? We get stuck in our view, and then we won't

listen to anybody including God.

And what did Joseph need more than anything else? Courage. So what did the angel say to

him? “Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid, Joseph Son of David,” is the first thing the angel says.

Do not be afraid. Why? Because the angel knows Joseph is afraid. And how does the angel

know that Joseph afraid? Because God knows Joseph is afraid.

The most common phrase in the New Testament, most common phrase the Old Testament: Do

not be afraid. Over and over and over throughout salvation history, God's message to humanity

has been do not be afraid because, when you are afraid, you underestimate yourself. When

you're afraid, you close yourself off to amazing possibilities. When you're afraid, you don't step

boldly into the life I created you for. When you you're afraid, you don't make the choices that

help you become the-best-version-of-yourself. When you're afraid, you don't step out boldly and

create the holy moments the people in all places of all times need, so do not be afraid.

What are you afraid of? What are you afraid of? What fear is God calling you to step over this

Sunday so you can step into your potential, so you can step into the amazing possibilities that

he has created you for time?

The Business of Busy

Whenever we set out to do something good, we always encounter obstacles. That's part of the

journey. It's part of life. When you think about all the ideas we've talked about in these videos

and the ideas we talk about in Rediscover the Saints, hopefully they stir within us a desire to live

differently, to get out there and participate in life, in the world, in society in a different way at a

different level. But we don't want to go out there naively and not be honest about the reality that

there are obstacles. We will face obstacles.

The obstacle that might be the most prevalent obstacle to all of these things we're talking about

in most people's lives today, is busyness. Yes, busyness. We are really really busy, and busy is

bad. Busy is a curse. One of the curses of our age, one of the diseases of our age, is busy. If

you think about, like, how busy makes you feel--if you sat down and made a list of how busy

made you feel, you know, busy makes you feel overwhelmed, busy makes you feel tired, busy

makes you feel inadequate, busy makes you feel second-rate, busy make you feel like you

never get caught up. Busy makes you feel all of these things right?

If busy was a person, would you hang out with that person? Seriously if busy was a person,

would that person be a really good friend of yours? If busy was a person, would you think, “Oh,

I'm going to spend the whole day with busy today. And you know what? Then tomorrow I may

spend the whole day with busy again. In fact, I’m going to spend the whole day with busy every

day for the rest of my life”? I don't think so. Busy is not your friend. Busy is not your friend.

 

And one of the foundational reasons that busy is not your friend is because busy destroys

virtue. Ok when you're really busy, you're not patient. I am not patient. Let's not talk about you.

Let's talk about me. When I'm really busy, I'm not patient. You know when I'm really busy, I am

less present to the people in front of me. When I'm really busy, I'm less present to the work in

front of me. And you know what? I'm less present to my God, and I'm less present in my prayer.

I’m less present. When I'm really busy, I’m thinking about the next thing, I'm thinking about the

next five things, I'm thinking about the three things that I just got done, that I have to tie up, that I

have to mention to this person and that person and the other person.

And the breakdown of virtue begins with a breakdown of patience because every virtue requires

patience. Ok, you want to be courageous? You better have some patience. Ok, you want to be

compassionate? You better have some patience. You want to be generous? You need patience.

Our patience is being broken down by busyness.

And so. Here's my challenge: How can you be less busy? How can you work out what matters

most, what matters least? Stop doing some of the stuff that doesn't matter at all. Stop doing

some of the stuff that matters least. Really get focused in on who and what matters most, and

be less busy.

We think about Christmas. We think about how Christmas could be better. I think, if we were

less busy, I think if we were less busy, we'd have an amazing Christmas.

Presents vs. Presence 

Our culture has made Christmas all about presents. But Christmas is really about presence. I

know it's a little bit confusing, but we look forward unwrapping presents as kids and maybe as

adults. But Christmas is really about God becoming present in our lives in a new incredible and

very special way. And we read in the Scriptures, “He'll be called Emmanuel, which means God

is with us,” which is a beautiful thought right--the idea that God is with us.

One of the central themes of humanity and one of the central themes of human tragedy is

loneliness--is the feeling that we are alone in our journey. And God is saying at Christmas more

than ever before--God is saying, “You are not alone. I am with you. I am present. I am at your

side.” And in making himself present in this way, he models for us how he wants us to make

ourselves present to other people in our lives: both the people we love and the strangers who

cross our paths.

One of the greatest gifts we can give to people is being present to them, being fully present to

them. And so as we approach Christmas, I want to ask you what are the potential obstacles that

could prevent you from being present to the people you love this Christmas? What are the

obstacles that could prevent you from being present to the people who will cross your path this

Christmas season?

And let's remember: it's a season. It's not a day. Our culture wants to make it a day, but it's the

season. And let's celebrate the whole season, and let us be present to the whole season. Let's

be present to God in a new way, allow him to be present to us in a new way, and let us be

present to the people in our lives in a new way.

What are the obstacles? Maybe the obstacle is your cell phone. You know it seems to be a

common obstacle that prevents people from being present to each other. Maybe you need to

turn it off and put it in a drawer for 24 hours over Christmas. Maybe that's the best gift you can

give your wife or your husband or your children or your family this Christmas. Maybe the

obstacle is worrying--you know, worrying about do we have enough food or the right food or the

right tablecloth or the right number of settings. Maybe the obstacle is worrying about the wrong

things, and it prevents you from being present and enjoying people and Christmas in all its

richness, in all the ways that God wants you to enjoy.

So Merry Christmas. On behalf of everyone here a Dynamic Catholic, we hope you have a

phenomenal Christmas season, that it brings about many new and rich encounters with the

people you love and a new enrich encounter with your God.

Joy to the World!

Joy to the world--this is the phrase. This is the idea. This is the concept but the reality and the

feeling that has been ringing out for 2000 years since Jesus was born in the manger. Joy to the

world--Jesus brings great joy to the world just by showing up, just by showing up. We see that

with other little babies right? Babies bring great joy. How do they do it? Just by showing up--they

don't do anything. They don't do anything, and Jesus shows up. He brings this great joy, and joy

is contagious, and he invites us, he enlists us, to become ambassadors of joy.

 

And so this Christmas, this Christmas season and beyond, let's renew our efforts to be

ambassadors of joy. If we've lost our joy, let's work out how we relocate our joy know let's sit

with God and say, “God, teach me how to be a child again. Teach me how to be joyful again.

Teach me how to have that exuberant joy and take that joy out into the world and share it with

the people I love and the people who cross my path. Help me to relocate my joy.”

 

That's the amazing possibility. The amazing possibility is that, if we open ourselves to God, he'll

do incredible things. He'll unleash our potential. He'll show us what we've been missing. He'll

take the blindness from our eyes and the hardness from our hearts, and he'll unleash amazing

possibilities in every aspect of our lives and send us out with great joy to share that joy with the

world and to show the world what is possible--to show the world that too often we underestimate

each other, we underestimate ourselves, and to show the world that we have underestimated

God. It's time to rediscover the amazing possibilities that he wants to unleash in our lives.

Merry Christmas. On behalf of everyone here a Dynamic Catholic, thank you for partnering with

us for another incredible year of serving millions and millions of people.

We couldn't do without you, without your love and support, without your prayers and

commitment. Thank you for joining us in the mission, collaborating with us in the mission,

because, through this collaboration we have with you, we're able to open millions of people's

eyes to the amazing possibilities that God has in store for them.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Official Portrait for The Culture Soluti

About the Author

Matthew Kelly was born in Sydney, Australia. He has dedicated his life to helping people and organizations become the-best-version-of-themselves. Kelly is a New York Times bestselling author, an internationally acclaimed speaker, and a business consultant to some of the world’s largest and most admired companies. He is the author of more than thirty books, which have sold more than fifty million copies and have been published in more than thirty languages.

 

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