Right Here. Right Now.

Mar 26, 2023

Hi, everyone.
This is the last one of the these before we have a new year. I love New Years, I love recapping the past year, I love the Top 10 year-end lists, the Spotify Wrapped, all of it.

Maybe this is the best year you’ve had in a long time and you are finally reaping the fruit of a lot of hard work. Maybe you are winding down this year tired and drained. If I’m honest, that’s where I am. It’s okay to say that out loud. It’s been a challenging year - I have had plenty of folks on my team leave, tons of changes in who I work with, hospital visits, and even getting this text.

Despite it being a challenging year, I’ve learned a lot. And today, I thought that I would share a little bit about what I’ve learned.

Getting things out on paper whether in words or pictures helps my brain. Recently, I read through my journal and sketchbook from the past several months, and there were a few ideas that I thought I could share here today.

I took pictures of these notes and sketches to share here. Quick disclaimer: these are quick notes I made for myself not expecting to share with an audience. And it took a lot of willpower to not make these into something I’m more proud of.

One tangent before we get started - This is the cover of my journal and one of my favorite paintings. Does anyone know who painted this? Van Gogh. It’s the best.

I don’t typically do words of the year. But at the beginning of this year, God put a phrase on my mind - Face Reality.

I wrote it about a particular situation I was dealing with at the time. Little did I know how much He would continue to teach me about it throughout this year. I

t is easy for me to push through and endure. Actually, I’m not sure it’s easy. It’s just my default. I’ve learned it comes with a price. You can push through a lot of stuff - a crazy pandemic, buying a house that was broken and breaking yourself while fixing it, or just the amount of change and struggle in our work. And then it catches up with you.

To me, this phrase means stopping long enough to get quiet and take honest look at what’s going on. It means being super honest about yourself, your behavior, your expectations, what you need to let go of, and what you need to make new room for. It’s taking a real inventory of your life as it is now and owning your life.

I can get lost in thinking what’s ahead or stuck in what should’ve been different and miss what was happening now. It can be scary to face reality. It means turning to face things you need to deal with or have hard conversations with the ones you love.

Right Here. Right Now.

But as I began facing reality more, I’ve felt God closer than ever before. He has taught me about being right here, right now.He’s in our struggles, He’s in the conversations we have running into someone in the hallway, He’s in the encouraging note from a friend or the frustrations you think about on your drive home. I’ve never been more convinced that He is in it all. He is a God who cares about your needs today. I realized how much I trusted God in my head, but not in my heart because I try to solve all these scenarios about what’s next or could be next. But He brings my attention back to Right Here. Right Now. It is such an act of faith to focus just on today.

Least Creative

This next sketch feels a little vulnerable to share to be honest. I don’t know what creativity looks like for me right now.

I’ve gotten pretty good at making plans, solving problems, leading a team, and getting things done, but less good at creating new ideas. I miss it.

I used to be good at making things on my own and sharing with others, but haven’t done that in a really long time. And that’s on me. I don’t blame the busyness of here. As much as I talk about taking action and doing something about it, I haven’t done that for myself in this area. And I don’t like that. So maybe this is a first step of many to start sharing more.

It’s strange to me that while I feel less creative, I’ve never been more absolutely certain that art matters. That what we bring to the table matters. That God used The Artist, The Creative to show the divine parts of Himself to others. He could have made another rock, but he made the Grand Canyon. And he could have made another accountant or engineer, but he knew we would be missing a piece of Him. So he made the Andy Warhols, the Dolly Partons, the Joan Didions, the Jay-Zs, the Quentin Tarantinos, the Jack Whites of this world to remind us that there’s more.

If you ever have a day where you are doubting that art and beauty matter, go look at NASA images. God has vast expanses of space and what does He choose to fill it with?

Something beautiful and moving. Art is the only thing that connects to emotions. No Google Analytics, no MixPanel dashboard, no spreadsheet, no technology has ever connected to a human being. But words and pictures have. It’s the only thing that does. And those are the very skills that this room has.

The Best is Yet to Come

The next sketch is a bit cheesy, I know.

But I truly believe it deep down. In my bones, I know this is true. It’s true for this company. I really do think the ways we figure out to reach people in the next few years will make the last 30 years pale in comparison. I really do believe that. I wouldn’t come to work every day if I didn’t.

And I think the best is yet to come especially for this team.

Because the things that need to be done can’t be done without the individuals in this room. Without your ideas, your voice, your resilience, and your brilliance.

And that leads me to my last one....

Now What.

Now what.

The good things ahead don’t happen by accident. It is a choice. Each one of us can choose. It’s a sign of hope. It is an act of faith to hope. But God demands action too. And I’m talking to myself as much as anyone else. Choose what you want.
Choose to say something.
Choose to understand what your passions are, what drains you, and see what changes you need to make.
Choose to understand what comes easy to you
Choose to fight for the change you want to see.
Choose to say no, to say yes.
Choose to let go, to be grateful.
Choose to change.
Choose to keep showing up.

You’ve got a few days left before this year wraps up. What would it look like to write your 2023 in review now? What do you want to choose to be different next year? What do you want to be different about your work next year? What can you do to make this place better? Yourself better? Wherever you are today, whether you are drained or had a best year ever, it’s okay. Because you have the power to choose to make things different - in your role, in your relationships, in your health, in every area. You get to choose. I look forward to seeing what you get to choose.