Losing Sight of Who We Are

I watch American Idol for the moments when destiny peeks its head into reality to give us a glimpse of what it’s like to use our gifts for God’s glory. One of those moments emerged during the April 19th results show when alternative rocker Colton Dixon, after being told that he had the lowest number of votes, took center stage to belt out one last tune. Before he did, the 20-year-old from Tennessee expressed remorse over not accepting a negative critique the night before.

“I need to apologize. I wasn’t myself last night and I get it,” Colton told the judges. “And I appreciate what you told me … I’ll take that when I’m making a record.”

“You’ll make many records,” judge Jennifer Lopez corrected.

“Colton Dixon: a class act,” Ryan Seacrest added as a video showing the contestant’s Idol journey appeared onscreen.

I want to finish that well. To admit my shortcomings and send a message that life doesn’t have to be perfect … and neither do you and I. Sometimes I think we spend so much energy covering up our mistakes: there’s no time left to learn from them.

What Colton learned (and shared with viewers during a post-performance interview) was that he had forgotten where he came from. “I wanted to end tonight the way I started it,” the singer explained. “I felt like I strayed last night,and I hate that I did but I was ready to bring it back and bring my focus back.”

As a life coach, I want everyone to live with purpose and love their lives. We do neither when we say that our heart is in one place and spend all of our time in another. Colton learned this lesson the hard way when he lost part of his fan base after performing a Lady Gaga song onstage despite professing a desire to be a Christian singer. The contradiction reminds me of something that one of my daughters said the other day while we were playing ping-pong.

“Mom, will you still love me if I decide to be an atheist?”

“My love for you is unconditional,” I said. “Why do you ask?”

“Because I don’t like it when hypocrite Christians act like God only loves them.”

How easy it is for us, like Colton, to forget who we are and where we come from. The problem with believing one way and behaving another is that we run the risk of alienating the very people God has called us to serve. I don’t want to be the reason someone loses faith in me or my creator. Colton wasn’t going to be either when he dropped to his knees on stage to give his final performance to God.

“I wasn’t singing for [the judges]. I wasn’t singing for my family or anyone in the audience. I wasn’t singing for anyone at home.” Colton explained after he had finished. “That song was between me and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. … I wanted to end it the way I started it and the way I told myself I would do this competition, and I’m glad I got the opportunity.”^1

I have to believe that God was, too, because, although we may lose sight of who we are, He never does. And even the lowest of lows can be turned into a high when we resolve to finish well.

Colton Dixon Singing “Everything”

^1 http://blog.zap2it.com

Summer is coming: Do you have a plan?

Version 1 of my coaching website is up and running and my coaching doors are officially open for business. For help with letting go of self-limiting behaviors & beliefs and living up to your full potential, check out NoLimitsLifeCoaching.com.

While you’re there, visit the Group Coaching page where I outline my first tele-workshop, which begins on May 1st. If you are a parent or know one who wants to set goals for your child(ren) in the areas Jesus outlined in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, I’d love to have you join us. The cost for the program is just $36, a small price to pay for a plan that will keep kids living with purpose all summer long.

Note: If you work during the day and would like to participate in an evening Parenting with Purpose Group Coaching Program, please e-mail me with the night(s) of the week that would work for you and, if there is enough interest, I will let you know.

Settling

While watching the 2010 remake of Ice Castles, a reporter asked the main character (an up-and-coming figure skater) about how she coped with the pressure of competing.

“I don’t think of it as pressure. I think of it as excitement,” the girl replied.

With those thirteen words, the Olympic hopeful demonstrated a communication technique known as reframing.

Reframing is a tool that coaches use to help clients see a situation differently and with new understanding. This change in perspective is particularly useful when helping someone view a liability as an asset or a limitation as an opportunity—Like the other day when a friend asked me if I believed in settling.

‘What do you mean?”

“Do you believe that a person has to settle in order to stay married?”

The question took me by surprise because never, in the 18 years that Bill and I have been married, did I ever feel like I was settling. A relationship is not something that you sit down to watch, like a television series (or the remake of an old movie). It’s a live improvisation where both people have a starring role and how it plays out is dependent upon—not one—but two.

My friend must have known this because , when I asked for clarification, it became clear that we were both on the same marital page.

“By settling, do you mean compromising?”

After nodding in agreement, my friend replied: “I can’t tell you how many times a guy has told me that his wife no longer wants to do what he likes to do and the guy has to settle if he wants to stay married.”

The idea that anyone would enter into a marriage thinking that there would be no give and take is hard to imagine, yet it happens every time one partner repeatedly sacrifices their sense of self in an effort to please the other. I often say that there are no victims, only volunteers. And if you lay down for long enough, no one will recognize you when you try to stand up.

Both parties are to blame when a relationship becomes less than ideal and both are responsible for fixing it. One of the best tools for the job is reframing because even tension is a good thing if it leads to self-awareness or change. And sometimes all we need is a new perspective to see that a marriage is never about one person … and settling is not okay.