The Upside of Obstacles


Are you facing obstacles?

Of course you are.


I know I am. They range from tiny first-world dilemmas like “where did I put my keys?” to monstrous societal issues that beg the question “can I even make a difference?”. Obstacles are everywhere and they keep twisting the plots of our stories. Annoying, right?!


Maybe it’s time we redefine our relationship with life’s greatest challenges. While it’s true that obstacles by nature are unwanted impasses, they can also become undercover catalysts for two superpowers: COMMUNITY and CREATIVITY.


Allow me to encourage you with a cool recent experience that might put a little dynamite under the things holding you back.


My roadblock? I needed work-space to lead a national non-profit. Literally, my dining room space wasn’t working and I was about to lose my mind.

COMMUNITY: I wasn't making a pitch for donations nor seeking anyone's pity, but was simply catching up with long lost friends on their deck. Good company has a way of making it safe to share our human dilemmas.


As we were exchanging stories, I shared about giving up my office/recording studio for our new daughter whom we welcomed into our family this summer. With no regrets about giving this space for a bedroom, I confessed that I was struggling to function in my make-shift dining room office amidst the crumbs of dinner, seven family members competing for my attention, and managing Zoom calls while shushing our yappy dog. You get the picture. Space matters, and I wasn’t thriving as a leader without it. It got me thinking, fantasizing really, of what a good space could look like.

CREATIVITY: I passionately, but whimsically, gushed to my friends about my dream: "Can you envision converting a small camper trailer into a portable office and podcast recording studio?! Imagine the places we could go, the podcast conversations we could record, and the work I could accomplish in it!" My conundrum was pulsating creative juices I otherwise couldn't imagine. I was touring others through my imagined reality.

It turned out that my friends loved the idea, which sparked their imagination, causing a natural combustion of greater ideas threatening to obliterated my challenge. Our dreams collided that night in a beautiful way. After I left, my friends started searching the internet for campers and how to convert them into work spaces.


I wonder how things would have played out if I pretended to be problem-free or if they hadn’t leaned in to listen? The next morning I received a message, saying we should start camper shopping - they wanted to donate to make the idea happen. Pinch me! Soon others, who caught wind of this development piped in, eager to lend a hand, expertise, and resources. It no longer was my problem to sulk in, but rather, an energizing creative moment shared with supportive community, all on mission to make a caring impact.


Allow me to introduce our newest addition to the CareImpact team - a 1964 refurbished Shasta camper! She’s cute, she’s cozy, and she is helping us connect and equip more churches across Canada to journey well in community with children and families in hard places.

If you are listening to our Journey With Care podcast or meeting me online, chances are it will come from this studio. If you are in Manitoba, drop by for coffee - or perhaps you’ll see us traveling your way.


I’ll admit, I don’t always get pretty endings or quick resolutions. Some challenges are unrelenting, complicated, and unfair. But what if, instead of suffering in isolation, we sought out others to dream a little, or a lot! What if the very obstacle we face is actually our greatest invitation to innovation, faith, and building authentic community. I’m convinced that God loves to eavesdrop on conversations when we dream together and inspires people to make those shared dreams come true.


Canada is facing a growing crisis. Children are going to bed hungry in a land of plenty. Youth are aging out of foster care with no place to go. Struggling parents are feeling isolated despite the bustling population around them. The Church struggles to be in authentic and healthy community, internally and next door. I hope this bothers us and stops us in our tracks. Good Samaritans know when to stop.


At CareImpact, we are gripped by the sobering realities of our nation. How could we possibly make a difference?! Isn't it time we face this crisis with community and creativity?


Allow me to gush about our vision of a nation where every church is connected and equipped to journey well in community with children and families in hard places. Imagine a future where every child and family finds belonging and hope within a supportive community; where denominations work as one body; where reconciliation bears witness to healing and draws us all closer, and where justice is our worship. If these dreams spark your imagination, we need to chat.


THINGS TO CONSIDER:

  • You are creative! Creator God made you in His image, so lean into it.

  • You need others and others need you. It's not a flaw, but our greatest asset.

  • Pay attention to the things that grip you. God invites you to new possibilities.

  • Prayerfully dream out loud and get creative with others.

  • Create safe spaces to listen to the challenges and dreams of others.

  • You, and others, will be blessed when you redefine your relationship with problems.

  • Consider partnering with CareImpact so we can do better together.


INSPIRING SCRIPTURE:


Romans 12:4-6 ESV

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.


Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.




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