What It's About

TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I Get to Decide If You Care or Not

Humbling truths are the hardest to learn, and there’s only one way to learn this one: others decide if we care; they choose if we’re trustworthy. God’s Spirit will convince us if we’re genuinely concerned.
We may care a great deal, but if someone doesn’t trust us, they don’t think we care. More so, they don’t believe we care. There is still more to do in that relationship.
This truth is irrefutable as much as it’s indispensable. People are never convinced beyond their will, unless God convinces them to trust again. And our prayer is to make the most of that opportunity when it comes.
So, if someone clearly doesn’t trust us, for whatever reason that is real to them, there is no use in being frustrated, whoever we are to them. It’s best to take their side and begin to attempt to see the world from their exclusive perspective. There is no other way.
In fact, this is also the way forgiveness works — from the other person’s viewpoint we get to see a unique ‘truth’ that is as viable as our ‘truth’ is. It might seem that surrendering our standpoint for another person’s is debilitating, but the opposite occurs; to leave our polarised perception to join another’s outlook is liberating. We give ourselves to something bigger than us, which is beneficence for the relationship so everyone wins.
The blessing of shared perspectives is God shows us what others need regarding their care. We become convinced of something new; a knowledge about them and of the context of their lives we didn’t previously have. We’re always enriched in empathy.
Care provides for dignity, which is about respect, and trust cannot be given unless respect is earned.
Empathy enriches,
dignity is fair,
gaining a person’s trust,
is about showing that we care.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Why Your Mental Illness Struggle is Inspiring

Dear Fred,
Your mental illness struggle is inspiring. I know you will disagree, but I hope you will read this and come to understand that you really are an inspiration.
I see the efforts you make just to function. I know the risks you have to take, the faith you must show, simply to do what many people take for granted. Daily things that seem easy to so many. The fact that you do these things when you’re feeling so empty, afraid, and de-energised is inspiring.
The strength you show in your weakness, to share so honestly when you can; I find that amazing. That you can be courageous enough to be vulnerable when you’ve possibly never felt so vulnerable. I want to encourage you. Keep it up. Keep being you!
The fact that you keep showing up the best you can, even on days when you’re unable to leave the house, and especially when some days you feel hopeless and barren, says to me that you’re a fighter and not a quitter. Even if you feel like a quitter.
You have told me you often have no vision for the future, and the present looks so murky. That you keep living each day the best you can, even if it’s harder than anything you thought you’d ever face, portrays a hope in you that displays a powerful faith.
The struggles you face are sometimes so enormous, and yet you keep living the best you can.
I know that in reading these words you still won’t believe me. That’s okay. It’s my truth. That you inspire me. It’s real to me. I’m not just trying to flatter you. You of all people appreciate the truth.
I want you to know that when I thank God for people in my life, I thank Him for you, because He has used you to teach me much about resilience, faith, courage, and a never-give-up and never-say-die attitude.
I don’t pity you, but I do ask God that you’d be rewarded with freedom for the faith you show.
Keep fighting the good fight!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Homeless Indigenous Man’s Compassion

He may well be the most compassionate person I’ve ever met, because an hour with Bradley (yes, that’s his real name) further clarified my perception of compassion.
He inspired me as he shared with me his past, having been a victim of the stolen generations. Yet, truly a litany of things were stolen from him, even to the present day, and reality dawns; that will last long into the foreseeable future. Rage would certainly be understandable, and the seeking of vengeance, too. But Bradley knew there was no point to such responses of pride. He even said that he must watch his pride, for in that is fuel for the wrong decision. Bitterness begets hatred is the understanding he claimed.
In the background of his person are his ancestors, the elders of his land, and his family members. He is not one person, but the fullest representation of his people. He spoke a lot about the warrior, an-eye-for-an-eye aboriginal justice, and the potency of his people, should they wish to fight an oppression that continues today. But he said, instead, the desire for multiculturalism burned within him — to see people of all backgrounds share in an equality of dignity.
And then God showed me something important about him. I could tell he saw into people and could feel others’ pain.
Bradley showed me that compassion given makes people bigger; received it makes people better. He regularly referred to his gift, and before we finished chatting I said his gift was compassion. He heartily agreed. His compassion, for all he had personally suffered, had made him a bigger person.
Using my own metaphors, this is what Bradley taught me about compassion:
Compassion sprouts out of soil fertile with suffering, where humble responses abide.
Compassion emerges when negative responses to suffering are futile, where despair is not an option. His suffering and the suffering of his people are constant, as much as it is real. The history will never simply go away. Unless it’s embraced, it will embitter him.
Neither anger nor despair are an option, for his entire person is a nation. He cannot afford to capitulate. So, what happens when we’re forced to hope in the context of suffering?
Compassion makes us see truth with clarity, as we experience grace aboundingly. Compassion helps us see more readily others in their suffering.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

From Where You Are

We’re limitless within the design of our humanity, yet we go about pretending we have no power. So focused on what burdens our mind, our heart has such little vision for inspiration, never seeing we’re powerful beyond measure from where we are.
From where you are, you have unique insight to make an inimitable contribution within the setting God has placed you.
From where you are,
only you can see what you see,
hear what you hear,
feel what you feel,
think what you think,
and only you can act as you can act.
See what you can from where you are. From where you are, hear all you can. Experience all you can, then ask, “what is this experience for? What is the purpose for which I’ve seen and heard these things?”
From where you are.
Do what you can from where you are.
From where you are, open your heart and mind outbound of your inbound perceptions.
Make of what you see and hear something positive; a worthy, innovative response, a contribution, an investment. Leave a legacy in the moment. From where you are.
Believe in your power to make change occur. Not anything. But everything within your power and control.
Not everything is within the court of our influence, but there are many things that still are. Stay in that sphere of influence, discerning what is mere concern, and do what can be done, to build into the lives of those around you.
From where you are, you are an agent, for the purposes of God, for goodwill and peace and grace.
All that we can do we can still do. Enjoy the truth in this concept and we enjoy the sense of purpose and freedom.
This is the place where our spirit joins with God’s Spirit, where we join and extend the purposes of reality.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

9 Restorative Good Relationship Moments

If we don’t think life is all about our relationships, have a think about how miserable we are when they go poorly. I want to share with you what I think are nine restorative relationship moments.
1.      Intimacy – good relationships feature intimacy, which I define as vulnerability shared courageously in the closeness of trust. Our trust empowers another to trust, and that mutual permission grants access to freedom for both we call respect.
2.      Meeting – all good relationships require a meeting. But just the same there are times when we should continue to meet when the relationship faces trials, as Hebrews says, “not giving up meeting together… but encouraging one another” (10:25). We all want to back out of moments when meeting takes courage — where meeting will involve confrontation.
3.      Confrontation – none of us enjoy being confronted, and not many of us enjoy confronting, but good confrontations — where both parties feel empowered because they’re safe — is so important for relationship happiness. Confrontations implicit of love show that caring is an extension of the truth, because love ensures that the confrontation is productive. Love does not give up nor give in.
4.      Listening – no list on good relationship moments would be complete without the word listening. We see it practiced so rarely, and we may hardly experience it. But, if we can be the ones who can start by listening well enough to understand, our relationships will be all better for it. Listening properly requires great faith to leave aside our needs to serve another person’s first.
5.      Apology – I’m a big fan of Dr Gary Chapman’s five Languages of Apology, for we all speak ‘sorry’ differently. Every great relationship requires every person to apologise. Apology precipitates forgiveness.
6.      Forgiveness – such a complex subject comprising a plethora of relationship moments. Forgiveness is God’s grace, redoubled in human form.
7.      Restoration – transactions of forgiveness are fundamental to restoration.  
8.      Triumph – such a moment is only known beyond the pain of a difficulty reconciled, where both parties add the significant effort of humility to overcome their differences. There can be no triumph moment where one person exudes all the humility, and the other encamps in pride.
9.      Exemplification – as two are exemplars of these great relationship moments, a moment is created where others learn.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

5 Things to Try When Your Grief Continues to Torment You

This is a daunting article to write, for the sheer fact I’m out of my depth.
I’ve suffered sufficient loss and grief to be in the ballpark, but I’m unsure I’ll slide a run all the way home. But seeing God has given me the thought, and shown me a need to wrestle, let me attempt its resolution. 
The reason I feel a little unqualified is, though I’ve suffered ambiguous loss and some complicated grief, I’ve never had raw tormenting grief that would never go away. Like deeply depressive grief that didn’t subside after six or twelve months (which is the focus of this article).
I’ve found through both my own experience and that of others that the rawness of grief tends to last, typically, between a few months and several, but usually less than a year.
This article is for those who are windswept by paralysing grief at least fifty percent of their days, and it’s been nearly a year or over a year since the loss event.
Firstly, my heart goes out to you! Not just for your pain, but also for your loneliness and sense of betrayed isolation. Very few people, perhaps nobody you’ve encountered yet, truly understand. But what you face is true and real. You know it! You cannot reconcile what you feel. So, be gentle with yourself, and know that you know that you know: God knows and feels your pain as acutely as you do. Go gently.
Secondly, even though it’s taking a little longer to come to terms with a new normal, consider your capacity for love to be higher than that of the average person.
Try this perspective out: the person who loves the most in life, gives more of themselves than most, and feels the deepest pain in loss. The more we love, the more we lose when loss comes.
The cost of your grief is the price you paid for your love when you experienced loss. Try and be thankful for what you had without being drawn back too much into that past. If you can’t quite be thankful, I understand and appreciate your effort.
Thirdly, take deliberate impetus. Make plans, especially on good days. On a good day, soon, be ready. On horrendous days, rest and recuperate, and try not to dream up problems. But when the day comes for doing something, be ready. Be prepared to do something you’ve planned for some time to do. Don’t be afraid of doing something new that feels right to do.
Fourthly, let yourself grieve in the faith that says there’s simply more grief to be endured. This understanding believes there’s a passage to travel in grief. Grief feels as if it should be done quite some time before it is. Take courage in the hope that the majority of your grief has been suffered. And whilst you may never feel like you did, take encouragement in the reality that you’re stronger now than ever, even if you don’t feel that way.
Fifthly, take heart that there’s something very special about your loss, and that God will show you this before you’re entirely done with it. He may even show you how your life is redefined by what/who you lost. Perhaps this gift of grief, that/their memory, you’ll carry with you, a part of them/what you had, until you yourself depart.
Love feels like gain until we encounter loss. To lose is to learn the value of love.
How fickle life is that the best causes the worst, but the worst redefines and clarifies what the best really is.
It is said that the butterfly is living proof that raw beauty can come from something pitch dark.