Fearless Intention.

Fearless Intention.

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a meaningful and peaceful Christmas holiday. Ours was mostly meaningful, mostly peaceful, mostly fun and mostly restful. Restful, except for the part where we moved 11 days before Christmas day. But even that, although a bit scattered and hectic, would be a stretch to be seen as anything but a blessing. After renting a place since we moved to Jackson 19 months ago, we finally found a place to settle into and call home. We’re still in lots of boxes and a bunch of mess. You know, the kind of mess where there are small piles of random things scattered about in every room. Stuff you don’t know what to do with. Stuff you could probably part with, but for some reason can’t bring yourself to. Lots of that stuff. But we are getting there.

We were blessed with so much help in our move. Our church family jumped in by the car loads to help us get moved quickly. There were people here helping us practically every day for the first week. Community can overwhelm the heart with gratitude when it operates to bless. And we were blessed. Being a pastor has its perks. πŸ™‚

So after our church Christmas programs and our move, we had Christmas here in Jackson. Then on Christmas day, we hit the road to visit some of Angela’s Tennessee family and then my North Carolina family. We were away for 6 days. I look back on those days and realize that we didn’t do a single thing but eat, sleep and fellowship. And we did lots of all three.Β 

I like to work and I like to stay busy. The past two years have been the busiest of my life. So it isn’t without notice from me that on night 1 of our Christmas travels – night 1 of vacation from any work, any computer, any singing or worship planning – I slept 10 hours. 10 HOURS. I haven’t done that since before having kids. And to top it off, I fell asleep on a couch in the middle of a family Christmas party. This old man was t-i-r-e-d.Β 

The rest of the nights followed suit. Got lots of much needed sleep and deep rest. Ahhhhh. It was nice.Β 

As nice as it was, it is indeed good to be back home, and getting ready for routine to settle in. I love routine. My expectations are high for this week. I’m ready to be intentional about my days…my tasks…my assignments…my encounters…my relationships…my yes’s and no’s. I have so much I want to align and do better this year. Don’t you?

And I want to be more intentional about my blog this year, too. It seems I’ve lost my writing voice since our move here to Jackson. Not completely. But I definitely have not only been lax in how frequently (or infrequently) I’ve written, but also with what I’ve written. I’ve used this as a place to throw up ministry announcements and video recaps and the like. And those things are necessary and good. But I haven’t really said anything on here in a good while. It’s not like I’m a theologian or breaking any literary ground with this wee little blog. But I do like to dialogue with you all about the things of life and ministry and music and worship and family and the walking out of our faith in this generation.Β 

Part of my silence is obviously due to the fact that our move and my new calling here at Englewood re-distributed the margin of my life. It didn’t completely take away what margin I had. But it did bring so much more “must do’s” into my days that I rarely had any time to sit down and write. And when I did have some time, I would be so exhausted I couldn’t put two sentences together.Β 

There has been this other weird thing about me these past couple of years that I can’t really define. It’s been a fear, maybe? No, not fear, really. Well, maybe a little. But it’s been what I guess I would call a hyper-sensitivity to peoples’ perception of what I say or do. Yeah, I guess that would be a fear of sorts. Fear of man. It’s always been something I’ve dealt with (and often times not dealt with). Does that make sense? I’ve crawled into this hole of not saying much of anything, because I’ve let the fear of what people would think or how they would respond cause me to just keep my big mouth shut. And I guess in some regard that can be a good thing. An ‘accountability’ thing. But I have failed to take those moments to step out and dialogue about the things of ministry and life that aren’t as easily segmented into black and white. I’m not exactly sure why. It seems in this blogging / facebooking / tweeting generation, a sense of hyper-criticism has set into our tones. And everything that anybody says is held under such a critical light, it has made me shy away from saying much of anything at all. And before you think I mean that I have not fallen prey to this critical spirit myself, let me say that I have, and that is why I have seen it so clearly. Do people just annoy you sometimes because of what they blog or tweet or say in print somewhere, and you just kind of develop a question in your mind of their character and motives? Yeah, me too. I’ve annoyed myself a thousand times. And I have feared people perceiving me that same way, and so I’ve sort of just shut down.

But shutting down in fear of man is not ever in the plan of God for our lives. Not in any regard. We can be careful, methodical and sensitive with what we say, without neglecting the things God has called us to say, and the personality He’s given us with which to say it. And without letting criticism dictate our tone.Β 

All of that to say…I do want to be intentional, purposeful and obedient with the voice God has given me. And I want you to, too. There’s something about that flip of the calendar that gives us that little push we need to do something different…to do something better.Β Take this moment in time, and ask the Lord to use your voice to really speak like He’s called you to. With intention. With conviction. With purpose. With consideration. With hope. But without fear. And without a critical spirit.

You in? I’m in.

 

 

26 Comments

  1. Nancy Jensen on January 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Happy New Year!

    I hope you have recovered sufficiently from a busy ministry season and your family move. (What were you thinking on the timing of that anyway?) Anyone who can sleep in the midst of a family gathering is in much need of some down time.

    I’m in for living without fear and quenching any hint of a critical spirit. Great direction to set our focus for the new year.

    All the best to you and yours.

  2. DeeDee on January 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Travis-

    So pumped to read your blog more! As a young songwriter/college senior, I love reading what you have to say. My mom even got me “Surprised by Worship” for Christmas this year. Thanks for all you do!

  3. Deidre on January 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    You just diagnosed my problem in one blog post. After a few criticizing comments on my blog, I have shut down and not shared half of what I normally would. I’ve never thought of that as fear eventhough fear is precisely what I am working through with the Lord right now. Yet … FEAR it certainly is.

    Thank you! Gives me perspective.

  4. vanessa on January 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    That’s a great desire for the new year! I am in. πŸ™‚ Blessings to you and your family!

  5. Andy Wright on January 2, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Happy New Year, It was great seeing you in Southaven on Dec. 17th.

  6. Adam on January 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Bless you, bro! For God had not given you a spirit of fear, but of POWER, of LOVE, and a SOUND mind! I stand with you!

  7. Ruth on January 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Thank you for this post! I love reading your blog and look forward to hearing more from you soon. May God continually bless you as you keep blessing all of us in serving Him wholeheartedly!

  8. Kim Bounds on January 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Glad to hear you got some much needed rest. πŸ™‚

  9. Ken Porter on January 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I’m in Travis!

  10. Nancy on January 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Yes, my brother!…we are BOTH in! Happy New Year! Lord bless you and those you love, Travis! Thanking God for you!

  11. Cindy Moses on January 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you for being honest. I, too, have found that the pace of life has kept me from much blog writing, but that it is as much a reluctance to be under the critic’s magnifier that has kept me from writing than anything I had “to do”. You’ve already spoken to someone in the new year. πŸ™‚
    Blessings on you and your family in 2012!

  12. Dana Goodwin on January 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Oh, snappers! I didn’t expect to get a word just now BUT I DID. Gonna pray what you recommended. This is a big deal. Happy New Jeerth to you and your family!

  13. Steadfast and Faithful on January 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    We’re in! We stand as a light among the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome! His government is one that will never decrease!

  14. Leslie on January 2, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Travis,
    Thank you for taking the time to write this. I have wrestled with this same thing in posts and comments on blogs in various and sundry places. I have worried about the backlash from the community, but am realizing that I can’t sit on that fence if I am a follower of Christ. So I appreciate the reminder to be mind “FULL” when I start to write…and know that the greatest Author of all time is the critic I am most wanting to please-
    Leslie

  15. Bitsy on January 3, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Glad you are writing again. Speak your heart, dude. Let us know what God is placing there. Chances are some of us are dealing with similar circumstances… and your words may be the words of healing, correction, or encouragement that we need to hear. πŸ™‚

    Give my love to Angela! πŸ™‚ Take care, friend!

  16. Holly Smith on January 3, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Tell you what, Brother…I’m of a mind that if you (and I mean “I”) start feeling critical or snarky, then it is time to unplug and reconnect one on one with God until I (and I really mean “I”) am safe to be around again…just my thoughts at 12:39 am, after listening to Louie’s talk tonight live streaming. I am all for focused listening to God’s heart this year. Asking Him to help me focus and hone into what He’s saying.

    By the way, you have the best wife ever…she marked last year with one of the few really GREAT things about 2011. Prayer group reconvenes tomorrow. Best BEST thing ever. For last year? It was mostly hard…

    Wish y’all lived next door….praying for the Cottrell family. We love y’all so!
    Holly

  17. Kaye Grable on January 3, 2012 at 2:47 am

    WOW….now I know why God woke me at 2:00am with the urge to get on FB; I’m not that much of a ‘FB junkie’! I am so blessed from the incredible annointing God has on your life and excited, now, to see that your fears can no longer ‘hush’ the messages God has for me…for us..through you! (ps..is my room ready yet?) Love you all bunches!

  18. Angela Smith on January 3, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart and “keeping it real” in your blog and your worship.

  19. Johanna on January 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Travis

    It’s so good to start this week off with this post; thank-you!

    Speaking with intention – I love that, and am pondering it, and what it should look like in my life. I’ve been thinking of intentionality with my time, and I love this added piece of intentionality with my speaking, too.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you more this spring; I sense a neat season in front of you.

  20. Debi DeLoney on January 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

    This is totally what has happened to me since leaving Christian Radio in Florida and moving to Colorado. I would read alot of blogs….and think to myself…..really? I don’t think I would say that outloud to anyone! But not in a judgemental way….it’s just something I wouldn’t do. So I haven’t blogged either. So happy for you and the fam!! I will find out today if I get a job with a HUGE Christian station out this way….best to you for 2012!!

  21. deb schneider on January 3, 2012 at 9:45 am

    hi Travis, so glad to see you writing some more, have missed hearing from you on FB, God bless you and your family this year of 2012 and i know about moving before Christmas, we had a house fire in 2009 and moved back into our house Christmas eve 2010, after living away for almost a year it was great choatic Christmas morning just knowing we were finally home made it all worth it! (you are right though, where do we get all this “stuff” and where does it hide?) lol

  22. Holly Solomon Barrett on January 3, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Look forward to reading your blog this year! I’ve been pretty quiet on my own blog too…and with my own blog, I can totally relate to what you said above.

    I wonder though if some of the silence has to do with being on staff. I just came on staff at my church last February and sometimes feel that there is enough criticism going around without inviting it by sharing some of the things that float around in my own head! πŸ™‚

    I don’t know…but I’m with you about not giving into the fear and being more intentional this year…with my blog and everything else too!

  23. Ashleigh on January 3, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Hey Travis, this was a great blog, I appreciated what you said about being intentional and purposeful. God bless you and your family!
    ++

  24. Paige on January 5, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Travis, it’s that “being on the podium” WEEKLY that makes you painfully aware of the power of your words, good or bad. Speaking the truth means sometimes making people mad – maybe you’re a “people pleaser” and the thought of someone not liking you is more painful than speaking the truth when it needs to be said?
    I don’t know this from personal experience (I hate being in front of people), but I’ve watched my husband struggle with this for 16 years. Even with the longevity at our church, he STILL clams up sometimes…he’s learning/accepting, though that sometimes you have to take the bullet. Does that make sense??
    I haven’t read the other comments, but just wanted you to know you’re not alone…:)

  25. rhonda on January 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    “IN!”

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