I felt significance in knowing that his heart was impacted by mine. This is what authentic community can do: create connection and, through it, spur one another on to love and good works.
I am a big Karen Crowe fan. If you have had the great fortune to spend time with her, then I’m sure you are as well. Her very presence brings me rest and her smile lights up a room. She works hard to stay in touch with her own heart and to hear from the Father. The beauty that brings out in her invites me to do the same. I’m grateful for her offering on the impact of using the State of Your Heart tool.
– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator
Guest Post by Karen Crowe
Twice a month the Wellspring staff meets via videoconference to connect, update each other on our projects, and sometimes collaborate. We always send out a State-of-Your-Heart update (SOYH) in advance, and we always spend some time covering each other. It’s one way we maintain authentic community within our organization; you can’t effectively teach others what you’re not practicing yourself.
Last year I sent my co-workers the following SOYH:
Overall my heart is stirred up, but not in a negative way. I had a long "creative" meeting with Larry last Friday discussing new content for the Battle for Your Marriage. Larry and I really spark each other's ideas and thinking, which is both productive and fun. Some of the content we talked about has been simmering in my mind all weekend, and I am eager to get to work on it.
Getting back into the BYM work makes me thoughtful about my own marriage. There is a back-and-forth flow between work and my personal life here. The content we’re creating – marriage in the Larger Story, our essence as husbands and wives, the Way of Humility in marriage – all affect how I relate to Andy. And what I experience in relationship shapes my thinking about the content. I get new insights to ponder and ideas to bring to the creative process. As Larry and I spent time in listening prayer about the project, I had a deep sense of God affirming this back-and-forth flow. It seemed He was saying, “This content will come out of the fruit of your life.”
Thinking: The different elements of my life are connected, even if I can’t see how. God is working through them, and I don’t have to figure it all out. I just have to stay close to Him and trust my life will bear fruit.
Feeling: Restful. Expectant. Energized for the BYM work and for being Andy’s wife.
Desiring: Impact. Intimacy. Adventure.
Choosing: To live in the moment today – to slow down whenever I feel myself trying to pull ahead and live in the future. To keep thinking about my experiences and writing about them. What I write will be raw material that will eventually make a difference to other couples – not by itself but as it gets refined by the creative process with Larry and the ongoing experience of living it out in my marriage.
About a week later, I got this email back from Brian, my friend and co-creator of instructional materials:
Karen’s update last week stirred up a desire in me. Her expressed desire for adventure amidst those connected areas of her life rubbed my desire for adventure.
I have been bored lately. Pressed and busy but also bored. I was looking forward to going white water rafting this summer, but current circumstances make it wise to wait until next year. I am disappointed.
Something occurred to me when I read Karen’s update and spent a few minutes in prayer. My life is filled with adventure, but I have been looking at it wrong.
With a different lens, these responsibilities:
- Have to put in the part-time hours at work and bring home income.
- Should produce good materials for WG.
- Need to figure out what jobs to apply for and apply.
- Roll out of bed tomorrow, and do it all over again.
Become these adventures:
- Love my wife and future kids by providing even while job hunting!
- Create materials that will have lasting impact on leaders who then impact participants, who then impact their families, friends, and coworkers . . . while enjoying my extended opportunity to be part of a team I love!
- Explore my options, decide what career fields and positions would delight my heart, and pursue them, meeting a lot of interesting people along the way!
- Hop out of bed tomorrow, and let the adventure continue!
Thoughts: If I take on this hopeful perspective, I will find desires fulfilled that I’ve been ignoring while sitting with the pain of waiting for other desires to be fulfilled.
Emotions: Hopeful, excited about the possibility of enjoying this season.
Desires: Adventure, connection, hope, joy, and delight.
Choices: Being intentional about shifting my perspective. Giving voice to all my desires, but spending more time with the ones that are finding expression in this present season.
Reading Brian’s heart update filled me with joy. I felt seen and heard because he identified with my deep desire for adventure. I felt significance in knowing that his heart was impacted by mine. This is what authentic community can do: create connection and, through it, spur one another on to love and good works.
That’s why we stay in the Battle.
One Step Further:
Most recently, how has God reminded you that your heart is worth fighting for?
How are you using the State of the Heart tool to engage your own heart and then share it with others?
Where might God be calling you to connect more deeply with him, with your own heart, or with others?
Karen Crowe loves to write, think, and take on the creative challenges of designing new materials and events, and She also enjoys the relational satisfaction of coaching Wellspring facilitators. Karen and her husband Andy have three children, aged teen to young adult.
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