You Might Be a Youth Worker

Youth Worker Mastermind Group - Vision

You might be a youth worker if Mondays are hard. I mean, come on! Sunday happens every.single.week ... it's every 7 days without exception (Wednesdays too for that matter). You've hardly recovered from the ministry year and it's summer. The pace can be relentless.

This summer your bed is basically a sleeping bag somewhere in the world on any given week which isn't terrible when you have air conditioning. You hope your spouse and kids remember what you look like come August. For real. But summer is what we live for - intensive experiences where we see God move in crazy big ways and the heaviness that can be ministry is lightened when decisions and breakthroughs happen. You get to be creative, have meaningful conversations, call out gifts, empower leaders, and use your adaptability muscle when flights get cancelled or they run out of s'more ingredients for the campfire. Summer is something special and it may very well renew your vision.

Summer captures your fun factor but it also brings up your insecurities - communicating with anxious parents, delegating responsibilities to other leaders, and keeping track of all the details (especially the dollars and cents). Oh, and the school year kickoff is looming. But summer also raises the warning flag about your own relationship with God. Your soul's health is tested and exposed in intense seasons like this. Sometimes it feels like you're teaching about an intimate faith you haven't lived in a while. (Can I get an amen? Just me?)

But you believe in this Jesus stuff. It's the vision of it all. You might be a youth worker if you truly believe in this stuff although the church frustrates you so much at times you could scream. Privately you share on Facebook groups and with your buddies that you feel like you're more on the outside of your church's theology and cultural temperature than you wish. But you love these students and you believe in what you're building. So you suck it up and wish for change. There's an inner angst that won't go away. It's one of the reasons you connect best to teenagers.

You might be a youth worker if you check Instagram every hour and Facebook on the daily. You use it for connection to other youth workers, parents, and college friends but it can also foster a more loneliness and the sense that you're not doing enough. It's a gift until it's a curse.

You might be a youth worker if your smart phone is a couple versions older than the newest version, drive a car that's way past the extended warranty, and your jeans are tighter than is comfortable anymore. You're barely making it some months and your savings account can't really be saving for anything. You're stretched in every way. You're settling for some things in your body and relationships that you know aren't the best for you. There's a low burn in your soul that you can't ignore because you've ignored it for too long already. You're not in youth ministry as a stepping stone, but you also know you can't do this forever. What's your vision, friend? 

Now what? You need...

leadership development with a youth ministry twist
and spiked with spiritual formation

That's a cocktail for life! You hope for change. You long for transformation but it's scary what that may require. You want to be an influential voice that leads change within your church, but you're not there yet. You get that you might be a seasoned youth worker when you realize that being cool isn't nearly as important as being a warm presence for teenagers to be with. As you swing home from work tonight and pick up a quick dinner along the way, you thank God for work that matters with people you love. And you ask God for more - more wellness, more connection, more rest, more effectiveness. Lift your heads above the clouds.

You might be (some version) of this youth worker. There is more. This fall, 10 youth workers from all over the country will walk with each other so they can become better versions of themselves and in turn better leaders for their ministries. They'll get you because they are you. Can you sense this is the right next step for you? Then, check out more of the details HERE or just jump in and ...

Don't allow this opportunity to pass you up.

If You are Her

April L. Diaz

She is more committed to Jesus than her organization or denomination. She's more frustrated with the Church than she can talk about publicly because she is committed to who she's intended to be though she causes her pain. She's working to prove herself because her workplace isn't safe enough for her to relax into her truest calling and gifting.

She feels like an outsider in most spaces because of her gender and some of her beliefs, but she longs to belong. She's a closeted feminist because it's not entirely safe to be out there.

She reads Jen Hatmaker because she feels like a sister and laughter is close by, and she reads Rachel Held Evans because she feels more like the strong woman than the "helper" she's been told she's supposed to be. But she's reading more and more voices on the margins because she's more aware than ever that she is one.  She listens to podcasts more than reads books because life is always moving fast but she's always learning. She has a #metoo story that she rarely shares fully.  

She's strong and comes across strong and is often told she's too strong. Yet she feels weak on the inside. 

She has a college degree. She's several years into this gig. Her family is everything but  she wants more for her family than she's currently got. She's concerned about her wellness in body, mind and spirit, but too often it doesn't get the attention she knows she deserves. On her days off she shops at H&M and the Anthro sales rack, but online shopping is WAYYYYYY easier and a little less intimidating. Amazon Prime is bookmarked because getting what's needed in 2-days is pretty much the best thing ever. She uses a Mac and has an iPhone because it's both creative and efficient. She doesn't meal plan but wishes she did, because GOOD LORD that'd be so helpful. Speaking of food, it's a love language. She wants to eat healthier than she does. Takeout dinner and multiple grocery runs some how win out every week. She gets pedicures for self-care but there's so much more to unearth.

She is everything and she wants more.

Is she you?

If you resonate with her, Eden mastermind coaching group is for you. This group was designed with you in mind. You may feel like you're an outsider, but you're in. Reflecting on your story creates clarity and a way forward. 

You are her. I am with you. You are not alone. 

Apply HERE. Limited spots remaining.

The Global Fringe

Once upon a time there was a girl who had a thousand dreams and a deep desire to see whole the world. She went on adventures and fell in love with the people she met, the countries she visited, the food she ate, and the lessons she learned. "Let's always be adventurers", she said. Thankfully, her favorite person (aka her husband), was also an adventurer and together they dreamed about the adventures they'd take their kids on and how they could together contribute their whole selves to make the world a more beautiful place. 

On her many adventures, she met so many unbelievable people who found themselves outside the majority. They were on the fringe - misfits, outlier, rabble rousers, dreamers, creatives, and leaders in their own rites. They were people who helped her see the world bigger than she could imagine. They taught her about their cultures, food, perspectives, world views, traditions, and ways of doing life and work. They were outside the mainstream, but found their way to make invaluable contributions to this globe. These people blew her mind, enlarged her heart, and made her believe we were meant for more. She was never the same after meeting these people.

Welcome to The Global Fringe.

I never imagined myself hosting a podcast, but today one was launched!! It is so, so, so good because the guests on this podcast are beyond smart, hungry, humble, and provocative. They are leaders and learners. They're bridge builders and instigators. They are wildly creative because they've had to figure out how to change the world as a minority. Some of the names you'll know if you're in their sector, but some of them you will learn and instantly want to follow more. It is so fun to have conversations with friends, mentors, and wise people who are leading us to be more in our bodies, minds, and spirits.

At the heart of it, here's what The Global Fringe is all about:

If you want to experience more of our complex, diverse world, lean in to these stories.
If you've ever found yourself on the fringe of culture, this is for you.
Our hope is that in the next few minutes you feel seen, emboldened, and compelled to more. Welcome in...

The first two episodes are launched and it'd mean so much to me if you'd subscribe, listen, review, and share!! We're just getting started...

Massive props and thanks to the one and only, my producer, Michael Yoder for breathing life and vision into this podcast. If you're interested in launching your own podcast or starting a website, you've got to reach out to him at Truth Work Media.

Moving from Scarcity to Abundance

Nature - Ocean Walk.jpg

Last month I wrote about how Scarcity is a Shame Conversation and it generated a lot of feedback and "me too" confessions. It seems like a lot of us struggle with that conversation but don't know how to change it. The time is now to start a new conversation in our minds and out loud to change the conversation to one of abundance. While I am still on a journey to being a person of abundance, I want to extend ideas of how I've moved toward abundance in my life. These practices (and I'm sure others) have propelled me toward an abundance mentality. What are your practices?

BEAUTY.

Hydrangea Red and Orange.jpg

I remember a season several years ago that caused some deep, deep pain in my life. The ache the loss caused was visceral and palpable. My spiritual director advised me that my prescription was radical self-care and that I needed to surround myself with beauty so I could see the potential of what was beyond me. Scarcity is about lack, not enough. Beauty calls out that there is so much life all around us. Nature is where I see it most clearly. 

Today I was battling that old scarcity mentality, so I took a walk. Before I would've let the "not enough" take me out for the day. No more! I walked around our neighborhood for over an hour, capturing images of beauty that reminded me of this great big world and all that's available for me, with me, and toward me. Beauty redirects my perspective to what's more for me, around me, within me, and beyond me.

GRATITUDE.

Beauty leads me to gratitude, too! Beauty compels gratitude. When I want to drown my worries in "not enough", worst-case-scenario thinking, I've disciplined my soul to express gratitude. Saying "thank you" for gifts and acts of service has been a value for ages, but the discipline of gratitude is re-wiring my brain for abundance. Everyday I rehearse what I'm grateful for...

Death_to_Stock_Equinox_9.jpg
  • I'm grateful for my man who loves me and is committed to partnership in every area of life.
  • I'm thankful for the growth and wellness of 3 miracle babies.
  • I'm thankful for work that I love.
  • I'm grateful for a home in a neighborhood that's absolutely stunning.
  • I'm grateful we live in our dream location.
  • I'm grateful for natural solutions for my body, mind, and spirit.
  • I'm thankful for the view outside my living room and kitchen.
  • I'm grateful for friends who reach out and ask how I'm doing. 
  • I'm thankful for my home team and that they know the best and worst of who I am.
  • I'm grateful for coffee in the morning and wine at night.

...and the gratitude list goes on and on. I will speak my gratitude list for as long as I need until my mentality shifts from lack to fullness. I will practice thankfulness until my anxiety and anger are transformed into an overflowing heart.  

CONTENTMENT.

Gratitude moves me into contentment for what I have right now. The secret of being content is knowing you have all you need in this moment to be sustained. The crazy thing about scarcity is that it causes you to acquire more, even when you can't afford it. Debt is often about scarcity in my experience. Hurriedness is about a lack of time instead of doing what you can do with the time and energy given to you. Contentment flips the conversation. It moves me into "I'm ok with what I have right now." It doesn't remove the longing for more and it certainly doesn't cause you to settle, but it doesn't force what can't be afforded in time, money, or energy right now. Contentment believes it will come at the right time and there's work you need to do before you get there. Shame sinisterly says, "You are not enough. You are not worthy. You do not have enough and you should get more." Contentment whispers, "You are enough just as you are." Breathe.

Reading Book.jpg

PEOPLE.

I noticed a pattern in my life of being attracted to others who have a scarcity mentality. Scarcity attracts scarcity. I began paying attention to their language and posture. It usually revealed itself in their language of there not being enough (business, money, opportunities, time, whatever!) for everyone. They needed to hold on to what was "theirs" (and some of what wasn't!) in an almost possessive and compulsive way. They had to collect and preserve what had been given to them out of fear that it may be taken away.

Re-training my mentality has required me listening to, following, and learning from those who are abundantly full in their lives. This doesn't mean rich people only in a financial capacity. Abundant people are rich in their souls. They don't see a law of diminishing returns, but of grace creating more life. I've committed myself to posturing myself to run toward those voices and cut out voices that reinforce the dangerous perspective of "what's mine is mine". Abundance attracts abundance.

GENEROSITY. 

When you are free, you can be generous in your whole life. Money is a tool to bless others and make the world a better place. The best way through financial scarcity is to give away what's only yours to steward anyway! Your time is to be stewarded to invest in another's life. Don't believe you have enough time in your day? Prioritize what you must do and watch it get done. The gifts that have been given to you are to be shared with the world and multiplied beyond what they could be on their own. Generosity opens your hands and allows you to let go. 

VISION BOARD.

This is a new one for me! Living full of abundance means honoring the vision and dreams in my bones and letting them out. For too long I've held back in life and leadership. I've contained what I dream as possible within me and lived too safe. Scarcity has lied to me that it's not possible. Creating my vision board reminds me what's possible and calls it out of me. 

 My Current Vision Board (as of April 2018)

My Current Vision Board (as of April 2018)

FORGIVENESS.

I've realized that some of my scarcity thinking is because of hurt others have caused me. It's caused me to hunker down, defend what's mine, protect what I have, instead of run for what's possible. My lack of forgiveness for offenders has been like drinking poison and expecting them to die. Forgiveness is more for me than it is for them. Forgiveness is about letting go of what was so I'm open to receive what can be. Forgiving another's offenses offers fullness of life because I have also been forgiven beyond what I deserve.

FUTURE FORWARD.

What was true yesterday doesn't have to repeat itself tomorrow - bad relationships, debt, unsatisfying jobs, tyranny of the urgent. Way too often we look back in our lives as the way forward, instead of learning from the past and using it as a catalyst to create the life we want to life today and tomorrow. Being a person of abundance means that we look to the future with all the trust and faith we can muster. It means telling the past that it doesn't have to repeat itself in the future.

A while back I posted a meditation from Fr. Richard Rohr about this subject. You can find it HERE.

May all these words serve you well in your own journey toward abundance. May you find yourself full of all that is and letting go of the restraints and self-limitations of the past.

May you know you are loved by a very good God who desires to give you all the goodness you are able to receive. 

 

My Podcast: The Global Fringe Coming Soon

Yeti-1251.jpg

I love stories. Particularly, I love stories of people who are different from me, expand my vision, and show me a bigger perspective of the world, and remind me that I'm not alone. This coming week I'm launching a podcast that will do exactly that for you and me!

GFArtwork.png

The Global Fringe:
hosted by April L. Diaz

My podcast will be a collection of stories from my friends and those I've learned from in my own journey. They are predominantly stories from women and/or people of color who have so much to teach us about what it's like to live on the fringe of our culture. The guests I'm hosting on the show are people who are making an extraordinary difference in the world and carry a global perspective we need so much in our world today. 

My guests will make you laugh, think, (re)consider your own beliefs and values, and spur you toward your own preferred future. The stories we tell will guide you toward more in your body, mind, and spirit. Our stories will connect with your story because we are all a part of one big grand story together. In it all, you will find life and next steps to living yours even better. 

Stay tuned! Be ready to subscribe on iTunes, share, and review. PLEASE AND THANK YOU. 
The first episodes are coming out soon!!

Wanna sneak peak?!?!
Here's the intro episode...


** If you are interested in starting a podcast, you have to connect with my producer, Michael Yoder at Truth Work Media. He'll make it easier than you think!