A New Way to Be Human: Abandoning Separation

Our world is a bit of a hot mess. It can be utterly exhausting and overwhelming because there is so dividing us as a people. This last weekend I had the seemingly impossible task of talking about a new way to be human when it comes to judging another human. Judgment is the inhumane way. The human way is love. It’s time for us to abandon what’s separating us and find how we can connect better to one another. One of the most fun parts of this message was in honor of Black History Month, I prepared this message with the thought-provoking voices of African-American leaders Dr. John Perkins and Bryan Stevenson. Race is one of the most divisive issues in our country, including the church, but it’s important that the very things that divide us can be what connect us back to each other.

Truthfully, this was a hard one for me to prepare and preach. There was a lot happening within me as I was preparing this message. I felt like it was in a pressure cooker of judgment. Perhaps my vulnerability will lead you toward some better places, too.

May my own stumbling and fumbling through being made new push you toward a new way to be human. God knows we need less divides and more love in our world.


April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.

Go Good Places Faster

Over the last year of coaching, I’ve seen transformation in individuals that at first was alarming when compared to what I’ve encountered over the last 15 years of work within the local church. The forward movement they experienced, professionally, personally, and spiritually within 2 months of starting a coaching process far exceeds the movement most make within a local congregation over the course of 2 or 3 years ... if ever. I’m increasingly convinced that coaching is an essential part of the discipleship process. Apart from coaching, people are left to simply deal in advice-giving with a splash of religious goods and services. They gain little awareness of whether or not they are living into their purpose toward greater wholeness. Coaching helps people go good places faster.
— Joel DeMott

Five years ago I was trained and certified in coaching as an artful yet developmental science. It has single-handedly been the most profitable training I’ve received in my 20+ years of people and leadership development. It’s my dream that anyone in spiritual leadership would become a coach because it will change how you do leadership by taking people to good places faster.

Joel’s quote above isn’t an uncommon experience from spiritual leaders who’ve completed our coaching certification training through the Center for Advanced Coaching. The movement, progress, and achievements of people who go through a coaching process isn’t rocket science, but it’s certainly a developmental science. We’d see different results if we practiced different tools. If we are to take seriously other’s transformation, we’d do better if we understood more of the art and science of change. We are only able to lead people to places where they need to go if we are going first into good places.

This spring we are facilitating 2 two trainings (Orange County, CA and Chicago, IL) for spiritual leaders who want to take their personal development and people development to the next level. Our 3-days together will be intentionally focused on you first, so you can take the models, tools, and skills to others seeking transformation. It will likely change your own life before you even have an opportunity to change someone else’s life. What do you have to lose?

Learn More + Register HERE.

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The Cure for Too-Much-To-Do

Silence + Solitude - April L. Diaz

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

Ever feel like a hot mess?

How often do you feel like you get to the end of the day and not only is your “to do” list not completed, but its actually longer than when you started the day?

When was the last time you missed a deadline?

How long has it been since you’ve had a solid 8-hours of sleep for a whole week?

When someone asks you how you’re doing, do you respond with “busy!” more often than not?

How many unanswered emails, voice mails, text messages, social media messages, or pieces of snail mail do you have?

Have you ever been tempted to ditch a commitment because you’re just so overwhelmed and exhausted?

How often do you get headaches, feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, or like a thousand pound gorilla is sitting on your chest?

I tend to live life very full, intense, and passionate, which then can look like I’ve got way too much to do for one human. Stress emerges. Impatience surges. My temper flares. I’m scattered and frustrated with everyone, when really I’m the only one to blame. I’m tired and worn out because of my own decisions.

For a decade I went to this place to recover my life. The first Monday of every month I sat on a bench overlooking the ocean to get away with Jesus and learn the unforced rhythms of grace. It didn’t come natural. It actually felt forced in the beginning. It never came at a good time, but I did it. Then, I became a parent and slowly but surely I let go of this monthly rhythm. I created a litany of excuses why I couldn’t take a day to be alone with God. So, for a few years I abandoned the one practice that kept me rooted, grounded, healing, and anchored in the chaos of life.

Last fall I read Invitation to Retreat (Ruth Haley Barton) and was wooed back to this monthly rhythm of silence and solitude. In many ways, my life has never been more full. I don’t have time for this. But I can’t afford not tending to my soul well. Since October, I’ve re-instituted strategic withdrawal on the first Monday of the month. Once again, I am getting away to lonely places where I can withdraw for good reasons so I can fight what’s necessary the rest of the month. It’s intentional and strategic.

If you find yourself eager yet resistant to this kind of rhythm, perhaps these words will weight you into the truth about the cure for too-much-to-do. It’s been the best thing I’ve done for myself in a while.

The cure for too-much-to-do is solitude and silence, for there you find you are safely more than what you do ... You will know this finding of your soul and God is happening by an increased sense of who you are and a lessening of the feeling that you have to do this, that, or the other thing. That harassing, hovering feeling of “have to” largely comes from the vacuum in your soul, where you ought to be at home with your Father in his kingdom. As the vacuum is rightly filled, you will increasingly know that you do not have to do those things - not even those things you want to do.
— Dallas Willard

Friend, strategically withdraw from your life so you can recover it and live freely and lightly. Let’s be the kind of people who live in the unforced rhythms of grace. You are safe and you are loved. (Yes, yesterday I strategically withdrew and took a real rest with Jesus. It was good for my soul. Can’ t wait for March.)