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Lessons from Kermit the Frog


Quincy Brown

4/15/2020

The days of the weeks have blurred together. I believe that this is day 34 of my physical distancing, and I'm trying to find a new rhythm for life and ministry. Of the many things that I've done to maintain some sense of normalcy is 100 push-ups per day, and cardio for 40 minutes while playing Xbox to pass the time quickly (LA Fitness is closed, and my trainer is unable to do virtual training). I exercise in my "make-shift" office in the basement in front of a flat-screen TV. I have to adapt to a new normal.
 
Part of my adaptation is trying to Discern, Dream and Develop the balance between sitcom binge-watching to avoid the news, finding a new sense of normalcy, and managing the expectations of pastoral care during a pandemic outbreak. I've spent more hours on social media in an attempt to support our churches and pastors' work, and I've seen some fantastic work that is helping me move through my blurred life. And I admit, on occasion, to help me de-stress, I occasionally indulge in the Facebook games.

One particular game that captured my imagination was identifying which Muppet character best represents me. As it turns out, Kermit the Frog is what Facebook says describes me best. So, to play along with this assessment, I did a little digging on the green amphibian guest star of Sesame Street. How? Yep, you guessed it: I watched hours of Kermit episodes of him reporting fairy tales for the Sesame Street News Flash, and excerpts from all of the Muppet Movies.

As I binged watched and laughed a lot (my therapy during this pandemic), I recognized that Kermit is a frog out of (swamp) water. Being a frog out of water has enabled Kermit to shift and experiment as things change. Whether he's a guest star on Sesame Street or hosting a group of misfit characters during a weekly variety show, or appearing in several adventures on the big screen, Kermit has demonstrated an adaptable and flexible spirit while being true to himself to dream big and manage expectations. No wonder Kermit says that it isn't easy being green!
 
Here are some of the takeaways I gathered from my Kermit binge-watching and how it can help you to Discern, Dream, and Develop a new routine.
 
DISCERN
Kermit’s Lesson: “Here’s some simple advice...Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, weirdos, bears, pigs, and hecklers from the balcony.” This quote represents Kermit's advice on authenticity. During the stress of COVID-19, it is okay and perhaps even vital to be yourself and be able to laugh at yourself.  Authenticity leads to vulnerability, trust, innovation, and adaptability during change.
 
Q’s Advice: "Be curious and understand your reaction to change." You have to be clear about your operative narrative (the emotions and thoughts that drives the underlying story that unconsciously drives you during a change), so you can be straightforward with others. Be yourself. Try this: Learn to do more asking than telling. Start by asking lots of inviting and open-ended questions to hear the stories of others. Wonder, explore, and pause to consider another's perspective before you judge and decide. Remember to remove the log from your eye before judging the splinter in someone else’s eye (Luke 6:42).
 
DREAM
Kermit’s Lesson: “Take a look above you, discover the view. If you haven't noticed, please do. Please do. Please do.” It's easy for us to move onto the next thing. For the church, it's the next program, the next goal and the next initiative. But it takes real effort to "pump the brakes" to stop for a moment to dream, celebrate, enjoy, and appreciate "the win."
 
Q's Advice: "Create murals instead of taking selfies." Is your dream too limiting? Is your vision board showing your future picture too small? Don't get too attached to small photographs or selfies. Use your imagination and don't be afraid to try something new. Pray for God to reveal to you a God-sized dream for your future that is far beyond all that you can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Try this: Remember the activity from childhood that made you lose track of time when it engaged you. Then go back to your eight-year-old self and ask him or her who or what they want to be and do when they get to your current age. You might be surprised by the answer. 
 
DEVELOP
Kermit’s Lesson: “Every journey begins with a single hop.” Sometimes, things can feel overwhelming. How do we go about doing this: How can this get done in time? How can I motivate and empower my church members and associates to connect and engage with others? Instead of letting the task or project overwhelm you, focus on one step at a time and keep your eyes on the end goal.
 
Q’s Advice: “Create support systems.” Have a permanent and seasonal roster for your support team. Some people are always there for you (e.g., family and church members), and others may be seasonal depending on your season in life (Hebrews 10:24). Try this: Look through your phone contacts (now may be the time to delete some contacts) and identify your permanent and seasonal team players. Send a note to thank the permanent members and stay in touch with the seasonal members once per quarter.
 
Be on the lookout for my next blog where I will discuss adaptive discipleship. If you want to know more about the Discern, Dream, and Develop process and how to apply it to your church life as well, check out Discipleship Path.

On the Journey,


Raw Spoon is the artist name of Ross Boone. He is offering virtual sketchnotes for one free sermon to help churches engage their audiences during this time. Reach out to him if you’d like to take advantage of this! Ross.Boone@RawSpoon.com 
 


 


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