Join us today for Part 2 of the Interview with author, coach, and podcaster Brian Russell...

This is Part 2 of the interview I had with author, coach, and podcaster Brian Russell  

In today’s interview with Brian Russell, I ask Brian about how a deep prayer practice can help us focus on serving others.  I also ask Brian about how prayer can be a part of helping us focus on our calling or mission.  Brian also shares how we can focus on serving without becoming “we know better” type of servants.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1161: Invest in Others - Interview with author, coach, and podcaster Brian Russell – Part 2

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1,160. One of the inspired stewardship podcast.

[00:00:07] Brian Russell: I'm Brian Russell. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talents and your treasure to live out your calling. Live by faith. Be known by love and be a voice of hope.

[00:00:23] Those are the keys in one way to feel those that kind of life is to listen to this. The inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott.

[00:00:33] I've developed a new mindset this year, where every time I see another person, I want to see a thousand people behind them, of all the persons that person is going to touch with their life. And then and that's not to put pressure on myself, but it's a reminder that the way I encounter and engage this other soul.

[00:00:58] Scott Maderer: Welcome and thank you for joining us [00:01:00] on the inspired stewardship podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true calling in the inspired stewardship podcast, who will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence so that you.

[00:01:21] Can impact the world

[00:01:24] and today's interview with Brian Russell. I asked Brian about how a deep prayer practice can help us focus on serving others. I also asked Brian about how prayer can be a part of helping us focus on our calling and our mission. And Brian also shares how we can focus on serving others without becoming we know better types of service.

[00:01:46] One reason I like to bring you great interviews. Like the one you're going to hear today is because of the power in learning from others. Another great way to learn from others is through reading books. But if you're like most people [00:02:00] today, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read. And that's why today's podcast is brought to you by audible.

[00:02:07] Go to inspired stewardship.com/audible to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. There's over 180,000 titles to choose from. And instead of reading, you can listen your way to learn from some of the greatest minds out there. That's inspired stewardship.com/audible to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast.

[00:02:35] Thank you,

[00:02:36] Brian Russell: Scott. It's so great to be here

[00:02:37] Scott Maderer: today. So last week we talked a little bit about centering prayer and some of the other practices and a little bit about your journey. How can centering prayer and these sorts of spiritual disciplines help us become more in tune with the ways that we can serve

[00:02:55] Brian Russell: others.

[00:02:57] Yeah. I love that question. [00:03:00] And the ultimate fruit of centering prayer is. Seeing yourself as God sees you, which is a person loved by God. And that is a wonderful platform then to serve other people because just you simplify the Christian faith, the ethic is love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.

[00:03:26] And. Practice like centering prayer does is it helps us to, again, to see ourselves as God sees us. And then we even have the ability then to love ourselves, even the parts that maybe we were ashamed of or feel guilty about. And as God's grace comes into our lives, unclogs that, that then allows us to really love our neighbors.

[00:03:52] As we love ourselves because a lot of us and that there's, this is no judgment on anyone. It's part of our growth. A [00:04:00] lot of times we love other people out of a brokenness. And and again, we are trying to love others, but sometimes our own junk kind of gets in the way. And centering prayer is one of those practices where God can come into a.

[00:04:13] Even our unconscious area and unclog us of old tapes of our fears of our guilt and of our shame. And so essentially frees us to love others as Bernard of Clairvaux is from medieval monk, he always talked about, you want to serve other people as a reservoir, not as a canal. And what he means by that is a reservoir, the water that you serve, other people with is coming over the.

[00:04:42] Whereas a canal in his days would have been more like a storm sewer. If you live in a big city, it was just, whatever goes into the sewer after a storm, just floods right through and it's gone. And so centering prayer puts you in a position where you are able to serve others out of an abundance of God's love.

[00:04:56] And so those loves love. God love neighbor loves self. They all kind [00:05:00] of swirl together and help us then to authentically serve others out of again, a place of law.

[00:05:07] Scott Maderer: So I know for me when I go into some of the more meditative or silent prayer time and these sorts of experiences I guess sometimes for me it feels like I'm using it as more of an escape.

[00:05:22] It's the one time during the day that I get that moment of silence or that I feel connected. And sometimes it almost feels like I want to just. How can we use this practice? Help us be more of a launch pad than an escape or are, is that even a problem? No. No, I think that's it's yeah, it's sometimes.

[00:05:45] Brian Russell: And again let's just say sometimes it's okay to refuel, right? If you're running really it's good that you can retreat. But the key thing with spiritual practices is it's always a launch pad because God is fueling. For [00:06:00] permission I was your questions. Perfect. I was, I've been reading a book by Thomas Merton who was a famous Catholic.

[00:06:06] He was a meditator. He didn't call it centering prayer because he died before that name was actually coined, but he has a quote from a book called Noman and an island, which I really love. He said, I cannot discover God in myself, in him, unless I have the courage to face myself.

[00:06:21] Exactly. As I am. With all my limitations and to accept others as they are with all their limitations. And what he's getting at is instead of seeing it as an escape, the fact that. Allow God fully into our lives in the silence. It actually changes the way

[00:06:43] Other people and then serves as a fuel that you can go out and serve others because you've seen yourself and received God's unconditional acceptance and it makes it easier than to go on.

[00:06:56] And see that in other people and extend the same [00:07:00] sort of loving service to them. And so there's always the connection between the deepest spiritual practices in mission, as long as we don't lose that, it's never just about us. It's about loving God and loving others as we love ourselves.

[00:07:17] Scott Maderer: So I think one of the areas that I work a lot with people in is finding their calling. That's part of my tagline, part of what I talk about. And yet that's one of those nebulous concepts that I think a lot of times I know I've struggled with it. I think most people do.

[00:07:34] What advice do you have for folks that are maybe struggling around that idea of calling and what it is and what it means to them and how.

[00:07:43] Brian Russell: Yeah. And I think there's a couple things I would want to say. Sometimes that can be a calling. If you have a real sense of purpose, obviously is it's like a super power and it's something that pulls you rather than just pushes you or that you're running away from.

[00:07:59] You can run [00:08:00] towards something. So it's a real blessing people get, I think. Trap though when they think of calling is a narrow pathway. And so at some level, I think it's important and this isn't a cop out answer. I'll try and make it more specific. It's always important to understand that as followers of Jesus, if you want to say talk specifically up to Christians here.

[00:08:25] Love God love neighbor as yourself is the calling it's to live our lives as persons loved by God. And so now that's pretty broad. And so what that does though, is you can fit a lot of things into that broader calling. And then I think what you just essentially have to learn how to do it. Is then look at your unique talents.

[00:08:46] The Bible always talks about the gifts of the body, and we tend to in the church glorify say the pastor or different things, but. Every single person that's born were persons loved by God. [00:09:00] And we have talents. Sometimes those get pushed out of us by the way we grow up or even by the school system.

[00:09:06] But it's like recognizing my job here is to love God and love others. As myself and I love others as myself, when I take my unique talents and find a way to offer that in loving service to others. So that can be a lot of different modes. Like some people are really great at serving. Some people make the world beautiful.

[00:09:28] Good. I was walking through my neighborhood the other day and the lawn landscapers are out there that are homeowner, that our homeowners association works through. And I just think the guys like thank you guys. They're all pulling weeds. So I stopped and thanked them for making the the neighborhood beautiful.

[00:09:44] And it was just funny. They one of the, two of the folks just spoke Spanish and the one guy that could speak to. I told him in Spanish, what I said, they just got these huge smiles on their face. And sometimes you don't think that's a calling, but making the world beautiful as a calling, everything that we can do as a calling.

[00:09:59] So [00:10:00] it's the point is tap into what you're good at that you can do essentially effortlessly. And then try to find work that allows you to do that. Or if your job does it, obviously you want to find hobbies that allow you to do that and you can live out your calling without again, it comes sums. It's quietly.

[00:10:21] Some of it's more public, but that's some of the advice. Now another piece that you can do to get it. Would essentially be to ask something like imagine this is one of my coaching questions. When we try to get a calling imagine yourself when you're thriving and it's your very best, and that can be in anything.

[00:10:37] But imagine when you're at your very best, make a list of the words and adjectives that would describe that. And just say, try to go for 20 words or whatever, but then once you do that, And I shouldn't give that little coaching away yet, but if you just make a list and you want a lot of words, then make yourself pick the five.

[00:10:59] That seems what [00:11:00] really resonate. And then I think you can find your calling out of figuring out where do you use those five values? Where do they show up most in your life? And that can be a really powerful way to at least move to it again, without saying it has to be one specific thing, cause there's a lot of ways you can live out your call.

[00:11:18] Scott Maderer: One of the things that, that I think I've seen too, when we talk about service that can be a danger or a little bit of a trap. And I've seen it. I will be honest, a lot in the Christian Church is taking this attitude of you've mentioned several times, love God, love your neighbor as yourself.

[00:11:37] That means sometimes that we take the approach of we know what's best for our neighbor and a little pretend, turn holistic, a little superior whatever phrase you want to do that I live in a very rural Fairly low socioeconomic area. And we've had that sometimes as a church where we've come in and oh, we know [00:12:00] what's best.

[00:12:00] No, we didn't. How can we use these practices to help us avoid that as a trap that we could fall into?

[00:12:10] Brian Russell: Yeah, the great I love that. And that is one of the dangers, because sometimes you even say, oh, you just go serve. You'll feel better. You'll feel really great about what you did. And I always think it's you're supposed to try to serve the other folks.

[00:12:20] And you have the by-product is you may, and you may enjoy it. But the danger is again, a paternalism that happens consistently in mission trips and everything. I think the key trait that you want to develop when you're serving others or want to serve others is just a deep curiosity. Cause you want to understand the others are not assume so if you can just be super curious and be a great listener.

[00:12:44] One of my mentors, Dr. Robert toddle he has this great phrase that I just love. You says, show up, pay attention. God has way more invested in this than you. And I love that because the pay attention and that's where the [00:13:00] spiritual practices can come in. The process of intentional journaling, centering prayer sitting in silence, you've you learn to step back and you can see how distracted you are.

[00:13:12] And you've learned to surrender that to God by. It's almost like power washing the inside of your head in a way when you clean out all the cobwebs, when you encounter another soul. And that's what we're talking about now, we're encountering another soul person loved by God. Just as much as you are, you can be curious about the person and listen to see what they really need.

[00:13:35] Versus what you think they need. And one of the, and this is a new mindset that I'm trying to develop. I've had a remarkable month at some more. Just literally last three weeks has been profound, but I've developed a new mindset this year where every time I see another person, I want to see a thousand people behind.

[00:13:57] Of all the persons that [00:14:00] person is going to touch with their life. And then and that's not to put pressure on myself, but it's a reminder that the way I encounter and engage this other soul is going to have a ripple effect, even if it's just how I treat them going to through the grocery store line, talking about the cashier or something, but let alone a person that I feel like the Lord's calling me to serve.

[00:14:19] I want to see. Thousand to 10,000 people behind them, that they were going to touch and the not as a way of putting pressure on, but as a reminder, that how I show up and treat this person may have unknown implications for all eternity. And I just love that. So I'm just trying to see people as all the souls that they're going to serve to.

[00:14:39] And when you think about it that way, and then it doesn't become paternalistic instead, it's more. You're just extending God's love in the moment after being curious enough about the person to see what they really need, which may just be a smile.

[00:14:52] Scott Maderer: You can follow Brian on Twitter as Brian D. Russell, or follow him on Instagram as your [00:15:00] professor for life. He's also over on LinkedIn is Brian Russell PhD. You can also watch some videos that he's got on YouTube as deep dive spirituality with Dr. Brian Russell. That's Dr. Brian Russell, or the best place probably is over on his website.

[00:15:19] Brian Russell phd.com. Of course I'll have links to all of that as the sh in the show notes as well. Brian, is there anything else you'd like to share with the LR?

[00:15:29] Brian Russell: Yeah. Thank you for all the links and just encourage the listeners to. If you're interested in centering prayer, you can check out my book.

[00:15:37] That's been out since the fall of 2021, centering prayer sitting quietly in God's presence can change your life. And if I can be of any service to you, you can check out all my free resources, or if you want to go a little deeper, just reach out to me. I'd love to serve you.

[00:15:50] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the inspired. Podcast as a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back [00:16:00] and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes rate.

[00:16:18] All one word. iTunes rate, it'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed until next time, invest your time, your talent and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.


In today's episode, I ask Brian about:

  • How a deep prayer practice can help us focus on serving others...
  • How prayer can be a part of helping us focus on our calling or mission...
  • How we can focus on serving without becoming “we know better” type of servants...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

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I’ve developed a new mindset this year where every time I see another person I want to see a thousand people behind them of all the persons that person is going to touch with their life. - Brian Russell

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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