Toddlers and Tiaras?!

I was shocked to discover some of the names of current “reality” television shows, including Toddlers and Tiaras (yes, very young girls being paraded in front of judges in beauty pageant glamour). Or, how about Extreme Couponing; Hoarding: Buried Alive; Real Housewives (of Orange County, New Jersey, or New York); 16 and Pregnant; My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding; 19 Kids and Counting; Bachelor; and Bachelorette; just to name a few. Anyone else out there flabbergasted or appalled by this phenomenon?

If these shows truly depict “reality” and viewers are flocking to them by the tens of thousands, then I’m not quite sure what the word “reality” has become in our day. Are these shows depicting your reality?

When I sit with leaders young and old I hear about their daily reality. Issues in real life encompassing topics such as relational challenges, physical limitations, vocational pursuits, spiritual desires, and financial needs. Each person or team is seeking answers to deep, lingering questions about the real God reaching into their real worlds and transforming them from the inside out. Reality for them is much more about the daily grind, the road less traveled, and the miles yet ahead of them on this journey we call life.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most relevant response to the realities we all face today. Whether your swimming in a turbulent sea of confusion or climbing a formidable mountainous challenge or enjoying the delightful winds of blessing, the Lord is desirous of entering smack dab into the center of your experience. He’s there to minister grace in times of conflict, peace in times of trouble, and joy in times of blessing. No matter what your reality is today, our great and awesome God is delighted to be listened to, called upon, and invited in. it’s in our reality where he longs to reign supreme and aid us in defining what Christ-centered reality looks like.

Let’s shift our attention from reality television and focus on the real issues of those who surround us today. Toddlers don’t need tiaras, they need childhood playfulness without the pressure to perform. Adults don’t need tiaras either, they need the hope of the gospel and the joy of knowing Jesus as central to every aspect of their lives. Define your reality around that which matters most, and not by what will rust, rot, or ruin life as it’s meant to be fulfilled….so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter2:9).


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.