Seriously… Funny

Over the next few weeks, I will try to stay on one topic. This topic is going to change your adult-mind. It is going to make you feel more at ease with yourself and with others. It will encourage you to find humor in the little annoyances of everyday life. It is a topic that will remind us to take a deep breath every now and again and… laugh. We will begin to enjoy life rather than be so stressed about daily living. Living with tension, anxiety, and a downright depressing attitude will vanish, and we will enjoy life through making memories, enjoying moments in the present tense, and living a life with greater clarity about what is important.

And so we begin…

The first part of this series of blog posts is about finding humor in yourself. I’ve heard it¬†before that God has a sense of humor, and he definitely displays that sense of humor in some of us ūüôā

To illustrate my point, I get to pick on somebody no other than… myself.

I am a funny dude. I don’t mean that pridefully; I mean that I do some things that if you¬†knew about them, you’d think I was crazy.¬†I bet you have some of those funny attributes about yourself too.

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Anyhoo, here is a very short list of some things about me that admittedly are a little odd.

funny things

 

So, what’s on your list?¬†

There has¬†to be¬†something¬†on your list that you find a little embarrassing… but hilarious! Those funny things about you make you who you are. Don’t take them for granted. I know that life calls us to be serious. We want the best out of our kids. We want their futures to be better than ours. We want to be promoted to the next level in our occupation, and the list goes on.

Take a few minutes this week to think about what quirks you have and laugh about them. Remember that they make you who you are in some respect, and be a little more light-hearted about it. Don’t hate yourself for it, but laugh. Enjoy the moment while it lasts, because it is the only moment that you can enjoy.

 

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Ephesians 5:25-33

I want to share with you scripture that shows us how to treat each other. In it, we find 4 action steps that show how to approach one another daily.

Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church– for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Give Yourself Up for Her

There is nobody else on this planet that¬†is more important than your wife. As a man, it is your job to give yourself up for your wife in order to make her holy.¬†It’s not about you anymore. Just like Jesus made it not about himself. He made it all about you.

We have to realize that it is about giving up your selfish desires and devoting yourself to her so that she is separate from all others.

Cleanse Her

Wash your wife with the Word. Many times Audrey says to me that she is struggling reading the Bible or that she wants a “scripture of the week” to help motivate more reading and learning. This is a clear callout for action. She wants me to be the man that I am called to be in Ephesians 5. She wants me to cleanse her with the Word by sharing with her and relating it to our world around us.

Present Her 

Present your wife as a Holy and blameless person. Build her up when you communicate with your peers. Don’t joke about arguments or personality quirks. It’s not funny. She has to be presented as someone who is above any other human on earth. She is your wife. She mothers and otherwise spends so much time with your kids. In doing so, she unselfishly devotes her life to raising them appropriately. Be a good man then and speak well of her. She deserves it.

Love Her

In the end, it’s all about love. The definition of love is Christ. Pay close attention to His actions and His words in the Bible. Make sure to recognize how he treats his disciples and other followers (the church). When you read the Bible with purpose, many times scripture will jump off the page and affect your thought patterns in the future. I pray that this happens to you as a result of reading this reflection of Ephesians 5.

In my life…

As a final note, I need to do a better job at loving my wife. I need to have compassion in times of weakness. I need to be more diligent about having empathy. I should passionately seek ways to improve our communication. I should pray more. I should seek out moments where she really needs me to step up and be the man she wants me to be. I should cleanse her with the Word. I should build her up around peers and not joke about any inadequacies that I think she has.

And so it starts…

My wife is awesome. She shows our children how to love¬†and how to behave. She is ademate about preparing meals for us. She¬†ensures that the kids are healthy. She notices little “bad” things that our son does and¬†nips them in the bud so that those little things don’t become monsters.¬†She’s incredible at noticing details. She keeps the house clean and keeps me in check.

She is a true friend, and I don’t know where I would be without her.

Eternal Decisions

Each decision we make in life has an eternal impact. Therefore, we have to be very particular about our decisions. We have to concentrate on doing the next good deed, and continue on a path to righteousness. We must kick addictions and focus on why we are here on earth. We have to fight. We have to overcome obstacles that get in the way.

And obstacles will get in the way…

In any level of commitment, obstacles will appear. Obstacles show up sometimes because of our own actions, but sometimes they show up just because that is what God has in plan for us at the time. In this moment, we must be still. We must freeze and concentrate on what it is we are trying to accomplish. In that moment, we have to make a fatherly decision.

This is mainly a blog post for the fathers out there but can really be applied to anyone.

Let’s talk Adam and Eve:

Adam and Eve lived in Paradise. They walked and talked with God. Any of us put in that situation say to ourselves, “If I had everything, I would never…” However, we act like Adam and Eve everyday, and we live in a pretty good situation. Most of us have a house overhead, food, and the necessities of life. Then, we make decisions that tear us apart from God.

I want you to be very careful of the decisions that you make, especially if they are repeated violations. Being a father means that you transfer things down generationally, and you are raising percentages for your children or grandchildren to struggle with the very same habit that you are caught in.

It’s like a snowball effect. If you cannot destroy the snowball before it binds you and keeps you in its shackles, then the beast grows bigger. Left untreated, your life can be destroyed. The same can happen to your children. Don’t let unbroken curses flow to your next generation. Kick it out and leave it behind. Don’t let a smoking habit turn into a marijuana habit. Don’t let anger turn into abuse. Don’t let who you are in Christ be overcome by your selfishness to¬†please the flesh.

Your example lasts for generations.

Let’s talk Jesus:

Jesus is another father of mankind that we have a joy of knowing. We see in the Bible that he was here on earth to show us how to live and love abundantly. He did not sin and leaves a perfect example for us to follow. His decisions affected those he taught. We have to trust in his willingness to love us through tough situations. We know that he was tempted, but he did not fault. He claimed His Father’s words when he was tempted. He knew his father so well and trusted that His promises were true. His father was perfect, and Jesus ultimately chose what His father would have him choose.

We must realize that our children will do the same. They will trust us because they think (at least for a while) that we are perfect. They will make decisions based on our promises and our choices. So, choose wisely.

 

Our Wedding Day

Here is a bit that I wrote back in 2006. I’ve never really put this kind of stuff out there for people to read, so I feel a little vulnerable. I feel a little hesitant posting poetry. Often the greatest fan of the poetry is the author. In any case, I hope that you all can read and enjoy. Hopefully it will remind you of your wedding day. We should make a practice to remember it often to keep the flame ignited.

Anyhoo, here goes…

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CTRL F: Finding Your Passion through Family

Have you ever been on a webpage or other document for one specific reason but couldn’t find what you were looking for? After 30 minutes of not finding what you are looking for, you finally say, “Oh yeah!” and hit Ctrl F to find the exact match in less than a second.

I wish there was a Ctrl F button when searching for our purpose on earth. The closest thing to the Ctrl F button for me is Family.

There are¬†actually three mindsets that people must maintain while finding¬†their purpose, and they are listed in the picture below. I’m taking this¬†advice directly¬†from the book “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Click here for a sample. (I chose to listen to it at¬†Audiobooks.com/spi.)

Love Your Family

Love Your Family

Family. is. first. The main ways I love my family is through loving God, praying for them, and cherishing moments that we have together. Time is valuable and is ultimately the main way I know to raise a family. Without the time commitment, I find it hard to grow with them. If I’m not growing with them, then I am growing apart from them. Time as a family unit must be a priority, and you have to be committed to making the time necessary to work your familial relationships.

Work Super-Hard

Working super-hard comes natural to some people. You wouldn’t be on this page without some inclination of wanting¬†a better life. You have to stick to your guns and determine when you are working, and when you are playing. However, work feels a lot like play when you love what you are doing. Simply put, sometimes we work super-hard in the wrong line of work. You have to love what you do; there is no substitute for desire or hustle.

If something hinders your desire, you either have to get through the hardship, delegate responsibilities, or alter your approach so that the work becomes something that you love to do again. Each situation is unique and must be evaluated by you.

Working super-hard is closely related to living your passion but not entirely the same.

A way to begin discovering your passion is to pretend that there are no hindrances in the world. Pretend that your food and shelter are taken care of, the house does not need painting, the yard is perfect, and you have no other outside obligation.

Now pretend that you have $500. What would you do? List your ideas in the Comments section below.

This exercise can get things done for you in the next 6 months that you would have never had happen because you did not dream of it beforehand. Even though you had always wanted to do it, you never would take care of yourself in that way. Why do we do this to ourselves? We need to start enjoying life!

If you really want to go crazy, imagine that you have $10,000. If you write a $10,000 goal, you can more than likely see your dream come into fruition within 5 years.

Then, imagine that you have everything. You own it all. How would you spend tomorrow?

The amazing thought is that we know the one who owns it all. We have conversations with the master of the universe, and then we somehow believe that enjoying a $500 splurge is too much. We think that Starbucks is too expensive, and we don’t give the first ten percent of our income away to the poor as Jesus instructs us.

An interesting point that I’ve come to believe is that

Everything is eternal. Everything is limitless.

Everything has energy.

Everything is attracted or repelled.

If everything is truly eternal, then why do we worry so much about the next paycheck. Why do we worry about what is going to happen next? God will provide.

We have no excuse, then, not to live our passion.

Put some feet on it…

Okay, now it is time to put some feet on the ideas that were discussed in the blog. Please take the time to dream and post a comment below. Post how you are going to be more committed to family. Post what you would do with $500 and no obligation. Post something you passionately love. Post something you hate.

I look forward to communicating with you,

10 Reasons Why You are a Great Father

There are many pathways to creating great children. Great people can sometimes rise from the worst possible parenting and have an everlasting positive influence on people around them. Take Joyce Meyer, for example, who was abused all her life but has become one of the most trusted sources in the Christian community and invests time in showing women how to break boundaries. She is a true hero; I learn from each message she delivers.

Abuse is definitely not the correct way to parent, however, and most people that are put in those situations as children abandon their parents and live lost lives restricted to their memories of affliction and torment.

On the flip side, my wife is an awesome human being. She encourages our children and shows them what it is to love through service, affection, and doing things that are fun for them. Just before our first son Clay was born, she wanted to display why I was going to be a great father. I was really moved.

Here is what she had to say :

10 Reasons You Will Make A Great Father

Each of us can learn from my wife’s words and soak up the different things that we ought to do to be awesome fathers. Having a servant’s heart is huge, praying for your family, undeniably important. Making your wife a priority each and every day, and openly communicating schedules and desires is an absolute must. There is no doubt that her words of wisdom run deep, and a preacher could make a sermon (or even a series of sermons) ¬†on each point.

The Substitute…

I encourage you to go through the list one more time but replace “you” with “I”. See how it transforms you into a better mindset. Walking through this list at least weekly will definitely keep my priorities straight with my family.

Numbers 1 through 9 are reasons that any man would make a great father. The one reason that motivates me the most, however, is #10. The reason that I am a great father to my children is because I am me. Simply put, there is no substitute for who I am. There are only a couple of roles in my life in which there is absolutely no substitute, being a husband to my wife and a father to my kids.

Make a Decision

In a life full of demands from outside circumstances that seem to pull us away from the family, we have to decide on how we are going to spend our time. And if we find ourselves spending less and less time with our family, our family is growing without us, apart from us. We have to make a lifestyle decision so that our family is a priority, not the leftover. Family time is absolutely crucial to growing together into one unit.

Let’s face it…

You can be replaced in any position you have on earth. If you’re a teacher like me, there is another teacher out there that can replace you. If you’re a coach, replaceable. Even if you are doing the Lord’s work and must be away from home to spread the word of the gospel, you are replaceable. The only unique roles that you have in your life is that you are a husband to¬†your¬†wife and father to¬†your¬†children.

There is no substitute for “Daddy”

Even God in Heaven does not want you to claim someone else as Daddy. We are jealous of that title and rightly so. I urge you to please take time to watch and/or listen to this thirty minute message from Andy Stanley on making¬†Breathing Room (Part 4 of series). If you don’t have 30 minutes, you can always download the podcast through your phone and listen on the way to work.

So what are you going to do, Daddy?

It’s time to make priorities in your life. Is your wife a priority? She loves you because she wants to. Your kids love you because they want to. They are pulling for you to be a dad who has great influence on them. They want you to support them and to make family time as important as making a dollar. Family time is more important than nearly any other event that I can name. Don’t cover up family time with television; kick the thing off. There is no substitute for you in¬†your¬†role as a father. I, just like all of us, am working on prioritizing my life and have some accountability to make sure that it happens. I encourage you to do the same.

What next?

I encourage you to leave a comment below to let me know what you will do (or what you have already implemented) to make family time a priority. As I stated, I am still figuring out how to balance work and family time so seeing your comments will benefit me as well. Let’s learn together.

Much Love,

The Dabble: Why it is both important and deadly to try new things

Why can’t you stick to a goal and pursue it with passion? Why do you feel like you have to chase each new business opportunity that comes your way? Why can’t you just stay devoted to what you are doing and allow it to work?

These are some thoughts that I had in a serious conversation this week with my wife. My wife is totally right when she says that I tend to dabble – I’ll start a project and the next minute be interested in something else. As you can see from my About¬†page, I am aware of this habit as well.

The point of the dabble for me is to be made aware of the opportunities around me. I want to personally dabble in many of the topics I listen to through podcasts by¬†Pat Flynn, Michael Hyatt, and others. I don’t dabble in everything that I hear about, but I definitely talk about trying certain businesses.

I think of the dabble as a learning experience. There is only so much you can learn from reading, listening, or watching. Simply put, you have to do something to gain any kind of insight about the topic that you’ve researched (or heard in passing). Learning requires action. It’s the difference between sitting in class and passively listening versus doing homework and applying the ideas learned.

What about you? 

Have you heard about anything that really interests you lately? Why not try it out? Isn’t life a big tryout? For example, you only have one time to raise your kids. You don’t have any training, and you hope and pray that you make the right decisions in raising them. You make mistakes but have to move on. Trying a new business is the same in that respect; you will make mistakes but have to keep moving. With kids, however, the tryout never ends. You have to keep raising them, and I’ve known enough grandmas that agree with me to feel confident in that point. ūüôā

So, raising kids is a big tryout where we don’t get any training, and the tryout lasts a lifetime.¬†At certain points, however, you are going to make decisions (or a number of decisions) that will impact your children forever. In the case of raising kids, don’t we look outside for parental advice? There are a number of people who are searching for the right way to raise children and listen to people’s advice; perhaps that is why Super Nanny became such a big hit. I personally listen to Andy Stanley and get a lot of parenting advice through his¬†Your Move podcast. Do I try out the ideas that he speaks of in his podcast about parenting? Absolutely. I dabble in his ideas to see if they work for my situation.

Why not dabble? 

When we dabble, we are not fully committing ourselves to one field or line of work. We leave open opportunities around us and live life with open eyes. I never hesitate to try something new if the venture seems like one that will benefit my family.

The catch-22 of it, however, is that we are not fully committing. When you don’t fully commit, you’ll never see a task complete. You’ll never believe in what you are creating and will not see it through to full fruition. You’ll be great at starting and be motivated for a while, but you won’t finish. When it gets tough, you’ll get another idea and pursue it for a while. When that flame burns out, as it always does, you switch again to another hot idea.

The good news is that you cannot decommit from being a parent to your children. Nothing worth the gain comes easy. Raising children is not easy, but we see the blessings that follow if we just stay committed to it. Marriage is another relationship that does not come easy. Marriage requires work and full commitment. Half-hearted commitment in either area can really destroy someone’s personal life both for the short-term and the long-term.

The perfect balance.

Thankfully, there is some middle-ground when it comes to pursuing new opportunities. The wonderful thing about making a business decision is that you don’t have to stay with that decision for the long haul. You don’t have to keep in pursuit if the venture ends up being something that totally drains you or pulls your family apart. You can quit.

If you have something in mind, however, that really sparks an interest and makes you a better human, you must commit.

Commitment_Quote_WhyAnnieArmenBlog

I don’t know Annie Armen yet, but I like this quote ūüôā

Commitment means staying up late, rising early, and getting the work done in a timely manner no matter the circumstances. Commitment means that you set a goal, and you get after it with such tenacity that nothing will stop you. Will you become discouraged? Absolutely. In the discouragement you have to know that this too shall pass and that your purpose lies within the pursuit. Life is not a game with a finish line. Every commitment you make has an eternal effect. In fact, every dabble you make has an eternal effect as well, but that’s a whole nother blog post (Did I just use “whole nother”?) The point of commitment is to shape you into the human that you want to be.

Jim Rohn says it this way, “It’s not about becoming a millionaire, it’s about becoming the person who deserves a million dollars.” (roughly)

So, there you have it.

I dare you to dabble when it makes you the person you want to be, but make sure that your priorities in life are not overwhelmed by overcommitment to things that are temporary. Fully commit to what matters most and live. Living with freedom is an experience that we speak of often as Americans but seldom experience due to our own decisions (and unworthy dabblings).

Be sure to reflect often and have accountability through your relationships. Your true friends will help you.

Sayonara ’til next time.

Your Main Investment

There are a lot of things out there that are wanting your attention. From kids’ programs, debt collectors, mortgage payments, charities, and anything in between, they all seek for your help. Work calls on you night and day to be on top of your game, to meet the requirements of the clients, deadlines, and sales goals. Children call for your attention to be the best parent on the planet. Your spouse calls on you to be excellent.

But what about you? What do you call on yourself to be?

It is so easy to fall as a victim of someone who is overworked and underpaid. It is so easy to put others’ needs in front of your own. We call it valiant. We call it being a man, a hero, a parent, a servant.

I think that this concept is a lie that we are led to believe. We call ourselves valiant but lead a life that is miserable. Instead of taking the time to find out our intense passions and what we really want to do to experience true freedom, we settle for a 9 to 5 job that pays the bills, makes the minimum payment, and allows the family a little bit of social time.

We wonder why 50% of marriages end in divorce; we wonder why our kids struggle with their emotions or schooling. We wonder why there is no trust between our kids and ourselves in their teenage years.

I wonder about if we were truly free.

If we were truly free, I would want to wake up in the morning and take a walk with the family. I would feel the brisk morning air fill my lungs and chills run up my spine when I initially walk out the front door. I may have to warm up a little by bouncing or jogging in place. On the walk, my wife and I would talk about how beautiful each day is, and we’d talk to our children about the important things in life. We would finish our walk and come in and make a nice breakfast, make plans for the day, and execute those plans. In the end, we would be a family unit; we would not be a coexisting unit that gets together when we can between events. The family would be the priority rather than the leftover.

I would make goals and complete them.

How do we get to the point so that we experience freedom? We have to invest in ourselves. Today, I took an important step in investing in myself. I have just hired a life coach to talk to me on the phone for 20 minutes one morning during the week. This coach is going to keep me accountable for living up to my potential. He is a fantastic listener. He cares and loves the human race. I’ve known him for a long time, and it’s great to have someone like him on my side.

What about you? What is the next step for you?

Do you need to get rid of an addiction? Do you need to start a new habit? Do you need to begin listening to podcasts or audiobooks on the way home to improve where you want to be in life? Do you need to find time to go to the gym?

I encourage you to invest in yourself. Others depend on you to be the real you; in that case, you need to be the best you that you can possibly be. You will be happier when you make the step to care for yourself. In caring for yourself, you learn how to properly care for others. If you don’t invest in yourself, how will you learn to invest in others?

I hope that this post motivates someone out there. Let me know.

Thanks for reading.