SERVE. I heard a sermon via podcast the other day that really opened my eyes to current and past seasons. The speaker said “when you are going through hell, go to the first person you see and serve the crap out of them.” So often we get stuck “naval gazing” during trying seasons; looking down at the ground, so focused on where we are currently at, that we can hardly breathe. When things get tough, all we can think about is how things are tough. We forget about the worlds around us and find ourselves on an island. But the absolute best way to kill time while in a horrible season is to serve others relentlessly. It takes our focus off of US. It won’t take long to find someone near you that is going through something a whole lot worse. When we serve relentlessly, we heal. Our stress is relieved, our myopic thinking ceases, we realize that we aren’t alone… It is often in moments of selfless acts that God lays a hand on our shoulder and says “look back, your troubled season is behind you”. Most often, my kids are in a different season than myself. They could be having an awesome day when I’m not. It is so important to leave my island at the door and get down on the ground and serve them. Sometimes that is just by listening, playing Go Fish, chasing them to exhaustion… The next time a bad day strikes, go out of your way to find someone to serve. You will quickly find someone that really needed a helping hand. By serving them you are helping yourself. Don’t look down, look up.
FAKING IT WONT FIX IT. I think one of man’s greatest tendencies is to give off the perception that they all good. We are told from a very early age to be strong. To act like a man. Tough it out. Rub some dirt on it and get back in the game. If you show any signs of weakness or vulnerability, you are automatically assumed unfit for the starting quarterback position. The COO position. The elder position. Problem is: every single dude I’ve ever met is weak and vulnerable at times. For many, those times are more frequent than times of strength and confidence. But God forbid we show that weakness, because what will people think? Sure, many will look down on us for showing that weakness. But that is just a true sign of their own weakness. Often times when I write these posts, my wife will get texts asking if everything is ok; often times alluding to our weakness as being not-normal. We are thankful for the well-wishes, but my thought often times is “how are YOU doing? When was the last time your husband showed vulnerability and shared his deepest, darkest secrets?” There are countless dad’s and husbands out there that are jacked up mentally and spiritually, yet their wives have no idea. But faking it sure isn’t gonna fix it, my friend. The longer you hide what’s really in your heart, the louder the bomb will eventually be. It takes tremendous courage to let our brides know we don’t have it all together. Especially since they often rely on us for our strength and together-ness. If it’s too much to share the secret and pain with your wife, start with a bro. Or a pastor. Or mentor. Please talk to someone. Do NOT wait for someone to ask you. Because they may never ask you. Don’t climb the mountain alone. The risk is so much greater. Swallow your pride and reach out. Only then, in that moment of vulnerability, lies your greatest strength. Don’t just go through the motions. Get your hands dirty. What really matters what others think? The only opinion that determines our well-being is our Creator’s!
PARTNERSHIPS. They are hard. Really, really hard. For them to work, it requires each party to focus almost entirely on the benefit of the other members, while nearly forfeiting your own wishes. But our nature, and our culture, makes this very hard. Mickelson and Bones, one of the great sports partnerships, ended after an incredible 25 year run. Rory Mcilroy parted ways with his caddy in an effort to preserve a friendship rather than force a partnership. Think of Facebook. The Beatles. McDonald and Heinz Ketchup. Some of the greatest brands we know, dramatically affected by broken partnerships between people. 80% of business partnerships fail. That’s not a good number. Even worse? 50% of marriages fail. Half of the planet’s marriages fail. At some point, one or both parties decides to no longer die to themselves for the purpose of serving their spouse. We stop saying “I’m sorry”, or “I forgive you”. Rather than intentionally serving our spouse like we did during the honeymoon phase of marriage, we start wanting to be served. And after we don’t get what we want long enough, things unravel. But marriage isn’t about feeling good. It’s about commitment, purpose, partnering with someone for a lifetime to serve a greater cause. Marriage isn’t just about being happy. In fact, it’s hardly about being happy. It is about a generational cause. It’s for our great grandkids. We may be long gone before our purpose is known. We must choose to stay married as if our grandkid’s lives depended on it. (Granted, bad things happen and some broken marriages are inevitable – but even those marriages can be restored, or it will lead to something miraculous). The point? Marriage is the one partnership that you must fight to the death to preserve. We are commanded to serve our bride to our death. “But my wife left me.” How hard are you fighting for her? When was the last time you begged for forgiveness? In all honesty, not often enough for me. How about you? Let’s fight harder for that beautiful brunette we get to call our bride. We cannot LET this partnership fail. They may never serve us how we want, but we COMMITTED to make her best interests come first