The first half of my 30s ….

The first half of my thirties were jam-packed! The highest of highs, and lowest of lows. And everything in between.

I became a dad to two amazing kiddos! Led a team to the summit of Rainier (while sick as a dog). Hit the 8 year mark of marriage with my dream girl @theliser! Witnessed 2 epic NFC championships from the sidelines of the Seahawks. Bought our first house. Finished off the first decade of biz ownership. So many incredible adventures. Helped my wife launch her biz/ ministry. Made some incredible new friends! Watched my kids learn to walk, talk and ride bikes, serve pizza to the homeless, and care for their hurting friends. Watched my wife be an incredible light to many people on really hard days. Conquered many fears.

The early thirties were also really, really hard. Lost a few friends way too early. Almost lost a kid to an allergic reaction. Marriage was on fumes a time or two. Parents lost the home I grew up in to a fire. Several business endeavors failed. Mental health issues got so overwhelming I chose to leave my family for a month to get help (the hardest, and believing the best, decision I made in my thirties). Fought the IRS in the trenches for 5 years (and finally won!). Heart was broken many, many times. The Seahawks didn’t run it from the 1. Took a whole lot of beatings with illness and life.

And I’ve learned to really begin to appreciate all of it. The good, bad and ugly. The failures are bridges to success. Depression is no longer my identity. Loving my wife and kids well are my purpose. Jesus is my ultimate Joy. Life will always have curveballs, but I’ve learned to finally hit the curve. My friends are no longer lost, but free and dancing in Heaven. The IRS still needs a hug. Mental health needs to be talked about. Vulnerability (in our faith, relationships, on social media, at work, in life) is the key to conquering shame. My opinions stink, but my love needs to be given freely to all. Life isn’t about balance, stability or comfort – it’s about loving ‘everyone, always’ (@bobgoff).

I am more grateful now than ever for you, my friends and family, and my story. It’s a perfect example of the redeeming Love of Jesus! Love you all!

Seeing Stars

Seeing Stars

I was 23 the first time I rode a dirt bike. The majority of my adventuring and adrenaline fixes were human-powered, so this was new for me. And quite exciting. I figured I could get the hang of it with my hand eye coordination. I spent a weekend in college helping my uncle buck a few cords of wood at the cabin for winter. It was Nov., temps were below freezing, and we needed to stack up the wood shed for the winter. My reward: a night ride in the Gifford Pinchot NF under the winter stars. I was pumped!

We burned a few miles on the surface roads so I could get the hang of it. It was 9pm and dark as sin. Nothing but our headlights and stars. We veered onto a dirt FS road that immediately started climbing elevation. My uncle is quite the adrenaline pro, so he wasn’t going to take it slow on my beginner half. The roads were super dusty and visibility was terrible, so I stayed a good quarter mile behind him just so I could see the road I was on. His taillight disappeared, though I kept going faster and faster. I was on a long straightaway, going 45mph (fast for a newb in the dark on a dirt road). All of a sudden the dust vanished. Gone. I was so confused. I was still flying, accelerating (no more dust), trying to catch my uncle. There was a bend up ahead and I figured I would see his light around the corner so I sped up. I hit the corner going 50, and the next thing I know, I was sliding full speed on my back across the road a good 75ft before stopping.

It was dead silent. I was looking up at the stars, wondering if I was dead. A few seconds later I realized I was laying right next to my uncle. He wiped out too. The dust disappeared because the road was caked in black ice. Oops. Lesson learned. We were both finely bruised, and it made for an epic first ride.

I’ve wiped out so hard, so much since becoming a dad. What I’ve realized is the importance of who is laying next to me looking at the stars after getting gnarly road rash. I need someone saying “I’m here too. No worries”. Knowing my uncle was right there eased much of that pain. We are in this together.

Dads, moms, husbands, wives. We are the Body. I’ll carry you. Will you carry me?

Opportunity

Opportunity

I’ve spent the greater part of my adult life chasing different opportunities; mostly in career, but really, overall in life. Most the time, I didn’t really have a clue what I was chasing. The American Dream, I suppose. Kinda like the golden ticket in Willy Wonka. “If I could just obtain X…”

Whether a raise, a new job, less debt, more time for hobbies, bigger house, more friends, epic-er travels – the list goes on. I’ve chased the illusion that something faster, shinier, newer and all the other “ers” would bring me deep satisfaction and joy. Even in marriage. If only we fought less, had more romance, went on more dates, ignited the flame – then I would be happy.

When was the last time you got a huge “opportunity” you were hoping for so long that it would happen, only to be disappointed a week later when the ecstasy wore off? Ask any NFL player who worked their whole life to earn a Super Bowl ring if they are as happy now as they hoped they would be when getting that “opportunity”. Yet, I wake up each day chasing the next “thing”.

In our small group today, we talked about the “opportunity” that marriage is. How sweet of a gift it is, but not because it brings us joy, happiness, satisfaction… Hands raised if you are fully satisfied and perfectly content with the state of your marriage? We all are striving for better. But why? Divorce rates are all time right now because when the romance fades, love must have too. But for the few striving for holiness, rather than happiness (Gary Thomas), that is the GREATEST of opportunities.

The most wild and fantastic opportunity is right before us. If happiness in marriage is the next opportunity we are chasing, we will be left unsatisfied yet again. No new job or fancy house or even more date nights (if our “why” is solely to be “happy”) will fulfill us like the growth we will experience when seeking God through our marriage. So I will take the opportunity I’ve already been given, and seek to make the most of it by aligning my “why” in marriage to holiness, not happiness. WAY harder said than done. But I will continue giving it my best shot. My satisfaction as a husband must come SOLELY from Jesus.