Monday, February 16, 2015

I Met Garth Brooks ... and 10 Other Random Facts That Really Don't Matter

I've been putting together a weekly schedule for the past few months in an effort to be more organized and also to help me focus on what matters most.  So, at the beginning of each week, I find myself asking the question "What matters most this week?"  As I focus on things that do matter, I also discover things that don't really matter.  

Anyway, I thought I'd try to have a little fun with that for a few minutes by thinking through things that have happened in my life that ... well ... don't really matter.  Here ya go:

10. I was spit on by a professional wrestler named Bam Bam Bigalow.  At the time it was a 
      big deal, but looking back I realize, eh, it's just kind of gross.

  9. I was once mistaken for a Division 1 basketball player.

  8. I have been in two commercials.  

  7. While on a date with Carol, we saw two people wearing oxygen making out in a 
      Barnes and Noble cafe.  How they figured out how to do it with those tubes up their
      nose, I'm still not sure.  "Love" always finds a way.

  6. I hate cotton balls.  Can't stand 'em.  The thought of them, the feel of them.  Ugh!

  5. One Christmas, in front of the entire church, I was talking about our Christmas series: 
      "A Peanuts Perspective" (based off of Charlie Brown). I mistakenly said "A Penis 

  4. I mistakenly drove through a police barricade and was chewed out by a police officer 
      who I literally thought was going to taze me.  I know the immediate question is "How
      can one 'mistakenly' drive through a barricade?"  Well, trust me.  I found a way.

  3. While on a mission trip as a teenager, I had to speak at a church.  I was talking about 
      forgiveness.  My illustration was that other teens would purposely flush the toilets while
      some of us were taking showers and it turned the water really cold.  This bothered me 
      but to demonstrate forgiveness I had to ... and I quote ... "Turn the other cheek."  Didn't 
      even catch the pun.  Just kept on talking and couldn't figure out why everyone was 
      laughing.  Looking back, though, it was pretty funny.

 2.  I have not thrown up in 23 years.  It's a streak I hope to continue.

 1.  A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ... I once had long hair AND an earring.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Little Girls Are Built to Adore Their Dads

This is one of my favorite pictures of me and the girls.  It was December 2013, and we were just getting ready to go on a "date."  As you can probably tell by the picture, I always seem to underdress for our dates, but that's another story.  Anyway, I love how my 3-year-old is looking at me here.  Even as I stare at the picture right now, it melts my heart and reminds me that little girls are built to adore their dads.  

One of the most humbling aspects of fatherhood is that I do not have to earn the love of my girls.  Love for their dad is innate.  They crave my attention and my affection.  They long for my affirmation and my love.  The reality is, at this stage, I really do not have to do much to win their hearts.  Their heart is ripe for the taking.  Two things come to mind when I think of this:

1) May I never forget that they are offering their heart to me freely with the hope that I will take it.  This is a battle for me every single day.  On my good days, my heart is overwhelmed with the fact that I am their dad.  I enjoy them.  I soak up the moment with them.  I give myself away to them.  I remember that it will not always be this way ... that they will not be in our home forever.  On my good days I remember that they will not always jump up and down when I walk through the door, so I try to show them that I am just as happy to see them as they are to see me.  On my good days I remember that my lap will not always be the most fought over seat in the house and I let them sit on it until I can't feel my feet anymore.  On my good days I remember that they are freely offering their heart to me and that alone is a responsibility I must never take for granted.

On the not so good days I act as if I have all the time in the world with them.  The words "How 'bout later" will often fall from my lips and then, after an hour or two, I realize that "later" never happened.  On the not so good days I take out the worries or frustrations I have on them.  I let the tension I feel inside pour over to the outside and I get short with them or I don't listen to them or I act as if there are so many other things I'd rather be doing than spending time with them.  On the not so good days, as they stand there freely offering their heart to me, I look right past them to the things that need to get done or to whatever I think is more important at the time.  It leaves them there wondering what they did wrong and why I'm not accepting what they are offering.

I will never have an opportunity to win a heart so easily.  May I always remember this and may it move me to protect and nurture this gift they offer me every single day.

2) I must work incredibly hard at nurturing their heart.    One of my primary roles as a father to my two daughters is to nurture their hearts.  The word "nurture" means to "care for and encourage the growth or development of."  One of the questions I must ask as a father is "How can I care for and encourage the growth of my daughter's heart?"

Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, reminds us to "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."  (Proverbs 4:23)  There will come a day when my girls must take responsibility for guarding their own heart.  But, until that day comes, the responsibility is mine. Part of my role as a father of young girls is to guard their heart ... to do all I can to set their heart up for success ... to nurture it tenderly and passionately in order to help them grow and develop and come fully alive in their womanhood. With my prayers, my love, my attention, my affection, my grace, my hugs, my words, my patience, my discipline, my kisses, my laughter and with countless other things, I can begin the process of guarding, nurturing and cultivating their heart ... treasure they offer to me every single day.  And, I do this all with the desire that they will ultimately give their heart to the only one who can transform it: Jesus.  I may be called to nurture their heart, but only Jesus can transform it.  

When I think of guarding and shepherding and nurturing my girls' hearts, wow, it is such an overwhelming thought!  What I have discovered, though, is that the more I look to Jesus and allow Him to continue His work in me ... the more I am to give to my girls and the more I'm able to care for the greatest treasure they have ... their heart.  

I have more "not so good days" than I care to admit.  But, I am so thankful for the grace Jesus offers every single day and how He continues to make up for my shortcomings.  The more I look toward Him, the more I find myself becoming the man He has created me to be and becoming the dad my girls need me to be.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Don't Mistake That Super Bowl Mistake for a Mistake

I loved watching the Super Bowl last night and I, like everyone else in America, was expecting the Seahawks to hand the ball off and run it in from 1-yard out to seal a victory.  With a timeout, with one of the best and hardest running running backs in the league, with the best running quarterback in the league, it seemed like only a matter of time before the Seahawks ran the ball in and scored the winning touchdown.  But, that play call, that throw, that interception ... that mistake!  

Who am I to second guess a coach with a couple of National Championships and a Super Bowl ring under his belt?  But, it's sure fun to do.  "Carroll should have called this!"  "Wilson should have done that!"  "Lockett was supposed to do this!"  While it's easy to place blame with the "shoulda, coulda, woulda" talk, the reality is I was the one sitting on the couch and those guys were out on the field.  In other words, the doers are usually the ones who make the mistakes.

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, "Fouls, errors, and mistakes are part of the competitive process in sports, business, and elsewhere. Don’t live in fear of making a mistake ... No one can win every time he gets on the court or enters the marketplace with a new product or service. Mistakes, even failure, can be permissible so long as they do not result from carelessness or poor preparation. Losing can provide learning, thus preventing future errors."

In that game-time situation, there is a right call and there is a wrong call ... and we usually decide which is right or wrong based on the outcome.  Pass/Interception = Wrong Call/Mistake.  Pass/TD = Bold Call/Courage.  Either of those outcomes was legitimately a possibility.  But, it's often our fear of the outcome (the dreaded "what if") that keeps us hesitant, passive, and paralyzed.  What if this happens?  What if that happens?  Jon Acuff wrote, "The reality is that since the dawn of time there hasn’t been a single situation fear thought would work. If you ask fear if something is going to work, the answer will always be no."  If the Seahawks were afraid to run the ball, that's one thing.  But, if they legitimately thought the pass play would work, had the guts to call it, had the people to execute it, run it to the best of their ability but on that day the breaks just didn't go their way ... I can respect that.  Take in the information, make a decision, and then go for it.  

There's a great line from the movie Battle Los Angeles where Sergeant Nantz says to his commanding officer: “Your men are awaiting orders. Now, you can go right, you can go left. I don’t give a damn. Just make a decision!” 

If I'm not doing anything, I really never have to worry about making a mistake.  I can live a nice, safe, organized life without the fear of ever failing ... without the nervousness of uncertainty ... without steps in to the unknown.  From that position, though, I also never have to worry about getting anything done.

Getting things done means making a decision and, at times, means making a mistake.  It's not deliberate. It's not intentional. It's a mistake. It hurts. You learn from it. You grow from it.  But, at least you're out there on the field "playing the game."  

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