Mentors

Mentor defineA big brother. A father. An uncle. A grandfather. A best friend’s father. A youth leader from church.

Every person, but young men especially, need an older man to pour into their lives. We need someone to help us learn how to be a man. In our society, we put a lot of pressure on young women but there is also a lot of pressure put on young boys to become manly men. There are certain things that men must know. Things it is expected as a man we are aware of. There are also expectations for men which will dramatically change the world all of the men on the planet would get it right. Once these boys develop into men and then as they take on the roles of husband and father, the expectations only get higher.

How do boys learn to be men? How to boys learn the critical ‘man-stuff’ they need to know? The same way any of us learn anything – someone teaches us.

We need someone who will teach us how to treat women. Women are to be treated with dignity and respect, not as objects for our use and abuse. Boys and young men need someone to teach them the proper way to speak to a woman. The proper way to treat a young woman. I am not necessarily a supporter of the whole idea of courting, but certainly something has been lost in the way our youth and young adults are approaching dating. It has lost the special-ness and wonder it once had. It is now a commonplace, ordinary thing and not something that is special. We have lost to excitement and mystery of entering into a relationship with the opposite sex. There are a myriad of societal issues that could likely be traced back to this… that is a discussion for another time! As boys we need someone to teach us how to treat girls and ultimately women.

We need someone to teach us the mystery, wonder and exhilaration that is fire. This is essential to being a man. Other men will immediately gauge the usefulness of a man based on whether he can build a fire. Whether you use raw elements, a flint stone, lighter fluid or straight gasoline a man must be able to make a fire. This ties into a man’s overall outdoorsyness. Men are supposed to skilled outdoorsmen, too. How good of an outdoorsman can you be if you can’t start a fire.

We need someone to teach us how to properly grill meat. Any meat. Dead animal cooked over open flames is quintessential manhood. Without this ability, is a man really a man? Grilling is more than utilitarian preparation of food, it is an art form. It is something special.  Magic happens when meat is grilled.

We need someone to teach us sports. Almost without exception, it is not possible for a group of men to arrive at a park, field, friend’s house or church without some sports equipment. It could be as simple as a football, soccer ball, Frisbee or a baseball and glove. It would seem as though men are hardwired to play sports. In a group of dudes, even the ones that aren’t ‘athletic’ will find themselves getting drawn into the exhibition off sports. While we seem to be inherently keyed into sports, we still must have someone take the time and interest to cultivate the athlete inside of each of us.

Who teaches us these critical life lessons? It is often our father. Sometimes it is an older brother. It can be an uncle. Maybe a grandfather. Maybe it is your friend’s father. Or it could be a youth leader from church. Or maybe it is all of the above. As boys and young men we need someone to teach us important skills and lessons we need in life. We need someone to mentor us.

We all do. We all need someone to pour into our lives and help us to grow. It doesn’t have to be a perfect mentor. It just needs to be someone who cares about us enough to walk through life with us for a season. Mentors change. Seasons and times of our lives change and what we need out of mentors change. But, no matter the season of life we are in we need mentors.

Who has been a mentor to you? What have they taught you? Who have you been able to mentor?

Productivity vs Stagnation

Version 2

As I wrapped up my work day yesterday at 1am, I read an article on productivity to help me wind down. The headline caught my eye, ’15 things productive people do differently’.

Naturally, I was intrigued. I was hooked, so I read on. Coincidentally, my hours at the office have been getting consumed with what I have referred to as meetings. About midway through this list of 15 things was meetings. Highly productive people avoid meetings like the plague, apparently.

As Ronda & I walked out the door this morning, she commented she has been scheduling tons of meetings which are making getting any legal work done difficult. I referred to article I read. As she thought about the implications of what I read she drew a distinction between meetings and networking appointments, which are in truth what she is scheduling.

This caused me to consider the nature of my increasing meetings. It’s not fair to call then meetings really. Not all of them anyway. They are mostly client-centered individual sessions together assisting them in propelling themselves forward in their lives. Helping them to clarify goals, stay on budget and time management.

This is the true nature & scope of my job. The administrative and detail office-type work is necessary to support the relational aspect which is the actual work of my job. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the day to day work and forget that building relationship and community is what really matters.

Don’t caught in the busyness of life and forget the critical importance of relationship and community.

Razor’s Edge

  
Maybe it’s just me, but I find I live life on a razor’s edge. 

What I mean is this: each day has the propensity to be a good day or a bad day. It all depends on which way I lean. Which way am I going to go. Which direction do I allow my day to be taken. 

If I allow my day to be dictated to me and don’t specifically take steps to make it a good day, it won’t be one. It’ll be a bad day. This shouldn’t be surprising to us. We live a world marred and broken by sin. We live in a world where selfishness and sel-gain are the order of the day. Our world is broken and leads towards destruction. So it shouldn’t be surprising that our days can easily become bad days full of pain and suffering. 

On the other hand, if I wake up and determine to make this day a good day it is more likely than not thT it will be a good day. I know what you are thinking, some days are always going to be bad due to their circumstances. True, but our perspective incredibly affects our outlook on life. Perception is 9/10 of the law, right? We can’t always make everyday an epic specimen of existence, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying. Here’s four practices I utilize in my efforts to make everyday a good day:

  1. Remember today is a new day. P.O.D.’s song Alive starts with the words, ‘Everyday is a new day, I’m thankful for every breath I take’. I often find myself reciting these words at the conclusion of a tough day or at the beginning of the day. Everyday is a new day. Today doesn’t have to be like any other day you’ve ever had. 
  2. People depend on me. I’m a dad, husband, boss, mentor, friend and role model. People are looking to me to gain insight on how to handle their lives. People are looking to me to learn something. People are relying on me to be strong and consistent. I am not an island. People need me to be the best I can be today. 
  3. God has blessed me beyond what I could ever deserve. Even in my darkest moments, my life is favored and blessed. As a child of God, I am in dwelt by the Holy Spirit and therefore have found favor with God. He loves me. He watches over me. He is preparing a place for me that is free of pain, suffering and hurt. 
  4. The last practice is somewhat more practical in nature and may qualify as more than one practice, but whatever. I use everything at my disposal to make each day good. Counseling, prayer, reading the bible, wise counsel from friends, self-help articles and books, time with my kids, video games, anything. God has blessed me with a myriad ofresources at my disposal to make my day good, all I have to  do is reach out and use one of them. Surprisingly, God doesn’t want me to be miserable. 

I still have bad days. It happens more than I want. But those are the days when I let life happen to me and not the days when I happen to life. Decide today to be more than conquerors and Almagest today a good day. 

Make a Choice

  
For my job, I needed to get certified in First Aid/CPR. As I was completing the class, during the introduction the course stressed the need as a bystander when seeing an emergency you must decide to act. First and foremost, you have to make a choice. Make a decision. Either get involved or walk away. 

This is true for everything in our lives. We have to choose, make a choice to engage… to do something. That something is either walk away or get involved. 

This is especially true within relationships. This is true when we someone hurting, whether that hurt is physical, emotional or mental. Each day we make numerous decisions to get involved or to not to get involved. What is the difference between the two? Why do choose to engage in one situation and not another?

Sometimes we choose not to get involved because we don’t want to be bothered. It always takes less effort to disengage than it does to engage. Disengaging is actually the opposite of choosing to engage in a relationship in that it actually does harm.  Not only does it not strengthen the relationship, it causes it to be weakened by causing separation. 

Sometimes we don’t engage because we don’t know what to say or do… we feel unqualified or unequipped for engaging in a way that would be helpful. Oftentimes, if we wait until we are properly equipped or qualified we will never engage. 

Other times, our selfishness gets the best of us and we don’t engage simply because we can’t see past our own problems. We deceive ourselves into thinking we are the only ones with problems or that we are somehow the only ones suffering. We are self absorbed and uncaring of those around us. 

Each day, multiple times in them we will face situations where we must choose to engage or walk away. It’s up to us to prioritize relationship, to prioritize people, to decide to engage and invest in those we care about. 

My Neighborhood

Photo courtesy of http://www.agentevolution.com/

Photo courtesy of www.agentevolution.com/

I’m in my car… driving to work. Yes, I shouldn’t be doing this… but I am. Technically, the law states it is illegal to text while driving. There isn’t specific mention of Evernoting. I bet I could find a Davy attorney who could get me off. Anyway, digression.

Several months ago, I began reading a book called ‘When I don’t desire God’ by John Piper. Real heady stuff. I began to read this as we started a life group with a couple other couples. Oddly enough, this life group/small group/missional community/community group whatever you call it initially birthed as three couples from h2o connected with each other, yet didn’t find a home in any of h2o’s missional communities (fancy name for life group). That’s not the strange part… the strange part is none of us attend h2o any longer (all for various reasons, some of which are intertwined but all happened independently of the others). I believe this group or community to be an authentic life-giving community for a number of reasons… but our ability to survive our separation from h2o is one of them.
I have found in my life I have often had two communities. My friends and my church friends. There has always been some overlap. Real, authentic community of friendship transcends church attendance. I count the men in this quorum to be my closest friends whom I can just as easily pound beers with, share my parenting issues with, ask for marriage advice (even though I’ve been married the longest), and share my sun struggles. In all we do together, we are committed to each other and to sharing our lives together… the good the bad and the ugly.
Community is about having people with whom you share common interests, but also a common interest in pushing each other forward and helping each other to be the best person we can be. This seems a little trite, but the reality of authenticity is just this. Community is about being integrated into each other’s lives in a such a way that when we are apart we are missed.
I have experienced this kind of community in the past. Sadly, it has not been a normative experience for me. I count myself lucky to walk alongside my friends in my community.
It is now late in the afternoon, and I finally have an opportunity to bring myself back around to wrapping this up. As i review my thoughts thus far, I realize when I began this morning I wasn’t intending to share my thoughts on the community I have with my friends (and granted, they aren’t even necessarily fulled thought out thoughts). Even so, I want to share a few closing thoughts to attempt to wrap this up in a semi-meaningful way.
We are community-driven creatures. I believe one of the aspects of being made in the likeness of God is this community aspect. We have an innate desire to surround ourselves with others. We thrive on having a group of people with whom we can travel through life. Loneliness is never our choice. As humans we want others around us.
Not only do we want to have a community, but we want to belong to a community. We want to a part of it, be a piece that matters. We want to know others depend on us and need us around. We want to feel as though we are irreplaceable. We long to be indispensable to those around us. Being in a group only brings the fulfillment we crave when we belong to the group.
Similar, yet still distinct, we want to matter. Not just to those around us, but in the larger cosmic scheme of things. We want to know we have a place in a larger story. We want to belong locally to our community, but also globally. We need to know our life matters, that it was for something. We don’t necessarily need to change the world to find this meaning, but we want to know the things we do each day are worth doing. We want to know the days we had here on earth amounted to something of worth. As a child of God, our very existence was worth every drop of our precious savior’s blood he poured out for us. Our very existence is of more worth than we could possibly know or comprehend.
Community, belonging, meaning. These are three truths of existence for every human being. I am thankful and blessed to have a community to travel the road of life with where I find these three basic needs filled in a way consistent with God’s design for me here on earth. I am able to walk through life with a little patience until these needs are ultimately fulfilled by my creator and savior.
I hope you find a community like mine.

The Daikini Crossroads

20120126-133559.jpg(C) by www.martin-liebermann.de
We’ve all had it happen to us. Our spouses, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents, uncles, boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, roommate or landlord has done it to us. They’ve given us an

ULTIMATUM.

A deadline.
A get this fixed or our relationship is seriously going to be affected.

The stakes are different for each of us. No matter the stakes, they are high.

With our friends, it may be the future of our friendship. With BFFs, it could be the balance of te universe shifting because we no longer have someone to share every moment of life with. With relatives, it may be a chane to attend family gatherings or it may even be the familial bond and relationship on the line. With spouses, it’s the highest.

Often in life our attitude and demeanor slowly change. It’s not a drastic change, but a slow insidious one that take time to infect every aspect of our lives. Slowly, the way breathe, think and eat changes to something else. We become someone else… At least within the context of the dynamics of that particular relationship. We no longer respond with love. We no longer respond thinking the best. We now have become oppositional, defiant, defensive and repulsive.

And it changes everything.

So finally, our loved ones get tired of it. They love us, have to begin thinking of their own good. Their own mental, emotional and spiritual stability. So enter stage left the

ULTIMATUM.

What do we do now?

As I see it we have two choices:
1. Do nothing and let the chips fall where they may and have our lives and relationships destruct around us. This is a choice of non-action in reality. We are choosing to change nothing, to not do the hard work of saving our relationships. This at its core is a selfish choice. It serves us the most. True, life may be hard for a short time after we lose the treasured relationship, but we haven’t had to work anything out. That’s what makes this the easy, cowardly way out. We don’t have to do anything except do nothing and let our relationships disintegrate.

2. That leaves us with choice number two which entails dealing with that hard garbage. We have to move outside of ourselves and think of someone else and make changes. Hard changes. Difficult changes. Uncomfortable ones. Changes that hurt. Changes that cause pain in our own disjointed, screwed up self-centered reality where we allowed ourselves to become the center of our own universe. Changes that puts others back at the forefront of our lives. We were built, designed with a self-less aspect to us. We were created as image-bearers of God. I think two aspects of that are the communal aspect of our lives. We are community based and focused. We need others around us. The second aspect is in our selflessness. We were designed to think of others first, as Christ did. But that hurts. It is much easier to live with ourselves at the center. When we get this ULTIMATUM we have to decide are we going to continue to sit at the center of our universe or not. Removing ourselves from that place hurts. It hurts like ripping off a leech that is dug in and sucking. Or yanking out a tick that is getting fat of our blood. It hurts.

Why bother?

Good question. Why should we suffer the pain and indignity of change? Because life is better that way. When we sacrifice ourselves and put others first, serve others, look to God first, make him the center life feels more complete. This is not to say that it is going to be easy without hardship. The exact opposite. This isn’t to say it won’t be painful. The opposite. If we don’t change at some point nothing will ever change. What do I mean by that? I mean if we let this relationship self-destruct and we move on to the next one, everything will be good for awhile… until we get the next ULTIMATUM.

Then what?

Let this one fall victim to the destructive lifestyle we have chosen? Allow this relationship to become yet another burning hulk of destroyed, damaged and jacked up people we know?
At some point we have to decide things are going to change, things are going to be different. Let me rephrase that, WE are going to change, WE are going to be different. And after we make that decision for change, we commit to it, we throw ourselves all in, we begin to furiously work to alter our lives to be something else we have to stay the course.

I like the word furiously. It denotes that we are approaching this change with every ounce of effort we can muster. We are holding nothing back to assist us in the change.

Are you ready to do that?

Are you ready make a change?

Or are you ready to let things be the way they have always been?

If you let things stay the same, then life will continue to be a downward spiral of never-ending destruction of relationships.

As for me, when I get to the Daikini Crossroads I am furiously changing.

Where Have I Been over the Last Couple of Weeks?

Well, two weeks ago I was in Chicago for a conference and while I didn’t have a post hit the web on M, W, F I did have a few posts drop that week. I thought I had scheduled them appropriately, but not so much. The second half of that week I was in south Florida with Ronda and Jagger hanging out why friends and family. All in all that was a great week. It was wonderful to spend time with friends that we haven’t seen in years. Some of the friends we saw were friends we saw often several years ago as we all lived in the same town. Congregating with these friends (and a few others) were some of the best times of our life. I have great friends that I enjoy seeing now, but I dare say the kind of community of friends we had in Gainesville will likely never be rivaled.

Last week was intense. Having been gone an entire week paid a heavy toll of my family and my ability to accomplish much last week. I spent copious hours during the week trying to organize and finalize my names database in order to have a better handle on who I needed to contact and when. I was very consumed with this activity and fruitlessly spent way too much time on it. I made much headway, but it was a 1 step forward 2 backwards scenario.

So here we are having ended the week and begun a new one with no blog posts last week. I am truly sorry. I got ideas and I just need to spit them out.

I wanted to share some other events that have gone on recently in my life in general. A couple of weeks ago I started to coach Noah & Hayden’s soccer team. This is my second season as a soccer coach. I coach a U8 team, which is misleading because I don’t think we have any 8 yros on the team. It has been fun so far. This year many of the kids are 6 & 7 with a couple of 5 yros. It is amazing how much of a difference there is in the attention span of 6 & 7 yros vs. 4 & 5 yros. We had a game on last Friday and the team we played was incredible. They scored a goal off a corner kick, where it was put into play and another kid one-touched it into the goal. Sweet.

About a month ago I sold my Ford Explorer. This was a good and a bad idea ll rolled into one. We have contemplated the idea of replacing it with another car or just spending some money on maintenance to my mountain bike and allowing me to ride my bike everywhere. I went and looked at VW Golf today. It was a classic experience. I cranked the car up, got out and walked to the open hood and it shut off. The car would not start back up. Needless to say, I didn’t purchase that car. He was asking $2000 for it and it was only about a $800 car. Dude told me he would fix it and call me back… yeah I’m not gonna be interested either way. At this point, I think I’m leaning towards going down the mountain bike route. I could use the exercise that comes from riding a bike everywhere I need to be. I’m watching a couple of Klein Mantras on eBay right now. There’s a sweet orange one and black one that would be nice to have. The Mantra is the only full suspension mtb I have ever ridden that I liked. My dad has one, so I know I will like it. Gotta pitch this idea to Ronda. Could get any of the, for less than half of what a car would cost. Stay tuned for more details to come.

Running. Yeah. I’m trying to spend more time running. My iPod Shuffle died last week. I don’t like running without tunes. I tweeted this and a friend offered to replace it for me. Sweet! It should arrive this week. I am excited. Just today I imported music into my iTunes library so that I could have music to sync to it. Now I should be able to run as much as I want to.

Planet Fitness. I’m thinking of getting membership at Planet Fitness. There is one about 3 miles from the house. Great distance to run or bike there and work out. This is something I have talked about for years. You can’t beat $10 a month. If I pull the trigger on this, I’m sure you will hear of it.

Ordered a bunch of much-needed maintenance parts for the GSXR. I got a chain, a gasket to stop the oil leak, hand grips and some mirrors. I wil be so glad to get the mirrors for riding on I-4. It is insane riding without mirrors on the highway. Chain… this should make the bike ride bitter in general. I will also be happy to alleviate the oil slick in the carport.

That seems like a good overview of whats happening right now.

 

 

I Need Coffee

 

My affair with the bean has reached a new level.

While taking a substance abuse counseling class, I wrote a paper comparing being addicted to caffeine to being addicted to meth. It’s not terribly different. My professor however, did not agree. He graded the paper fairly, just told me I was being ridiculous.

Over the years, I have tried to reduce and even cut out my intake of coffee. What I have realized is that is an impossibility for me. Mainly because I don’t want to do it. I went coffee-free for about 6 months once. I tried tea. Nowhere near the same thing. Not even close.

Why do I like coffee so much?

Honestly, I actually like the taste of it. People often say beer is an acquired taste, I think coffee can be too. In a world full of mochas and lattes, we have forgotten what coffee itself tastes like. Want to find a hardcore coffee drinker? Stand beside the line at your local Starbucks or local coffee shop and watch the dude that orders a Cafe’ Americano, with no room for cream and sugar. Drip coffee with a shot of espresso. That dude is hardcore.

I like coffee because of the community building properties it has. Think about, it is just natural to say, “Let’s talk over a cup of coffee.” There are many beverages this can be done over such as tea, wine, beer, or even a Coke. But with the exception of tea, coffee is the only one of those beverages that is appropriate no matter the day of the week or even the time of day. If you meet someone for a glass of wine or a beer before you head off to work, your an alcoholic. Coke just doesn’t work for everyone in the morning either. Are we talking hot tea or cold tea? Cold tea in the morning? Only if you are my wife does this seem right. And for some reason hot tea in the afternoon just seems wrong, whereas coffee just seems right.

I understand not everyone feels this way about coffee. As I said, it is an acquired taste. I strongly suggest if you plan on spending anytime in the afterlife in heaven you develop a taste for coffee… as I believe it is the primary beverage served from heaven’s kitchen. This nectar from God is truly a blessing upon humans.

Another characteristic I enjoy about coffee, is its ability to comfort. Coffee makes me feel safe and at home. Nothing else can do that. No other beverage on the planet makes me feel safe. Strange you may say, normal and stop making fun of me I say. This may stem from my relationship with a friend from undergrad who was a little older than me and while we were friends, he kinda reminded me of my dad. They share many of the same qualities. As I would stand close to him and smell the coffee on his breath I would think of my dad, and it comforted me. I daresay, not a cup of coffee passes my lips that I don’t think of this friend and my dad. Coffee is about comfort for me.

Odd as it may seem, coffee calms me down. I’m an hyperactive, stimulated kind of guy. I move a lot. I have actually been diagnosed with ADHD… as an adult. My brother was diagnosed years ago as a kid and has seemingly learned to cope with the symptoms. I cope in my own way, but drinking coffee is a good way to calm down. For those of us with hyperactive tendencies, stimulants have to opposite affect and function with the chemicals of our brain to calm us down. A couple of weeks ago when I spoke at H2O, we were doing the mic check before the service (and before my 2nd cup of coffee) and I was visibly anxious, moving in an ‘agitated’ way. One friend commented that I looked identical to a football player just prior to kick off. We mic checked and I headed for a cup of java. Minutes before I took the stage to speak another friend asked where all my energy had gone. I told him I had been calmed by the coffee. He chuckled at first, but I reassured him it was indeed the coffee.

Do I really need another reason? No but, I’ll give you another. I love the smell.

So there you go… I need coffee.

Wrestling with God… Self-Worth and the Struggle of Co-Dependency

I’m taking this class in my counseling program right now, Foundations of Counseling, and it is supposed to be the first class you take in the program but, here I am 25% of the way through before I’m taking it. Dean Buchanan always accused me of taking things the wrong way and out of order. He was right. Anyway, the class covers things like the beginning of the client-therapist relationship, attending skills and other basic skills needed to be competent counselor.

Last week in class we spoke briefly on the subject of co-dependency. Briefly, co-dependency is the act of finding your value, self-worth and meaning from things or people outside of yourself. Like finding meaning. purpose and value in your job, friends, car, house, toys, significant other, how people view you, clothes and anything else that is outside of you. Anything that can influence you from the outside of yourself. My professor stated that the only legitimate place to gain that self-worth is from within ourselves. Value can’t be derived from what other people say or think about you.

As I began to think about this, I think that it needs to be taken one step further… to our value, worth and meaning coming from what God thinks about us and the value that God places on us. I think there is an amount of co-dependency there, but a healthy level. God has created us, and it is only him that can give us any value, any worth. I like this better. Because if I leave it up to myself I am susceptible to allowing the messages that I hear from outside to cloud the way that I value and consider myself. Take this song for example, Celldweller one of my fav bands has a song entitled Symbiont and the tag for the song is:

I’m never gonna let you forget;

that you’re

Eraseable – Expendable

Words like this tap into my already shaky sense of worth and value. And if I rely on myself I’m not sure if I am able to overcome these thoughts and persuasions. So looking to myself, isn’t enough. There has to be another measure for me. What can I use to determine my worth that isn’t from other people who can’t be trusted to bring me my true value and isn’t from myself that also can’t be trusted to bring my true value. I believe as humans we have a basic need for community, to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And the other side of this need, is one of greatest fears: that we don’t have community, that we don’t belong, that we aren’t a part of something bigger. I also believe that this fear is stronger than our ability to overcome it and see our true value and worth. Maybe not stronger, but it easily over powers us. Kind of like the Darkside of the Force in Star Wars. The Darkside isn’t stronger but, it seems stronger because it builds on things like anger, hate, fear, and malcontent. Our fears are just like this… they seem stronger because they are easily able to over power us because in the deepest recesses of our minds we are scared that our fears are true. That fear gives our fears their greatest strength.

The way to fill the need that we have to belong doesn’t come from other people totally. Just like the need to feel value doesn’t come from us completely. We have to look inside ourselves and beyond ourselves. We have to tap into something else. God is the only answer. He is able to fill all the holes and complete all the voids that we have in our lives. God has placed a value on us that we can’t match anywhere else. God values us enough to have created us in the first place. God values us enough to chase after us to have a relationship with us. God values us enough to fix our screw ups in order to maintain the relationship with him. Ultimately, God values us enough to die for us. We have created a rift between God and us and the only way to fix it is for someone to pay the price to fix it. The rift is created by sin, God being completely holy is unable to surround himself with anything that is unholy. Because of this intrinsic and fundamental foundation our sin-scarred, tattered-rags of excuses for lives are unable to approach him. Hence the need for a Savior. Grace is defined as not getting what we deserve while simultaneously getting what we don’t deserve. God in his glory has decided to overcome the laws of physics: become a human, be fully human (yet fully divine) and struggle like the rest of us, yet remain untainted and unscarred by sin. After being fully human he dies in our place, takes our punishment in order for the rift to be crossed. God does the unimaginable and extends grace so that we can once again know him.

Why does this matter to our conversation about value? God values us enough to turn the whole universe upside-down to bring us back to him. The only place we are going to find someone to value us that much is through God. Looking within us isn’t enough. We have to allow God to bring our value and worth to us. Now the hard part of life is putting that value into action and to begin to see ourselves the way God does. There are good days and bad days. Our feelings of our inability to measure up don’t affect the way God measures us. God loves us the same no matter what. There may be days that are more disappointing to him than others, but his love never changes. Christ said he was the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His love remains constant.

Now, I just need to value myself the way God does.