the reckless dad

‪reck·less /rekləs/ adj. without thinking about the consequences. rash, heedless, impetuous, impulsive, daredevil, audacious, madcap‬

Category: Humility

Personality Traits

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I have always been fascinated by personality theory… or at least as long as I’ve be aware of something called personality theory, which in reality has only been about 10-15 years. So not, literally always… just always that I aware of.

At any rate, it is interesting to me to think through the differing qualities and characteristics which make us individual human beings. The intricacies making each of us tick, slightly different than the next person. Understanding who a person is at their personality core will help you to understand how to interact with them in the most effective way. Understanding how they view the world, how they frame and interact with the their internal world and the external world.

I spend a lot of time thinking about stuff and processing internally. Maybe this is why one of my professors suggested I was an introvert masquerading as an extrovert. On a side note – I am not an introvert, I am undoubtedly an extrovert who will at times do introverted things. Make sense? Not to me either. But in these times where I spend time thinking, I think about my personality and the pieces of that are holding me back. Or maybe not holding me back as much as u become aware of them as I attempt to become the person I am seeking to be.  I am a visionary. I dream. Big. A LOT. I have great plans with executable ideas requiring follow through. These dreams require organization and delegation of tasks.

Here’s my dilemma, I have very poor follow through.

My problem isn’t organization or administration. I’m not the most organized or the best admin, but I’m not the worst.

My problem isn’t ideas… God knows I have billions of earth-shattering, ground-breaking, life-altering ideas.

My problem isn’t communication… I am an excellent communicator.

My problem isn’t with motivation, of others… I  magnetic and able to motivate others towards an end.

My problem isn’t even with valuing the dream, idea or end in mind. Or even my commitment to the idea at hand. Admittedly, my actions often (regularly) belie my commitment.

My problem is my personal follow through. I have been aware of this for some time now. This year, 2016, one of the personal goals I am setting is to do a much better job with follow through. I am committing to doing better about finishing what I start. I am also committing to NOT committing to things I know I am not going to be able to finish. There is a beauty in saying ‘no’. I heard it said the greatest enemy of the best is good. Committing to do good things we don’t have time for inhibits us from being able to complete the best things we can. I am committing to my best in 2016.

I am setting several personal and professional goals for 2016 (they aren’t resolutions, so its ok that they aren’t totally in place and rolling on 1/1/16). I am setting goals to move me forward personally and professionally.

When Parenting Happens and We Aren't to Blame

boysAs a parent, each day is full of moments where you are sure you are doing it wrong. On occasion, there is a moment when you know you have done it right. And then there are moments, when it is right and you know it wasn’t that you had done it right as much as the character you have been working so hard to instill in your children shows through their actions.

Recently, our oldest son has been having a bit of a philosophical dilemma with friends at school. He is finding himself in need of locating new friends. As we inquire as to what is going on, we have discovered the ‘cool kids’ are being mean to the ‘uncool’ kids. My son typically falls into the cool category, but he is having a problem with the way his friends are treating other kids. So he had started to hang out with others at school, because he doesn’t want to be cool if it means being mean to others.

As a dad to three boys, I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to instill a sense of justice in my little dudes. As brothers do, they constantly fight and argue and get on each other’s nerves. They love each other, but they also love to fight each other. What inevitably happens, the youngest and smallest gets pushed around (although, in all honesty he can hold his own… he doesn’t know the phrase dog eat dog yet, but he is aware of the principle!). When the little guy gets pushed around, I try to instill in the older boys a sense of the injustice inherent in picking on the little guy. It really irritates me. I want them to know that it isn’t ok the push the little guy around just because you can. As a side note, this is an important lesson for them to learn in my kind because I want to ensure as husband and fathers, they don’t use their size to push their families around. We call those men batterers and abusers. If I teach my dudes nothing else in life, I will teach them not to abuse or batter their family. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have an inflated or big sense of justice, but I would say I want justice to prevail as much as I can help it.

So when my popular, athletic, electric, outgoing, tons of friends oldest son says he is struggling with his friends because they want to pick on and be mean to the less popular or cool kids, my heart is warm. It’s not that I did it right as a parent, as much as my son is becoming the man I have prayed and hoped he would be. It’s not that I have done it right as much as he had the character of a man who has a heart after God’s heart.

And the icing to this cake of awesomeness is when you realize the other two boys are walking through the same struggles with their friends too. When they are also beginning to see and understand it isn’t ok to pick on kids to be cool. For one son to demonstrate the character I hoped for is great… for all three of them to demonstrate that kind of character is indescribable.

I’m not some super parent who is awesome… but I am happy with who my dudes are becoming as men.

Quicksand

Found at: denvercounseling.com/quickstand-depression/

Found at: denvercounseling.com/quickstand-depression/

I love the movie the Replacements. Just a great movie. I think what I like the most about it is that it’s a movie about a team of underdogs captained by the chief dark horse. Just a fun movie with lots of humor.

One of favorite scenes is when they are in the locker room & coach asks what they are afraid of. Bees. Spiders. And finally quicksand. While I am afraid of spiders… on this list quicksand is the most terrifying to me.

Not quicksand quicksand. But quicksand where we get into something and begin to sink

The more we struggle or try to get out the deeper we sink.

Terrifying. It’s taps into our primal fear of not only dying, but failing too.

This must have been what Peter felt like when he got out of the boat. He gets out on the water a bit. And begins to sink. He has lost focus and is sinking. The more he struggles, the more he sinks because he is increasingly losing focus on Jesus.

We often beat Peter up for losing focus… but 11 other dudes stayed in the boat. Just an observation. Peter was apparently the only one brave enough, or dumb enough, to get out of the boat. But he did.

In the midst of the quicksand we find ourselves in, the answer is the same for us as it was for Peter. Focus on God. The Psalmist writes, “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). The way out of the quicksand is to:

  • Be still – calm down. Breathe. Slow down and stop being frantic. When we feel pressed on every side it rarely is helpful to freak out. It usually doesn’t get us anywhere to flail arms and legs. Slow down. Focus on our options and see the way out.
  • Don’t panic – panic is never the answer. Unless you are being chased by a T-Rex… then panic is the only answer. James encourages us to be of sober mind & sound spirit, which doesn’t sound like panic.
  • Know that I Am is God – this is subtle here, but we can’t miss it. When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt he told Moses to tell pharaoh ‘I Am’ had sent him to deliver his people. God’s name is an expression of existence. There is no question as to whether he is God of everything, simply because he exists. But this also reminds all who reads this, like God delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, so will he deliver all who call on his name.
I write this from quicksand. This week my plate feels very full. I feel as though I am having a hard time balancing it. As I meditated on my situation these thoughts came to mind. I’d like to say I was praying or reading the bible at the time… but it’d be a lie. I was driving worrying about all I have to get done.

God is God. God is sovereign and the king of all things. I trust him with my life.

I’m not afraid of quicksand. Even when it suffocates me.

The Beginning of the End

Tunnel
I started this journey in October of 2007… that’s over six years ago.

Six years ago.

Today is the beginning of the end. This is the first day of class of my last term in my masters in counseling. In 9 weeks I will graduate and complete this degree. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!!

These last six years have been some of the hardest years of my life. Not because of this education… this education was one of the very few constants in my life over these years.

I have learned much about myself, my wife, the resiliency of my children, what authentic community feels like, the pain of losing jobs, the difficulty of financial ruin, the anguish of mental breakdown, and most importantly the unending love of my savior for me.

I also learned about the healing of restoration, the excitement of redemption and the joy of emerging on the other side of intense pain & difficulty.

By the grace of God I have emerged victorious against my foes.

There is a sense of accomplishment that goes along with getting to this place in my life… but honestly, it isn’t the kind of feeling of accomplishment you might expect. I am proud of myself, but more than anything I am proud of the God who has gotten me through.

When I began this journey, this masters degree, I honestly wasn’t sure why I started it. I didn’t really want to be a counselor. I would have rathered an MSW (Master’s of Social Work)… I felt as though this was more up my alley and have continued to profess that over the course of 6 years. Each time reassuring myself when I complete this degree it will certainly help me in ministry. I no longer feel this way exclusively. It will help in ministry, but it also fits me very well. I enjoy counseling (actually I enjoy being on both sides of the couch, but that’s for another time) and believe I make a good counselor. I listen well. I have good insight. I offer sound, wise advice. I certainly have experienced my own pain in a way that is meaningful to others and in a way that resonates with them. I can help others because of what I have experienced. I am a better father and husband because of what I have experienced. I am more humble because of what I have experienced.

I have learned more than I can put into words about myself. One thing I have certainly learned is I am able to accomplish something. Over the last six years, more times than I care to recount, I have felt like a failure. I am not a failure.

Quite the opposite is true.

I am a Champion.

Today, I lift the head of the giant and celebrate my defiance. But the Lord is with me like a dread champion; Therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, With an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten. (Jeremiah 20:11 NASB)

Today is the beginning of the end.

the Humility of Christ (Vintage Post)

I originally wrote this while in Bible college… and at a time when Deion Sanders & Jerry Rice were still playing pro football. Even given the fact that the opening illustration is dated, the message that we ought to be humble like Jesus is worth hearing again.

Since I am from Athens, Ga. Deion Sanders is a name that I am very familiar with, as I am sure that all of you are also familiar with him.  Neon Deion as he has named himself is moderately good football player.  The thing I have against Neon Deion is that he has a big mouth.  Have you ever noticed?  He is loud and obnoxious, more so than many other football players.  Neon Deion lacks something that Jerry Rice possesses.  Jerry Rice is a calm quiet individual who has a lot of skill and talent in the game of football.  Almost the exact opposite of Neon Deion in the way he reacts to the plays he makes.  He does not boast, brag or taunt others.  He is humble.  He knows that he can catch the ball well.  He knows that he is arguably the best receiver that the game of football has ever seen.  But he does not tell everyone he meets about his ability.  He is a humble man.

Humility is the foremost character that we as Christians need to have.  In order for us to be like Christ in all that we do we must be humble.  What does it mean to be humble?  How does a humble person act?  First and foremost, a humble person is not proud.  They are modest.  Humble people usually do not want thanks for anything, and if they take thanks they direct the credit to God.  The serve others.  They put the well being of others before themselves.  The have a servant’s heart.  They are willing to be obedient to those who hold authority over them.  Humble people are able to keep an accurate view of themselves; they know how to keep themselves in their right place and do not romanticize about whom or where they are.  They do not think themselves higher than they are.  Christ did this.  He was humble and He called us to be humble also.

He became like us = humility in action. Christ knew how to be humble and He left an example for us.  Jesus was God and all that entails.  He was and is the very Image of God.  Jesus told His disciples that if they had seen Him they had seen the Father.  And in John the first chapter, John tells us that ‘..in the beginning was the Word and the Word was God..’  This means God and the Word, which is Jesus, are the same.  Equal on all levels.  Jesus had all the privileges that God had.  But, He emptied Himself.  He did not become any less God, He just laid aside some of His privileges that were His as God.  No one is 100% sure what is meant by that but, suffice it to say He went through a dramatic change when He became a man.  Paul tells us that Jesus took on the form of a bond-servant.  The Greek word that is translated probably should be translated as slave.  This helps to understand the dramatic change that took place as He humbled Himself and became a man.  He went from the King of Kings to slave.  He went from the Almighty Creator to the very creature that rebelled against Him.  Christ became a servant to perform the Will of the Master.  To put this into perspective, it would be similar to one of us becoming a slug.

And then He died on the cross.  Some years ago a man named Martin Hengal wrote a book simply entitled Crucifixion.  And in this book he details the horror on death by hanging on a cross.  I recommend this book to every Christian, especially those who desire to be preachers.  I want to call your attention back to the word doulou. I do this because crucifixion was the death penalty given to slaves.  It was too cruel and inhumane for upstanding citizens.  People like you and I did not even dare utter the word crucifixion, that is how dirty of a word it is.  Christ humbled Himself to death even death on a cross; the most terrible, painful disgraceful, disgusting death man has ever thought up.  He was obedient.  That is why He did it.  He was humble and His humility demanded that He die for us on that cross.  You may recall Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He did not want o have to do it this way.  I do not blame him.  It is one thing to die for those who love you, but to die for the very people who were going to kill you.  Nonetheless He was obedient to the Will of the Father.  “Not My Will, but your will be done oh Lord.”

Become Like Him. That is our charge to become like Him.  What happened to Him after His death? Christ was exalted and returned to His rightful place.  Name above every name, and that every knee should bow and confess Jesus Christ is Lord!  Amen!!  He went form slave to the Master of all.  He went form servant to King of Kings.  We too can be exalted Like Christ.  All we have to do is follow the example that He gave us.  Become like Him,  humble.  Be humble and have all the same actions of humility that Christ had.  Be obedient to the Father, be a servant to the Father and His flock.  ‘Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord…. And He will lift you up.”  James and Paul both relate this to us.  If we humble ourselves before God, He will exalt us and give us eternity with Him.  Yes it takes more to be saved than just humility, but that is the starting point.  Where are you today?  Are you on your knees awaiting the task that the Master has for you?  Christ became like us, now it is our turn to become like Him.

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