Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 . . . . . honestly

Hi Everyone,

Well, it is near the end of 2009. It is also my birthday. . . a day that seems to always cause me to reflect on things. (I know. . I'm a huge ball of fun).

This has really been a hard year. I'm going to try and avoid all the "hardest year of my life" hyperbole, although I do feel that way at times. I think, mentally, and emotionally I probably did better this year than some of my college days.

But, the non-whining rundown is. . . we have big money problems. . . we had house problems (I replaced every major appliance in my house this year, save the refrigerator). . . we had extended family problems, . . . marriage was tough this year (Jody is a trooper). . . . I didn't write many songs this year. . . .I got back out of shape. . . . we had a house fire . . . .we had relational struggles with some friends. . . .ok I'll stop.

I'm fighting for joy right now in these things, because I know that God sovereignly ordered all of this into my life this year. He has a purpose in it. I know that to be true more than I know most anything else. And, that's a comfort.

I"m not a "why me" kind of guy. In fact, those close to me are often frustrated by my lack of "why me" and expectations for myself. I"m a "why not me" kind of guy. Why shouldn't I have financial problems? What silver spoon do I have in my mouth that would exclude me from homeowner difficulties? There isn't one. . .and none of us are owed anything or should expect a trouble-free 2010. Matt Chandler's ( a favorite of this blog) recent battle with brain cancer has again helped and reminded me of these truths which are important to keep in front of us.

So, that's not the problem. . I struggle more with "how can we get back to the way it was"--itis, which is probably almost as bad as "why me"--ism :) We can't get back. Life changes and we're forever changed by what God has for us. The good news is, for Christians, this change has a purpose and God is in all of it. The bad news is. . . it's often painful.

So, I"m hopeful again for 2010. I"m not hopeful for a pain-free 2010. I would like it to be a "lighter" year and a year filled with more eustress (stress that moves you forward and leads you to good action and initiative) and less distress (stress that causes my cholesterol to go up, fights to happen in my house, and a cloudy brain).

In fact that might be a big one. . my brain is cloudy these days and my thoughts are quickly distracted or gone. I know, I'm older :) but I need to do better this year at silence and solitude.
Perhaps working on the "out of shape" thing will help there as well.

But, I'm hopeful because God doesn't change and since he didn't withhold his own Son, he will "also with Him graciously give us all things". I know that's true. It was true in this hard year, and it will be true if 2010 is harder.

But, the fight for joy continues, I don't just want to survive 2010, I want to live it more to the Glory of God. . . . Pray for me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Best relationship advice I've heard in. . . . . ever

This little gem is from a CCEF booklet entitled Family Feuds: How to Respond by Tim Lane.

You can read the whole thing here. Even though this is mainly talking about relating to your extended family at Christmas. . . .I think this is great for marriage/parenting/any relationship . . . great stuff, and very helpful:

"Living with a conscious understanding of who you are in Christ can practically impact the way you love your family. Think of it this way: if you are very poor and someone steals a dollar from you, you’d be very angry and you’d try to make that person give you your dollar back. But if you are a multi-millionaire and someone takes $100 or even $1000 dollars from you, the offense, though real, doesn’t sting like it would if you were very poor. In the same way, when you become a Christian you are a spiritual multi-millionaire a millions times over!

Because of what Jesus did for you through his life, death, and resurrection, God has poured an unlimited amount of grace, forgiveness, love, commitment, security, and commitment into your life. Your spiritual wealth puts all of the slights, unmet expectations, and hurts of parents and siblings in a totally new light. It doesn’t mean you ignore or don’t feel the hurts, but they pale in comparison to what you have been given in Christ. Because of who you are in Christ, you don’t have to be overwhelmed and dominated by the sins and failures of your family. Instead you will be free to share with them the same grace and mercy God has given to you."

Tim Lane

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Two takes on the Tiger Woods story

I don't want to pile on Tiger Woods. I'm not proud of some of the things I've said about it this week. But, I found two good stories about the whole situation today. (one great. . one good)

CJ Mahaney blogs about Sin's pursuit of us and how "there but for the grace of God go I". . . A really, really great piece. I hope to one day find my first emotion in cases like this to be humility. I"m not there yet. But, this is a good word for all of us.

A sports columnist for the Omaha World-Herald had a different take. But, I think he has some good points as well.

What boggles my mind, though, is the idea that he thought he could get away with this, that it would never come out, that these women would keep quiet forever, that the constant media eye on him wouldn't eventually find out. He seemed actually upset that this is a story. Please, Tiger. You've used celebrity like no sports figure before you, even MJ, to become beloved world-wide and all the riches that come with it. Don't scold celebrity when it cuts the other way. This is not the media's fault. And please refrain from using the word "principles.''

That's Tom Shatel. . here's the whole piece. I certainly don't agree with all that he says. But, I do think it's fascinating, from a strictly human point of view, that he really didn't think any of this would come out. Amazing. As is the case with any marital infidelity, he obviously wasn't thinking clearly. And, it's a true statement that Tiger has used his celebrity status to make money, and now he's upset that it has cut the other way.

I just found that piece interesting. Now, go read the CJ Mahaney piece again for a great spiritual take on the whole thing that will actually help you. :)