June 9, 2014

30 Days of Hustle - Day 2

Day Two’s challenge is about the Why. Why do I want to lose weight. I guess I answered that yesterday. I need to lose weight so that I can see my daughter grow up and grow old. I don’t feel healthy now. I don’t feel horrible, but I know that I need to lose weight. There is heart issues on both sides of my family. Its time to clean up my act.

I also mentioned yesterday that I am a temple of God, or part of it anyway. I am not treating the temple very good. I’m abusing it.

If I stop and think about it, I probably have some sort of a food addiction. Food is my comfort. It is what I go to when I get stressed. It brings me joy sometimes. I eat it and then feel guilty sometimes. I think that means I have a problem. Don’t you think?

I think God an my family are important reasons to lose weight, don’t you think?

So, if you are joining me in this challenge, answer the “Why?” question for yourself. Why are you doing it? Is it just because of me? That’s honorable and nice, but you need more. I’m not that important!

30 Days of Hustle - Day 1

I got an email the other day. I get a bunch of emails every day. Some are junk. Some are fun to read. The email I am talking about was from Jon Acuff. In that email he talked about offering a 30 Days of Hustle Challenge.

It sounded interesting to me. So I signed up. I am doing the 30 Days of Hustle Challenge. Each day for 30 days, I will get an email from the Acuff enterprise challenging me to do something…Below is the beginning. Read on at your own risk.

Day 1 –What do I want to do?

The list for this is long. I want to do a lot of things. I need/want to lose weight. I want to own a coffee shop. I want my wife to get through this dark spell of life she is having and I want to help her lose the weight that is part of the darkness. I want to be better at my ministry.

Thanks for bringing all of these struggles and wants up, Mr. Acuff.

His point in the first email is to choose one thing. What one thing do I want to do? Does Mr. Acuff realize that I am a high C in the DISC personality profile? As a high C (conscientious), want to do everything right. Because of this, I struggle to make decisions. So, not only did Mr. Acuff bring up all the things I feel I want to do in my life, he has cornered me with the challenging of picking one thing. What I if I choose the wrong thing? Will that wreck everything else I want to do? How do I even decide? Does he even know what his simple question does to me on the inside?

It sounds to me like I need some help. Or, I simply need to suck it up and choose something and go. So, I chose my goal.

I am overweight. I need to lose weight. A lot of it. I weighed in this morning. 304#. I was surprised it wasn’t more.

I WANT to weigh no more than 250#. I want to do this so I can be healthy enough to see my daughter grow up and live life. I want to be healthier for my wife. I need to be healthier because I am the temple of God…or a part of it, anyway.

My goal is to lose 54# by Christmas. I am putting it out here on the internet world to show that I am serious. Maybe throwing it out here will make me push more and actually do something rather than having good intentions with no follow through.

Do you want to join me? What is a weight loss goal you have? If you don’t have one, set one right now. How much do you want to lose by Christmas? We’ll call it the Skinny Christmas Challenge. What are we going to do? How are we going to get there. How can I challenge you and how can you challenge me?

June 2, 2014

Boxes of Toys

My daughter has lots of toys. We move them every few months when my wife spring cleans her room. They are colorful boxes, full of items that my daughter has collected over the years. She had one box out the other day. It has MSU Spartan pom poms, a feather boa from a past halloween outfit, a bag in the shape of a basketball, amongst other things. That is only one of the dozen or so bins that fill a shelf in her room. Another has the ever awesome Legos…or at least the legos that will fit in the box.

I was thinking about this the other day. Hannah Grace is 10 years old. She is still in the toy phase. Though most of the toys simply sit on the shelf, she pulls them out from time to time to play with them. Then, its back on the shelf. Over the next few years, what will happen to these toys? As she gets older, she probably won’t want them anymore. Where will they go? Will we sell them at a garage sale? Will she donate them somewhere? Will she keep some for the memories?

An even bigger question that I have concerning these boxes of toys is this: What will take their place? Her room right now is a lovely pink with polkadots and everything that represents an elementary girl. I am certain that as she gets older, things will change. How will her personality change? What will fill in the spaces in the boxes, bins, and on the walls. My prayer is that good things will take the place of the toys, trinkets, and stuff. That’s what any good dad would want.

As I thought about this, my mind remembered a passage of Scripture I had been working through last week.

In 1 Peter, the writer is encouraging the believers who live in Asia Minor–present day Turkey. They lived in a challenging time where the megalomania minded caesars called for everyone in their kingdoms to acknowledge them as gods. If you were a Christian at that time, or a Jew for that matter, this was a problem. God said, “No other God’s before me.” That means, no caesar before me. When people won’t do what caesar wants, bad things happen. Persecution happens. People die for their faith.

Peter is writing to these people and encouraging them to understand the bigger picture–that the inheritance they have received from God, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, is greater than what they are suffering. Even more, their suffering is growing their faith.

He then continues to challenge them, calling them to be holy, like God is Holy. Imitate the father God, pushing forward with their faith, because that is what the Gospel calls them to. He also tells them to imitate God’s love, and show that they are doing so by loving one another with the love of God.

Throughout chapter 1 he uses a child metaphor to carry his encouragement forward. Peter continually calls them little children who are growing in their faith. He closes out the section by saying this:

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:1-3)

Peter tells them, get rid of the world in you. Push forward and crave the Word of God, which they have heard and tasted. Hunger for spiritual milk and grow up their faith.

This really resonates with me in the stage of life I am. I daily watch my 10 year old transform in front of me. She is growing in every aspect of life. As she grows, she struggles to adjust–just as we all did at that age. She is learning to deal with the new emotions, the new feelings, and the new responsibility of life. It is exciting to watch. It is painful to watch. Part of me doesn’t want her to grow up. I want her to stay my little girl forever. But, I have to realize that I can’t do that. I have to let her mature. I have to help her navigate the the feelings, emotions, and changes, so that she can become her own being. As a father, that is a scary thing. I’m sure it is for her mother, also.

Does God feel the same anxiety that I feel as a father? Does he want my boxes and bins to be full of good things just as I desire for my daughter? How is he helping me navigate this transformation from a spiritual baby to a mature adult? How am I listening and learning from him? Or, am I fighting the help, wanting my own freedoms, just like my daughter?

Lord, help me to hunger and thirst for your righteousness with my life. Help me to shape every breath and every action a worship to you. Help what I do to encourage my daughter to do the same. As I love her like I see you love me, may my presence and influence shape her to be a child of God. Help me help her fill the boxes and bins of her life with the good that comes from you.