Tag: fear

Accomplishing Your Dream: A Lesson from a Toddler Putting on Socks

Toddle Socks

One of our toddler’s obsessions is shoes, or as she calls them “pretty shews”. When I say obsession, I mean we are routinely tempted to throw them out as a means of intervention. She loves shoes. And, because she loves shoes, she learned fairly quick how to put them on all by herself. She even responds to, “wrong feet” and promptly corrects them. She is pretty much a genius. Socks on the other hand are a tad more difficult for her, so she still requires our help in that area.

A couple months ago she came into the kitchen, socks and shoes in hand, with the dream of wearing them in her heart. She walked over to us and said “Shock on. Shews.” My wife was cooking and I was doing dishes, so I responded, “Okay baby. I’ll help you in a second.” Then turned to wrap up my task. When I turned back to help her I was shocked to see that she had already put on her socks. I looked at her and celebrated, “Yay! You put your socks on!” She responded by throwing her hands in the air and declaring, “Yay shocks on!” I did need to help straighten them, but all in all, she put her socks on, with the heel mostly in the correct spot. As I stood and watched her put her shoes on, I thought about what it took for her to achieve that dream.

Okay, maybe it is a bit over the top with the dream thing, but it was something that she really wanted and she went after it. Of course there was a learning process for her, but eventually she decided she was not willing to wait for someone else in order to see her dream of shoe wearing fulfilled. The same is true for your dream. There is a point at which you have to decide that you are going to accomplish your dream, even if you do not know how.

Here are four things that I took away from my daughter putting on socks that might help in accomplishing your dream:

1. It is okay, even necessary, to watch others.

Whatever the task you want to complete, no one expects you to just know how to do it right out of the gate. My daughter watched us every time we put on hers or our socks. While we did, she talked through it, mostly just pointing and saying “Shocks on.” But, I looked at it as her asking about putting socks on and verbally walking through the process. She learned by watching someone who knew how to put on socks.

There are others who have success in the area that you want to succeed in. So watch them. Read what they write. Watch their videos. Take their courses. Email them. Ask questions. Learn from people who know what they are doing.

2. Be confident in what you have learned.

Eventually there comes a point that you have learned what you needed to. You have read all the blogs and books, watched the YouTube and Face Book videos, attended the webinars/courses and have pages of notes. But it is not enough to just know what you need to know, you also have to be confident enough in what you have learned to apply it.

There came a point in my daughter’s sock wearing journey that she had learned enough to give her the confidence to do it herself. She trusted what she had learned and applied it. In addition to transferring knowledge, a teacher should also build confidence in your ability to apply it. Stop following people who do not inspire confidence in you.

3. Do not wait for someone else.

My daughter really wanted to wear her shows, but her sockless feet stood in the way. She could have either waited and went shoeless for another five minutes, or implemented what she learned and wear her pretty shoes now. She opted for the “pretty shoes now.” She did not wait for permission or for someone else to say she was ready, and she did not wait for someone else to do it for her, she just did it. In the same way, you do not need someone else’s permission, so start.

4. Do not be afraid to accept help.

My daughter could have refused my help and instead put the shoes on over crooked socks. It would have worked, but it probably would have been a bit rough on her walking. But she did not refuse. Instead, she realized I still knew stuff about sock wearing that she did not and she accepted my offer of help.

In 2015 I launched a blog called, The Whole Man. After my first post a lady contacted me and said it was a great post, but there were some grammatical errors and she could point them out if I would like. I could have been offended, refused and went on my way, never realizing the generosity and blessing in that offer. But, I knew enough to realize that there are people that know far more about writing than I do, so I accepted her offer. Now, more than a year later, I have an amazing copy-editor and coach and my writing is so much better. And, I have gained a dear friend. People want to help, do not be afraid to accept it.

With all the technology available to us, not knowing how to do something is one of the worst excuses for not accomplishing your dream. The world is literally at your fingertips and there are people that want to help you succeed. So put on your shocks and shews and start walking toward your dream.

The Good Men Project Article – May 22, 2016

Yesterday The Good Men Project published a second article I wrote for them. It’s an important subject if you’re a Christian. At first glance it may look like the article is about the Transgender bathroom issue, but that’s only a surface level issue. The real topic behind the article is fear and how we, as Christians, should approach it. Thanks for reading and as always, healthy dialogue is always welcome.

A Christian Dad Sounds Off on the Lies About Transgender People and Restrooms

Transgender

If you had to explain it to someone from another country, what would you tell them appears to be the biggest issues facing our country? Our economy? The millions of people who live in poverty? Our hard broken justice system? The fact that a crazy misogynist has grabbed the GOP nomination essentially unchallenged? Nope, nope, nope and nope. Oddly, you would likely be closer if you said our biggest issue, especially within the conservative Christian camp, is whether a person should be able to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. Realistically this has been a point of contention and debate in one form or another for quite a few years, with instances like bakers refusing to make cakes for same gender weddings, the push to legalize same gender marriage, local government officials refusing to execute their civic duty when it comes to issuing said marriage licenses and a myriad of other rights that members of the LGBTQ community are working toward gaining. And in all that, Christians have been some of the loudest voices of opposition.

Read more [HERE]

 

Photo: Flickr/Peter K.Levy

3 Things the Gospel Isn’t

FalseThis blog has been around for a few years. During those years, the structure and my writing style has change a few times but my heart for why #ApproachGod exists has remained the same. But, it wasn’t until recently that I started really being able to articulate what #ApproachGod is for. Here it is: I want #ApproachGod to encourage conversations that will help build communities that cultivate love, so that people can see that they’re invited, through Jesus, to approach God the Father. The most important part of building communities that reflect Jesus, is the Gospel Message. Actually, without understanding the Gospel Message, a love cultivating community that is pursuing Jesus, doesn’t exist. I think that a lack of understanding the Gospel is one of the main barriers keeping us from having genuine communities where people are loved to Christ.

I could just tell you what the Gospel message is, but where’s the fun in that. And, I’ve written that so many times (I’ll also include it at the end of this article). Here’s three things that we typically twist the Gospel message into, but that it is most definitely NOT

A Means to Condemn Others

We’ll start here, mainly because I constantly see articles and stories with Christians shouting about what others are doing that doesn’t line up with scripture. Right off the bat Jesus said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” In that passage of scripture Jesus is explaining God’s great love for the world and how He fits into it. He does say that those that don’t believe in Him are already condemned. The implication is that all of us are already condemned, but those that chose to believe that Jesus is who He said He is, can be saved. The point is, Jesus came to save people out of condemnation. Is it important for people to understand the link between their condemnation and the salvation Jesus offers? Yes. But, our commission wasn’t to condemn people’s sin. In being Jesus’ witnesses to a dying world, we’re to address their unbelief of Him, that is their primary sin. Conviction, not condemnation, for any other sin is the job of the Holy Spirit.

We can’t be hell fear mongers and hope dealers at the same time.

 Tweet: We can’t be hell fear mongers and hope dealers at the same time. #ApproachGod | http://ctt.ec/ZefcD+

How many people do you think actually turn to Jesus by being told, by a stranger, that they’re a horrible sinner? If you do a quick Google search for statistics you’ll see that the declining numbers in the church suggests that technique works on very few people. What does work is loving and serving people. It’s the reason that Jesus acted and taught the way He did. It’s why He said he came to serve not be served, told us to love your neighbor and your enemy and to pray for your persecutor. It’s why He begged God to forgive those that were crucifying Him. He knew that love was a far better invitation than fear. Oh, and that’s why John said that there is no fear in love. We can’t be hell fear mongers and hope dealers at the same time. When we use Jesus, the cross, or the bible as a means to generate fear in others, you’re not teaching the Gospel.

When it comes to unbelievers, they need to see Christ acted out and active in our life. It’s for that reason that Peter reminds us that we ought to honor Christ in our hearts and be prepared with an answer for the hope that is in us. He was saying that people will see and ask. When that happens, the focus for Christ’s goodness ought to be by the word of our testimony for what He’s done in OUR sin filled life. Then we can talk about how that translates to humankind. It isn’t our responsibility to identify the sin in an unbeliever’s life. 1 Corinthians 5:13 relieves us of that responsibility. For the believer, if we’re in relationship with them, the Gospel is still meant to draw them to God, because we’re still “being saved.” If we’re in community with them, we’re called to loving correction, not chastising condemnation.

A Way to Excuse Your Behavior

I think this gospel is for many Christians, the preferred one. I know that it used to be mine. I used to hinge my entire religious experience on the idea of God’s good grace. Honestly, it was the only reason I walked into church after a weekend of partying and drinking. I had this illusion that I could choose to act however I wanted and God would forgive me. While it is true that God forgives all sin, choosing to sin and expecting forgiveness is actually an abuse of grace and not at all what it means to follow Jesus.

When the religious leaders brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, He not only made the point that her condemnation isn’t theirs to deal in, He told her that He doesn’t condemn her, then said “go and sin no more.” After extending His mercy, He offered her grace and expected that if she decided to receive it she would need to stop doing the very thing that landed her at His feet. But, it wasn’t an expectation that she’d simply change her behavior, it was an expectation that His response to her need for love would so impact her heart that it would change her understanding of how that need was to be met.

The Gospel is not our get out of jail free card. The simple fact that you said a prayer (me included) at some youth event when you were 12, doesn’t give you carte blanche to act however you want. Following Jesus is the continued submission to the pressing of the Holy Spirit on your mind and heart. The Gospel played out in your life is the continual acknowledgement of God’s love for you, thorough the daily confession of Jesus, by the repeated submission to the Holy Spirit. The Gospel isn’t meant to provide you with a way to live any way you feel like, it’s meant to provide you with a way to live better than you can imagine and in a way that invites others into the same joy.

A “To Do” List

It just isn’t this. The Gospel isn’t a list of correct ways to behave. It isn’t behavior modification. The message of the Gospel is not “do this, this and this and you can get into heaven.” It’s about heart transformation. It’s the shedding off of the old you and the putting on the new you, through the work of the Holy Spirit. I used the word shedding intentionally. If you’ve ever observed a snake shed it’s skin, then you know it’s a slow process. But, as the old skin comes off, the skin under it is new and so much more vibrant. It’s the same with us. As the Holy Spirit brings conviction in a particular area, we begin the process of shedding it off. It isn’t without difficulty, and sometimes pain, but the new underneath is so much more vibrant. So much so, that it’s actually life-giving; others are moved toward Jesus by the change that the Holy Spirit prompts in us.

If the Gospel is anything close to a “to do” list, there’s only two things on it: Believe and confess. If we believe in our heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with our mouth (and this isn’t just the “sinner’s prayer,” it’s so much more, but also another blog), we’re saved and we can start the process of being saved and living in His kingdom. When we simply make the Gospel a list of ways to behave, we burden ourselves and others with the same thing that Jesus accused the religious leaders, of His day, of doing. We make following Jesus too burdensome and heavy. But, Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden if light; so we ought not add anything to that.

What It Is

It’s John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The Gospel turns hearts to loving God, loving our neighbors and loving each other. The Gospel is God’s love poured out, in the person of Jesus, so that we can be with Him. It’s meant to heal the one relationship that matters above all else, so that we can be vehicles for healing others’ relationships with Him. We use the Gospel to introduce people to the One that closes the gap between them and their Father.

*I‘d love to dialogue with you. But, I want to dialogue with you only if you’ve actually read what I said. If you chose to comment, please start your post with “Timey Whimey” Thanks.

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