Browse Category: Stuff To Think About

Environments of Grace

Tony (who has a great blog I follow) shared the following quote on Friday:

Most people know an environment of grace when they see it. They simply point to the results: people feel safe, they grow up, they trust each other, they live authentically, they celebrate each other, they laugh a lot, they produce better. But in some environments, grace is so evident you can feel it from the first…
– The Ascent of a Leader

When I read that quote a few days ago, one question kept ringing over and over in my head: If I were to be unknowingly observed, what would the analysis of my life be?

Do I lead a family that lives out a demonstrated faith?
Do I foster healthy communication of trust and truth?
Do I create environments of grace?

When I stop and think about it, oftentimes I fail to live out those things. I discipline my kids because my patience is thin. I shortchange engaging with my wife because I want to watch some television. I avoid the coworker because “he always talks about himself”. I am not thoughtful because I want to do the things that I want to do.

My selfish nature creeps in and reiterates the lie that its all about me. This is sobering because, in the end, I am called “to act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with my God” (Micah 6:8).  When I do that, the truth rises to the surface: it’s about God, not me. With that verity in place, the environments that I create will be more inviting, safe and upward-focused.

The challenge for me today is this: in my home and in my work, if I take steps toward building environments of grace, the heart of the matter will come to the surface. That being, people matter.

What can you do today to create an environment of grace in your work or your home?

Imposter

“What is your biggest fear?”

Not sure I could pinpoint my biggest, but I know certain ones seem to surface more frequently than others. For example: Will I be able to always provide for my family? Am I raising my children the way God wants me to? Am I walking in the right direction?

In my men’s group last month, I was able to re-read John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart. One line in particular stuck out:

This is man’s deepest fear: to be exposed, to be found out, to be discovered as an imposter, and not really a man. (pg45)

Exposed.

In many ways, I feel like that appropriately summed up my feelings: that one day I am going to be exposed as a failure–specifically, a failure at being a husband, a father, a son. At times this fear feeds lies that one day I won’t be able to provide for and defend the ones who are the most dear to me: my family. Quite honestly, I do not think I am the only one who struggles with these feelings — we stand on the front lines of  a battleground with the Enemy. These fears, acted out in my life (ie. essentially choosing to believe the lies of failure, etc. over God’s truth of not only who He says I am, but also what He promises to those who call Him Father) are expressed in my people pleasing flesh, my desire to prove my worth, and my inclination to play it safe.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

When that fear creeps in, I want to boldly clinch that verse in my fist and remember that comfort is found in the way God leads and guides my life. When I’m scared that I’m going to mess up, I can trust in Him. When I feel like what I do doesn’t matter, I can rely on His help. When I can’t discern what path to take, I can hold His hand.

How does that Eldredge quote resonate with you?

Photo credit: justinlee89

The Unrecognized Hero

This VM commercial went viral a few days before the Super Bowl. It aired yesterday during the second quarter, but it had well over 11 million views as of Saturday evening. Crazy!

It seems to pull all the right strings: clever and original idea, kid in a Vader costume, and some real-life tension of trying to do something and it not working out. To top it off, Dad comes to the rescue!

What is heartwarming about this brief, 1-minute story is that the father is the unrecognized hero.

In the end, as parents, will we be okay with becoming unrecognized heros to our children?

We do many things to raise our children: We train. We equip. We discipline. We demonstrate. We model. We love. What if, down the road, we don’t necessarily get credit for all of this? What if our “sacrifice” is never acknowledged? Will we be okay with that?

In a selfish way, I want the beneficiary (my children) to see that the benefactor (me) is actively working in their lives. The fact of the matter is this: maybe, just maybe, it won’t be until later on in life where they see the positive impact that Christ (through me) has made in their lives.

I recognize, as a parent, that the majority of our “work” is camouflaged, behind the scenes. The more I think about it, that may be the best place for us to be–in the wings and out of the way, so the glory can be given to the One who deserves it.

When I examine our family right now, here are a few examples of the “work” that Jen and I cherish:

  1. Serving others – allowing them to be present in the times we serve others: having them come along as we bring meals to friends/families, committing to pray for others as a family, etc.
  2. Filling our house with Scripture – constantly reminding them that God’s word is powerful and transforming: writing scripture on their bathroom mirror, making magnetic refrigerator cards, surrounding them with Bible verses put to songs, reading the Word daily, etc.
  3. Being present – understanding that the investment of our time in our marriage and children is one of the most powerful, and unspoken indicators of our faith: being available to seize teachable moments, share in laughter, capture memories, and model discipline.

Do you have an “unrecognized hero” story? If this was you, would you be okay with that?