Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Performance and Co-Dependancy

Im not there yet. By Far.

But Ive realized now why I have it so wrong.

From my earliest memory of childhood I have been taught that to be in a real authentic relationship with me meant that you could depend on me 100% of the time. And if I was not dependable I was a failure.

I am so dysfunctional - I only know how to have genuine relationships where I am the 'dependable' one. And if I cannot be dependable for you then I will avoid a 'real relationship'. And even in that 'dependable' relationship, if for even a second, the slightest smidgen of my failure becomes known to you - I withdraw.

This is SO messed up. It is SO not Christ-like.

This dependency has become a power that I abuse.
If you are dependent on me, I force you to do my bidding by withdrawing 'my support'. The threat of abandonment controls you. It has controlled me my whole childhood and still does to this day.

And here is the new bit for me - it is inhibiting me from the giving AND receiving of true love. After 32 years of life on this earth, I still don't know Gods true unconditional love for me. I cannot separate it in my mind from my own performance for him.

And even after 10 years of marriage, I still seek to 'earn' my wifes love. What an unbelievable insult to the woman who continues to stand by me in sickness and health.

This has to stop now. I don't want to miss another minute of grace and love.

So I need to publicly say this - this is me coming out of the closet!

I am a flawed and broken man. The very root of my soul is wounded and fractured. I cant pretend any longer. I am a failure, I am weak, I am disabled.

I need Jesus.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The End Game : My greatest weakness

I'm not a good person for new year resolutions. Though a good start can really make the difference to a person, I'm going to try an reflect instead on the end - the final outcome.

My first question to myself is simply - What are the end goals of my efforts?

The next question is easy - am I actually trying to achieve that? (I answer 'no' to this one)

And now the hard question - what am I doing wrong?

Its a hard question for me because I am forced to be accountable. Im forced to evaluate myself and confront those areas of darkness that I like to hid. I hate being exposed. Who does?!

So in the spirit of honesty and determination to live out my end game I want to expose my greatest weakness.

I am so inclined at times to feel sorry for myself, that it destroys me.

I don't know where it came from - I'm sure I learned the skill during childhood. But in either case it only breeds my rebellion, my anger and fuels my pride. It causes my selfishness, my close minded nature and ultimately my own self destruction. I become filled with contempt and bitterness.

While I may not be feeling this just now, I know this is my 'Kryptonite' to what my end game is.
Please pray for me, that I can overcome this. I want the life that Jesus desires for me, that I truly believe he reveals in scripture.

I want my kids to see and know this life too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

For love

I love my kids. I adore them. They are my pride, my joy, my honor and my life.

Despite these clear feelings, I still struggle with letting them clearly know that I feel that way about them. Couple that with times I'm tired, cranky or angry and now you have significant communication problems. How can they see through that haze I put in front of them?

I have a very different personality with my daughter Lana. On the most basic level I'm a extreme extrovert compared to her. She thinks about things way more than I do - and internalizes more than I think I ever did at her age.

Ive worried more than once that I fail to communicate my love to her - that she wont come through her childhood with memories of a Dad who loved her. And Ive mentioned before the beliefs I have on the ways that can effect a child on their belief and acceptance of God.

But an opportunity arose recently for me to score, I believe, big time. While savagely (and with great prejudice I may add) consuming a 12 pack of hot wings, I suddenly heard my darling Lana crying. As I turned round wiping the hot sauce from my mouth, I she started telling my how sad it was that I was eating animals, that they we special to God too. (Lana is a vegetarian through personal conviction over this subject)

And that's when I said it.

"Lana is it really that important to you? If it is, then I will stop eating meat, because YOUR feelings are more important to me than MY food."

Ok that's not as inspirational as I would like it to be, maybe even a bit cheesy. Those of you who know me though, will appreciate the magnatude of my food related decision.

But in truth, isn't that what its all about? Isn't our sacrificial love the most demonstrative?

So I might still mess up in my communication with my kids, but at least now, my prayer is when Lana is older, a teenager, an adult - whenever she is feeling a low sense of worth; she will have at least one thing she will recall; that to her daddy - her thoughts, her feelings, her very personality - they are SO important to me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Positive reinforcement...

I returned on Monday from a vacation that almost never happened. (Read about it on my wife's blog here). When we started out our flights had to be redirected. Its so busy on the airlines these days that its unavoidable for them to be overbooked. Our check in assistant was under a tremendous amount of stress trying to fix our, and many others, flight issues. As she started feeding me the bad news, I began telling her how much I appreciated her making the effort to try and fix this. It was really hard not to get emotional about it - being told that your not going to get to Disney etc - but realizing it was not her fault and that she was trying her best, I continually reminded her how my whole family were appreciative of the job she was doing.

Of course, the people standing next to me had engaged in mortal combat with their assistant.

Our check-in assistant kept going and going - trying this avenue, calling this manager - and eventually - result! All the time, I made sure to let her know how appreciated she was. And praise God! - her efforts really did pay off - she kept going for us even though there were so many opportunities for her not to care.

This was an amazing positive outcome compared to where we thought it would go. But, if I am to be honest with myself, choosing the path of encouraging rather than criticizing is not something that I think comes as naturally to me as it should.

I'm left thinking these questions of myself, thinking how it really helped to be thanking and encouraging the check-in assistant.... do I build up or destroy with my words? Do I make a point of telling my children how good they are or do I only react to the bad? Do I daily seek to edify my wife with what I say to her?

And most importantly, how does God relate to me in this way? Shouldn't I be having His attitude ALL the time? Knowing the positive reinforcement that He gives me through his words, through his revelation, what right do I have to criticize?

I find it so easy to type, and so difficult to put in practice.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One thing...

Can you name one thing that if you were to do, could radically change your life?

Perhaps its starting something new? Perhaps it stopping something? Perhaps its just taking stock of life as it stands just now and simply appreciating what you've got.

Ive recently come to believe, that I have one thing that if I could get it right, would so radically change my life that I would be a new man.

My one thing, is simply to read the bible.

My whole life, I have never ever got this right. Ive been so PASSIVE in my efforts - in truth its embarrassing. Its not like I don't desire with my heart to hear God speak to me. Its not as though I don't understand the math, or am unable to make an effort for something - there are plenty other things in life I'm more than happy to routinely do.

So why does it just not cross my mind to get down to it?

I think that part of it is, frankly, I hate reading. I don't read. Period.

But I do love visual and audio communication. And one thing I do have is the "Inspired By: The Bible Experience", which my wife, knowing me so well, bought me for this specific purpose. But still - I fail to make the effort to use this amazing (and it is amazing) resource.

What is the deal with this?

It is something so simple in concept, that can have such an astounding impact on my life - why am I so unable to just to make the small effort needed?

So that's my "one thing". Please feel free to pray for me - as I'm seeking to break the bad habit of life time...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First things first...

I grew up with a lot of kids, who at one point or another, had painfully realised that their family home was filled with what they saw as hypocrisy. The parents, specifically their dads, would lead double lives - one at home and another in the church. I remember observing one situation, when this person's father was as deacon and elder in the church - and preached that Sunday night on the subject of God's grace. He then came home that evening and tore down his family in a fit of rage.

I have memories from an even younger age, of going to my parents' friends' houses, and noticing how strange it was - that these men I saw my dad talk about God with - their sons would cry out in fear even at their father's raised voice.

Heck, if I am to be truly honest with myself, I remember sitting down with my parents once, and blatantly admitting to my dad, that I was scared of him.

I don't mention these things as a means to shame, or blame or even complain. These memories and thoughts are not coming to me because of a need to resolve an issue of the past.

They are coming to me now, because of all the fears I have in my life - to be seen like that by my own children - I can think of few things worse.

I truly believe and live by the fact, that as a father, my attitudes with my kids have the ability to impact their view of God for the rest of their lives. Irrelevant of what the causes are of whatever issues I bring - it is my primary responsibility to ensure that they see God through me. It is my responsibility and delight to be demonstrating God's grace and love to them - as he does to me. For my relationship with Him to be growing, and for them to see it and feel encouraged to seek him also.

Ultimately - I believe for my relationship with my children to be a continuing edifying experience for them, in the same ways and to the a similar extent as living with Jesus should be for me.

How can I possibly call myself a follower of Christ if I fail in any way with this? Its so easy to become self obsessed. Its so easy to become wrapped up in my own stuff - to the point of justifying my actions and attitude as part of that primary responsibility. I can get so hooked on an idea, on ideals - so fixated on a single target that is not my kids - Godly or otherwise - ....... it is worth NOTHING if I let this slip.

How can I be serving God in the world at large, if I cannot get it right in the home? How can I be succeeding at home if my kids don't see an accurate picture of God through me? How can they see God through me, if they are fearing me, or feeling rejected or even not being edified?

Surely it is getting these things correct that is considered in 1st Timothy as having your "house in order"?

So it is first things first - I am going to work on my calling as a dad.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The sensational effect of purpose

I recently was involved in a conversation where my experiences at Men's Fraternity came up. I am always more than happy to tell people about the course, and to then encourage them to try it themselves - but this time I was a little hesitant since I knew one of the people listening would react very negatively to a lot of the truths I learnt there.

As I tried to carefully mention details that did the course justice while simultaneously not causing a stir, I started talking about the changes we had experienced. I talked about the re-evaluating of our past and how some men had gone on to contact people from their past to seek healing and forgiveness. I the chose to mention one guy specifically who had contacted his ex-wife and children to ask for forgiveness for his mistakes of past.

And that was it.

I had not said anything with any inference to anyone present - but he suddenly fired back "that's just sensationalizing the whole thing". And the conversation stopped.

See, the truth is - it is sensational. And to me I cannot see why the has to be a 'bad' thing.


To cast and present in a manner intended to arouse strong interest, especially through inclusion of exaggerated or lurid details

Is it just me, or is it truly sensational to have sent your only son to die for all of humanity so that they might live the rest of eternity with you. Is that not sensational? Is it not sensational for the disciples to have gone on to be martyred for their beliefs?

When we testify about what God has done in our lives, do we not mention the gory details?

Through the men's fraternity, I was educated in my purpose for God. And I can say life has become sensational since then. I live each day expecting something sensational to happen (preferably something good) Because for me, the process of getting to know God has been, and continues to be sensational. How could it not be when I'm surrounded by his creation and the people he has put in my life. He went to sensational lengths to give me my purpose.

A note to my friend and contributor to my thoughts -
In all I have said I have to also confess....I wish I was more of a man. Man enough to challenge you and encourage you to your face - without fear of reprisal. I dont claim to have all the answers - I only know what God has done for me. I can only testify to what Ive seen in my life - I can only relate through my context. So please do not see me as proclaiming to have the answers - the truth is I dont - we dont - so lets go find them in God together.