I’m an Expert Failure

I’m an expert failure.

There’s no way around it.  I’ve failed at so many things that it’s almost depressing.

Maybe you’re like me and you just feel like you can’t ever quite seem to get over the hump.  Success is always just right within arms reach but it’s just a bit too far off, or too fuzzy to make out.

Maybe you’re even more like me and success isn’t even around the corner.  You’ve failed so hard that you aren’t even sure which way is up anymore.  Success isn’t even on the horizon.  You’d just be thrilled with survival.

Everybody likes to talk about how Thomas Edison invented some katrillion ways to not make a light bulb and then they like to tell us that success is for the people that didn’t give up.  I really want to believe them but sometimes I’m just not feeling it.

I know a lot about failure though.  I could seriously get tenure at a major university if they needed a professor of failure.  I know how to fail at blogging, business, ministry, dating, marriage, parenting,  divorce, divorced parenting, divorced dating… Shoot I even know how to fail at little stuff like making mac ‘n cheeze. (You may not have thought that was possible but I am here to tell you that it is.)

I’ve come to believe though, that everybody fails just as often, and just as hard as I do.  It’s just only us brave folks that admit how often we fail.  Too many people out there are trying to hide their failures and to be honest, I’ve tried to hide mine too but it’s just way too much work.  My goal for tomorrow is to fail abysmally at hiding my failures.  I’m going to be honest and maybe, just maybe, if I start failing at hiding my failures I can start failing at failing.

Take your time….

… And now you’ve got it.

Who’s down to join me.  Lets start failing on purpose because Edison was right.  Failure is just knowledge of how not to do something.  The more knowledge we gain about failure the closer we come to finding the nuggets of non-failure.

PEE INTO THE WIND!

I’ve always been a huge fan of the TV show “Friends”.  I know that it’s not technically the most wholesome, or intelectually stimulating show, but I just love it.

In one particular episode, the One With the Metaphorical Tunnel, Joey is giving Chandler relationship advice.  (I actually cringed a little bit as I typed that last sentence.)

Chandler is scared to take a step of intimacy with a girl.  He’s afraid of the metephorical tunnel of commitment and what might be on the other side.  Commitment, emotional intimacy, love.  Joey’s advice is to, “Face your fear.”

“Go for it man! Jump off the high dive! Stare down the barrel of the gun… Pee into the wind!”  Chandler’s response is priceless.

“Ya Joe, I assure you, if I’m staring down the barrel of a gun I’m gonna be pretty much peeing every which way.”

It’s a goofy scene from a show with very little redemptive value but I think there is some truth to Joey’s advice.  Often times the single thing that keeps us from achieving our goals… is fear.

Maybe it’s fear of rejection or failure.  Maybe it’s fear of change or fear that we wont get the support we need or make enough money pursuing our passion, but it’s fear.  Plain and simple.

I want to challenge you to look at your goals for the year and identify what fears might be holding you back.  Maybe your afraid that you wont actually make it to the gym 3 times a week.  Maybe your afraid that you will fail, or that people wont like what you are working so hard to achieve.  Maybe you are afraid of success and how that will change the status quo.

Maybe you’re just plain old afraid of change.  Whatever it is, the first step is to identify the fear.

What’s the seccond step you ask?

PEE INTO THE WIND!!!!

So take the leap! Dive In! Stare down the barrel of the Gun! and Pee into the wind!

Face your fear and punch it right in the nose.  Too often fear sneaks into our lives and wrecks our dreams before we even notice that it’s there.  Don’t let that happen to you.

Identify your fear and then plot it’s demise. Plan out how you will systematically conquer whatever fear happens to get between you and your goals.

I’d love to hear any success stories of fears that have been faced.  If you’ve got one that needs to be faced but you don’t know how.  Comment below or PM me.  I’d love to help. 

Questioning the Questions?

I think that a person’s questions reveal way more about them than their answers.

Bruce Lee once said that, “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”  I think he was on to something quite profound.  Questions are extremely important. I would even go so far as to say that they are more important than the answers we end up with.  Questions shape us.  They are the foundation of everything that we do.

The things-that-we-are-curious-about show a different and deeper side of us than the things-that-we-are-sure-of.

Another thing that questions tend to do is provoke thought.  Answers have a nasty tendency of discouraging thoughtfulness but questions almost demand it.  Even simple question like “What do I want for lunch?”, demand that we look within ourselves to examine our own desires.

So take a moment to think about the questions that keep you up at night and then question those questions.  If you ask questions about the future… what do they reveal about your heart.  Does your curiosity lead you to ask questions about science, personal relationships, or the physics behind superman’s ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound?  Whatever your questions are, I bet they reveal something about you that makes you unique.

So what types of questions do you ask, and what do your questions say about you?

Smoke from his Nostrils

In life we are often distracted from our faith by circumstances.  We have faith like Peter to walk out on the water but when we are distracted by the waves of divorce, broken hearts, fear, doubt, worry, stress, depression, anxiety, and low self esteem we doubt, our faith wanes, and we begin to sink.  When I look at the Bible for answers to the question of the existence of these distractions I often find myself in James 1:2-4
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I know that trials produce in me endurance.  And I know that everything in life happens according to God’s plan and that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)  But the question that struck me this week was that if we are talking about “ALL” things, then we are talking about good and bad things.  So… Good things work for good and bad things work for good as well.  If that’s the case, and good is always the effect of either cause, and if it’s true that we have a God who loves us, then why do the bad things happen so often?  Good is the outcome no matter what.  God receives glory no matter what.  So why does divorce affect our society the way it does?  Why are there high school girls who cut themselves?  Why are there Junior High guys trapped in the prison of pornography?  Why are there parents who don’t love their children?  Why is Phoenix one of the top sex trafficking cities in the nation? Why do so many people suffer from depression?  If God can get glory from anything then why does he use the bad things so often?
This question made me mad at God.
It all came full circle today.  In Psalm 18 David very poetically paints us this picture.
The cords of death envelop him.  The torrents of destruction assaulted him.  The snares of his own demise confronted him.  Put simply “Life sucked”.  The end was eminent and David’s enemies had surrounded him.  With nothing left but faith David cries out to God and the beast is unleashed.  The earth is rocked and it trembles in fear. The foundations of the mountains begin to palpitate and crumble as the Lord descends like an eruption to deal with David’s enemies.
Psalm 18:8 “Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth, glowing coals flamed forth from him.  He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water.  Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.  And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.  Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.  He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.”
He delighted in me.
He delighted in me.
Wow.  The God of the universe shakes apart his creation and lays the earth bare because he delights in his children.
I don’t know if you’ve ever learned something that you already knew but I did today.  The power and majesty that is revealed in God’s wrath is utterly and completely beyond magnificent.  We often think of God’s wrath as contrary to, or separate from his love.  Here that is not at all the case.  God’s wrath is intimately linked with, and in fact, inseparable from His love.  The bad things in life give God the opportunity to showcase his majestic wrath.  God’s wrath is a very good thing and as much as it hurts I thank him for the pain in life that gives him license to descend from on high with smoke in his nostrils.
God is Good!