Bottom Line

A quick thought to ponder-

What’s your bottom line purpose for today?

What is that baseline commitment that if you meet it, whether or not your day went well, whether or not you performed as a zero or a hero, you can hit the sack with peace?

For me, that is honoring God by being authentic, transparent and speaking truth. If I can function today living out who God has called me to be I can rest. If I tell the truth, both of my life and the life of Jesus, I can rest. If I can be vulnerable and avoid masks and pretenses that portray I can handle life by my own strength, then I can rest knowing I’ve done all I can do.

If we’ll chase after that bottom line commitment today, with all our strength and energy, it’s unlikely we’ll look at porn, go to a strip club, have an(other) affair or be tangled up in the barbed wire of our own egos.

You can do it.

Hey Sports Fans!

Just a quick heads-up that this is the time of year when many guys crash and burn, right along with their favorite team. Crazy as it sounds, when the football season ends there is depression for some guys. And with that depression can come the urge to medicate with pornography, strip clubs or affairs.

Here in Denver we haven’t hit that point just yet (sorry Steeler fans). But I can tell you there is a noticeable difference in the feel of this city, and specifically the countenance of many men, after the season ends. Regardless of whether it went well or not, it’s almost like a lull sets in. There’s nothing to look forward to. No plans for Sunday afternoon. Nothing to take up the space in the cubicle conversations. Nothing to be fanatical about. There can be a restlessness and a sadness that permeates life.

If this is you, I have a couple suggestions. First, own it. Acknowledge and own that you’re affected by the end of your team’s season. Own it if a lull feels like its setting in. Second, decide now that it won’t rip you off. There is too much life to live, too much at stake in your relationships and too much joy available in Jesus to let a sports team/season send you into a tailspin. Third and finally, invest in what matters. Aim your fanaticism at your sanctification process, at deepening intimacy with your wife and kids, at being the best you possible on campus. You’ve got Monday nights, Thursday nights, Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday free now – do something with it that matters!

 

Disappointment

 

There’s an interesting, confusing dynamic that happens for some men and their wives in the recovery process. It’s about disappointment. Specifically, when the past comes back up; when a wife is triggered, or when something on tv or radio or at church reminds us of how badly we’ve hurt the person we love the most on the planet. We feel disappointed with ourselves for causing our wives’ to feel disappointed in us.

It’s actually an empathic response, but it has a threshold where we can’t handle it anymore.  Many guys, when they hit that wall, will shut down. They’ll sulk and mope, and sometimes even move into a space that looks victim-like. It’ll become a pity-party of one. Others, once at critical mass with the disappointment, will get angry and defensive. This can feel like punishment to an already hurting wife. And for those men, it’s like they are so in the “bad box” (thanks to Bob for that word picture) to be present with anymore of it feels like torture. Their shame has piled up and they can’t see straight, much less actually feel meaningful empathy.

What we want to shoot for is expressing the empathy in a tender and gentle way. To let our wives know that we hurt for them feeling disappointed, not just for ourselves feeling like a disappointment. It can’t be a patronizing, “aww I’m sorry you stubbed your toe” kind of communication either. It has to be connected to the heart. Say what surrounds it. Try to put to words what you wish your wife could know. A client recently said to his wife in one of these moments:

I hurt that you hurt. I hate that you hurt. I hate that I’m the cause of your hurt, because you don’t deserve it. It’s cruel and unfair. You shouldn’t have to endure this.

And he meant it. You could see it in his eyes, hear it in his words, feel it in your bones. Even as the words came out of his mouth you could tell he desperately wanted her to believe it.

She didn’t. But he still needed to feel it and communicate it. For his sake. And because one day she will.