I had just arrived home from a business trip and pulled up into the driveway. My wife was waiting in the carport outside, when just as I opened my car door my oldest daughter came running . . . with fear on her face. "Mom! Come quick!" My wife went inside and I just let her go handle it as I grabbed my stuff from the car and headed into the house. I could hear some whimpering from the back of the house, and so I followed the sounds.
In the bathroom my wife was pressing a wet wash cloth on the mouth of my youngest daughter while the oldest just stood there looking pale and worried. Whatever had happened, blood was definitely involved, and the oldest was obviously feeling guilty and responsible. Shaking off the exhaustion from hours of travel, I asked calmly, "What happened?"
What ensued was an animated and worried explanation by my oldest daughter of how she accidentally slammed the door to the bathroom into the face of her younger sister who was busy being nosey while my oldest was trying to get some privacy. "Tell her you're sorry." My oldest apologized. "Guess you will leave her alone when she needs to use the bathroom from now on won't you?" My youngest nodded.
I hugged my oldest, telling her that everything will be fine, and that she was not in trouble. I believed her when she told her story, not so much because she is not capable of lying, but that she has a home-grown fear of the consequences of lying that far outweigh any fear of discipline for whatever she has done. I then went to my youngest, picked her up, and just hugged her, too.
Within 30 minutes, it was as if the incident had never happened, and life restarted in our house with our little family. Thing is, such small emergencies are much bigger than most men realize. If I had over-reacted, I very well could have wounded the spirit of my oldest. Ignore it completely, and the youngest would be left to wonder if she mattered at all. I'm not saying I handled the situation perfectly, or even the best way possible, but I handled it keeping both of my daughters in mind.
This was not a medical emergency, it was an emergency of priorities. Your children need to know that they matter to you. No matter how big or small the incident, when things go wrong in their lives they want to know you care enough to take some time out for them. If my children had been boys, I might have handled it differently, but with a household full of females, a slap on the back and a "shake it off" simply would not be good enough here.
Whether it is a broken toy, some hurt feelings, a skinned knee, or a busted lip, your kids will come to you with all sorts of emergencies. Many of them will not require more than a few minutes of your attention, but those moments are so very important.
I think that a lot of kids who grow up starved for attention did not come to that point all at once. Rather, it was the missed moments of small emergencies that accumulated over time, and eventually these kids learn that only the most egregious actions will ever warrant attention, and so they go there.
To keep from having those really big emergencies that are self-inflicted by your children, take advantage of the small emergencies to give them attention and show you really care. What small emergencies, what opportunities to show your children you care are passing you by?
I think everyone pretty much understands "The Butterfly Effect". There was even a movie made about it. In short though, small actions and decisions, whimsical afterthoughts even, a glance in one direction instead of another, a spontaneous decision to do something you normally would not do, can all have repercussions far beyond what we may see or intend. Some for good, and others not so good.
As I thought about this, I stopped to wonder how much of our lives does God really care about. You may have heard it said that God does not really care who wins football games, what leg you choose to puts your pants on first in the morning, or whether you choose to listen to the radio instead of roll down the window on the way to work. However, and follow me here, are we not all spiritual beings?
We say we understand that there is a spiritual battle that wages around us, yet most Christians I would guess live 99% of their lives without even thinking about the spiritual implications of their every day lives. What's more, the few moments Christians do think about their spiritual lives are spent in more of a dis-associative moment of reflection or moment of silent thought in prayer that loses it's bearing on the "real world" the very moment they get on with their day.
We are made of spiritual material, spoken into existence by a spiritual God from a spiritual realm. Hebrews 11:3 "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." The physical world around us, and even our physical bodies are governed by rules created by that spiritual realm - rules which can be broken by regular people just like you and me as evidenced by Peter walking on water, and other miracles performed by men in the Bible. How is this possible? Because we are spiritual beings! Decisions and actions in the spiritual realm have effects which are felt in the physical realm we are more familiar with.
What these things all have in common is a genuine faith in that spiritual realm. All it took was tapping into the spiritual power God has placed in each of us, as God lives in us, through faith. Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Go back to the Old Testament and study up on the directions God gave for the tabernacle, the sacrifices, the physical rules God gave the people to help govern their spiritual lives, and even the directions for making the clothes of the priests. Read in the New Testament about how not one sparrow falls to the ground without God knowing, and that even the number of hairs on your head are numbered. Now, try to tell me God is not aware of the smallest details in our lives, and if aware, that He does not care.
What if . . . every decision we make in life has spiritual implications much like the butterfly effect in the physical world? What if . . . the spiritual battle that ceaselessly rages around us is also subtly influencing us in the small decisions we make each and every moment of every day?
Would it not be more important then to seek guidance and wisdom daily? To be in touch with God constantly? 1Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing." Acts 17:11 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
We check email every day, catch up on news every day, make and/or receiver phone calls every day, yet most of us cannot be bothered to make contact with God through prayer and Bible study every day. The result, we live a life 99% focused on the world around us, and miss the 99% of the spiritual battle being waged around us.
Ignorant of the dangers we face, we walk through the minefield of our everyday spiritual battlefields, taking wounds we do not understand nor see, and wounding others in ways we do not perceive. The effect is that the spiritual casualty rate in our churches, homes, and marriages just continues to skyrocket ever upwards, and everyone is blindly trying to figure out why, looking for physical responses to a spiritual cause.
In light of this, how much more important is it for us as men and leaders of our homes to make spiritually informed, wise, and correct decisions? How will the decisions you make impact the people around you spiritually, with effects in this physical world?
Reposted from www.MenRising.com
This is the fourth article in a four-part series . . .
If you have been paying attention, and if you have read the previous three articles over the previous three days, you have been wondering what all this was building up to, and where it was all going. The only problem with the Fearless Christian life is that I believe so many Christian men wrongly believe they are there.
Go back to the Floundering Christian life for a moment, and realize that when you ask God to use you, and God begins to take you into the deeper waters, there is panic. There is unease. There is a complete loss of control. When God intervenes, and we are taken back to the safety of the Favored Christian life, there is a tendency to pat ourselves on the back for having made the effort - never to try again. As God calls us again though, we begin to resist, and there is the danger. God wants us to grow, and he will nudge us to grow, and He will call us to grow, but God will never force us to grow.
Peter walked on water! He also got distracted, sank, floundered, and had to be rescued. How Jesus responds to him at that moment is telling. It is not a clap on the back and a "You did really well out there for a few moments!" comment followed by other accolades. His words are ones of disappointment of what could have been . . . Matthew 14:31 "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
It is a powerful story, because later this same Peter continues to Flounder. Ready to die with Christ one moment in the Garden of Gethsemane as soldiers come to take Christ away, he soon denies he even knows Christ by the fireside and runs away . . . runs back . . . returns to his old life as a fisherman . . . back to the favored life he once knew where all was safe, everything was OK, and the floundering could cease. However, Christ was not finished with him yet.
How many fearless men in the Bible can you name? Moses, fearless before Pharaoh. Abraham, fearless to offer his own son. Joshua, fearless to raid the land of Canaan. Paul, fearless before many trials and afflictions. What makes these men fearless? For some, the time of their Floundering is aparrent, but for others the Bible does not focus on this and it is less clear. Still, I submit to you that each of these men had their doubts, their fears, their time to flounder before coming to the point they were fearless. Why do I say this? How can I know this?
Return to the pool. Go back to the time of learning how to swim. Floundering in the water, flailing wildly, desperate to extricate yourself from the situation, you slowly built the foundation and the mechanics of swimming. I remember those times, but I also know that today I am comfortable jumping into any body of water with the sure and fearless knowledge that I can swim.
God has a greater purpose for every man's life, and it is not to continue to live the Favored Christian life either. I believe God wants to use you, too, but to get there, God has to take you into the deeper waters and allow you to Flounder. There He can teach you, train you, allow you to learn who you really are, and where your talents and strengths God has given you reside. Coming through all that, you gain a knowledge of your purpose, your place, your identity, and who you really are as a Christian man.
The problem is, too few are ever willing to enter the Floundering Christian life, and so they rush back to the Favored Christian life as quickly as possible. There are some out there though, dissatisfied with the Favored Christian life, who know there is a Fearless Christian life to be lived with a name and an identity, but they do not want to Flounder. They resist the unknown, and so they enter and step back, again and again, trying to work up the courage to surrender to the process God has for them. Of those who enter the Floundering Christian life, it seems all too few ever emerge Fearless.
Look around you. Who among you has given up and allowed "Failure" to be stamped on their life? Who among you would rather live the "Favored" Christian life? Who among you resist the "Floundering" life? Though they want God to use them, they refuse to endure. Who among you, is truly Fearless?
Reposted from MenRising.com