The Beautiful Worst Case

I carried my coughing 5-month old earlier at 3am. I was sleepy and tired, having gone to bed around 1am finishing a talk I was to give later on in the morning. I looked at the face of my Elijah, his also tired, snotty, crying face, and I couldn’t help but think how cute my son is. He really is the cutest baby in the whole world. “I love you so much.” I told him. “You have a cold, but you’re too strong to let a cold stop you. Look at you. You are standing.” He managed a weak smile. He loves it when people talk to him, especially when it is his mother. His smile erased whatever weariness I felt. The appreciation of someone you love is the greatest source of energy. Now I know why they say, “The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” When you know that who you love most, God, finds joy in you, you are filled with a different kind of power. You are filled with grace.

Later on, at the closing of the day, after some very exciting partnership meetings for Bridge, I thought about one of the questions a student asked me after my talk. He asked, “Not everyone has grown up like you with strong faith. How do we grow in faith?” As I thought about the question on stage, the first picture that came to my mind was the face of my son this morning, crying in my arms, wiping his snot and drool on my shirt, at 3am in the morning. Let me share with you my answer:

“There’s this myth that it is because we have great faith that we run to God. In truth, it is the opposite. It is those who admit their great need that run to God. Like my 5-month old who looks for his mom or father, who cries out to us for everything, those who need most cry out most. And I need most. I know myself too well to think I can handle life on my own. I know how evil I can be. I know how insecure I am. I know how weak I am, how limited I am. And I know how large the gap between who I am and who I must be is. And that’s why I call out to my Father. I, through prayer, wipe my snot and tears on the robe off His shoulder. I don’t pray and seek God because I have great faith or am a holy man. Contrary to that, I pray and seek God because I have great need.”

The crowd was quiet during my sharing, much like they usually are during other talks. I sometimes wonder if I’m boring them, but I hope that encouraged at least one person to run to God daily.

Life is unpredictable. Life is challenging. It can be complex and can seem difficult and unfair. I many times find myself limited in my abilities and knowledge, and I worry about how to meet all that life requires of me. But then I pause and remember that God is my Father, my perfect Father. I am His son. The beautiful worst case is Heaven with Him for eternity. I find that reassuring. My worst case is to be like Elijah, my baby, falling peacefully asleep in his father’s arms. My worst case is resting in God. And if I, an incredibly imperfect person would do all that I can to care for my son, how much more is a perfect Father caring for me.

And the best case? It’s infinite. That’s exciting. It could be anything. I could be anywhere. It could be something yet to be invented, something yet to be discovered. It could be with people I’ve never met. Just like when I make loving promises to my son, who doesn’t even know what the word “promise” means yet finds peace in my voice, I have faith that there are things I do not understand but are coming in my favor, simply because they come from my Father’s words in the Bible.

When your worst case is love you and your best case is infinite, you work extremely hard. The fear of failure, rejection, and death gives way to a Father’s reassurance, and the infinite possibilities of my Creator open up to me. If I can’t fail, should not I try more? If nothing is impossible, why should I not attempt greater?

I should and I shall. #DB

For Best Results, Combine These with Your Dreams

Chances are, you don’t have the body you want. Chances are you don’t have the savings you know you need. Chances are you’re not performing as well as you could in your job. Chances are you’re not as consistent with your daily devotions. Chances are you’re nothing like the posts you like on social media. Chances are your big dreams won’t come true – and when you’re honest with yourself – it’s because you simply haven’t stuck with them, choosing instead to listen to one or more of the unlimited excuses available to all of us.

But this doesn’t have to be the case.

To be honest, the statements above describe me accurately as well. While I may have some success in those areas, and while I’ve seen improvement, I cannot say that I am the level I desire to be.
But it won’t be the case forever. I’m working on achieving my goals in the different areas of my life.

I have big dreams and big goals. Just ask my family and my team, and they will tell you that I’ve never been a small thinker. Setting big goals, having a vision, and dreaming up amazing things is beneficial, and is an inspiring exercise, but it is completely useless IF it is not followed with discipline, diligence, and determination. I believe someone with small goals, a blurry vision, and a simple dream who is disciplined, diligent, and determined, will go much further than “visionaries” who lack those character traits.

Dreams combined with Discipline, Diligence, and Determination, on a Daily basis, lead to success.

Discipline is the ability to focus on and commit to the necessary requirements of achieving a goal.

Diligence is the care and hard work we apply to everything we do.

Determination is the proactive, no-excuses, will to finish things excellently.

Daily is self-explanatory but just as important. It’s very possible to sabotage a week’s worth of exercise with a weekend binge. (If you burned 3000 calories at the gym and added another 5000 calories over the weekend you’ll actually gain weight.) It’s possible to blow a lifetime of savings with one bad decision. By aiming for success on a day-by-day basis, we stay consistent and vigilant.

As we end the month of January, I hope you’ve set great goals for yourself. But I also hope you’ve set yourself up for success by fixing your schedules, setting your alarms, adding accountability, and tracking your actual results. I hope you don’t waste another year, another set of goals and dreams, by not combining them with Discipline, Diligence, and Determination on a Daily basis. #DB

Be Useful

Its is important to be very very useful. Usefulness simply means you bring great value to others. When you bring great value to others you become value-able (valuable). Something that is valuable is appreciated, it is cared for, protected, and secured.

The secret to job security? Be value-able. If you are able to provide great value to others than you don’t have to worry.

The secret to being self-confidence? Be value-able. When you know that you are important to others, not simply because you pep-talked yourself, but because you bring something of worth to others.

The secret to being a good workmate, to being a great partner, and to opening opportunities? Be value-able. If your being in the team brings great value to the team, then you are a good team member.

I’ve learned that in the times I felt least appreciated, I was better off focusing on how to become more useful, more value-able, to others than whining about why the world doesn’t see my worth or “get me” or is unfair. Not only does no one (not even my family) owe me appreciation, it is not their responsibility to make me feel better about anything. It is my responsibility to provide so much undeniable value to others, to live such a useful life, that others benefit. When someone lives like that the appreciation is inevitable and comes naturally even if they aren’t chasing it. #DB

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