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Family // Leadership // Design

Do You Have Real Friends?

I’ve had close friends help me journey through many different seasons of my life. I had a great friend to help me get through high school, a group of roommates at UW-Oshkosh, and a fraternity (of sorts) in at Lee University. I had someone by my side in Door County to support me as I prepared to marry my wife. I had an awesome friend to motivate me to never stop growing here in Sheboygan. That was before he decided to move into an RV and leave me, but I forgive him.

While watching TV last night I heard, “people today are obsessed with finding soul mates, but soul friendships are just as vital.” I agree. Not only because I’m fortunate enough to be married to one of the best friends anyone could ever ask, wish, or hope for, but also because I believe friendship outside of marriage is vastly underrated. I believe scripture shows that we might be doing it wrong.

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Check-In vs Check-Out

Often when we are exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed out we tend to want to check-out from the world. We isolate ourselves from society. Maybe we refuse to pick up our phones, or reply to our emails. We are mentally overloaded and overcommitted to the point that we feel the only solution is just to check-out.

It is at this point that we fail. Instead of checking-out, what we need to do is check-in. Being overwhelmed and stressed is not a sin. As Jesus was both fully man and fully God, He even knows what it is like to be overwhelmed. We need to take a look at how Jesus responded to stress. We see that in the garden of Gethsemane, He fell to His face and began to pray and seek His Father.

Too often, instead of finding a place of solitude to seek God, we find a place of isolation and seek nothingness. We think that nothingness is the solution to our problems. Nothingness will cure us. Shutting out everyone and everything will help me, fix me, heal me. But, it’s a trap. It’s a lie.

Scripture says that it is the presence of God that gives us rest and peace. If we are overcommitted and seeking rest or overwhelmed and seeking peace, it is not going to be found in isolation. Those are things that are found in the presence of God. We must seek Him if we intend to overcome being overwhelmed. So, do not check-out, but instead, check-in to the presence of the most high.

Giving God Our Leftovers

Ephesians 3:12 says, “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” We have been blessed with the freedom and the privilege to seek and approach God with confidence. It recently hit me how little we fully appreciate this, as too often we settle for seeking Him with whatever time we have left over.

Our lives, schedules, and routines become overcommitted and we seek so many different things in this world. We ask ourselves how we will make enough money to pay the bills, how we are going to get enough sleep, how we will make it through this struggling time in our lives. Yet, we fail to seek the one thing we should.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” If instead of giving God our leftovers, we truly gave Him our lives, how different might our lives look. What if we changed our perspective? I have a feeling we would be overwhelmed by His presence. We would be filled and overflowing with rest, peace, and joy. He is all that we need.

With Whom You Reside

I feel like I have always known the value in having someone you can truly reside in. To reside means to have one’s permanent home in a particular place. When you get married scripture says that two have become one. You now reside within your spouse and your spouse resides within you. You are supposed have your permanent home in a particular place.

Your house, home, or dwelling may change many times in your life. You might get a new job. You may move to a new city. Something might take you across the country or even on the other side of the world. However, if you are married with whom you reside should never change. I don’t say this to judge or condemn anyone who’s been divorced, it’s just my observation of how God intended it.

I am thankful to have married someone who knows me fully, understands me completely and yet still loves me unconditionally. She refuses to ever change her residence. My advice is if you can find someone like that, choose reside in them, choose to never leave, and choose to always make sure they know how much they mean to you. Never forget that it’s daily choice that you have to make.

Beck and Call

Do you ever notice how some people act like you should be at their beck and call? I was thinking about the phrase, so I decided to look it up. To be at someone’s beck and call is to be entirely subservient to them; to be responsive to their slightest request. While I do believe we should serve one another as it talks about in scripture, I feel like some people feel entitled for me to stop everything I am doing for them at a moment’s notice.

I am part of a large family. I am the youngest of six children. When we all get together there is about 25 of us, and that’s just the immediate family. I create websites on the side so I am constantly working with new clients. I help maintain an online store for a local small company. I work full-time with a small team of staff at a church. I try to spend time a decent amount of time with both current and potential leaders. I also meet with different members of the church everyday. And on top of all that, I’m married.

Now I could break it down even further. I could describe the individual clients I work with. I could tell you about my boss or other coworkers on my team at church. I could talk about members of the church where I work. I could talk about each family member individually. I could even tell you all the details about my wife and my in-laws.

The truth is I am constantly feeling like I am being pulled in a million different directions by people who all need something from me and it can’t wait. I feel, for all intents and purposes, that I am at their beck and call. This can all lead you to feel emotionally stressed out, overwhelmed, and it’s just not healthy.

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Plan Time for Planning

Recently I was doing some personal reflection. As I look ahead at 2015, there are few different things I want to improve. For the last few years I’ve had some of the same goals and haven’t done as good of a job at focusing on them as I’d like. This year, I’m trying something new and it’s helping.

I’m really good at putting things on the calendar, but sometimes I don’t do it ahead of time. This year I scheduled one morning each month to schedule time to work on my goals. I also scheduled time each week to review how I’m doing, because I need to constantly keep this stuff in front of me.

So, I’m actually scheduling time to schedule time. It feels a little weird saying it out loud, but the truth is, if it works I’ll become stronger in several different areas this year. I don’t know what things will look like at the end of the year, but at least I am trying something new.

I’d love to hear what you’ve done to accomplish your goals. Please share what tricks have you implemented to keep chasing after your dreams. I believe we can all accomplish our dreams. We just need the right plan and the right people around us to encourage us to never give up.

My House Has Mice

One of the first things I knew I wanted to do after we bought our new house was to clean up my laundry room. I knew I had to replace the water softener and I figured a little elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint would make a big difference. I ended up having to do more than expected.

I needed to remove some damaged floor tiles and since the drop ceiling hung down low enough for me to hit my head, I decided to take it down as well. Once I started pulling down the ceiling tiles I realized that we had a few uninvited guests. Well to be honest, more than a few. By the time it was all said and done, I found a total of 12 dead mice above the ceiling grid.

So now my project not only includes finishing up my laundry room, but securing my basement to be sure we have no more unwanted visitors. If you have any advice for me, pass it along.

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