Walking through the airport this morning I caught a glimpse of a special Father-daughter moment and it melted me down a bit. Dad had just come off of a plane and he was holding the hand of his little toddler blonde haired blue eyed girl. Everything was normal until dad said a simple phrase “Do you want to run?” The little girl looked up at her dad and smiled and then did her best version of an awkward little run through the concourse… I started smiling from ear to ear, and then realized that quite a few other people saw the same thing and they were all smiling too. A cold hard airport concourse had just turned into a school yard for this little girl, but it had also transformed the hustle and bustle of the airport into a memory of a schoolyard for everyone who saw it.
Why did she run??
For exercise?? Of course not…. For a Race?? Heck no. For a profit??? NO! She ran for the sake of freedom, and it transformed her world and everyone else’s world around her into a better place. Now answer me this… when was the last time that you just let loose and ran…. down a hill….. come on, I know you’ve done something impetuous in your lifetime. When was the last time that you did something for the sake of freedom. When was the last time you dreamed a crazy dream?
What were the risks incurred by the act of running for this little girl?
1) Well obviously she might fall. Yes, but she could fall walking too
2) People would see her. Yes their is an inherent danger to standing out… we have to face our fear of being seen…. but come on man… do you really want to hide your whole life?
3) People could watch you fall. Yes they could, but what if you don’t fall?
Have you ever considered what might happen if you chase your dream and don’t fail?
When did we get so pragmatic? So focused on getting work done. Working so hard for our little pink houses…. trying to figure out how to get ahead and all the while losing what gave us hope, for the future and a peace for today.
Honestly I didn’t see what the end result of the little girl in the airport’s run was. I didn’t care… the simple fact that she started the run gave me a sense of happiness that I can’t describe…. and a sense of hope. It honestly changed my whole outlook on today. Maybe that’s the reason that we should run. Maybe if more of us would strike out on a path toward a dream that we’ve always had it would inspire more people to do the same, and before long we could change the culture to a more dream filled culture. A dream filled culture THRIVES. Is America THRIVING today?? No… America is “getting by”.
I mean think about it… why was OBAMA so popular 4 years ago?? “YES WE CAN” that’s why… 1 simple phrase that people believed in. I didn’t vote for him, but I had to admire the way his optimism set people on fire…. when he got elected I HOPED that he would be all that he said he would. Why are people so frustrated 4 years later? Mostly because somehow the “exceptionalism” of America has been deemed a bad thing. Now we’re being told that the exceptional is BAD… SERIOUSLY???? Think about it… why did America become the super power that we are?? Because we BELIEVED WE COULD BE. Because we believed that we could rise up and lead the world. That the lives of our children would be better than ours and because we believed prosperity was achievable?
Take a look at our country… ask about the current debt crisis and economy and they all say the same thing “hopeless”. Well then I submit to you that we’ve already lost.
What is a characteristic that all of the richest people in the world share??? Optimism… the belief that in the end, they will achieve what they set out to do regarless of the current circumstances. We could all learn from that couldn’t we? Did you know that subjects who visualiaze making every shot from a freethrow line actually make more shots than the subjects that don’t? There is an intangible quality that is impossible to quantify that makes you BETTER when you believe things like “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”.
I want my son and daughter to believe that they can do ANYTHING that they set their minds to, but how will they ever believe that if I haven’t lived that out in front of them??
I want my church worship team to believe that there is no ceiling on our ability to lead the city of Clarksville and the world, but how will they ever believe that if I don’t exemplify the dreamer?
I want the crew that rides on the Building429 bus to believe that they can achieve any dream that they desire, but how can they believe that if I don’t chase crazy dreams too?
Hilarious isnt it, that the most successful things in my life were all pipe dreams! haha. People told the core group that started our church that they would never make it, and that they shouldn’t try… but they did, and in 7 short years our church has become the biggest church in Clarksville, TN with eyes on influencing the WORLD. WHY? Because 20 crazy people left the sure thing… believing there was more… and RAN!!!
Building 429 is still a miracle. We were huge in 2004 with a massive hit song “Glory Defined” and then we faltered and people started chattering about how we should hang it up. Perhaps the thing I am the most proud of is the way that my brothers and I got back up after getting knocked down so far and still believed that God could do something spectacular with us. (HELLO…. “Where I Belong”)
Here’s the point of all of this…..
I think by and large we dream way too small. As a nation we need a new DREAM. All of us. I think even now I’m personally dreaming too small. So how can we dream bigger? How can we start to practice optimism on a daily basis? We serve a huge God and He can do all things right? So why not YOU? Why not US??
Some questions to consider:
1) What can I do on a daily basis to help myself get into the practice of dreaming big?
2) What dreams did I have that I let go of long ago, but are still viable today?
3) What proactive steps can I put on paper to help me begin to move toward bigger dreams and the HOPE that comes with that?
4) How can I exemplify the heart of a little girl running through the airport for my friends and family so that they will find the joy that comes with dreaming and believing as well?
My hope is that you will find the courage to roll down a hill with your kids, or dance like a fool at the park with your wife and enjoy the blessings that this life has to offer. In the end dreaming is what keeps my heart satisfied… because without a vision, a hope, a future… what do we have?? Breath????? It’s not enough. “Sometimes it feels like I’m Breathing but am I alive?” Great question…. RUN… you’ll find your life!
10 Reasons I’m STILL Married to my Wife
So I thought about my last blog and how many comments I got on it and realized that I didn’t tell the whole story. That blog was simply a way for me to tell you guys what I saw that made me fall in love with Cortni. Then it occurred to me that I was talking about 11 years ago…. What about the 11 years that have passed since. The miracle isn’t that we found each other, or that we got married… the miracle is that we’ve made it last as long as we have… and that we’re only getting stronger. That doesn’t mean that it’s not hard sometimes though. So I figured the best thing that I could do would be to lay out some simple tips from a man’s perspective that have helped keep our relationship strong… these are going to be VERY straight forward so if you want the truth… here it comes.
1) I TELL EVERYONE ABOUT HER:
Anyone who has any kind of conversation with me knows I’m married immediately. Why, because they need to know…. Not only that, but when I talk about my wife, I concentrate on her awesome characteristics. Not the negative. The more I speak my love for her, the more I feel my love for her.
2) I TELL HER EVERYTHING:
If you have a conversation with me about anything (other than guy stuff of course) I tell my wife about it. She is very rarely in the dark about anything that I am doing in my life. Any major decision is a decision that we make together. I value her opinion above anyone else’s.
3) SHE COMES BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE:
If you are my friend go ahead and get used to me caring more about her and her needs than you. I make sure that I put her before anyone else in my life INCLUDING my family. My mom doesn’t take precedence… CORTNI does. My Dad doesn’t take precedence…. Again Cortni does. If it doesn’t fit into our lives according to that priority then it doesn’t happen. Finally… I stand by my wife PERIOD. If you think for a second that anyone in my life would poke fun at her you’re dead wrong. They know she is my world and no one would dare do it.
4) WE DON’T DO DRAMA:
If you are a person who brings drama everywhere you go, you probably won’t be visiting our home a lot. It’s not that we don’t care…. We really do…. But in our lives we have found that drama perpetuates more drama. So we don’t allow people to have influence in our lives if all they ever do is cause/create drama. We serve those who are hard to love, and we go out of our way to lift those who are on their knees… but we don’t allow dramatic people to have influence, because we don’t want our children growing up in that environment, and we don’t want our marriage to fall into chaos as well.
5) WE SPEND TIME TOGETHER:
That’s right… we do date nights…. We actually work out together in the same crossfit gym. We spend time dreaming about what our lives will look like in the next 10 years. We pray over our children every night and we talk about GOD in our home a lot. We watch and learn from other couples who’ve been married longer than us… our best example is Cortni’s parents…. WOW. Amazing. They read the bible cover to cover together every year. How?? They get up early and read together every morning before work. UNBELIEVABLE!!
6) WE APOLOGIZE:
We don’t let words go unsaid. When something is wrong we fess up… apologize and move on. We forget the mistakes that we’ve made when the conversation is over and get on with life. How could somebody be so arrogant as to KNOW they were wrong and still not apologize to their spouse? That person will be referred to as the “arrogant jerk I used to be married to” sooner than they know. You have to be willing to admit your failures in a marriage or your spouse will lose all respect for you and check out.
7) WE TURN OFF THE COMPUTER:
And all the CRAP that’s on it. If you think the bad stuff that you are staring at on your computer is ok… YOU’RE WRONG. Nothing could do your marriage more damage than looking at things you shouldn’t be looking at on your computer. I am a pastor and I’ve seen the horrible damage that stuff does. TO ALL MEN… you need accountability on your computer. . Which is why I use Covenant Eyes on mine. I have an accountability partner who calls anything weird into account… and you should to. It’s the same program that’s on Mark Hall from Casting Crowns computer and it’s awesome. DO IT NOW. BTW… install it on all of your home computers because it’s important to be aware of what your children are viewing as well. If you care at all, you will do it.
8) WE DON’T FLIRT (with other people):
That’s right, I said it… I don’t flirt. It seems kind of obvious, but this is a cardinal sin of a lot of relationships. You seek attention from the opposite sex and you get it… right? That’s what you wanted. I hear people say things like “aw, it’s innocent”, but that’s just stupid. Anything that leads you away from your spouse is not innocent. Stop the ridiculous behavior before you find yourself making a HUGE mistake. It’s like a venus fly trap… don’t go near it… don’t play games… is your marriage really worth the 5 minutes of feeling like a child again with some other person? NO it’s not… STOP IT. Additionally: When I walk through the mall with my wife I intentionally ignore all other women. Why?? She is the center of my world… and nothing could be more detrimental to her love for you than knowing that you’re staring at all the other women around you and not paying attention to her. I want Cortni to know and believe that she is the most beautiful woman in the place everywhere we go, that builds her confidence and self worth… and a woman with those characteristics doesn’t go looking for those things in someone else are when you’re gone.
9) WE DON’T HANG OUT ALONE WITH THE OPPOSITE SEX:
I do not allow myself to be alone with the opposite sex for any reason. If I am doing a vocal lesson with someone on the praise team, the door is always open. “I’m a grown man” you say…”That’s childish”… you say. Maybe so, but I won’t be the person acting like a teenager and blowing up his marriage like 60% of the grown adults in America are doing every year. So you tell me, who’s more childish? If you know there’s a chance that the bus coming at you might hit you, do you : A) Stay there and see or B) Get out of the road? That’s what I thought
10) WE VALUE THE PERSON:
I spend most of my time trying to make sure that people feel valuable, not attractive… no, but important and valuable. There is a line there. When people come through the autograph line at a Building429 show I want them to know that I am sincerely thankful for their support, but I never cross the line and start talking about the way they look. If a guy is constantly telling my wife how good she is looking.. complimenting clothes choices or hairstyle… he’d better be a stylist or we’re going to have problems… because that is his attempt at doing what I should be doing,(ie replacing me) which is building her self confidence and self worth. Not cool for me to do either and therefore I stay away from it.
OK, ok… Am I saying that you can’t interact with people of the opposite sex… of course not. I’m just saying that everyone who reads this blog knows good and well when they are dealing with a dangerous situation. So it’s up to you to be man or woman enough to recognize the danger and stay away from those situations. Don’t even let yourself in the room if there is temptation inside. Don’t allow yourself to be tempted if you don’t have to, because we will mess up. We’re human…. So don’t even go down the path.
The truth is that my marriage is awesome, and as any guy who’s been married for any amount of time will tell you… I still don’t have her figured out yet… which makes it fun (and frustrating sometimes haha). The reality is that if you take care of your marriage and if you sow into it… it will become it’s own reward. The reward of being married to Cortni is that I’m the lucky guy who get’s to live his life in such close proximity to her awesomeness. The more I think about that, the more I am thankful for what we have. The more I guard it, and the more it grows! These are just a few thoughts that have helped Cortni and I have the successful relationship that we do to this point. If I were to stop doing these things tomorrow I promise our marriage would suffer and possibly fail. So these notes are for me as well. Hang in there, keep loving with the love of Christ and may we all have marriages that last until death do us part!!
Today I have been married for 11 years. It’s been the most believable ride of my life…. I can look back and now and say that it is obvious that God has been with my wife Cortni and I the whole time. There were really good times, really bad times…. and everything in between. We have 2 beautiful children named Avery and Haven that have made our lives a million times more fun and though they have a tendency to wear us out… there is no doubt in my mind that my children are an amazing gift from God. Today is a special day and right now I am on an airplane flying to Kansas City, while my wife and 2 children are on the bus headed to Buffalo, NY for a day in a water park together. Which I begs the question… what the heck am I doing? Leaving my wife on our anniversary. That question brought me to a better question… how did I end up with such an amazing, gracious wife who would put up with all of my junk?? That’s where the idea for this blog came from:
How did I know that I wanted to marry Cortni??
I watched her. The first time I ever saw Cortni I knew there was something different about her… she had no ego at all. She was playing volleyball at a church picnic with a bunch of youth and, as I remember it, she was focused 100% on them. Laughing at herself, making jokes about herself…. she was the life of the party and she wasn’t even trying. Before I ever laid eyes on her, her reputation had already preceded her. Everyone at the church was talking about who she was, how cool she was, and how excited they were to have her as the churches summer youth intern. The first day I met her I knew full well that I was in trouble if she was half as perfect as she seemed. But that wasn’t enough for me. So I watched her even more. I watched her serve the youth of our church without regard for herself. I watched her take them to the beach and then in spite of the fact that she was a dancer and was pretty much PERFECT on the eyes, she was modest and always wore a T-shirt over her bathing suit…. yeah it seemed weird to me then too, but I’m thankful for it now. I remember that she served the homeless… she led bible studies… she made me feel really insecure when it came to my relationship with Christ… mostly because she was so strong. The more I watched the more I knew that she was everything I could dream of… and then I really wondered for the first time in my life… am I a good enough man for a girl like her?? Then my prayers came simply to this…. “God if you’ll let me have just 1 chance with this girl, I promise I will never mess it up”. So I prayed that while I served along side of her for a whole summer. Over time our relationship grew out of a service to the Lord… that was the basis for our relationship. That basis has served us really well through the years. But if I could boil it down to just a few characteristics that made it obvious that I should marry Cortni I would say this:
She saw other peoples weaknesses and loved them any way. When the option was available and just to be angry with someone she always leaned toward mercy… which as it turns out has saved my tail a thousand times since we first started dating almost 14 years ago
She always had an unbelievable confidence in God, His provision, and His plans. When I would falter… she would not. When I would lose faith, she would turn to the Word and remind me who He was (as it turns out, this has saved my tail a thousand times as well) She has always been confident enough to let me lead our marriage even though we both know she was the stronger of the two of us.
Cortni always had this unbelievable mother like quality to her. This became obvious when I had my face shattered in a basketball incident at NC State. This loving, nurturing attitude is what sealed the deal. I knew it was hard for her to look at my face when it was swollen and bleeding and cut, but she did it anyway and she tended my wounds with a tenderness that only an angel could possess.
I’ve never known anyone more focused on serving others on the planet than Cortni. She doesn’t have a BLOG to talk about all the “great” things she’s doing for the world, because she’s busier DOING them than talking about them. My wife is not a self promoter… though she could absolutely dwarf many people, including me, with her accomplishments. You guys will never know about them, but I promise if you get close enough to her, you will feel what I’m telling you now. She LOVE’s people with a selfless love and she will receive her crowns in Heaven. I have no doubt that I will even be blown away by the things she never told me she did.
She is not a talker… You will not hear her bash another person who she is having a dispute with, (which again has really helped me out again) on twitter, facebook, or in person for that matter. She doesn’t have a dispute with me and then go talking about how horrible her husband is to all her friends… nope she calms down and then comes to me to talk it out ( and I always figure out that I was a moron!! haha) By the way that whole talking to other people about your spouses failures only breeds more of the same from them… before long you have 10 angry wives/husbands telling their stories which only breeds more and more frustration. Stay out of that… that is a marriage killer.
There was always a resolve in her to see things through no matter how hard it got. In everything she does, she WILL NOT QUIT. She finishes what she begins, and that quality may be the only thing that we shared when we began our marriage 11 years ago.
These 6 qualities are just a few of the qualities that made me confident that we could make it through. Every one of those qualities has come to bear in a major way in our marriage… and all could be identified before we ever got married. Honestly people I could go on and on about her because there are a million other qualities that are amazing as well.
But what did she see in me… there are times when I just don’t know. I am so thankful that our life has turned out the way it has… when she married me I was an out of work, college drop out, wanna- be musician. OUCH that hurts to even say it…. but if I could guess what she would say… I would say that the one quality that gave her confidence in me was
My one good quality !! She knew I was dead set that we would make our marriage work till death do us part. I didn’t say “we’ll see” when we got married, I said “I do” and I meant it. I was dead set that I’d stay by her side until I breathed my last breath, and that I would always do my best to provide for her and our family. Every other quality that she had…. I didn’t. I was the polar opposite to her in every other quality… Prideful, Arrogant, strong willed, big mouthed, selfish…. but there is good news for those of you out there like me. WE CAN CHANGE!!! I am so thankful for my beautiful wife and our wonderful family…. and I guess if I was writing this blog for anything I would admit that it is to let my wife know how much I adore her.
But in a world where the divorce rate is just as high in the church as it is in the secular world I wonder…. what if we actually looked for these Godly characteristics in the people we loved? What if instead of diving into a marriage with a person based solely on infatuation we decided that we would begin to challenge status quo and build these characteristics in ourselves and the one we hope to spend our lives with. If you’re already married to someone who doesn’t display these characteristics get on your knees and pray for them. Pray that God will soften their hearts to His calling on their lives and remember… they can change! That’s what the past 11 years have been for Cortni and I. She’s just been whittling away every day, challenging me in ways that you can’t imagine. Daring me to cry…. challenging me to love… holding me accountable to the word of God, in short, making me a better man. You want to know if you’re supposed to marry the person you’re dating??? Do they make you a better man or woman of God? There’s your answer… that’s what 11 years have taught me. I’m thankful today, and I hope today finds you thankful as well.
From Hurt to Anger to Mercy to Freedom
Thoughts on Parents…. From Hurt to Anger to Mercy to Freedom
So I wrote this on an airplane from Manila to Detroit and after I re-read it I realize that there are about a billion sub categorical posts that could be written on the subject. I’m not sure where this fit’s in my blog… I just know that it’s something that I have dealt with in my life and I have a special perspective on. Please forgive me if it seems short, but the truth is … this could be a book easily. Here Goes:
We’ve all got them… some of us have the greatest parents in the world…. some of us have absentee parents, and some have parents that they just don’t like. It doesn’t matter which one of those subcategories you fit in, we’re all marked by our parents. Many of us use our parents decisions to justify our own. Many of us believe what we believe about the bible simply because I parents told us what to believe. Our families are under attack from every direction these days, and the one thing that I hear the most when the topic comes up is the state of the world today could largely be blamed on bad parenting in the formative years. I daresay you would have a hard time finding anyone who would dispute the fact that when one parent steps out of the house the future of that house comes into question very quickly. Today it seems that the Disney channel is raising most of the children in the US… and if you haven’t noticed the characters on the Disney channel all share similar characteristics.
1) they are all rock star/ divas in the making
2) they are all rich
3) they don’t really do anything to earn the money they spend
4) they are all smarter than their parents
5) Most are at least condescending to adults in general
6) The adults are all bumbling buffoons and idiots that merely provide comedic relief.
Does that sound like anyone you know under the age of 18? Hint: Go to your local high school or middle school and listen in the halls for 30 seconds when the bell rings.
Wow… how did I get on that rabbit trail??? I’m not sure but I need to get back on point..
Yes bad parenting is running rapid in the US… and the world at large… and yes a lot can be blamed on that… but there’s something else at play as well.
We get a choice on who we will be don’t we??
So your mom was a strung out druggie, and your dad was overly critical and crushed your dreams…. I’m so sorry you had to endure that… but YOU DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW THEM! The bible says that you are to honor them and respect them… (which can be hard at times) but you are your own person. If you choose to let your parents define you then it’s largely YOUR FAULT when your life is characterized by similar chaos. Why?? Because you have a choice. You also have a built in moral compass that leads guides and directs you… for the believers reading this writing… you have the Holy spirit guiding you… but even for non believers, we do have a similar knowledge of wrong and right. Let me break that down for you:
Yeah we all agree on these things…. and yet we do them why?? Because I had a messed up childhood? Yeah THAT’S STUPID.
I agree that a distressed childhood could lead one to have a greater proclivity to falling into such things, but we still have a CHOICE.
But I’m just bringing that up for you to think about… there is a greater choice that brings freedom like you’ve never known before that I want to discuss.
Did you know that you literally have a choice in the way that you choose to view your parents. Yeah you do. You can hate them for what they never were, and what they never gave, and what they didn’t do… and you can let that be your excuse for being an idiot… or you can love them for who they are… and stop making excuses for your ridiculous behavior. Let me say that again.
You can choose to love your parents for who they are, instead of hating them for who they can never be.
Let me focus in here…. our parents are not God… we know that, but we still give them the seat of God… which sets them up for the most massive failure in the history of mankind. You know what I’m talking about… what is it for you? The moment when your parents broke your heart? It happens to everyone… take a second and think about it…………
They broke your heart because they are JUST LIKE YOU…. HUMAN. Freedom only comes when we put God in His rightful place…. the throne… (all knowing, all seeing, all powerful, and beyond imperfection) and allow our parents to be human and love them through it.
You may be saying “Jason, you just don’t know my parents and how awful they’ve treated me” and I’ll say you’re right I don’t. I’ve been wounded by my parents just like you have… wounds that I thought would never heal, but how is it fair for me to expect my parents to be GOD. To have all the answers, and say all the right things at the right times, to put up with me pushing their limits without ever losing their cool??? THEY WERE HUMAN and they did the best they could.
Maybe they didn’t understand that they had a choice to be or not to be a replication of their own parents. BUT YOU DO!!!
Here’s the truth as I see it:
When you finally start respecting and honoring your parents for who they are and stop hating them for who they are not, you will finally be free to decide if you’re going to repeat their parenting process. If you cannot bring yourself to accept that GOD is GOD and they were/are not, then you will repeat the process of chaos for the family that surrounds you now.
Sometimes life isn’t fair… I don’t want to diminish the hurt of those who have faced horrible things in their childhood and are completely scarred.. but I do want you to understand… that you do have the power… to repeat the offense and continue the chaos or to decide that you had the perfect example of who you will NEVER BE. Your hurt may be something far worse than I can even imagine, but remember the foundation of our faith is that Jesus took the penalty for all of humanity so that by grace we could be saved. He understands how bad it hurts… because you and I have hurt him just as badly…. His response was amazing and it brought freedom to the whole world. He had a choice and He chose to have mercy on us. We should remember this when we are looking at those who have hurt us so badly. Mercy is the only way to find freedom. The choice is yours… and when you begin to realize that your parents might have been a product of the hurt that they felt too, you will begin to find the strength to love the unloveable again.
I’ll finish with this: You’ve got one life… you’ve got one chance to know your parents, to love them, to cry with them, to learn from them and ultimately to be at peace with them. YOU DO NOT WANT TO GET TO YOUR PARENTS LAST BREATH AND LEAVE THINGS UNSAID. Don’t miss it. Don’t spend 20 years mad about something that you can’t change. Decide to be different and love the unlovable as Christ did. That’s how we turn our lives around… that’s how we turn this country around…. we stop making excuses and start loving the way we know we should…. but please… life is too short. DON’T MISS THE BLESSING THAT YOUR PARENTS COULD BE NOW BECAUSE YOU’RE SO MAD ABOUT WHO THEY NEVER WERE.
Choose now to break the cycle.. and freedom will come. I promise. It did for me!
Look forward to your thoughts on this one!!
RESPECT and RESOLUTION
When we don’t see eye to eye with someone it’s always hard. Especially when that someone happens to have the power to make your life harder. Think about it… what about those moments when there is a hard to love person in your church who decides to be a bit of a punk and challenge you over something that is not a big deal, but that needs to change. What about when your spouse just doesn’t agree with you over an issue, or a co worker, or just someone who holds a position of influence in another company that you just have to work with to get something accomplished. This is an every day scenario in our lives, but how we approach it is what really matters the most.
The ability to converse through extreme conflict and still maintain a respectful attitude constitutes GREAT COMMUNICATION.
If you roll over every time a point of conflict comes you will ultimately lose the respect of those around you and those who you are having conflict with, and the pattern will continue until you’re “run out of town” or you will eventually “blow up” because of the frustration and you will be in “early retirement”
Passive aggressive NEVER works… EVER. Passive aggressive is STUPID and unfair to yourself and the party that you are conversing with… why??? Because it’s a lie. You end up lying on either side… at first it’s not a big deal (not true) so the opposite party believes that a resolution is forthcoming, and then when you’ve switched gears everything becomes a big deal (not true again) and that is when you lose all of the respect of the people you are walking through conflict with. Passive aggressives tend to hold it all in, saving up all the little details in the back of their mind so that when the time comes they’ll be able to pull out all the details to win the argument…. But wait a minute…. It never was an argument… it was a conflict and you just turned it into an argument, which, in the end, makes you look foolish to everyone involved. It also wastes a TON of time and proves that you can’t handle high pressure situations. So guess who doesn’t get invited to the high pressure negotiations next time??? Guess who isn’t picked to be a part of the lead teams for your particular organization?? Passive aggressive behavior breeds frustration, which unchecked leads to bitterness, which ultimately ends all relationships.
The only way to LEAD is through open and honest conflict. You have to take emotion out of the conversation and stick to your original goal which was: To gain a resolution. You may win an argument and maybe you eke out a “resolution” when you turn a conflict into an argument, but generally speaking, you will lose the future of the relationship because you will lose respect. Not to mention the fact that most of the time in a conflict you will have to NEGOTIATE. You will find that there was something that you did that caused frustration too… if you’re emotional you will deny your part of the problem and you’ll get no where fast.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had to go into a room and “call them out” for the way that a certain organization handled a situation. For me it is often when I have to deal with stage managers, or promoters who have treated my crew like junk. I NEVER let that go without having a private meeting with the parties involved and respectfully calling them out. Why?? Because if the behavior was inappropriate then they should be held accountable, and maybe they didn’t even realize how badly they were treating people… Maybe they did, but no one had the guts to say… “that’s not very Christlike”. But if I walk into those meetings like a raving lunatic, Building429 will NEVER be invited back to play the events that our fans attend. So every one of these conversations have to be handled extremely delicately. So the 2 things in my head when I walk into a meeting that I know is based on a conflict are…. RESPECT and RESOLUTION. It’s never about Payback, or them Getting what they deserve… because to get spiritual for a minute WE ALL DESERVE THE CROSS equally right?? The truth is, that you earn more respect than you could ever imagine when you respectfully challenge those who need to be challenged. I have never walked out of one of my challenging meetings without someone saying, “I really appreciate the way you handled this and it speaks volumes to your character” BOOM that’s what we want, resolution and respect… why, because the next time conflict comes… they will already know to respect me.. and it will get handled way faster. In fact they will even call out people on their teams that are not in line, because they know who I am and what I stand for…. That’s what we want right?
Respect is what makes the world go round… don’t believe me??? Tell me the top 5 people that you want to work with…. They are ALL PEOPLE you respect… and people who give you the respect you deserve as well. Chances are, they might have even had to have one of those respectfully challenging meetings with you already and you were so thankful for the way they handled you. So let me challenge you with this last statement that I think is a reminder to us all:
You earn an audience with a person when you are respectful, you lose it when you’re not… Food for thought for those who desire influence.
In this life you have to WORK. Nobody gives you anything in this life. Today more than ever as I am entering the “mid thirties” I am constantly challenged by the young generation coming up. I have suddenly been put in the position of “mentor” and I feel the weight of that responsibility on a daily basis. On one hand I have privileged position of leading Building429…. and all of it’s followers. Many a late night conversation amongst Aaron, Jesse, Mike and I, has turned to what we should be telling all of the younger musicians who have great dreams and aspirations and are looking to us for encouragement. One the other hand I have Grace Community Church, and many a conversation has been batted around by Dustin, John Mark, and I (the staff leaders of the worship department) about the exact same subject. While sitting at Starbucks in a planning meeting the other day Dustin and I were talk about a particular young person who is struggling… and I said “I just hope that they understand that achieving dreams isn’t just about working hard, but it’s about SACRIFICE as well.” Dustin shrugged off a smile and said, “Any fool can work hard, but chasing down a dream is about sacrifice“. I thought, dang that’s pretty profound…. but to take it further, it’s about calculated sacrifice.
Think about it, hard work is the GIVEN. That’s gonna happen whether it’s hard work doing something you like, or something that you hate… especially if you plan on providing for your family in a Godly manner. The path that leads to your dream job is very similar in terms of the work you have to put in, what’s different is what you’ll have to give up to make it happen.
Think about it…. you want a career in music, but as I’ve stated before a career in music takes 10 years to solidify. At 25 while you’re struggling to pay your bills with your fledgling career in your dream field you decided it’s time to get married, buy a house, a couple of cars and start having kids…. well you didn’t sacrifice anything… you have it all now… and you have to PAY FOR IT ALL NOW, therefore God is going to have to replace your dream with a dream of His own for you. One that includes a normal job with security for your family.
If you were really sold out to a career in whatever field that you love…. you would’ve made a calculated sacrifice to continue the pursuit right? Maybe you would’ve passed on the house? Or tried being a little more focussed on planning your families growth? Maybe you wouldn’t have bought that awesome car? That’s sacrifice.
Let me clarify… sacrifice is NEVER MAKING YOUR FAMILY SUFFER. I also find it hard to ever say that you should sacrifice any relationship on the alter of selfish pursuits. No, sacrifice is delaying self gratification for a greater goal. Too many people think that as soon as they walk across the stage and get a college degree they should be handed a 100K job, but that is an unreal expectation. Half of the problem with our countries current fiscal crisis is the fact that so many people go out at 30 and buy on credit what their parents bought on cash from hard work and sacrifice at 50. Many a mid-life crisis is based on this very principal… they never sacrificed and so suddenly at 45 they are filled with regret that they didn’t chase their dreams and that they settled for corporate work…. they go bonkers trying to relive a childish dream that has long since passed them by. If you have a wife, and kids the dream that you should be chasing now is THEM!
Aaron came on the bus after a show recently and told me about a conversation that he had with a worship pastor and this conversation illustrates my point. The worship pastor came to him and said “Hey man, how does that whole traveling on the road with a family thing work for you… I’ve been thinking about trying to do that” Aaron’s response was PERFECT. He said:”Don’t do it man…. All you see is the big bus, the big show, the fans and the fun. What you don’t see is the 10 years of incredibly hard work and SACRIFICES we had to make to be here. We made this happen when we were younger and single. Our wives met us and loved who we were and accepted that this lifestyle was what we were called to before we were ever married. We didn’t have children until our career solidified and we could actually afford to take care of them. Most of us drove 1 car for the first 5-6 years of our marriage while we lived in tiny apartments and struggled to pay the bills. God has been good to us and He’s honored the sacrifices by allowing us now to afford a bus, and houses and families, but that was never a guarantee for us.” I thought GOOD FOR YOU AARON!!!! I was so proud, because he could’ve given that guy the “anybody can do it” talk, but so many “anybody can do it’s” end up as a “I wish I wouldn’t have done that” divorce and brokeness stories. Why? Because the sacrifice was made on the back of a family that wasn’t constructed to handle that stress from the beginning. Some people would be frustrated with Aaron and his response and say that he is a “DREAM KILLER”…. I say Aaron was a “DREAM SAVER”, because again, the family is truly THE DREAM .
Amazing isn’t it that Building429 used to be the DREAM for Aaron, Mike, Jesse, and I… and now the dream we are chasing is the life that we desire with our families. You look at us and say we are living the dream for a completely different reason than we do. We live the dream because we are able to provide for, love and care for amazing wives and children…. just like you should be doing…. the only difference is in the calculated sacrifices we made along the way to be able to do something we love that provides for the ones we love!
So in the choose your own adventure of your life: If you want to have all the toys now, give up the thoughts of the dream career and go straight to work at the nearest cubicle. If you want to have the dream career give up all the toys and keep sacrificing until you make it happen. Hard work is the given in either scenario. But to all the dreamers out there here is the big question: What Calculated Sacrifices are you willing to make??