Control Your Own Destiny

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Yesterday was week 17 of a thrilling NFL season. As a Steelers fan, I could hardly believe that we still had a shot at the playoffs after starting 0-4. While it was disappointing we didn’t get in, and one of my sons did cry about it, but it got me thinking: football is easier when you control your own destiny. 

The same is true in life.

It is easier when you control your own destiny. 

Yet, so many people don’t.

Here’s what I mean.

We allow others to dictate what is important to us. What we spend our money on. What things our kids sign up for. Where we vacation. If we exercise or not or have an overall healthy lifestyle. Others dictate how we run our calendars, work habits, and even emotions.

For many people, very little of what they do is what they want to do.

Which leaves them tired, burned out, stressed, lifeless and ultimately, playing catch up instead of walking into the playoffs of life.

Here are 4 things you can do to control your own destiny:

  1. Decide you will. This is the first step of anything. If you are struggling with an addiction, you have to identify it and decide this is the time to change. It is the same with your destiny. Make a conscious choice to control it and put things into place to keep this true in your life.
  2. Accountability and systems to make it happen. You may need to have a friend hold you accountable with this. You might need to put some systems into place. If you have kids, keep the activities they do at a time to one. Not 4, but one. Keep the extra things you do to one. Will this keep you or your kids from having a well rounded, experiential life? I’m not sure, but that isn’t the goal. Who cares if they play 5 sports or do dance, horseback riding, cello lessons and soccer. Oh, you care? Someone else cares for you? Then read point #3.
  3. Identify the fear, idol, or desire that causes you to give away your destiny. This drives so much of what we do. We talked about this yesterday at Revolution. The fear we will miss out or not matter drives so much of what we do and the choices we make with our calendar, money and lifestyle. Stop it. Identify that this is a lie and identify the truth. The person who is driving this in your life did not die on the cross for you and rise from the dead to set you free. Jesus did. If you have trusted in this, you are approved. Your destiny is set. Which leads to the last one.
  4. Trust that God’s destiny is better than what someone else can come up with for you. Approval in God is hard to believe sometimes. The idea that I am approved as a follower of Jesus because of his death and resurrection is hard to believe. I can’t be more approved in him. There isn’t some approval waiting around a corner that I haven’t experienced yet. Because of this, my destiny is set and secure. This is a daily practice of reminding myself of this. Believing my destiny is secure and it is better than what I could come up with or the person(s) driving me right now.

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Fake Football is Here!

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I had my fantasy football draft last night. Pretty excited about it. I won the league last year and it is a keeper league, so we could keep 4 players. It’s a 12 team league with points per reception. Here’s my draft. The (K) means they were a keeper:

  1. AJ Green
  2. Adrian Peterson (K)
  3. Darren McFadden
  4. Daryl Richardson
  5. Reggie Wayne (K)
  6. Giovani Bernard
  7. Shane Vereen
  8. Golden Tate
  9. Ryan Broyles
  10. Justin Blackmon
  11. Danny Amendola (K)
  12. Colin Kapernick (K)
  13. Jordan Cameron
  14. Brian Hartline
  15. New York Jets Defense
  16. Jacquizz Rodgers

This post simply means football is almost here!

NFL Playoffs

I love this time of year. College bowl games are winding down and the NFL playoffs are winding up. Even though my Steelers aren’t in it, I thought I’d share my predictions.

AFC Wild Card

  • Ravens/Pats:  Pats
  • Jets/Bengals:  Jets

NFC Wild Card

  • Eagles/Cowboys:  Eagles
  • Packers/Cardinals:  Packers

AFC Divisional

  • Jets/Colts:  Jets
  • Pats/Chargers:  Chargers

NFC Divisional

  • Eagles/Saints:  Eagles
  • Packers/Vikings:  Packers

AFC Championship

  • Jets/Chargers:  Chargers

NFC Championship

  • Eagles/Packers:  Packers

Super Bowl

  • Packers/Chargers:  Chargers

There are my picks. A little out of the box, I know, but that’s how I see it coming down.

What do you think? Who makes the Super Bowl and ultimately wins?

#6 of 09: Marriage, Cheating, Football & Steve McNair

I’ve been watching with the interest since last Saturday about the death of Steve McNair. One of the best quarterbacks of our time, killed in a murder-suicide (according to ESPN).

What this shows, once again is how easy it is to cheat, but also how dangerous it is.

I think in our culture, we’ve become used to the idea of cheating and we have a nice word for it, affair. But as Mark Driscoll says, “Affairs are what you get dressed up for, affairs are the prom. Cheating is adultery.” We need to use the right words so we understand the damage they inflict. Affair/adultery/cheating, however you want to slice it, it will inflict sometimes, irreconcilable pain. Even Skip Bayless at ESPN understands this when he tweeted, “McNair findings prove once again that affairs can be extremely dangerous. The danger makes them more exciting. But it can be lethal.”

I think most people would agree that cheating whether in a marriage or dating is wrong. But how does it happen? What is considered cheating?

It happens because on some level, there is a need that is not being met. It might be a need that you are aware of and have even talked with your significant other about, or it might be a need you have not realized. When that need is not being met, you will instinctively go looking for someone to fill that need. When that happens, cheating becomes easier.

There is a great book His Needs, Her Needs that lays out the basic needs for men and women. When these needs are not met, according to the authors, your love bank is not filled, it makes withdrawals. When your love bank is empty, you look to fill it.

For men, the needs are: sexual fulfillment (this is different from just sex), recreational companion, an attractive spouse, domestic support, and admiration/respect.

For women, the needs are: affection, conversation, honesty and openness, safety and security, and family support.

What often happens in our culture is we only see the womens needs as the necessary ones. “Of course he wants sex” people will say. Or, “how degrading, an attractive spouse.”

Think about it like this, if your husband talked with you with as much enthusiasm and frequency as you have sex with him, how would you like that. If the answer is, “he already does” then you have a problem.

Katie and I sat down early in our marriage and explained to the other what each one of these needs meant for us. It is different for each person. Your husband defines what is attractive, not a magazine cover, so let him tell you. If you do this, you will actually meet the need of conversation (look at that!)

There are also different levels of cheating. It could be physical (which is what we often think about) or it could be emotional or mental. Cheating happens when we allow someone we are not married to to meet a need that our spouse should be meeting.

So how does cheating happen? It doesn’t just happen, it takes place over weeks, months, sometimes years. Slowly, your love bank depletes and it is not refilled. Then, a man shows you attention, he is easy to talk to, interested in your life and you find yourself opening up to him, wishing your husband was like that. You are right there.

Or, a woman compliments you, she takes pride in how she looks (ironically, study after study say that people cheat on their spouse with someone less attractive than their spouse, so it isn’t looks), takes an interest in you, asks about what you like and bam.

Katie and I often talk about how we don’t meet with someone of the opposite sex alone and we get some weird stares. The reason. If you aren’t alone with someone, you aren’t in the position to cheat on your spouse. If you don’t share intamite things with someone, you can’t be amazed by someone. This doesn’t mean you aren’t friends with people you aren’t married to, but it does mean you are guarded around those people.

Do you share things with people of the opposite sex that you don’t share with your spouse? Are you making memories or having experiences with someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself looking nice for someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself thinking about what someone other than your spouse is doing? How they’ll be dressed when you see them tonight? When you are talking or having sex with your spouse, do you find yourself thinking about that person?

If you answered yes to any of these, you are having an emotional affair. Which sometimes, but not always, leads to a physical affair.

See how easy it is?

Top Posts of July ’09

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for July 2009.

  1. Marriage, Cheating, Football & Steve McNair
  2. Links of the Week (7/24)
  3. The Role of Men in the Family
  4. Pictures from Revolution’s Baptism
  5. Recent Family Pic
  6. Goals & the Future of Revolution Church
  7. Saturday Night Mind Dump… (Vacation Edition)
  8. Jack Welch’s 6 Rules of Leadership
  9. Missional vs. Missional
  10. Summer Break

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Great night tonight
  • Alex Mar led worship for us tonight and did an awesome job
  • I am loving the Q & A that we do at the end of the service, great addition to what we do
  • Great topic tonight
  • I think too many married couples are disengaged in their marriages and that is what leads to unhappiness, loneliness and ultimately, affairs
  • I talked tonight about boundaries Katie and I have, you can read more about that here
  • Paul and Jennifer will be here the weekend of November 8th to look for a place to live, and Paul will be leading worship that night
  • I can’t wait for them to get here
  • If couples apply tonight and next week, it will make a huge difference in affair proofing their marriage
  • If you need some date night ideas, click here
  • After church tonight I went with Todd to the Arizona/USC football game, good times
  • Only 8 more days until Katie and I go on vacation, can’t wait
  • I’m so addicted to Twitter, you can follow me here
  • I am so addicted to the election coverage right now, I’m ready for the election to be over
  • SNL’s version is actually better than any other channel, too bad that isn’t on 24 hours a day
  • Excited that Penn State won, our national title hopes are still alive, but I’m sure the BCS will screw that up somehow
  • We have our next missional life project in the morning
  • We’re cleaning up Tanque Verde Park, see you at 9am
  • I have to put my fantasy teams together yet
  • Still rocking my leagues, I’m in first place in 2 of 3 (I’m 7-0, 6-1 & 5-2)
  • Looks like the world series title may come to Philadelphia this year, could happen, but Philly sports always figure out a way to break your heart
  • Huge football game tomorrow:  Giants vs. Steelers, I think the Steelers will prevail, but it will be close
  • Busy week this week, something happening every night of the week
  • It’s so hard to go on vacation, you almost have to kill yourself to get everything done so you can go on vacation
  • This week, I have a meeting with potential small group leaders, really excited about the people stepping up to lead in this important area
  • Click here to join the conversation on our discussion blog
  • I’m exhausted, I’m going to bed
  • Here is a fascinating video about “why men cheat”