What I have learned so far as a Dad

It's been 6 months now since my first child and son, Logan, arrived into this world. 6 MONTHS! I know it's cliché to say this but time really has flown by. Even though Logan is still very much a baby, I am finding it difficult to remember what he looked like just 5 months ago. He is changing rapidly and becoming more like a little boy and less like a baby each day. He is full of joy and laughter, infatuated with everything! He's learning new skills, like sitting without help, and crawling...which he's still trying to figure out. He LOVES to jump and stand - it will almost always calm him down if he's a little fussy. He's learning to recognize that Erica is mom and I am dad...and it just destroys me. Through all of this learning and discovery on his part, I'm discovering and learning new things as well.

I have discovered a new love - a love that only a parent can truly understand. I know because I've experienced the change. It's a love that cannot be summed up in words (though some may try, me included). A love that has given me a better understanding of the love God has for us. It's sacrificial. It's compassionate. It's highly sensitive. It's protective. The crazy thing is, it all rushed upon me the second I saw him for the first time. I am now his protector and provider. I meet his every need (Erica would argue otherwise, but you get my point). The love I have for him is the love God has for me - for all of us. From my vantage point, it's the purest example of God's love for mankind here on earth.

I have this desire in me now to teach. It's not a desire to teach grade school or anything like that, but to teach my son about life. I want to teach him how to tie his shoes and how to build a lego car. I want to teach him how to talk and read. I hope he learns good manners and to be polite. I want him to learn right from wrong. I want to teach him about grace and forgiveness. I want Logan to know the stories of faith hero's in the bible like Noah, Moses and King David. I want to teach truths and be an example of uprightness. I want to be the best teacher and example giver I can possibly be. To me, this is a reflection of God's desire for us as well. He wants to be our teacher and example setter. He wants us to know the stories of those who've gone before and have championed His love, mercy and grace. God wants us to know Him so that we can share Him with those in our circle of life. I want my son to know Him as well; to put his faith in God, just as he now puts his faith in his daddy.

You see, what I've been learning and will continue to learn, is that God gives us children to teach us more about Him. You have to blatantly ignore it to not notice it. Obviously, children are much more than teaching tools, but that aspect of the parent/child relationship is important. Don't ignore it. God wants to use it to teach. Let Him.

Being a parent is difficult. It has its trials and times of testing. The lack of sleep and always being on call is tough, never really getting time to yourself for a period. I know that I am also at just the beginning of it all. However, those moments are outweighed by the overwhelming joy and happiness that my son covers me with day in and day out, and the lessons I'm being taught each day.

I look forward to coming home, especially if I've been gone a while, and seeing my little boy get excited to see me. It doesn't get old and I'm not really sure how it could. It's an incredible feeling. I imagine it might be how God feels when we get excited to see Him.

-Doug

 

 

Being A Perfectionist

We have all dealt with a perfectionist at some point or another in our lives, whether we realize it or not. I imagine there are some who don't even realize they themselves are perfectionist. Perfectionist, in my experience, mean well but have an expectation level that is almost always unattainable. Before I go any further, let's look to Merriam-Webster for a definition.

Perfectionism: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable.

The definition here describes an expectation level that is staggering and intimidating. So if this is what it means to be a perfectionist, why do some people struggle with it?  

I won't claim to have a good answer to why. It makes zero sense that imperfect beings would expect perfection. I do know, though, what that struggle is like from personal experience.

It's dissatisfying.

It's ugly.

It's disheartening, not only to me, but to those around me. 

It's not that I expect those around me to be perfect, it's that I expect myself to be perfect at all times. But when I start tearing myself apart because of a mistake or two to those around me, it hurts them to hear me dissatisfied with my work. Especially when those around me believe I've done a good job.

For example:

If I take a test and score 96 points out of 100, I will tear myself down for those 4 points missed. I will look at why I missed those points and say to myself, "You knew this! How could you get this wrong?"

If I mistype something in a post on a social media site I will feel stupid and inferior. I talk myself into believing that those who read what I wrote will think less of me over a small mistake.

When I play music, regardless of where, and mess up even one note, I feel like the entire thing was a disaster. "I've been doing music long enough that I shouldn't be messing up…ever," I say to myself. 

I over analyze everything I do and will tear it down when I'm not perfectly on point.

What's very sad about being a perfectionist is that everyone around me is blind to those small mistakes or, at the very least, do not view them as a big deal. Because to someone that doesn't struggle with perfectionism, getting a 96% on a test is awesome. It's a job well done. You should be proud of yourself and your hard work.

In the case of music, those that aren't musicians likely won't even notice the mistakes. And if they do, they understand that it's normal and human to be imperfect.

So what is the solution to overcoming perfectionism? I wish I could give you a 5 step "how to" but it's not that easy. I believe God calls us to strive for excellence in all that we do. To do things to the best of our ability. To not be satisfied with just getting by but to always be improving ourselves. But excellence is not perfection. Having the mindset and attitude that everything needs to be perfect or it's not good enough is unhealthy. I have to remind myself in everything I do that I need to give my best and that's all that anyone can ask for. 

God is examining our heart, not our outward appearance. God isn't interested in me being perfect in all I do. He is interested in me giving my all and my best. As long as I'm doing life whole-heartedly, what more can I give?

If you struggle with perfectionism, I would encourage you to pray. To ask God to reveal truth in your life. To show you that your best, whole-hearted effort, is all He is asking for. That we will not obtain perfection until the day we are standing in His presence.

I like what Paul says in Philippians 3: 12-16: 

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained."

We cannot be perfect in this life but we can be excellent. Let's not confuse the two and set a bar that is not obtainable. Live each day with a whole-hearted effort and be satisfied in Christ.

-Doug

 

 

Worship

I came across this article regarding worship and worshipping our God even when we don't feel like it.  There are times when all of us would rather do something else than to worship our God.  There are times when our day has been long and tiring.  Maybe we are distracted by deadlines or family disputes.  Whatever the reason may be, God is still God and is still deserving of our worship.  

Worship is not limited to singing a song on Sunday mornings at church.  Worship is not limited to music at all.  We can worship God in many ways.  

Take a few moments to read the article I've linked below and then come back and share your thoughts.  I'm always interested to hear what others think and this is a great place to share.  

-Doug

How To Worship When You Don't Feel Like It

Inspiring Creation

I have found myself in awe of all that surrounds me for quite some time now.  God's creation is mind blowing in its beauty and vast complexity, though we really only know what we see, hear and read.  There is so much more to His creation that we will never know in our lifetime.  

Sometimes I get caught up thinking about how intricate the human body is.  How does the mushy content in our head store memories?  How is it that we see things and hear things?  Or that we know that we see and hear things?  Seemingly simple things like how we know to breathe and to eat or when to wake up.  It's fascinating to think about just how complex the human body is alone not to mention every other element of creation in our solar system.

Take, for instance, the perfect location of the earth to the sun.  Only at this distance can life on earth be possible.  Any closer and it would be too hot for life to survive.  Any further and it would be too cold.  

The creatures of the earth know how to survive and care for their young.  

Plant life replenishes itself each year when the earth recovers from winter.  

It's captivating when you think of it all.

So much of this fuels the lyrics and drive behind the songs I write for corporate worship.  Just being struck by all of God's creation and how much more there is to it than my mind can comprehend.  There are other things that grip me and cause me to write but I continue to be captured by all that surrounds me.  

Do you take time out of each week to reflect on God's creation?

What about our Creator are you in awe of?

Share your thoughts.