Disruptions in your life

Are you under a cloud of disruptions?  Is it just persistent?  You just can’t seem to get out from under it?  What is going on?  Why is this happening to me?

Does any of this sound familiar?

Tomorrow at ManSchool we will tackle this issue.  Perhaps rather than asking “Why is this happening to me”, we should shift and say “God, what are you up to?”

Last week we talked about agreements we make like “I’ll never trust anyone again” or “I’ll never be loved” and in our small groups we broke this out and shared our individual agreements we’ve made and how they have played in our lives.

The reason these things keep coming up is that we’ve made an agreement.  It is why some girls seem to always date the wrong guy.  Guy after guy…they are all alike.  And they are all wrong.  As soon as she realizes, “this guy is a jerk who is using me”, she breaks it off with him only to jump to the next jerk.  The problem goes way back.  It isn’t the jerk’s fault it is her issue.  She has made some agreement deep in her heart like “I’m really not worth loving” or she gave her heart (and possibly more) to the first guy and he hurt her and so she settles in with “All guys are going to treat me this way.”  And here, years later, it is one failed relationship after another.

Or perhaps it is a sweet woman who battles this seething rage that shows up.  Other people constantly disappoint her or don’t do things the way they should be done.  Her expectations are too high and she lives with a spirit of unforgiveness.

She’s made an agreement somewhere.  Each time this storm comes, it gets stronger and stronger and does more and more collateral damage to those closest to her.  There is a deep wound there that she has talked about and “dealt with years ago”.  But in reality, she hasn’t.  Perhaps she has forgiven her father for his affair and divorcing her Mother but there is a deep agreement in there about her….something she did caused this – or – “My Dad never did truly love me”.

Sound crazy?  John Eldredge speaks of when his Father became an alcoholic and left the family and what a devastating impact that had on John and somewhere in the midst of all that, John decided it was his fault his Dad started drinking.  (How does a teenager reach that conclusion?)   That agreement wreaked havoc on John’s life for years.

These agreements are real and these disruptions that continue to show up are real.  God wants to lance the wounds that come from these agreements and help you break the bondage.

You can run from them but you cannot hide.  You can deal with them now and let God mercifully come into this – or – you can run and hope to avoid the next storm but that is no way to live life.  Each time these storms come, they eat up more and more of you.  They wear you out, beat your down and exhaust you.

It’s time to deal with it.  God is up to something in you in these tough situations.  Some brokenness here would be good.  Probably a few tears shed wouldn’t hurt either.  Let it go.  Dig it up, confess it and ask God to help you break these agreements you’ve made.

There is rich restoration on the other side.  That’s what we’re talking about at ManSchool.  Tomorrow morning at 6:30am and we’ll be done by 7:30.

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survey questions – need your feedback

Two things and I need your feedback…

First – We are going to have a Man Meeting some time in later July.  We are going to have a meal and watch the movie Undefeated.  Undefeated is a documentary about Manassas High in Memphis.  Manassas is a carbon-copy of Carver.   The team was 5-95 in 10 seasons before the new coach arrived.  It is a fantastic movie and will move you (it moved me to tears and that never happens) and inspire you to the potential of what we are doing with Carver.  There is so much more we can do and I hope you will join us for the movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUt349BSxZk

The movie is about 90 minutes long.  So with dinner and the movie, it will be a fairly long night.  I need your feedback – would you prefer we do this on a week night or a weekend?  I am thinking 6pm and run the movie from 7-9pm.  We can do this on a week night but I want as many of our men to see this as possible and need an idea of what you’d be willing to do.

Please comment below as to your preference.

 

SecondQuestions.  Keith’s Summer Series and taking questions will be carried over into ManSchool this fall.  We’ll take the first 3-4 weeks of our fall program and tackle your questions.  We are already getting some i.e. “What does a single man do with his strong sex drive?”  or  “What I am to do as a man if my wife has no interest in sex?”  or  “Why am I having such a hard time stepping up to lead?”

So here is my second request — what question would you like Keith to tackle among just us men this fall at ManSchool? 

 

Please comment below.  Your comments come directly to me.  I will not publish them on the blog.  They will be totally confidential.  I will compile the questions for Keith and we’ll be back to you with the fall schedule.

 

thank you for your help.

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Looking under the hood in marriage

This morning at ManSchool we talked about being willing to look “under the hood”.  John Eldredge talked about his his old Toyota Land Cruiser and how he tends to neglect checking the oil, radiator, battery, etc. and while he knows he needs to, there is just something in him that doesn’t want to look under the hood.  He’d rather crank it and go because to open the hood means he might have to face the cost of his neglect.  As he says, “There is an undeniable lesson in life – pay now or pay a lot more later”.  We can suck it up and get off our butts and exercise or we can just choose to put it off and hope.  But years later, 20 pounds overweight we begin to pay for it.  Longer-term we’ll really pay.  We do this with our teeth – we know we should floss but really, how many of us consistently do it?

I’ve shared with you the story of Gary Player and how a man in the crowd kept saying, “man, I’d give anything to be able to hit a golf ball like that…” After hearing this 3-4 times, Player turned and marched up to him and said, (paraphrase) “I don’t think you would give anything to hit a golf ball like me.  I hit 1,000 range balls a day, every day for years.  Then I picked up those 1,000 range balls, worked in the clubhouse and hit another 1,000 range balls at the end of the day.  I was willing to “give anything” to be able to play like this.  You wouldn’t “give anything” because you haven’t.”

But back to today – John turns this inward to our prayer life.  Are we going to keep offering up easy little “Lord be with us” prayers – or – are we willing to go deep in our prayer life?  Are you willing to look under the hood?  Are you willing to ask – really ask – God about your life?  Are you willing to open up the wounds in your marriage or do you just shut the hood and hope it gets better?

And then today, I read this on a blog…

“One day you walk through your living room and notice a slight crack in the wall.  It is barely visible, so you think it’s too small to worry about.  Now this is a perfectly plausible statement.  The crack is minor and not worth re-ordering your day over.  Several months later, your wife notices the crack has become sizably larger.  It is now very noticeable, so she asks if you would do something about it.  You say, “I’ll get to it when I have time”.  When you tell her that, you’re not lying.  You really do intend to fix it when you have a few free moments.  The problem is that those moments never come…because you haven’t found that mysterious free moment in your schedule, the crack in the wall is now three inches wide and runs from the ceiling to the floor.  It has morphed from a minor problem to a major problem.  It simply cannot be ignored any longer.  At this point, however, it will take real skill to fix it.  So you say to yourself, “this is way too big for me to deal with”.  Overwhelmed with what you are facing, you realize you are incapable of solving it.”  (From Paul Tripp’s book, Broken Down House)

We have a tendency to ignore the cracks in our lives.  We just let it go and think the little things don’t matter.  They do.

I share this with you because a good friend of mine is about to finalize his divorce after 28 years of marriage.  A second close brother just was served with divorce papers after about 25 years of marriage.

I know some of the stories behind both of these and know cracks were ignored.  Those cracks grew and grew and became fissures.  They began to separate inside their marriages.  He went his way, she went hers.  Disagreements over money.  Control issues.  Sex issues.  Creeping anger.  “She cares more about the kids than me” – or “All I’m good for is money – a six foot tall ATM.”  Or from her, “All he wants me for is sex” – or – “Why is he so withdrawn?  Why won’t he open up to me?”  You know the drill.

This strikes close to home.  Too close.  We ALL have cracks in the walls – even inside the very best marriages – because we are all human.  There are always cracks that need to be repaired.

So my challenge to you is this – How is your marriage?  Where are the cracks – even the very small ones that you can ignore for quite some time?

What are you going to do about it?  Are you going to just ignore them and hope they get better or somehow she’ll just change?  Do you think the Enemy is here working on these cracks, applying pressure and stress to them and delighting as the crack grows?

Unfortunately, in this fallen world, we are going to have to battle.  We have to be warriors.  We can sit in our bark-a-loungers and just hope – or – we can do something about it.

This is where the Band of Brothers is so important.  This is where you need other men fighting alongside you.  But more importantly, this is where conversational intimacy with God is CRUCIAL.  You need to go into prayer –

“Lord, what is it I need to see?  What do you want to say to me Father?  Why is this issue nagging at me?  What deeper wound is there Lord that I never dealt with that this small issue with my wife is triggering?  What have I pushed down – years ago – that is the root cause of this hostility I feel, this abandonment, this sense of “alone-ness”?  Speak to me Father.  I will sit and listen.  Elijah prayed seven times to finally hear.  I will listen 8x, 9x, 10x Lord.  Whatever it takes on your time line but Father, I want to break this.  I want freedom.  I want to love my wife.  I want a Godly marriage.  Speak Lord…speak.”

enough for now…more to come my brothers

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Hearing from God – reading schedule for this week

Last week we asked – “So how do we learn to hear God?”
We can’t hear Him when we are slammed busy, watching TV, under duress or living in paranoia.
We must get alone and get quiet. And ask.
That’s the key, alone, quiet … and ask. “What do you want to show me Lord?”

Start with the smaller issues – how do I handle this situation with my teenager? Should I approach my wife with this nagging issue I need to clear up? Do I need to call _____ and check up on him?

Start small and learn to listen.

It is important to know that God does not immediately speak just because I grace Him with my presence. You and I live in a world where we demand (and usually get) immediate gratification. God doesn’t work that way. The creator of the universe isn’t going to get you the immediate answer you want and that is where so many of us go astray. We want an answer in 5 minutes and not hearing one, we leap into action.

So start small and go slow. Let God speak and be ready and willing to accept either the “yes” or the “no”.

If you are reading along in the book, for this week read pages 33-76.

We’ll see you on Wednesday at 6:30am.

To God be the glory!
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