Archive for the ‘accountability’ Category

Last week while upstairs ironing a shirt I heard a pop downstairs followed by yelling and crying. My oldest son had hit my youngest son in the face out of anger. I sent him to my room to wait for me. He knew what was coming. I took my time. (I never spank my kids while angry.) Once in the room I shared with him my deep love for him and why he was being spanked. My 7yr old understood clearly that I loved him and because I loved him I needed to correct his behavior.

No one likes to be corrected. I know I don’t. Even if I know I’m wrong I can feel my pride invading every fiber of my being when someone points out a  mistake (even a small one) to correct me. Why is that my 7yr old can understand the idea of sowing and reaping, poor judgement and correction, but as adults we many times don’t have the ability to receive correction well?

Obviously, pride is the main issue and hardly needs explanation. A secondary issue that I believe is not addressed is motivation. Many of us cannot receive correction from others because we don’t honestly believe that the person bringing the correction truly loves us. Our insecurity shines through as we tell ourselves, “They’re just on a power trip”, “Who do they think they are?”, “They don’t have the right to….”, “Why don’t you come talk to me when you’re perfect!”

But what if they really love you? What if they truly want God’s best for you? What if God is speaking through them?

Hebrews 12:5–7  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?   (ESV)

Proverbs 12:1  Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,but he who hates reproof is stupid.   (ESV)

Experiencing dysfunctional correction by others in the past doesn’t make correction in the present bad. God many times uses people in our lives to bring loving correction to us: spouses, friends, pastors, co-workers and even strangers.

It’s such a beautiful thing to witness someone receive correction with humility and truly own it. God help me stay in that place.

What about you? How has God brought correction to you through others? Would you mind sharing below?

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Over the last two weeks I’ve been thinking and praying through an upcoming series on Manhood that we’ll be doing in June. I’ve been wrestling with the simple question why is it that many men have a hard time asking for help. Now, I’m not talking about the stereotypical “can’t ask for directions” or “I can put this thing together without the directions” type issues. I’m talking about what is at the core of a man not wanting to ask for help with his life? Many of these points are found in women as well, but for today I’m focusing on men. Here are some points I’m seeing why we as men can’t say these words:

1. We don’t want to look weak: “If I share this issue in my life, I’ll look weak and people will put me in the “broken” or “freak show” category. There is a mentality that says because I’m an adult….I’m supposed to know what to do here. They have what I call the “I got this” disease. “I got this. I just need more time and more will power and I’ll pull this together.” Here the man refuses to acknowledge that if they could have fixed it by now they would have. They have a hard time saying, I have no idea what I’m doing.

2. We don’t know we need help: This would seem like a no brainer, but it’s worth saying. How many times have you encountered someone that’s had a huge “blind spot” in their life? They didn’t see the wake they were leaving behind in their life so they “didn’t know what they didn’t know.”

3. We Don’t Want Accountability: This one is straight forward. They don’t ask because they don’t want accountability. If you let someone in on the issues you’re walking through, all of the sudden you’ve let someone “in” and they’re going to ask how you’re doing in that area. Men that are in this place hide their issues because they’ve bought into the lie that they’ve got their secret freedom to do what they want, but deep down they wish they were free from that issue.

The loving gospel of Jesus speaks to everyone one these issues.

1. Level Ground:  Jesus through the beautiful cross exposed all men as being weak and in need of him. If all men are weak without God that means “your normal.” Jesus comes to give men his strength as they bring Him their weaknesses. Owning your weakness is the first step toward repentance.

2. The Divine Mirror:  The Holy Spirit points to all truth. If you ask for God to reveal to you area that you are not seeing. He will: through His word, through others and by His Spirit. Here’s the catch: what will you do with what he shows you? (See #1)

3. Band of Brothers: Every man needs an ally. Someone to be in the foxhole of life. Jesus not only brings men to himself, He brings men together. Allow God to help you step out in bold friendship with another guy to trust, to share, to encourage and to do life together.

Say it with me…”I….need….help”,

Nathan

I answered a call  into ministry 16 years ago with a ton of baggage from my past. Some luggage was from choices I had made and some from the choices of others. I’d like to tell you that when I got into ministry all my baggage was thrown out to sea, but that wasn’t the case. Much of it I continued to carry as if it was the most important thing I owned. For me, the process was long because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I honestly had no idea how much baggage I was carrying. I couldn’t see the toll it was having on my wife and my ministry. There were times when I would have glimpses of my dysfunction but for the most part I made it a point to be busy enough where I wouldn’t have to deal with it. What I didn’t realize is that when you don’t deal with the baggage from your past you inadvertently pick up more baggage along the way. Think of it as dysfunctional coping.

Here are 3 ways that I God took me a part and put me back together again over the last 12 years:

1. My wife: I’ve told her before she is what I never knew I wanted. She’s weathered much in our journey. She’s been an instrument of God in allowing me to see who I really am and who I am not. Some painful conversations, some breath taking realizations and a ton of grace. Marriage is a sanctifying work of God.

2. Pastoral Mentors: These were men who saw God’s best in me and called it out. They weren’t afraid to say difficult things at pivotal moments in my life. They called me up in love and God gave me the grace to respond in a way that was helpful. I’m grateful to still have men in this role in my life. Pastors need Pastors. You never get too old for accountability and growth.

3. Counseling: I’m a big proponent of Christian counseling. I found a ton of help here. I was able have a sounding board with a professional that could help me have a satellite view of my baggage and was able to speak biblical truth into some lies I had believed for a long time. I know some have said they’ve done counseling and it was either not helpful or a bad experience. To that I would argue you would not stop going to medical doctors because of one bad experience. There are some great Christian Counselors out there.

3. Deep Friendships: There have been only a few men that have walked in deep friendship with me over the years. Those that could allow me to be myself without expectations, loved me without reserve and were willing to  hold my feet to the fire when needed. Every man needs an ally in their life. God placed strategic allies in my life over the years to help propel me to major mile markers in my journey.

For some, God radically changes them overnight, others he changes over time. God continues to use people in concert in my life to allow me to trade in my baggage for fruit. (Gal. 5:22).

Grateful,

Nathan

>In driver’s education one of the first things that you’re taught is that there are “blind spots” around your vehicle based on where your particular side and rear view mirrors are. To over come this obstacle we are instructed to actually take a hard look around us to make sure the way we intend to go is clear. Failure to do so can and often does cause a wreck hurting you and others around you.

People have blind spots too. These are areas in our own life where we do not see our actions and ways of doing things correctly. Most people don’t know their blind spots. That’s why they’re called blind spots. As with driving, not taking the hard look at areas in our life that are weak can cause at best ineffectiveness and at worse destruction. I can tell you one of my blind spots: becoming distracted in one on one conversations. The reason I have the privilege of knowing this blind spot is because someone was kind of enough to point it out to me a few years ago. Let’s say I’m out on the church patio having a conversation with someone I do care about as hundreds of people walk around us. While trying to tune into what is being said to me I can find myself distracted seeing all of the people I need to touch base with: people I’ve been concerned about, people that have been trying to get a hold of me, etc. Someone kindly pointed out to me, “Nathan, I feel like when I try and talk to you that you’re distracted.” While this was hard to hear (Most blind spots are difficult to hear) it was incredibly helpful because I didn’t realize that I was making this person feel this way. With that input I was able to make corrections and do some things differently to work on this area.

We need people in our lives that we’ve given permission to point out areas of concern. When is the last time you’ve asked someone, “Is there an area of my personality that you think might be annoying or bothersome?” “What am I missing?” “What area in my leadership do you see as a weakness or could be sharpened?”. While these questions are painful to ask, the pay off of knowing the answers to these questions is HUGE.

Prov 27:6
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

It’s time to do more than check your mirrors. It’s time to take the hard look.

Go On Ask,

Nathan

>Know those people that say they have more than one best friend? How is that possible? Doesn’t “best” mean “the top” or stands alone? Anyway, in thinking about friendship last night I was thinking about how grateful I am for true accountability. I’m not talking about the people I can seem to have fun with and just really enjoy their company. I mean friendship that runs deeper. Actual Accountability. A relationship where I give them permission to ask the tough questions about my life. When they know they can call me out on something and they give me permission to do the same. It’s really Proverbs 27:17 in action: “Iron Sharpens Iron. So one man sharpens another.” Relationships that don’t have this type of intimacy aren’t wrong. We just need to know that we will not have any type of accountability in a relationship like that. What about you? Do you have someone in your life that holds you accountable on a regular basis or do you always keep people at a distance?

Get to Sharpening,

Nathan

>I have a friend that I recently caught up with after circumstances had taken us different directions. He’s one of those friends where conversation comes easy, we have the same humor, and we are in the exact same season of life. Friendship with him is EASY. There are others however that life propels me into their journey and it is not so easy. If I were to be honest there are some that I would rather not be around at all. But, there I am…..with them……torn between a lack of chemistry and the knowledge that God longs for me to push past my preferences and genuinely love them. Not the “I love you because God says I have to” but a love that comes from a reservoir that only Christ can provide. I don’t have to skip through the fields with everyone (picture it in slow motion), but I do need to ask God to help me love them genuinely and practically. Someone might be thinking this about me.

Love,

Nathan