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What a Woman Needs part 3

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

This 3-part discussion, “What a Woman Needs”, is intended to provide you insights into the woman you have taken to become your suitable helper, the one you’ve empowered to speak into your life, and who you’ve promised to love, honor, and cherish till death do you part. Those words, * love * honor * cherish, generally are taken as feelings and perspectives – where you look upon your wife through loving eyes; you honor her with a gentle touch; you cherish every word brought to your ears, or some such thing. Yes, it’s wise to do those things.

But if that’s all you do, you could have difficulty. Those actions on your part to love her, honor, her and cherish her are vital, but they’re not enough if taken as passive. You must take careful steps to lead her in bringing forth the spiritual qualities listed as the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – and you can’t do that without fully engaging in them yourself.

Whoever said “Women are the weaker sex” lived in a cave. Women are strong. And even the strongest of them would prefer to be with a man who leads. Yes, a nod to the smallest portion of the populace who think men are a waste of space, but for the most part, women want men to lead. A strong woman would rather be a strong wing man than on point.

Ok, you’ve heard that before. So what’s new with this post that isn’t obvious?. As I said you must take careful steps, particularly with a strong-willed woman, to lead in bringing forth qualities in her. Careful steps because you’re not going to be just handed over leadership in the areas that need leading. Each of you must grow and therefore you must solve the question “Why can’t you accept me for who I am?”. Speaking of careful, I need to be delicate in my words here, directional but not condescending. So these examples are caricatures in answering that question.

Here’s one hypothetical: Let’s assume she engages in gossip, or saying negative things about other people; for example when she tells a story, the way she represents her side is all sunshine and light and the way she characterizes the other side is snide and bitchy. Does that trait serve you and your family to have a wife who does that? No, because it does not build up people or friendships. It forms cliques and is competitive. Her storytelling is an actual representation of the way she thinks. So you decide to “lead” her out of that catty trait. How should you do that?

Or she worries. She agonizes over the kids, money, health, relatives, friends. It’s not like there isn’t reason to have concern over the factors of life, but that’s life. The issue though here is she fixates beyond reason and is not fully able to release. Her nature is to nurture and that somehow justifies all worry. If she worries, she’s not at peace and her anxiety energy replaces her love energy. How do you lead her out of that trait?

These are spiritual qualities. Life is a spiritual endeavor. To lead is to create a vision of a better world and then work to bring that world about – A better environment, a better marriage, a better you, and a better her. And because you may not have a clear idea of what that might look like or how you do that, you should go somewhere where that is discussed and on display, maybe not perfectly, but available. The statistics are overwhelmingly one-sided on this. The divorce rate on average is about 51%. For those who go to church it drops to 31%. And for those who pray regularly it drops to the low teens.

Those stats are incredible!! My proposition is that the qualities of a good marriage are discussed at church and in the Bible. At church spiritual fruits are watered and nourished regularly. Divorce is lower among church attendees not because of societal pressure, that’s absurd; no, those who attend church regularly are given the opportunity to be self aware where the fruits of the spirit are traits of maturity. What is the answer to not accepting her the way she is? Her potential is so much greater to bring her love and nurturing to the world. Don’t get me wrong, church is not de facto spirituality, heavens no. But it’s directionally a clear way to create the environment and relationship for meaningful spiritual growth.

A woman wants to be wingman to a man who will pick a direction and go there and not get caught in his own bound up struggles. A woman can be trapped in character traits that diminish her capability to nurture and love and needs a partner who will lead in spiritual development and accept wingman feedback. This mutuality is at the heart of being a suitable helper. Loving, honoring, and cherishing the woman who she is capable of becoming is where you should be leading.

To an abundant harvest,

Dave Marr

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By | May 5th, 2017|Personal, Relational, Spiritual|0 Comments

Captain of my Soul

Resolve.

I recall being about 38 when I achieved relative independence from the enslaving qualities of youth – poverty, ignorance, arrogance, conflict, victimhood, and arrogance (yes, twice). Of course, you overthrow one master for the confines of another, but hopefully one more benign and a bit more cooperative. Ignorance and arrogance are as deadly a despot duo as can exist to which I can truly say I needed to overthrow that unruly team. That is the theme of today’s message: For you to become the man God has intended you to become, for you to fulfill and extend your potential, for you to achieve something that will bring you respect and satisfaction, you must have a revolution of the mind and spirit.

And how do you do that? A declaration of resolve. You have so much potential, but in today’s world of distraction it will take significant motivation and resolve for you to choose a book over a video game, a run versus a beer, a conversation instead of a text. If you were enslaved in oppression it might be easier to find that consistent resolve; however, in this day of easy living, it’s very difficult. How will you find the resolve to make something meaningful of your life and stick with it?

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Though I am not beaten

With rod held in scorn,

I too appreciate

The fact that I was born

In the mild waters of indifference

I jostle amidst the crowd

Head anointed with comforts thus

I emerge face up-turned and proud

Beyond this place where distractions play

The siren’s song of strife

I stand firm and resolved

To bring meaning to my life

It matters not the allure or static

Nor chance’s dice that roll,

I decide what goes inside

For I too am the captain of my soul

David Lawrence Marr

Gentlemen, let me say that lessons continue long into life, the mountain continues ever upward. I am 54 and continued to be humbled by my past arrogances. Just today, I had some feedback on perceptions of who I am that was disturbing. My personal goal in life is to be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of everyone I meet. And here, today, I got feedback of just the opposite. Here’s the point: We are put on this planet for goodness sake. Feedback is designed for improvement, even if it isn’t positive. In fact, positive feedback doesn’t help as much as negative because it tells you you don’t need to improve versus you’ve got a ways to go. Listen, as Einstein said, “God doesn’t roll dice”, therefore, you being here isn’t some happenstance mistake. You are the Captain of your Soul. To where do you sail?

An Ironmen group of three men meeting weekly will provide you the forum to declare your resolve. It provides the accountability you need to your future self to make you the captain of your soul. You have set goals for the year which is now halfway gone. Have you kept your resolve to keep up with the discipline on your physical goals, your personal goals, your relational goals? Are you moving forward on your financial goals? What about your spiritual life?

To your continued success,

Dave

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By | January 27th, 2017|Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

My Wilberforce Thesis

I hope you’ve seen the movie Amazing Grace about William Wilberforce. Through his life-long persistence, he was able to abolish slavery within the British Empire. As unlikely and impractical as his desires were, he was able to overcome a hundred and fifty years of national economic interests to wake up his countrymen to this moral imperative. His personal mode in which he identified an issue that inflamed him with purpose, thereby envisioning a world on a higher plane, where he steeled himself to that cause as the defining aspect of his life is my Wilberforce Thesis. My Wilberforce purpose is to reduce the divorce rate by 10% in Colorado. And though my success won’t result in any Parliamentary Act, it will be measured nonetheless in the countless lives over many generations. It would reduce drug use, crime, abortions, poverty, and result in a spiritual revival within families and communities. You no doubt see how quixotic this goal is just like Wilberforce’s contemporaries thought he was delusional as he embarked on his 36-year journey to end slavery.

I could use your help.

The divorce rate is a statistic that numbs the senses. To go from wedding to divorce is a journey from hope to pain. That journey is so well worn that somehow society has come to accept that the very foundation of an orderly society – family formation – cannot be improved upon and we must take the bad with the good. The collateral damage to our heritage is significant. Children grow up in a world where their emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual development are secondary to the drama unfolding before them. This drama is the norm for them and may be papered over in subsequent mental constructions, but remains a psychological safety issue throughout. This does not have to be.

Now, because this is so complex with macro and micro forces at play, it is easy to conclude that the divorce rate is insoluble. It’s not. It just requires a Wilberforce effort. Think about your life. What could have happened in your childhood that would have dramatically made your life…worse? A divorce? Parallel universe evaluations are difficult to imagine, but lives do turn on specific events. I can look back on the lives of my children and can pinpoint the event that dramatically impacted their lives. Lis and I took a parenting course and came to realize we weren’t on the same page in the least. In this course we were given communication perspectives, parenting philosophy, spiritual structure, practical advice, and a path to be a team. We were hooked and our children were the beneficiaries of a greatly enhanced marriage.

In the many years that we taught the class, we’ve seen scores of marriages be born anew with hope as the clouds of marital frustration dissipated when the sun shone on their misunderstandings. The result for so many families was marital harmony, which allowed their children to thrive. Couples came to the class to get better at parenting and left with better marriages. What would happen to society if this could be scaled? What would happen if all marriages improved just a little?

So that’s what we’re doing. We are taking OneFamily and Ironmen to society through our 501(c)3 non-profit HeadwatersLife. The idea is to develop a network of churches to offer the suite of parenting classes (Baby Wise, Toddler Transition, Parenting from the Tree of Life, Middle Years, and Reaching the Heart of your Teen) to families in the community. So often parents want to take a class, but any given church doesn’t offer what they need, when they need it, so they pass on the idea. A network of churches allows OneFamily to minister to the community in a way that individual churches alone cannot.

To this effort, we have hired the perfect couple to lead this generational cause – Rich and Shelly Howard. They have been leading the parenting program at Cherry Hills Community Church for over 10 years, know the material inside and out, and believe heart and soul in this cause. In addition to the above, we have translated the material into Spanish in order to affect that population as well.

Now to how I could use your help – Any undertaking of this magnitude requires converts. With Rich quitting his “real” job and going into this ministry full time, we have burnt the ships. It would be a real boost to have you introduce me to companies, foundations, or large donors that might help me shoulder the economic load. I can come talk with them about OneFamily. Donations from you work too and would be greatly appreciated. Further, if you belong to a church and think a parenting program would be welcome, I would appreciate the assist in getting introduced. If you have a small group and want to look into having the program in your home, can do. Lastly, society needs you to succeed in marriage and life. In doing that you create room for Amazing Grace in the lives of generations to come.

To your life of family success,

Dave Marr
Founder HeadwatersLife

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By | December 17th, 2016|Parenting, Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

Abundance is the fruit of specific habits. Nothing stands alone.

An insightful quote by Frank Outlaw says it better:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

My contention is that the 3rd line is the key to an abundant life. Your thoughts, of course, are invaluable and training your mind to positive production is without a doubt a critical skill. But without action our intentions can become muddled. Unless you can create habits that move you forward, you won’t develop the character that will define your positive destiny.

Abundance habits are everything. Certainly you are developing habits now regardless of your intentions, but are they the ones that when you look 5-10 years down the road will result in you becoming the man you wish to be? Your family needs you to be? God offers you to be?

Nothing stands alone. Our mind and habits will manifest a life of abundance or a life of penury or one of the infinite lukewarm variations in between. Abundance habits at home affect your habits at work. Disciplined workout habits affect habits at home and at work. Discipline begets discipline. Energy radiates energy. Positive engenders positive. Wherever you are, you are there.

If you, like me, desire to be in a fantastic marriage, then it’s not all that difficult to figure out what to do to make that happen. Good marriage habits of expressing love and appreciation in their love language isn’t all that hard. However, it’s easy not to do.

If you, like me, desire to have robust health, then it’s not confusing in any way what needs to happen every day. This God given tool must be cared for in order to fulfill the upper ends of your desires. Good health habits of drinking water, moving your body, stretching regularly, and having a health action plan is not rocket science, but it’s easy not to do.

If you, like me, desire to have material abundance that gives you a sense of accomplishment and power over your economic life, then the path is fairly well worn. I hear about guys focusing their youth on money and career before they’ll consider a wife and kids, which I think is short sighted. Good work habits of being on time and prepared isn’t all that hard. Show up, stay focused, be a team player, and it’ll work out in your favor. But being 5 minutes late and under prepared is easy to do.

If you are like me and desire a stronger relationship with God, a deeper understanding of Truth, an increased capacity for gratitude, compassion, and wisdom, then habits that dynamically engage your heart and mind must be consistently pursued. It takes time to accumulate meaning, to distinguish nuance, to resolve questions. Daily habits allows Truth to ferment.  It is all too easy to be distracted and not build those positive habits.

Of course Stephen Covey’s Book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a must read to get the full flavor. But for today #2 stands out. The New Year beckons. What habits will you develop that will drive all areas of your life?

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Let me propose 2 habits:

  1. Get up between 5:00 – 5:30 a.m. every day. You have 100% control over this. Fill your morning with a daily routine that allows you to consistently move toward your End in Mind.
  2. Meet once per week with 2 other men to hold yourself accountable to your End in Mind. (Congratulations Chad with your new group!)

“But I don’t have time.” “I don’t have the guys.” “We can’t coordinate.” “I stay up too late.”

Your destiny awaits.
To your abundant destiny,

Dave Marr

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By | December 2nd, 2016|Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

Attitude

You may remember the list below – Factors to your economic success. Of the list, which factor do you control that plays the largest role in your success? Softball, true, but I can’t move forward in this discussion without addressing the easy fundamentals, right? Of the items below, the one you have the most control over that you can turn on immediately and when compounded daily in your life plays the greatest role in the success and happiness of your life is, without a doubt, attitude. Sure, God could smite thee or politics could imprison you; you could be dumb as a dairy cow or have the ball bounce the other way on every attempt, but with a positive attitude, the game isn’t over regardless of short term difficulties.

  • Luck
  • Intelligence
  • Attitude
  • Politics
  • Spirit World
  • Character
  • Relationships
  • Wisdom
  • Expectations
  • God
  • Psyche
  •  Laws: Spiritual, Physical, Economic, Political
  • Beliefs
  • Faith

I have known several guys over the years whose demeanor was one of intense…judgment I suppose. They’d look out on the world with a sense of superiority and judgment leaving a wake of negativity and pessimism. Attractive, intelligent, often funny, competent, but at the end of the day, not enjoyable company. And looking at the path of their trajectory – divorced, unemployed, estranged from kids, few friends, one of them dead – not a path you’d want to emulate. If I were to guess, I’d say they overemphasized intelligence as a factor of success and under emphasized attitude.

Your attitude is such a big deal. The qualities of attitude that I admire are openness, growth orientation, an appropriate balance of humility with ego, optimism, personal direction, contribution, willingness to fail therefore willingness to try, perseverance, and a continuous state of learning. Now sum all that up in a word – attitude – and compound that day after day for years. What could possibly be the outcome?

Attitude is a muscle. The more open and optimistic you are, the more open and optimistic capacity you have. So to the question I posed – What could possibly be the outcome? The “Realist” might say optimism that hasn’t been worn down a bit by experience is just delusional. For example, the guys mentioned above would have been optimistic had their company not been sold and they not lost their jobs. If their dad hadn’t fertilized their soil with bitterness, alcoholism, and bad advice, then the obstacles to happiness wouldn’t be so insurmountable (I am thinking of specifics guys here). “If I hadn’t smoked so much pot as a kid I wouldn’t be so ADD today”. These are real guys with real issues. They think “Reality” formed and justified their attitudes.

Mmm, maybe. I contend otherwise.

You will have difficulty in your life. Of that, I’m sure. The question you should ask yourself when rain does fall is “Is this happening to me or for me?” Are challenging circumstances randomness (luck) or Providential (God-sent)? Your answer to this question is revealing. If ‘Attitude is a muscle’, then running down hill doesn’t get you as in shape as running up hill. It’s easier to have a good positive attitude when things are easy and going your way, but if times are tough, then what? Your attitude sucks? Are circumstances sent to you by God to have you develop resolve in your attitude? How does one become resilient without difficulties?

You interact dynamically with your environment. Wherever you are, however you are, the world reacts to you accordingly. A positive attitude creates a positive response over time. It takes energy to provide that open, optimistic, positive lift to others. The world notices and feels the vibe you send off and reacts accordingly. I contend that God/the universe will provide you with a like response to your attitude, positive or negative. That’s my reality.

To your positive reality,

Dave Marr

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By | October 21st, 2016|Financial, Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

Portal of Choice

Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Conflict has existed from the beginning. It is an inescapable aspect of being human. This, my last commentary on the world of politics (prior to the election) which presents the continuous “state of the world” at your front door. Your literal front door represents the boundary between you and the outside world. Your effective front door would be your browser that separates you from the world of data, information, and knowledge out there. And your conscious mind is the door that separates you from all of existence. The portal of choice.

You choose what to think. From that, you choose what to do about it. You choose what data gets to your mind and what your reaction is to that data. Of the infinite amount of events that are happening right now outside your door, you get to decide what is relevant and what, if anything, you’re going to do about it. This is a powerful position to be in. Of the 100+ billion people that have ever been born, you are here today. Kind of weird when you think about it. If all souls are unique and no re-dos on existence, then youherenow is kind of a big deal. You are carrying around this portal that looks out onto existence and are given power to choose what to think and what to do about it which is no small matter. What to think? What to do?

Every single thing on God’s earth that is not part of nature started at this juncture. Everything. It was once an idea that existed at the portal of consciousness asking the question of what to do. This external need or opportunity (synonyms) sparks in me an idea from all the data I’ve gathered, so now what? Here you are in the moment of now with all eternity behind you and all eternity in front of you standing at the portal of existence with the power of your life in your hands and you get to decide – now what?

A big part of what you and I are doing is trying to create an enjoyable and prosperous life with all the pleasant accoutrements and meaning of that. Every morning waking up you blow by the portal of choice because momentum is carrying you forward in trying to fulfill the above agenda of creating that life. But this election stops the momentum because of the not so obvious choice of what to do. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is the famous reply from Cain as to his brother’s whereabouts. In a competitive world of God’s favor, Cain came in second place which resulted in the world’s first birth committing the world’s first murder. In an abundant world where you are attempting to create a life of abundance, can you ignore the strife that exists outside your door? Are you your brother’s keeper?

This election has evoked in me an amazing amount of disgust. My Sudoku skills are superior as a result. But I know what I’m going to do. It is naive to think that I can create a personal life of abundance and ignore everything that makes me uncomfortable. What can I do about all the conflict out in the world? Well, I can do everything I can to bring positive goodness, light, well-being, and empowerment outside my door. I can marshal my energies and resources to create an environment in my home, in my business, and in my country where goodness has the best opportunity to thrive. And so I choose. I act. I vote. Eric Metaxas’ WSJ article frames my mindset well in helping me overcome my revulsion at the portal of decision and not just close the door on the outside world. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t create well-being in our lives without also being our brother’s keeper. Cain’s sophist words couldn’t hide his responsibility.

For you to be a man of substance, tough choices are presented for you to decide. That is what it means to be substantive. You can’t develop into the man you are intended to be without weighing all of life, the pleasant and the distasteful. You stand at the door – what to do?

To a life of meaning and difficult choices,

Dave Marr

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By | October 14th, 2016|Economic, Events, Personal, Spiritual|0 Comments

Tenacity

As a new father with 2 young babies, I wasn’t prepared for life. Life is when your wife is sick with the flu and she’s pregnant with number 3. She is relying on you to “handle things” while she takes a nap which means feeding the kids, giving them a bath, and putting them to bed. When your son drops a big diarrhea turd in the tub with his little sister in there, life gets nasty.

When you go into the office one day and the IRS has been kind enough to send notice that they’re going to audit you on the very thing that FHA has fined you $13.5M who, by the way, needs you to fly to Washington D.C. on Thursday even though you’re in Mexico on your son’s field trip on Tuesday, life gets a bit challenging.

When FHA changes their compensation policy that your entire company is based on in mid August and your Dad dies in early September, and the entire financial world falls apart like a slow motion train wreck where every day is like a 15 round title bout to keep the company and yourself from crashing and you’re so busy you can’t grieve for your father so that you wake up from a dead sleep one night crying your eyes out, life feels pretty harsh.

My wife did have #3, Kevin, and he has been super healthy as has my wife. Kids get sick and sometimes you have to bathe them twice. I won the IRS battle and the FHA battle. If you want to swim in a big water there can be sharks that you have to deal with. People die and do so at times that are always inconvenient. And yes, the world got hit with some big changes in 2007-9 that affected my balance sheet pretty negatively. That’s life.

Difficulty will come to you, of that there is no doubt. In coming to you, it won’t be fun, but will be necessary. It’s in these times of difficulty you will be tested where you get to declare how you’re going to play in this part of the game. Will you show up every day to work through the difficulty or will you escape to the movies at lunch as I know one guy did? Will you retreat into drinking or will you workout to deal with the stress? Will your marriage improve because now your wife will see your vulnerabilities and get to pour into you or will you take your frustrations out on her as the scapegoat? Maybe you’ll find another woman with easy fantasy sex that will help you get through? Will your temper with your kids get short or will you dive into their love and comfort? What will leadership look like with you at the helm when the waves wash over the gunwales?

You currently have some idea in your head about who you are and how you’ll react when times are tough. I often placed myself in movies or in history and said to myself that I would never do THAT (run away, fall morally down, quit the field, let my wife or friends down, etc). My self perception was that I was the hero and could face difficulties head on. Fantasy and reality are different. The weight of reality is so much heavier and more painful. Your grip on the vision of who you are and where you’re going can slack if you become disillusioned due to loss – loss of monetary safety, loss of stability, loss of a loved one, loss of confidence, loss of physical or emotional strength. It takes tenacity to keep your grip.

Tenacity is the grip you have on the vision of who you are and has more to do with how you will deal with you than how you will deal with circumstances. It’s about self control in the face of the perfect storm of difficulties. And here’s my assertion: The way you deal with challenges early in adulthood is related to the quantity and quality of future challenges. The more present and purposeful in staying engaged and seeing through life’s difficulties to the end , the stronger and more competent you get in dealing with all manner of life.

I just finished this terrific book, Boys in the Boat  that has so many takeaways about life’s difficulties and the tenacity these young men had to make it. Great, great book. You should read yourself into their shell that raced in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

What got me through the aforementioned challenges was the following: My wife was there for me with love and encouragement as were my kids. I can’t imagine going to make a withdrawal from the goodwill account with the wife and there being a negative balance. Don’t miss this point because it could be the biggest one of your life. Second, I spent time with God every night. In that conundrum called prayer, I asked for strength and wisdom and offered up my choice for outcome. Lastly, I had perspective to lean on. I love history and as a result I would read about the intense stress that Washington, Lincoln, and FDR faced and wonder how a man could endure that kind of relentless pressure and still show up every day and perform. There are millions upon  billions of people whose lives are so much tougher than mine that complaining about a little difficulty seemed singularly weak in character. The vision for my life is to have integrity. It for that I endeavored to be tenacious.

Be tenacious for the vision of your life. The more tenacity you show building your life today that when difficulty hits, and it will, you will be in tenacity shape, you’ll have momentum to carry you through, and you’ll have goodwill in your account that you can draw upon.

In your Ironmen group, rate on a scale how much difficulty you’ve faced so far. How do you see yourself fairing during tougher times? How tenacious are you?

To your continued success,

Dave

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By | September 18th, 2015|Spiritual|0 Comments

To Heir is Human

On Being Human

We are animals, yet we are more. We are not God, yet made in His image. What are our qualities that separate us from both God and animals that make us uniquely human? Or said more provocatively – what are the qualities that humans have that God does not?

There are some folks who think that being human is bad. I am not one of them. I am quite pleased to be human in fact. I don’t happen to believe that my very existence is a sin. I am confused by that focus of belief that thinks being human is somehow unworthy. You see that thinking in environmentalists, some segments of religion, and politicians.

On average, being human is a good thing. I think that humans are special on this earth and categorically different than other animals. We’re not just animals that have evolved, but of a special order. The earth and all it’s inhabitants are ours to steward, not exploit and consume, but manage, dominate for our use, and optimize into perpetuity. So I completely disagree with environmentalists that think humans are a blight on the earth to be eradicated. We are the earth’s caretakers, endowed with the care and intelligence to understand the dynamic relationship between man and nature. No other animal is so positioned to manage its environment like humans.

Our animal instincts – action/sleep, fight/flight, acquisition/avoidance, association/privacy, mating/refusal, parental care/filial dependence – are influencers rather than requirements. Our intellect and spirit allow us enough freedom to overcome our instinctual animal nature that we don’t have to fly south every winter if we don’t want. We do need to sleep, but can postpone it. We do need to acquire enough to stay alive, but aesthetics have proven just barely so. All the instincts can be completely overridden in an individual, just not so much in a population.

Here is all I could think of as Godly qualities:  Love, timeless, creative, infinite, anthropomorphic? (Jealous, angry, strong, gentle, judging, kind, gentle, personal, benevolent, forgiving), consciousness/awareness, energy/light, life, truth, all dimensions, and everything and nothing.

  • Omniscient – all knowing, beyond knowing and all knowledge, beyond thought itself
  • Omnipresent – everywhere at all times, outside of time
  • Omnipotent – without limit in physical ability

If you buy into these Omni qualities for God, which I do (well, the anthropomorphic ones are in doubt), then He has limitations to His limitlessness that we limited folk do not.  We, for example, can learn. We grow. We forget. We are linear in our experiences, so we are able to arrive at conclusions. We make mistakes at one level of understanding that was genuinely made, but out of ignorance that we regret at a later stage. We regret. We love imperfectly. We are selfish and selfless at the same time. We are curious. We are often of two minds that are contradictory. We aspire to being bigger. We desire to know, to have, to do, to be more.

Each of these qualities are clearly human and not Godly. Yet, they are strengths of ours. There is something pure about growing. The act of becoming larger in mind, and body, and spirit is a beautiful thing. Just think of the joy that is created in the parents of a child taking her first steps. There too is this positive pride of watching your son ride his bike all by himself for the first time. These experiences are exclusively human, certainly not animal, but also not of an Omni God.

Take for example the maturing process. I don’t think God matures. There’s something about the reference “All That Is” that indicates already mature. Yet we mature physically that creates new experiences to attempt, new skills to master, new vistas to explore. We mature intellectually that similarly provides new understandings that enrich our lives at its smallest level, but also provides meaning to our very existence at the higher levels. Our maturing intellect allows us to self manage our emotions and biological needs in such a way as to provide space to examine our spiritual life. And key to the higher levels of existence is the development of and maturing nature of character. This process of growing and maturing is uniquely human and leads to not only intellectual understanding of God, but also an experiential one.

This thought exploration is not designed to undermine your religious or non-religious beliefs, but respects you enough to challenge your spiritual views. We all come to this very moment with the cumulative inputs of our life. We must own the meaning that resides in our thinking. Otherwise, as I have seen more than a few times, a disillusionment can leave us empty of purpose where we can drift into dissipating the energy we have been given. Put your life on firm ground and think through your beliefs. Discuss with your Ironmen group: Who is God? Who is He not? Are you motivated or demotivated by the subject? Why? Sin, Salvation, Church, Religion, Peer Pressure, Conflict, Character Development, Morality, and on and on.  The depth to the topics truly are endless as the history of man would attest.

Yet these are the topics that bring meaning and purpose to our lives.. which is your inheritance and ultimately your legacy. K

To your continued success.

Dave

Guys, Send me your handstand times. “Do it. Doooo it.” (Movie quote?)

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By | June 27th, 2015|Spiritual|0 Comments

Consider it Joy

Last week in Father Wound, I finished the letter with the easy instruction “so that you can bring yourself to forgiveness”. Easily said.

There isn’t one among you who hasn’t had to forgive someone for something small or large. None of you will escape this earth without doing so again. Of all the spiritual tasks God has assigned to us, forgiveness is of the highest order. No other quality speaks to love and grace with as much reason for it. Forgiveness can release demons, restore relationship, establish a base on which to build, and set a path for growth. Without forgiveness, you could be stuck.

There is something about being wronged that feels good. When you’ve been hurt and know with certainty that you are in the right, there is this righteous feeling that takes hold deep in your psyche. Every time you think of that person, you take out this hurt and rub on it, poking at the scab, and going over the pleasurable pain of the wrong. This human tendency to comfort yourself wrapping up that hurt in ego and blame. Your identity becomes tied up in that issue, maybe with just that one person, or worse, maybe not. Maybe you’re the kind of person that gets hurt and you tally up offenses like Arya Stark in Game of Thrones who every night recites the people she is going to kill before she sleeps. (Ok, exaggeration.)

In Father Wound, young Jamie has a father who falls well short of any reasonable measure of a father. A QF of 20 maybe. Jamie will have good reason to think ill of his father. Seemingly he will be justified in growing up and stoking a flame of hate for a man who couldn’t be bothered with the boy he sired. But you can imagine that the more Jamie might hate his father, the more of that illness he’ll bring on himself. There is a negative energy that can manifest negatively in your life. It’s easy to see that in big dramatic examples where a son who hates his father goes off kills himself overdosing with drugs. But the same negativity can exist in the ordinary bumps and bruises of everyday living. You can’t hang on to negative energy and not have it come back on you.

I have been hurt by my father, by my wife, by siblings, by friends, business partners, employees, and strangers. The closer each of these people are to me personally, the more permission they have to get the knife in deep. So, is the answer to protect yourself so that they can’t hurt you? No. That’s not possible, nor is it desirable. The answer is in vulnerability. An openness that accepts life’s trials and tribulations. Sure, you can’t be naive in business or going around looking for trouble. But in personal vulnerability there is strength. You can’t be vulnerable if you harbor past hurts that are as yet unforgiven. Again, think of Jamie and what will likely be a journey where he will protect himself from further hurt, maybe lashing out at those that might love him. He is unlikely to be vulnerable for quite some time.

The process of spiritual maturity is down this path. If forgiveness is the greatest of spiritual missions, then in order to mature you must overcome relational hurts and in doing so come to a realization about life. Life is difficult. Pain abounds. But pain isn’t without purpose. Pain is a teacher in practical matters like business; but more importantly, it’s a teacher in spiritual matters like relationships – like your relationship with God. God uses circumstances and people to bring you into relationship. And sometimes (oftentimes) He uses pain to bring you to understanding about how life is, how He is, how you are.

And so your perspective about pain, the way you view life, should be: Anything that brings you growth and understanding, that moves you to maturity, that perfects your character, and develops your endurance and ultimately your faith is a blessing. This perspective allows you to be vulnerable and open. It allows you to let go of the negative – and forgive.

And just think, James wrote about this idea 2000 years ago. “Consider it ALL joy.”

To your continued success,

Dave

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By | May 14th, 2015|Spiritual|0 Comments

All Ye Need To Know

‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,
––that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye
need to know.’

These are the last lines of a poem by John Keats (1795-1821), Ode on a Grecian Urn.

I’m not into poetry, so to speak, in the sense that if you google the aforementioned Keats poem, it’s incomprehensible to me other than these last two lines. Most poetry today is accompanied by a melody and two part harmony that can, if it captures a catchy riff and repeated endlessly, become a top 10 hit. The above lines in Keats poem capture a spiritual riff that is worthy of a moment of reflection that I believe reveals a logical proof of God’s existence.

I own a home in the mountains. I love it there. We have a deck that overlooks a valley of green lodgepole pines amid glorious snow-capped mountains majesty (not purple). With beer in hand and book on lap, the moment captures a slice of heaven on a warm summer’s day.

I had a revelation last week. My wife and I were driving through Santa Ynez, California on a beautiful sunny day. We went up the the 101 along the coast through ranch property and vineyards with two hundred-year old oaks. It was sublime. I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to own one of these properties and hang out, drink a beer, and read?” My cup would overflow just like it does when I’m on my deck in the mountains. And actually, just like it does when I’m at Lis’ folks’ house in Sweden sitting by the lake. And actually, just like when I am awed by the Colorado evening sky or actually when I am touched by a wedding, or a moment of love. In each of the many instances God’s beauty has filled my cup, I wish I could hold on to it forever. But alas, the ephemeral moment passes and life continues. In last week’s Ynez revelation, I saw the futility of trying to bottle up the moment when I have it with me all along.

Here’s where proof of God’s existence comes. I find beauty in visual experiences. It speaks to me in a way that other forms of beauty do not – the roar of a car engine, the taste of a cigar, the crack of a bat in spring training. For me, I find beauty in genuine kindness. Poignant beauty exists in courage. Beauty is revealed in the demonstration of character. My beautiful wife continues to fill my cup with her many instances of thoughtfulness. Beauty, then, seems to be a standard – some sort of chalice that we have inside of us that gets filled in any number of personal ways. C.S. Lewis described this idea in Mere Christianity where we each have a capacity for beauty (and justice and fairness). And because we ALL have this capacity, this cup that holds the beauty of the moment, there must be an ultimate Designer of Cups. You can’t have inside you what doesn’t exist outside first. The subjective experience of beauty connotes the objective idea of beauty, i.e. the cup. Further, there must be soft guidelines as to what is beautiful so that we can share and agree on these moments. A multi-colored sunset is generally considered beautiful whereas dog doo is not. (For a thorough dissertation on the subtle differences between external beauty and inner beauty see the movie Shallow Hal.)

In other words, the fact that we all have the capacity to behold something as beautiful, whatever that something is, indicates that Beauty itself is a Universal Truth. There is an Ultimate Chalice from which we all drink.

Beauty is truth, and truth beauty. What else is there worth knowing?

In your Ironmen group, discuss how can you expand your cup to take in more beauty?

To your continued success,

Dave

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By | April 3rd, 2015|Spiritual|0 Comments