Leaving Your Mark

Last summer I went through a very difficult time physically. I was diagnosed with pneumonia in mid-May, but after 2 weeks I found out it was Valley Fever. For the next 8 weeks I struggled with fluid in my lungs and swelling in my joints. It was one of the most challenging times in my life and it caused me to do a lot of soul searching and re-evaluate my existence on this planet.

Others saw me in a positive light, but I knew that I could become better. They didn’t see what went on behind the scenes in my life. I realized that my time on Earth is very short and I wanted to make sure that I spent it well affecting others in a positive way. I wanted to strive to be the best version of myself and make sure to leave my mark on this world. What we do in this life echoes in eternity.

“What we do in this life echoes in eternity”

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Standing by principles

Let’s get down to it. I can be hard to deal with at times. I am serious by nature with an upbringing by a father who was in the military. There is right and wrong, black and white, yes and no. In certain instances, this is a good thing, but not always. In Matthew chapter 5 it talks about not needing to swear by something. You simply allow your yes to be yes and your no to be no.

We need to take a stand for things and have moral principles that we establish as our foundation. Situations where I do not waver. An example would be being put in a situation where my faith in Christ would be compromised. I need to stand firm and not move. I refuse to allow peer pressure or “being ok with what society says” dictate how I will live my life. Jesus died for my sins. I’m not forgetting that anytime soon.

“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, ‘No’. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

Matthew 5:37 NKJV

However, in other situations, we need to be flexible when the time calls for it. We need to evaluate what is going on and not just pass judgment. Like a river has ebbs and flows, we need to be able to make adjustments, sometimes on the fly. This comes into play in a variety of ways: work, athletics, friends and the most obvious thing- family.

Becoming a better husband

Taleen loves me for who I am. However, she prays for more gray. Like I said earlier, I can be very black and white at times. In doing that I can come across as rigid, judgmental and sometimes downright mean. I have been guilty of the following scenario too many times. The boys are messing around and testing her patience. She yells at them and then I blow her up for being rude and lacking patience with them. What I didn’t take into consideration is that she has asked them multiple times to stop.

You see growing up I was a skinny kid who got picked on at times. Older and bigger kids would push me around and laugh. It frustrated me, but at times I couldn’t do much about it. As time went on, I got bigger and stronger. Now when someone else was in a bad situation with a person larger than them, I jumped in regardless of how big the dude was. The difference was that I was filled with confidence now and when it came down to it, the situation was going to stop because of me.

The way I looked at things, if you are wrong, you’re wrong. I didn’t care if you were my friend, my boss, or my coach. I either called you out or simply lost respect for you. As I became a husband, things didn’t change very much. If Taleen was wrong, I let her know. That is a good thing to hold my wife accountable, but my lack of feel and impatience with the situation led me to tell her in the moment instead of behind closed doors.

My lack of compassion drove a wedge between us, and she felt betrayed at times. I am called to protect her, make her feel safe and like the most valuable thing in the world. It is something I continue to work on. As men, we don’t always have to be right. What we need to do is make sure to do the right thing. Letting our wives know how we feel should always happen, just not in front of the kiddos.

Becoming a better father

The sickness I went through made me think long and hard about how long I had to live. This might sound a little dramatic, but up to that point of my life I have never been sick for more than a week. Now you have to times that by TEN. Every step I took was terrible. I felt like I had 2 sprained ankles and it looked like it too. My joints were tight and breathing deeply was a challenge. This sucked.

I play a lot with our boys and that is not an understatement. They only get video games for 2 total hours over the weekend and we also limit their TV time during the week. We are outside playing constantly and the sole purpose of us buying the home we did 3 years ago was because of the big back yard. Now I was wondering if I was going to be able to do this with them long term. I love being outdoors with them and I was afraid it was being taken away from me.

This sickness gave me a strong sense of urgency to pour more into our sons. I lived a pretty good life and showed them an example of a Christian, but I knew I could do better. I encouraged them to read the bible, to serve others more and to be kind with their words. They fight a lot so being a better brother to each other is very crucial to me considering both of mine (Tommy and Joe) passed away about 10 years ago. I want them to appreciate that God blessed them with each other and that they need to stand up for the other person.

Becoming a better steward

What comes to your mind when I say the word stewardship? For me it used to automatically go to managing something of monetary value. Let’s take that a step further and go deeper. God created all of us. In my opinion the “Big Bang Theory” that some believe in, is when God snapped his mighty fingers and said, “Let there be light”. It’s like the clapper on steroids. I did love that commercial…..

So, if God created all of us then we are his children. That means Taleen is not only my wife, but also God’s daughter. Imagine going to her house on a first date and HE answers the door! Connor and Bryce are not really my kids, they are God’s. He has ENTRUSTED me with them. The fact that God trusts a punk like me enough to take care of his 3 children is humbling. I spoke about prioritizing life in a previous blog entitled “Truly Thankful” so you might want to check that out later.

You know how when you borrow something from a friend and the goal is to return it in its current condition or even better? That is how I now look at being a husband and a parent. I am fearful of God, which means that I revere him with great respect. He is not my pal or buddy. He is the creator of this universe and if he trusts me enough with his creations, I better dang well take really good care of them.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’.”

Matthew 25:23 ESV

I know for sure that I want to hear this when I get to heaven’s gate and I get to face God for the first time. Now let’s get one thing straight, I don’t want him to bless me with a bunch of wives up in heaven. Having one is stressful enough….ok I’ll shut up now because she reads these every week. What I do look forward to is this. “Billy you took care of those I put under your watch. Thank you. Good job son.” That will make my chest swell with pride and when I walk away, I’ll cry like a baby. Obviously, I won’t cry in front of God, because I’m a dude and that’s not cool.

So, as you go about your week here are some points to think about when leaving your mark on the world:

  • Have eternal thoughts behind everything you do.
  • Be others minded and focused on what benefits them.
  • Go out of your way to bless each other with words of encouragement- Sometimes a simple “Hi, how are you doing today?” will suffice.
  • Be the husband and father you wish your dad would have been, or if he was super awesome, try and be better than him .
  • Remember that chicks dig scars and stories are cool to talk about. Make your mark on this world so that others will tell the tales of how you impacted them beyond your years here on Earth!

Ok the whole chicks dig scars thing doesn’t really come into play, but scars leave a mark and I wanted to say it somewhere in the blog, so there it’s done. And all of us know it’s true.

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