Navigating the Storm

Growing up in Michigan I have been on my share of lakes. The state is essentially a peninsula and surrounded by water. I grew up on Lake Ogemaw in West Branch and even though we didn’t own a boat, most of our neighbors had one. There were times we would be out on the water and a storm would roll in. Some of these storms got pretty nasty and when you started noticing the white caps, you know the wind was picking up to a potentially dangerous level. It was important to find our way to shore as soon as possible, especially when it was later in the day and a lack of sunlight became a factor.

If you have ever been out in a storm like this, you know how hard it can be to find your way to shore when it gets dark out. When I think of the word navigate, I initially think about looking for something, but when you study the definition, you get a deeper meaning. It means to make course corrections to steer towards something. When you are out on a boat a small change in direction can result in missing your destination by miles. We need to be careful when making decisions in our life, so we are moving or steering towards a positive end result. The question you need to ask yourself is who or what are you surrounding yourself with that is affecting your decisions?

“One who walks with wise people will be wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Proverbs 13:20, NASB

Having a Mentor

A few years ago, I committed myself to seek out male mentors to pour into my life. Bill Crawford is a gentleman I met seventeen years ago, and he helped guide me towards making the decision to get baptized. We met at a gym, which I later learned was his harvest field as he has mentored many other men who worked out there. Mike Stanley is another strong man of God who entered my life around eight years ago. He provided me with an oral blessing that my own father never gave me continues to encourage me as I write this blog today.

Both men speak to me at least 3 to 4 times per month. I try to make sure to check in with them weekly and share what is on in my life. Unfortunately, they both live thousands of miles away from me (Michigan and Ohio), but the wisdom they give me helps not only in my decision making, it also makes me a better husband and father. I would prefer if they lived next store and we could spend more time together, but I’ll take what I can get. It is so important for you to seek men out who have lived more life than you and have done so as a faithful man of God. Seek these men out as you would precious treasure, because the effect they will have on your life far outweighs any money you will make.

“My son, if you accept my words and hide my commandments within you, if you incline your ear to wisdom and direct your heart to understanding, if you truly call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search it out like hidden treasure, then you will discern the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God.”

Proverbs 2:1-5, BSB

Surround Yourself with Strong Men

There is an African proverb that states “It takes a village to raise a child.” This involves having a strong community of people around that kid so they will grow up in a healthy environment. It’s the same for adult men. The people and things you surround yourself with affects your behavior. Think of how you consume things. You do so through your eyes (sight), ears (hearing), and mouth (taste). Now ask yourself, what am I watching and listening to and how are they affecting me? Also, if Jesus was in the room would He be jamming out to the same tunes or watching the same movie as you are? If you continually consume bad content, you produce it in your thoughts and actions.

Jim Rohn was an entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. One of his famous quotes is “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Sounds pretty on point to me. I know that when I moved back to Arizona in 2006 and started to surround myself with strong men of God at Desert Life Church, there was a seismic shift in my life. I looked to these men as good examples of husbands and fathers and took on their best attributes which started to become the foundation of how I guide and raise my family today. God pruned away some of the friends I had, so I could grow into the man of God He needs me to become so I can do His work here on Earth.

Here are some things to think about and apply to your life:

  • If you don’t have strong men of God pouring wisdom into you, seek at least one out this week.
  • Check the small circle of friends around you and decide if these are the guys you want having a direct impact on your life.
  • Take steps towards pruning away toxic relationships that are keeping you from being the man God created you to be.
  • Strongly consider changing the movies you watch and the music you listen to. Start listening to Christian radio stations like Air1 and K-Love.

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