Value Proposition of Belief (Part 2)

My second of four is the Direction for Life.  From the beginning, God has given direction to His followers.  To mankind, He gave a lifelong, big picture purpose.  In Genesis 1:28 God said, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  Later, in Genesis 6:13-14 God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.  I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.  So make yourself an ark of cypress wood . . .”   To Abraham, God said, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”   

God is in the business of giving direction to those who “follow Him”.  When you think of what it means to “follow Him”, what do you think about?  Do you just think in terms of complying with all the “Do’s and Don’ts” of the Bible?  If so, let me challenge you to think of following Him differently.  Not in terms of what to do, but in terms of where to go.  In terms of Direction.

Abraham’s instruction to “Go” was an invitation to “follow Him”, to follow God’s direction for his life.  Have you thought about that?  God has a direction for your life, for YOUR life.  For your life RIGHT NOW.  Seriously, if you were God, would you let your creation just meander around with no direction from you? 

Direction for your life that is God directed has incredible value.  And if you are a follower of His, and you are listening, you should be aware of His direction in your life.  Maybe it is something like “build an ark”, or maybe it is “Go”.   Whatever it is, I want that direction and the courage to follow Him in it!

The Value Proposition of Belief

One of the questions that I have asked people for many years is, “What value is there to being a Christian”?  When I used to consult with businesses, we often talked about value propositions, i.e. what value did a particular product or service provide to a prospective consumer.  Those discussions always forced us to think about how the consumer viewed things.  Many times, the things that my clients thought were really important weren’t perceived that way by the potential consumer.    

I think we may have some of that same disconnect going on when we think about the value of our own belief in Christ.  How would you explain the value proposition of following Christ?  If your first thought is “eternal life”, or “peace and joy”, you are thinking the way most people have when asked that question.   I would like to challenge you.   Who do you know in today’s instant gratification culture who highly values something they get when they die?   And can you explain “peace and joy” in a way that is concrete and compelling?  No wonder we don’t feel too confident about spiritual leadership, we struggle to explain the value of our own belief to others and even to ourselves.

It’s not that those things aren’t part of the value proposition for belief, it’s just that they are not near the top of the list in today’s culture.   I have come up with 4 things that I think are compelling in today's culture. 

My first is the Loving Acceptance of God.  So much of our culture today is looking for acceptance.  A place to belong.  One of the major reasons people give for not going to church is that they are afraid they will be “judged”.  That’s short for not being accepted.  How many sons are looking for the acceptance of their fathers?  Kids are looking for acceptance from their peers.  Outsiders looking for acceptance from insiders.  Romans 15:7 says, “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”   We have the loving acceptance of God himself!  Three more to come later.

Coach Clay Dewees

 

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Clark Kent on Crack

In preparation for teaching Ecclesiastes by King Solomon, I have been reading “31 Days to Happiness” by Dr. David Jeremiah.  I highly recommend it as a personal devotional.  In it, he recounts a story from Lawrence Taylor’s book, LT: Over the Edge.  In it, Taylor says, “When I was on the field, I was Superman.  It was almost like I operated on a higher plane . . . But when I came off the field, something happened.  LT became Lawrence Taylor, and Lawrence Taylor was completely clueless.  Like Clark Kent on crack.”

What was LT clueless about?  I think like a lot of us, he didn’t know what to when he left the playing field.  Do you?  When I was consulting with businesses, which I did for most of my career as a Partner with KPMG and later as an independent consultant, that was my playing field.  I loved it!  And I was really good at it.  But when I came home to my wife and two daughters, I often felt “completely clueless”.  They did not want a “consultant” to analyze and fix their problems.  They wanted a Husband and Father to listen to them, love them and care for them.  I was not nearly as good at those things.

Men, our new C2 approach is designed to provide support for you – no for US.  We are in this together and we want our Culture among men to reflect that.  And we all want to gain Confidence, both on and off the field.  If you have not gone to our Men's webpages, check them out.  Please read the explanation of the C2 concept and make some decisions about how you might be able to participate in becoming one of the C2 men StoneBridge.

Clay Dewees

 

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Lukewarmity

In Revelation 3:15-16, God tells the Laodicean church, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit (literally “vomit”) you out of my mouth.”  Really?  God would rather I be “cold” to Him than “lukewarm”?   But with lukewarm I’m closer to hot than when I am just cold.  Cold is nowhere near God.  At least at lukewarm I’ve got some heat for God!

Why would that be?  As I have thought about it, two reasons come to mind.  First, there is Representation.  People that are cold to God aren’t viewed as representing Him.  They are cold.  They don’t have a relationship with God.  Whereas people who are lukewarm to God do represent Him, just not enthusiastically.  They are lukewarm about Him.  They are known to have a relationship with Him, it just isn’t a relationship that inspires or attracts other people.  In fact, it is a life that communicates that a relationship with God is of little value!

Secondly, there is Investment.  People who are lukewarm are willing to take the benefits of a relationship with God, but are reluctant to make investments in that relationship.  They are takers.   God says He wants to vomit them out of His mouth. 

Are you lukewarm to God?  The God who died for you.  The God who wants to live through you so you can live an “abundant” life.  In verse 20, God says to that church, “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”  We usually see this verse applying to the lost, but its context is actually to the church and especially the lukewarm in the church.  So if you are lukewarm, increase the level of investment in your relationship with God and go out and represent Him well!

Coach Clay Dewees

 

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When God Doesn't Answer

All of us have gone through periods in our lives when we really want something.  It could be about a job, a mate, a solution, a problem, more patience, better health, guidance, kids, parents, spouse, etc.  You take it to the Lord . . . but no answer comes back.   What do you do?  Jesus tells us to ask Him for answers in Luke 7:11, “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.”  But you asked and got no response. 

Nehemiah wanted to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall around the city.  He prayed to God for months before he felt comfortable approaching King Artaxerxes with his request.   There was good reason to believe that his request to leave would be denied.  Instead, however, the king not only granted Nehemiah’s request to go, he provided security and building supplies for the walls! 

I wonder if Nehemiah’s first prayer included the security and supplies that the king provided.  I wonder if Nehemiah thought that his prayers were not being answered during those months he was praying.  Could it be that when our prayers are “not answered” it is just God’s way of encouraging us to persist with our communications with Him so that He can align our wishes with His plans? 

It has been my experience with the “BIG requests” in my life that they change over time.  The first time I talk to God is very different than later on in the process because my perspective changes along the way.  Prayer, Bible study and reflection enable God to affect my view of the situation and my prayer often shifts from what I first prayed.   

So just because it appears that God is not answering, don’t stop asking, digging in the Bible, talking with other believers and listening for God to realign your desires.  He may just want to respond in a more comprehensive way than you have imagined.  Just like He did with Nehemiah.

Coach Kirk Novak

 

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Reconciling Your Circumstances with God

In the last few weeks, I have had several conversations with men who have been going through various challenges – health issues, divorce and job loss.  Because of a study that I had been doing, and a principle that God had been revealing to me, I asked each man, “Where do you think God is in the midst of this?” 

When we are facing one of those major challenges of life, the kind where we seem to have no control, we tend to want to assess God’s role in the whole thing.   Usually we assess God’s role based upon the circumstances we are in.  I have come to believe that that approach is absolutely backwards and leads us down paths that can result in anger towards God, bitterness, discouragement and confusion.   In Chapter 6 of Judges, Gideon looks around at the desperate circumstances of his people and declares to the angel of the Lord that God “has abandoned us”.   Later in the chapter, however, we learn that God hadn’t abandoned them; they had abandoned God and turned to pagan gods.

What if we, in Gideon’s shoes, first reviewed what we know about the Character and Promises of God before we assess our circumstances?  What if we recalled that God loves us and promises that He will “never leave [us] nor forsake [us].”   If we started there, how would that change our response to our circumstances?  Would we be better able to tell that God hadn’t gone anywhere, we had?

Next time you find yourself with a tough challenge, stop and review what you know about the Character and Promises of God.   With that in mind first, assess your current circumstances and how you should respond – i.e. reconcile your circumstances with the Character and Promises of God before you respond and you will be much more likely to pursue a faith building, God-honoring response.

Coach Clay Dewees

 

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Performance with Balance

It’s a fact – I love to work! I love to fall asleep after a long day of activity and feel the self worth that comes from giving it all I have when I travel on business. I love to wake up the next day knowing that I get to do it again. As a Road Warrior, I get to work every day as long as I want and then wake up to do it again, maybe in a different city or setting. Long days, long hours, long meetings, long reports, all generate a sense of inner value for me.

 Over the years, some lessons have emerged that have helped me maintain my edge when working away from home.

  • First of all, don’t start anything on the computer within 30 – 45 minutes before going to bed. I don’t know about you, but I can’t shut down the idea machine when I am trying to go to sleep if I have kicked it into gear.
  • Secondly, I set my schedule, when possible, to allow some down time.
  • Third, I rank order tasks based on if they are “URGENT”, “Important, or “nice to have”. Spend your time on tasks with the greatest impact. Not everything is urgent or important.
  • Next, delegate tasks, when possible, to others within your team or peers to handle when you are gone.
  • Finally, and really most important, try not to work more than 6 days in a row regardless of what day it is. With international travel, an official Sabbath may be difficult, especially if you cross the International Date Line to Asia, so create a “Sabbath” on a different day.

The Bible tells us in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”  But the Bible also teaches about balance. Ecclesiastes 3:17 says: “…a time for every activity, a time for every deed”, and, 8:6 reads “…There is a proper time and procedure for every matter.”

Today, I look at work in terms of short term “seasons” when I travel. Sometimes, these seasons have a feverish pace. The regulator of the pace is to make sure each season has a start and a finish that is set by me, not the circumstances of a demanding work schedule. When I keep things in balance, I can enjoy the accomplishments and keep from burning out along the way.

Coach Kirk Novak

 

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Forgiveness

     A few years after a job transfer moved me from my native home of Houston to Jacksonville, Florida, I lost my job and was unemployed for the first time in my life.  At the time, I was very glad to be a Christ follower and to have a Christian perspective of the job transition challenges.  However, within a few weeks the situation worsened.  I got a call that my Dad had terminal cancer and had 3 months to live. 

     My Dad was a good man, loving, caring, fun - and we were close.  He had been everything to me.  There was one thing he wasn’t:  he never made a spiritual impact on my life.  I was determined to witness to my Dad before he died. 

     The 850 mile drive to Houston gave me 15 hours to go over my game plan with The Lord.  “Lord, how do I approach sharing the plan of salvation with my Dad, 66 years of age?  Should I be bold?  Lord, give me the words, the wisdom to know what to say, and the opportunity.” 

     Upon my arrival, my Dad and I talked about many things we both enjoyed, like sports and politics, but nothing about the primary purpose of my trip.  I retired to bed somewhat disappointed in myself for not even raising the issue.  I tried to justify my lack of initiative . . . I was tired . . . The Lord wanted me to wait until morning.

     At that moment, my Mom tapped on my bedroom door.  She said there was something she thought I should see.  As I followed her to my parent’s bedroom, I froze at the sight of something I had never seen.  At the foot of their bed, my Dad was on his knees praying.  When he finished, he asked me to forgive him for not being the Dad he should have been.  He told me that God had already forgiven him, but it was important that I forgive him also.  There was a lot of cleansing forgiveness in that conversation.

     God’s plans for our lives are so much greater than we are capable of comprehending or scripting.  My Dad’s last request to me was to raise my children in a Christian home.  Imagine that, a man that had no spiritual impact on my life for 38 years had the greatest spiritual impact in my life, through one evening’s conversation!

Coach Randy Moorman

 

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Fathering Teenage Boys

     I have three sons.  All are now out of the house with one in college and two pretty early in their careers.  I remember when they were “all knowing”, “bulletproof” teenage boys.  Remember those days?  Trying to offer fatherly advice and counsel was always a challenge! 

     Let me share something that really worked well for me with them.   I started writing my sons letters.  These letters were often given on special occasions like birthdays, graduation or Christmas.  They were mostly praising my sons, with advice on some of the issues they might be facing.   

     I think my best letters focused on the book of Proverbs and picked out specific verses that I believed spoke to the life issues my boys were wrestling with at the time.  For each verse, I added my own commentary.  I also included examples of my own struggles when I was a teenager.

     On one particular occasion, I wasn’t sure what they would do when they got what ended up being longer letters than I intended.  Would they speed read through them and toss them aside or conveniently ignore them?  Their reactions amazed me.  They each carefully read their letter, and were visibly touched.  As they finished, each son got up and hugged me. 

     From time to time, I hear them refer to those letters and what was said.  What those letters did was allow me to offer them advice from God in a non-judgmental way that was focused on their individual lives.  Afterwards, I found the areas that I had highlighted to be less off-limits for discussion.  The letters had broken the ice.  They saw my heart in the advice I was trying to impart.  I was able to be transparent and admit my own imperfections as well as share my experiences with them.  And they knew that their Dad had also struggled as a teenager. 

     If you decide to write letters to your loved ones, I would highly recommend you get the book “Letters from Dad”, by Greg Vaughan to help you navigate through the process.  Coach Clay has several copies at the church.  The book talks you through all kinds of letters to loved ones that can have a significant impact on your relationship with them.

     Take the plunge and pick up the pen!

 

Coach Glenn Gilchrist

 

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Downsizing Pt. 2

     As mentioned in a previous posting, my wife Lisa and I made the difficult decision to downsize.  Decision making as an individual is one thing, decision making as a couple is quite another.  It took a long time to finalize our decision before we acted on it.

     Once the realities of my personal and professional situation sunk in, I knew pretty quickly what I had to do.  I needed to retreat to what I called my “bunker” strategy.   That was to fall back to a financial position that I could defend.  That meant selling my Mercedes and our big executive home in The Woodlands with the swimming pool.  No problem selling the Mercedes, but the house was another issue.  It was not only my house but the home of my wife and two young children.

     Lisa and I spent many months discussing and going through the emotional upheaval related to the situation.  Even though the financial picture and the need to downsize seemed quite clear to me, it was difficult for Lisa to come to grips with.  I didn’t fully understand her emotions at the time.  My parents, with the best of intentions, came for a visit and sat down with Lisa to try and sway her to my way of thinking . . . big hearts, but a BIG mistake.  That only made for more tension and more months of emotional discord.

     I previously posted that during this time I did a great deal of praying and spiritual soul-searching.  As a result, I eventually began to understand why my wife and I weren’t connecting on what I thought was a clear, rational, financial decision.  It wasn’t just a financial decision to my wife!  After we were married, we had made a commitment to her being a stay-at-home mom for our kids.  Her home was now being threatened.   While I was looking for my family’s empathy because of my job loss, the humbling truth was that my wife needed just as much understanding and support.  Her world, and the world of her children, was being turned upside down. 

     When I looked to God for understanding, He revealed my self-centered focus.   And I began to see the true heart of my wife which all along was focused on our children, our family life, and our home, not the house or my job.  It was incredibly humbling and inspiring at the same time.  The actual downsizing came quickly and seamlessly after that.

 

Coach Steven Umbach

 

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The Boss from You Know Where

          For the first 25+ years of my career, I took pride in the fact that I always had great professional relationships with my bosses.    Then, as I was hitting the last 10 years, those years that should have been the “icing on the cake”, I found myself working for a boss who seemed to do whatever he/she could do to make my work life miserable.  This boss also made the very seasoned professionals around me miserable.  As a senior HR Director, my office turned into a turnstile of angry and sometimes tearful colleagues.  

          Confronting the issue appeared to be the only way of achieving an outcome that I could live with.  The normally subtle advice, cajoling and persuasion techniques were of no value.  I had used up all the tools in my professional toolbox and so “head on” was my next option.   And I was ready for the challenge!

          I prepared my script with care and thoughtfulness.  I talked to several confidants about my mission.   The best advice I got was to start my prep all over again and begin with prayer, prayer and more prayer.  Such a basic “Christian” thing, but I needed to be reminded!!  Why do we so often forget these basic principles for walking with God?

          I did finally let the Holy Spirit guide me in my approach.  And the outcome was so much better than what I had personally planned.  Yes, I did confront the situation, but how I did it was much more balanced, thoughtful and beneficial for everyone involved.   In the end, I survived . . . but getting through the process also prepared me for the worst kind of response if it came.  For some reason, I was not worried at all if that was the outcome.  And I was once again reminded of the importance of prayerful preparation in tough times.

 

 Coach Glenn Gilchrist

 

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"Walking the Fence"

                I was in business for myself for about 16 years.  No employees.  I was a business consultant.  Strategy, process improvement, reorganization and just plain old business problem solving were my core services.  I absolutely loved working with my clients.

             You have probably seen the cartoon with the guy in a suit holding a sign that says, “Will consult for food!”  That image was not funny to me.  Fortunately my practice never got to that point.  However, there were many times when I would be in my office thinking, “Is this really about what God wants me to do, or is this just about what I want to do?”  Sometimes I wondered if I was putting my family and our future in jeopardy as I worked my network and waited for potential clients to respond. 

            I would describe those times as “Walking the Fence”.   I imagined myself on top of the cedar fence in my backyard walking on the 3 ½ inch wide top board.  On one side of the fence was “Faith”.  On the other side was “Irresponsibility”.  Many times I questioned which one was driving me.  It always felt like a balancing act, and I constantly prayed for God to keep me from falling on the “Irresponsibility” side of the fence.

            If you are in business for yourself, I bet you have felt the same way.  Making decisions that you know may have lasting impacts on you and your family.  Not sure whether you are being faithful or irresponsible.   I have always said that nothing has the ability to promote dependence on God and maturity in a Christian man like being self employed. 

            Is that you?  Then I recommend a regular dose of my “Two-by-Four Prayer”:  “God, if I am being irresponsible here, you may have to hit me with a two-by-four for me to get it because I think I am following your lead in this and want to be faithful to your direction for me.”  Then patiently listen - and be prepared to take the blow if it comes! 

 

Coach Clay Dewees

 

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Surprise! You No Longer Work Here

            Over my career, I have held positions at 13 different companies from entry level to President and CEO. The companies include ones from the Fortune 100 and very small companies. For whatever reason, workplace change has been part of my career path since entering it in 1979. As I write this note in 2011, I am in search of my next opportunity.

Speaking from some significant experience walking this walk, it is devastating when you are asked to leave regardless as to how it is handled. Some popular expressions used with me included words like “reorganization”, “lay-off”, “downsizing”, “we need to take you off the payroll”, “we voted you out”, and the ever popular “you’re fired”. No matter what they say when you have the “talk”, it doesn’t feel good at the time. The timing is never right. It is like a fist to the gut. You feel helpless. You feel unnecessary.

            Moments like this felt to me like a loved one just died, even when I was expecting the news. At that instant, my career with that company died. Grieving the loss is part of the healing process. But moving quickly through the stages of Denial/Isolation, Anger, and Depression to Acceptance is crucial.  But when you are a follower of Christ, EVERY situation is an opportunity for God to reveal Himself to you in a deeper, more personal way.

So, how do I deal with it?  First of all, I turn to God who knows me best. God is never surprised and I take immediate comfort in this fact. Secondly, I know that everything I did in my career is training for the future and no one can ever take these skills away from me. Lastly, I get moving on several different fronts. Some examples are career planning, analysis of my career likes and dislikes, networking, self-reflection, personality tests, taking time with other male friends, exercise, and sleep. It is time to reflect on, and then market, my most valuable product, Me.

God loves you and has a plan for your life. This plan includes your working career. Whatever your situation, sudden job loss changes your immediate priorities. Use this opportunity to stop, look and listen for what God wants your next big adventure to be.

 

Coach Kirk Novak

 

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When Someone You Love Dies

           Twelve years ago, my 17 year old daughter was killed in an automobile accident.  She was the first person who I really loved that I lost.  Since then, both my parents have passed away.  It is going to happen.  A parents, close friend, child, or spouse dies and we find ourselves in a personal place we have never entered before.  For me, it felt like a huge hole that just penetrated me and I was left grasping for emotional air.  Our grief is often felt from the inside out. 

            As men, I believe we tend to be very hard on ourselves when we go through the grieving process.  We often have unrealistic expectations of how “well” we should be doing as we try to recover.  I kept telling myself, “I should be over this stage by now.”  Our culture encourages us to “be strong”, “man up”, and “don’t show weakness”. 

            In reality, when we are faced with the loss of someone we really care about, we need to slow down, be honest about our feelings and embrace the grief.  Don’t stuff it down deep so it won’t surface.  Embrace it and let your feelings and emotions flow.  By stuffing it down, we only suspend the grieving process temporarily.  We don’t shorten it, we distort it.

            The people that we really love and are close to are special.   And there are usually not many of them.  Their loss has a significant impact on our lives.  To not allow ourselves to fully release the emotions that their loss brings to the surface is to diminish the reality of our loss.  And, in a way, it diminishes the importance to you of the one you lost. 

            So, my advice is to fully embrace your grief!  Work through it openly and honestly.  Let it take the natural course that God intended.  After all, it was God who created you with the capacity to love and to care for others in a deeply personal way.  And He created you to deeply care when they are gone. 

Coach Clay Dewees

 

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My Wife Wants Out

        My wife decided to go find herself. She said she did not want to lose me, but she also did not want to be my wife anymore.  No matter how hard I prayed or pleaded with God, it did not seem to help. 

        So what do you do when you find yourself in this situation?  How long do you try to save the marriage?  How do you know when it’s truly over and time to move on?   These were the questions that kept me awake at night.

        For me, the answers to these questions came from studying what the Bible says about these issues, praying a lot, getting good counsel and patiently allowing the Holy Spirit to work it out.  As my wife was wrestling through her own feelings about continuing our marriage, God had a journey He wanted to take me through that helped me grow as a “man of faith”.

        Eventually, my first marriage did end in divorce.  It was very difficult for me to accept.  But I came out the other end with peace and a knowledge that I did what God wanted me to do to give the marriage every chance to mend.   Today, I can still take you to the overpass on 610 where the Lord released me to move on with my life.  And over time, He helped heal all the wounds and regrets.

        Today, I have been married for 28 years to a faithful woman.  We are now empty nesters, having raised 3 great sons.   I truly believe the Lord blessed me in my second marriage as a result of how I walked with Him as my first marriage crumbled around me.  I was humbled in many ways through that experience and learned a lot about what a Christian marriage should be like.  Maybe most importantly, God helped me become the “spiritual leader” of my family.

 

Coach Glenn Gilchrist

 

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The Choice to Downsize

        Certainly to most local realtors, downsizing in The Woodlands, Texas, sounds like an oxymoron.  In the early 2000’s most people didn’t move into or within The Woodlands in order to find a smaller, less expensive home.   The Woodlands is the place to move up! 

        In 2001, my executive position with a downtown Houston .com start-up company had been terminated along with my entire staff due to loss of venture capital funding.  In response, I started my own company which required a lot of focus and self-funding for the first few years.  We were still living in our big “Emerald Homes Executive Series” 3,050 square foot home with a heated swimming pool and hot tub, a separate HVAC unit for each of two floors, and a metal gate across the driveway!  Our kids were pre-teens and thriving in their schools, swim team, and church.  My wife Lisa was also thriving as an at-home mom, part-time swim instructor, and as a church volunteer. 

        During that first year of self-employment I did a lot of praying, career soul-searching, and reading of  scripture as well as reading Christian books focused on men’s issues such as “The Man in the Mirror,” by Patrick Morley.   Lisa and I had decided together that I would get off the fast-track of chasing executive positions all around the country, and would instead try and make something work locally so we could maintain some stability for our family.  That decision meant that we had to make some major adjustments financially.  One of our first major decisions was to sell the executive house and downsize to a much, much smaller house that was only one story, with one HVAC unit, no gate, and no pool…  Not as impressive, but what a blessing.

 

Coach Steven Umbach

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Road Warrior's "Re-Entry Syndrome"

            My first trip business trip was in 1980. Leaving Los Angeles, I flew into DFW, took a taxi to Love field, and continued on to Amarillo. It was exciting. Since that first trip, I have flown more than 3 million miles to all 50 states and over 40 foreign countries. Last year, I traveled 32 weeks for business. The excitement is gone.  You might call me a Road Warrior.

            Each time I leave, my wife and two active boys make decisions and take action without me.  In other words, life continues even though I am not home. It was especially evident when the boys were young because every time I came home, they had changed – a little bigger, a little more coordinated, a little more talkative, a little more everything! Somewhere in the back of my male mind, my ego wondered how I could rejoin the family when I returned. My wife and I dubbed this the “Re-entry Syndrome”.

            Early into the cycle, we realized that each time I “parachuted” back into the family from the road I felt a sense of loss - a loss of relationship, of the life that had passed by in my absence and a loss of control.  Initially, I responded by trying to be “Super Dad” and “Super Husband”.  That didn’t go so well. Trying to recapture the weeklong losses during my brief time at home made everyone miserable, including me. Worse, I left again on Monday morning feeling less connected and even more distant. The family felt bad too.

            Proverbs 3:5-6 became a verse I leaned on heavily – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths”.  Life happens, but God is still in control.  Even when the roof leaks or there is a surprise on a test grade, or bedtime isn’t as early as what I thought it was . . . and well, you know. Leaning on this verse and keeping the family in my prayers were all I could do.

            With this view, the pressure for me to be “Super Dad” upon my return went away.  God had my family in His care during my trip and has the reunited family in His care too! Practically, this means that I don’t do any “problem solving” for the first 24 hours and just come alongside the family as support and to encourage.  This has resulted in some wonderful family times and enhanced emotional health for us all.

            It is still hard on families and marriages when one of the spouses is a Road Warrior. In my case, active faith when I travel and intentional behavior when I return have provided a solution.

 

Coach Kirk Novak

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Cancer: The Diagnosis

        My wife and I sat in a small room at MD Anderson. The Dr. came in and told me I had a rare type of cancer, that there was no cure and I had less than 3 years to live. He asked if I would consent to a trial with a treatment regimen including high-dose chemotherapy, total body radiation and a bone marrow transplant. We were speechless. I was consumed by fear, doubt, denial, anger, etc. I was short on faith, hope and understanding. “Why, why me, why now?”


        The next few days were very difficult. I had many visitors and phone calls – family, friends, church members, etc. I really appreciated their visits and though they tried to be encouraging and optimistic, the reality of what the doctor said overwhelmed their attempts to comfort me.

        I remember calling the Anderson Network, a group of cancer survivor volunteers, to talk to someone with my disease and could give me some guidance, insight or expectation of the treatment. I will never forget the words, “Mr. Moorman, there are no survivors of your disease in our network”.
I told her that I would be the first.


        As the days turned into weeks, I slowly began to realize that there was only one way to deal with this tragedy. I surrendered everything to The Lord. This was not something that happened in one prayer, but was built over weeks and months. The reality was that God had already sent His angels in the form of neighbors, friends, church family, to visit me, to bring food and mow my grass. I grew in faith as my fear of death subsided. The Lord started giving me daily doses of comfort and peace. Things that I should have known for years became a tangible reality. Had I really known The Prince of Peace? Had I really known The Great Comforter? Had I really known The Great Physician? I did now.


        I had a relapse/reoccurrence of the same disease three years later. Though I had more chemo and my second bone marrow transplant, this time it was much different. I had a comfort and confidence that the Lord was in control and I truly believed that this was all part of His plan. I have been a volunteer at MD Anderson for over a decade now. My role as the first cancer survivor of my particular disease has provided comfort and encouragement to dozens of newly diagnosed patients. It took a long time for me to identify my purpose in life. It took a disease for me to really know God and learn to surrender it all to him.

Coach Randy Moorman

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