Brian and Jeff sat on the public transit on their way back to their downtown San Francisco hotel. It was getting late when a homeless man entered their car. They knew he was homeless. He had several bags tied together and piled on a cart that he maneuvered carefully into the public train. A stench filled the air as the two guys instinctively covered their noses with their hands.
Lost in their own thoughts Brian and Jeff watched the homeless man fidget with his belongings. Brian began to wonder why this man ended up living on the streets carrying every possession he owned in dirty old bags focused on finding food, shelter and safety, while he (Brian) enjoyed a comfortable home, never worried about his next meal, and enjoyed the blessing of a beautiful family.
Our son just turned four-years-old. He is bright, funny, adventuresome, lovable, good-looking, a good story-teller. I could go on and on. I tell people that I can brag on him because he doesn’t have our genes! Lately though his bad behavior has concerned Danielle and I. Sure some of his behavior is typical four-year-old behavior. But this is more intense, frequent, and long-lasting.
When our son yells at me, struggles in social settings or with sleep, refuses to listen or respond when I am talking to him…I admit my first thought and reaction is that he is a rebellious little dude. I want him to obey me. Right now!
This summer while Danielle was on a mission trip in Thailand, our son went to a day camp. Each day when I picked him up his shirt was soaked from him chewing on it. A sure sign of anxiety; and sensory processing issues.
Kim, a newlywed, was still trying to settle into her new neighborhood. The news of a rapist in the area spread quickly. This was not the neighborhood bonding experience that Kim had anticipated, but she was strong and could take precautions – with a little help from friends and family – she would settle in.
The news got worse as the perpetrator attacked more women in the same area of town. Kim worried that she might be next, so she kept the door locked when her husband wasn’t home. She knew that he would protect her if needed, after all, they were newlyweds, and he was her knight in shining armor.
Growing up, Kim spent most of her life as an outdoorsy kind of girl, maintaining a strong bond with her father. As far as she was concerned, he was all she really needed – him and her frequent explorations of the Texas Hill Country. Not seeing a benefit in acting as the social butterfly, she kept mostly to herself at school and hardly ever dated. Nature was her best friend and Texas provided all she needed. Her future was as bright as the Texas sun.
Sanguine—People that have a lively, sociable, carefree, and talkative temperament. That perfectly describes my wife. She can talk to anyone with her outgoing, carefree personality. She draws energy from social events and being around people. And I love her lively, carefree approach to life.
I am what they call Phlegmatic. People with my temperament tend to be inward and private, thoughtful, reasonable, calm, patient, caring, and tolerant. Quite different from a person with a sanguine personality! As they say, “Opposites attract.”
Over 20 plus of years, we have learned to appreciate our vastly different personalities. I have learned to jump up and down when she shares something exciting with me. I also have learned to live life more carefree, and painfully at times, think out loud!
Whenever did Jesus say to his disciples—Just agree with me?Bob Goff
Bob goes on to say, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s go do stuff, love people, etc.’”. I think we over-complicate life as Christians. We recoil from terms like “radical” and “on-fire”. Maybe it’s because we fear failure; or we think we can’t live up to the standard we or others set for ourselves. Instead, we settle into a safe, comfortable lifestyle of attending meetings and acquiring knowledge.
I recently began reading Bob’s book—Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World. I like this quote from the book:
I don’t think anyone aims to be typical, really. Most people even vow to themselves some time in high school or college not to be typical. But still, they just kind of loop back to it somehow. Like the circular rails of a train at an amusement park, the scripts we know offer a brand of security, of predictability, of safety for us. But the problem is, they only take us where we’ve already been. They loop us back to places where everyone can easily go, not necessarily where we were made to go. Living a different kind of life takes some guts and grit and a new way of seeing things.Bob Goff, Love Does
I admit that I often feel the tug back to a familiar script for the sake of security. Yet, I dislike, no, it’s more of a fear that I will grow bored of an overly scripted life. Sure predictability brings me a level of comfort. But, for me, it also brings a level of contempt that begs the question, “Is this all there is to life?”.
John and Joy Brillante lead the typical suburban, upper middle class lifestyle. In the summer of 2012, they both had full-time careers and three biological children—two in high school and one in college. Two years previously, they decided to open their home to foster children. After one difficult and one rewarding placement, the Brillantes decided to become an inactive foster family.
Brillante newest family members!
Joy tells the rest of their adoption story:
In early June, 2012, we received a call from an agency worker who had come to know our family well through the previous foster placement. I’ll never forget the simplicity of that conversation. I was working, and I received this call. “This is Meagan from Angelheart. I know you are inactive, but we are calling anyway to ask if you would be willing to take an adoptive placement of a sibling group of 4 sisters, ages 4-9, by 5 o’clock today.” My immediately response was, “There is no way!.”
How God? How exactly are you going to do it? How can you use me? How are you going to fix this? Mankind has been asking these kinds of questions of God for a long time.
Trouble with the How questions is that it reveals a lack of faith and a need for control.
When we show faith, we trust God at His word—whether it is His written Word or the word He impresses on our heart. When He speaks to us and we respond, “How?”, do we reflect someone who follows Him? Do we demonstrate that He is our Lord who is all Powerful and all Knowing?
When I ask God how, I am really saying that I want some control in the matter. I want God to explain to me how He plans to fulfill His promises. Does He owe me an explanation? Do I deserve to know how He will do what He says He will do?
Two weeks ago I launched my first reader survey. You can still take the survey, by the way! Just go here—Yes, I Will Take Your Survey! I continue to work on my blogging and writing skills. Your feedback gives me some very helpful insight. Ultimately, I think that you benefit since your input should improve my overall content. So, Thank You!
I get a lot of my mentoring from Michael Hyatt. Not personally but through his website and Platform University. Recently he published three videos that allows someone like me (and you maybe?) to look over his shoulder while he mentors someone on how to improve their website, platform and influence. If you are a blogger or have a website, I recommend checking out Platform University!
I didn’t know what kind of response to expect, but I am pleased with the number of people who participated in the survey. Here is a quick glance of a typical reader on my site:
Anyone who knows me knows I am all about radically responding to the needs of those around me. Helping build a home a long the border in South Texas; repairing a home of a working poor family in the midst of affluent neighbors in Lake Travis; meeting the need of a homeless person; defending the orphan, even adopting a child; supporting and serving alongside those on the foreign mission field—these are all ways I have responded.
Helping build a church in Louisiana
However I can fool myself into believing that I have discipled others through these actions. They are a good first step, but they don’t necessarily disciple anyone. The challenge with this list is that for most of the activities my time spent with people is/was brief, a few days at a time at best.
Now I am not saying I will stop doing these things, but when we think that these brief interactions focused on meeting a need accomplishes the mission, we miss the mark.
I know, it’s hard enough to take care of your own needs much less put any thought into what other people need. And yes we are entering that time of year where you get hit up by everyone from everywhere—school age kids selling chocolate bars you really love but don’t want lying around your home; mailers from some charity you gave to five years ago; phone call solicitors asking you to support a local organization; and now social media!
Some of us respond out of guilt or end up feeling a little resentful. How can anyone pursue the American Dream and give to every opportunity that presents itself?
I suggest you can’t nor should you.