5 Ways to Handle Disappointment

I love and hate, anticipation. Truthfully, on the one hand anticipation keeps us moving forward while on the other hand it can leave us disappointed if not handled well.

We all anticipate the future. Some of us anticipate the best (hello optimists) while others anticipate the worst (hello pessimists)! And then there are the realists which are really just pessimists in disguise. Can you tell I am an optimist?

We all know what it is to anticipate something and have it not happen. Whether it was a job we wanted to get, a relationship we saw panning out, a promotion coming our way, or a diagnoses from the doctor going differently than anticipated, we all have had to deal with disappointment. And if you haven’t yet wait a few years, heck wait a couple of days. At some point in time we all deal with disappointment.

So, here are 5 healthy ways to deal with disappointment:

  1. Trust in the Lord

When we navigate disappointment for many of us we arrive in one of two places. Either we are going to trust ourselves, our strength, and our wisdom, or we are going to trust the Lord. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” When your disappointed you must lean into Him. You and I will fail. People will fail you. Church won’t always handle it perfect. The only one who won’t fail you’s name is Jesus.

2. Learn from each disappointment

You must keep yourself in a constant state of learning. This is generally a good posture for life but in this instance is a must. Learn about yourself. Learn about the situation. Learn about others. Learn about God. In general be looking to learn especially in disappointment so that you can make better decisions next time around when you begin to anticipate again. If you don’t learn you are doomed to repeat your disappointment. Learning is the only way out!

3. Gain Perspective

This isn’t just about learning a few things but about changing your position. When most folks are disappointed they allow it to drag them down. They will sulk or be frustrated and it positions them poorly. When you go through a disappointing time or season you need to learn to allow that to elevate you and not drag you down. It is in climbing higher that you will gain a new perspective on your life, that situation, or that circumstance. The Bible says, “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles…” Eagles soar high and have a different perspective than other animals, even other birds. Allow disappointment to be the air under your wings to carry you to a new perspective!

4. Guard Your Heart

Too many folks get wounded permantely by disappointment and they make all of their future decisions from a place of fear. I have met people that never try anything new again because one time they took a risk and fell flat on their face. They have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and earned the scars to prove it. They were married once before and it didn’t work out so they vow to never get married again. They got turned down from a promotion and felt rejected so they settle for the job they have. Too many have resolved to never risk ever again and believe that somehow that will keep them from being disappointed ever again.

The Bible says simply, “Guard your heart. Out of it flow all the issues of life” Don’t allow one situation or circumstance to wound you so deeply that you never dare try anything great again. Guard your heart from disappointment.

5. Manage Expectations

This is huge. This doesn’t mean lower your expectations or even “play and prepare to lose”. NO! This is all about going in prepared and anticipating with realistic expectations. What I mean by this is: If I am going to square off against Bubba Watson in golf I can anticipate and prepare to win but unless he breaks his leg and plays one handed he is going to beat me. He plays golf everyday for a living and is one of the best in the world. I need to manage my expectations in this instance because I have not paid the price he has paid on the driving range, practice green, or on the golf course. It is foolish for me to believe I will win. I could manage my expectation from “I am going to win” to “I am going to play golf with one of the best in the world and will learn all that I can”.

Now to flip that illustration. It is not unrealistic for me to anticipate winning at just about anything with my kids. They are all under 6 and don’t have coordination to keep up with me any way. Just kidding but you get the point. But seriously I will beat them. Lol.

How do you deal with disappointment or was there a time in your life where you were disappointed? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below and let me know.

Do It Afraid

Recently, as we have been learning to juggle 3 kids I have gotten to spend a bit of one on one time with my oldest, Charlotte.

She has struggled in recent months with her self confidence and being extremely fearful. It was terribly sad to watch because it caused her to miss out on some awesome experiences.

We really began to notice a shift in her when it came to big boys. Any boy a little bit bigger than her was terrifying for her to be around. It all went back to one experience in a bounce house where a bigger boy fell on her. After that day she wouldn’t go in the same room with big boys, she would cry, and it got to the point where it was completely irrational. It took time, facing her fears, positioning her again and again to realize that not all big boys are scary because you had one bad experience.

During that same span of time we had a daddy daughter date at Chick-Fil-A. We love Chick-Fil-A. On this day we went to the one in the mall. We got our food and sat down to eat. I looked accross at Charlotte and her eyes were wide like saucers and she was terrified. I looked over my shoulder and there was no one at the table behind me. Then I looked over my other shoulder and there it was…the Chick-Fil-A, 8 foot tall, mutant cow. Charlotte was eating her nuggets in between tears. It was so sad. I cleaned up our table and we went to leave. As we walked away, Charlotte eyes were fixed on the cow to the point she was tripping over her own feet and walking backwards.

These two experiences with my four year old reminded me of how silly I look like, that we look like, when we live in fear of something. When we are afraid we make irrational decisions, are led by our emotions, are blinded to where we are going, and usually stumble. It doesn’t matter if it is heights or bugs, two of my biggest fears. They are silly and irrational fears. They cause me to miss out and sometimes stumble or be led by my emotions.

The Bible has a lot to say about fear. It says “Don’t be afraid” or “Fear Not” 365 times in scripture. Once for everyday of the year.

The Bible actually tells us fear is not from God. “God didn’t give you a spirit of fear…”

If the Bible doesn’t want us to be afraid, fear doesn’t come from God, and most fears are irrational and silly, what are we to do? Cause everyone is afraid of something.

You practice courage and you do it afraid. You do it anyway. You step up. You step out. You take a swing. You try. And try again and again.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

Fear only ever keeps you from doing and the only way to conquer it is to do that which you are afraid of.

Recently, I overcame a fear by doing it.

Now, I am not a fan of fast things. Roller coasters, cars, bikes, etc… Modes of transportation are for just that, getting me safely from point A to point B. I am not a daredevil. That stuff scares me. So, I miss out on a lot of fun stuff.

I went four-wheeling! I know some of you are thinking big deal you wimp. It was a big deal. I have been offered many times before and never went. I didn’t want to go fast, what if I got hurt, etc…

We had friends in from NJ and we were offered to go four-wheeling. I reluctantly said I would take them hoping I wouldn’t have to actually ride it. When we arrived I was given the demo on how to use the four wheeler, told I was in charge, and then showed the lay of the land. I was terrified. Everything in me wanted to let them take the four-wheelers out and just relax on the farm that day. But I couldn’t…my daughter was with me and was begging for Daddy to take her for a ride. So, I sucked it up and did it anyway.

My buddy John took me out so I could get a feel and see where all the boundaries were. I took it nice and easy and thought this isn’t so bad. Then I faced my first hill. No one told me that you should lean forward and apply steady acceleration. It was a small hill but that didn’t matter. I went up and fell off the back of the four wheeler right on my butt. Thank God the four wheeler went forward and didn’t fall back on me. My worse fear had happened and guess what…it wasn’t so bad after all. Sure my butt hurt for a few days but when I got back and picked up Charlotte we rode and rode. She screamed, “Faster, Daddy!”

I had so much fun! I did it anyway.

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Now not all fears are this fun to overcome I understand but the point still remains, “Fear only keeps you from doing”. The only way to overcome is to do it.

Fear of public speaking means time to write and present a speech at work, church, or an open mic night at a coffee shop.

Fear of meeting new people means it’s time to head to a mall, coffee shop, bar, sporting event, somewhere you can meet new people. Heck go speed dating just to break the fear in your life.

Whatever your fear. Do it afraid.

Please comment below or message me about your fear. What are you afraid of and what are you going to do to overcome it? What fears have you already overcome and how did you do it?

 

I’m Back…

After spending the last 3 to 4 months with a new born and helping my wife with all three kiddos, I am back. I will be hitting the ground running with several new posts as well as the release of my first ebook devotionals soon.

Thanks for your patience…God Bless!

Family

Over the last few weeks I have gotten to enjoy the birth of my son Ben. And with the new addition to the family came the love, help, and visits from family. I am so grateful for family as they have allowed my wife and I to transition from Man to Man defense with 2 kids to Zone defense. (Yes it really all does come back to sports with me)

One thing that I learned over this period of time or perhaps remembered is that there are really three different types of family in your life. And you truly need all three.

Blood Family

First you obviously have your blood family. For some of us that is a good thing and some of us that is a bad thing. Some of us don’t like the family we were born into and others of us love them. Here is the deal with blood family. You might be able to distance yourself relationally and geographically but you can never get rid of them entirely. Every time you look in the mirror they are staring back at you. They are a part of you for better or for worse.

In my case I love my family. No we aren’t perfect. Yes they can be annoying. And Yes we have made tons of mistakes. But I miss my family a ton. My parents and brother Dan are 6 hours away in NJ. My brother Don, his wife Sarah, and their son Levi are 14 hours away in Atlanta. So when they come for a visit I want to spend as much time with them as I can. Below is a picture of my family.

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My mom has been here this week getting in some serious grand baby time. She got to meet her 4th grandchild and has been hanging out with my 3 kids all week. She got to take Charlotte to the fair and enjoy some one on one time. After all she had to wait 26 years to have a girl! It is the best! Here is a pic of them on the Ferris Wheel.

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These relationships are crucial for myself and my kids. They let my kids know they are part of a legacy. They have something larger to live for then just themselves. Having parents and grandparents in your life gives you a source of wisdom that is important as you grow. Families were designed to be multigenerational. You see it all throughout the Bible and secular history. When you remove the older generations from the younger generation geographically or relationally it short circuits God’s design for family. So do yourself a favor and pick up the phone and call your parents or grandparents. Do it right now. Don’t even finish reading this. They miss you. They really do. Call right now.

Extended Family

Now that you have made your phone call let me tell you about the second family that you have. You have your extended family. I am married to my wife, Sam, and all of her family became my family when I did. I picked up a second mom and dad, two more brothers, and a sister. I also got a bonus with all of this too. I picked up two more sisters as Sam’s brothers are married and another Brother last September when Sam’s sis married her husband. (Happy 1 year Anniversary Andy & Melissa!) I also have the huge blessing of having a nephew and niece too. Below is my crazy extended family!

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Just like my family, I love when they come for visits. It is so refreshing and enjoyable. We laugh a lot cause my wife’s family is crazy fun! They love on us, on my kids, and bring a genuine warmth to our home when they are here.

Recently, Sam’s sister came for a week and got to be here for the birth of our son, Ben. It was truly special to have her here for that week and to be in the delivery room with us. An experience I am sure she will truly never forget. Then Sam’s mom came and got to meet her 5th grand child. She was such a big help for my wife, myself, kids, and around the house. She is a gem. Below is a picture of her and Ben.

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Your extended family that you married into is just as important as your blood family. First of all, don’t complain about them because you picked them! Their personalities and quirks make your family richer. Your children and your spouse need you to love, work on relationships with, and to enjoy their family like you enjoy your own. So, if you don’t like them get over yourself. Try something new and send everyone a card, just because. Or if you are close enough call one of them up and taking them for a coffee. Whatever you do don’t neglect your extended family.

Church Family

The last family that I got to experience over these last few weeks was my church family. Everyone from Bridge of Hope that came to the hospital, cooked meals for us, sent us cards and gifts, and loved on us are so special. Thank You! Church family is so important, especially for us because we are hours and miles away from blood or extended family. They become extensions of our parents and grandparents to us. We are so thankful for them. Below is a picture of some of them praying for our students and teachers at a recent service before they head back to school.

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Your church family is important because they will be there in your happiest moments and your darkest moments. They are the folks that will go to war for you in prayer. They are the ones that bring you meals when your sick or down. They come visit you in the hospital. A Church is supposed to be a family. If you aren’t a part of a church family you need to be. It is vital to your success and growth as a person as well as your family!

Family is vital to each and everyone of us whether we are talking about our blood family, extended family, or church family. You need them and they need you.

Top 10 Places I want to visit in the USA

Everyone loves a good top 10 list and this is one I have had as a note in my phone for a bit. Here are my top 10 places I want to visit in the USA that I have never been. These are in no particular order…

1. Chicago 

 One of the few major cities I have never been to. I want to experience the culture, food, Wrigley & Soldier Field, as well as the many other iconic sights in the city. Now that I am in Ohio this is a drivable trip so this may happen sooner rather than later. 

2. Grand Canyon

 
Can’t pass up a chance to see God’s beautiful creation like this. I would love to get to see it up close and personal. Now, I am not into heights or white water rafting but horse back riding or camping in the canyon would be extraordinary. If nothing else I want to see it. 
3. Hawaii

 Truthfully, this is a trip I want to take with one person and one person only…my wife. Maybe for our 10 year or 15 year anniversary. I want to head to a beautiful 5 star resort, swim in a pool, swim in the Ocean, and eat some expensive food. I also want to experience some Hawaiin culture. Definitely want to go to a luau and eat some spam!

4. Los Angeles

 LA sometimes gets a bad wrap on the east coast but it makes my top 10. I would love to get to visit Beverly Hills to shop, Hollywood to check out the stars on the ground, the beaches, and beautiful California sunshine. I want to go to in and out burger as well. And there are some churches I want to hit up while I am there not least of which would be Hillsong LA and the Dream Center. 

5. Seattle

 I don’t think I am cool enough for this trip but am certain it would be a blast anyway! I would love to catch a fish thrown at the market, go to the original Starbucks, and visit the space needle. But a huge draw for me is one of my favorite preachers, Judah Smith, his church is in Seattle and I would have to attend a Sunday he was preaching. 

6. Baton Rouge

 This is a different experience that you can’t have anywhere else in the country. The French quarter! The architecture, the food, the history, the city and country side are so unique. I have never had crawfish and there is not better place to have them then Louisianna!

7. Boston

 Does it get any better in terms of history? Maybe Philly but Boston is still a must on my list. I want to head to Fenway, see some of the colonial era history, check out some museums, and take in the city. I would also love to visit Harvard and my cousin at MIT. This trip will be “wicked hardcore” (I just said that in my best Matt Damon accent from Good Will Hunting).

8. Minneapolis 

 This destination is selfish for me. I want to visit Andy and Melissa (my bro & sis in law) and see where they call home. I’d love to venture into the state fair, experience the city, and all but I would also like to experience some of the natural beauty the state has to offer and maybe camp for a weekend, too.

9. San Diego

 This trip would offer authentic Mexican cuisine, beautiful beaches, and gorgeous weather. You could go cultural/city or beach resort or both on this trip. San Diego Zoo is a must see attraction while we are here. 

10. Texas

 Everything is bigger in Texas and I am not sure where to start. I definitely want to see a few of the major cities from Dallas to Houston to San Antonio to Austin. Each city is so different this may take multiple trips. I definitely want to grab some Texas BBQ and have the chance to see some real cowboys. I also need to take in some history and have a must stop at the Alamo. 

That was my list and I can’t wait to check one of these off my list soon. 

Please, comment below and share the places in the USA that you have never been that make it on to your top 10 list. 

5 reasons you need a hobby

It is that time of year again. School is starting back. Summer is giving birth to hoodies, golden brown and orange leaves, and football. Lots of football. This is my favorite time of year. 55 degrees outside and rainy, baby! Throw in a pig skin and I am in heaven. Football, fantasy football, NFL football, high school football, playing football on the floor with my kids…Heck any type of football! That is my hobby. I love it. It helps me unwind, build relationships, and genuinely brings a great deal of joy to my life.

Hobbies are important no matter how old you are or how much time you have. Your hobby may not be football but you need at least one. You know, something you do just for fun. Something that is just for you. You need one. Whether it is knitting, reading, collecting baseball cards, or running 5k’s you need a hobby.

Here are 5 reasons you need a hobby:

1. Stress Relief

We all have way to much stress in our lives and for you to find the one thing that relieves that could mean life or death for your marriage, healthier relationships, or staying longer at your job. If you had something you could do that lowered your stress level it would make work or your boss more tolerable. It would bring some life back into your marriage. Hobbies can help lower stress!

2. You are more than your job

It’s important for you to have something that you do other than work. In a culture that says, “you are only as valuable as the job that you have”, it is important for you to have something outside of that. Whether you are creating, painting, collecting, playing, etc there is something outside of the 9-5 that makes you, you.

3. Fun is good for you

There is an old English proverb that says, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” And it’s true. If all you do is work it gets pretty boring and dull. You have to carve out time for the things you enjoy. It makes life more full.

4. New relationships

There is no easier way to meet new people than meeting people that have the same hobbies or interests as you. There is nothing like going to a Philadelphia Eagles game for me because all I have to do is show up in green and I now have 50,000 new friends! But seriously, even if you aren’t great at meeting new people and making friends is there an easier way then to connect over a hobby you both love? Hobbies create conversation and relational momentum without having to have great social skills. If you don’t have any friends find a hobby and you are bound to meet others that share the same interest.

5. God wants you to enjoy your life

Despite what the stigma is around most churches and religious organizations, God did not design the scriptures, the church, or a relationship with Him to zap all the fun out of life. Jesus actually tells us in John 10:10 that he came that we would have life and have it to the fullest. Jesus wants you to have a full life. Not only that but God actually designed 4 Old Testament feasts to remind His people to slow down, dance to some music, enjoy some good food, and relax. He really wants you to enjoy this thing called life. So get a hobby…God wants you too!

What are you waiting for?!?! Go pick up some yarn and start knitting something. Get that book you have been putting off. Join a fantasy football league. Sign up for that karate class or music lesson. Take a paint by number or pottery class. Start collecting coins or cards. Find something that you love and do it. It will be good for you, your relationships, and seriously God wants you too.

What are your hobbies? What is something you do for fun? Or what is something you want to start doing? Comment below and let me know.

Power in a name…

I am beyond excited that my family of 4 became a family of 5 this past week! It was stunning to watch my wife give birth to our third child. She is strong and brave. Even in the midst of pain she pushed herself through. On Tuesday morning at 8:57am we got to meet our son Benjamin David. All 9 pounds 1 ounce and 21 inches of him.


My favorite part with Ben or really any of my children was choosing a name. I like picking the name because names have meaning and purpose. Some of that is just selfish on my part cause my name doesn’t have any crazy deep meaning but I really wanted to be intentional about naming our children.

Our daughter is the oldest and we always had her name set aside. We knew if we were having a girl it would be Charlotte and we wanted to call her Charlie. We never did but thought it would be cool. Her name is Charlotte Mary. Mary because it is a family name on Sam’s side and it would give Charlotte a legacy of 6 other women that came before her that carried the name. It is my wife’s middle name, her moms first name, Grandma’s middle name, and so on. We chose Charlotte because it was a classic name that we felt carried strength. Charlotte is the female of Charles and carries the meaning of “free or freedom”.

With our oldest son we wrestled on what to name him but once it hit us we loved it. We named our oldest boy Graham Douglas. Douglas, is for me his father. I never wanted a junior but I did want a deeper connection with my oldest son. We chose Graham for his first name because my wife liked it and it was rather classic and fit with Charlotte. I love the name Graham mostly due to my spiritual heritage of giving my heart to Jesus at a Billy Graham Crusade in the early 1990s. Billy Graham’s legacy as a preacher, as a counselor of presidents, and as one of the fathers of modern day evangelical Christianity of which I now serve as a minister of is powerful. Graham now bears that name and there is a mantle on his life because of it.

Then this week I got to meet our Benjamin David. David again is a family name as it is both my wife’s dads name and my mom’s brothers name. David also carries a powerful meaning in the Hebrew it means “Beloved of God”. Then we chose Benjamin for his first name because my wife liked it. She actually wanted to name Graham, Ben but we obviously chose not too. Ben carries a powerful meaning in the Hebrew as well and it means, “Son of my right hand.” Not only is the meaning really cool but God showed me this scripture for Benjamin’s name and I absolutely love it in the message.

“Benjamin: “ GOD ’s beloved; GOD ’s permanent residence. Encircled by GOD all day long, within whom GOD is at home.” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭33:12‬ ‭MSG‬‬)

Names are great and can be a powerful destiny positioner for us and our children. Names are so important and so powerful that when God gives a new destiny or direction in the Bible He usually gives a new name. The biggest name change in the Bible is where Jacob which means “Supplanter or deceiver” is changed by God to Israel which means “prince of God”…that will change the way you look at yourself.

Tell me about your name or your kids names. Do you like them? What do they mean? If you could change your name to anything what would it be and why? Please comment below.

10 Ways to start your day…

Everyone approaches the beginning of each day differently. Some of us start by hitting snooze. Some of us wake before our alarm. Some of us go to the gym while others start with a warm cup of coffee.

My day begins when my almost 4 year old daughter, Cahrlotte, comes running into our room when she sees the green 7 on her clock. She usually climbs over me and wedges herself between her mother and I. Then she will ask to watch cartoons, play “Bible” on one of our phones, or to go eat breakfast.

Shortly after this exchange we go eat breakfast as a family between 7:30-8:00. Charlotte eats cereal everyday. Sam, Graham, and I usually eat a few eggs a piece. We all take our vitamins. And then Sam and I read the Bible and pray. We are very intentional to do this in front of our kids so they see our example. Then I will get ready and head to the office.

This is our morning. There are more productive ways to begin the morning but in the season we are in this is best. Just because this works for us doesn’t mean it is best for you or even best for us. We are always looking to be better. The one thing I am certain of is that the most successful people on the planet have a morning routine that works for them.

Here are 10 ways you can start your day that will make you more productive and begin to build a morning routine.

1. Don’t start your day until it’s finished on paper.

Make your to do list for the day. It will make you more productive through out the day. Make a top priorities list for the day or adjustments to your calendar. Planning equals greater productivity.

2. Exercise.

The majority of successful CEOs, according to an article I read in Business Insider, exercise first thing in the morning. By exercising in the morning you are getting one thing off your to do list that most people will avoid all day. It gets your blood pumping and helps your body come to life.

3. Pray and meditate on the word of God.

This is your most important meeting all day. You need time with the one who made it all so He can help you prepare for your day. The gospels say multiple times about Jesus that He woke up early and withdrew to a lonely place to talk to God. If Jesus began His day that way it just might be a great way for you to begin yours as well.

4. Visualize

Take some time and think about your day. See yourself successfully completing your tasks. Picture that conversation or meeting. One of the routines of successful athletes is visualization. They picture their next at bat or next play. They see it before they do it.

5. Eat breakfast.

People who eat breakfast tend to be healthier, weigh less, and don’t get as hungry throughout the day. Eating breakfast begins your metabolism and gives your body the necessary nutrients to be active and attentive. For my family it is another meal we all eat together so there can be an added relational benefit as well.

6. Before your feet hit the floor drink 20oz of water.

Huge health benefits here. The majority of people are dehydrated and by doing this you fight against that. It is so much more than just dehydration. By drinking a big glass of water you reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, as well as wake up your whole system. You start your engine by giving your organs and your body the necessary fluid to start the many chemical reactions it needs to get moving. Huge benefits.

7. Weigh yourself.

Most people who are conscience of their weight daily make healthier choices with their day. It takes you 5 seconds and could be the difference between being healthy or not. Now I realize that may not be the case for you and the scale may intimidate you. Then by all means don’t weigh yourself.

8. Check your Email.

Get ahead of your work load that day by reading and responding to emails. Depending on your job you could easily have to navigate 100 emails or more each morning. By doing this here it will save you that 30 minute step once you arrive at the office.

9. Read the News.

Nothing worse than being uninformed. You can get a newspaper the old school way or open your phone and flip through a few apps. I get my sports from bleacher report, my news from Fox & CNN, and I love the goofy articles on Buzz Feed.

What apps do you use? Comment below and tell me.

10. Coffee

This one is more fun than anything else. If you like coffee get yourself a delicious warm cup of coffee. I am not a huge coffee drinker but with 2 kids and one due any day I’ll take some liquid energy where I can get it.

What is something you do each morning that you think I should have included in my list? Comment below and let me know.

Waiting for Hope

Right now my wife and I are waiting for the birth of our son. He is due this Friday. And no, his name is not going to be Hope! And no this is not the name of a bad christian band either.

Honestly, we thought he would be here by now. With each doctors visit our hope would rise and then come crashing down as we thought he would be making his arrival. We wanted the doctor to say to us, “Let’s go to the hospital and have this baby.” But sadly that has not happened yet.

As I travel through this I was reminded of a Proverb that defines how my wife and I feel.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)

There are lots of things that we hope for in life whether it is a new job, our wedding day, or the birth of a child. Some things take longer than others to arrive. And it makes you sick! But when the day arrives…when the moment is here…the joy that comes bursting forth, the tears, and emotion that are released feel so good. It lifts you up. Finally!!!

We all love that moment and celebrate finally getting what we have desired.

I think the bigger question we all have is what do we do while we are still hoping?

When my heart is sick, how do I keep on believing it is possible?

What do I do before the day or moment finally comes?

Here are 5 “P’s” you can do while waiting for hope:

Proclaim it

Every dream. Everything we hope for. We have to first begin by talking about it. And the more we talk about something it sets the course of our heart.

Prayer is a great place to start. The Bible says, “you don’t have because you don’t ask” And that “God rewards those who diligently seek Him”. So talking to God about your hopes is a great place to start.

Talk to your friends and family. My only caveat to that is sometimes the people closest to you can be your biggest dream killers. They mean well but they will tell you every reason this won’t work. You need to tell some encouragers. You need to find some folks that will believe with you and tell them.

Who have you told about the thing you are hoping for? God? Friends? Family? I’d love to hear about it so feel free to comment below and tell me about your hope or dream. I will add it to my prayer list.

Plan for it

It does you no good to only talk or pray about it if you are not willing to plan it out. This is the spot where I take out my phone but wherever you make notes is fine. Paper still works too the last time I checked. It is here that I begin to write down specifically the thing I am hoping for and how I see it coming to pass.

When I was preparing to go to college I only applied to one school. I was accepted into that school the end of my junior year heading into summer. I sat down and planned out 4 years worth of classes that summer heading into my senior year. I planned out that which I hoped for. After graduation I realized that with the exception of 2 or 3 classes that were discontinued I took the classes I had planned out almost 5 years earlier.

What’s your strategy for receiving that which you hoped for? Are you writing it down?

Prepare for it

It is one thing to talk about it. It is another thing to write it down. It is an entirely different thing to prepare for what you are hoping for.

I played sports my whole life. There were 3 types of guys that I played with. There were the guys that would talk about how they hoped to be in shape for the up coming season. Then there were guys that wrote down their workouts to prepare for the next season. And then there were the guys that went to camps and lived in the gym preparing for the next season.

Many of us fail here. We don’t mind talking about it or even writing it down. But preparation cost us something. Preparation means we are willing to put some skin in the game. We are willing to sweat and bleed for what we believe.

How are you preparing yourself to receive what it is you are hoping for?

Position yourself for it

Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Positioning is the final stage before receiving. Working hard all year at your job and longing for a promotion. Then when the opportunity comes up for a promotion you have to apply to position yourself to receive it. The guys I played sports with could prepare all summer but if they didn’t sign up, get their physical, and try out to make the team they weren’t positioning themselves to play.

Truthfully this is where fear creeps in to tell you that you can’t or haven’t prepared hard enough or don’t deserve. You must as Jon Acuff says, “Punch fear in the face” and go for it!

What is keeping you from positioning yourself from receiving? What have you prepared for that you need to position yourself better so that you can receive?

Passionately receive it

When your moment comes. When the time arrives. Receive it. No Don’t just receive it but RECEIVE IT!!! Passionately celebrate and look at what you have accomplished.

I would love to here what you are waiting for and hoping for. Comment below so I can add you to my prayer list.

First Steps

First steps come before next steps. First steps remind me of my kids.

Over the last year I have watched, my one and half year old, Graham, learn to crawl, then stand, and then balance. Then there comes that moment where he struggles with all his might not to fall. He wobbles. He lets out an almost nervous cry because he doesn’t want to fall. We wait anxiously as he lifts that foot and takes his first step. He gets one, maybe two, and then falls flat on his face. Only for us to frantically try and catch him while simaltaneously cheering and clapping. As Mom and Dad we are beaming from ear to ear! His first steps!

What a moment. It is the first of many “first steps”. He will take more “first steps” when he begins school. He will take more “first steps” as he makes new friends. He will take more “first steps” on an athletic field or court. He will take more “first steps” as he gets a job or loses one. There are lots of “first steps” that he will have to take in his life.

We all have lots of “first steps” to take in our lives. “First steps” for all of us, no matter what the first step is, follow a similar pattern.

1. We watch others.

This is how so many of us learn or become inspired to chase our dreams. We watch others take their first steps and we want to emulate those who are successful. This is where the dream is birthed in our heart. We look on and set the course of our heart.

Who are you watching? Do you like the way they are walking?

2. We learn to crawl.

No one begins by taking steps. We all have a beginning phase to strengthen the necessary muscles to stand. You can’t skip this phase. If you do you will shortchange your preparation time and effect your performance later.

The President of the University of Valley Forge would remind the students every semester, “No time taken to sharpen your saw is ever wasted.”

And I know there is someone reading this that will say, “I never crawled as a baby I rolled.” I know that because it was me. Lol.

How are you preparing to stand?

3. We stand.

Standing is sometimes the most bold thing we can do. It changes our perspective. It gives us a new height to see our life from. And you can’t walk until you stand.

The Bible even says, “Having done all to stand. Stand.” There is something inherently powerful about standing. It positions you to take a step.

What are you standing for? What has changed about your perspective because you stood?

4. We wobble.

First steps make everyone wobble. You are not the only person to ever wobble. You are not the only person to ever be afraid of falling. You will wobble. My encouragement is: Walk Anyway!!! So many people quit here. Don’t quit because you wobble. Don’t quit because you fell before.

I have heard it said, “Courage is doing it afraid.” So go ahead and be brave and take those first steps anyway.

What are you afraid of that is keeping you from moving?

5. We move.

If standing is bold this is the most thrilling part of first steps. We do something we have never done before. We take a step. It is empowering. It is brave. It changes us forever. We will never move in quite the same way again.

With my kids once they realized they could move they were off to the races. They were so excited and impossible to keep up with.

What adventure are you on now? Where are you moving too?

6. We fall.

The truth is falling is part of first steps. My son fell dozens of times. He wasn’t a failure.

If you have fallen it doesn’t mean you failed. It means you have moved.

One of my all time favorite quotes is by Teddy Roosevelt and he says, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

When is the last time you fell? What were you feeling? Thinking?

7. Parents cheer.

The people who love you the most cheer you on. They surround you with love and praise whether you fail or succeed. The people around you matter.

People are like elevators. They can take you to the top or drag you to the bottom.

Make sure you have people cheering you on when you go to make your first steps.

Who is fighting with you and cheering you on right now?

My encouragement to you is go out today and take some “first steps”! Start that relationship you have been putting off. Start that company or interview for your dream job. Or try to have a baby. Or start going to church.

My most recent “first steps” was starting this blog and continuing to write my book. Comment below and tell me what “first steps” you are taking. I’d love to hear about it and add you to my prayer list.