- Prostate exams aren’t comfortable in the slightest, but they’re a cotton-candy-coated breeze compared to what it must feel like to give birth.
- Hell is outliving a child.
- You can’t run away from who you are, or who you’re meant to be.
- Christmas isn’t fun until you have kids.
- A lot of what they teach you in high school is less than useless.
- Sadly, some little boys don’t have their growth spurts until college.
- You do only live once — that’s why it’s imperative you not do stupid shit.
- Much of adulthood is extended improv.
- You have to choose to outgrow your fears.
- A leap of faith doesn’t always bring immediate resolution.
- People who don’t believe the same things you do make good friends but lousy spouses.
- Just because someone is older it doesn’t mean they’re smarter.
- Accountants, doctors, and repairmen are more important than anyone ever admits.
- Your gums bleed because the hygienist keeps poking it with a sharp metal stick. All the flossing in the world ain’t gonna fix that.
- For a great many of us, the world proved much larger than we were led to believe.
- The highest level of human fear is felt by the parent of a sick child.
- The second highest level is felt by a parent attempting to potty train a child.
- Live together all you want beforehand, it still won’t prepare you for marriage.
- Every parent does it differently than their parents did.
- Pure love is a toddler’s unprompted hug. Second place is how a baby smells after a bath.
- If you stop feeding the online jerks, they eventually go away. Works well with pets, too.
- The most amazing club in the coolest city with the most beautiful people is not one tenth as awesome as a warm bed on a cold day while snuggling with your family.
- The path of least resistance is often the path of largest regrets.
- It is never – and I mean never – too late to chase a dream or your God-given purpose.
- Fashion changes. Style morphs. Elegance and class are timeless.
- It’s possible to say “Yes sir” and still be a jerk.
- You will disappoint people. Make sure to pick the right ones.
- Watching someone die is hard.
- If you live with integrity, you will have to face difficult decisions. You will also come out better for having made them.
- God did not have pastoring as part of my long-term plan.
- It is possible to write a letter so strongly worded that a Fortune 500 company executive has his assistant call you to apologize.
- It’s also possible to write a strongly worded letter without sounding like a reality-show refugee, and more impressive.
- Seasons of life apply to people as well as circumstances.
- You will never regret learning to cook well.
- Some of the sharpest, most interesting people are the ones your younger self thought unworthy of your time.
- If you pray to marry an intelligent, wise, caring, gorgeous, SEC grad who was once a cheerleader, you may just get more than you bargained for. In all the best ways possible.
- If you worry that you’ll struggle to be a good dad, have nothing in common with a daughter, or fail miserably as a father to a son, you will be so happy to be proven wrong.
- For all the hype, 40 isn’t so bad.
Most people I know believe in the power of prayer. Few actually practice it though.
I’m not being judgmental. Until the last couple of years, my use of prayer was similar to Bugs Bunny’s use of dressing in drag: strategically reserved for only the biggest messes.
But now I can’t go the day without some serious praying.
I’ll spare you the long, useless sermonizing and get to the nitty gritty. Here are five things that make prayer powerful for me:
- Consistency – my wife and I pray almost every morning, together, about an hour after we wake up. Some days we forget; when that happens, we usually notice a distinct difference in our attitudes and reactions to the events of the day. Often, if we miss in the morning, we’ll stop whatever we’re doing later in the day and carve out time to pray together. It makes a huge difference in our minds and hearts.
- Honesty – this will sound weird, but if I’m praying about stuff that upsets me, I don’t try to hide that from God. I have, on occasion, uttered a word or phrase one would think inappropriate for conversation with the Almighty. I do not do this to be cool, nor do I do it because I am not reverent; on the contrary, I am too aware of God’s sovereignty to even think that I can “clean up” my thoughts. I’m not saying God condones cussing, but I do believe he values honesty more than attempts to preserve his delicate sensibilities. God is not someone’s 90 year-old grandmother.
- Brevity – marathon prayers have their place, but not as a daily discipline. Too often, when I try and pray long prayers, I find that I venture away from the honesty God values. I get preachy, and, as a former pastor, that’s something I want to avoid. Brevity also forces you to make your point known to God instead of just hinting at it. Think of it this way: if you were sitting in a meeting with someone and they kept beating around the bush, you would eventually lose your mind. Most of us want people to get to the point; while God is infinitely more patient, I think the discipline of getting to the point is better for us because it forces us to be clear about what’s on our mind.
- Sincerity – I can’t tell you how many times I prayed for stuff I didn’t really care about. I suppose you could file this under “Honesty”, but there’s enough of a distinction for me that I think it bears mention. I can honestly pray for someone else, but that doesn’t always mean I am sincerely invested in that situation. Being sincere when we pray about someone else’s sickness, or loss, or grief, helps us develop our empathy, which helps us pray with deeper sincerity.
- Humor – this seems out of place when talking about prayer, but I find humor helps me stay away from too-pious prayer. I have no problem with piety, but when you get too-pious, you drift into a place where your prayers are hollow and bordering on spell-casting (which is another post for another day). The purpose of prayer is not for us to direct the affairs of God, but for God to direct the affairs of our lives; humor, especially in the midst of dark seasons, can be a powerful weapon to help alleviate our own drift towards playing God instead of talking to him.
This is a short list, but each of these five things have become important to me as I’ve learned to pray. You may be wired differently than me, so your list would naturally look different than mine (cuss words and humor, for instance, might not be part of your discipline). Regardless, creating space in your life for regular prayer is essential to a healthy relationship with God.
What do you do to make your prayer life powerful? What is something you have learned about prayer that you would share?
I’m not posting anything funny, witty or thoughtful today. I’m busy finishing up the first half of my new book You’re Still Here: Surviving the Death of a Child. If you’re interested to get a sense of what it’s like, you can check out the free sample chapter I posted last week.
I’ll do my best to give you something to read tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a little present to get you through the day.
…and it’s how I’m gonna stay.
One of the inescapable facts of life these days is the internet. You go there to find leads on jobs. You go there for the news. You go there to connect with friends and family you might not otherwise hear from. It’s quickly become not just part of our world, but in some cases, it’s become our entire world.
Which means that the more time we spend cruising the information superhighway (remember when we called it that?), the more likely we are to run into certain types of people. Five types, to be exact. They cannot be avoided, no matter how hard you try; if you have so much as an email account, you’re guaranteed to run into at least one of them, and the more you expand your cyber-footprint, the more likely you are to run into all five.
Chances are, you’re one of them.
So, who are the five people you meet on the internet? Based on my extensive interactions, here they are, from least active to most:
Lurkers – this might easily be the largest category, and everyone on the internet knows a lurker. This type of person is not engaged online. They might have one email address, just to “get with the times”, but they seldom use it. A Lurker is also fond of signing on to Facebook or Twitter with someone else’s account, just to see what’s going on. Every once in a while they might drop a comment or two on a post, but it’s always under their pseudonymous ID. They also like to use Google Earth to look up people’s houses and see where they’re living. Basically, they’re someone’s grandparent, who’s just trying to understand the world their grandkids are living in.
Likers – These are the people who don’t contribute much in the way of content or information, but they will Like the crap out of every puppy picture, baby photo, eCard meme, inspirational quote, and “Click Like to Cure Cancer” post that anyone, ever, posts. They are nice people who want to belong, and have no problem filling up your Facebook feed with ten thousand of their “favorite” things. If you bombard them with enough Like-able content, they will click Like so fast and so furiously that they’d eventually Like a picture of Hitler kicking a puppy while pushing a nun down the stairs, without even realizing it.
Crusaders – There are two classes of Crusaders. The first class pops up every election cycle, or whenever there’s a hot news item about a controversial topic. They tend to post all sorts of pictures, videos, and links that not only affirm their preferred position, but also attack anyone who holds a different view. They are very nice people in real life, but online they tend to be strident-bordering-on-militant, and they won’t hesitate to hide or unfriend people who don’t agree with them. The second class has a personal cause they love to promote or talk about all the time – to the exclusion of anything else. They don’t post a picture or leave a comment that doesn’t revolve around their particular subject. It can be sports, their kids, their church, or their favorite comic book movie, but whenever they get a free moment, they’re ready to share with you all of the details you didn’t know you needed to know.
Trolls – Perhaps the most famous of all the five types of people, a Troll is a professional pot-stirrer, the kind of person who provokes a Crusader for the fun of it. Trolls love causing trouble, and are often better known by the user names on Reddit, FourChan, or other Troll-familiar websites. A Troll is the kind of person who would pop up in the middle of a discussion about the fair tax suggesting that the IRS is not only a great American institution, they should very well have the power to go after and investigate fringe political groups who skirt the tax code. After dropping that little conversational hand grenade, a Troll will then sit back and watch the Crusaders lose their minds. Trolls are very smart, and probably very tired of living in someone’s basement.
Promoters – This is the worst of all internet users because they are always online. Constantly. The kind of idiot who can rack up almost 2,000 tweets in less than six weeks. They have their Twitter feed hooked up to their Facebook, website and blog, so nothing that rolls through their “creative” little minds goes unnoticed. They are usually pushing you to check out their latest ebooks or sharing something witty they happened to think up while waiting on line at the local Publix, or asking you to go check the blog or book of a friend. They have multiple Facebook pages (personal, professional, and product-related) and are constantly asking you to check them out. They are usually pretty funny, or at the very least offer some form of entertainment, but their single biggest trait is that they are ubiquitous, almost as familiar as the other advertising flotsam you see floating around on any given page. Worst of all, they’re clueless about how much they put out there.
There are variations on each of the types, but as far as generalizations and stereotypes go, that’s a pretty complete list. But in case I’ve missed anyone, sound off below and let me know what kinds of people you’ve met on the internet.
Oh, and be sure to follow, like and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And if you haven’t had a chance to read my books, please check out my author page on Amazon. And if you have read my books, please leave a review and tweet the link…