Today is another big day in the life of Tom Brady. Just so happens, I came across an interview of him from last June on demand this afternoon. Seemed appropriate to check it out.
Regarding the outcomes of championships, he was asked two interesting questions: how high are the highs and how low are the lows. About the highs, he didn’t make any distinction from his different experiences of highs; they last the same. However, he answered differently about the lows. For example, when they lost the Super Bowl in 2007 he said his low lasted about a month. But when they lost last year to the Eagles, it was half the time, about two weeks. His explanation-stage of life. Last year he had his children to pay attention to, to help them understand what failure is and how to deal with it. Eleven years of personal development had shortened his low time (my paraphrase).
Trying to avoid the lows is like trying to avoid raindrops. Impossible. Failure happens. Disappointments come, some expected, some not. The opportunity we have is to choose how we respond to them.
I’ve noticed this myself. My lows have gotten shorter. The low in my 30s was almost twice as long as a low in my 40s. After that one, I determined to be more proactive in addressing my lows. I leaned into the verse about the sun not going down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26) and looked at how that could apply to my lows. Interestingly, the lows continue to be shortened.
So what changed? What did I stop doing? What did I start doing? Here are a few things:
- I stopped being too concerned about what people wanted from me or could do for me..I started being more concerned about what God wanted for me and what I could do for people.
- I stopped allowing the decisions of others to determine my steps…I started listening more to the Holy Spirit to determine my steps.
- I stopped giving self talk free reign…I started admonishing myself based on what truth God had for me.
And my lows continue to shorten.
Want to shorten yours? Take some time and answer these two questions: 1)What do you need to stop? 2)What do you need to start?
I’ve traveled to Jordan twice this year. Much could be said about traveling to that part of the world. One thing I noticed the first time and then even more the second time is this: Arab men know how to do community.
They enjoy talking to each other. They enjoy healthy disagreement. They share the good and the bad. They lean into one another. They plan time together. From my experience, they do it better than we Americans. So I’m doing what I can now to change that experience.
We have an opportunity. If the opportunity could be boiled down to one word, I believe that word is trust. Much like we have to grow our trust in God, we should pay attention to grow our trust in one another. It’s quite possible that the former is needed and necessary in order for the latter to happen. So how do we go about growing these trusts?
TRUST BY SHARING YOUR FEARS
Yesterday one of my friends did this with me during a breakfast conversation. He shared a fear he’s dealing with, and I’m the first male that knows. He seemed to feel better just because he had a brother to share his fear with. Scripture tells us to bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Imagine how lighter the community of men would be if we shared our fears rather than bearing them all alone. What if we started by sharing our fears with God and asking him to give us the courage to share them with a brother?
TRUST BY BEING HONEST
We have the habit of not being real, not being completely honest and transparent. Guys, you are not going to be weak by being real. You are going to be stronger because you are not denying the truth. The truth can only set you free when you speak it and live in it. Earlier this year I watched a brother go through a trying season, life threatening, because he refused to be honest. Imagine how stronger the community of men would be if we embraced honesty. What if we started by being honest with God and humbling ourselves to be honest with a brother?
TRUST BY TAKING THE CHANCE
As I’m writing this, the news is reporting the murder/suicide of a deputy sheriff’s family in a nearby county. Familiar story-no one knows why, no one suspected it, no one saw it coming. We can grow our trust in numerous ways of taking chances. What if we took a personal chance by considering a mental health check up as much as a physical one? What if we took a chance by pointing out odd behavior to our brothers? What if we took a chance by asking how to pray for one another? What if we took a chance to follow through on a Holy Spirit nudge to reach out to a brother? Imagine the impact to the community of men if we took more chances. What if we started by asking God to give us a chance to take today?
“It’s important to remember to silence your phone before getting in bed.”
That’s what I told myself at 2am this morning. A not important notification chirped me out of sleep. Before looking at the phone, I had guessed it might be about 5. What? And so my mind started. It was the final round in a wrestling match.
This match started two months ago. I can tell you when and why, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is to learn from the match. The match was a mental one involving my talking self, my listening self, and God. If that sounds confusing or you think I need help, stop and read my last blog post.
My listening self actually wanted to talk when I woke up. He started it. And my talking self wasn’t ready to listen. He demanded God to join in. It was exhausting. But guess what? When it was over, not only was this round over but the entire match was over.
How did that happen? Because I told myself to stop listening to myself. And more importantly, I invited God onto the mat. The result was an answer that can only be explained by knowing God got involved. It was one of those, “How have I not seen this before? This could have saved me from years of wrestling.”
Takeaways from this scenario:
- Keep wrestling. The winning is in staying in until the final round.
- Be willing. Answers come to the persistent.
- Invite God. He’s good for anytime, even 2am.