Seeing With Your Heart

I am a visual person. I like to be able to see things. I have a white board in my office where I can write out the things that I have to do and even work out ideas. It gives me the opportunity to sit at my desk and stare at the thoughts and ideas written on it. I can work them out in my head but right there in front of me as well. My thoughts come to life in a visible way, allowing me to see where I am going and order my thoughts better.

When I can’t see things, I panic. My anxiety rises up. I flip and flail like a fish dropped on dry land, struggling for breath and wondering when I will get a glimpse and see what I have determined in my head is necessary for me to see in order to move forward.

It’s funny how the things that we can so often think are necessary for our survival are far more expendable than we actually think. We obsess over things that seem crucial to us, viscerally reacting or even overreacting. Then we realize that we can live without the very thing that seemed to crucial and integral to our own plan.

Do I need to see, or do I just WANT to see? When I can see all of the pieces laid out in front of me, it’s really easy for me to wallow in my own self-sufficiency, elevating myself to a plain far above where I belong. Seeing all of the pieces may seem comfortable to me, but it mostly eliminates my need for trust and faith in God. If I can figure it all out myself, if I can seem to be self-sufficient, if there is no mystery, what’s the use of faith anymore?

A friend of mine describes the Christian life as being a combination of the two simple yet difficult tasks of trusting and obeying. It’s one step after another. Left foot. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot. Onward. The mundane yet laborious task of putting one foot in front of the other, not always knowing where your footfall will be three steps or ten steps or twenty steps from now. Only knowing where the next step will be. Like the psalmist’s words, a light to our path doesn’t shine for miles in front of us, it simply lights the way for the few steps that lie immediately ahead.

I’m beginning to see that what I think I need to see may be just an extension of my need to control things. Maybe trusting is less about seeing with our eyes and more about seeing with our hearts. Maybe all I really need to see is what’s immediately before me so that I abstain from self-sufficiency and I lean more on God, who has promised to guide me and provide for every step.

I’ll continue to resist, I can be assured of that. I’ll continue to search for ways that I can see what I was never meant to see. But in my search and in my resistance, perhaps I will find that the same vision that I have prided myself in with my eyes may transfer over to my heart and I will begin to see things not as I want to see them, but as I need to see them. Perhaps I will find that as difficult of a task as it is to see with my heart, it will serve me so much better in the long run.

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What Are You Afraid Of?

I am afraid. I am full of fear.

I do not know what is going to happen. My fear wants to seize control (or at least give me the illusion that I’ve seized control). My fear wants me to have plan in place, so I’m looking, I’m grasping at any possible plan. I can make up plans with the best of them, so this is cake. Problem is, it’s not the right plan.

No, it doesn’t hurt to act. God wants us to act, but not to act in fear. How many times are we commanded in the Bible, “Do not be afraid?” Not urged or invited, but commanded.

Are my fears bigger than God? I’ve certainly been acting like they are. But we read, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” Trust in me, he tells us. Come to me, he tells us. My burden is light, he tells us. Cast your anxiety on me, he tells us.

So, what am I waiting for? What are you waiting for? What am I so afraid of?

Who’s In Control Anyway?

Clinton, Trump pick up big winsLast night, as I sat in my chair listening to the news on the television in the other room, I opened my Bible to 1 Kings. The kingship of Israel was a tumultuous position. David was a man after God’s own heart despite his flaws. Solomon was the wisest man to live despite his affinity for foreign women. Rehoboam exploited his people and threatened to be more harsh than his father had been.

And on and on the story goes. While there were some bright spots here and there for Israel, there were far more duds.

And you know what? God was still in control. Just because the kings weren’t obedient didn’t change the fact that God was still there.

When he was writing to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul told them, “…for there is no authority except that which God established.” Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrases it by saying, “All governments are under God.”

The thing is, I don’t think that the Church has been doing a really good job in the past days of really believing this and living as if it was true. I think we’ve been driven by fear. I think we’ve believed that the president of a democracy has the power to somehow seize control of that democracy and make it a dictatorship.

It’s hard to think about evil rulers without considering King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. When the Hebrew young men who were in exile refused to worship the image of gold that the king had set up, Nebuchadnezzar was furious and threatened to cast them in the fiery furnace.

I love the way that the young men responded to the king. They said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

I think that their response is such a foreign one to the ears of so many of us who consider ourselves western evangelicals. God is for us, right? Who could possibly be against us? The United States is a Christian nation, right? God has shed his grace on us, right?

Jesus spoke often about how those of us who follow him would experience persecution. As many times as I’ve read the Bible, I’ve still failed to find the section that talks about how following Jesus sets me up for health, wealth, power, and comfortable living. Maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong place, but I don’t think so.

I’ve not been thrilled coming into yesterday’s election. To be honest, I didn’t vote for either of the party nominations. In good conscience, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. But I’ve got friends who voted for both candidates, and I still consider them my friends today. I’m not judging them, I’m not angry with them, I still love them.

Yesterday was an election, and going into that election, I don’t think that the Church has done a very good job of exhibiting our confidence in a sovereign God. I think some of us have been led by fear. I think some of us have been led by anger. I think some of us have let our imaginations get the best of us after having read too many apocalypse novels.

I truly believe that this is just the beginning of a season of opportunity for all of those who believe in the sovereignty of God, all of those who consider ourselves to be faithful followers of Christ. People will be looking at us to see how we respond, not so much when we agree with the powers and authorities over us, but more when we don’t agree. We’ve not always done a good job in the last eight years of modeling a Christ-like attitude in following our president, will we continue in that vein for the next four years?

If I could have gone back and lived yesterday again, I think I might have made a pin or sticker for myself that said, “I’m with Paul” because Paul’s words still ring true today, “…for there is no authority except that which God established.” They were true back then and they still hold true today.

So, I’m going to do my best to let this be an opportunity for me to shine Christ in the midst of it all. I want my children to see that when I say that I believe in the sovereignty of God, that I mean it. I want my children to see that when their dad gets up and preaches about trusting in God, that he means it. I want my children to see that authority is still authority, regardless of whether I agree with that authority. While I won’t go against anything that God speaks against, I see this upcoming season ahead as a crucial time for the Church to be an example of what it really means to believe in the sovereignty of God.

#ImwithPaul

The Value of Relationships

Today is the last day of my trip. The end of a journey. For the last three and a half weeks, my family and I have been traveling across the United States. Richmond to Los Angeles and back again. Today, we finally arrive back home.

We’ve squeezed an awful lot into those 24 days. National parks. Baseball games. Reunions with friends. While we’ve been able to do an awful lot, there have been plenty of things that we just haven’t been able to do. There’s only a certain amount of time in a day and as much as you can try to stretch it, you just can’t do everything.

As we’ve been making our way back east towards home, we’ve had the privilege of staying with three of my closest friends from my time in seminary. On the way out, we connected with some family members and some dear friends of my wife’s from her college days.

In the midst of this valuable time, two things have stood out to me.

First of all, the structure of our trip, seeing all the sights that we could see and ending at a much more manageable pace with relationships at the heart of the final days, has been perfect. I can’t think of a better way to spend these last days as we inch our way towards home than to engage in meaningful conversations with some of the people that I love and respect the most.

All of these friends of mine are spread out across the Midwest. South Dakota. Iowa. Ohio. One friend, who we were not able to see, lives in Singapore. Needless to say, we don’t get to see each other very often. While two of the three that I saw were at our seminary graduation a few years ago and one of the three was officially ordained into ministry two years ago, we all have not really spent time together in years.

The second thing that stood out to me was the importance of these relationships. The nature of life is that it just doesn’t slow down. I’ve spent a lot of time during my three month sabbatical considering that truth and its implications. In the midst of schedules, families, crises, and all the things that life throws at us, we make time for the things that are important to us, but even the things that are important to us can have a tendency to fall by the wayside as the things that are directly present before us invade and overtake us like kudzu on trees in the southland.

As I ramp up to dive back into the fray of ministry after three months away, I can’t think of a more fitting preparation for my reentry than to spend time with these friends and their families. One of the things that I valued most about my time in seminary was time spent with these friends outside of the classroom. Sure, we learned a lot within the classroom, but the nature of the program that we went through was that all of us were in ministry and doing ministry while we were getting our degrees. The ability to share about what was happening and the things that we were learning along the way was invaluable.

I am grateful for all of the people that God has placed along my path. I’m especially grateful to these guys that I’ve had the privilege of spending time with over the last few days. I’m not sure when we will have the chance to connect again, but I sure hope it’s soon. Relationships are a much more precious commodity than we can often treat them, I’ve got to make sure that they become a priority. Spending quality time with trusted and respected friends is worth the effort and sacrifice that we make in order for it to happen. The benefits that we will reap from time spent are incalculable, especially when we consider the alternative and just what we might miss out on.

Faith and Fear

faith and fearI’ve been going through a particularly stressful situation lately and I’ve felt my blood pressure rising with my anxiety. In the midst of it all, I’ve been intentional about carving out time to seek the wisdom of God and to meditate and pray.

The other day, while I was driving, I remembered a verse that had struck me which I had memorized while our church was going through a study of the book of 1st John in the Bible. The verse is 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” It was as if that verse had just been implanted in my brain and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Within just a few short hours, I encountered two additional references to that very same verse, one in a phone conversation with a friend and church member whose small group had discussed the verse during their study the night before, the other from a friend on social media who mentioned that Bono, the lead singer for the band U2, had quoted it during the band’s concert in Paris the night before.

As I went throughout the day, continuing rolling the words of the verse over in my head, I made it part of my prayer and I eventually encountered it again as my brother-in-law shared it on social media as well.

Now, I have a tendency to be stubborn and sometimes thick headed, but not so much so that I would miss a message that was being given to me over and over again, especially all within the same day. I felt like there was a reason why that verse had come to my mind and that was just confirmed when it was mentioned no less than three more times as I went through the day.

When we come to decisions, situations, or crises in our lives, we have a choice in our decision making. We can either choose to be led by faith or led by fear. That was the truth that seemed to strike me between the eyes as I pondered and meditated on that verse the other day.

As I thought more about it, I thought that the leap from faith to fear doesn’t seem to be so large. Somehow, it seems so much easier for me to make that leap, almost effortless. On the other hand, the leap from fear to faith can sometimes feel like a leap from the earth to the moon, it feels like it’s the longest distance that I’ve ever traversed in my life.

But God…

That’s a phrase that we see in the Bible repeated numerous times, and I think it applies here. We often may find ourselves leaping from faith to fear and needing to find our way back to faith again, but God reminds us that he is love, he is not fear. While there is a way for us to think about God in a fearful way, that is more of a reverential approach rather than a trembling and cowering approach, especially when we’re being obedient to him.

There is no fear in love because perfect love casts our fear. People use fear to punish, to control, to manipulate, and to push. Fear has nothing to do with God and those of us who use fear as a means for getting our way as well as those of us who embrace fear as a way of life need to find ways to make that leap back to faith.

Over and over again, as I’ve been ruminating on this verse, I’ve realized how easily I can fall into the fear-filled trap rather than living in the faith-filled moments. God calls us to live lives full of faith, it’s the essence of who we are as we follow Christ. We are not called to be led by fear.

In the midst of a world that has a lot of scary things, it doesn’t mean that we don’t concern ourselves with those things, it just means that we still trust that our faith isn’t in those things and the people behind those things, our faith is in the One who is the very definition of love, perfect love. We do not fear because HE is with us. We pray, we fight, we move, we stumble, but our faith is not based on any of the things that WE control.

As we journey through a fear-filled world, may we find hope, peace, joy, and perfect love for the journey.

Daddy

2015-09-21 12.20.48We’re in the thick of Fall birthday season at my house. With the exception of me, the other four immediate members of my family have birthdays within a three and a half week time span. It makes for a fairly harried Fall season when you also factor in back to school, Fall activities, and church activities.

Of course, when you have multiple children, you begin to learn some lessons the first and second time around so that by the time you get to the third time, you’ve stockpiled some tips and wisdom, enough to help you through.

My wife and I learned after the first two kids that pre-school birthday parties can easily be described as “herding cats.” If there’s ever a time for someone to spike the punch bowl, it’s probably the one that the parents are drinking from at a pre-school birthday party.

To be honest, my wife is the one who drives this train, I’m just along for the ride. That’s mostly because she knows what she’s doing, or at least gives the illusion that she does. She finds ways to make things simpler and I simply stand in awe of how she manages to pull all of these ideas together to actually make birthday parties…..dare I say…..fun?!?

We celebrated my daughter’s birthday party the other day and my wife had the brilliant idea of having it at the playground in our neighborhood right after pre-school. We ordered some pizzas, she made cupcakes, we prayed that the rain would hold off just long enough, and then we jumped in.

Early in the party, my daughter and her friends (there were only four others, because we’re just a little crazy, not stupid) decided that they wanted to play on the monkey bars.

Now, we’ve already endured one cast on a broken arm for our middle child and I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of having to endure my little princess/drama queen with a cast. So, I ran over to the monkey bars to help my daughter across.

As I grabbed her legs and let her grab onto the bars above, she said to her friends, “Look! My daddy won’t let me go, he’ll hold on to me!”

I stopped in my tracks for a second as I thought about that for a moment…..

What incredible trust!

She had full confidence that I wouldn’t let her go, that I wouldn’t drop her.

At that moment, I kind of panicked and thought to myself, “That’s an awful lot of pressure to endure.” But I kept holding on and avoided any disaster. One of her friends even trusted me enough to let me do the same for him.

I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 18 when he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

I stopped in my tracks because I wondered how recklessly I trusted my Father. I wondered how often I had put myself so fully and wholly into his hands and trusted that he had me. I wondered how childlike I was and had been in my faith and trust.

What a lesson for me, to be trusted and to learn to trust. I don’t think I’ll ever look at monkey bars the same way again!

Cheaters Never Win?

patriots deflated ballsThere are two things in my life that I’ve really never been able to stomach very well: bullies and cheaters.

I was a bigger kid when I was younger, so I didn’t get bullied around very much, but I bore witness to bullying here and there. I was generally the kid who would befriend the kid who was being bullied. I just never liked to see kids who were a little different get bullied by other kids. Occasionally, I was made fun of for something or other like my clothes or my hair or my ears. I just tried to never let it get to me.

As far removed as I am from my childhood, it hasn’t changed my view of bullies. In fact, I think God’s taught me an awful lot about the need to find out the back story of someone before I really think I can understand why they are as they are and why they do what they do.

Cheaters are a different story and before I come across sounding “holier than thou” let me say that I am not without sin in this case. Although I can only count the times on one hand, there have been times when I have cheated. So, my frustration with cheaters could be a frustration at myself for those times.

But the cheating that I am talking about now pertains to sports.

In light of the recent allegations and investigations into the New England Patriots, I’m feeling incredibly conflicted. As a New England boy, I’ve rooted for the Patriots for a number of years. I haven’t been a fair-weather fan, liking them only when they play well. So, it troubles me greatly that their success might be attributed in any way at all with cheating.

Let’s face it, when you rise above others, you will have haters. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve done something wrong. You may be doing everything above board and be completely above reproach and still garner your fair share of haters, but that knowledge should drive you to operate even more in zone of “above reproach.”

More and more news will be shared in the days to come about what the finding of the NFL investigation into the Patriots’ deflated balls in this past Sunday’s 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. But it’s frustrating to think that a team that you root for, YOUR team broke the rules.

No, it’s nothing new. During baseball season the headlines will inevitably break to another player using illegal substances to their advantage. Even in the world of NASCAR, there are stories of alterations to cars to make them more aerodynamically efficient in order to win. When it comes to sports, it seems that the rules were meant to be stretched, at best, and broken, at worst.

But why? Why has this become the norm?

Yes, we talk about cheating in sports here, but it extends so much further than this. When President Obama was elected and the names of his potential cabinet members were made public, conservatives everywhere were crying “foul” because of the numbers of them who had not paid taxes in years. Of course, what would have happened had those same conservatives been questioned about their own taxes.

It’s a frustrating world when everywhere you look you see cheaters. Sports. Politics. Education. Everywhere.

But we need to live differently. We need to be different. We need to be the exception to the rule. We need to live above reproach. We need to do our best to not all into the flow of the stream.

All of this news of deflated balls sours my mood towards the Super Bowl. How do I root for a team that breaks the rules? Can I, in good conscience, still root for them? Like any other kind of cheating, there’s a breach of trust that takes place. No matter how far you come from an incident, there will always be that doubt in the back of your mind that says, “They’ve done it before, are they doing it again?”

I’ve got to spend some time thinking and doing some soul-searching about this. No one’s perfect, no one is immune to the temptations of this world. But giving in to those temptations is another story all together. Right now, I can only change myself and I need to make sure that I don’t cheat. What to do with the cheaters that I’ve been rooting for is something I’ll think long and hard about.

While I get the idea of the old adage that “Cheaters never win,” it seems that the Patriots have proven that the contrary may be true.

Trust the Process?

broken-process1I’ll be honest, I’m a cynic. I don’t trust easily because I’ve been burned before. I am a firm believer in the fact that our past experiences dictate our responses to the things that we face. When we have faced situations where we’ve been hurt by others or where we have trusted others and they have disappointed us, we all have a tendency to be somewhat skittish about jumping into things head first the next time around.

Throughout my adult life, I have seen different processes that were put in place to protect or to ensure that outcomes would not be skewed. Some of those processes have been political processes. Some of those processes have been within educational systems. Some of those processes have been within the church.

Over and over again, I was told to trust the process. The processes were put into place by people smarter than me (at least, that’s what I’m told). The processes were supposed to be foolproof. Is that really possible? If a process is put into place by fools, can it really be foolproof?

I watched my dad fall victim to a process that was faulty and fallible. I watched friends as they were burned within systems that were ruled and governed by processes. I have watched processes be manipulated by people who had agendas, somehow skewing the processes to result in their desired results.

The other day, I was reminded of a process that was supposed to be trusted. It was a process that was supposed to flesh out truth. Over and over again, people said to trust the process, but as the process went on, many realized that the process wasn’t the problem, it was the people who had put the process into place. Processes may be trusted when they are static and unchanging or when the rules of that process are defined and maintained. But in this process, the rules were changing and many of them were undefined or fluid. How does one operate in a system where the rules continue to change and where they are constantly in motion and fluid?

It was amazing how I could feel the tension rise within me as I answered questions about a process with which I had been involved nearly two years ago. I always find that somewhat startling, how one can be removed from something for a long period of time only to be ushered right back to that moment when something suddenly triggers your memory.

Processes are only as good as the people behind them. It’s a reminder to me to constantly lean on the wisdom that God gives rather than my own. It’s also a reminder to be praying for all of the people behind processes, be they politicians or judges or pastors or teachers or whomever. We are all fallible people with the ability to subjectively usurp power and steer things to be the way that we want them to be. If we aren’t careful, we can hijack processes that were meant for good and cause people evil.

It’s just a humble reminder where I need to go for guidance and who I need to rely on. If any of us lacks wisdom, we can ask of the Father above who gives generously. He knows how much I need that.

I Doubt It

Anyone who knows me and has spent any significant time with me would not hesitate to label me a “cynic.” While I’m not sure that I would say that I wear the label proudly, I certainly don’t avoid or evade it either. I am not easily convinced but I would define myself as loyal, once you gain my trust and respect, I will go to the mat for you.

In preparation for a message that I gave this past weekend at my church, I read some statistics from David Kinnaman’s book, “You Lost Me.” As president of the Barna Group, a leading research organization, Kinnaman has focused much on what keeps people from engaging in church. He has written a book with Gabe Lyons about what the younger generations really think about Christianity. In “You Lost Me,” Kinnaman talks about the exodus out of the church of young people in the 18-29 age group who have grown tired of many things that the church does (and doesn’t) offer.

One striking statistic for me was that nearly 40% of young people who were polled for the Barna study admitted a period of significant doubting of their faith during their short life. Kinnaman says that a large number of those that doubted did not feel that their faith community was open to this kind of doubting and even made some feel uncomfortable that they would even entertain thoughts of doubt. To that, I say, “What a shame!”

Whenever I meet someone with an overconfidence and self-assuredness in their beliefs, I am suspicious. I am mostly suspicious as to whether or not his person has experienced any real difficulties in their lives. I wonder if they have really had their faith challenged, questioned, and even tested. While faith challenges can lead to a strengthening of one’s faith, they more often than not will result in a crisis of faith, a questioning and doubting of one’s long held beliefs and philosophies.

I certainly don’t think that doubt is disrespectful to God. After all, if he is sovereign as many Christ followers claim that he is, than this kind of doubt should come as no surprise to him at all. The Bible is full of those who have expressed their doubts, who have questioned even the sovereign hand of God in the midst of their struggles and crises. The psalmist, David, was renowned for expressing his doubt and disbelief, but he always came back to the place where he remembered what God had promised, where he was able to see God’s hand at work on a larger scale than the immediate and current.

It’s no wonder to me that so many young people would be turned off to the idea or notion of church when they suddenly find themselves in a season of “question everything” and the church will have nothing at all to do with it.

My hope and prayer is that the church would be open to skeptics. Jesus met many skeptics, but he never left them where they were, he always brought them along, invited the along on the journey. I hope that the church can do the same thing and invite others into the journey and dialogue, allowing for healthy doubt and wrestling. There are so many people that I know who would have benefited from such an environment and I hope and pray that I can be part of something that can create that kind of culture and atmosphere.

 

Let Your Yes Be Yes

Like what seems to be half of the country (at least) my family was waiting for our copy of the latest Disney animated movie to arrive at our house today.  Having pre-ordered it, we had been guaranteed that it would arrive at our house on the release date.  In fact, one of the reasons that I had ordered online was that I was guaranteed a delivery date of the release date.

My five year old was counting down the days by the end of last week.  Every day, he would ask how many more days it was until we would get our movie.  The excitement was building and when the day finally arrived, he would run to the door any time he thought he heard a truck pass by.  Dinner time came and still no package.  I had to run off to a rehearsal, and the package was still not there.  Finally, during my rehearsal, I got a text from my wife telling me that I had a heartbroken boy at home because the movie had not arrived.

I was determined to do something at that point.  When I finally arrived home, I looked through my emails from the online retailer to find that the confirmation email that I had received for the order said that I had a “Guaranteed Delivery Date.”  Well, that seemed odd to me.  Usually, when something is guaranteed, there is something to back it up.  With technology being as it is today, I decided to chat with someone from the retailer online.

After getting nowhere with the initial representative, I asked for a supervisor.  I was not getting the answers that I was looking for.  In fact, I asked the representative multiple times why this retailer would send out an email with a “Guaranteed Delivery Date” listed and then not fulfill that guarantee.  Instead, I continued to get excuses as to why the package hadn’t arrived.

Now, before you accuse me of being a completely arrogant and spoiled brat, let me explain my real issue.  It wasn’t so much that the package hadn’t come, packages come late all the time.  My frustration was that I had ordered something with a “guarantee” on it and that guarantee was not fulfilled.

I spoke with the supervisor and got the satisfaction that I was looking for and politely offered to her the advice that they might consider rewording their emails with the phrase “Estimated” rather than “Guaranteed.”  Say what you mean, mean what you say.  Don’t make promises you can’t keep.  Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.”

In fact, in the Book of James in the Bible, the writer uses that last phrase.  In James 5:12, the Message paraphrase puts it like this, “And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you.”  Say what you mean, mean what you say.

It’s a valuable lesson for me to learn.  Do I make promises that I can’t keep?  Worse than that, do I make promises that I have no intention of keeping?  Do I make unreasonable promises?  Words are powerful tools and our words tell a lot about us.  If we flippantly make promises that we can’t keep, what will happen to our reputation, our sense of integrity?  Will people be able to trust what we say if we consistently make promises that are never fulfilled?

I strive to be a man of my word, but I need to be kept in check.  I need people around me to hold me accountable, making sure that I really am who I think that I am and say that I am.  This online retailer came through for me with compensation for their broken guarantee.  I wonder how many times I come through for people when I don’t keep my word.  Sometimes, all it takes is an acknowledgement that we dropped the ball, and that’s enough.  I would have been satisfied with less than what this retailer had given me but I did feel it was important for them to clarify their words in the future.

Take that to heart.  How do you use your words?  What kind of promises do you make?  How well do you keep those promises?  This whole thing gives me cause to stop and think the next time that I am making a promise to someone.  Is my word my bond or am I just filling the air with empty promises?