Taking on Giants


How to take down the giants in life is not common sense. It really isn’t. If it were, we would all be living our best life. There would be noNo condemnation there – just a fact.

Most days I give up before I start. I have already told myself that today is not the day. Tackle that mountain? Nope, not today.

How many of us have that as our attitude towards the goals we set in life? In his interview with Hailie Deegan, Jeff Haden talks about this very issue.

one of the most common reasons people give up on their goals is the distance between here, where they are today, and there, where they someday hope to be…That’s why so many people give up on huge goals: They don’t feel they can bridge the gap between here and there.

It can’t be the here and there that stops people. It’s the fear that is attached to getting there when all they can see is the here. The layers of the fear. The fear of making a mistake. The fear of looking foolish. The fear of not being able to do it. The fear of others’ opinion.

Which is why so many people fail because they allow the fear to overcome them before they even start.

How can we overcome this fear? Here are seven tips I have learned in this past year:

  1. Take captive every thought. When fear or doubt about the here and there creeps in, as it will do every day (sometimes many times a day), don’t entertain it. As one friend says “Don’t let it land.” Every person who has found success in the big and the small has had to stop the barrage of negative thoughts ready to take them out.
  2. Acknowledge that you are not the only one who struggles with this tendency. That can be a powerful tool if we see that if others go through it and overcome, then I can too.
  3. Find your tribe. Find those people in your life that naturally elevate your thinking. Whether they cause you to think big, live big, reach far or keep your head above the weeds, find your tribe. Their influence in your life can be stronger than any negative thought that tries to land. They will be there to check in periodically, encourage you, ask you great questions, and speak to the giants in your life.
  4. Read, research, surround yourself in the thought culture that aligns with your goals. If you want to become an excellent cook, you have to follow the learnings of those who went before you. I’d suggest you follow people on various stages of the journey. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube can all be helpful in research and spectrum thinking. Following beginners, intermediates and SMEs (Subject Matter Experts), can help you with keys to success along your journey. The beginners are particularly helpful because they are your comrades, your brothers-in-arms, as you step out. Buy books, watch Ted talks – anything that helps you align your thinking.
  5. Meditate, pray, journal. Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed in the middle of the night or having a mini-panic attack during the day where you have made a mountain out of a molehill? It’s when you rehearse again and again all that needs to be accomplished, all the reasons why you can’t or won’t be able to reach your goal. In those times, worry has become the meditation of your heart. To journal, pray or intentionally settling your thoughts can have a profound quieting effect on those mountains. By naming the mountain, naming the panic, we can minimize its power, and it shrinks back to being a molehill. That’s why some experts recommend you keep a notepad on your side table at night, so you can write down those “to dos” or things your prone to struggle with. They say that by writing them down, you effectively lay them to rest, so you can rest your mind.
  6. Simplify your life to make room for the things you want. A friend of mine once used the analogy of Lego blocks when discussing relationship. If you picture your available time as those raised circles on a Lego piece, you only have a finite number of connections you can make to those in your life. This can be said too of your time to complete tasks. If you are spending most of your time on tasks that detract from your goals, then simplify your tasks. For some, it might be reducing your meetings out, or reducing your activities (or your children’s activities). For others, it might be reducing your possessions (less possessions have been proven to increase free time and creativity). Whatever it is, evaluate your life and begin to simplify. Learn to say no to the things that keep you from saying yes to the things you want to accomplish. It will be hard at first – deconditioning is reprogramming your mind – but with regular baby steps of simplifying, the tide will turn.
  7. Similar to finding your tribe, find a select few who you invite into your accountability. They will be more closely aligned to you than your tribe. They will have access to you, and will likely have strengths that you don’t have. I would recommend you read Who’s in Your Personal Boardroom by King and Scott. A very helpful resource, challenging us to be intentional with our relationships.

This is not an exhaustive list of tips. There are so many articles that speak of productivity and goal setting. This will probably not be my last article about it either.

What tips do you have for me?

It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.

Edmund Hillary


Discipleship 101

“Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future lies before those who love peace.”

Psalm 38.37, NLT

#uncommonways #discipleship #parenting #relationships

#followtheleader #uncommonways #discipleship

Getting married or having children can be daunting to consider all the things we don’t know. There were many times Ali and I could have been overwhelmed at the prospects of what to do. What if we make mistakes? What if we are absolutely clueless on what to do? We began to talk, even before we were married, about what kind of life we wanted to build. But, how were we going to learn how to do it? Our parents had taught us things, but there was so much more to learn.

So, one of the first things Ali and I did when we spoke about our relationship was finding people – couples and families – that emulated what we wanted in our home.

We spent a great deal of time watching – observing families and couples to see how they interacted, how they showed love to each other. Not only how they loved their kids, but how their kids loved them back.

As we saw what they were like in private and in public, we began to describe what we saw. We found this the best way to determine what hallmarks we wanted for our family.

Discipleship can be as simple as that – making yourself known to others in authenticity and vulnerability, allowing others to learn from your successes and mistakes. And, for those who want to be discipled – the best way to be discipled is to offer to serve those who can disciple you. Run with those who are running because if you want them to stop running to take time with you, then you aren’t seeing them in action.


In the eye of the beholder

The fear of success can be a struggle as real as the fear of failure.

Take me, for instance. In writing, with the intent to publish, I am effectively throwing out my ideas and thoughts to not only those that know me but those who have no idea who I am.

So, what if my writing funds great success. What if my writings reach more than a few hundred people who know me and love me and are willing to humour my musings.

What if it reaches thousands and friends refer it to friends? And what if those people come to my church and meet me and listen to me. This is where the fear of success comes in:

What if people don’t like the real me? What if they think I was actually disingenuous in my writings after they see the real me? Would they want their money back? Would they write reports of how I’m not actually the person I purported to be?

My fear is that people will think I’m a poser, an imposter, and won’t like the “real” me. What if they think I’m not worth all the hullaballoo?

But do you know what God’s response is to me? Love yourself. How about you take the perspective that you are made worthy by me of the success? How can you hope to love others through your writing if you can’t live yourself.

And so I write. To not is to no one’s benefit. But to write means I believe that old saying that “God don’t make no junk.”

Above Reproach


above (or beyond) reproach

Such that no criticism can be made; perfect: his integrity is beyond reproach
In the circles I travel in, this phrase “Above Reproach” is often referred to when discussing propriety in pastoral care. It references the fine line between getting yourself into a situation where others may question, or perhaps even accuse you of unethical or immoral behaviour.
But I am finding I want to concern myself less with what I should be avoiding in favour of what I should be pursuing. If I am always concerned about being above reproach in my relationships and my thought-life, then I am focusing on what could potentially go wrong or what appearance I might have, and it might paralyze me from taking action.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for being appropriate and above board – but rather than worrying if I’m escaping the fires of hell licking my heels, I’d rather be reaching forward to the pursuit of being the best person I can be with the talents and skills God has given me.
How much more fulfilling is it to fill my thoughts with the what if’s of success than the what if’s of failure. One perspective has me continually looking over my shoulder for my accusers, whilst the other has me pressing forward looking for fellow pursuers of excellence.
What if we changed Above Reproach from being a negative to a positive. What if being above reproach was an exciting dynamic of “Look over here, world – God’s doing something amazing. You’ll want to see this!” rather than “Don’t look my way in case I’ve crossed a boundary I shouldn’t have crossed.
Keeping your eye on the pursuit of excellence is a pursuit worthy of my time.

Excellence reveals

Good human work honors God’s work. Good work uses no thing without respect, both for what it is in itself and for its origin. It uses neither tool nor material that it does not respect and that it does not love. It honors nature as a great mystery and power, as an indispensable teacher, and as the inescapable judge of all work of human hands. It does not dissociate life and work, or pleasure and work, or love and work, or usefulness and beauty. To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for. This is blasphemy: to make shoddy work of the work of God. But such blasphemy is not possible when the entire Creation is understood as holy and when the works of God are understood as embodying and thus revealing His spirit. (pg. 312, Christianity and the Survival of Creation)

― Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays