Yea. I Think Gladwell is Wrong in David and Goliath

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David-and-Goliath_Malcolm-Gladwell

Malcom Gladwell just released a new and soon to be popular book, David and Goliath. Here is what is being said already:

“In the tradition of Gladwell’s previous bestsellers—The Tipping Point, Blink,
Outliers and What the Dog Saw—David and Goliath draws upon history,
psychology, and powerful storytelling to reshape the way
we think of the world around us.”

Gladwell’s ideas are shaping a lot of people. This book along with its main idea was just given out to around 13,000 ‘Christian’ leaders at the recent Catalyst conference, therefore, I feel it could use a good examination.

First, I think that Gladwell is a great writer. He wouldn’t be writing for the New Yorker if he was a bad writer or a bad researcher. He asks great questions and I enjoy his books and ideas. He is smart. He pushes many to think and that is a great thing.

The big idea behind his latest book and main selling point for it is the story from the Bible about David defeating the warrior Goliath. But this story isn’t being portrayed in the typical fashion that both Christians and non-Christians are used to. For centuries, people have interpreted that David, the lowly shepherd boy with a huge amount of courage, takes down the big giant, Goliath. It is commonly used to describe any relationship or competition involving the big and strong versus the little and weak. However, Gladwell argues that Goliath was actually the weaker person in the match against David. What he is attempting to convey is that David actually had the upper hand. He argues that David had all the skills to defeat a giant that actually was dumb and blind. After listening carefully to Gladwell’s TED talk and then reading the story in the Bible, I have arrived at a different conclusion. Unlike David’s Stone, I think Gladwell’s new idea on David and Goliath severely misses the mark.  But this is not because of who was strong and who was weak.

Gladwell argues that throughout history, everyone has always said that Goliath was the stronger opponent, yet David was skilled in sling throwing and knew that he, in fact, was better than the giant. Gladwell urges anyone who feels that they are weaker, misfit or outcast to rethink their abilities and realize that they might actually be strengths. Likewise, he encourages a closer look at the giants in our lives to find that they have more weaknesses upon closer investigation. Now these points are not necessarily bad. There are many people who have incredible gifts and talents but don’t believe in themselves. It is good to remind them to believe in themselves. However, as we encourage people to be confident and reach their full potential we have to tread carefully.

Here’s why.

There is a very real aspect of the story of David and Goliath that Gladwell does not mention. At all. It is found nowhere in his talks or in his book.

The role of God.

Yet the Bible makes sure to point it out. It is pointed out very clearly.

The story of David and Goliath takes place in 1 Samuel 17. In verse 37, as David is explaining to King Saul why he can go fight Goliath, here is what he says:

The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and
the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul then replies to David.

“Go, and the Lord be with you.”

These aren’t figures of speech. These guys knew that God was with them.

Now, do people have giant problems and need inspiration? Absolutely.
Should people work hard and fight against all odds in anything they do? Yes.
Do people need inspiration and someone to cheer us on? Totally.

However, the argument in Gladwell’s interpretation of this story is that David was stronger and that he did the work. He argues that David defeated Goliath.  On his own.  He argues that he was actually better than Goliath (which depending on your point of view could true but is beside my point).  Therefore, Gladwell argues that any “underdogs” should recognize that they have the strength, skills and smarts within them to defeat the giants in their lives.

This concept is not necessarily a bad thing at all.  Who doesn’t want to be told that they have hidden strengths, or that they can do something great?  This concept, although good, can lead to very dangerous territory for the Christian. This concept can lead to humanism. Humanism may sound harmless, and even good, but it is not. It is woven into many inspirational stories throughout the ages that seem great. This is why Christians must be very careful.

I am convinced that the greatest threat to the Gospel of Jesus is humanism. Humanism says that we can become great on our own and achieve righteousness. It says that deep inside the human spirit is the answer. What makes this threat even more potent is that this concept is permeating Christianity in very real ways. It weaves itself into our greatest endeavors even as we work to make ourselves better and spread God’s love. We are motived to do great things for God. We want to feed the poor, to rescue the captives, to give water to the thirsty. All great things!  But what if all the while we are working for God but really only wanting to make our name, our brand, or our organization great?  Or what if it is to prove ourselves worthy?

Lets say we did it. We fed everyone. No-one was thirsty. What then? Would we then look at ourselves and pat ourselves on the back? Would we look at our own achievements and marvel at our greatness? It seems a bit absurd and easy to dismiss in such basic sentences, but has this not become our attitude? The reason people are so enamored with Gladwell’s new idea is reason enough. We are concerned more about our glory then God’s. We are concerned with making ourselves worthy.  Both attitudes are evil.

Consider another Biblical story in Genesis 11.

Here, the people of the city of Shinar look at each other and want to build themselves a city, to make something awesome.

“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city,
with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that
we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise
we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’”

And look what happened.

“So the Lord scattered them from there over all
the earth, and they stopped building the city.
That is why it was called Babel—because there the
Lord confused the language of the whole world.
From there the Lord scattered them over
the face of the whole earth.”

God scattered them.

Realize that God is not threatened by our ability. He looks down upon humanity and sees that the people are going to make something awesome and are going to start worshipping themselves. God says that is not okay. God is concerned about His glory. Not yours. Not mine. God is the main character of the story of mankind. We are not. God owns all the silver and all the gold. (Haggai 2:8)

Gladwell misses this cornerstone fact in his evaluation of David and Goliath. Yes, David was smart. He was good looking. He was weathered and ruddy and experienced. However, it is clear that David knows that God is the one who gave Him victory. God defeated Goliath. God allowed David to train as he watched the sheep. God allowed David the opportunity to face Goliath. God allowed the stone to bring the giant down.

If we are going to be in fellowship with God, we have to recognize that we bring nothing. Stop right there with your strength tests and your skill sets. We bring nothing. We must remember this, especially when we aspire to be better and do great things. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do great things in our lives or for God. But we cannot neglect this truth. Self help is not bad until it replaces God. God is the main character. God is the most important. He will share His glory with no one else. (Isaiah 42:8)

The other day I heard a great song by Matt Maher that goes along perfectly with what I am trying to say.  Here are a few of the lyrics:

“Lord, I Need You”

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

 

Is the attitude of this song true in our lives or deep down do we think that we have what it takes on our own without God?

Have you become a “christian humanist”?

 

The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and
the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

 

Volunteer Teams: How I’m Learning to Build Them

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team

Working at Pine Cove, I get to be involved in a lot of different teams. And I have learned over the years (mostly the hard way) that building a team needs be a huge priority if you are going to accomplish big things. I have also discovered that it is easier to build teams with people who work for me and with me than those that don’t. The people who work for me and with me are easy to find. They are around frequently and can I can arrange a meeting with them fairly easily. They are also [for the most part] bought in and believe in the mission of Pine Cove because they have chosen to work here.  These people make great team members.

However, there is a large group of other people that can also be on my team: volunteers. And for some reason I have neglected building teams of volunteers for a long time. I think it is because I just never thought it was possible. “Who would want to join in and help and not get paid?” I thought. And I have recently realized that I am missing out on huge possibilities. I am currently leading a recruiting effort at one of our biggest colleges that we recruit from and have been forced over the years to work with a lot of volunteers in this process. Much of our recruiting success comes from having our former college staff volunteer their time and effort to help us. It will be from this context that I am drawing most of my lessons. Here are a few things I have learned about creating strong volunteer teams. Especially with those who are in college! 🙂

1. Initiate!
You have to start. There is no other way around it. No one is going to knock on your door. You need to walk out of it. Especially with college students, you must be the first to start the conversation. If you don’t reach out, you are out of sight and out of mind!

2. Teach the why.
Remind the group why you are doing what you are doing. Often. Tell them about your passion and about the mission. In this particular case, we are trying to find and interview 400 Texas A&M college students this week to apply and interview to work at Pine Cove for next summer. We need to find and meet great staff! I need to explain the big picture. I need to talk about how God used Pine Cove to transform my life and how He is using so many others to do the same.  I need to get them to share about their experiences and why they might be passionate about the mission. You share the why, and even better, get them to share the why with each other.

3. Develop unity.
This is something that I missed early on and still forget. I need to create space to develop unity in teams, especially in volunteer teams. For my college volunteer team here at A&M, they are made up of staff from all of our different camps within Pine Cove. This means that they may not know each other. When they think of having a meeting with me and a group of other people they do not know, they will be more hesitant than if they know the group and feel comfortable with each other. Have an event early on (bowling, mini golf, scavenger hunt, etc.) that gives them an experience and time to build friendships. The next time you call a meeting, they will be much more inclined to attend.

4. Create value.
Ask yourself: If I was a potential volunteer, what would it take to get me to be a part? Why would I do this? Really think through these things. It is amazing how that will bring a lot of clarity. Especially for college students, you are competing agains hundreds of other options that they have. Usually the loudest voice wins in their lives right now. Why is it appealing to be a part of your volunteer team? Maybe it is that special event that you facilitate. Maybe it is an exclusive item like a t-shirt that you give them. Maybe it is just good time with you to learn and grow. Really think through this and ask yourself what type of value will they get out of this. This also helps you steer clear of using them for an end goal, but to really bless them for their volunteer work!

5. Encourage accountability.
You can not hold your volunteers accountable. If your volunteer team begins to buy in and care, they will hold each other accountable. Create smaller “teams” of a few people who need each other and will talk to each other more frequently and challenge one another.

6. Believe.
Lastly, you need to believe in what you are doing. You cannot go through the motions with this. Use your passion to encourage and inspire others to action. Do no underestimate your ability to get others to jump in and be a part. You are probably more influential than you give yourself credit for.  If you don’t believe, who will?

Are there any other ways that you have found that are effective in building strong volunteer teams?

5 Quick Ways to Get More Time

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“A discretionary hour can be wisely invested or foolishly wasted. Each moment of the day is a gift from God that deserves care, for by any measure, our time is short and the work is great.”

 J. Oswald Sanders

1. You are not a victim.
“Each of us has as much time as anyone else. The president of the United States has the same twenty-four hours as we. Others may surpass our abilities, influence, or money, but no one has more time.” [J. Oswald Sanders (2007). Spiritual Leadership]

Think about that. You have the same 24 hours as the president of the United States. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of your own time. It is YOUR time. It is NO ONE ELSE’S. “But I have so much to do!” Well, who chose to do those things? Stop and realize that just like money, time is spent, and you are deciding where to spend it. Start thinking about that now.

2. Do a Time Audit.
Take a few minutes and evaluate your week. Really evaluate it. Start with what amount of time you spend at work, then sleep. Start filling in the gaps with all that extra time. Hobbies. Involvements. Volunteering. TV. Aimless time. This will open your eyes to where you are actually spending your time and help you realize the large amount of time you are wasting.

3. Plan!!
After doing time check on yourself, now you can plan. Again, start with what you need to do (work, sleep, exercise, school) and then fill in around it. You might have to say no to certain things. Once you get a basic framework down for your week/month, you will also want to plan for the detailed segments of your schedule. For example, if you plan in your week to go to the gym but don’t have a plan for when you are there, you will easily become aimless. Same with work. Plan your days well. Be careful to not be too strict. It is ok to deviate from the plan, but better to move from it then have no plan at all.

4. Learn to Say No.
If we are trying to be good people, we feel we must say yes to everything or we are wrong. But we just have to say no to things. You cannot say yes to everything. You need to have good boundaries. Boundaries are good! When you buy a home and have property, it is good to know where your property ends and your neighbor’s begins. Otherwise you are constantly mowing each other’s yard. Pick up the book “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and eat it up! It talks about this and why boundaries are so important.

5. Manage Interruptions.
We live in the interruption age. Our phones, computers and lifestyles are constantly interrupted. For those of us who have families or roommates, this is an increased issue. I recommend turning off ALL phone notifications. Or strategically putting your phone on airplane mode or do not disturb mode. I have a philosophy “I check my phone. It doesn’t check me.” I have operated for years now with my phone on silent. It is wonderful. I will have a post soon that explains why I do this. … Protect your times with tasks, with people, with reading, etc. Don’t allow interruptions.

Are there any other ways you gain more time?

“Playing Favorites” in Leadership

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A good friend of mine recently asked me how I make time for all of the people that I lead.  She told me that she had heard through others that a particular person indirectly under her care felt like she hadn’t invested in her particularly well and played favorites, so to speak.

My first encouragement to her was, “Welcome to leadership.”

If you lead people, this is an issue that you will undoubtedly face, whether you hear about it or not.  As leaders, who we choose to spend time with and invest in each and every day is a huge dilemma.

Here are 5 ways I try to manage this in my life and leadership:

 1) Expect Criticism

The more out front you are with people, the easier it will be for them to see faults in you, criticize you, and (God forbid) possibly misunderstand you.  Gasp!  One of the best things you can do is prepare for it.  You need to know that it will happen.  Some of it will be right and some of it will be wrong.  Either way, it will come.  Be ready to handle it and even embrace it.  Oswald Sanders points this out in his book, Spiritual Leadership:

“It does not matter what happens to us, but our reaction to what happens to us is vital. You must expect more criticism, for this comes with responsibility. It causes us to walk humbly with God, and to take such action as God desires.” Fred Mitchell in a letter to a young minister. [Phyllis Thompson, Climbing on Track (London: China Inland Mission, 1954), 116.]

Be ready for criticism.  The Bible talks about how the people literally called Jesus the devil before they crucified Him.  If the Savior of the world was misunderstood, how can we not expect the same! Don’t run from criticism or being misunderstood.  Know that it is part of the deal and allow it to keep you humble, whether it is right or wrong.

2) Be Humble, Always Ready To Listen and Change 

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

Jesus gave Himself up for us, even when many called him the devil and completely misunderstood Him.  He is the example we should follow.

And sometimes, criticism is necessary for us to grow and change so that we can continue to imitate God.  Look how Samuel Brengle replied to criticism:

“I thank you for your criticism of my life. It set me to self-examination and heart-searching and prayer, which always leads me into a deeper sense of my utter dependence on Jesus for holiness of heart, and into sweeter fellowship with Him.” Oswald Sanders in Spiritual Leadership, taken from [C. W. Hall, Samuel Logan Brengle (New York: Salvation Army, 1933), 272.]

The key here is to not allow it to get you down.  Rather than be paralyzed, respond in humility, always ready and eager to learn and grow in Christ as a person and as a leader.

3) Playing Favorites Might Be Right 

Wait.  What?!

Sometimes I think it is important to call things what they are.  One of my favorite sayings is: “It is what it is”.  It is strange to me when we get uncomfortable with an idea and try to avoid it.  Let’s say that you are accused of playing favorites.  And what if its true?  Based on how you are doing it, is it really that bad that you might spend more time with someone than others?  Depending on the way you approach this, “playing favorites” just might mean that you spend time with and invest in certain people.  This is why discipleship is so important. As a leader, you must choose who to spend time with.  You can’t spend time with everyone. Consider John 6:

“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.'” John 6:66-69

Jesus picked 12 core disciples.  Not 14.  Not 20.  Not 1,000.  Jesus also left the earth when he was around 33 years old. I would think that he could have stayed on earth teaching and training his disciples and others for a lot longer than that!  However, Jesus’ earthly ministry teaches us something incredibly valuable.  Quality is more important than quantity.

Be ok with choosing to spend time with some and not time with others.  Know that there are only so many hours in a day.  And trust the people that you invest in to invest in others.

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

4)  Be Courageous 

There is no perfect leader.  The critics will remind you of this.  You will often finish a day and feel like a failure.  And that is ok!  Stop trying to be perfect.

“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.” -Theodore Roosevelt

What matters is that you are in the arena and you are being used by God to lead others.  And He is using that arena and both the encouragement (probably little) and the criticism (probably a lot) to shape you and mold you into His likeness!

And at the end of the day, if you are a Christian leader, it is not about our credit!  It is about God’s credit. So when you lay down at night and reflect on your day whether you did right or wrong, remember that God is working, not you. He, in His infinite goodness gets the credit for your successes and He, in His infinite Grace uses your failures for your transformation and His Glory.

5) Keep the Tension

I love it when a leader admits the things like my friend did.  It means that they are wrestling with what is right.  Jesus taught that those that hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed. (Matthew 5) I believe that there are many things in life that must be kept in tension.  Just like driving a car on a road, if you swing too far to the right or left, you error and end up in the ditch.  “But how do I keep this tension?” you might ask.

Galatians 5:16 instructs us to walk by the Spirit.  We need the Spirit of the Living God to help us.  The fact that you are dealing with this means that you are keeping it in tension.  If you think that you have this issue taken care of, then you probably think too much of yourself.  If you think that you are terrible at this, then you think too lowly of yourself.

The idea here is that as leaders, we must be constantly on our knees begging God to help us and guide us in the many decisions we make each day, especially when it comes to people.  The fact that there is no silver bullet answer here is precisely the point!  We need the Spirit to guide us.  May this issue be kept in constant tension in our lives.

 

Do you have any other principles you use in this area?

Laziness and Confusion [Lessons from my Sabbatical]

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About a year ago, our board of directors decided that it would be good for all directors at Pine Cove to take a month long sabbatical after they have served for 5 years.  Since this was my 6th year, my time had come.  The word sabbatical is hard to say, and it is hard to spell.  I have to spell check it every time I write it.  Usually I just write a bunch of letters “sbbbtcall” and hope my computer or iPhone does the rest. But the word comes from the Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, which literally means “ceasing”. Thank wikipedia for this info, not me.  So it is basically just a rest from work, or a hiatus, often lasting for a certain period of time.  I like the term rest.  And “rest” is a lot easier to spell than “sbbbtcall”.

Today mine officially ends.  Here’s what I did, what I learned and what I would change if I ever do it again…

What I Did:

Week 1:  Had a week of recovery/transition from having just gone on a 10 day trip to Argentina.  I was surprised by how much this trip took it out of me this year physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.  I was able to hang out, did a little reading and finished up a few wood working projects that had been on the list.  It was tricky trying to slow down life a bit while also feeling pretty run down.

Week 2: Traveled to Nebraska with my family to visit my wife’s family.  I then headed out west to go on a 3 day solo trip to the mountains to snowboard at Breckenridge and Vail. (Vail won)  I also went “offline” during that time which meant no social media or email at all.  Then came back to Nebraska for some more family time. Probably the highlight of the trip was being introduced to Downton Abbey! We purchased all 3 seasons immediately on our return.

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Week 3: Transitioned back home.  Did odd jobs around the house.  Read.  Did a tiny bit of wood working.  Hung out with family.  And I built Finley a sweet cottage out of cardboard!   My days mostly consisted of enjoying the morning together as a family with coffee and breakfast and reading.  The days were a mixture of play, reading, odd jobs, organizing the house and or working on the yard.  Almost every night was putting Finley to bed, and then enjoying dinner over the next episode of Downton Abbey!  This was the week we also transitioned our 21 month old to her new bed.  That was fun!

Week 4:  Continued much of what week 3 consisted of, but had to take more of an effort to not think/worry about what was coming.  (there is quite a lot for me to do when I get back to my work at Pine Cove, so I had to be careful not to worry too much)

I read:

  • Life After Murder, by Nancy Mullane
  • The Explicit Gospel, by Matt Chandler
  • Lit, by Tony Reinke
  • Andromeda Strain, by Micheal Crichton
  • Desiring God, by John Piper (not finished)
  • The Aquitaine Progression, by Robert Ludlum (not finished)
  • The Bible

 

What I Learned:

I need to know MY values.  I had never thought about it much, but Pine Cove in its mission and in the people I work with are a substantial anchor in my life.  This is a good thing.  But it can also be a massive crutch.  While gone, I had to look in the mirror often and face difficult questions about myself, my beliefs, and my values without taking cues from everyone around me.  Although hard, this was a fantastic experience and much needed for anyone who works in ministry.  At the end of the day, I alone have to ask and answer the deepest questions of my beliefs and values.  No one else.  More on this later, I imagine.

Rest and laziness can be very blurry.  I think this is mainly due to our culture.  I kept having the nagging feeling that I had to have SOMETHING to show for my time off.  I didn’t want to “squander” it so to speak.  If I were to error in life, it would not be towards laziness.  I am a go getter, and I like to accomplish things.  I also like to start things.  Lots of things.  It took a lot of willpower to rest.  And truthfully, it felt like being lazy.  But I had to re-orient my belief system. I had to decide what was rest and what was being lazy and live by it.  For example, I didn’t have to “maximize” every moment in order to avoid laziness.  Now the trick is how to continue this as a way of life.

Confusion is a part of life.  Because I had more time to think, (I am a major thinker/processor along with being a talker), I was confused a lot more.  This had to do with books I was reading, questions I was asking and what I thought I should do certain days.  Since my structure of work was gone, I found it a little unsettling at times, and well, confusing.  But being confused is part of life.  And it can take time for the fog to lift.  The sun doesn’t just shoot up in the sky and eliminate the shadows.

I am an introverted extrovert.  I really enjoyed laying low.  I really enjoyed hanging out with my wife and daughter. I did not once get bored or need to “get out”.  This confirmed that while I enjoy social situations and time with friend and family, I really do like time alone. And I think I like it a bit more.  That is why I phrased it “introverted extrovert”.

Expectations can hurt.  As I prepared for extended time off, it was amazing how I was picturing myself in the weeks to come:  Sitting at a desk C.S. Lewis style every day crafting my new philosophy of life and recording my latest revelations of God.  Taking long walks with my family, having picnics on a quilted blanket and giggling together.  Reading 18 books and feeling so wise.  … Um, yea right.  … We can probably thank movies for this.  Or social media.  It seems that everyone ELSE puts their best foot forward and enjoys life to the fullest.  Not me, it seemed.  I then had to come to terms with MYSELF and who I AM and what the time off really was supposed to be about and forget about the expectations of what it “should” be.  I had to lay the smack down on my expectations and bring myself back to reality.  Yes, I had little moments that I wanted to have, but not nearly what I thought they would be.  And that is ok!  I was able to connect with God, my family and myself as well as rest from work. Trying to control what that should look like is exhausting.

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What I Would have Done Differently:

  1. Don’t Cannonball.  I wouldn’t have jumped in right away.  This time was a timing thing that I couldn’t control, but if I ever do another Sabbatical, I will make sure I am working and being methodical in wrapping things up until it happens.  Because I had a 10 day trip right before, I was unable to delegate everything or feel secure about being gone.  I was also incredibly drained after the recent trip.
  2. Clarify Boundaries.  I would clarify boundaries with my family a teeny bit better.  Things were truly great at home.  But there were times when I almost felt bad about sitting on the back porch rather than helping my wife with our daughter.  I am sure all dad’s can relate to this.  The only thing I would have changed is a little more discussion with my wife on what I need and what she will need.  But it really was great at home with tag-teaming and hanging out all together.
  3. Lowered Expectations.  I already talked about this, but I would work hard not to worry about what it will be.  I would provide myself with goals and boundaries, but leave it pretty open to what happens and be content with what happens.
  4. Gone Offline More.  I wouldn’t unplug for the whole time, but I really enjoyed being unplugged while in Colorado.  It is AMAZING how much we go to our phones and social media.  I would have set better boundaries there for sure!
  5. More Exercise.  The absence of exercise is not rest.  While I did many physical things, I should have added a little more regular physical exercise to the mix to keep myself feeling fresh and healthy.

All in all, it was a great experience.  I am truly grateful for it and I have emerged feeling very good about the time.  I am ready to get back and rejoin the mission of what we are doing at Pine Cove.  I am eager for structure and to serve.  And I am thankful to work and serve at a place that values me enough to allow for me to take some time to connect with God, my family and myself.

Feel free to ask me more questions!