Doing You Differently

Have you lived life a certain way, and basically that’s the way you’ve always done it?

I remember when the crash happened.

With tears streaming uncontrollably down I fell to my knees in front of my wife as I realized just how much pain I caused her sixteen years into our marriage.  The list of things I’d done (and not done) finally weighed down on me and the facade of self-control crashed down right on top of me like a 1,000-pound chandelier.

That was the start of a new journey for me … almost seven years ago.  I’ve learned some things along the way – these principles have guided me as I have done ME differently.  Maybe you will relate with them as well.

Be Desperate

Part of what happened with the crash was that I realized I was at the end of my rope.  The way I did things wasn’t working.  In a MASSIVE way.  This isn’t a new principle, but something that is thousands of years old.

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:!8)

While the word, “pride” can be both good and bad – especially when the gratification comes at the price of others – the word, “haughtiness” really is what I am all about:  The appearance or quality of being arrogantly superior and disdainful.

Prideful and haughty people aren’t really desperate.  They’re actually disdainful. When we are truly desperate, and realize that we cannot deal with a situation by ourselves, that is humbling.  And humble is right where God wants us to be.

James talks about what a humble man is all about in James 4:9-17.  “Let there be tears for what you have done.  Let there be sorrow and deep grief….Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”

A humble man is a desperate man because he doesn’t have a puffed up idea of himself (nor the extreme opposite).  That’s the starting line of doing you differently.

When we are desperate, we become willing to do whatever it takes to change.  Are you willing to do whatever it takes to change?  And I don’t mean, are you willing to change?  I’ve always been willing to change.  I haven’t been willing to do whatever it takes.

Be Alone

I don’t do alone well.  Some of you might do this too much,  yet I’m not talking about being alone with yourself.  I’m talking about being alone with God.  Being alone with God and seeking his word, his thoughts, his direction.  Bill Hybels calls it 15 minutes “in the chair.”  Hybels says that he makes time for things he values.  Watch Coffee with God.

Jesus said that “man doesn’t live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4)  How can we live on the word of God when we don’t spend time ingesting it?

Find a chair or place you can spend that you can spend undistracted time to be alone.  Read God’s word, open yourself up to his direction and insight.  This isn’t about making requests or reading some other book.  It’s about opening yourself up to what GOD wants to show you in his word.  Start with 15 minutes every day.  You will change.

Be in Community

Can I tell you a secret?  When I would watch the cartoon version of “The Grinch,” I loved the Grinch.  I hated the Who’s.  The Who’s were grateful and happy no matter what.  Come on!

I’ve been the Grinch most of my life – I’ve isolated myself up on the mountain – and I’ve watched other people live while I built a Kingdom of Alone.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”  My unwise isolated decisions are the ones that bring me the most trouble.

I’m not talking about socializing, getting out more, or having a reunion with your school buddies. I’m talking about sharing your true feelings, bringing your stuff to a group of likeminded committed men who can speak into your life and you can speak into theirs.

I check in with men almost every day around how I am doing.  My “stuff” isn’t so unique.  Decisions, especially bigger decisions, get shared and I am given valuable insight.  James 3:18 is right:  “I can develop a healthy robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results as I do the hard work of getting along with others…” (MSG)

Be Different

Do things differently and you’ll be different.

Henry Cloud says: “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”

Ask yourself – and men in your community – how can I do this differently?  How can I do this relationship, or work, or my spiritual life?

There’s often not ONE correct way of doing things, however you and I both know that “the way that you’ve always done it,” isn’t working well at all.

By Tim White

Tim completed his initial weekend in 2013. He has staffed many weekends and leads L.I.F.E. Recovery for men at Willow Creek Crystal Lake. With an M.Div from Bethel Seminary, he’s a former senior pastor and now pastoral coach. Tim fulfills his mission by guiding men to greater connection through vulnerable transparency.