This is the first of a few blog posts I want to do about “Old Me New Me.” I’m currently reading an excellent book about the intersection and balance of emotional health and spirituality, and have this nice neat list of things I have often described myself as, either in my head or as what I thought others thought of me. These really aren’t in any particular order other than the order they came to me, and I’ll be grouping some together, like I am today. What I hope to do is walk through some of these traits that I’ve come to identify myself by, evaluate whether they are actually true, and then, if they are not, proclaim the truth in writing. Some of these may well describe the way I act, but that does not mean they necessarily define who I AM.
The first item on my list is “not trustworthy.” There are some related words as well such as Unreliable, Uncommitted, Inconsistent, and “Give up to easy.”
I have often felt that I’m a failure. Now, if you’re human, you’ve probably had that thought as well. You may even identify with it better than I, so I’m not claiming this as something I know all about. I’ve never lost a job, a wife, a car, a home, a business, or even a poker game. I’ve come close on one or two of those things, but never completely. So in reality, I honestly don’t know all that much about the typical “fall flat on your face” failure. But you don’t have to go bankrupt to know what it means to feel like a failure.
I’ve often felt like I’ve let those important to me down. I’ve felt that I start strong, but finish weak (if at all). I feel like I give up on things before I should and become a disappointment. All of that said, I feel… untrustworthy. Like I don’t deserve for you to put your trust in me. Like I have to prove myself to you. To God. And that I can’t. When I get on a roll, I feel it. But when I’m there, on my own, working through the thickness of life with no one to “report to,” I give in to these feelings.
So what’s the truth? There are plenty of things I could do in life that would certainly make me quite untrustworthy. Not keeping my word. Over committing. Cheating on my wife. Charging my clients unfair prices or witholding important information intentionally. I’ve done some of those things, we all have, but I’ve also got plenty of evidence in my life that I AM worthy of trust.
- I’m still married to a wonderful woman, raising my kids, and seeing fruit of the work we’re investing.
- I own and operate a successful business with employees, no debt, a profitable P&L, and clients that pay us tens of thousands of dollars every year to help them build their own dreams.
- I teach a room full of teenagers each week.
- I’ve got people invested in ideas I have, projects I want to complete.
Each and every one of these is a place where I “feel” worthy of a good deal of trust. Like I’ve proved myself enough that others put their trust in me. And that’s true, but in all honestly, that doesn’t go all that far for me.
The real truth? God, the very creator of this world, trusts me enough to give each and every one of these things to me, including the ability to throw them all away and diminish His name.
Jesus told a parable that’s recorded in Matthew 25 about some laborers entrusted with the Master’s resources. A couple of them doubled His “investment” in their lives. The other hid it, out of fear… fear of disappointing the Master. The first two took upon them the risk of losing it all in order to bring honor to their Master.
This is what I want. I want to risk it all on something worthwhile, on the Kingdom, on things that will outlive me. On LIVES.
This doesn’t mean I’ll throw it all away; far from it. Rather, I want to invest my life in something far bigger than myself and pursue it wholeheartedly. In this stage of my life, that means pursuing my wife, investing in my children, and pouring my heart, mind, and strength into all I do each day, whether it’s establishing a retainer contract with a client or patching drywall. I need priorities, I need focus, because when I have these things and am reminded of them (keep them in front of me), steady progress is both rewarding and almost automatic.
My name, Chet, means “Strong Fortress.” That is what I want to be. That is who I AM. I may be under construction, but that is who I AM. i will be a man of courage, of bravery, and of strategic strength. I will build boundaries into my life to both protect those within my fortress and to enable us to take ground from the enemy. I will engage with comrades, fight the GOOD fight, and claim victory for my King.
I am a son of God, brave and courageous. That’s how I put it a while back. A little later, I changed it to this:
I am a man of God, a trusted ambassador for the King, and an obedient servant of the Most High God. I do his bidding AT his bidding, and will seek out, discern, and accomplish the mission He has given me throughout the course of my life.
That is who I am. That is the new me.
I am not untrustworthy. I am worthy of trust because of my solid foundation and committment to being a strong man of God.
I am not unreliable. I am a trusted ambassador of the King, a man in whom other leaders stake their claim, and a man committed to the success of himself and his family.
I am not halfhearted. I am brave. I am courageous. I take risks that matter.
I will not give up. I may fail at things in life, but I will not give up. What I do each day is part of a Bigger Story where I MATTER.
I am not uncommitted. I am committed to worthy goals, and am willing to say “no” when opportunities arise to take part in unworthy ones.
I am, chose a couple my favorite movie characters, Braveheart. I am Maximus. I am Vince Papale.
Apologies if you read all of this looking for more organized thought. I share a lot of my own stream here, and this is part of it. More to come.