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Personal Growth

The Journey of Brokenness

“Brokenness is not manly.” – A lie

Our culture has a lot of conflicting ideas about how men should do relationships. Marriage, sex, and fatherhood in particular. Conservatives have a few ideas and liberals have different ideas. Religious people have a few ideas and nonreligious people have different ideas. Sports culture has ideas. Military culture has ideas. Business culture, blue-collar culture… they all have different ideas about what it means to be a man and how men should function in relationships. Every sub-culture in our culture claims to have “the key” to manhood and relationships. They all have keys. But not all those keys unlock doors you’d want to walk through.

The journey of brokenness is not about the right door
Which door is the right door?

This leaves men feeling confused. Maybe even lied to. Lied to about who you’re supposed to be as a man… as a husband… as a father… as a citizen. When you feel confused and lied to, you end up stuck in a place of powerlessness.

Empowering men is not about an overreaction to feminism. It is about helping men clear away the clutter and figure out the truth they can take action on. It is not a claim that I have the key. It is helping you find the keys to the doors you want to walk through. In your marriage… parenting… work… and community.

Being empowered as a man doesn’t fix everything because it is not a destination. It’s a journey. When you don’t have to be fixed, it becomes okay to be broken. It becomes okay to be a work in progress. You might not look stronger, but you feel stronger. Brokenness is a position of strength, not weakness.

22 Suicides in 3 Months. Here's one thing YOU can do!

As you approach more of life from a position of brokenness, you come to know that you are not meant to do life alone. You gain support. Support brings confidence, and confidence brings yet more strength. “A chord of three strands is not easily broken” becomes more than a nice saying. It becomes something you’ve lived and felt in the support of other broken men. This is the Brotherhood of the Broken.

As you live in and experience brotherhood, bearing the Image of God becomes an experience. Brokenness, brotherhood, and image bearing ripples into other relationships. Your brokenness strengthens your marriage. Your brokenness strengthens your family. Your brokenness strengthens your community. If this sounds like blue sky, sunny day optimism, it’s not. It is painful. Brokenness is being able to “embrace the suck” without shameful thoughts or behaviors. Living in brokenness is a position of strength because in brokenness we do not avoid pain, we accept it.

By accepting pain, we become stronger. We do less harm to those we love. By living in brokenness, we grow closer to those we love.

Brokenness is a journey.

  • From shameful thoughts and behaviors to kindness to self and others.
  • From confusion to wisdom.
  • From loneliness and hostility to rich relationships.

A broken man becomes kinder, wiser, and richer.

If you feel confused or lied to about manhood, marriage, parenting, sex, pornography, work, faith, good citizenship, then perhaps you are ready to start your journey.

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Personal Growth

New Year, New Practice

I am no longer working for Refresh Therapy, and I am starting my own practice. There are no hard feelings between me and the team at Refresh Therapy, we just parted ways.

Anyway, here is the update on my practice. I am starting a non-profit, rather than a traditional private practice. The reason for this is that my primary area of focus is to help men who are healing from pornography and sex addiction, and couples who are healing from infidelity. While some insurance companies will pay for couple’s therapy, no insurance company will pay for sex addiction treatment. That means that the only men who are getting treatment are the men who can afford to pay out of pocket. By starting a nonprofit I can accept donations and do other things to get help to men and couples that could not otherwise afford it, and still make a reasonable living for myself and my family.

Starting a nonprofit involves a lot more red tape than a traditional private practice, so in order to see clients as soon as possible I may come up with a temporary solution. I’ll know by Monday of next week what that will look like. My goal is to have office space arranged for the nonprofit by March 15th.

Once my practice is up and running, I will not be accepting payment by insurance. I will, however, be able to provide a special receipt called a “superbill” that you can take to your insurance company to see whether they will reimburse you for the cost of treatment. Every insurance company and plan has different policies on this, so I have no way to predict whether they will reimburse anything at all. By Monday of next week, I will have a page on my website with a list of questions to ask your insurance company ahead of time in order to help decide whether you can afford to do counseling this way.

I’ll send out another update next Monday. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Categories
Personal Growth

Measuring what Matters

You’ve no doubt heard the adage…

“What you don’t measure, you can’t improve.”

It’s certainly true in business, sports, and, science, but what about life in general?

How do you measure progress in your life? Honestly, many of the things that matter in life are not measurable in an objective way. But they are measurable in a subjective or emotional way. (And yes, those emotional and subjective measurements are still useful).

With work or business, it might be a little easier because we could use our income. But what about our health, or our relationships, or our intellectual growth?

If we don’t measure those areas of life, it’s hard to improve them. You have to know where you are now before you can move beyond it.

And that’s why I am sharing this tool with you. It’s made by the guy that inspired me to start this blog, Michael Hyatt.

The LifeScore Assessment

(Watch the video above to see my walkthrough of the assessment)

This online self-assessment is easy, quick, and effective in helping you measure where you are in each domain of your life. It shows you where you’re excelling and where you should focus your improvement efforts. On the first screen, you can even select which life domains are the most important to you, and narrow your focus to all of them.

But you can only get the assessment for a limited time. It’s FREE, so check it out today!

If you take the assessment, email me a screenshot of your results page and let me know what your thoughts are.

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Personal Growth

Gratitude and Goals 2017

Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully, you have already stuffed yourself silly with turkey, mashed potatoes, and all the other traditional dishes.

Hopefully, you have also paused to reflect on what you’re thankful for.

I’ve done that. And I’m also thinking ahead into next year. Which is a bit ironic, because at some level that sounds as if I am being ungrateful for what I have and what I have been blessed to achieve. As a goal-driven maximizer, I sometimes come off as ungrateful.

Now, just so you don’t jump on that bandwagon, here’s my gratitude list.

  1. That through Jesus I am forgiven for my sins and saved from their eternal consequences.
  2. A loving wife.
  3. Happy, healthy kids.
  4. Awesome extended family.
  5. A new dog.
  6. A warm home with new floors (a project I finished today).
  7. My own health.
  8. A great job.
  9. A great network.
  10. The ability to reflect on what I have been blessed with.
  11. The ability to reflect on what I have been blessed to achieve.
  12. The ability to set goals.

For me, those last three are a transition point. It seems to me that gratitude and goals are two sides of a coin. On the gratitude side of the coin, we express and experience appreciation for the past and the present. On the goals side of the coin, we express and experience appreciation and optimism for the future.

The ability to even set goals, with all the cognitive capacity that takes. The privilege of pursuing goals, rather than being trapped in poverty. We should be thankful for that ability and privilege. We should steward that ability and privilege.

So… What are you thankful for? What are you doing with the abilities and privileges you’ve been blessed with? How do your gratitude and goals line up?

Some of you may have heard of Michael Hyatt, his book Platform inspired me to launch this blog. Every year, Michael produces and revises a tool called the Life Score Assessment, and he makes it available the week after Thanksgiving. I’ll be using it as part of my process for reflecting on this year and planning for next year. If you’re interested in joining me in that process, please leave a comment below.

*PS: I believe in Michael Hyatt’s products so strongly that I’m part of his referral program. If you happen to buy one of his products using one of my links, I’ll get a commission.

Categories
Personal Growth

WTTWV – We are Sent, We are not Alone

When we’ve been through tragedy, at some point we will encourage others whose tragedy is more recent. That sending is scary, but we’re not alone.

Categories
Personal Growth

WTTWV (Part 3): Jesus Brings Peace, Understanding, and Joy

During times of tragedy, some of the encouragement from others may not feel true. Well-meaning people tend to either oversimplify or overcomplicate things.  Here is some encouragement from scripture, from Jesus himself.

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Personal Growth

WTTWV (Part 2): Community is Critical

Tragedy often tempts us to isolate ourselves. The truth is that we heal best in community. Beyond that, we heal best in the right community. Do not go through your tragedy alone, let others in to help you.

Categories
Personal Growth

Walking Through Tragedy With Victory (Part 1): Introduction

On October 1st last year, I was at my brother, Jon’s memorial service.

This video and the four that follow it reflect some of the grieving, healing, and sharing done since that time. I hope you find this helpful.

Categories
Personal Growth

Update on the book, and back to regular blogging

It’s been awhile since I made a video. I’m here with a quick update. I’ve been working on two different projects that have taken most of my creative time and energy away from this blog. I want to give an update on those things.

Number one, my mom and I co-wrote a book on grief. We finished it inside of one year since my brother’s death. That was quite a process. That was very emotionally taxing. It was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life but I’m glad I did it. We’re finalizing a few things with that book now. The manuscript is done, the formatting is done. We’re just getting it figured out where we’re going to be making it available for people to get.

As a part of the launch for that book and getting publicity and some interest around that book for people that we can potentially help through their own grief journey, I need some help. I need some people to be committed to a couple of things.

  • Sharing it with some of their friends and family and colleagues.
  • I need a few people to read over the pdf manuscript, kind of the early reader’s version and be willing to submit a testimonial or a few thoughts that could be used to help generate more interest and more visibility for the book when it shows up in Amazon and other stores like Amazon.
  • If that is of interest to you. Click the button below, enter your email address and you’ll get sent a pdf copy of the book for free, no charge at all. The only thing I ask for that is that you please commit to submitting some sort of testimonial or review of the book. Whether you like it or don’t. Just any feedback, any testimonial that we can get is super helpful for us.

The second project is a suicide campaign called Our City Cares. The goal of that is to unite churches and small businesses and city governments and school districts is a community to combat suicide by spreading messages of hope.

There are a few different ways that that works. If that is something of interest to you, we need all the support we can get for that as well. Click here to check out Our City Cares.

Thank you for being a part of the support, part of the people who support this project. Hopefully, you find future videos helpful. If you do, please share them on social media. Please leave a comment or a question underneath the video and let me know what you think. Thank you.

Categories
Personal Growth

22 Suicides in 3 Months. Here’s one thing YOU can do.

22 teenagers died by suicide in Clark County, Washington between February and May of this year, 2017. I lost my own brother to suicide in August of last year. He wasn’t a teenager, but his suicide still very deeply impacted me. It made me very deeply concerned for my community to hear that number. 22 teenagers had so deeply lost hope that they chose to take their own lives. I am only one of many people in the community who is concerned about this and trying to do something about it. One of the things that I’m doing is that I made this survey. You’ll find either the survey itself or a link to the survey below this video. I think that a lack of awareness of the resources that exist in the community is part of the problem. I think that maybe those resources are not very easy to access. And I think there’s still a lot of stigma, or shame, or embarrassment about using those resources. So that’s what this survey is trying to measure.

This is meant to be an anonymous survey, you don’t have to enter your name, you don’t have to enter your phone number, your email or any of that. But in the very last question, for anyone who is interested in staying up to date or getting updates on the findings of the survey, you have an opportunity to enter your email address.

Please take the survey, no matter how you found it, no matter where you live. You don’t have to live in Clark County, Washington to take it, it’s still helpful information. Please share this with your friends, your family, your church, your school, your coworkers. Whoever is relevant in your life that either has a young person in their life or is a young person. Please share this because the more responses we get, the better data we get. And then the more empowered we will be as a community to respond to this challenge of teens that are losing hope. Thank you.

If you would like to collect survey responses on your website, please copy and paste the embed code below:
<iframe src=”https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc7gtVnUDnhcC1K1iSS3PaJ074AjtCLfRyH1Wdtqme6VspDQg/viewform?embedded=true” width=”1090″ height=”1090″ frameborder=”0″ marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″>Loading…</iframe>