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Comebacks Need Setbacks

We don’t plan setbacks and that is exactly why they set us back so far emotionally. They are unwelcome, unexpected, and unmercifully longer than necessary. The toughest part of weathering a setback is that you must emotionally reset to zero and start all over. Brutal.

 

Ironically, setbacks are the birthplaces of all comeback stories. Just like diamonds are best seen against black velvet, recoveries are best seen following our tragedies. Ask my wife about each of her three miscarriages which were each followed by the healthy births of Cara, Ryan, and Jenna (my kids). Brutal losses followed by beautiful babies and magnificent maternal bonds.

 

Job is one of the most incredible, if not the greatest, ‘setback to comeback’ story of all time. Every man can relate to his story in way or the other. If you find yourself depleted, broken, lost, confused or angry with God right now, consider Job.

Putting Faith Back Into Your Future

Worrying about the future is big business and a big burden. We ask our kids what they want to be when they grow up. Tiger moms and dads pressure their kids to perform at a high level at very tender ages in order to get little Johnny and Jenny out in front of the future. In the process, we are creating kids who are paralyzed by the prospect of not meeting expectations. Case in point, I asked a high-school senior the other day what her college plans were and she walked away from the whole group. In her mind it was easier to excuse and embarrass herself than to take on her future.  This obsession with controlling the future is getting out of hand and adults are no better.  We are constantly peering into the crystal ball, planning ahead, forecasting, imagining what may be, dreaming of new realities, and how to avoid potential pitfalls.  But what happens when my future fails to meet my own, someone else’s, or culture’s expectations?

 

ANSWER: It becomes a burden.

 

Achilles Heel: Men's Greatest Weakness

A friend has been learning a lot about the Achilles tendon lately. At 47-years-old, locals nicknamed him “Old School”because he is still able to teach the young guns a few basketball lessons. However, the wear-and-tear from years on the court has started to wear-out the oh-so-critical tendon. So now Old School just feels old and (gulp) has to admit he has a weakness.

 

But more importantly, he has to admit he has a weakness. Now, he can do something about it, and perhaps get Old School back in session someday.

 

I think the greatest weakness men can have is being unaware that they have them. That’s why we call them “blind spots”because we all have them, but often can’t see them. An unexposed blind spot can cost a man everything. You are thinking everything is great but those around you have had enough and slowly start withdrawing. On the other hand, openly addressing a blind spot can be one of the hardest, but best things a man can do. The big idea is this: a man’s greatest weakness is not the blind spot itself, but being unwilling to recognize or admit to it.

When Daughter Disaster Strikes

The scariest news a dad can hear is that your daughter’s innocence has been stolen. Perhaps she was raped after a “roofie”slipped into her drink. Or her virginity was taken by a more experienced boyfriend —or man. Or maybe she was sexually assaulted, abused or traumatized by a relative, teacher or neighbor.

 

Dads can hardly imagine allowing their underage daughter to date, let alone imagine the unthinkable. But when daughter disaster strikes, what can a dad do? While pulling out a shotgun, clinching fists or mentally rehearsing a tortuous revenge may seem like a good idea, it’s not.

 

Helplessness, hurt, anger and sadness will settle in. But, the Bible —in particular Jesus —offers some guidance. In my years of counseling wounded young ladies and dads, I’ve seen the despair and frustration caused by rape, overdose, divorce and other daughter disasters. Fortunately, we serve an all-powerful, all-knowing God who is trustworthy. From this premise, and my experience, I offer the following outline to help dads deal with trauma associated with daughters.

The Antidote to Spiritual Ebola

Reports of the deadly Ebola virus are spreading faster than the highly-contagious virus itself. As the Center for Disease Control and its Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) work to prevent further outbreak in the US, Ebola is the most feared virus on the planet because once it infects a person, its ability to spread and cause death is astounding.

 

But the fact is fear of Ebola is more infectious than the biological virus. Fear of the fever is what’s driving our government to contain it. Fear is what’s capturing the headlines, and spreading like wildfire.

 

Like the biological virus, fear is a spiritual Ebola that can infect even the most faithful God-fearing Christian. In the book of Numbers, chapters 13-15, the Bible tells the account of how the spiritual Ebola of fear infected the Israelites —even though they had just witnessed God’s power to escape Egyptian slavery.

 

In the story, God told Moses to send out 12 men to check out the land promised to them, survey the fruitfulness and scope out the enemies. After 40 days, 10 of the 12 men reported the enemies were too big, and cities too strong. They injected fear which spread like Ebola through the population. The people “raised their voices,”“wept aloud”and “grumbled,”even proposing they choose a leader and return to Egypt and slavery.

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