What can cause you to succeed or fail?

Here’s something I read in one of Dave Ramsey’s books.  It’s sort of a riddle.

I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command. Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me, and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed – you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great people; and, alas, of all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a human being. You may run me for profit or for ruin – it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?

I am your habits.

Now I’m not even going to touch the theological debate on how much free will we have, that’s for another time.  I know, however, that we have the responsibility to make decisions and use our time, money and talents effectively.

Think about how your habits are helping and hurting you.  Remember that something new might be hard just because it hasn’t become a habit yet!

I eat donuts to change my daughter’s life

My daughter, LJ, and I have an appointment every Saturday morning. Actually, it’s a date, a Daddy-Daughter Date.

After I wake up and get dressed, I go into her room and let her choose her own outfit (usually including her Minnie Mouse hat). Then we go downstairs, grab her milk from the fridge and hop in the car.

Where do we go?  Dunkin Donuts, of course. She loves doughnuts.

I first read about the Daddy-Daughter date here and the author gave two reasons for doing it.

  1. “I desire to be a major influence on my daughter’s life.”
  2. “I want to serve my wife” [by letting her sleep in & relax].

The blog goes on to explain a couple “how-to” tips–which I paid attention to–but I really just wanted to dive in and spend some time with my girl.  I, too, want to be a major influence in the lives of both of my girls.

  • We live in a crazy world that isn’t very kind to women and young girls. I want them to know they have someone that’ll keep them safe.
  • We live in a world that makes endless promises that we’ll feel loved and special if we have this or that thing. I want to be there to show them love that is absolutely free and without condition or requirement.
  • We live in a world full of darkness and gloom.  I want to be there and show them how to enjoy life and live with purpose.

A million little forces surround us trying to pry and pull us into trouble of all kinds.  I want to be there to guide them down the straight-and-narrow and even learn from them when their little childlike personalities show me I need to lighten up.  I know the day is coming when LJ and Caelynn won’t appreciate my authority.  They won’t like my ground rules and that I’ll stick to my guns.  They may not even accept my faith and worldview.  But I want them to know that, no matter what, the things I do and say are rooted in love for them.

I know that this sort of influence doesn’t happen overnight and waiting until their teen years is waiting WAY too long. So, keeping the end goal in mind, I lay the groundwork for this influence every single Saturday morning (with very few exceptions) as we pick out the pink donut with sprinkles and talk about Dora the Explorer or Cinderella.  We don’t talk about anything deep–LJ’s only 2 after all–but I’m just there with her. And I must say that we both love that time together.

Fathers, go spend some time with your daughters.  It’s well worth the effort.

Love Does by Bob Goff

Love Does

Love Does by Bob Goff

Books like Love Does are a real treasure to me for the inspiration they provide and the kick in the pants that I desperately need to get moving.  For those looking for a book with a heavy theological discussion, I wouldn’t recommend it because Goff’s goal is not to be a theologian. Instead he wants his readers to act rather than just think about acting.  Here’s a quote that I think captures the essence of his message.

I don’t think anyone aims to be typical, really.  Most people even vow to themselves some time in high school or college not to be typical.  But still, they just kind of loop back to it somehow.  Like the circular rails of a train at an amusement park, the scripts we know offer a brand of security, of predictability, of safety for us.  But the problem is, they only take us where we’ve already been.  They loop us back to places where everyone can easily go, not necessarily where we were made to go.  Living a different kind of life takes some guts and grit and a new way of seeing things.

It isn’t a new message, to be honest. How many times have you heard that worthwhile things take lots of hard work and aren’t easy to achieve?  I think I’ve heard that a few thousand times in my life, yet I can resonate with “scripts” that “loop us back to places where everyone can easily go, not necessarily where we were made to go.” For all the times I’ve heard that message I have never really taken it to heart.

So, if that’s you, I’d recommend you read Love Does because it will reinforce that push to color outside of the lines that we must embrace to avoid mediocrity.