Wow. I am 44 today. Think back to when you were a teenager. What is that “oldest age” you ever really pictured yourself as? Do you remember? It seems like I do, and it was right about here. 44 years old… (I don’t see that as any type of foreshadowing about what this next year holds, just kind of funny that it popped into my head this morning.)
This last year has been a crazy one, and it looks like I am poised to do it all over again. Time to give a quick little breakdown about what has happened, what is happening, and how I hope I Relentlessly respond to it. I like to share since I tend to stay more accountable to some of this stuff when people know about it.
Health – Well, as far as the diabetes goes, I am doing better than great. My doctor actually stopped me in the hall the other day after my bloodwork hit his desk and gave me a hug. If you knew my doctor, you would be amazed! I have kept a normal blood sugar since my diagnosis, have stepped my meds down, and kept my weight down. I also am showing great numbers in the cholesterol and triglycerides. Probably the healthiest I have been in 20 years in that regard.
New challenge. Just found out I have two herniated cervical discs. Not sure what the treatment will be yet as I am waiting to get in to see the specialist. Pain is terrible, and I feel basically useless. Hard to enjoy the above success when I feel this way, but I am pressing on. My son asked me the other day what the lesson God has for me in this, and I have been thinking about that a lot since He asked. I still don’t have a solid answer, but I am wondering about something.
I have often wondered if I am modeling a life of dependency on God for my family and friends to see. I have other friends who I look to and think that they are so dependent on God, and I wish I could be that way too. Maybe I am starting to model it because my son is asking me what I learn from the trials I face. He has heard me talk about how God used diabetes to remove food from the throne of my heart. He has heard that I don’t always need to know why, but I need to trust that God will show what I need to see when I need to see it.
So, Zach, maybe the lesson in this is that God is telling me that while I have not arrived, I am definitely in the process of Relentless Growth in this. He chose to give me a blessing in the knowledge that you are seeing me try to live a life of dependence. There may be more to come, but I will take this in humble praise to Him for the moment.
Fatherhood – I am finishing up my last year of what I term as “active parenting”. My role as protector and guide is shifting into advisor and counselor/consultant as Zach will join Jessica at college this fall. I am so proud of my kids and I know God is going to do great things in their lives. It is definitely a bittersweet feeling to watch them at this stage and know just how much different things will be at Tanner Manor this fall.
My challenge is to be present, but not controlling. Available, but not underfoot. I have often found this balance difficult and tend to pull back rather than be a hassle to the kids (unless I feel they need a good hassling!). Praying that God gives me the wisdom and insight to be there for them while they are at school.
Husbandhood – Tammi and I have had some amazing discussions this past year, and I hope she agrees that we have grown much closer as a result of them. Seeing Jessica go to school last year and experiencing that change in our family dynamic has definitely turned me more toward watching Tammi. I see how I have taken advantage of her sometimes in how she always handles things for our family. I need to be more present for her, attentive to her needs. Actually think about what could be wrong and what I can do about it rather than just ask her all the time. (She will like that one!)
We are soon going to be just the two of us again, and that is going to mean a little more freedom, but also a little more responsibility. She will still need to talk about her feelings, thoughts, and dreams, and I will be the only one there. I will need to shift some of how I tend to love my wife in order to meet that need. We have talked about it some, and we know we have always done these new things together. We have been parenting actively for the last two decades, but we only had a little over two years before that as a couple, so this is still a somewhat unexplored realm for us. It is kind of exciting to think I will be able to have her to myself again though! (Sorry kids, Mom was here first!)
Friendships – It has been a strange year in this regard. The extensive change that has taken place has pulled us from being as close to some as we once were, but has brought us into new friendships with others. I think I had set some unrealistic goals in trying to “fast track” some things that needed more time, and that left me feeling discouraged a few times. This year I want to just be more present in those moments that come before me. Take the time to identify what God might want me to be in that moment rather than just looking at how I want things to be or what I can get out of it.
My Walk – I started something new a little before my birthday last year. Every day I post a verse of the day with an image and my thought for personal application. It has helped me keep the thought alive in my mind every day since I do it before my feet hit the floor. Over the last year I have gone through Proverbs a couple times, the book of Psalms, and am now going through James. You can follow those by “Liking” my Relentless Growth Facebook Page.
This next year I would like to find time to expand my time of study and start spending more time in areas that I really need to grow. I want to be realistic in that though. For now, maybe the verse a day and writing here a little more often might be the best thing. Something to pray about for sure.
Priorities – It has been a year of shifting and reassessing for us in many aspects. Work, family, church, friends, service, and the list goes on. So many things have shifted and will continue to shift as we enter another year of major change as “empty nesters”. Praying that God will give me wisdom, grace and insight necessary to lead my wife well with a servant leadership that build into her as we face the challenges together.
I hope I don’t bore you with a long post like this that is basically about me. I’ll admit that the biggest reason for this post is to take a minute to actually write down and think about what has happened and how I am going to respond to it over the next year. I need that for me because it helps “reset” the panel. I can look at everything that has happened. See a little bit better in hindsight and hopefully that gives me insight and if things REALLY work out some foresight!
Let’s face it. Life is Relentless. It will never stop coming at us. If we want to get anything of quality out of it, we need to be Relentless in our pursuit of God and in our growth for His glory. Relentless Growth. We all need it.
365 days to be 44. Let’s do this!