A Weekend at Wrigley: My Son's Perspective on My Intensity and Our Time Together
I had another one of those supernatural moments.
I was talking with my friend Blake while at a High Tech Ministries get-together. As we ended our conversation, he said, “You’ve changed. You are not so intense or mission-driven. I like it.”
This surprised me in the same way I was surprised when the priest in the UK asked me when leaving a church service if I was a pastor.
Here it was again. Someone I trust sharing their observation and sharing what they see in me. I take these moments as God’s Spirit speaking through them. Then it is up to me to recognize it and accept it.
Now what? What do I do with this?
My first thought when Blake said this was, “This is good.” I thought this way for a couple of reasons. One, Blake shared this as a compliment. I could see it by the love reflected in his eyes. And secondly, if he is correct, it shows Jesus continues to change me from the inside out.
I say this because I am not trying to be less intense. I am simply becoming less intense. I haven’t seen Blake for a few months. So his observation is like looking at two photographs taken a few months apart.
The other night I was out with my son Nick, and he said, “I need a rest after we spend a weekend together.”
We just returned from a trip to Chicago to hang out and watch the Braves play the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It was my first experience at Wrigley, and I loved it. I wouldn’t say I liked that the Cubs beat us in the second game. But I enjoyed how after the game, all the Cub fans stood and sang, “Go Cubs, Go.” I loved being in a stadium with multi-generational fans. The song was so uplifting.
I asked Nick, “Why do you need a rest after we spend a weekend together?”
“Because you ask such hard questions. You make me overthink. I want to hang out, relax, and have fun.” he answered.
Here is my dilemma. Blake compliments me by telling me I’ve become less intense. Nick tells me I am too intense.
I’m going to take this as making progress.
I desire to become more relaxed in my relationships. To accept people where they are. To honor the moment. Our time together is not a business meeting but simply, as Nick put it, a time to hang out, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.
My progress is working from the outside in. With friends, I am putting a check on the intensity. With family, this is not the case. I moved from my business being angel investing and community development to my business being my family.
This could be better. But what is good is to recognize this problem.
I have a more significant desire. I want us to be a family that enjoys our time together. This can not happen if I approach them as people needing constant improvement. Who wants to be around that?
And this includes me and my need to improve constantly. This focus, this intensity, robs me of my potential joy. My good efforts need to be more reasonable. As Kathy says to me, “You are too hard on yourself. Cut yourself a break.” She knows me better than I know myself. And she is right in this observation and advice.
Now I realize this is the heart of the intensity when interacting with others. Because I keep striving to be better, it is my job to help make everyone else better. It’s not. My job is to love them, not fix or improve them.
But there is a tension here. The tension is between grace and truth. I lean way too heavily on the truth side. I need to check back and move more aggressively toward the grace side of this behavioral tension.
As a disciple of Jesus, I am called to follow and learn from him. In John 1:14, the Apostle John describes Jesus and his mission.
“John 1:14 (NIV) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
There it is “full of grace and truth.” Blake saw the grace in our conversation and commented on it. Nick spent a weekend with a dad who was full of truth. I need to balance this behavioral tension better to create healthier relationships and live a more peaceful and joy-filled life.
Is this another improvement program for me? No. Jesus spoke to me through Blake and Nick. And now, I give my behavior to Jesus, knowing that if I trust Him, He will change me.