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finding meaning in the mundane

Category: Life (page 1 of 47)

Is More Enough

Contentment

It’s easy to focus on what you don’t have, isn’t it?  I can go through every area of my life and tell you what’s missing in that area, or what I could stand to have more of. It doesn’t matter if it is finances, health, friendships, marriage, your children, or your job.  Every area of life can be easily picked apart and found wanting more.

Have you ever felt this way?  Wondering why your life doesn’t have more?  Maybe for you its more money.  Why is it that your money doesn’t seem to go far enough?  If only you had more money.  Or it could be your kids…  Does it seem like they don’t listen enough?  If they would only obey more.

More is a relative term.

More makes me feel good only until I realize that someone else has a bit more than me. The amount of more that once made me happy no longer satisfies the inner quest for more.  Beware there is a steel trap baited with “more”.  It is waiting to sink it’s teeth into you holding you captive at the allure of having more.

You would be wise to not ask how much more will be enough, rather ask the question, how much do I already have?  Do it…  Take an inventory of whatever area of your life that you are tempted by the allure of more.  Don’t be afraid of what the answer may be.

Focusing on what we don’t have causes us to easily miss what we do have. 

I mentioned that for me I could go through every area of my life and find a way to have more of it.  For example, I could say for my relationships I wish I had more friends. But let me think about what I currently have. I have two, possibly three guys who if I called right now they would answer no matter what. They would take a bullet for me and are loyal no matter what. I have people who care about me and my family and show that on very tangible ways. Somewhere along the line three guys doesn’t seem like enough. Would I want six guys?  Of course I would. But I’ll tell you what, I’m grateful for these three. So do I focus on the three that I don’t have, or the three I do have?

Your focus is your choice. It’s up to you to decide what you will choose to think about. You can dial it in however you like. For sure, some days are harder than others, but the choice is yours.

Which area of life do you most often feel nagged by the trap of wanting more?  What can you focus on today to avoid the snare of more?

~Peter

How Are You? No, Really…

“How are you doing?”  If I asked you this I’m pretty sure that I could guess what your answer is going to be.

  1. Fine
  2. Good
  3. Okay

Or maybe just maybe you would join the 2% of the population that actually chooses option 4–honesty.

One Sunday morning I asked someone how they were fully expecting to get any of the first three answers, either 1, 2, or 3.  But instead they chose option 4–honesty.  What did they say?   “Well actually I’m pretty Sh!&#y.  This was Sunday morning in the church hallways.  There was something so honest and refreshing about his response.  He didn’t need to lie to me.  He didn’t need to cover anything up.  His feelings were raw and emotional.  They were right there on the surface.  And what I really appreciate about the whole interchange is that he didn’t apologize for them.  It was what it was.

Recently I’ve been re-reading “Fail“.  And the author J.R. Briggs says this,

How often are the regular Christian clichés we use nothing more than disguises for our hurt and pain?  They are not only lazy but also deceiving.  Maybe most dangerous of all, we may eventually fool ourselves one day into thinking we’re actually okay.  We hide so much under the rug, eventually we end up tripping on it.

Why do we do this to ourselves?  What are we afraid of?  Too often we are so uncomfortable with who we are on the inside that we couldn’t possibly understand how anyone else could possibly accept us if they saw who we truly were or what we were truly experiencing.  So rather than being honest and vulnerable with people, we choose to project an image of having it all together.

This should not be.

HikerFight the desire to simply be okay–okay is average.  Okay desensitizes you to feeling both hot and cold, pain and pleasure.  To the degree that we understand pain, we will understand pleasure.  We cannot understand the majesty of the mountaintop if we haven’t been down in the valleys too.  I love how J.R. puts it, “we may eventually fool ourselves one day into thinking we’re actually okay”.  How scary is that?  Those words left a haunting impression in my mind.  I don’t want to fool you, and the last thing I want to do is fool myself.

Don’t ignore the people around you.  Do them a favor and be honest with them.  They need it, and you need it.  So, would you be bold enough to answer honestly the next time you are asked how you are?  What if you were courageous enough to go first…  I bet you’d be surprised at how they would reply to your question “How are you?”

I dare you.  Try it.

~Peter

People Watching: Everyone Does It

people-pano2_31297People are funny.  Aren’t they?  They say some really funny things.  I have an austrailian friend who likes to say “Good on you”.   And another Australian friend that greets me by saying, “Hey Mate”.  And yet another friend from Korea that would occasionaly say thank you in Korean–“gamsahabnida”.  These guys are unique and have different backgrounds and experiences than me.  Yet, there is something about the way that they talk that identifies them.

Having grown up in New York, just outside of Queens, I got used to people calling me Peeta…  Yes… they would say it just like the character from the Hunger Games…  It was a thick accent.  And anytime I hear someone call me Peta now, I know immedaitely where they are from.  Their is no hiding it.  It brings me right back…

And the same goes to all of you saying, “Ya’ll”.  We know where you’re from too… There is no hiding from that one!  You can’t deny it.

People are identified by their behavior & speech.

It tells us something about your past.  It tells us something about your present.  And sometimes it even tells us something about your future.  There are times when even a persons attitude gives you an inclination of where they are from.  Ever met anyone from Philly?

Christ followers should also be identified by their speech and behavior.  Jesus says,

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35

When Peter was in the midst of denying Jesus for the third time, some people around him said, “even the way that you talk gives you away.”  Basically, we can tell you’ve been with Jesus.  You talk like Him!

What does your attitude say about you?  What do you sound like?  When you speak, can people tell that you follow Jesus?   I wish that people were able to identify me as a follower of Jesus simply because of the way that I talk.  Or that they would know my love for my savior because of the love that I have for my wife and kids.  Imagine what it would be like to be known as a follower of Jesus because of the way that you care for the poor, and the hurting.

People are watching.  They are investigating, trying to figure out who you are and what you’re about.  Let’s live, speak and act in a way that points people to Jesus.

~Peter

 

My 2015 Goals

I’ve been chatting a lot on social media about goals this past week.  It’s still the beginning of the year, which means that there is still a lot of energy being applied to meeting the goals we’ve made.  This is good! We should keep pressing towards our goals.  I wrote about why I’ve given up on resolutions and switched to goals over here.  Read that for the back story…

Goals are the type of thing that if you miss the mark, you just do a little mid-course correction.  I have a friend who has a great saying in life…  “Just monitor and adjust”.  That’s the way that goals are.  If you mess up by say driving through Chick-Fil-A and ordering a deluxe chicken sandwhich with a large lemonade, and a large fry, there is always a fresh start, and a chance to continue eating healthy.  Not that that happened…

This past week I instagramed a few pics as I’m taking steps towards my #2015Goals.

#2015Goals

IMG_6397 IMG_6398

Funny thing is, you may not understand just how risky those pictures are in my world.  But they are a big part of achieving my goals for 2015.  More on that later…

Here’s my #2015Goals…

  1. Be healthier: Mentally, Physically, & Spiritually.  This one probably doesn’t need a lot of explanation.  At the end of the year I want to be in better physical shape than when I started the year.  Unfortunately, that won’t be too hard for me.  Mentally, I want to focus on being positive and less stressed this next year.  Spiritually I want to follow Jesus more and more each and every day.  I want to love Jesus more this time next year than I do right now.  I want to be increasingly more faithful to what He’s called me to throughout this year.
  2. Read through the New Testament.  I love the New Testament.  God has been writing a story from Genesis to Revelation, but I love that as the Church we find ourselves in the New Testament, and I want to be more and more familiar with it.
  3. Risk more.  Sometimes it becomes so easy to live a safe life.  A life that has goals so low that it would be impossible to miss them.  It is easy to say “No” to dreams and visions you have simply because they could cost something.   These types of goals could hurt a bit, or make you uncomfortable.  Maybe I’ll get made fun of by friends, or colleagues.  Or what will my family think?  I’ve been cooking up some ideas, some things that I want to do, but they seem risky to me.  Well, this is the year that I’m going to have courage and RISK MORE!
  4. Memorize 20 verses.  I want to have scripture constantly on my mind, and in my heart.  I always admired my dad faithfully taking out his verse cards and setting those verses to memory.  I want more of that!
  5. Consistently blog and thoughtfully express content.  I know that I’m healthiest when I am taking things in and also putting things out.  What I mean is, I love to read, but I also love to write, speak, teach, etc.  So, this certainly helps me with my first goal of being healthier.  And I’d love to have your help with this one.  What are some things that you think I should write/talk about?

So what about you?  What are you shooting for this year?  What are your #2015goals?  Drop them in a comment, share them on instagram/facebook/twitter, and use the hashtag #2015goals.  I’d love to hear what you are focused on this year.

~Peter

 

The Passing of Mr. Bear

Love from our heavenly FatherMr. Bear, a.k.a. MaBear, a.k.a. Crusty Bear, a.k.a. Crunchy Bear, is my youngest daughters absolute favorite stuffed animal.  This past weekend my wife Tiffany headed off with a friend to the Whatever Craft Weekend leaving me home with our three kids.  My goal this weekend was to brush their hair, make sure their teeth were perfectly clean, and that they house never once got messy.  My goal this weekend was to have an absolute blast with the kids.  I was determined to have the kids brag to their mom when she came home about me.  I was on my way to accomplishing that, until I found out that Mr. Bear was possibly gone forever.  I took the kids to see Paddington that night and I’m pretty sure that Mr. Bear came too.   While tucking Leah into bed she said to me,

“Dad, I need my Crunchy Bear before I go to sleep.”

And all of a sudden, that’s when I realized, Mr. Bear was no where to be found.

UGH.  What in the world was I going to do?  I panicked.  I ran to the car to find he wasn’t there.  I searched under every cushion, and shook out every blanket on the couch–he wasn’t there either.  I called the movie theater and left three voicemails just in case they didn’t hear my number the first time.  I called the movie theater until someone finally picked up.

“Yes, hello.  I have a bit of an emergency.  Mr. Bear is gone.  I was in theater 3, seated in row H, seats 1,2,3,4.  Did anyone find a tan bear, he responds to Mr. Bear, Ma Bear, Crunchy Bear, and Crusty Bear.”

Okay, so I left off the “responds to bit”.  But calling the movie theater was my final straw.

“Sorry sir, all I’ve got here is a my little pony.”

My heart sank into my toes.  How was I going to look in my little girls eyes and tell her that her bear was gone?  My heart was broken for her.  I didn’t even want to tell my wife about it when she checked in with me that night.  It was all too much for me.

But then I remembered—the kids had been playing in the basement.  I flew down the steps and scanned the room to find Mr. Bear sitting up with his well worn, well loved neck flopped over still sipping on tea, just as he was earlier that day.

God's LoveI sat on the couch that night thinking about how a stuffed bear caused me so much emotional heartache, and how this small cotton creature was able to captivate so much of my time.  It reminded me of how my love for my daughter, and for each of my kids, is so strong that it would cause me to tear apart my house for a small stuffed animal.  It reminded me of how much I love being a dad, and what a privilege it is to hold these kids hearts in my hands.  It reminded me of how the smallest things often matter the most.

But I went to bed that night thinking about how much my Father in heaven loves me.  If I love my kids that much, it is unimaginable for me to think about how much God loves me, and them!  I thought of this verse,

You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?  Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

Matthew 7:9-11

If God loves me more than I love my kids, than that is pretty incredible.  And the same goes for you!  You are loved by God more than you’ll ever know and He delights in providing even the smallest things for you.  Sometimes it’s the small things that count far more than the big ones.  And don’t you forget it.

~Peter

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