Ok. So I heard a song for the first time on the radio recently. It reminded me how life has changed for me over time. A phrase in the song – “facing giants with confidence” – sent me thinking back on the way I used to think. I once would have said, (I was) “chasing giants with consequence”. You see, I’ve really not been afraid of much – most of my adult life anyway. I had a father that taught me about confidence. More than that, he taught me how to be confident. It wasn’t an easy task, it wasn’t a short task, but he was my mentor. He was always there for me, there for us. He and my mother raised a family of 5 kids in which I was a middle child, oldest boy. Sort of an odd mix as the first born son is supposed to be the one who carries the load and the middle child is always known as, well… the middle child. I had two younger brothers and was tasked with being the “example”.
I don’t think my dad knew exactly how to handle strong-willed daughters – my two older sisters. He definitely didn’t have any problem handling defiant boys, though. Maybe defiant is too strong a word to describe us, maybe… simply disobedient. Disobedient says it better because while we were quite defiant, it was never to his face. However, when we were busted, I believe he saw it as defiant, unfortunately for us.
I digress. Anyway, all of my life as a kid, my dad was a really great man in my eyes. A little scary at times, but I wanted to be just like him!
- I wanted to be strong. He was a do-it-your-selfer. He learned carpentry from his dad as a teenager. He was strong and self-sufficient. What he did, he always did well. What he didn’t know, he figured out!
- I wanted to have friends. He was genuine and made friends easily. My friends could have a little fun with him and yet respect his boundaries. He spent much of his work life in Sales and easily made customers into friends.
- I wanted to be a football player. He had played all through high school and had the news clippings to prove he was a football star!
- I wanted to be able to drive a brand new <free!> car (before I was old enough to drive!). His Sales jobs made it seem like he always had a brand new company car!
That just touches the surface of who my dad was. As his oldest son, I had some big shoes to fill. I even had his name (in the form of Jr. of course). That’s pressure! As his young son, I was willing but was never able to fill those shoes. Yet, that did not stop him from being my #1 fan. He threw baseballs with me in the front yard. He must have tossed me a thousand footballs as he trained me to catch and throw passes. He not only came to my baseball games, he umpired one of them. The only time I ever hit a ball – and a foul at that – was when my dad was “calling the game” behind me. He even helped coach my football team, though I never proved to be a star player for sure. He would be my hero for those reasons alone. My brothers would say, have said, the same thing.
In addition, though, he had a great way of matching his strength with love. He demanded respect, but respected me enough to allow me make my own mistakes and then help me get back on the right path. He was hard, but intentionally stepped down to my level many times. He didn’t simply teach, he trained me. My dad believed there is a God and wanted us to believe that the source of all strength is in God. He didn’t preach it, though. He lived it! Oh, we went to church regularly, but he actually did his best to walk the walk. Imperfectly, but with best intentions.
I began this piece with the fact that a phrase in a song got me thinking. The phrase was, “”facing giants with confidence”. I spent a lot of my grownup life thinking I could take care of most things all by myself. I was chasing things bigger than myself – sometimes simply to conquer them. I’ve done well with that – mostly. Yet, I’ve found there are more negative than positive consequences to that kind of life. I was “chasing giants with consequence” rather than living out the other phrase above. I’ve spent the last several years of my life letting God build into my life and letting Him bring the giants to me. Then, with His help, I find that I can face the giants with confidence. I’ve discovered where my dad got his strength. Thanks Dad!