i will disappoint you

at some point, it will happen.  it's inevitable. diving right into the point: i don't want to be perfect. could you imagine the pressure of being perfect?  having to meet everyone's needs and expectations all the time?  it would be impossible.  I can never truly be all things to all people.  And if I was some kind of perfect, then there's a chance that people might want to be in relationship with me because of my perfection, not because of who I am. so, to be frank, I will disappoint you.  and in that moment, our relationship gets to take an interesting twist: will you give me grace or not?  will you choose to still love me in my imperfection? Ashley and I lead a small group together.  We do our best to teach the things we think are important and applicable to our lives and the lives of the members of our little community.  Somewhere down the line, I'm going to disappoint them.  I'm not going to give the right advice or I'm going to have a lame week.  In some ways, I'm excited for that day.  I'm excited for the time when the community will be able to minister in love and grace to Ashley and I even in our failure. I have friends who are so much more loyal to me than I deserve.  I should call them, I should write them, I should carve out a spot of time for them, just for them.  But I don't always get to meet their needs (or even their wants).  I disappoint them.  And, in the hubbub and business of daily life, human desire for rest, and investment into entertainment I will disappoint them again - and maybe disappoint you. My wife and I have an incredible relationship.  But, there are times - and there will be times - when I will disappoint her.  I won't smile wide enough when she looks beautiful, I won't hear the true meaning of some deep statement, I won't say "I love you" in the right way.  Or worse, I'll due something truly harmful to us and her. But, even in that disappointment, we will relish in the oppertunity for grace.  If I was perfect, if she never had the blessing of an oppertunity to unconditionally give me grace, it would be unfair to her.  I hope it's only in little ways, but there needs to be times when I disappoint her so she can love me irregardless. Disappointment is so very, very key in the life of a follower of the Way.  What happens when someone disappoints you? Do you gossip about them?  Do you tear them apart in your head?  Do you decide that this disappointing moment is the defining moment of their character, even against years of knowledge otherwise?  Can this disappointment be sustained and become the new lens you view your once treasured relationship through? Or do we forgive this sin against our expectations for someone else?  Maybe we see a new side to someone we thought we knew so well, and are justified in our righteous judgment.  Would it not be so much more valuable to give grace to them?  Don't they need that more than they need a broken friendship? Oh, how I will disappoint you.  It will happen when I don't want it to, I'm sure.  You'll need me and my friendship and my love and mentorship and grace more than ever before... but I won't be there.  Or I'll say the wrong thing.  Or, for some reason - maybe I just didn't realize how important this one thing was? - maybe I just won't even care.  And I'll forget this post, I'll forget about love and grace, and then I'll disappoint you. Will you give me grace? Or will you disappoint me, tit for tat?  Will you hold it against me, that I'm not perfect.  Will my one wrong comment wrong our relationship forever more?  Will my uncensored emotional outburst break down what we've built over coffees and dinners and prayers?  Will my passive agression lead to a weak thought that cannot be forgiven? I know I'll disappoint you.  And I know you've been disappointed.  And you know who you will disappoint. Can we move past that, and see it not as some selfish wound, but a chance to love and give grace?  A chance to let the disappointment be tossed aside for a chance to share in a moment of growth?  A chance to practice loving unconditionally, just as He loves us? And if you don't, if you can't, or if you disappoint... that's ok.  I'll do my best to love you irregardless. And may you forgive me if I still disappoint you.
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gushing about a mentor

i wrote a while back about mentoring.  i wrote that i want a mentor, someone to help me grow and show interest in making me a better person.  i hope that someday i can gush about a mentor like Scoble recently did on his blog:  http://scobleizer.com/2008/01/26/thank-you-yossi-vardi/ they don't have to be someone super-cool that can get me into net lunches or introduce me to fantastical people.  but i do wish that i know someone who, if they came up to me while i was standing in line for a meal I already paid $80 dollars for, and said "follow me," i'd go in a heartbeat.  i guess, in many ways, i wish i had a rabbi.
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Three Kinds of Mentoring

I've been thinking a lot lately about mentoring.  How it should work, what the purpose is, etc etc. When I mentioned some of this to my friend Shawn about how I'm trying to figure out what mentoring means and how to intentionally vs naturally mentor someone he asked: "What are you mentoring him for?"  Currently, I think there are three areas of my life that I need mentors and, as well, should be mentoring someone else:
  1. Spiritually
  2. Professionally
  3. Relationship (Marriage)
I'm of the school of thought that we shouldn't simply take in knowledge without being able to give out to other people as well.  I've found many times that when I'm talking to someone about what I believe or trying to give advice, it's the first time I ever put some of those thoughts or ideas into words.  As I get older, however, I continue to learn how young I am... and, often, feel a touch inadequate to be some sort of "mentoring giant" that has much of worth to pass down.  But it's important to try anyways. There are a few times in the past where I've felt mentored, even if it was "unofficial" or even unintentional.  Dr Hurtgen from my undergrad has taught me much more than he knows.  Steve Ayers taught me how to be confident that what I know is, in fact, what I know.  Leonard Sweet has been an inspiration to think differently and given me much more of his time than I would have ever expected. Of course, I hardly talk with any of them anymore.  I haven't even talked with Steve since I graduated...  but they were still mentors in their own ways. In the area of relationships, Shawn and Leslie took us under their wing and hung out with Ashley and I as we were figuring out what dating, being engaged, and then being married meant.  Their mentorship was different; it wasn't relaying information or trying to prove certain things to us... they let us into their lives, were our friends, and let us see how their relaitonship worked as well as the struggles they went through.  It's been painful as time, busyness, and circumstances have seen our relationship drift a bit further than any of us would like. Professionally, when I first came to LifeWay, James Jackson tried to take me under his wing and help me adjust to professional life.  He gave great advice for the time - to orbit the corporate hairball.  More recently I've found a mentor who doesn't even know I exist, Robert Scoble.  I'd definately like to meet him someday, just to pick his brain a bit and tell him thanks for all the advice he's unknowingly given me. So, I have all these mentors of various capacities... but none of them are the kind that we talk about in the church.  I don't meet with someone once a week (or even once a month) to just sit down and learn from/learn with.  The closest person I have in that capactiy is Matt Tullos, who has been a professional and spiritual mentor, but he's leaving LifeWay to pastor a church, so I know things will change and I've already been seeing him less.  So maybe I need to redefine what I'm looking for in these mentorship roles:
  1. Spiritual: I think I'm actually looking more for a rabbi here.  Someone like Christ was to the Disciples.  Typically I think this would be the pastor of whatever church you're going to.  I love Gary, and he's a great teacher... but he has had his hands too full with actually running Mosaic.  Where's a wise old sage when you need one?
  2. Professional: I love the way that Penelope Trunk persues professional mentoring.  She unashemedly says that you must have one.  I would love to have more intentional mentors both inside and outside of LifeWay.  John Porcaro has been great at helping me understand marketing through our brief conversations and I hope to continue to be able to learn from him... I'm not sure who I can learn from about doing video conversion and such, which is my new daily job.  Or do I not look at today's job, but towards tomorrow's?  Is there a better word for this, or is "mentor" the most appropriate?
  3. Relationships: This is a tricksy one.  I think the best way to learn is by being open about your marital relationship with other people - couples, married, and singles all included.  I love that we've grown closer to to Kris/Laura and Benji/Lesie.  I do wish we had older couple to learn from as well, though.  This is the hardest to seek out, I think... because just like a relationship, this has to happen naturally.  Perhaps this is just best defined as close friends?
And what about being a mentor myself?  I don't want to be just taking things in... I want to give back.  I love the fact that Ashley and I have the honor of leading a small group.  I think the connection we've had in that community has been amazing.  It's a chance to be open, honest, and do a little bit of teaching with people that we truly love and that I know love us.  I think I'm doing the best at giving back spiritually. What about professionaly?  Am I even far enough along in my career to truly make a difference for someone?  I think this is where I'm able to maybe help some of the many colelge students at our church.  There are so many things that I simply didn't know/understand going into my first job out of college that I wish someone had prepped me for. Relationships?  This is an area that Ashley and I are very passionate about... perhaps too much so.  I think a lot of people misunderstood our excitement about being loved and loving others as being matchmakers or even gossips.  I've stepped away from trying to help others in this area, perhaps a little too far.  It's tough to find the balance in these things that  you are passionate about lie. Alas... my lunch break is about over.  I guess this post is probably just an opening salvo in what will be quite a while of me figuring out what these different kinds of mentoring mean.  If you're reading this, feel free to chime in.  I've got a feeling that mentoring and the issues thereof is going to be a theme for me this year...
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