May 142018 6 Responses

Things I Preach But Don’t Practice

I’m a preacher. Some don’t like the word, but I have no problem with it. If the word is good enough for the New Testament, it’s good enough for me. But I get the hesitation others have with it. Being “preachy” is never a good thing. Yet, when I think of preaching, I don’t think of a know-it-all or someone who is telling other people how to live. I think of someone who recognizes their own ignorance and continually points themselves and others to the truth. As I like to say, if you ever get something from my preaching it’s because you are just as messed up as I am.

As someone who regularly speaks (and writes), there are things which I preach, but still, fail to practice. That doesn’t question their truthfulness; it simply reminds me of my brokenness.

Five Things I Fail to Practice

These things are true, I just struggle to believe them or do them.

1. Don’t let the opinions of others dictate how you feel about yourself. I know the opinions of others says more about them than it does about me, but I can still obsess over circumstances when people don’t like me or think poorly of me. It’s ironic–I’m a people-pleaser who has chosen a career and hobby which regularly ensures people will disagree with my opinions, decisions, and choices. Allowing others to dictate how you feel about yourself is a bad way to live and something I greatly need to change. I regularly remind others to get their identity from God and not others, yet I struggle to do the very thing I preach.

2. When you have a problem with someone (or they have a problem with you), talk to them about it face to face. Conflict is rarely as bad as we make it in our heads. I have friends who run toward conflict because they know it is ripe with opportunities to grow and learn. But I run from it. I hate it. This may be my biggest weakness as a boss. Rather than simply saying what I think, I will bury my feelings and frustrations. It’s true at work and home. While I’ve gotten better with Jenny at expressing frustrations, it still causes me a great deal of stress. It shouldn’t. If I could more freely say what I think, life would be better for me and those around me. (See: Don’t Seek Conflict, But Do Embrace It)

3. Celebrate every win. I’m horrible at this. I know it’s important to celebrate victories. Whether it be a personal accomplishment of fulfilling a dream or a corporate celebration of goals met, celebrating wins motivates and encourages. But I never have learned how to do this well. I’ve always been jealous of coaches and players because they have a clear scoreboard and clock which clearly tells them when they have won. Life isn’t always so obvious, but there are times in which wins take place. We need to celebrate them. This inability makes me bad at holidays, birthdays, and other times when we should celebrate.

4. Rest. I’ve written about it, preached a sermon series about it, and hopefully, will soon publish a book about it. But I still struggle to listen to my own advice. I know rest is important. I believe that especially in my profession there is a compounding effect of continually interacting with the pain and sorrows of others. Cognitively, I have no question that rest is vital to effectiveness, longevity, and everything I want to accomplish. Yet it’s late at night and instead of reading a good book or going to sleep, I continue to type with the hopes of not only finishing this article but also getting another project or two finished. I’ve gotten better at resting, but I still have a long way to go.

5. Touch. There is great power in human touch. A supportive hand on a shoulder, a loving hug, or a fun-loving pat on the back can be a powerful connecting point between two people. But I’ve never felt comfortable touching or being touched. Except for my wife and kids, it can be a struggle. At the death of a child, I hugged a friend and he said, “Is this what it takes to get a hug from you?” In a stressful moment, it was funny but true. Some “touchy” friends have made it their goal to help me in this area. Most of the time I appreciate their effort, but I still have a long way to go.

What is one thing you know to be true, but struggle to put into practice? 


6 Responses to Things I Preach But Don’t Practice
  1. […] I’m a writer and a pastor/preacher. While those are differing vocations, they have something i...

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