I’m a bit conflicted, if not downright discouraged. Maybe discombobulated is the right word, I don’t know.
It’s of my own doing…
When I received the calling from God two and a half years ago to BE a Husband and a Dad, I took it a step further and started working on “How can I teach people to BE a ManHusbandDad” almost immediately. I started working on a book, which turned into three books, then five, and all sorts of stuff including a web site – not the one you are looking at right now but its predecessor’s predecessor – that was all multi-media and used the latest WordPress themes and gadgets.
I spent a lot of time researching ways to be and do and teach and share and promote and film and write and social-media this and that and the other thing.
And in the process I was telling God exactly how I was going to go about DOING what he wanted me to BE.
All together now: How’d that work out?
Well, here I am, disgruntled at myself.
When I first came home from my fateful retreat with this new mission (two missions actually: God’s and Mine), I told The Boyz what I was going to do. They replied with a collective “ugh” even though they didn’t say it. They obediently said, “Okay” and when I asked if they thought I was a good Dad, they agreed reluctantly that I was. Far be it for them to disagree with their Dad, just in case he got mad.
That should have been the first indicator.
The second was the kind of support I received in doing this. I learned long ago as an entrepreneur that if my wife wasn’t in on the deal – all in – then it wasn’t the right thing for me to do.
The problem is that Mama wants me to be happy (problem!?), so she agrees with everything I say or suggest because she doesn’t want to disagree with me because she thinks that will make me unhappy.
So I told her about this thing I was doing after I had shared with her my experience on the retreat, and she said that was great. Then left me to do it by myself.
That should have been the second indicator.
The third indicator was when she did not proofread my book this past Christmas break. That’s when I started thinking, “What am I doing this for?”
More like Whom, it turned out.
It was all about me.
Now, there have been various fits and starts that I have even written about on this blog. All of them having to do with what I was forcing God to do for me instead of focusing on what he wanted me to BE for Him, and my Wife, and The Boyz:
A Husband and a Dad.
All that business about speaking and writing about it was my input into his plan. They were my ways to make His idea and dream for me better than what He had come up with, because, you know, I know what God’s really telling me what to DO.
God has constantly and consistently told me who to BE. And He has shown me through tremendous resources of all flavors how to BE that: a Husband and a Dad.
I’m the one who extended that to DOING ManHusbandDad. And all its inherent baggage.
And that’s something I need to embrace. The fact that I was forcing this on God, the DOING; after He forced upon me the BEING. That only works one way, and to be forced by God to BE anything should be a source of clarity and freedom. For me, I saw it as a rubber stamp to do what I wanted with His Dream for me.
I’ve discussed the book by Father Albert about discernment, and I’ve been cognizant of the various ways God has been speaking with me lately –particularly in dreams. These dreams have helped me to realize that I don’t need to have the perfect image in the world of a Man, Husband, or Dad to BE one. I can actually pursue MY dreams without denying HIS dream. In fact, pursuing my dream seems to be leading me toward His.
And that’s not to say that His dream has a conclusion. I’m just a cog in the wheel that will run long after I am gone.
Part of pursuing my own dream, and something that has given me vigor and life I haven’t known for a long time, is an Internet Radio Show I do with my long-time friend and business partner, Chris. He and I have a show we just started called “Duck Soup In A Dawg Bowl,” and it is a resurrection of our Radio show we had in college over twenty years ago.
We had a lot of fun doing the first show, and I’ve enjoyed doing the post-production, publishing, promotion and marketing of the show since we produced the first one a little over a week ago. People have enjoyed it and are downloading it and, frankly, the site gets more traffic than this one.
And what’s neat is I get enthusiastic thumbs up from Mama and The Boyz.
So last week I told them I was throwing in the towel on DOING this ManHusbandDad gig as a profession. That I’m supposed to BE that for them and not necessarily DO it for others. So pursuing career-orientation or professional material creation for the “philosophy” or “idea” of MHD just isn’t necessarily what I’m supposed to be DOING, because God only wants me to BE a Man, Husband, and Dad. Their response: You mean you’ve been doing that thing you talked about 30 months ago? Mama did actually ask about the financial side of things and left it at that. The Boyz were like, “Whatever. Pass the mac and cheese.”
Does this preclude me from taking advantage of or accepting opportunities that come my way involving my experience as a Man, Husband, or Dad? No.
But it does mean that I can be pursuing my dream while fulfilling God’s. And His dream has nothing to do with DOING ManHusbandDad. It’s all about BEING – that’s what he first told me at that retreat.
So I can pursue what I am good at DOING – I am awesome at music and DJing and having fun with the show – while also BEING what God wants me to BE good at BEING – an awesome ManHusbandDad for my family.
And if anybody asks me how to do that, I’ll share. And I’ll share here my experiences and thoughts on the matter here. I’ll even post the articles to the facebook page.
What I won’t do is force this thing. I won’t make it what I say God wants me to make it when I know that is only what I think needs to be done in order to improve upon God’s plan. I’m done with that. He never told me to DO what I have been DOING for the last two and a half years. And I have used Him as an excuse for feeling like a complete abject failure for not making it a successful thing in family- and Catholic-oriented circles yet. I DID all this but blamed Him for making me DO it…and for my subsequent regular apses in productivity – let alone long bouts of non-activity and NEVER any excitement – when it was self-imposed expectations I was failing to meet.
The irony is that by getting this self-imposed god-monkey off my back, I feel freer to pursue things as I think they should be, instead of putting the onus on God. I had honestly convinced myself that God wanted me to start ManHusbandDad.com to save the world.
Now I understand and accept that he wanted me to be a Husband and Dad to save myself and my family.
The rest is something I have to own if it is my dream – like that saving the world idea – because I put it on myself…God had nothing to do with it. And right now it is a hobby from the DOING part of ManHusbandDad.com and all the social media and other stuff. I need to work on being an expert for my Wife and Children only.
I need to BE, not DO. And anything I DO with MHD needs to be on my terms. God isn’t forcing me to DO this, and He hasn’t even asked me to DO this. I think He is allowing it if it is something I want to DO.
But it has no bearing on what He said he wants me to BE. He has no checklist in my DOING ManHusbandDad.
Husband to Beth. Dad to Kristofer, Andrew, and Nathaniel. That’s what He originally said. I’m just now getting the message instead of trying to improve upon God’s Plan.
So what does this mean?
Well, I’m not killing myself to put up resources and references on the web site. I’m not publishing speaking fees – there’s only the link to contact me if you want me to speak on something – or seminar topics or a bunch of hooey like that. Sure, I have a bunch of that stuff, but that was cart before the horse. And I’m not vommitting to an article publishing schedule.
What I do here will be focused on God’s Mission for me concerning Mama and The Boyz. It’s removing the veil. It’s revealing the Man behind the curtain. I’m not going to try to impress anyone just so I can get a like on facebook, a new Twitter follower, or some speaking engagement at a Men’s Conference.
I’m going to have fun on my Radio show and try hard not to conflict with my Faith and the principles of ManHusbandDad as I banter with Chris and constantly argue on the appropriateness of some of the music we play. I am, after all, the one who insists on the “bleeps” over the even slightly bad words. And the bleeps are “quacks,” by the way.
I’m going to fail and succeed. I’m going to DO things on the show and in my life and on this site that will show I am not a perfect Man, Husband, or Dad and if I ever get to talk to a conference about BEING a ManHusbandDad, somebody will rightfully be able to call me a hypocrite.
But that’s okay. When I fall down, I’ll get back up. When I sin, I will confess. And God will forgive me. And we’ll move on.
He will have a Husband and Dad getting better and BEING better every day.
And instead of a persona or brand, I will have a life.