Archives For mistakes

Becoming Mike Ditka

Erik Cooper —  December 13, 2010 — 2 Comments

As a father, I’ve always thought my personality was a little Tony Dungy integrity meets Bill Belichick stoicism (Yes, two of the most prolific coaches in NFL history. This is my blog here, roll with it). But last night I embodied a bit of Mike Ditka hothead.

I yelled at my son.

Not the kind of normal, everyday, sometimes audibly-elevated verbal correction that comes with the fatherhood territory. The kind that erupts from frustration. That serves no real purpose other than a momentary release of endorphins (like I just watched the New Orleans Saints recover another onside kick to start the second half of the Super Bowl).

It was an un-proud parental moment, and one I’m intentionally sharing in public to try and make a vulnerable point.


http://flyingpigskin.com/tag/nick-thomas/

The nature of my son’s lamentable behavior is inconsequential. He was wrong.

I was wrong-er.

As the tears were drying, I had to ask him for forgiveness. And in that moment, I was reminded that my little boy doesn’t know me as pastor. He doesn’t know me as writer. He doesn’t know me as leader, or teacher, or musician.

He knows me as daddy.

A daddy that often reflects the love and life of Jesus Christ, but who sometimes shows his broken humanity.

A daddy grateful for his Father’s unending grace, the same grace he sometimes forgets to show to his own children.

A daddy who’s far from perfect, but is thankful He knows One who is.

Last night reminded of some lyrics Nathan LaGrange and I penned as a prayer for our children way back in 2002 (three years before Austin was even born). They’re still some of my favorites:

Father forgive me, even on the best of days
I am a poor reflection of Who You really are
So give me the strength to lead them through another day
And when I stumble and I fail
Keep their eyes on You

You’re not perfect. Neither am I. That’s what makes this Jesus thing such unbelievable news.

There are a lot of arrogant, isolated, self-reliant, “I’m never wrong” jerks in this world. (I contemplated stronger language, but I think you get the picture).  You’re probably visualizing a few right now.

But honestly, I think there’s a much more dangerous epidemic.

An epidemic of self-protection. A sickness that defines itself by validation from others. A disease that stifles conviction, and forces God-given potential back into the turtle shell of self-doubt.

It’s ugly.  It’s sinful.  And it’s something I battle daily in my own life.

Below is an excerpt from my personal journal. A little butt kicking I got from God last week (He wears big shoes, but I think they’re Toms. Soft soles).  A bit of a pep talk that may mean something to you, too.

6-29-2010

Stop waiting for others to define or validate you. If you blow it, blow it BIG.  And blow it based on a deep conviction you feel in your heart.  Stop waiting for a wave to ride.  Go create a wave!

Stop mentally adjusting to criticism you haven’t really heard, but imagine or anticipate. That’s CRAZY!  Put what you think out there.  If others disagree, – listen, critique, adjust if needed – but don’t hide out of fear of rejection or criticism. You’re big enough to handle that.

Listen for God’s voice, but when you hear as much as a whisper – GO!  Run!  Stop waiting for others to give you permission. Stop trying to hedge your potential for mistakes.  Stop being a slave to opinion.  Start being a true follower of Christ.

Does any of this resonate with you?  Are you ever paralyzed by the fear of screwing things up? Of facing shame from those who may see things differently?  Are you avoiding creating, injecting, speaking, writing, asking, or starting something today because you lack the courage to face the criticism if you’re wrong?

What if we feared missing a God-0pportunity more than we feared making a mistake?