Sometimes uncomfortable is right where you need to be.

I will admit it. I like things to be comfortable. On Sunday it was raining in Oklahoma. My wife had the shades in the house drawn and lots of candles lit. The house smelled good. The lighting was nice. The temperature was just right. We made a good pot of chicken chili. It was a comfortable evening and I really enjoyed it. I want to be comfortable in my home. I like being comfortable in general.

I have come to the realization that I don’t want to be comfortable in everything. Ever had a job you hate? Every been in a relationship with someone that had grown stagnant? We grow comfortable and it doesn’t matter if we are miserable as well, we must maintain the comfort. I stayed in a job like that for nearly 4 years because it was something that didn’t push me too hard. I was miserable, but it was comfortable in its own way.

You know one thing that will make you uncomfortable in a good way? Goals. I recently sat down and typed out my Life Goal list. I currently have 72 items down, with hopes of making it to 100. It is extremely exciting to get all of these things down on paper. I like seeing them in front of me and thinking about what things I will be able to do, but it is an uncomfortable process. I know that to accomplish many of these things I will have to push myself harder than I have ever have before. I will have to go farther that I have been. I may have to give up some things that I enjoy to accomplish them. I will have to do things in a different way to attain different results. This is exciting and a bit scary all at the same time.

Dreaming is uncomfortable in this way. It takes us out of the place we are in and for a moment puts us in the place we want to be. Then, we have to connect the dots. Make out a plan. Act. To accomplish noble goals, I imagine that there is a great loss of comfort. I am ready for this. I am certain that the purpose that you gain because of it is worth the sacrifice.

How about you? Have you given up on any of your dreams because you have grown comfortable? Is it time to choose to be uncomfortable and take those dreams back?

She makes everything alright.

Something happened this evening at my house that has not occurred in many moons: my son fell asleep before nine o’clock. He has been a ten thirty warrior of late. Even when we get him in bed at eight thirty he still doesn’t give up until then. So, Marixa and I took advantage of the time and talked…for over an hour. That is the good stuff.

It always takes a little bit to get into the deep conversation. You have to get through the ‘what happened today’, the ‘he did what to the dog?’, and any other thing that might distract. But, about 10 minutes into talking the pace gets steady and ideas and dreams start to come out. Real communication starts to happen. I love it when she and I get to do this.

How much time do you spend really talking with your spouse? Since we had Trey we haven’t had the opportunities like we used to. But, I will say this: talking with her has a way of making everything come back into focus. She has an in to my life that no one else does and I trust what she tells me. There are times I don’t like what she tells me, but I trust her and 99.9% of the time she is on the money.

This is one of the parts of marriage that I love the most. There is someone who loves me and has committed their life to spend walking beside me through all the stuff. We don’t have to go it on our own. We have each other. Whatever comes we face it together. The years keep passing by and I am more hooked on being married to Marixa. It just keeps getting better.

If it has been a while since the two of you have had a good long conversation, it is time to have one. Don’t put off connecting with your spouse any longer. Two is better than one. Much better.

Watch out! It’s powerful stuff!

I have undertaken a near impossible task: cleaning my computer of unnecessary files. In this process I have looked through and rediscovered many things that I have written or done over the last decade. Yes. I have files saved from 2001. Judge if you would like.

One of the things I came across was a 5 year goal plan I wrote when I was 27. So, I gladly flipped it open to see how I had done with everything I had written down. I have achieved everything (there were only five goals.) You would think I would be happy knowing that I had achieved what I set out to do. Um…no. I became painfully aware that I set my sites way too low.

Goals are powerful. There is power in taking time to figure out what you want to do with the time that you have been given and then writing it out and putting a plan of action to it. There have been countless studies that say that people who write their goals down far outperform those who don’ t. I believe it.

The problem we run into is we are so involved in the now that we don’t have the time or energy to put into thinking about what we want then. Does that make sense? Are you busy? Do you feel like you have too much on your plate? Do you plan a day at a time? Week at a time? Month by month? Or year by year? People who live and think day to day never feel like they have the time to have goals. Life is too busy happening to them.

By planning out goals 1, 5, and even 10 or more years into the future you start to look at the big picture. You have the ability to see what you need to be doing to get where you want to go. You have a chance to connect the dots. There is a good chance you will get far with this method. Success doesn’t happen by accident. You have to plan for it.

So, five years later I am happy that I have achieved the goals I set out on. I am frustrated at my lack of vision and creativity, but I am glad to know that I am engaged in the process. Here are a few things I have learned from the exercise:

1. Set bigger goals. Five years is a long time. A lot of good stuff can be done in that time frame.

2. Review them often. I am amazed that I have reached the goals on my list because I didn’t follow this step. I knew what I wanted, but wasn’t keeping it in front of me as I should to keep the fire lit inside.

3. Be excited about the victories, but know that the war is far from over. Once one goal is achieved it makes way to start pursuing others.

Bottom line, I have another 5 year plan to make. I am shooting a lot bigger this time.

What are you afraid of?

Like most people, I struggle with fear. Fear of failure. Fear of insignificance. Fear of snakes. It is irrational. I don’t know why, but fear can paralyze me quick. I can’t talk. I can’t think. I hate when I allow that to happen to me.

For the longest time I thought that fears were just something that I would have to accept. My lot in life. But somewhere deep inside of me there was a voice telling me that I was not supposed to be ruled by fear. I didn’t have to give in to it. I don’t have to give in to it. So, there are areas of my life that I have started to turn into the fear. To stare at it and examine it. I am finding it to be nothing more than wind and shadows. I am finding myself empowered…but I still stay away from snakes.

What are you afraid of? What imagined things hold you back from what you could be doing? I think that the words fear and alive are opposed in many ways. If we want to be alive, fully alive, we can’t live under fear’s rule. We have to be able to look into the fear, see the truth, and do what needs to be done.

There are times we will all be afraid of something. Consider the source. Some fears keep you safe. Some fears only serve to keep you in chains. Which one are you up against?

You want to be a what?

Like millions of Americans I am an avid iPhone user. I have more stuff downloaded to my phone than I will listen to/watch/fidget with, but I want it there at a moments notice so I can use it. You know what I mean. One of my favorite apps on the iPhone of late (aside from the Food Network app) is Slacker Radio.

This past week I needed some new music. I tend to listen to the same stuff over and over and needed to branch out. Slacker Radio has a station devoted to the top 50 songs of 2010 ten across all of their stations. I figured I would give it a listen. I have come to a few conclusions:

1. There is a lot of popular stuff out there that isn’t very good. A lot that is, but some of it is really bad.

2. I don’t like when musicians have to sing their name at the beginning of each of their songs. No offense Jason DeRulo, but I don’t need to be reminded it is you singing.

3. Music really is a sign of the culture. This was brought to my attention in the song Billionaire by Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars. It is a catchy tune, but left me scratching my head. I wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone for a few reasons. Let me explain.

The first line of the songs says, “I want to be a billionaire so $%^&*& bad, buy all the things I never had.” Not millionaire. Billionaire. Many Americans struggle to get by from month to month and live in massive amounts of debt. The idea of being out of debt is overwhelming. The idea of having a large amount of money saved up is a dream. For most people a million dollars could be doable over a long period of time (investing wisely over time, see Dave Ramsey), but a billion dollars! That is ludicrous. It might as wells say, “I want to win the lottery so %^&*(&^ bad.” Also, what is it that you never had that will cost a billion dollars to buy?

They go on to explain through the song all of the things they would do if they were billionaires: picture on the cover of Forbes (with Oprah and the Queen), playing basketball with the president, and a bunch of other stuff. Some of the stuff they mention is noble, some of it not so much.

Like I said, I have nothing against these guys. They are doing what they do and making a living at it. The song is just a reflection of the culture. There are many who pipe dream about what they would do with all the money, not realizing they can take the first steps to a better life today. Many who fritter their money away on lottery tickets and put their hopes in things that will continue to disappoint.

I choose to make good choices. I choose to spend and save wisely. Hopefully, one day I will achieve most of the goals I have set. (Many that are included in the lyrics of the song: adopting babies, helping the less fortunate, etc.) It won’t take a billion dollars to do that. Just the decision to do the best with what God has given me…and tons of hard work.

What are your thoughts on this?