Gauges

There are two types of people in this world…those who can comfortably let their cell phone battery drain down to one percent and those who begin to panic when it reaches the half way point.

I am the second type of person.

Once my phone dips into a range I consider “the danger zone”, I feverishly start to look for an outlet. The same is true in my car. There is nothing more stressful than watching my gas gauge get perilously close to “E”. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I push the limits, but I can’t breathe easy until I know my tank is full again.

Over time, I’ve discovered that I have a set of internal gauges that tell me how I’m doing too. It’s easy to pretend they don’t exist because they don’t light up like the ones on my dashboard. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as real. Often the consequences for ignoring the gauges of my inner world are even more painful than getting stuck along the side of the road or not having access to my phone.

Here are a few of the gauges I use to monitor the health of what is going on inside my soul…

Positivity vs. Cynicism

I’m a pretty positive person by nature. When I am in a healthy spot, I tend to see the bright side of circumstances and believe the best about the people around me.

I know my emotional gauge is telling me that something is wrong when I start to become cynical. When the first words out of my mouth are sarcastic or my thoughts become jaded, I need to take some space and evaluate what is going on beneath the surface of my life.

Rested vs. Exhausted

When my emotional tank is full, I feel rested and at peace. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not busy. It means I have enough margin in my life not to run myself into the ground. Perhaps the best way to describe this way of life is “at ease”.

A clear sign that my tank is running low is the need for multiple cups of coffee in order to make it through the day. When I combine a weary physical state with rushing between activities and no space for silence/stillness, the results aren’t pretty.

Present vs. Distracted

I have learned to pay attention to my interactions with people as I monitor my inner world. When I am at my healthiest, I am able to stay engaged and focused in conversations. I feel “present” with others.

I know something is “off” when my mind begins to dart around in the middle of talking with another person. Living with a distracted mind isn’t fun for me (or the people I’m interacting with).  

Those are just a few of the gauges that I have learned to monitor in my life. How about you? What are some of the gauges that tell you how you are doing?

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Marry a Strong Woman

Few decisions will impact your life more than the choice of who you will marry.

Guys, maybe you are seriously considering marrying someone. You might already be engaged. Heck, maybe you are getting ready to walk down the aisle in a couple of hours. Let’s face it, that’s about the right timing for most guys to start reading blogs about marriage.

Even if the idea of marriage is a distant dream, akin to the Buffalo Bills hoisting the Lombardi trophy, let me give you some advice…think twice before you marry a strong woman!

When I use the word “strong” in this context, I’m not talking about deltoids, triceps or bench press ability. I’m talking about a woman with internal strength. A woman who is secure in who she is and who has an emotional resiliency that isn’t dependent upon you or any other human being.

There are many reasons why choosing to enter a life long relationship with a strong woman might not be a good idea. Here are three of them.

  1. She won’t enable your dysfunction

All of us find ways to cope with life. Sometimes these seem rather harmless. For instance, we might eat an extra bowl of ice cream every now and then or turn on Sports Center for a few minutes. Other ways of coping are much more harmful like retreating into our own space for prolonged amounts of time or treating people around us disrespectfully.

Well, if you aren’t willing to engage the dysfunctional ways you treat yourself and others PLEASE don’t marry a strong woman. She will lovingly, and sometimes not so lovingly point out your unhealthy ways of coping. It’s not comfortable! You might even get mad. If you want to stay the same for the rest of your life, find someone else.

  1. She won’t depend on YOU to feel good about herself

She might love spending time with you. She may like the different perspective you bring to her world. Ultimately though, she won’t NEED your approval to get through her day.

If you like to think of yourself as “The Center of the Universe” or “God’s gift to (fill in the blank)” you definitely want to stay away from a strong woman. You will find yourself reminded that the planets of our solar system don’t revolve around you. As a matter of fact, you aren’t even the center of her world! She gets her strength from a place much more consistent and profound than you will ever be.

  1. She will be committed to raising strong kids

Aside from being a husband, being a dad is the toughest job you will have in life. You can “clock in” and “clock out” of work but being a good dad takes constant intentionality.

A strong woman won’t accept a “slack off” father for her kids. She also won’t tolerate a man who belittles her children or tries to intimidate them with fear.

She is passionate about providing a healthy environment for her kids to grow and flourish into the people they were created to be.

If you don’t want to put effort into fatherhood or if you want to replicate the aforementioned dysfunction in your life, run away when you see a strong woman. Run away quickly!

A final thought…

This advice comes after over 17 years of marriage to one of the strongest women I know. She is beautiful on the inside and out. Walking through life with her has truly transformed the way I see the world. Neither of us is perfect (FAR from it!) but together we are becoming more of who God truly made us to be. If you don’t want that experience, think twice before you walk down the aisle. I’m learning it takes a strong man to be married to a strong woman.