Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. – Titus 2:6-8
If you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend a visit to Holland, Michigan. What an enjoyable little town. Now I’m sure that it has its pros and cons like everyplace else, but whenever I visit I always find several things. First, the town is quaint – and not that touristy forced quaint. It is the type of place where you can walk around and enjoy store fronts, restaurants, people, and of course tulips. Next, there’s a great coffee shop – JP’s Coffee (probably more of a personal preference, but hey, this one is about me). And finally, I always come away a better man than when I arrived. Now that’s a hard claim to make, and one you won’t see on the chamber of commerce’s website, but it’s true and I’d like to tell you why.
Dan Webster is a friend and a mentor with whom I meet (at the coffee shop in the heart of the quaintness) every so often. He builds Christian leaders by trade (his website is the Authentic Leadership link on this page) and in the midst of his busy schedule has graciously offered blocks of his time to meet and talk with me. I sat down with him just a few days ago. We talked, caught up, and discussed a few points of concern on which I was seeking his thoughts. As we were talking about keeping a schedule, God revealed to me the real reason why I was talking to Dan. I realized that the struggles we were discussing were small symptoms of a bigger issue. I found myself facing a question that I needed to answer: What kind of man do I want to be?
It’s funny that I would italicize the word I. It’s the smallest word, but in this context it has the greatest significance. I know the man that God wants me to be and with the help of the Spirit I pursue that daily. But between my own two ears, the vision of who I want to be has always been lacking. I’ve tried to be who other people want me to be – as a son, brother, father, and an educator. But until I fully come to terms with who I am, I will be held back from the destiny that awaits me.
Since that day, I have found myself reflecting upon this idea. To begin, Dan charged me with simply writing it out. As that document comes into form, I have continually asked myself a question: “Am I the type of man who…?” I’ve filled in the blank dozens of times. I am the type of man who lives in a clean house, who meets deadlines, who takes pride in his yard, who fulfills obligations, who is committed to improving, who lives his faith. Each day has been filled with these reminders, and not coincidentally, every day since has been more productive, more focused, and filled with growth. It’s still early and I have a long way to go, but the foundation of a much needed paradigm shift is underway and I thank God for what He is doing in me. With His ongoing help, I will be a better son, brother, father, educator, and man of God. How do I know this? It’s because that is the man that I want to be.