Getting Back to Bruce

Yesterday my wife and I decided to take an adventure, skip work, and go to Winter Park for a screening of the new movie Divergent. We invested a lot of time and energy to make it all happen.

This blog post started off as a rant. A rant against all the hormone-crazed pre-teens, teens, twenty-somethings, and older women who ruined my movie experience last night. It was originally titled “Just Not Worth It”, and it was going to be a blast at how lust-filled women filled a movie theater with swooning chatter over Ansel Elgort and Theo James. So much so I actually found myself yelling – and I mean yelling – “Shut up!” in the middle of the theater.

I was going to go off on having to wait for hours and hours and hours only to have a tsunami of estrogen capsize my evening. Not to mention the fiasco of how we had to check our cell-phones at the door for the movie screening. You can only image the chaos this caused on the way out. Oh yeah, then there was the 90 minute drive back home.

I was furious, and I WAS going to rant about all that.

But as I started typing, I realized the uniqueness of the evening, and how it did end up being, after all, another big adventure for us.

In the end, we ended up with author Veronica Roth signing our copy of her novel, actor Ansel Elgort signing it as well, and getting to be two of only a few hundred people in the country who got to see the film a couple of weeks before its national release. We also made a new friend while waiting in line, and watched her have one of the greatest days of her life as she met Ansel in person.

Lee

You see, this blog post is not about me expressing my anger over something that is, at the end of the day, inconsequential. This blog post is about God speaking to me through my own words and reminding me about what is important. I’ve been angry all day, and I carried that anger with me in everything I’ve done today. I found myself snapping at people at work – although, truth be told, they really kinda’ deserved it – and I haven’t been able to really focus at all.

I feel it in my neck and in my back. What’s more, I feel it in my gut, mostly because I took out my anger and frustration on my wife as we drove home last night.

Always Angry

It’s not the first time I’ve let my anger get away from me, and I know it won’t be the last. I identify a lot with the character of Bruce Banner, and I know one of my biggest challenges is keeping my personal hulk at bay. Prayer and focus have been crucial in helping make this happen, but I lost sight of that last night.

As I began typing this blog post and found God re-arranging my personal narrative, I know it’s because He wants to see a lot more of Bruce and a lot less of the other guy.

XL Commitment

I still get a kick out of going into Starbucks and ordering coffee with their crazy names for sizes. Venti this and Grande that. I just recently found out they have a new, even bigger size called Trenta. It’s pretentious and awesome all at the same time.

So when I title this post ‘XL Commitment’, I wish I could say it had something to do with and extra-large sense of dedication. I guess in a way it does, but the real meaning behind the XL is not linguistic but, rather, numerical.

The number 40 is mentioned 146 times in the Bible, and it is of significant importance with regards to its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement. Having just turned 40 myself, I feel there is a spiritual symbolism that’s calling me to make a change.

I’ve written before about my vocation and how I feel I am called to be the best dad I can possibly be. I’ve even done so while patting myself on the back. Even though I still take pride in my kids and my parental abilities, I also feel there’s not a whole lot for me to celebrate about myself.

My high school English teacher loved to break down literature, and he’d challenge us to determine the tragic flaw of the main character. The idea that everyone has a tragic flaw fascinated me, and it has me thinking of what mine may be. Upon reflection and introspection, I believe my tragic flaw is complacency. It’s a laziness that has rationalized the comfort of ‘good enough’ as success.

What I’ve come to realize is that in surrendering to my complacency, I am failing God in terms of what He has destined for me. Much like the book by Steven Furtick I am currently studying through my growth group at church, I believe God wants greater things for my life. I heard once that good is the opposite of great, and as I keep embracing the safety of good enough, I won’t be able to achieve great things in my life.

So the real question is do I have what it takes to let go of good enough? This translates to do I have the discipline to allow myself to become greater? Can I be faithful in my destiny?

It’s no surprise then both the words discipline and disciple share the same Latin root, one that refers to instruction given, teaching, learning, and knowledge. The disciples followed Jesus to learn from his teachings and model their lives after His. Similarly, being disciplined, to me, means not so much having to sacrifice as it does learning ways to be better and more effective. In short, being disciplined leads to becoming greater.

I’ve struggled with a lot of behavioral traits that result in negative consequences in my relationship with my wife and kids. Particularly, managing my anger and frustration has been quite the challenge. I am sometimes left feeling like Dr. Bruce Banner in the Avengers, except I don’t have the luxury of being able to smash alien life forms that are attacking Earth.

So instead I’ll start with a simple premise: K.I.S.S. >> “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

And one way I know I can simplify my life is by unplugging from the medium that I feel helps contribute to my inner rage. So as Lent arrives and we begin another 40 day period of probation and atonement, I have decided to take a hiatus from Facebook. I know that most people may see this as a small sacrifice, but for this self-proclaimed social media junkie, stepping away from Facebook is an extra-large leap for me. It is something I do with painful trepidation, yet it’s something I know I must do in order to quiet my mind and better prepare myself to hear what God is asking me to do.

Steven Furtick’s first book, Sun Stand Still, calls for us to live with audacious faith. It is centered around the story of Joshua asking God to stop the sun from setting so he could complete his battle against the Amorites. It was an audacious prayer and God delivered Joshua’s request. The key, however, is not so much the audacious faith Joshua displayed at that moment in battle. Rather, it was the work Joshua did before hand, marching his troops all night long to be in position to fight. To borrow a quote from the book, “If you’re going to pray for God to make the sun stand still, you’d better be ready to march all night!”

Over the next forty days, I hope to be “marching all night long” in preparation for whatever God has in store for me. It’s my own little sabbatical, and I know that through it all, the experience will be great(er).

discipline