Three Things – 02/17/2023

After a few months away, I am back this week. My wife and I welcomed our fifth child in November, a healthy baby girl, and my life has been rather busy(er) since, but I am excited to be writing again and plan on publishing more regularly moving forward. There will be more long form content coming soon. For now, here are Three Things for this week.

1. Finding Adventure

Colin O’Brady is an outdoor adventure seeker who I first encountered on the Modern Wisdom podcast last August. The discussion focused on his solo and unsupported trek across Antarctica in 2018, when he became the first person to successfully complete such a feat.

O’Brady has made it his life’s mission to inspire others to find and take on their own ‘Mt. Everests’ (another of his accomplishments). The Impossible First documents O’Brady’s journey, both on the Antarctic landmass, and the challenges he overcame to get there.

The book is an entertaining read, but it also challenged me to think about the places in my own life where I feel called to go, and the fears that hold me back from doing so. Next week, I’ll be taking a deeper dive into O’Brady’s story and how it has helped me examine my own.

2. How Long Does a Miracle Take?

We had a health scare with one of my kids recently that landed us in the emergency room. At the onset of the problem, I hoped and prayed that the issue would resolve itself and that my daughter’s health would be immediately restored. I imagined the story from the Gospel of Mark, in which a woman, desperate for healing, reaches out to touch Jesus’ cloak believing, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured” (Mk 5:28).

Because of her faith, she is healed. In that moment with my daughter, I wanted the same thing for her, but things got worse, which resulted in our trip to the hospital. She was treated and we went home and she is doing well now, but when I look back on the experience, I reflected on the initial disappointment that my daughter was not healed immediately after my prayer; I didn’t get the miracle that I had asked for.

As I thought about it more, however, I realized I was asking God to be a genie, which He is not. Over the last few weeks, the Father has revealed things to me about my daughter, my relationship with my wife, and who I am as a husband and father that I would have missed if my initial desire had been answered. And the story is not finished yet. While I certainly want my daughter to be well, I believe she will be, and the journey is reminding me again that God’s plans are (unsurprisingly) better than my own.

Sometimes miracles take time.

3. The Weight of Expectations

Wild at Heart released a podcast episode a couple of weeks ago that really hit me. The one line summary is this: “Today’s expectations are tomorrow’s resentments”. I listened to the episode four times and each time something new was revealed. I was forced to examine the expectations I carry in my life. Expectations within relationships, expectations of myself, of work, even of God.

For me, it ultimately comes down to the connection between expectations and outcomes. When outcomes are not aligned, I am disappointed and feel resentful. When we can release expectations we become free to give more of ourselves to others and to receive without qualification.

The desire that often fuels expectation is not bad. It is put there by design, but instead of placing the fulfilment of that desire in a set of outcomes that we have little control over, we can instead anticipate that our desires will ultimately be fulfilled, even if differently from our original expectations. More to come on this topic as well, but there are many examples in my story in which my expectations have become entrenched, leading to resentment. I look forward in hope that if I can become more anticipating and less expecting, that it will lead to more life in my relationships with others and myself.

Until Next Time,

– Sean

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