Monthly Archives: August 2012

Tired, stressed?

Are you tired, stressed? You’ll feel better on Swisse. Gee…I sound just like Ricky Ponting! I’m sure you’ve heard that somewhere before. To be honest, we don’t need vitamins. Sorry Ricky. We need to stop and retreat!

This feeling of tiredness is there to make us slow down. To make us stop for a bit and catch our breath.

In the past months I’ve had times where I’ve felt tired and worn out. Earlier this year my daughter Matilda was born. Having broken sleep is a killer, just ask any new parents. During this time we were seeding on the farm and working some long hours. It was all very tiring.

Have a think for a moment, what are you involved in and do these things tire you out? Is it being on a number of committees or community groups?  Or is it playing sport? Depending on your line of work there will be times when you’re busy and get tired. As I now work as a farm hand the busy periods are seeding and harvest. If you’re a teacher, is it report writing, camps or even concerts? I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the picture. If you don’t get the picture, pick up your local newspaper. In my ‘local rag’ I’ve counted at least twenty-four organisations advertising stuff in the community section. There are so many groups to be involved in.

I haven’t even mentioned where our families and relationships fit into all of this. Wife, kids, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and mates. How do we fit the most important people into this scenario?

The point is that we all get tired, stressed or even burnt out at some stage of  our lives. The best thing we can do is try our best to avoid it.  We must simplify our lives.

When you have a heart for people and the wider community it’s hard to pull back and be selfish for a bit. If you love helping people it is so important to look after yourself. Sometimes we have to retreat to the trenches to have a break. When our soldiers are  fighting a war they don’t fight 24/7. They retreat to the trenches and their camps to catch their breath and heal the wounded. We’re the same. We need to have our own time.

Sometimes we have to take ourselves out of the organisation for a while to clear our minds.

I am involved in running the CYP Shed night. A lot of energy gets spent on organising, chatting with people and cooking BBQ’s. I love being involved with shed night but I need my own time to recharge the batteries. I do this by retreating and spending time with the Big Fella. Reading the bible gives me so much encouragement and I can continue to stand on the promises He shows me through this. The half hour drive home from work is also a time when I can crank the tunes up and sing some ‘karaoke dokey.’

‘I don’t care if I can’t sing. These are my favourite tunes. Therefore, I will sing.’

This helps me recharge. When Matilda was born I didn’t go to a shed night because it was all too much and my priority was my family. I feel less involved in things now than ever before.

I guess this leads me to priorities. I’d like some feedback here. If you’re feeling tired and worn out what can you do or not do to recharge? Instead of being on five committees and playing two sports, maybe cut back to the ones you absolutely want to do. Not the ones you feel you should do.

‘So don’t SHOULD on yourself and don’t SHOULD on anyone else.’

So sit down for ten minutes (if you can find it) and list 1-10 the most important things in your life. Let us know what they are below and let’s help each other.

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My story.

We all have a story to tell. Proverbs 27:17 says, ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person learns from another.’ The best way we can help each other through life is to tell our story. Your story can be good, bad, happy or sad. Whatever it is we need to share it with others. 

This is my story.

A spanner was thrown in the works a few years ago when we had our first child Oliver. The comfortable husband and wife set up was thrown into craziness when Ollie arrived. Don’t get me wrong, I love that boy and he is a little champion, but the dynamics changed in the house. Lisa, my wife, was spending a lot of time with him and I was working and keeping a business running.

It was through this time, Lisa struggled with the change and so did I.  The life I was living was pretty normal, as if nothing had ever changed. I was having a great time at the cricket and footy clubs, getting home when I liked, full of more than one or two beers. This wore very thin after a while and pushed my wife to the limits. As a bloke, I was in my own little world, unaware of the struggles a new baby can give.

Now, as I’ve grown up, my faith has been a big part of my life. I was brought up in a Christian family with two awesome parents, two brothers and a sister. This gave me a good foundation on how to live my life. In those days we hung out at a youth group and a lot of my mates went to church also. Along with this, was the weekend sport. In winter it was dodging horizontal hail at footy and on the hot summer days it was smashing sixes at cricket. (Well, okay, it was maybe nicking fours to the boundary!)

As I came into adulthood, I started making my own choices about God and whether or not I attended church. I became slack in attending and felt I didn’t need God in all parts of my life. I didn’t really know where He was at all. I believed if I went to church every now and again, all will be okay. As time wore on, life seemed to be going on as normal, until about three months after becoming a dad.

I often lived my life on other people’s terms. In my mind, I felt I had to go along with the crowd to feel accepted by them. This led me into trouble on a number of occasions. The final straw was when I came home absolutely out of my mind drunk. Ollie was dealing with silent reflux as a baby and Lisa was at a wit’s end. Coming home in this state was no way to live and be responsible for my family. I had to change the way I treated others. Especially those closest to me.

Thankfully, Lisa said, “This has to stop.”

Now this isn’t about a wife nagging at you or me being perceived as under the thumb. I’ve heard the discussions in the pubs amongst a group of blokes. “Oh that bloke, he’s under the thumb and she’s a pain and all she does is nag.” No those comments are crap and us men have to stop it.

I needed to take the responsibility of a new baby seriously and put my wife and baby first before anything else. I wasn’t doing this.

Not long after these events, I spent a week-end in Canberra at an event called Better Blokes. It’s for ordinary blokes wanting to become better husbands, better dads, better mates and ultimately a better bloke.

It was at Better Blokes that something changed. It’s very hard to explain, but something changed deep inside me. Identity was the topic of the first session. The speaker said, “That no matter who you are, where you’ve been, what stupid things you’ve done, there is a God… a Heavenly Father that loves you unconditionally just the way you are.” Someone turned the lights on in my heart and in my mind. I was trying to be accepted by others, but I realised God was the only person that matters. He loves every part of me. Even the silly dry jokes I make and the incorrect words I sing to Cold Chisels, Khe Sanh. I didn’t need to succumb to others, to be accepted.

My heart changed that weekend and I entered a real relationship with the Creator of the universe. I came home a better husband and dad than the one who left. I came home and put all my trust in God. I trusted Him with my life. Three years later, He hasn’t let me down once.

Today, I live my life with contentment and peace, knowing where I sit in God’s eyes. He has changed my heart to be accepting and loving to all people.

My family is now the number one priority. I now prioritise having dinner together, bathing the kids and reading bed time stories. Such simple things, but they are what I value most.

Throughout my story were some tough times. I struggled for a while. But those tough times are long gone. I’m thankful now that I’ve come through the other side a better person. We’re no different to a knife being sharpened on a steel. It goes through hard abrasive times to become a sharp useful tool. It can now do it’s job properly. We’re the same.

So can I encourage you to share your story. Whatever it is. Share it below if you feel. We’re here to learn from each other.

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It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”? Well, I was having breakfast the other day and I read it on the back of a Weet-Bix packet. I love my Weet-Bix so a truer word couldn’t be said. For the record I do four.

A truer word couldn’t be said for life as well. In each of us human’s there is something deep inside that makes us tick. Something that makes us come alive. Something that burns so deep it just spills out of you, like a bucket overflowing with water. When you tap into that inner self, life just seems to be all worthwhile.

I have a desire to leave the world in a better place than what I entered it. A few years ago I just lived and worked, worked and lived. I was living a life which wasn’t bringing my inner self to the surface. I was working in my sub-contractors business, building houses but there was something still missing.

As soon as my son Oliver was born something changed. Well, a lot changed in fact. The biggest change was that I am now responsible to bring this child up and teach him the wrong and right of life. This triggered a passion inside me to encourage and share stories with ordinary Aussie men. I am responsible to teach my son to be strong and courageous and of good character and I’m also obliged to do this with the young men of the community around me. I’m not talking about the outer physical strength, but the inner strength that can be used for the greater good of others. Here lies my passion.

The other part I’m getting know more about inside me, is my heart. I’ve always had a lot of information in my head, but didn’t know how sharing what’s on my heart can actually help others around me – and a  tip for all blokes out there….our women want our hearts. The relationship changes when you get to know her heart and she sees more of yours.

I’m learning to listen to my heart rather than my logical mind. The first thought or gut feeling is more often than not the best option. In footy terms, your first give is the best option. Don’t second guess yourself, because otherwise you’ll be wrapped up and tackled. In life it’s the same.
If you’re making decisions. Go with your gut instinct. It’s that inner sense which is very rarely wrong.

So here lies the reason for this blog. As you read my stuff, there will be a theme of viewing life from the inside out. My hope is that as you read this blog you’ll start to view your life from the inside out as well. At times I’ll share what’s on my heart. I won’t be looking for you to always agree with me but I hope that by sharing who I am, we’ll be able to learn from each other. Life is meant to be lived in relationship with others with a mutual respect for one another.

So are you going to join me, in starting to View Life Inside Out?

It’s time to STOP.

Not sure about you, but in this culture and world we live in today, it seems we are running on full throttle. Working each day to move our way up the ladder to a better career or job. It’s rare to find someone who has worked in the same job for twenty or more years. Why is that?

Are we wanting more out of life? Are we unhappy with the life we live today?

There are so may gadgets we use today in this techno world like iPhones, ipads, tablets (not the medical ones), apps, ebooks, etc. The world has changed so quickly, even from when I left school just 14 years ago. The internet was just new when I was doing year twelve. But now you can get on the web through our phones so easily. It’s the way of life today.

I think the intention of all these things were to make life easier. I beg to differ. I think it’s time to STOP!

In the past few weeks I’ve spoken with a number of people who have been revving at full throttle. An engine will only last so long revving flat-out.  Eventually it will blow up. We as people are exactly the same. If we keep going the way we are, the depression, high stress, burn out and mental illness will become more and more prevalent. We have to stop and smell the roses!

When we travel along a road there are a number of road signs to help keep things safe on the road. Signs like a T-junction approaching, cross-road coming up, give way and speed limit signs. The STOP sign I think is most important. If we come to an intersection with a stop sign there, we can obey the sign or not. If we don’t stop and continue through the intersection, we put ourselves and people travelling with us at risk. High risk! It can end in tragedy and loss.

It’s no different in life and in our day-to-day work. If we keep travelling along our life road and ignore the warning signs, we put ourselves at high risk. We need to STOP! We need to sit there. We need to wait for the traffic to pass. We need to let others go across in front of us. Let the buzzing cars, bikes and other traffic pass before we move forward. It doesn’t take long for traffic to pass by, but if we don’t stop and wait for the stuff to pass, it can end up burning us out and making us very unwell.  The people close to us get affected as well, if we don’t stop.

Think about for a minute how many stop signs you’d encounter on a half hour trip in a car. Not many! Depending on the difficulty of the road, you may encounter ten. On an easier road there may be three. It’s the same in life. When things are going well you may not have to stop as much, but when there is a lot going on in your life you may have to stop more often.

So my encouragement to you today is be aware of the road you’re travelling. Be aware of the stop signs. It doesn’t take long to stop every now and again. So please, please, don’t ignore the stop signs!