What’s the scariest enemy you can face? Is it the army gathering on the horizon or the assassins sitting quietly behind your door? Ultimately, the most disconcerting dangers are the ones you never see coming. How could David, a “man after God’s own heart” steal another man’s wife and then murder her husband?
The most devastating mistakes people make are rarely those they anticipate.
Every once in a while, it’s important to reevaluate your day-to-day existence: to look at the trajectory your daily choices have set you on.
Where are you headed, and is that really where you want to end up?
Jacob McMillen is a friend of mine at Uncompromised Men. He wrote a powerful FREE ebook 10 Devastating Mistakes Every Man Faces But Few See Coming. Thanks to Jacob, here is a summary of FIVE OF THE MOST DEVASTATING MISTAKES WE MAKE.
MISTAKE #1: Sacrificing Your Creativity
“In the beginning, God created…”
You are fashioned in the image of a Creative Being. You are inherently creative, and your creativity demands an outlet. It may not be art or music, but each of us has a creative drive that absolutely must be utilized if we are to ever feel fulfilled.
It is far too easy to get caught up in what you “have to do,” what is expected of you, or what seems to be… just… how things are.
But your life is exactly what you choose it to be, and you won’t be happy unless your creativity has an outlet.
Sacrificing your creativity for other life priorities happens gradually. You rarely realize it’s happening. You find yourself feeling more and more stifled – less and less fulfilled – as you charge hard after your career goals.
Perhaps you feel this way now.
The good news is that it’s not too late! You can turn the ship around right now.
The solution is as simple as spending time being creative.
It’s not about “getting something done” – it’s about giving yourself a chance to create in whatever way you desire.
What you create isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you are creating.
Don’t put it off any longer!
MISTAKE #2: Existing For Achievement
Think about this.
We have an average of 70 years in this life, and then we will spend eternity with God.
How absurd to think, in light of that eternity, that God gave us this wink of an existence on Earth for the purpose of achievement.
You were made to be… not to do.
You were created for intimacy with God and others. You weren’t created to “get something done” for God.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with achievement. After all, we just finished talking about how being creative and doing creative things is part of our internal makeup.
The Father absolutely wants to dream and partner with you in accomplishing the greatest things this world has ever seen. But accomplishment is the side product rather than the goal.
You will never be satisfied by achievement.
Every mountain top simply gives you a better view of the next highest mountain to climb.
Think about your own kids. What do you love more?
- Watching them accomplish something?
- Or spending quality time WITH them?
Just like a good Earthly Father, your Heavenly Father loves to see you achieve, but not nearly as much as He loves to simply BE with you.
You’ll find far more meaning in being a son, being a father, being a husband – heck, just being you – than you’ll ever find in your accomplishments.
MISTAKE #3: Poisoned By Competition
Let’s be honest. As men, we are programmed to exist in a pecking order. The moment we see another man, we begin mentally sizing each other up.
Of course, the pecking order changes depending on the turf.
- We have one for the basketball court
- One for the weight room
- One for the office
- One regarding the ladies
- Even one inside the church
- And one for any setting where multiple men congregate together
While there is nothing inherently wrong with our competitive drive, today’s society has turned life into a competition. We measure our manhood relative to our standing in a superficial race with the man next to us.
Contending for dominance in a game is exciting and results in a good workout.
Contending for dominance within the context of family, community, or church is disturbingly immature and has resulted in a nation of divided, immature man-babies playing an infinite game of “my daddy can beat up yours.”
I believe in order and authority, but mature men are not after control or personal authority. Positive authority is the result of excellence. Positive authority facilitates the success of the entire team rather than a single player.
Real men don’t waste time competing when they should be collaborating.
There is a MASSIVE difference between being a leader and asserting one’s personal dominance.
We all benefit from the former. We all suffer from the latter.
Don’t let inappropriate competition poison your life.
MISTAKE #4: Enticed By Wealth
One of the biggest tests a man can face is the acquisition of more money.
It really doesn’t matter if it’s a jump from $2,000 to $5,000 or $500,000 to $1M. More money means more options. It means new decisions to make about what is truly most important.
Once you start making X amount of money, anything less can be disconcerting. Even men of character can find themselves tempted to chase the extra dollars they once had or aspire to even greater numbers.
But here’s the deal. Money, like achievement, is relative.
There’s always more to acquire, and we’re never more satisfied once we have it.
Unlike achievement, however, a responsible life requires the acquisition of money, and finding the line between responsibility and infatuation can be tricky.
Fortunately, the truth is profoundly simple. When you realize how insignificantly money factors into your day-to-day satisfaction, it loses its power.
Even on a scientific level, studies show that money only affects your quality of life when in lack. Once you have enough to pay the bills with some peace-of-mind wiggle room, “more” stops equaling “better.”
When you understand where your source of life and joy comes from, you have no reason to be preoccupied with wealth.
Jesus came to give you abundant life (John 10:10). Don’t turn your back on true LIFE to pursue pieces of green paper.
Don’t be fooled by the figures in your bank account. They are literally nothing more than figures.
MISTAKE #5: Forgetting Today
We should always be moving forward. We should always be heading somewhere.
But the reality is that we can never live-out tomorrow. We only have today.
It’s SO easy to forget about today.
- The weekend is almost here
- Just a few months left until vacation
- Just another year until my promotion
- Next year, I’ll be able to work a bit less
- I’ll start living a healthier lifestyle after the holidays
- Someday God will be able to use me
If you live for tomorrow, you will never live.
It’s as simple as that. You only have today. What will you do with it?
You don’t have to wait to start experiencing abundant life. You don’t have to wait until you die to experience the Kingdom of God. You don’t have to “arrive” in your spiritual life for God to use you.
Process is real. Life is a journey. But if you engage with life for the milestones and destinations, you’ll be miserable.
But if you learn to enjoy NOW, you can quite honestly screw up half the destinations and still have a blast.
Faith isn’t the expectation of things hoped for. It’s the “substance”. Faith is NOW, and so is life.
Don’t forget today.
How To Avoid These Mistakes
You WILL face these 5 potential mistakes. The key to victory is simply seeing them for what they are and choosing abundant life.
You have no reason to fear. His perfect love removes all need for fear (1 John 4:18). You are, however, commanded to be alert and sober-minded (1 Peter 5:8). You must live intentionally.
You must keep a wary eye on your weaknesses and, more importantly, on your strengths. You MUST stay in community. A threefold cord is not quickly broken (Eccl 4:12).
In the Presence of a victorious God, the only personal battles we fail to win are the ones we fail to fight. He is looking to show Himself strong on your behalf (2 Chron 16:9)!
Jacob McMillen is an online marketing specialist and the lead writer for Uncompromised Men. In addition to helping businesses make sense of their online sales funnels, he enjoys writing about men’s interest issues and pretending to think in his spare time. Follow him on Twitter @jmcmillen89 for marketing advice and the occasional one-liner.