Five Statements Every Child Should Hear From Their Parents

Words are powerful. Words spoken by parents to their children will help shape them. If we understand the power of our words then we can be more intentional in using them to foster health in our children. I suggest using these five statements on a regular basis with your child(ren):

1) “I am proud of you“- perhaps are kids need to hear this more on their failures than successes. They need to know that our love for them is not conditional based off performance. They need to be able to rest in the consistent grace of their parents.

2) “I am sorry“- our children are people who feel just like we do. We are probably quick to correct them and challenge them to be better but they need to see we are not perfect either. There are times we make mistakes and disappoint them. They need to see us own it and apologize to them. Not only does it set the example for our kids in being willing to apologize when we hurt them but it also shows them respect that we think enough about their feelings to apologize. Sometimes our kids need to hear they were right and we were wrong.

3) “Not everyone will like you“- our kids are special but not everyone will appreciate that. Some just won’t be interested in them and they need to be ok with that. The world should not revolve around our kids and we can’t reinforce their expectation that it does. Help your child not be self-absorbed.

4) “Keep trusting God and He will lead you.”- they need to know that following God is essential for their success in life. Of course words are only as powerful as our actions here. They need to see us trusting in the Lord in our decisions, modeling this for them. We don’t want to teach our children that relying on their own abilities and effort is the key to success. Helping them to become self- sufficient can lead to pride and neglect of God in their life.

5) “It’s okay- mistakes happen“- wiser parents than me have said they wish they would have been easier on their kids, especially in their mistakes. Our kids need to know that it’s ok to fail and that their value is not diminished. We don’t want to teach them to be perfectionists. It will wreck havoc on them and rob them of the joy of life. Let your kids fail and then help them see that it’s ok when they do.

10 Sure Fire Ways To Fail At Life

1) Blame everything bad in your life on someone or something else.

2) Be ungrateful and ignore the good things you have been given in life.

3) Make excuses for why you won’t do the things you know you need to do.

4) Fear to try new things in life.

5) Give up too soon without giving your everything to succeed.

6) Do not believe that God loves you and created you for a greater purpose.

7) Let negative people and circumstances distract you from the goal.

8) Speak in ways that are negative and defeating.

8) Trust others words about you more than you do what God says about you.

9) Love selfishly not finding ways to serve and sacrifice for others.

10) Ignore wise advice from those who care about you and have your best interest in mind.

Criticism is What You Need to Grow


If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. Matthew 18:15

There are many things we love to receive: a gift, a pat on the back, a million dollars! Some things we never want to be given: a pink slip, toothache, shark bite, or criticism!

Please, no shark bites. But truth that is criticism can be just what you need to grow. Sure, it doesn’t feel good to have someone call your issues out. We try really hard to debunk what they have said because we don’t want to feel the shame that comes over us for being flawed. We do not like to have our issues called out, but truth is, criticism is good for us when it is given in the right spirit, coming from someone whose motive is pure and gracious.

Criticism gives great perspective. One person said, “Criticism polishes my mirror.” It makes things that are fuzzy in my perception of myself come into focus. We often have blind spots and don’t realize how we are perceived, what our facial expressions communicate, how what we say is taken, and many other things that we do not realize people are seeing as flaws in us.

When someone has the courage to reveal it to us in love, we would be foolish to disregard or discredit what they are saying. We should receive it humbly and thankfully. Some of my biggest moments of growth came when someone cared enough about me to tell me the truth, and I received it. Sure it stung, but I grew because they said it and I had the courage to receive it.

Here are some things to consider when receiving constructive criticism:

1) Do not take it personally. If they care about you, they are not attacking you personally or trying to hurt you. They want to help you.

2) Feedback makes you stronger. One of the most valuable gifts, and one given sparingly in complete honesty, is feedback. Feedback that is critical might hurt our pride, but ultimately, we should want to be better and not deceived into thinking we are better than we are. Hurt my pride before you let me keep making the same mistake over and over again!

3) It expands your perspective. You just can’t see things sometimes. They are just out of your peripheral vision. Until someone points it out, you don’t realize certain things about you. If you are hypersensitive and insecure, you will run from criticism because you can’t face the fact that you are flawed. This is tragic, though, as you miss opportunity to increase your range of sight and see yourself more clearly.

4) It challenges our people-pleasing. This is a big one for me, personally. When someone contradicts me, I do not need to see that as persecution. It is exhausting trying to live for the approval of everyone. Being able to give and receive criticism is a way of living healthier in your relationships.

5) It deepens your relationship and trust. When someone has the courage to approach you in love and critique you, and you respond correctly, I guarantee your relationship will grow to a deeper, more trusting level. That is a person you want to keep close to you. It is a rare find, a friend like that.

Let me sum it up: If you are not open to constructive criticism, then you are not open to growing as a person.

God Doesn’t Need You To Try So Hard


Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:1

If I got a B on a paper I would sulk and pout and lose sleep for days over it. I couldn’t take anything but perfection when it came to grades, which I had to constantly fight to try and achieve. I stressed myself out in school, constantly worrying about my grades and my future. When I would make the grade, I could not enjoy the moment because another paper or test was pending. It was exhausting.

Any overachievers relate to me? Anyone plagued by perfectionism? Do you ever feel guilty if you don’t work yourself to death on something? Are you what some might call a control freak?  Here is a news alert… God doesn’t need you to try so hard. In fact it could be detrimental to your soul.

The Christian life is a paradox in many ways. We gain our life only when we lose it. The least will actually be first. Giving is better than receiving. When it comes to how we are to live, God is not interested in how much we can achieve for Him. That might shock you but you won’t find verses in the Bible that says, Thou shalt achieve great things for God.

He doesn’t want our efforts as much as He wants our surrender. He put His Holy Spirit in us and gave us the authority of Jesus to accomplish life altering, earth-shattering, transformative things for Him. That doesn’t come  via talent, hard work, ingenuity, or anything else we could accomplish on our own. That comes through the power of God, the Holy Spirit, in us.

It doesn’t mean God doesn’t want our best effort or to use our talents but His word is full of stories of uneducated, unqualified, unprepared participants who didn’t have any influence or position yet changed the world around them. When we read the stories of these men and women, we are not noticing what a great person they were but rather, what a great God they served!

Reality check… you are not capable or equipped to do this life your own strength in a way that will honor God. You need help. You need Jesus. Your greatest efforts will fall short of the eternal, kingdom advancing work God wants to do through you.

Some of you have worn yourself out trying to change your spouse, train your kids, make a business successful, maintain a family on the verge of falling apart, all by your will power and effort. It leaves you weary and on edge. You are frustrated on how little control you have to make things happen. Truth is God doesn’t call us to juggle all of this. He isn’t testing us to see how much we can achieve. This stuff is too big for us!

You want to be a great parent to your children? You want to be an influential grandparent on your grandchildren? You want to live for something greater than a paycheck and two garage house? Then you will have to surrender your talents, your wisdom, your control, your effort to the Lord and allow Him to inspire you, empower you, and lead you into His purposes.

That’s great Dax but what if it doesn’t work?  What if I do that and my kids, grandchildren, or job do not cooperate? Instead of getting frustrated you rest in the knowledge that you are trusting them to God and that He will work in The best way and at the right moment. You find peace in a God who sympathizes with you when those you love make horrible mistakes and refuse to change. You rest in the fact that God is doing things you can’t always see and will always prove Himself faithful.

Whatever you are going through right now, which one of these questions best speak to your approach: Am I putting more effort into trying to fix what I perceive as the problem OR more effort into submitting to the Holy Spirit to receive whatever He would have me to learn and do in this situation? There is a Grand Canyon difference between these two perspectives. One is a futile attempt to do things you cannot do. The other is a place of rest and peace as you surrender to His will. Which one you choose will make all the difference in what kind of person you are.

Ten important “What if” questions I like to ask you…


1. What if I told you ten years from now your life would be exactly the same as it is now? Why are you afraid of change? God wants us to step out and take risks. Don’t stay the same because you haven’t arrived yet to where God wants you.

2. What if I told you that no one on Facebook really cares what you are doing today? We give people to much control in our happiness. We need them to approve of us to feel wanted. Why? We have the Lord who calls us His child!

3. What if 99 of the 100 things you are worrying about all the time never happen? Was it worth being robbed of life so you could be consumed with worry? Where has it gotten you? Instead, trust. Trust in the Lord who has you in His hand. He will see you through.

4. What if you woke up this morning and you only had left those things which you had given thanks to God for yesterday? Our selfishness makes us forget to be thankful for what we have. Are you content? You should be. God has blessed you!

5. What if you are trusting in a bunch of lies that you have convinced yourself are true? If we buy into the lie that this life is all about accumulating stuff, achieving, and having fun then we will miss the real purpose of life.

6. What if instead of thinking the grass is greener somewhere else you found value, purpose, and joy in where you are? Until we learn to be content in having the Lord nothing else will ever really satisfy us.

7. What if in all your struggle to gain your life you only get further away from ever really finding it?  To really gain life you have to be willing to lose it. When we come to the end of ourselves we find out who we really are.

8. What if  we set forth to accomplish things with no fear of failure? God wants us to live radically. He would have us seize the day and live adventurously. Quit letting fear paralyze you.

9. What if how we perceive a problem is actually the biggest part of the problem? Perspective is key. How we see things will determine how we respond to it. Make sure your perception lines up with the will and word of God.

10. What if you forgave yourself? How long you going to live in defeat for your past mistakes??? God forgives you if you look to Him. You can’t control anyone else’s feelings toward you. Move forward and quit reliving  your failures.

Control Freak

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There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  1 John 4:18

Infected saints tend to be control freaks. I try so hard to keep my life in order in a way that makes sense and is comfortable to me. I work really hard to make things happen like I think they should go. I struggle in situations where I do not feel like I am in control. I have a hard time trusting others who are handling things on my behalf. I have been told by people who speak hard truth to me that I am a Control Freak. Jesus associates with trying to control things as being a slave to worry (Matthew 6:25). We need to learn that we are not able to bear the burden that comes with worry.

I am learning that when I allow God to work through me He carries the load. When I put my energy into trusting God and not worrying and scrambling,  I enter a state of rest and peace. When I try and make people do the right thing or get a certain outcome I want, I have to stress over it and exhaust alot of energy to make it happen. If it works out the way I want, I feel relief from the stress momentarily until the next situation I feel is “out of control” arises. This approach too life weighs us down and exhausts us.

Stress is heavy. When we look to God we release stress because it is simply to heavy. It weighs us down spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and emotionally. When we run ahead of God we get lost and frustrated.  We doubt God’s ability to lead. We question his competency.  Reality is He is sovereign over all things and we have little to no control over anything. Control freaks do not want to give in to that fact but it is both futile and sinful to try and jerk the reigns out of the Lord’s hands.

God is the one who controls the wind. I heard it said recently that we cannot direct the wind but we can control the sails. It is crucial for a believer to set sail towards the will of God and ride His wave of promise. His promise to us is that He will never forsake us; that He will work all things for our good; that he will provide for us. If we could control things we would mess it all up. We don’t know what is best for us. Only God has our best interest in mind. Only He will work in us for His glory.

We waste a lot of energy on things we cannot control. When we get worked up over traffic, weather, or people who annoy us, we are wasting energy on things we cannot change and allowing that to bother us. The one thing we can control is our attitude. Instead of choosing to be frustrated over our lack of control over situations and people, we need to focus on what God is doing in and around us. Maybe He wants to teach you patience or how to be more merciful.  Try praying for the people in those cars at a stand still around you in busy traffic. Our go to should be prayer. Is prayer our steering wheel or spare tire? Do we look to prayer only when we are at our wit’s end or do we go to it immediately as our source of strength and comfort?

We need to see our attempt to control things as a faith issue. God demands and deserves our trust. We are not in control nor were we created to be so. We don’t have what it takes to be God. Let Him do His work in you and trust in His will.

Daughters need their daddy’s affection


And so train the young women to love their husbands and children.    Titus 2:4

My daughter turned 15 this weekend and I have been having thoughts like… I am old… She is only here for three more years… How did this happen… How do I invent a time machine?

Stronger than any thought has been the reality that I only get one opportunity to raise my daughter. She needs me to model for her how a man should treat a woman. She needs to be encouraged and affirmed by me so that she does not need to find it in men. She needs to know I am a rock for her so she can face things confidently. My daughter needs me pouring into her.

It’s not enough to just be present or to buy her things or to lecture her with words of instruction. She needs to receive my affection. That means hugging and kissing her even when she acts like my touch is coming from someone with leprosy. That means telling her she is beautiful even when she says you are just saying that because our dad.

Even though this age is the most awkward for giving her affection she needs it more than  ever from me. This is a crucial age. She is becoming a woman and change happens rapidly in every area. It’s scares me to death but I don’t let her see that! Only God can truly understand women.

It’s easy to feel a little edgy around our daughters at this age. Scared to do anything that would be awkward but our daughters still need their daddy’s touch. I have the power to create a place of security and peace for her with my affections. In the same way I can disrupt her serenity by being overly cautious and distant. There is something powerful about a hug and a gentle kiss that words just can’t convey.

One way a dad shows his daughter affection is by listening to her. Not jumping in quickly to fix it or judge her actions but patiently listening. Every dad longs to influence his daughter on dealing with boys, peer pressure, priorities, dress, work ethic, and choosing of friends. For us to truly be heard we have to earn it though. Sure you can force your voice to be heard but does it really influence? When we listen sensitively and patiently we earn our daughter’s trust and then our voice becomes powerful to them.

One of my greatest opportunities is to model for my daughter how a man should treat a woman. How I treat her mother will model for her the expectation, or lack thereof, she will have for her own potential husband. That means I need to be consistent, sensitive, trustworthy, caring, and engaged with my wife. As I lead well and love well my daughter’s expectations of what a man should be is raised. She is less likely to settle for a man who doesn’t show the same positive traits.

Raising a daughter is not easy but it is one of the most rewarding opportunities I have ever experienced. It is a great honor and comes with great responsibility. It is one task I cannot fail.