“I am the worst dad on the planet.”
This is what I think every time I go speak in Orlando, Florida without my kids.
Why do I think this?
Because the flight to Orlando is full of kids going to Disney World. They spend the entire flight intoxicated with the happiness of visiting the Magic Kingdom. For 90 minutes straight, they hug their dads across the airplane seats saying, “I can’t believe you are taking us to Disney World, daddy! You are the best daddy in the world. Now I know for certain that you really love me! Dads who have business trips to Orlando and don’t take their kids are some kind of monsters.”
I’ve technically never heard that last part expressed on a plane, but I’m almost positive that’s what they mean. Or that’s how I interpret it. I sometimes hear things that aren’t actually said. It’s a problem. But on my most recent trip to Orlando, I actually did hear something pretty amazing in the back of a car, and I haven’t been able to forget it.
Orlando is approximately 8 trillion square miles across. Since I didn’t have a rental car, I scheduled a car to take me from the hotel to the venue I was speaking at. I know what you’re thinking, “Probably a jacuzzi limo.” And you’re right. I travel exclusively via jacuzzi limo much like Tom on Parks & Recreation.
As I waited for the car in the hotel lobby, I started talking with a driver who had come to pick up someone else. He was a nice guy and proceeded to tell me a few stories about his life in Florida. Out of work, he had taken the driving job as a stop gap. His house was upside down, his prospects were non-existent, and he described Florida much like Vin Diesel’s character in The Chronicles of Riddick would have described the prison planet he escaped from.
After a few minutes, my ride came and I jumped in the back of the car. I figured he’d have a story much like the first driver. After all, they were in the exact same profession, in the exact same geography, in the exact same economy. Instead, when I asked him how he was doing, this is what he said:
“Things are great! So much opportunity down here. We moved from up north, and we absolutely love Florida! I started this driving business, and it’s starting to grow in some fun ways!”
I was confused by these two completely different experiences and so I told him,
“I just talked to another driver, and he told me the exact opposite story. What’s different about you? Same city, same profession, same economy. Where’s the disconnect?”
He laughed a little and then replied,
“Oh, I’m sure he bought his house in 2006. If I had purchased mine then, instead of in 2003, I’m sure I’d be upside down too. It’s just a timing of the real estate.”
I was astonished by his humility. Most people who experience success love answering the question, “Why did it happen?” with an answer like, “Cause I’m amazing and smart!” But the difference between his life and the other guy’s life was bigger than just the timing of a home purchase.
“I’m sure that’s part of it,” I said, “but the truth is, even if you bought your house in 2006, you wouldn’t have quit. As hard as that purchase might have made your life, being upside wouldn’t have made you quit. You’re not like that. Why not?”
Again, I thought he was going to bust out the, “7 magical steps that made me prosperous in a down economy.” Instead, this is what he said:
“Well, it’s like I always tell my kids: If you’re living in God’s will for your life, when you run into a problem, that’s not your problem to fix, that’s God’s problem to fix. When you’re living in God’s will for your life and you run into an obstacle, that’s not your obstacle, that’s God’s obstacle. My days are stress-free knowing that.”
I love that.
It’s simple, it’s true, and it’s incredibly encouraging.
Being in God’s will doesn’t mean you won’t encounter obstacles or problems in your life. It means you won’t encounter them alone. And when you do, avoid the temptation to say, “I got this one, God.” Instead say, “Wow, I’m walking in the path you’ve laid out, and that’s a big obstacle. Good thing I serve an even bigger God.”
What’s an obstacle you’re facing right now or have faced in the past?