Built to Last
Since I last posted we celebrated our 10th anniversary and welcomed our third child into the world. Azilee Margaret Hillis joined us on May 24th at 12:56am.
We’ve also dealt with 3 rounds of pink eye, 3 rounds of of ear infections, and a large bottle of Children’s Claritin. It’s been non-stop for a few months.
Lisa and I were talking about all the things we’re juggling between work, kids, sick kids, pregnancy, then new baby, and how crazy it is that we haven’t lost our minds. I don’t know that we could have handled this in our first couple years of marriage. It’s pretty remarkable how one’s capacity grows.
Looking back at the 24-year-old version of me I don’t know if I could have been a decent dad. Most days I struggled to just take care of myself, go to work, and be an OK husband.
Fast forward a decade and I’m a dad with a high-energy preschooler, a 3-year-old who has been sick for 8 months, and a newborn that sleeps during the day and is up all night. I also drove my mom to the airport at 5am then sat down to write a blog post before everyone woke up.
The younger me would never believe that the older me was possible. Work, bills, and marriage was enough to stress me out. I couldn’t look beyond my immediate circumstances and struggles in that season of life.
But one trial was added to another, and another crises happened, then heartbreak, then busyness in the midst of it all, then tiredness, and before I knew it my physical and emotional capacity was stretched to new lengths.
It happened slowly over time. Each new thing was a small piece of stress that pushed my limits and gave me new abilities along the way. Time has been forced to become more efficient, and my resilience has been built to stand more firm.
Life is the pressure, we are the coal, and the result is something stronger and more valuable.
I read a quote awhile back from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. I’m paraphrasing, but the gist of what she was discussing is that it’s normal for men to only be “40% qualified” for a job, yet they will apply anyway. If/when they get the job most will rise to the occasion even though they didn’t have the skills beforehand.
As men we have this thing woven into us to take on new challenges and conquer them. It’s most often seen in the realm of work, business, and physical feats, but it applies to relational and emotional challenges too.
When we have the same mindset towards “conquering” family that we do our careers or landing on the moon, great things will happen. We’ll be stronger, faster, smarter, wiser dads and husbands.
If you are in the early days of family, or you’ve been at this awhile, be encouraged. Whatever stress you are currently enduring is making you an even better spouse and parent. Something else will enter your life in a few years and you will be happy you conquered this current season because it prepared you for the future season.
Want a New Perspective?
I’ve created a measuring guide to alter how you view your marriage and your spouse. Ask yourself these questions, your mindset will shift quickly.