“Maybe I’ve done enough, your golden child grew up,

Maybe this trophy isn’t real love, with or without it I’m good enough.”


- Sleeping at Last

Maybe it’s grace. Maybe it’s wisdom. Then again, maybe it’s the midway point on the journey, and we just get tired enough to finally set some things down. I am not sure what allows the honesty of who we are to finally show through to the point that we see it in ourselves and in others, but it’s remarkably freeing and beautiful. 

This afternoon I saw it in Stephen Christian, the sort of sage wisdom and freedom of authentically living your true story.  Our conversation meandered from music to marriage, from family and parenting to the future of the church. Midway through lunch however, the tone changed.  I asked Stephen if it was “drive” or just the wind that carried Anberlin to Universal and then around the world. His smile widened, he shifted in his chair and looked down, then back at me.

“Drive,” he said. “Are you familiar with the Enneagram?”

I smiled and nodded in agreement. His smile again let me know that we were now in a different conversation.

“I’m a three, the achiever.”

The “3” conversation will have to wait for another time.  What I will illuminate here is a phrase, an intentional posture from a healthy “3”.   Every night, when Stephen tucks his kids into bed,  the last thing they hear their dad say is, “There is nothing that you can do to make me love you more. And there is nothing that you can do to make me love you less.”

Those are expensive words bought with years of laboring, learning, and fighting every impulse wired to earn approval and win affection. They are outpouring of a heart aching for those words to be true, both for his girls and for himself. Those are the words of a great father and an honest son.

My conversation with Stephen continued, but those words reverberated in my mind and settled into my heart. It took me 45 minutes to cross the bay and get back to the city, and by then they had melted into soul ground that I didn’t even know was parched.

I am not a “3”,  but I still hold both my trophies and the longing to be embraced without them. I am midway in life and they are heavy. Today, I saw a man who set his down, and I heard a Father’s voice say - “There is nothing that you can do to make me love you more. And there is nothing that you can do to make me love you less.”

Let those words refresh parched ground.