[I] have been self-diagnosed with S.A.D., “social anxiety disorder”, the symptoms of which arrive when I am placed into social situations with folks whom I know very little and have not become fully comfortable with.  Fear mainly, as I feel an unwarranted and unrealistic need to establish myself and allow others to know that I too may belong in the room.  It is debilitating in the sense that I am purposeful in avoiding these fear producing situations and in turn this isolation limits my world, my learning and my joy.   I have recently and in a halting manner begun the process of working through this issue.  I have now been purposeful in forcing myself to become more involved in social situations, even when these social situations involve other than my established handful of trusted friends.  For example, I have recently done such an outlandish thing as to speak in front of a group of folks, some of whom I had never met.   I have chosen to begin this process, understanding that without risking, without being engaged, I will live in a very limited, marginalized and gray world.  I desire color; color being interesting, fruitful, intelligent and joyful.  Joy, that’s it, the desire for joy, being the place of greatest motivation for me in accessing change.

Opening the door and walking into a room of your own fears must quickly reap benefits or one would soon allow all the doors, which enter uncertainty, to remain shut.  I am fully cognizant of this concept but I have recently been, just willing enough, to turn the doorknobs and peek into some of these places.

I am pleased to report a wonderful “success” story upon my path to joy.   I was asked to help with a “Wild Edge Adventure” a few months back in southern Utah.  Wild Edge Adventures being a five-day men’s retreat based upon John Eldridge’s book, Wild at Heart.  Gary Remland, Dan Stoner, Scott Brady, Jerry and Jan Drummond along with Kerry Mackey, expertly lead the Wild Edge Ministry.  (If unfamiliar with this ministry, please click on the link.  Lives have been changed and changed in powerful ways through this ministry).  I was invited to join Dan and Kerry a few days prior to the start of the retreat to relax, fish and enjoy a part of the world that has become very dear to me.  Dan, as well as Gary, Scott, Jerry and Jan have long been trusted members of my “team”, Kerry on the other hand was not and I had a decision to make.  I could limit myself once again, I could pass on the gracious invitation; I could play it safe.  Limit myself or extend myself; allowing someone new to know me and allow him to be known by me.  Influenced by my love of fly-fishing and of hanging out with Dan, I choose to open that door.

I opened the door and my son Houston and I were blessed to spend four beautiful days fishing, hiking and four wheeling, while coming to know a purposeful and kind man in Kerry Mackey.  Kerry, among other duties, has been heading up the men’s ministry at Friends Church.  I had heard of encouraged men, as Kerry successfully led the men of our church, reinvigorating them, involving them and turning their focus outward.  It was during these four days where I allowed myself to be known and in turn was able to come to know Kerry a bit.  It was in these four days that I learned that the “cowboy” was not his gimmick but was in fact, who he is.  It was also in these four days that I understood Kerry would be leaving our church.  Kerry had chosen the responsible and compassionate path of returning, along with his family, to East Texas to care for his ailing and aging mother.

God, in His infinite kindness and wisdom long ago instilled in Kerry a passion for the hearts of men.  Kerry has been tasked with a mission of “Reclaiming the masculine hearts of men through the hunting, fishing and shooting sports”.  His main vehicle for this task will be a television show, launching in 2013, “Man Up Outdoors with Kerry Mackey.”

I would encourage us to support Kerry in anyway we can.  I believe first and foremost that we can support Kerry through prayer; prayer being key for Kerry and his family as they turn a new page and enter into a new adventure in their lives.  I would ask also that we visit his newly launched website via this provided link.  While you have the computer on you can “like” his Man Up Outdoors Facebook Page.

Joy Squared stepped up, as best we could, in the purchase of an enclosed equipment trailer.  Kerry will need to haul his hunting, fishing, and camera gear from place to place as he films on location.  Filming wonderful action shots, always with the message of Jesus, directed to the hearts of men.  Seemed a real easy decision to be involved and to be a part.  If the mission of recapturing the hearts of men stirs a similar passion in you, I urge you to contact Kerry directly, to see how you may be a part of his worthy endeavor.

Kerry, it has been an honor to come to know you and to see your authentic heart be used for goodness.  Your allowing me to be known by you and to return the favor has been appreciated in my step-by-step movement towards honesty, transparency and the elimination of fear.  We will be praying for your successes and blessings, that they occur way beyond your wildest dreams.