Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sorry, that's life!


           I have mentioned in a previous post that I am on a journey in my life right now, and it most likely won’t have an end. Within the last 4-5 years of my life I realize that I don’t feel very alive. My life didn’t unfold like a fairytale, where everything was given to me and failure was unheard of. I thought I would have everything figured out and the world in my grasp at this point in my life.  Here I sit, humbled; in an apartment, typing on a used $20 computer from a friend in a hand me down shirt.  I am grateful for how my life is turning out, I’m better for it.  I’m maturing, growing and persevering and this will make me more complete. One of my favorite movie quotes is from Braveheart. William Wallace says, "Every man dies, but not every man really lives".  There is so much truth to that. If you don’t read to the end of this, ACTION is the message.

            Have you ever told someone you feel run down by life and exhausted at all times; never feeling like you are really living? Then their response is, “Welcome to the real world” or “Get used to it.” That’s it, this is the real world? I remember in my undergrad I joined a kinesiology group (KSA), this group promoted health and better living. We had monthly meetings and afterwards people would go to the bar or McDonalds etc….I couldn’t believe it. I talked to a professor about my passion to help people change their lifestyles and live full healthy lives, and possibly start my own group! She said, “okay okay, lets take a few classes before you go and save the world.” She half smiled and walked away. I just stood there thinking, are you serious? That was a big moment in my life where I lost some hope, she shut me down and made me feel foolish for being zealous about my passion. Maybe I am looking for some philosophical or motivating response to my problem of feeling alive. When I talk to most people about feeling unfulfilled or like a robot in this life, I get the same response. Get used to it, welcome to the real world, welcome to adulthood, yep that’s life. ARE YOU SERIOUS?

            Sometimes I wake up staring at the ceiling and think, is this it? No way…this couldn’t be it. My entire life I was told how amazing life was going to be and especially if I went to college, I could make something of myself. Here I sit with an enormous amount of college debt, a master’s of science in exercise physiology and dragging along. What did I do wrong? Was a 3.85 GPA not enough, was working at Washington University School of Medicine not enough, was spilling out my heart to all my clients and wanting to help them so much not enough or am I just a pessimistic person? I don’t feel these claims I was told are lies, but I do often feel WHAT A LET DOWN! When people told me, “That’s life”, it made my heart hardened and contain no hope. I must say, now when I hear “Get used to it, this is the real world”, I don’t believe it. I refuse to believe we are all born to go to school, work to make as much money as we can, have kids, rush everywhere without meaningful relationships, constantly worry about our looks or credentials, get old, retire when your body is no longer in its youth and die. I know there is more, I know it. I can sit and think about this until the cows come home, but nothing would be experienced or accomplished.

         Right now I just want to be doing something, taking steps, moving in some direction and then figure it out as I go. With that being said, I want to be very intentional and not wandering in the dark looking for answers. I heard some people talking about this topic at church and heard the analogy of power steering. If you have ever driven a car without power steering you know unless its rolling, it is pretty difficult to steer. If a car without power steering is rolling, you can steer easier. So the message is that it is easier to steer when in motion versus sitting still. I would agree with them, steering in life is easier when you start rolling. This is what I’m doing right now, rolling. I get used to lying dormant and thinking, in this hibernation state if you will. The results are not very conducive to opening the depths of my heart and feeling truly alive. So I’m taking baby steps and the wheel is starting to turn a little bit, so I am going somewhere and partially steering! I feel encouraged by seeing people take action and JUST DO IT!

This is a picture of me in my friend's dune buggy, with no power steering of course.

            I know that God is NOT calling me to live a comfortable, dormant, reclusive, uneventful, selfish, growth stunted, prideful and boring life. If you find these things in scripture, please do share. The bible states that people will oppose me, trials will come my way and life might actually become harder as a Christian! It is so easy to stay comfortable dang it, or is it? In my own life I was becoming so “safe” or “comfortable” it was becoming painful. I was losing touch with all the people that cared about me, pushing them away and not rolling at all; just dwelling on this boring life feeling dead. Since I am in motion now, I’m getting out of my comfort zone and taking some strides. Here are some things I am doing to feel alive, have better relationships with people, seize the day, and become closer to Christ.

1.)    I joined a men’s group on Wednesdays through my church that has made me realize, I’m not the only person that feels numb by society. These men are incredible, and are not afraid to get uncomfortable to feel more alive or have better relationships. They are very intentional about their actions and I’m encouraged by these men who break the mold.  

2.)    I made a decision to go to Vushtrri, Kosovo on a mission trip. I was at first hesitant and almost backed out. Then I thought to myself, “Tomorrow I’m going to wake up and be fifty and regret possibly my only chance to go to Kosovo and love people I don’t even know.”  I now I am raising funds, sending letters, and talking to people at my work about what I am going to do.

3.)    I’m starting Christian counseling. A couple of years ago I looked into some counseling to help me figure out some thoughts going through my head and some insomnia but backed out because it was too hard to schedule and uncomfortable.  I also used to feel ashamed to ask for help, not anymore. I just want to be real and not tied up by these societal norms. Yes I am seeking some professional guidance from a licensed and Christian counselor. I believe this is a step in the right direction and it will help me on my journey to feeling alive and become a better me.

4.)    I have been meeting men for coffee on Saturday mornings, to just talk about life. Going below surface level conversation is a liberating experience; you can actually feel connected to a person. Most of us just say “How are you” and the other person says “we are really good”, and then we part ways and never talk about what is REALLY going on in their lives. Some people are so desperate and are drowning in despair, but too ashamed to admit we are struggling or WE ALL HAVE ISSUES.

           I am glad to say I am rolling. My entire life I have always felt the need to know exactly what is going on, why and how it impacts my life. I am beginning to let go a little bit now, not to be purposely ignorant but to feel real peace. It makes me think of a favorite scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path” Proverbs 3:5-6. I have heard and told some people recently that “We should work as if everything depends on us, and trust as if everything depends on HIM”.  What I get from this is we don’t have to know everything that is going to happen and why, but this is not permission to sit and rot away.  We will never fully understand everything going on and why, this is because we are real people with trials of many kinds.  Life is extremely complex, messy, hard and much more…  At this point I feel I need to keep rolling, TRUST, grow and breathe. I will not have everything figured out and will never be near perfect. I'll be rolling, living life and knowing that I don't have to settle because this is not JUST life. In this life we will face all kinds of hard stuff, but we are not alone. I recommend you do not go at it alone. You may not know where you are going exactally, but start rolling if you are seeking something.

I like tattoos, but this one is not mine.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My dad and my Dad, my father and my Father

     This started out as an email to a few people, then became a Facebook post and eventually a blog post. Father's day is coming up soon on June, 16 2013.  I am so grateful for my dad, he spent endless amounts of time with me creating adventures. I remember him waking up at 4am everyday to provide for our family. Sometimes after a long and hard day of work, he would take me fishing at either Bee Tree Park or my uncle Joe's community lakes.  He had great patience also, I was always knotting up the fishing line or reeling in the bobber I was supposed to be watching... One day we were getting everything ready to go and I slammed the van door shut, and broke his Lightning Rod fishing pole.  It was horrible but I remember him putting the broken pole in the van and saying in a serious voice, "okay lets go".  Growing up I knew that my dad was the toughest thing alive, no doubt in my mind.  Others would also agree...  He taught me to fight my fears in the woods at night saying, "Remember, you are the toughest, baddest, meanest thing out here!"  I could write a book about the adventures my dad and I have made, and will definitely write some posts. I anticipate more adventures in the future.  He is a hero in my life that has given me the richest and most exciting times. I wouldn't take any of it back for a second.  I also have to remember that I have two dads. My dad and my Dad, my father and my Father.

My first year deer hunting with my Dad.  He is behind me in the blue sweat shirt. (1996)

      Today I watched this video and thought, how much more can a father love his son? We will never fathom how much our Father loves us, is pulling us through life and wants us to be great and represent Him. I struggle everyday in many ways, but it is great to know my Dad has my back at all times.

      In 1962 Dick Hoyt was told by doctors to get rid of his handicap son Rick because he was going to be a vegetable and never amount to anything...He did the opposite and included him in ...everything possible. At the age of 40 his son wanted his dad to run a 5 mile race with him to benefit a newly paralyzed classmate, even though he had a heart condition. They barely completed the race and Rick told his dad, "It felt like I didn't have a handicap, like I could fly". Since then, they have participated in approximately 1000 athletic events over the last 30 years. They even participated in the Hawaii Ironman, suffered a 1.5 hour delay due to bike problems. They still made the midnight deadline which was a miracle in itself. Dick is an example for everyone. He shows selflessness, perseverance, determination and most of all love. Also, even though he completes every race with his 110lb son and equipment, they have NEVER been last!!! Unbelievable!

     This is an amazing amount of love, just imagine how much more God loves us....even more amazing. I was struggling with motivation today and just thought, I am a child of the great Redeemer. He has plans for my life, my heart and interaction with others. Sometimes in society standards I feel like nothing, I have to remember that in His eyes I am much more. How many endless ways could the Lord use my trials, my traits, my flaws etc??? "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Phil 4:13 

      We as Christ followers believe this right? I do, and sometimes STILL struggle to live it! Be encouraged and actually live it. We do things God wants us to do all the time, serve at church, love one another, help others etc etc....but what about ourselves? God DOES want us to be selfless I think, but not detrimental to our own growth with Him... Sometimes I feel conviction and think, "I am too pessimistic to be a follower of Christ", so it seems. Remember through trials and perseverance we will be made COMPLETE. James 1:2 We go through fires which purify us. God says do not worry, do not fear, do not be anxious but TRUST. He also told the healed handicap man, "GET UP!" John 5:8. I think he wants us trusting Him and taking action, at the same time. I just wanted to pass on some thoughts after I watched this video. I believe that God thinks ACTION is important, we represent Him with actions. If we trusted Him and did absolutely nothing, it wouldn't be much to share with the world. We can make this complex, too hard to understand or keep it simple. Take care and have a good week.