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Weekly Thoughts

The intersection of work, life, sport and spirituality.

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Church

Called to be….

I’ve been wrestling with some big concepts over the last couple of months related to life. Obviously working with a new company and going through change makes you evaluate things, but I think there is something bigger at work. The 5280 Fellowship program has helped to challenge some of my thinking when it comes to calling and career. While my thoughts below are a work in progress, I have finally settled in on a few definitions that seem to make sense to me.

  1. Calling. Your calling isn’t what you do, it’s who you are. 
    If you have ever taken an EQI or Myers Briggs test, you understand that all of us are hard-wired with certain strengths and viewpoints. While some people are gifted with analytic capabilities, others are gifted with more social/emotional views and empathy. Others show signs of leadership and big-picture views. Whatever your strengths, these all add up to make you who you are. Calling is simply tapping into these strengths and using them in everyday life.
  2. Profession. You can use your calling in ANY profession. 
    Calling is not synonymous with profession, although profession can support calling. Since your calling is leveraging your strengths, you can use those strengths in ANY organization or profession. Professions many times are just a knowledge base that specify a role or function within an organizational environment.
  3. Platform. This is your position of maximum impact where your calling is leveraged in your profession or life. 
    I met with a colleague several weeks ago and he asked me if I ever considered doing something different or working in another industry. I told him that I have considered it many times in the past. I’ve been interested in sports marketing for a number of years, but while I think I’d love that industry, it would require starting over again from the bottom and building up that professional knowledge base. Given that I’ve been working in the AEC environment for 21 years now, my professional network and industry understanding allow me to operate with efficiency and provide greater value to the organizations I work for. Committing to the field I am in now allows me the ability to have a high platform to use my calling in my profession. For this reason, I am going to stay in my current field and work to be a knowledge expert as my calling comes to fruit.
  4. God’s will. God’s will has more to do with restoration and the fruits we all know as holy, than it has to do with a linear ‘perfect path’ of decisions and profession.
    About 10-or-so years ago, I had lunch with an architect friend and mentor of mine. He had been practicing architecture his whole life and owned his own firm. He was also a leader in a small little church I went to and I wanted to pick his brain about my career. I went on to tell him how unhappy I was with my current situation at work and asked him where he thought God wanted to lead me. I told him that I had two other job offers on the table and I needed discernment on where God wanted me.

    “It doesn’t matter. You can’t make a bad decision either way. They are just different options”

    I admit that I was a little frustrated with his response as I was looking for some discernment as to what he felt God’s will was for my decision. What I’ve come to realize as I’ve matured in my profession is that he was really saying, “God has given you the FREEDOM to choose.” If my calling is truly separate from my profession, I can use my calling in ANY job.

Career decisions are tough and I understand that we must continue to pray and ask for guidance as we move about our world. What can be truly freeing however is realizing that our true calling can be used in any area of life and in any career. At the same time, I believe that we should work towards professions and jobs that give us the biggest platform to impact our world. That is where our calling can be most effective.

What about you? Are you leveraging your calling? Comments and observations welcome in the comments!

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Identity

Micah, what do you want to be when you grow up?

My 4-year-old son looked at the tile floor deep in thought. Suddenly, he looked up with his eyes bright with anticipation. “A Jedi daddy. When I get bigger, I’m going to be a Jedi just like Luke Skywalker!”

I love the conversations I have with Micah. It is refreshing to see the world through his unjaded eyes and to get a glimpse into a soul where the whole world is ahead and dreams are alive with vivid color.

Thinking back to my own childhood, I answered that same question several times. A fireman, a doctor, a jet pilot, an architect, and a surfer were just a few of my dream professions. What child would have said ‘a director of business development and marketing’ anyway?

Outside of my lofty career goals, I strived through my youth to latch on to other activities to define who I was as a person. In junior high, most everyone is defined by some sort of activity. The jocks, the cheerleaders, the stoners, the nerds were just a few groups.  As we all looked to find our place, I locked on to what I thought the coolest people in school were…the skaters. I loved skateboarding from an early age. I was fascinated with surfing as a small kid, and living in Colorado, skateboarding was the next best thing. Skateboarders were counter-culture but still friends with all the other social groups. They did cool tricks and had cool hair. That’s what I wanted to be.

I was a skateboarder through junior high and transitioned to being a snowboarder in high school and college. I moved to California and became a surfer, and then became a triathlete. When being a triathlete wasn’t doing it for me anymore, I became a competitive cyclist, shaved my legs and started racing with 200 other shaved legged adult males. I moved to Colorado and became a runner, no… a trail runner, no…an ultra-runner…well…you get the idea.

Through all my various ‘identities’ I’ve had over the years, one place I have struggled is latching on to what it means to have an identity in Christ. What does it mean to be a ‘Christian’? It seems like such a small thing, but one area that I have struggled with is the stigma of some other Christian people and not wanting to be put in the same bucket as them. From the people holding up “You’re going to Hell” signs at football games to a few encounters with other Christians I have known over the years, I have struggled with embracing the identity.

But God is showing me something different. Hypocrisy and imperfection are results of the broken human condition. All of us have sinned, and part of my problem was putting too much stock in other people – specifically ‘Christians’- to do it right. I know full-well the extent of my own sin, and thank God for the grace He gives to cover it. Grace I should extend to others as well.

I’m beginning to realize three things:

  1. Having an identity in Christ means that I am a work in progress. I am an imperfect person pursuing a perfect God, and that’s okay.
  2. I have an opportunity to learn from my own past experiences and try and show the grace of Christ where I feel others have fallen short.
  3. Just because another person identifies with the title of ‘Christian’ and preaches hate does not mean I am like that person. It is like someone that calls themselves a runner but sits on the couch all day, eats junk food and does one 5K per year. That person can claim the title, but their actions don’t reflect the identity.

I’m starting to ‘own’ my identity and have more confidence in bearing the image of Christ, and that’s a good thing. I can be defined by what I do by being selfless, showing love, and embracing truth. I’m not perfect by the world’s standards, but thanks to grace, in God’s eyes I am. It’s pretty liberating and I’m humbled to be called a ‘Christian’. I’m an imperfect person pursuing a perfect God who loves us.

So next time someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up my answer is, “I’m a Christian, regardless of what I do professionally or recreationally, that’s all that matters most.” My prayer is that my son can say the same thing someday.

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2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here

Achieving More

I had a business lunch with a gentleman this week that has done multiple endurance races. For this post, I’ll call him “Joe.” Joe calls himself an ‘adventurer’ and is always searching for that next thing to stretch his own level of comfort. He recently started a company to take business executives out on adventures and to teach them about living life to the fullest and reaching new goals that may seem impossible.

Joe talked about very successful business leaders he knows that ‘have it all’. One guy he talked about makes $20M/year and has achieved the peak of his professional dreams. He went on to tell me, “But something is missing. Deep down inside of each of these guys, there is a hole they are trying to fill. Even though they ‘have it all’, they can’t figure out what’s missing. It’s my job to help them find that missing piece through adventures. After they have achieved it all, I help them achieve more.”

More”, I thought to myself. More.

What I found interesting in the conversation is that Joe is starting to associate fulfillment with ‘more’ accomplishments. These accomplishments are physical in nature rather than business related, but it is still in the vain of more accolades. I can’t keep from coming back to the root of his original statement, “Deep down inside of each of these guys, there is a hole they are trying to fill. Even though they ‘have it all’, they can’t figure out what’s missing.

I personally know people that achieved amazing physical feats of endurance. I know people that have completed dozens of Ironman races and ultra-races. What is interesting is that even a lot of these people are wondering what is next. There is a hole they are also trying to fill, and it’s never enough.

Stop for a second and think. What if there is truly a deep longing and desire in us that we are trying to fill? What if we are all trying to fill that desire with MORE? More work, more money, more athletic accomplishments, more charity work, more being better parents, spouses or whatever it is you pour yourself into?

What if that desire and longing was divinely placed in you to connect to God, the creator of the universe? A God who will give you purpose and acceptance no matter what job title you have or how many medals are on the wall? A God who hard wired you for relationship and a perspective that the things of this world don’t matter as much as we think they do?

In the mist of all the things I personally strive for at work and athletically, I am already complete. I love a good challenge, but I don’t need more. I personally don’t have a deep need or longing to find out what’s next in order to feel peace. Sure, I had to die to placing huge importance on the things most of the world values the most, but the freedom I have is unexplainable. God has stamped my heart with grace.

I think Joe is right in saying “Deep down inside of each of these guys, there is a hole they are trying to fill.” Where he has it wrong is in thinking more accomplishments will fill the gap. What fills the gap is feeding the spirit.

When I look at the sunrise, I have joy in my heart and amazement that I know the creator of this beauty.

When I finish a race, I praise God for crafting such an amazing matrix of nerves, blood, muscle and skin that is capable of amazing things.

When I look at the world and politics, I have a peace in knowing that no matter what happens in the world while I am here, I am still in God’s hands and I will live eternally in His presence.

When I look at my bank account, no matter the balance, I know it is enough.

I have a joy that surpasses circumstance and a peace that is indescribable.

I don’t have all the answers, but one thing I believe is true– the only path to true fulfillment is relationship with Christ. With that, you will never need anything more.

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Philippians 4:19
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Baking up Some Competition

I think sometime in history a group of men got together and created a plan to celebrate their élite status in society. They figured out a way to keep the plan secret to outsiders but still appoint a date on the calendar where everyone knew about their plan. Their plan was to create a day called “Father’s Day” where all the men with children would be treated like royalty and have free reign of the planet.

As a new father welcomed to the secret order this year, cards started arriving in the mail early in the week. On Sunday I woke up to gifts, text messages, and phone calls, as the other daddies welcomed me to the club. It was like waking up one morning to another birthday.

“What would you like to do today honey?” my wife asks me. “Where would you like to go to dinner and celebrate?” Brilliant!

With the blessing of being a father and the showering of awesomeness comes the next best reason for me to celebrate Father’s Day. The annual Newbreak Community Church Father’s Day Cake Contest. This annual cook-off between the men of our church, brings out the serious battle axes as there is no greater honor than taking home the Golden Spatula for Best-in-Show.

I inherited some good creative cake skills from my mother, and I work in the design/construction industry so the combination is lethal. Every year the bar gets raised as we try to think of bigger and better things to create.

There is some strategy that goes into winning this competition. Do you try to cater to the kids and get their votes or do you go for the adult votes? Do you bake for taste or for shock value? How far can you push the boundaries of what is edible? (Sorry Mike, you can’t eat an aluminum boat, better luck next year)

Watching the winners each year, there is a combination of both shock value and craftsmanship that wins the day. Trying to come up with ideas to tie these together can take the next 11 months to figure out.

While I was teamed up with another guy from our church putting together this year’s cake, I started really wondering why God wired me the way he did. I am almost overly competitive when it comes to things. I was the top male student in my high school class in academics. I want to be successful at work and win every project that hits the streets. I want to win the bike races I enter, and if I don’t feel fast enough, I don’t even want to show up and race. I race people on the freeway, just to find out we’re heading to different locations.

I went over and over in my mind about the healthiness of being this competitive. God showed me how, although I am competitive, I get just as much joy out of helping others be successful. I can usually see a path to success in most situations, and this gift is one that I can use for my own benefit as well as others. I need to be careful not to let pride get in the way of being humble enough to help other people.

As I work through my own competitive issues, I will do it yet again with the Golden Spatula hanging up in my kitchen. I can crack a smile and know that God also has a Golden Spatula hanging in his house for creating each one of us in His own image. Our Father.

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Philippians 2:2-4
“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Take off your shoes

Although I love to read, I don’t have the opportunity to read as many books as I would like. That probably leads to the excitement and enthusiasm I get every time I actually have the opportunity to sit down and read a book. For a good month or so after reading a new book, I am all excited to carry out ideas or things that I have learned or been inspired by.

A couple of months ago, I went through a book titled Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It was a great book about a tribe of Indians living in the Copper Canyons of Mexico whose entire culture was built around running. For thousands of years they had run, sometimes ultra long 100-mile journeys between villages to socialize with other tribes. Christopher went down to the Copper Canyons to discover their secrets of running, and learn more about their culture. It was a fascinating book and one that I really enjoyed.

One component of the book discussed the mystery of how tribal members would run well into their 80’s with no major injuries to speak of. They would run across rough terrain in nothing but sandals or barefoot, and not suffer the typical knee and hip injuries that American runners face regularly. To make a long story short, Christopher makes a thesis that the majority of our running injuries are due to the running shoes we wear, and how they have promoted poor running form. He goes into considerable scientific research on how the cushioned shoes we wear have made our feet lazy, and casted our feet to hit the ground poorly.

Once again, I read a book and I was inspired. My wife listened to me and rolled her eyes as I told her I wanted to run an ultra 100-mile endurance run in barefeet through the Copper Canyons. 

Due to a heavy bike racing season, I had not run in over 8-months, and I was itching to get back out there and go for a run. I was the perfect test subject for this barefoot running thing. I didn’t have any running races to train for, I had no intention of pushing my pace, and I had the patience it would take to retrain my body to run barefoot. I went out and bought a pair of shoes that would do nothing more than protect my barefeet from glass on the road. I dusted off the running gear and decided to hit the road like the Copper Canyon Indians.

I went on a ‘short’ 4 mile run to try the new technique. “Just a short four miles,” I thought.

As I limped home, my calves felt a sore burn that would last for a week. Running barefoot taxes your calves as they act as your natural shock absorbers against the road. My shock absorbers were spent. This new running thing was going to take a lot more time than I thought.

I dialed back my enthusiasm, did some more research, and started to run shorter distances until my legs built up the strength. Surprisingly enough, the typical running pain that I was used to in terms of sore knees, hips, groin and upper body was non-existent. My legs were getting stronger with every run. I loved how liberating it was to be more connected to the ground and the surface I was running on. Even the actual movement of running felt easier than before. I can’t say that I am a crazy disciple of the barefoot running movement yet, but through some trial, effort, and education, I am really enjoying the new element to my athletic life.

I was reflecting on this the other day, and thought how similar barefoot running is to our spiritual journey. God designed us a certain way. He designed us to love Him, to be connected to other believers, to love others and to live a disciplined life. We have done everything we can as people to ‘cushion’ our lives. We hide behind money, behind hobbies and activities, and come up with every excuse we can to avoid responsibility. “I don’t need to go to church because…, I don’t have time for the homeless because…, I am a good enough person and that’s enough because…” We put shoes on and go for our run through life and pray that it won’t hurt too much. In the process, we are often masking our inefficiency and weakness, and actually bringing pain to other areas of our lives.

What we really need is a little disciplined form work to strengthen our spirits, minds and bodies. Form work that requires us to step back, get back to the basics and spend the time to start doing it right. Sometimes the high road takes a little more effort and pain, but at the end of the day you will be much stronger, suffer less injury, and be much more connected to the world we are in. Take off your shoes…

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John 15:1-4
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Missing the Target?

Last week I went into a Target store because I had to pick up a few household items. Target is a dangerous place for me to visit, because I usually come out of there with one or two things I needed, five things I didn’t need, and I usually forgot at least one thing I needed because I was busy looking at things I didn’t need. Yeah, I know it’s complicated. I typically blame it on Target though because if they didn’t sell so many great things there, I wouldn’t have a problem. For some people-it’s Costco, for others-it’s Nordstrom’s, for me-it’s Target.

The other evening as I was leaving Target pumped up on endorphins from buying more un-needed stuff, I passed a lady outside that was raising money for homeless veterans. I usually just walk by these people parked outside the store. I am annoyed by their requests for money. Can’t they just see that I spent all my money in Target on stuff I don’t need? I don’t need to give money to your ‘legalize cannabis so I can grow some ganja’ campaign.

Well I don’t know what came over me that night, but I actually stopped. I talked to the older lady standing there with weathered eyes and asked more about her mission. “God bless you son.” She said with sincerity in her voice. “Do you realize that you are one of the few people that have even acknowledged that I am here? I am raising money for a ministry to take care of our homeless veterans.”

She went on to tell me about her cause, and how the Lord called her to help out. I gave her a few dollars, and told her I’d say a prayer for her. And I did.

I started to wonder how many people I walk by in a day or avoid in an effort to stay in my comfort zone. I will spend $20 extra dollars in a Target store but won’t spare $1 for the homeless. I know I have trust issues, but is it really so hard to stop and say ‘hello’?

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Matthew 25:34-40
Then the King will say to those on the right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Then these righteous ones will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”

Paper thin walls of laughter…

This past weekend, my wife and I went up to the mountains outside of San Diego to spend some time with friends away from the city. We pulled up to our cabin at the summit of Mount Laguna and unloaded our food, bikes, and gear into the wood-paneled living room. Our bedroom was barely big enough to fit our double bed, and the walls were thinner than rice paper, but none of it mattered. We were excited to get away from the hustle.

Now as you can imagine, our idea of vacation included a grueling bike ride which took up most of Saturday followed by food and cold beer. The riding was some of the very best I have experienced with vistas that opened up to the ocean and the desert from 6,000 feet. On Sunday, we hiked down a huge canyon to a cluster of waterfalls where we splashed around in the cold mountain water. It was an amazing weekend.

I thought a lot over the weekend about the things that make our lives have meaning. Once again, I am drawn to the word ‘community’. Following up on last week’s post about staying connected, I started to think about how much fun the weekend was, and how that enjoyment came from spending that time with a group of friends. We had different perspectives painting an even more vivid picture of our surroundings. Laughter grew through the paper-thin walls of our cabin like a contagious virus. Community.

While this weekend was beautiful, the people I shared the weekend with didn’t know the source of this beauty. I often wonder why I struggle to connect with other believers. I think I am scared of being accountable or having them look at me strange if I have a beer or two.  Sometimes I think I just tend to gravitate towards people who make it easy to live life on my own terms.

We are called to be in community, not because it is a religious duty, but because God designed us that way. Last weekend was a great example of this. We were created to experience life with others, and to get through this life thing together. It is more beautiful that way. If secular relationships can bring that much joy, just think how much more joy Christian relationships can bring. Christian community is more than church. It is composed of small groups, fellowship with believers, and allowing those close to us to challenge us to grow stronger in our faith. I am seriously trying to work on this piece. I know it will make those mountain top views all the more special.

A Team Building Exercise

In my short business career, I have been fortunate enough to help lead several different companies and organizations to success. Obviously the definition of success varies depending on who you talk to, but I truly believe God has given me a gift of being able to see a collective picture, and lead a group of people to the destination. The one thing that I have seen through my experiences is that success is highly dependent on the people who are involved to help reach the goal. We have seen situations time and time again where the most qualified group of people are not always the most successful as a team.  Different opinions, finger-pointing, and ego often get in the way of developing a culture of success. Without a strong foundation of goals and principles that everyone buys into, organizations will fail every time..

I recently received an e-mail from a friend of mine that is struggling spiritually. He “does not always agree with Christians”, and it offends him a little to hear someone else tell him what they think is right or wrong, and so on. He loves Christianity though.

He is painting the picture of the Church. Often times Christians are so caught up in the debate over Theology or gossip that we forget that we are one organization that is reaching for a common goal. I disassociated from the church when I was in my late teens for the same reasons. Judgmental people, legalism, differing opinions, etc. It was much easier to live life on my own terms then to deal with that crap.

So I withdrew.

While this seems like the easiest avenue, it is also the perfect situation for the enemy of our souls. It is easier for him to conquer one person than it is to destroy an army. Just like the way I work with organizations to build success, it is a team of people that gets us across the goal line. I could go at it alone, but it would be a much harder fight. In the same way, the battle we fight as believers is to pull together as one.

It is a hard-fought reality to know that God has called us into relationship with Him, with other believers, and into a life where we no longer live for ourselves especially when we don’t always agree with our teammates. It’s not the easy road, but God knows what it takes to build a successful organization called ‘His Church’. We must put aside the drama, train for success and read The Bible which is our rulebook.

I have been praying frequently for my friend as he is a powerful and dynamic leader that given the right opportunity would bring a lot more people to the Faith. I pray that God will show him the true spiritual impact he could have in this world if he was able to carve out his time to get plugged in to the community of believers. I pray that just as God did for me a few years ago, that my friend would be able to see past himself, past the people, and understand the urgency of God’s calling to be connected. Working as a part of a bigger team, we could really evoke some change together.

Those prayers also reflect my own personal prayers. I still have to constantly work to lay aside my own opinions and biases towards the religious egos, and ask God to work in my heart through His Word. When I disagree with people regarding Theology, I strive to understand why I disagree and have that opinion be grounded in Biblical truth without passing judgment. I have to force myself to go to church sometimes if for no other reason than to stay plugged in. I know it is God’s calling. Hopefully I can be a valuable asset to His Kingdom while I live here on Earth and bring more of His people together to focus on what matters.  Let’s build a successful team.

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Philippians 2:1-10 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Getting Back Up

I crashed this past weekend in a triathlon. I was about half-way through the bike leg, and I misjudged a turn which laid me out in a sea of asphalt. Skidding to a stop, my layers of skin were kind enough to save my bike from injury. If only my skin was made of armor.

It was the first triathlon of my 2010 Season. I was not excited to race because I had not trained much, and I was not as prepared as I had been in earlier years on the same course. Even though I was apprehensive, I figured that it would be a good test of where my physical endurance was sitting, and what areas I needed to work on before my long race this August.

Sometimes plans change.

It is incredible how fast life can throw you curveballs. One minute you are upright and making up ground, and the next you are flat on your face dodging traffic. I was at a business conference this past week where the speaker spoke about the downfalls of strategic planning. “The best plans need to accommodate change. You may be driving the car, but did you forget you are driving on a dirt road through a rainstorm? True control is an illusion, and much of life is based on a plan that accommodates change and embraces some blind faith.” In the case of my fall, my back wheel just slipped out from under me, and I was down. The fall took a total of a second.

So there I was laid out on the ground deciding what to do. Should I lay there and feel sorry for myself or should I get up and try to ride back to the transition area?

I stood up and surveyed my skinless arms. No obvious broken bones. My bike looked OK, so I gingerly picked it up and began to ride back. Every movement hurt, but I was determined to get back home.

I made it back where my loving wife gave me a hug, and told me that she would take care of me. My wife must really love me to give me a hug through all that seeping red stuff. She was there to help me carry my burden. What a beautiful thing.

I called my parents (to get even more sympathy) that afternoon and my mother told me a story about when I was young.

At Pagosa Springs, we were staying in a cabin and going fishing.  You were about 1 1/2 and had just learned to run, but holding my hand did not let you go as fast as you wanted to do, so you tore away and your feet went faster than the rest of you and of course, the unavoidable fall happened.  You were all scraped up- arms, face and everything. You were back on your feet before I could reach you and laughing and clapping your hands. You started running again.”

When will I grow up?

Thinking things over from a spiritual perspective, I wonder how many of us as believers think we are truly in control of our lives until something bad happens. When something bad happens we can either get back up, know it is going to hurt for a while and trust God to get us through, or we can lay there in self pity and blame God for the pain.

I know several friends right now that are going through a hard time right now. Life has kicked you to the curb through no major fault of your own. It takes a lot to get back up and make it back to the transition area, but when you do, you will find a loving group of friends ready to help share the burden of your recovery. That is the beauty of the Christian Community. Christ is always here, and he has given us a host of support to help us through the tough times. He wants us to get back up–SMILING.

Even though my race this weekend ended prematurely, I can honestly say I enjoyed the journey. It will make the races that I finish all the more beautiful.

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James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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