Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thanks Coco

When it comes to the imparting of wisdom, Conan O’Brien is probably not the first person you would name to gather such enlightenment from. But in a recent commencement address to the 
Dartmouth Class of 2011, he shared this insight about his 
recent life-happenings:
“It is our failure to become our perceived idea that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.”

He went on to say that “whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment, you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

(Rocks State Park)
Jarrettsville, MD
I look back over my grade school years and laugh at what I ‘thought’ needed to happen in order for me to be successful. 
My teenage years bring even more laughter as I look back on them. Don’t laugh…you were full of that craziness, too.
And as an adult, disappointment has shown itself time after time.

Yet, through all of this, I find myself growing more original everyday. It is an old statement but rings so true: Most people are born original, yet they die a copy.
The question that each of us must answer is, how do we handle circumstances, disappointments, and misfortune?

The importance of these moments comes down to our perspective. 
So many become just another statistic when they turn away from what is so clear, right in front of their eyes. The very opportunities that should bring clarity to our lives instead push us further into a purposeless existence.

The world doesn’t need another _(fill in the blank)_. 
The world needs YOU.

(Lone Brown Cow)
Forest Hill, MD
You have specific gifts that God placed inside of you before you were even a glimmer in your parent’s eyes. You have things to accomplish that would blow your mind if God revealed it for you to see. 
This all comes down to God’s time and the mysteriousness in which He works.
What might feel like the greatest disappointment you have ever endured might just be your ‘moment’ to find your originality.
Failure may have followed you like a shadow…so do you quit? Or do you take each of these moments to forget what the crowd is saying and do what God put you here to do?

Thanks, Coco, for the reminder. I’ve got some re-inventing to do.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Happy Climbing

While on a recent run at one of our local state parks, I came to the realization that I do not like going uphill. On this rocky terrain you have to keep your eyes about two steps ahead to dodge sharp rocks that are located on the dirt path.

If all running were downhill, everyone would do it, right? 
Some would do it just because running downhill would be easy…others would because they had no choice. They would get going and before long, they would be breaking speed records because they couldn’t slow down.

(Rocks State Park)
Jarrettsville, MD
There are a couple of principles I think we can learn from facing uphill experiences.

1. Many times God puts uphill slopes in front of us to slow our hiney’s down.
The pace of life can pick up when our dreams begin to become evident. Excitement and passion overtake us to the point that we take our eyes off of Him (you know, the one who orders our steps), and we put it on our own abilities.
Have you ever been smacked with the reality that you have become so consumed with other ‘things’ that you have neglected those closest to you? Without the test of an uphill climb, you might have never slowed down enough to be able to see what mattered most.

2. Don’t try to push it too hard.
So many want to ‘hit’ the hills as hard as they can in order to get over them as quickly as possible. That is why the road is littered with abandoned dreams because so many individuals simply ‘burned out.’ It is a rule for all runners that when you run difficult trails, you MUST pace yourself. We can’t get caught up in the fact that a 
30-something’s mom passes us on the trail…while pushing her twins in a stroller. You must continue at your pace. Everything is going to happen in God’s time regardless. The “race comes not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” (Eccl. 9:11)

3. Realize that what goes up, must come down.
We should all keep in mind that after we’ve endured the grind on the way to the top, the other side is always waiting to lead us back down. These are gliding moments that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Enjoy them, but keep your feet steady and maintain your pace. Don’t let the next hill come because you had to be slowed down.  

(Runners in the Inner Harbor)
Baltimore, MD

I am grateful for every uphill climb. Without them I might be further down the road, but miles away from His purpose for my existence. 
Happy climbing…

Monday, June 6, 2011

'I Overslept'

I was awakened this morning by way of a phone call from work. I wondered why they would be calling me at this time of the morning, but then my eyes went up to where the clock is located on my phone. I immediately had this sinking feeling fill my body as I realized it was 6:08 am, and I was supposed to be twenty-five minutes from my home at 6:00 am. I do not own a helicopter, nor do I have access to one of those rocket cars, so the first morning of my work week began in a fury.

The more I have pondered my course of action that started this particular week, the more it got me to thinking of opportunities and situations that I have ‘overslept’ through. The numerous times I've gotten so caught up in 'I, me, and mine', that I have lost focus on what is most important.

(Inner Harbor)
Baltimore, MD
This past week taught me a valuable lesson as it pertains to this principle. My father was out for a Thursday afternoon motorcycle ride when a vehicle came into a curve at the same time he did. The problem was that the vehicle was also in his lane. By God’s protection he escaped with only a few broken bones and a whole lot of scrapes and bruises. When I received the call about the accident, we didn't know the severity of his injuries or if he was even going to be all right. 

Here I am, 1,600 miles away at work. Reality. I was just with him the day before. Was that going to be the last time I saw him? All those thoughts begin to go through my mind, and I was quickly reminded about what is important.
The only thing I wanted to do was just tell him, “I love you.” Sure, I’ve said it a thousand time before, or maybe even a million…but this moment was different.

I have found myself being sure that I’ve talked to my dad every day since then, and I have made a commitment within myself that I will not close another conversation with the people I care so deeply for without saying those three important words.
I’ve begun to focus on how many alarms I have slept through because I wasn't focused on what is most important.

A man by the name of Samson found out the hard way. Countless times he fell asleep in the lap of Delilah. Alarms were going off everywhere trying to re-focus him on the most important thing…his Nazarite vow. After numerous opportunities for him to re-focus, Delilah finally got the secret to his strength. And while he ‘slept’, Samson would eventually be faced with a reality that would cost him his life.

(Forest Hill, MD)
What dreams are you pushing off because you are just too apathetic to wake up and do something about them?
Who in your life are you neglecting because you are so focused on yourself?
Is your relationship with Christ at a place where you can truly say and show, 'not my will but yours be done'?

If not, hopefully alarms are ringing by now in your ears. Too many have went into such a deep sleep that they are able to subconsciously turn the alarms off. Don’t wait until your reality check shows up…because by then, it just might be too late.

Romans 13:1111 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up

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Friday, June 3, 2011

REdiscovering the Aha

So many of us live our lives waiting on the ‘lightbulb’ moment. 
You know, that landmark occasion where all time stops and you say, “Aha.” The dream you’ve been wondering about and searching for has finally shown up and then all seems right with the world. 

If we could just move locations.
If only this job would open up.
If only this (fill in the blank) ….

It is the lightbulb moment we are all in pursuit of. 

(Forest Hill, MD)

Recently, I have been diving deeper into the book ‘Quitters’ by 
Jon Acuff. I have been challenged like never before to stop trying to ‘discover’ my dream or my path, and go back to working on 
RE-discovering’ things that I may not have been ready for earlier on in my life. Just because you or I have tried something in the past or went down a path our heart desired to go – only to have the door shut right in our face, doesn’t mean that we were wrong for attempting it. It just might not have been the right time.

God’s planning and preparation is so right and perfect. In order to do a job and do it well, we humans have to be trained and taught.

Federal Hill
(Baltimore City)
Could you handle a million dollars right now? (I know…I know, we’d all like to try) But truthfully, could you handle it if someone handed it to you, expecting nothing in return?

We all like to think we would pay off our bills, take a vacation, or invest it, taking appropriate measures to make sure it would not only last, but grow to secure our future. In reality though, most could not handle it. The reason being is…it hasn’t been earned, and we haven’t gained the learning needed to use it wisely.

Loch Raven Dam
(Loch Raven, MD)
You may have tried and failed. You may have had your dreams dashed and your heart broken. You might even (like me) feel lost many days, thinking the picture is never going to come together, and you have somehow blown your opportunity.

If so, instead of setting out on a voyage of discovery, why not turn back within and search your heart…your passion…your desires. As my dad often says, “stroll down memory’s garden” and you might just find your dream buried…right where you put it a long time ago.

Don’t wait on the lightbulb. Start digging and RE-discover that special place where your dream meets His plan.

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