Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dust Yourself Off and Try Again

As I lay face down in the snow I thought to myself, "That is it! It's over. Just lay here for a while and then give up." Let me rewind a bit and tell you how I got here. Last weekend, I embarked on trip to Snowshoe, WV with about 19 friends. One of my reasons for going, other than to enjoy an incredible weekend with people I like, was to knock off number seven on my 30 Things By 30 list. At the outset of the trip, five people, counting myself, were going to try and snowboard for the first time. By day two, it was just me.

So there I was. All by myself on the frozen slope. Everyone else was skiing/snowboarding with each other since their skill set was up to par. Already sore from the prior day's frequent and rough falls, I had just taken another tremendous spill that had sent me face first down the mountain. My goggles, which were perpetually fogged up, had flown off my face and were laying another five feet down the mountain. A few people had seen my fall from the ski lift and had made a few rude remarks about my obvious lack of skill. One guy cracked his skis together in an attempt to dump his accumulated snow on my head. I lay there feeling various pain receptors send signals to my brain urging me to cease the torture. My head and heart were starting to listen. "It is okay, you tried." "So what if you don't reach your goal." "Give up, you will never get it right." "You have failed yet again. It won't be the last time."

The last thought got me revved up. I was angry at myself now. Did I really think I was going to master snowboarding in a day and a half? I was now determined not to give up. I needed to prove myself wrong. As I pushed myself onto my knees, my body made one last plea to stop. I got up continued down the mountain taking a few bumps along the way. It was my last run of the day because the lifts would be closing soon. But now I was determined to continue my third day.

The third day started like the last with my body meeting snow at awkward angles. But I continued to press on and eventually got comfortable and competent enough on a snowboard to get safely down the mountain. You can read about it here.

The point of all of this was, day three was a huge pay off. If I had given up I would be sitting at home with regret still not knowing how to snowboard. But I did not give up and accomplished my goal. On day two I could never have envisioned that I was going to suddenly figure out how to go down the mountain without falling. Sometimes the bumps and bruises in life attempt to dissuade us from accomplishing a goal or vision. But I encourage you to press on. You might be met with physical pain, heartache, and sacrifice. But you never know how the next day will turn out if you do not press forward to see what will happen. In the words of the late Aaliyah, "dust yourself off and try again."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Turning 30 in 31 Months

The reason I mention this milestone is because I want to introduce everyone to my newest blog site:
30 Things by 30 is a list of things I have compiled that I want to experience or accomplish by the time I turn 30 on August 15, 2011.
I will still post regularly on here and this will be my main blog site. 30 Things By 30 is a side project that I am doing with great ambition. Check in regularly over there as I will be posting stuff as I work on or complete things from list. Enjoy both!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Surprise

It is just after 4:30 on Valentine's day. Despite the fact that I slept in today and the strong cup of Black English tea by my side, I am still shaking off the fog in my head. My mind typically moves so fast but it is in these times that I am forced to slow down as my mind spends a little extra time trying to kick start itself. This is also the time when I feel like God penetrates my mind the most.

As I mentioned earlier, it is Valentine's day. Ooh perhaps I should hammer that home for myself one more time. Currently I am sitting by myself in Starbucks trying to get some work done and just not finding the motivation.

Even though these are the moments God is speaking to me, it is also the times the Devil is trying to impale me with his full onslaught of lies. Here is the rundown so far. See if any of them sound familiar. (1) No one cares what I have to say (working on this note and my blogs). (2) I have nothing to offer and if I never attempted to contact my friends again I would be quickly forgotten because no one cares enough to reach out to me. (3) I am destined to live the rest of my life alone and unloved. (4) Because of the rotten person I am, the previous three are warranted and I deserve nothing more. (5) I am failure. I do not prepare enough to share my gift that God has provided professionally and in my friendships (6) Bringing my complaints to God is fruitless because I am only reaching out to him during the lonely times and don't care enough to spend more time with him during the times that he provides for me.

What a crappy way to spend a Saturday right? Well remember, I said this is the time that God is speaking to me. The Devil is constantly on his bullhorn shouting this condemnation. Digging his wretched fingers into wounds he cut and carved into my past. And while the Devil is loud, God is clear.

Here is what God is saying to me today: (1) He has put words in my heart and in my mouth. Sometimes they are intended for a lot of people, sometimes just one person. And sometimes He wants me to write things out so I can read it back and He can speak into me. Just writing that realization floods my heart. (2) I have been blessed with a tremendous group of friends. But the times that I am not with them is sometimes God giving them or me a break to individually spend time with him. As much as I love my friends, I should take advantage of this time more often. Just because they do not call, does not mean they don't care or if it is that much of a concern and they really do not care then I should find people that will. (3) This is huge. While I feel destined for companionship, a lack of it should never leave me feeling unloved. Jesus has demonstrated time and time again His love for me. I am deeply loved. I am deeply and compassionately loved and understood. I am deeply and compassionately and patiently and sacrificially loved and understood. (4) I may never understand why or how completely but I can trust in God's Word and know convincingly that nothing I have done will remove His blessing from me. (5) My times that I feel like I am failing is when I try to do things alone and apart from God. Find Him and I can not fail. (6) God's love and response is unconditional. Need proof, look at the story of the prodigal son. Look at the sacrifice Jesus made for me.

When I started writing this, I thought it would be an encouraging uplifting note for the singles on Valentines day. But what I came to realize is that it is during days like today that we are attacked by the enemy in terms of our value and worth. But you are worthy, you are loved. You have a great Counselor, Listener, Redeemer and Friend in God. You are never alone.