This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

Archive for December, 2013

I’m afraid

I spent Christmas with my best friends, and it was amazing. I commented that I have been doing things that I never would have done before and I think that it’s part of a rebellious phase I am in, to which Alex replied that I am not in a phase at all – I have rebelled my whole life. He’s so right. That being said I am pushing my own limits.

Last weekend in Whistler I sled down the fastest, steepest and most technical track in the world – head first. It’s this crazy thing called the skeleton. Before my first run I tried not to think much about what I was doing. Then on the  run I just about peed myself. It started out slow and gentle but in seconds I was traveling at 94.8 kms per hour. In the orientation their safety tip was to “act like a sack of potatoes” – I am totally serious. Who says that?

I am going to admit tears escaped my eyes that were in addition to the ones produced by the 3g force of turn 16.  When it was over I had to sit down.  I was in shock. This was like a roller coaster on steroids and then some. I don’t like roller coasters.

You pay for two runs and the staff wondered if I would do my second. Everything in me said walk away (I was not capable of running), turn for your life and escape! And I said of course I am going to. I am sure my body face palmed on the inside. They asked if I liked it and I said no, they laughed.

I was terrified to do that again but I realized that given the current season of my life, I am not holding back for anyone. I make the decisions I want and it’s all up to me. The only thing holding me back is myself. It was exactly this situation here. I really didn’t think I was going to die, possibly get very hurt if I did something stupid but for all intensive purposes this was a calculated risk. The only reason I would have said no to the second run is fear. I just would not let fear win.

I have made, and stuck, to some of the hardest decisions of my life in this season. I will not let fear hold me back.

It doesn’t mean the fear leaves once I make the decision, it just means I don’t listen. The time I had to wait for my second run felt like an eternity. It was awful and I felt like I was waiting for the executioner. We had to change out my sled because it just didn’t feel right, which was probably more me than the sled. Then I started sliding down.

The second run was very different than the first. I knew I would pick up speed quickly and I was ready for it. I knew what the turns felt like. I left some of my fear on that track. I still had tears when I finished and I still had to sit down after the run – I don’t think my body likes g force. skeleton

That moment will encapsulate what I want for 2014. I’m going to be afraid. This is not going to be an easy time but I have proven to myself that I can, and will, still make the decision I need to in spite of my fear. It will not shackle me. Maybe from now on, every time I am afraid I will just keep repeating to myself “sack of potatoes.” The irony of it is that thinking of a life lived not limiting myself from fear makes me a bit afraid – what more crazy stuff can I get into now? #bringit

If you have read this far in this post here is some fun:

A helmet cam from the skelton track in whistler

My first run


Be a friend & shut your mouth

It was not even 10am and I had already greatly angered a complete stranger. That doesn’t usually happen that early in the day.

I have a pet peeve – well a few to be completely honest. This particular one is when well intentioned people say stupid things to hurting people. YES, I get that they are well intentioned but it doesn’t make what they said any less stupid and I am just not going to ignore it.

I have  a friend who is going through an incredibly difficult time, to put it lightly. She should be celebrating a great joy and instead she is wading through loss and grief in addition to all her regular responsibilities. I can not imagine what she’s going through right now and she was open and honest (publicly) about how she can not imagine how she was going to be able to carry on through the week.

A well intentioned friend commented that “He will never give you more than you can handle.” Where the heck did that stupid phrase come from? Can we eliminate it from English please! I commented that this is no where in scripture and not even accurate. I let her know that I recognized her desire to comfort her friend but there are times we do have more than we can handle and it’s in those times we need Him the most because we can not make it through on our own.

This phrase also superimposes that God has given her all this shit right now. This is not necessarily accurate either. Sometimes we make our own storms, sometimes other people make storms in our life. There is also a devil who wants to seek, kill, and destroy; so please lets not leave him out of the equation of storm making.

The final and most important reason I hate this phrase, is that when you are in the middle of all of that, it does feel like it is more than you can handle. I know I have been there. I have had this very thing said to me and it completely minimizes the pain and hurt you are trying to get above. It makes you feel incompetent and like you are weak because if God never gives you more than you can handle why can’t I handle this? It makes you feel like you should put on a happy face and pretend like your ok when your NOT ok.

We need to be free to be real with people. We need to have others know when we are drowning and need help. Well intentioned people can still cause more hurt and pain, and if we learn anything from the book of Job, it is that sometimes the best thing a friend can do is sit in the ashes with us and keep their mouth shut.

There’s only room for 1 on the pedestal

As a leader I am very aware of my weaknesses and failures.  Being in front of others brings a feeling of amplification of those areas. I am also very aware of the impact they have on others. That awareness helps to keep me accountable but it also stirs in me a temptation to hide those things.

There are lots of people who look to leaders as perfect people. Flawless. They put them on pedestals. It’s easy to be caught in that and feel like you have to maintain this perfect image and pretend to be superhuman. You want to be their hero. You want to be the one to save them and make everything better.

Who else could do that but a perfect person? This is so true and I am not him. Neither is any other leader on this earth in bodily form today. There is only one true hero and only one that can save and His name is Jesus Christ.

He can use me, yes but not to save anyone. That work has already been done on the cross. He uses me to love like He loves. I get to be his hands and feet on this earth today. I point the way to the true hero.

In order to do that, it means I have to first and foremost recognize that I am not Him. I have to make sure no one is putting me on a pedestal that I do not belong on. I have to make sure that I am not putting myself on a pedestal that was never intended for me.

An easy way to do this is to be open and accountable with my faults. This doesn’t mean my failures are on auto-post to social media, but it does mean I have an accountability team that know my inner workings. It also does mean that I am real with the people I lead. I find that the more real and open I am about my pain and about my screw ups. The more people can relate to me.

It’s how I relate to Jesus. He was fully human. He was tempted, he felt afraid, he was alone. He hurt and bled. I can relate to that. Jesus was the perfect human and He is also the perfect God. Without Him being God, His work on the cross is just a sad waste of a perfect life that shouldn’t have been ended.

Him being God and coming to earth, then dying for my sin bridges the gap that exists between my Holy and Perfect God and this sinful human. He saves me from my sin and failure.

That deserves a place on the only pedestal.