This summer, our son Jonah spent three weeks in Indonesia with Surfing the Nations. If you've been around my blog for a while, you have … Read the Post »
Well friends, I am here with one final archived post (written over two years ago). This is something I do in the summer and now that summer is officially ending, I’ll be back with only brand new content for the rest of the year. I am so thankful though, for how many of you have let me know that you enjoyed some of my older posts! They do tend to get buried in the archives so I am happy to share them each summer!
At the bottom of this post I am also linking to a brand new YouTube video that Dave and I just published. It happens to go along with the subject of this post quite well, so I hope you’ll scroll down and click to view it!
Be encouraged and have a great weekend–
My last week, or..more like three weeks, have been filled with a series of low-grade disappointments.
Thankfully, all low-grade.
My family is healthy, my marriage is strong…the big stuff is in place.
But it seems like a number of things happened, in a row, to simply bum me out. I held strong with all kinds of positive thoughts, until it just got to me.
Finally, I had to just give in and admit that things were not going our way.
I was bummed, and for once I needed to be ok being bummed.
I mean, here I had just put together a post, talking about pursuing passions, and developing yourself as a person. Dave and I have always taught our kids the same way: You can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t settle for average. (or, as we usually say, “Go big or go home!” :)) This stuff is a part of me, a part of how I live…and suddenly it hit me: Some of my own passions and pursuits were really not working out so well. In fact, some of the self-pep-talks have even gotten old. How much fun is it to chase dreams and pursue passions, when you hit closed doors and feel like a failure?
And even more: How can I encourage my kids to dream big dreams when you can’t promise them that it will all work out? Sometimes you might not even be sure where you’re going.
Because the kids–oh they’ve been learning some of these same lessons. Different issues, same lessons.
Sweet Luke, with his mind and heart set on surfing at the top of his game, has believed that he’s on his way. He has worked, prayed, and trained to come out of Regionals and States near the top in the finals…We all believed it.
And then Regionals didn’t go that way at all.
I’ll never forget how he b-lined it to the car, crying big tears into a salty towel. And I stood by his side, with nothing to say. My heart hurt as bad as his.
So my thoughts lately, have begun to mock me: Maybe I was wrong.
Maybe all of this stepping out stuff…Pursuing passions…Dreaming big…Maybe it’s really just a setup for even bigger disappointments.
Maybe the better advice is: Play it safe. Do what is comfortable and secure. Take the safe road.
Because only a few can win, right?
Only a few will rise to the top. Be successful. Get the trophy.
And losing? Isn’t fun. Disappointments? They stink. The less you risk, the less pain you’ll have to face.
We’ve always known that there’s a bit of luck involved in things. Luck, and timing, and all of that other stuff that is in the mix, but I still really want to believe that working your butt off is the real key. And I know that I know…that all of those prayers are being heard…And that everything we live and teach about having integrity, good sportsmanship, and so on–That it all pays off.
But sometimes the payoff is just a hard lesson, or one more lousy chance to “grow in character.”
Sometimes my prayers aren’t answered the way I had hoped. And the slackers move to the front. And the mean kids…sometimes win.
And that is really, hard to take.
So, yes, I’ve been struggling with all of this. And for once in my life, I’ve been ok with it. I’ve actually admitted to being in a funk, and haven’t pushed and pulled and forced my way out of it all. I haven’t let it ruin my days, but that low-grade disappointment can really get to you after a while.
And then yesterday, I had one of those long drives, (all the way to Costco,) all by myself. With my mind in a fog, I flipped the radio on. And I heard the song Blessings, by Laura Story. I’ve heard it a thousand times, but this time it was actually FOR ME. (thanks Laura.) If you aren’t familiar, the song is all about how we pray for things, yet God’s answers are not always what we want: “What if your blessings come through rain drops, what if Your healing comes through tears…” and finally “What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.”
And I got the message.
This time it was me who cried…tears of repentance…For losing perspective. For missing God’s mercies in the midst of the trials. For placing too much hope in my Monica-sized dreams, and not enough faith in what God is working through it all.
What if losing, and failing, and being disappointed all cause me to call out to God that much more…With a heart that much more desperate to know His will?
What if losing at Regionals draws Lukey to know that his worth is never going to be found in surfing, but will only ONLY be found in a relationship with God?
(And indeed, that happened last week.)
What if doing it God’s way is full of unknowns and risks and all kinds of beautiful adventure, that may or may not turn out how WE WANT, but will absolutely turn out for our GOOD?
What if that is the beauty that I’ve been missing?
And in that moment I knew that playing it safe was not an option. I knew that life is so much more than security, and comfort. Or getting our way.
No–It isn’t time to back down. Quitting isn’t the answer. I’m not losing hope and I certainly will not let my children sit back and watch the world go by.
Because it isn’t about avoiding RISK, it is about RISKING it all because there is actually NOTHING to lose.
It isn’t about staying SAFE, it is about boldly stepping out, knowing that we are completely SAFE if we’re in God’s will.
And it certainly isn’t at all about the pressure to succeed according to some man-made rules, or winning a popularity contest.
It is all about pleasing our Creator, and winning His affections. Then watching happily as God takes care of the rest.
Friends: Have you been working hard towards a goal, only to find doors keep closing right in your face? Are you tired of working so hard towards something, that still feels a million miles away? Are you sick of disappointment? Maybe you’ve had some grand moments of inspiration, but then begin to wonder if it’s all a joke…and you are ready to settle in to the status quo and quit trying to do great things?
Have you begun to wonder if your prayers are just too big, and God has those thing for other people–NOT for you…
I’m here to tell you to fight those thoughts with all of your will.
I happen to KNOW that your prayers are not too big for our EVEN BIGGER GOD. The challenges, and trials are part of the beauty. Part of your story. He might have some lessons for you, and ultimately, His desire is to draw you near to Himself. But He cares about the things that burden you. He is on your side. He is for you.
And no, it isn’t time to quit.
Maybe you need to cling to the One who loves you the most, and who will always have your best in mind.
This line from the song keeps running through my head: “What if a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to know You’re near.”
He is near.
And His ways, His timing, His plan is always best.
Here’s to stepping out. Being bold. Being faithful. And never giving up.
Now, CLICK HERE to watch Dave and I open the conversation of PARENTING AND YOUTH SPORTS on YOUTUBE.
We invite you to click “subscribe” over on our YouTube channel to be notified when we publish new content, then stay tuned as we have a follow-up video on a related topic coming soon…
And yes, we are still new at this, but we really enjoy these so thanks for following along!
— We’d especially love feedback and requests on topics!
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