Stop Wimping Out!

So here is the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t.  The ones who succeed don’t quit.  They don’t choose the easy road.  They don’t make excuses.  They don’t settle for “good enough” from themselves.

The human heart, the human mind, and the human body are capable of so much more than we realize.  The runner reaches the exhaustion point way before he reaches the finish line.  His lungs burn, his muscles scream, his mind is assaulted with thoughts like ” must stop”, “can’t go on”…..but he keeps putting one foot in front of the other, pushing on, and on.  And he makes it across that line.

We do not do ourselves any favors by giving up when the going gets tough.  It is when we push through the pain, through the exhaustion, through the darkness, that we make it to the other side.  This is where the growth takes place.  This is where we discover the true glory of the human spirit.

Our minds, our hearts, our spirits, and most especially our bodies, send us “give up” messages way too early in the game.  It is easy to listen to those messages.   It is easy to give up, quit, take it easy, look for a short cut. But when we ignore those messages, we press on.  We endure.  We discover what we are really made of.  We discover that we are stronger than we gave ourselves credit for.  We discover that we can accomplish more than we expected.  And each time we push past that point of exhaustion, our endurance increases, and our strength increases, and our ability to accomplish our goals is multiplied.

And then what? We set higher goals, of course!

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Bad Ideas

Okay, so here is a list of BAD IDEAS.  And when we read them, we usually recognize them as BAD, but how many of these ideas permeate and even drive our perceptions about Art?

BAD IDEAS:

  1. I am not really an artist, I just like to draw.
  2. I have no talent, or not as much talent as others, so I have no right to be doing this.
  3. I can’t make a living as a (dancer, artist, musician, actor) so  why do it?
  4. All that art stuff is extracurricular, we should only focus on academics.
  5. I can’t afford fancy teachers/classes, so I can never (dance, paint, play music, sing).
  6. I have plenty of talent, so I don’t need to take classes or learn anything.
  7. I am paying for lessons so I should be able to improve without practice.
  8. The only value of the performing arts is as a vehicle to become rich and famous.
  9. the GOAL of the Arts is to become rich and famous.
  10. Beauty will not save the world.

How many times do these BAD IDEAS seep into our thinking, our judgements, our understanding of what Art is? God has given us Art and Beauty and the capacity to both create and appreciate them.  And we claim to be Christians, and try to live Christ-centered lives. Yet how many times do we let these BAD IDEAS (created by a secular world and rooted in ungodly standards and expectations) alter the way we make decisions for ourselves and our children?

Oh.  And BAD IDEA #11…..So You Think You Can Dance, the Next Generation.

TRUTH:

  • “The artist at work is in kairos. The child at play, totally thrown outside himself in the game, be it building a sandcastle or making a daisy chain, is in kairos. In kairos, we become what we are called to be as human beings, cocreators with God, touching on the wonder of creation.” – Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water

 

 

But then….

Kind of a Post Script here…..if you missed yesterday’s blog entry, you can find it here.

But then… I had this other very wonderful thought.  It’s not just me who is being bombarded with tough stuff right now.  My kids and my husband are also being hit hard individually.  And in several ways, our challenges are not merely individual, but are obstacles that we can only overcome as a family, working together.

And that leads me to the wonderful part….these have not only been my prayers.  This means that these are the prayers of my husband and also the prayers of my kids.  This means that they are asking for the same growth that I am asking for, and we are all on the same path together!

Beautiful Mind Picture: me in my room, my kids each in their rooms, my husband miles away on a jobsite….all of us praying the same prayers to the same God.  And the candles flickering in front of the Icons.  And God loving us so completely.

Happy Smiling Thankful Moment!

Beware!

I am writing this as a kind of PSA, in hopes of protecting others from the stupidity into which I just stumbled….again.

I have always loved the line from the musical Into the Woods, that says “be careful what you wish for, because wishes are children, and they grow up too.”

And of course the Bible is full of lessons about how God answers prayer.

So it should have come as no surprise.  But instead, it knocked me off my feet…..again.

It has been a rough few weeks.  Our family has been working SO HARD on specific challenges.  We’ve been working harder than ever to grow and really truly be the people that God is calling us to be.  This is NOT one of those seasons of floating through life,  somehow half-aware of our spiritual health, just trying to keep up with the activities of daily life.

And EVERY. SINGLE. SPIRITUAL. CHALLENGE. AND ROAD BLOCK. AND OBSTACLE. HAS BEEN PUT IN FRONT OF US these past few weeks.  I mean, I can’t even catch my breath before the next blow comes!

And in my despair and self pity, I went to read through my prayer journal from a couple of months ago…wondering where I went wrong, wondering why things are so tough. These are the prayers I found:

“Dear God, I am ready to be who you want me to be.”

“Dear God, please help my family to focus on being the Orthodox community that we are desiring to find in the world….right here, in our house.”

“Dear God, please help me to see my own faults and give me the strength and courage to repent fully and allow myself to be humbled and changed.”

“As a family, I pray that we may strengthen and encourage one another always to carry our cross with humble gratitude and unwavering faith.”

…Okay, so I guess I asked for it!  And in typical God fashion, He doesn’t grant us the powers of patience and humility and faith like some sort of fairy godmother, but He gives us (generously) opportunities to cultivate patience and humility and faith.

UGH!  So, like I said, this is a public service announcement, friends.  DO NOT PRAY FOR WHAT YOU ARE NOT READY TO RECEIVE!!!!

May God continue to answer our prayers and give us the strength to carry our many blessings!