Fearfully

Blog - Fearfully

What makes you wonder? What do you marvel at?

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My wife and I are expecting our first child in less than three weeks. As I ask myself how I should be emotionally preparing for the moment our daughter arrives, I am at a loss. How do you prepare for something that you have never encountered before? How do you prepare for something that you know will blindside you, take your breath away, and be entirely new and unique? I know that I will love this little something more than I love myself, this life, this world. How do you prepare for that?

As I think about it more though, I find peace in the idea that rarely are we totally awed by things that we have prepared for.

I had rode long miles for two months in preparation for the six-day grind, and the 415 mile bike ride was like nothing I had ever attempted. Oddly though, I was left feeling bored with the surprising ease with which I finished.

For four years I dreamt of the state hockey championship, and at age 12 secured sweet success with my teammates, but was left slightly annoyed at the lack of euphoria once it arrived.

The completion of a two year long ambition to stand atop Uncompahgre Peak was met with a numb lack of enthusiasm, following a hike that I had deeply longed for.

In contrast, the moment I stood in front of my friends and family, with my best man and groomsmen at my side, and watched the double doors part to reveal my future father-in-law and future wife, left me unable to breathe.

The very second my wife leaned over my shoulder and uttered, “I’m pregnant”, into my ear, left me somewhere between stunned and in-disbelief.

The moment I will first hold my daughter in my arms, and her eyes find mine, and her mouth opens for her inaugural cry, I will be caught like never before. Full of fear, I will be given purpose far beyond what I have ever experienced.

Not fear in a scared sense though. No, the Hebrew word for fear, yirah, means to be awed and stand in reverence to. To be utterly taken aback by the power and beauty that has suddenly come before you.

This moment, when I am full of fear, awe, wonder, marvel and reverence is defining. It is the moment I am reminded that not only are there things in this world more powerful than me, but there are things in this world that, if I hope to have a life of any substance, demand my attention. These moments are reminders that this life cannot be about me.

When was the last time you were awed? The moments are all around you, if you choose to see them. The crux though, is that you cannot pursue being blindsided by a moment. The only preparation available to you is stepping out of your own skin and choosing to love others more than you love yourself.

Can you do that? Are you ready to step into a life of true adventure, wonder, awe, and marvel?

Where will you be awed? At what will you marvel?

 

Whatever Moves

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“Whatever moves you, it’s trying to tell you something.” -Annie Houghton

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BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Your nocturnal fingers fumble about as your hands search your sleeping bag for the watch.

You find it and shut it off.

You take a deep breath of cold mountain air.

The smell is crisp and quietly alive.

You open your eyes hoping to see the morning’s first light. It’s dark, but only just.

The sky is a dim grey, like a stone wet from the river.

Your nose is cold, as it is the lone part of your body unshielded from the elements.

No sound is heard, apart from the slow, rhythmic breathing of your fellow mountaintop-seeking companions.

As you begin to unzip your bag the twenty-five degree air shocks your system.

You stand, stretch, and look for your boots and coat.

They are covered in snow.

Your friends stir and the morning is greeted by laughter and comical cries for warmth.

Thirty minutes pass and you are reunited with your burdensome lifesaver… your backpack.

It bites at your hips and gnaws at your shoulders.

You begin.

Left.

Right.

Left.

Right.

One foot in front of the other.

Higher.

and Higher.

You leave tree-line behind you.

You leave the ability to take strong full breaths behind you as well.

As your body fights to push oxygen to your brain your view of the mountaintops in the distance and the valleys far below dances in and out of focus like some sick test of your equilibrium.

Strange musings of little consequence fly through your thoughts.

Your appreciation of straight lines when you mow the lawn.

Your childhood ambition of becoming a professional hockey player.

A Justin Bieber song.

The ridge line above you looks to be the top.

You beg your muscles to continue moving.

Just ten more steps.

You’re almost there.

You look up expecting a three hundred and sixty degree view, only to be tricked by a false peak.

There is more mountain to climb.

You pause.

Slow your breathing.

Take a drink of water.

And begin again.

Left.

Right.

Left.

Right.

One foot in front of the other.

Higher.

and Higher.

The Mountaintop.

What you see from here is like nothing that anyone has ever described to you.

A space so big it penetrates you.

No valley offers this.

You want to stay here forever.

You sit.

You stand.

You stare.

You breathe.

And then it hits you… you cannot stay on the mountaintop forever. You have to go home.

The valley is where you live.

But you have been changed.

What you have seen from the mountaintop, you will carry with you to the valley.

You will no longer see, but you will forever know what was offered at the mountaintop.

With a lighter heart and a seemingly more beautiful view of the world, you pick your backpack up.

Your hips scream in protest.

Your shoulders burn.

But these pains garner little attention.

You’ve been to the top.

You’ve seen.

You will live differently now that you know.

———-

What moves you? Whatever it is, let it’s impact in your life go beyond your emotions. Let it effect who you are. Let it change you.

Boldly Lacking

Komets

“What we know matters, but who we are matters more. Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. It requires us to dare greatly, to be vulnerable.” -Brené Brown

———-

Best I can tell, there was a time that being confident in who you are was “en vogue”. Nowadays, we seem to be more interested in aspiring to be “perfect”, rather than the best version of the imperfect people we actually are.

When I was seven years old, I learned how to skate and started playing hockey. I spent 12 months in a youth program that taught you all the components of the game without actually putting you through any game action. During those months, I decided I wanted to be a goalie. My parents were nothing but supportive, even once they realized the astronomical price of hockey goalie gear.

Just before my eighth birthday I experienced my first real hockey game. As I took the ice, my dad didn’t tell me to win or stop every puck. No, instead he said, “Skate hard and have fun”. I glided to the net with brimming optimism, and promptly let in 13 goals in a resounding defeat.

Even though I left the ice crying that Saturday morning back in 1993, my dad wouldn’t hear of any disappointment. He was so proud of me! For the next 12 years, hockey was my life. As a family, we spent nine months annually traveling throughout the Midwest and parts of Canada so I could play hockey. Prior to every game my dad would only ever say one thing… “Skate hard and have fun”.

I believe I grew in my ability as a hockey goalie because I knew that my dad wanted me to do my best, not be the best. He wanted me to fail, and then learn from those failures. He never wanted me to be perfect.

I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes today. I’m okay with that because I know that I must experience the difficult parts of life in order to experience joy.

Do you push away from failure?

What are you afraid of?

Are you ashamed of who you are?

There is hope. It is found in a single word:

Vulnerability

It’s scary isn’t it? The thought of growth being found in vulnerability. But it’s what you need… it’s what we all need. Be honest with yourself, and with people you love, about who you truly are. This is where you will experience the excruciating parts of life, but also open the door to true joy, adventure, passion, meaning, growth, depth, sincerity, and love.

If you numb yourself to vulnerability, you certainly protect yourself from the negative, but it’s an “all or none” situation; you must say goodbye to a truly joyful and free life too.

Like I said above, I believe there was a time that people were comfortable in their own skin. We, as a society, have deviated from that idea. What are we sacrificing as we continue to reach past our true lives for dreams that will never satisfy the deepest cravings of our heart?

Be self-assured in who you are. Not by being the best and having everything, but through confident vulnerability. Be okay with being you, and experience acceptance and belonging that has possibly been lost for a while, but can be found again.

Creating and Consuming

Creating and Consuming 4

What’s more scary, reaching beyond what you know you can touch, or not reaching at all? 

We all have a desire to live within our comfort zone. We want predicability and control over what comes our way on a day to day basis, and in that, we limit the unexpected. But what do we miss out on when we forego the opportunity to encounter the unexpected?

To create is to walk into the unexpected with your head up. To start painting when you never have before welcomes joy, frustration, and criticism. To start running when you never had the desire before is to embrace pain and exhilaration. To befriend the kid no one talks to invites sideways looks, awkwardness, and the possibility of genuine friendship.

The alternative is passivity. There is comfort and no risk in choosing not to paint. Pain is not present if you choose not to run. Any thought of the ignored kid fades from memory as you sit comfortably at “your table” in the lunchroom.

Passive is easy.

Passive is safe.

Passive is numb.

When you accept life’s invitation to a passive posture, you let go of any hope of having an exciting and adventurous day. You choose to step into the only option left to you, which is consumption. You consume what others create because of the safe outcome that has been earned by others’ risks and failures.

Settling for a passive life is like ending the hike halfway up the mountain because the path ahead has too many boulders and snow fields. The hike to the top will skin your knee, stretch your lungs, exhaust your food and water supply, but you will gain a view that no valley can match.

Who are you?

What do you want?

What will happen when you go after it?