I am sorry for those who don’t read that which furrows their brow, stretches out their think muscles, and challenges them to get back to climbing, to producing, to making something more of themselves.
I read something the other day that stimulated this resolution within me:
I want the space between where I am and where God wants me to thrill and excite me, maybe even scare me a little – not cause paralyzing fear and hesitation.
When I realized I was not going to die, that God had something more in mind for me, I decided the bottom is too crowded. I don’t want to hang there, and I don’t want to hang with people who like it there.
This ⇓ is a sturgeon.
Sturgeon are by nature big, ugly bottom feeders that suction up whatever’s on the river bottom. Use your imagination as to what’s there.
This ⇓ is caviar.
I don’t like caviar. It’s made from sturgeon eggs, and I’ve no interest in being the Top of the Bottom, the Best of The Worst. I expect to be the best: His best, my best. I refuse to settle for anything less than that. To do so is unworthy of God’s amazing healing in and through me.
My journey’s been rough; I’d wish it on no one. Yet it’s provided and daily continues to provide the grit to force my way over, under, around or straight through anything that would stop me. What I went through happened. I was who I was. I needed who I was, needed my past, my experiences and mistakes to prepare me for who God’s making me now.
It’s a normal thing to evaluate oneself by the success or failure of others. It’s a fool’s errand, though. We’ve all been created ever-so-slightly unique from all others; therefore, any comparison will only frustrate.
I like the spunk of Mr. Never Give Up. “There may be opposition but there is no competition! Competition is what you see in the mirror!“
I like it! I’ve believed that same basic truth for a long time. You and I are amazingly unique enough that there IS no real competition in being the best you there ever will be. Others will do some of the same things you do. They’ll even do them well. A few may do them better than you.
No one will ever do anything in this life exactly as you. Therefore, you – yeah, you – are irreplaceable! Remember Dr. Suess’s great thought that “Today YOU are YOU, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!” Comparing yourself to another – any other – will only frustrate you both. Apricots and mangoes.
If instead of rubbernecking through life, forever looking at what everyone else is doing and how they’re doing it you focus your attention and energy on bettering what you are doing and how you’re doing it, you automatically remove most of the stress associated with your work.
Seek whom God has for you to be becoming. Then develop the fine art of ignoring your critics. Remember earlier we were discussing opposition? Just about everyone wants you to get ahead; but they’ll be hanged if they’ll like you getting ahead of them. Be singlemindedly intent on pleasing Him and you’ll be well along the road to personal, spiritual excellence.
Maintaining a positive, forward-looking and -thinking attitude is essential. It does not shield you from any further bad days. They come to us all. It is not that they occur; it is all in how you handle them and take them in stride.
So, how big is that space between the me I am and the one God’s remaking me to be? Couldn’t tell ya. I know it’s significant enough that I’ve neither time nor energy to waste looking around to see if anybody else is coming along, too.
I am most definitely a work in progress. Cried, moaned, sniveled, lamented, grumbled and complained? Yep, done them all. What I didn’t do, and won’t do, is to just give up.
I wear out, get tired and sometimes fall asleep in the middle of my work. Chronic fatigue does that. I never let it get me down. I accept that I probably need the rest, stop and get it, and get on with this stimulating, empowering, exciting thing of growing into the absolute finest ‘me’ of which I’m capable!
I leave you with a few relevant personal observations . . .
- Dear Whatever It Is That Doesn’t Kill Me: I’m pretty lively and strong now. You can stop now.
- Get up, clean up, dress up, show up–but don’t you dare give up!
- Never for a moment let what you want make you forget what you have.
- Don’t be afraid to read books that challenge your beliefs. If your beliefs are that weak, they need challenging.
- There are seven days in a week, and someday isn’t one of them.
- If it was easy, anybody could do it. I prefer the challenge, the burn, the weariness at day’s end. I prefer to keep trying, to keep practicing to be better at who I’m supposed to be and what I’m to be about.
Finally, a favorite quotation from Cecil Beaton: “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
Unimaginative? Commonplace? Ordinary?
No. Not me. Not here. Not now. God’s given me new life – a new opportunity to reach out and lift, encourage, edify and challenge everyone I can to personal and spiritual excellence.
“Okay, Dan, wait a minute. Did I just hear you say you prefer to keep practicing? I thought you were a perfectionist. We all know they never practice for fear of looking or sounding bad.”
Great question! I am a recovering perfectionist. I rudely force myself to practice, to routinely put it out there in all my imperfecticity. Go back and read some old 2nd Cup articles. Even I couldn’t handle some of them.
Fortunately, I listen to others like myself. Take writer Anne LaMott, for instance: “How to break yourself from Perfectionism: MAKE A LOT OF MISTAKES. Fall on your butt more often.”
I am stepping up more and more relative to the former. As to the latter? Well, since I have no remaining padding on my backside . . . that part remains, I’m afraid, symbolic.
But no less real. I manage to deal with the embarrassment. Some even tell me it’s “cute”. Good thing I have healthy esteem.
(Sigh . . .)
© D. Dean Boone, June 2015