Friday, April 27, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
In the movie White Men Can’t Jump Woody Harrelson’s character tells Wesley Snipes’ character, “You would rather lose pretty than win ugly.” I think this is true of most people. Our pride makes it somewhat easier to be Matt Hiltman and lose an epic match than to be me and win while being called pathetic on national TV. I know for myself I felt pretty disappointed in how I competed in the $25,000 match. The question is “why do we feel this way”? Over the course of my career in steer wrestling, it has happened more than once – I’ve made terrible runs on a great steers and still end up winning, or slammed a bad one and ended up one place out of the money. Still, it feels better slamming the bad one. Do we not like winning ugly because we didn’t do our best or is it because we don’t like to look bad? In other words, is it just pride which inspires such disgust when our results are good but our showing was poor? While I think our pride partly describes this feeling I think there is something else there as well, something deeper that strikes right at the core of our humanity. You see when even our worst efforts succeed, the vanity and futility of this world is brought into focus. After all our best doesn’t always succeed and worst sometimes does. What can be more futile than that? This moment brings into clear focus the shallowness- the vanity of our best efforts. It reminds me of the way Solomon felt in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes when he wrote, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind”. I think God wants to bring us to this point whether by “losing epically” or by “winning ugly”. God wants to bring us to the end which makes us ask “is this all there is?” He wants to awaken in all of us a longing for something real, something transcendent, something eternal. Then maybe by awakening this longing we may look and see Him- The Ultimate Reality, The One Who Transcends Time and Space, The Eternal One. I pray for all those who read this-- that you would have a sincere and genuine experience with Jesus Christ, that the Father of lights Himself would become known to you. And I pray that upon meeting Him your life would become the epic, incredible adventure that your heart has longed for. I pray the God of Heaven would begin to answer all of your questions, would begin to heal every wound, and would begin to fill every void in your life. I pray all of your deepest hopes and dreams find their ultimate fulfillment in Him and that each one of you realize all of the potential the Father placed on the inside of you. I pray you have peace in the midst of storms; courage in the midst of fear; humility in the midst of arrogance; and grace in the midst of judgment. Finally, I am thankful for the awesome opportunity of knowing such amazing men as the ones I met on FMJ and I pray I have in no way hindered their pursuit of the Father.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Getting Beat Stinks
I don’t think anyone likes losing but I’m pretty sure I dislike it more than most. Getting beat on Full Metal Jousting wasn’t any fun. When I realized I had lost, realized I had failed, my heart sank in my chest. Of course when your heart is down all sorts of negative thoughts and emotions begin to take hold. Excuses, complaints, doubts, what-ifs…all of these and more begin to rush in. While I don’t know if it is possible to keep the thoughts from rushing in, I do know that it is possible to make sure those thoughts don’t hang around. In a way real defeat only happens when we invite one of those thoughts to take up residence. When I decide to take an excuse (no matter how valid) and claim it as my own, or I choose to complain about the outcome, or I get stuck in a never-ending parade of what-ifs then I become truly defeated. So, what do I do? The first thing that has to happen is I have got to get my heart out of my belly and back into my chest, and the only way I know to do that is to begin to think about God and to let Him know how much I dislike what just happened. Then, as my thoughts begin to arise I try to honestly assess what took place. I think about what I did right and where I can improve. (Note: if you try to assess what happened before you get your heart back up you will only see the negative and that is deadly.) Finally, with my heart back in my chest and an honest assessment of what happened, I can begin to look ahead. You see, this looking forward is what all of those negative thoughts are trying to avoid. They want to keep us stuck to this failure in the past to rob us of any future success. I certainly want to learn from the past but I can’t live there. So, I take a quick peek in the rear-view mirror, learn what I can, and with God’s help I begin to prepare myself for what lies ahead.
Finally, I want everyone who reads this to know that I like Josh Avery. He is a gifted, competitive young man with a heart of a champion that cares for his family and friends. In my book that makes him a good guy. So, please stop with the Avery bashing. And keep watching…