February 27, 2012

The River

As I was thinking about what to share this morning, the picture of a river came to mind. Not a fast-moving, strong-looking river, but a peaceful, slow-moving river. 

As I pursue my dreams, often times I think I need to be like a fast-moving, strong-looking river. Running harder to get there sooner and exerting a lot of energy and force to barrel my way through the challenges that arise. 

While that might work, I get the sense that there is another way. A peaceful, slow-moving river will also work its way through or around obstacles in its path. And what is really interesting for me: a river's destination is a much bigger body of water. The river's purpose is to contribute to something larger than itself. 

So maybe we don't have to run as hard as some of us are running. And maybe we don't have to get too anxious about the challenges in our lives. Just keep moving forward at a steady pace each day.

February 6, 2012

How are you enduring?

A Navy SEAL recently spoke at a gathering a good friend of mine attended. Among other things, the SEAL told a story of dragging himself across desert terrain for seven miles in order to reach safety. He was injured and could not do more than pull himself along the ground by reaching his arms out in front of him, lifting the front part of his body with his hands pushing into the ground, and then flopping forward. He willed himself to do this by setting hundreds of little goals along the way -- he would reach out his arm and draw a line in the sand with his index finger; he knew he could get to that line and that's all he focused on doing. 

The SEAL shared part of the SEAL Code with the audience. It speaks volumes to me today, where I am at, in what I do, in the dreams I have and the distances still left to be traveled:

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

I believe that when we "patiently endure" -- which, to me, means to go through a trial with hope...not complaining or making excuses, but believing that the journey will lead to greater things -- we will experience great blessings. Another good friend of mine told me last Friday that the size of our blessings is directly related to the size of the trial we endure through. So, the greater the trial, the greater the blessing on the other side.

James 1:12 says: "God blesses those who patiently endure trials/troubles." 

And the Book of Job is a story of a man who endured (in a right way) significant trials only to receive a double blessing on the other side.

I don't know that the Navy SEAL would choose to go through the trials he faced -- to drag himself seven miles, among other things -- but he sounds thankful and greatly blessed for having endured them. We don't choose our trials in business or in life, but we can choose how we go through them. To "never quit...persevere and thrive on adversity...get back up, every time...never out of the fight."