It’s Saturday. Start something

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…and so is a plan without goals. Both are necessary ingredients.

Basic steps to making change:

  1. Determine what needs to be changed (and how badly you want it changed–this is a great place for prayer!).
  2. Develop a plan of action.
  3. Set reasonable, measureable goals.
  4. Count the cost (what do you have to add/subtract in your like and is it worth it?).
  5. Tell somebody. Make yourself accountable for encouragement.
  6. Implement the plan.

Today is a great day to get started!

Is there something you would add to these steps? Let me know.

A Stitch in Time

Today is the day. At 2:45, I go into surgery for the second time to get this left shoulder fixed.  I appreciate all of you who have said you will pray for me.  Also, pray for my surgeon, Dr. Dorizas, a godly man I’ll “introduce” you to later, if I get the chance.  I’m going to attempt to keep updates on my website, if you’re interested.  I’m not sure if they’ll all show up on Facebook or not, so if you want to keep up, you’ll probably have to check back from time to time here.  

Many people have asked me if it’s depressing having to go in for a second surgery for the same problem.  Honestly, it’s not.  Yeah, I had to process it for about half of a day when I first heard the news, but I’ve been dealing with this shoulder pain for about three years with the first surgery two years ago.  I probably would (and should) be depressed over chronic, everyday pain, except the grace of God as He taught me, early on, the lesson He blessed Paul with:

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

No, unlike Paul, I didn’t recieve a special revelation, so there’s nothing for me to boast about there, but I can brag about the grace of God in my life.  He has shown me so much about myself and Himself through this that I would not trade the pain for.  I have prayed for it to go away, for sure, but He’s taught this pride-filled, stubborn guy much about His grace and the power that comes through it.  So, I will brag about that and pray that His power will rest on me, even if this surgery doesn’t accomplish what we hope for.  I am content.

A Super Saturday

Great morning leading a discussion in one of our Institute classes. It’s such a privilege for me to participate, much more lead a group like that. I love seeing the growth that’s happening as a result.

Late this afternoon, Jacob and I went for a run together at the campground at Chester Frost Park. Actually just got back. I really enjoyed spending time with him and finishing our 2.5 mile run together. It wasn’t easy, though. It’s the first time I’ve run since shoulder surgery on August 25. Went better than I thought, but not sure you would know that from the pic.

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I think we’re going to relax on this incredible Fall evening by a campfire in the backyard. Love this time of year!

When Despair Creeps In

weaknessIf I am being completely honest and transparent with you, I’m struggling.  I’m wrestling with the mental affects of chronic pain.  Now, chronic pain can be labeled in different ways and is usually reserved for pain that has no real end in sight.  Hopefully, that is not the definition for me.

I have been dealing with some form of pain in my left shoulder for over a year.  It’s a very life-altering thing that has changed how I do life in significant ways.  I am hopeful that there is an end in sight as I am recovering from surgery performed one month ago tomorrow.  In light of that, I have hope for normalcy.

That being said, I’m still dealing with some significant pain.  I write that not for pity, but with a mind for those who are dealing with pain much more severe than mine and with little hope for relief in the near future.  I know something of the mental anguish that is involved with extensive physical pain.  I understand a little of the twinges of depression that try and creep in.  I feel the despair that lurks around the edge that maybe this will never go away. It’s very real.  It’s very challenging.

Any time we have challenges like this in our lives, it causes one or two things to happen.  One, we get angry.  We give into despair and begin a downward spiral of sadness, anger, rage and self-destruction.  In short, we run away from God.  We don’t understand why He would allow this in our lives.  We can’t get our minds around a loving God who would allow such suffering with no relief in a way no earthly father would, if he could stop it.  Yet, the suffering continues.

A second possible response sees things differently.  Though he hurts the same, he runs in a different direction.  He runs to the God of all comfort in the midst of pain.  He holds onto God’s promise that was made to Paul during his suffering: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Paul’s reply, appropriately, is, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)

This second response is the one I am holding onto.  I understand that bad things that happen in my life are not for my punishment (that was taken care of by Christ on the cross).  Instead, as John Piper put it, they are for my purification.  I am made strong through suffering.  I am made more Christlike in tough times, because that is where I learn to rely on His strength rather than my own.  I feel weak.  I know God is strong.  That’s the glory of the Gospel…the glory of the cross.

I work my shoulder everyday.  I go to physical therapy faithfully.  I pray for healing regularly.  I believe it will come.  I am content, though, knowing that in my weakness, He WILL BE strong!

Hold on!

Balance

This year for me is all about balance.  I’m trying very hard to seek “moderation in all things” and imbalance in none.  That’s a huge challenge for me!  So far, though, I’m eating right, working out regularly, finding consistency in Scripture reading, and working towards balance between work, family and personal time.  That last one may be the most difficult challenge for me thus far…not sure why.

The cool thing is that I’m enjoying life this year more than ever.  Living life intentionally makes all the difference in the world.  Actually, intentional living (based on 1 Corinthians 10:31) is when real living happens.  Is this easy?  No, not really, but I am committed.  Hopefully, if and when I waiver, some of my loving friends will gently help me get back on track! 🙂  So, how are you doing this year?  What is your area of biggest challenge regarding balance?

Motivation

Ok, I’m trying to get motivated.  I’m trying to get motivated to……..I’m trying to get motivated to………………….get in shape.  There…said it.

As hard as it is for me to say it, it’s that much harder for me to do it.

I’m really starting to move into that area where I’m thinking more seriously that I should consider beginning to get in shape by exercising more.

Hmph.  This is a little tougher than I thought.

I have actually tried during this past week to move towards a pattern of exercise—a five-mile run on Tuesday and a ten-mile bike ride yesterday—I think I’m doing pretty well…for now, at least.  Getting motivated and staying motivated are usually two different things for me.  In exercise and in life.

Next week, we’re going away for several days and I’m going to try to really begin developing some good habits…exercise and eating.  It all starts with the habits.

I think we’d all love to live the romantic notion that what drives us is simply heart, emotion and passion.  I guess that can get us started, but doing the hard work of just developing habits is usually the key.  For me, at least.

I’ve found that to be the case in just about everything…even things of faith.  My relationship with Christ is stronger when I have developed a lifestyle (which comes through developing regular habits) that encourage that relationship.  It’s tough, though.

So, I’ve put it out there and expecting a little accountability to come my way.  That’s a good thing.  Feel free.  Maybe that will just push my earthly, carnal pride into getting me into shape.  Ha.  What I hope to do is keep the overall benefits in front of me so that I can begin living up to my (often neglected) God-given potential.  I’ll plan on posting some of my accomplishments and observations through the process here.

That’s all for now.

…gotta run.

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