You Can’t Skip the Process

“You can’t skip the process. You can’t shortcut the process. You can’t speed up the process .You have to go through the process” –Pastor Kris Duerksen, this Sunday morning.

Ugh, how I love-hate the process. On one hand, the process is glorious. I have it emblazoned on the header of this blog: “Life is a grand adventure, or nothing.” It could also read, ‘If you’re not struggling you’re not living.” There is something exhilarating about the tension of being far less than what you see yourself being. You’re not comfortable, but at least you know you are alive. Your aching muscles keep reminding you.

My clothes are laid out for tomorrow's tempo run.
My clothes are laid out for tomorrow’s tempo run.

But if you’re like me, you think you should have your life together already, know what I mean? In example, how long does it take to get my finances in order? Can I just expect to be broke for the next ten years? Why can’t I muscle my way into a better monetary place? Well I am, sort of, in a better place than even two months ago. Still, it’s hard to believe I could ever rise above.

The quote above reinforced in me this idea: It’s no use beating myself up about it. I’m such an expert at self-flagellation. I remind myself every second minute that I’ve yet to reach my goal of perfection. But I can’t fix (insert problem here) by guilt-tripping myself. I’ve got to keep powering along, trusting that each incremental change takes me closer to freedom. I also have to trust that God is working in me, and that even though I’m tired, he isn’t. He won’t give up on me.

So, with that in mind, here’s a motto I picked up along the way. “The only way to go back is to go forward.” I utilize this during longer runs, when I’m still at the pre ‘runner’s high’ stage and asking myself why I’m doing this to myself again, or near the end when my legs have had enough. “Well how will you get home if you don’t keep going, huh?” You don’t get home by sitting there. You don’t get better by bailing on the process.

The process is sometimes fun. My first couple weeks of half-marathon training were fantastic. I longed for the end of the workday when I could hit the gym, or the pavement. But now I’m stressed, and kind of terrified. I think it will become fun again.

There’s only one way to find out. “Once more unto the breach!”

13 Ways to Know You’re Winning (Be proud idealists, be proud)

I offer this up as my gold star for you.

I am a hopeless idealist, an admittance I am both ashamed and proud of in turn. Life has a habit of knocking the stuffing out of me, and sanding off my shine. Yet I do my best to hold up my head and look for the best in myself and others, no matter how much the cynics scoff and complain.

So, to my fellow idealists, here is a quote I’d like to share to remind you that no matter what your scoffers say, you are a winner.

Oh gosh, doesn’t that sound cheesy? Be proud, idealists. Be proud.

Dr. Denis Waitley said:

“The term ‘Winning’ may sound phony to you. Too materialistic. Too full of A’s, or luck, or odds, or muscle-bound athletes.

True Winning, however, is no more than one’s own personal pursuit of individual excellence. You don’t have to get lucky to win at life, nor do you have to knock other people down or gain at the expense of others.

‘Winning’ is taking the talent or potential you were born with, and have since developed, and using it fully toward a goal or purpose that makes you happy.

Winning is becoming that dream of yourself that would fulfill you as a person with high self-esteem.

Winning is giving and getting in an atmosphere of love, cooperation, social concern, and responsibility.

Winning is coming in fourth, exhausted and encouraged–because last time you came in fifth.

Winning is giving yourself to others freely.

Winning is never whining.

Winning is treating animals like people and people like brothers and sisters.

Winning is turning all the cards up in solitaire–without cheating.

Winning is picking up a beer can you didn’t throw on the beach.

Winning is being glad you are you.

Winning is habit forming. (So is Losing.)

Winning is unconditional love.

Winning is a way of thinking–a way of living.

Winning is all in the attitude.

Talent is cheap. You can buy it, and recruit it. It’s everywhere. The world is full of talented alcoholics.

Education is not cheap, but it’s for sale and for hire if you have the time and money. You can get your BS, MBA or PhD. You can panel your den with diplomas. But the world is full of educated derelicts, unable to relate to supportive roles with others.

Not aptitude.. attitude is the criterion for success. But you can’t buy an attitude for a million dollars. Attitudes are not for sale.

Not all individuals are born equal. Some are cursed and some are blessed by their hereditary uniforms. Equality is not Nature’s way. The equal right to become unequal by choice is the natural cycle.

All environments do not breed and nurture the winning spirit. And yet, how often we are witness to living examples of greatness springing out of adversity…

Attitude is the answer.

Your attitude toward your potential is either the key to or the lock on the door of personal fulfillment.”

From The Psychology of Winning.

To Thine Own Self be True: Backhanded Cure No. 2

I used to think I was an honest person.

I had a reality check when I found two points of dishonesty that were a regular part of my life. One: I’d lie to cover up things that embarrassed me, and two: I’d lie to myself. I’ve realized (with help) that if I can’t be honest to myself, I’m not a trustworthy person. And if I can’t trust myself, that is a serious blow to the self-esteem.

Leadership guru Orrin Woodward said that if you set your alarm to get up at six, but snooze twice and get up at 6:18, that is a lack of integrity. You said you’d get up at six and you didn’t. Sure, no one else cares, but you know, and this will erode your self-confidence. I guess if I can’t discipline myself to get up when I say I will, I don’t have much discipline. Ouch.

If you say “this evening I’m going to get this project done” but watch TV instead, you’ve broken a promise to yourself. If you say you won’t spend money on eating out, but you do, you’ve broken a promise to yourself. After a while, when you say you’re going to do something, doesn’t your inner voice say “yeah right”?

Mine would.

Think about someone you know who always tells you their plans, but never carries them out. Don’t you just nod and smile and think yeah, whatever?

But doing what you say you’re going to do builds confidence. My small victory in this area has been delaying gratification in buying clothes. I don’t deny myself the pleasure of buying new clothes. Instead, I set a goal, which, if I accomplish it, ‘unlocks’ a portion of spending money. Over the last months I’ve raised the goal, and I have do to a lot of work to unlock just $30 of money toward my wardrobe. But when I buy the clothes, there’s no need to feel guilty. I’ve earned them.

It definitely wasn’t always like that. My finances are one area where I’ve been very dishonest with myself.

Some would rather be free to do what they like, and say what they like. But I suspect true freedom is the opposite. To be able to trust one’s self, and control one’s self is to be free. No human can reach complete mastery, of course, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing our best and leaving the rest to God’s grace. To thine own self be trustworthy.