Fear…The Immobilizer

Ice_Climber

Most of my life I have had a great affection for the local gym. Yet, today, as I go to the cross fit gym I find myself quite fearful.  I am fearful that I might not have what it takes to complete the WOD, workout of the day. I am fearful that someone might discover how weak I really am….that I might discover how weak I really am.  Maybe, I should just stay home.

The gym has been a means to an end. It was a path that would lead to a ….starting position on the football team, a wrestling scholarship, a mountain summit or a first ascent of a frozen waterfall.  Ultimately, it made a great contribution as to how it is that I defined myself as a man.

Those experiences, along with a bunch of others, start to raise the question…..how do I define myself as  man?  Big picture, how do I define myself as a person?

I would suggest that I am uniquely defined by my relationships and my experiences.  It is in the context of relationships that a mirror is held in front of my face and I get to see who I am and what I am all about.  In a similar sort of way, my experiences help me to see myself and who it is that I am and who it is that I am becoming.

The interesting aspect of all of this…..often, I do not like what the reflections are telling me.  My reflection often tells me I am inadequate, selfish, unlovable….not ok.  At those points I have often find myself running around and propping up my sagging image.  I am hoping to discover that I am truly ok.  Yet, all I really discover is that image management takes a lot of work.

If I take my sagging ego into the gym, I can…in theory, give it a boost. I can prop it up.  But ultimately it will be an ego boost that is based upon comparison and it will be short lived.

My hope is that you will not discover that I am weak, short, bald, fat and not ok.  Ultimately, it becomes easier to avoid the gym so that I might maintain the facade that is fueled by fantasy.

So what is the relationship, what is the experience that allows me to go into the gym?  The experience and the relationship are wrapped around the fact that I am loved unconditionally by the God who made me.

Therefore, I go into the gym not to impress anyone.  I am not working on my image and I am not trying to improve my reflection in your eyes or my eyes.  I am trying to be a good steward of the gifts that I have been given.

I find my growth paradigm in Luke 2:52.  Jesus grew in wisdom & stature and favor with God and man.  So, today, I jump on my bicycle and ride to the gym to be a good steward of this thing called life.  I have come to know that I am called to be vibrantly alive so that I might reflect His love & His grace.

What is your growth paradigm?  Are you growing?  Is your life becoming the hallelujah it is designed to be?

The Canyon

gg-russ

The horses were up ahead.  They were carrying the rafts and all of the large gear that we would need to float down the Gunnison Gorge.  We were carrying all of our personal camping gear: clothes, tent, sleeping bag and the critical fly fishing equipment.  Everything was tucked into monstrous dry bags that were suspended from our shoulders.  Dry bags are wonderful on the river but they are not quite ideal for a day hike, yet this is the only way into the canyon and this is where the adventure begins.

Actually, the adventure started many months before when we first thought about floating and fishing the Gunnison River.  This section of the Gunnison River is known (Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die) by fishermen all over the USA and it had captured our imagination.  Our good friends, Judy & Don, quickly agreed to come along.  At that point, we knew we would have a grand time.

The first day of our three day trip found us hiking into the river, loading boats and heading off to experience a wonderful afternoon of fishing.  This canyon, like other river canyons, is incredibly beautiful.  A big part of its beauty is wrapped up in the fact that it is so remote.  At any given point in the day, it is easy to imagine that you are the first person to ever see these rock walls or experience the river’s current.  In a place so remote and so beautiful, it is easier to see God’s handiwork and to reflect with a sense of humble awe.

Two days later, sitting on the bank of the river, I realized that I had adapted to a new rhythm.  It was a rhythm that I knew from other camping trips.  It was the rhythm of beauty and simplicity.  Getting up and going to bed when you are in the wilds is quite simple.  A tent, a sleeping bag, level ground & a sleeping pad….quite basic but amazingly comfortable.  Clothes…quite simple, the same as yesterday.  Technology does not invade the moment. It does not work.  Therefore, I could easily sit and reflect on this journey called life.  The beauty & solitude of the canyon was a balm to my hurried soul.

What things would I be taking with me as we leave the canyon?  I love the simplicity of the out of doors.  My life is too cluttered with all that I have and all that I do.  There is a richness of life that comes with the simplicity of the present moment.   I think it comes as I learn to say ‘no’….so that I might selectively say ‘yes’.

I love the different ways that God reveals himself in nature.  As I sit in beautiful places I find myself echoing the words of the Psalmist:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Yet, you made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

Lord, this day I say thank you!  This day, I say ‘yes’ to you!