The Two Most Life-Sucking Words I Tell Myself by Mike Kim

Mike Kim Post
Thought this was a powerful post by my good friend, Mike Kim. Click through to his website for the rest of the story; I promise you’ll be challeneged.

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Ever compare yourself to others? Ever compare yourself…to yourself?

I do. It doesn’t matter what season of life or how old I get, these two words always seem to make me lose sleep and suck the life out of me. I’ve written a blog about them, and it seems it’s hit a nerve with quite a few people already.

The Two Most Life-Sucking Words I Tell Myself

Take a quick read, chime in on the conversation, and maybe we can get rid of these words once and for all!

Determined to Finish

There’s something to be said for determination.

This story of a husband an wife sailing team who were stymied in their first attempt at circumnavigating the globe by a run in with Somali pirates (resulting in their imprisonment for 388 days), only to fix their boat up upon their release and give their around-the-world trip a second attempt is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

So what’s the reward for such people? Is it a deeper sense of satisfaction? Is it better headlines?

Or is it simply that they succeeded? Having finished.

But in a world where drama rules, and the excessive is lauded, is merely succeeding worth all the effort?

I remember having a great deal of “success” in high school. I did well academically, I was respected by my teachers and by my class-mates, and I was afforded a bright future. But to me, I don’t recall doing anything out-of-the-ordinary. For all intents and purposes, I was astonishingly normal. I just did what I needed to do.

And sometimes, that’s all that needs to be done to stand out.

In a world that’s increasingly sadistic, negative and pessimistic, sometimes all that’s needed to be “successful” is simply to finish. Certainly it could be argued that there are degrees of finishing (ie, finishing well, finishing poorly, etc), but semantics aside, there is a great deal of pride to be found in completing a task or achieving a goal at all, no matter what condition we arrive in. For it’s in crossing the finish line that we find so much separation between those who finish, and those who don’t (or never even attempted at all).

More and more I find the pleasure of God on my life simply for attempting things. He’s my Father, and I don’t attempt thing to try and gain his favor, I attempt things because he made me able to do so. It’s my great adventure to be like him. And scripture backs it up. It’s faith that pleases God. It’s that “I don’t see the other side, but I’m going to jump and give this a go because I trust you” kind of faith.

Often times I think one of the only reasons the secular world owns so much, and the Christians own seemingly less, is because the world just works harder than Christians do. In fact, I also believe the secular world understands the Biblical principles of reaping and sowing better than some Christians do. They invest vast amounts of time and money only to net vast rewards; they also give away vast amounts of their treasure, only to see their treasure multiplied. Meanwhile, some God-fearing “Bible believing” Christians wonder whether or not tithing and giving offerings to their local storehouse (a superior form of parting with funds than whatever the secular world knows, but does not preempt business investing) is good for them or not.

We Christians also tend to suffer from the rip chord mentality (RCM). As soon as something gets hard, doesn’t go our way, or downright fails, we pull the rip chord and get out. I’ve never seen God change his mind so many times about things he apparently said to a Christians as he does when the Christian encounters an obstacle. I don’t mind a Christian saying they made a mistake, or hedged their bet in the wrong basket, but when we cite “God said” terminology to it, we enter into a dangerous realm. May we tread carefully when it comes to tarnishing his reputation; the world is watching, looking for truth.

Determination? Means a dang-lot.

If you’re going through hell, keep going. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up. -Sir Winston Churchill

Very often I’m asked how I do so much. Sure, I believe God gave me a sizable creative capacity. We all have a capacity. But there’s a much, much simpler answer.

I always try and finish what I start. Because finishing is its own reward.

So get back to writing that book, parenting those kids, splashing color on that painting, drafting that homework assignment, formatting that spreadsheet, or being faithful to your final 3 months at a post. It means more than you’ll ever know. Until you get there.

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Changing Types

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Eva is my Type A.

She was arranging her own schedule when she was three.

She even invented a way of measuring time leading up to major events by referring to sleep as “light naps” (afternoon naps), and “dark naps” (going to bed at night).

Q: “How many naps until we go to JoJo’s house?” (That’s Grandma Nesbitt).

A: “Three dark naps, two light naps.”

Eva has to know everything that’s going on, when it’s going to happen, who’s involved and where it’s going to take place. She’ll order the boys around, try and figure out the ride situation as well as seating, and even try to negotiate a change-of-course to include a stop for ice cream.

I celebrate my daughter. She’s incredible, and Jenny and I have always known that she’s going to shake the world up for the Kingdom.

But as a parent, working with her constant need-to-know can often be, well, fatiguing. And tedious.

At some point I have to ask her, “Do you trust me?”

Like yesterday when we were preparing to go out on the boat. A lot of questions were asked about details. Finally I leaned over the back seat and said, “Eva, just enjoy the ride.”

As her father, I’ve noticed that Eva enjoys the experiences of her life far more when she leaves the surprises up to me.

As I walked down the dock toward our boat I heard something in my own spirit.

“Christopher, enjoy the ride,” said my Heavenly Father.

It’s a phrase I picked up in Hawaii at my favorite surf shop. Jenny’s been reminding me of it. God’s been reminding me of it. And now I’m reminding me of it as I teach it to this little Type A that’s the female version of me.

It’s amazing how much like Eva we all are. Sure, there’s a healthy, natural curiosity to all of us. But then there’s the “if I don’t know how everything’s going to work out, I’m not sure I want in” angle.

And that comes down to trust.

As I was meditating on just how much I care for Eva and have her best interests in mind, I was reminded just how much our Father think of us fondly. Constantly. Perfectly.

He’s aware of every detail and nothing surprises him. Nothing’s going to catch him off guard concerning us, nothing has escaped his scope of view.

Funny how this parenting thing works.

We enjoy the experiences of our lives far more when we leave the surprises up to the Father.

My little Type A is slowly teaching me to become a Type E. Enjoy the ride.

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Pictures of History

PICTURES BY JENNIFERHOPPERPHOTO.COM

I often wonder what history would have looked like if every era had DSLR cameras.

Can you imagine pictures and video of David and his Mighty Men? Forget 300, this was God’s version. Same would go for The Passion.

Or what about Vikings crossing the Atlantic? Time elapse videos of DaVinci’s murals complete with behind the scenes interviews? Live concert tours of Bach? Shakespeare? Or how did those pyramids really get built?

If their people had cameras, what era, moment, or personality would you like to see?

I guess this one why I’m so blessed by Jennifer’s work, with this two pics she took yesterday as examples. I’d like to think that if Jesus tarries in His return, and somehow our digital files and printed paper survive, I want future generations to remember the value and beauty of people. They’re what matter most. ch:

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Leaving a Legacy

Last night I had the honor of addressing a group of teens and adults at a United Methodist Church camp, celebrating their 137th year.

The subject they asked me to speak on was “a legacy of faith.”

As I stood in their “tabernacle,” erected long before even the oldest member of my audience was born, the value of what a true legacy is hit me.

It’s not money, though it has some value.

It’s not reputation, though a good one can often help open doors.

It’s not even tradition, which has some worth in remembering those who’ve traveled this road before us.

As I examined a picture on the wall of some of this camp’s early elders, and later compared it with the 13 teens and 2 adults that surrendered their lives to Jesus last night, it realized what a true legacy is:

Providing a generation we will never meet with the opportunity to chose Jesus.

How are you preparing such means for those that will live 137 years from now if Jesus tarries? ch:20110820-105720.jpg

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Where Are the Rich Christians?

Or better yet, where are the rich Christians with a positive Biblical perspective?

I was reading through one of Matthew Paul Turner’s recent posts while sitting at the airport today, and found myself not only agreeing with him, but citing numerous occasions of my own where wealthy Christians in places of authority had hijacked legitimate ministry endeavors, in effect terminating them by withdrawing their “support.” Ever had any of those?

So how does it happen?

Easy. Their minority view about an extreme Biblical perspective held greater sway because of their money than the majority view who lacked money.

Granted, I’ve also had wealthy people generously give toward endeavors that we couldn’t have done without them. But those occurrences are far fewer. And that’s kinda’ my point.

From time to time people ask me why I’m involved in so many activities, many of which are purely to make money. And I make no apologies for that. The answer is simple:

I want to support a majority with my money, and build the Kingdom.

It seems complainers get all the attention. The grumblers. The whiners. They berate pastors, harm relationships, discourage participation, and betray alliances. They also tend not to be givers, even if they’re rich. And if they are, their funds come with a lot of “contingencies.”

From the beginning, Jennifer and I decided that we would be givers. That we would always give more of our time, talent, and treasure than we took in. Because we believe that was Jesus’ prolific example. That, and we wanted to give in order to empower a majority with our wealth, not disempower them on account of our random opinions. It’s also interesting how often Jesus talks about money, and how he directly compares faithfulness with it (and it’s increase) to the abilities to steward entire cities.

How you use your money now is exactly how you’ll use your money should you become rich. And God basis much of his plans to prosper you on what you’re complaining about. Or on what you’re not.

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