I’m totally gonna shoot from the hip on this one. I have so much to say and really have to rein it in at times. Writing this in a Word doc is my only saving grace because of my severe ADD; it’s just too hard to focus on what I want to say. Just sitting here drinking coffee this morning staring up at the mountain of 2018.
I climbed the summit of 2017 months ago. A year ago from today I was walking in the valley between the majestic mountains of life God had pulled from the earth for me to enjoy. I had a feeling inside of me that enjoyed the daily struggle of getting by. I didn’t like people and could barely stand my own kids at times. I was an unhappy grump. I was made at God for the injuries I had sustained that would not allow me to continue the job that had given me so much joy. Why would he take that from me? The whole “Strength thru struggle” saying that would become my credo was foreign to me, and quite honestly, just really didn’t make sense. Since I can remember I always enjoyed putting myself through some sort of physical punishment. Maybe it was because I didn’t feel worthy, I don’t know, but looking back it all makes sense to me now. One thing I knew is that I wasn’t happy and SOMETHING had to change in my life. Being a combat veteran I was big on purpose and identity. I was a freedom fighter, a CrossFit gym owner and prided myself on looking down at the people I swore to serve and defend. I was rotting on the inside. The thought of smiling genuinely, telling someone I loved them, hugging someone and, heaven forbid, crying in front of people made me laugh. No way was that gonna happen. Sure, I wanted to help and serve people but I think it was more for my own sense of accomplishment and not for truly wanting to help someone.
I look back on the emotional hell I went through at Boulder Crest Retreat while having the layers of onion peeled off of me and exposing me. I realized I was living a lie and portraying someone I was not. It was exhausting and it made me unhappy. I wore a lie. Constantly seeking out a quick fix to make me happy. Not drugs but projects to occupy me. It’s funny…I ended up building a ginormous tree house in the woods behind my house “for my kids”. That time in solitude made me happy. I was able to spend time visiting with my heavenly father in conversation. Weeks later, I was asked to build one for a friend. One that I built even better than my own. It was not easy to pull those walls 15ft into the air on my own. I’m not the type of person to ask for help anyway. It goes back to the struggle. I still hadn’t quite figured it out. I was fascinated with struggling for my own self-gratification. In February I attended Boulder Crest Retreat and after I had returned home I was like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix after he was reborn. I was excited and anxious to learn but just had no real direction. I started to write a bit but the main thing I started to do was to listen. Hearing people tell their own stories. People are fascinating and people yearn to be heard. That’s why, psychologically, Facebook and other social platforms thrive. People finally have a soap box to say what they want and a crowd who will listen.
Over the year I can’t believe how much I’ve grown. I feel I’ve become a bit more sympathetic towards people. My faith in God has grown immensely. One thing I still struggle with is listening to what I hear, however. I tend to dismiss “gut feelings” or the Holy Spirit speaking to me. One thing I know is that the more I do that the less I hear it. That’s not good because that is the best Google Maps of life. When we tend to do our own thing and make our own path based on our own human understanding, things go bad. About halfway through the year I began to listen to that voice a bit more and things started to happen. More positive things. I still struggle with getting uncomfortable but I’m getting better at it. See, people want instant gratification. A quick fix. Those don’t exist. Sure, you can take a pill for the headache but it will not cure the cause of the headache. You have to get to the root of the problem. Admitting faults and becoming real, getting uncomfortable, is your only saving grace. So many people fear stepping out of the bubble of comfort. Saying YES to something new like a career, for example, is very scary. But there is a reason it was offered to you. “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”. I have to remind myself of sayings like that.
I climbed the mountain of 2017 and conquered it. Standing here staring at the mountain of 2018 I am much better prepared for the climb. I believe the climb to the top with happen much faster than last year due the gear I have to climb it and the party I’ll be climbing it with. I can’t express how excited I am to conquer this mountain and look back on it a year from today. Make this year your “YES” year. “Get uncomfortable, get right, win the day”. – Greg Morin.
What will your 2018 story be? Let’s do this!