Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tug of War

Check out these wise words from author Kristin Armstrong about watching her daughters compete (fiercely, with total commitment and determination) in a tug of war competition at their school field day:

"We can learn a lot from watching children play and compete. They have no inhibitions about what they look like when they try hard; they lay it all on the line without fear. They don't really know their limits so they have no awareness or anxiety about approaching them. If they know someone believes they can do it, they are certain they can. Watching them work together towards a common goal reminds me of everything that is pure and good and redemptive about humankind....

When was the last time you gave something special your 'all'? When did you pull so hard for a dream that you got red-faced and your hands hurt from your simple and adamant refusal to let go? When did your effort simultaneously exhaust and invigorate you? For what (or whom) are you willing to dig in your heels, get rope burns on your palms, and slide across the dirt on your behind? When did you last pursue something with the optimistic abandon of a child?

Great questions, huh? Something to think about this week, as we head into Monday. I hadn't thought about prayer in terms of tug-of-war before, but I think it's an apt image: we grab hold of the rope, knowing that our doubts will try to drag us down. But we pull anyway. We don't give up. Here's to digging in our heels :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pre-adventure prep talk

The countdown to June 1st is on! I thought I'd jump in ahead of time and give some thoughts on how to gear up for this season of...well, what to call it? Spiritual adventure? That sounds kind of cool (and fits well with our goal of learning to negotiate the tension between praying big and breathing easy) so we'll make that our new slogan:

Welcome to Spiritual Adventure 2009--just like Outward Bound, but with showers! (and no bugs...)

If you're new to the blog, here's a link to last year's description, along with some tips for starting out.

For me, this year feels slightly different than last, in that most of my thoughts about life, faith, adventure, and dreaming big have taken place during a huge transition, as Steve and I moved from Cambridge, MA to Ithaca, NY. So this idea of Spiritual Adventure has been at the forefront of my mind for a few months now. And as I've processed it all, one CD has been in almost constant rotation on my iPod--almost like my Spiritual Adventure soundtrack. It's called THE WORLD AWAITS by Ryanhood.

The lyrics on the CD hit on every theme I've pondered during this season of hoping, wondering, being terrified I might make the biggest mistake (or miss the best opportunity) of my life. So I thought I'd share them with you, each day, here as part of the posts. They'll give us a great frame of reference.

As an addend bonus, when I emailed the guys in the band to ask permission and for some background on their creative process, I hit a goldmine of great stuff to share! (They recently opened for Kelly Clarkson & Jay-Z, so I was psyched they had the chance to answer). In a nutshell, their words confirmed what I've seen: building the life we long for is work! But it's worth it, and miracles show up in the middle of it all when we leave a little room for God.

So--If you'd like to jump in a few days early, you can order THE WORLD AWAITS here from their website (or at iTunes, Amazon, or wherever you like to buy your music).

And a quick note of solace/encouragement for those of you who prayed for something big last year during our 40 Days together and haven't seen it happen yet: Me, neither. That doesn't mean we have to give up, though, or that God's answer is "no." I'm not sure what it means. But I guess my best response is to give God 40 more days to revisit the conversation :)

See you Monday!