Posts

“I don’t care”.

How often do you hear that phrase?

More importantly, how often do you say it and mean it?

Stop and think for a minute… how much DO you care?

Do you care about life?
Do you care about religion?
Do you care about your job?
Do you care about your family?
Do you care about politics?
Do you care about sports?
Do you care about the weather?
Do you care about a hobby?
Do you care about progression?
Do you care about understanding others?
Do you care about others at all?
Do you care about what those around you are trying to tell you?
Do you care about what you’re going to do tonight?
Tomorrow?
The rest of your life?
Do you care about music?
Do you care about the direction of your life?
Do you care about your spiritual state?
Do you care about eternity?
Do you care about your appearance?
Do you care about what others think of you?
Do you care about what your spouse is going through?
Do you care about helping, and making a difference?
Do you care about how you feel when you look in the mirror?
Do you care about what media you consume?
Do you care about what food you consume?
Do you care about a pet?
Do you care about nature?
Do you care about your education (regardless of age)?
Do you care about yourself?

Caring.

Caring is one of the simplest, yet most magnificent of motivating powers.  Caring gives you energy, purpose, hope, enthusiasm, passion, commitment, perseverance.   None of those can exist without caring.  In fact, no positive, healthy, or forward-moving emotion can exist without first caring.

What’s more, those who care more, experience more.  More life, more joy, more hope, more love, more fullness.  As a people, I am convinced that we have got to care more.

So I ask you, what do you care about?  Try caring a little bit more, see what happens.

Rusty

This morning as I drove to work, I reflected on Sept. 11, 2001.  I remember the day well, the pain, shock, confusion, fear, anger, sadness, and myriad other emotions that played across my consciousness that day.

As is often in my nature, I attempted to search for some sort of symbolism, looking for a lesson that I might be able to apply to my life.

Before I go any further, I am indeed aware that such an endeavor requires objectification, and can seem unfeeling and apathetic.  But that is not my intent.  Rather, I hope to draw from the event as many personal lessons as possible, knowing full well it does nothing to lessen the loss.  Indeed, my deepest and most sincere condolences and prayers go out to those who lost family, friends, and loved ones on that dreadful day.  While it was a heartrending day for our Nation, no one bore that pain more acutely than you.

I was inspired to hear these words from President Bush during today’s memorial services:  “On a day when buildings fell, heroes rose”.

It is that point that I hope to emphasize.

Within each of our lives, often there are instances of unspeakable tragedy, times when we have been brought to our very knees.  Sometimes we have brought these things upon ourselves through sin and transgression, sometimes we have done nothing to deserve them, but almost always they hit us in an unsuspecting moment, and often they can cause seemingly irreparable damage.

We wonder if we can ever continue, if life can even go on.  The devastation, pain, heartache, and tragedy, at that moment, is so close to us that it blots out our vision and we cannot see past it.

We experienced this together 7 years ago, in a very real, tangible, and terrible way.

But go on we did… not weaker, but stronger.  And though, even after cleaning up the rubble, we were left with a whole in the ground, we quickly began rebuilding.  We cleaned up what we could, reviewed plans for beautiful new edifices, selected one and began building.

In our own lives, we must take the same approach.  It’s easy, and normal, to allow catastrophic events that plague our past to cripple our future, but it must not be so.

If it is sin, we must repent and rebuild.  If it is some other event over which we had no control or responsibility, we must embrace it as part of the divine planning of our lives, preparing us to be stronger, greater, more feeling, and more capable.

It is within our power to choose what we become, to choose how we respond, and to select from the options that are before us an edifice for our lives worthy of our future.

As that becomes the object of our focus, not the destruction, but creation, and as we involve the Lord in that creation, we heal faster, and the building we create will have the distinctive reflections of divinity, and inspired architecture of eternity.

Though the buildings of your life may fall, a hero will rise.  You.

Rusty

Friday night, Michael Phelps fought to win his 7th straight gold medal in the 2008 Summer Beijing Olympics, allowing him to officially tie the prior record from former Olympian Mark Spitz.

With all that was riding on the race, and in spite of having exhausted himself from so many other races, Phelps dove into the pool for the 100-meter butterfly.

Milorad Cavic, from Serbia, was the first off the wall at the 50 meter mark, with Phelps in seventh place.  But with only 50 meters to go Phelps just kept pushing, and with unrelenting determination, his arms windmilling faster and faster, he began to close that gap with Cavic.

Finally, with only one a few feet remaining, Cavic took his last stroke, leaving him only a few inches from the wall, which he chose to coast through.

But that decision cost him the gold medal, as the mighty Phelps chose not to coast, even for an inch, but instead beat out one final stroke, smashing his hands against the wall only a hundredth of a second before Cavic.

In that moment I learned the first important lesson from yet another epic race of Phelps…

If you really want it, don’t stop till you get it

Phelps really wanted it.  And when it hurt the most, with his lungs aching for oxygen and his arms burning from fatigue, not even then did he decide to stop.  Later he would say that he didn’t even realize how close they were.  He didn’t beat out that last stroke because he knew it was close, he did it because he knew he had to give it all he had until it was over.  That sheer determination and relentless drive toward his vision made him the undisputed champion.

Spitz said of the race that he knew it wasn’t over, because you (Phelps) never stop pushing… “it’s a tribute to your greatness”.

If it matters to you, don’t coast – keep pushing.

Just believe in yourself

After the race was over, during his media interview he taught me the second lesson.  He was responding to what made this whole thing possible when he said “I guess just believing in yourself goes a long way.”

As I talk about extensively here, optimism is the determination to not limit your sight to “reality”, but instead to see what could be, and believe it so much that you make it come true.

Tonight Phelps taught us the invaluable lesson that if we just believe in ourselves, believe in what we can do, then yes, that does go a long way.  For Phelps, it meant the gold medal, the 13th of his career, and led the former record holder Mark Spits to call him “epic”.  He told the AP “It goes to show you that not only is this guy the greatest swimmer of all time and the greatest Olympian of all time, he’s maybe the greatest athlete of all time.  He’s the greatest racer who ever walked the planet”.

The message is clear.  Believe in yourself, and don’t stop pushing.  If you can do that, you too will be great.

Rusty

Other posts on Phelps:  Michael Phelps – Making your dreams come true, Michael Phelps – setting and achieving goals

I firmly believe in the importance of measurement, and that the only way to ensure we get where we want to go is by frequently measuring ourselves.  Measuring the worth of your pursuits is one way, while paying attention to your consumption is another.

We’ve all heard “you are what you eat”, but usually pass it off as nothing more than a quaint quip.

But that which we consume says more about us than we may care to believe.  After all, consumption is a result of appetite, and appetites are the illustration of our desires, needs, and cravings.

Those internal urges become the driving force that compels us to consume what we do.  As such consumption is really the external manifestation of our deepest internal desires.

Those things we consume the most voraciously, to satisfy our most compelling cravings, say a lot about where our priorities lie, and where we might be on the path to perfection.

As you look at what you consume, do you find your diet is nutritionally lacking?  Is there nutritional balance?  Are you starving yourself in some areas, while gorging in others?

Does your consumption include a healthy portion of things of real substance and eternal worth, or is it primarily made up of empty calories, fats, and sugars, that provide short term pleasure at the sacrifice of long term health.

Perhaps it would be of value to spend a few moments listing those things you consume the most of, and see what it says about you.  After all, you are what you eat.

Rusty

Subscribe to Ongofu | Get Ongofu by Email

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please bookmark it by clicking on the button below, and selecting a service so others can find it too. Many thanks.

Bookmark and Share

I discovered the following YouTube video today – a triumphant story of a man who went blind, but never gave up.  Such, again, is the power within us to overcome all odds, and achieve phenomenal greatness.  Another testament of not letting ourselves be restricted by our past, which I talk about here (The danger of reflection), here (Self imposed limitations), and here (Deciding to make a difference).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P84bfFpVWE&hl=en]

Rusty

Subscribe to Ongofu | Get Ongofu by Email

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please bookmark it by clicking on the button below, and selecting a service so others can find it too. Many thanks.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button