Why? So That…

I had an interesting experience this week.

I interviewed for a job.

Not to change jobs, but more to add something to my already rather full plate.  But even though my plate is already quite full, when an opportunity comes up that has been on my mind for quite some time, I would be foolish not to go for it.

As I applied, I put it all in God’s hands.  Truth be told, from the moment that this particular position came to mind, I have left it in God’s hands.  Because, even though this would be a really cool thing, I know that if it isn’t in God’s plan for my life, then it will not happen.  And I will be ok with that.

To be honest, knowing that I’m doing my part to be willing, and leaving the rest up to God has given me a sense of ease and peace throughout the entire process.

So here’s the deal:

I suck at interviews.

Seriously.

Historically, I just have not been capable of presenting myself in the best way possible.  I get nervous, and even more awkward than normal.  And it’s just a flop.

I walk away feeling dejected, because deep down, I know that I just blew it.

So, to say that a great deal of prayer happened before this interview is an understatement.

My prayers basically went something like this:

God, give me the words.

And guess what?

He did!

But that’s not even close to the best part.  Because, I walked away from the interview knowing that I wasn’t the best candidate.  Not that I wouldn’t be amazing.  But I know that I am not the best candidate that they are interviewing.  I’m far from the most qualified.  I don’t have the experience.

There is a 99.99% chance that I will not be getting this job.

But I walked out of that interview with a huge amount of satisfaction about my part of the interview.

And we’re finally closing in on why this was such an amazing experience…I promise.

The person who interviewed me is someone I have known nearly my entire life.  She was one of my teachers growing up.  And I have worked with her, and for her now for almost 3 years.  But even with such a long history, she didn’t know me all that well.

She laughed at the fact that she asks everyone the same questions, to keep the playing field even.  She asked me to tell her about myself.  And as soon as I started talking about myself, and some of the things that I did after high school, her jaw hit the floor.  So in asking the question that she felt foolish asking, she found out a lot more about me.  In a really good way.  She didn’t realize that I had moved half way across the country.  Or why I made the decision to move back home.

She definitely didn’t realize that one of my most memorable moments growing up came during one of her classes.

But here is the really cool thing…

We talked about my motivation for applying for this job.

Which led to my motivation for doing many of the things that I do.

And that specific motivation has been on my mind a lot lately.

Why do I do the things that I do?

What is the outcome that I hope to get from doing the thing that I do?

To the point where I have written the following on my desk calendar at school:

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I did this so every single time I look at this, my own personal motivations come to mind.

Why?

Well it certainly isn’t money.  As I stated in my interview, if money were my greatest motivation, I would go down the street and work at McDonald’s because I would make more money.

Would a larger salary be nice?  Yes, yes it would.  To add a little more cushion to bank account.  So I wouldn’t have to rely on my parents for some help and support.  Yes, that would be fantastic.

But I do love my job.

So what is my motivation?  Besides the fact that this is where God has placed me for right now.

The “why” that I bring to work every day, the “why” that I take with me to youth group every week, is that I want to be able to give the kiddos that I work with something that I didn’t have growing up.

Yes, I had amazing parents.  I had youth group.  I had people that care about me.

What I didn’t have was the self-confidence in myself.  Nor did I have a firm understanding of who God was.  Or who I was to God.

So that…

So what is my expected outcome?  What is my goal?  What purpose could I possibly have in doing the things that I do?

I want these kids to be able to stand firm in their faith.  I want them to turn to God when times get tough.  Not to turn their back on their faith when life gets real, and things get hard.

I made bad, really stupid mistakes growing up.  I made bad, really stupid mistakes as an adult, too.

I want better for the people around me.  So they don’t go through the same struggles that I went through.

Because I truly believe that even though used the free will that God gave me to not just turn my back on Him and run away.  I lashed out.  I swore up and down countless times that there couldn’t possibly be a God.

I was dumb.  I was selfish.

Even though I did a lot of things that God isn’t thrilled about, I believe that He can turn all of those mistakes around, and use all of them for something positive.

And it isn’t just that he can use all of those stupid mistakes.

He is using them.

 

The Bucket List

I have had huge, outrageous, ridiculous bucket list ideas for many years.  But because they were so huge, outrageous and ridiculous, I never wanted to tell anyone about them.  I didn’t even want to admit that they were on my bucket list.  They seemed so incredibly impossible that I was embarrassed to admit that I even thought these things.

That being said, I have recently been reading several things that have brought forth the importance of writing down my goals, even if they’re outrageous and ridiculous.

I know that there is absolutely know way that I am going to be able to accomplish any of these things.  But God, God is pretty awesome, and He can make any of these things happen.  I have some work to do in there as well, but most of all, the willingness that I have to be faithful to God’s plan is the only way I could even come close to some of these things.

As I was sitting down to write out my bucket list, there are only a couple of things that I can think of that I have already accomplished that might be bucket list items.  But, I’m pretty sure many more things should be added to this list.

So, here we go.  Here’s my huge, outrageous, ridiculous bucket list…

  • Go to a Packer’s Game and Lambeau Field
  • Deposit $1,000,000 in my parents checking account
  • Visit all 50 states (9 more to go!)
  • Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
  • Go on a mission trip to New Zealand
  • Go on a mission trip to Costa Rica
  • Support a mission partner for 1 year 
    • Multiple Times
  • Run a marathon
  • Buy all of the land that has been in my family since we settled in IL
  • Run the combine all on my own during harvest
  • Go ziplinig
  • Write and publish a book
  • Speak at a week long high school retreat
  • Be a camp counselor
  • Visit the Grand Canyon
  • Get married
  • Have children – that don’t have 4 legs and fur
  • Give Lysa Terkeurst a hug
  • Have coffee with Mark Batterson
  • Take my dad to a Nascar race
  • Have a vacation home on the beach
  • Have a vacation home in the mountains
  • Weigh 142 pounds (half of the weight I was at my heaviest)
  • Speak at a women’s retreat

The items that have been struck through are the ones I have accomplished already.  And I promise you, God was absolutely with me running all 4 marathons.  Because there is absolutely no way that 285 pound me ever would have thought it possible to run a marathon in real life.  But now I have ran 4 of them.  And He was absolutely with me when I went ziplining.

So, truly, this isn’t my bucket list.  It’s God’s.  It just so happens that I get to go along for the ride.

How awesome is that?

I Did a Thing

Running has been a hugely important part of my adult life.  I found my way back to God because of running.  I found self-confidence because of running.

I have ran 4 marathons, 4 half-marathons, 1 amazing Army Ten Miler, and a few shorter races.

And during my last marathon, I was about 5 miles in, and my thought at the time was that this was stupid.  I had already proven I could run a marathon, multiple times.  So I no longer had anything to prove.  I made the decision to take some time off of running, and a year later, I had just started running a couple of times, and then broke my ankle in 3 places.

My ankle makes me look like I’m turning into Wolverine.  And I’m kind of ok with that aspect of it.  The pain associated with it, not so much.

But there isn’t much I can do about that.

My knees are another matter entirely.  I have known for many years that we are on the “when not if” timeline of my knees needing to be replaced.

For the past several months, I have been walking.  A lot.  It’s all Cheese’s fault.  And I really thought that I had come to the place where I was ok with not running any more.  Just with walking, my knees ache.  And how much more damage do I really want to put my knees through.

Turns out, I failed at following my own rules.

Buy.  Good.  Shoes.

For my birthday, that hasn’t happened.  Yet.  My mom took me shoe and bra shopping.  The bra shopping is a completely different story that I just can’t get into yet.  But shoe shopping is always an awesome time.  You MUST go to a shoe store where they actually know what they’re talking about.  When you enter the store, and you can physically tell that the people working are also runners, it’s a good start.

I’m not the shoe salesman, so I’m not even going to get into the details of the differences in shoes.  All I’m going to tell you is find the shoes that fit you best.  That are most comfortable for you.  Brooks have always worked well for me.  I have ran all of my marathons, except the first, in Brooks.  I LOVE my Brooks.

My mom, on the other hand, hated her Brooks.  It’s all about what works best for you.

Did I mention I love my Brooks???

Anyway, I got new “walking” shoes for my birthday.  And it’s made a HUGE difference.  Embarrassingly so, my now retired Brooks were many years old.  I ran my last marathon 6 and a half years ago.  I was still walking in the shoes that I ran that marathon in.  Not a good idea.

So no wonder everything hurt.

After I started walking in my new shoes, I had a yearning.  A yearning to run.  Because truth be told, I desperately miss running.  Not really the feeling like I’m going to die while I’m running kind of thing.  I miss what running does for me.

I started by running a quarter of a mile.

And it felt awesome!

The next time, I decided to run the last mile home.  Cheese thought it was the best day ever, and couldn’t understand why I was running so slow.

Tip: If your dog is a sprinter, like Cheese, do NOT run at his or her pace.  Run at the pace YOU NEED TO RUN.

Had I ran at Cheese’s pace, I would have passed out after about 10 feet.

I might not have even made it that far.

But I ran a mile.  And beyond that, I ran a mile at an 11:30 pace!  Which isn’t fast.  But then, I have never been a fast runner.  And when I haven’t ran at all in a couple of years, I’m more than please with an 11:30 pace.

So, then I did another thing.  Last night, I ran almost 2.5 miles.  Not all at once.  I walked, than ran a mile-ish, then walked some more, then ran another mile-ish.  All adding up to almost 2.5 miles.  And I ran them at an average of a 10:30 pace!!  Granted, I felt like I was going to die for a little while.  But I did it!!

But beyond actually just being able to run that far, something else far greater happened.  I, my mind, my body, everything, remembered why I love running.  I had a smile on my face!!!  While I was running!!  That hasn’t happened in FAR TOO LONG!!!

I know that should I continue to do this, I need to do some serious strength training.

But I kind of already started looking at the calendar for how far away this one 1/2 marathon is next Spring.  And to just see if it might be a viable option.  Maybe.  Just, maybe.

But for now, this pretty much sums up where I am in life…

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