Monday, January 31, 2011

No Pain = No Gain

I hate Pain. I always have. I shrink from it. I dread it. I fear it. I do everything I can to avoid it. When the pastor preaches about the suffering in the Christian life, I want to cover my ears.

But...I've been thinking. Doesn't being exceptional at anything require pain? Growing = changing = pain. Olympic athletes - don't they call pain their friend? The long hours of practice, the pushing beyond their breaking point, the grueling sessions they put their bodies through. A plant breaking through the seed - it must hurt if plants have feelings. And when you are working out -running, lifting weights, dancing- it is not doing any good if it doesn't hurt. When you feel the pain, that is when you know you are growing, changing, getting stronger. Otherwise you are just going through the motions. Even piano practice I have found is supposed to hurt. My teacher says I should wake up sore in the morning from pushing my hands, fingers, arms to play faster and louder and longer than ever before.
So, the Lack of Pain means Lack of Growth. When my life hurts, it means I am going somewhere, getting stronger, Growing, changing, becoming exceptional.

I hate the pain. But I hate the status quo, the average, the weak, the un-exceptional more. I want to become all I can be - in Every area.

So, I should love the pain. Maybe that is what it meant in the Bible when it said, "Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, wehnever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work so that you may be perfectly and fully developed, lacking in nothing."

I never really understood it before. How to be excited when pain comes. Why I should be. But I guess it is just like when I'm excited when my arms feel like they are falling off when I practice octave scales or when I wake up sore after working out. I Love the Pain because I Love the Gain that comes with it.

The Motions by Matthew West sums it up:

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

I'll give my all. I'll embrace the Pain because I know it's the price I must pay to be Exceptional.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Family is Forever

My family is incredible. They are loving, hilarious, godly, caring, and insane. Maybe that is why I miss them so much when I am away from them. I try to explain my family to people sometimes, but unless they have actually met them, there is no way for them to truly understand. Allow me to introduce you to them....maybe then you will get the picture.

First there is my Dad. He is a man of integrity who loves God and his family and is always faithful to provide for us. He is a quiet man but he shows us his love every day by his hard work and he does special things for us like taking us on vacations, to special places, and out to eat (and with ten children three of which children are Taylor, Joshua, and Joseph, this is no small act of love). BUT don't let his normally quiet demeanor fool you. Everything changed when he became the new 30. He has been known to give Elvis impersonations and wild pep rallies with split jumps, pom poms, and his own version of the cheers and then there is his infamous duck joke.... :) My dad is respected by those whom he works with for his strong leadership and thoughtful touches like sending his employees cards on their birthdays. He also is my shopping buddy - yes he has taken me on two all day shopping trips! And let me tell you, he wore me out! :) My dad is a man of strength, love, and character.

Next there is my Mom. She is my best friend. We laugh together, cry together, and sometimes we read each other's minds. She is a godly, selfless woman who spends her life making a home for us. She works unbelievably hard each day filling all of the roles that wife, mother, and home schooler entail. But even with all that she has to do each day, she still takes time to do special things for us like make cookies, mail me a package, and sit down and watch a movie. She always takes time to listen to me - and I tell her everything! A lot of times she has good advice and even when she can't fix my problems, just telling her about them makes me feel better. She is a wonderful writer and a delicious cook! She is always trying new recipes and ideas. My mom is a beautiful, hilarious, dedicated, and strong woman.

Then there is Ashlyn. Ashlyn is a beautiful, godly young lady with a heart for others and a heart for God. She lives each day seeking to glorify God and bless those around her. She is smart, talented, funny, and hard working. She is sensitive to the needs of those around her and is always looking for ways to bless other people. She sends me random packages that make my day (even when they get lost in the mail for 3 months!). A gifted photographer, she captures the every day beauty she sees around her with the camera. I wish I got to see her more often, but I am thankful for the times we are together. I love you, Ashlyn!

Then there is Taylor. Everything Taylor does he does in a big way. I think it's part of his "swagger." haha :) He is goofy, crazy, and has the healthiest self esteem I have ever seen! :) He is not afraid to be himself and does not worry what other people think about him. He just is completely himself and expects other people to love his awesomeness! Taylor, I admire your confidence! He likes to tease people, but underneath all of his swagger and silliness, there is a compassionate heart deep down that cares about others.

Joshua is very hard working and does not give up easily. He is always full of plans for how to earn more money, have a better career, or fix something around the house. He is a true entrepreneur. He is also very friendly and can strike up a conversation with anyone. He thinks a lot about life and takes it seriously. He works hard to make good grades and has big plans for his future.

Joseph is not your typical "Joe!" :) He is effortlessly cool, extremely intelligent, and incredibly handsome! :) However, he seem deceptively quiet to people who have just seen him in public. They think of him as well-behaved, mannerly, and quiet. Haahahahahahahahahahah! :P What a joke! He is actually crAzzzzzy and a complete goof ball! (in a good way!) He breaks out into random songs in the middle of the house and makes weird faces and is just generally hilarious! :) He is also my guitar hero band mate! :) But, he is also very sensitive with a sweet spirit and cares about others. He is also super smart and very athletic. I love you Joe!

Christopher is always making us laugh with his randomly amusing comments. He is unabashedly laidback and surprises us with his cute sense of humor. He is great to play games with and hang out with. He really is smart but he doesn't believe in working any harder than he has to. :) Chris has a sweet heart and even though he is getting quite grown up we still consider him our teddy bear! :)

Hannah is growing into a beautiful young lady. She is quiet most of the time but a lot goes on in that blonde head of hers which you can tell if you read her blog! She works hard at her school, is a budding photographer, and relishes her computer time. She is sweet and caring and also quite silly. She and I burst into random bouts of giggling and have all kinds of quotes and jokes that we randomly rehearse. :) I love spending time with Hannah! Hannah, you are a gorgeous young lady inside and out!

Luke is a crazy wild child with a mischievous twinkle nearly always in his eyes! :) He really is sweet and sensitive but he hides it most of the time under his all boy exterior. He is thin and athletic as well as very smart. He works hard at school and plays hard at whatever games he is doing. He is very competitive and almost always wins! :) Of course, when he beats me it is just because I let him win, but you know. :D Luke is super fun to play with and is an awesome little brother.

Matthew :) Well, how do I even begin? Matthew is my honey, my little buddy. He constantly makes us laugh with the cute ways he says things and his hilarious antics. He dances like a rock star and then sleeps like an angel. He is very dramatic and acts everything out that he says with all kinds of facial and bodily contortions. He is my bestest honey. Matt I love you more than a million boxes of chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce! :)

Bethany is supposed to be our princess but she is actually more at home on the football field! :) She is feisty, bossy, thinks she is 25, and is our little drama queen. She keeps us laughing with her adorable expressions and hilarious stories. She says the sweetest things, is absolutely convinced she can do anything her brothers do, and is super cuddly and fun to snuggle with. I love you, my sweet Babe!

So, now you know! My family is special and one of a kind. And no matter how old I get, I am still going to miss them and want to be with them. I love you guys!!!!!