Build Who We’ve Become

Do not rebuild my life in the exact same way it was before. It’s time for me to rebuild based on who I am growing into.

Author Maria Goff essentially summed up the main lesson from the past year of my life lovelivesherein her book Love Lives Here.  In the excerpt below, she is referring to her family’s long-time cabin burning down to the ground.  Everything inside of it was now gone, every item which contained countless memories.  There was an instant temptation to rebuild the cabin exactly how it was before.  As if the memories, the lessons, the warmth of friendships birthed and grown in the cabin could be rebuilt physically as well.  However, with wisdom as the guide, Maria clarifies:

We’ll build something that will serve who we’ve become, not just repeat who we were.  The biggest mistake we could all make in our lives [emphasis added] is to rebuild things we’ve outgrown or to live in constant fear that we might lose what we have all over again.  It won’t be the fires that destroy our lives and our faith.  It will be obsessing over not getting burned again that will.

Ouch.  This drilled way down into me.  I think dental work from the 1800’s would be less painful to endure than this quote.

Maria’s focus on two aspects of this strike me.  The first is the temptation to rebuild things we’ve outgrown.  It is hard to admit to defeat in an area in life.  But it may be harder to pivot in an area of life because we have grown up since we first set out on the mission.

It could have been years ago when we decided on X, but the conditions we were in when the decision was made are no longer present.  I could hold onto the romanticized version of the way I hoped it all would turn out when I started out on a venture.  Or I could let the cold-water-splash-in-the-face take more of an effect than just sending shivers down my spine.  The conditions are no where near the way they were before.  There’s no good use utilizing old blueprints drawn up back then to start the process all over again now.

Her second emphasis is on the fear of building again at all.  More poignant for me, this weighs heavy as I can carry the metaphor of not being burned again, or at all, to extremely fearful bounds.  Something of great value was lost to Maria and her family.  Yet, there was a resilience in building something new and different based on who they have become.

Not only will the cabin be new, but it will be built.  I can paralyze myself just thinking of getting back up and trying again.  But why try the exact same thing again?  We all need to try again but in step with her first point, it will be different this time.

In a sense it will be different anyway, even if we want to start the same task or goal over the exact same way.  We’ll have the experience of the failure with us.  It will be a different time in our lives.  We’ll maybe even be physically somewhere else.  Regardless, if we start with new or old blueprints we must be willing to risk fire getting to our final product again.

Weren’t all the memories created in the first cabin worth it all anyway?  That’s why we build again.  But it’s also why we build based on who we are now.

 

Below 200 – Press On

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Wash away what they thought of you, and press on, press on” – Underoath

I did it. But ‘it’ wasn’t even a goal. Just this past weekend I dropped below 200lbs for the first time since I was a freshman in college. And it wasn’t a goal. Let me explain.

When I finally said enough is enough and began to choose life, began to choose health, began to choose freedom, I set an incredibly fantastic goal. Last January I was inspired to clearly define my goals for the year and put something measurable to them as a way to keep track. I laughed to (perhaps at?) myself when I wrote down for my commitment to working out “Get to 215lbs.” That was outrageous. It was early January and I was 265, and I was saying lose 50lbs. Really, 215 just sounded nice at the time. It sounded manageable, something I could live with being at.

17240075_10154898191255428_233334846132695010_oThe picture of me at the end of February last year is someone who had something to smile about. I had already lost 25lbs since writing down my goal! A major confidence boost for sure. Those were new jeans and a new shirt because baggy jeans are not a thing anymore I guess. I was about to head to Florida and be the best man in my friend’s wedding. Things were looking good.

But here is the thing. When I got to 215 later on in the year, it was hitting a goal, but it was now cemented as a lifestyle. I found myself pressing on further. I found myself pressing on when things were going wrong all around me. I pressed on when a lot of other things have changed in my life. I kept going.

17192360_10154898191635428_8688502642195661125_oI was pretty happy last February. I realized I could change and start moving towards being unstuck. But the lesson is clear: keep moving, and keep moving after that. Goals are not only meant to be broken but smashed. You have to take your small victories and celebrate them when they happen and then wake up the next morning onward towards the next challenge.

I really never thought I would see a “1” in the hundreds column again on the scale. I actually panicked a second because I saw the “99” and thought I was at 299 somehow.

 

I’m pressing on, “‘cause my feet have the scars to show.