Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lent Day 15 (Thursday)

Exercise: Cycling 24 miles.  This is the same course as yesterday, but this time I was by myself.  I got a chance to test out the second of my base layers I got this week, and it seemed to work rather well.  One thing of note:  the next time I think "maybe I should go back and snag my toe covers" when I'm leaving the parking garage, maybe I should really go back and snag my toe covers.  My feet should thaw out sometime later this evening.


2 Timothy 1:13-14

New International Version (NIV)
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Thoughts:  I spent a while today looking at formulas and theory around hydration and replenishment for endurance athletes.  Of all of the theory crafting that involves cycling, how to keep your body nourished on a long ride I think is probably one of the most complex.  Calories in, calories out;  sucrose versus glucose; carbs in your drink versus eating your carbs.  Just looking at the food isle in your local bike shop should give you an idea of just how varied the schools of thought are out there.  The common thread is the fact that for a long ride, you have to successfully replenish a part of what you exhaust while you are riding.  You aren't going to be able to metabolize enough of any nutrient you are burning, be it water or calories or salts, to 100% replace what you are using.  The goal is more about making sure your body has what it needs to keep on running in the short term so it can be effective for the long haul.  Without a good fueling strategy, you are bound for a lot of pain.  I think back to the Preservation Ride last year, and I think I learned this lesson the hard way.With the Assault on Mt Mitchell just a few months away, I have a long way to go with learning how to handle fueling on extremely long rides.  The struggle is that I seem to be able to cope on 50-60 miles rides now without a solid fuel plan, and the opportunities for me as a weekend cyclist to get in a 70+ mile ride are few and far between.  My first good attempt will be the Mitchell training ride this weekend.  Hopefully I can get a good feel for the basics of my fueling strategy so I can refine it over the next 12 weeks.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lent Day 14 (Wednesday)

Exercise: cycling 24 miles.  This was just a nice gentle ride today.  No  major pushing or riding crazy.  Very relaxing

1 John 3:18-24
The Message (MSG)

When We Practice Real Love

18-20 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
21-24 And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.

Thoughts: Why don't I attend church regularly?  I'm not sure what the format of this post is going to look like when I'm done with it, as I feel like this will end up being an ongoing topic for a while as I get led back to it through prayer.  My wife and I were discussing a blog entry online, and it brought about an interesting thought process for me.  She suggested that I maybe should use it for a blog entry, and instead of just setting it aside to "process later", I started writing down my thoughts as notes and a semi-outline.  I may try to flesh out these sections, or I may just leave them as open ended questions and thoughts that I need to expand upon as I have more details to write about.  

Thus, Why do I not attend church?  hint: it's not because John Wayne is missing from the pulpit.  What is the real problem that this author is attempting to solve?

How many of my friends are MIA from church these days?  What are we searching for?  What aren't we finding inside the church "community"?  

What is the impact of my lack of participation to my spiritual walk and my interactions with others?  How much does not going to church on Sunday impact my interactions with others, especially my children? 

How often do I feel like the boy in the "Emperor's new Clothes" story?  People proclaiming that the Spirit is in this place even if it's not?  I have throughout my life seen people that proclaim the good news with their lips, but deny him with their lifestyle.  They proclaim that the "Spirit is in this place" while metaphorically desecrating the holy of holies with their actions.  How much does this impact my willingness to participate?  

How much has the "suburban lifestyle" impacted this?  Thinking back to my church growing up, and how transient church is for me now.  What ideal that we being sold for how "church should be"?  Is it historically accurate?

How much have our worship habits have become similar to the 1st century Hebrew nation?  Have we rebuilt the same worship structure that failed the Hebrews?  How does this tie into the rebuilding of the temple as marked in Revelations?

I really don't feel like I have any of the answers to these questions, and each question I pray on raises more questions.  So at the end of this longer post, the "short answer" is that I don't go to church regularly because I do not feel led there by the Spirit.  I do not feel that the modern day church can capture the Spirit of God by magic tricks and rock concerts, and mystically make people show up.  I don't feel that the preacher is the answer, or the problem.  The problem is the other people in the pews.  The only time I feel a connection to others in church is when I already know them when I show up.  Often times when I go I feel alone in a crowd more often than I feel like I'm participating.   This includes spending months being regular going to worship, Sunday School, and other church related events including small groups.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lent Day 13 (Tuesday)

Exercise: Rest (Weather) - heaving winds and rain today.  Shifted my ride schedule to accommodate for the weather.


Numbers 12:6

New International Version (NIV)
he said, “Listen to my words:
“When there is a prophet among you,
    I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
    I speak to them in dreams.

Thoughts: As I'm preparing for the Assault on Mount Mitchell, training is a big part of what I need to focus on.  Whether it's what I'm eating or how I'm exercising, I have to be mindful of my goals.  The second of the training series for Mitchell is this weekend, and it's another ride up into the mountains around Tryon and Saluda.  It should be a fantastic ride, but I realized that part of the preparation is having the correct tools for the job.  The weather for the ride this weekend looks to be cold.  Cold as in a 30% chance of snow while out on the ride.  After last year I found myself having to replace a large portion of my cycling gear that I had amassed to start this sport.  Cycling, like any hobby, isn't something that is done inexpensively.  The equipment, especially as you spend more time, becomes something you have to budget for if you want to do larger events.  While most would say that the weight loss is a "good problem to have", the end result is that it's still a problem to resolve.  Having to replace a wardrobe that had been collected during and entire adult life is fantastic, but it also take a financial effort and time to re-accumulate the various items that you need.  I've also been wary of overspending in the case that I shrink out of yet another sequence of clothing.  What I ended up doing is putting myself on a budget and saving for the things I need.  I'm not being perfect with it, but it's helping me to keep focus on the things that are really important.  I managed to find a few pieces of new gear to help with this weekend without completely decimating the budget.

Lent Day 12 (Monday)

Exercise: Planned Rest day. Mondays during the main cycling months are my "day off", since I typically ride on the weekends, and they are my bigger ride days. It didn't help any that the weather went from fantastic to transitional as well. Supposed to rain until Wednesday, so my usual Tuesday ride is probably off as well. 


Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

The Message (MSG)

There’s a Right Time for Everything

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.
9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.
14 I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.
15 Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.

 Thoughts:  This weekend is Megacon.  For those that do not live in Orlando, Megacon is one of the largest multimedia conventions (science fiction, comics, anime, etc) in the area.  The Southern R2 Builders group (along with the 501st and Rebel Legion) always have booths set up, and it's a fantastic fun time.  This will be the second year that I have not been able to go.  It makes me reflect on new lifestyles and focus.  I have a droid that I was working on when I was in Orlando (R4-P17) that has, for the most part, gone unfinished since I moved to Greenville.  In the past 18 months we've spent a lot of time establishing a "new normal" lifestyle for myself and my family.  Establishing a new home, changing our fitness and nutritional habits, new work environment, new hobbies.  I still question why I have left R4 unfinished.  For at least a year I resisted many of my old habits, including gaming, very vehemently   I think this is for fear of become who I was before, instead of who I want to be.   R4 is in a state where she's presentable right now, standing on 3 legs.  To make her better I have to risk taking her apart for an extended period of time, though.  I also have fear that the finished product will not look good as well.  There are decisions I need to make on what of my old lifestyle was healthy and what needs to be left behind.  It'll just take time.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lent Day 11 (Sunday)

Exercise: Cycling 54 miles.  It was a fantastic day to ride.  I'm glad I was able to get out and enjoy it with the folks from Brookwood Church.  Strava even called it "Epic"!

Numbers 9:20-23
21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
20 And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle, according to the commandment of the Lord they stayed in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed.
21 And so it was, when the cloud tarried from evening unto the morning, and the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed. Whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.
22 Or whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel remained in their tents and journeyed not; but when it was taken up, they journeyed.
Thoughts:  I was using my video camera yesterday, and I noticed a few things that I need to pray and reflect on about my personality.  This all stems around the personality trait that I have a 110% or nothing attitude.  I'm competitive, which I already knew.  If someone jumps off the front, I feel the need to chase them down rather quickly.  From a cycling perspective this is a separate issue from a personality issue, in that much of cycling is knowing when to use energy and when to conserve it.  As I look to challenge Mt. Mitchell in a few months, conserving energy is going to be the name of the game.  If I can manage a constant pace for 8 hours and conserve energy, I'll be fine.  If I start trying to keep with the "A" pace folks at 7am I'll blow up before lunch.  It's going to be a challenge in a sea of 1,000 people to set my pace and know what I need to do to win.  It's this setting of a pace that will benefit me in all aspects of my life, though.  I tend to push, and then burn out and rest;  throughout my day, week, month, and year.  If I can start mastering pacing at all levels, I think I can do more than I do now because I'll need less downtime.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lent Day 10 (Saturday)

Exercise:  None - Rest.  Rainy day here, high was in the low 40's.  Cold + wet doesn't create a good environment for exercise for me.   Instead of pushing it and risking getting sick again, it was a rest/household kind of day.

Proverbs 14:23
New International Version (NIV)
23 All hard work brings a profit,
    but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Thoughts:  Multiple times this weekend articles about nutrition and how it impacts fitness have been presented to me.  Food is probably one of my biggest struggles since I started working on my overall health, and it's because it's an easy comfort area.  When you think about food like fuel, a lot of things change, but it's hard to implement those changes.  I've been doing a whole lot better about eating breakfast now.  It used to be that I'd have breakfast once or twice a week at most;  Now it's just part of the daily routine.  Figuring out how much is enough, and working out the evening/nighttime hungers is still a bit of a mystery to me, though.  I need to work on improving what I eat earlier in the day so my body has what it needs later in the day.  Knowing the basics is just the tip of the iceberg with nutrition, and any television ad or book that claims that there is a simple formula is just trying to take your money.  Calories in - Calories out = weight is true in the basics, but our bodies are the most complex engines ever developed.  We spend time and effort into engines that will only last a few years, but this is an engine we only get one of.  We have to treat it right, baby it, give it what it needs to be successful, and go out and enjoy it's performance from time to time. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lent Day 9 (Friday)

Exercise: None (weather/sick). Feeling better than I did yesterday, but still not pushing myself to work out. Looks like Sunday is probably my next ride day.

1 John 4:18
New International Version (NIV)

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

 Thoughts: It has been a quiet day here.  We've had some rain, and it's been cold.  I really don't have a lot of thoughts to write down this time.  With the whirlwind of stuff that goes on every day in our house, to think of a day as 'quiet' is a little strange.  There was a lot that happened, but nothing of major consequence.  The kids had school, I had work, there were meals prepared.  I have to say that I enjoy days where I can feel like I'm not pushed to my absolute limit.  I even had a chance to play around with more of my video editing options.  I dislike the idea of having to spend money on a basic hobby, but at least it looks to be around $60 instead of $600 to do the video editing that I'm looking to do.  This particular revision was created in Corel VideoStudio.  The hardest part was syncing up the HUD made by Bike Telemetry to the video stream.

Lent Day 8 (Thursday)

Exercise:  None (rest/sick).


1 Corinthians 13:4-7

King James Version (KJV)
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Thoughts: It's interesting as I challenge myself to do this throughtout that scripture is presented to me in different places.  Whether it's to lift myself up, to lift up someone else, or from an episode of FOX's "Bones".  In this show the two main characters are very polar opposite spiritually, but after several seasons find themselves living together with a child.  Temperance Brenan (aka "Bones") is a devout atheist.  Seeley Booth is an ex-military sniper working for the FBI and is a devout Catholic.  What I find interesting is that there is a definite and distinct change in Temperance as the show progresses, and in the episode we watched last night from the current season she is starting to quote scripture.  The writers even went to the King James version to get the quote;  Most modern translations use the word "Love" instead of "Charity".  It was a sub-plot to the main story, but it's showing a lot of character development that is refreshing.  Instead of seeing a character delve into darker places, they are silently and without fanfaire showing a character being shown the light.  Definitely out of character on a network known for it's shock value.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lent Day 7 (Wednesday)

Exercise:  cycling 15 miles.  My intention was to ride a lot longer than this.  Instead of riding downtown I went to the Donaldson Center (SC-TAC) and rode some of the country loop.  Instead of being warm and little wind, it was windy and felt cold.  I'm glad I went, as I had a lot to prove to myself.  I'm so looking forward to April and the new season of Tuesday night country loop rides.


Proverbs 17:9-10

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
One who forgives an affront fosters friendship,
    but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.
10 A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person
    than a hundred blows into a fool.

Thoughts:  Strangely enough it took me a while to find a bible verse tonight.  Typically throughout the day the theme of these posts has generally come from my experiences throughout the day.  Today, not so much.  I know that I've read this passage multiple times in my life, but I actually spent the time to read this particular one through various translations;  Not only to find the one that I thought fully conveyed what I'm feeling, but the one that I think really hit the heart of issues.  I personally tend to like to beat myself up over my own mistakes.  Two months or two decades, the things I've done (or haven't done) are always a handy weapon for the Enemy to use when I'm down.  I didn't go out and exercise on a particular day, I ate too much stupid stuff before dinner, I didn't say the right things at work.  The list is almost endless.  I need to be reminded often that while I can remember all of these crazy things, I don't need to hurt myself over them.  Until I can accept my flaws and my mistakes, how can I expect to improve on them and be the person that I'm supposed to be?  It's more than that, though: I need to make sure that what I'm saying to others conveys what I want in myself;  I need to be the example of God in my actions to others.  Even further, if others want to bring up my flaws as a way to keep wounds fresh, as a way of manipulating and controlling me, maybe they are people I don't need to be around. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lent Day 6 (Tuesday)

Exercise:  Rest Day


Psalm 46:9-11

King James Version (KJV)
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Thoughts:  I tend to be a "human doing" much more than a "human being".  I go from task to task, consumed with filling my waking hours with activities both required and recreational.  Every so often I'm reminded that God calls us to "be still, and know that he is God".  So often in the Bible rest is prescribed, and we as humans seem to ignore it.  We get worried about our own problems, and our own issues, that we forget that God owns it all.  We don't have to worry about being right or wrong, we don't need to be on the "winning" side, we need to be in step with God and let him do the lifting for us.

When I remember this, and I stop to rest and "be still" I know that all of my troubles are handled in Him, and that I should focus on what he needs calls me to be.  In this I can be content with what He has provided for me, and know that he walks with me at all times.  

I just need to be still, and know that HE is GOD.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lent Day 5 (Monday)

Exercise:  Cycling, 19.5 miles.  It was windy today, made the ride harder than it shows on my tracking.  I tried a new path to get around up in Traveler's Rest.  I also had a chance to reflect on the past year and the changes that I've gone through.  I've ridden basically this same 19 mile path dozens of times in the past year, and it never really gets easier.  I just get stronger, and thus I push myself more to go faster and be stronger again.  I used to struggle to go 10mph in some sections of the trail, now I do those same sections at 20mph.  It's not easy, but the simple fact that I can do it shows the progress that I often forget to let myself see.  


Romans 8:38-39

New International Version (NIV)
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thoughts:  Work kept me busy today.  I had more than one place where I could have stated that I didn't have time to do something more because of what the task was than the fact that I didn't really have time.  I made the time to do the extra work, though, and didn't really stress over it.  It got a lot done faster, and without any drama, so it was worth it.  The upside to me individually is that I was able to work on things that I typically don't believe I have a strong knowledge of, and work through the issues that I encountered.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lent Day 4 (weekend)

Exercise:  Housework.  

Reading of the Day:

Romans 8:35

New International Version (NIV)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?


We've had company at the house off and on since Thursday, so our routines have been a little out of normal.  It's been nice to visit, though.  What was especially nice was the SNOW that the kids got to see for the first time yesterday.  It was a nice dusting that's been slowly melting back off, but not enough to cause any long-term issues in the area.  What was amazing what the volume of snow while it was falling, though.  It went from clear to a good half inch of snow in 15 minutes.  We got the kids some snow coasters so they could slide down the berm in the back yard, and everyone had a good time.  Even the dog enjoyed the snow.  We also managed to get the garbage disposer replaced in the kitchen, which was a bit of an adventure.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lent Day 3 (Friday)

Exercise: Cycling ~19 miles. Nothing fancy, just up and back on the swamp rabbit. I did do a little bit of Paris Mountain, but I ran out of time and wasn't able to climb the whole thing. I enjoyed a Christmas present that Carol got me: a speaker for the bike. I was able to listen to some tunes while riding today.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10
New International Version (NIV)
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Remarks:  Today was overall a good day.  Often times I feel like I'm wallowing too much in the issues I have at any given time, especially when I'm dealing with money.  I feel like I should be better, no matter what the situation is.  I forget that because I'm saved I don't have to be perfect, I need to be joyful that my yesterdays are erased and that I am loved.  It's in my weaknesses that I can find strength.

Today was a good day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lent Day 2 (Thursday)

Exercise for Day 2:  Cycling -23.5 miles.  Just a loop on the Swamp Rabbit.  It was colder than I expected, and while I enjoyed the ride I was cold throughout.  Nothing really special on the ride, just out on SRT to Traveler's Rest, looped around in TR and back to the car.

Verse of the Day:
John 13:34-35
New International Version (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I was pushed well out of my comfort zone today at work.  I had 2 presentations to field personnel during their monthly meetings where I talked about a new product I've been working on via web presentation.  I think they both went pretty well, but it took a lot of out me emotionally to present to a random group like that.  I've been told that you get more comfortable over time, but it's something I'm always uncomfortable with.  The question to me boils down to:  am I uncomfortable because I'm unsure of myself, or unsure of what others think of me?  I had a conversation last week about "sabotaging my success" with a friend over lunch, and there was a lot to digest with it.  I often wonder if I don't force the result that I subconsciously desire so that I can confirm the fears that dwell deep down inside of me.  There's a lot to evaluate in just that last sentence, starting with is there any truth to be had there.  I feel like there's a defense mechanism that doesn't work properly, that deep down I think is trying to save me from hurt but ends up just being the cause of a lot of pain.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent Day 1 (Ash Wednesday)

Note:  This is day 1 of the 40 days of posts I plan to do during Lent.  It's a document Lent as a time for reflection and adjustment in my own personal life.  These posts will have 3 sections:  The exercise I completed for the day, the scripture I read, and my recap of the day on that particular day.

Exercise for Day 1:  3x10 push ups; 3x10 sit ups.  The weather was improving by 5pm and I probably could have snuck out for a quick ride, but it was windy and cool.  The push ups were hard.  The last set I had to finish on my knees, although I had my arms in close to work more muscle groups on that set.

Verse of the day:
New International Version (NIV)
“The person to be cleansed must wash their clothes, shave off all their hair and bathe with water; then they will be ceremonially clean. After this they may come into the camp,but they must stay outside their tent for seven days. On the seventh day they must shave off all their hair; they must shave their head, their beard, their eyebrows and the rest of their hair. They must wash their clothes and bathe themselves with water, and they will be clean.

Today wasn't a particularly rough day, although often times I feel like just when I think I have a handle on things is when derailments happen.  To that end I'm not sure if this happens because I expect them to (and make my own "luck") or if it's just that I know the situations well enough.  I chose the verse to post today based on the reading plan for February 13th.  I found that this section of the reading was timely for the first day of Lent, especially as I look at the next 40 days as a journey with a hope and goal of deeping my relationship with God.  

Lent - Prologue

Today is Ash Wednesday.  Usually I don't make a big deal about Ash Wednesday, or Lent.  Growing up I remember going to Ash Wednesday services, and of course the Sundays were marked throughout the Church season.  For many Lent is a time to give something up.  Catholics are renowned for having Fish on Friday during Lent.  This year, I want to try to do something different:  I want to change my routines just a little bit, and instead of doing that by giving something up I want to add a few things.

Each day in Lent I am going to try to do something fitness related.  Even if it's some push ups during the day, or walking the stairs in the office.  I want to make the time for this more than even when I was in Rob's Big Losers last year.  That means 40 workouts of some level between now and March 31.

I want to read a bible verse each day.  I'm not good about my bible time.  I go to Bible Gateway a fair amount to read a verse, and I've tried to read the Bible through the year, but it's always a struggle.  Even it's it's just the verse of the day on Bible Gateway, my goal is spend time during at least 40 days between now and March 31 with the Bible.

Each day in Lent I am going to try to post up a Blog entry.  That means at least 40 entries between now and March 31.  I don't know what the content will be going forward, but I want to post up something.  To this end there will be structure to each Blog entry:  I want to post up my fitness objective for the day and the bible verse that I read.  I will also try to tie in additional thoughts as much as I can.  

The other twist is going to be when I post.  Typically I post in the morning, unless I've had something else press on me that I need to post about.  During Rob's Big Losers I would post up after an exercise.  This time I'm going to be attempting to post up in the evening, at the end of the day.  My reasoning for this is that I should have completed my first two goals, and have time to reflect on what has transpired earlier in the day.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Definition of Self

Every so often I get a question asked of me by God, and it makes me have to completely stop and evaluate the situation.  This morning I was walking into the office, and a friend of mine was ahead of me.  He didn't know I was behind him, and we both were just walking into the office.  At that moment I was asked, "what (or who) defines you?"  I was already waiting for the light to change so I could cross Main St, but it definitely made me take pause.  It made me take pause enough to stop at the coffee shop at the bottom of the building that I work in to really examine the question at hand.  Knowing my own psyche as well as I do, I know the root for this, but I believe that God had more than just the surface question to be answered.

The surface question:  do you define yourself in someone else?  Do you need to be "seen" with someone to define who you are?  How do you want others to think of you?

In my life, I've been "defined" by others.  I was the youngest son of my parents.  I was the "little brother".  I've been the baseball player, the "computer guy", the "Star Wars fan".  I've been defined by my school, my work, my faith, my possessions, and my hobbies.  None of them has actually "defined" me, they have only categorized me so that people can make broad accusations about who I am.  I've never handled the labels well.  I've lashed out against them; attempted to set myself apart, even to my own detriment.  I've done things that I know looking back I was fully aware was the wrong path.  All of this in an attempt to "define me" to myself.  The then spreads out like tendrils to my relationships.  Do I keep a relationship for the wrong reasons, wanted to assume some aspect of another person by the association?  Do others keep a relationship with me because of who I associate with?  Do I have relationships that I am called to not have, because of the parasitic nature of the relationship?  

So the question comes down to this:  Who do others see when they see me?  If I really truly peel back the layers of self, and get beyond ego, I think we all crave acceptance of our true self.    The problem is that our "true self" we know is not the person that we truly wish to be.  I do not want to be defined by who I am in worldly eyes, no matter what the Enemy wishes to press on me.  I'm frail;  I'm self centered; I'm egotistical; I'm unworthy.  It's not until I'm broken and rebuilt and people see Christ in me that I am who I am meant to be.  I know it's a journey, at least for me;  each defining moment in my life reveals that without my continued total dependence on Christ I cannot remain an image that I will be okay with others accepting as me.  

1 Corinthians 13:12-13

The Message (MSG)
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.