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Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservations. ~ Elton Trueblood

Yesterday I heard one of society’s common phrases: I’ll believe it when I see it.

It’s important to revisit our core values and beliefs frequently, and that statement brought me back to two of my guiding principles. Continue Reading »

Flat Tires Happen

Happy Saturday! If you’re new to THE CRAZY QUEST, you may wish to read about it here. Basically, I’m tracing my journey as I attempt to answer the question: What would you do if you didn’t know you couldn’t do it?

This week of training: 143 miles

FLAT TIRES HAPPEN

 

Climate is what we expect. Weather is what we get. Mark Twain

flat tireEvery cyclist knows that flat tires are going to happen.

You don’t know where or when, but flats are part of cycling. You try to avoid stuff on the path, you maintain the tires and tubes, but no matter what you do you’re going to get a flat occasionally.

It’s probably just perception, but flats seem to occur at the worst times. It’s raining, or you’re running late, or you’re miles from nowhere. Flats never seem to happen in front of a bike shop.

Life’s the same way. Stuff happens, often at inconvenient moments. We can’t control a lot of it, but our attitude goes a long way toward determining how unexpected events impact us.

In a cycle ride, the joy of the journey is often determined by how you respond to adversity. You can get angry, curse your bad luck, complain that it’s not fair. None of that solves the problem, and it usually makes the rest of the ride miserable.

Or you can chuckle, get out your tools, and fix the flat. And if you don’t have the right equipment or skills, you can ask someone to help. The generosity of other riders is amazing.

Same thing with life. A flat tire’s a small inconvenience, but your response can cast it as a catastrophe.

I want to try harder not to sweat the small stuff.

Have you ever experienced an unexpected “flat tire” in your life? How did you respond?

Related articles:

Enjoy The Easy Terrain

You Have To Climb The Hills

Be Your Own Engine

There’s A Top To Every Hill

The Crazy Quest

Rich Dixon is an author and motivational speaker. His first book is Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance.

Learn more about the story of Relentless Grace at: www.relentlessgrace.com

Subscribe to receive blog updates via email

Note: This article is a regular Friday feature that’s also posted at SetFreeToday.com

You can’t base your life on other people’s expectations. ~ Stevie Wonder

We waste a lot of time and energy trying to conform to the expectations of others. Our desire to meet someone else’s standards diminishes us in at least two ways.

“Their” expectations may direct us to actions that don’t add value to our lives. Sometimes I follow the crowd and act in a manner that contradicts my personal values, or fail to speak up in the face of wrong because of what “they” might say. Perhaps I scramble for excess material possessions because “they” expect a particular appearance.

Whatever form it takes, we waste precious moments whenever we do something because “they” expect it.

“Their” expectations may prevent us from reaching our potential. Society puts me in categories that tell me that certain goals are impossible. When I listen to “their” voices, I also accept their limitations.

desertThis is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17: 5-8)

When I try to meet the world’s expectations, I’m a prisoner sentenced to wander endlessly in a desert of subjective standards. I’m isolated from the source of strength and refreshment, searching madly for affirmation and approval. I’m doomed to constant, unquenchable thirst, always seeking but never finding true contentment.

When I trust God, I’m free. Rather than scrambling to meet “their” standards, I can rest by the stream, confident that He’ll meet my needs. By trusting the source of eternal truth instead of trying to hit the world’s arbitrary moving target, I can be assured that my efforts won’t be wasted. Nourished by the stream that never runs dry, I can know that I’ll produce the sort of fruit that will allow me to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

The world wants me to believe that I’ll never be good enough, that my past mistakes and failures imprison me in a barren wasteland of regret and guilt. By “their” standards, I’m destined to hopelessness, isolation, and despair.

That’s not God’s message. The same stream that nourishes and strengthens also washes away the past and offers a fresh, clean beginning. I can rest in His hands and trust Him.

I can be free.

What’s one of “their” expectations that keeps you isolated and trapped? 

Related articles:

Average

Who’s Running The Show?

The Mob

Rich Dixon is an author and motivational speaker. His first book is Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance.

Learn more about the story of Relentless Grace at: www.relentlessgrace.com

Subscribe to receive blog updates via email

What Do You Expect?

Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. Garth Brooks

Most of my frustrations arise from my own unmet expectations.

I always seem to begin a project with the unspoken idea that nothing will go wrong. Somehow, I acquired the notion that things are supposed to happen according to my plans.

But life doesn’t work like that. Unanticipated obstacles frequently appear. Important events rarely transpire precisely as I expect. I don’t want to travel through life peering around the corner for the next disaster, but things would be a lot easier and calmer if I learned to perceive the bumps and detours as an integral part of the journey.

Stuff happens. Life is what occurs along the road, not where I arrive at the end. It’s important to plan and prepare, but the quality of the journey is often determined by how I handle the events, challenges, and opportunities I didn’t anticipate.

I didn’t plan on being a quadriplegic, and I wouldn’t choose that circumstance if offered a do-over. But I wasted a decade in anger and depression after my injury, because it wasn’t supposed to be this way. When I finally decided to move forward, I encountered a number of interesting, rewarding opportunities that awaited me on my new path.

How frequently do I miss beauty or generosity or excellence because I interpret an event as a problem? What will “go wrong” today that might lead me toward something better than anything I might have planned?

What’s an expectation that’s caused frustration for you?

Related articles:

The World’s Best Excuse

Regret

The Illusion Of Normal

Rich Dixon is an author and motivational speaker. His first book is Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance.

Learn more about the story of Relentless Grace at: www.relentlessgrace.com

Subscribe to receive blog updates via email

Happy Saturday! If you’re new to THE CRAZY QUEST, you may wish to read about it here. Basically, I’m tracing my journey as I attempt to answer the question: What would you do if you didn’t know you couldn’t do it?

This week of training: 103 miles

ENJOY THE EASY TERRAIN

You’re either climbing a hill, you’ve just finished one, or you’re about to begin a climb.

That’s a paraphrase of the way many riders view the terrain, but I’m not certain it’s accurate. The hills are the most memorable, but the majority of most rides contain relatively flat, unremarkable terrain. Continue Reading »

Note: This article is a regular Friday feature that’s also posted at SetFreeToday.com

GeeseImitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
(1 Corinthians 11:1)

Do I strive to imitate Jesus? Do you?

I say His prayer, occasionally. I write about Him; I attempt to be aware of His presence; I try to ask myself, “What would Jesus do?” when I confront a difficult decision.

I do a lot of stuff that may outwardly appear as attempts to follow His teachings. But do I truly seek to imitate Him? Continue Reading »

The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. We are dealing with somebody we made up.Rob Bell

God%20speaksI recently encountered an interesting question in Brent Cunningham’s blog: “Does God really ‘forget’ when He forgives?”

For me, Brent’s article prompts another question: “Do you think you understand God?”

My answer would be an unqualified, “No.” But then I’d need to immediately qualify my unqualified answer. Continue Reading »