And by the time I said "Amen", my head was on my pillow and I figured God would understand I was just "too tired to pray." You'd think that as a grown adult, that my lazy approach to prayer was in the past. Well....sometimes I catch myself saying that pathetic prayer.
We had to swim across frigid waters only to be blasted with a freezing windstorm. Obstacles became more intense and we were sopping wet. Some members experienced early signs of hypothermia while others crumbled to severe muscle cramps. I began to question: "How are we going to finish as a team when we still have so far to go?"
As the conversation continued, I could feel things change. At first I couldn’t put my finger on it. But then I recognized it. The love of God permeates from this man! I found myself enjoying in his goodness and I knew I was interacting with a genuinely humble person. Something told me THIS is what I should be working for.
My first judgement was this man in dangerous. He was tall and huge with a long gray beard and wearing a leather jacket. Who knows how long since his last haircut or his last arrest or assault. And from his body language and his walking pace towards me, I knew he meant business. I needed to run and run fast. But he was too fast for me.
Recently I told family and close friends I lost my desire to live. Their faces turned to shock and concern as they assumed I was suicidal. But suicide was far from my mind. I wasn’t depressed or miserable. I was actually mentally and emotionally healthy & content. But there was an absence of joy and peace and the feeling that my life had purpose.
When I was planning my vacations for 2015, I wanted a discipleship journey. Some type of trip that I could focus on becoming like Jesus Christ; do as He would do if He was here. I thought of a service road trip across the United States or a visit to the Holy Lands. I finally decided on an 18-day volunteer trip to China where I would serve the Chinese people through teaching English and helping in an orphanage of handicapped children.
I’m learning that a relationship with God takes long hard work, that no matter how much we think we like ourselves, we need to feel it. And we trust love from people most when they see us as we really are. One of the byproducts of all of this was learning to receive love and give love. And learning why and how God loves me was the start of it all.
"The next time you feel unhappy, remember where you came from and where you are going. Rather than focus on things that dampen your thoughts with sorrow, choose to focus on those things that fill your soul with hope. You will realize that these things are always connected to serving God and our fellowmen."
I use to appear painfully awkward when throwing a football. I threw like a drunken monkey with no sense of direction or strength. My stomach would churn when someone would say, “hey Josh, throw that ball over here.” It’s one thing for me to safely portray my masculinity as an Idaho farm boy. But not knowing how to throw a football seemed almost unmanly.