Competition

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I like to win. I hate to lose. That’s just a part of who I am. I took the Gallop Strengths Finder test a few years ago and found out that Competition is considered one of my top 5 strengths. I have never seen competition as a strength. I struggle when I lose and on occasion have been a poor sport. Upon winning, I have been known to perform a dance and chant that would rival many professional football players in the end zone.

When my kids were young, I had to constantly tell myself “it’s OK to lose. They are only 3 years old.”  I literally used self-talk to back off from beating them at Candyland or Hi Ho Cherrio. (For those of you gasping, obviously Competition isn’t one of your strengths/struggles.) I had to learn to lose to my toddlers. When they started learning strategy and skills, I let myself have a bit of fun and fully engage in games again. Now, they legit beat me at Clue, Monopoly, and card games. We just got a ping pong table and I’m already at a disadvantage. They are good athletes and took to the game quickly. My killer serve is easily returned. Ugh. We are a game playing family.

I have come to learn that my Competition strength leads me to excel and strive for excellence in all areas of my life. It is definitely a good thing. However, when it comes to playing games as a family, my unhealthy need to win often rears its ugly head. I see this same need in my middle daughter. She is a true competitor. She rarely loses, even in games of chance. She and I can have a nice time playing games until one of us snaps because we lost one too many. We both have had times where an apology was necessary.

Why do I write about this today? Because I want to encourage you to dust off an old board game and enjoy time with your family. If you are a family of one, invite friends over for an old-fashioned game night. If you are empty nesters, dust off those Yahtzee dice and turn off Wheel of Fortune. If you have littles, try a simple game or two that fits their skill level and attention span. Laughter always surrounds board games. My daughter had 5 kids in our game of Life yesterday. So she got a 2nd car and put it on top of the other car to make a double-decker van. It’s a time for silliness and relaxing. To keep us entertained during a lull in the games, we have been playing music in the background as well. Sometimes we take a break to listen, dance or sing-a-long. (OK I do that and my kids roll their eyes.)

Enjoy the air conditioning (it’s 100 degrees where I live right now) and enjoy one another. Too hot to be outside, so relax with an old-fashioned game time. I hope you get double sixes on every roll and make it to Millionaires acres.

Dream Big!

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Am I A Disciple?

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Yesterday’s sermon discussed what it means to be a disciple. I could regurgitate his four point outline but instead I will share what God impressed on my heart during the sermon. If I am to be a true follower of Christ (a disciple), I need to deny myself and pick up my cross daily.

Luke 9:23 NIV –  Then he (Jesus) said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Mark and Matthew also make a similar statement but only Luke says daily. I realized that I don’t daily dive into His word. I don’t daily deny myself. I don’t daily embrace His path for me. I don’t daily let Him lead. I don’t daily give Him first place. I don’t daily do it. I do it often. I do it more often than not but daily…that hit me hard.

The days I do deny myself and pick up my cross and follow Him, I’m good. I’m joyful. I have peace even in pain. I am connected to my source of life. I have energy to give to others. To live this way daily would be incredible and powerful.

So how do I do it daily? I don’t know. Discipline (obviously disciple and this word go hand in hand.)? Pray for help? Get an accountability partner? Find a mentor? Just do it?

All of those suggestions will help and lead to success in reaching a daily goal of being a disciple. However, some days I sleep in. Some days I watch too much TV. Some days I spend the day playing with my kids. Some days I hang out with friends. Some days I’m exhausted and go to bed early. Some days I don’t want to learn.

However, every day I check in with God. I connect with Him. I’m grateful. To live as a disciple daily, that doesn’t happen. I do want it to. My goal is to choose to be a disciple daily but I’m good with more often than not. So “more often than not” is the new goal. I can do that. Join me.

Dream Big!

 

Summertime

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…and the living is easy. I love that song. Remember when Fantasia sang it on American Idol? Phenomenal. I digress and I just started blogging. Sorry. It’s the reality of the beginning of summertime, the living ain’t easy.

The first week is recovery from the school year. We are all tired from parties, finals, wrapping up loose ends, and saying goodbye to friends we won’t see until mid-August. Sleeping in, staying up late, and eating at off times is the norm right now. We will find out groove but first we need to recuperate.

The second week is settling into a new rhythm. Play-dates, work, summer clinics, summer school, camp, and much more, pops onto the calendar. I printed out a free calendar with blank spaces for each hour of the day from Monday through Sunday. I color coded it and entered in our summer schedule. The kids can look at it whenever they need to see what’s up. We have a busy June but pretty mellow July. Rhythm will find it’s groove.

After we settle in, then the living is easy. We adjust to being together more often. We resolve disagreements (a.k.a. arguments) as they arise. We give one another space when we notice one of us is a bit snappy. Meals are casual. Chores get done throughout the day but not at set times like the school year requires. Board games get dusted off and played. TIVO gets down to 35% storage used not the usual 89%. Music is listened to. Ping pong is played. Naps are taken (usually just by me, but I’m grateful they let me.)

Enjoy the new pace of summer. Give yourself time to settle in. In a week or two, we will be there too. I look forward to the easy living of summer. I must be getting into the swing of it since I casually put off my blog for one day. Hope to stick with Monday, but hey, it’s Summertime.

Dream Big!

Amazing Race

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I love the television show Amazing Race. I have watched every episode, even their pathetic Family Amazing Race season. If you haven’t watched the finale yet, stop reading. This blog includes spoilers. If you aren’t familiar with the show, the premise is simple: several teams of two compete in a race around the world, solving clues and overcoming challenges to be the first one to the finish line to win 1 million dollars. It is funny, thrilling, exciting, and a view into the dynamics of the couples competing.

This last season, the winner disappointed our family. The guy deserved to win but his female partner drove us crazy. She whined about everything. Her mantra “I can’t do it.” happened every episode. She received help from other teams who felt sorry for her when she completely fell apart trying to finish a task. She felt no appreciation or remorse when she sailed past them to the finale. It became clear halfway through the final episode that they would win. I wasn’t happy.

You see I have a strong sense of justice. I felt the teams nicknamed “mom and dad” or team “lolo” were more deserving. They ran the race with minimal conflict. They remained positive. They worked together. They never got fed up and wanted to quit. For me, they deserve to win. Not a whining, fighting, screaming, intense team.

Why am I blogging about this? Because I want the “good” to be rewarded. I don’t know these people who are racing. They may be good or bad or somewhere in between. Truth is, on earth, we all are faced with good and bad stuff that happens, completely unattached to our “goodness” or “badness.”

Matthew 5:45 in the NIV Bible says “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

We aren’t exempt from trouble if we are “good” or even if we are Christians. The sun rises and sets on all of us. Troubles, or rain, falls on all of us too. The difference is, when Christians encounter rain, we turn to God for hope, help and comfort. What do those who don’t know Him do? We all having coping tools, but those who know God, have a friend not a tool. He provides us with comfort and direction.

I want the sun to rise on the good and rain to fall on evil, but it doesn’t work that way. Amazing Race challenges me every season to let it go when seemingly “undeserving” teams progress and “deserving” teams don’t. My black and white thinking doesn’t apply here, or anywhere actually. It’s a show, a reality show, but an edited reality show. The producers decide who I should like or not like based on how they edit the film. I know that. Yet, every season I let myself get caught up in which teams I root for and which ones I wish would get out.

In my daily life, I need to make sure my thinking doesn’t stay as limited as it gets when I watch my favorite show. I want the sun to rise on all of us. I want to encourage and comfort those who are facing troubles. I don’t care who is deserving of the circumstances. I care that I introduce them to my friend, Jesus, who is the best friend for sunshine and rain.

When the next season of Amazing Race starts again, I am sure I will go back to my judgement of teams. My hope is that it stays with me only for that hour of television watching. I want to be free of that mentality in my daily life.

Dream Big!