Sunday, February 6, 2011

living intentionally, racing without fear.

If you’ve been looking for the perfect book to get you back into reading, this is it. It’s the type of book you can’t bear to put down, but you’ve got to pace yourself in order to savor each and every page. It’s the type of book that makes you want to hunker down under the covers with a cup of tea and never come out (well, over two feet of snow can do that too, but having this book is a bonus!). And if you’ve got a book but no tea, try Honey Vanilla Chamomile by Celestial Seasonings. I promise you won’t be sorry. 
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is a fabulous read that reminds you how to fight for something you care about deeply. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the plot because I really want you to read the book, but the story is told by a dog named Enzo whose owner Denny must fight tooth and nail to keep his family together. Now, for those of you who know me well, I am NOT an animal person, so the thought of reading a story narrated by a dog was a bit of a strange concept for me. Except that this dog is the most loyal, the kindest, and the wisest of all animals I’ve ever ‘met’. At one point, Enzo speaks about Denny’s character and strength, and when he spoke, I had to immediately jot down what he had said: 
“There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.”
What a beautiful thing to say. In our culture of winners and losers, of gold-medalists and benchwarmers, of those who get promoted and those who are left behind, it’s good to remember that there is no dishonor in losing the race, but that dishonor only comes when we are afraid to race at all. Whatever it is that you’re going through, whatever you’re fighting for, whatever you’re considering but haven’t yet committed to, remember not to be afraid to lose. If it’s something you are passionate about, the race is worth running, no matter the outcome. 
For me, the race right now is getting out there and finding a job. I’m scared of the race because for the first time in my life, I don’t know what the next step is. I’m scared because I’m still learning how to go out there and start searching, and I’m scared that I won’t love my job, live up to my potential, or find anything at all. But the race is out there, ready to be run, and it’s time. I’ve watched some wonderful friends put themselves out there in big ways in the job market in order to find their dream job, and now it’s time to emulate what they’re doing. What’s your race? What in your life is so worth it that you’re willing to race, even if you fail? Let’s get out there.

A couple more thoughts...A big part of why I'm doing this reading challenge is because I want to live my life intentionally. That surely means planning my time so that I can accomplish my reading goals, but I want it to be so much more than that. My good friend Casey is one of those people who lives life intentionally, and right now she's dedicated to spending time each day in the prayer room on campus. This week, I'm going to be in the prayer room with her, supporting her challenge and learning from her how to be more deliberate in my prayer life. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends who are passionate about living an intentional life, like Liz who's reading with me this month (were going to give The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson another try this week). If you've got something you're doing in 2011 to live intentionally, I'd love to hear about it and be a part of it! 

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