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Friday, December 26, 2008


Us making our shackles at the ALT 2 Retreat

In 2001, I was privileged enough to be apart of a class. A class that changed my life. Eight years later, I still glean from the lessons that I learned over that four month period. The class was was called ALT 2 (Advanced Leadership Training) part 2. Yes, there was a part 1, and I did complete it, but it was part 2 that left the deepest engraving upon my life. We did a lot of extreme things during that process, and one was a shackle that we wore on our ankle. At the end of the class, we (my youth pastor, a friend and myself) stood alongside a road up highway 14 and threw our shackles down a steep cliff. The shackles had beads that spelled out the word SISU. SISU, this single simple word means never giving up, tenacity of purpose, steadfastness against all odds, and courage even in the face of death. We purposed that we no longer needed the shackle as a reminder of SISU but that it had become the very essence of who we were, the very breath that we breathed.

Only eight years later, I find myself in a place of mediocrity. I have been sitting at a crossroads waiting, wondering, agonizing over which path to walk down. Either choice changes life’s course. It has consequences. Risk. I am afraid to move. I am afraid to feel, to risk to lose. I am paralyzed by the intense fear. I walk down one path only to walk right back to where I started. I walk down the other testing to see how that path feels. If maybe, perhaps, there will be some great big clue, some mystery revealed in the surroundings. Only, I am reminded of something my youth pastor once said. Yes, even at nearly 30 years old, I will always consider him my youth pastor. He said, "True leadership begins where tyrannical, oppressive domination of your self-absorption ends. Where passion, courage, and self-discipline crush the weakness in your mind. Where commitment, honor, and tenacity of purpose enforce direction upon your will. Courage must conquer your desire for comfort, and control the fear that seeks to rule your life." The quote rings loud in my ears. A slap in my face for having known better. I have lost my passion (my vision), even though it has been in front of me the entire time. I just had not unveiled my eyes to see it. It is very comfortable sitting at my crossroads. Only, I have been there too long. And now the path is crystal clear. There is fear where I am called to go. I am scared. But I am even more scared to not go. To waste more time just sitting letting life go by. I know that this may not make any sense to some readers, but my blog is a life journal of the things that I go through. This is just me. Working out my faith in a real way. Writing it down, makes it real for me. It organizes my thoughts and gives me peace. And I share with you, because I want you to see me for who I am, flaws and all.

After some rather lengthy discussions with Mark about truth, about fear, about life. We decided that when the weather clears, I will go back to the spot where I threw my shackle over the cliff 8 years ago(even though I can't recall where exactly that was) and throw over that cliff a representation of what has bound me, what has paralyzed me, what has kept me from fully embracing the vision, the plan that God has been calling out of me. And once again, I will reclaim SISU for my life. Whatever It Takes.

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