Sunday, October 23, 2011

Daddy's Girl

I may be a teacher by trade, but I learn more and more with each day that passes...not just professionally, but in all aspects of life. If we allow ourselves to be open, our lives can truly be enhanced by all that is around us. 

I have learned the importance of family over the past few years. My family is very tight knit. We have an abundance of wonderful memories of times together. I admit, I have resented the closeness of my family at times. It can feel smothering, annoying, and exhausting. However, the more time I spend with children from broken homes, the more I come to treasure and embrace my family, despite the parts which exhausts me. 

I have always been a daddy's girl. I am like my dad in many ways. I am following in his career footsteps...not just because I admire him, but because I am truly passionate about children and education, and I, too, have been blessed with the gift of teaching. I value health, wellness, and physical fitness. I am an introvert, but can be an extrovert as well. I am an early rising creature of habit who craves routine. 

My dad and I have been training together for a marathon and ran a 20K trail run this past weekend. It was truly a blast. The scenery was wonderful, the weather was perfect, and his company and encouragement was superb. I don't think he expected us to do as well as we did, but when faced with competition, I can't help but push for success. 

When I originally approached my dad about doing a marathon together, he was hesitant. He felt his marathon days were over and the time commitment would be too great. I didn't push him to change his mind, but momma did. She knew how valuable our training time would be. She couldn't have been more right. Every run has been full of conversation, sometimes about things I am very hesitant to share. 
We completed the Palo Duro Trail Run together. 
 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease almost 8 years ago. It made for some very tough years for me. I am naturally a go-getter with an abundance of energy. I wanted to experience life the way my peers did, but unfortunately, that was hard for me. I tried many different forms of pain management, and continued to struggle until Fall 2010. I finally had enough and went a totally different route. 

A year later, I can honestly say I cannot remember feeling this good. I still have bad days, but the transformation has been remarkable. The other day, my mother reminded me how much of a testimony my running has become. Two years ago, I longed to run, but a 5k was taxing. It would take me days to prepare and I would feel the repercussions of the intensity for days after. And now, I have outrun myself and pushed myself to do more than I ever thought I could. 

I think this testimony spills over into other areas of life. I think it is really easy for us to make excuses for ourselves and set the bar low because that is what is safe. We have to be daring enough to strive for more! Because, most the time, the battle is in the mind. We tell ourselves we will fail, and our body and actions deliver just as we expected. Winning the battle of the mind is the hardest part. Once won, our actions will fall right into place. 

So, that brings me to another point. PERFECTION. I think this word is kind of ugly. Yet, it tends to be my goal more often than not. I have realized I am not alone on the journey to perfection. As a society, we have kind of become "All or Nothing" liars. We live our lives aiming for everything to fit the "perfect" mold. And, when that can't be achieved, we typically give up. We start a workout plan, and eat poorly, so we nix the plan and continue our poor habits. We try a career path, and find it unfulfilling, so we quit. We  try a relationship, and don't get what we want, so we break it off. We make a friend who lets us down, so we let the friendship die. And, unfortunately, in the midst of it all, we are thinking only of ourselves. We try to tell ourselves it is for the best, and sometimes it is, but usually, it's just easier to give up than to push through. 

My daddy and I made time to go see Courageous tonight. It was the perfect daddy-daughter date. The only thing that would have made it better was having momma and sissy along. I think this movie spoke right to this point of perfection. There is no such thing as a perfect dad, a perfect mom, or a perfect spouse. 

When it comes to relationships, looking for perfect will only let you down. It takes work, commitment, time,  and love. And by love, I mean true love. The patient, kind, never rude, never selfish, forgiving kind. It isn't natural, it is HARD! But, that is what makes it beautiful. Unlike many children, I have seen this love modeled well. I have taken it for granted at times, but I am blessed to have it modeled for me. I have high expectations because of the strong man of God who raised me. But, I don't regret that. I deserve that, and so do you.
Daddy had just finished a road run when this picture was taken. I was cheering him on in the cold!
We are given the choice every day to accept defeat or push through for more. We are guaranteed trials, struggles, and set-backs. However, the finish line looks so much better when we arrive a little beaten down. We must look toward our goals so we do not lose sight of them. We must constantly reassure ourselves that the journey is worth it.And, we must be confident that our perseverance will be rewarded. 

The following is a blog post I came across about perfection vs. excellence...

Excellence vs Perfection

Excellence vs Perfection: where is the line drawn? We must strive to be perfect, The Letter written to us by The Greatest Author of all time tells us so, but there is a difference between striving to be perfect (excellence) and being perfect (Impossibility).

Philippians 3:12 (NIV)
Pressing on Toward the Goal

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me

1 Peter 1:16 (NIV) states, "for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

What we must understand is that perfection and excellence have the same goal, we arestriving to become perfect, we will not obtain perfection in this lifetime (impossibility)... we will not become perfect until we are in Eternal union with The One who is 'Worth It', but we must strive, we must 'press on' towards this perfection and this striving is what is known asexcellence...

Perfection is the goal (Eternal Life), excellence is the way to achieve it....
No one is perfect... that's why pencils have erasers. ~Author Unknown

So how does this relate to our everyday lives? Here is a list of trying to achieve perfection in the here and now and excellence which is achievable in the here and now...

Perfection says, "It's partly cloudy"
Excellence says "It's partly sunny"
Perfection is throwing one interception and losing confidence
Excellence is throwing 5 interceptions, yet coming back to lead your team to victory (see Dallas Cowboys vs Buffalo Bills week 5, 2007 NFL)
Perfection is performance based
Excellence is based on improvement

Perfection can make a victory become a failure
Excellence can turn a failure into victory
Edison example (invention of a battery): Edison must be ready to quit after having performed some 50,000 tests without success. "You must be pretty downhearted with the lack of progress", the assistant said. Edison replied, "Downhearted? We've made a lot of progress. At least we know 50,000 things that won't work!"

Perfection says, "God I am in control"
Excellence says, "God I am yours"

Perfection states intentions
Excellence creates actions

Perfection leads to insecurity
Excellence leads to greatness ( A human being in The Hands of God is an amazing tool for Greatness - Erwin McManus)

Perfection fears mistakes
Excellence sees opportunities

Perfection leads to a mess
Excellence leads to God creating a work of beauty out of our mess

Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence. ~Rosalynn Carter

A person's pursuit of goodness leads to greatness, but the pursuit of greatness leads to ruin, Pursue goodness and you will achieve great things. ~ John E Kramer Vice pres for communications Institute for Justice

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