It's been quite awhile since I've last written anything. No blogs or journal, nothing to write down my thoughts or opinions. I'm honestly not very good at expressing myself on any type of journal, with the exception of the occasional moments of brillance where I feel like I HAVE to write something down.
Lately, I've been feeling that I need to write something. Not because I wanted to do it just for the sake of doing it, but rather, I've had a reoccuring thought that I can't seem to shake. Most of the time I shake it off and just think "eh, it's just a random thought" and that's the end of it. Not this time. This time I need to speak out.
As some of you know, back in October I participated in an obstacle course called "Tough Mudder" For those of you who have never heard of it, Tough Mudder is a 12 mile obstacle course (with usually about 20 obstacles) through backwood terrain, built by British Special Forces -- (Yeah, I know) It was a bit intense, to say the least. It had fire/smoke, electrical wire fields, artic water, and lots of mud. You PAID to do this and even signed a death waiver before you did it. The way I explain how the experience was -- Awesome and Awful.
That day there was a high of 55 degrees with a windchill of 50. You can't really wear a coat or anything warm while you're participating, so it's pretty much you and the elements. Oh, and the artic water I mentioned before -- was the second obstacle.
You are immediately thrown into survival mode. You have to keep yourself warm by running and moving, without stopping for anything. You are leaping walls, jumping over logs, and crawling on your stomach in the cold mud. The water splashes your face. The wind reminds you how vulnerable you are. You're exerting yourself to stay warm, while pacing yourself just to keep going. Thankfully, I was not alone on this quest of toughness as my friends Chelsea, Brad, and Lauren joined the fun.
There were several points throughout this day where there were "traffic jams", as I liked to call them. People would get to an obstacle or to a point where they didn't know what to do, so people stopped and waited or made up their own "route" to go. Our specific Tough Mudder was in Maysville, KY and the hills were steep as ever. After many muddy people walked the hilly paths up and down, the paths lost all traction and simply became muddy slides. People started going off path to avoid these muddy trails, and I'll admit I did this for a time. After awhile, I got frustrated with it and said four iconic words that stay with me to this day -- "I paid for this." Those words were my motivation. Those words were my driving force. Those words became my catch phrase throughout the day. I clung to them as if they were my warm blanket. I sipped on them as if a hot cup of coffee.
I took the hardest roads and faced every demon on that course from there on out. I attempted every obstacle and didn't let anything hold me back. When everyone else looked at the slip n slide that had electric wires hanging a few inches above it and said "No thanks!" I looked at that slip n slide and said "I PAID FOR THIS." and leaped with wreckless abandon. Sure, I ended up swallowing muddy water and getting shocked a few times, but I did it -- and dang did it feel good!
You see, some people will look at what I did and say "That's just an excuse to be wreckless." or "You didn't gain anything from it." and my response to those people is that life is not merely about playing it safe. Life is not about cutting corners and taking the easy way out. You get your hands dirty and you experience life. Sometimes you swallow the muddy, gritty water. Sometimes you cut your knees on the rocks in the mud. Sometimes you get shocked by lifes electrical wires. You breathe in the smoke from the fiery trials of existence. You. Live. Life.
My catch phrase is the not the same one I use in my everyday life, it is slighty different. It's different in this way. Instead of saying "I paid for this." I say "Jesus paid for this." And with those words I remember my savior who died, and gave me a real life to live. A savior who commanded "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.." (Matt 28:19)
Jesus certainly didn't tell me that life would be an easy ride to paradise. (Matt 24:9), nor did He tell me to live a sacrifice-free life (Mark 8:34-35)
He told me, through Paul, to run the race -- "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:1-3)
I don't know about you, but I have zero desire in my heart to live a life that does not have risks. I don't wan't to play it safe. I don't want easy. I want my spirit to sweat. I want to hurt so bad that it delights my soul.
We finished that obstacle course -- five hours later. I was tired. I was worn out. I slept like a baby that night - and I am so thankful that I did it without any limitations. No regrets. Left everything on that course.
Christ took the hardest road imaginable to save my weary soul, should I not do the same for His ultimate glory in my everyday life? If He can carry the cross through the mud, I must too live a life that takes me through the mud as I carry my cross. (Matthew 16:24-26)
We all have a story, and the beauty is this my friends, when you give it all you've got and keep going for His name sake -- you win. (Hebrews 6:10 - Psalm 37:27-29 - John 3:16 - Romans 8:38-39)