Tag Archives: trust

The top 5 regrets people make on their deathbeds

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My sister-in-law, Lisa, shared a link on Facebook to an article with the above title. The list was compiled by a woman named Bonnie Ware who worked for many years with the dying.  The #1 deathbed regret?

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Ms. Ware writes, “Most  people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”  Ms. Ware encourages us to honour our dreams before a lack of health limits or eliminates our choices.

I question my sanity regularly, especially since I began working for myself just as the recession was beginning to bloom.  What kind of crazy person does that?  But my gut keeps telling me the same thing: Keep moving forward. I am learning that when you go after your passion, there really is no roadmap. Even with a business plan in hand, you have test your assumptions and make adjustments on a daily basis.

You also have to become very comfortable with uncertainty.  If you can trust God, this isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s a good place to be. I often find myself having conversations with God that go something like this: “Ok, God, I’m moving forward with this idea.  Are you watching?  Ok…here I go.  Stop me if this is wrong!” And then I trust that God will do just that.

testing the waters

photo by Brian Uhreen

I’m not sitting around waiting for daily epiphanies before I move. I’m just sticking my toes in the water and watching to see if they part.  If they do, guess what?  I’m moving. You’ll soon find me making my way across the riverbed. If the waters don’t move, it’s time for a route correction. And if I’m listening, I can hear those heavenly GPS directions and adjust to them while I’m in motion. It is much, much harder if I’m stuck in neutral. My friend Sonya said her father used to remind her,  “It’s very difficult to turn the wheels of parked car.”

Don’t sit around wondering if you can pursue your passion. Just go after it, but keep an eye and ear peeled to heaven for those route corrections. You can trust.

(You can read the full article about deathbed regrets at http://thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2011/05/31/the-top-5-regrets-people-make-on-their-deathbeds/)

What’s got you?

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A few years ago I went rappelling. Can I just be honest and say that I was pretty much terrified?!  The first try was from the top of a climbing tower, only about 60 feet high, but the climb alone was freaking me out.  If not for the fact that I was supervising a group of middle and high schoolers, I might have chickened out, but my pride was on the line.  When it was my turn, the guide took me by the hands and said, “Okay, turn around and face me.” He turned me to face him with my back to the edge of the platform.

“Now walk backwards until you’re just standing on the edge with your toes.”

Was he SERIOUS? 

Charlie had been doing this for years. A modern-day mountain man, he was a little grizzled and rough around the edges, but he was gentle with the kids and with me. He was in his late 50s, and somehow the fact that he was NOT twenty-something was incredibly comforting at that moment.

“Charlie, I’m a mom.  I need to be alive after this for my kids, ok?”

Charlie laughed.  “Just keep your eyes on me, ok?  Trust me.  Now step back.”  He held my arms while I closed my eyes and then quickly opened them again because he said, “Keep looking at me!”  I inched backwards until I could feel my heels dangling off the ledge.  “Keep your eyes on me,” Charlie coaxed.

Fat chance I’m looking anywhere else!

“Now, just sit down.”

“Sit down? You mean…as in sitting?”

“That’s it, just squat down like you’re gonna sit in a chair. You’ll see.  The ropes and harness’ve gotcha!”  He had that wide-eyed smile of a father watching his kid learn to ride a bike.

“Ok, Charlie, if this thing doesn’t hold, I’m gonna haunt you in the after-life.”

Charlie grinned. “Just do it.”  I leaned back and squatted down, as though easing into a La-z-boy…and…amazing!  It really did feel like I was sitting in a chair.  The harness and ropes were dead secure.

Instantly, I lost all fear.  I looked up at Charlie in surprise, and he caught my expression.

“See? I told you. It’s got you. Now just push away from the wall and have fun flying down.”  And that’s exactly what I did.  It was exhilerating!  It was over in just a few seconds, but I could’ve done that all day.  When we graduated to scaling off a mountainside a couple days later, I felt like an old pro, “Pfffff, I got this!”  All because I knew that the ropes and the harness and the guys on belay had me secure.

That’s what trusting God is like.  It’s so scary to go out on a ledge, until you step off the edge and sit into your fear. Only then can you know the safe and strong arms that have “got you.”  I love that scene in Indiana Jones where Jones, in order to solve a riddle, realizes he must take a “leap of faith” off a monumentally scary cliff side.  He sees no alternative but to stick his foot off the edge and walk. When he takes that step, he is amazed to discover solid ground beneath him.  The bridge was there all the time, but it was disguised in such a way that he couldn’t see it until he was actually on top of it.  What a great image of trust.

Trust is a mysterious and powerful thing when we stake our lives on something–or Someone–worthy of our faith. My rappelling experience was only as secure as the equipment and the experience of those on belay, both of which proved to be reliable. There are trustworthy arms ready to catch and hold us.  But we will never know them until we step off the ledge.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

Pack up your camel and go

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three camels

© Albertoloyo | Dreamstime.com

What do you do when your brain turns to fuzz and you need to get the cobwebs out of your head?  Today is Epiphany, which is, traditionally, the day the wise men arrived to find the Christ child. An “epiphany” has come to mean a sudden awakening or realization.  I wrote a couple of days ago about how I had a little epiphany of my own while vacationing in Italy. Like the wise men, I discovered that if you want to find truth, sometimes you just have to pack your camels and go after it!

Psychiatrist Ed Hallowell, author of Crazy Busy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and about to Snap!, is a real advocate for the idea of walking away.  He notes that sometimes our brains are stuck in a loop like a scratched record. We spin away, but we keep hitting that same scratch over and over. We become the noise in our own brains. At that point, it’s time to move. Get up. Go for a walk. Meet a friend for lunch. Pray. Dance. Get out of town for a few days—or even longer if possible.

Again, it’s about trust. Just put that thing you are chewing on into bigger hands and TRUST.  Before you know it, the solution to that problem you’ve been looping over and over in your brain becomes clear.  It’s really weird how that happens.  Kind of like your “big idea” waits politely for the fuzz in your brain to move over and make room for new ideas to settle into your soul.  And if there’s no room for simple ideas, there’s even less room for imagination…for wonder…for amazement.  And what is life if you aren’t filled with wonder and amazement now and then?We become the noise in our brains

The wise men had the right idea. Walk away from your daily work, your routine—even sometimes from all that you know.

Follow that star!

So what about you? What do you do when it’s time to hit the reset button?

© 2011 L. Kay Johnson, L is for LaNita. All rights reserved.

Yes Man

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Leaping Bride and GroomI just went to see Jim Carey’s new movie, “Yes Man,” and YES, I recommend it. The main character makes a covenant to say “yes” to anything that comes his way. ANYTHING. Of course, the fun is in watching that idea played out to its ridiculous extreme, but I admit it really made me think about how playing it safe is a learned, and sometimes dangerous, behavior. Just a few weeks ago, Barry and I were getting ready for a trip, and in the madness of wrapping up work projects, arranging for the dog sitter, cleaning house, paying bills, and doing all kinds of last-minute errands, I suddenly remembered the days when I could just throw a change of clothes (or not), a clean pair of underwear (or not), and a toothbrush (or not) into a bag and GO!For our honeymoon, we had a plane ticket to Greece and the first two hotel nights booked. That was it. And we had 4 weeks off! Nevermind that the trip turned out to be a total disaster. We’ve enjoyed years of storytelling mileage from it. And even though that trip ended with us literally panhandling on a German train to get back home to Amsterdam (long story), we have great, albeit quirky, memories–like waking up to a Mediterranean sunrise on a ship to Crete. Or like the waiter in Crete who kept giving us the “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” and asking us how many times we “did it” when he found out we were newlyweds. Or the old men who sat around the open squares gossiping and playing with worry beds. Or the lone mountain goats on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Australian hitchhikers who were grateful for a lift in our rental half-car. Bored cafe owners who would send us into the kitchen to point to our dinner selections. If we had not said yes to the disastrous bits,we’d have missed all the fun bits.

I can think of two reasons we learn to say no: 1) We are wiser. We’ve been there and done that, and we SHOULD say no, OR 2) We are afraid. We have been there and done that and we are scared. We’re afraid to be vulnerable to hurt, pain, loss of control…whatever. Maybe the good thing about getting older is that if we are really honest, we can know when we are being wise and when we are just chickening out. I think risk-taking is probably like the “use it or lose principle” in exercise. The less risk we take, the less we are able to take. I’m going to work out my risk-taking muscle a little more by challenging myself to one new “yes” a day. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

© 2009 L. Kay Johnson, L is for LaNita. All rights reserved.