"Do what you like. Like what you do." - the saying sewn onto a little tag on the tail of the new new shirt I'm wearing today.
"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." - Paul, in Ephesians 4:1
"Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot." - the title of a book that I haven't read
This morning, my son Shade came into my room and pushed me out of his way so he could sneak onto the edge of my bed. Usually he just falls back to sleep, but this morning he asks, "Do I have BMX biking practice this afternoon?"
"No. You have football practice," I sleepily mumble. Unfortunately, the BMX track is only open at certain times, so we can't go ride when it is convenient for us.
His mom added, "There are some parents of kids who grew up to ride BMX professionally who told me about practice stuff you can do at home. Like riding really fast, standing up, up and down the street. Also, doing push ups help you with your 'pumping' the handlebars."
Upon hearing that, my son, at 6:30am, when he is usually barely functional (like his dad), says quietly, "Dad, can I open your cell phone for some light? I'm going do some push ups right now."
We have found one of Shade's "sweet spots".
In the movie, Meet the Robinsons, a little orphan boy who is constantly and passionately "inventing things", most of which don't work, can't seem to get adopted because all the mom's and dad's that interview him want to know what traditional sports he likes to play (football, baseball, basketball, etc). The parents, full of great love, I'm sure, all had a pre-determined picture of what they wanted their child to be interested in and successful at...enough that when given the option to love this little boy or not with his interests, they chose not.
Fortunately, one of the highlights of this movie was when you meet the Robinson's-- the couple who would adopt this boy. They watched and listened closely to his heart, and then invested extravagantly and insanely in his passion. They bought a house with a large circular upper room above it, took the boy up there and said, "This room is for you, son, to invent anything and everything you can." Needless to say, the boy was set free, and he grows up to contribute significantly to the world for good.
My attentive wife took the message of this movie to heart. We've been signing my oldest son up for sports with his neighborhood buddies for years already (and he's only 7). He likes getting a hit, scoring a run, catching a pass, and hitting a basket, and shooting a goal...but he's not living for it like a bunch of his peers are. Carrie really noticed this when it was time to sign up for Fall Baseball a month or so ago. She enthusiastically asked Shade if he was wanted to play, and he first responded with "Nah," and then re-thinking, followed up with "Well, okay." Best I can tell, he loves being with all his friends, and if playing some sports is how to do it, then, well, okay.
Right then, Carrie took careful stock of what she already knows about Shade. He loves 'extreme' stuff... skateboarding, roller blading, bicycling, climbing. Shoot, we endured non-stop hounding from him the minute he found out about "heely's" (shoes with wheels in them) until he had a pair. So, Carrie got on the web one Saturday morning, found a BMX biking clinic about to take place that day by a professional BMX dude, asked Shade if he'd be interested in it, and off he went to the car beckoning us to hurry up and go. This was unreal...the same kid who in Fall baseball games asks the coach if he can sit on the bench each inning because "he's hot" spent 5 non-stop hours in the August heat, wearing a long sleeve BMX jersey and long pants, and wanted more when he was done. He loves it! He's thinking about it when he goes to sleep and when he wakes up. There's nothing wrong with him playing football, and he will learn and enjoy a lot of things through it, but for whatever reason, BMX Biking taps into something a little deeper...a little "truer".
It reminds me of the popular Scripture in Proverbs..."Train up a child in the way he should go." Not in the way I would have him go, or the way that I think will make him a good living...but the way he should go. This requires attentiveness, listening and faith.
I want to do this for all of my kids, which makes it so profoundly important that I'm doing it for myself. What is my "sweet spot"? What do I go to bed and wake up thinking about? In my life, am I doing the thing that taps into something a little deeper...a little "truer"? I want to do what Paul says...that is, live a life worthy of the calling I have received. But what is that calling?
I'm convinced that most of us fit our callings (or worse, disregard them entirely in order to fit) into some pre-determined molds that really keep us from living a life worthy of our callings. It's the devastating display of a human beings lack of creativity and faith to kill a part of his heart's desire and love because they see have been convinced that their calling is impractical.
A friend of mine yesterday told me of a reading he had done recently marking the differences between "men of reason" and "men of faith". A danger is that true "faith-full men" can so easily appear to be "unreasonable men." Related to that thought is the fear that resides in faith-full men...that they really are being unreasonable. And maybe they really are. Maybe God has designed it perfectly to where one must choose...be reasonable or be faithful.
May all that come behind us find us faith-full.
I hope all of you, my friends, are on the constant lookout for your sweet spot in life. I want to be ready for revolution every day, and I am in shameless need of company to have the courage to do it.