Our West Virginia trip was amazing. Luke, my brother, Dave, and his two boys, Sam and Joe had a great time of building relationships and creating memories while around the campfire, climbing on rocks and whitewater rafting.
On the first day, Luke and I connected with another former Marine and he invited us to climb with his group and to use their gear, which we didn't have (yet). What a blessing that offer was. Luke and I were able to climb multiple walls, but the biggest was a 70' face that you can see behind the title of this post. What an exhilarating experience it was! The higher you climbed the more desire you needed to make it to the top. I loved every second of it, but there were challenges along the way that delayed that desire to get to the top. The view was incredible as you climbed, but as you turned around and looked down you realized just how high you were. Honestly, I loved this part, but some in the group made comments about the scariness of it. There was a place in the wall that you had to traverse without any handholds. It was sweet, but again it was a little shaky. It was only my desire and the encouragement from my son and newfound friends that enabled me reach the top.
I was at work the other day in a meeting where we were discussing our growth in our spiritual lives. One of my friends, Eric, used an analogy about a car that struck me. (No, not that hit me, LOL, but that probed at my mind a bit.) He said, "You are either accelerating or you are essentially putting on the brake. Even if you are just coasting, it is really just a slow stop." That really made me think about how many times in my life, I have just coasted. In my spiritual life and also in a lot of other areas as well.
I had to ask myself a series of questions: Am I just coasting in my career? Am I just coasting in my marriage? Am I just coasting in the leading of my kids? Am I just coasting in my spiritual life? As I sat and reflected on this, the answer to all of these questions was, unfortunately, yes. Not all the time, but way too often.
I think just being self-aware that my human inclination is one where I am going to want to just coast, makes me mindful that I need to keep pressing on in my career by being more hungry to learn and grow. It makes me mindful that I need to strive to be a better husband and a better father. It makes me mindful that I need to continue to grow in my spiritual life and in showing love to others more than myself.
I reflected more about what "accelerating" really meant and as I thought, I began to think that what it means is putting ourselves in places that are a little uncomfortable for us, like that 70' cliff wall. Places where we may not be the expert and we have to lean on others to help us to be successful. This can be humbling and tough because of our prideful hearts, but this is exactly what John Maxwell states is a level 5 leader. One that is humble and one that has the desire to grow. In other words, one who wants to accelerate.
My son, Luke, made a comment the weekend after we got home from our trip to West Virginia. To set the stage, I have been waiting for him to decide on what college he is going to go to for a while and he finally had decided. He decided on Purdue University. This was significant because Purdue will challenge him in multiple ways right off the bat. He applied late to the engineering program and didn't get accepted so he has to reach certain GPA to get accepted after the first semester. This will be a challenge for sure. On top of that, he has decided to join the Marine Corps ROTC program where he will be competing for a national 3.5 year scholarship and enduring the rigor of the USMC. All this to say that after he told me he decided on Purdue and to take on this challenge, he said, "Well, Dad, if I don't take on this challenge, I will never know if I am able to overcome it." That is desire and that is a person who wants to accelerate. I believe with that level of desire, he will succeed. He inspired me that day to not coast, to not stop, but to accelerate in all that I do.
My hope is that he may have inspired you too. Whatever your challenge is today or this week, don't quit and definitely don't just coast. Remember that coasting is just a slow quit... Eventually you will stop. You are a leader! Take on that challenge. Push onward and grow.