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They say that when the student is ready, the master will appear. Well, I am by no means a master; rather, I still feel like the perpetual student who is doing his best to study for one quiz only to find that life has another one prepared for him!
That said, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Maybe too much; I have been known to over-analyze and even trip myself up by thinking too much for my own good.
But I do that. My patriarchal blessing says I have a "keen, alert mind" which is sometimes both a blessing and a curse. And recently, because of my own station in the dating world, I have had to really take a look at myself in the mirror. Some good, long, hard looks. And I haven't always liked what I've seen. It can be empowering, yet a little embarrassing when you notice just how full of the "natural man" you may be. While sometimes the best things for us are those that bring about the toughest changes, they are still hard to make and I am humbly striving to make them the best that I can in order to make the most of this life and a recent opportunity that Heavenly Father brought into my life.
That said, here are three general observations that I have had lately about some common struggles that the midsingles community has seen or currently wrestles with. We often hold to the belief that God will bring the right person into our life; that is a good exercise in faith, but we may actually be preventing this occurrence through our own behaviors, beliefs, expectations and self-preserving patterns.
I do not mean to sound judgmental here because in reality I have had to deal with all three to some extent in my own heart and life. What I am writing is to both help and strengthen myself and also to perhaps help you take a look at some mental habits, patterns, expectations or fears that are holding you back.
Several years ago I was a member of a young single adult ward that was known across the United States as "The 90210 Ward" and "The Fashion Show." I remember my first few weeks in the ward, I would sit in the chapel before Sacrament and watch my brothers and sisters walk in as if they were headed to Fashion Week in Milan. Suits that cost $1,000 or more, outfits that must have been carefully cultivated to match both style and body type. While I wasn't exactly a starving student, I couldn't believe how much money was spent on clothes by these amazing men and women in their desire to stand out from the crowd. Yes, it is part of the dating ritual, to look your best to catch the eye and appear healthy, successful, stylish and even sexy. Shoes that cost more than some people make in a week, handbags that cost several day's worth of pay and enough jewelry to make Mr. T proud.
Having grown up in, around and immersed in sports since I was a little kid, The Finish Line has always been a big part of my life. Whether it was when I raced Junior Dragsters on the Bonneville Salt Flats and at the old Bonneville Speedway or racing bobsleds for over twenty years, racing towards that goal required extreme focus, quick reflexes, an agile mind and so much more.
Kind of like life, right?
As a keynote and motivational speaker I often compare our life's journey to a bobsled ride. There are thrilling rushes, frustrating setbacks, times of courage and moments of fear. Sometimes you hear the voice of the cheering crowds and others you worry that your big mistake is out there for all to see. Some races you win and some you lose, but you learn from both outcomes.
But at the end of the day, win or lose, and I emphasize this when speaking to youth groups and sports teams, you always, always shake your opponents hand and thank them for the game, because without them, there can be no competition.
I'm currently working on a few keynote speeches that I have to give this Summer and as i was writing about this very topic, I had a strange though: will I shake the Devil's hand once I cross the eternal finish line?
Now, I know what you're thinking: "He's the bad guy, the villain. He's tried to ruin your life and tempt you and lead you astray. He is full of hate and malice and loves to see you miserable. Why would you EVER shake his hand?"
Because he is going to help me reach the finish line in an even better state than I could on my own. Follow me on this.