It’s Time for a Good Old-Fashioned Ship Burning

This morning when I woke it was raining.  I made my way into the living room and sunk into my Lazy-Boy, wrapped in an afghan, watching the morning news, the last thing I wanted to do was get up and go to Church.

As I sat there, I debated with myself.  I could watch Church online, I could watch Church on TV, since the weather was bad no one would be at Church and I wouldn’t be missed.

Since the weather was bad, I needed to get up and go so that the Pastor and choir wouldn’t be in an empty church.

I debated and eventually got up and took a shower and left for Church.

Because of my morning debate, I arrived about 5 minutes late.  The sanctuary wasn’t as packed as normal, but a nice crowd had shown up.  I made my way into a row and joined with the others singing Praise and Worship music.

Over the past few weeks, we have been hearing a sermon series entitled “Obsessed.”  Pastor Adam has challenged us to live a life obsessed with the same things God is obsessed over.

I have enjoyed the series and as the finale, today’s message “Burn the Ship,” tied it all up in a neat bow.

Have you ever gone to Church and started listening to a sermon and thought “is he just preaching to me?”  Yeah, that happened to today.

As I explained in a recent blog post, I am at a Crossroads; my primary job is less than rewarding, the business I bought as an investment has become my joy and my passion is to write.

The sermon, based on scripture 1 Kings 19:21

21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

The basis of the sermon today is, when you are ready to begin anew, you must step out in faith with Plan A.  Plan B is just an excuse and shouldn’t be a fall back plan.

Back in the day, when explorers conquered new lands, they “burned their ships,” to symbolize their commitment to the ideals they were bringing forth.  This symbolism showing that they were “all in.”

When the time has come to make the journey that you feel the Lord is leading you towards, make that change with an EXPLANATION POINT…. not a period!

By burning the ship, you have eliminated the secondary option and prove you are “all in” with the new direction of your life.  Whew, that’s a lot to comprehend for someone who is at a Crossroads.

Ironically, I had a conversation with my Pastor on Friday, I told him about my Crossroads and where I felt I was being led.  As usual he listened and provided wise counsel.  Then today, he seemed to hit the nail on the head with points that gave direction to my heart.

I have made two big moves in my life.  Neither time did I know if it would work out, but I made those moves with faith that the Lord would show me the way.

When I moved to Florida in 1996, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have a job and had nothing but a movement in my heart telling me to go and faith that it would work out.

The move to Florida was the most courageous thing I have ever done, it worked out just fine.

I was enriched by people who will continue to impact my life until my last breath.  I developed my professional career with hard work, talent and determination and was rewarded with opportunities that I never saw coming.  And during my time in Florida I was given the opportunity by the residents of a small town to lead the direction of that town into the future as an elected official.

Most importantly, during those Florida years, my faith grew and became my guiding light through life.

The second big move was my decision to leave Florida and move back to God’s Country.   I had been being pulled back to the mountains of my youth by my heart for several years.

My fear in returning was that I wouldn’t fit in.  The friends I had known so many years ago wouldn’t accept me back and that I had been away from family for so long that a deeper connection wasn’t possible.

Those fears were quickly melted away by welcoming friends and family.  It hasn’t been perfect, sometimes it has been quite difficult, but like the move to Florida, the overwhelming results have been better than expected.

Now I am at a new crossroads and I am working hard to let my heart lead the course.

One of the points of Pastor Adam’s sermon today was that was we grow older and more comfortable we “stop living out our imagination and start living our memory.”

Who says that a certain age or level of comfort should lead our lives?  Why not keep living our imagination, an imagination that may turn away from what is comfortable and towards what is possible!

As I continue to evaluate the crossroads that sit before me, I will take these examples into account.  The faith I have employed when making major decisions hasn’t let me down in the past and I suspect it won’t in the future.

The kind words and prayers offered to me by many of you is appreciated as I evaluate my future.  While some may see this as a scary time, I am surprisingly calm and excited about the path ahead, I am at a crossroads, but the path ahead grows clearer by the day.

Imagination is a wonderful thing and sometimes when you put faith behind your imagination it may just come true!  I’m a firm believer that you are never too old to dream, sometimes you just have to burn some ships to get there.

One last thing about the rain that almost kept me home today…… it stopped while I was in the shower.  It’s interesting how the devil gives up when he loses.

I remain at a crossroads, but the direction signs are getting clearer,  When I step out in the direction it will bring me to the next stage of my life, I will do so in faith, excitement and an imagination knowing those “plan B” ships are better off burned.

Crossroads…..

When I moved back to Georgia almost two years ago, I thought I had the rest of my life figured out.

I would work for home on a job that I loved.  I would reconnect with family and friends and grow old in the mountains of my childhood.

This new simpler life would allow me to write the story that had been gnawing at my heart and possibly achieve that lifelong dream of publication.

After a year of getting accustomed to my new life, a business venture presented itself and I jumped at it.  My niece expressed an interest in being partners and everything fell into place.

The plan was for it to be a side venture, I would work it as needed and then eventually sell it in a couple of years, making myself and my niece a nice hefty profit.

The story continued to gnaw at me, but with my full time job, and a new business venture it disappeared further and further into the background.

Today, I find myself at a crossroads.

The business venture with my niece has become my passion and my joy!  Every day is a new adventure and I thoroughly enjoy being with her and the other people we have working with us.  We do fun work and get to impact people’s lives in fun, silly, loving, insignificant, earth-shattering ways.

The job that allowed me to move back to God’s Country and take on more responsibility and play a larger role in a company that I loved has done a complete 360.

Over the past 3 years, the company has now been bought and sold three times, I have had five direct bosses and I have gone from being a major decision maker to someone who has no voice and is told by 30-somethings on a daily basis that I don’t know how to do my job.

And then there is the story that continues to gnaw at me.

I am at a crossroads.  I love the business that my niece and I are creating, but for now it cannot afford me the financial stability I currently have.

My job is tenuous and frustrates me in ways that I never imagined.  Seeing my generation pushed out and replaced by 30-something wunderkinds is disheartening and something I would not have expected when we were sold the first time or even the second time…… but you know what they say, “the third time is the charm!”

And then there is the story, I find myself thinking about these characters constantly.  I am getting encouraging notes and emails from people out of the blue who tell me I should write more.  My passion for the story grows daily.

I am at a crossroads and know the road I want to travel, now if I only had the guts to make that dramatic turn.

I will keep moving forward with a faith that my journey has many twist and turns yet to maneuver and a confidence that the story, the passion and the rest will all work out as intended.

Life’s Playlist….. Danny Boy performed by BYU Vocal Point

Life’s Playlist….. Imagine performed by Pentatonix

The Scoreboard Doesn’t Always Tell the Full Story

One of the things I love most about living in a small town is the community spirit you find.  A perfect example of that spirit happened today.

The Rabun County High School Lady Cats played for the State Championship in Basketball….. they lost.

A loss anytime stings and coming so close to the championship is never easy, but the spirit and community pride that the players and coaches of the team created will live long into the story that this historic team wrote.

The young women who make up the Lady Cats team went further than any other major sports team in RCHS history.  Never before has a “major sport” been represented at the State Championship.

The young women were the first to play in a Final Four and the first to win in the Elite 8.  But more than wins and losses, the young women of the 2016-17 RCHS Lady Cats put their hearts on the court each time they played and until the final buzzer in the final second of the final game for the State Championship, they kept playing, they fought and they earned the respect of their competitors and the community they represent.

This season our team has been followed by friends, family, teachers, fellow students and general citizens around the State as they have played.

With each game they have brought pride to our community and given us something to cheer for.  We will cheer for this team long after the sting of this loss subsides.

While the young ladies who took to the court each night garnered most of the success they so richly deserved, I hope we will also remember their parents, siblings, grandparents, former coaches, teachers and friends who have helped shape them into the champions they are.

Pathways to success are created by legacies, these young women stand on the shoulders of many who came before and will be held up for their accomplishments by a grateful community.

The 2016/17 Lady Cats did something no other RCHS team has ever done…. Congratulations Champs, you deserve all the accolades that will come to you.  Not only for your play on the court, but for the examples you have shown to an entire community.