Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Hamster Wheel

Often, in life, we make comparisons. It helps us to visualize an outcome or a process. Life goes by pretty fast as it is and often we can feel overwhelmed. Think of a hamster on a wheel. He gets a lot of exercise and generally has a clear view of where he is going without any obstructions; yet most likely he will get tired trying to get there.

Ironically, I see a lot of similarities between the hamster and myself. I have goals. I have dreams. I think I know what it will take for me to get there. I try to get things accomplished at a frantic pace, but often feel like I am going and going and going and never quite reaching my destination.

Like the hamster, I know where I want to be, yet will find myself getting tired and never quite get there.

So what is the answer? Great question. Continue to get the daily exercise of running on the wheel that never ends? Perhaps good for my calf muscles, but not so much for my brain. There are days when I swear my mind works faster than the hamster's little feet. The hamster, though, does have one characteristic I lack. He is forever focused and driven. If I weren't afraid of falling off of the wheel I would probably wander off after one distraction or another.

Okay, so this blog post probably contains too many metaphors, but that's the irony of it. Our lives can be just like the hamster's. We have self-proclaimed routines. We know there's always a chance we'll be rewarded for our efforts, so we keep trying. The hamster never hits a brick wall; the shiny silver wire wheel always provides a clear view and an open road. It always has the hope of possibilities. Maybe some day the wheel will stop. Maybe we will wear it down. Maybe we will see something beyond the wheel. Maybe we will discover why we aren't reaching our goal and we'll get off the wheel and choose a different path, one with a more direct route. It is possible. 

With hope, all things are possible.

Do you see yourself as the hamster? Where are you trying to go and, more importantly, what is stopping you from getting there?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Embrace Your Gifts

Have you ever noticed how different you are from other people? Have you ever wished you were more like them? Perhaps you wish you could sing like they do, or speak in public as easily as they do, or had relationships as relaxed as theirs? It is absolutely okay to observe other people and notice what you like about them, as long as you don't expect everything to be exactly the same in your own life.
 
You are a unique individual. Believe it or not, God made you exactly the way you are ... for a reason. We all have different skills and characteristics: some good, some maybe not. I am known for be organized and detail-oriented (sometimes to a fault). I see others who are able to 'go with the flow' and I often envy that. At times I wish I could be more easy going and learn to just accept things and let other things go, but that isn't always me. It's easy to feel a little judged when people tell you, 'Don't stress. Don't worry so much. Just let it go and hand it over to God.' Gosh, how I wish I could do that more. But guess what? God made me just the way I am. Maybe he wants me to over-think sometimes so that I don't miss the little details. Maybe he has a reason for giving me the skill set that he did. I may not always understand it, but I can hope that all my worrying and reasoning isn't all for nothing; that positive results will come in the end.
 
Rather than focusing on what we are not, we should focus more on what we are. We should acknowledge our gifts more; they have purpose and we shouldn't try to sweep them under the rug just because others don't agree or understand us. We should feel confident enough to be genuine, be true to ourselves, be proud of our gifts and talents, and OWN them.
 
The next time I see someone who is able to 'go with the flow' more than me, I should applaud them for being able to do that, but at the same time applaud myself for noticing the details in my own life. That's what makes it easier for people to work together. If everyone was all about the details, we would probably drive each other crazy. At the same time, if everyone just went with the flow some things might get missed. BUT if we all work together more and appreciate our differences and support each other, we will undoubtedly accomplish more.
 
Some people have the ability to dream the dream, but don't see all that it will take to get it done. Other people might not be equipped to imagine the vision, but are more than willing to help make it happen.
 
Which way do you see yourself? Do you embrace your gifts for what they are and run with them or do you stand by waiting for someone to give you permission? If we are being totally honest, I can admit that I've been on both sides of this scenario. If I am confident enough in a situation I will move forward with a vengeance. If I allow myself to be unsure then I am going to wait for someone to push me in a direction (often, their direction - not mine).
 
Just something to think about.