Our School Motto: Nil Desperandum

Here comes number 71!
Here comes number 71!

Somewhere along the way, I ran across this quote, purportedly from Richard M. DeVos, the co-founder of Amway:

If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down 70 times and get up off the floor saying, ‘Here comes number 71!’

I really like that. It matches up with my experience of reality; it is veridical. It reminds me of Galatians 6:9: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
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FREEdom in Christ

516azsgqv0l-_sx322_bo1204203200_That same situation is happening again, the one that always results in me running to my drug of choice for security and comfort. Those same thoughts are going through my head, the ones that conclude with me feeling disconnected from God and turning instead to some habit that “misses the mark” of truly fulfilling me in any lasting, meaningful way.

So, it’s decision time. I know the battle over doing what I do not want to do must first be won in the mind before it will result in behavioral change. So how exactly do I do that?
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It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Not-all-that-super-man!

A classic depiction by Alex Ross
A classic depiction by Alex Ross

I love the classic Superman, the story of a just-about all-powerful visitor to our planet who decides to use his immense abilities for good, who is all too human in wrestling with the challenge of bearing up under the great weight of responsibility he has taken upon himself, and superhuman in his unfailing desire and ability to do so. He is a purely inspirational character with no neuroses or inescapable past tragedy rendering him “complicated” or dark. There is plenty of that in the world already; Superman stands apart from all that, in the world but not of the world, a shining light. It is hard to talk about him without relying on Messianic imagery, because something akin to that is very much what was in the minds of Siegel and Shuster when they created him back in the ’30s. For me, Superman has always been primarily a great moral character.

So it is with some sadness that I have finally conceded that Hollywood either cannot or will not write this sort of Superman into the current spate of superhero movies.
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KonMari Tidying Method

22318578It does not take much to overwhelm me, and I feel real, measurable stress in an environment littered with lots of stuff, especially when it is in no sort of order. Before we had kids, it was easy to keep things relatively tidy. Items that were put in a certain place actually stayed in that place!

But that changed with two little boys running about. And for a few years, when they were very young, it seemed all we could do just to keep up with them. The house became cluttered, stuff got shoved into closets willy-nilly, we began to burst at the seams, and my stress level grew. While I was working outside the home, it wasn’t too difficult to deal with, but once I started spending more time at home during the days, I knew something had to change.

The rule in our house is that it is okay to be high-maintenance as long as you are self-maintaining. In other words, if you want something a certain way, you are welcome to make it so but you are also responsible to take care of it yourself. Because I am willing to live with untidiness to a lesser degree than the rest of my family, I knew I would need to lead the charge on any sort of clean-up initiative. And, having been outside the home for several years, I was not sure where to even begin. We’d tried over the years to get things decluttered and organized, only to have the closets fill again and piles of stuff begin accumulating on every flat surface and in every dark corner.
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The Battle Is Waged First in the Mind

516azSGqv0L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Knowing who we are in Christ and resting in our true identity in Him, we know that we need not fear any failure or defeat. Our ultimate victory (success) is assured and our ultimate worth (security) has been unalterably established and declared by God Himself. Thus we can boldly move out into life, following wherever our Lord leads. Convinced of God’s love for us and thus desiring to be like Him and obey His commands out of our reflected love for Him, we will know inwardly what it is the Spirit is asking us to address so that our behavior comes more and more in line with the truth of our perfection in Him.

As we begin to do so, we will very quickly encounter great opposition! Both from within (our habit of making sinful choices) and without (the attacks and temptations of the enemy), there is terrific resistance against our making forward progress in the journey of faith and discipleship. Daily battle must be waged if we are to make any progress at all. Following Jesus never just happens by accident!
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Secure Because I’m God’s Child

516azSGqv0L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_In Chapter 6, Suitt presents Jesus Christ, the very Word of God, as the foundation of a biblical worldview. Our acknowledgement of our identity in Christ and our resting in His completed work is the very first step we take on the journey of faith.

Suitt uses a helpful mnemonic acronym: SET FREE NOWWW. The “S” is what Chapter 6 is all about — I am “Secure because I’m God’s child” (1 John 3:1-3). This is the bedrock to which we return over and over again as we pursue Christ and becoming more like Him as we mature in our faith. No matter how bad we mess up along the way, we can rest confidently in the immutable truth of our Father’s love for us. Nothing can change it and nothing can separate us from it! When I stumble, I know I am not condemned. I do not need to wallow in guilt, because the Savior has already been crucified — and I do not want to crucify Him all over again! Rather than getting tripped up in guilt or focused on my own failure, I am free instead to turn to Him immediately for forgiveness and then get back up and move forward. The value of this cannot be overstated. Indeed, without it, there can be no true and lasting relationship with God, because it is His love for us and our embracing of our true identity in Him that forms the very ground for that relationship to exist in the first place.
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