What Are You Chasing

What Are You Chasing?

I played basketball in junior high and I hated it.

Actually, the dribbling and shooting was fine. The running back and forth chasing the person with the ball is what exhausted me.

“Hustle! Hustle!” our coach shouted.

My teammate missed her lay up. An opposing team member grabbed the ball and immediately began dribbling down court. I bent over with hands on my knees watching ponytails sway and the backs of blue and gold jersey’s go chasing after the ball like a game of cat an mouse.

“Time out!” our coach called.

Coach ran over to me as my teammates began to make their way back toward me glancing back and forth from one to another with shrugs and raised eyebrows.

“Kristy, what’s wrong? Are you sick? Why aren’t you heading down court?”

“Why would I go down there when we are just going to come right back. Plus, do we all need to chase the ball?” I asked.

Eventually, my coached swapped me out as I remained determine not to chase the ball.

I remember my dad and I having a conversation about my in action on the ride home. He was curious and genuinely wanted to understand my perspective.

“I don’t want to chase things that I don’t want just because I’m being told to chase it.” I said.

My dad smiled and said I should choose to join something that I wanted to chase that would make me excited. I gave myself permission to find what would make my heart come alive. I joined an after school community writer’s club.

In my experience the top three things in life we chase are:

  • Purpose

  • Love

  • Dreams

My question is whose purpose have we learned to chase? What form of love are we chasing? Are we chasing our dreams or the traditional dreams of accomplishment and success?

I was born on the border of Millennial and Generation X (depending on what chart you google). I grew up in a generation that equated purpose with achievement, love with marriage and children, and dreams with a big house and an expensive car.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line the economy tanked and my Millennial and Xer friend’s and I were going to work rather than college, remaining single, and living at home or with roommates. More than half of us I am guessing needed therapy to remind us that we are more than what we do.

Here’s what I learned. Chasing purpose, love, and dreams is intrinsic to the heartbeat of life. The caveat is recognizing that we get to choose what we chase! We have free will.

God is amazing. He handcrafted us each so specifically, creatively, and carefully. People are like snowflakes where no two are exactly alike (not even twins). My mom is a twin and she and my aunt share so much in common, but they also have been called to their individual purposes and their dreams while sometimes related are different.

Here is your BIG HOLIDAY TIP:

  • You get to be who God made you to be.

  • You don’t have to live up to the expectations of others or society

  • You don’t have to chase what everyone else is chasing

  • You get to love the life you have carved out

It is okay that some may not understand your journey. Most importantly is that every night whether the day was rough or smooth you know deep inside your heart that you are following the path that you were formed to accomplish.

How to know if you are living your purpose?

  • What are gifts/skills that come naturally to you? (writing, reading, speaking, barbering, hairstyling)

  • What gifts/skills come naturally to you that when you do it you enjoy it even when you’re exhausted? (That’s the big test)

  • What gifts/skills come naturally to you that can offer support to others around you.

The gift/skill is not your purpose. For example being a doctor is a great gift/skill to have, but if a person can no longer practice or retires does that mean he or she loses his or her purpose?

Instead, when we look deeper doctors use their gifts/skills to help people feel better through wholeness and health. A doctor could easily stop practicing medicine but live out their purpose in hosting health seminars, fun activities for kids with cancer, or anything that brings physical and mental health to others.

I have the gift/skill of writing and my purpose is to encourage. Seems simple but it took me a long time to figure that out.

When I gave myself permission to stop chasing what made me money thinking that my purpose had to be what I did for a living I found breakthrough. I get to have a job and I get to have my dreams — sometimes they align and sometimes they do not. When I discovered I could find fulfillment beyond my job this opened the door to loving myself and to dreaming new dreams!

Here’s one way to (re)discover your purpose

Take five solid minutes every day of quiet. Take a few deep breaths. Relax.

  1. Thank God for making you as amazing as you are with abilities that cannot be counted (say this so many times until you believe it)

  2. Ask God to speak to your heart and reveal his purpose for your life

  3. Thank God.

For some this will be a stretch because you have not prayed since one of those “God if you get me out of this…” or for others your prayers are so long you would out pray the Pope, Pastor, and a Rabbi. Any way you measure it prayer is good for the soul.

I am not saying you might hear an answer immediately. But I do know when we show up repeatedly, simply and fix our mindset on something an answer usually comes. Our job is discovering “the what” with God. And God will show us “the how”.

Having a deeper connection with God (I don’t mean a legalistic religious relationship), but an open here I am God I screw up and you still think I’m awesome and I’m learning that about me too, thanks for your grace kind of relationship that for me has opened the doors to purpose, love, and all of my dreams worth chasing down 1,000 courts.  

Today is Monday. We will never get this day back. Choose. Make it count.

Sweet visionary dreams!

Know someone who needs motivation? I would LOVE it if you paid it forward with a forward of this email. Thank you!!

Open Letter to My Mother For Mother's Day (WARNING: sensitive subject)

Dear Mom:

Today is Mother’s Day and I find myself filled with nostalgia.  This afternoon, as our family sat around you I stared at you thinking how beautiful you looked.  I studied your face searching for pieces of my own.  I wondered when I am your age will my skin be as flawless?  Will I smile with my eyes the way that you do?  Will a table of my own children, grandchildren, and a husband lean in to hear my thoughts and confer with each other to make sure I am okay?  I know we are not perfect, but we love you.

I am grateful for your life.  

I am grateful for our time together even though I can often be distant --- it’s not you --- it’s me.  I am an inward person who puts out a massive amount of energy in ministry and lately school; therefore, with my limited free time I tend to want to recharge by being alone.  I know this distance hurts you and I am sorry.  

As I sat across from you this evening I thought of our timeline.  I was the daughter who you ordered beautiful custom made dresses.  Rather, my sister was the one to prefer that kind of kindness.  You always wanted your daughters with you.  Yet, it must have been hurtful when all I wanted to do was wear my old E.T. sweatsuit and stay home to watch “I Love Lucy” with Pop.  You always made sure your children had the best even when you went without.  You were fearless in your defense of us. I dared any teacher to give me a difficult time because like a superhero you would show up and change the atmosphere.  No one was going to mistreat, discriminate, or ridicule your child. Not happening. Not today.    

My teen years were difficult.  Not because I was rebellious (let me be honest, I still lined my stuffed animals on my bed at 16 and my curfew was at 8:59pm), but I saw you as “old school” and assumed you would not understand.  I was a quiet and stubborn kid who always wanted to blaze my own trail.  I remained out of trouble and you succeeded in sheltering me in the safety of private schools and suburban neighborhoods. I excelled in school and for all intents and purposes I was a good kid.  For my sweet sixteen (Pop said “No”) but you rented a convertible for me and paid for my friends and I to spend the day at Magic Mountain.  I will never forget that day!

My young adult years were hard while I was far away at school.  There was nothing you could have done differently!  Life is just crazy at times….I hardly recognized myself during that period.  Nevertheless, young adult years are much about self-discovery.  When I called to tell you I had gone through with an abortion I braced for the worst.  I assumed my Jesus-loving conservative mother would disconnect from me the way that a line goes dead following an unexpected drop. Leaving me to wonder what had happened and if you had heard anything I said.

Instead, you proved to be everything you had been to me my whole life --- my superhero.  My Jesus-loving conservative mother loved me with a deep unashamed love that could go toe-to-toe with the greatest love stories.  You listened to my pain as I relayed the story of self-proclaimed Christian protesters calling me a “Baby Killer” and that “I would be judged” one day.  You listened, when I shared that the people at the clinic never really helped me to plan anything.  You cried with me when I told you I woke up, my face wet with tears, on a gurney next to many other young women with similar stories --- this was the process of abortion and you loved me through it.

Mom, the gift of grace you gave me that day when I told you my story was you living out the image of God you are fashioned in.  As good mothers do --- you put me first.  Your concern was to love me, protect me, help me to mend, and guide me back onto a path with my faith --- a relationship I desperately needed and longed for.  Mom, you are an exquisite strength that I cannot comprehend.  

Yes, we argue. We butt heads. We often disagree.  You drive me crazy always having to be right (I see where I get it from :-).  I am a risk taker and you would prefer me to remain safe.  You believe in tradition and I am a total unconventional progressive.  We are similar, in that we are both sensitive, and we both love hard without condition.  Thank you, Mom.  You are a gift to me.  I am finally mature enough to even appreciate our disagreements.  

Thank you for loving me for all of my life.  I will love you for all of yours and beyond.  I celebrate you today and I know how blessed I am to have you alive and present that I can tell you so.  Mother’s day can be tough for women who desire children but for one reason or another life has not worked out that way.  Regardless, you make Mother’s Day worth celebrating and I pray, if given the opportunity, I will love my future family the way you have taught me.

¡Feliz Dia de La Madre, Mama! Reina de Panamá y reina de nuestros corazones.

Love you, Mami.

La Niña