Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Illusion of Me

An acquaintance of mine (also named Scott) would say on his talk radio show here in Dallas: "why ruin the illusion of who I am, with the reality of me?" I always have to think about that one for a minute..... Now, if the reality of me is better than the illusion of who I am, then I wouldn't be ruining anything - right? I think so. So then, we should strive to be even better than people think we are.

Simply put, we should be real, so there's no complex illusion floating out there about us. Don't fake who you are - be you - all the time, and no one will get confused - especially you.

This is harder than I thought - to be real.  Your first inclination is that 'you are who you are - so why change who I am?'.  Well, I know when I go to work, for instance, I'm not exactly the same person I am when I'm at home, or when I go to church, or when I'm with the family, or certain family members, or when I'm out eating in a restaurant with friends.  I even seem to change from day to day in each of those scenarios. I change with the weather - sun vs. rain. When I hit my thumb with a hammer, I'm a different person than I am sitting in Sunday School looking up scripture.  Don't get me wrong, we all have personalities that make us unique.

So it becomes a 3 or 4 dimensional matrix of 'who I am'. Down right CREEPY when you think about it.  Schizophrenic even.  We talk about these people as if we could never be that way, and usually the ones talking the loudest ARE those people.  I can be one of those people sometimes.

But are you any different?  We all have a bit of chameleon inside of us - some with more degrees of color and depth than others (not a good thing really). I do know that I've always admired the ones who don't seem to change much - chameleons who at least remain the same shade of the green family. I know how they will react in weird circumstances, I know I can trust them generally to act in a consistent manner - no matter what.   I don't know too many people like that.  Most of us are pretty unpredictable. (some politicians - most - have 8 or 9 dimensions to them. deception is a job requirement to them).

We're called to be better than that.  And as believers in Christ (if you are one), emulating JC, we're 'encouraged' to be new creations - leaving the old behind - we have become new creatures living in a foreign land. The world needs us. Unbelievers need us to act differently than them - otherwise we are just like them and that's no good to anybody.

I'm convinced too - that we don't just change once, and we're done. We have to make ourselves change, every morning, every day, every hour. Not sure how Biblical it is, but I know it's true. It's a conscious effort that we have to make like brushing our teeth. We have to force ourselves to be real - FORCE IT.  It's a paradox.  If you think you don't have to make yourself be real, you're not (in my must humble opinion). It's hard work. Living is hard work.

2 Corinthians 5:17. "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation". I saw a rather large tatoo on the back of a pretty rough looking guy recently with that scripture. And I liked it. I'm thinking he was smart enough to realize he needed to be reminded everyday of who he was now, and whose he was - and to be reminded how to act - every day.

Be set free - to be you - nothing and nobody else ..... as long as who you are is who Christ wants you to be - your life will be incredible.  It's a work-in-process for all of us - to be more than an ILLUSION.
(pic from NY '09 - subway mosaic)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ultimate Fighting

Flipping through channels the other night I stopped to see interviews with 2 guys:

- Diego Sanchez   and    BJ Penn -

Until then, I had never heard of these guys (out of touch, I know). They're going to meet in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the 155 light-weight class, this Saturday night - 12/12/09. I'm looking for a place I can go to watch it (likely, Dina won't come along).

I've always been intrigued by this Ultimate Fighting stuff. It seems so brutal and barbaric - there don't appear to be any rules. You win by either a knock-out, or a choke-out. That's tough stuff. My intrigue comes from a primal instinct (for guys) to go to battle, and prove that you're the best, the toughest, the meanest, the baddest one out there. My main sport in high school was wrestling -so I know the feeling a little: mono-e-mono. But there was no hitting allowed in wrestling (unless you could get away with it). It was more of an art, and we had weight classes, just like UFC. It was a lot of mental preparedness, as much as physical. (I was 'average' at both - just FYI). My mother always said I was a good wrestler, because I was her 'little hugger :)' - she would sit in the bleachers and tell the sweet story to the opposing team parents - who would then walk over to their boys and point at me and whisper - 'the little hugger'.

I was doomed from the start.

But, these 2 guys are unique. They both sound articulate and smart - I never would have suspected it. I work with all kinds of guys with advanced degrees who are not as well spoken as these guys. "BJ" made a comment - talking about his opponent "Diego": "He's gotten further than he should have - because he's tough mentally". Wow - that's quite a statement.  On the one hand he was complementing Diego - for his mental strength, but he was saying Diego doesn't have the physical skills to compete with him. That's confidence - on a whole different plane. You can have all the psychological or mental strength you want, it might get you a long way, it might even beat most people, but if you don't have the raw strength, skill and technique that I have, I will crush you - because I bring it all to the ring.

This fighting stuff is about discipline - mental, spiritual, and physical discipline. To win, at anything, you have to be disciplined, and you have to make sacrifices. These guys spend their entire lives trying to balance the physical with the spiritual - to win a gold belt - to be champions. What I admire about guys like this is watching what they do when they've been hit hard.  When they go down - they get back up. When they're trapped, they think of a way out. When they take a hit, they hit back. They're strategists - always thinking. They're champions - and they love what they do. (Diego even said he has "always trusted the Lord through his entire career").

You and I go "to the mat" everyday. We need to be ready for battle. When we get knocked-down, we need the discipline to get back up - and fight our way through.  And we don't have to go it alone.

In Oswald Chambers today (12/10) he said: "if we do not sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural life will resist ..... and will produce continued turmoil. We go wrong because we stubbornly refuse to discipline ourselves physically, morally, or mentally .... disciple yourself now - or you will ruin your entire personal life with God."

Good stuff.  Be an Ultimate Fighter.

(picture taken of a door marker - on the steets of Prague '08)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jack Flak

Did you know - you can link to the ongoing saga of Jack Flak anytime? (on the left side - just click. or go to