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It’s Not Discipline. It’s Love

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I’ve struggled with self-discipline all of my life. Because I wouldn’t do it on my own, my parents spent a lot of time pushing me to finish tasks I didn’t enjoy, like homework or chores.

This week I attended the Catalyst conference in Orange County, California. There were a lot of singers singing, dancers dancing, and speakers speaking.

One of them was pro-skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.

Tony was interviewed about the work he is doing among at- risk kids through community skatepark initiatives.

During the session, the interviewer asked him to tell the audience about the self- discipline it took to become the greatest skateboarder of all time.

Tony Hawk replied, “Oh, I didn’t do it because I was disciplined, I was all over the map back then, I did it because I loved it.”

While this sounded both obvious and insipid, his explanation actually revealed a bit of understated genius.

“I’d think about a new trick… I want to learn how to do this, and I don’t care how much time I have to spend or how much it hurts.”

He also didn’t hesitate to reveal that he pursued skateboarding because doing so was its own reward.

“I didn’t do it for what the pay was.
I didn’t do it for the audience.
I didn’t do it for acceptance.”

“I just loved riding.”

This love meant that he wasn’t spending his days forcing himself to start “practicing”, it meant that he just got to go out and skate.

“I did it wherever I could, I did it in sad parking lots for 100 people with whatever terrible set-up the local skate shop owner had put together.”

Then he tied it all up with this gem of a ribbon…

“That determination to ride and learn just turned out to be discipline over time.”

Discipline grew out of a love indulged over time.

When I think about it, I realize that the things that I’m good at, I also enjoy doing.

The things I love, I do.
Doing them is practice.
Doing them a lot turns into a lot of practice.

Which makes me wonder if the reason that we struggle to read our Bibles and pray is because we don’t love interacting with Jesus?

Sometimes I only pursue Jesus because I think something good will happen, or because I will benefit in some tangible way.

In those moments I’m not doing it because I believe that pursuing him is its own end, I’m not living like knowing Jesus is its own reward.

I’m “me focused” not “God focused”.

This only changes when I’m willing to pursue Jesus no matter what it costs or how much it hurts.

To not follow him for approval,
To resist performing for the audience,
To not follow him mindful of “pay”.

Wouldn’t this translate into a determination to grow and learn?

Wouldn’t this determination turn into discipline over time?

I believe that it can truly happen…

If I’m willing to love Jesus the way that Tony Hawk loves skating.

It’s A Secret Service

Charles McCain
photo: Charles McCain

I’ve been fascinated by the United States’ Secret Service ever since 1981 when I watched television coverage of men in suits emerging from the shadows to throw themselves in front of a wounded President Reagan.

As disturbing as it was for a second grader to watch a deranged man shooting other men on television, it was also incredibly inspiring to see good men run into danger to put an end to it.

What is it that causes a man to unquestioningly step in front of a bullet for another?

While we admire the kind of bravery that gets put on display in situations of duress, most of us don’t ask what comes after these moments of bravery.

Especially if you live through them.

We tend to think that staying alive is it’s own reward, but consider that the victor usually gets to:

Clean up the carnage.

Rebuild what has been destroyed,

Then tend to their own wounds.

There’s a human toll that comes from protecting people. Sentinels and their famlies make sacrifices to operate in a world where long stretches of the mundane are punctuated by moments of tangible horror and violence.

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Posting Our Rules

Unless you’ve been flush with cash your entire life, you’ve probably shopped at a non-union grocery store.

I spent much of my early childhood in rural Californa, bouncing between “The Grocery Outlet” and “The Alpha-Beta.”

For those of you who’ve only shopped national chains like Kroger, Albertsons, or Safeway, non-union grocers are able to sell “quality products for less” because they do not offer certain services to their customers or employees.

You pay for what you get, and you get only what you’re willing to pay for.

Finding a non-union store isn’t hard. Just look for a grocery store that is being picketed by a lone protester who:

1.) Isn’t holding his sign right side up.
B.) Is listening to a bright yellow DiscMan.
3.) Never worked there… because he’s being paid to protest, by a union.

A non-union store doesn’t spend the same amount of money training, insuring, or paying their employees.

You also won’t find a Starbucks or a bank in their store. Often the lighting is spotty, the refrigerators loud, and the background music non-existent.

Non-union grocers provide great product value at the expense of employee and customer service.

This mean’s that you’ll regularly save a gang of money, while finding yourself having some pretty… interesting… experiences.

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