So this is Christmas

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So this is Christmas – Jim Trick

Here is my standard disclaimer…

You are hard line atheists and far right leaning evangelical Christians and everything in between.  You are gay and straight, folk and classical, so on and so forth…  More importantly, you’re my friends.  So I’m gonna talk about Jesus for a minute and I want you to get the chance to tune out if this aint your jam.

Christmas, here’s the deal.

I don’t care about whether or not December 25th was the actual date that Jesus was born on.

I am 100% ok with the Christmas traditions we enjoy coming from so called “pagan” origins.

I’m also cool with “X-mas” and my guess is that Jesus is as well. (Do your homework on this and I bet it won’t bother you either)

We have soooo commercialized Christianity.  I’m not surprised with what we’ve done to Christmas.

Poor ol Christmas…

Here are a couple key, points that might be helpful in understanding what Christians believe about Christmas.

Yes, I TOTALLY get how nuts all of this sounds…

We believe that Jesus is God.   I would use the term “God the son” to clarify his place inside the whole God thing.

The Father and the Spirit LOVE being with the Son, but the Son has work to do, so….

Jesus lowers himself and takes on a body.  This is called the “incarnation”.

I’m not sure how many Scrabble points that word would be worth, but your friends would be so impressed!

The incarnation is basically Christmas.

In the first chunk of the book (the Old Testament) prophets had a lot to say about Jesus.   How he’d show up, what he’d do and so on.

That’s where we get the virgin birth and a bunch of stuff that you’ve heard about but have been like “what’s up with that?”.

At the core of Christmas is God basically saying I love you enough to become like you, so that you can know me and we can hang out together the way the three of us (Father, Spirit & Son) have been hanging throughout eternity.

Their space is chalked full of love, peace, unity and purpose.

Ok…. so no, I’m not jumping ahead to Easter.

If this is the core of Christmas then I will close with a couple questions.

What would it look like for you to leave your comfort for the sake of someone else’s comfort?

Today what would it look like for you become like someone else so that you could love them better?

Do you spend more time lamenting the love you lack than you do looking for people to love and care for?

Here’s a huge, one sentence prayer that you can offer up.

“God, help me to see Your love for me in the Christmas story and help me to better love all who come my way.  Amen”

Love you guys so much.

Merry Xmas!

Thick skin = the key to creative greatness

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Nearly a decade ago I brought some lyrics I had written to a friend.

She’s a wonderful songwriter whose work has always resonated with me.

It’s nice to have friends that you can also be fans of.

When I approached her I told her that I wanted her opinion.

What I was really looking for was for her to say  “amazing job Jim”.

What I got was something very different and yet a thousand times more valuable.

“Can I be honest with you?” she asked.

“Of course you can” I replied as my heart sank.

I was really thinking “please don’t”.

She went on to tell me she loved my lyrics but that I didn’t write melodies that ever made her want to listen.

Ouch!

You have felt ouches like that before.

How did you respond?

For most of us that’s when we become cry babies, throw tantrums and start to spin.

Some of us get so shut down from the slightest criticism that we become paralyzed.

She didn’t stop there.

“You need to slow down, think about how your melody supports the theme and consider how heavily your musical influences are influencing you.”

Easy to hear?

Nope, not even a little bit.

Was she correct, kind and courageous in service of my work?

Completely and utterly.

Did her suggestions work?

100%

Your greatness will expand in direct proportion to the thickness of your skin.

You can be precious, protective and insecure…

You can be in search of perpetual pats on the back.

You can be insecure in a way that will forever keep you from getting good.

Not being able to get to good means having no shot at becoming great.

If you see yourself in any of this, here are a few items to consider.

 

  1.  Ask for what you really want.  If you are looking for critique ask for critique but if what you really want is encouragement then ask for encouragement.

 

  1.  Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are asking.  How many people can you imagine are asking them for advice in a typical week?  Can they do it better than you?  What is their schedule like? If they are a professional,  are you willing to pay for their time? Before you get upset about not getting a response or not getting the response you want, see your request through their eyes.

 

  1.  When it comes to your creative pursuits most of your friends and family will not usually be honest with you in the way you need them to be.

 

  1.   When it comes to your creative pursuits most of your friends and family will assure you that they are being honest.

 

  1. Remember, you are the artist.  In the end it is your name on the project.  Know when to stand your ground.  Part of having a thick skin is about humility but the other side of that coin is confidence.

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I trained – I raced – I won! My first race

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I trained, I raced and I won!

Today I competed in my first 5k road race.

I didn’t come in first but I still won…

I felt emotional…

I was 430lbs at my heaviest and back then never would have thought this day would come.

I didn’t let it show, but as I stood at the starting line amidst the other racers I had a lump in my throat that indicated this moment was important.

I never heard them say “go” but as the pack began to run, so did I.

Its a funny thing, racing.

You start as a community, friends standing in the cold New England rain.  Looking at each other with the knowledge that we are out here and we are doing it together and then the race begins.

We spread out.

Dad’s running with their little girls in the back.

The fittest of the fit carving a lane that gets them swiftly to the front.

Taking in the cast of characters, adjusting the thoughts in my head and allowing myself to be present, I began to process my thoughts and get into a rhythm.

I wrestled the narrative that this is not where I belong to the ground and my other opponents become apparent.

Our most skilled opponents do not wear a number.

They are not part of the community and they are not good sports.

Our most skilled opponents are invisible but they have a name.

Self doubt…

The past…

Middle school…

Bad decisions…

The well intended, unhelpful opinions of others…

Who are yours?

Maybe you will never talk about them.

Maybe you can’t go there yet.

I engaged a three step process today.

Step one,  I trained.

I figured out what I wanted, why I wanted it and then identified the steps required to attain it.

At the same time I thought about the feelings, beliefs and habits that would, if I let them, stand in my way.

It is in step one that success actually happens.

You might think success is about crossing the finish line.  Don’t get me wrong, it felt great, but that is not how I define success.

Success for me is about making and keeping commitments.

Success happens when my eye is on a race and three months earlier I don’t hit the snooze button. Instead I get out of bed, put on the kicks and hit the pavement.

Success!

Step two, I raced!

There comes a point where drawing a line in the sand makes sense.

Stepping into a subculture that was previously a complete mystery can indeed be daunting.

Allow yourself to have the mind of a beginner.

Take in everything and ask for direction.

Today’s questions included:

What should I wear?

Where do I go?

What do I do?

And,

How much further is it?????

I can now say that I have run a race.

What do you want to be able to say you’ve done?

Step three, I won!

My goals for today were to show up, run the whole race without stopping or walking, to not injure myself and to be kind to myself.

As an added bonus I left ancient opponents in the dust and stepped further into the real me.

Layers are coming off…

There is nothing like being cold, soaked in rain and sweat, grabbing a cup of coffee and getting into a hot shower.

Train – For that thing you long for.

Race – Put your big girl pants on and get out there.

Win – Define what that means, do your best and be good to yourself.

Curious about life coaching?  If you are ready to schedule your confidential  sample session with Jim Trick or have any questions just call:  978.994.0431 or email thatlifenow@gmail.com