Tag Archives: challenge

Nine Eleven: 20 Years Later

American Flag

9/11.

20 years ago today, the world changed forever.

I remember being so scared that day as I watched the news coverage and saw the footage of planes crashing into buildings.

I remember wondering if the attacks were going to happen where I lived and feeling tangible fear while walking past a federal government building that afternoon.

I remember wondering if the world was ending.

I remember wondering what life was going to look like after that day.

It was truly a dark day in our country’s history…but, I also remember the good that ultimately came out of the events of that day.

I remember the graciousness we had for each other, as we all tried to figure out what to do next. I remember the outpouring of support and unity for first responders, firefighters and police officers. I remember the concern shown for one another, as so many people were grieving in different ways. Everyone was affected by the 9/11 attacks in some way.

And, that was just it. It seemed like everyone knew their neighbor was struggling and from that, I remember the gentleness shown toward each other in the weeks and months afterward. More than I could recall, people showed a sense of common respect for mankind because, when it all came down to it, we were all on the same team here in America when our freedom was threatened.

Sure, we were angry at what happened and wanted something to be done about it. But, there was an indescribable, though it often may have been subtle, kindness towards each other.

Sadly, that kindness seems to have largely disappeared in our society.

No matter what you do today, find some time to pay respect for what happened that day, two decades ago. I’m sure you probably will. It’s beyond just “the right thing to do”. It’s important to remember events like the ones of that day, because they have so much significance.

That said, I think the best way you could honor the lives of those who died as a result of those terrible attacks is to live in a way that makes life better for others, not worse. Live in a way that makes this country better.

Instead of attacking other people with our words, let’s build them up. Instead of insisting on your way being the only way and refusing to see others’ points of view, have an open mind…or, at least try to have one for a few minutes. Let’s be willing to see how other viewpoints, while not our own, may have merit. And, even if they don’t, that’s alright. It does not hurt a thing to have an open mind.

Try to see this is part of what makes our country great; we can disagree. More specifically, we can have differing views without having to feel bad for it or threatening others with our behavior about it. We can get offended less. We can forgive more. And, so on.

The amount of negativity, intolerance and outright bullying going on in our world right now is off the charts. If you don’t agree with someone on their stance about basically anything, you are ridiculed, shamed or worse. This is not America the beautiful. This is America the ugly.

So, let’s do something about it. This next part may strike a nerve, but you see, that’s kind of the point.

COVID has become the 9/11 of today. Its full impact on so many aspects of life may not be completely realized for a long time.

Where it differs from the tragedy of 20 years ago is how people have treated others in the wake of it. It could have brought us together, but it seems it has torn us apart. I have never seen so much vitriol in my life. We are truly being unkind to one another at a time when kindness has been needed the most. It is really sad. It doesn’t have to be this way.

It starts with me. It starts with you.

Instead of being angry at the person who wants others to get a vaccine, maybe see they have a legitimate reason for it. Instead of being angry at the person who doesn’t want to get a vaccine, maybe see they have a right to their opinion about it.

Instead of spewing out all kinds of “my way or the highway” talk on your social media feed, maybe start a conversation about it in a rational and potentially useful manner.

What if we offered genuine respect to each other, regardless of anything? What if we showed more love instead of more hate toward each other? What if we tried to come together instead of divide apart? What if we displayed some true understanding of our fellow human beings, instead of just demanding to have our way all the time?

My challenge to you today on the 20th anniversary of that awful day is to not be a source of harm in this world, specifically in the world around you. Instead, be a source of light. Be a source of unity. Be a source of peace.

We all have the ability to do it and I can’t think of a better day than today to start.

New Year’s Eve Encouragement

New Year’s Eve. The day we say goodbye to the year that was, and prepare to say hello to the year that will be. A time to reflect, and a time to look ahead. This year was like no other. (Granted, you could say that about every year but, yeah…2020.)

It’s safe to say many, if not most, will be eager to forget about this past year and move forward to whatever may be ahead in 2021. I understand, as this was a very difficult and challenging year in many ways, here. If it was a rough one for you, I am so sorry. Losses have been plentiful for so many – whether it has been loss of life, employment, activities, etc.

But, as we start to fix our gaze upon the seemingly “can’t be any worse” year ahead and the hope of a better 12 months to come and try to just sweep 2020 under the rug…I’m going to challenge you to do something.

Think about what you can take with you from this past year. As in, focus just for a few moments on what you’ve gained or learned or been blessed with in 2020. The list might be short, I get it. But, my guess is there’s something you can put on this list.

Something you’ve made it through this year has made you stronger. Something you learned about yourself can be used for good. Something you gave of yourself will be returned, with interest. Something you struggled with will be used to help others, through your experience with it. Your hardships will lead to healing and your story might just be the very thing used to bring breakthrough to someone else’s life, someday.

This isn’t being written to say everything’s alright or that we should all just be fine. Just wanted to encourage you today, because I still believe everything happens for a reason and I believe the tough times in our lives are ultimately used for a greater glory. And, in the end, it is well.

Happy New Year to you. May 2021 be the best year of your life.

Why?

It’s the question we’ve all asked since we were little kids. Why?

If you’re like me, it’s one you find yourself asking a lot in life. Why?

If you’re like me, it’s one you find yourself asking God sometimes, or perhaps more often, depending on the circumstances. Why?

Why is there so much hurt and pain, God? Why would You allow this to happen, God? Why doesn’t it make sense, God? Why haven’t You made it clear, God? Why isn’t something changing, God? Why?

I like to know the answer to this question. It can get pretty frustrating when the answer doesn’t seem clear. You too? Alright, glad it’s not just me!

Well, if that is you, then let me challenge you with something I heard the other day. It challenged me, in a good way.

“None of us will ever fully understand God and His ways. If we could, He would not be God and we would never need to learn to trust Him. It is not wrong to want to understand, but our understanding must be secondary to trusting the Lord.”
-Derek Prince

Time for me to start moving the trusting Him thing up to #1 on my list. Something tells me He will reveal the answers at just the right time, in just the right way.

Thanks, God…looking forward to it!

Have a great day.

You Never Know Where He Might Show Up

Tennis has been my favorite sport to play since I was a kid. (Full disclosure, it’s been the only sport I’ve been any good at…which no doubt contributes to my interest in playing it.)

As an adult, it’s been great to get to keep playing tennis and I get out every week to serve it up. Lately, I’ve been able to play with my son as well. He’s on the high school team and it brings back memories for me, plus it’s just really cool to see him continue to improve his game.

In all of this, I feel a strong sense of gratitude – a big part of that, just to be able to still play the game I love so much. To the point where, particularly when I’m playing matches against others in the weekly sessions, the tennis court has become one of the places where I feel closest to God.

It’s become my place to really say thank you to Him, often. Like I should be doing more often in everyday life, but too often don’t. It’s also challenged me to focus more on the ups in life than the downs.

Funny how God shows up in different ways, and different places, than we might expect.

Have a great day!

Great Things – Expect and Attempt

Hands Raised

“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”

I heard those words spoken at church this morning. Really like this quote!

Being bold in how we pray, how we approach God and how we believe in what He promises…all very important.

Just as important…how we live our lives.

This challenged me today, but also encouraged me. It was a reminder to give my all for Him – at the same time, to be confident in what He can (and will) do in our lives.

Have a great day!