I was almost thirteen years old as I stood in the outfield of a baseball diamond in Carmel, Indiana. My team was playing for the state championship, and a chance to represent Indiana in the Little League World Series. We won that game. The journey of that summer was incredible. Winning our city tournament, followed by sectionals, regionals and eventually the state title was surreal. We even won two games as Team Indiana before falling just short of qualifying to head to Williamsport, Pennsylvania- the ultimate stage for Little League Baseball! That summer was filled with those little moments I’ll never forget.
While unpacking at my new house I came across some pictures that got me thinking. Memories rushed to the surface with each photograph. Those little moments we hope for, live for and eventually reflect on as life draws to an end.
Those little moments….
The few times my dad has visited Arizona from Indiana (he’s somewhat of a home body and is usually busy with work). The golf we play when I visit him each summer. The Eric Church concerts attended with friends and Britt, especially when I got my old Hank Williams record signed by Eric in Denver last year. The time I hit four home runs in four straight at-bats in our company’s regional softball tournament. The life changing conversations along my journey with friends, parents and spiritual mentors. Those sermons that brought me to my knees, and also to tears. The spiritual cleansing I went through after God kept showing me I needed to “go to the water” in 2018. That’s a story I’ll elaborate on one day. The embraces with loved ones or long lost friends. The peace and joy of each holiday season. The plethora of memories from my road trip with Murphy last summer. Being moved by so many songs- those melodies and lyrics that can rock my world. I could go on and on, yet not to the extent I wish I could…
I wish I had more fond memories. I feel as if I chased so much of the wrong things for so long that I distracted myself from taking in more of these little moments. I distracted myself from being present. I ultimately sacrificed “the now” in hopes of trying to achieve some future goal. I believe this is one reason back in 2016 I could only muster 3 words during a planning session with my coach: Peace, Happiness and Contentment (see post: Peace Happiness and Contentment). My spirit was frayed. My mind was in disarray. My heart was still broken from decades prior.
I reflect on the past thirty-six years and wonder how much of my own life I actually missed. How often could I have taken a deep breath and soaked in a moment that I took for granted? How many opportunities did I miss to express gratitude or tell someone I cared? How many whispers did I miss from God along the way, while my head was buried chasing the wrong things: applause, projecting an image, success, money, etc.? How much more of those first few decades could I have TRULY LIVED?
The moments we hold onto aren’t always good. The bad memories filled with pain seem to stick out more prominantly than many of my great ones. Those memories tend to keep us in those exact places, both mentally and physically. This is the enemy. This is bondage. Focusing on pain from the past, along with expectations and/or fear of the future, steals from the present. At least, this has been my experience. I spent so much time reliving hurts and regrets that I seldom appreciated life as it happened. I’m sure one of the greatest gifts from God is our breath moment by moment. I’m also convinced a major gift back to Him is to TRULY LIVE each breath to the fullest. Many of you know I spent most of my twenties being afraid of my future, obsessively focused on health fears and uncontrolled outcomes. I spent the remainder of my time working toward some future victory, one I’m still not sure truly exists, at least not the kind of victory I was after. I missed out on so much life.
I suppose all I can do now is be more focused on truly experiencing each breath. I aim to create more of those unforgettable little moments. I aim to allow myself to be present and grateful throughout life. I don’t want to regret not fully living and experiencing my journey. I don’t want to get caught up in the minutia of pain, fear and chasing. I want to FEEL more, as God would want me to.
I used to hide from feelings. I frankly don’t think I knew how to truly process my emotions for years. I was better at burying my feelings until they exploded outwardly via anger or a panic attack (literally). Anxiety stole so much of my life. I aim to live a life void of anxiousness. I aim to do this via Surrendering to God. I believe He wants me to be more fully alive. I believe He wants this for each of us. Hence- MY SURRENDER PROJECT!
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3.
As I reflect further I realize many of my fondest memories are from childhood. I was free and able to fully experience moment to moment. Sure, I had worries created by unfortunate circumstances, yet for the most part I was playful and JOYFUL. Unfortunately many of my most painful moments are from childhood as well. Amazing how those negative experiences create so much anxiety in adulthood. I believe this is because there are some things children just aren’t ready or able to process. We aren’t supposed to have such pain and torment when we’re kids. We’re supposed to be present, open-hearted and full of JOY.
The verse above was Jesus speaking in the New Testament. I always wonder just how deep His teachings were, including this one. He urges us to become like children in order to enter heaven. Perhaps we’re meant to be JOYFUL, open-hearted and present in order to fully live this life as well?! A little heaven on earth? Perhaps this is how we fully experience His Spirit within us? I’m convinced being “an adult” is over-rated in some ways. Those “take myself serious” or “prove something” type of ways- those egocentric ways of living. Do you really think God created us to live from these broken vantage points? I don’t.
Goals: be able to experience JOY instead of being distracted by past or future events. Experience those little moments. SURRENDER the past. SURRENDER the future. Be child-like in spirit and mind. Revert back to the freedom before conditioning, expectations, and chasing things that pale in comparison to having a relationship with God came along. One of my mottos for Surrender Project is living with no regrets. I suppose that’s what this post is about, reflecting on how much more adventure and JOY I can experience if my priorities, mindset and heart permit. Simply put, I wish I had more photographs that made my heart skip a beat because the memories associated were so special.
May we all FEEL more, in the good ways. May we not miss out on life because our focus is misaligned or misguided. May we chase JOY. May we walk with gratitude filling our hearts every day. May we soak in the good stuff. May we choose to live with no regrets! May we experience more of those little moments!
Find me on IG: @Surrender_Project