How I lost and still won.

I didn’t win the contest.

The prize was a free online course about care of the soul. I had read from most of the course materials but, as I said in the email,

“I’m at a point of needing to be “encouraged” to go through the material in a structured way, though I’ve read from several of the contributors in the past. So if you choose me, you’ll get your money’s worth in promotion.”

They didn’t pick me.

As I thought about this “rejection”, I realized that my challenge at the moment is not about content. It’s about commitment, it’s about tiny steps in the right direction. As you can see in my email to them, I didn’t need the course materials. I needed the structure of the course. I needed deadlines. I needed external pressure.

As I was thinking this through, I remembered God’s words to Israel through Micah. God says,

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

The essence of this requirement is simple. What I do, what I love, who I follow. Justice, mercy, humility, God.

If I’m honest with myself, I don’t need another course. WIth the deadlines and pressure, the stress on my soul would have been too much now. If I’m honest with myself, it would have been about the coolness of the class and the excuse it gives for six weeks of not doing what I already know.

I’m in favor of courses, of seminars, of workshops, of sermons, of lessons. It’s why I did my Bible course last fall. But often you and I don’t need another course. We need to do the homework already on our desks.

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7 thoughts on “How I lost and still won.

  1. josephruizjr

    Exactly Jon, we must be in the same canoe. I don’t need more information, I need transformation. I can relate to the deadlines and pressure without those I tend to drift. I am learning that some structure is useful – but I really think you nailed it for me when you said essentially “do the work that is in front of you”. Our journey really is many many tiny steps.
    Thanks for this.
    Grace and Peace


  2. Todd Lohenry

    Hmmm. Do you mean “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”? From that perspective, I don’t need to buy another book or hear another sermon. I could work the rest of my life to integrate what it is I’ve already heard but left unmastered… *Sigh*…


  3. Frank Reed

    Can I get an Amen!

    If I only took care of what is right in front me on every level – spiritual, family, relationships, my work etc etc, not only would there plenty to do but I bet that God would give me the lessons I thought I would get in that course.

    How I would get them would be in truly living life rather than learning how to live life. It’s in the real living that these lessons truly occur and have the best chance of sticking. I can’t tell you how many times I heard a great sermon or attended a great seminar, left the building full of vim and vigor for my “new stuff” then turned out the parking lot and forgot it all.

    After recently having a birthday and doing some soul searching I have realized that I simply need to “enjoy the minutes”. I need to think smaller to live bigger. Stay present rather than thinking forward. It’s my best chance of living the life God intended for me.

    OK, I’m done. Thanks for letting me get that out.


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