When I was little I loved the idea of vlogging. For as long as I can remember there has been at least one camera in our house. We currently have boxes and boxes of home videos ranging from the day my little sister was born to beautiful Elementary concerts to horrible band concerts. My brother, sister, and I invented Just Dance. It’s amazing to think of how entertaining we found watching ourselves dance in front of the TV to Crazy Praise and Cedarmont Kids was. But that's not the point.
In retrospect, my young love for blogging and vlogging doesn't make any sense. Blogging started around 1999, and YouTube only started in 2005.
Sometimes God gives us ideas. Sometimes they seem pretty insignificant and pointless. Other times they seem rock solid, but after a little while they crash and burn or lose their ability to fascinate.
When we go through the tapes I see myself “reporting” about everything. I used to stand in front of my dad’s handheld every Sunday and explain exactly what we were doing. As a six year old I really didn't care what the other people at the mall thought. I just wanted to have fun and talk. I would talk about things as pointless as the ice cream we were eating.
Then in 2010 Disney’s Good Luck Charlie started broadcasting. As a fifth grader this was my dream. My dad ended up giving me the same handheld that I used to stand in front of every Sunday. But soon that dream died or more appropriately, went into hibernation.
If I hadn't stood in front of that camera trying to come up with the perfect lines to describe ice cream, I don’t think I would be writing this blog at this moment. I probably would have reached this point eventually, but I doubt I’d be there right now.
Talking about Steers’ Sunday Cones helped me realise that I wanted to have my ideas out there. It helped me see that I wanted to use the gifts I've been given to directly talk to an audience.
Of course I wasn't thinking about any of this at the time, but it’s nice to look back and see how my past has shaped who I am and what I am doing today.
Ideally, when you start a business or an organisation you should have a clear sense of what your mission is. I think the same goes with a blog. I should know exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it. But honestly I have absolutely no idea what I want to write about. Just like how I used to talk about anything and everything, for now this blog will be about whatever comes to mind.
Hopefully someday soon I’ll have a clear mission and maybe one day I'll start a YouTube channel; for now, I'm just going to write. My wish is that whoever may be reading this will do the same and dive into their dreams past and present without obsessing about precision and perfection.
"I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun." - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
*Slightly edited 18/09/15
Life isn't always about the big things or the future. Sometimes it's about the small things that are now.
I'm often thinking about what I don't have. My current dreams and those that have died, what I haven't accomplished, and the things I'm still working on. The people I've lost and those that I can't seem to please. I look at the things that just seem too far ahead, too hard to reach.
I overanalyse everything and forget to look at what's around me. What I have achieved and how far I've come. I forget that my past shortcomings have shaped me to be who I am today. I forget that these shortcomings aren't necessarily shortcomings. I forget that certain things are out of my control.
I forget to be grateful. I forget about the people in my life who care. I forget how much those same people have poured into my life - how much I've poured into my life.
I forget that just a few minutes before these thoughts started racing through my brain I was overwhelmed with an insane sense of thankfulness.
"Each day means a new 24-hours. Each day means anything is possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time." - Marie Lu, Legend
I can't constantly be looking in my past or trying to decipher my future. Not because I'm incapable; I am very much so. But because what kind of life is that? It doesn't leave much time for me to enjoy the present and the blessings that I've been given. Nor does all this worry leave me much energy or sanity.
The present is a beautiful place where pasts can be mended or left behind. It’s a place where futures can be shaped. It’s also a place where dreams can be remembered or realised.
I'm tired. I'm tired of letting years past keep me from moving forward. I'm tired of the possibility of failure keeping me from trying. And most of all I'm tired of worrying and trying to change things that are out of my hands.
I have a long ways to go before these thoughts quit invading my mind to steal my happiness. I know they'll never disappear entirely, but I can hope. And I can learn to trust in God's plan. I can learn how to not let these thoughts control my life.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
As illogical as I realise it is I tend to think of myself as the only one; in a world of billions – the only one. The only one scared of not achieving my goals, of not making it in life. The only one dealing with loss and rejection. The only one with a frozen lake.
I often forget that everyone starts somewhere; that everything has a beginning. Yes, some people are naturally gifted in certain areas. But even then it takes some amount of work and practice to reach the place that they are now. Even the great heroes and prophets of the Bible started somewhere.
In an episode of NCIS: LA’s season five the frozen lake analogy is discussed. The frozen lake is a concept from Sayoc, which is a Filipino martial art.
There are certain things in life we want so badly that we would do virtually anything for them. They sit in the middle of said frozen lake. Despite the risks, we run to them as fast as possible. Only when it’s too late do we realise that the ice is cracking below us, and that we've led to our self-destruction.
Everyone has a frozen lake, whether the lake seems big or small. Some people have multiple. To get to the centre we need to “walk slowly, stop to look at everything [and] take [our] time” – as is explained later in the episode.
Often times we give ourselves time frames in which we need to cross our frozen lakes. I'm constantly doing this, and I think it’s a great way to motivate ourselves to complete our goals. But we also need to realise that we cannot control everything. Sometimes we just need to do our best and wait to see the outcome.
Robert H. Schuller once said that it’s better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly. As a perfectionist, this notion initially seems crazy. But I do believe it to be true.
Doing our best doesn't guarantee that we will not slip and fall. Many times our best isn't “enough”. Enough to complete the task at hand perfectly or at all. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have to be enough. Enough for us to feel proud of ourselves and our attempt. Enough to strengthen us and make us feel encouraged.
In 1 Corinthians 2:3 Paul says that he came to the Corinthians “in weakness – timid and trembling.” Now, the Pauline epistles are a great encouragement and guide to Christians all around the world and are personally my favourite books of the Bible. Just think, if Paul had stayed in his state of fear, he may not have been able to touch the many lives that he did.
Looking back, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John all started out as fisherman. Yet they grew to become four of the greatest insights into Christianity in its purest form.
Looking even further back we see Moses--stutterer turn liberator of the Israelites. And David--a shepherd turn Israelite hero.
Because of the courageous steps that these people took, they were able to help make a difference in their worlds. They became more than what they were and what was expected of them.
Often times we use our past experiences as crutches, as reasons why we shouldn't want, need, or deserve what’s in the middle of that frozen lake. I propose that we use these experiences as incentives, to show that we can get back up. To show the people around us that there’s more to life than the past. To show ourselves that we can accomplish more than what demographics, world history, our history, and even logic says we can.
My lake isn't solid ground nor is it impossible for me to walk across. I think that that’s the point. If it was solid, would the object or desire in the middle mean so much to me? And if it was impossible to reach why would I even bother to dream about it? Yes, the likelihood of me slipping is very high, but questions like these keep me from staying down. They keep me from turning around.
As I look ahead I know I'm not the only one scared of not achieving my goals, of not making it in life. The only one dealing with loss and rejection. The only one who wants to cross a frozen lake. And I don’t ever want to forget that. I look at my peers, people older and younger than me walk across their frozen lakes and each step they take gives me a reason to take one too.
In the same way whether you and I realise it or not, there’s somebody looking to us to see how to take that first step. Somebody looking to for insight on how to best cross their lake.
With these thoughts in mind and the backing of people around us, maybe one day we’ll cross our frozen lakes, desire in hand. And if not, maybe it wasn't what we really needed or even truly wanted.