Friday, May 30, 2008

My New Job...and My Heart...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My New Job...and my heart...

So, I have a new job, at Morton’s downtown. It is a rather high end restaurant.
I am learning a lot about how much I really don’t like change, and how I want to have a overly strong desire to ’be in control’ all the time, and not be in a position to fail.
Melissa, my great friend, helped me realize this.
Daren, one of the bestest friends I have ever known, sums the truth of the matter up to me when he speaks of ’settling for security over blessing.’
Part of me really wants to go back to Red Robin full time. While I am so utterly far from perfect, basically, I know the routine there, and I know I can do it. However, the potential is in place for me to possibly make a much more significant financial living working at Morton’s, and further myself as a person by learning new things! So, responsibility wise, wisdom tells me to keep the Morton’s thing up...but change hurts so bad.
I am halfway through training at Morton’ some ways, I have done great, and in others, if I am going to make it, I am going to have to get really clutch, really fast. They say 50% of job candidates fail out of training there. I think one guy just did last Friday. This freaks me out, because I am tempted to feel really ashamed to fail. And so many of my personal friends, and especially some of my friends from The Dirty, Dirty, Dirty Filthy Bird, have wished me well in this switch. (a.k.a, Red Robin.) The stress of it all this past week defeated me, to the point that I have not even been celebrating or having joy that I have a really great opportunity with this job that can tie in with so many of my personal dreams. (The restaurant is only open at night, giving me every day off to pursue entrepreneurial things, have good family time while working, etc.)
About four years ago, during a time of reflection, I asked God openly, "Show me something in my life You want to make better." The first thing that came to my mind was, to me, one of my biggest failures.
When I was 11 years old, I had one very clear goal in life: to be a major league baseball player. I was not much for playing with toys as a kid. I played ball in the yard...always. Even in the Oregon winter rain.
My baseball team got invited to a tournament where the first place teams from different little leagues had a one loss and your out bracketed championship. My team made it to the final game, which we ended up losing 1-0. In that game, I was up with the bases loaded, and two outs, and was facing, for the first time, a pitcher who threw a curveball. I struck out looking at strikes instead of swinging at strikes, and took the brunt of that loss HEAVILY on to my shoulders. My parents came to a pretty fair share of my games, but for whatever reason, they were not at that one, and after that game, I just really needed to get loved up on. For whatever reason, I historically felt that never happened. (And I was too ashamed to tell them I was the ’goat’ that cost my team the championship, so how could they!)
Now, I had not recalled that experience in a long time when the remembrance of it came to my mind. I beleive God let me in on remembering that to get this idea in my head: instead of always focusing on the results, focus and take joy in ’being in the game’ and ’taking a swing.’ Out of fear of failure, I didn’t swing the bat! But if you don’t ever swing the bat, you are not ever going to win the game for your team, either!
In life, ’pitches’ often come our way. Sometimes, just like the curveball, they can be pitches we have never seen before. If you are like I was at that moment, I felt completely unprepared, and I just froze.
Thus, my temptation right now, being at this new job, not being sure if I will pass all that I need to pass to stay on, (the game is in the balance) I am really, really tempted to not take a swing, by ’giving up.’ But reflecting like this, I realize that is not an option. I’ve gotta take a cut and go for it. This is a ’home run’ of a job for me if I connect...but I won’t connect if I don’t ’swing the bat.’
I still recall the first game of the season when I played Babe Ruth baseball years later. I was proud to be batting cleanup, and we had the bases packed with one out. Stepping up to that plate, I had one idea in my mind for the first at bat of the season...I was going to beat the living daylights out of that baseball. (Thus, I was swinging!) In fact, I did end up tatooing the crap out of that ball. Perhaps one of the top two or three hardest balls I can recall hitting. It was hit right into the first baseman’s glove, as a matter of fact. I recall him catching it more as an act of self defense than defensive prowess, to be honest, as it was going right at his face! (That is not a brag...honestly, that is how it went down.)
Now, the same result the unforgiving rules of baseball, and out is an out. In fact, the runner on first was off the bag, and so the play turned into a double play. However, going back to the dugout, instead of feeling like a failure, I had a HUGE grin on my face. I made an out, but inside of me, a truth existed: I tried my best, did it in no fear, and thus, had no regrets about that at bat. Could I adjust later and maybe reaim the hit? Perhaps so. But you know, I remember thinking, "Dang, I could NOT have hit that ball any harder." Acting in fear leaves huge regret, but acting out fear free, even when we fail, is so much more freeing. Experience and training and practice would help me redirect that hit for later opportunities...but if fear had me then, and froze me at the plate...I would have once again gone back to the dugout in shame.
Life can be goofy sometimes. I had really good grades in high school...mostly all A’s, but I did get one typing! (Ironic that I now type 120WPM...). But my identity was not wrapped up in typing at while I was a bit stressed about the hit to my GPA, in reality, I could have cared less about being identified as a good typist. But failing like I did that baseball game...that was how I wanted to define myself...and inside of that little guy that I planted a psychological wound, I am sure.
So, as I believe God helped me recall that event, He helped me recall some other things too. Even though my parents were not there, my coach, who was not overly talkative with me, took a lot of extra time with me after that, and even called me at my house to encourage me. And I remembered some small, but great plays I made during that tournament. I think God wanted me to take that moment to heal that wound, and let me know that even when I ’failed,’ He was there to get me support. That no matter what it looked like, if my heart was willing to have it’s eyes opened, I would be able to see Him in it. And despite what any person ever tells me, I now know that I do.
This new job has all kinds of ’pitches’ that I have not only never seen...I have never even heard of them before. But I am making a decison now, even as I write this. I am not going to stand and watch them. I am going to ’try and smack the hell out of those pitches.’ If I connect, it is going out of the park. But even if I fail, I am going out with a grin. Because I am leaving no regrets on the table. No matter what the result, I know God is there to catch me. I don’t have to retreat in fear. If it is this or something else, I know it is time in my life to grow, and I will not settle for security over blessing. I am willing to take the risk, get in the game, and go for the fences. Life is not designed for us to hit a home run every time. (Which is a bummer to me, because I fantasize about that all the time.) But, no one hits the big one if they don’t swing.

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