My 1st Pair of Jordan’s

As a kid, I loved shoes…I cherished them actually.¬† I’m really not sure why, but I did….they still remain a guilty pleasure, I admit ūüôā

We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so I never really had the good¬†brands like Nike or Reebok.¬† I made due with LA Gear’s, Nucleus (an off brand from Fred Meyer or something) and other random shoes.¬†¬†Regardless of the brand, I¬†made sure they were always clean and looking fresh.

I finally bought¬†my 1st pair of Nike’s with my own money¬†around my Jr. High years.¬† It was a pretty big deal.¬† I remember sitting on the couch just holding them, staring at the neon green and purple detail, studying the Nike logo as if it was¬†my passageway to “cool kid world.”

Although the Nike’s were cool, there was always “THE SHOE”¬†that was unattainable to me…the shoe that only the rich kids wore…the shoe that offered only the most elite of status…AIR JORDANS!¬† Never, ever did I consider¬†owning a pair of these.¬† In fact, even until recently, I had never considered this an option.¬† I’m a working adult who can afford a dang pair of nice shoes, but the thought stayed in my brain from childhood.¬† Funny how that works.

Well, several weeks ago, my dream came true.¬† I received my 1st pair of Jordan’s!!!!!¬† I know, it sounds silly to call it a “dream,” but there was a lot of significance to the moment that those beautiful shoes touched my hands.

First off, I didn’t purchase them myself, they were a gift from a very generous, thoughtful person (thanks Ray!).¬† We had a conversation in passing and before I knew it, I’m receiving a text saying that the shoes are in the mail!¬† I can’t imagine a more fantastic,¬†humbling way to receive my first pair of Jordan’s.¬† Grateful for that.

Secondly, I learned something about myself through this shoe transaction.¬† Early in life, I had a limitation regarding¬†buying this specific shoe due to a¬†lack of money.¬† As I grew older, those limitations went away and I could afford the shoes, but internally, my perspective didn’t change.¬† The possibility of me buying those shoes never crossed my mind, even though I could afford them.¬† I find this to run pretty parallel with life…with my life.

You see, as a kid, I limited myself in many different ways.¬† I didn’t have much confidence and I was always worried about silly stuff.¬† There were dreams and possibilities out there that I didn’t even consider pursuing because, well, I was convinced that I “wasn’t good enough” or I “wasn’t smart enough” or I “wasn’t somebody who could achieve great things.”¬† The thoughts were totally illogical and I completely understand that now.¬† But those thoughts consumed me like fire or violent ocean waves or a super spicy burrito…yeah, more like a spicy burrito.¬† That line of thinking is hard to correct, but it CAN be corrected with intentionality and patience.

Only by God’s grace have I begun to change my patterns and perspective.¬† It’s taken a daily effort and a constant leaning into His grace.¬† This imperfect soul still tries to fall back into that old broken-in leather chair filled with self pity, defeat and old ways of thinking.¬† I prefer to keep looking forward though…it’s the only exciting place to¬†look!

So friends, I urge you and I plead¬†with you, DON’T LET YOUR¬†PAST PATTERNS OF THINKING LIMIT YOUR PRESENT AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES!¬†

We are our own worst critics, it’s true.¬† So, I encourage you to find your¬†own personal “Air Jordan” story.¬† Where have you been limiting yourself due to the past and what box do you need to climb out of to see God’s huge plan for your life?

On a side note, maybe I’ll be able to dunk now that I have a pair of Jordan’s…ooorrr maybe not ūüėČ

God Bless,

Paul

 

 

 

 

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God’s Provision and a Pendleton Blanket

pendleton-blanketIt was a cool, fall-like day and I had the nagging itch to go for a run.¬† It was a weekend, so I decided to¬†jog the trail on the opposite side of the river….a typical weekend thing that I like to do.¬† It’s pretty scenic and quiet…a good time to reflect on life and hang out with God.¬† So I laced up and hit the road.

As I was jogging down the path, breathing in the crisp air, my eyes and heart were drawn to a gal walking towards me.¬† She was pushing a grocery cart full of cans, clothes, food….basically her whole life stuffed in a basket being pushed with feeble, weather-worn hands.¬† As I passed her, I smiled and said hello, but I don’t think she noticed me….she was probably used to folks turning the other way or becoming conveniently preoccupied with their phones or whatever.

I continued¬†down the path towards the end, where I usually turn around and head back the way I came.¬† My steps had a nice rhythm going¬†and my body was warm, my blood pumping pretty good.¬† Through the rush of exercise came a gentle whisper in my soul….this whisper¬†basically told me that if I happen to see the gal on my route back, that I need to stop and talk to her.¬† It was like one of those butterflies in the stomach feelings.¬† Almost like my whole being was on alert with the anticipation of seeing her, wondering what God had planned.

Guess what?!¬† As I followed the bend of the path, there she was, patiently pushing her cart, heading to who knows where.¬† So I listened to the whisper, or the Holy Spirit as I like to call¬†Him and I stopped to talk.¬† I said something like “for some reason, I feel like I need to talk to you.¬† You mind if I tag along for a bit?”¬† She didn’t seem to mind at all, so I just walked with her for a bit.¬† I found out that¬†her name was Karen and we talked about her life, faith¬†and what it was like to be homeless, surviving off of the land and trash cans and shelters and hand outs and whatever she could get her hands on.¬† She gave me some¬†tips on what trees were best to sleep under and other¬†interesting stuff.¬† She was pretty street smart and really nice.

I didn’t have much to give her since I was out running and all.¬† The only thing that I had was the sweatshirt that I was wearing, so I gave it to her.¬† She seemed happy with it, but I wasn’t….I wanted to give her more.¬† So, after we parted ways, I sprinted back to my house (about 1 mile away) hoping that I could grab some food and clothes really fast and meet her at the end of the path in time.¬† So when I got home, I made an announcement to my wife and 2 boys that we were to quickly¬†grab a bunch of food, some clothes, blankets, toiletries¬†and whatever else was available so we could complete the mission of finding Karen.¬† After everything was gathered, we hopped in the truck and drove back to the river, where the path ended….guess what?!¬† We found her!

We basically just pulled up next to her and I reminded her of who I was and that my family wanted to give her a few more things.  We all participated in loading up her grocery cart with items that seemed pretty basic to us, but probably were necessities for her.  Along with the stuff that we brought from our house, I also noticed a couple of blankets in the back of our truck, so I gave those to her as well.  She seemed pleased, we said our goodbyes and that was it.  It was great.

Well, later I found out that one of the blankets that I gave her on impulse was a nice Pendleton blanket given to us as a wedding gift.¬† OOPS!!!¬† My wife wasn’t mad or anything,¬†just bummed that I chose that blanket to give away and I can understand that.¬† My bad.

Here’s the cool part¬†of this whole story….a couple of weeks ago, a family friend¬†dropped by the house to deliver some Christmas gifts.¬† Really nice of her.¬† Guess what one of the gifts was?!¬† A BRAND NEW PENDLETON BLANKET!¬† My wife had told her¬†this story in passing a while ago and our friend felt led to replace the blanket that we gave away.¬† Isn’t that awesome?!

I was so blessed not only by our friend’s generosity, but that God used her to remind me of His provision.¬† That blanket meant a lot to my wife and He replaced it.¬† What a practical, yet powerful thing.

God’s pretty creative and He never ceases to amaze me.¬† I had no idea that this story would blossom¬†from a simple run on a fall day.¬† I hope Karen got some good use out of the stuff we gave her.¬† One thing’s for sure; we both scored some new blankets out of the deal!¬† Wink wink.

 

God Bless,

Paul