Show Up, Mean It

This episode of How I Built This with Milk Bar Christina Tosi was tremendous, and I love her quirky but vigilant demeanor. But something she said at the end overwhelmed me.

It’s something I’ve thought about often but never really put the right words to. She was asked — as all HIBT guests are asked — whether her success was due to luck or hard work.

It’s an impossible question that she nailed.

“It’s more opportunity than it was luck,” she said. “I don’t consider myself to have great luck, but I show up and mean it. I’m a big believer in people who show up and mean it winning in the end.”

Show up and mean it. It doesn’t guarantee success — that would be an affront to folks who haven’t made it — but without it, you have nothing.

You’re Your Own Boss

I loved this from Godin today on the benefits of freelancing. I often forget that I am both boss and employee of myself, and I think most often when I forget I am led to believe that being the employee of myself is more important than being the boss. It’s not.

You’re your own boss, most of the time, and figuring out a way to become better at being the boss of you is a worthwhile investment of effort.

Seth Godin

I Love Thy Kingdom

I am including this hymn from former Yale president (starting in 1795) Timothy Dwight in my talk on Ephesians next week. In fact I’m ending my talk by praying it because it’s such a sweet picture of how we should view the big-C church.

I love Thy kingdom, Lord.
The house of Thine abode,
The Church our blest Redeemer saved
With His own precious blood.
For her my tears shall fall;
For her my prayers ascend;
To her my cares and toils be giv’n,
Till toils and cares shall end.

-Timothy Dwight (late 1700s)

Greasing the Groove

I’d never heard of this terminology, although I occasionally practice it while covering an event from my shed. With the amount of sitting (or standing) I do while typing into a digital rectangular box, I’d go bonkers without a little movement, a few pushups every now and then. Apparently there’s a term for this and it’s called greasing the groove.

Here’s an explanation.

Greasing the groove, as Tsatsouline explains it, means not working your muscles to the point of failure. A common idea in weightlifting is that you should lift until you can’t do another rep, purposely damaging muscle tissues so they grow back bigger. But muscle failure, Tsatsouline writes in his 1999 book, Power to the People! Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American, “is more than unnecessary—it is counterproductive!”

Instead, Tsatsouline advocates lifting weights for no more than five repetitions, resting for a bit between sets and reps, and not doing too many sets. For a runner, this would be like going for a four-mile jog, but taking a break to drink water and stretch every mile. Tsatsouline’s book suggests spending 20 minutes at the gym, tops, five days a week. In this way, he claims, you grease the neurological “groove,” or pathway, between your brain and the exercises your body performs. It’s not exactly the brutal routine you’d expect from someone billed as a Soviet weight lifter. But Tsatsouline contends this is the most effective way to build strength.

[The Atlantic]

Pushups are an easy example here, and so is stretching. This is also one reason I want to get a pullup bar in whatever the next iteration of my shed looks like.

h/t Kottke

A Long Obedience …

Eugene Peterson — I believe — coined the phrase “a long obedience in the same direction,” which ended up as the title of one of his many terrific books. I was reminded of that when I read this today.

In all of the Christian life, we need to have confidence in the process and we need to maintain confidence in the process. We need to believe that God really does work and that he really does work over time. Too often we overestimate the growth we can gain in a week, but underestimate the growth we can gain in a year.

[Challies]

I needed to hear that on this day, at this time. I’m not sure why. I feel like I’ve been getting my butt kicked in small ways for the past few days, and it was a good reminder to endure until the end.

King of Kings

I was listening to this song at the gym this morning and was stunned by the lyrics. I’ve heard the song before but never truly internalized the words. They’re staggering.

Verse 1

In the darkness we were waiting
Without hope without light
Till from heaven You came running
There was mercy in Your eyes
To fulfil the law and prophets

To a virgin came the Word
From a throne of endless glory
To a cradle in the dirt

Verse 4

And the Church of Christ was born
Then the Spirit lit the flame
Now this gospel truth of old
Shall not kneel shall not faint

By His blood and in His Name
In His freedom I am free
For the love of Jesus Christ
Who has resurrected me

This in particular had me wound up …

To a virgin came the Word
From a throne of endless glory
To a cradle in the dirt

The gospel in 18 words. You can’t make it any clearer, can’t make it more efficient or succinct. Praise him for giving us words that stir our hearts and our affections.

Whatever a Man Trusts In

I have been knocked off my feet by the Valley of Vision in recent weeks and months. I try to read aloud one prayer per day, normally just after lunch. Today’s was convoluted, but from within it shined this jewel.

Be happy in him, O my heart, and in nothing but God,
for whatever a man trusts in,
from that he expects happiness.

Valley of Vision

How true are those words? That whatever I find to be trustworthy is the very same thing I look to for fulfillment and happiness. May it always be the Lord foremost, for it is the only place where I shall never be let down.

The Beauty of Grace

I read this this afternoon and was again reminded of the magnitude of not only my sin but also the grace that covers it.

There is no treasure so wonderful
as that continuous experience of thy grace
toward me which alone can subdue
the risings of sin within:
Give me more of it.

My heart is wretched — as all hearts are wretched — and but for the goodness of Jesus Christ, I would simply go on sinning deeper still, even though it may not always look (externally) like I am sinning at all.

Reproofs of Discipline

Part of the reason I read the Bible daily is because sometimes verses or clauses pop when they didn’t pop before. Maybe this is the Holy Spirit, maybe it’s something else, but this in Proverbs 6:23 jumped off the page at me today.

For the commandment is a lamp and
the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the
way of life.

The reproofs of discipline are the way of life. How good is that?! The definition of a reproof is “an expression of blame or disapproval,” thus it seems as if this means that the sin or wrong living that discipline unearths and corrects is good for our souls. The only way to live.

I know this in my own life to be true, even if I hate it in the moment.

Resting in Endurance

These are words that don’t normally go together, but thankfully for Christians they do go together.

We are incapable of enduring on our own. How often must we be reminded of that through the lives of those around us, through our own lives? But the good news is that we know who is capable of enduring, and all we’re called to do is to run to him.

Why is this so important to understand? Because your endurance will be spotty at best. There will be moments when you forget who you are and live as a grace amnesiac. There will be times when you get discouraged and for a while quit doing the good things God calls you to do. There will be moments, big and small, when you willingly rebel.

Perfect endurance demands just that—perfection—and since none of us is there yet, we must look outside ourselves for hope. Your hope of enduring is not to be found in your character or strength, but in your Lord’s.

Paul David Tripp