Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Learning to Walk Like a Child of the King

You'd think I'd have this down by now.

Part of the learning process is to start where you are and expand your boundaries little by little.

I'm seldom patient enough for that. Instead, I want to leapfrog to the end result; I see little point in most of the intervening steps. I forget that learning to do anything requires taking it a bit at a time and mastering that bit before going further.

A classic example is weight training: if all you've ever picked up is a glass of milk, you are hardly likely to pick up that 100 lb. barbell on your first try. You have to start small and work up to the barbell.

The same with the Walk.

You're probably asking yourself, 'What does he mean "Child of the King"?' and 'How do you walk like one?' Good questions. Taking the second question first, it's not about how you move your feet, or the latest dance step.

Okay, you knew that.

It's about behaving in a manner that marks you as a certain kind of person.

You know what I'm taking about. An athlete who is serious about his sport will take care of his tools (his body), learn his sport, and repeat movements until they become second nature. And, since he knows that what the body doesn't use it lets go of ("Use it or lose it."), he continues to train his body and exercise it to keep it running well. He also feeds himself good stuff, in the right amounts. He allows his body to rest and recuperate. He is a detail person on how he can improve himself. He also has a sharply defined goal to strive for.

Tiger Woods is a great example of this. He once changed his entire swing and trained for months to unlearn his old way and learn the new one, all in order to send the ball farther down the fairway.

That's not 'Hard Way' thinking. That's 'Best Way' thinking.

You can tell such a person when they walk into a room, they don't have to tell you. You can see it in the grace of their movements, and the aspect of easy, controlled strength in their bearing.

The true athlete is not a braggart; he lets his ability do the talking. This aspect of self control expresses itself in how he looks at the world, and interacts with it. He is not a bully; he has no need to be. He's not perfect, but if he's smart he knows this, and knows that perfection is an exemplary goal, but an unattainable one. I think even Michael Phillips would say that. Even after taking all those gold medals, he would say 'There's room for improvement on my style, maybe even a total reworking of it, to get better performance.' Getting better is a never ending path, and perfection will always be out of reach.

I'll say that again:

Getting better is a never ending path, and perfection will always be out of reach.

Now that you know what I mean by 'walking', let me tell you what I mean by 'Child of the King'.

Now, the 'King' I'm talking about isn't Elvis. He's not Julius Caesar, or Harald Fine Hair, or even Holy Olaf. Nor is he any king you can name, all the way back to king Solomon, David, and especially not Saul (never mind Atila the Hun!).

This king was physically strong, mentally sharp, and attitudinally dedicated. He had a good idea of right and wrong, but, more importantly, he knew the difference between acting good and being good. He knew when to be forceful, and when to be gentle. He knew how to sacrifice the right things for the right reasons to get the right things done.

He gave himself away to the world, and stood between the forces of evil for the benefit of his subjects, even those who would side with evil against him. He even grants pardon to those who see the error of their ways. (Yes, he is still doing that today.)

I could go on, but I'd be here all day, and the next few days besides.

This King was worth following for all the right reasons. He was perfect example of how to interact with the world around him. He granted the right to be a part of his family, not by blood oaths, or by enormous sacrifice of self-worth, or by buying oneself into it (I couldn't afford it anyway, neither could you), but by allowing you and me to accept his kingship and rule.

Who would want to follow such a king, and be a part of his family? I dare say most folks.

The pity is, most people never see the King, just the pitiful examples most of his followers provide, myself included.

That's why I'm learning, all over again, how to walk in his footsteps, do the things he did, and as best as I can, be a reflection of his strength and wisdom and good-ness.

Here's the catch, though: through all of this the guiding principle is to show his kindness through humility. He even said, "To be great in my kingdom, you must become the servant of all."

I have a hard time with that.

Even when I was 'doing it', when a friend wrote in my high school yearbook that he hoped that I'd become the 'servant of all men', I was offended, though I didn't say so aloud at the time. I think that offends most of us in the Kingdom, until we truly understand what the point of the kingdom is: giving, healing, and loving.

I can't do those things with a selfish attitude. But I'm working on changing my attitude. And I'm practicing all those things that truly reflect that changed attitude. So can you.

I need to be humble enough to ask the King for help on doing this, for I can't do it by myself. I need his strength.

So do you.

I ain't there yet, by any stretch of the imagination. Just because perfection isn't attainable, doesn't mean I shouldn't try!

By the way, for those of you who, like me, have fought with the idea of having money versus being 'better' by not having money, remember, money is not evil. The love of money is the root of all evil. In other words, it's all about attitude, again. The more I have, the more I have to give.

Be rich, but be good. Put your riches, such as you may have, to good use. Walk like a child of the King.

Yes, you can!

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