3 Ps

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Purpose. Plan. People.

I really want to focus on these three Ps.


I think purpose is a driving force in our life. To me, living with purpose is to have a reason WHY we do everything that we do. Without it, I feel aimless.

Looking harder at the idea of “purpose” or “mission” I realize that God operates with immense purpose, too. He doesn’t make mistakes. He is working.

I think it’s a good idea to jump on board with what God is up to, so I want to be aligned with God’s purpose in all my ways.


If I have a destination to get to, I probably want some kind of method to guide me–directions, a map, compass, GPS, or what have you.


So, if I have a sense of purpose to drive me, then it would be smart to have a plan to get there.

Plans are helpful for me in all areas–a plan to spend my time wisely, a plan to cultivate good thought patterns, a plan to nourish myself spiritually, a plan to grow in relationships, a plan to fuel my body on a bike ride…

Some of my plans are more well-developed and practiced than others, and some get re-routed or deleted entirely, but I’m learning that what gets planned gets addressed. What doesn’t get planned typically gets neglected.

I believe that God uses plans, too; and that He chooses to include people in His plans to accomplish His purpose. We get to participate with what He’s up to in the world and in us.


I want my life to reflect that people matter. To God. To me.

People matter because God made them and He loves each one incomprehensibly. Therefore, I think that people should matter to me, too.

How do I live like people really do matter?

I think that this comes down to individual relationships. I cannot possibly know and care about each human being in all eternity, but I can seek to understand and care deeply for the human sitting/walking/driving/speaking right in front of me in this moment. I can listen to; I can bake for; I can help do; I can be with…

What’s your purpose? Do you have a plan?

It seems really simple written down in two sentences, but a lot of times I find myself stumbling around with no plan.

Maybe I’m assuming I’ll stumble upon my destination, my purpose, by some Irish luck (I’m somewhat Irish).

Maybe I’ve taken my eyes off my purpose entirely, distracted by the noise and cares of modern life, and need some reminding that there’s work to be done.

I’m still here on this earth at this time, so I still have purpose here and now.

In connecting these three P concepts, I found this excerpt from Bob Goff’s “Love Does” to be quite fitting:

We’re God’s plan, and we always have been. We aren’t just supposed to be observers, listeners, or have a bunch of opinions. We’re not here to let everyone know what we agree and don’t agree with, because, frankly, who cares? Tell me about the God you love; tell me about what He has inspired uniquely in you; tell me about what you’re going to do about it, and a plan for your life will be pretty easy to figure out from there. I guess what I’m saying is that most of us don’t get an audible plan for our lives. It’s way better than that. We get to be God’s plan for the whole world by pointing people toward Him.


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“Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved”

-William P. Young

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “trust” and what it means to me in a few different contexts.

Trust in God.

To me, trusting God implies that I make the connection between God and my situation. If I don’t believe that He’s in control of my circumstances, then why would I need to trust Him in the midst of them? If I believe that my situation is random, then I have no need to trust anyone or anything. I simply cross my fingers and wait.

Trust in others.

To me, trusting others is important, but also sometimes misplaced. I want to build relationships on mutual respect, and on the basis that we have each others’ best interests at heart. However, I know that myself and others are not perfect and will fail at times. We’ll fail to show respect. We’ll fail to put each other first.

So, if all of my trust is in other people, then I will be let down. Not only that, but I will likely be in unhealthy relationships due to my smothering and dependence. I’ll start “needing” people and eventually seek only to take from relationships, counter-intuitively destroying others’ trust in me.

Trust in myself.

While I do notice that I like to rely on myself quite a bit and can stand to learn more dependence on God and others, I’m starting to learn that there are areas where I can grow in trusting myself.

I think it’s good to understand that I’m going to fail and make mistakes. I think it’s good to know that I am not always trustworthy–I can lie to others, to God, and even to myself. But, I want to build trust in myself in many ways (e.g. decision making, gut instincts, training, and rest).

One area where I’ve had to rebuild trust in myself is with food. After a long period where I chose not to really listen to my body, I am now a strong believer in the benefits of eating intuitively.

I think that most of us started off listening to our bodies with no regard for the opinions of others and no comprehension of body image. Some people–like me–then take a long detour into body image issues and disordered eating habits. It can take a lot of work and time to find our way back.

I’m so glad I did the work. I can now trust the tastes, hunger cues, and satiety sensations that I took for granted as a child. I can now look at my body with the childlike innocence of “this is me” and “I’m thankful for a strong, healthy body”–with no judgement or shame or expectation of what it “should” look like or what number my scale “should” reflect.

Of course, I’m not perfect at any of it. But, I embrace the process.

Another area where I want to grow in trusting myself is with decision-making. I want to learn to say YES to things I want and NO to things I don’t want. I think this will help me to let go of my scarcity mindset when it comes to my time and energy. I tend to hold these resources with a tight grip out of fear that I’ll over-commit and not have enough to myself. I don’t trust myself to say no to things that I don’t want, so I hoard my time and energy all-the-more.

I think this lack of trust in decisions is very similar to the food example above: I use to not trust myself to say no or to limit my intake of the “bad foods”. I felt a lack of control. So, in my fear I created restrictions and held on tightly to that sense of control. Only, this caused bondage rather than freedom. My restrictions fixed the symptom of loss of control, but not the underlying condition of loss of trust.

Misplaced Trust?

While I mostly want to grow in trust when it comes to God, I think He works through our circumstances, thoughts, feelings, and through our interactions with others. Maybe sometimes trusting myself or trusting others is a form of trusting Him. I think perspective is the key. Whom is the ultimate source of my trust?

Crisis and Anger

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“It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.”

Madeleine L’Engle

When things happen in life that pull the props out and put us into “crisis” mode–after the initial sorting of the sand and rock under my feet–I start to feel angry.

I feel angry because it seems like everyone is suddenly acting as if bad things are happening and people are dying when in fact there have been awful, evil, things happening and people dying painful, heartbreaking, physical and spiritual deaths all around us, every moment of our lives.

I feel angry as if I’ve realized it the whole time and others have been carrying on obliviously. I bitterly think ‘why are they only now realizing it?’

Even as I type those words, I am just becoming aware of the true source of my feelings.

What am I really angry about?

Now I know that the real reason I feel so frustrated is because I myself have been living as if everything-and everyone–is “just fine”.

Maybe it is. Maybe we are.

But I believe that there’s a reason each of us is here and it’s not merely to make it through every crisis–poverty, addiction, mental illness, family conflict, injury, disease, job loss, pandemic. *side note: I do believe that making it through any of these things is indeed a major victory.*

I believe that there is a larger purpose for my being right here, right now, and that it’s not just to “get through it” or “hang in there”.

Therein lies the root of the angry feelings bubbling up.

I feel angry because I know that I am guilty of presupposing that life for one more second is something owed and promised to me.

I feel angry because there are provisions and passions and gifts that I’ve been storing up, ignoring and keeping to myself.

I feel angry because I’ve been squandering time, turning a blind eye to the reality of death that awaits at any given hour.

I feel angry because I’ve been misusing energy on things that are not important–allowing my focus to dwell on untrue, judgmental, and anxious thoughts.

I feel angry because I’ve been wasting resources. I’ve been putting off multiplying gifts that I’ve been given, expressing gratitude, and blessing others.

It feels good to vent this frustration through my fingertips.

What do I do with this anger?

When I acknowledge my feelings of anger, I feel empowered to release them and surrender them to God.

I remember that this bitterness might be rooted not in what’s going on around me but in what’s going on inside of me.

I feel grace toward others, recognizing that when I start to judge someone else’s response in a crisis, my criticism is perhaps misplaced.

I feel grace toward myself because God sees me in my broken state and loves me. He isn’t afraid of my negative feelings. He can redirect them and redeem them.

I remember that if I believe in life and death; good and evil; in God’s purpose to redeem a broken world, then my reality is in a sense a “crisis”. I must respond by pursuing life proactively, with passion and urgency! I can no longer postpone this purpose for the sake of a false external or internal peace.

I remember that while the world may be confused and caught-off-guard, God is not surprised by what’s happening at any hour or location. God is not limited by my perspective of time and space.

He gives us access to His perfect peace through Jesus; He is constant; He is reality.

 He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[b]

James 1:17

Dead Reckoning

By | Coaching, Fuel, Thoughts, Triathlon | No Comments

Do you ever read something and think, “YES! This is exactly what I believe but didn’t know that I believed it”? Someone puts words to your mishmash of ideas lost in your subconscious.

Last year, a cluster of words grabbed me and helped me to organize my thoughts about making decisions in life. In his book “Love Does”, author Bob Goff uses the concept of “dead reckoning” on the open seas to explain how using a set number of “fixed points” can help us navigate life. We can “draw a line from them” to ourselves and where the lines cross is the direction we want to go.

Definition of dead reckoning according to Merriam-Webster.com
1: the determination without the aid of celestial observations of the position of a ship or aircraft from the record of the courses sailed or flown, the distance made, and the known or estimated drift

I love the idea of using dead reckoning in life because it takes the emphasis off of being perfectly calculated in each minute detail and decision. As long as we are heading in the general direction that we want to be going, becoming the person that we want to be, then the specific path does not particularly matter. To me, this is freeing because there is no “one right way” to go– no “one perfect job” or “one perfect person to marry”– we get to choose our course within the protective bounds of our set points.

As a coach, a couple of my set points are:

  1. hard science: objective data points in physiology, psychology, etc
  2. soft skills: subjective relationship and communication abilities

Hard science helps me to measure an athlete’s progress over time, while soft skills enable me to work with the individual in a way that uniquely fits them. I look at both of these points to “draw my lines” and then, using experience to guide my intuition, carve a path somewhere in the middle to point toward the athlete’s desired destination (i.e. performance goal).

Another example of using dead reckoning occurs in my training. Once again, hard science is one fixed point. This includes objective data gathered during workouts such as pace, power, heart rate, etc. Another fixed point is RPE (rating of perceived exertion) which is more subjective as it is based on perception rather than reality. Taking into account these objective and subjective points, I draw two lines and set a course down the middle. The specific course is partly data-driven and partly experience-driven and intuitive.

Just for fun, one more example: baking sourdough bread. I have been learning the science and art of this procedure for over a year, and I am still quite a beginner. What I love about the process of cultivating the culture, creating the dough, rising, baking, etc., is that there is such a science but also such an art about it. A good bread maker knows their dead reckoning on the seas of sourdough!

I have tried many different techniques, ratios, rise times, kneading tools, baking methods, etc. Sometimes the results are predictable and consistent. Sometimes I do the exact same steps only to yield almost indistinguishable loaves.

Seasoned bakers know that the dough feels like, what it smells like, how it reacts with water, etc. They just know. That is the art of baking which, combined with the science, creates the perfect course to that crusty-on-the-outside, soft-and-holey-on-the-inside, hollow-sounding, soup-dipping kind of sourdough bread that I want to make.