I spent a lot of time this weekend watching various interviews of Matthew McConaughey discussing his new book, Greenlights. I’ve always had such a heart for Matthew and his work. Particularly his wisdom and teachings about life in the few keynotes I’ve watched him deliver.
I love that he is such a deep individual. In one of the interviews on the book tour, he was meeting with Joe Rogan and Joe described him as one with “whiskey philosopher wisdom.” You know, the kind of friend that you sit at the bar with and have a couple of drinks and they bring a lot of wise dialogue to the conversation, that you only hope to remember the next day? That’s the kind of friend Matthew is. He’s just full of wisdom… but his wisdom is so simple. His premise with catching green lights is that you go through life, and you catch a lot of green lights. You’re flying threw them and life’s good and life’s amazing, but sometimes you get a few yellows and a few reds.
This last week, I injured my back for the 5th time this year. Long story short, in February, I was working out with too much weight and tweaked the nerves in my lower back. I’ll allow myself to heal, work out again for a month, then injure myself again. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been catching a lot of green lights. Life is good, work is good, my marriage is thriving. I’ve been placing a ton of intentional focus on personal growth. One of my daily goals that I write in my Start Today Journal every single day is “I am in peak mental, physical, and spiritual health.” It’s truly the first time in my life I have stuck with an eating plan that works for me and worked out consistently at the same time. I’m catching a lot of green lights.
Monday, I was on the treadmill doing a Peloton Boot Camp with Jess Sims. Shout out Jess Sims; I love you so much. Two minutes away from completing the boot camp, I came up from a plank position and completely threw my back out. My knees buckled underneath me and I was done. I literally said out loud, (excuse my language) “Fuck you, I did not just get hurt.” I tried to keep going, but I knew I was done.
I was devastated.
How did this happen? I’ve been hitting all the green lights! I’ve been doing everything I’m supposed to be doing! I’m waking up at five, I’m journaling, I’m doing a Bible Study, I’m in prayer, I’m breaking a sweat every day. How the heck did I just get hurt again!? This isn’t supposed to be happening to me!
I caught a red light.
Over the course of the next few days, I waddled my way around my office. I cried quite a bit. I felt so defeated. I skipped my morning routine for the rest of the week and laying in bed with carbs and Netflix sounded better than everything else. Then this weekend, I happened upon Matthew’s interviews.
Life isn’t always about catching the green lights. You’re going to catch them. It’s about what you do with the yellow’s and the reds. They’re coming. The red lights are inevitable. How will you respond? Will you give up? Will you call it a day and say, “nope this is too hard for me.” Or will you continue to push through and persevere even when everything in your body and mind is telling you not to. Betterment is built in times of adversity. This is where the hard work counts. This is where it matters most. This is where the daily routine is pivotal.
James 1:2-4 says, consider it PURE JOY, my brothers when you face trials of many kinds. Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work in you, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I’ve read this verse a million times. Today it hit me differently.
Wait Lord, so you mean I’m supposed to be joyful in the trials? Yes.
So you’re saying the trials are what’s developing my perseverance? Not the consistency? Yes, Alex.
Perseverance must finish its work in me, so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. So, in order to be mature and complete, I’ve got to persevere through the hard things? Yep.
I’ve got clarity people! A little Matthew and a little Jesus gave me some damn clarity! I’ve got to elevate myself above my circumstance.
I leave you with this question today. Who are you when you’re hitting the green lights? Who are you when you hit a yellow and are forced to slow down? What do you do with the reds? How do you respond?
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