Wait or settle?

Should I be settling down or waiting?

I’m a journalist.

I’m in sports and work nights, usually from 4 p.m. to midnight. Sometimes like last night until 2:30 a.m.

I think it’s an odd job.

But I love sports and make sacrifices as a result.

Working nights is tough. But it’s the job I’ve chosen. In my field of journalism, there’s a lot of turnover each year. I talked to a coach and he wished a reporter would stick around.

Unfortunately that’s the way it is. It’s a field where you have to start at bottom to get experience. In order to get experience, you start at a small newspaper, television or radio station. Then a year rolls around and they leave.

So I think in the last two years I’ve been out of college and in media field, I’ve seen journalists put their career ahead of the rest of their lives. They wait to get married and start a family.

I see others on my Facebook getting married. I’m happy for you, trust me.

But then I wonder what I’m doing with my life. I’m 24, and single. Should I be pursuing a family over my job?

My grandma, and know she was having fun, said how are you suppose to find a girl when you work nights?

I don’t know, grandma.

I do know, though, I am trusting God with his plan because he forgave me for my past, is with me today and knows what my future holds.

I enjoy my job, even though it’s stressful. I have to cover seven high schools by myself for a newspaper. Writing, taking photos and designing pages. It’s great experience. It’s hard. It’s teaching me time management. What I love most about journalism is the ability to tell stories and listen. I enjoy capturing moments for others to cherish and remember.

So while I want to get married someday, and have kids. I’m okay with waiting.

Habakkuk 2:3 says: (ASV) ‘For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.’ 

The Message struck me, too. The heading read, ‘Full of self, but soul-empty.’

Verses 2 and 3: ‘And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie! If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.’ 

Sometimes I think I’m guilty of being selfish and trying to find what makes soul happy. We want to be successful. We forget. I forget. We sometimes let busyness of our lives forget God gave up himself for me and you. He said in Ephesians 5 to be imitators of him. To live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up as a sacrifice to God. Jesus is all our souls need.

I read further in Ephesians 5 and came to verse 14: ‘Wake up O Sleeper, rise from dead and Christ will shine on you.’

Daily I need to wake up and realize, it’s not my life, but his and he has a greater plan.

So how can I apply this to waiting? Well, I would like a wife or family. But I am okay with waiting for God’s timing. I am as a journalist and starting at a newspaper in a small town. I know God is with me. He has a vision. It may be slow in coming, but I know his plan is coming and it will come at right time.

It was hard moving away from Sioux Falls. It gets lonely. I miss my friends and family every day. (You guys know who you are).

I’ve wanted to quit and move back and live bachelor life with my bros.

But I think it was a step for God to tell me to trust him. It was a getting out of the boat experience. He’s teaching me to walk on water with him because I know every step I take, he’s right behind. He’s teaching me to know he’s in first place in my life.

I am eager each day to see what God has in store. I’m finding every day in my soul who God is forming me to be.

My soul is well. It is well with Jesus. All I am is his.

Young adult athlete sitting in bleachers

How Big is My Brave?

Brave: (definition:) possessing or displaying courage. (Synonyms:) courageous, fearless, and gutsy.

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My dad’s always told me to chase my dreams, but in order to chase my dreams, it means showing people how big my brave is. The feeling of being brave can offer a great deal of accomplishment, and it can offer rejection, too. As a recent college graduate, I’ve had both. In fact, I’d say rejection is one of everyone’s biggest fear, but it’s those that use rejection as fuel to succeed in life that go far.

I gradated college in May of 2013 as a 22-year old with a journalism major. Since then, this first summer of the real world has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve learned I’m going to get rejected. I’m not going to get every full-time job offer I apply for and I’m not going to get a phone call back every time either.

Both of these things have happened this summer, and I’ve became frustrated, worn out, and tired.

But I haven’t given up, and won’t. I haven’t lost faith, and hope because I know that I’m not in control and that it’s not my plan, but God’s. I’ve had to realize that if I keep applying for jobs, or keep working hard at my present job, things will get better.

(God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can fully understand all he has done, and he puts questions in our minds about the past and future – Ecclesiastes 3:11). ecc 3-11

And I’ve learned that striving for that “big boy job,” does comes with time. Let me explain…

About a month ago, I sent an e-mail to a mentor I met. He’s a national sports columnist for a magazine. He’s taken time to talk to me, given me applicable, and practical advice for a young journalist. In the e-mail I asked my mentor if he had any advice for a young journalist that was stuck, and needed some encouraging words. His advice was great. Some of it was difficult to swallow, but it made me want to chase after my dream of becoming a journalist. It’s made me want to work harder to become noticed. 

In the e-mail I sent to this sports journalist, I told him I love my job. I love to get the opportunity everyday to work in the sports media field at a local television station shooting sports games, or writing sports as a freelancer. Then, I went on to say that I want be the type of journalist that isn’t afraid to put in long hours on days, nights, and weekends. I want to be persistent in my work. So, I asked him, how can I be a writer that is passionate about his craft? How can I get better and become noticed even when there are days when it seems like there is no progress being made?

— Below are his thoughts —

“Hey, Sam. No worries. And remember—you’re young and new and fresh on the scene. This stuff takes time. It did for me; it does for most…keep in mind, I’m 41, and I was in your shoes two decades ago. But I freaking applied everywhere. Literally, every newspaper, every city … everywhere. If you REALLY want it, think about doing the same. Busting butt, going all in. It’s not easy; hell, it’s frustrating. But, generally, it separates you from the rest. Those who bust butt go far. It’s fact.

I suggest blogging your butt off, stringing high school sports for local newspapers, etc … etc. Get your name, and your work, out there.

— He responded in another email with some great advice on how to be a better writer —
Look, Sam, GREAT writing is about setting scenes; about bringing words to life; about finding the engrossing story and telling it. Take me inside the locker room; let me smell the sweat; feel the pain. Show me, don’t tell me. 

If I’m writing a story on the seniors, I’m finding crazy stories from their careers; low points; high points; suspensions; dazzling moments; whatever. I’m opening with: “She still remembers the smell. She was a freshman, young and dumb and unaware of the bowl of bleach that sat in the gymnasium closet …” Do you know what I mean, Sam? Make a commitment, at this very moment, to never write dull, cliched b.s. ever again. Take risks; take shots; read great writing and steal some devices. Break out of your cell, man.

J

As I reflect on my mentor’s advice, I’ve learned a lot this summer. First, I’ve learned to work hard where I am at, whether it’s at the television station or writing sports as a freelancer. These two jobs have have taught me how important it is to show people that you want to learn so future opportunities could present themselves down the road. Second, I’ve learned connections are everything. The more people I meet, and talk to, the more things I will learn. I’ve only been working in the media field for a year, and my employers have for years. Be willing to listen, and show up to work ready to work hard,  and be teachable. Third, apply, apply, and apply for as many jobs as you can out of college. Make the most out of every opportunity. Life is about chasing the dream, not waiting for it. Fourth, be thankful for what you have and where you are at. Fifth, God will provide. When hasn’t he? Sixth, God’s plan will be fulfilling as long as you trust and believe it.

In my closing thoughts, to sum up this blog post, I’ve learned to show how big my brave is.brave

I’m fresh out of college, I have a few jobs in the journalism field, and I’m learning to pay the bills. I’m learning to take chances, to grow in my strengths and weaknesses and to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve faced rejection head on, but I am not going to go down without a fight.

God, my mom, my dad, my best friends (you know who you are), my mentors, and my bosses have all pushed me, and encouraged me to make me believe that I am stronger than fear, rejection, discouragement, and failure.

Lastly, I’ve learned as a 22-year old college graduate, that I’m not the best. I’ve still got a lot of work to do and a lot to learn. I’ve learned that everyday I wake up, I will wake up with a smile. I will be ready to share my passion of journalism with my colleagues and with the audience I am connecting to.

All I want to be is brave, and I’ll keep praying that God makes me brave.

carry on.

Today, three things happened. It was these three little things that turned into three eye-openings for me.

First, I must say that I love writing. I love sports. I love writing about sports. This piece, however, reflects what I believe and what I want to be known as a journalist. I’m not the type of guy that shows emotions, or wears them on his sleeves. I don’t usually tell them to others, but I instead write them. Here is my heart.

The first little thing I saw today began this morning at church, at the Ransom. I knew that it was going to be awesome because the worship made me feel God in that place. We sang this song, “Revelation Song,” and the lyrics sunk in.

“Filled with wonder. Awestruck wonder. At the mention of Your name. Jesus your name is power. Breath and Living water. Such a marvelous mystery. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is, and is still to come.”

Wow. God could be felt and I knew that God was moving. God moves in these mysterious ways, but in powerful ways. Ways we don’t understand. Ways that make us wonder his plan, but I know that a God so powerful wouldn’t let me down. He never has, and never will.

I know God’s ways are hard to understand, but at the same time, I know God has a plan for me.

For one of first times, I thought I was clearly beginning to see what God’s plan for me was, and it had all started in the beginning of 2013. It started off as one of the best years. I was having a good last semester, I had the best friends, I had two opportunities in the media field – one at KDLT-News shooting sports and the other writing sports for ESPN 99.1.

But then I graduated. It was exciting, but frustrated. However, life isn’t supposed to be good, right?

And as life became frustrated, I freaked a little. I freaked everyday whether I really showed it on the outside or inside because I like to cover things up. I guess I don’t know why I don’t tell people how I really feel.

I freaked because I couldn’t find a full time gig and I didn’t know why? I doubted. I questioned. I was stuck. I kept freaking out daily.

But in the meantime, I was learning to use my doubts, and questions as opportunities to grow, to get better and to meet new people. For example, I met an Argus Leader sports writer, I was shadowing reporters, or got a new opportunity to write “Game of Week,” articles for ESPN 99.1.

Little by little God was working, I had just not seen it. That bothered me because I wanted results. I wanted an audible voice from God to say, “Sam, I have this job for you.” Realistically, it doesn’t work that way, and it takes patience.

That’s where the message today from the Ransom comes in. The message was how Jacob wrestled with God, and with life we all wrestle with God. The key to the message was am I letting my wrestling with God lead to blessing? Am I wanting MORE of God, and being dependent on God? I needed to break the popsicle sticks, and break down to God to say, “Break me.”I needed to grab hold of the God who created me, and let him work. That needs to be my prayer every day.

The second little thing has to do more with sports. I was watching SportsCenter Featured piece called, “Carry On.”

You can watch it here: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9456327. It was a story told by Tom Rinaldi and former ESPN producer Lisa Fenn about the story of Dartanyon Crockett, and Leroy Sutton. The video showed how Fenn, Crockett, and Sutton formed a family and how they altered each other’s lives.

dm_130707_sc_featured_carry_on

Fenn showed how you can’t count these men out and that they let their goals be greater and did anything and everything to chase them.

While watching this video, I realized I want to be a journalist that tells stories, and stories that tell people not give up. I want to be a journalist, a person that you can count on to carry on to bring good, beauty from pain, light from darkness, and truth from lies.

I will do anything to help people succeed and chase their dreams. I love listening and telling people’s stories. That’s why I became a journalist.

The third little thing happened tonight. It stormed and rained and after the storm, I went for a bike ride. There was a sunset in the distance and I rode so could see it nice and clear. I love sunsets. Sunsets give me so much joy and because of them, I know my God is so much bigger than my problems and that he creates beauty out of storms.

Because of these three little things, I know the little things matter, and that God puts even the little things to make a difference in our lives. The little things often make us see what really is important.

I want to carry on an attitude that is the same as my God, that puts others above myself, and attitude that wants to be passionate in what I believe and in my job – journalism.

As a journalist, I want to win listeners, viewers, and readers with honest, truthful, and compelling stories that are intriguing and show a passion.

Now, help me carry on, and never lose hope.