I love celebrating our graduates! I think graduation is such a fun and exciting time. All of the fun grad activities, plus the adventure of moving into something new. Graduation acts as a sort of milestone or marker of experiences, marking experiences before graduating and after. It’s also scary for some because they realize that things get a bit harder after graduating. Grade nine grads head into High school, high school students head off to university, college or the work force, and university/college grads begin their careers full time. And there’s no turning back. In fact graduations help prepare us to learn that we have to keep moving forward even when it get harder.
This past week I was reflecting with Andrea about my kickboxing days. Most of you don’t know that I used to be a kickboxer. I took lessons, spared, all that. I don’t talk about it often, but I was pretty intimidating. It was a mixed martial arts/kickboxing class. The instructor was new to teaching, but not new to martial arts, and when I would spar with others in the class, they would literally run from me when I flinched at them. It was actually pretty hard to find someone in the class who would stand their grounds. This is a true story! I can’t remember if I was in grade eleven or twelve when I started. I really wanted to get into kickboxing I really enjoyed it so I went with my buddy to this class he was part of. There are a few more details of the story that I usually like to leave out. Like the fact I only went to two classes. The others in the class were kids that were half my height and they ran from me just because of my size even thought they could have probably taken me out; then there was my friend who was way bigger and taller than me and very good. I stopped going after two classes because on the second class, during the sparring, the instructor realized that I wasn’t going to get any sparing done with these kids, so he spared with me.
I remember it pretty clearly. There was one point where he unleashed a flurry of kicks and punches at me, and I remember just blocking one after another – five or six hits. He even took a step back in surprise and he and my buddy said “woah”. Then he switched his feet around, and my buddy said “Oh you just changed your stance to blablahblah.” The instructor smiled at him then turned and kicked me square in the face. I had left my guard down after the blocks, and he just kicked me. He didn’t mean to make contact- he was just as surprised as I was I think. But after that I thought “wow, I don’t like getting kicked in the face.” And so I never went back. So that ended my intimidating kickboxing days.
I thought I wanted to be a kickboxer. I knew that I was going to have to take some hits. That it would take practice and dedication. I signed up because I was ready for that. To be a good kickboxer, this is what you sign up for. - Yes it’s extreme. But as soon as I didn’t like it I was out. Not for me!
Unfortunately, some people live their Christian walk this same way. They say they want to follow after Jesus, but then they bail when it’s hard to they don’t like something that Jesus taught that doesn’t line up with their worldview. They read something in the Bible and they say well I don’t believe that. I think it’s different.