Admirals and Captains

Laura & I recently started watching the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix. It’s the first time we’ve seen some of these episodes in years, and my inner nerd was pleased to find that they’re better than I remembered (although not nearly as good as the show became in later seasons).

Last night I was thinking about Captains Kirk and Picard, and the fact that they were both so well-suited to sit in the captain’s chair. If you’re a Star Trek fan like me you’ll recall that Kirk had been promoted to Admiral by the time the first movie came out, only to eventually wind up being demoted back to Captain a few movies later as a “punishment” for spectacularly breaking the rules in order to save humanity from itself (again). Naturally he was thrilled because, as Spock put it so well in Wrath of Khan, “Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny; anything else is a waste of material.”

Not everyone can or should sit at the top of the chain of command. Not everyone should have responsibility for logistics or long-term planning. Some people just need to be out exploring. Some people come to life when they have a mission and the inner drive to fulfill it. Some people are just meant to be captains.

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Finishing

I’ve been exploring some of the tools and resources Amazon provides for self-published authors. Evidently I was supposed to have started my marketing plan several months before I published my book…whoops. How typical of me!

After I clicked “submit” on the CreateSpace website, I told myself “I’m finally done!” Now I’m beginning to wonder if the self-published author can ever consider a massive, personal project like this to be truly finished. When I “finished” the first draft there was still a year of editing ahead of me, and it’s not like I can just sit back and wait for the 5-star reviews to start rolling in (although I wish I could).

Today’s excerpt touches on finishing, and the fear that so often prevents us from doing so. Have you been held back (or holding yourself back) from finishing something important to you? Are you willing to share your story of finishing (or not) here?

Saul may have exceeded his countrymen in height but he was equally reduced in stature in response to Goliath’s physical presence and bluster. Even if the strongest and most battle-hardened members of the Twelve Tribes of Israel were ready to fight, I wonder if their comrades – or even their cowardly king – held them back out of fear. Apparently everyone forgot that God was stronger than any Philistine…everyone except David, whom his brother criticized for hanging around like a groupie in order to see the army at work.

I believe there are battles like this playing out every single day on little battlefields everywhere: in churches and offices and schools and homes and courtrooms and boardrooms. People find themselves confronted by an intractable enemy, one that has called them out and found them lacking in both the tangible and intangible qualities that the world uses to define success. For the Christian there may be every head-level reason to believe that God is in control of our situation (as opposed to the immovable obstacle in front of us), and yet our heart falters and we hesitate; we check email instead, or do a little more research, or think of a reason to put off making that hard decision, or having that hard conversation, until tomorrow.

As battles go it’s most definitely a battle of good vs. evil because there is an enemy that is attempting to stare us down (literally or metaphorically) and prevent us from doing the right/best thing, and yet it’s also much less meta than that. So often the battle boils down to a fundamental willingness to choose the courageous path and trust in God to do what seems impossible, maybe even a little crazy. That’s what I regularly told myself I was risking by not finishing this book: because of my fear, someone won’t read these words and won’t find the inspiration to do the crazy things that God is urging and prompting and equipping them to do. I know that sounds egotistical, but the sentiment can’t be dismissed as ego if it turns out to be true!