Monday, July 07, 2014

Worry and "The Sugar Cookie"

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27)

This is one of the most profound statements of wisdom, and perhaps one of the most difficult to abide. Worry comes so easily yet makes nothing easier. Life gets no longer by doing it.

Former Navy SEAL, Admiral McRaven said in his speech to the 2014 University of Texas graduating class what could very easily be the present-day equivalent of our Lord’s timeless words. Admiral McRaven said, “get used to being a sugar cookie.”

The “Sugar Cookie” refers to the Navy Seal practice of running the SEAL trainees into the surf for a total drenching, then rolling around in the sand until well coated. The trainees then spend the rest of the day (doing PT, running, etc) in this state of intense discomfort. They must grow accustomed to the grit, the pain, to every undesirable distraction that will cause a man to divert from his mission. When a man quits, he has worried--and he has worried because he has given up. The lifespan of his training comes to a sudden halt.

I’ve gone all these years of my life hearing the teaching of Christ, but not able to make a full connection until now. I say, “now” because I’ve been Sugar-cookied. It happened in April when I ran the USMC Mud Run with some friends. 6.2 miles of 36 obstacles and lots of mud. Lots of mud and water and sand. Lots of sand. If one does not fully complete an obstacle, the team gets a punishment which is usually a few minutes of PT dispensed by a Marine standing nearby. One particular obstacle, I fell off a rope and into the pond. The consequence was to do push-ups, then roll on the sand to the water, then roll back out of the water across the sand to do burpees, more pushups, some sit-ups until the Marine decided to clear us from his obstacle. What do, but run to the next obstacle . . .

I did not realize it at the time, but the rope we came down was a “slide.” It was covered with water and sand. The backs of our legs had been sandpapered--and some much worse than others. Everybody bled. Being a sugar cookie is not fun.

One truth Admiral McRaven expressed was that most often, being a sugar cookie is the direct result of failing to pass Uniform inspection. Nobody ever passes Uniform inspection. Ever. The instructors ALWAYS find something wrong. So get used to being a sugar cookie.

Jesus promised that life would be abundant--He just did not specify with “what.” Ever notice that? Well, while we live the abundant life He promised, worry will not make it better or longer. No person is strong enough to make it happen. And you know the result? Life will actually be much better--you know why? When you take off running, you will eventually come to water and sand will fall off. It may take days to get all the sand out, but it will out.

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