The "Showing Up Mentality" – by Ashleigh Vella

I am so proud of my fiancée. Her personal and spiritual development has likewise re-kindled my personal and spiritual development. I want to share with you something she recently wrote for me to read. We all can relate to and learn from what Ashleigh has written; it applies to every aspect of our lives. Enjoy! 

So I have decided to take over Johnny’ s blog again I guess in an effort to 1) overcome the monotony of my life and 2) to make an invested interest in using my brain for something other than basketball. My first point can become a danger or pitfall of my occupation. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that I get paid to play basketball; seriously it’s a dream come true. However, with that being said I am afforded a considerable amount of free time between practices, and whilst this sounds appealing, napping and Netflix can only entertain you for so long. To my second point, in my previous invasion of Johnny’s blog I highlighted my somewhat of an identity crisis I had half way through last year. When you are paid to play and coach basketball your life essentially becomes consumed with basketball. Although I often claim to just be a dumb jock I recognise that there is a need to use my brain in an intellectual way, away from the basketball court. The brain, being a muscle like the rest of my body, was tending to succumb to the boredom and inactivity of my life. So, with this all being said, I am trying my hand at writing.  

So I got to thinking the other day after a conversation with my roommate. We were discussing her schedule for the next day. She unfortunately had a physiotherapy appointment the next morning at 7:15 am – I mean, seriously, what physio do you know that works at 7:15am? – and then directly after she had school from 8-11:45 then again at 1:45-4:00I am extremely happy my college days are behind me. When discussing her schedule she jokingly said:  
Roommate: “I think I will sleep in class at 8am” Me: “Then why go? Why not just come home and sleep in your bed? At least it’ll be more comfortable.”  Roommate: “Yeah, but at least I am there (in class).”  
Whilst she said this in a very joking manner it really struck a chord with meLet me first preface by saying my roommate is an extremely hard working young woman. She has what I would deem a ridiculous schedule. On top of the fact she is at training twice a day, along with physiotherapy sessions and a booming social life, she also accomplishes all of these things with a smile and minimal complaining. Whilst her comment was said fairly flippantly, it really got me thinking: since when did “being there” or “showing up” become enough?  

This idea of “Well, at least I am in class but I am going to sleep through it is just the beginning to this behaviour. We see it in all facets of life: “I’m going to class, but I’ll be sleeping or on my phone the whole time”, “I have practice tonight but I don’t really feel like being there and I’m really thinking about work tomorrow”, “I go to church on Sunday’s but really I’m thinking about what I’m having for lunch after” or “I’m hanging out with my *insert significant other* but really I’m thinking about something or someone else.” This behaviour is like a poison that seeps into all facets of our lives and so inconspicuously that we don’t even realise it. I’d like to think of this behaviour as the “showing up mentality. I may be here physically, but mentally, emotional and even spiritually I’m M.I.A. 

My college coach, whom I have the upmost respect for, was not only a great coach but a master of the one liners. Two of my personal favourites of his was the term “clock-watcher” and the ever quotable “Are you trying to thrive or you just trying to survive?” (6am conditioning; the answer is always survive!) As funny as these lines were at the time, I don’t think I truly appreciated or understood these sentiments until later on in life. How many times have we been at work/practice/with friends and just watched the seconds and minutes tick by? When you adopt a “showing up” mentality you become a clock-watcher, you don’t utilize where you are and thus your opportunity for self-improvement or relationships development. Whilst the adage of “survive or thrive” is a tad corny, it’s true. If you are surviving you are embracing the “showing up” mentality of I am here” it but doesn’t mean I am getting anything out of it. Whereas if you embrace the “thrive” mentality you are engaged in what is happening, you are trying to do something meaningful with your time.  
I think this mentality is the most dangerous to your relationships; firstly, to the most important relationship you will ever have: with God. We have all at one point or another been found wanting when it comes to our relationship with God; sin is in our nature after all. How many times have we been at church, or reading our Bible and instead of solely focusing on the good word we are worrying about something else. I have found myself more times than I am willing to admit reading my daily devotional which is talking about “resting in God” and “seeking Him with everything I do” whilst simultaneously thinking about what time my bus will leave and what I will wear for practice. Unfortunately, committing yourself whole-heartedly and just “showing up” are two mentalities you can’t have at the same time. It’s like saying I’m going on a diet and then eating four meat lovers pizzas; the intention and the act are at odds with one anotherThere are many scripture verses that say over and over again that the Lord is with you always (Deuteronomy 31:6, Romans 8:28, Isiah 41:10, Romans 8:38-39 to name a few). Therefore, if we have a God who is always with us, who is always devoted and invested in us, why would we not do the same in return? It is my duty as a Christian to be invested in the Lord at all times, that I should always put God first and foremost (Matthew 6:33) and to cast my anxieties or worries on Him (Philippians 4:6-7). I think Jesus in Matthew 22:37 summed it up perfectly “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. He doesn’t say love the Lord sometimes when you are thinking about Him, love him with most of your mind, but don’t forget about the groceries, the homework and the pile of laundry you have. The love God has for us is an all or nothing kind of deal, so why would we think our reciprocation of our love for God be anything less?  

This mentality is also toxic in our everyday relationships and is one reason why we see this shift from face to face communication to digital communications. It is so much easier to not be present or mentally invested in a person or conversation when you are having it on the phone. This is something both myself and Johnny have been guilty of. We will be having a FaceTime conversation, yet I am reading through emails while he is checking the news. Yes we are “having a conversation” but I mean is either one of us actually invested in what the other is saying? This generation is so technologically advanced and whilst this has seen many great improvements in all facets of our lives it has also been a huge factor in the deterioration of interpersonal relationships, because we no longer have to physical, emotional, socially or mentally be with someone to converse with them. I now no longer have to look my Mum in the eye in Melbourne, Australia to talk to her from St Brieuc, France. So when Mum messages me and asks how am I, I can quick type out “I’m fine, got to go to practice, love you” in less than three seconds and continue my activity. But have I really engaged with my family? Have I really worked on my family relationship?  

I guess the true meaning behind this post was to have a bit of a rant, but ultimately as a reminder or “mentality check. Are you showing up to places and merely “clock-watching” or are you going to places and fully socially/emotionally/mentally/spiritually engaging with the people and things around you? At the end of the day, you only have one life to live and it’s your duty to live it to the fullest. I truly believe the only way to do that is to be there; truthfully and faithfully be there. 

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