Comfort Zones and Double Knots!

chucksSo there I was… sitting in church the other night and one of my friends bent down and noticed my shoelaces.  They were doubled knotted.  I went on to exclaim that double knotting my shoes as an adult isn’t that uncommon, that a lot of people do it.  (I did however have a moment of doubt and thought, What if everyone else stopped double knotting their shoes a long time ago and somehow I just missed the memo?!)  But that wasn’t the case.

It’s really been stirring in my head the past couple of days, and the fact that I’m currently teaching different types of figurative language to my sevies has made it all the more madness in my mind.  That’s when I began to ask myself, “Dolen, why do you still double knot your shoes?”  And I’ve tried just tying them normally.  Just one little bow-tie.  But I can’t seem to do it!  It drives me nuts knowing that at any moment my shoelace can come undone.  I don’t feel as safe…

Which brings me to the topic of comfort zones.  Everyone has them.  At church, we tend to sit in the same spots.  At school the students congregate to the same group of friends.  As adults we develop habitual routines (or maybe that’s just me?)  But we all have comfort zones for a reason… because it’s where we’re most comfortable! 

Comfort zones can be good and bad.  For example, the fact that I double knot my shoes is a good thing.  Because I know I won’t trip and fall (if I do it’s not because of my laces).  I know my shoe won’t come off.  I know goofy little people won’t be able to bend down and untie my shoe just so I have to tie it again.  Double knotting my shoes is part of my comfort zone.  Comfort zones can keep bad things from happening to us!

However… living in our comfort zones can also prevent good things from happening to others.  If we get too comfortable as Christians, we might forget to see the bigger picture: 

  • What if we miss an opportunity to witness to someone because we were too nervous? 
  • What if we didn’t pray for our meal in front of our peers because of looks we might get? 
  • What if we didn’t invite someone to church because we were afraid of getting rejected?

A lot of these instances could have to do with the fact that they’re juuust outside of our comfort zone. 

As Christians, we have to break out of our comfort zones sometimes.  Matthew was a tax collector; he left his booth (his comfort zone) and followed Jesus.  Paul left his comfort zone of persecuting Christians, and became one himself!  I’m so so thankful my soccer teammate in college didn’t stay inside of her comfort zone; she shared the Gospel with me. And it was the best thing to ever happen to me.

Like I said before, comfort zones can keep bad things from happening to us, but also prevent good things from happening to others.  Hmmm…

Until next time! 

Life is Like Interval Training

So there I was, thinking about soccer… Well, more specifically coaching soccer.  And I got to thinking about how I condition the players.  I’m a firm believer that interval training works, if done properly.  Change of speeds and distance covered.  I think interval training is one of the most successful types of conditioning for soccer players.  That’s why I have my players do it a lot.  They probably hate me.  But they’ll thank me later!  (I had a senior who graduated in 2013 text me and say thank you for making her condition so much during soccer because she went running one day and someone asked if she ever did cross country.)  It was after she graduated but hey, I still got a thank you.

Back to interval training.  My two favorite types to make the girls do are 15-30-45’s and 120’s.  For those of you who don’t know, during a 15-30-45, they sprint for 15 seconds, then jog for 15.  Sprint for 30.  Jog for 30.  And finally sprint for 45 seconds, and then jog for 45 seconds.  No walking.  No resting.  And then… we go back down.  Sprint for 45 again, jog for 45.  Sprint for 30, jog for 30.  Sprint for 15, jog for 15.  And that’s just one set.

The other one I mentioned is called a 120.  The girls have 20 seconds to sprint the length of the field (120 yards, hence why they’re called “120’s”).  And then 40 seconds to get back.  So they basically have one minute to get down and back, but the first leg is a sprint, the way back is a jog.  And they have to do it in the allotted time.  They do five of these.  It’s pretty rough.  For them anyway.  I mean the only rough part for me is yelling how much time is left and blah blah blah.  Strenuous on the vocal chords.

But with interval training there’s an important part.  A key component.

To let your heart rate come down a little bit so you can prepare for the next round.  My girls love the rest part.  Obviously.  Actually they love the part when it’s over.  They get a one minute rest between sets.

But I was thinking about it today, and I realized that life is like interval training. We go all out sometimes, a full sprint ahead, then maybe we find a steady pace, but if we’re not careful we’re going to burn out.  If we don’t have that much needed rest.

I’m the type of person, I’m always on the go, especially when school starts back up (like it did this past week) and then again when basketball season and soccer season start.  I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t take a little rest, I won’t be at my best.  My friends won’t get my best.  My family won’t get my best.  My students and athletes won’t get my best.  My job won’t get my best.  And God won’t get my best.

And that’s unacceptable to me.  Sometimes, all we need is a little rest and we will find ourselves motivated and rejuvenated; ready to go and give it our all.  I’m thankful for a God who loves me the same when I’m at my best and at my worst.  But He definitely deserves my best.

So Until Next Time…

P.S. There’s a difference between rest and just being pure lazy and a sluggard.

Think Before You Post: My Advice to the Freshmen (and anyone else at that matter)


It’s crazy how in one year things can change so much.  A year ago I was giving advice to my former students telling them to always carry gum because they’d make lots of friends.  Ha.  Now, I have different words of advice.  My best advice to my former students this year, my little babies, who are going off to the high school is  be careful what you post on social media.  Facebook.  Twitter.  Instagram.  Snapchat.  And whatever else there is nowadays.

Photos:  Make sure they’re appropriate. Gentlemen, no one wants to see your abs (or lack of abs).  Ladies, no one wants to see your inappropriate skin.  That’s just asking for trouble and rumors.  Don’t give people reasons to talk about you. 

Status updates and posts: Don’t call people out on Facebook or Twitter. Seriously?  (I’m giving the squinting look of disapproval right now.)  That’s practically asking for drama. And trust me, anyone in their right mind doesn’t want to be involved in drama. It’s a waste of time, energy, and emotions.  Don’t give people reasons to talk about you.  Just because you don’t use someone’s name doesn’t mean it’s a secret!  People are smarter than you think.

(Speaking of drama, they have a class for that. It’s called theater or at some schools, it is indeed called drama.  But no where on a schedule will you find the elective called Facebook.)

People will see what you post, whether it’s a photo, a comment, status update, tweet, or whatever, even the things that you “like”. And you WILL be perceived in a certain way.  For example:  If you “like” someone’s status about them wanting to get high or whatever, people are going to think that you like to do that kind of stuff too and that you’re okay with it.  When you “like” something online, or retweet something, or favorite something, essentially what you’re doing is agreeing with it.

You don’t want people to talk bad about you?  Think before you post.  Don’t give them a reason to!  That’s something I’ve repeated over and over throughout this blog entry.  You don’t want people to judge you?  Again, don’t give them a reason to.

“Well, I don’t care what people think of me.  They can’t judge me.”  Wahh, wahh, wahh.  Ummm,  yes they can and yes they will.  And yes… you do care. Everyone does. It’s normal to want to be accepted. Don’t lie to yourself.

Social media isn’t some sort of secret community that stays online.   It’s brought into the classroom, hallways, locker room, field, court, church, home, etc.  Unfortunately, it affects people throughout the day. Keep social networking positive. You will either make or break someone’s day. And at the same time make or break your personal image, your reputation, and how people see you.

As I was going back to revise and edit this post, I realized I guess this blog entry can actually apply to anyone… Hmm.

Well, until next time…