What Stokes You? — by Jake

InGodsHands_Jake“Here, I thought you’d like this. Let’s watch it.”

Ever since my dad brought home the movie, In God’s Hands, when I was 17, I’ve had a bit of an obsession with surfing … the beach and ocean and “cowabunga” kind of surfing. It’s an unusual hobby for someone who was born and raised in a region about as far removed from salt water as you can get.

But instead of getting deep and explaining how that movie (considered a cinematic failure) changed my life, I want to keep it light. I think if I explained a bit of the ‘surf lingo’ you’d find out how much you can relate to surfers.

Taking one on the head’ –– “OH, MAN! That guy just took one on the head!”

If you don’t know how waves work, I urge you to go straight to YouTube. Waves are amazing. And when they ‘break,’ specifically, on top of your head, waves can be painful. Taking one on the head means to use your noggin as a landing pad for all the weight and power of a wall of water whose volume would be enough to fill your house instantly. The idea is to be behind the breaking point of a wave, unless you want to ride it, of course. But sometimes you get caught inside and there’s nothing you can do but take the hit.

Sometimes taking one on the head is no big deal; you compose yourself quickly and start paddling again. In life it’d be similar to having your big plans canceled. Big deal, right? Other times, though, it’s terrifying. Like losing your job or having your spouse walk out. On an outreach to Chile in 2004, I was surfing and had an enormous wave break directly on top of my back. It pushed me so far down and held me under for so long that I thought I was going to drown. In that situation, and in your situation, the worst thing you can do is panic. That’s only going to drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally. The way to survive is to look for daylight, point yourself in its direction, and go to it!

‘Stoked’— “Yeah, I’m so stoked right now, these waves are pumping!”

You may recognize this term, as it was hijacked briefly in the mid-2000s by “bros” throughout the Midwest who wore aviators and popped their collars. While I don’t judge their attempt to use the phrase, I believe it was misguided. Using it to announce the discovery of 2-for-1 tank tops at Hollister is both wrong and sad.

Being stoked means to have the desires in your heart so enflamed you feel like your chest is going to explode. The stoke you find in one experience is what keeps you going after the next one. It’s like having the few and far between “I love you” from your teenager. That sends you to the moon, doesn’t it!?

I get to be around and invest into junior high students all of the time. There are times when it seems as if nothing is getting through to them. It’s not normally their style to come up and say “Hey, Jake, that message was POW-ER-FUL!” I respect that. But sometimes one of them will say something. Maybe it’s in conversation, maybe it’s through a note, or even through their parents. The point is that finding out all the time, effort, and prayer is paying off is what keeps me stoked and motivated to keep going.

So what stokes YOU? What sets a fire in you? You need to find your stoke and KEEP GOING!

OK, now that you know some surfing terminology I think its time to go find some waves. Who’s in?



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