19 Ways to Grow Up L.A.

I’ve lived my whole life in Los Angeles . . . County. 4,571 square miles of diverse sunny real estate. That’s bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. If L.A. County were a state, it would boast 11th in population—if you’re not a numbers person, that means it outranks 40 other states. Makes sense when you realize that last year 10.229 million people could claim the title Angelino.

More than three decades here and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve discovered a side of L.A. I never knew existed. Never knew I needed. It’s not the L.A. you’re likely to find elevated in fashion magazines or depicted in T.V. sitcoms. It’s an L.A. void of rush hour traffic, celebrity idols, and unrealistic expectations.

In this LA, gridlock gets swapped for gratitude. Image exchanged for imagination. Hustle for nature’s hushed whisper. No pop or rap or electric beats. Just the breath of life learning to walk in sync with creation’s heartbeat.

I’m raising my three young sons in the broad arms of greater Los Angeles. As I watch them mature in character and stature, I feel the stretch of growth inside myself. The pull of something beyond myself.

This is the best way I know to grow up L.A. . . .

  Choose a reliable guide.   Follow the footsteps of someone more seasoned. Rely on their wisdom. Learn from their experience. Then trust yourself to explore. Let creativity lead you.

Choose a reliable guide.

Follow the footsteps of someone more seasoned. Rely on their wisdom. Learn from their experience. Then trust yourself to explore. Let creativity lead you.

  Do what you were made for.   Find that thing that makes you come alive. Whether or not it bolsters your name or earns you fame, whether it’s attached to a paycheck, a rung on a ladder, or the favorable perception of another--it doesn’t matter. Become the you you were created for.

Do what you were made for.

Find that thing that makes you come alive. Whether or not it bolsters your name or earns you fame, whether it’s attached to a paycheck, a rung on a ladder, or the favorable perception of another--it doesn’t matter. Become the you you were created for.

  Run your own race.   It may feel like everyone else is so much further down the road. But just keep plugging away at your own God-given pace. We often make a big deal about the destination, but God wants to do big things on our journey.

Run your own race.

It may feel like everyone else is so much further down the road. But just keep plugging away at your own God-given pace. We often make a big deal about the destination, but God wants to do big things on our journey.

  Find joy in the hurdles.   Don’t let small inconveniences and temporary impasses stop you from pursuing the path God’s given you.

Find joy in the hurdles.

Don’t let small inconveniences and temporary impasses stop you from pursuing the path God’s given you.

  Notice what’s in front of you.   Don't get so focused on what others are doing ahead of you that you forget the blessings in front of you.

Notice what’s in front of you.

Don't get so focused on what others are doing ahead of you that you forget the blessings in front of you.

  Test your limits.   Anyone can take the easy way to easy things. But things of worth are often hard. Push through. You can do hard things.

Test your limits.

Anyone can take the easy way to easy things. But things of worth are often hard. Push through. You can do hard things.

   Find friends  to journey with.   Never underestimate the power of encouragement. Give and receive it freely on the dusty roads of life.

Find friends to journey with.

Never underestimate the power of encouragement. Give and receive it freely on the dusty roads of life.

  Give up on perfect.   Perfection is a sham. People, places, experience. None are perfect. Loving is still worth it.  

Give up on perfect.

Perfection is a sham. People, places, experience. None are perfect. Loving is still worth it.
 

  Protect the margin.   Make space in your schedule. And in your heart. Breathe deep. Wander freely. Listen. Hear the still small voice speak.  

Protect the margin.

Make space in your schedule. And in your heart. Breathe deep. Wander freely. Listen. Hear the still small voice speak.
 

  Accept help.   It’s okay if you need to be carried sometimes. You were meant to journey alone.

Accept help.

It’s okay if you need to be carried sometimes. You were meant to journey alone.

  Go out on a limb.   Reach farther. Stretch harder. Go after that delight that seems just out of reach.

Go out on a limb.

Reach farther. Stretch harder. Go after that delight that seems just out of reach.

  Embrace the messy middle.   Sometimes it’s the messy conversations, unexpected detours, and complicated obstacles that make the journey richest.  

Embrace the messy middle.

Sometimes it’s the messy conversations, unexpected detours, and complicated obstacles that make the journey richest.
 

  Be right where you are.   It's easy to crave what's down another path. But wishing for there doesn't help you be thankful for being here. Here is today. Here is a gift.

Be right where you are.

It's easy to crave what's down another path. But wishing for there doesn't help you be thankful for being here. Here is today.
Here is a gift.

  Surround yourself with beauty.   Beauty: that wild, familiar, everywhere, extraordinary gift from God's heart to yours. His relentless message:  I see you.

Surround yourself with beauty.

Beauty: that wild, familiar, everywhere, extraordinary gift from God's heart to yours. His relentless message: I see you.

  Press forward. Press in.   The path that feels like a dark detour today could be the next step toward tomorrow's  bright hope . There is light beyond the  shadows .

Press forward. Press in.

The path that feels like a dark detour today could be the next step toward tomorrow's bright hope. There is light beyond the shadows.

  Just hang on.   If the next hurdle feels too hard, the next challenge too weighty, the next to-do too big to embrace, just take a deep breath.      It's okay if all you can do in this moment is hang on.

Just hang on.

If the next hurdle feels too hard, the next challenge too weighty, the next to-do too big to embrace, just take a deep breath.      It's okay if all you can do in this moment is hang on.

  Sit and savor.   It’s good to be alone. Sink low. Take productivity off its pedestal for the sake of being present, to soak in a new perspective.  

Sit and savor.

It’s good to be alone. Sink low. Take productivity off its pedestal for the sake of being present, to soak in a new perspective.
 

  Decide.   Decide who you will follow. Decide which race you'll run.          No turning back. No turning back.

Decide.

Decide who you will follow. Decide which race you'll run.         
No turning back. No turning back.

Delight in the adventure.

Day by day, you'll find your way. In the finding, you are found.