Judah is 2.5-years old. And he loves swimming.


He’s obsessed with jumping off the diving board.

Still he puzzles me. After his life-preserver sends him rocketing back to the surface, he looks as though he’s drowning. He nearly rips his eyes out of their sockets, gasps for air, and smears snot across his cheeks. To any first time observer, Judah has just taken his first and last plunge. Yet as soon as he pull himself up the ladder and touches the deck, he’s making a B-line for the diving board, shamelessly cutting in line. To the front.

Female life guards everywhere are smitten with his dimples, and 4-year-olds who turn back from the edge only to allow him through are in awe of his capacity for bravery.

Me? I’m just shocked that something so visibly strenuous on him is something he so adores doing.

And I wonder: do I embrace painful adventures the same way? Does the sense and thrill of the new and the daring outweigh the discomfort that sometimes results?

Some things are worth doing even if they hurt. Worse, however, are endeavors we fail to engage in because of the discomfort we think we are going to endure. Unless we try, we’ll never know, and that is far worse a consequence than I care to live with.

The key to living large is embracing the painful and the pleasurable with gusto. Without it we may miss some of the most precious experiences known to man. The greatest adventurers I know exchange pain for the pursuit of life.

Since pain is something we can grow to ignore, it’d be a shame to let it – or even the thought of it – hold us back. Especially from something a wonderful as diving boards. ch:


Jamie · 27 Feb ’12 at 10:28 am

Your children live a daily of life with two of the greatest of doing it anyway’s through the pain with gusto! I am so proud to know both of you and be inspired by your passion in everything that you do. Thank you for your message and the daily challenge it presents to my life…Blessings to You and Your’s..:-)

Jamie · 27 Feb ’12 at 10:30 am

Wow ..that first sentance didn’t come togather well ..lol..Should read ..Your children live a daily life.. with two of the greatest examples of….

    Christopher Hopper · 27 Feb ’12 at 12:04 pm

    Ha ha – I got it. 😉

    Thanks for your kind words. Really means a lot, and keeps me writing.

Eric Drew · 27 Feb ’12 at 11:23 am

Christopher Hopper! I just wanted to say what an inspiration you’ve been to me. I saw you speak at Creation twice last year. After your workshop the second day you stayed around for a long time saying hello. I accompanied one of our youth on the trip and we were so impressed that even though we were almost the last ones, we had a short conversation. Actually, you took a picture of my blue hat with a funky African design.

That week, especially through your afternoon sessions, I felt called by God to lead worship. I am now the worship pastor at CrossPoint Church in Harrisburg, PA, a growing congregation of 700ish, and so blessed to lead God’s people into worship.

Recently I discovered this blog, and it has been so life-giving. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your words and message. Hopefully sometime I’ll get the opportunity to visit your church and run into you again. Until then, keep writing and inspiring brother, God is doing great things through you!


    Christopher Hopper · 27 Feb ’12 at 12:03 pm

    Eric: really cherish this comment. Can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write. Very honored to be a small part of your journey and proud of what you’re doing. And you’re always welcome at New Life!

Billy Jepma · 27 Feb ’12 at 12:12 pm

That is so true! I personally struggle with embracing the troubles and challenges in life, and as such, get bogged down with it all. I am currently learning, (perhaps slower than desired) how to look at the big picture, and how trials are a gift from God. Thanks for sharing Christopher, Judah has inspired me today. Give him a hug for me. 🙂

    Christopher Hopper · 27 Feb ’12 at 3:30 pm

    Your comment reminds me of James 1:2 and 2 Corinthians 12:10 where both James and Paul use the words “joy” and “delight” in direct references to hardships, tests and trials.

    May our thinking be transformed!

    Thanks for the comment as always Billy. You’re a blessing!

Gabe · 27 Feb ’12 at 4:29 pm

So true. May our thinking be transformed!

Daniela · 27 Feb ’12 at 8:39 pm

You’re children teach me a lot! haha

I have a question: Is “gusto” a word in English?

Storyteller · 27 Feb ’12 at 9:08 pm

Good reminder. Thanks, Judah!

AnneMarie · 27 Feb ’12 at 9:37 pm

That was a phenomenal synopsis of the meaning of life. I love that you find inspiration to write so powerfully from such “less than extraordinary” events. I love that you are always learning even in the most unexpected place from unexpected people.
I’m posting this on my FB!

    Christopher Hopper · 28 Feb ’12 at 8:03 am

    Thanks for the kind words AnneMarie. Appreciate that kind of recognition; to be considered someone who always finds inspiration in simple things and is always teachable makes me feel a little more like Jesus, because that’s how I think he was while on Earth.

Jenny · 28 Feb ’12 at 11:48 am

Judah man crazy pants! Love it.

    Christopher Hopper · 28 Feb ’12 at 11:50 am

    Ha ha – that he is. (I think he takes after you).

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