A couple of weeks ago I talked to you about a young lady named Sasha setting records all over the world for her success in climbing and we’re not talking up some tree in the backyard, I’m talking about solid chunks rocky earth hundreds of feet in the air. The struggle is real and the celebration at the top is always a moment you never forget. The climb is a powerful experience requiring stamina, skill and fortitude.
Think about incredible athletes like Sasha, headed out to the mountain they are about to climb, all their gear with them, prepped for days, weeks, months and even years for the perfect situation and the perfect climb. Do you think that they would go to all that trouble to get there, look at the mountain they are about to climb and then say “Ah man, I’m probably just going to fall off and die, what’s the use, forget it!”
No, that would just be plain stupid to plan and prepare for something so much that when you get to it you just give up and quit. Today I want to talk to you a little more about the climb for sure and the fortitude to make the climb, but if we are ever going to climb the ladder of success, you’ll never get to that penthouse view without the right foundation.
When it comes to tall buildings, downtown New York City wasn’t the first place with tall buildings. No, we have been infatuated with reaching the sky for centuries. From the tower of Babel at Babylon to enormous architectural masterpieces still standing as the great pyramid’s throughout Egypt. Yes, it’s easy to think of many examples of structures over our human history and even more recently in the past 150 years or so, mankind has developed strategies and technological breakthroughs making it possible to have buildings 1500 to almost 2000 feet high!!
I don’t know if you have ever had a chance to see a skyscraper or just a really tall building and stand in front of it and then just look straight up. It will be a matter of seconds before you notice yourself becoming a little wobbly and for some, it’s just plain impossible to stand there and look without getting sick or scared or both!!!
Have you ever wondered what it takes for buildings like that to be able to get so tall? Well, you have guessed correctly if you’re first guess was the foundation. There are so many combining factors that make for the success of a solid structure like that, but today, I’d like to talk to you about something powerful for those and something powerful for us “THE BOTTOM FLOOR”
One of the first skyscrapers built was built in the late 1800’s in Chicago called the Chicago’s Home Insurance building, it was finished in 1884 at 10 stories high. Obviously, that doesn’t sound too high compared to buildings of today, but go stand on its roof and lean over and then tell me how tall a 10 story building is!
The only way to build a building that keeps going up is to first start going down. It takes, in most cities a lot of digging. The World Trade Center had to be dug 65 feet down before it hit bedrock. They had to devise a plan to keep the water table from flooding the huge hole and at the same time stop the walls of that hole from falling in on themselves. It took a lot of engineering to come up with what it takes to build these enormous buildings. Some of the other issues besides the sheer weight is wind! Before I talk about the wind, here’s an interesting fact, an average house can weigh usually around 70 tons but the Empire State Building in New York City weighs about 350,000 tons! Okay, so the wind. The taller you go the more wind is an issue and can cause a building to sway and that is not good. So one of the ways to help stabilize these structures is by building a much wider foundation. So the wider and deeper it goes the more it is able to sure up and steady these swinging steel structures and stopping them from falling right over. Oh, there is the way the walls are constructed and the steel beams as well that play a major part.
Here’s another interesting fact. When the 110-story World Trade Center towers were built in New York in the early 1970s, more than I million cubic yards (765,000 cubic meters) of soil and rock were removed and dumped in the Hudson River to create 23.5 acres (95,100 square meters) of new land, on which another skyscraper was later constructed. That was a deep hole and a lot of dirt!
I mentioned a moment ago that when builders begin building a skyscraper they don't start by building up. Instead, they start by digging to the bedrock in order to create a foundation of stability. They have to go down deep and excavate tons of soil, sand, clay, rocks, and worms (sorry, I used to dig up worms when I was a kid). They do all of that to finally reach that bedrock so that they can build something that would be worthy of breaking through the clouds and called a skyscraper.
We’re a lot like that in many ways. Our lives, careers, and families work the same way. If we want to build up we have to first dig deep and develop our foundation. It's not always easy to dig up all that stuff we find below (the fears we have, the wounds we carry and the things that hold us back) but once we uncover them we can reach the core of our foundation and begin the building process to reach even greater heights. Another interesting tidbit of information is the area that’s dug up prior to going down to the bedrock is called overburden. It’s defined as “the rock and subsoil that lies above a mineral deposit."
Today I want to talk about some of those layers that we must dig up to build a great foundation. If you visit some of these beautiful and massive buildings you can typically walk into a huge area usually 2 stories high with shops and escalators or elevators leading up or down. That’s because THE BOTTOM FLOOR or ground floor is usually made of some of the thickest walls and material. It’s THE BOTTOM FLOOR that is your first impression, place of direction and for some a place of reflection.
Before we finish this building and enjoy all it has to offer, we first have to do some digging.
When taking some time for self-reflection and a desire to make that climb to the top, it’s important to think about what's holding you back.
What needs to be unearthed and dealt with? Oh yeah, it's so much easier just not to address or confront it…. but remember a key factor of a skyscraper.
If you don't dig dip, you'll never be able to build a solid foundation needed to live the life and legacy you really want.
Once you dig down deep you'll find that core that you can build on, creating a massive and strong bottom floor before you will ever get to the next step. That is to build from your foundation floor by floor with the principles and habits that will help you soar to that penthouse view!
So, what are some of the things you can find at THE BOTTOM FLOOR? What are some of those layers to be dug up or revealed in our lives, Those layers that are like the overburden covering the bedrock of our lives? Well....Here we go!!!
HUMILITY - The only way to achieve being a fantastic leader, and enjoying an incredible life is to be an excellent follower. A BOTTOM FLOOR person who is humble (which is an adjective or verb) which describes a person (or thing) who is not arrogant or overly proud, but modest, simple and lowly. ... "Humility" is an attribute making it a noun form of the same word basically meaning "a modest view of one's own importance.” Humility often means recognizing that we are created by God and interconnected with and dependent upon others. C.S. Lewis said of humility: “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. I recently heard the story of Maria and Miguel. They have been married for 22 years living in Medellin Columbia. When they found each other, they were both drug addicts and got worse when they found each other. After they realized they really needed each other and had fallen in love, they used that gift to beat the addiction to drugs they both faced. I didn’t mention that because they were so poor and had no jobs they couldn’t afford housing, I didn’t say they were homeless, they just couldn’t afford housing. When they first met in their drug-addicted situations they made their home, get ready… IN THE SEWER! Not some sewer like you would think of under the streets of New York City, it was more like a giant concrete septic tank. What’s more interesting in this story is that after they got clean and have remained clean, they still live in the sewer! They found a place of comfort with each other and have made that place their home. They have a little kitchen, a bedroom area, and electricity in their little home now. I’m sure quite possibly many of you would be thinking, man, if they are drug-free now and happily married, why not find a better place to live. The answer is simple, humility. They love each other and they are happy with what they have and it works just fine for them. I’m not saying to go live in a sewer to be happy, I’m just saying that for them BOTTOM FLOOR living has been pretty good.
GROUNDED - A person who is grounded has the ability to be completely aware and conscious during the present moment. You’re a person who practices a deep sense of mindfulness and don’t really live around the “what ifs.” Just like getting a foundation that holds hundreds of thousands of tons of weight and pressure, it takes time and isn’t always easy, but it is achievable. Simple personal exercises like breathing, walking, taking some time to relax with some calming music, stopping to listen instead of waiting for the next opportunity to get your point across. I recently read a blog from a person whose life was just changed dramatically and some could even say turned upside down. The person, Amina, was originally from Kenya and had lived and worked away for about 30 years. She was doing well, however, and unfortunately her visa ran out and although her employer had tried to get it renewed without her knowing and twice at that, it was to no avail! Amina had to return to Kenya, a home she had been away from for 30 years! How can a person get through a situation like that? Her friends and life she had built and enjoyed for all of those years suddenly changed. That is was is special about Amina. Here are a few things she shared that got her through that time in her life and she accredited it how in an article entitled
How I Keep Myself Grounded After Life's Hardships Understand that "some things are and some things are not”
I believe like Maria and Miguel Amina understood a vital principle in life, to be grateful. Out of that posture, she was able to write a few points that are excellent ways to understand how to live and be GROUNDED. 1. FOCUS ON THE NOW - As friends and family were saddened and made it tough to stay positive Amina was reminded of a quote from Louis C.K. "Some things are and some things are not.” She came to the conclusion that the job and the visa were things that are not. She said "what could have been' is just a waste of cognitive energy. So I try to be mindful and focus on the present, and just the very next step that I'm supposed to take.” And of course, her second point was 2. BE GRATEFUL - She practices being grateful and takes a few moments every morning to reflect on the things she does have. The opportunity to live in another land for over 3 decades and now has friends and experiences she would never have had before. She has a Kindle with books she has even yet to read on it and so grateful for the opportunity to have that and also a blank piece of paper. She has something to write, something to say and is grateful for that opportunity in life. Writing is one of her passions, as is mine and she is focused to write even if no-one else is reading. It’s a passion and part of things in her life that have helped her to not only be grounded but a shining example of what it means to be a BOTTOM FLOOR person. Thank you, Amina! (And I’m hoping to introduce you all to her one day in a future podcast if we can work it out!)
3. SUPPORTED - Support actually means to bear a part or all of the weight. Is that a description that could define you? A person who is supportive isn’t a person that’s just all clingy and does whatever you want (you can get a puppy dog for that) they challenge you, stand beside you when you need them, and give you the space you need to roam free and grow as a person. They are a cheerleader and not a groupie. A great quote that embodies what it means to bear a part or all of the weight was spoken by the 35th President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy:
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
TRUSTED - This can be one of those tough places. 1. It’s hard just to trust and 2. To qualify as a person of trust means you have to be a person who can trust. There are so many things that can rob us of trust in our lives. Failed relationships, abusive relationships, lies, manipulation, laziness the list goes on and on. Trust is a precious commodity in our lives and once it is lost, it is so hard to get back. The old saying goes trust is not given it’s earned is a powerful phrase, however, the latter part deserves a look, earned. That means that we have to actually trust to allow the trust to be earned. Trust is built with consistency, not only for others but in ourselves. Trust is also one of those let go places. It can kind of be like going to an amusement park and seeing one of those bungee jump towers. You know what I’m talking about, the ones that look like they are a mile high with a piece of dental floss attached to your body preventing you from becoming a stain on the pavement. That kind of let go. It’s not easy and not easy for most, but it is possible. Life can be so much of a rewarding experience with trust in our lives than without it. Without it, we’re always looking over our shoulders, constantly living in doubt and never really enjoying much of anything. I don’t think there are many people who on the 32nd floor of a skyscraper obsess over the fact that they aren’t sure about THE BOTTOM FLOOR. In many cases THE BOTTOM FLOOR can build your trust so much, you never think about it and actually, enjoy the reason you showed up. THE BOTTOM FLOOR can be a place of calm, a place of hope and yes, a place of trust.
FIRM - What an interesting 4 letter F word! Firm means having a solid, almost unyielding surface or structure. There’s no better understanding of this word than to look at what Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-27 in The Message:
24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
26-27 “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
Jesus started from a posture of trust in what he was saying, and although this translation is provided as a better understanding in English for us to understand, the essence of what he said really shines through. He wasn’t offering some home improvement, he’s offering something better and stronger built on a firm unyielding surface. These are words to build a life on. They incorporate all of our 5 points here: Humility, Grounded, Supported, Trusted and Firm. These are all foundational BOTTOM FLOOR essential attributes. And like in verse 26 when he said if we just use his words for some Bible study instead of actually working them into our lives, we’re building a house on shaky, shifting sand instead of that firm, unyielding bedrock that provides the foundation for a solid, thick and trustworthy BOTTOM FLOOR.
What this all comes to is that Christ is our foundation, our bedrock and on that life can be built. Your life. That means you’re not the penthouse, you’re the BOTTOM FLOOR that the penthouse gets its joy from. Without the bedrock and without the solid walls and well thought out construction of you, there is no penthouse. Each floor of a towering skyscraper is built on trust, floor by floor, higher and higher each floor is a rung in the ladder of a successful life allowing the climb to the top not easy, but possible.
My friends, if you are ever going to climb to the top of success in your life, you’ll never get there without a good BOTTOM FLOOR. It’s never a place to turn our noses up to, it’s a place of respect, dignity and of course trust.
I want to encourage you today to evaluate your place in life. Are you living on shaky ground right now? Questionable relationships? No real firm foundation in your life, just drifting? Is the overburden of your life a cluttered minefield of broken trust, lies, depression, and hopelessness? Then I suggest it is time to start digging. Find a place where there is good soil and an incredible view and then layer by layer dig deep until you reach the bedrock of your soul. Jesus has been and is there waiting for you. He’s not only the bedrock, he’s the shovel that helps you dig, but you have to put the shovel to the ground. As you do, Christ begins a work in you and the layout begins for an incredible BOTTOM FLOOR. When people walk into the doors of your life and look around with Christ as your foundation, then the BOTTOM FLOOR looks like a welcoming place. A safe place. A place of potential and dreams. A place that when the top floor is reached isn’t just about how ornate the penthouse is, because that is going to be awesome for sure, it’s about the view!
This is possible and it’s possible for you! No matter what condition you find yourself in now, be it poor health or poor self, it can all be turned around making the new creation even better. It’s girded up with HUMILITY because it is GROUNDED, SUPPORTED and TRUSTED with a FIRM foundation able to withstand heavy rain and winds. It’s very construction was thought out in a special way just to withstand those assaults.
If you’re ready for a change and tired of home improvements and just want a brand new place on a firm foundation, we’d be happy to pray with you and help you meet this bedrock of life named Jesus Christ. Feel free to reach out to us here at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out through our social media and message us there we’d love to chat. My friend, there is hope and not just some flimsy hope, I’m talking SOLID. No matter what you are facing, things always seem different when you don’t have to think about the foundation.
I hope today spoke to your heart and that you have found some truths you can carry with you for the rest of your life. There is hope, even when you may doubt, there is hope. Before we go today I want to share another great scripture with you from the Bible and remember as Paul said to us from God’s heart in
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
And that He surely will my friends. The choice is yours. I think you make a pretty awesome BOTTOM FLOOR. That being said…. Don’t give in, don’t give up and never forget