An Interview with Coby from Dude Perfect

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 We live in an interesting world; fame doesn’t just belong to the people in Hollywood anymore. Anyone can become a viral sensation thanks to social media websites like Youtube and Facebook.  Watch any vlogger on Youtube and you’ll see a regular person with millions of views, comments and followers. We might scoff and think “Wow what a silly thing. Who cares about this guy just talking to a camera?” But, deep down, maybe there’s an aching in our heart to be seen, to be approved of and to be followed just like those guys on Youtube. For me, I wrestle with this “viral” thought a lot, especially as a blogger. I go through this thought process every time I  post something, I think perhaps this next blog post will go viral and THEN my writing career will take off, or more recently “surely once a few people read my book, it’ll get the recognition it deserves and spread all over the country.” I disguise these thoughts with “Oh, it’s all for God’s glory!” and “The more people who know Him the better.”  And maybe there’s some truth there, but I know deep down, there’s a part in me that really just wants the spotlight, the approval, the comments, the likes, the empty praise. Admitting all of this is hard. I feel gross. But, I know it’s human nature and I am not alone.  These are all big heart issues I’ve been dealing with and wrestling with for years now.  And I know I got to deal with them so I decided to ask my friend Coby Cotton (Member of Dude Perfect) some questions about managing internet fame as a Christian and all the craziness that comes with it.  

 Sidenote:  if you don’t know who Dude Perfect is, check out their channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/corycotton/featured 

I understand that DudePefect started out with just you guys in a backyard, challenging each other to a variety of trick shots. When the first video was posted and it went viral, what emotions/thoughts were you experiencing in those first few days, weeks? How has that changed to how you feel today?

As juniors at Texas A&M, we posted our first video in 2009. For some reason I still don’t fully understand, it caught the attention of Good Morning America and they called wanting to air it the following morning! I remember feeling both a genuine excitement and a sense of gratitude that God would allow what we created to be highlighted that way. The levels of recognition we’ve received for our videos since that day have risen and fallen, but I’m still equally grateful that God has chosen to use us, a simple group of friends making fun videos, in His way.

 

You’ve gotten to meet and hang out with a lot of famous people, you’ve gotten to do a lot of amazing things, you have a TV Show, a freaking cool new warehouse.  By the world’s standard, you’ve “made it.” You’ve got the fame, the fun, a dream job. Sometimes I falsely believe that I need stuff, experiences and people to make my life better. If I only could meet this person, go on this trip, have this awesome job, then I’d be happy. Any words of wisdom for me and the people out there who can relate to that?

Dude Perfect has afforded us some incredible opportunities that, earlier in my life, I could have only dreamt of. I never want to downplay the exciting pieces of this journey, but at the same time, each of these experiences come and go and their luster fades. It’s easy for me (and I think for all of us) to live for the next thing: the next tv show, the next concert, the next weekend, the next promotion, the next vacation. We put all of our hope in those things, and then, once each one comes and goes, we’re left chasing the next. If there’s one thing God has taught me over the last few years it’s this. Be faithful where I’ve placed you. Not where you hope to be one day or in a place you wish you could return to. Be faithful with where I’ve placed you today. Ben Stuart says it this way, “Excel at the revealed things.” We don’t know what God has for us next. I think it’s great to be honest with God and ask Him for what we desire. But in the midst of those honest requests, don’t lose sight of all that He has for you exactly where you are today.

How has your faith played a role in your Dude Perfect Journey?

Over the past year, God has been using a specific verse in my life to bring my focus to Him. Psalm 86:11 says, “Teach me Your way Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.”  I want my heart to be undivided in its devotion for Him. I don’t want to be distracted by this or that and miss out on what He has for me. In the midst of all the craziness of Dude Perfect, I fail in this all the time and allow myself to be pulled a hundred different directions. But my prayer remains the same, “give me an undivided heart” because I know that all that other stuff will let me down. I absolutely can rely on His faithfulness. He has guided me in the past and will continue to do so.

There’s tons of content creators out in the world, bloggers like me, and Youtubers like you guys. As you reached each milestone in your Youtube popularity (1,000 subscribers, 100,000, 1,000,000. Etc), did you feel any better about life? Any advice for content creators who are Christian and are waiting for that next milestone, hoping it will be what they need to feel satisfied?

This one’s easy: No. I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble or demotivate someone from seeking that next milestone, but just know that it won’t satisfy you the way you think it will. Think about it. Do you know anyone “at the top” who’s really satisfied with where they’re at in life? The richest and most famous people on the planet are some of the most unsatisfied people on earth. At the age of 30, Tom Brady famously stated in a 60 Minutes interview after having already won 3 Super Bowls and 2 Super Bowl MVPs “There’s gotta be more than this.” The answer that Tom, and all of us, are seeking will never be found in another Super Bowl ring or another raise. God offers us abundant life, both here on earth and forever with Him in Heaven. And contrary to popular belief, good people don’t go to heaven, forgiven people do. And forgiveness only comes through Jesus. Make your life about Jesus, not the next milestone, and suddenly you’ll be able to rightfully celebrate achieving those goals instead of riding the emotional rollercoaster of reaching them and finding them empty.

What do you do to stay grounded through all the recognition and attention? Some people think it’d be really cool to have that life of being recognized and having people come up to you and be a source of constant affirmation, but really, how is that life? What are the challenges? What do you lose when you’re in the spotlight?

Different people value different things. Some value money, some value power, some value fame or applause. It’s easy to think that with those things comes real happiness. But all of that stuff fades! You’re only as good as your last performance, your last game, your last paycheck. When all of that stuff fades away, you’re only as happy as the quality of the relationships in your life. You first need to make sure that you’ve trusted your life to Jesus, all other relationships are secondary to that one. But beyond that, you’ll never regret spending more time with the people closest to you. I’ve heard it said, “Everyone cheats. You either cheat your work to spend time with your family or you cheat your family to spend time at work.” We all know people who regret giving whole seasons of their lives to their work at the expense of their families and those closest to them. Being in the spotlight (either through entertainment or rising to a certain position in your workplace or through some other means) may seem desirable, but don’t let it cause you to neglect the relationships in your life that truly matter. In the end, all that really matters is loving God and loving people. My prayer for anyone reading this is that they would pray honestly to God, asking Jesus to change them, and then ask Him each day after that how to live in a way that would honor Him and bring them the most joy along the way.

I published a book!

Hello Friends,

It just occurred to me that I never announced my new book.

It’s a devotional book called “Show Me Your Love”

 

It’s an ebook, right now. Hopefully, in the future, I’ll be able to sell hard copies.

Thanks so much for your support!

 

 

The Ride of my Life

Two things:
1) I remember my dreams for days and even weeks after they happen in very good detail.

2) More than 90% of my dreams involve an amusement park of some sorts.

As great as this might sound it’s not. In real life, I love amusement parks. I love love love rollercoasters. But these dreams I have are never good dreams. Something always goes wrong. I’m stuck in line that never ends. Or once the line ends, I realize I don’t have enough tickets to ride. Sometimes I can’t even find the ride I’m looking for in my dream. And even when I do find it,  once I ride it I spend the whole time wishing I was riding something else.

These dreams started oddly enough when I started writing Facebook notes. i liked writing them because if I had a short little spiel to write about I could and I could tag the friends who I wanted to see it. As soon as I opened up that medium, God started speaking to me. Ideas of quasi-devotionals would hit me at the most random times, and I would stop everything and write. I’d be writing and my heart would pound, I’d get goosebumps or I’d be typing faster than my brain could think. God was saying “This, I want you to do this.” I’d kind of shake it off, but the amount of positive response I received over the years was beyond my imagination. My closest friends and  mentors would tell me:
“Marlie, writing is your gift. You should write a book. God has amazing things planned for you.” . Then, I remember, I had this moment and thought “Huh. Maybe, writing is my thing. Some people can sing. Some can dance. But I can write.”  And shortly after that clicked in my head, I started having amusement park dreams. Why? Well, I think I finally figured it out.  I’ll start with reality and tie it back to my dream just to keep things clear.

1) not qualified

Even with the knowledge that writing is my gift and the immense joy it has brought me to to glorify God with it, I struggle lot in the whole writing process. I’ve written a whole blog and deleted it out of fear. I have like six or seven half written blogs on my computer because I was convinced it’s dumb or no one wants to read it. Or that it is not biblically accurate. I want to write a book but I am afraid. I am afraid that I am not qualified enough. I am too young. I have too much to learn. I have to go seminary if I want to be a christian author or speaker. I am almost positive that I’ll reach this moment when I get to publish a book or go on a speaking tour and fail because I don’t know enough. It’s a silly fear right because God is providing everything I need but I am still afraid. Similar to the roller coaster dreams I have where I reach the front of the line to get on the ride but I don’t have enough tickets to ride it. I’m not qualified.

2) waiting…still waiting. 

I do not say all of this to build me up but to just state the frustration of the matter. I have had so many people from so many different walks of life say: “Marlie, God has great plans for you.” Or “Marlie, you are going to do great things. I can’t wait to see all that God have planned for you.” I can’t count how many times I have heard this. (I know they mean well because I say it to people as well. I’m genuinely excited to hear what they do with their life, too. But, that puts us young people in a perpetual state of waiting. No wonder we aren’t satisfied. We are waiting for our lives to start because in a way people are telling us that our lives have not started yet. Encourage people using the present tense. “You are doing great things.” “I can see God doing so much through you”)  So when a lot of people express how they excited are for me, I get excited too. Wondering what it is going to be like, imagining the future. I am so anxious and eager for this “great plan” to start. It is like my roller coaster dream. I wait in line for the whole dream, seeing other people ride it, hearing about the ride and how great it is, but never getting to ride it myself because I am still waiting for my turn. I am waiting…still waiting. Waiting for that dream of being a christian blogger/author/speaker to become a reality.

3) Comparison

Lately, I’ve been watching a ton of youtube. There’s a whole culture of people who post videos of themselves and their life experiences and get a huge response. As the world of Vlogs grow, I feel as though the blogging world is fading away. Sometimes I get bitter and say that  the blogging world isn’t as fun, or creative or awesome as the vlogging world. Frankly, I wish I had the ability to talk in front of camera and just word-vomit my devotions into a video. (people do that, and it works.)  I, however, was blessed to be an introvert so I do thrive in this environment of sitting and expressing myself through the written word. BUT, still I struggle with comparison. Wishing I could be a cool vlogger, a singer, a dancer, or good at any thing that people can see right a way. Being a good writer is tough because it isn’t out there for everyone to see all the time. Like with dancers, hey you dance, and then they do and they are good. I heard a quote once: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” How true is that. I am so robbed of daily joy because I am comparing myself, my talents, my life and gifts to those of another person. Last night, I had a dream that I was getting on a ride that looked really fun and I actually got on it! But instead of enjoying the ride I was on,  I was so focused on the extravagant and awesome looking ride that was in front of me,  the ride I was on ended and I realized I had missed the whole thing because I was focused on the cooler/better ride.

Let us not be a people who miss out on the joy of life because we are busy comparing our lives to someone else.

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The ride is yours.

Enjoy it.

Awake or asleep, it is yours to live.