I started this tab because it is meant for something different, it is more personal and is updated and added to from time to time. It is not meant to be a blog post since it is more personal, rather it is for transparency with myself and others. There are thoughts and ideas that I will not ponder deeply unless I begin to write them down, otherwise they will not come into my mind for more than an unconscious moment and then disappear.
Who are we, and what will we become? How will our lives unfold? This journey of our lives has so many twists and turns, and so many places to stop along the way. Sometimes when a person is young they may think that life is about getting to a destination like becoming a doctor or a lawyer or a politician. But as I have grown older, I am constantly reminded that life is more of a journey, which a person must change and adapt along the way, that just as a vehicle, sometimes we must refuel, get repairs, and receive help. A person cannot live life traveling at 100 miles per hour all the time. We were designed to go through different seasons of life at different speeds and paces. There will be times of discomfort and disappointment when the answer will only come from leaning and relying on others for help and support.
A few months ago, I applied for a new job at an organization that I love and believe in, currently I do not know what the result may be, however the interviews and application process alone has been so beneficial for me personally. At times in life a person can feel as if they are stuck in a rut, in a place that may not be bad, but rather it is stagnant and no new growth is being seen. It is good to find ways to awaken the soul and to discover again what your purpose and pursuit in life may be. The answers for the direction of my life have never come easily, but I have seen the guidance and provision of the Lord in every step. No matter what the outcome in the upcoming weeks, I know that the simple pursuit of something different has awakened something of hope in my soul. The complacency and monotony of my current life was stirred to pursue more fully the gifts and talents that I have, and be able to give of myself more fully.
The human soul as Judah Smith would say is “fickle.” He tells the story of Peter’s words at the last supper and his subsequent denial of knowing Jesus at the courtyard by the servant girl. We so easily resort to emotions and what we feel at the moment, instead of what we know is right and true deep within our soul. Why do we resort to these fears and denials or truth? Because on the tip of our response is emotions, while the truth is deep rooted in who we are, and so much of our lives we spend responding quickly, instead of pausing and reflecting on what our answer should actually be. Our quick responses and fear driven actions often lead to regret and remorse, when we actually end up alone and with time to go back to what our true beliefs are.
A person’s character and what they are known for is a collection of these quick responses and deep reflections. If we are constantly overrun with emotions that lead to quick responses to questions others have of us, it will be likely that people will not see the best we have to offer, but rather the most available, which may not actually be who we are. To become who the Lord desires us to be, we will have to rely on His guidance in our responses and be confident in letting people know that we will have to get back with them, that we do not have a response available right now, but if they will give us a moment to reflect, we will be able to respond with grace and with the wisdom of a Father that loves and cares for His children.
It is possible that during the course of our lives, we will be asked to do things that we have no idea how to do. The challenge may seem impossible to overcome, however if we will try, put forth our best effort, and seek to learn, then we may actually be able to achieve what was thought to be impossible. At other times we will be asked to do things which we are able and have the knowledge to accomplish, however they are outside of our comfort zones. It is not good to live outside of our comfort zone, but when we visit it frequently, we seem to grow and growth is precisely the point in all of these tasks which we find ourselves doing.
A friend of mine thinks that I can do anything, well actually two friends, they come up with random things for me to fix, and somehow I am able to problem solve and figure out what is wrong and fix things. This comes easy for me, mostly because I learn by doing things, and have been asked to fix things since I was just a kid. I remember playing with broken electronics as I was growing up. In middle school I would unscrew motors and weed eaters that we broken. In college I worked on friends cars that had broken down, and interned in a foreign country in the summer at a field base where we built a facility to house people that were bringing humanitarian aid to earthquake victims. The process of all of this caused me to grow up understanding machines, electronics, and trades work. I’m not great at most of these things, but I can get by, and if I take my time then it may actually look good when I am finished.
A few weeks ago, maybe longer, actually it was maybe in October; my boss asked me to build an outdoor kitchen at his house on his back porch. I didn’t know how it would turn out, but i think it was pretty good. I chose to write this topic as a page instead of as an individual post, and I will update it from time to time. One reason is because I would place this topic in my life as something that may never be complete, but it is open for discussion as it progresses. Like the rock patio kitchen that I was asked to build, my life is being built, but each day everyone can see it, even in its unfinished state. I feel the Lord loves this about humanity, we are all in progress, and everyone can see what we look like, whether we are ready for them to see us in the current state of our growth or not.
As I was building the rock wall, there were times when I would have to stop and wait for the mortar to set. I am not a mason, this is not what I do every day, however, as I continued to lay each rock it got easier and went more quickly. But if I tried to go too fast, the rock below the current one being placed would detach and fall off the wall. There was a certain pace that worked well, if I stayed in that rhythm, then the rocks stayed in place. Life has so many lessons if we will seek to learn from the life that we are living. When I first began I was given a picture of what the end project should look like, I was also given six boxes of stones to arrange, it was like forming a huge puzzle and trying to decide which piece went next. If I stayed too close to the wall, then I could not see what should come next, but if I would pause and take a step away to look at the wall from a distance, then the pattern would become clearer, and what should come next would appear more clearly in my mind. Sometimes we are not able to take a step back and look at our life, but through our friends, family, and people in our lives, we can get a glimpse of what our lives look like from a distance by hearing what others see in us.
One of the things in life that I really enjoy is coffee, it is my go to beverage, and perhaps my life addiction. Every morning begins with a cup of coffee, and most of my free time and leisure is spent getting coffee while I read or work on random projects. There is good coffee and bad coffee, what I have come to love is being able to know what origins of coffee that I will enjoy, and which will leave a bitter taste in my mouth. I love the warmth of a good fresh cup of coffee and the subtle undertones that begin to emerge as the cup cools as I take my time and enjoy drinking my coffee. Why take the time to tell you about my strange addiction, simply because it is a part of who I am, and who I will not be changing from any time soon. The english can have their tea, and those in Boston can throw their Tea Party, but I will quietly sip my coffee and enjoy every bit of it.
Psalms, Proverbs, and Luke.
When I was growing up in middle school and right before high school I had a youth pastor, CJ Jacobs come to an evening service and he shared a message of strengthening our relationship with God through reading the Bible on a consistent basis. He told us, each day read the chapter of Proverbs that aligns with the calendar day of the month. Read five chapters in Psalms, and one chapter in Luke. I began this journey and slowly two of those dropped from my reading list, Psalms became confusing and at times long especially Psalm 119. And reading the beginning of Luke each month got a little boring, but over the years I have consistently read through the book of Proverbs. I have missed some days, but I have read through the book of Proverbs each day for the last ten or more years, it has been something consistent in my life that has guided my journey. I have missed days, and I don’t read the chapter of the day out of legality, but out of routine and out of a way of consistency in my spiritual growth. I would encourage you to find how you can have consistency in reading God’s word, and pursue that for the rest of your life.
When life encourages you to take a break
I am a person who is moderately driven, but there are times when I simply want to rest and take a break from things. Generally I see this happen more in the winter time. For one reason, I hate the cold, and I work outside, so when I’m off I want to be inside and warm. I feel that this is healthy though, having times when you pursue everything with a lot of effort can be draining, and times of refreshing and renewal are good for the soul. Another time that I can say I take a break is at the end of the month, this is usually encouraged by rent and other bills coming due and limited extra money being available for entertainment and extras. As long as I stay within the natural rhythms of life things seem to go pretty well. However, when I am pressured to spend extra money at the end of the month, or spend extra time outside in the cold or doing various tasks when I am not feeling up to it, there is extra stress and anxiety which could have been avoided.
Now there are times when you have to push through the difficulty and make a way. But the rhythms that can be found in life bring peace and rest. I also drive a lot for work, whether it is delivering material, equipment, or checking on job sites; I am not one to rush the driving experience, I have this time in the truck and it is going to last a while, so I turn on the radio and simply enjoy the journey. There is no use trying to be the first one home at the end of the day, or having to run every yellow light, have peace in the journey because you will eventually make it to where you are going. Once you arrive there will be plenty of work to be done, so don’t speed through the journey getting stressed by the slow drivers.
Discovering New Things
Over New Years I learned how to ski, through falling and crashing, I began to get better, and while I am no expert, I have come to truly enjoy this new hobby. There is something thrilling about going down a pass that you have never been on, and discovering the difficulty of maneuvering around obstacles and different ground conditions. The beauty of the mountain is also a wonder to observe, it is incredible that God would create places such as these for our wonder and enjoyment.
At some moment in life you stumble past the surface and mundane to discover things that are deeper, areas of life that are more significant. Parts of the journey that you never saw in that light before. Many times these revelations come as a result of deeper questions being asked. We can choose what that looks like, but at the end its best to keep asking questions, to keep searching for meaning, and to continue discovering new things.