Posted: July 6th, 2015 |
Filed under: life | Tags: faith, purpose, think |
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Life is boring between the highs. You have to learn how to be in your own company and get used to hearing your own thoughts or you’ll always be a follower, a consumer, or an impostor. People and circumstances can be frustrating and you have to learn how to be self-contained enough to not be pulled in. It can seem like everyone else is living a better life while you’re stuck in your own monochromatic existence. We want what they have, but they want what someone else has, and so on. Eventually you have to stop looking for the elusive source of the so-called happiness because it’s a dysfunctional fantasy-chasing cycle. You’ll never be satisfied because you weren’t meant to be. Not here, anyway.
I read and article recently that said it’s a good thing to let your kids get bored and figure out what to do about the “nothing” on their own (1). The author argued that boredom breeds the opportunity to be creative, self-motivated, and helps them discover their ability to influence their world. Too many structured activities stunts the development of their own problem-solving self-direction. It hinders their ability to set and reach their own goals because someone else, a coach/teacher/leader/parent, is always making the plans and setting goals and snowplowing obstacles for them.
I don’t feel so guilt-ridden seeing my kids sink into summertime boredom. I know that eventually they’ll make ridiculous videos, bake cupcakes, or paint their nails for the seventh time that day. I also know that they end up getting on each other’s nerves and arguing. It’s annoying, but it, too, is an important way to train for the rest of their lives.
Constant stimulation dulls the senses and makes people forget how to think. Always looking at someone else will only make you less satisfied with you. People fill the gaps of knowledge about others with positive attributes the the point of absolute fiction. We don’t even know we’re making stuff up and then getting jealous of it. Nonstop activity helps people avoid being in their own company, or from facing the fact that their best is someone else’s average.
The endless flow of incoming information drowns out the silence in the soul. Dress-rehearsal highs are planned and documented, but the real play gets called off. Filters make it look cooler. Everyone’s trying to keep up and one-up the other. I’m not saying that everything is a sweeping facade, but you know the unsettling feeling of a paid-off touchdown when you see it.
It’s like watching herd of sheep follow each other’s back end. “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” (Psalm 23:2). What if one of them just laid down in the green pasture?
It’s a loss to drown out the silence because creativity, spirituality, and purpose speak there. People treat minors like majors because they’re not comfortable enough to walk beside still waters. They sensationalize the tiniest moments because they’re afraid that’s all there is.
Most of life is spent being patient. Don’t let people fool you into thinking they have it better than you. If they did, you wouldn’t know about it.
Don’t bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked. In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings and wilt like cut flowers in the sun. Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last. Keep company with God, get in on the best. Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. Quiet down before God, be prayerful before Him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top. – Psalm 37:1-7 MSG
Try listening to the quiet within you.
1. Gold, Sunny S. (July/August 2015), “How to Be a Better Parent”, Scientific American Mind, p. 11.
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Posted: June 12th, 2015 |
Filed under: life | Tags: freedom, healing, hope, purpose, think |
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The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time. It’s the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you’ve been hungry for more. – Colossians 1:5-6 MSG
The Message, in a single word, is Jesus.
We spend too much time trying to pick the right answer and be better than we were yesterday. We create order that trips our freedom and practice self-control while continually failing. Our dreams dangle two steps out of reach and “doing the right thing” is the saboteur. We push to be adults so that we can be better children. Always two steps behind. We try to make our kids who we think we should have been and are disappointed when they’re just like us.
…for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began… – Titus 1:1-2 ESV
He’s our promise.
The struggle is a distraction because the Truth is too simple. We think we’re so wise, outsmarting ourselves like we’re divided Could-Have-Beens stuck in bodies of sin. We ignore the miracle of ever-expanding creation from the microscopic frenzy of cellular production on our skin all the way to the vibrating black matter of the tiny ignored galaxy we inhabit.
For just a moment, turn off the autopilot and look around you. You want something deeper, you want something more meaningful, but you don’t even understand what is right in front of you. You’re not two steps behind, you’re exactly where you’re trying to be. We have to learn to balance micro moments of peace on the cusp of quake.
We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus. – 2 Timothy 1:9-10 MSG
It’s not about you. It’s for you.
If even the slightest glimpse of Jesus doesn’t cast such a blinding light over yourself that you disappear into it, then you’re not seeing Jesus. He’s not the light that illuminates your flaws. You were made for Him and through Him. To Him, you have no flaws.
This offends those who look at people to measure Truth. This angers those who would drag another into the street of public opinion. Those who scream “Heresy” upon hearing the simplicity of the Gospel are speaking to their own unbelief. His “yoke is easy” because He’s already done the work. His “burden is light” because He’s already carried the weight. The ache for more will never go away.
When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. – Hebrews 6:17 MSG
He is the source of Truth.
This whole thing is set up so that you can’t mess it up. You can’t make God change His mind about you. Actually receiving the gift, as opposed to just hearing about it, will change your mind about you.
People live flaccid lives feeling shortchanged and forgotten. Their eyes have not yet opened to the always expanding creativity swirling around them. It’s to small or too fast or too vast and they can’t see what they don’t know. There is a life just beyond the mundane and it’s right in front of you.
All of life is layered upon itself, dependent upon the layers below and above. Life has always been illustrated by linked circles of intricate interconnected dependence and beauty. Take, for example, the anatomy of a butterfly wing. A delicate piece of microscopic lace with details the size of a single bacterium is one of several thousand microscopic scales on a single butterfly wing and each creature has four. It aids with light and flight. Chances are, you’ll never get the opportunity to see the beauty outside of pictures, but how often do we stop to look at fluttering butterflies anyway?
But it’s more than butterflies. It’s hidden layers of beauty, purpose, and meaning. Because of the interconnected pushed-and-pushing nature of molecules and the ever more illuminated fact that there is no such thing as nothing and every space is taken up, the unnoticed flitter of a butterfly wing is the response of a series of reactions and is responsible for it’s own set of subsequent reactions. The mid-flight turn of a Chinese butterfly has the potential to shape the curve of an Oklahoma tornado.
Everything that moves has to first be moved. Atoms do not animate themselves. Somebody had to move first. Aristotle’s explanation of God is “The First Mover”.
What is your word?
You are a response to His movement. You are a word spoken by His voice. If you knew that you couldn’t mess up His intricately laid plan what would you do? If you knew He was just waiting to hear your voice, what would you sing?
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf… – Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV
A magnified butterfly scale.
A magnified butterfly wing.
The butterfly effect illustrated by light simulation.
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Posted: May 20th, 2015 |
Filed under: life | Tags: faith |
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How often can a person sing about redemption without ever believing it for themselves? I see broken people pretend to be healed, turning circles in the make believe dress, and drowning empty’s echo with religious propaganda. How many times can you wipe yourself down with dollar store healing waters without ever letting the real tsunami inside? I see desperate people close their eyes and sway like they’re slow dancing with a cartoon version of the spirit instead of waiting in patient honesty. How many times can you recite the script before the words lose their meaning and the fire you refuse to let in scalds your skin thick? I hear people say the words that ended the War, but the contextual inflection reveals the incomprehension and makes the words ping out of tune.
There is a Roar so deep that we have to train our ears to hear it. There is a Presence that so permeates all of existence that we have to train our eyes to see it. Like fascia over muscle, the sea swelling around the continents, and black matter encasing reflected light, we miss the whole picture by focusing on only what we understand. It could swallow us in an instant, but instead it knocks. That which connects and holds us all in place is knocking on every door to your inner most and asking for your utmost. There is an enlightened awareness that renders everything you know to be just an elementary introduction to the big picture.
It’s like fighting to stay in a dream so you can finish the task. Open yourself up to be really awakened. You’re not going to miss anything…
Those who were never told of him—
they’ll see him!
Those who’ve never heard of him—
they’ll get the message! -Romans 15:21 MSG
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Posted: May 16th, 2015 |
Filed under: life | Tags: hope, hurting, purpose |
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“Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the one who invited us to God. The best invitation we’ve ever received!” – 2 Peter 1:1-3 MSG
You’re in that moment when the record of your disappointments is in the “shredder” pile and the robe of “something more” is being held out to you. The metaphysical invitation draws your attention in such a way that you have to turn your back on the physical realm to get a better look. Turning away from life as you’ve always understood it and opening yourself up to the possibility that there is another dimension to discover is intoxicating because it doesn’t hide itself well. There is a bigger narrative to tap into and it’s been calling you like a playmate mid hide-and-seek. Come find me.
So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. – 2 Peter 1:5-9 MSG
If you must busy yourself, then busy yourself with kindness, be disciplined, and patient. It won’t make you a better person, but it will untangle your mind so that you can explore the spiritual side of existing. Be generous with your friendliness, warmth, and love. It won’t make you extra spiritual, but it will allow your imagination to be filled with wonder as you start to become fully awake.
So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.– 2 Peter 1:10-11 MSG
I know that life cracks open and things we love get lost, but there is sense to it all. There is a bigger picture. Moments like these call us to it.
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Posted: May 13th, 2015 |
Filed under: life | Tags: hope, hurting, personal |
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I put on my tattered black and lay by you while the reality works its way through your veins. Breathing the creeping emptiness to keep it from making your room cold. I’m helpless to the loss that scathes your innocence inside out. The cruelty is unmatched as I lie helpless. The strength of my love cannot shield you. I can only lay beside you and watch you try to be strong.
Your pain is a badge over my heart. I let it wound me knowing that it won’t keep it from wrecking you. But I can’t let you suffer alone. I would suck it out like poison if it would save you. Your pain burrows like tentacles and wracks me like it knows my name. The hunger is enough to eat us whole.
I watch the trees to see if they quake with us. I look into the eyes of the moon to see if he knows. I look in to the depths of creation to see if she will gather us to her breast. I call on Him to be a better Father than I am a mother.
I’ll wear black as long as you wear black. Nobody gets through without feeling this, but knowing the Heartbreak Road is well travelled doesn’t make it easier. Everybody has to scratch their own name at the finish line. I’m torn between wanting to save you and knowing you’re earning your depths. I try to find solace in knowing the pain is digging your heart deeper. It means that the coming joy is too big for you as you are. I know it seems unfair, but this is how we become.
I watched as you, my selective one, gave away your heart. I followed behind and the longer you walked, the deeper you went, and I knew. I’m watching you, my solid one, trying to figure out which pieces are yours and which are his. I’m breaking, my determined one, as I watch you ready your glue and line up the shards like puzzle pieces. I’m staying back, my girl, knowing that you’ll do what you need to do. One day you’ll be able to thank God for the things you suffered so that you could have the space you needed. I’ll hold your hope for now.
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