Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Unconditional Love

Author Donald Miller

I mean, if a kid doesn’t feel he is loved, he is going to go looking for it in all kinds of ways. He is going to want to feel powerful or important or tough, and she is going to want to feel beautiful and wanted and needed. Give a kid the feeling of being loved early, and they will be better at negotiating that other stuff when they get older. They won’t fall for anything stupid, and they won’t feel a kind of desperation all the time in their souls. It is not coincidence that Jesus talks endlessly about love. Free love. Unconditional love.

My reaction:

Just before the start of a new calendar year, I like to reflect on everything I've been through since 1979. The idea of feeling loved has so many different levels involved. As a child, every concept of love comes from parents. Initially we demand they provide us the necessities of life through shrieks of hysteria until we are satisfied. Content with this, babies will use the same tactics to have the visual cue of a parent's face. Babies aren't aware that the parent is nearby, they only know the parent is there if they can see them. When cognisant that parents may be in the room, or in the house, without being able to see them, the cries then turn to being held and adored. Clearly, humans are wired to crave affection and love. In the grade school years, children need to know they are valued. Little boys mimic their fathers as they learn manhood, and seek to protect and delight mothers. Little girls emulate their mothers, and seek love and affection from their fathers. Is it any wonder I was a daddy's girl?

As we enter the pre-teen and teenage years, we start to sever ties with the parents - pushing them away because we count them as irrelevant and unable to provide the love we desire. Looking to the acceptance of our peers, we will do whatever we must to be valued by another. Taking part in the measurements of social acceptance, we may neglect the love of parents, disregard the ways that we were raised, and disguise all our behavior to the best of our ability. I did.

Progressing on to the phases of life that cause us to crave a relationship that provides the love we desperately want, we create trust. We place expectations on the one we desire to fulfill all our needs. Often, this is merely tainted love ("ooooh tainted love"). Placing our trust and expectations in another are usually self-seeking. To know we are loved is our goal, rather than to make them feel loved. Being satisfied with their presence, or any other actions we may find ourselves in, is our weakness. Pleasantries are displayed and we may actually want to please them, but in the end the root is that we want them to be happy so they can make us happy.

As a teenager, as a college student, I sought relationships to give me the sense that I am loved. I struggle still with feeling neglected, overlooked, unwanted, not desired, and forgotten. When I chose to take on Christian beliefs in ninth grade, my father counted it as a sign of weakness and foolishness. That relationship severed, and still immature in my faith, I sought a boyfriend that would provide my sense of worth. Continually I must remind myself that my worth cannot be found in others, they have all failed.

Our tainted ideas of love may stem from life as a newborn. Self-seeking motivations will fail us. Hopelessly caught up in the romantic ideas of love are not the satisfaction we crave. Real love is far different than we have ever made it out. Pure, genuine love is where my sense of worth emminates from. Read the fine print if you want, or take the summary provided:

1 John 4:7-21 - God is love - everything about Him comes from the reason of love.
John 3:16 - God loved me or you or the rest of the world enough to send the most valuable part to endure a treacherous life of wooing the bride and cofounding the wise, only to suffer the ultimate rejection and endure hell - all this just to win me back.
Matthew 5:43-48 - We cannot be selective about who we love - we are to love everyone - including those we hate or who hate us. There are different types of love, which is a study for another time. But in the end, we are to love all.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 - Real love looks like this.

All that being said, Jesus is after a relationship, He loves me more than I can imagine, and nothing else will really satisfy. As I have been given this love, I cannot contain it for my own purposes... freely give, freely receive. Know you are loved.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

It's what you make of it

Life is what you choose to make of it... this is the constant theme around me lately. Who hasn't lived through some harsh, strange, hystericaly, or absurd circumstances at some point? Your focus will determine your outcome. If you choose to look at life as a disasterous experience racing for an end, you will no doubt be plagued by how awful everything is. However, if your focus is on a destination - what you want to become, who you want to be, and better yet... getting your eyes off your life long enough to see others from a selfless perspective... to know that others matter to. Having personal goals is necessary, however, it is equally important to know that more exists than you alone. I get sucked into this vaccuum of me more than I'd like; it happens so easily I don't realize it until after the fact. Looking beyond self causes us to realize, we are part of something bigger. Though we may not see how we fit into that now, someone else is depending on something we have to offer. Life is about love, and love is not about what I can get... but rather what I can give. All this being said, it weighs and measures the daily actions I take. I realize I must take care of my life in a reasonable manner in order to be able to offer anything to others. It isn't about me - this resounding idea is difficult to grasp. What I do must be for others - even taking time to relax is to be restored for others. When I feel most empty from whatever I've lived through at any given point, I must realize even this is not just about me. More is at stake here. Though I feel like disappearing at times, enduring whatever I must will result in improving something else at a later time. Trials and tests are not meant to crush, they are meant to be endured en route to the goal. They will make us stronger; they will make us better.

My question to you as we look toward next year... what are you really living for? What is your motivation. What is the reason behind what you do? Can you see where you are going? Pause long enough to get uncomfortably real about all this. Then, set your sights ahead - personally and towards a corporate goal. This is not about idealism, it is about what you will make of the gift of life.

Friday, December 24, 2004

God Came Near

Reading a passage out of one of my favorite Christmas books... that isn't really about Christmas. It's the first chapter of God Came Near by Max Lucado. I dig this out every Christmas Eve to remind me of the humble way humankind was redeemed.

God had entered the world as a baby.

Yet, were someone to chance upon the sheep stable on the outskirts of Bethlehem that morning, what a peculiar scene they would behold.

The stable stinks like all stables do. The stench of urine, dung, and sheep reeks pungently in the air. The ground is hard, the hay scarce. Cobwebs cling to the ceiling and a mouse scurries across the dirt floor.

A more lowly place of birth could not exist.

Off to one side sit a group of sheperds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion fo light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him- so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds.

Near the young mother sits the weary father. If anyone is dozing, he is. He can't remember the last time he sat down. And now that the excitement has subsided a bit, now that Mary and the baby are comfortable, he leans against the wall of the stable and feels his eyes grow heavy. He still hasn't figured it all out. The mystery of the event puzzles him. But he hasn't the energy to wrestle with the questions. What's important is that the baby is fine and that Mary is safe. As sleep comes he remembers the name the angel told him to use...Jesus. "We will call him Jesus."

Wide awake is Mary. My, how young she looks! Her head rests on the soft leather of Joseph's saddle. The pain has been eclipsed by wonder. She looks into the face of the baby. Her son. Her Lord. His Majesty. At this point in history, the human being who best understands who God is and what he is doing is a teenage girl in a smelly stable. She can't take her eyes off him. Somehow Mary knows she is holding God. So this is he. She remembers the words of the angel. "His kingdom will never end."

He looks like anything but a king. His face is prunish and red. His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. And he is absolutely depenedent upon Mary for his well-being.

Majesty in the midst of the mundane. Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat. Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable, through the womb of a teenager and int he presence of a carpenter.

She touches the face of the infant-God. How long was your journey!

This baby had overlooked the universe. These rags keeping him warm were the robes of eternity. His golden throne room had been abandoned in favor of a dirty sheep pen. And worshiping angels had been replaced with kind but bewildered sheperds.

Meanwhile, the city hums. The merchants are unaware that God has visited their planet. The innkeeper would never believe that he had just sent God into the cold. And the people would scoff at anyone who told them the Messiah lay in the arms of a teenager on the outskirts of their village. They were all too busy to consider the possibility.

Those who missed His Majesty's arrival that night missed it not because of evil acts or malice; no, they missed it because they simply weren't looking.

Little has changed in the last two thousand years, has it?

My thougths on this....

Humankind had fallen. All had at least one sin against them - their very own nature. The stench of human sins surpasses that of the stable. God, in his divine plan, chose love. He chose to provide means to be restored. Love - the reason for all we ever crave, all we need, and what we were designed to thrive on... love was at stake. Christ, the redeeming one, so desperately wanted to spend eternity with me, you, and all the rest of creation, that he was willing to leave his perfect home and suffer hell. His motivation - love. No reason why he'd chose to do such a crazy thing - but love isn't always rational. He chose love over all, and paid a price I couldn't. In the moment of his crucifiction, the eternal Father turned his back to his son, counted him as a sacrifice. God, who had been with Christ - the son, would not communicate, love, or be in his presence. Christ, sent to the depths of hell to redeem a sinful creature, endured more than all others. For us, we need only to call upon God - the trinity - and we are accepted. At that moment there was an eternal divide for Christ that could only be restored by conquering death. Christ defeated all, and for that, we are lavishly showered in His great love. Yet - just as the people of Bethlehem overlooked a great coming, so to we overlook what is there for us. We are busy in all the other things of life, and try to replace our longings with anything but a restored relationship with Christ. Uncomfortable with embracing the intangible, we seek any other human, any other belief, or an existence filled with nothing. Pause for some awkward length of time and ponder the humble arrival of the redeeming king of love, and what this has done to and for you.

that's so high school....

Been thinking a lot about the difference in high school to real world… go figure. Also reminiscing about Travis D., Nate H., and a few of my own friends from high school that I lost during those years. They all stepped over the social barriers and drama that we try to create. The drama that won’t let go, because it is the world as we know it. It is life in the Matrix, it is our identity, it is what we use to make ourselves feel better about ourselves yet will turn against us if “they” don’t approve. We hide our identity in being an athlete, in finding companionship in the dark shadows of those that hate preps, in how much money our parents make and give us, in whatever. As soon as high school ends, we wind up needing the cliques we once shunned to perform service on our car, defend us in court, or fix our broken bodies in the hospital. What really matters…? It isn’t the fictional drama we concoct for sure. Tell me I’m ideal; tell me it will never work. I’m not offended, I’ve seen some break free of this delusion while in the middle of it, and I’ve lived through it to see that in fact, it doesn’t really matter.

More quotes from Searching for God Knows What that go with this...

A child learns early there is a fashionable and an unfashionable in the world, an ugly and a pretty, a valued and an unvalued. Where this system comes from, God only knows, but it is rarely questioned, and though completely illogical and agree upon by everyone as evil, it remains in play, commanding our emotions as a possession. It isn’t something taught to us by our parents; it is something that comes naturally, as though a radioactive kind of tragedy happened, screwing up our souls. Adulterated or policed, the system can grow to something more civilized, but no less dominant as a drive of nature. In youth the system is obvious. If you want to learn the operating system to which humans are subjected, step into a classroom of preteen students and listen to the dialogue. You will hear the constant measurements, the talk about family wealth, whose father drives what car, who lives in what neighborhood, or who is dating whom.
Here is how it feels: From the first day of school the conversation is the same as it would be if hundreds of students were told to stand in line ranging from best to worst, coolest to most uncool, each presenting their case for value, each presenting an offense to the cases of others, alliances being formed as caricatures of reality television (or vice versa).
And here is what is terrible: There will be a sort of punishment being dealt to those at the end of the line, each person dealing out castigation as a way of dissociation from the geeks, driven by the fear that associating with somebody at the end of the line might cost them position, as if the two might be averaged, landing each of them in the space between. And so, in this way, students are constantly looking to associate themselves with those higher in line, and dissociate from those of low position. Great lengths will be taken to associate with those at the front of the line. Students will kiss up, drop names, lie about friendships, and so on. Many will hate the most popular, and yet subject themselves to their approval as though they were small gods. But the great crime, the great tragedy, is not in the attempts to associate but rather the efforts to dissociate. If a person feels his space in the hierarchy is threatened, that he might lose position, the vehemence he feels toward the lesser person is nearly malevolent…..
The feeling was that if we were last on the social ladder, or near last, we would be facing some kind of torture. Though it sounds absurd, it felt true, as though there were a spirit in the air directing our passions. It was incredibly important to climb this ladder, and the closer you were to the top, it was believed, the easier you could breathe, because a the top people loved you and cared about you and gave you a little bit of the thing God used to give you.…
We were lost in the drama. We never wondered about where it all came from or why it existed. And we talked about these matters as heads of state might discuss international policy. We sat in the lunchroom and talked about who was going out with home and who was going to get beat up after school, and who had a big house in a nice neighborhood. Lunch was our AP wire, and we mulled over the daily fare in contemplation and awe, always wondering where the shifts had taken place on the invisible ladder….
I get this feeling sometimes that after the world ends, when God destroys all our buildings and our flags, we will wish we had seen everybody as equal, that we had eaten dinner with prostitutes, held them in our arms, opened up spare rooms for them and loved them and learned from them. I was just another stupid child in the flow, you know; I didn’t know any of these things. I didn’t know it didn’t matter what a person looked like, how much money they made or whether or not they were cool. I didn’t know that cool was just a myth and that one person was just as beautiful and meaningful as another. Not all of us are as smart as aliens, you know. Not all of us run around naked like Adam and Eve. You can hardly fault me for this stuff, can you? Like I said, it felt important to climb the social ladder, it felt important to defend or identities, it felt as though we were saving our own lives.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Still reading Searching for God Knows What. Found some of these quotes

We are wired so that other people help create us, help make us who we are, and when deception is fed to us, we make bad decisions.

As creatures in need of somebody outside ourselves to name us, as creatures incomplete outside the companionship of God, our souls are born distorted, I am convinced of it.

I knew, because Billy Graham was an educated man, he had read the same article I had read, I began calculating his answer for him, that violence begets violence, that we live in a culture desensitized to the beauty of human life and the sanctity of creation. But Billy Graham did not blame video games. Billy Graham looked Larry King in the eye and said, “Thousands of years ago, a young couple in love lived in a garden called Eden, and God placed a tree in the Garden and told them not to eat from the tree…” And I knew in my soul he was right.

Humans, as a species, are constantly, and in every way, comparing themselves to one another, which, given the brief nature of their existence, seems an oddity and, for that matter, a waste. Nevertheless, this is the driving influence behind every human’s social development, their emotional health and sense of joy, and, sadly, their greatest tragedies. It is as though something that helped them function and live well has gone missing, and they are pining for that missing thing in all sorts of odd methods, none of which are working. The greater tragedy is that very few people understand they have the disease. This seems strange as well because it is obvious. To be sure, it is killing them, and yet sustaining their social and economic systems. They are an entirely beautiful people with a terrible problem.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

remembering when...

I've had a song from 9th grade stuck in my head... that was 1994... and I still see so much of who I can be in it at times...

Anna Begins by Counting Crows:

My friend assures me it’s all or nothing
I am not worried- I am not overly concerned
My friend implores me for one time only,
Make an exception.
I am not not worried
Wrap her up in a package of lies
Send her off to a coconut island
I am not worried - I am not overly concerned
With the status of my emotions
Oh, she says, were changing.
But were always changing
It does not bother me to say this isn’t love
Because if you don’t want to talk about it then it isn’t love
And I guess I’m going to have to live that
But, I’m sure there’s something in a shade of gray
Or something in between
And I can always change my name if that’s what you mean
My friend assures me it’s all or nothing
But I am not really worried
I am not overly concerned
You try to tell your self the things you try tell your self to make
Yourself forget
To make your self forget
I am not worried
If it’s love she said, then were gonna have to think about the consequences
She can’t stop shaking and I can t stop touching her and.....
This time when kindness falls like rain
It washes her away and anna begins to change her mind
These seconds when I’m shaking leave me shuddering
For days she says.
And I’m not ready for this sort of thing
But I’m not gonna break
And I’m not going to worry about it anymore
I’m not gonna bend.
and I’m not gonna break andI’m not gonna worry about it anymore
It seems like I should say as long as this is love...
But it’s not all that easy so maybe I should just
Snap her up in a butterfly net-
Pin her down on a photograph album
I am not worried
I’ve done this sort of thing before
But then I start to think about the consequences
Because I don’t get no sleep in a quiet room and...
The time when kindness falls like rain
It washes me away and anna begins change my mind
And every time she sneezes I believe it’s love
And oh lord.... I’m not ready for this sort of thing
She s talking in her sleep-it s keeping me awake
And anna begins to toss and turn
And every word is nonsense but I understand it and
Oh lord. I m not ready for this sort of thing
Her kindness bangs a gong
It’s moving me along and anna begins to fade away
It s chasing me away. she dissappears, and oh lord I’m not ready for this sort of thing

It reminds me that no matter how much my good intentions are... people will in the end go their own way. Though I can be resilient, I can also be swayed if I don't think clearly. Time go do some thinking. This song also carries a slew of emotions and memories of the darkest times.... leaves me wondering what happened to those that made me think it was written for them. Truth be told, I wasn't ready for this sort of thing, and 10 years later, I'm just beginning to understand.


Opinions... do they count? Formed quickly for good and bad, they can mean the world or nothing at all. As I meet someone new, my opinion may be entirely fashioned on the circumstances around them. I make every effort to never look upon someone based on hearsay or who they know, whether they are seemingly smart or far from... whether they care if I like them or not. The opinions people have of me are of their own doing as well. Some see eye to eye, and others realize I'll look through their front so they don't want to be anywhere near. In my few years as a rookie in my career, I've realized some students will be resistent to me no matter what... usually the ones who don't want caught, pushed higher, or to deal with reality that awaits them after high school. Some aquaintances are much the same... they will remain at bay for a wide variety of reasons. Then there are those that transcend all opinions, look with an open mind, and know that when it comes down to it all... when we view each other without clouded expectations, big things will happen. I cannot befriend everyone, nor can I accept many life decisions that some may make. However, I can say - respect is at the core. I hold respect for the circumstances they face, I will look at reality and distinguish what is drama and hype. Though we may not see eye to eye... and though they may be a pain to encounter, I'd still put forth my every last effort to see them succeed at whatever it is they choose - but only with their leading. If they show a wilingness to receive, I'll give all I've got. If they show a barrier, it isn't my duty to convince them otherwise.

All that aside... I'm thrilled Christmas break is a week away. I'm not hyped yet about the holiday itself... though on that day I will set my focus on the meaning of it all. However, I'm more thrilled for the chance to let my gaurd down for a while... take time to just sit and breathe. I want to dive headlong into a few books, enjoy the art of DC, and the sheer enjoyment of sleeping until I wake up without an alarm clock! I want to spend time on enjoying myself... rather than running so fast that I can't keep up with life. I love my schedule, job, friends, and team. I want to step back into that renewed again.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

what holds you?

What holds you captive?
Bound to the past
Bound to the expectations
Bound to the circumstances

What holds you down?
Unable to soar
Unable to run
Unable to lift your head

What holds you back?
Afraid to end the cycle
Afraid to step out boldy
Afraid to be alone

What holds you under?
Burdened by people
Burdened by self
Burdened by unknowns

What holds you still?
It's time to move on
It's time to look up
It's time to seek help

Just beyond this fear is a place that I can see. You may not see it, believe it, or want to know it... but just beyond the bonds you are locked in is freedom, love, and true joy. If you want to move from here to that place, I want to help. Lean on me if you want... These shackles can be cut off.

These are just a few thoughts I've had... and sometimes face myself. I need others around to be my influence in this direction, but more importantly, I need to let go of that which holds me bound.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

It's My Joy

(Barry Patterson, CCLI Registered)

You set the lonely in families
You set the prisoners free to sing
You are my bliss, You are my drug,

You are my addiction
It’s my joy, It’s my joy to give You praise

You rain abundance, You shower love
Refresh the weary, More than enough
You are my bliss, You are my drug,

You are my addiction
It’s my joy, It’s my joy to give You praise

In the midst of all that comes through my path... even I get worn out. It's just that time of year... so much to do before the holidays... the busy time of the swim season, and my energy level is dropping in mad ways. Yet somehow in the midst of it all... I know there is peace, rest, and joy. The line above about "You are my bliss, You are my drug, You are my addiction" has been running through my mind over and over. We all cling desperately to something. I think we were designed to need something more... we weren't intended to live life entirely alone. Inately we crave something more to satisfy us. For some, its relationships, for others - substances. People claim that to have this crazy desperate longing to be about God is just using beliefs as a crutch. I'd say it is no crutch... a crutch is for those that will eventually let go.. it is meant to help them rehabilitate to life without it. Having been through my own disasters...and living to tell ... I can say I'm desperate for more of Him. I need Him to face what comes my way. Sure, I could go do things on my own, thinking I'm entirely better than that.... but the truth is... none of it matters. No where else is there love like this... and for nothing else would I become weary and yet refreshed all at once. I'd go to great lengths to do something that honors God... and though I may be worn down... it is joy... it isn't every easy... but it is joy. Anything else that I try to pour all I've got into ends up being like a cracked pitcher. It won't hold, it is rather worthless, and by the time I'm empty... so is it. To spend myself in the things that aren't right or best... even good things... aren't going to last. Looking for anything short of God to make it right... that will never last and only leave a person more dissatisfied.


Monday, December 13, 2004

will you?

I've been doing considerable thinking about the God stuff lately. To be entirely honest, things haven't been as close as they ought since somewhere in college. I dispise religion, motions, and empty rituals. I dispise seeking knowledge just to have it... it must be implemented. I crave fellowship that's real. Desperately I fall down, laying aside my wants - only to realize that God has placed me in the season of solitude for His own ways. Though it is not my desire, it is where I am. No effort will alter this state, for it is alone God's to handle. Friendships may arise, but they are none of depth, and I am unable to make it such. Looking for something real, something of worth, something profound, I realize... the God I neglect because He hasn't provided me with what my soul CRIES out for... the friendships that cut to the heart of it all... that endure all.. that know sweet communion unlike all else - these friendships that I have experienced and know still exist, even if unreachable at this time - they were idols to me. In place of turning to God, I've allowed my vision to be clouded with temporal satisfactions. Overlooking God for no real reason (busyness cannot count as I will always make time to help or enjoy friends), I've become one without zeal in this area of my life. Finding these things disappointing... I search again for the real meaning of love. It isn't in getting my way, nor in the way others make me feel. It isn't anything I can do or have - it is all in Him. The God of wrath has no tolerance for sin - it is such a foul odor to Him that He will not have it in His presence. Yet, His love so unabashedly given freely, surpasses the countless ways in which I've offered little more than offense. Christ, in His ultimate love, risked it all. He stood in my place, endured my shame, and received my punishment. In His yearning to be with me, Christ overlooks all my filthy rags. I will not be pacified with entertainment when the one thing I want is to rest in His presence. Why I've made such a choice is beyond me to understand. Neglecting what I really hunger for, to fill up instead on that which will never fully satisfy - it is no better than eating a deep fried candybar when when I really need is nutrition. Though fun, and yummy... it will only leave me malnourished and unable to function after that sugar high.

Will I stay in this distant land, predominantly distracted with anything that flashes before my eyes... unable to hear Him speak over the clamour of my soul for attention. Will I be real enough to admit the idols that take the place that is not theirs to own - because I put them there? Will I stand unhindered, vulnerable, and exposed for what I've become? Will I let go of all that holds me back - my fears of how others see me, the temporal good things that are short of the best, the compulsive ways I have to find self worth.... to just be what I am beneath all the tainted ways? Will I allow the pride of my high knowledge, or the pride of thinking so much less of myself than God sees me - will I really let this pride drop. Though these things all make me feel comfortable, protected, and covered... they are transparent to all that matters most.

I become more desperate for what matters, determined to step into all that I am to become. It is not of my efforts that the goal will be accomplished, but that I surrender all. To gain Christ, I must let go of so much... linger in His presence, and rest in hope that He will show me when to take action and when to watch.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

after supper i realized:

Ten years is a long time to be close. Looking through it all, we’ve faced so much. I look back with memories that have shaped who I am. I think fondly of the times we’ve been each others support, or one accepting person that will understand. Transitions in life come and go, but through it all you have been family and a shelter in the storms. I’m brought to tears remembering what it has meant to lay it all on the line for the cause of friendship. The endless nights talking through whatever mattered, the times we just said what needed to be said without holding back, and the comfort that has been found in knowing in so many ways we are still and likely will always have ties that bind us together deep enough that time may pass yet there remains a lasting love that steps outside all this. As we talked over supper I realized what our friendship has evolved into. I saw that we are much more than I ever expected.

I’ve been reevaluating friendships and what they mean to me. Many have disappointed me, especially recent ones. Others have just faded and grown dim. Yet this love felt is not that of romance, but knowing that I’d lay everything down over and over again for you, and knowing within reason you’d do the same. I wish I could say I knew it’d always be selfless toward me in return, but it isn’t the point. I look back at the past decade and know what love means… I accept you for who you are, and know that we have the ability to cut through all the outside issues to the point of the matter.

i got wet

AKA - we won our first meet 529-419. The kids tossed the coaches in for the home victory. I "cheated"... usually coaches have to go in w/ all clothes on.... no thanks on the wet shorts! Instead I opted to go with the suit, and not resist too much. However, it still weirds me out that 2 of my future students were the ones throwing me in... something about being in a suit when i'm their teacher is odd. It is weird to be close in age... but yet not close. Close enough to be mistaken as one of them, but yet old enough to just be all awkward about it. Students are always on my mind... everywhere I go I run into them... maybe it's just since I have so many of them... maybe it's me being overanalytical.

Anywho... looking through the past week... I'm seeing all the stupid things I was thinking a week ago fade away. Some truth, some closure, and lots of new stuff coming up. not sure yet where life is heading, but in the past few months lots has changed.

Not one of my most profound entries... but no doubt after I nap for a bit I'll have more in my head to dole out.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Get a Life

Calibretto 13 has made some great stuff... highly recommend finding some of their music. Dork punk music is always a good time. So... the song of the day:

Calibretto 13
Get A Life
Well, you're a good looking guy and you're under 21.
You party all night and you have a lot of fun.
You dropped out of school and you do nothing all day.
You can't seem to find a job, but that's ok.
Cause you live with your girlfriend, and she takes care of you.
You share the same bed and you promise to be true.
She wants to get married, but you'd rather not.
The only reason you like her is because she's hot.
Get a Life.

Well you're getting nowhere and you're getting there fast.
Your heathen lifestyle's not gonna last.
You're wasting your life, but you don't care.
You're living for today, for the prince of the air.
Your life is a party and it sure ain't dull.
You're living for today and you're on a roll.
You don't have a worry you think all is well.
But you don't know you're on your way to Hell.
Get a Life.

Now every weekend is the same routine.
You get hooked up and you do the same old thing.
You smoke some marijuana, get as high as a kite.
Take down 3 more beers, get into another fight.
Go upstairs with a girl and sleep around.
Wake up the next morning find yourself on the ground.
This so-called-life that you live is full of sin,
But my God can set you free if you would just let Him in.
Get a Life.

Okay, in your world you're so freakin' cool,
But in our world you are nothing,
And you need to get a life!
Get a Life.

It seems that for too long we've put up with the trash of the world... to the point we don't realize it is trash. Don't get me wrong... I've had my fair share of garbage in my day. HOWEVER... we overlook that which wrong - claiming there are no absolute truths... yet somehow we acknowledge that there are other things that we can agreed are right and wrong - like killing someone or cheating in relationships or anything else... no matter the culture there is a sense that this isn't right. So, that being the case, why do we overlook what we feel like neglecting? Why do we cling to the filth of the world and wrap our identities in that which will not benefit us in any way? We see it as the easy way out... and I'm tired of it.

So reading back a few entries... I was esentially crying out to God to take away all my trash. I know it is still there ready for me to pick up and try to placate the root of why I feel I'm in need of stuff... the hard reality is... there's nothing apart from God. Nothing else will bring lasting freedom, joy, peace, accomplishment... and there's nothing I can do apart from Him... everything I do He is there... and without that I'm utterly helpless to accomplish anything of worth. Perhaps that is what we all really are secretly searching for... something of importance, worth, that matters.

To all my lurkers reading on, to the burnouts, to the occasional potheads that think I don't know you're there, to the friends that have been there through thick and thin, and to all those that think I'm a lunatic... stop for a while and consider... what is it that you truly want... see past the superficial things that we are so easily satisified by and think about why you want what you do... or why is it that we struggle at times to have any motivation? Do we feel that there's no hope? Do we think why bother? Is that what you really want?

I've decided I want something more. I won't be content to be distracted, pacified, or ignorant by the things I believe are so wonderful - only to realize that they are all rubbish.

Drop some controversy or feedback... i see you lurking.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Longing for ...

I've been reading Searching For God Knows What lately by Don Miller. He makes the strikingly real truth digestable... that to follow Christ isn't about rules and religion. There are a few really awesome things he's said that I totally relate to. Here's a short passage:

When I was a kid, and, to be absolutely honest, a teenager and perhaps even a young twenty-something, I believed God was like Santa Claus. I realize grown people whould not think God is like Santa Claus, but you wouldn't believe how perfectly convenient it was for me to subscribe to the idea. The benefits were astounding. First To interact with Santa Claus, I did not have to maintain any sort of intimate relationship. Santa simply slipped into the house, left presents, ate half a cookie, then hit the neighbors'. There was no getting us out of bed in the middle of the night to have sloppy conversations about why I was still wetting the bed.

Second: Santa theology was very black and white; you either made the list or you didn't and if you didn't, it was because you were bad, not because of societal pressures or biochemical distortions or your parents or cable television, but because you were bad. Simple indeed. Third: He brought presents based on behavior. If you were good, you got a lot of bank. There was a very clear reward system based on the most basic desires of the human heart: Big Wheels, Hot Wheels, Legos. You didn't have to get into the spirit of anything, and there was nothing sentimental that served as the real reason for the season. Everybody knew it was about the toys: cold, hard toys. Fourth: Kids who were bad got presents anyway.


Slowly, however, everything began to unravel. I tried to stop it because it was all so lovely and perfect, but there was nothing I could do. Truth grew in my mind like a fungus, and though I tried to keep it out, there was no resisting the epiphanies.

Santa went first, then God.

It is so real to be for a lot of reason. This isn't just additional reason to boycott Santa... but shows a much deeper issue of the human heart. We all can formulate our own expectations, only to be devistated that they aren't real. Just as this author had his ideas of Santa, and ideas on the right way to interact with the one thing that is real... I too have formed my own notions. I get busy in all my daily life, and so often find that I don't spend the quality time with God... just expect to get good stuff no matter what I do. Then there are times when I fall into the idea that I need to do more good stuff to make the nice list... rather than realizing God doesn't keep a naught/nice list... that it isn't about our behavior but all about what He has done. Jesus has made the only way for us to get our names on the Book... and it isn't about what we do or don't do... but about if His salvation has been applied to us. He came to give it away to all... but not all will take it in and make use of it. Somehow too in the midst of all this... we long for the simple things of life... overlooking that which is really good. Our tastes as a child are for sugar and sweets... but as we mature we begin to crave the finer things of life. Though simplicity is good... there's so much more than our childhood toys.

So... with all that being said... the past week has been pretty good.... yet rather hectic. Troubleshooting computer stuff... running about with swim practice, and somehow finding that no matter how my day feels... God makes it awesome because He's in it.

I'm getting my Christmas tree tomorrow. That should be exciting... my very first own live tree. I'm thinking through this whole Christmas season... how Jesus was really born in the middle of the summer... and how we were never expected to celebrate this time... but we choose to. I think we can become absent minded and get caught up in the marketing of it... in the rush of spending wads of cash on presents that express how superficial our relationships have become that we must depend upon material things as a gift... and wonder why there isn't this much celebrating of the rest of Christ's life beyond the seemingly harmless baby in a feeding trough. Why have we overlooked the cross, the abuse, the pain, the arduous and perfect life... the resurrection, and the daily indwelling of the spirit. Why? I don't yet know. But I want to be on the lookout that these things don't infect me... but that I celebrate the season with the outlook that Christ has lived through all this just because He loves me. What more can I ask.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

some days

Days go by and life passes quickly. One day feels so long, draining, and better spent sleeping away in a cool dark room burried under layers of blankets... then others seem best spent playing in the ocean or some refreshing stream trickling through the mountains. I've been noticing lately how inwardly focused my life has become. If I opt for the day in hibernation - it is simply because this is the way I feel. If I opt to play outside, it is because I want to find pleasure and loose all thoughts of responsibility for a while. Then I realize - no - what I really want is to be with people that I can have quality time with. I want to get to know them, or for them to know me. I want to share knowledge, help accomplish something, and to know they are there for me just the same. My inward dilemma creeps back saying I'm stretched to thin, that maybe I can't make a difference. I've got too much to do for any one thing to be done well. I'll never catch up on sleep, housework, school work, finish my degree, or for that matter become maticulously organize. Why is it that my friends will take their cell calls when we're hanging out.... I mean... they are there to hang out with me. I become a recluse for a time long enough to regain my perspective. The lies I believed about my abilites don't matter. Maybe those things will never be where I want them. The friends are seperating for various reasons... but sometimes they are actually not ignoring me but dealing with something that will soon involve me.

It isn't about me! This life is not meant to be spent on my own wanderings. Even when it seems these days don't result in much.... I know beyond all that God put me into every circumstance for a reason. I know I can get myself into my fair share of disaster... but on the other hand... I'm never in a situation that is too great for me. I know that I am in the places/times/situations that I enjoy but becomed drained not for my own benefit.... I am there for a bigger purpose. I know that there is a plan, that there is a reason. I may never know what it is.... but you may... or the kid that needs that encouragement they may never find elsewhere. My vantage point could be swallowed up in my own distractions... or if I open my eyes wide and listen to the quiet whisper... I see God at work. It may be so subtle that I could miss it some days.... and other days nothing can contain it. In all things, and in all ways... God is there. Hard to believe at times... but rather than being so self absorbed in my ways, wishes, wants... I surrender my all to Him and focus Him - not learning about God by reading the Bible or learning the latest greatest praise song... not talking to everyone else about it all... not wishing people were talking to or concerned with me... not even giving thought to myself... I lay it all aside to just listen, wait, and rest in Him. The sunrise declares His beauty, the cool night air reminds me of how desperately I need His provision, and the presence can only be known if we lay aside all else and just listen.

Current Music:
Artist: Day Of Fire
Album: Day Of Fire
Song: Cornerstone

All of the ground is sinking sand
A doubting maze of desert land
Where darkness rules the heart of man
Til’ the sun shines light on him

Lord of all,
Show you’re strong
All my needs they fall

Be a cornerstone
Be a cornerstone
Be a rock, higher than I
Be my fortress wall
Be a foundation for all,
My cornerstone

The building’s swaying in the wind
The towers crumble down again
This certainly will be the end
Of them not built on him

Lord of all
Show your strong
All my needs they fall


You are the builder of my heart
Held me together from the start