Don’t play it safe

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I’ve been afraid lately

Afraid to write

Afraid to look you in the eyes

Afraid to come clean

There is not much to say about fear other than it sucks

I have almost done a lot of things.  I have almost moved to a new town.  I have almost quit my job. I have almost ran a marathon.  I have almost had a significant other.  But…

I stay safe

                   Comfort

                                  Control

                                                and I sit on my futon. 

We walked down the road to get something to eat.  We were both starving and had only maintained a diet of hot dogs and beer for the last ten hours.  Walking to the restaurant I could feel my inner dialogue changing my outward appearance.  This was going to be a hard dinner conversation.  My Dad and I had just finished pacing the final pairings at the US open championship in San Francisco.  My relationship with my Dad had been growing distant and almost non existent.  With every step I knew I had to say something.  I knew I had to ask for forgiveness.  There was a fight going on with every knee bend.  I was fighting the urge to not say anything and keep living life as I have been but I had to say something.  I was starving but my thoughts were keeping me from eating.  I had one more beer, a few bites of Caesar salad, and began to vomit all my feelings on the table.  (Not real vomit). 

And then there was silence

The number one command in the bible (Greek for book) is….  “Do not be afraid”.  And yet all we do, and most of what we have created is safety and comfort.  Every time someone mentions “Do not fear”, shalom returns. 

We create environments in which to encounter God, safely.  We create space for people to feel safe, at rest, and clean.  Our houses are full of food that goes bad, clothes we only use twice a year, and objects to take our minds off reality.  For what?  Why do we do this?  We feel more comfortable talking about someone rather than to someone.  We would rather spend enormous amount of time saying our belief, or our way we understand Jesus than being Jesus to people. 

I asked my Father for forgiveness.  For being a bad son.  For not making time to talk to him, reach out, or care.  Those were the words I used.  They were real tears I held back (because men don’t cry). 

My Dad began to do the same. 

You will always remember the times you defeat fear.  You will always regret the fear you wish you conquered.  High risk means high reward, and my relationship with my father is still mending, but words were spoken to start the healing process. 

As you grow in your intimacy and understanding of Jesus you realize His power only works in your weakness.  Jesus can’t stand know it alls.  Jesus doesn’t like the humble braggers.  Jesus knows our hearts fear and is waiting for us to step out and face them. 

What keeps you captive?  What do you want to do or say with which you are holding back? How can you conquer fear today? 

Go in hopes for a return to Shalom through the defeat of fear in knowledge that Jesus is waiting in the midst of it all!

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Don’t not do

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“I shouldn’t have done that…”, I think to myself daily.

“I shouldn’t have said that….”, I realize after the words are out of my mouth. 

I don’t know where I got this disease.  It starts in my stomach and works its way up to my impatient brain.  From my brain it works its way into my fingers and or out through my mouth.  It mainly happens when I believe it to be a nudge from the Lord, or I believe it will make people laugh. 

There is a camp in the hills of Ramona California called Oakbridge.  This camp sits on a mountain side I like to call God’s rock garden.  These hills stretch for miles, and on the side of the mountains are giant boulders.  Huge white, yellow, spotted boulders.  Some are smooth, some are jagged, some spray painted, and some hillsides don’t have any boulders on them at all.  It is as if God placed each one by hand.  It is incredible, and if you get a chance, stop and have a picnic on top of one of these bad boys.  You can stare into the smog filled valley of southern california for miles on miles. 

  I had one of these bright ideas in the middle of waving campers goodbye at Oakbridge.  In the middle of the bus turnaround there are these large trees.  They hold in there branches these pods of seeds.  If you take the pods and twist them in your hand they fall apart and make confetti.  It is pretty cool.   As a kid I would make mounds of tree confetti and have mini Trevor celebrations.  I held a bunch of confetti pods in my hand and began to twist them all around.  In my hand laid millions of little confetti pieces.  To my back was one of my work crew kids.  I had a stomach filled thought that I should throw the hand full of confetti in this kids face.  It was going to be brilliant.  Everyone was going to laugh.  We would all then get into a giant confetti fight.  I was going to be a genius. 

Through all my bad ideas, hard consequences, or messed up theology, life happens.  I do not regret much, and the things I do regret are things I wished I had done.  When you feel a nudge or an inclination towards someone, or a need for a conversation, do it.  The longer you hold back, or refrain from action the more anxiety, and pent up frustration will occur.  Over thinking your gut will help in quenching the Spirit. 

I am sure if Jesus debated His Father nothing would have happened.  Could you imagine if the Lord told you to spit in the dirt, make a paste, and rub it in that blind guys eyes?  No way God.  People are going to think you’re crazy.  It isn’t going to work, if anything it is going to make it worse….  But Jesus wasn’t concerned about what anyone else thought.  Jesus wasn’t concerned about if this guy was a believer, or non believer.  Jesus wasn’t making sure how he can profit from this, and in fact there are times he tells people not to mention who healed them. 

I think about the countless healings, conversations, and miracles which were never written down or talked about.  I would love to know how many people felt the love of the Lord with an intimacy only they knew.  Not everything is to be a teachable moment, or an example for others to glean from. 

What I’ve learned lately is to just go and do.  The more you think about it the more you will not.  Be reckless, give generously, think less of yourself, and it may fail but you won’t regret it.  You will think about how maybe you shouldn’t have given away your last thirty dollars in your bank account, but I promise you will not go hungry. 

Maybe the kid almost went blind from my tree confetti party.  Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown it as hard as I could in his face.  Maybe I have also learned from doing it.  Now there is a story, we laugh about it, but I would have regretted not doing it more!  Don’t ignore the Spirit’s nudge.  Even if it contradicts every American capitalist notion in your body. 

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Hear Me

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Hearing from humans can be difficult.  We hear, I hear things, in different ways.  I have a mind, and in my mind I have barriers.  When you speak words to me they go through these barriers.  They become distorted, wrinkled, stretched, and jumbled.   When people tell me things I can’t hear them clearly.  My barriers are in the way.  

I feel as though I see the world through a fog laden labyrinth filled with truth and lies.  

You say words to me, they travel from your lips to my ears, through, around, and in a maze filled with…

Humor

Loneliness 

Dependance 

Selfish desires 

Longing to be longed for

Acceptance 

And Trust (or lack thereof) 

This is how I listen.  Not only is this how I listen to people, but it is God as well.  I have a hard time living in reality, or clarity.  It is hard to hear.  

My preoccupation’s with my barriers do not allow me to be present.  I stay rooted in those barriers.  But today I read something in the bible.  Maybe it can help.  I am not sure why it helped me today, but it did.  

Jesus was just finishing a talk with a woman at a well when His disciples came back.  They were amazed Jesus was talking to a woman.  I like to picture the well in the middle of town like the scene from Beauty and The Beast.  The town centers around the well, but the area is more like a desert, dusty and hot.    Jesus has a great conversation with the woman, but the disciples are not interested.  They ask if Jesus is hungry, and His response was weird.  He says he is not hungry, but was full.  His food is from Heaven.  Heavenly food which gives fullness, abundance, and graciously to others.  Something filled Jesus’ belly, and filled it to the max.  Tangibly, spiritually, emotionally, but different.  I want to know what heavenly food tastes like.  Is it an actual full feeling?  There is nothing better than a satisfying meal which fills your stomach and warms your bones.  There is no greater peace, love, and joy than reclining after a meal satisfied and content.  

Most of my anxiety comes from unsaid or un had conversations.  It makes my stomach hurt, it affects my sleep, and keeps me panicked.  My head reaches the clouds and I cannot come down.  I do not know why I get stuck, and I also do not know why I keep conversations to myself.  They are usually filled with fruit and it feels good when they leave my head.  

I was told by a friend how she wished I could have had a conversation with her sooner.  I agree.  But I was not listening.  I wasn’t listening to God, I wasn’t listening to people, and I was stuck in the fog.  I do not know how to listen more quickly, or respond to Jesus in a relatively fast manor.  But I wan’t to get better.  I want more heavenly food to fill me rather than anxiety.  I want to be content in Jesus and who Jesus says I am.  No matter the conversations or the situations.  

I am praying for my blind spots to be brought to light.  I am praying to be truthful and honest the moment I know or hear from God.  I know it will hurt, but it will allow me to be more faithful, and less hungry for worldly food.  

May we start to hear and see life through a clear, barrier less, satisfied, and content Spirit.   

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Do not compromise who you are

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I do not want to settle. 

I wear my emotions on my face, not my sleeves.  One of my least favorite emotions happens to be anxiety.  It feels like loosing your wallet.  All of who you are seems to be inside a small accouchement.  It has places for plastic, paper, I.D’s, and coupons.  I check for my wallet every time I stand up.  All men do this, it’s called the triple check.  Wallet, Phone, Keys.  I start with my left pocket, then my right, and finish with a swift right cheek grab.  When you loose your wallet you seem to loose your mind.  Your heart sinks into your stomach.  It takes over your whole body.  You swear you just had it, you can’t remember what you last did, or where you last were.  You call around, you retrace your steps, and forget about any plans you had.  We chase after the illusive lost wallet feeling helpless and alone.   

Helpless.

Alone.  

No hope. 

Drastic measures and fatal decisions happen. 

I hate watching people settle for less than adequate.  I hate watching people compromise who they are.  I can’t stand when selfishness and fleshly desires outweigh logic, truth, and goodness. (or good-for-me-ness)  

We all long to be longed for, we all desire to be desired, and we demand companionship.  All we want is someone to check in on us and make sure we’re not dead.  Maybe someone to ask how our day went.  It wouldn’t hurt to have someone to build lunches for, or foster dreams with, all while pushing to be the best they can be.  It is natural and God says it is bad for us to be alone.  

What we do with our loneliness is what defines us.  My teacher in high school had a note on her door that read, “You are what you do when no one is watching”.(almost creepy)  It stuck with me, and my alone time became defining.  We all have time alone when no one is watching, no ones around, and you know who you are by what you do in those times.  

Sometimes we don’t understand what is best for us.  As a kid I was sure candy was the best option for breakfast.  I demanded I could stay up as late as I want.  I was positive I didn’t need to brush my teeth twice a day, and what good did flossing do?  And I think it carries over into adulthood.  I am sure I am the same way, but now I’m older and the consequences are mine to endure.  I still have a hard time realizing what is best for me.

What are you settling for?  What are you compromising?  Are you doing what you love, or are you completing tasks for someone else?  Is it the right fit for you?  Is he or she the right fit for you, truly?  Could you be holding someone from moving on?  These are questions that define my head space.  

When I become anxious I do anything in my power to stop.  Like loosing my wallet I do drastic things.  I will try to take a nap, I will pray, I will worship, I will drive my car, (If I have gas), and all in the name of being less anxious.  But I wonder if it’s how I have compromised or stopped living out of who I truly am that brings those anxieties?  Maybe a proactive thought life is going to heal me?  Believing who I am in advance, or doing the things that bring me life before anxiety hits could be the answer.  I am not sure, but I am willing to try.  

Jesus asks us not to settle.  He has great gifts for us if we are willing.  How much more does our father love us.  He will not give us a snake as a gift or rocks rather than bread.  Jesus is good and he calls us to be proactive about who we are in him.

I will not settle 

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Who is enough

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Today I was hit by The Lord.  It took shape in the form of a small mexican woman.  I wasn’t ready for it, nor was I willing.  But when I took a second and realized what was happening, I enjoyed it.  I had feelings of shame, guilt, and unreservedness, but an overwhelming sense of awe. I am fearful how my sin may come to ruin me.  When I mess up and forget who I am, I do stupid things.  I say stupid things, and I think stupid thoughts.  It’s stupid.  And it effects me for a few days.  There are no ways to write which can make you understand.  The feeling I had this morning was more than pure.  I believe it was called conviction.  

I was driving home the other day and I saw a rare form a beauty.  The air was thin, and the sky looked like a water color portrait.  The blue from the top was the kind of blue you have to keep looking backwards to see.  Clouds formed around the area where the colors puzzled together.  The clouds were whisked around as if God were slowly stirring a hot cup of coffee.  From out of a tree an eagle paced my car.  It flew next to my car for a few miles.  It stayed right at my window.  It rose over power lines, streamed around cars, and like an arrow shot straight up and out of my sight.  I was left silent, stunned, and I was thankful I didn’t crash my car.  It paused the world.  My life stopped, I thought of all the worries I had and how they were just in my head.  I went back in time visiting all my favorite people.  All while watching this bird.  

There is no fear greater, no worry so special, and no amount of comparison that can take us away from reality.  We have a Father who cares deeply, so deep it hurts.  Grace has an ability to come in and take your breath away.  Even as you worry grace will abound.  As we sin, Grace will provide.  

Being hit by the Lord is humbling.  Pride diminishes when you realize you have not been living like a son or daughter.  It is becoming more and more difficult to write about Jesus of late.  Not out of lack of stories, or thoughts, but out of my own conviction.  I am not sure how much I am supposed to share.  Some of my intimate moments with Christ are supposed to be securely that.  Our moments are to be for us.  

I have withheld my tongue in hopes people will see Christ in me.  Should we tell people we are praying for them, or should they know it by our authenticity?  

I can’t tell you what the little mexican lady did for me, or how my friends loved me to tears, but I can tell you it was real.  We are drawn to Christ by his beautiful personhood, and convicted by His revealing Grace.  Are we Saints?  Are we?  There are moments I believe, and weeks when I do not.  I want to love with no agenda, give with no fear, and authentically live out of my Sainthood.  

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Worried?

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I keep wondering where the things I want are and how much better life will be when I get them.   When will I arrive?  When will I stop worrying or stressing?  Could it be when I buy a house, get a new car, or find the love of my life?  

Yes

And No

But mostly no.  

I went on a day of solitude yesterday.  I believe it was the hottest day of the year.  I decided to walk the american river bike trail.  I made it from sunrise blvd all the way to Folsom. I thought it would have adequate shade, but my sunburn says otherwise.  The whole day I didn’t have any anxiety, fear, or disbelief.  I only had one thing on my agenda.  I didn’t have a bunch of questions, but I did have one goal.  I wanted to be with Jesus.  I just wanted to be with Him.  Not ask any questions, and enjoy some silence.  It was difficult with all the bicyclists flying by making sure I knew they were on  my right….

It is hard to just sit and be.  This has been lost, and to the point where we don’t really know how to do it.  I think we are more concerned about our conditions than our positions.  Do you pray to know Christ, or get things?  Do you pray to search the heart of God, or are you busy with your own circumstances?  

I have always been fascinated by what other people think of me.  It’s natural, but I have also let that consume me.  I want to be more fascinated by what other people think of themselves.  Possibly helping them see who they truly are.  Maybe building them up to see their potential in the Kingdom.  

Did I tell you I didn’t have any caffein on my day of solitude?  Worst decision of my life.  I am an addict.  The headache set in around mid afternoon.  It wasn’t strong, but it was in the back of my head all day.  Literally.  (That was just a side note, nothing more). 

By the end of my day I hadn’t received any monumental new thought or word.  I didn’t see a vision, or gain understanding towards my personal life difficulties.  But I did have a great day with Jesus.  (Sounds really weird).  We just enjoyed creation together.  We talked, walked, burnt, and were.  We just were.  I was content being His son, and that is about it.  

The grass may be greener with other things and people in my life.  I may be more fulfilled having a new car, or a special someone, but those can wait.  They will all have worries of their own.  Can I be more worried about my position in Christ than my conditions?  Can I be open to waiting?  Can we be fine with what we have and not anxious for what we do not?

Sit with Jesus today.  Know you are His son or daughter.  Things will be ok, and so will you.  

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My nakedness

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Sometimes we get a glimpse under the facade.  We don’t always get to see everyone for who they really are.  So…

I am hesitant to write this.  Not because of heresy but because it is me.  There is truth mixed with blood, so read it as you will.  Please know I am a human first.  I am a human who tries to come off like I have all my “Ducks in a row”.   But I don’t believe I ever will. 

“The Holy Spirit longs to fill every heart with Love, and always has in mind participation in God.” -Pinnock

So why do I long to fill my heart with Love?  Could it be because I don’t allow the Spirit to fill it?  What does that even mean?  It doesn’t seem tangible.  I have misguided intentions and a desire of the flesh I want to fulfill with anything other than the Spirit.  I desire a connection with people in order to gain a feeling of worth, partnership, and togetherness.  I like being needed and wanted.  I think it is natural and human.  Can truth be how Christ, through the Spirit, longs to fill my heart with Love?  I find it hard to believe, but Not my desires but His be done.  I block out His desires with my own importance. How do we make it not just flesh and blood, but mind and spirit?

I tend to fill my thought life with endless conversations with people who are somewhere else.  My brain, when left alone, will circle thoughts and juggle emotions to a point of destruction.  I tend to write people off, or tell myself how it will go, before it ever happens.  My loneliness can be a good thing when left for a moment.  When I give it more than a second thought it ceases to be good.  

Is it really bad to long for something that could be so good?  Mostly yes.   Especially when it gets in the way I perceive goodness.  Do I believe God is good when I don’t get what I expect to get?  How is that fair to God?  It isn’t.  The shallow pit of my intrinsic conversations emits expectations.  Expectations put on others what was never meant to be.  I expect God to fill my heart when I don’t want Him to.  He longs to fill my heart, but my desires tend to be different.   It makes goodness transactional and not transcendent.  It turns feelings and emotions into longing while I am blind to what I allow to fill my heart.  I tell God what I want, and when it isn’t what I expect, it hurts.  My pain is usually self inflicted by expectations I put on others secretly in my mind.  I want to be needed.  I want to feel important.  I want to provide, give nurture, and hand over my life.  

       But today I will allow the Spirit to fill my heart with Love.  My fullness of heart will allow me to love all and participate in restoring creation to its proper place.   My service will change from what I believe others think of me, to doing out of who God calls me to be.  May my actions be a  response to His filling of my heart.   I am sorry if I have hurt you out of expectations you never knew I had for you.  

 Forgive my mess as I try to forgive others.  

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