Re Focus again

focal-pointCertain text messages make my stomach leap into my mouth.  Not in a good feeling new girl kind of way, but more like a Mom yelling your full legal name with counting kind of way.  Sometimes one sentence can change your life.

I’ve been proud of myself lately.  It feels like a new chapters being written.  I don’t really know how to convey what it is.  So, this is my processing.  Ok, and my favorite part is how nothing is truly different in my life.  I don’t have a new girl, I don’t have a new friend, I don’t have a new thing, but life feels a little new and good again.  I’ve been waking up wanting to make my bed and see what the day has in store.  I’ve been enjoying people more, and I can’t put my finger on any one thing. 

Maybe you’re like me and you can pin point specific words or sentences that have changed your whole life’s direction.  In fifth grade I was told by a classmate how I was a “heavy breather”.  So, I stopped.  In fourth grade I had a friend tell me, “you walk like a duck”.  So, I stopped.  In high school I was told I was “funny”.  And so, I kept it up.  I cared a lot about what other people thought of me. I still do.  A lot. 

Anxiety is cruel.  It takes you by the throat, entangles you with it’s monstrous arms, and leaves you short of breath.  It’s like a cuddly anaconda waiting to strike you down with fear and trembling.  It has a great way of leaving you completely guilty and self absorbed.  It comes in silently, sometimes you don’t know where it came from.  It can be in the form of too much coffee, uncertainty, or control.  And most of my anxiety comes from me. 

Part of what I have been learning, or these new feelings come from a few short sentences.  All from different people.  Maybe they can help. 

“Are you in this for others, or for you?  Do you pray more for yourself or others?”

“Faith is…Just keep going”

“You have what it takes”

Several times this summer I have been shown what Jesus looks like.  It was walking around camp with a friend, and this friend stopped and cared deeply for everyone they knew that they passed by.  I watched friends care, give, and enjoy one another.  I was given, and watched people give intentionally thought through gifts. I watched friends call each other out, forgive one another, and be better people for it.  I was able to see friends serve, love, and pray.  I saw people truly enjoy others, even the people hard to love or enjoy.  I watched friends play guitar while others listened as if they were playing the greatest song they have ever heard.  I have been able to see Jesus in distinct and clear ways. 

So this is what I know.  To get rid of anxiety, quit focusing on yourself.  To stop anxious thoughts, pray for others.  Anxiety comes from many things, but I believe mine to come from self absorption.  To be relieved of stress, just keep going.  Remember the truth, and have faith.  Do something for others.    To stop dwelling on the future, believe and truly know it will all work out.  We need to continue to know God believes you have what it takes.  Say that to yourself.  You truly have what it takes.  We are not meant to gain full life for selfish reasons.  Full life only comes from giving yours away.  Right?  So, breath.  It is all going to work. 

May we be known as people focused on others.  May we be known by how we pause and care about the people in front of us.  May we see interruptions as kingdom moments, and not disruptions. Can we be people who are stress free and full of faith?  Usually my train derails when I am too self focused.  Let us right our wrongs, and re focus. again.  

Blessings

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Great Love 

  What or who is your great Love?

We all search for this person or thing. Don’t we?

 There are some friends who really know how to get me to the edge of myself. I think we all have these friends. They’re the ones who breath too loud and you freak out on them. They’re the ones who can bring you to your knees with a few words. They know what your favorite ice cream is and your least favorite. They know almost everything. You’re secretes are theres and they hold an essence of power. 

But lately I haven’t cared. 

I care about me.  

Selfishness is rampant within me and I thought it was gone. I give away my money (for me), I pray for my friends (for me), and I serve others (for me). 

(For me) : this is my explanation of where my motivation lies. It either makes me feel good, look good, or be above others, and not because I simply care.  

There exists in this world a type of human I greatly admire. Only a handful of people I know are like this. I’ve tried to explain this type of human, but I found out why I am not one. I am selfish and they are not. These humans care more deeply and with a sincere heart. They posses caring. I do not. I care about tasks. I care about me. 

It’s ok to care for yourself, but never at the cost of others. I’ve realized my selfishness a few weeks ago. 

There are a number of you, and me, who believe I am too hard on myself, but….

It’s hard to explain this phenomenon. Here is what I have so far.  

I want to work on truly caring for others more than myself. And this is what it means. 

My money is not mine

My things are not mine

My time is not mine

My prayers are not mine

My life is not mine

Jesus says if you want to gain your life you must loose it. A dead man does not care about his own emotions, feelings, or life. So, I want to be more uncomfortable. I want to love people more than getting things done or being on time. I want to focus less on my outcome or wellbeing and care for everyone else. 

What do you love more than others? Who do you care about more than yourself? Why do you do what you do? 

Right now I am my own great love.

 That needs to change. 

What about you?

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Fight or Flight

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I’m not sure why I write these thoughts down and publish them to everyone. 

I have had reasons, I’ve had seasons, but life changes.  I was at one point obsessed with writing.  My inner dialogue was in blog.  Some event, book, or sermon would travel around in my head and I would start to make a blog in my mind.  I’ve gone through different seasons of love and hate for writing.  I would make myself sit and write.  I would hit publish, shut my computer, and move on with my day.  No attachment to what I had written, or thought about.  I had a season where I loved to check my statistics.  Who is reading it?  Who reads my thoughts?  I would tell myself I liked looking at where people in the world look at my blog, but really I liked the numbers.  I go through seasons of wanting to stop.  It takes time, no one cares, and it actually means nothing…

And so I came to a conclusion.

This year has been a great year so far.  I am optimistic towards the rest of the year, but I went back and read my new years blog, then my first blog, and I started to understand. 

Looking backwards helps.  I started thinking about all the things I worried about, stressed over, wrote down, and had anxiety about.  And, I am still alive.  I am breathing, and typing these words.  Most of the stress and anxiety resigned in my head, and I created them from nothing.  Being a creative person does not allow for simple thinking.  Your brain wonders, jumps, dives, and meanders.  When words are spoken they go in your head and embark on a journey.  One ride is full of terror, what if’s, and negative thoughts, and the other is full of life, joy, and positive self speak.  But I sat and read and reminisced about my year so far.  I thought about what I have done, how I have grown, and the people in my life that have made me better.  I have really great people in my life.  You know who you are.

I write for me.  And I write for you. 

(I like thinking hundreds people are reading this, but really its a really small average) 

Somehow writing has made me better.  I get to reflect on my life, and Jesus.  It’s simple.  It helps me process my minds spontaneous flight patterns.  And a crazy few people read it and text me and we have great conversations. 

I wonder what would happen if we all stopped, took at look at our past, and reminisced a bit?  What stress, person, feelings, emotions, anxiety, dead lines, or next steps are causing us death?  Can we look back, take a breath, and realize it all has its place?  We are not dead, thats a good thing, and this next big thing will not kill us either.  Jesus and the mystery surrounding Him is enough for me today.  Jesus and His ability to care for me, know me, and have my best interest in mind will guide my mind today. 

So I will write.  It helps me.  It helps me navigate the battle in my mind.  I grow, I create, and I recenter.  I am leaving tomorrow for a few weeks.  Not sure I will be able to write, but I will re read this one for a while.  I need to hear this.  I need to remain here for a while.  No matter how hard the day, situation, emotion, or desire, Jesus is for me.  He goes before me, He rescues and has rescued me.  He knows me better than I know myself.  Jesus has a plan, the only plan that brings life, and I should trust Him.  He brought me this far, and it is against his character to leave me high and dry. 

Much Love

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Run on E

Enough

Done

Complete

Finished 

Full

(I wish that would have made a sweet acronym). I talk about full life a lot. More than most other words. I’ve had a few conversations lately about full life. They go like this. 

Friend:”I messed up man”

Me:”I forgive you”

F:”no man, I failed”

Me:”I forgive you”

F:”thanks but I feel empty, lonely, and I have all these desires that keep being un met. I don’t believe God is good”

Me:”me too most days”

I am not sure we understand the idea of full life. Or fullness of life. Jesus says full life is in him.  He says if we seek first his kingdom we will have all things. Both of which I do not believe. 

I hated watching tv shows that kept you in suspense. “Tune in next week” or, “when we come back from comercial…” It’s amazingly aggravating. I’ll use the word hate.  I hate it.  The waiting is painful, but it is a part of the show. Isn’t it?

When I dream of full life I dream about nothing broken and nothing missing.  It’s the definition of shalom.  It’s a cool Hebrew word.  I feel smart talking about it.  But it’s beautiful.  Nothing broken. Nothing missing.  Nothing. 

I have a lie I believe how full life means perfect or without pain.  And I think this is what screws up my mind.  I’ve had a lot of experiences in my life that leave me empty. They suck, but could these feelings be part of life?  Can they be beautiful?  You can’t leave a feeling like emptiness or lonely out of the definition of full life, can you?  I believe Jesus meant that. Full life encompasses all and we can’t leave anything out.  Nothing missing. 

Full life: love, grace, peace, justice, mercy, beauty, food, laughter, adventure, friends, family, and…..

Pain, suffering, lessons, obedience, patience, quiet, loss, grieving, trials, hurt, tears. 

It is all in the fullness.  We can’t live hoping full life is only good. We don’t get to choose what we feel, but we do get to choose how we react.  Can we rely on Jesus to comfort, and show us where they fit in the realm of fullness? How can we take a step towards full life today?  We do not need to run away from pain, but give pain it’s place in the shalom of life. 

Can we draw close enough to Jesus in order to weather these storms?  Can we give hard emotions and emptiness their place in full life?  We don’t have to like it, or run from it, but take it and see where it falls in life as a whole? 

May we be complete today, lacking nothing. Even if it means having emptiness?  May we strive for shalom and accept all of life. 

Love 

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My turn?

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I feel like a fraud. 

Not many ideas I have are mine. 

I was called wise last night, and I didn’t like it. I am not the wise one, either my mentor taught me, or I found it in a book. These troughts are usually spurred on by an outside entity.  Maybe a book I am reading, maybe a conversation, maybe a podcast, but they are hardly my own.

“When will it be my turn?”

I have used this sentence more than I can imagine.  “When is it my turn”, to swing on the swing, drive the car,  pick the restaurant, get the girl, buy a house….  It is endless.  It is almost a grass is greener type of wonder.  I said it a lot growing up.  Impatience is genetic.  We want what we want, and we want it now. 

Im not sure what your “turn” is, or what you are hoping and waiting for, but I have some thoughts.  I don’t know if they are mine, or I got them in a book, but I am writing them now. 

Hope is good, waiting in hope is best, pure hope is hard to find.  I am not talking about your personal hopes a dreams, but more of a pure hope.  I think we all know if we are hoping for the right thing or not.  We know by what it does in our heads.  If it takes your time, your space, your thoughts, your worries, your anxiety, it is probably impure, and hopeless.  Is what you hope for going to bring you fullness? 

I keep putting my hope and trust in hopes that will leave me empty.  I do not think they are bad to hope for, but I do believe they will crush me at some point.  Hoping for a relationship is like asking “When is my turn”.  It is good, but it can’t be all I want.  It can’t consume me.  It is as if we are caught up in the destination and reject the journey.  And so I have been sitting, and trying to capture pure hope.   

Most of the reasons I want a relationship are purely selfish.  When I take a serious look at my life and what I hope for, it turns out to be selfish.  Selfish reasons are not all that bad, but they do not bring fullness of life.  They usually lead to death.  Death of my happiness, death of the present, and death of my trust and focus on Christ. 

And so I pray. 

Center my thoughts. 

Regain a balance. 

Balance

That might be the key. 

Key to life, key to happiness, key to love and life. 

Balance. 

Are your prayers centered on pure hope?  Or, are you wanting your “Turn” in life?  Or can we try to want what gives us fullness of life?  I want to be more patient.  I want to be full of trust, and hope.  Pure hope.  Hope in Jesus.  I want to dwell on who He is, what He did, and who He calls me to be.  I want my mind to be at peace with all of the directions my flesh pulls it.  Can I be someone who can have human desires, give those desires there place in my life, balance it out, and still be grounded and full of life? 

Maybe soon I will have thoughts, and wisdom that is my own.  Maybe soon I will understand what pure hope is?  Maybe soon I will have patience?  Maybe soon I will hear Jesus asking, “When is it my turn?”?  I believe he keeps asking every day.  Every hour.  “Trevor, When is it going to be my turn to be enough for you? Will you let me be enough for you today?” 

Ok, I will try today.  Not sure about tomorrow, but today, I will try. 

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Spiritual Braggart

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I sit in my office

Perplexed

A little nervous

Anxious maybe

The strange part is how I don’t know why

I do not have a test or a conversation coming

I don’t have hurt feelings, or a lingering text

So, I sit and type

I have realized something about myself that is hard to admit.  I also do not want to become a blogger that just destroys himself over and over again online.  I am no martyr, or even close.  I am just a guy.  I live a pretty good life.  Actually I live a great life.  All of my problems are first world.  Every once and a while I can’t afford groceries, but I have a college degree and plenty of people who love me.  But, I still realized something. 

I’ve realized this many times before, but before these last few months I would brush it aside.  I would say, “not today Lord”.  This realization has to do with intimacy.  Not with humans, and not sexual.  Just intimacy with Jesus.  Here is what I know. 

I find myself wanting to boast.  I want to share what Jesus has been doing in my life, and all the ways I have been being used, or serving.  I catch myself wanting to proclaim it from the roof tops.  I catch myself mid sentence.  I start talking, shrug it off, and I keep it.  This is a good thing.  I have been learning how to filter my personal desire for reciprocated love for sacrificial intimacy.  I know you may not understand that last sentence, but I will try to explain it further. 

We have moments in life that are meant for us.  Not anyone else, but us.  And by us I mean you and Jesus.  They are supposed to be intimate.  They are not to be shared.  I do not believe we are to go around and express all the ways we trust, serve, give, and bless.  All though I may be seen as a teacher, or a mentor, some of life is not meant to be shared.  Can we do this?  Do we understand?  Do I get it? 

Most of the time I only want to share so others can see how great I am.  My honest side shares this, but my dishonest side wants to justify it.  We loose intimacy with Christ when we boast.  We loose intimacy and trust with each other when we share every detail of our conversations and lives with others.  I want pure intimacy, and to have that, I believe, there are things meant for you and Jesus alone.  Maybe I am not doing a good job of explaining.  Maybe I am still trying to understand this idea?  But when I have caught myself, sacrificial intimacy in its purest form gives light to full life, and I find my flesh desires being diminished. 

I’m sure I will be on this struggle bus for my whole life, but why not try? 

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Times Up

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I am a “when guy”

Not so much a “what if guy”, but a “when guy”

Maybe you’re like me. 

I can’t seem to let truth guide me, or reality set in.

I grew up on Saturday morning cartoons, and comedy central.  My nannies all had stand up hours, and special powers.  I turned them off when I wanted, and I watched them when I needed.  I am not saying my parents weren’t around, I am saying I trusted the television more than their words.  My mom usually worked late, and from the moment school was out until my mom came home, I was free.  We didn’t have cell phones, we didn’t have easy access accountability, and I seem to remember almost burning the house down a few times.  Literally.  I studied television, I studied the art of storytelling, and I studied ways to be fake.  For a few years of my life I thought I would become a stand up comic.

“When” guided all my thoughts, dreams, and aspirations.  Everything circled around the idea of “When”. 

It begins to breed false hope.  It is a great idol maker, and it will keep you from living life now.  “When” I get enough money then I will give it away…  “When” I get running shoes I will start running… “When” I get a car I will have freedom… “When” I get a relationship I will be complete… “When” I get a better body they will like me…

“When” keeps us from living. 

I seem to focus on results, not the journey.  I want results, but I don’t want the pain, suffering, or growth along the way.  I want to be fit but I don’t want the lactic acid build up.  I want to own a home, but I don’t want to pay for it.  I wan’t a relationship but I don’t want the work (Like having long conversations about nothing…).  It is as if I like the idea of all these things, but I am not willing to do anything for them.  I just keep waiting for “When” it all happens. 

Jesus had disciples who kept waiting for their “when” moments.  “When” you show us miracles we will follow you.  They were waiting for mountain top glory, but still hesitant to walk with Him in the valley.  Many left when He was crushed.  Most couldn’t stay up to pray.  And, so do I.  I’ve been thinking about His disciples and what they were called to do.  They were charged with telling people about Jesus.  Nothing more, nothing less.  They don’t seem to be concerned with much of the circumstances that concern us.  They lived together, they ate together, they prayed together, and they went out, day in and day out telling of what Jesus did and is continuing to do.  And they were content.  They started to understand how “when” is “now”.

I want to stop pretending.  I want to fully trust, today.  Not half hearted trust, but giving away control and not waiting until tomorrow.  Can we begin to be more generous now?  Can we begin to pray honestly today?  (Not pray what we think we want God or others to hear come out of our mouths).  I am not sure what you may be waiting for, or what your “When” is, but take note.  “When” stops us from living today.  We get caught up in ideas.  “When” I have this or that then my life will finally happen.  All of those are lies.  Life happens right now.  Do not let life pass by.  Go today. 

Begin to take back your thoughts.  Begin to love extravagantly.  Do not hesitate on moments that can take your breath away.  Encourage someone, write someone a letter, make a phone call, ask for forgiveness, confess your sin, and try to follow Jesus today.  Try to give him control.  Try to believe.  Let the “when” stop, and the “now” begin. 

What do you think?

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