The other side

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Sometimes you have to be honest

There is nothing better than honesty, and there is nothing better than being true to yourself.  We have a habit of lying to ourselves.  We tend to be our worst advocate.  We tend to be our own worst nightmare.  We do not let ourselves believe.  We don’t let ourselves trust.  We don’t let ourselves feel, or obey.

Jesus said a lot about building ourselves up.  Jesus spent most of his time telling people who they truly were.  And I spend most of my time tearing myself apart.  I rip into my flesh.  I speak evil, and I war agains’t my own flesh.  The same flesh Jesus is proud of.  The same flesh Jesus has hope for. 

I was given a gift a few weeks ago.  I didn’t deserve it.  There was nothing to warrant the gift, and yet it was so beautiful.  Someone had listened to me, and through the gift I was given hope.  Hope for life now, and hope for life in the future. 

I tend to obey and follow Jesus because of the “because”.  I will obey, or not obey because.  Because He will bless me, or He will take away.   I think this is most of us.  I will give away my money because in return I will….  I will feed the homeless because in return I will receive…..  And I am not sure this works for me. 

I’ve always been a big guy.  Broad shoulders, nice calves, and my stomach…  But nothing could motivate me to lose weight or look better.  There were moments, I had inspiring glimpses of why I should, but in the end they would fail.  I needed results, I needed motivations, and I needed someone telling me good job.  Part of it is true, and part of it isn’t.   We do need to help spur each other on, but also our motivation needs to come from a place of purity.  I need to try and be the best me.  I need to treat my body for how it was made.  

And so I am writing this for myself.  I need to stop bad habits for Jesus.  I need to be Christ focused, and lose myself in his awareness.  I need to be obedient for Jesus.  Not because there is some eternal reward.  Not because my life will be better later, when I am older, but because Jesus is worth it.  What happens when you obey and the next day you don’t feel better, or you don’t feel his blessings?  For Him I will live and breath.  For him I will move and rest.  Can I find this pain of suffering, advance through, push the limits, and my reward be more Jesus?  Can that be enough?  Will I allow myself to hurt, be lonely, and rest in Jesus?  At times I can’t.  At times it isn’t enough.  I succumb to my flesh, I give into my desires, and they always leave me feeling empty and more unsatisfied.   My motivation can’t be to not feel bad about myself.  I do not want to make obedience into a mechanical device that I can check and balance.  I want to obey because Jesus is worth it.  Because, He is. 

There is hope, there is obedience, and there is all of this because of Jesus.  I need to stop believing the lies.  I need to build myself up, and stop tearing myself apart.  I need to have pure motivation.  And so I will go on with dissatisfaction and consider it pure joy, with not an ounce of “because”.  

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Dust and Spirit

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I don’t get it.

It doesn’t make sense. 

I don’t understand why it is so hard.

Whether we believe it is good for us or not, we tend to do whatever we want.  Whether it will bring us life, or death, we do whatever we want.  And nothing stops us.  Im not sure where it comes from.  Rebellion or non conformity run deep in our bones.  My will power is directly opposed to my wellbeing. 

Don’t touch, so you touch it.  Don’t eat, so you eat. You shouldn’t hang out with them, makes you…. We get the point, but it doesn’t make sense.  We tend to do what we ought not to do.  The things that bring us death tend to be exactly what we desire. 

In my tween years I believed I would be married by 25, living in my career, and have 2.5 kids.  I dreamed of mowing my own lawn (in whatever shapes I wanted), taking my wife out on crazy adventures, and reading my kids to sleep.  But as life has it, none of those beliefs have come to fruition. 

I fully trust Jesus with some aspects of life, and there are some I do not.  I am not sure why some parts are easy to trust and others not.  I am not sure why I act out of my flesh in one moment, and be of the Spirit in another.  It is truly baffling.  Some days it is as if I don’t even know Jesus.  Some days it is as if we are one.  I get upset with Jesus, and in the same breath thank Him for how great my life is.

And that is ok. 

Why do I do the things I wish I didn’t do?  How can I love and hate this life I am living?  How can I trust God with big bold circumstances, and yet run in fear with small insignificant happenstances?  I can only begin to wonder and believe I am normal, and we are all like this.  Right?  Am I crazy? 

We all have moments of pure joy, where everything seems right in the world, and there is no place you would rather be.  And we also have, in the same day, moments where the world is coming to an end, and you don’t see the reason why.  We have moments of clarity alongside moments of deep darkness.  We have powerful days of purpose and place alongside days of anxiety and depression.  We have love alongside heartbreak, and trust alongside doubt.  We are humans, and this is who we are.  Fickle, finite, illogical, irrational, nonsensical, meandering, beautiful creatures of dust and Spirit.  It’s mysteriously wonderful, and poetically depressing all at the same time.  My flesh will always war against the spirit. 

Im not sure we will ever truly be finished, complete, or fully satisfied.  If we were we wouldn’t need Jesus.  We wouldn’t need each other.  We could be self sufficient, and there is no life in that.  We are called to be human.  We are called to wrestle with Jesus through life in a brilliant display of color and darkness.  We are beautifully designed to touch, taste, and create.  We are image bearers whom are able to trust and believe while full of doubts and questions. 

It’s ok not to get it.

It’s ok, life doesn’t always make sense.

Life is hard, its worth it, and its perfectly fine to not completely understand!

Trevor

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Old Spice

distraction

I just bought a new body wash.

Every time my hand comes close to my face I can smell it.

I cant tell if I smell bad, or different, OR the body wash somehow mixed with my skin and chemically changed to smell like BO…

But like most fragrances, I’ll become used to it.  To the point where you no longer smell it.  We get accustomed to fragrances, and…. Life. 

We are creatures of habit and absolutes.  Like most humans, I have a lot of habits.  Some good habits, but some really bad ones.  I bite my fingernails.  I sleep on my stomach.  I sneeze in three’s (any more, or any less and somethings wrong).  I get in and out of my car the same way every time.  I wash my hair, then my body, and dry off the same every day.  I go to the same starbucks, and I like it.  I like my way.  I like the way things work, I like my routines, and they like me.  Interruptions are why we have and use cuss words.  Appropriately of course. 

If you’re like me you live in absolutes.  I don’t have much room for anomalies or inconsistencies.  First impressions are big, and I hardly give second chances (not totally true…that sounded harsh).  If something works one way once, I believe it should work that way every time.  When I take a stance or I position myself on an idea it becomes a part of me.  And if you have a different opinion, stance, or position it feels like you are against me.  It gets personal.  It is often hard to see a different side, or hear a differing opinion.  Even if it is as petty as how to wash a dish, or which way the toilet paper rests (Over the top of course).  But it also goes as far as your beliefs, and second chances for people in your life. 

Sometimes life is unforeseeable.  Sometimes life changes.  Sometimes people change.  Sometimes habits stop, and new ones form.  And, life. Keeps. Going. 

I write people off.  I put people in categories.  Some may stay forever, but sometimes people change.  I spent a month with a guy who I despised.  It was my first summer staff in San Diego a long time ago. I watched this guy treat people poorly, use women, and all in the name of the Lord.  He couldn’t see what he was doing as wrong, or harmful.  So, I wrote him off.  I hoped to never see him again.  But as life has it, I saw him.  All the time.  Three to four times a year.  And I watched him change.  I watched him soften.  I watched him become great. 

I want to be more open.  I want to be less absolute.  I want to see interruptions as the spirit moving.  I want to give all people a second, third, or a hundredth chance.  I want to be uncomfortable.  I want to be in the habit of growing and changing body washes.  Not truly changing body washes all the time (thats expensive), but I want to live life like my new body wash.  I do not want to become numb or used to one way of life.  I want to smell the world differently.  I believe we can become accustom to a certain way of life, living, or comfort.  Changing my body wash made me realize something.  I do not smell bad, it is just different.  Right now I believe I smell bad, but it is simply something new.  New can sometimes smell bad, or be uncomfortable, but after a while it becomes normal.  The new will become the normal.  The new body wash will become my ordinary smell.  We will all become use to my new smell.  It will become me.   And then I will get a new body wash, or soap, and it will begin again. 

Interruptions, new ways of life, other ways of thinking, being open to opinions or stances could be healthy and good.  Could we be stuck in a specific way of thinking, and trying out a new openness smell bad right now?  What is making you uncomfortable?  What habit is hard to form, or break?  Who have you put in a category, or written off?  What interruption seems unbearable, but could truly be what you need today? 

I want to live

I want to smell different

I want to stop living in absolutes, and create a habit of openness, and uncomfortable. 

Maybe you can join me?

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Contingent Joy

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Who are you?

We all wonder about this.  We will always wonder about this.  It is not easily answered.  We tend to use actions to define us.  We tend to not know.  We tend to constantly change.  And we tend to be confused. 

My friend came over the other day.  He just came over.  We didn’t have a plan.  There was no agenda, and we didn’t have a time frame.  He just came over.  We used to do this as kids.  I would call my friends and ask them to “come over”.  I used to actually ride my bike to my friends house and knock on the door.  They never asked, “what are we gonna do?”, “How long?”, or “Why?”.  My friends would just come over and we would play.  We would build forts, get bored, and simply be together.  We just were, and it was beautiful.

I believe we need to start defining ourselves by who we are not what we do. 

I am

A human

A human being

A son

A brother

A friend

I tend to be hard on myself.  I tend to define myself with negative thoughts.  I could make a long list of the things I am not, or wish to be, but I think we get it.  We are usually negative and harsh on ourselves.  I don’t do enough, I don’t have enough, and my happiness is usually contingent on something.  My happiness is not solely based on being alive.  And that is where I stumble.

“Happiness that is contingent on something is another type of misery.”-Chopra

“Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose.”-Lewis

It’s hard to just be

It is hard to think rightly

It is hard to live

It is hard to not want

It is hard to be uncomfortable

But I believe there is hope

And I believe Jesus thinks we are something greater than we can imagine.  I believe Jesus keeps no records of our wrongs.  I believe he casts our sin as far as the east is from the west.  I believe He is for us, not against us.  I believe He came for the sick not the healthy.  I believe we are more than conquerors.  I believe he loves us for who we are not what we do.  I believe we can start to believe this as well.  Help us in our un belief. 

So who are you?  What defines you?  Are you defined by something you can lose?  Is your happiness contingent on somethings or someone?  Mine usually is.  I believe I can only be happy if.  “If” I have, “if” I am with, “if” this person responds, “if” money comes in, “if” I get……  “If” is in the business of robbing us of life NOW.  “If” stops us from being happy, or alive.  “If” starts to define us and our desires. 

I wonder if we can re-capture who we are in the context of who God believes we are?  Can we be happy because we are alive?  Can we experience joy because we are breathing?  Can we simply “come over”.  Why do we need reasons?  Why do we care so much in the things we can simply lose?  There are far greater things to worry about, far greater people in front of you right now, and a far better mindset to have today.

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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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