The Big Questions


I don’t know when it happened, but lately people come to me with really hard questions.  It’s been a lot of people.  And really difficult questions.  I mean the type of questions that there truly might not be answers.

 

Have you had these conversations?

They start like this.

 

“Hey Trevor, I have a question.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.  What do you think about hell?”, or, “Hey Trevor, what are your thoughts on sin?”, or “Yo, Trevor, is God a man?”

 

Anyone?  Anyone else have these types of conversations?

 

My response is normally, “how much time do you have?”!  But truly I wonder why more people are thinking about these topics.  I am not going to answer those questions here.  You can buy me coffee and I will tell you the answer, but for now, my real concern is why more and more people are thinking about this?

 

The afterlife?

The ideas of sin?

What gender is God?

How do you know the bible is true?

How do you know Jesus was real?

 

And I have come to one conclusion.  We are all human, we all have questions, and right now it seems as if nothing in life is certain.  This world feels divided right now, and it is in every aspect of life.  It isn’t just political anymore.  It is faith, school, identity, gender, drinking, love, guns, environment, and even now who the bachelor should have chosen or not…  it’s as if division drives us, and we can’t see how bad it truly is.  Even being against division is a side to take…

 

So where do we go?

What can we hold on to?

What is ok, and what is not?

 

Well, Romans 10:23 comes in pretty handy these days.

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up.”

 

What are we doing to build up?  What are we doing to include?  What are we doing to grow and be more full?  Does your life look like an axis going up and away, or is it flat lined and dead?  Do more things belong, or are more things now out?  Are you building each other up or kicking each other down?  Is your friend group growing to be more diverse in thought and actions, or is your world closed off and not open to different thoughts and ideas?

 

Seems divisive even writing those questions, but are the questions you ask, or have, growing you to be a better more inclusive and life giving person, or are your questions because you want to be right and others wrong?  This is what I aim for when we meet.  Are we as a group of humans becoming better humans?  Are we as Christ followers becoming more like him, or are we pushing people away?

 

Do you have these questions so you can make this world better, or are you simply gaining more certainty?  One helps, the other hurts.  And that is what Paul was getting at in Romans.  Are you helping people grow, or are you leading people towards death?

Blessings

 

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Do you see what I see?

I take too much in

And don’t keep the good.

 

What you want to see in this world is what you will see.  I think I have good days with this and I have bad days.  If I want to believe everyone is for me, and loves me, and wants the best for me, I will see that.  If I believe people don’t like me, are against me, think I am a terrible person, that is what I will see.  If you think the world is going up in flames, everyone is getting the things you want, and you are always under water, then, you will see that.  If you only live in a world of daisies and marmalade, you live in a fantasy.

 

You can call it disposition.  You can call it a mindset, or a point of view, but I like to call it hope.  Hope for great things yet to come.  Hope for new.  Hope for more and abundance.

 

I have a friend who likes to remind me to unclench. (My fists)

 

I tend to be polarized and dualistic.  I think we as humans may all fall prey to this as well, but I am learning to not hold tightly to much.  I listen to a podcast that talks about Judaism and they have a concept I love.  It’s how Rabbis walk around with two pieces of paper.  One piece in their right pocket has on it, “The universe was made for you”, and the other, “You come from the dust”.  Both powerful, both incredibly deep and insightful, but the goal is to live in between.

 

If you live only believe you are dust and garbage, that is all you will see.  YOU will mark your days by all your mistakes.  You will live in the dumb sentences you say, and idiotic comments made for a laugh.  But if you only live believing the universe was made for you, and you alone, you will become an incredulous narcissist.  So, I think it’s both.

 

How can we have poor words said against us, take them for what they are, and not let it define us?  How can we have amazing success, or an awesome day and celebrate it?

 

I’ve recently had two occurrences of someone sharing with me my faults in life, and it hurt, it was valid, but I also had to realize it wasn’t the end of the day.  I’m trying to see good in the hard.  I am trying to understand my mistakes are not my identity, and my God is not going to let me be content.  God want’s growth, God wants new and change, and sometimes it hurts and is uncomfortable, but the pain will not define me.  It actually might be impossible to define yourself, because we are always changing and growing.

 

So, I hope we hope. I hope we continue to grow and learn and keep learning about ourselves.  I hope we know what we see isn’t always what is.  I hope we don’t hold tightly to one side, or one way.  I hope we try and see outside of our mindsets or viewpoints, and let in the good with the bad.  Take the hard and the fun and hold them loosely.  We are not our mistakes and we are not our successes.

 

We are between.

 

Be bold

 

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Why not why

It might be the most important question you ever learn to ask.

I’m not sure why more people don’t ask why?  But, it is the most important question you will ever ask.  It is how I am at the point in my spiritual journey.  It is what I learned in theology classes.  It is what I ask every day, night, morning, and afternoon.

But for some reason, people are afraid to ask why.

Maybe it is growing up.  Maybe your parents got sick of answering the questions.  Why?  Because the stove is hot, and you shouldn’t touch it.  Why?  Because dinner is in a few minutes and cookies will spoil your appetite.  Why?  Because we’re watching a movie and you’ve made enough paper airplanes for one day….  Just me?  (not having context for those makes me laugh a little on the inside) …

But there is a point where we stop asking why in situations that deserve great and giant WHYS.

The fear I believe comes from not wanting to look dumb.  Or, it is a fear of the answer not being what we want or have been told our whole life.  Most of us are now at a place where we are older and should know things so we don’t ask why.  We shrug our shoulders, we go with the flow, we simply let things be.  And so things go unchecked, organizations go uninformed, or we stay doing the same old thing, for same old things sake.

I was 20, moved away from Mom for the first time, and I lived in these apartments with my sister.  She would be gone for weeks at a time and I basically lived alone.  My church was literally up the road.  I walked there a few times, but it was a big steep hill, so I drove a bunch as well.  But, I met this guy.  He lived under us in the same building, and one day after church he invited me over.  He and his wife lived in a two-bedroom apartment with their two-year-old, and he started having me over.  We would talk about church, we would talk about life, and he started asking me why.  No matter what answer I had he always came back with why.  And it dominated my thinking.  I had never before been challenged, or pushed to ask why.  It was so crazy to start wondering and figuring out things on my own.  It was the first spark that lit a fire of wonder in me.  I didn’t know it, but it began my spiritual journey, personal journey, and theological rollercoaster.

If I never started asking why, I would not have the freedom, beauty, and life of color I live in today.  I wouldn’t have read the books I’ve read.  I wouldn’t talk to the people I talk to.  I wouldn’t listen to the podcasts I listen to, and the greatest part is how the world is now much bigger and brighter.  Things make more sense.  And as scary as some of the questions of why are, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

My charge to us all is to keep asking questions.  Questions lead to… more questions.  And more questions lead to, well, a bigger world.  Where more things belong.  My understanding of people, culture, and genuine curiosity of this universe has made me a better person.  So I think.

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Self Sabotage

Sounds like a great Rage Against the Machine song.

Maybe you are like me and you feel like life is three steps forwards and eight hundred back?  Just me?  Well, I believe it has a lot to do with me and my inner life.  Or, my inner life I don’t know exists because it happens subconsciously.

There are things going on under our radars.  It happens beneath the surface and when you notice, it’s usually too late.  Why do I do the things I do not want to do?  Sub conscious self-sabotage.  That is my answer. And it happens like this.

I am going to start being better at eating, waking up and going for a walk, and doing some form of quiet time.  I am, and I will start… Tomorrow.  There is something in my brain that makes me fail.  I put traps in my way, and I do it without knowing.

If I believed, in my core, I deserve good things, if I believe God is a God of abundance and not scarcity, I wouldn’t sabotage myself.  I have always believed in my own badness, not goodness, which means bad people deserve bad things.  So in order to retrain my brain I need to believe differently.

We live in a world that is crying out abundance and fullness.  But when someone gets something good, or does something good, we react poorly.  Our first thought is, “Now I won’t get ______”.  It’s inevitable.  If you are looking for a job, and your friend gets a job, you might even say, “Must be nice…” instead of celebrating their victory with them.  But it is a sign of ultimate belief.  We believe the world is finite.  We believe the world only has so many jobs, girlfriend/boyfriends, classes, opportunities, and goodness.

The problem I have is how I believe my narrative is already written.  I believe in my soul I don’t deserve love and, even deeper, I am not worthy of love.  So, I don’t love myself.  Let’s say I want to lose weight.  If I believed in my core I deserve a good body, I would not eat those handful of potato chips at the party.  I wouldn’t have, “Just one more beer”, or “It’s only one slice of pizza”.  But because I don’t believe I deserve a better body, I eat one bad thing, or drink one more bad drink, and I do it without knowing.  But the true deep formidable advisory is not losing weight, but believing I deserve to have a healthy lifestyle, a structured habit of exercise, and a focused diet.  Because I deserve it.

This same mentality flows over into every aspect of my life.  It flows into my dating world.  I don’t believe I deserve the girl I’m interested in so subconsciously I sabotage the entirety of the relationship.  Deep in my core I don’t believe I will ever be able to, willing to, or deserve to have the girl I desire.  So, I do dumb things, I believe their interested in body image, or money, or a funny guy, and I over impress in those areas which leads to contempt.  No one likes anyone who tries to show off.  Everyone loves the person who can simply be themselves.  The person who doesn’t try, who simply is.  That person believes in their core they are worthy of love.  They are worthy of the person they desire.  And they don’t self-sabotage.

I could write a novel on dating, I’m just not sure there are enough pages on the internet to suffice.  Maybe, also, one day Ill have the courage to share.  My blog stats would sky rocket if I did.

But my plea to myself lately is to do one thing good for myself.  It could be to do the dishes when they arise.  Make my bed.  Do not eat the handful of chips, or slice of pizza.  I am trying not to eat, or do the thing I know I will regret tomorrow when I am of sound mind.

And the key to the sound mind, is

When you do the good thing for yourself, tell yourself you deserve it.  Sit in it.  Say how proud of yourself you are for not indulging in the food you fight, or friends who have beers.  Be so proud of yourself for getting to the gym or going on the walk.  Be incredibly thankful for the ability to say no, or yes, and how you are learning to love yourself.  Be proud you didn’t indulge in self sabotage.  Be yourself around everyone, do not try to impress, but be impressive by being yourself.

Hope this makes sense.  Be blessed

 

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33

Not only is it A number, but one more year to be alive.

here are the top 33 things I have learned being alive so far:

1: Know what you want to order by the time you get to the counter of the place your at

2: Do not block the aisle.  Know where you are in the world and how your stopping in the middle will inevitably screw someones day.

3: Have a firm handshake.  No one likes a human who can’t shake hands.

4: Have great best friends.  You’ll know the type if your willing to get tattoos together, thats the type.

5: Find a hobby: Writing, singing, baking, skiing, golf, hockey, crocheting, making candles, finding poems, larping, …  something, do something that takes your mind off the world.

6: Do not litter

7: Enjoy the little things in life.  A good smell, a sunset, a cool animal, beer, a belly laugh, enjoy it, sit in it, and don’t take them for granted.

8: Speak kindly to yourself.  You deserve to be nice to yourself.  You do.

9: Make your bed.  Accomplish at least one thing in a day, and if all you can do is make your bed, that is enough!

10: Let people know they have shi#t on their face or shirt.  This one is for me, please tell me if I have something on my face or shirt or pants.  I can’t see my face, so please just let me know.  Thanks

11: Give your stuff away.  This is more tough than you know, but give your things away.  When someone asks, or not.  Give your money, your time, your things, do it, it is worth it.

12: Read.  Read all types of books.  Not just the books you already agree with.  Read the opposite take.  Read the book that scares you or you think might shake you up a bit.

13: Be friends with people who are not like you.  Those folks you instantly don’t want to be around, befriend them.  You don’t have to spend a ton of time with them, but at least be cordial and try to enjoy them.  It’s what Jesus did.

14: Take time for yourself.  Learn to “Treat Yo Self”.  I learned this too late in life.  Still to this day, treating myself is the hardest thing in life.  It’s ridden with guilt and shame.

15: Enjoy the journey.  Life is not about the destination, but it is all about the journey.  Plus, you will never arrive.  You wont, its impossible.  We are all constantly growing and learning and moving.  So enjoy the process.  In the process is where truth is.

16: Be an ok driver.  I would say good, but that might be too high a bar for some.  Learn how to turn on a red, go when it’s green, drive fast in the fast lane or get out, and to drive at least the GD Speed limit.

17: Talk to the elderly.  Even if it is just your grandparents.  They have wisdom and are great people.  It will take time, but they are worth the stories they have.

18: Eat ice cream. And cookies

19: Know your facts.  Don’t simply take people at their words.  Ask for sources, or facts from which they speak.  Most people don’t know where they get the info they are using, me included.

20: Hold the door for people.  It’s simple, and means a lot.

21: Be silly.  Don’t grow up for growing ups sake.  Laugh at dumb things, make stupid jokes, wrestle someone who looks like they need to be wrestled.  It will be worth it.  The dumb bench that you walk by with friends, ya that one, do a stupid par core trick on it, trust me.

22: Compliment people.  It will take you farther than you know.  Thanks Dale Carnegie.

23: Learn to listen.  Learn about listening.  Study good listeners, and emulate.  Ask follow up questions.  DO NOT LISTEN JUST TO SAY YOUR POINT.  Listen to actually care about what someone is saying.  Don’t ask questions you don’t care about the answer, but you want to say your opinion.  That’s called being an a$$.

24: Go out of the country.

25: Write thank you cards.  I’m serious.

26: Spoil someone.  It’s the best.  For no reason, just do it.

27: Go play.  Invite someone over with no agenda and simply play.  Try it, its hard.

28: Tell people how you feel.  If you love them or not.  If you are mad at them or not.  Be vulnerable.  It is always worth it.  Even if  you do not know how they will respond.  It isn’t for them, it is for you and your peace of mind.  You will be amazed at how much your inner world will quiet down by simply saying how you feel.

29: Cry.  It’s ok to cry.  I cried two times this year.  It felt good.

30: Get rid of social media.  You will have a greater self worth, more control of your emotions and anxieties.  You will not judge your life and what you do for a living.  You will enjoy a hike without wanting the perfect pic.  You will take pictures with meaning and not simply to post somewhere.  I shouldn’t have to make a case for this one, but do it.  I have the most freedom I’ve had in years, and I only go on facebook on Tuesdays.  That’s it.

31: Engage conflict.  Go and do this, learn about its place in life.  Don’t worry about offending someone, they need you to love them by confronting them.

32: Stop dualism.  Not everything is black and white, yes or no, in or out, up or down, good or bad.  Some things just are.  You can’t place a value or reason on everything, so enjoy it.  Enjoy the journey because everything belongs.

33: (This is what I hope to learn in this new year of  life) I am worthy of love and respect.  I wish I could tell you I have this down, but I don’t.  Brene Brown says the most whole hearted people believe they are worthy of love and respect.  So, I want to be a whole hearted person, so I want to learn how I am worthy.  I think it’s different than love.  I believe Love is an action, and worthiness is a belief.  So, good luck 33, worthy of love and respect is going to be a hard journey.

 

Hope you can relate to some of these!

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It all belongs

“It feels like I’m drowning”

“I can’t see how it is going to get better”

“When are these feelings going to end?”

For myself and all my  friends who have ever felt like they don’t do enough, maybe drowning, or simply don’t know how it’s all going to work out.  (You know who you are).

 

You are enough simply breathing.

 

We live in a fast world, with fast cars, and fast amazon shipping, but I believe you control the speed.  Our culture is steeped in going, doing, success, family, and production.  I can’t tell you how often I feel like a failure, or how I don’t do enough.  Maybe the term you use is drowning.  Maybe you feel anxiously overwhelmed.  All of these emotions are warranted and they belong in this world.  Let me say that again, all of those emotions have a place and they belong in  this world (Unlike cats).  They have a place.  I believe they belong in the category of warning signs.  These feelings are great thermometer to how you may need to take a step back, rest, and take a quick pause.  Remember what is important in your world.  Are you breathing?  Are you alive?  Did you eat your last meal?  Can you sleep under a roof tonight?

 

What would happen if you stopped?  What would happen if you took a day to rest?  What would your life be like if you didn’t answer your phone for a day?  One day?

 

If you’re like me, you day dream of a new job.  A job in which you can shut off when you clock out.  A job that requires little to know stress or personal touch. A job you don’t think about a thousand times a second.   A job that closely resembles the United States Postal Service…  My dream in life is to own a crisp beautiful brown UPS outfit.
But that isn’t me.

 

I grew up in a single parent house hold, and my parents never taught me to simply be.  I was always enrolled in sports, extra sports on top of the sports, and boy scouts.  I had something to go to every night of the week.  I was not taught how to rest.  I’m not sure many of us were taught that.  There is little to no value on rest, and you can see it online.

 

Have you ever asked someone about their vacation?  It usually goes like this.

“Man your trip to Hawaii looked great!” (Cuz we already saw the pics posted)

“Ya, well me and Cynthia saved our sick days for two years, we had a groupon and our boss made us take the time off” …  We justify our rest.  We make excuses for taking a break and loving ourselves.  Its scary how we do this in almost every aspect of our lives.  If we own anything nice, we justify it.  “Well I got it at the REI garage sale for 20$”…  I like your jacket you don’t need to defend it!

 

In elementary school you are asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

In Jr. High you are asked what sports are you going to do.

In high school you are asked what college you are going to, and what major are you going to do?

In college your asked what are you going to do with your life.

And then in life you’re asked…. What do you do?

 

(Pause, literally writing this a UPS man walked through my Starbuck’s doors wearing the COOLEST brown jacket… what the heck).  (un pause).

 

If you were to say human, it wouldn’t go over well.

“What do you do?” asked Jeremy.

“Oh me, I human” said Trevor with an inquisitive look upon my face.

 

This isn’t to say we all need to sit around watching Netflix and binge watch all of Game of Thrones in one afternoon…. Who would do that…  But it does mean this.

 

When you are alone, laying in your bed, who are you?  In your core, the inner most being of who you are, who are you?  Are you a man, a woman, or simply just a human trying to figure it all out.  Deep in your gut, who are you?

 

You are loved.  You are liked.  And you are not your mistakes, failures, unread emails, unopened mail, unpaid bills, likes or lack of likes, and so much more.  There is a deep spirit in the universe that will reveal to you the truth.  It takes time to stop and listen.  You and I are.  We just are.

 

I tell myself these Mantras almost every hour of the day.

 

Take a deep breath, hold it in, let it out, and repeat.
“You are enough”

“You have what it takes”

“You are learning and growing”

“You are enough”, and breath.

 

We came in this world with a breath, and with a breath we shall leave.  You and I are humans and this world will continue without you, and it is better with you.  There is no amount of work that will make me think you are better or worse.  There are no deadlines that make you good or bad.  Let’s do our part and realize the depth of our humanity.

 

(Seriously the guy in the UPS jacket is simply rubbing it in at this point) … (I definitely would be a better human if I owned his outfit).

 

Be Blessed

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Practice Vulnerability: Home

Can’t believe I am going to share this

It might be the most vulnerable thing I’ve written

So,

Here it goes…

 

I struggle to love myself, and even like myself.  I started going to therapy a few years ago and I have to tell you about one of my sessions.  It was profound, and I forgot about it until last night.

 

I was at a concert last night where Josh Garrels spoke about a song he wrote where he had a coming home moment.  Where he felt God telling him to come home.  And then my memory was jostled.

 

I was sitting on my therapist’s couch playing with the nervous play sand he has for children when he asked me if I wanted to do an experiment.  So, like anyone in a therapy session I said sure.  I put the play sand down and sat up to listen.  (this is where I will urge you to do two things, one, don’t judge me, two, try this)

 

This is what my therapist started to say, and I started to do…

 

Sit in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the ground and your hands folded in your lap.  Now take some time to center your breathing and concentrate on your mind.  Try removing all thoughts and all speech floating around in your head.  Let the words pass by into a different direction, and be still.  Now, take a deep breath, hold it, and exhale slow.

 

Trevor I want you to go into your childhood home.  Walk up the drive way and into the front door.  What does it look like, what time of year is it, and notice how you feel.  Now your parents are in the kitchen and you can hear them cleaning the dishes, but I want you to walk towards your childhood bedroom.  Notice the pictures on the wall, the smell in the air, and walk slowly, but listen, look around, and feel what you are feeling.  Look at your childhood door, and open it slowly.  Walk in, look around.  Look at what’s lying on the ground, on your desk, around your bed, and I want you to sit on the edge of your bed.  Sit for a second, take it in, look at the art on the wall, and the pictures hanging.  Now Trevor I want you to picture your five-year-old self coming into the room.  He is going to walk up to you slowly, but notice how your five-year-old self looks at you.  What do you feel?  What is He thinking?  What does he want to say to you?  How do you feel?  Sit in this for a while.  Be here.  Listen.  Come Home.

 

And then I woke up.

 

I struggle with loving myself or even liking myself.  Which makes me do dumb things.  It makes me question everything I have ever done.  I am extremely hard on myself.  (We all are) (But I’m terrible to myself) I question my motives, I oversell the qualities I think I have that are good, and I overcompensate for qualities I wish I had.  But most days I don’t like me.

 

As I sat on the edge of my childhood bed my five-year-old me spoke.  He told me how cool he thought I was.  He was amazed at what I was doing with my life.  He thought I was a good dude, and he simply wanted to be with me.  My five-year-old me simply just wanted to be around me.  For no reason.  He didn’t have any concept of success or accomplishments, and he was a child.  He still thought the ninja turtles were real…  But this exercise was incredibly life changing.

 

All the ways I criticize myself, compare myself to, or am judgmental towards have little to no truth in them.  I AM doing good.  I AM ok.  Life is going to work out, and things are going to be fine.  Life happens, pain and struggle are real, but in the end of it all I need to remember who I am.  I am a human trying to figure it out.  I am learning, and I am growing.  I don’t have all the answers and never will, BUT life is good.

 

Maybe this can help you in some way.  I share this so you can see.  Maybe this is an exercise you can try or maybe you can simply see my humanity.  I am a human.  I don’t do things right all the time.  I mess shi%t up, and fail a lot.  But, We are all on a journey we are all in a season, and maybe we all need a little more BUT in our lives.

 

Yes, we mess things up, BUT

Yes, we failed or are failing, BUT

Yes, the friendship is ruined, BUT

Yes, you can’t pay that bill this month, BUT

 

You are learning, you are growing, and you don’t have to have it all figured out.

We are all trying, there is good in this day for us all.  And, we are going to get through it.

 

Come home.

 

 

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