Feel the Rhythm

51Beginning-Middle-End,

Beginning-Middle-End

Right?

That’s how the world works.  Seasons come, and seasons go?  Day turns to night, or is it the night turns to day?  Life can be confusing, it can turn upside down, and it can feel void and dark.

My triggers are small, they happen quickly, and I usually don’t notice until I am angry, or hurt.  I keep being reminded about growth, and how pain is good.  How death brings life, and how hard conversations build intimacy (the “I” word terrifies me).

 

I think I was in the fourth grade, so I would have been eight or nine, but I remember one of my darkest days.  My Mom had to come to my school, talk to the faculty, and sit in my classes.  No one else had their Mom there.  This wasn’t BTSN… I remember walking around with her feeling helpless and wanting to cry.  I was failing every class.  But I was smart.  I was capable, but I wouldn’t do any work.  I could hear what everyone was saying, but I had no reason to change.  I had no motivation, I had no dreams, and for some reason I was stuck.  It’s humiliating to have your Mom with you in the fourth grade.  And it is also painful to navigate emotions when your parents are getting a divorce, and you are moving eight hours north.  I felt alone, I felt sad, and it seemed as if I had no way out.

 

Transitions are hard, but I’ve found small bits of hope.

 

Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell myself a different way to handle life.  I just ran into some small bits of hope by understanding rhythm.  I was recently taught how our life cycles/seasons/transitions might begin with the end, move towards a beginning, and glide into the middle.  Sometimes transitions don’t start until something dies, or ends (to make it positive).  Sometimes growth won’t happen until something dies, or ends, or you get to the end of yourself.  This is where I am.

 

I am at the end

I am at the end of knowledge.  I am in the unknown.  It’s been revealed I have unhealthy areas of my life.  This transition is not going to be easy.  Somewhat like moving eight hours north.  I feel as if I am mourning the past, but getting ready for something so great it doesn’t have words.  I also don’t know how to write about it.  All I know is I am scared, I am at the end, but this new beginning has hope for good.  I understand how I can’t remain the same, but if I am going to do this right, if I am going to trust Jesus, if I am going to obey His small whisper, it is going to be painful, it will hurt, and I will need to go into my dark.

 

Jesus died in order to bring us all a new beginning.  When we want to gain life we have to loose it.  If you want full life you need sadness, anger, anxiety, pain, and darkness.  If I don’t feel pain, I can’t feel joy.  If I don’t feel sad, I can’t feel happiness.  In the darkness is where the light is most bright.  If you are feeling anything at all, you are alive, and that is good.  In order to grow we must die.  There is a rhythm to growth, and a rhythm to life.  Right now I’m at the bottom of a base drop, but about to start a new verse which has yet to be written.  I am ready for pain, I am ready for hard, and maybe End-Beginning-Middle is the rhythm of growth and the rhythm of life.

Can we trust our reality in which pain brings an awareness of joy?  Can we trust Jesus to be in our darkness?  Can we sit and cry, mourn the past, but celebrate a new beginning?  We can’t stop change, but we can handle how we will go through it.  I wan’t to open my eyes wide in the dark, I wan’t to feel intimacy through the pain of vulnerability, and I want to trust and have faith because nothing else has worked.

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Possibilities 

  

As last year ended As every year ends 

We count down the seconds to a new beginning. (And the end of my birthday)

I’ve realized two things from 2015

I can’t do it 

And 

I need health 

As a kid I always wanted to do it. “I can do it” 

I can open the peanut butter jar. I can mow the lawn. I can make my lunch. I can get myself up in the morning. (Even if my mom played phantom of the opera at the sound system’s peak every morning growing up)

But there was a moment when I no longer wanted help. I wanted to feel grown up or bigger or able. And with this idea I now believe I still don’t need anyone’s help. Somehow asking for help means I am weak and other people are better than me. But it is not how we are designed. 

We need each other. We need help and I need you to help me. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be whole without you. I can’t gain healing without you. I will never fully know the love of God without feeling, seeing, and experiencing Jesus in you. So I need help and I am done doing it on my own. 

I think we get caught wanting things like marriage, jobs, money, and fame over the real true life giving realities. We have misconceived concepts of our wants being our desires. Then our “desires” seem to be from God and they take over our mind. They take over our actions, but what if we truly stop and search the truth. Is the desire from God or our wantings? And, is it getting in the way?

I want to be healthy. I want a healthy mind. A healthy life. And I want a healthy spirituality. I believe it is going to mean striving for maturity in thought. Taking captive immature thinking and regain a balance of healthy people in my life. Having conversations with people and not fake thoughts up in my brain. Making the hard decisions of going to bed at a decent time and spending more on others than myself. I think it will mean learning to enjoy and be with people I am not comfortable with and spending more time doing the things that bring me life. 

So for this next year I want health and I want you. I need you. I can’t do it by myself. Help me get healthy. Help me be healthy, healed, mature, and full! 

Please

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In relationships we trust

photo-4-Lizard-Island-AustraliaI think it is

ok

to be single

I think

It’s Ok

Not many people write about this subject.  It is somewhat taboo. But being single is good. I have gone through many seasons of wanting, strong desires, no desires, dating, in a relationship, and back again.  I am not sure how to explain what I think about being single.  I have been asked  how I do it.  I’ve been asked by married friends and single friends.  As if I am some strong single heroic male that has the answer.  As if it isn’t a giant struggle.  As if climbing into my bed alone every night of my life is “fun”.  (Most days it is, and I jump not climb) 

Truth is, I don’t think about it much unless someone asks, or an opportunity comes up.  Sometimes people are being nice and they ask me about my dating life.  And with every fiber of my being I am brought back to the reality in which I don’t think too much about.  I am pretty independent, and I like what I do.  I enjoy my life, I enjoy my friends, I enjoy where I am in life, and I enjoy doing things now. 

I’ve learned we believe in a myth, and the myth is…

When I am in a relationship

Life will be easier

I will feel whole

They will complete me

They will be my better half

They will love me back

I won’t feel lonely anymore

I will laugh more

Feel full more

Have less doubts

Places will hold more meaning

Experience will have more power

Finally be able to love someone

Give good gifts

My insecurities will be gone

Have someone to talk with

(I could keep writing)

(There have been times and seasons where dwelling on being single has lead me into extreme depression or believing terrible lies.  I could be in the greatest spot on earth, with the best of friends, but completely dwelling on the idea that this moment would be better with someone who loves me… (Maybe you’re not like me) (Am I alone on this?))

As is most of what the world teaches, these are lies.  If I have learned anything from being single it is this.  Start now.  You can feel whole now.  You can love others now.  You do not have to wait for a significant other to pour out love.  Find someone in your life you can invest in.  Do things for.  Take care of, and love doing it.  It has taught me many interesting facts.  The biggest being my intentions. 

I am learning to love other people regardless if I ever see any return on my investment.  I am learning to take criticism well, and not brush it aside.  I am learning to evaluate my emotions and give them their place.  Why?  Because it is a part of being full.  It is a part of following Jesus.  Jesus didn’t have a significant other, and he was content, full, and desired what His Father desired.  Maybe that is it. 

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  We need to decide what kingdom we are seeking.  We need to realize the difference between our desires and His.  What does it truly look like to be single?  What does it mean to seek His kingdom?  What do you truly want?  Are you wanting someone to tell you your beautiful? (Because you are) Are you wanting someone to tell you, you have what it takes? (Because you do)  Are you wishing you had someone to hold you and rock you and whisper its going to be alright? (Because He does that) 

Maybe our selfish desires get in the way

Maybe our motives are wrong

Maybe I want someone in my life to make me look good/feel good/serve me/feed me, when truly we shouldn’t keep that from stopping us right now.  You can love someone today.  Chances are they need it.  Chances are the Kingdom of God has good things in store for you that are far greater than a relationship. 

Being single can be a gift.  A brilliant ability to see life for what it is.  To love recklessly now.  To spoil your friends.  To do His will.  And to simply enjoy.  To lose this gift is the same as losing yourself.  I know who I am more, I know who He is more, and for this gift I will praise Him.  Please share your struggles below!  I hope this has helped in one way or another. 

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Remember Who

MG_4480-1024x682If we believe

If we remember

All will be different

I might be my worst critic, and most days all I do is think about the dumb things I’ve done.  This has been formed, repeated, and engrained in me.  It runs deep, and at times I feel upside down.  What happens when we remember?  Who are you, truly deep down, who are you?  Are you the pessimist, alcoholic, terrible student, never good enough, can’t hold a relationship guy, or are you more? 

I have a title, I am an Area Director.  In some form or another we all give ourselves titles.  We live by these titles.  Maybe they were given to you.  Maybe we grew into them, but we all have these floating around.  I had no idea all the titles I had given myself.  At times I can hear them, they guide me, and the decision I make come from them.  Athlete, competitor, funny, attractive, loser, depressed, lazy, smart, worthless…. The titles could go on forever. 

We need to remember. 

I was at camp a few weekends ago, and I got to see, for a brief moment, maybe what God sees.  We were sent outside right after dusk, and told to go spend fifteen minutes thanking God for what He did on the cross.  I walked out of the club room and out to the basketball courts.  I laid down and looked up into the milky way.  There were more stars out then usual.  A few whispy clouds claimed there space, but the stars were the main attraction.  As the stars moved along, a loud noise pounded the air.  The pool pump under the stairs made an incredibly loud noise.  It thumped throughout the camp.  I got up and went over to the door, but I didn’t have the pump key.  I was now making more noise then the pump.  I stopped, I was a little frustrated, but then looked back up into the sky.  As I was standing there my head felt heavy.  I couldn’t keep looking up.  I went to lay back on the ground when I heard it. 

“The stars are beautiful, but these are my favorite”

I kept trying to fight the heaviness and look to the stars, but my head was forced to see what God was looking at…  Us.  

I have forgotten who I am.  I have been believing other lies.  We are His favorite things in all of creation.  I spent the next few minutes looking at all the kids strewn across the entire camp property.  Each kid is a story.  Each kid his favorite, and each kid beginning to see who they really are.  Waking up to a new reality in which they are no longer defined by anything other than the greatest knowledge in all the world.  We are His.

What would it look like if we lived this way?  What actions would be different?  What thoughts would stop?  If I lived every day knowing I am His favorite my thoughts and what I call myself would change.  I am his favorite.  You are His favorite.  It was as if I was watching God watch us.  Spirit passed over each of us and was in full delight.  Not an ounce of disappointment.  Not a drop of failure, and no record of wrong to be found.

We can stop trying to impress each other.  We can quit wanting to be someone else.  We can stop trying to hide.  This belief holds the power to change the very essence of Sin.  When we know who we are, we act in accordance to this understanding. 

If we believe

If we remember

All will be different

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Me too

lusine-the-waiting-room

I’ve been quiet lately

It’s teaching me a lot.

There are moments of clarity, and moments of complete anxiety.  When you try to listen, to people, to God, your Mom, lots of pollution block the way.  I don’t have much clear space in my head.  There are busy ideas, bustling images, emotions I try to capture and shove down deep, and sometimes… I find the quiet.

I went to my friends surgery a few weeks ago.  It wasn’t serious, but it was still surgery.  His mom and I waited in the waiting room (go figure), and we sat and starred out the fourth floors windows.  Stanford Hospital is beautiful, free cups of coffee everywhere, nurses in scrubs, and students stress-fully learning.  The waiting room is a strange place.  Magazines everywhere, clocks on the wall, light music playing, displays of where your person in surgery is, and people designated to come talk to you.  They make every effort in the world to try and take your mind off the surgery.  In this quiet place you can hear everyone’s mind racing.  Wondering if the surgeries are going to work, will the cancer go away, will we survive this storm.  And in this place something beautiful happened.

“Me too”

The doctor came out and talked to us.  My friend was still sleeping from the drugs, and His Mom and I listened to the news.  The Doctor was really friendly and he showed us pictures.  He walked back into another surgery and then we sat.  We waited, and waited, and then a man walked over to us.  He went to  my friends mom and he showed us his pictures.  They both had someone they loved with the same problem.  They talked for a while.  About the procedure, waiting in the waiting room, how many times this happens, and so on.  I kept quiet, but I realized something was happening.

“Me too”

We all desire to be known.  We all want someone to say “Hi”, “How are you”, “How was your day”, and we don’t feel human without it.  We are designed to be together.  We are designed to share meals, have commonality, and say things like, “Me too”.  The man in the waiting room brought comfort with his “me too”.  It was beautiful to see, in the midst of the uncomfortable, an act of “I see you”.  Jesus “sees” us.  He knows what it is like to be us.  He knows what it is like to feel alone, uncomfortable, and even exhausted.  He really does care, and He too wants us to see Him.

Maybe if we can be quiet more

Maybe if we can pause the junk in our life

Maybe if we can purge the pollution swirling around in our mind

Maybe we could see Jesus, and maybe we would hear him say “Me too”.

Maybe He is in this storm/trial/good moment/surgery/pain/laughter/test

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Let The Wild Rumpus Start

12x18-max-room-where-the-wild-things-are-placemat
What if we really knew?

I found out, late in the game, how the tooth fairy isn’t real (shocker).  My imagination as a child was masterful.  I would dream big, wild, fantastic realistic adventures.  Where the Wild Things Are was one of my all time favorite books.  I read it a few weeks ago, and it was boring.  Only a few words on the page.  It wasn’t full or exciting.  But as a kid I was there.  I was within the wild rumpus.  My own room turned into a jungle.  I sailed with Max, and was king alongside him.  We danced until the morning came, and it is now all lost…

I’ve misplaced my imagination somewhere. 

I can’t figure out where it went. 

I’ve looked everywhere. 

It’s gone

Grow up Trevor.  Be an adult.  

I got a newspaper subscription a few weeks ago.  It was forced on me.  A high school kid came to my door during a leader meeting and I had to put my money where my mouth was.  The newspapers started coming to my door a few days later.  And they started stacking up.  I was paying for trash.  I was paying to throw away more paper.  I wondered if this was what adult life is supposed to be.   

I keep wondering if there is more.  Is there more to this life?  What’s my next step?  What is my next big adventure, journey, life lesson, and then life keeps happening. 

Maybe you can’t plan next steps, but I believe it might start with Yes.  Maybe we have to say yes.  Yes to a friend.  Yes to an invitation.  Yes to lunch, and yes to paying for it (It will freak whoever you are with out).  It can also be yes to rest.  Yes to imagination, and a yes to wonder. 

We don’t have to have everything planned out.  Who we will marry, who we will spend our saturday with, or what our five year plan looks like.  We don’t have to have a target goal, and a reason (Goals are great, don’t get me wrong).  A lot of those big life things are extremely far away any how.  Maybe we can start a book, go on a walk, and go chase a sunset with people you love.  Maybe we can get on a plane and create memories.  Maybe you can come over and we can watch a movie.  Maybe I can sit at my house, and be content. 

I’ve started to realize there are many moments in life.  There are high highs, and deep dark lows.  There is a medium high, and an almost low.  There are breathtaking sunsets, and average midday clouds.  And if we only knew, and believed the one who held it all together. 

What would happen if we knew what was going on during prayer?  What if we tried to imagine, and create space to imagine? What if we knew the one who was listening and how Jesus doesn’t simply listen, shrug, and go on with His own business.  Maybe Jesus dreams with us?  Maybe He imagines with us?  I believe when we pray He is like an attentive kid.  Wondering what you wonder about, dream what you dream about, and Maybe He too would want us to be like Max and thrive in this wild rumpus of a life.  If anything, maybe He just wants to talk, listen, and know whats going on. 

Im not sure Jesus keeps track of all the good prayers, or if He ranks them as we do.  I think He might like that we show up.  No matter how small, how full of groans, or joy, and He loves our minds.  He loves our creativity.  And, He deserves it.  Through the high mountains, the low valleys, the mid day golf, and the morning paper.  We will never be able to predict our life.  We will not be able to out perform, out love, or be adult enough. 

So maybe being content in all things, and regaining some imagination could bring some newness to this life.  Maybe we can find some imagination somewhere.  Dream about what prayer might be.  Dream about big things, imagine what Jesus may imagine.  Maybe there is more to life than being an adult.  Maybe there is more to life than high highs, and being right. 

Where did you leave your imagination?  When did life become boring?  When did a four inch screen become success or significance?  When did life become about marriage, money, or a career? (Heck, growing up I wanted to be a pizza maker, or a zoologist) Could there be more? 

Yes. 

What if we really knew?

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Desire: An inward groan

media.giuntiscuolaWe have our way

We have our minds

We have our desires

And I believe I know better than God…

Any good prayer is a prayer you don’t want to pray.  Its either too hard, too big, or too illogical.  I believe we are afraid to tell God our inmost desires, or even confess our terrible thoughts.  Or, at least I am.   

Wind has a way of teaching us who is in control, and how to listen.  I was racing through my mind on a walk a few days back, and the wind told me to turn my head.  The wind was loud as I continued to walk straight ahead, but as I turned my head it fell silent.  There was no noise, and I could hear clearly.  My mind stopped, I stopped.  I realized sometimes you need to do something which seems not in your best interest. 

Im working out right now, and it sucks.  It’s hard, I want to quit.  There is sweat, pain, I got hurt the other day, and I do not like it.  But then I do.  There is something about that breath you take when you are finished with a good work out.  It is satisfying.  Your body thanks you, your brain is stimulated, and you are satisfied.  It is a breath of obedience.  You don’t want to put on the gym shorts, you don’t want to lace your shoes, but when you obey all those seemingly hard things you do before you go to the gym are worth it.  It is hard in the beginning, but it is worth it down the road.

We all have a picture of what we believe our life is supposed to look like.  And then it all gets stripped away.  Whether we like it or not.  Our rights become lefts, our mountains become rivers, and we don’t know which way is up.  The days begin to stream together.  The collaborative attempts of your friends have no power, and then there is a moment where you begin to understand.  We begin to understand that His ways are not our ways.  Jesus has a way of working in the illogical, non commonsensical, and not our way.  And I am starting to be ok with it. 

I believe we are to confess our desires, even cry out to God, but then believe He knows whats happening.  Our desires can be overwhelmingly strong and the only way to pray is to groan.  And it’s ok.  Can we believe He truly has our best interest at heart.  Believe He is doing something with this time in our lives.  It is ok to tell Jesus what we want, what we want for others, and ask Him, for we will know Him better by our honesty.  We often look for a tangible God.  We pray tangible prayers, or prayers that seem to be logical.  And with these prayers we get to know Jesus more like a friend, and less like customer service agent.  We start to know He does care, and He isn’t a derelict.   

“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more.  Your desire can never be satisfied.  But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘O yes-I already have everything that I really need’” Dalai Lama

I want to have my way, in Him

I want my mind to be like His

I want my desires to be what He desires

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