Sunday, September 26, 2010

Personal wrestling match...

The following is an excerpt from my journal.

As a disclaimer, it is pretty raw and likely hard to follow. I wrote this at our YoungLife leader retreat in response to what we had been learning about the concept of lordship. I post this because I hope you can relate to it and maybe gain something from what the Lord is teaching me.

"What am I afraid of? What things keep me up at night, rack my brain, churn my stomach, really worry me? I am afraid of the next step. I like consistency. I like knowing what to expect. I like being comfortable. I like something constant. I like being in control. There are going to be a lot of changes in my life over the next 8 or so months. I'm going to graduate, finish my senior project research, hopefully get a job, and that is all the "knowns". There are a million and one things that are going to happen over this next year. Do I want to give these things up? Would I rather hold on to them or would I rather find freedom from these fears and worries? That is a simple question. I want freedom. I want to be care-free. I want to live life untethered by the fears that try so earnestly to hold me down. Why is it then, that I have such a hard time letting go? What am I holding on to? What am I hoping to gain? How much more free would I be if I let these things go? How much more would I gain by giving up? Just like Ava and the pearls. Why do I cling to my own purchases, my own fake pearls when my Father is pleading with me to give them up? What is it? What is keeping me from jumping in the pool of Your love and grace and seeing how deep I can go? Is it what people think of me? Is it a fear of the unknown? Is it a fear of giving up control in my life? Is it a fear of failing? Is it a fear of losing it all? I think part of it is I am afraid that God won't meet me there. I am afraid I will give it all up and he will leave me hanging with nothing left. Father, show me that isn't true. I know it's not but I don't believe it. Show me that you won't leave me. How deep can I go? How intimate? Lord, I don't want to be just Isaac, I want to be who you want me to be. I want to be like Enoch. I want to live in such close relationship with you, Father. What is holding me back? Lord, I am ready to give it all up. I want to have the faith that you are going to meet me right where I am. I want to believe that you have better for me than I have for myself. How can I possibly think that I have anything close compared to what you offer? You offer life, freedom, mercy, grace, love, hope, laughter, everything. I offer myself nothing. I cannot promise myself one thing. My days are but a breath. A vapor in the wind. Lord, I am ready to give everything else up. I am ready to let go of my fake pearls. I am ready for what you have for me. I am ready to start living. I am ready for freedom. I am ready for life. I am ready. Take away my pearls. Take away the things I cling to. I don't need them. You have far better things for me. Like Noah, I am going to trust your word. You promised to keep him safe and he trusted. Lord, you promised to be there throughout the storm and he trusted. I want to be like Noah. I want to trust you. I want to give it all up and trust you. What if he said no? What if Noah had refused to build the ark? He didn't. He trusted. He had faith. He believed."

Monday, September 13, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about priorities.

I like making lists so priorities are something that I think about a lot. When I have several things I need to get done, I make a list with each item on it and then I can begin to decide which is most important and then attack it.

When it comes to life, this approach is not so simple.

I have 24 hours in a day... 23 hours and 56 minutes if we're talking Sideral days (look it up). Some of those hours are taken up by mandatory things: sleeping, eating, Starcraft 2 (kidding), etc... So, if we subtract 8 hours of sleep and 2 hours for eating, we're left with 14 hours for me to spend as I please.

On an average day, I have 3 hours of class, so that brings me down to 11 hours. Subtract my travel time (to and from class) and that brings me down to about 10 hours.

What I do with those 10 hours is what I've been thinking a lot about lately. I've heard a quote that goes something like this... "I am afraid that at the end of my life, God will hold all the things I've done in his hand and blow away all the things that were not for him and nothing will be left." Maybe you are more familiar with the wheat and the chaff illustration. When wheat is threshed, the heavier kernels of wheat stay while the lighter chaff is blown away by the wind leaving behind what is desired... the wheat.

I've been thinking about what would be left behind if you blew all the "chaff" out of my life. Somedays it really scares me. I think about how I did so little or how I did nothing at all. I think about how I spent 3 hours playing Starcraft 2, an hour looking at a friend's pictures on Facebook, 2 hours watching SportsCenter (twice), an hour in the gym working out. See how quickly that time adds up?

I recently heard a quote from a guy named Jim Elliot. He said, "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." It is one of my hopes and dreams that at the end of every day I can say, I gave up everything for the sake of Christ. I want to give up the chaff. I want to keep the wheat.

I think these lyrics sum it up well:
So put your faith,
In more than steel,
Don't store your treasures up,
With moth and rust,
Where thieves break in and steal.
Pull the fangs,
From out your heel.
We live in but a shadow of the real.

Of Dust And Nations by Thrice

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mind: blown.

I was just reading through my study bible this morning about the book of James. My sort of "goal" this summer/fall is to read through all the epistles. As I was reading through this little commentary about who James was and the context in which this letter was written, I was blown away by a simple date:

James became a believer in 33 AD.

If you know much about James, I sure didn't before I started reading this letter, but James was the brother of Jesus. Yeah, that's right Jesus the Messiah. So if we piece this all together, Jesus was crucified in 33 AD. His brother became a believer in 33 AD. Therefore, James lived his entire life with Jesus not believing in who he was until he was crucified!

If I could yell over the internet, I would yell that last sentence again! My mind has been blown! How easy is it to give up on someone because they just don't seem to get it? You know they've heard the gospel a hundred times and they still live in sin. They still live in rebellion. James was the brother of Christ yet he still lived in sin and death until the year his brother was killed.

How can I give up hope on a person? There are so many examples of people who came to faith after the craziest of circumstances.

The bright side is, even if I do give up on someone (which I hope I never do again)... God never gives up on them.