My scheduling complications may have worsened a bit since blogging about them last, and I'm still just as clueless as to what God may have in store for us over the course of the next year, but even so, after some serious R&R I'm feeling refreshed. There are loads of things I'm just not allowing myself to think about; I'd like to consider it more as redirection than avoidance. The thing is, God has just given me so many blessings to count, and the triumphs really do outweigh the disappointments. I've never forgotten that, but sometimes it's hard to see what I know is already there. Although I may be somewhat blinded at the moment, I can still reach out and feel the gifts God has placed in front of me over the past year. Having a helpful hand to guide me from time to time doesn't hurt either.
Don't worry, I'm not going to call you a slut or say that you've lost your mind.
This is something different.
And maybe you've heard it before.
You were created in the likeness of God.
He loves you dearly, and oneness with Him will fulfill you far more than any amount of applause or ridicule. Feeling sexy and rebellious can't compare to what He has in store for you. One day the fame and success you achieve will come to an end.
But you? You will not come to an end. You are an eternal being. And eternal beings spend eternity somewhere. No single performance, no matter how many tweets it stirs up, will determine where you spend that eternity. Nor will it give you anymore significance than this: the God of the universe wants you to spend that eternity with Him.
Talk about shock factor!
Miley, put some clothes on, say "no" to drugs, burn that foam finger, and stay away from men that get rich by objectifying women and glorifying sexual activity that may or may not be consensual. That, by the way, is not a blurred line. Its date rape.
You're young, talented, and well connected.
But most of all, God loves you.
He loves you so much that His very breathe is what animates you. I know, all this has been a lot to digest. Just let it sit for a while and think on it, okay?
After months of scheming and arranging, my school, work, and practicum schedules were all coordinated together in harmony.
In doing so, I was mindful of creating more time with my wife, getting more involved in Sunday church services again, and even carpooling to practicum and class with other students to save some money.
It was a thing of glory. That is, until it all fell apart. Several changes have been made since then, none on my accord, and I can thankfully say it could be much worse. But even so, I can't shrug off my disappointment.
This has been a year of none-stop-bang-ups and I've seemingly moved further and further away from all the things I want most in life. Its a difficult list to conceptualize, but there are countless examples of how I've managed to fail at realizing every single one of my dreams, goals, and believed-to-be-callings over the past year.
I naively hoped a simple schedule change would magically make it all just fine. I somehow believed everything would just come together. I should've known better, but I couldn't help but dream something good was just around the bend. When my genius plan fell through, I was crushed. And I still am.
Good things really are right around the bend; just not all the good things I'm longing for.
After the constant stream of failures over the past eight or so months, I can't help but reassess what I'm doing here personally, relationally, professionally, creatively, spiritually, etc., and all this reassessing only takes me down a very negative, dark path.
So instead of reassessing, I'm trying to be reassuring of myself.
But I'm failing at that, too.
Here's to hoping that bend comes quickly, and that whatever good it does hold will be good enough. Of course, I know it always is.
As of six seven minutes ago, I am officially on my way out of here...
I just emailed HR a two-week notice of resignation from my full-time position at work, and dropped a handwritten notice in the interoffice mail.
I've been burning my wick from both ends over the past several months and now practicum approaches, adding to the mix. After a lot of prayer (and, just to be very honest, a whole lot of freaking out), I've decided to step down from my full-time position and only work on an on-call basis until my schoolwork is complete sometime next summer or early fall.
A huge weight has been lifted knowing I won't be under the pressure of working quite as much while I finish these last few semesters of school and complete practicum. The thought of seeing my wife more than twice a week is kinda nice, too! Moving to overnight shifts was a necessary evil so I could take more classes, but it's an evil that I won't soon miss. Hence, I am joyful, for all these reasons and many more.
So why frightened? I was approved for a living-expense loan designed for grad students and Kimberly's business is thriving. And most of all, God is good. So there really isn't any good reason to be frightened. But the living expenses in SoCal are sky-high, and we're accustomed to being a two-income family. Adding to my student debt doesn't feel awesome either. It's all just a little scary. Yet alas, as I said, there's really no reason to be frightened.
More than anything, this is just another opportunity for us to grow in faith and dependence on God.
And, yes, I am just a little sad.
There's a kid here I'm going to miss.
But just one. And only a little.
Endings. Beginnings. Blah blah blah.
More than anything, I'm just ready to dive into practicum head first, I'm excited I might get to sleep in increments greater than four hours, and I'm pumped I may get to see my wife, friends, and family more often.
"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen."
The perfect verse, sent to me from my mom this morning. Gracias, Mommacita!
Unfortunately, wisdom comes with a stereotype: grouchy, reclusive, unapproachable, judgmental, mean, etc. That's an ugly list of characteristics, but I'm not the one that came up with it. I spent a little time last weekend talking with some of the kids I work with, asking them to describe what they image a wise person to be like, other than smart. Of course, this is the edited, censored version. Their original answers weren't quite so blog-friendly...
But as I've spent time in the bible researching what it means to be wise, I've found none of these things to be true.
As we've already discussed, wisdom is humble as well as self-controlled. Today, we'll be talking about how wisdom is also accompanied by kindness, contrary to how the kids I work with think. Now, there are a lot of verses that support that wisdom is kind, but for the sake of keeping this post a reasonable length, we'll just stick to a few proverbs.
To begin with, I'm guessing a truly wise man would never be heard saying, "I told you so!" Although that may be our rash, instantaneous response, those four little words all strung together pack quite a punch, crippling egos and making it difficult to seek guidance in the future. When a person hears those words, they're usually too busy recoiling from the blow to actually learn from their mistake. As I've worked with oppositional youth over the past decade, I've destroyed tons of learning moments for kids just by saying these word when they've disregarded my advice and gotten themselves into trouble. Trust me on this one. But I won't say, "I told you so," if you slip up and say it anyway...
So, if "I told you so!" isn't the wise thing to say when someone messes up, what is? "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing," (Proverbs 12:18). Having someone come down on you with rash words hurts, and if you've just screwed something up, chances are you're not feeling too hot to begin with. Our instinct is to point out failure, even when our end goal is to help. "By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them," (Proverbs 14:3). Chances are, they know when they've failed. After all, don't you? A better place to begin in the helping process is with some healing words, usually encouragement or support, taking care of them. The original Hebrew text of Proverbs 14:3 uses the word shamar to describe the wise, which can be translated into "bodyguard," "overseer," and "keeper."
As you build up a person, they'll come to trust you and feel comfortable around you, and you're guidance will mean so much more. This is really where discipleship comes into play. Walking alongside the wise in the context of a relationship, a person can really grow and learn. "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise..." (Proverbs 13:20). One man's wisdom benefits all, because a truly wise man shares his knowledge.
A wise man heals others and teaches them. Wisdom is Kind.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Goombas! So many goombas! They're easy enough to squash, but a new one quickly replaces the last. And turtles? Some of them even fly! Oh, and the ones that throw hammers? What's up with them!? And don't get me started on the princess...
Just when I've completed a level, the next one begins. Every villain I defeat ends up being a decoy, and I just know Bowser is out there somewhere laughing...
I could really use some star power right now.
*Feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. School and life have teamed up to kick my arse.