Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A challenge

Ever have an idea that sounds great at the time and then you realize how hard it may be?  That's where I've been for the last month.  See I had this brilliant (this may be debatable) idea to celebrate my wife's birthday for the entire month of July.

A little back story on the idea may be helpful.  I was thinking of doing something different and creative for my wife's birthday this year.  It is one of those years that no one really gets excited about... you know like 28, 37 or 43.  Not a milestone year (and who really enjoys those milestone years once you are past 30 anyways?) and it has just been a long year for both of us (bodies falling apart, transitions in life, realizing how old we really are, you know, fun things like that).  Well, we have a friend (Kelli) who always wants a week to celebrate her birthday (and really who doesn't need a least a week to celebrate) so I though if a week is good then a month would be outstanding.  My wife definitely deserves a month of celebration.  She is amazing so how hard could it be to find ways to tell her that for 31 days?

I realized I am not as creative as I would like to be.  After about two weeks I began to run out of creative ways to express my appreciation for her.  Sadly, I resorted to giving lots of gift cards over the last two weeks.  Oh she appreciated them, but I can't really say it is very creative.  Also I realized how selfish I am.  It is easy to do things for myself, but tough to spend a month focused on someone else.  Contantly thinking about ways to serve others is not something that comes naturally.  It is what we are supposed to do, but it still doesn't come naturally for me.  And you can get called names for trying to be creative.  I won't mention any names... ahem like Brian... but I actually got called a prick.  I guess some people don't like having the bar raised in the gift giving department.

So can you spend a month focused on others?  Could you write a note of appreciate to a different person each day for a month?  Could you find a way to encourage someone each day for a month?  Could you find a way to serve someone each day for month?  Can you you stretch yourself for a month to think of others before yourself?  The answer is yes you could, so I guess the question is really, will you?

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's been awhile

It's been quite awhile since I've written down my thoughts on here.  Actually it has been just a little short of year since I last posted something.  Why?

Good question.  It wasn't intentional that I stopped writing, it just happened.  I've had the same types of thoughts that produced a couple years worth of blogs.  I still have lots of questions, like to observe, have doubts, have strong opinions, still like to write, but it just hasn't happened.  A year of silence.

It has been a year of change.  Not so much outwardly, but on the inside like in how I view people, my perspective on life, the people who influence me, and dealing with a different place in life.  Not bad, but still change.  A year of transition.

Some passions of mine have faded, others are still strong.  Others have been renewed.  Writing - not sure where it falls right now.  To place my ramblings, observations, questions, ideas down for others to see... not sure it is meant to be shared in this forum.  Time will tell.  It feels good to explore my thoughts on here today, but not sure beyond today.  A chance to end or a chance to pick up where I left off?  As always, it will be interesting to see where this leads.

Hang on for the ride...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Investments of a lifetime

I've started this blog about five different times this morning.  Sorting through different thoughts and trying to find some common thread running through these seemingly contradictory ideas.  What I've landed on as the common thread of my thoughts this morning is that they are about people I've invested in.  Some who I don't see very often, but the conversations start as if there hasn't been any gap in time.  Some who encourage so naturally and others that seem to only find  faults.  Some who will call, e-mail or text every so often just to see what is going on and others who put little effort into our friendship or have walked away.  Some who are pursuing Jesus with their entire lives while others have found other things to chase after and have become more part-time fans of Jesus.  Some who I want to be more like.  Some who I am already too much like.

That is the funny thing about the people in your life... you never really know what you are getting into until you jump in.  It will be messy.  It might hurt.  It might challenge you.  It might be what helps keep your sanity intact.  It may be someone who encourages you as you grow.  It may be someone who drains your time and energy.  It may be someone who appreciates you or someone who takes you for granted.  It might be a person who helps make you a better person.  It might be someone who drags you down.  You have to jump in to find out the possibilities.

I've been thinking about 4 or 5 different people this morning.  A couple of them I am looking forward to spending some time with in the near future.  Chris and Jeff have been there through a lot of years.  We don't get to see each other very often as my brother-in-law lives in Atlanta and Jeff in Taiwan.  If I was to pick who I am most like in personality and the way I process things, these two would differently be at the top of that list.  I almost always walk away encouraged when I spend time with either of them, whether it is just hanging out together or spending time talking about the deeper things in life.  They are two guys who reflect what following Jesus looks like and whose advice I seek out.

Then there are a couple of guys who seem to point out all that is wrong with the world.  They definitely see the glass at least half empty and who drain me mentally in their theoretical discussions about the things in life.  The conversations revolve around what is important to them.  Then there are those who just don't have time.  They have busy lives and honestly a friendship ranks somewhere below their job, their family, their favorite sports teams and the other things going on in their lives.  It is a friendship on the side.

The thing is that I fall into all of those at some point.  I bring all of my insecurities, my baggage, my encouragement, my negativity, my thoughts, my priorities... my messiness into those friendships as well.  The thing is we are supposed to go through life together.  The good, the bad, the ugly... it is all part of the package.  Who are you sharing life with?  Trying to man up and do it by yourself?  It doesn't work.  Investing in others comes with risk, but doesn't anything that is worth pursuing?  You've got 24 hours today, what will you do with it?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are you willing to dream?

"There are no impossible dreams, just our limited perception of what is possible"

Don't know where this quote originated, but it is money.  How often do we limit what can be accomplished because we don't have big enough dreams?  We have this need to be able to touch and see it before we can imagine it.  We shoot down ideas simply because we have a limited view of what can be done.

What if we expanded our perception just a little?  What great things could happen if we really understood that nothing is impossible for God?  Better than understanding it, what if we lived that way?  What dreams have you given up on simply because they weren't realistic?  They seemed too big to happen?  You couldn't imagine how it could possibly happen so you gave up.  And a little bit of you dies.  We accept okay because we can no longer imagine the great.  We settle for what we can see with our limited perception of reality.

Dream big.  Don't lose your innocence of believing the impossible might just be able to happen.  Don't give in to the cynics and the critics.  They are a dime a dozen, but the dreamers are who will change the world. They see what could be and don't settle for what is only right in front of them.  Impossible says God is limited to our small imaginations.  Isn't believing in something beyond our imagination the same as faith?  We can't quite grasp it but we know in our hearts it is true.  It requires a leap into the unknown.

What has your limited perception kept you from doing?  Let's not be so quick to accept mediocrity and be willing to dream a little.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I ought to...

Finish this statement, I ought to________.  Now fill in this blank, today I will ________.  Which is easier to answer?  For me I like the "ought to" statement.  It is in the future.  It is a nice idea.  It is something that might happen.  It doesn't require anything of me now.  I don't think I am the only who has this tendency.

Someday we will get around to doing it.  We will make those changes we need to address when it is more convenient.  We will have those conversations that need to happen later this week.  We will start exercising/ eating better/having a devotion/________ tomorrow.  We like the idea, we just don't want to actually do it.  So we put it off and pretend it doesn't exist.  We hope that it will magically change without any work on our part.

Inconvenient, awkward, costly, sacrifice... that is what doing something now requires and that is why we avoid it.  But should we?  I have a love/hate relationship with the following quote - "Delayed obedience is disobedience."  I love the thought behind it, but sometimes I hate living it out.  When I know I am suppose to do something and don't... that is disobedience.  We can make it sound better by saying we will do it in the future, but the reality is that now is when we are suppose to do it.  We convince ourselves that we are too busy to fit it in today, but if we had the chance to go do that one thing we have really been wanting to do, I bet we could find the time.  So what are you putting off that needs to be done today?  Will you do it or will it be something you ought to do someday?