Archive for November, 2009

Thankfulness

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

This is the obligatory, what are you thankful for post in honor of Thanksgiving. I could list all the things that I’m thankful for, but that would be really boring for you to read. I could ask you to list the things you’re thankful for, but your time would be better spent telling the people around you what you’re thankful for rather than posting it on some blog that your friends probably don’t read.

You see, the great thing about celebrating thanksgiving is that it gives us an opportunity to express our thankfulness. If you’re anything like me, if someone asked you if your friends and family know that you appreciate them, you’d say yes. If pressed and asked how they know you’d probably say something like, “They just do.” Yet, when I think about it, I can’t describe very many times recently when I’ve actually expressed gratitude to the people closest to me. I take it for granted that they know I appreciate them.

I would guess that if you’re honest with yourself, that’s probably true for you too. So rather than reading blogs about what other people are thankful for, or posting what you’re thankful for, turn off the computer and go let the people closest to you know that you’re thankful for them. Even if you have to pick up the phone and call them. They’ll appreciate hearing from you. Call during the Lions game, no one’s watching that anyway. 🙂

By the way, lest you think I’m a hypocrite, I wrote this post last week and scheduled it to drop today. I’m spending the day way from the computer and with my family.

Shiny and New

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

The Air Force is transitioning to new uniforms. By now, you’ve probably seen them. They’re shades of gray, green, and blue with tiger stripes. Pretty much everyone in the Air Force has their new ABUs. But, some of us in the Air National Guard are still stuck in our Cold War era BDUs, those old forest camouflage uniforms that no one under 30 remembers.

Over the weekend as I was performing my monthly training my new ABUs came in. I’ve got to confess, I was pretty excited about it. That is, until I got my box and the supply sergeant told me I couldn’t wear the uniform because the new boots haven’t come in yet.

You can’t wear a new uniform without the matching boots.

It was at that point that a realized how easy it is to not be content. I’ve worn BDUs for over eight years. They’re a perfectly acceptable uniform. Yet, I’m not content. I want my shiny new tiger stripe uniform.

This lack of contentment is featured in more places in my life than my Air Force uniform. I find it true in my spiritual life as well. I tend to be content with where I am but not content with what God is doing. That is so backwards. I should be content with God and frustrated with my lack of growth in God.

How about you? Are you finding yourself content with your effort and frustrated with God? Maybe God is frustrated with you because you haven’t grown to the place where he can use you the way he’s planned. It’s time for us to stop being content with ourselves and start being content with God. Then we’ll see what God can really do through us.

Out of Control Control Freak

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

In my last post, I shared that I recently lost my job. This has been an interesting experience for me. For the first time since I was 17 I find myself without a job. And to tell the truth, I’m scared. You see, I’m a control freak. Not only do I want to know what’s going on, I want to be the one directing it.
You’d think as a pastor and student of theology I’d know better, right? I can’t even understand how I am able to form the thoughts that I’m trying to communicate to you as I type. How can I possibly expect to direct the circumstances in which I find myself?

Yet, I think I can.

And, so do you.

As I ponder the direction my life is taking, I’m learning a new way to trust God. It’s a great experience too. It’s incredibly stressful trying to control things I can’t understand. In my current situation, I am acutely aware of my lack of ability to control things. I’m acutely aware of my need to get out of God’s way and trust him. I’m acutely aware of the freedom that this brings.

I’m still working hard looking for work. I’m working hard at trying to discern the direction that God wants me to move. But, it’s not stressful. I’m relaxed and at peace. I don’t know the situation in which you find yourself. But, I do know that it’s too big for you to handle. Yet, it’s not too big for God to handle.
So, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and let go. Stop trying to take control away from God. Instead, follow God’s guidance and go where he leads you.

Eulogizing the Living

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

I’ve had a very interesting experience over the last two weeks. As part of a restructuring at my church, my position was eliminated. During this transition I have had several people encourage me by sharing with me the impact I have had on them.

This has been an amazing experience. I have never felt more loved and appreciated by my friends and coworkers than during the past two weeks. And as I think about that, it makes me a little sad and very disappointed in myself. I’m not sad about the impact I’ve had. I’m surprised at the impact that God has had through me over the past several years. I’m sad how little I knew about that impact three weeks ago. And, I’m disappointed at how little people know about the impact they’ve had on me.

We seem to have this bad habit of eulogizing the dead and forgetting about the living. That’s what my friends and coworkers were doing over the past two weeks. They were offering me a eulogy as we mutually grieved the end of our working relationship.

Thinking about the love and encouragement I’ve felt during this time makes me think about all of the opportunities to love and encourage others I’ve missed. Like most people, I wait until the end to tell people about the impact they’ve had on me. Why do I wait so long? Why don’t I take the time to share my love for others as it’s happening? Why don’t I take time to eulogize the living? Imagine what life would be like if we made a point to speak well of, to eulogize, the people around us. Start today. Make a difference. Change the world. Eulogize the living.