Saturday, April 17, 2010

Birthday Blog

So a while back, in early February to be not exactly exact, a friend of mine offered to write a blog about anything I wanted as a birthday gift to me. I gave him a list of three choices, all implying that instead of writing a blog he should come visit me. He actually did both, which is just the kind of friend this guy is: awesome.

Well, not quite as far back, in the last week of March to be more exactly but still not exactly exact, I offered to write a blog post about any topic he wished for his birthday. Because my gift was offered a few days after his birthday and I used his own idea for the gift, he asked me to write about "punctuality and originality." Again this is just the kind of friend this guy is: snarky/sarcastic; we'll call him snarcastic.

So buckle up, here's my blog about punctuality and originality. It's a bit deeper than the first two paragraphs would indicate so put on the scuba gear.

Lately I've been in a bit of a spiritual funk. What I mean by spiritual funk is that I'm not sensing God's presence as much and my own passion to spend time in prayer or reading God's words through the Bible is a little flat. This has happened before and will happen again, so it's no need to alert the Pope or Dr. Phil, but it's still a bit of a bummer when you're knee-deep in funk.

My wife and I have been thinking and talking a lot lately about what it really means to follow Jesus. There have been times in life when the answer to that question seemed simple and/or easy, but it doesn't quite feel that way anymore. We've been confronted with the idea that following Jesus involves not only believing what he says but actually doing what he said to do. It's easy to believe something in your head, harder to believe it with your actions.

In the midst of this we have been praying for God to show us what he wants us to do. How can we follow Jesus better? It feels like we have been waiting for this answer for some time. But punctuality is apparently not God's priority in answering this prayer. Or maybe more appropriately, our own ears haven't been punctual in hearing his voice.

Just this week though, I have heard a few simple answers that have brought me peace:

One, is that instead of waiting to hear God reveal some world-changing mission to us, we need to obey his simple commands given through scripture. Why would God give us some huge mission if we can't even obey simple commands like "love your neighbor"? And at the end of the day, it's obedience to those commands that will change the world anyway. Thanks, wife, for speaking that truth to me.

Secondly, perhaps God doesn't care as much about what we do, but cares more that we care about what we do. That is to say, maybe God isn't as concerned that we end up with this crazy-amazing end product, but rather that in the midst of living our lives we have taken care to seek him in whatever it is that we're doing. Thanks to my mentor for speaking that truth to me, although it was not an original thought. It was unoriginal not in that he stole it from someone, but in that we have actually talked about this before when I was struggling with this same stuff before. He told me the same thing before. It was true then, it is still true. That's one great thing about having a mentor, they remind you about all the good stuff you're too stupid to remember (which if you're like me, is a lot). If you don't have a mentor, get one.

Lastly, stop waiting and start doing. This is almost a combination of the first two things, but sometimes I spend so much time agonizing over what God wants me to do, I miss out on all the doing I could be doing. Thanks, God, for speaking this simple truth into my thick skull on the drive home the other day.

So that's it for now. This blog is neither punctual, nor original. Maybe I'll get around to another post next month.