Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is It The Real Thing?

i am sitting here on our comfy couch. i do that a lot. but this is great. i'm surfing the Internet - doing some research on macs. i love macs. i am one of them. i've got NFL network on which has the 2002 superbowl between the pats/rams. this is the life. i am basking in the goodness of the patriots. it feels so sweet. i am happy.

i know i know. the patriots are done for the year. we've been done for quite a while. did i tell you about my trip to visit family in new england? it was a great trip. but it was a long trip - which means something bad was sure to happen with the patriots. it just happens that way. remember everything i've told you? superbowl? pats loss to miami? uhhh. so dreadful.

my brother and sister in law were in town the week of the last game of the year. we all sat around the TV watching the patriots shutout the bills. it felt so good. it felt so pure. we had a 13 hour trip ahead of us - but we were not going to leave before we knew the conclusion of the game. with 2 minutes left, a 13 point lead, and possession of the ball, i felt comfortable to leave. so we did. but there was so much left in store for the pats that day. we needed miami OR baltimore to lose. neither did. they both won. brett the jet let me down. i was stuck on interstate 90 when i heard the news. it was miserable. it just sucked. needless to say, i was just in a terrible terrible mood. we didn't get to the family's house until 4 am. my wife and i were exhausted.

we need we would be. we had it coming. we could have left right after church at 12:30. instead, we watched the game and left at like 3:30. its just the way it is.

but they are my team. i am going to follow them. thick or thin. i have to. i love them. i read about them - everyday. i check espn.com constantly for updates. i check patriots.com and boston.com and the herald daily. i shift my weekly schedule to watch their games. i am dedicated to following them. i love it.

i suppose this is just the way i am. i've been like this for quite a while. and i like to think this is what separates me from the normal fan. i am loyal. i am sincere. and i am hardcore. my love for the patriots is what fuels this behavior which could be defined by some as a sort of strict religiosity. but i am also a purist. you can only be a fan of one team. what i mean is, i can't be a patriots fan and also a chiefs fan. i can't love new england and also follow the bucs. it just doesn't work that way. you can only be a fan of one team.

but my point is that i will do anything to follow this team. i will sacrifice to be a part of the game. i love it.

i know that i go on and on and on. about the patriots and really about everything. my blogs get to be long. i am sorry. but i shock myself. really, i do. i am crazy in love with my team and am a passionate follower of the pats.

you know how sometimes God is working and seems to be hitting you with a theme over and over? sometimes you see it in relationships. sometimes you see it in the world or in the news. sometimes he tells you - yes verbally. sometimes you read it. sometimes you read it multiple times and in various places. i tend to not realize it right away and so he has to used a number of various resources to get my attention.

but here is what I have come up with: i am such a weak follower of christ. now to be honest, i've been struggling as to finish this post, let alone publish it. i've become such a downer. i can't really remember the last positive thing i've said in any of my blogs. but the point is, i'm finding growth in areas that i am recognizing as weaknesses.

this whole concept of dedication is interesting. i've really been searching and digging and praying about this whole idea of following. how do i measure up?

honestly, i am such a weak follower of christ.

sometimes it is almost disgusting. my lack of commitment. my dedication is pathetic. the comparison between the patriots and christ isn't even close.

i am afraid i am a bit of a coward.

what does it mean to be a true follower? what is the "real thing?" i am reminded of that feeling and emotion and question you get when you first think that you may be in love. "how do i know this is real?" or, "is he or she the one?" or "how can I be sure?" soo interesting. soo soo interesting.

but that is the point. isn't it? truly, it is a love relationship. i recently said this in a worship service - and i feel the need to repeat it - take what I say about love and marriage lightly. i've only been hitched for like a year and a half. but perhaps there are still insights here that should be considered.

but the christ/believer relationship IS very similar to that of a man a his lover. i mean that is the example we are given, right? but what i HAVE learned in my one and a half years of wedded bliss, is that those questions never seem to stop. in fact, it is a constant loop - a recurring theme. like i always ask myself, "is this the real thing?" referring, of course, to the LOVE between me and my wife.

my point, though, is not that i am doubting. my point is that this is fully necessary, and that there is a journey we must take, answers that must be had, and realizations to be discovered that lead us to the understanding that the "real thing" must constantly be worked out. it bends. it flows. yes, i did say it bends. but it does not brake. but the point is that it is constant work.

perhaps, "is this the real thing" is the wrong question. maybe the right question is, "am i being the real thing." that is why there is ebb and flow in my relationship with my wife. honestly, sometimes i am not good to her. i try to be. and to be real - often it is still "wedded bliss," and i love it.

the same is true with christ and myself. oh how i long for the feeling of wedded bliss i once had with my savior. but the lack of feeling, emotion, and blessings cannot and should not change the answer to the question, "am i being the real thing?" that is, am i being a real follower? like the love relationship with my wife, christ must be a constant pursuit. the desire and affection of my heart.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Don't Know What To Say

i am not exactly sure what to say right now. which is totally strange. it is a very uncomfortable feeling. you know what i mean? nobody likes this feeling. i think its because we are out of descriptions. we cannot communicate exactly what is churning within us. you want to express something. but how? you want someone to hear you. but how can you when you have nothing to say?

i struggle just to communicate this basic truth. i hate having nothing to say.

many who know me would find this difficult to believe - well, the fact that i don't know what to say. i can be a blabbermouth. its true. i can't help it. i'm quick. it just comes out. i never have issues telling it like it is. for the most part, i am ok with offending people. to be clear, i don't try to offend people - but if it is necessary, i'm ok with it.

my point is that i never feel like this. ever. honestly, i don't. i sincerely cannot remember the last time i had nothing to say. worse, i can't remember the last time i was unable to describe the whirlwind of emotions scattered throughout my being. it isn't good. it feels uncomfortable. it feels insecure. i feel helpless. i guess, i just feel sad.

its different with good things, right? you know what i mean? when you look at something so beautiful and you can't describe it. like at your wedding. when my wife was walking down the aisle, i had nothing to say. but i knew. and at least i could smile. i could react. maybe nobody heard me talking, but i was saying something.

or when your favorite wide receiver catches a bomb and suddenly your team takes the lead with 5 seconds left. you're shocked. you're in disbelief. its amazing. you don't know what to say, but at least you can shout. you can jump up and down and shake your fists. you can smile and scream at your buddy. you may not be talking intelligibly, but you're being heard.

but that isn't how i feel. i can't just hang my head. because that doesn't feel right. i can't sulk. that isn't enough. it doesn't accurately express the emotions.

i lost a friend. someone who i grew up with. someone who me and my buddies spent a lot of time with in school. tragically he died. it had been a really long time since i had been in contact with him before his passing. perhaps that is part of my issue.

i am not in reality right now. i think that helps me describe to you where i am at. i am trying to avoid this surreal atmosphere, but i cannot. i just don't know. i don't know what to say. i have a loss. i have a deep emptiness. i have this strange combination of emotions stirring inside of me that is creating this uncomfortable and mysterious ingredient i can't seem to put my finger on - like a flavor you can't quite figure out in a new dish. does that make sense? do you get where i am at?

so i pray. and nothing really comes out. but i pray. i don't know what to pray - but luckily God takes care of that form me. i think and i process and i attempt to move forward and i heal. and that's how this works. i guess its ok that i have nothing. perhaps that is exactly what God intends for me in this time. i've tried and tried, but sincerely, honestly, i don't know what to say.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Whatever It Takes

it was very very interesting this morning when i logged into my blog and took a look at my dashboard. on my dashboard i'm able to take a quick look at all the blogs i like to read. the first line or two of all my blogs read something like this, "Soooo, it has been a while since i've written anything." or "I am sorry to all my readers." something of that sort. i find this very funny. its funny because these statements are assuming that people are really wanting to read their blogs. like, "Please please add something! i miss reading! i want to hear from you! I need to hear from you! I am your fan!" its just funny. i am the same way though. i like to think i have fans. but even if no one read my blog, i'd still be convinced that i have the best blog. but i recognize that i have a big ego.

but i find it interesting when people get busy and take time off their blogs (like me). i mean, people set up blogs to communicate (like myself). they may have a very specific purpose or content they want to communicate. for example, someone may start a blog because they want their voice to be heard on a specific topic - like politics or poverty or animal/women's rights or whatever the case may be. i just find it funny that, given the fact that having your voice heard is so important, it is easy to just take time off or submit to the busyness of life. this is how i am.

with all of that said....it has been a while since I have posted. i have been very very busy. december is extremely busy for me with work. we have had family visiting. i am writing on vacation visiting family. there have been multiple christmas parties and get togethers. there have been meetings. blah blah blah. there have been a number of various things to divert my attention from writing on this puny little blog (that I am convinced millions read even though StatTracker tells me otherwise).

and want to know what is even more funny? i have visited this blog almost daily. i cannot tell you the number of times i have sat down before my computer, logged into my account, and stared at my dashboard contemplating hitting "New Post." it has definitely been a while and i have definitely knowingly put this off. everyday i've told myself, "i need to write a new post. i need to get on my blog." but stuff came up and i submitted to the work around me.

the other day i went into the gym to work out. i've been running stairs which is just miserable. i worked out so hard that i literally could not see straight. believe me, i understand this is a bit extreme. but I must do this. i've mentioned several times about my passion for working out. i'm a desperately competitive person. but the point is that i recognized a need (to take care of my fat belly) and decided in my heart and in my mind that i was going to do something about it. and that is where i am today. nothing and i mean nothing will get in my way of achieving my desired results. i take this very very seriously. when i go to the gym, i want to sweat. i want to be pouring with sweat. i work out until i feel as though i will vomit. if i don't have that sick feeling i haven't worked hard enough. i will do whatever it takes and i must do whatever it takes.

blogging isn't the most important thing in my life. but i like doing it. i enjoy doing it. i think it is very valuable to my growth. but more importantly, i resolved in my heart to blog. i decided it would help me move forward and decided to blog consistently. taking time off because of busyness shows me my lack of dedication.

i've always thought the same things are indicators of the big things. you know. its like they say God won't trust you with the big until you've proven yourself with the small. its all along the same lines. blogging isn't a big deal. but my situation is concerning. i can't even take a small thing like writing in my blog weekly seriously enough to make it happen.

it makes us ask this question: how badly do we want something? how important is something to us? if something is desperately important to us we will do whatever it takes to see it through. and we must.

there is this very small story in the acts of the apostles that has really changed my life. paul has this dream of a man from macedonia. in this dream the man begs and pleads with paul to come to macedonia and help them. so paul, luke, and everyone with them, got up the next morning and left for macedonia because they had resolved in their heart that is what God was calling them to do.

here is my question. where is your macedonia? who is your macedonia? what is your macedonia? what is the resolve in your heart? is it africa? is it children? is it abused women? is it the hungry men who live on the streets? is it the uneducated? is it downtown? is it the rural familes? what is your macedonia? what is the resolve in your heart?

what are you going to do about it? and how seriously are you going to take this resolve in your heart? are you going to take it on in your free time? or are you going to do whatever it takes to see it through? you won't get free time. you must create it. you must make it. you must give things up and make it happen. you must sweat and work so hard it makes you sick.

when God gives you a task, and you have resolved in your heart about something, we must be moved to action. we must be changed and spurred to move forward. we must get up the next morning and go. we must do whatever it takes to see it through.