Posts Tagged ‘growth’

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Resuming My Journey

October 7, 2014

I have had this blog for years. I used to post frequently. And then I stopped. But now I feel a need, a desire, a prompting, to write again. I considered starting a new blog. The things I wish to write about are so different than what I had written it would make sense.

But I realized something as I started to set up a new blog. I realized that I am still the same person. The person who wrote those posts was me, struggling. The person who will write future posts will still be me, struggling. My struggles are different now, but they are still part of my journey. I think anyone who chooses to take the time to read several posts from the past and now will get a much better picture of who I am than if I were to simply start a new blog. And so, I will resume this blog. This blog with some posts that perhaps feel untrue to who I am now, perhaps even some posts that I now disagree with.

At one time that was how I thought. At one time those were me. We all change, we all evolve. Please don’t hold me to past standards, and please don’t dismiss the person I am today because of something I wrote years ago. That WAS me, but this is me NOW. We are the same but we are different.

Welcome to my journey. Thank you for joining me.

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Comfort

June 2, 2010
I think if I complained to God that this adventure He is calling me on is dragging me out of my comfort zone, I think He would cry back:

“Good, I don’t like your ‘comfort zone.’ For one thing, it’s something you create and you also turn to me less when you’re in your comfort zone. I want you out of your comfort zone. I want you dependent on me and if to do that I have to pull you out of your comfort zone, then I will. I am the only one that can create true comfort. I am the only one that can give you that gift. You are powerless to be truly comfortable outside of me. The adventure I am calling you to will not be comfortable by your definition of the word.

You define comfort as ‘doing things you already know how to do, repeating the things you’ve always done, and never being nervous.’ That’s wrong. Your definition of comfortable is really the definition of ‘stagnant.’ Have you ever noticed that? You don’t grow. You don’t change. You don’t learn new things. My definition of comfortable is a lot different. Mine means going deeper into who I am and who I made you to be. Sitting in my presence naked of your insecurities and masks is true comfort.”

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Shifting Theology

April 5, 2010

I remember learning all about Fowler’s stages of faith development and not thinking I really agreed with them at all. I mean, apparently you question into your late 30’s before accepting that you can’t figure it all out and forgetting about finding all the answers.

This is quite likely true, I’m certain Fowler is much smarter than I am. But I’m also finding that I’m pretty comfortable at 26 with not having everything figured out, and yet, I am still definitely working out my theology.

5 years ago, in fact, 5 months ago probably, I would have been very comfortable saying that I am a strong and true and firm Calvinist. My beliefs and understandings and ways of seeing the world fit perfectly into this theological framework. But now, they don’t. For sure, I still view myself as fundamentally Calvinist, but I can no longer fit into the party line so to speak. And while I think this makes me a better leader, I wonder if the church will agree.

I’ve noticed over the past several months that my theology has become more liberal, more open, and less definitive. I have found that the more I walk with God the more things that used to seem cut and dry are clearly not. I find that God is more real and present to me every day, that my walk with God is more concerned with his will for my life, and that my theology is moving away from the firmly Reformed positions I used to hold.

The problem is, while I don’t see the changes as being significant or important regarding my ability to lead in a reformed church- in truth, I think it is a benefit- will the church agree? And as questions continue to arise is my theology really going to be continually evolving for at least 10 years? I feel like I’m already at a pretty resolved place where I realize my theology is not going to be the same as yours, and that doesn’t mean I’m right and you’re wrong. So where else is there to go?

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Prayer for growth

March 9, 2010

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

-St. Francis of Assisi

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A Life Changer

January 20, 2010

She walked funny, like more than just a slight limp, and she had a lisp so I didn’t pay her any attention. I knew nothing about her, and yet based on these two physical traits I dismissed her as not being someone I cared to get to know.

And then it happened. My life fell apart- friends died, my church was torn apart, and I was diagnosed with depression. A friend reccommended a woman who was currently in seminary to become a licensed therapist. Our first meeting was at the local coffee shop and I walked in and was surprised to see “her”- the woman who walked funny and talked with a lisp- waiting for me.

That first meeting was awkward because I was feeling guilty about having dismissed her when I had seen her around before. But slowly she broke through and during the next 18 months saved me. That sounds so dramatic, but the truth is, her counsel and wisdom helped me work through psychological and spiritual things that were threatening to destroy my faith, and had all but succeeded.

She was still my go-to counselor until last year when it became clear that any future need of therapy should be done face to face rather than on the phone. I still talk to her when I’m struggling with old demons, which isn’t often, but she will forever have one of the places among the top 5 people who have impacted my life.

And I dismissed her because of how she appeared. That experience made me realize that I have no business judging people based on any initial impressions. If I do it is far more likely that I will miss out on a great relationship than anything else.

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My Resolution

December 30, 2009

I wonder what would happen if we could just let go of our preconceptions, our judgments, our opinions, our “rightness” and instead step into the shoes of someone else.

Would I be different if I knew what it was like to be ultra-conservative? How would spending time as a Muslim change my view of them? Would I better understand why addicts are addicted? Would I begin to understand how people can love working with numbers?

How would my response to people change if I took time to try and understand where they are coming from? Would I be less judgmental? Would I be more loving? Would I learn to think less about me and more about them?

This year I have a lot of little goals: things I hope to accomplish. But I only have one New Year’s resolution. Only one thing that I think is big enough to be a resolution.

My resolution is that I can take the time to understand those who are different from me and ACT on that understanding. That by this time next year I will not be sitting at my computer thinking about all the times I recognized a need and decided it was too big for me to do anything about. I will put into action the things I have written about and thought about. I will ACT.

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Freed From the Chains

December 28, 2009

He was born into slavery. He was raised as a slave. And when the day came and all slaves were set free he remained on the farm living as though he was still a slave. He toiled for little or no money, he lived in sub-human conditions, he served his master. He was free to leave at any time, but he didn’t really know what that meant, and so he stayed. When a man came and told him about the wonderful work opportunities out west and that he could go work there he finally understood a little- he had a choice. But he chose to stay because he did not see how wonderful his other options were. When he got worn down by all the work on the farm and could no longer do it someone told him of a new place to work and so he went and found it foreign and frightening. So he returned to the farm and toiled on. Until he realized how ridiculous it was and once more went to work somewhere new. He returned to the farm yet again, working for the same man as a slave. He didn’t know what to do with his freedom. He was a free man, but he died a slave.

In America we celebrate freedom. In the American church we celebrate freedom from sin. But the thing is, while we are already free, we remain slaves until we choose to live as free. I am free to choose to allow sin to win, and I am free to refuse to let it win. Freed from sin doesn’t mean that sin no longer has a hold, it means that sin is no longer the ruling authority. The more I deny sin’s claim on me, the more free I become. Whenever I choose to let that which I know so well (sin) win, I choose to be a slave.

It doesn’t make sense to live our lives as slaves when we have been set free. We need to realize that our freedom is worthless until we choose to embrace it.