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Monday, May 25, 2009

What can I learn from death?

Today was a rough day. It was tough to see so much pain in the eyes of people I love and respect. I got another taste of how fragile life can be this afternoon. One of my best friends since childhood lost his mother today. She was only 48. I remember growing up viewing his family as my own, knowing that if I ever needed anything they would be there for me. She was always there for others and I respected her strength. I owe a lot of who I am today to them. When I was younger my mom took me to church and taught me how to be a righteous and moral person but somewhere along the way we quit going. I remember it was his family that invited me to church again...and it was because of them I decided to continue in my faith. I don't know that I have ever told them, but I don't know that I would have ever gotten so deeply involved without their encouragement.

Death can teach you a lot about how you perceive people. I never really sat down and thought about what I thought of her. I didn't try to avoid it...It just never crossed my mind. I didn't see her often, especially after high school. My relationship with the family is due to my friendship...but I have always viewed his parents as role models in my life. This experience has made me realize how much I truly love and respect them. I am only now realizing how much they meant to me growing up.

I have never really been one to take life for granted but in times of loss one gains a bit more understanding of the frailty of life. A week ago there was nothing wrong with her. A couple days ago she was in the hospital with full expectancy of a full recovery. Life is a gift.

Perhaps, for many of us, all experience merely defines, so to speak, the shape of that gap where our love of God ought to be. It is not enough. It is something. If we cannot "practice the presence of God," it is something to practice the absence of God, to become increasingly aware of our unawareness...
C. S. Lewis, in The Four Loves: Charity.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What motivates me?

I am not very sure what it is exactly that motivates me. While at work I usually have an unconscious desire to do well and work hard but I am not too sure where that desire comes from. I could say that it comes from a desire to do all things as if I were doing it unto my Father and therefore I try to always be at my best, but I am not sure that is the whole truth. There are times when I feel tired or just plain lazy that I remind myself of that truth and soldier on but that's not the case every time I am certain. I feel obligated at work to earn my not be lazy...essentially make sure that I am worth every penny that is paid to me. I am not sure where that mindset comes from....I do not know what made me feel this way. I do know that it is not something that I always embrace. There are many times I feel like slacking off, but more times than not my conscience gets to me and I pick it up.
In life I think what motivates me to keep my head up is hope. Hope is what allows me to be joyful in turbulant times. I have a hope for a future, a hope for greater things to come according to phillipians. If it were not for my belief in that truth it would be difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel during life's darker times. Hope is easy when it is accompanied by faith. I especially have a hard time seeing how someone could be an optimist without faith. If it were not for my belief and understanding of the promises that God has issued to all who believe, it would be easy for me to be very skeptical of good things to come...especially considering the current condition of our country.
I believe I draw a lot of motivation from my family. Though it is not in the form of encouragement as most would expect. I feel as though I am depended upon to be strong, to be an emotional and spiritual foundation for them. I feel like they believe me to be the strongest and depend on me to "have the right answer" in any given situation that involves life's struggles. Some people would consider that a lot of baggage and responsibility but I believe a sense of that responsibility to be strong is what, in fact, makes me stronger. When I encounter times in my life that I don't feel like trudging along for sake of myself I can always draw strength from the thought of being strong for my family. I only hope they realize that my strength is not strength at all but weakness. I draw strength from surrender.
In fun I am motivated by an unnatural obsession with success, as kevin would put it. I am extremely competitve in pretty much anything. I do not have a problem with long as I feel like I should have lost. My competitive nature is more directed inward. I expect to improve every time I do something. Basketball has been my new addiction to success. We play every week and losing is fine but I must get better every week or I am bothered by it until the next week. I don't believe this to be anything other than a natural masculine drive to be successful. It has it's advantages and disadvantages. At times, if I can turn something into a competition then it can motivate me to do far more than I would normally. For example, betting who can go without sweets the longest or who can lose the most weight each week makes it much easier for me to live a healthier life than just trying to do so without a competitive edge. The downside to such a competitive nature is that some things....such as video games...are not much fun unless I am winning. It's good I usually win i guess...ha ha.
In general I believe my motivation for all things comes from the Holy Spirit inside of me. The Holy Spirit is who motivates me to fight my sin nature and be the kind of man that is expected of me. The Holy Spirit is what drives me to be more than a conquerer, to not have a spirit of timidity, to be bold in the face of darkness, and to percevere and have faith when I am weak and disheartened. I am nothing when depending on my own strength, therefore, I can hope and draw strength from myself. My hope is found in Christ alone and in that hope I am motivated to do all I can to bring glory to my Father.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What do i want from life?

I want many things from life. I do not want many specifics though, which might be odd. The only specific things I want in life is a wife, a family, and a means to provide for them. Those things that are not so specific are a little harder to "go out and get".
I want to be a vessel in which lives are changed....for the better. I want to glorify God. I want to see people come to the Lord. I want to be a man of faith, righteousness, love, strength, boldness, courage, reverence, wisdom, and valor.
I do not want to fall to temptation. I do not want to let anyone down. I do not want to be afraid of vulnerability but at the same time I do not want to be naive. I do not want to be ordinary. I do not want to settle for average.
I want to make Him known. I want to be an example of truth. I want to make my family proud.
I want to be a provider. I long for a family to nurture and a woman to serve beside.
I desire whatever God has in store for me. Whether He wants me in a hut half way across the world or here in middle TN, I want to do His will.