Create your own Eden. The bible portrays Eden as a kind of paradise. A place of unity and intimacy. The picture that is painted for us is one of perfection where there is a kind of interconnectedness allowing for peace. Conflict is absent from Eden. One does not need to view Eden as a literal place to understand the picture that is painted for us. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, Facebook brought back this picture we had posted back in the fall of 2013. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was an exciting day. We were at the restaurant drawing out plans and next steps for our new adventure called church planting.
When I saw the picture on my Facebook feed, it got me thinking about failure.
Failure. No one likes it. There are always well meaning people who will be quick to say that it’s not failure, it’s a growing opportunity.
Sure. I know. You know.
When it happens it still feels like failure and still needs to be processed for what it seems to be. Whatever it was you were trying to do did not work. You set out for something and didn’t make it. You failed. Technically. Continue reading
Dream, but embrace the mundane. This is not Hollywood after all.
My kids will sometimes comment on how unexciting their lives are compared to their favorite youtubers! “They are so lucky!” they say. “Their lives are so exciting. They get to have fun all the time and do awesome things like have a foam pit in their living room and a pool in their basement and an amusement park in their backyard! Our lives are so boring.”
What can I say? Continue reading
Here we go. As promised, we will explore 9 keys to cultivating and maintaining intimacy. Check in on Thursday mornings for the next little while to get your weekly key.
Let’s begin with Key #1 – Your story
We are complex beings; a mix of beauty and brokenness. We are, each one of us, a story being written. Our stories are unique and yet they all insert themselves in a bigger narrative.
You are a story. A story that wants to be told, heard and understood. A story that wants to be known. You carry dreams, desires, expectations, joys, hope, sadness, fears, wounds, disappointments, strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, etc. You have a past that was shaped by a variety of factors, most of them outside your control. You have inherited things you never asked for. You have made decisions, good and bad, that have contributed to the path you are on.
Being in a relationship amplifies and multiplies this complexity by merging two very different stories. Both stories wanting to be known, told, heard and understood. That is why it is good and necessary to be aware, to accept, to be open and honest with what is going on inside. Whether we understand it all is beside the point, but being true and letting our partner in on it is a key element to intimacy and growth.
To be aware is to see and acknowledge what is there. To accept is to embrace where you find yourself regardless of what went into getting your there. The good and the bad. It is what it is. To own is to take responsibility for your story (not in an “it’s all my fault” kind of way but in a “this is my story and I will be honest about it” kind of way). To discern is to know the difference between the good and the bad, what you did and what others did to you, what you control and what you don’t.
Your story is yours alone. No one else can tell the same story. You. Who you are. What makes you who you are.
Intimacy involves letting someone know you and enter your story. It also means you are willing to embark in this person’s story as well. There aren’t many things that can be both exhilarating and haunting. To know and be known truly.
The idea of being known creates fear and anxiety. Will this person still love me once they know me? Will they stay if I let them see who I really am?
Intimacy is risky. Like anything risky, it’s tempting to stay away. For those who enter into it properly, high is the reward.
If you’ve been in a relationship for any amount of time you know that intimacy doesn’t just happen. You know that simply being together does not guarantee intimacy. You probably have many stories to tell of moments when you felt distant from one another, maybe even somewhat disinterested. This distance in a relationship can happen over time but it can also happen overnight. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about fitness. I’ve tried many workout routines in my time and have found that most of them simply don’t fit in very nicely with the daily rhythms of an ordinary joe. Many of them require that I go out of my way to get them done. Others are expensive and simply not appealing.
Now that I’m 40 I thought I’d share the daily 6 step sit-up routine that has served me well thus far. Let’s call it the secret to my longevity. Some of you might recognize the routine.
Step 1 (Up): sit up and get out of bed – this is the tough one. You’ve been resting for hours and your body is in a warm and comfortable position. Much determination and will power are needed. If you can get passed this first sit-up, you should be good to go.
*Note: many have found they are good to go only after step 2. This is a matter of preference or personality. If you’re unsure which one you are, take your queues from people around you.
Step 2 (Down): sit down and drink coffee – after what your body just went through with step 1 and to move on to step 3 in a somewhat decent way, step 2 is very important. This is when your body gets its morning shake and the needed energy for the remainder of the sit-up routine. It’s a good idea to have your coffee maker pre-set to brew as you are going through step 1. This will save you some time and will make step 1 easier.
*Note: others who share this routine have reported needing to repeat step 2 one or more times throughout the day.
Step 3 (Up): get up and get ready for work – This next step also requires motivation. It is not as difficult as step 1 and not nearly as pleasant as step 2. Mind over matter. If you’re thinking to far ahead, this sit-up will be excruciating. Just get up and do what needs to be done. What you do here will determine what kind of looks you’ll get throughout the next few hours. Not to be taken lightly.
*Note: there is room for flexibility here. How you prep yourself during this step really depends on where and how you will be setting up for step 4.
Step 4 (Down): sit down and work – Step 4 brings mixed feelings. Some days it’s relatively easy and fulfilling. Other days it can suck the life right out of you. This is the longest part of the routine. It requires focus for multiple hours at a time.
*Note: for most, this step is done with other people. Not all of whom are necessarily as good at it as you are. Requires patience, team work, perseverance and the ability to suck it up.
Step 5 (Up): get up and go home – as step 4 winds down, you find yourself looking forward to step 5. This is the “second wind” part of the daily routine. You’ve worked hard and you’re tired yet you suddenly feel a little rejuvenated. During the last few hours you’ve wanted to give up but you pushed through the pain and now you’re experiencing a new burst of energy.
*Note: as you make your way home this step is a good time to reflect on how good or bad step 4 was. Think about what you’ll do about it during the next routine. Also a good idea to do mentally prepare for step 6.
Step 6 (Down): reward yourself with some down time – Your workout is complete for today. Now you can do everything else you want or need to do. Be mindful however. Tomorrow’s sit-up routine is just around the corner. Reward yourself, but don’t overdo it. Soon you’ll need to put your body to rest so you can repeat the routine tomorrow.
*Note: You need to remain realistic during step 6. While this may sound like an easy do it with your eyes closed kind of step, you will find that the tension between ‘want to do’ and ‘need to do’ can sometimes put a damper on things.
There you have it. The sit-up routine for the ordinary joe.
Something tells me I may need to start adjusting my routine … that’s for another day.
A few days ago, I hit 40. I’m not much of a birthday person so I can’t say it’s a big deal. I think people around me enjoy it way more than I do. Is it because I’m boring, dull and lack the ability to simply have fun? Maybe. Maybe not. I can seriously overthink this.
Regardless, I might as well seize the “oh my gosh, I’m 40!” moment and reflect. Thinking. Now that is something I love to do.
So, 40. Happy belated birthday to me. I’ve never wished myself happy birthday before. 40 is the year to do it.
Is this when I can start pulling the “When I was your age” or the “if there’s anything I’ve learned in my time here on earth” statements? To be clear, I’ve been saying these to my kids for quite some time. But maybe now I can start using them more frequently, like at work or when I’m chatting with the cashier or barber. When I was just 39 I didn’t have much to say. But now! I mean, come on, I’m 40. Time to get cracking. Maybe 40 is when I finally start writing on this blog with a hint of regularity.
I may be imagining this, and my mom can correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall (back when I was young) something in our house that read “The older I get, the better I cook.” Mom, am I making this up? Is it the old age making me imagine things?
I do cook better today than I did before and those chocolate eclairs are a demonstration of my superior skills. But this little post is not about my culinary skills. It’s just about being 40. It’s about getting better at life and what we learn from it as we journey along. Not all of us get better at it I guess but I like to think that I do.
This past week I discovered the song ‘You’ by Gungor (posted below). Go ahead, listen to it and then come back. I’ll wait.
The song got me thinking about my 40-year spiritual/religious journey and where it has lead me so far. I think I’m at a place of better understanding and maturity. Some of you might disagree!
I like how the song describes a journey that is not a rigid straight line. It is rather multilayered. At times certain, at times confused. At times holding on, at times letting go. A journey filled with turning points and markers that help us identify what we’ve been through.
The older I get the more I find myself wondering if there is a God and yet the more I find myself trusting that there is and hoping that this God is as good as the Bible says (although not always very clearly). The older I get, the more I embrace uncertainty about things I thought I was certain about for most of my life. The older I get the more I think the church needs to let go of doctrinal certainty and its desire to control if it wants to follow Jesus and change the world. The older I get, the more I hold onto the hope that Jesus did come to change the world and that all things can and will be made new.
The bible begins and ends with the beauty and order we all long for. Everything in between is a series of stories showing humanity (for the most part through the lens of individuals and a one group of people) trying to figure out what the hell went wrong and wrestling with the way God works and how the story we are invited into is meant to engage our entire being. Through it all, this God steps into our mess and at every corner tries to be known (even to the point of taking the blame for some absurd and awful things – try genocide). Then, Jesus comes along and says look at me and you’ll see God.
Simple? Not always. Beautiful? Definitely.
Where am I going with this? Nowhere in particular. I was just listening to a song and it got me thinking.