*Shaking the dust off intangible website*
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. Per the typical writers habit: I started out with some great ideas, got really excited and wrote away, and then ended up with a lot of half completed posts about various different topics that I haven’t gotten around to finishing (“half-useless”).
It’s easy to chase after shiny things, especially in the moment.
But what about chasing the not so shiny things? What about being intentional about the realities of life we all face everyday, 24/7?
Bills. School. Work. Relationships. Family. Exercise and diet. Figuring out what in the name of scalloped potatoes (…mmm) we’re doing with ourselves.
At some point people feel the responsibilities and issues we all face become too much and go into auto-pilot. We let life happen to us (reactive) instead of creating life (proactive). There’s a huge difference, both emotionally and consequently.
Emotionally, it’s draining to think and feel everyday that you have no control over your circumstances or life, and that you’re at the mercy of whatever happens. You’re one pay-check away from homelessness. You’re one test away from failing the semester. You’re one conflict away from divorce, break-up, or just heart break in general.
Anxiety, hopelessness, and stress consume you.
Consequently, those emotions lead to a certain mindset and way of life. Because you’re anxious you close yourself off intimately from people and council, which is the complete opposite of what to do and of experiencing what makes life beautiful. Because you’re hopeless you see no way or need to fix your situation so you revert to being a dependent child instead of pushing forward as an independent adult. And because stress is literally draining away your heart and other organs, you don’t have the energy or desire to do anything. The challenges that remind us we’re alive and lead into a great story (testimony) are now just another reason to give up.
A vicious cycle. You seek rest, yet never find it.
IL and Rest are a Proactive Choice
A lot has happened this week. Change is coming as new representatives and policies have been appointed in the American government. Families of 12+ people lost sons and daughters to a young crazy gunman at a bar in Southern California. An entire town and 2,000 homes, along with 5 lives, were incinerated in a huge fire in Northern California. These are the main things covering the news apart from the standard stealing, killing, destroying, raping, abusing, and other things that go on in our society everyday.
“Wow, why so negative?”
Because, this life includes negativity. To run away from it is like running away from your shadow, you’ll never succeed while there’s light in this world. Fortunately, light is here to stay and we ought to grow as much as we can under its grace. The sun gives energy and warmth, it gives us time to see and accomplish much outside of sleep, and it does so without our control.
The point: You don’t need to control, hide, or constantly react to negativity, that’s not your job. Your job is to always seek, ask, and knock for life. Your job is to choose to be proactively intentional in everything you do.
On a fundamentally human level, we are created to be in motion. The atoms that make up our being are always vibrating. The blood in our veins is always running. Our lungs are always breathing. Our mind is always thinking and creating. Matter cannot be destroyed, only transformed. On a fundamentally spiritual level, we are created in the image of the Living God; bound in a body like Jesus by time and matter, and yet free to roam the eternal and vast heavens once we are loosened from this body. But that experience doesn’t start after death, it starts now.
We have a verse in our Scriptures that say “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” The context to this verse has to do with believers being free from old discontinued laws regarding righteousness. We have been set free from the curse of death through the sacrifice of the righteous Lamb, but that doesn’t mean we use our freedom to do as we please. Everything a previously enslaved man does is with the intent of enjoying freedom through righteousness, because the Lord who set us free is righteous Himself.
“What does this have to do with being intentional or finding rest?”
Righteousness is not something you accidentally do or stumble upon, it’s a conscious choice. A choice you make everyday, 24/7. Whether you choose to be righteous or not is a matter between you and God, but living a life of intention is also a choice; and it’s after that choice that rest is received (not the other way around).
Rest is found by those who know faith, hope, and love as a lifestyle. You choose to have faith instead of being anxious. You choose to be hopeful instead of hopeless. You choose to love and not worry, instead of digging deeper into stress.
You choose, proactively.
The choices you make today impact the one’s available to you tomorrow, as well as to those around you. So make them count while you have breath in your lungs. We all will be held accountable for those choices.
Conviction and Examples
This is easier said than done, of course, and some people’s circumstances are way more complicated or unfortunate than others. I’ve talked, and am friends, with many people with such dilemmas, however, and the one thing I consistently see is that those who are truly happy are those who in the midst of pain find their victory in Christ. You see it in the way they handle their bills, school, work, relationships, family, exercise and diet, and purpose.
They’ve seen rock bottom, and therefore understand the value of heaven here and now. Their life, joy, or sense of identity was robbed from them before; but now they know wholeness in the life, joy, and identity of Christ. They know through personal experience that you don’t have to convince people in darkness that the Light is stronger, you just have to live it. It’s a show and tell.
Todd White, Jackie Pullinger, John G Lake, Kathryn Kuhlman, Paul the Apostle, Ruth the Moabite, you name it.
These people built their lives through intense pain, and so can the rest of us. Even if our circumstances are not as bad as theirs we can still choose to proactively create life. It would be a waste not to do what is natural for us, because our Father also creates life.
If you want some encouragement and examples of people who’ve been through darkness and pulled through, check out the different testimonials at IAMSECOND.com.
Two particular testimonials that are powerful are those of Annie Lobert and Brian Welch (lead singer of Korn). You can watch them below.