Happy 2011 - hard to imagine is now been over 10 years since we all welcomed in the year 2000. I can remember vividly how much uncertainty was in the air as the ball dropped that year and everyone thought the computers would crash and the end would come - it's now been 10 years since all that happened. I never thought my life would go this fast, and most people that I talked to that are older says its like a roll of toilet paper, going faster and faster as you get closer to the end. One thing is always vivid to me: Every day I'm one day closer to meeting Jesus Christ - that's always sobering and humbling and at times even a bit scary... actually a lot scary if you think about all the implications of meeting the King of Kings.
As I write this, I'm in Davidson, NC, soon to go get some exercise before the day of business activity starts. I don't know why, but this morning I woke up at 4:30AM without any alarm, wide-eyed and alert - maybe it was my bladder that provided the stimulous, but I saw no reason to not go ahead and embark on the day. I thought I would be able to start my run at that time, but I made my way to the workout room at the hotel only to find it didn't open until 6AM. None of that is really important, but I needed some transition point from my thought on meeting Jesus to waking up earlyt this morning, and thought a waking up early and having to wait a bit longer was a nice way to say - I'm using the time in between to write on the blog. I've not written on here in quite sometime and I really like the whole blog thing. Jacqueline is much better than I at keeping it updated with our life and I'm glad for that. It provides a neat way to look back over your shoulder and see some of the joys of the year and all the Lord has brought you through and taught you and shown you as traveled another year of life. This morning I finished reading a book by Mark Steele, a Christian commedian/writer/film maker, called "Christianish: What if We're Not Really Following Jesus at All?" It was a really good book- I don't know if I liked it better than "Flashbang: How I Got Over Myself", but it made some very real points that cut to the heart of the matter in terms of our walk with Christ. There's no way I can do it justice with a summary or an overview, but I did want to share one section of the book that really spoke to me. It was a section called "Love is a Muscle":
"We've been treating the Jesus message as if it is for our own adoration - supposed to bring us applause. It's not. In fact is is more than likely going to brings us the sort of pain that stems from significant stretching. We resist this stretching because we do not like agony. But pain must come when there is atrophy. If it does not, then the unused muscle dies. The unused muscle of the modern church is selfless, attentive, transforming love. It dies because we keep our distance from the unlovely - and we keep our distance because getting too close to them is painful."
This spoke to me on a lot of levels - it spoked directly to the times I avoid people (whether that be physcially avoiding them or simply just avoiding sharing Christ with them or being vulnearble with them about my own weaknesses), inside and outside of family, because it's hard - like stretching... and sometimes, like with stretching, you don't see the results and it's tiring... but ultimately, it's really not about the results, it's about the following through on what Jesus called us to do. I know there's a lot of areas in my spiritual life that need stretching - I pray I learn to trust God with the fears, insecurities, and desire to shape my own life because in some way deep down almost beyond finding, I have a notion that I know what is best for me, when in fact I truly don't. The neat thing about stretching, is that you usually don't see the difference on day one - it's just a lot of discomfort, but at some point in time, you turn the corner and that my friend is a glorious day. So I'm going to keep on stretching and asking God for the grace to stretch and the grace to be stretched... and one day, Lord willing, I hope my shape is changed. Because we're all going to meet the King one day.
I'm off to go gets some exercise... I can't wait to get back home to my wife. I sure do miss her and all the laughter and beauty that comes with just sharing life with her. Happy January 19th!!!