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I love the week of Christmas.
Let's hit rewind. Bring back the presents and all the food and lets do it again. We had a great time with both sides of the family. I must have been a really good boy this year because Santa brought me everything I asked for. I have went into full blown bum mode today and plan on getting a lot of rest over the next few days.
Have you ever stopped and wondered what you were doing or thinking a year ago? five years ago? yesterday? Maybe you have thought about people that have drifted into your life and others that have made a permanent mark on your life. Or maybe you regret letting go of some relationships or something tangible that could have altered your life. These are all questions that I have been asking myself and pondering over the past couple of weeks. A year ago, I would have never guessed how different my life would be today.
My father-in-law calls these reminiscent memories "back flashes." As I am nearing my 29th birthday (February 3rd in case you were wondering), I have begun to see how God started me at point A and how he has held my hand to point B. Some days I can even see how I am going to get to point C on this journey. There are people and things in my life that were temporary and this hurts me because a part of me is void. However, there are others that have drifted into my life that will be permanent fixtures and I could not live without them.
I am learning to allow my past to challenge how I engage my present as I dream the incomprehensible for the future. As the New Year is approaching and you are beginning to ponder your past, present and future, I urge you to savor the memories, make each new day count, and DREAM BIG for your future. Don't settle with life! You have no idea how tomorrow can alter your life, so never leave room for unanswered questions, regrets, or past opportunities. What will 2009 look like for you?
Just wanted to share a couple of random Christmas thoughts with you on this frigid Christmas eve eve eve:
It has been an extremely busy seven days. The temperature has been well above normal. The mutual feeling of several that I have talked to is that it just does not "feel" like Christmas. That is statement is okay, if Christmas is only about feelings, the weather or my schedule. If Christmas was all about our surroundings, decorations, parties, or anything else, then it would be about our feelings.
Is it me or is there anybody else struggling with Christmas Spirit this year?
This Wednesday, we pulled off a HUGE service with Uth Force. It might be one the biggest ones we have ever done. I posted pictures here and here if you haven't seen them yet. God used this event to teach me and stretch me. I just wanted to share a couple of thoughts with you.
My favorite song of Christmas is "Little Drummer Boy." I love almost any version of this song, because the words always challenge me. I guess I identify with the Little Drummer Boy in several ways. He is a musician like me and in the grand scheme of things he had little to give the newborn King. When you think about the birth of Christ, there are so many absurdities according to our societal norms. Our society would tell you that the wise men took the best gifts, because the gold, frankincense and myrrh were expensive and valuable. I believe that the song played by the Little Drummer Boy was extraordinary and significant.
The Little Drummer Boy is extraordinary, because he gave all he had . . .himself. He did not have money or special gifts, but he was blessed with the gift of music. I am challenged each day to just give of myself more, rather than any talents, resources, words, or deeds.
The Little Drummer Boy is significant, because he connected to Jesus through his worship. He knew that his music would engage him with the Son of God. In spite of the circumstances that did not befit a king, his intense heart-felt song was adoration that could not be silenced. It was a declaration of his relationship with Jesus. I am challenged, especially in this season of my life, to make each day count. I want to connect with Jesus through my worship and I want my life to be an undeniable symbol of my adoration.
Are you searching for something other than normalcy? Are you looking for significance? I challenge you to look deep within yourself and evaluate what you bring to Jesus each day. Do you give him all of yourself and worship from a heart of deep adoration?
My Dad used to tell me, "If I would have known then, what I know now, I would have changed some things." I do not disagree with my Dad and I am not sure he really meant it. I am glad I can not go back and change anything. I am glad I did not know the outcome. I find myself glad when I face challenging times, glad to feel pain, glad to meet opposition. I might not like it at the time, but it is what makes me who I am today.
Jeremiah 12:5, "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?"
This is a scripture that I am chewing. It is a scripture that is driving me this week. As much as I have going on externally, there is twice as much going on internally. I still can not settle, I still can not stop. I will not give up, give in, or give myself away.
Over the last week I have found myself looking back a lot. Walking down memory lane and asking a lot of questions. I find myself standing in a new season and not begrudging being here but missing some of the people and times that have been apart of my life. I guess it is because we are gearing up for a big event or it might be the Holidays. It is not necessarily a bad thing to reminisce, I just do not need to stay here long. There are some issues with always looking back.
This week I am going to be totally engrossed with our first big theme night service at Uth Force. Usually most ministries coast through the Holidays, but we decided to challenge the normal (no pun intended) this year. Why not push to have one of the biggest months yet? The "Unbelievable" series has been one of the coolest series to date and we will end in with The Blizzard of 2008.
Is it me, or does it seem like it was just Monday?
Today I am declaring a mental health day. What is that? Glad you asked! A mental health day is simply a day where I refuse to do anything ministry related. Anything that would take a lot of thought. I am going to try to disconnect a little bit. Twitter less, stay off of Facebook, and keep my phone on silent.
Driving home tonight I kind of found myself fighting a funk. I could not explain it. Service was good. Crowd was decent (cause that is how we really judge success), feel like the students were engaged, and by all of our standards God moved. What was wrong with me? Then it hit me. My insecurities were getting the best of me, they were winning. I was scared....
A rubber band has immense elasticity to endure being stretched, holding things together/serving a purpose, and can always return to its original shape. I am undergoing a process in my life much like that of a rubber band. Upon moving to Atlanta, I was not able to find a job in the education field. Thus I returned to my old life of contract work and the stretching began. It has not been an easy process at times and I have really missed teaching school. However, I understand that I have been in a holding pattern---the contracts served the purpose and God helped me to hold it all together. Then this last Friday God blessed me with an amazing teaching position and things have completely fallen into place. My faith is stronger than I thought possible and I am beginning to return to my original shape.
Over the process, I have feared that I would break under the pressure or not learn what my purpose has been in this season. I have often wondered if my authenticity has been altered or if I should alter myself to meet an employer's expectations. Through it all, God has reaffirmed in me that I am evolving into the Paige Gordon he has intended. I am stronger and more seasoned now than I was two months ago.
I anticipate there will be situations and people in my life who will again test my elasticity. It is my prayer that God will continue to challenge me to rise to the occasion and never lose sight of my authenticity. I want to serve my purpose to the best of my ability, but I am learning that being me is the key to life. What is God using to stretch you? Are you resisting him? Do you feel like you are losing your authenticity?
The last couple of weeks I keep asking myself the purpose of this blog. Somewhere I think I lost perspective of why I started blogging over a year ago. At some point I guess I was trying to impress someone or get someone's attention. I thought blogging would put me at some special level of ministry. It became more about how many hits a day my blog got instead of just being who I was and doing what I do.
We assume things everyday of our lives. We make assumptions about people, about situations, about circumstances, decisions, so forth and so on. Assumptions are never a good thing. My dad says that when you assume something you look pretty stupid. Well, he says something else, but I can not write about it on my blog. Assumptions are a dangerous way to do ministry and to live. Why?
I was able to fit 5 days of work into 3 days.
This is the time of year when life gets so busy and we barely have time to sleep or do anything "normal." I want to challenge you to take a minute and allow yourself to evaluate how you are spending your time during this holiday season. Are you giving all of your time to play practice or parties, or shopping for the perfect gifts? Or are you allowing yourself to embrace this season to bless others, spend time with friends and family, or even rest and enjoy the excitement of the season?
God is challenging me to do for others this Christmas in ways that I had not thought of. Share what you have with those who don't have anything. Give to the needy with your resources, your time, and your support. Reconnect with friends and family that you have been too busy to communicate with. Find at least one way to influence the lives of others during the coming weeks. Make this Christmas different from all the other Christmases.
I am going to make this year about Him and others and less about myself. After all, once the tree comes down, the presents are opened, and the big day has passed, what will remain? . . . . the lives that you and I have touched.
December 22nd we will be heading to Centennial Park to ice skate and then to Underground Atlanta to hang out. Cost is $10 for ice skating, so bring spending money for Underground Atlanta.
Are there anymore new ideas. Are we just recycling old ones and trying to improve on them?
Do you ever have questions that you keep asking yourself that you do not have clear answers on? That is the season that I am in right now. I want to share with you one of those questions that I keep asking myself.
Complacency is a word that gets thrown around a lot in religious circles. It seems to be a buzz word when talking about change and when people are trying to push their own agenda. I have been personally giving thought to what complacency is and how I define it in my own life.