Its always good to get a break and just get yourself out of the everyday stuff….or as Mute Math would put it: “break the spell of the typical.” This weekend I went to California and had a chance to relax, reflect, and remember why I’m where I am, and I why I’ve made the decisions I’ve made in the last twenty three years.
I also got to see some really cool people. For me that’s what its all about…the friends and relationships that I’ve had and have made… if all I do when I get a “break” is spend time with these people…I always feel recharged.
I was able to come to grips with a few things during my road trip that had been buried under heaps of daily routine. Here’s a couple major thoughts I’ve had this weekend:
(1) I’m supposed to be “catalytic.” I’m supposed to be pushing forward and ingiting change wherever I am. I can’t use the excuse that I’m not in a community that encourages this…I simply have to constantly push myself to, like Andy Stanley says, “constantly challenge the process because and system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo.” Because of this, I need to be more disciplined, more commited and more focused than people around me, if I am to be faithful with the gifts God has given me.
(2) There are things that I have already been doing that I’m good at, but need to continue to harness the potential in those areas, and discover more creative ways of utilizing my strengths. “more creative” is the key phrase in that last sentence. I need to find ways of doing what I love to do in areas that aren’t as comfortable for me.
(3) One of the biggest things right now that prevents me from engaging as much as I could in 1 and 2 is fear. On my way home, this realization struck me… the reason I don’t live like I was created to live is because I’m afraid. I’m afriad that I don’t have what it takes to follow through once I start it. I’m afraid that once I’m thrown into an environment that’s not safe and predictable, I will fail. I’m afraid that if I give up this chance of being exceptional at the cookie cutter pastor, I’ll never be able to find my way in the unknown. Until now, I’d never have paid lip service to any of this, and on the outside I’d dismiss it by saying “I’ve already taken risks!” or “I’m already in an unpredictable environment!” yet there is still this feeling that I’m settling for less.
That is one of the worse feelings in the world…that you are settling. And maybe not blatantly…maybe you are doing good things, and you are living within your strengths and you are having a postive influence on a lot of people, but deep down…do you ever have that haunting feeling that you are selling out for goals that aren’t as worthy as the ones you were meant to pursue? Its really bothering me right now…that I’m settling for doing things good in the way they’ve always been done. I’m not really pushing myself… I’m not really challenging myself.
And in order to be a ‘catalyst’ for change, upheaval, and continual progress both personally and with the church I work at, I am going to have to confront my fears, I’m going to have to embrace that holy discontent that I feel so often, and I’m going to have to get down on my knees in prayer and ask for a much higher influence to intervene lest I fall into what surfing legend Phil Edwards calls “the legions of the unjazzed…” the countless millions who spend their entire lives just building sandcastles on the beach while the whole time, the mighty blue waves are calling them to risk and to exhilirating adventure.
I want to have real character…the kind that serves with wild abandon. I need real courage…the kind that “desires life like water, yet drinks death like wine.” (G.K. Chesterton). I need connection with God, who is the strongest supporter of those who desire to do great things in this world and in this life.
And finally I need to let go of my false notion that God has something big for me in store, and hug the truth that he has nothing more than something really small for me in store. Today. In every moment…every decision, and every thought.
Because as beautiful as it is, I’m tired of standing on the beach.