Tag Archives: self examination

Higher Ground

To slip into the role of passenger

Ambling down the road of life

Not weary, not trying

Simply getting by

 

Oh how I enjoy to fall into anonymity

It is so deeply pleasing not to press

Not to try, simply to be

But I know that road & I know where it leads

 

Anonymity leads me into dissatisfaction

It leads me into depression

It leads me towards a death that I have no interest in

No, that road is not the road for me

 

There is another road, well more of a trail

The road less traveled, the higher ground

The trail is thing & it is easy to fall from

But the views are spectacular and the smiles are genuine

 

 

The power of me vs the power of you

Some days it feels like

The power of me

Verses the power of you

Yet you are on my side

Always on my side

When I want to quit

When I feel too tired to carry on

You are the coach pushing me to keep going

When I feel that I can’t do it

When I tell you that I don’t have enough

You pick me up

You tell me that I am loved

That I am light

Even when I turn to my lifelong comfort

You use that to let me know that you care for me

I know that you don’t bring the suffering

But you do use it for sanctification

I pray for a break from suffering

I beg for a period of peace

I am at the end of my rope, hanging on

Yet I know, without a second of a doubt

That you are holding the rope

That I will be fine

Because you love me, I know because you told me so

Complete Surrender

This has to be one of my most procrastinated posts yet. Usually when I have an idea of something to write on it just falls out on the paper (or screen). Sometimes if I don’t have time I’ll put the idea in a folder for later but most of the time my blog is an outpouring in a moment.

This started with something that I wrote in my career change post, which I then removed & made into another post. For whatever reason I didn’t post it & now I have been delaying revisiting, realizing that I have been avoiding it I am pressing on because if I don’t it will begin a descent that I am not willing to go on anymore. So here today at lunchtime I re-read, re-worked & added to the original post. The post was originally called ministry, which is a word that to me implies a profession, as you will see I realized that this was more a way of life thing than a profession, hence the changed title, reading this blog on The River walk entry during this process helped with the perception (& title) change.

The other week I thought I was feeling a vaguely familiar call, a call to completely dedicate my life to God & somehow find a way to enter into full time ministry. The week after I heard nothing but how I am not good enough, how the words I use when I’m frustrated in the car speak to how I simply don’t have the character for such a calling. If what I believe is true, if what I have been reading is true, then ever since a thought that can only have come from God appeared & I acknowledged it, I have been under attack from the devil. It has took all week for me to fully acknowledge this.

Which is rather scary, if I am under attacked for a possible call to ministry, then does that mean it really was God? Am I really supposed to somehow try to move towards that? The thought of it both excites & terrifies me, I would love the work, yet can’t think what I might have to offer, let alone what I would have to offer a church or ministry that would justify them compensating me at a level that would not require me to shatter my family’s life. I’m not even sure that I want to work for a church, I have a feeling that it would ruin a lot of nice illusions that I would rather keep. I don’t know, I just don’t know.

That is where I was leading upto Sunday. After a great day on Saturday serving complete strangers doing repairs in a trailer park with my church’s men’s ministry, I was feeling good about life, I did my usual serving efforts on Sunday service & then, by the end of the sermon I was a blubbering wreck. You see, what has been on my heart recently is that the thought of working another 30 years in the freight industry is just unimaginable to me today. I’m fine with plodding through for right now, but really, to be doing this still when I’m in my 40s, or 50s or 60s? Please tell me that won’t happen! It seems that God agrees. So on Sunday I built a bridge & got over myself & I visited the prayer team, then I spent time talking to my wife about things, then I emailed my mens group & asked for their prayers.

Do you know what I received? Love and acceptance from a group of people who see me as significant enough to pray for & care for. I can’t express how much that means to me, I really can’t. You see, for all the healing that has gone on in my life, there is apparently still more to be done. I was at a dead end because I was trying to figure things out by myself, not allowing anyone in & not wanting to bother them with my needs. As ridiculous as that may seem, that is one of the great challenges that come out of my insecurities.

So onto the future. A call to full time ministry? I believe that is what has happened, however, here is the kicker, I am not sure, in fact I am pretty sure, it is not a call to professional ministry. Maybe one day that is where I will be lead, I have no expectations of that, but time will tell. I think the call I was receiving was a call to complete surrender. Something that I have heard for years but if I am honest, never been able to accomplish. You see, while my beliefs are full time, the fruits of my beliefs have been less than that. The thing with complete surrender, with not just allowing Jesus in the car, but letting him drive & me sitting in the back seat, is that it is a completely new way of life. It is not 10 minutes a day reading or praying & a few hours on a weekend in worship & fellowship. It is full time. My ministry is my life, my life needs to be a reflection of Jesus at all times, at home, at work, at play, even driving!

What has happened after I reached out to the people that God has placed in my life has been incredible. I felt an amazing peace that entire week. I also started to see that this year has truly been an explosion of long term prayers being answered. Prayers asking for my true identity to be revealed, for me to be molded into who God wants me to be, not the mess I used to be. For continued & deeper healing from the wounds of my past. Prayers for friendships.  On & on.

The reason why I had to ask for help before I could see these things? I needed to experience that I am not a lone voice in the wilderness. I believed that isolation & alone is who I am at my core, part of my defective nature. I am not alone, I am loved, I am cherished & I am at my best in community & fellowship. Sharing all of who I am with those who love me & need me to be me, to be wholly & unashamedly me.

Now, where does this leave me with my career funk? I think it is Gods way of telling me that it is time to stop asking my job to do what God can only do & start bringing my identity, my true self, the me that God sees, into my job. Does that mean I will be doing the same thing forever? Probably not, does that mean I have the answers? Not at all. Does it mean I will never have a bad day or lose it again? No.

Does it mean that I have understood correctly, again I really don’t know. I don’t know what the future holds, all I know is that it is time for a career change, but not at an environmental or behavioral level, not a capability or belief level, but at a God spoken identity level. My ministry, regardless of my vocation, needs to be based around being the true me at all times & allowing the love of Christ to be expressed through that.

If you have 37 minutes to spare, I cannot recommend this sermon enough, it was a great message, it was not until the end that I realized that I had been feeling like my (18 year) career was oppressing me. It was at that moment that I knew I couldn’t go on the same anymore. It was through that moment that God told me I didn’t have to, even if I am in the same place forever, it will be forever changed because of that Sunday.

 

Some of what I need to be conscious of today is not being in such a hurry for God to fix me & move me onto whatever the next step in His plan for me is. I need to enjoy the journey, I need to stop wanting to do more out of my need to feel significant, I am significant, He is not going to allow me to do more until I am doing it for Him, not for the brokenness that only He can fix. I need to celebrate in my blessings more, start really realizing all that I have in life. If my life is my ministry, it does it a great disservice to be down on something that is so wonderful.

Maybe the upside of taking so long over this post is that I can also share the following week’s message. One of my favorite teachers was visiting, it is an incredible message, but also for me, served like a review of what has been done since 2004 & a reminder to stay connected to the true source .

 

 

 

 

After writing all this earlier today, I then spend the afternoon questioning if I should post this, if I am being too open with the inside of my mind, if my continuous rambling about my faith will drive me & others crazy. I wonder if I am over thinking this whole thing. Should I just get on with life & not worry about things so much, learn how to be satisfied? How has my blog become the gateway to not only thinking so much, but my faith growing so much? The more I think, the more questions I have, the more questions I have the more I am confused, which in turn causes me to think (vicious cycle). The more I discover who I truly am, the more I now have to learn how to live life in this world as the real me, not the me who learnt how to survive in this world with coping mechanisms.

Who am I today even? I am one who will pray for anyone. I am one who now when he blows it in frustration, recognizes it & seeks help from God to change, standing up to the issue to take its power, instead of throwing extra fuel on the fire. I am one who earlier this year admitted to God that I am ok with being thought of as a little strange if it means I get some extra Holy Spirit in me. I am slowly, but surely, beginning to be the me that I was created to be, and that is a good thing.

I think something from the other morning summed me up perfectly. I am the one who was reading the Bible at his desk while listening to Appetite for Destruction (not a thought out moment, it just happened naturally), hoping that when my emails finally stopped downloading my work day would not start with a kick to the proverbial nuts. Guns N Roses & Jesus, that right there, for all its wonderful contention is as good a word picture of me that I can give today.

 

 

The Firewall

The firewall

Established to protect

To defend from attacks

Internal & external

The firewall covered all possible points of entry

Except one

There was one that was not considered

A stealth attack that had never been attempted before

Writing

Writing bypassed the firewall

Writing accessed the memories, thoughts & feelings

Locked away for so long

Left to rot in the chaos of history

Writing is taking down the firewall

One program at a time

Dream or fantasy?

A dream is born

A young man picks up a guitar

Fly to the highest highs

Follow the path

Then trail blaze it some more

Be a superstar

Be a someone

The dream is big

But the drive is not

The hope burns bright

But the distractions are many

The fear is big

The pain is real

The dream it fades

Reality sets in

The dream that felt like a dream

Was only ever a fantasy

 

 

Growth – a summary

I have finally finished the self-examination writing assignments I set myself early on in the life of my blog. As I go through my awakening this year, God is answering one of my longest standing prayers, tell me who He says I am. I am going to start here with this summary of what I have learned about myself. My faith, my beliefs, are a way bigger part of my life than I realized they were. They are, quite amazingly, just as big, if not bigger a part of my life than I hoped that they could one day be. I am a quick learner in some aspects, but when it comes to things like this I am just slow, as my wife lovingly pointed out the other day.

When I started this blog I declared that this would not be about my faith although it would surely influence some things I put on here. Let me correct that, this blog is about me, it is a place for my thoughts, feelings & emotions to be expressed, this blog is a place for the overflow of my heart. My faith is who I am, it is what I am, starting to write about that has been so incredibly freeing and not to be rejected for doing so has been wonderfully reassuring.

Now, I want to clarify a point I have made previously, I do not believe in any way that it is right for me to force my beliefs on anybody else. I believe that we all have to find out own path, our own beliefs & faiths, whether that be Jesus, Allah, science or whatever. It is not my place to tell you that your beliefs are wrong. However, it is my responsibility & my calling, not to hide who I am, it is my responsibility to share all the good that has happened to me. Not to “convert” anybody, but to let people know that it is available to them, if that is what they choose.

Other things I have discovered through these writings & this year in general? I am way less interested in sport & video games than I used to be. I still enjoy them, but I would much rather spend time writing & reading. Sports in particular has been such a huge part of my life for the last 25 years, but today, while I still love the competition aspect, the soap-opera that goes along with it is growing increasingly tiresome to me.

My love of creating music has been sorely neglected for far too long, I am enjoying getting that going again, there should be some blog entries on that soon.

The biggest thing I have discovered through these writings & my blog in general? It’s ok to be me, it is ok that I am a gentle poetic soul who is spiritually sensitive. It is ok to admit that I am still far from perfect, but I am at least a work in progress. I know from experience that when you share things they begin to heal, that is why I write, whether it be poetry or anything else, not just for my own healing, but in the hope that someone who needs to see what I have written, to not feel alone, can find a message. This blog is making a world of difference in my life, if it can make a small difference in your life, even if it is just 2 minutes of enjoying a poem, that validates any & every effort I put into this.

Here’s to the future, whatever it may hold. In this dark world, may our lights shine bright to remind people that good will always outnumber & outmatch evil.

Career change?

So following on from my last post. I think it is clear that I need a career change. However, what exactly do I mean by that? The easy, rational (maybe) & certainly worldly thing to do is to go find another job. If it is my industry that is the problem, then I should go & find another industry right? Go to school or something. This is all good practical advise that I have received & told myself many times over the last 18 years.

For whatever reason I have never done it, fear of failure? Sure, fear of not being able to meet my responsibilities & commitments? That too. The thing that gets me though, is that no matter how close I get to leaving my company, I always wind up staying, why is that? Well I’m sure you know by now God is a pretty big part of my life, whenever I get close to doing what I think I should be doing, there is always a thought that says you are right where you need to be, don’t leave. Now could have I been misinterpreting the message, getting caught in my own fears, but I believe that until now I have been where I should be.

This brings me to the present, my stifling, oppressive dissatisfaction with where I am today. Some days the monotony is more difficult than others. Going through the motions, just trying to get it all done so you can leave & forget it ever happened. Clearly this is not a good place to be mentally or emotionally. The baggage from this struggle can infect the rest of my life & frankly I am sick of it.

So here I am, back to the new job or new career thing. Let me investigate that briefly before I explain the problem with that. There is a train of thought that you should find what you love to do & do it, find what makes you feel alive & figure out a way to get paid for doing it. In Wild at Heart, Eldridge quotes Gil Bailie saying “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive”. Now I’ll be honest with you, I absolutely love that way of thinking, there is nothing more that I want for my daughter’s career than for it to be that. But for me? I don’t even know what that would mean for me. What makes me feel most alive today when I am doing something? It is when I am in an act or worship, whether it is at church, or serving in the community, more than music or sport or doing anything, I feel alive when I am in an act or worship.

This is where the problem lies. It is not a matter of vocation, it is a matter of mindset, heart & identity. If I change my job, that is an environmental change, of the 5 levels of change (future blog spoiler), that is the lowest & least effective. If I change my job I will still be there, wherever I go I will be. The thing that I have realized is that it is not necessarily the job that is the problem, yes I am bored, but the main problem is me. I am asking my job do to things for me that a job cannot possibly do.

What do I want from a job? I want to be stimulated, I want to be challenged (ok a job should be able to somewhat do that). I feel most alive professionally when I am required to be creative. More than that though, I want to feel like I am making a difference, bingo. You see that is where this all comes from. I want my life to mean something, I want my life to be significant.  This is where I am at today, I need to & am learning what significance really is. For most of us it is not some big Bob Geldof or (err I really should know a significant American) moment, it is like my poem, a small collection of moments that add up to a lifetime of significance.

Somehow I have convinced myself that if I am stuck doing this thing that I did not choose to do, dealing with stress everyday, then my life is not mattering enough. This is the first place that my career change needs to take place. I need to get it through my thick skull where significance & making a difference comes from. Yes I may not be directly making a difference (in my mind) every day. However I am making money, money that I use to provide for my family, my biggest everything is my family, they are my life. I also use the money to give to charity, this is not some trumpet blowing exercise, but indirectly I do make a difference everyday, from the orphanage in China we give to, to the clean water project in India, to our church & all the outreach we contribute to through them. So while I am not directly & actively involved in these things, me doing my job helps provide for them to be done. My job also provided the funds for me to do the things I enjoy, music toys, travel, beer, all sorts of things. That is just material crap & doesn’t really matter, but I’m not going to lie & say I don’t like getting new toys I mean who doesn’t and there is nothing wrong with that (unless that is your entire reason for existing).

Then there is this other small (yeah right) matter of what does God want me to do? This for me has to be the number one priority, this is where some if not all of this is coming from. If you’re not a God person, you have this part easy, you just do what is right for you & yours, whereas the Godsman must take into account these other factors. This is where things are really muddled right now.

If you’re reading this & you are a believer, please pray for me, for guidance & clarity in my life for my future.