Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Defining Today

Can you be underwhelmed by the overwhelming task at hand? I think that's how I feel, if you can call that a feeling. Speaking of whelming-ness, I like the line from 10 Things I Hate About You.
Chastity: I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?
Bianca: I think you can in Europe.

As I consider this feeling, I think it's in between that feeling you get when everything comes at once and that other feeling you get when you wished what you were doing at this instant were the most significant thing you've done. I'm blogging at the moment, so I am very obviously in between those two feelings.

It's not that I mind the feeling. I just wish I could pinpoint it more directly. Do you remember when it all wasn't so,..., so..., agh, ya know?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No Time in a Day

Tick. Tock. The clock moves by quick and it does not stop. How can one seem to run and run and never gain any ground? Ok, not ever, and forgive me if I sound like Solomon. Not when he wrote Song of Songs. That's be a different blog entirely. But when he wrote Ecclesiastes. It doesn't matter how right he was, he just sounded bitter.

I am not about bitterness, but when 8 hour days turn into 12 hour days and you still find yourself behind the 8-ball, you have to stop and wonder why. At least, I do. But there's not much time for stopping right now. I am once again needed. The day never ends. Tick. Tock.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Daytime of the Night

'Mommy....Mommy...MOOOOOOMMMMMYY!' The voice belongs to my 2-year old. As I pretend not to hear her voice, my wife gets out of bed and stumbles to the next room. 'What's that, hostess? Yes, there will be 3 in my bed tonight, thank you.' I gaze at the clock and see that it is 3:30am. This should mean that I am due for another 4 hours of sleep, but I know better. Between being poked by tiny little arms and legs and not being able to turn my brain off, I'm looking at another 20 minutes of sleep, and not all in a row.

I don't know if this is worse than what happens during the daylight hours I'm supposed to be alert for. The same little voice calls out for her mom. She wants milk, or cookies, or I don't even know. By the third plea to mommy, the focus changes. The needs haven't changed, just who she decides to ask. 'Daddy.' Though it doesn't teach her patience, I fill her milk cup, throw in some cookies, and plot as to where a nap might be found.

I really wish I didn't have to learn so many lessons from a 2-year old. I can fill my own milk cup, but I have things that I cry out for. And though 'Daddy' should be the first name I call on, it's often the last. My name should not even be on the list of who I look to for strength, and yet somehow that is always where I begin. I must sound like a 2-year old sometimes. And try as He might, I'm not sure I'll ever learn patience.

It's Been Some Long Days

It's kind of like that feeling you get when you're driving west on I-10 in Texas. San Antonio is little more than a memory and you've just passed a sign that read 'That gas station you just passed is the last sign of life for 247,893 miles. Seriously, break down now and give up all hope.' And a small part of you does give up hope. I remember the last time I got that feeling. I was driving west on I-10 in Texas.

To be accurate, my parents were driving. I was along for my last official family trip with my parents. I'm not really sure why my dad was driving. He could only drive for about 36 minutes before falling asleep. I suppose that wasn't really an issue out here since we just passed that sign and I had given up hope. Plus, with my dad asleep at the wheel, we would make better time. We might have needed our passports by the time he woke up, but no matter.

I don't really like that feeling. But sometimes my prayer life is like that. I can hardly remember when I last heard a barely audible voice giving me direction. Now it feels like I'm straining just to see the next sign that says 'El Paso...farther than you want to believe.'

I just read a quote from a fellow youth pastor (Sarah Purdue, writing for Student Life.) "No matter what you think about God, He is who He says He is. No matter what you think about yourself, you are who God says you are." I like that. It's foundational truth like that which can keep me through the painfully quiet times in my prayer life. Even in places like western Texas.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Last Day

I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.
~Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, The Message

Just before he said this, Paul was waxing eloquent about racers running hard all the way to the finish line. Then he makes the spiritual comparison. Ok, I'm a pastor, so I get this. But it did get me thinking. If I'm in a race, there is usually a finish line I can see. If I run the 100-yard dash, I know I can sprint the whole thing. But if I'm running a marathon, I know I better pace myself. But spiritually speaking, I can't see the finish line. We can quote scripture about always being ready and seeing by faith, but let's not get distracted just yet.

I can run and run, but that finish line remains unseen. It can leave a person wondering how to run. Or where. So if you happen across me and I appear to be running in circles, or even aimlessly, come alongside and run with me. I'll be running hard for the finish line.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Roller Coaster Days

Do you ever get that feeling that your life is just waiting for the next turn or dip, like on a roller coaster? Or perhaps you're fearful that the car you're in will just fall off the tracks. I don't think I'm about to fall out, as I'm securely buckled in, but my knuckles seem to be white as I hold on. The problem is I have some 7-foot giant in front of me, so I can not see what is coming.

I remember, as a kid, going to some podunk little theme park. The workers gave the instruction that if the ride was getting to you, you could just raise your hand, and they would let you off. The only problem was that once the ride started, their girlfriend showed up and they were clueless that we'd been spinning on the tilt-a-whirl for 20 minutes. You know, it's really hard to hold your hand up while you're dizzy and the person next to you is throwing up in your lap.

So even though I sometimes want off the ride, you can understand why I may be a bit slow to raise my hand. That, and I remember hearing about the guy who had his hands lopped off when he raised his hands on a roller coaster. How's he ever supposed to get off a ride early now?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A New Year Full of Days

To say I don't do resolutions would not be correct. One year I resolved to make more resolutions. Each year I join the fray of resolving to do something. But not this year. I could resolve to be more resolved, but I'm not sure where that would get me. I know what books on purpose say about setting goals. I'm big on purpose, but somehow when I set New Year's resolutions, they always fade to something about diet and exercise. I don't want to do that. I mean, I should exercise and perhaps I should lay off that extra dozen cookies each day, but....
I know what Paul says about resolving to know nothing but Christ. I've tried that. I forgot how to do math for a whole week once while doing that. But I suppose that's really more of a Christian life-goal than a New Year's resolution.
How about this...I'll start working on a few things I really want to do and come up with a list by February.


That sounds more like me.