Notice how it isn’t generally people pulling back 2 back shifts in the ICU who tell you how busy they are; what these people are is not busy, but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. Instead, it almost always ends up being people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed, work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve been “encouraged” to participate in. They’re busy chiefly because of their own ambition, drive, or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.
Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. A good friend of mine recently texted me asking if I wanted to grab dinner. I answered by saying that I didn’t have much time but maybe (just maybe) I’d ditch a few hours of my work. Being the nice guy he is, it wasn’t a big deal to him. But if I were him I would have wanted to clarify that my “asking for dinner” had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation. But buddy, this was the invitation! But my busyness was like some vast churning noise through which I was shouting back at him but he gave up shouting back out it.
This phenomenon or hysteria or inevitable condition or whatever-you’d-like-to-call-it, it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it. Let’s get this clear. I proclaim I’m busy all the time. It’s not as if any of us want to live like this any more than any one person wants to be part of a traffic jam – it’s something we collectively force one another to do.
“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you’re busy, completely booked, or in demand every hours of the day”
Right? Right? Wrong!
Honestly, (sometimes) I can’t help but wonder whether or not all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t really matter.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you -Hebrews 13:5
Gracious Father, I thirst for a desire to live much less of a driven life and much more of a called life. Lord, if greater grace comes to the humble then accepting my limitations is essential for my liberation. Let this be my prayer.
I’ve seen my ugliness everyday and everyday I wake up and decide that “today I’m going to change!” I’ve fought admitting this to myself. I know that preaching a try harder/do better sermon to myself is not the way to go about it. You’ve heard me say it, yet I still do it. -_-
I can be pretty obsessive in my pursuit of getting better. I think most of us are. We spend our days either trying to figure out how not to sin or trying to figure out how to make things better after we have sinned. A pursuit of ourselves.
“We spend too much time thinking about how we’re doing, if we’re growing, whether we’re doing it right or not. We spend too much time pondering our failure and brooding over our spiritual successes. In short, we spend way too much time thinking about ourselves and what we need to do and far too little time thinking about Jesus and what he’s already done.”
We have an obsession with sin. We have an obsession with wanting to grow and be better. It’s what consumes us. Think I learned that the most my junior year. Constantly striving, not enough delighting. We are told to “be the best that we can be” and when we aren’t we despair and question God. “I’m trying G! Why aren’t you allowing me to succeed?” In a double bind here…Surely if we are busy serving others and conjuring up all we have to love them then we will be too busy being the best upperclassman we can be to think of ourselves. No, actually by doing this we are still self-focused. You can argue that and I will listen but the truth is that anything done out of our efforts is done for our own glorification. Anything mustered up from a will to do better still comes from us.
Of course, I’m still all about self-improvement. After all, the life of a Christian is about growth, I think. It becomes an issue when it becomes your obsession. Nonetheless, the truth that we must believe in is this: our change is truly His desire and it is truly a job that only He is big enough to do. Our G is greater, our G is stronger, our G is higher than any other.
To remedy all of this, to truly live outside of our self, our sin obsession must be turned into a Christ obsession. Focusing on what’s been done for us. Swimming in the grace that He has poured out on us, saving us despite our sinful, self-seeking heart. Reveling in His unending love for us when we push Him aside in our self-reliance and desire to be number one.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4
PS. Turns out we may need to change the tagline for this blog. MAINLINE SENIORS!!!
(Cone of Shame)
When you’re not who you want to be, you don’t feel like you should be around God. That’s how I feel most days. I sin, realize it, then progress to shy away from the Lord in embarrassment and shame. If you’re less or worse than the person you think you ought to be by now, you feel like you can’t really go to the Lord. I can’t pray, I can’t crack open my Bible and I don’t really want to be around any other Christians, let alone RCF. Why is that?
We all feel this impulse, by the way. If you know what I’m talking about, (and you do) then you’re not alone. I was talking to my best friend in college who recently said that he had gotten out of the habit of spending time with Jesus every day simply because he had sinned and was too ashamed of himself to face the Lord. At the time, I didn’t know what to say except, “I feel you, man.”
Now on the one hand, that’s the most natural thing in the world to feel, but on the other hand it makes no sense. That’s a feeling that’s got to go. If I think I have to have it all together to hang out with Jesus, I should prepare myself for a massive disappointment. These past two years I’ve been blessed to hear testimonies from my CG members. Could I sincerely, genuinely, with all my heart, reallllly believe that I need it have together all the time after hearing of G’s testament in my friends’ lives? A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y not! As long as I am breathing on this earth, I am NOT going to have it all together. Believe that.
That doesn’t mean I’m not changing and it doesn’t mean I won’t grow, but it does mean I need to learn to accept something true about myself. I can’t/won’t go up to Jesus. He came down for me. He didn’t say, “Come to me all you who are awesome and have their shiz together.” He said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened.”
P.S. SHOUTout to GRACE KIM. Hollllla~
Let’s face it. Most of us have a weird relationship with sleep. It’s like how you related to that one boy or girl you liked when you were in elementary school. Don’t lie. You remember their name (Savannah, lol). You teased them, you avoided them, you “hated” them. But whenever they were around you got butterflies in your stomach and you never wanted to see them go. I think that’s how many people relate to sleep. Well, that’s how I relate to sleep. In once sense I don’t want to sleep. I do everything I can into the late hours of the night (or morning) avoiding sleep. But once I’m there I never want to let go. It’s like that winning lottery ticket and we cherish it and cling to it ever so tightly.
Thus the dilemma many of us face in the mornings. The alarm goes off, the cell phone buzzes, the roommates move around, or in my case you live next to the dorm hall entrance and you hear it open, close, open, close. Pick your poison. You are stirred out of your slumber and thus the dilemma. You’re in bed, covers keeping you warm and the day’s responsibilities and schedule are ahead of you. Most importantly, you know there is a Water you need to drink and a Bread you need to eat. But that can wait you tell yourself. Why? Because “I need sleep.” There’s an email or a text from someone important waiting in the Word for you. But that can wait you tell yourself. Why? Because “I need sleep.” There’s a verse in there that if you meditate on it it will help you choose wisdom over sin today. But that can wait you tell yourself. Why? Because “I need sleep.” There’s an encouragement that’s waiting to be discovered and shared with that friend God has planned to send your way this very afternoon. But that can wait you tell yourself. Why? Because “I need sleep.”
This morning I laid in bed, alarm blaring at 7:30. This morning, there was one thing ringing in me…this line, “I need sleep. I need sleep. I freaking need sleep.” But in the back of my mind there’s a quiet and distant competing refrain. Consider it the holy spirit. “Ty, Ty, Ty. Wake up, you need me.” Holy Spirit gets no credit haha…
What do I really need? And whose voice will I listen to? Do I really need 15 more minutes of sleep or 15 more minutes basking in God’s promises? Think about it this way. Sleep offers you physical warmth underneath your covers from the coldness that’s “out there,” ‘be it your school, friends, insecurities. God offers you spiritual warmth from the coldness that will overtake your heart if not communing with him. Sleep offers you delay from the inevitable responsibilities, duties, obligations, tests, meetings, confrontations, and other assaults that will plague you today. God offers you strength and encouragement to face the inevitable and endure through every test, trial and temptation. Lastly, sleep offers you the joy of dreams and fantasy to escape the pressures and worries of life, and to for a brief moment imagine a life of rest. God offers you the beastly promise; he grants peace to those heavy burdened and promises to make fantasy a reality and offer to you true rest for the soul and body. So what do you really need in the mornings? I’m asking you to reconsider. I think I know what I need…but will I do it?
*If you’re able to wake up and do devotionals with God at other times of the day (afternoon, evening, before sleep) that is amazing and press on! In this post I’m speaking of myself and how I look to wake up in the early mornings, only to lose my fight with my idol, sleep.
**Lately, I’ve also been subject to anxiety and a slight mental breakdown. For those of you (who read this blog) or feel what I feel, be encouraged by this verse.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
P. Dwight gave an awesome sermon awhile ago about 3 questions we should be asking ourselves each day:
- Who is God?
- Who am I, in relation to God?
- Who are the people around me, of course, in relation to God?
Coooool questions. Hahaha. Think about it. In any given situation or moment in life we are living w/ a set of answers to these 3 questions. Now we have 2 choices: interpret our reality through the answers that God gives us OR we can interpret our reality through our own answers, reasonings, conceptions…
Imagine you’re having the perfect day. Everything is working towards your favor. You get all the green lights, professor cancelled class, you win a raffle-drawing for a new iPad. You’re enjoying yourself and your life. In that very moment, what are your answers to those 3 questions. It’s probably something like this…
- God is good! Tweet PTL! Hey, He must surely be blessing me for something good I did, right?
- I am loved by God.
- People are such blessings/encouragements in my life. What could I do without you guys?!
Now, imagine your worst day. Nothing is going in your favor. You get all the red lights on your way to school, your professor spontaneously announces a pop quiz, which you end up failing, and you lose your brand new iPad. You’re hating yourself and your life. In that very moment, what are your 3 answers? Maybe a ‘lil some-something like this…
- God is so far away and doesn’t care about me.
- I am a failure and probably worse than nothing. Tweet FML.
- Why are people so annoying? GO AWAY, you.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that the scriptures reveal that despite the situation we find ourselves in, the answers to these 3 questions should always be…
- God is for me and never against me and he is working all things out for his glory and my good. (Romans 8:28)
- I am a sinner saved by grace more sinful and harmful than I can ever imagine BUT, in Christ, more loved than I ever dared hoped for. The gospel, anyone? (Ephesians 2:8; Tim Keller quote)
- People are fellow image-bearers. We are all struggling in the same mess of sin and its devastation as I am, none better and none worse than me apart from the grace of God. (Genesis 1:26-27, Colossians 3:1-17)
Not before long will you recognize that your answers are a lot more governed by your own construction of God than informed by God himself. Today and each new day, you’ll experience either good or bad situations guaranteed. Some days, you’ll get all the green lights and others, all red. How will you answer these questions in those moments? In that moment of sadness, depression, anger, pride, road-rage, happiness, etc, what will you believe about God, yourself, and others? Take a step back, breathe, shake it off, then act, according to his will. Be shaped and molded by the word alone.
(don’t read too much into this picture… :P)
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” [1 Peter 1:14-16]
I’m such a bad son. Oftentimes I forget that if God is our father, it is a natural conclusion that His children be like Him. It’s perfectly normal and common that we are called to be like God because we are His children. He is definitely not talking about an impossibility..
BUT why is it so seemingly hard? Why does it feel like a burden? Because when we hear “Be holy” we think about things to do rather than an identity to be. The older I get, the more I realize things about myself, and I am realizing more than ever that I am just like my mom and dad. My mom yawns when she gets nervous; I’m just like that. My dad is a very shy and careful person. He is also someone who loves just going home and being at home, rather than being out and about; I’m just like that. In many areas of my life, I didn’t decide to be the way that I am, I am very much the son of my mom and dad. I am like them, I am them in many ways..
When God says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” It’s not just a command or a task to be accomplished. It’s a promise that God will make happen. If indeed God is our father, then His spiritual DNA is in us and His Spirit resides in us, His identity is in us. Holiness is not a list of things to do and not do. Holiness is realizing and living in the reality that we are a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father, and little by little, we are becoming more and more like Him. Sometimes I go to church with my parents and every Sunday, there is always a fellow church-goer who comments, “Wow, you’re the son. 부몬님 달맜내 (You look just like your parents).” or “You’re definitely your dad’s kid.” Why? Because I look like my dad, there’s no mistaking it. I am just like my dad.
The more we grow as children of God, the more we will become and look like Him. We take on His character and personality. We start to exhibit His qualities. This means, less trying to follow a rule, and more realizing who you are and reminding yourself, “I am a son of God” or “I am a daughter of God.” My mom and dad love me, and love who I am becoming, and support me and cheer me on, and I am free to grow into their DNA, to become the best parts of them, to even grow from their mistakes and weaknesses. Likewise, our Heavenly Father loves you. He loves who you are becoming because He is supporting you and cheering you on and transforming you from the inside out.
We are free from judgment, free from shame and guilt, free from having to follow the rules and regulations, and we are free to live in the identity we now have. We are free to live boldly and lovingly and cheerfully. We are free to be like our Father in every single way.
But, then again, why is it so seemingly hard? Thank God there is grace for the difficult. B/c of His grace, He gives me the opportunity to be a better son each and everyday. [pp]
Hmmm so I was thinking…college is pretty crazy. Every year, you discover that you have fallen in love with a new group of people – people who only four years prior were strangers, mere nobodies. and almost as soon as you realize the depth of your heart for them, for their safety, for their future, for all they will become, you are confronted with the reality that you must let them go; and that you must make room in your heart for a new group of strangers. how do we go through this? yeah yeah, i know..this is so cheesy (wow tyler, get a life man). but seriously, how can our hearts be so dang wishy-washy?
but i’ve come to realize after the many late nite chats, qt’s, fellowship, through guidance from my older bros and sis’ and ultimately through the word, that the answer is no. it’s impossible to love and then love again, and then love again and then again. that is, until you realize that what you thought was your heart beating for these people was never your heart alone but that was, from the beginning, always G’s heart for these people revealed to yours. right? it’s impossible to love in this way until you realize that your growing love for a group of people is not so much your love growing as it is G’s love spurring in your own wretched heart. it’s like the cliche romantic comedy punch line, “it’s not you, its me.” HAHA yup, imagine G saying that to us. ‘Cept, he’s not alluding to the eventual break-up, but the eternal marriage we have with his son, JC.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever ~psalm 73:26