This may or may not make a lick of sense for where you are in your life right now, but if I’ve learned anything lately, it’s that we gain far more by sharing our lives with others than we do by keeping ourselves cloistered away. We’re socially awkward, and it’s costing us big time.
As Francis Chan said in an interview I read earlier today, “I think the biggest problem in the church is this awkwardness. We just don’t know how to converse with people. We’re scared to do it, so we don’t do it.”
So here’s my part to contribute to a more social church:
– I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about life. How to live a good one. How to share it with others. How to just not suck at it so much. And in all of my many varied thoughts, I keep coming back to the notion that the point of our existence, the thing that each of us is supposed to do, is simply become.
Follow me on this one, okay?
This is a gross generalization, but almost every system of thought teaches us that the point of our existence is to become something. For the Christian, we’re to become like Christ. For the Muslim, to become a faithful servant of Allah. For the Buddhist, to become enlightened. Even the materialist, who has no transcendant push towards anything is still compelled by the forces of evolution to become a better, stronger version of themselves in order to survive. So, no matter where we turn, part and parcel of being a human being is the intrinsic need to become.
I want to become a good father. A good husband. A professional writer. A published author. A million different little things, things that — in order for me to attain them — require me to change.
– I know a lot of people who are unhappy with their lives right now. They are stuck in places that they want to be rid of, or they work jobs that do nothing but suck the soul out of their body, or they’re in a toxic relationship, or financial straits, or have medical issues, or a lot of things. And these people all seem to experience some sense of restlessness, a sense that things are either in need or in process of changing. This restlessness, often, feels like something wrong is happening. People think that if they were completely fulfilled, they would be at peace.
Honestly, though: without a sense of restlessness, who would ever move? Who would dare to do something different? If we’re feeling restless, perhaps it’s because we’re either in need of changing or on the verge of changing; either way, we’re being awakened to our need to become something other than we are. Maybe it means changing jobs; maybe it means finishing that novel you started; maybe it just means that you need to quit focusing on your personal bubble and start looking after the bubbles of others.
I don’t know.
But I don’t think of that sense of restlessness is bad. I think that the restlessness is a sign that we are in prime position to do something great.
– As Tom Petty sang, “the waiting is the hardest part.” I’ve got a couple of things in the wind right now that, if they come through, could mean some doors open for me. Not necessarily life altering stuff; mostly just writing opportunities that I would really like to pursue.
Even if none of the opportunities materialize, the mere effort required to chase after them has given me the energy to step out a little farther on the writing ledge. There’s particular blog that I love reading (you can find it here) and if I can ever recover my sense of humor, I’m going to try and get a guest blog gig with them. Again, it’s not like I’m cranking out War and Peace here, but I’m pushing myself to explore a very particular skill set and aspect of who I am in the effort to find out who God wants me to be.
– Lastly, I tweeted earlier today that I wish I could be like Kwai Chang Kane, and just travel the earth helping people. That’s actually a pretty fair summary of how I feel lately. I get energy out of being able to meet with people (in person, online, doesn’t matter) and give them a listening ear, and just get involved in their lives for a time as someone who can encourage them.
I get to do that a lot in my role as youth pastor, and the more I embrace it, the more I find I enjoy it. I’m not necessarily talking about long, extensive counseling sessions (they have professionals for that sort of thing, and I’m perfectly happy to let them have the work) but more along the lines of regular personal chats to see where people are and where they want to be. To talk with them about the things that hang them up, or to listen as they tell me stories of recent victories.
I’m going to steal my friend KJ’s line here, but I think what I’m discovering is that I really, really enjoy discipleship. Walking with people to help them learn how to become more like Christ, and letting them help me do the same.
You’d think a youth pastor would’ve understood all this by now, but hey — nobody said I was quick on the uptake.
So there are the freshest thoughts rolling around in my head. I’ll leave you with a verse that may or may not make sense with the rest of this post, but fits perfectly to me:
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16