I got rid of my iPhone today. I didn’t want it anymore. I’m not here to brag about my particular brand of asceticism, but I would like to use this as an opportunity to make a point.
I’ve grown much too accustomed to our “upgrade” culture. We live by the mantra of “the one who dies with the most toys wins.” But the fact of the matter is, they still died no matter how much stuff they had. I want my life to be measured by relationships not possessions. Twitter will tweet on without me being constantly connected (although I’ll still tweet from my computer). Instagram will be just fine (my lens was broken anyway so it might actually be better off). And one less phone connected to Facebook isn’t going to put the company under. The truth is, I’m sure that the internet will be ok without having constant access to me. And, hopefully, I’ll be able to focus more attention on the people that I actually do day-to-day life with.
I encourage you to “upgrade” our friendships with God and people, whatever that means for you in this season of your life. Because, in the end, that’s all that really matters.
Be At Peace,
This is Part 1 of an indefinite series about depression. It’s a topic that is near to me and I don’t think we talk about it enough. Be at Peace. - Joel
I am a reluctant citizen of the twilight between two worlds.
The warmth of day at my back I hold to the promise of consistency.
Dusk is a prison, the edge of my resolve.
And my grip is too weak to keep daylight with me.
Will you be with me through the night?
Will I wake to find a breakfast of hope laid out on the table?
Or will you quietly lift the latch while I rest my eyes and steal into the night?
Will I wake to find the fireplace cold?
Be with me.
So here I am at 20 years.
I’ve got to be honest. Life, thus far, has been difficult. A lot of let downs and a few victories. A bunch of questions and a couple answers. And here I am at 20 years. More questions than answers, I’m more scared than I have ever been. Perhaps the older you get the more questions you have.
In that case I think it’s time to grow younger.
This year I will be:
- Slow to speak
- Quiet when I do
- Kind to Everyone
- Healthy in body, spirit and mind
- Unwaveringly loyal
- Driven by the Gospel
- Fueled by Compassion
- Filled with joy
- Peacefully Brave in the storm
- Simple and Open
- Confident in Grace
- Honest, Free & In Love
I hope that I can get to know you better this year.
Be At Peace
Yesterday I finally got around to developing a roll of film that I shot a couple years ago. Everything felt so different back then. It’s hard for me, these days, to not romanticize the past. It’s easy to get discouraged in the routines of the “winter seasons” of life. But we have to make a choice to live everyday with purpose and mission. Soon enough the “snow will melt” and everything will be right again in the world. But until then we have to choose to honor the King and worship in the waiting. There is so much beauty found when we choose to live in contentment. Don’t be afraid to love extravagantly. Don’t be scared to be inconvenienced. In fact, allow inconvenient love to become your lifestyle and worship in the waiting. We were made for freedom.
Be At Peace,
I really wanted to write something profound today. Ideally something that would change your life and make you love me more. I actually just wrote (what I thought to be) a profound and compelling post on the difficulties of commitment. Then I accidentally deleted it. (I also almost deleted that last sentence because it made me look like a bit of a fool.)
You see, the truth is: I care about what you think. To much.
Whether you are a dear friend or someone I’ve never met my perspective of identity hangs on what you think of me. It’s a disease I have called the fear of man. You have it too. Yeah, maybe you’re not ready to talk about it. No worries! We all are at different places in our journey. I just hope that my honesty encourages you to talk about it soon.
I really want you to like me. In fact, looking back at my life, I realize that everything I’ve done has been, in some way, to get someone to like me. I’m going to write about that more soon. But today I’m going to make a step in the direction of freedom. I’m finishing this blog post here. I don’t want my desire to create an inspirational piece of writing to outweigh my desire to share my story honestly. So, for today, just remember that we were made for freedom.
Be At Peace,
Yeah, I remember the first time someone laughed at me. I was in 5th grade. I never thought something, created for that much beauty, could hurt like that. It wasn’t like I told a joke. No, I was the joke. You see, I didn’t know that fat kids weren’t supposed to play basketball. But she did. She made it quite clear to me that I didn’t have what it took to be the star player of our summer 3x3 pick up game. And everyone thought it was funny. That day I made a promise to myself. No one would ever laugh at me again.
I quickly learned that sarcasm was the way to the heart of the crowd. I became an expert at cutting deep with my words. I was a killer. I could make anyone feel like they were the most unwanted human being. And sometimes, even less than that. The crowd ate it up. I finally had a way to protect myself. I made sure that no one made fun of me because they knew I could turn it around and hurt them worse. But I was empty. I was so empty.
You see, I built a castle of sharp words. Bars on what windows I allowed, I didn’t even put a proper door in the thing. I wasn’t going to be hurt ever again! But what I didn’t realize was that my fortress was actually a prison. I was a captive in my own house. With my words I tried to be a cruel king in a large castle. But, in reality, I was a little orphan boy trapped in the corner of a dark, dark prison of my own design.
To this day I hate sarcasm. I can’t stand it. But you probably wouldn’t know that. Because I’m still so good at hiding behind it. There are days I live in fear of opening my mouth because my tongue is a weapon I haven’t yet learned to control.
But here is the good news! I am not an orphan in a prison of hurtful words anymore. I am a son. Adopted by my Father. God, the creator of the universe and of me. His heart is big enough to love all of us. His love is great enough to adopt even the most lonely of the outsiders. We are not our pain, we are not our wounds. We were made for freedom. The love and mercy of the Father, shown through Jesus, is the only hope for me. It is the only hope for you and for this entire generation of broken orphan hearts.
Now we need to expose our wounds. We have to talk about where we have been. But only to speak of where the love of God has brought us! I have learned to forgive those who hurt me with their words, just as God has forgiven me. His grace and acceptance is available to everyone. His love is shown most glorious to the world through our stories of redemption. No matter what any of us have done He is willing to forgive and adopt us. Everything we have been done has already been paid for. Now, our only response has to be to spread the word! It’s time to talk about freedom.
Be At Peace,