ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING

LEADING AN INTENTIONAL LIFESTYLE


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Waiting

I don’t want to wait—I want it now. I want to be done with the mundane so I can move on to important things. I want to spend my time with people I love doing things I am passionate about; connecting with other people, going on trips, and dreaming up ideas. I don’t want to have to wait for the opportunity to become successful, develop character or skills, or feel satisfied or content.  I don’t want to waste my time checking out at the grocery store, waiting to be seen by the doctor, visiting the Secretary of State to renew my license; I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to have to wait for college to be over with because I already know what I want to do with my life (just kidding, I don’t have a plan).

There are many different situations. Knowing how long I have, the end in clear sight, other times it feels like I’m living in a cloud, trying to see through the haze of distractions. Waiting—like sailing—can be full of uncertainty; the wind may blow me swiftly across the water or it may die down leaving me dead in the water.I may wait for days, weeks, months, or years, the answer isn’t always clear. I wait for important things like goals—things I really want to focus on—and I wait for things that don’t seem to matter, or that I don’t even care about. I wait to chase after my passions. I wait for change.

What if I never had to wait again? Would I have more time for the things I love and less stress? Perhaps, but that’s not how life works. The issue isn’t with waiting, it’s my perspective on what waiting really is. Waiting is a choice. I wait at the doctors office because I believe my health is worth it. Waiting shows significance. The longer I am willing to wait for something (or someone) the more important.  My life is filled with lots of waiting, however, I must confess I have not been waiting efficiently. I can get things done while I wait and make much better use of my time.

Be aware and wait with intention. When I schedule an appointment to see my doctor I realize that I will spend time waiting in the office. I prepare by either bringing a book or something else I wish to accomplish. While waiting for something with a more ambiguous timeline—such as marriage—I prepare. Asking couples about their experiences, joys, difficulties and challenges. I seek to consistently work on my character and relationship with God. While waiting on a job opportunity I review my credibility and character, “How can I be the kind of person they would want to hire for this job?” (reflect). I wait proactively, taking the necessary actions rather than rather than being a victim to circumstances.

We are called to wait expectantly and confidently. Psalm 39:7 says, “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” When we are waiting in our lives we are called to trust in the Lord’s plan confidently; God will provide. However, many people forget the second part. We are to wait expectantly, preparing ourselves for that which we wait for. What are we waiting for? Waiting to graduate so you can start your dream job or career? Waiting for your children to mature so that you can teach them greater things? Are you waiting for your career to advance? Are you waiting on emotional healing from broken relationships? Whatever it is we wait for, we should wait expectantly with confidence.

Prepare yourself and trust in the Lord, he will do the rest.


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Mistakes, Regrets, and Moving on.

I’ve made lots of mistakes, this past year is no exception. Relationships, goals, college, internship, sports—I’ve had plenty of opportunities to screw up—and screw up I have.  I swept conflict under the rug, wasn’t  involved at church, dropped the ball at work, was a selfish in relationships, and wasn’t moving towards my goals.  I should have moved out after my freshman year of college, changed churches sooner, worked harder to develop better connections at work, and been more selfless in my relationships. I messed up, but what did I do about it?

At first I wallowed in guilt and shame. I threw a pity party for myself. I was a victim and life wasn’t fair. Then I woke up to the reality I was living in and took responsibility; I made the changes I could. I learned to handle conflict more effectively, became more involved at church, contributed wholeheartedly at my internship, did what was best in my relationships, and selected a career path. I took advantage of every failure as an opportunity to grow, becoming more mature, developing stronger character and finding my passion for people. I reflected about what happened and the choices I had made. I asked the hard questions and challenged myself to grow closer to God throughout this time. What steps had I been taking?

James 1:2-4 (one of my favorite passages) says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” The mistakes we make are those times of trouble, providing us with the opportunity to endure and grow in our faith! So let’s take advantage of all the opportunity we have, both in our success and failure.

Grow from your mistakes.


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Scattering the Seed

Today, I read the parable of the farmer scattering seed (Matt. Ch 13). Growing up in the church, I have heard heard this passage many times.

“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13 NIV)

Scattering seed

I’m ashamed to say the parable lost its significance as I recklessly plowed through the word looking for some divine revelation.

“20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

There will be people who never understand, don’t grow deep roots, and or are distracted by the world… Fruitless labors.
Those who understand will grow to have a strong faith are the disciples we should seek to make… Very much worth our time.

Use your time to wisely. Sew the seed among fertile ground. Disciple those who will barer fruit.


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Save the Ones You Can

Save the ones you can. The rest you've got to let go.

A movie came out back in 2006 (The Guardian). It was about a young mans journey through the Coastguard training program and his experiences shortly there-after. The Instructor tells Jake he has to let go of the past; the people who he couldn’t save. He and several of his close friends were driving home one night after a party and the car crashed. Jake was the only survivor. Here is the quote,

” And if I can’t answer that for me, I’m certainly not going to try to answer that for you. Have a seat. I want you to start being a member of this team. The team you have now. You have a gift Jake. You’re the best swimmer to come through this program, hands down, by far, and you’ve got a whole record board to prove it. But you know what I see when I look at it? I see someone fast enough who’s going to get there first. I see someone strong enough who’s going to last. I see someone who can save a life maybe no one else could. You really want to honor the initials on your arm? Then honor your gift. “Save the ones you can Jake. The rest, you’ve got to let go.”

“Save the ones you can.”

 It’s important to remember that in life is insurmountably filled with people in need. We are called to help those people by using the gifts we’ve been given (1 Corinthians 12). Uniquely equipped with different passions and gifts, we are commanded to glorify God; taking advantage of the opportunities God sends our way. Looking back sometimes we can see the ways God prepares us, other times we can’t. Regardless it’s important that we step out in faith and use those gifts and passions we have been given. It might be feeling called to go work at a summer camp with children because you have that desire to work with young people, or it may be befriending someone who God has put in your path. Have faith and step forward.

“The rest, you’ve got to let go.” 

The sad reality about our broken world is that no matter what, we can’t help everyone. We will fail. Opportunities will be missed because we are too busy helping someone else or helping ourselves. There have been many times in my life where I’ve spread myself thin, striving to help people work through difficult issues. I want to be there to support everyone I know, however, that can’t be the case. When we discover we do this we find ourselves maxed out; at a point of exhaustion and may look to God in our despair. We can’t hang onto the pain of this world, there’s too much. That doesn’t mean that we don’t acknowledge that what happened did, but accept the fact that we can’t help that person in that way. God provides, whether through us and through others; it’s self-centered and wrong to think that if we don’t act, God wont.

So, how do you distinguish who to save and who to let go?


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College Involvement Thus Far

Three weeks ago I started school; my first year at Central Michigan University.I felt like a freshman again, excited and full of apprehension in the early weeks. Would I be able to get to all of my classes on time, find a way to manage my homework, and still have somewhat of a social life? So far I think I’m doing well in those categories. I have an old bike which saves me lots of time getting to class (which I will miss when snow comes). As far as managing my homework, I forgot about an assignment for the first time this past week, but after shooting my professor an email, he graciously gave me an extension.

The social life is definitely there. I decided to keep attending the Mt pleasant Community Church and get involved in a greater degree than I was last year.  I work in Kids life, leading a 3rd grade class during the first service every week (it can get a bit chaotic, but is rewarding). I also decided to commit to being a small group leader for the high school students in Student Life in our church. I wanted to have that mentor-mentee kind of relationship, helping young men navigate through some of the difficulties of life. I’m excited to see what happens.

The third church group I am involved with is Ulife (so much life, I know ;)! In Ulife I’m a small group leader and seeking to continue developing myself as a leader. Other church leaders pour into and support me, I’m able to join in christian ‘koinonia‘ (corporate worship with other believers), and be challenged to keep growing.

Outside of the church I am involved in something called ‘Alpha’s—a 5 week seminar that is put on by the Leadership institute. Last week was the first seminar; we were assigned to a team with two facilitators, and created our team name, cheer, and goals. We played a get-to-know-you game where one person stood in the middle with a noodle, trying to hit the person whose name was called, before that person called another person’s name (confusing, I know). We also spent some time getting to know each other. Judging from past experience, I think this is going to be a good team.

I have two groups for classes. One is for my small groups com class, we’re working on a project together. Another group (which I like a bit better), is for my leadership class. We will be raising money for a charity in honor of one of our classmates who passed away a little after our first week of classes (I’ll probably write about it in the future). I think I like this group a lot better because we’ve established some good roles, generated ideas, and made significant progress. I feel we have a really supportive environment in which we all feel we can share our ideas equally. My COM group hasn’t spent much time together outside of class.

On top of this there are a few other small communities I’m involved in, and more still I’m interested in joining.