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Archive for March, 2009

… or perhaps I’m just settling into the “normalcy” of adulthood.

Ever since my silent retreat at Mowana last week, I’ve actually experienced some regularity in my sleeping habits.  I’ve been in bed by 11:00 almost every night and up before 9:00 (actually before 8 most days) every day.

I feel like I have a lot to say, but not the words to say it.
There’s been a lot going on in my life lately.
God is up to some big stuff, and I’m really excited about it.

That will all have to wait for another day, though.

It’s about my bed time.

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Things have been pretty quiet around here lately.  Maybe it’s the fact that my Lenten journey has led me away from my internet presence, or perhaps it’s simply a lack of words to say.  Whatever it is, I’m still alive.

I spent the first half of this week on a personal silent retreat among the pines of Camp Mowana down in Mansfield, OH.  Armed with little more than a Bible, a journal and a few good books, I set out Sunday evening for two days of un-wired bliss.  I hiked around camp.  I had several close encounters with various furry friends.  I sat in front of the fireplace for hours on end.  I walked the prayer labyrinth.  I read.  I journaled. I prayed.

It was exactly what I needed.  It fit perfectly into an already challenging Lenten journey.  Perhaps I’ll choose to share more as the week unfolds.  On the other hand, perhaps I won’t.

In the wise words of Henri Nouwen, with which I spent a large portion of my retreat:

“We have been made to believe that feelings, emotions, and even the inner stirrings of the soul have to be shared with others… But let us at least raise the question of whether our lavish ways of sharing are not more compulsive than virtuous; that instead of creating community they tend to flatten out our life together.  Often we come home from a sharing session with a feeling that something precious has been taken away from us or that holy ground has been trodden upon.” (45-46, The Way of the Heart)

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Twouble with Twitters

I find this little gem of a video brilliant.  Espcially after being away from the twittersphere, AIM, and facebook for a few weeks now.  Enjoy!  (ty los)

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God has been challenging me this Lenten season in big ways.  I journaled about this on March 2nd, but figured that it’s definitely blog-worthy:

I noticed a lady in the waiting room at the Cleveland Clinic today who seemed to be upset about something.  I couldn’t tell for sure, but as I occasionally heard what sounded like the sniffles of sorrow, I began to notice something: I was aware.  Not only was I aware, but I felt compelled to do something – talk to her, pray for her, anything.  I’d like to say that the story ends with me walking over, striking up a conversation, and then praying with her.  Unfortunately, though, the ending is quite different.  Rather than acting out of compassion I just sat there, minding my own business and occasionally glancing over to observe her state.  Then a nurse came in and invited her back to the recovery room to join whoever it was she had accompanied to the office today.   I then watched in humility as this woman struggled out of her chair and into two arm braces/crutches and struggled across the room on her clearly handicapped and under-developed legs.

Now, I know nothing about this woman.  I don’t know if she was upset or if she was just getting over a cold.  I don’t know her story, who she was waiting on, or what she believes.

What I do know is this:  I failed to express the love of Christ and seize the opportunity to serve him by loving another person.  It makes me wonder – if she had been undeniably upset would I have done something or said something?  Do I have the courage to step out of my comfort zone like that?  Did I miss out on an opportunity to minister to someone in the name of Christ?

There are some life lessons that you just can’t learn in a classroom.  One of them is humility.

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I’ve been journaling a lot through this Lenten journey.  What I have lacked in “blogging” I have certainly accounted for in pages upon pages of internal reflection during this time.  I think it’s been healthy.  Here’s a glimpse at where I’ve been so far:

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent – a time for returning to God, a time of preparation for Christ’s death on the cross, and a time for emptying ourselves of those things which hold us back from a deeper relationship with Christ… I am so excited to see how God will use the extra time and energy in my spiritual and relational walk.  I am anxious to see what he has planned. (2/24/09)

I’m not so sure this would be such a big deal if others didn’t make it so dramatic…I haven’t felt it yet, but I half expect to experience at least some phase of loneliness during this thing. (2/25/09)

I’m finding that it’s really easy to make this whole deal into some over-dramatic pity party about how I’m completely cut off from civilization, blah blah blah.  I’ve tried to blame it on other people being over-dramatic, but I must admit that I have committed much of the dramatization myself…I’m really experiencing a considerable amount of FREEDOM… I’m praying for the endurance to run this course and to finish it better than I started it. (2/26/09)

If I spent half the energy I do on wondering what everyone else might be doing right now actually seeking to understand what God is up to right now… there would be freedom… I could potentially feel much more connected to what God is already doing around me and could thus become more connected to His mission and will.  (2/28/09)

I’m sure Satan is lurking and just waiting for my guard to drop – I pray that it will not! (3/1/09)

While there are certainly challenges in a culture that is so chained to the internet, the blessings have already far outweighed any “suffering.”  It’s hard to put into words the ways in which things have changed.  There’s a sense of freedom that I love. (3/3/09)

I continue to anticipate the ways that God will continue to provide provision, pardon, and protection in this season. (3/4/09)

I know that I can’t place my self worth in what other people do or say, yet I found myself doing exactly that on several occasions today… I’m in a position where I’m forced to face these feelings… No more escape.  No more running.  Just some real honest reflection about what’s really going on here.  Where do I get my self worth?  To whom am I really connected?  How do I face feelings of loneliness?  What do I do about it?  Where do I instinctively turn?… The breaking isn’t fun… the truth is, though, that we need the brokenness to experience the healing and restoration.  That is the hope that we look for in the resurrection.  (3/5/09)

It’s raining right now.  Well, it just started raining.  It always rains, doesn’t it?  I don’t really want to be around anyone, but I feel really lonely… God is definitely humbling me in this Lenten journey.  It’s not glamorous.  It’s not supposed to be glamorous.  I don’t want it to be glamorous.  (3/6/09)

The breaking – the tearing – the destruction of the old for the sake of new life.  I feel it… I feel it in my soul and I feel it in my bones.  Little by little God is tearing me down – peeling away the layers upon layers of selfishness, of pride, of fear, of insecurity – slowly working His way into the depths of my soul.  It’s a painful process.  My failures and insecurities are being revealed.  (3/8/09)

I feel like a complete and total failure… I am terrified for the rest of this week.  I feel disconnected from people.  I am worn out from awareness of my insecurities… I’m incredibly frustrated with myself – for being selfish, for acting defensively out of anger, for getting angry with people, for not putting enough into my school work, and for failing at doing the things I am most passionate about. (3/9/09)

Thy will be done.  Use me as you will.  Be my everything. (3/11/09)

I do find it interesting that God does not simply offer rest for the weary, but he commands it. (3/12/09)

I feel like I am learning so much lately – and not just head knowledge… but heart knowledge… It has included breaking, and humility, and heartache… I know that God is up to something big in me, and I’m excited to see it as it continues to unfold.  (3/13/09)

Tonight I am completely and totally exhausted.  I need rest – the deep kind of rest that revives the soul.  This process of breaking down has been a challenge unlike any I have experienced up to this point.  I have become raw in the process as my own flaws and insecurities and fears have been brought to the forefront.  I have been reduced to tears, and anger, and humility.  And now I am longing for restoration.  I’m aching for the hope of the resurrection.  I long to rest in Christ – to know that I belong to him and that I am loved. (3/15/09)

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There’s been lots of hubbub going around about U2’s new album, No Line on the Horizon.  In the past I haven’t gotten too into the whole U2 thing (I think I might still prefer Coldplay), but after hearing all the positive feedback this new album was getting I decided to pick it up for myself (thanks, iTunes) and check it out.  I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, and I must say, I’m impressed.  Here’s a taste of what I’m really enjoying about this album:

Deep lyrics, a familiar tune infused with fresh melodies.  The whole album is good.  Give it a listen.

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After the day I had today, I needed this reminder:

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