Monday, October 25, 2010

Goodbye Beard

Shaving is a weird thing. It's like instant regret when you take the beard from your face. After a great three month relationship with my beard I shaved it off this morning. I have to get my drivers license renewed and figured I should be clean shaven for the picture. So i took the beard off. My face feels naked. I look weird. I mean, if I leave the beard off I'll get used to it and all will be normal again but having the spent the last couple of months with a hairy face, my clean shaven appearance is weird to me. I look young... Odd.

Here are random pictures of me and the beard. Maybe no shave November will bring a new bearded relationship.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Minor Joys

You know what's better then having a beer with your brother? Having a beer with your sister.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

When A Step of Faith Becomes 40 Years In the Desert: A Faith Journey

The Bible doesn't always paint a complete picture for the stories it tells and so we read them with a disconnected spirit. Frustration and disappointment don't always find themselves as emotions or thoughts of the people whose lives are being told. Even when it is, the conversation is just being read and their tones and inflections are lost. And I think that causes us to misread the bible or skip over things that would give more perspective into our own lives when we read the Bible.

I know Moses had to be just completely heartbroken when he heard he wouldn't get to see the Promise Land. Because it takes 5 minutes to read we don't take into account that it took Joseph many, many years to get where God had promised him. The Bible is full of stories where faith is a journey and getting to where you're going takes a while. Taking a step in faith is often preached but they never mention that taking one step is going to lead to more steps.

So here I am. In December I decided that it was time to move on from my job and when we came back after the holiday break I put in my resignation and at the end of January I was out of work. I had felt a handful of times before God calling me to step out and leave but I hadn't. But through a lot of praying and confirming words that I heard I decided to trust in God and quit my job with nothing on the horizon. And 9 months later I'm still out of work.

God has blessed me and taken care of me. My bills have been paid every month and I know I have tons of people praying for me and praying that God will open the right door. The problem is I'm not always praying those prayers. I would love to be singing songs of praise in the jail cell but too often I'm complaining in the desert. And I know I'm complaining in the desert because I complain to God about my complaining. Praise is lacking, complaining is at a premium.

The other issue is the Job problem. When Job was hit with affliction, his friends came in with all sorts of opinions and advice for him. In times of struggle and famine people will always come to you with advice and their words on how to fix your situation. The problem is it's not always advice worth listening to. I've heard everything from God hasn't blessed with a job because of sin in my life and if I would just stop sinning then things would open up for me. I've been told quitting wasn't God's will for me and that's why he hasn't provided a job. I've been told flat out that I'm just a big idiot for quitting my job without anything else lined up. And not entertaining that advice is hard. When nothing is happening in your favor, you get discouraged and sometimes you believe bad advice.

I don't regret leaving my job. I feel that even if that wasn't God's plan, he's awesome enough to come through and provide and he has provided and I need to spend more time praising and being thankful for what God has done as opposed to complaining about what hasn't happened.

My brother took a leap of faith and moved from Maryland to Wisconsin to start a youth group/young adult ministry for a church campus out there. And while he's been working on that, the church has been slow going in getting him on the payroll. But my brother's connected with a lot of people and has an opportunity to work with Campus Life out there. His leap of faith hasn't landed him right where he thought it would but God has been good to my brother's faithfulness and opened a door for him. I know it took a long time for Bobby to find work and I know there was a lot of disappointment along the way, but I also know my brother spent a lot of time praising instead of complaining.

So here I am in the desert waiting to see the Promise Land, with full knowledge that I need to turn my complaining into praise. I didn't expect that my step of faith would turn into 40 years in the wilderness but that happens. Many of the stories in the bible are journeys, we just don't always read them as such.