Faith or Foolishness

Wheres the line? How do you know if you’re making a decision or speaking something in faith or if you’re just being irresponsible? How do you know you’re not being naïve or just trying to avoid the difficult situation.
Well I suppose one indicator of faith is not ignoring or avoiding difficulty but knowing you have to go through it.

Recently I was asked in a hypothetical situation how you know to differentiate between faith and foolhardiness. The question arose when a group of friends had gathered together and were pondering life and the choices we make. As often is the case with young (mostly single) adults, the conversation about dating and relationships arose. Most of the group remarked how glad they were that they had not found the person with whom they would choose to make it work with yet. Most of the reasoning came that none of us felt prepared for that kind of responsibility or commitment and the sacrifices they require. We superciliously thought about the people we knew who had made this decision young and how at one point we were jealous of their bliss, but now looking on we could we the faulty points and the great struggles. It seemed to the caucus that to have these relationships with!d require the sacrifice of our aspirations. It was the general consensus that for a lot of people young marriage was a copoutof sticking it out for your dreams. That somehow, somewhere a person had to lose faith in their dreams or simply that it was base instincts that required the settling down and there was no forethought as to what it meant for the future.

How do we know? How do we ever know?

An idea, a question rose from this, how do we know if we’re making a decision in faith or in foolishness. Are we following simple passions and ignoring harsh realities or are we somehow seeing and believing for something above or beyond circumstances.

Two days ago I had my first audition under the banner of my agents. It was for a print add. I’d get money if I booked the job, but they’d triple it if they actually used the photos. I get money just for showing up and having my photo taken (if I get the job). Almost immediately afterward I spoke to my family about it. As part of the natural segues in family conversations, the topic of Christmas came up and whether I would be able to go home. Now I am honestly not sure how I’m going to pay for rent this month and flights are expensive, but if I landed this ad gig I would be able to do it. Which I followed up with the declaration of my intent to quit Starbucks, or at least step down from supervisor to shift.

Faith or foolishness? How do I know?

My sister seemed imoressed by my faith, I’m still trying to see it as that. Perhaps I’m too hard on myself. Yesterday I turned down the opportunity to move up in the company.

Faith or foolishness??

God helps those who help themselves. This is a lie. If I understand anything about Jesus, the whole concept is thatnno one is able to “help themselves”. But I’ve seen so many people just make whast appears to be an arbitrary decision and sometimes it seems to “pay off” and others it falls flat on its face. I’ve don’t both myself.

How do I know?
Based on my experience, the faith moments are those moments where I feel a tug, something I know I ought to do, but I have this internal struggle of knowing what I am will see to do, but this fear of what might happen if its not real. Those moment s, when I follow through are the ones I needed to trust God and He followed through.
“God is a God of peace and he wouldn’t put you in a place of confusion and anxiety”
This is true, He wouldn’t place me in a place of anxiety, but if I am an anxious person, anything out of my comfort zone will give me anxiety. The peace I have comes where it seems illogical and impossible but there is no other option to trust Him and He always comes through. It is the moments where I am over confident in my own skill sets that prove to not be the direction God wants.

Faith or foolishness?

For some they look the same, but I think the best litmus is the fruit that a decision bears.

What am I doing? Where am I going? How am I gonna make it through this? How will I weather this storm? I feel anxious? I feel worried? I feel afraid?

I suppose regardless I’m going to trust Him. I wonder what Caleb thought waiting 40 years to see the land He was promised to see? Did Abraam feel at ease and peaceful when he uprooted his family? When he was on that mountain with his only son?
There was once a man who was so anguished over a path in front of him he wept tears of blood as he begged God for a respite, but despite his anxiety, he stopped and said, “Not my will, but yours”.

Alright God, I’ve been uprooted and uprooted, you know my desires, I’m scared, this doesn’t feel great, there’s no appropriate plaque or throw pillow that describes this moment, but not my will, yours.

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Not Yet

This one is a doosie, so bear with me for a moment.

Yesterday was rough. Looking at the day itself I don’t know why, but I think given a larger context and further prayer and thought I am beginning to understand.

Part of the reason why I write is to understand. Understand myself that is, understand my situation from a bigger picture, understand what I am feeling. I have this great superpower where I am very good at understanding other peoples’ emotions, so well that it goes beyond understanding and becomes empathy. I feel along with them. The drawback, I don’t get me, I don’t understand my own feelings and I have great difficulty sorting them out.

Typically the best way for me to get a grip on what I am feeling is writing it down, which is why I do these posts, why daily devotions are a must, and most of all in sharing with someone. I pack up so much, my own emotions and often those of others, that I need a way of exhausting these emotions out. Venting helps. The problem with venting for me is that equal to my need to get my feelings off my chest is my desire to not burden those around me. So, in an effort to preserve those around me, I don’t share. I’ve been getting better but it’s a process.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now, a lot of stress.

I’ve lived in New York for 10 months and the only acting I’ve done is a bit part in a student film.

I’ve been working at Starbucks which (though I love the coffee business) it is draining and has been difficult between harsh managers, difficult customers, long commutes, and an erratic sleep schedule.

Money has been gradually been getting tighter and tighter. God has consistently providing but from the way it looks I don’t know how much longer I can be on this path unless something drastic changes.

When looking for ways to pursue theatre/acting all I come across is “Take more classes, invest in this photographer, spend money, spend money.” See above.

Recently a discussion with my manager rose up about the potential for promotion. Now while this appears so solve some problems, which is exciting, but it provides difficulties. One I think it will take much too long for it to solve some more immediate issues, but in the long run I don’t want to eventually manage a Starbucks, and it will limit flexibility for auditioning. I think I am supposed to decline this opportunity.

I’m scared. I know the truth. I know if God wanted me to be here, He’ll provide a way. I know there is nothing to fear, but I am still scared. More than anything I want this to not to be everything that is at the forefront of my mind. I hate that this fear is crippling me, stealing my joy, my passion.

Yesterday I was able to spend time with friends in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, which was amazing. They begin to ask about the acting thing and work, I briefly lamented my plight, but I thought that my lament had gone on long enough as they kept providing options (that I had thought of, mostly) and I kept explaining the difficulty with such options. I didn’t think I was adding much to the dialogue so I capped with, “I’m sorry I don’t want to keep going on about this. I hate that this is all I talk about”.

One responded with, “But that’s what you’re facing right now. It’s part of what you’re going through”.

I need help, I need friends to lean on and my reaction is to push people away because I don’t want to burden them with my problems (I’m even reticent about posting this, because I don’t like feeling helpless and needy and asking for help).

I’m going to keep going because I don’t know what else to do and I am believing and hoping God is already developing something because I don’t know what’s next. I want to speak positively. I don’t want to be negative. I want to be uplifting. I just need to figure out how. I know people will say I am crazy. People will say I am irresponsible and selfish to keep pursuing this and not just accepting what life is showing me. I just don’t know any other way. I cannot give up yet. Not yet.

Sidekick & Friend

A little over a week ago I was able to serve at Hillsong Conference here in New York. One of the greatest benefits of serving was being able to sit in on the sessions while we were serving. There were a lot of phenomenal speakers and I already mentioned how impactful Christine Caine’s session was for me,but there was onespeakeri was really looking forward to hearing, Judah Smith.

Judah Smith is a pastor in the Seattle area with a church about as big as Hillsong NY, plus church plants in LA and in Mexico that are thriving. He also wrote a book titled “Jesus is _______” (and more recently “Life is ______” but I haven’t read that one) which focuses on, simply put, the identity of Jesus. He explores a little of what culture views of Jesus, what the church views Jesus is, and then he really hones in on what the Bible says about Jesus and how that should be informing Christians on who Jesus is and how we ought to live as a response.

Now because of how little sleep I had gotten that weekend and because I had to open at work the day after conference, I elected to leave early on the last night. Much to my chagrin, that was when Judah would be speaking. After deliberating a bit I decided it would be most beneficial to everyone if I went home and slept before work.

Bummed as I was, I appreciated the sessions I was able to be a part of. I honestly didn’t think anything of it until a few days ago when I got an email from Pastor Brian Houston that thanked all the volunteers for serving and as a thank you, they attached the last session to the email. I was excited but decided leaving it until a later date. Today I listened to it.

Judah spoke about John, as he put it, “Jesus’ Bestie”. He spoke about 1 John 2:1-6. He explained that often the church understands John’s call to obedience as him saying that obedience is indicative of Salvation. That a true text of Salvation is obedience to Jesus. Emphatically, Judah made it clear that this was not the case. How could the guy who said, ” For God so loved the world, that he sent his son to die for all who believed” (my abridged version)? How could the guy who said Jesus was the one who stood for the sins of all the world (v.2) a few minutes later say Salvation is only evidenced in obedience? Rather, as Judah proclaimed obedience is the evidence, the proof, the visual representation of friendship. Jesus did not come just to save us, button be our friend.

He gave an example,

imagine you are saved by some cape wearing Superhero and the next day someone comes and tells you the Superhero wants to meet you, more than that he wants to be your friend.

Now, it may appear odd in the wording “obedient to friends” but imagine you are the Superhero’s sidekick, you ow e a lifedebt to this hero, so when the Superhero says, “lets go on an adventure today! Let’s save lives” you’ll get up and go tottering after him. Now John is speaking from experience, everyday for three years he got up uncertain of what the day would hold and totter after Jesus. Where Jesus went he, and the other disciples, would follow, whom he showed love to, they would mirror.

This simple thought was a perspective shift, this is what relationship with Christ looks like, getting up each day, “Alright Jesus where do I go today? Who will I love today?” We get to be his sidekick. Which will be evidenced. How could we claim to be his friend, to know Him well, and our life not look this way. This is the evidence of your relationship, that you’ve spent time with Him, that you’re starting to look like Him.

Now the tough question, what have I done today that shows He’s my friend?