I Give Up

hey,

it’s been a while huh? Nearly six months, right? Not much has happened.

No, wait, that’s a lie.

A lot has happened.

After fighting to get up this morning, making my french press, making breakfast, and sometime during the partaking of breakfast, I realized something: I gave up my dream again.

And it’s pretty much the best decision I made. Let me explain.

The last post I wrote was about mid-July. Probably just a few weeks later my store manager told me to apply for a job within the company. A Roaster Operator for the Willy Wonka coffee experience they are building in New York City. I brushed it off. That job couldn’t be for me. I don’t even know how to roast coffee. It would require too much and I am about to really press in with these disciplines that will show God I am serious about being faithful to Him and His calling to the city.

Two weeks later my manager told the store that he would be leaving at the New Year because he just got hired as the supervisor of operations for the Reserve Roastery (Willy Wonka coffee) and he turned to me and asked if I had submitted my application yet for an operator position. He implored me to apply. Fine, but who knows what will happen, and applying doesn’t mean I’ve taken a job.

Three days later I was on the phone with the Roastery Operations Manager. And you know the truly terrible thing? I started getting hopeful, excited, and completely full of dread. By the time my next interview came around, the interview with the Operations Supervisor (my at the time store manager and the one who insisted on my application), I was in a kerfuffle (a word which here means, stressed and excited all at once). I believed I moved to the city to join the theatre world, to act, to bring glory to God by how He took my crazy story to bring me there. Was this job turning my back on God’s plan?

Four weeks from the initial phone interview I was offered the job.

If you were to go back through some of my posts (probably my more melodramatic ones) you’ll see multiple times where God has asked me to trust Him with my dream. Where He has asked me to hand over perceivable common sense for the sake of trusting Him, believing He is the good Father who fulfills His promises. In these moments I am always reminded of a message one of my professors gave, “The Cost of Discipleship”, also consequently, the book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer of the same name. Following Jesus requires sacrifice, and without condition.

Something I find remarkable about the disciples and apostles in the Acts church is their passion for Christ and what His call looks like in their lives. They are not frequently bemoaning that they aren’t accomplishing their dreams. In fact, they just are focused on sharing Christ, of living life to bring Him glory and tell as many people about Him until His return. They have given up whatever ambition or life they had before for the sake of the gospel and they are content in that alone. Much of the historical great people of the church have the same attitude. Now, sure they all have specific desires within that paradigm: Paul wanted to preach to Romans in Rome, Luther wanted to bring the word of God to the common people, Bonhoeffer wanted to see the end of the Nazi regime in His home. I am sure there are countless others who bear a similar story, but the most notable thing is that fueling their desires is a love for Christ and a desire to be obedient whatever that looks like.

“But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” – 1 Samuel 15:22

This is my calling. Obedience, whatever that looks like.

Back to the job.

I have told a few people this already, but I have never gotten a job that I discovered and went out for. To clarify, I have never been hired for any job I found in a posting or did the proper apply, call back a week later, interview, etc. Every job I have gotten had the cards stacked in my favor, the application process was expedited or I was simply given the job. I was “given” my job at the Disney Store (I was recommended by the head honcho). I applied to work at my College’s Cafeteria, was offered a job at the coffee shop instead. I applied for an out of state Starbucks three days before moving, was interviewed and hired the first full day living there, starting work two days later. I was hired at Panera 2 hours after submitting an application. I was rehired at Starbucks after just being around the store enough (I was interviewed a year prior but there weren’t openings). This job at the Roastery feels as though it was given to me. I had an expedited application process, interviewed by the one who recommended me for the job in the first place.

I took the job.

And it was the best decision. I’ve given back my dream to God to hold. I am still working on disciplines. I am practicing piano. I do vocal warm ups, almost daily. I work on monologues a few times a week. I am practicing my Spanish. I mean I have so much free time, why waste it?

This job is one of those jobs I didn’t know I would love and be perfect for. Every day is a puzzle and when we open doors in the fall, I will be able to use my interpersonal (and stage) skills to engage customers, gushing about one of my favorite things: coffee. It’s strange because this time of “giving back” my dream I feel like I have been given another.

Looking back on this post, makes it seem to me that there is still some vanity to work out, I could not possibly compare my struggles of giving up my dream to those who gave their life for the sake of the gospel. There is a cost to following Jesus, all I’ve wanted to say is that I keep discovering how much there is to gain by being obedient and trusting His leading. If I was to hold onto this small view of where He wants to lead me, I would miss out on a lot. It’s terrifying, admitting I don’t have control, but you know what that makes it exciting.

I give up trying to do it all on my own steam.

Perhaps that’s how God does it, one day, when He sees I am ready, He’ll give me that acting gig. And I’ll get to give Him all the credit.

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Insufficient Funds

*Insufficient Funds*

Again. MetroCard. Add time. Unlimited 7 Day, thirty-one dollars. Debit Card.

*Insufficient Funds*

It was enough to make me want to quit. I had spent the weekend wonderfully with friends from college celebrating the marriage of two of our friends. It was a nice break from the city life routine and visit where I used to live, making a small trip down memory lane. We explored parts of LA, we spent the day Saturday running around getting last minute details ready, and all of Sunday was for wedding events. I had forgotten how much I loved having my close friends around.

Living in college, especially where I went to school, you end up spending a lot of time with the people you go to school with. When you leave the safe folds of college, you go out into the wild world and no longer have the tight community you’re used to and if you’re like me and “escape” Bible college without a serious significant other and you don’t return home, you go out into the world alone. As it is, I didn’t realize how connected I felt with these people until I saw them again when I visited the school again, after that I saw them less frequently, typically at weddings, but after every time I would get a little sad that I would be leaving again.

It’s all part of this dream, the calling i have on my life, and it’s probably the cost I feel the most.

I think I’m addicted to the feeling of having close friends around, friends that have watched you grown and have helped push you to be better, friends that genuinely care for you. Outside of school I haven’t felt that depth of connection and it feels as if when I leave them I go through slight withdrawal. As these are the things that I have been feeling, returning home to New York was daunting.

All weekend people keep asking me, “You’re living in New York! Are you loving every minute of it?!” You see I’m living my dream, so why wouldn’t I love it? That’s the thing about dreams though, they take work, they take time, and they take character development. Yes, I love it, but I don’t always like it. I’ve lamented enough on the internet for people to know how much of a struggle this life is and how money has been tight. Coming home meant coming back from the dream, the memory, to the present reality of struggle and process.

I have trouble living in the present, because I over glorify the past and pine for the promises of the potential possibility, but that is to be discussed another time.

This time, coming home I was determined to be more vigilant, to be proactive in my faith, and to carry on fighting well. I wanted to talk about how I will persist in my calling, regardless of what it looked like to the outside world and regardless of the circumstance. It seems as if the city was ready to test my resolve, pushing back on me. This city will do that, it pushes you to your limit.

On the plane ride over I spent half the time praying. I have been reading Hebrews these past few weeks for my devotional time. The whole book is about how Jesus is the perfect sacrifice and the perfect priest, sacrificing himself and setting himself up to bear the cost of our sins so we could interact with the Father. So we could be free of sin. Hebrews says that a life of those who are saved, of those who walk with Christ and know Him is characterized by faith.

Hebrews 11:1 says that, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” This is the basis of being a Christian. A personal assurance the the Bible is true, that what is says about God, His character, and what Jesus did is true. A conviction that God is working things together for the good, not necessarily for what I just want, but what is good for me. The difficulty with faith is that it is difficult. It’s using what you’ve read and what you’ve experienced to believe in what will be that is not tangible, it’s seeing a guarantee.

That’s the thing though, God always comes through with exactly what I need, when I need it, but it just doesn’t always look the way I want it to.

So, I come back from this trip, determined to look at the “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb.12:1) and walk in faith. Circumstances may not be ideal, bills may not be paid, opportunities may not be evident, the raucous waves may be rising higher, but I will not be found without faith. God provided amazingly for this weekend, that’s evidence enough, with the plane tickets, the tux rental and all the transportation and housing.

I get off the plane, tote my luggage to the AirTrain, transfer to the NJ transit (which the train just arrives perfectly) and when I stroll up to the Metrocard fare kiosk, follow the directions prompted,

*Insufficient Funds*

I felt all my resolve crashing.

I can’t do this, why did I even move to this city? Why did I even think this was my calling? I can’t make it in this city. All my friends are gone, spread to the corners.

All my fears, all the lies, came bubbling up, threatening to unhinge me.

“Where is your faith?”

I know I have friends (perhaps different than before) but I still have friends. Money is tight, but God will provide. I am in process. I will continue to trust Him, I will continue to believe He will take care of me. I will fight. I will carry on.

I managed to finagle my bank accounts (you see I have a checking and a savings and I had to transfer) and I stopped by work to get my tips from last week to buy enough peanut butter to last the week. I’ll make it, God will provide, God will meet my needs. I can trust Him, I will continue to trust His plan no matter how crazy it looks. Watch, one day you’ll look at me and say, “If God took Greg from that to this, perhaps I can trust Him, too” and that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

Giving Up: Coming to Terms with No Longer Trying

Trying too hard not to try.

No.

Working too much at not working?

What I’m endeavoring [how many words in the Thesaurus can I find for attempt] to accomplish is to not work like I can accomplish what I want to accomplish.

Nope, that sounds wrong, too.

Here’s the problem. I have this desire at the very core of who I am, to matter, to do something worthwhile in the world. It’s the manifestation of wanting to be well liked, I think. You see, if I do something so amazing, people will have to stop and look to say, “Wow! What a guy, he has done something. I wish I could’ve done that”.

The problem is Jesus.

Jesus, for those of you not familiar with Him, was this great guy who did the biggest thing possible. Not only did He live a perfect life, loving all sorts of people along the way, but He also died for a crime He didn’t commit to break down a barrier between God and man. He accomplished something by dying, that men everywhere had been attempting for centuries, for millennia. Then He came back to life, as the piece de resistance. 

This is why I can’t be great, because what could top that?

Now, I’m sure you’re saying that I’m setting myself up to an achievable standard. I’d agree, but to me how can you say anything else is great when  such eminence (fancy word for greatness) exists?

Nothing I do can compare.

But I can try, and try I do, but you know what? When you stand next to perfection, everything looks shoddy.

What’s worse, He wants me to be great too, that’s the whole purpose behind the amazing life He lived, so that I could live similarly. But, as I have said, I cannot do it. He must do it for me, He must set me up and I have to in turn trust Him for this to happen. If I get my ruddy fists on it and try my might, it will only amount to dust.

I have a desire to be worthwhile to the world, to make some difference. I have to stop trying and start trusting.

This little rant came about from a recent rerevelation. I made up this word to signify that I have had this revelation multiple times and try as I might, I always forget it, if I don’t consistently remind myself. I believe I am a pretty skilled individual and I know I have certain talents. One of my biggest strengths is my aptitude for learning. I absorb information very quickly and I am able to typically understand it well, just as fast (apparently not in this life lesson, though; I digress). I also believe I am charismatic or charming. Having these skill sets it may be a wonder that I have never gotten a job that I was interviewed in.

Looking at my work record, none of my work opportunities came from a traditional: application, call/check to show interest, interview and follow up call. I find this odd knowing my mother worked so long in Human Resources and knew well what companies looked for and how to be hired. The only jobs I have worked have had miraculous circumstances, whether it be knowing well a senior level boss, being hired off an application, being hired living a state away, being chosen for a more desired role over the one I applied for, etc. All of my work life has been miraculous at the start. In fact, many of the opportunities I have had I did nothing to warrant receiving them. The places, the roles that I have pursued and did deserve, I did not get.

It would be a wonder why, after looking at these patterns, I’d try at all.

The voices in my head. The voices telling me that nothing is owed to me and that I must work to achieve or earn anything. The same voice that tallies gifts from friends, money from strangers, and favors from loved ones, tallies to pay back eventually. I haven’t had a difficult life, but one of the lessons I have known a long time is you need to work to achieve a goal.

While I am learning that the world is not always so black and white in that way I am still trying to reconcile this idea. I am trying to do enough good to outweigh the good, or even just meet the weight of the good done that I don’t deserve. To even try and earn the grace given to me. But Paul is very clear that you cannot earn a gift, and grace is a gift.(Ephesians 2)

I think God is expanding that viewpoint for me, but I’m scared, and this is where it gets ridiculous; I am worried that if I finally come to terms with the free grace of God, how much He wants to give to His children, then people would think I am not doing as much as I ought to. I am worried about what people think. I am worried that I will live my life with so much freedom, expecting my God to do so many amazing things in my life, that people will call me crazy and delusional. That I will be seen as lazy and living off the gifts, the bleeding hearts of others, that I can’t manage life on my own.

Here’s the rub, it’s true. I can’t. I wasn’t meant to. Neither are you!

I will never be great, I was never meant to. It’s hard to let that die, that image of being worthwhile. Jesus will always outshadow me, and the more I live in the freedom He provides the more attention He’ll get for it. People will see how little I am doing and as a result see how much He is. That’s what life is all about.

I can’t handle life. God can. If I admit this, allow Him to run the course, life is easy. I no longer have to try. I’ll just take each day in and walk it out.

So…I guess that’s it. I’m giving up. I am done trying.

The Best I Can Do

Am I even trying?

I haven’t written in a while, I think largely because I can’t put what’s happening into coherent thoughts. Perhaps I can put them into little nuggets of pondering, but I think people might criticize me for them, confirming my own worried thoughts, that I’m selfish and been missing it this entire time, whatever it is

What am I doing wrong?

Sometime in either late October or early November, I met with the commercial agency that represents my acting roommate. Since then, I’ve been sent to six auditions and have landed nothing. I knew before getting into this how uncertain this world is, how you just have to give your best each time and hope you’re what you’re looking for. I mean this is part of my “ministry pitch”.

I want to go to these people and show them who Christ is, love them like the churches they’ve seen never has. I want to show them what it is to trust God and what He does for your life. This industry is full of shifting hopes and nothing is secure so perhaps looking at my life people can see where true hope comes from.

but this is hard.

I’ve been here a year with no discernable success. No great stories to tell family and friends ” back home” to show that I wasn’t crazy to come do this, that God really was in this. That I’m not some fool pushing my own dreams and rationalizing them by throwing Jesus’ name into the mix.

Then comes the guilt because I take a hard look and wonder where is the ministry? Yes, I have been able to serve in the church, but have I made any impact on the people whom I profess to love that don’t know Jesus? Have I even tried to introduce them?

What’s next?

I’ve spent much of the past year discontented with my work situation and financial state. I’m trying not to make money an issue and I have been blessed beyond count with people providing for me, from roommates taking care of little needs to people paying for flights home. I suppose I am just still too tied to the physical desires, where it would be nice to go a week not emptying my bank account on bills and groceries, to have saving accrue, to not be anxious when the food bill comes around, to pay for someone else’s meal, to bless others with gifts, etc.

Last night I had a poignant conversation with God and asked Him, “When will I live in fullness and not, not hampered by financial constraints” and simply put the response I got back was, “When you stop looking to money as your salvation and you choose to live in the fullness of joy despite your bank account.”

I think I get so caught up in the immediacy of things that I forget all the things that are so good. I am walking past tree after tree, through shrub and bramble and forget to see how far through the forest I have come. I was recently reminded of a quote attributed to CS Lewis (by unconfirmed)

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.”

A year ago I was depressed, lonely, living on a futon in my freezing room and not knowing how to begin. Now I have a great group of friends, a wonderful bed, a consistent job, I’ve auditioned for commercials (pursuing an avenue of acting I wasn’t sure I would do). I know this year has great things in store,and whether I get all I want or hope for, it’ll be good, I just need to keep pursuing God each day, waking up to Him, follow His words and keep trusting in Him and who He is.

I don’t know where I’m going, but I am confident that God won’t let me go, that He has me here for a reason and I will keep doing what I can manage. I will do my best to let go of what I think I can control and just learn what means to live in His fullness.

And that’s the best I can do, no matter what I or anyone else says.

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.

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.

The Uneasy Peaceful Life of Promise

These past few days have been incredible and I would be remiss if I did not write about them. I’ve met with a commercial agent and, more resounding for me, I served at Hillsong Conference for the past three days.

Last week I had this but feeling that this week would be pivotal, and I was right. The week began with a message from the lead pastor of my church speaking about persevering through the storm. It was the finishing of a larger message that he split up over a few Sundays. Basically the thrust of what he has been getting at in the sermon is, when God asked me to give up my life to follow Him, when He sent His son to die for me, to allow for me to serve, it stopped being about me.

We as a culture, as a species, are self focused. We are self centered, and we aim to be content (fat and happy). This is the basic human form, toiling through life reaching out for the untangible goal of being completely at ease, well fed, all desires met, etc. This was not our purpose from the beginning, our original design has been compromised. We were made to live in community with one another, to have companionship. When we are self focused we cannot genuinely have this authentic, interdependent community we were designed for.

It is known that the world is self interested, but the church has claimed to be more and quite honestly ought to be more. We have been reset, now we are still adjusting to the factory settings and we won’t be completely back to original design until we get the physical upgrade (more about sanctification later). Now, as I mentioned we as the church should be more  cognizant of the need to be selfless and love others,for it is in fact part of the words of Jesus.
But we’re not doing it right, are we?

Pastor Carl spoke about how consumed we as Christians get about “self-care” and whether or not we feel at ease with a situation.
Now, let me explain. I think that in recent church history we have responded to a terrible feature of abuse of power and burnout with swinging to far in the opposite direction. In a way to avoid being “overused” we go on about self care and how God never meant for us to be abused. This is right, God never meant for us to be abused, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. There are a lot of things in life that God intended that we, humans, broke. God never tells us life is easy and anyone who tells you otherwise is speaking blasphemy.

God never said life would be easy, in fact what he said was quite the opposite, He said life would be hard, but He is good. He has promised to walk through those difficult areas in life with us, but that requires us to walk. God asks that we move through these situations, that we show endurance and perseverance in these times. That we would carry on and trust Him.

But what about unhealthy situations, what about God being a God of peace and not of strife, and confusion. You know what is amazing g about all the heroes of the Bible? Not those places where they were in an emotionally healthy environment or when they were content and at ease, but when they were in the chaos and confusion and God got them through. But they always had to move forward. Abraam would never have become Abraham, father of promise, if he had not left the comfort of Ur. I wonder how confused he was. Yet, he trusted God.

When God called me to New York, I was lost and confused, anxious. I was told that God is not a God of fear and that if it was Him I wouldn’t feel so much anxiety, that I would feel peace. I did feel peace, but you know what, I also felt afraid, terrified even. The peace I had was the one that went beyond understanding, that root at your core that tells you it’ll be fine,the Holy Spirit saying to trust. This is the marker of walking in faith (not that I am some great beacon of faith) but that we walk regardless of our feeling trusting that God will care for us.

When I signed up for serving at Hillsong I was asked to help lead a zone, a group of volunteer ushers. There were three of us leading and I was under the point person for our leadership trio, but on the first night I was the on!y one able to be present. I was nervous, afraid that I would mess up (which all of us did at some point, but there was a good learning curve). I didn’t start really feeling like everything was going well until halfway through worship. And in the loudness of the arena filled with people praising God, he spoke to me.

This is what I intended for you, this is a who you are, a leader, a mentor, I hate seeing you feeling so broken in your workplace, but I need you to keep going. Not forever but just a little while longer. Bring me to them by being this you I have created.

It was a great moment that resonated in my mind, even if I couldn’t pause on it right then (I started getting directions in my headset soon after) I knew it was what I needed, and I would chew on it. This moment happened after a tiring week. I hadnt slept much already and I knew I wouldn’t be going into this weekend. Then throughout this weekend I got about 6 hours of sleep over two nights. Physically I was exhausted, but I felt so energized just by being who I was meant to be and serving with all I had. I didn’t have anxiety that kept me from sleeping and I carried on.

Moral of the story. Serve, love with all you’ve got. God will fill you with what you need. Holding back, will only deplete your stores and capacity. Don’t avoid the storm, head into it knowing God has given me victory. Don’t become content outside the promised land afraid to face the giants who God has promised to defeat.

I could keep going but this is probably already too lengthy.

Adventuring, Not in New York

If you look at my URL, the web address to this blog is Adventures in New York, no spaces. I chose that name two years ago because I was going to be spending my summer in New York City and I wanted to share my exploits with those who cared to see, mostly a few in my family who wanted to stay up to date on my life. I posted once. I began blogging, truly, last November. The URL was pertinent then, because I was on this mission, fueled by a belief, to get to New York by the New Year. This did not happen. I’ve discussed much of the emotional turmoil and the spiritual wrestling with this in an earlier post and I will leave that there.

So, why is this important?

Today I started working at Starbucks again. 

You see, when I moved to New York for that Summer God miraculously provided me with a job at Starbucks, at a Starbucks, seven blocks from where I was staying. My adventures in New York were largely funded by and intermingled with the ‘bucks. I worked many hours while I was in the city and I used most of my off time to explore the city. When I moved back to Virginia I tried hard to be transferred to the local store in town to no avail. A year later I tried getting a job there again, this time completing the interview process and only being turned down because of a lack of hours. Opportunity opened up for this summer and I leaped at it. 

Needless to say, I was excited. I love working in the coffee industry. I love how Starbucks treats their employees, and most of all I love free coffee. These would have been sufficient today to make the job worth it, but there was something extra special. You see, because so much of my time in New York was spent inside a Starbucks, I heavily associate the company with the city and my fond memories of being there. Last night I felt like a little kid who couldn’t sleep because he was so excited for school. Then, this morning I woke up an hour early because of how elated I felt. Typing this out I realize how ridiculous this sounds, to be so excited to work in a corporate food service job. 

I miss the city. I miss the lights. I miss Central Park, the Empire State Building and Battery Park. I miss Broadway. I was reminded how much when I watched a portion of the Tony’s last night. (When I lived in the city I watched the Tony’s in Times Square!). I miss the subway. I miss the neighborhood I lived in and the ones I wandered. Right now I am not sure where exactly life will take me, a lot seems uncertain and I don’t know if I will ever live in the city again, I sure hope I do, but in the mean time I will remember fondly the memories and appreciate the little things that remind me of that wonderful adventure. 

Life truly is an awfully big adventure and I am grateful for all that I have experienced and lived through. A part of me will always stay in the city, but for now I forage on towards the next leg of the journey that God has in store.