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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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?