Monday, January 26, 2015

Treadmills, TDs, and Trust

Perhaps this video is an accurate representation of how you feel at the beginning of a semester - I know that this, at least, is how I feel in mid-January, almost every year. Somehow, I never fail to feel behind when everything is just starting up.  I feel like I'm jumping on an already moving treadmill and - like the poor girl above - I get tossed right off, flailing about.

This feeling seems to sit in direct tension with one of my favorite quotes from any movie ever. If you haven't watched Remember the Titans, please go do so now. Anyway, in this cinematic masterpiece, Gary Bertier says, "Listen, when something unexpected comes, you just gotta pick it up and run with it."

I never expect semesters to start, progress, and end the way they do. I never expect my week to start, progress, and end the way it does. I never even expect my day to start, progress, and end the way it does. Sometimes I feel like I absolutely cannot get started on that treadmill. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of unexpected things flying at me, and I want to yell at Gary Bertier that we don't all have the hands of Dez Bryant, and I can't pick up All. Of. This. Stuff!

But Saturday morning, I was reminded of a scripture I've known for a long time, though now I feel like I've read it in a new way.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (I have this resistance to "coffee cup" verses a lot of the time which is dumb because the reason they're on coffee cups is because they're awesome. So...) I spent some time with these verses. This is what I see:

  • I possess the ability for trust and acknowledgement. God possesses understanding and direction (along with a billion other things).  
  • What if I trusted and acknowledged and leaned on my Lord instead of myself? I think that treadmill might start to seem a bit more manageable.  I think I would be able to pick up a few more things but also know when to let some other things go.
  • What if when life got unexpected, when I felt a little wobbly, I ran with Jesus instead of away from Him? I don't know why this has seemed like such a novel idea to me recently. But all of this talk of paths reminded me of another verse, Psalm 119:32.  "I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!" I first learned this verse in the NIV translation which says, "I run in the path of your commands," but I like the ESV's emphasis on God's enlarging of our hearts which, remember Proverbs, is where our trust in the Lord pours out of.

I don't think I'll ever live my life in a totally spontaneous, totally flexible way. That's just not who I am. I won't be able to catch all of those unexpected passes that Gary Bertier alludes to (my dad always said I'd be more of a linebacker than a wide receiver anyway).  But I also think that, if I trust and acknowledge that God has and grants me understanding and direction, then I'll spend less time frantically running to keep up with a fast moving world.  And maybe my heart will grow because of trust and not because I'm out of breath.

Peace and blessings, y'all!

Monday, January 12, 2015

the coolness of the mist

"Time is not just a commodity, it's your most valuable one."

I always enjoy December 31st. We always try to gather as many people as possible under one roof to bring in the New Year. Nothing complex, just a bunch of friends gathering around, taking part in great conversations. Soon enough people start reminiscing about the past year and chatting about resolutions for 2015.

The New Year always comes so fast. I started thinking about moments of 2014, memories where I wanted to remain, but time was persistent on not stopping. I want to share some of those memories with you.

Starting an epic road trip at 1am with two of New Mexico's finest gents, Noah Monagle and Felix Orpinel.

Watching Noah get kicked awake by security after falling asleep in Phoenix's Metro mall.

Walking beneath misters as we entered a Starbucks on a scorching Phoenix day in July.

Standing up in the sound booth watching hundreds of middle school kids start a relationship with Jesus.

Sitting in the Kimo Theater watching all our hard work be worth it as our short film was screened at the Albuquerque film festival.

Taking a selfie with Vince Harrison and the rest of the graduating class of 2014 after receiving our Bachelor degrees.

I could go on forever, but these are the first memories that pop into my mind as I write. These are the kinds of moments I remember, and going into 2015, I hope I can make similar ones. But for some reason, when I think of 2015 resolutions, my mind races in another direction. Every year, I seem to set goals to be more successful. I think of a number and say, "this is how much I will make this year." I want to pay off my student loan debt, if not all at least put a decent dent in it. I want my business to flourish. These are the kind of things that come to the forefront of my mind and yet, these kinds of goals aren't the moments I remember. I don't remember how much money it cost to volunteer a month at a summer camp, I remember the people I traveled with and the people I lived life with. I don't remember the amount of money I invested into the production of our short film but the feeling of seeing it finally finished and the relationships that came out of it. Looking back on graduation, I don't see how much student loan debt I'm in but the gratification of achieving a life milestone.

The money I invested in my short film, my travels, and my degree is a commodity I will get back. The time invested, I will not.

A great man once told me time is your most valuable commodity. It made me look at time from a new perspective. The things we value are the things we invest the most time in. I say I love people but how much time do I spend with people? How many times do I say I will be somewhere and I don't show up? How many times do I show up late to a meeting? When I don't show up where I say I will be, my actions say being there for you isn't worth my limited time. Showing up late to a meeting says your limited time isn't worth mine.

I want to refocus my resolutions for 2015 to reflect time being my most valuable commodity.

I want to show up early every meeting.

I want to spend my time growing relationships and starting new ones. 

I want to see time as a limited commodity.

I want to live my life in the moments I won't get back.

Walking under the mist on that hot Phoenix day was a moment that felt so good. I almost let the Phoenix summer weather blind me to how refreshing the heavenly haze of H20 felt raining down on me, and I think life can be like that sometimes. We focus so much on the blazing heat of life, knowing when we leave the mist, the heat will return. We forget to acknowledge the finite moments we are in and to take in the coolness of the mist.

In His grip,


"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

James 4:14