A Story About Growing Up – Introduction

Yup, its gonna be one of those.

Oftentimes what I want to write and what I need to write are two very different things. And sometimes what I want and what I need like to swap places. Some time ago I started writing a story about growing up. I was writing character bios for something very different when a stray thought took to seed like no other idea I had ever had. It consumed me nightly as I sat on the floor of my bedroom with my notebook a pot of hot tea. I was throwing all of myself into the story and characters. Years of thoughts, ideas, and conclusions I have come to about my own life were built up and I needed to get it out of me.

As I was writing this story I also began refining my writing habits. No longer was I holding out for inspiration to hit to begin something. I set a schedule and I worked. And it worked. I was far more productive than I had ever been before and as a result of that more stories were coming. Eventually I had several somethings in various stages of the process. Stories that I would love to tell and share with whoever was willing to give them a chance. And that first story remained through it all. As it seemed to get closer and closer to an end it also grew beyond what I had originally planned finding even more areas of my life to draw inspiration from. It is what makes this story unique to everything else I want to write in the future. And because of this I know that if I ever do make a career out of these stories it cannot be the first thing to be published. It would have to be third at best but not because I don’t think it isn’t a story worth sharing. I once heard the comedian T.J. Miller talk about his career where the first chance he got to record an album he chose to release a strange sort of conceptual rap project because it was funny and fit with his particular brand of humor. But this wasn’t his stage act and as he was gaining popularity through his live shows and TV specials he realized that the only form of his act that people could purchase was this funny experiment he made which was confusing to new fans at best. He loved the project but regretted that it was the first thing he released. Now, I’m not banking on a career in writing fiction but if does happen to be in the works then I want my first published work be something that reflects my intentions. I’ve posted my work online before with poetry and blog posts and that’s what I aim to do again with this story. It is incomplete and I often get stuck on the tiniest of details which is why I’m going to start releasing it here. I do not like to know that people are reading my stuff and I absolutely abhor criticism but both are necessary. So, periodically I will be putting up what I have here on this site. Sometimes it may be a whole chapter or maybe it will be just a few paragraphs. I may have pieces that are just dialogue and others that don’t have any at all. I may even just post a completely rewritten section. This is a work in progress and now I’ve decided to make that progress public. Who knows, maybe it’ll help me out those terrifying times when I am stuck looking at that flashing cursor on the screen. I hope you enjoy and, even though I’ll probably look incredibly nervous whenever you mention it, I really appreciate you giving me your time.

Get started here

Much TO DO About Nothing


I like books. I like that I can stop reading at any time and pick up again where I left off at my leisure. People would hate to watch a movie with me. I’ll stop and go run a few errands, clean up around the apartment, anything to take a break from sitting in front of the TV. Sometimes I even wait until the next day to finish what I’m watching. I have long since given up on going to the movies unless it is for something I find incredibly interesting that I must go see it. And even some of those I come out of wishing I had waited. I used to come out of a movie theater rather quiet after seeing something far less than spectacular for a fear of dumping on someone else ‘s perfectly fine viewing experience but then I would inevitably get asked what I thought of a movie and my mind instantly goes into critique mode. Again, not wanting to offend anyone, I would tone it back a bit but still receive defensive responses of “it was okay”, “fine”, or, most common, “it was decent”. Well I would rather spend two hours doing something absolutely astounding instead of something decent. I would even settle for something enjoyable than something decent. I hear the word decent and I think tolerable, not too bad, but nowhere near great. Needless to say, I don’t gout out to the movies much anymore. Unless it is for something I find so incredibly interesting.

As a kid I would read all the time. I never wanted to put my books down, I didn’t want to get up from in front of the TV, and later, the computer. I wanted my mind to be occupied, lost in some story much more exciting than my dull existence. I don’t think I recognized it at the time but I was filling my time with distractions. Nothing was really wrong with my life but I wasn’t making much of it either. It was a decent. So instead of living my life as a story that I could steer I sought out stories in TV shows, movies, and books because, let’s be honest here, the further adventures of Luke Skywalker were far more interesting than my schoolwork. I would read books because the characters I liked in movies mentioned them, I would watch TV shows that I knew people talked about, and I would choose movies that had some significance to the kind of person I wanted people to see me as. And I would force some sort of enjoyment out of them. Even the mediocre ones. There is an episode of NewsRadio (arguably one of the funniest sitcoms of all time) where Phil Hartman’s character reads a review of his on air performance which is rated as “adequate”. He then spends the rest of the episode boasting in his “adequacivity” hoping to convince everyone that the word means something more. Much like Bill McNeal I pressed onward to convince myself that things were far more than adequate. I wanted to justify how I spent my time.

As I’ve grown older I have come to value my time over many things, even money. I would much rather waste my money than waste my time and I can’t be alone in this, those of us that have full time jobs and passions that demand even more time; those of us working our way through school while trying to maintain social lives, relationships, and faith; those of us starting families or expanded them; any combination of these. Our time is precious yet we still waste it on distractions. Sometimes I don’t want to work on the next chapter. I didn’t want to do my homework. I wanted to drown out the drama of my personal life. I wanted to escape. And there’s nothing wrong with a little of that. Alleviating the pressure can keep us from breaking down and completely losing our minds but when it halts our growth we need to take a serious step back and take a look at what we are doing with our lives. Are we wasting our time? Are we hiding in the comfort of other people’s stories whether it be in books, TV, movies, video games, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or the number of other time wasters the internet has become? Or are we just taking a break before we move on? I have my downtime, my entertainment, my pleasures but it’s that balance between work and play that we must first obtain then sustain to keep our dreams alive, our lives in check, and our future’s in sight.

Video Game Job System Logics and Our Fading Futures


Sometimes work feels like a game. Not the idea of work but my actual job. That thing that lets me pay the bills and generally survive in this world. Maybe its growing up with video games and so when I hear words like experience or achievement I don’t think about real life but about those games. Or maybe its just my way of justifying why I am even there. It makes sense in my brain that to obtain one thing I must first do this other thing. Work equals payment for services which then gets applied to basic life needs … then books and TV shows but an argument can be made that those too are basic life needs. And maybe my most prevalent example are the games I grew up playing. Mega Man X, for example; I could go fight the Flame Mammoth right off the bat but he’s much easier to beat after acquiring the ice gun from Chill Penguin. One act leads to another which eventually leads to reward. Or, more accurately,  getting stuck on a story level in Final Fantasy Tactics would lead to me grinding for levels so my characters will be strong enough to progress in the game. One act leads to another which eventually leads to reward. So this is more in line of what my job has felt like recently. That unending grind for cash and experience.

They changed the menu a bit at work and one of our sandwiches is no longer on it. We still have all the ingredients and one or two people still remember and will order it but what happens when they stop ordering? Will the sandwich cease to exist due to a lack of demand? I think all this rather playfully but then I wonder about all those writing sessions I blow off or the times when I’m reminded of a deadline but choose to ignore that feeling that I need to get back to work. How much more will it take for me to completely abandon my future? Well, not my future but my goals. My desired future. It takes discipline. Discipline to overcome the monotony. Discipline to overcome the laziness. Discipline to move forward. And that’s what we need to do. Move forward. Don’t leave behind our dreams, our goals, our futures. Move forward. All the ingredients are still there. Just don’t forget about your future.

The Day’s End

Days End_edited

It’s the end of the day and everything is coming to a close. Now all of those unresolved thoughts from the past day, week, or months begin to see the surface. It is a great time to conclude some of them and channel the others into something productive. Something creative. When I was a young Christian the end of my day was prayer time. Mostly because I would put it off all day or forget about it altogether. Having the majority of the day’s business out of the way made it easier for me to focus on what was important. Now, having grown in my faith and learned to pray throughout the day my nights of focus have shifted to writing. I have had alot on my mind these past two weeks and when I sat down to write Saturday afternoon the pressure was finally too much and I let loose, furiously tapping away at the keys on my laptop. I saw things much clearer than I had these last few weeks and began to understand much more about my life, who I am, and who I need to become. I may only be writing a small fiction piece but know that my personal struggles and fears are being poured into this thing. And hopefully through writing this I can learn to be a better person and maybe even help others learn the lessons it has taken me years to discover for myself.

Dream Dream Dreaming


I am an avid dreamer. Whether it’s fictitious daydreaming, imagining my future, or the most common form of the term, subconsciously playing out stories in my sleep, I enjoy them all. I can even say that my desire to write directly stems from wanting to record some of the things that I dream about. There have been so many dreams that I have woken up from and immediately preserved on paper and countless more etched into my memory that I have yet to bring myself to write down. Some mornings I will wake up and be haunted by the night’s dreams throughout the day. They have the ability to excite the imagination and also reveal the thoughts and feelings that may be hiding just beneath the surface of my mind.

I had once thought about compiling the poems and stories I had written based on some of my more poignant dreams but fear eventually took hold of me. The fear of putting too much of myself out there for others to see. I have always been one who observes but rarely shares. It’s the primary reason I decided to start posting things here on this site. To overcome that nervous, uncomfortable feeling that comes with sharing my personal thoughts and feelings. I’ve been rethinking my initial shelving of that project following two eerily similar dreams I had one night. I’d describe them here but you know how it is with dreams, they make perfect sense when you’re having them but later, when you’re trying to recall the details, things just don’t add up but the emotions felt were real enough to overlook the plot holes. They aren’t like the adventurous dreams that involve urban exploration, discovering lost civilizations, or giant mech battles. They are the stressful dreams about friends, family, relationships of all sorts. Dreams where I have someplace to be but I can never seem to get there or where I’m doing something that I know isn’t right but have no control over my actions. I’m a spectator in my own body. Dreams where I wake up covered in sweat, my heart beating hard in my chest. Ultimately, dreams about God. I’ve had several dreams about my relationship with God that have shaken my world. Whether these dreams were divinely placed or just my subconscious playing out my fears is up for debate but no matter the source, these dreams are worth noting.

What about you? Do you dream? Do you remember your dreams, filing them away for later? How do they affect you? DO they affect you?



I have always had a problem with discipline. I’m not talking about discipline like in school, acting out and being all rowdy (I was a quiet kid living in my own little world.) I’m talking about self discipline. Self control. Setting a goal, making a long term plan, and sticking with it. If I knew you better and we had some time to talk then I would go into detail about how my limited self discipline has affected me in my growing up but seeing as this is going online for all to see I would like to keep this brief and focus on the last year or so once I recommitted myself to my [non-blog] writing.
Even with setting schedules and forcing myself to start writing I seem to find ways to get sidetracked. Its so much easier to just play the stories out in my head and feel a watered down sense of accomplishment than to actually put pen to paper and transcribe my thoughts for others to read. Or even easier, I can experience the stories told by others in the books, movies, and TV shows that line my shelves. And that’s just the entertainment side of things. I could trick myself into thinking that I’m not ready to write just yet. That this important bit of research needs to be done right now and not later once I’m fleshing out the details or maybe my writing isn’t good enough yet and I need to learn more before I can even begin to write. I could become absolutely convinced that the job would be easier in a month or two when I get a new laptop or if I were to go out and buy a desk instead of laying here on the floor scribbling into my notebook. I could think all of this before I even write down a single word and feel justified in my decision to postpone writing. I don’t do all of this because I don’t want my words to be read by others. Its not because I don’t enjoy the thrill of self discovery that comes with writing. It’s the work. Plain and simple. I have avoided doing work that I didn’t feel the desire to do throughout my life but that isn’t who I want to be anymore and it is who I have worked so hard to separate myself from these past five years. But old habits do indeed die hard and this one creeps up on my on a regular basis.
Life is an ongoing process. If I were to claim any sort of validity to some of the excuses I have made up not just in the avoidance of writing but in the avoidance of all hard work in the past then I would be a fool. We shouldn’t be waiting to fix ourselves or our situation before moving forward. We should be doing both at the same time. They are part of each other. And moving forward in life … that sounds like a good plan. Let’s all do that together.

I Worked At It


Have you ever been in love with an idea? Not something that has been fleshed out but just the vague idea of something. Like a cause that just feels right or some sort of gadget that you may not have a use for but seems cool? I guess a better question is, have you ever had a crush on someone? Someone you have met like a coworker, classmate, or friend of a friend? You have had casual conversations with this person but never talked about anything substantial, you know things about them like their passions and party anecdotes but haven’t gotten to know them, why they love what they love and hate what they hate. You are in love with this idea of them you have built up in your head but neglected to get to the know the actual person your idea of them is based on.

These past few months I have been working on and off on a story that follows several characters in their early to mid twenties as they are growing into adulthood. They all share traits and ideas I have had about life and through a series of events they come to learn some of the things that I have learned throughout the years. As I am writing these characters I am also growing. I am noticing things about who I was and understanding a cause and effect that I couldn’t have seen at the time. One of these characters, Mark, is in love with the idea of being a writer. He even tells people who ask him what he does for a living that he is a writer but lists his day job as what he does to support his lifestyle but he never actually writes anything. Not even the few story ideas he comes up with are committed to paper. He paints this image of himself that does not accurately reflect the one that he lives out. He just sits around hoping that one day inspiration will hit and he will be able to sit down and write the next great American novel in a single sitting. He, like me, was an idiot. While opening a notebook and putting pen to paper might not seem very difficult, forming a habit and creating a writing routine is. Writing on a regular basis is still something that I’m working on and that’s the key word here, work. Things are worked for and towards. It is something that many learn later in life but one of the most important lessons we will ever learn. We need to find our motivation, latch on to what drives us, and become more ambitious in our endeavors whether its in our hobbies, careers, or relationships.

Oddly enough halfway through writing this I stopped. For a week I wrote nothing and didn’t even open my notebook. The subject I had originally set out to write about kept changing and my frustration building until I no longer wanted to work on this. I thought that this would end up as another unpublished post that would take up space in my notebook and would never be seen again. Then I cam across this passage in Margaret Feinberg’s Wonderstruck that I would like to close with.

“Too many of us play and pray it safe. We allow our aspirations to stay in our heads, our goals to remain barely outside our grasp. Life become a series of unrealized hopes and dreams. Rather than engage in the fullness of life, we remain on the sidelines and pass up uncounted opportunities. Our fears become greater than the hope of the One who came to bring us abundant life.

What is keeping you on the sidelines of life? What have you convinced yourself is impossible with God? Where have you allowed your fear to replace your faith? What’s stopping you from moving forward? Or taking your first step toward change? Even if you stumble, you may find your dream expanding into something even more enchanting than you ever imagined.”

Its as if everything I was doing this week had built up to this one moment where I would read these words and know exactly what had been going on with me and what I had to do to remedy it. I needed to work at it and I needed to trust God. Its this simple reminder that keeps me going as I continue my journey through life.

or should I say "supporting characters"

I’ve been in a writing jam recently. I had a good few weeks where I would force myself to write for at least an hour a day whether I was in the mood or not and some days I wrote pages and pages fleshing out this story fueled by inspiration from my own life but other nights I wrote and rewrote the same things over and over until something new would shine through the smudged ink on paper. But these past few weeks I was lucky if even twice I sat down to write. After weeks of figuring out the story and characters I had finally gotten to a point where I could go no further without writing a rough draft to then pick apart and make changes where needed but in my head the story was over. I had seen where the characters began and where the story took them so it felt finished. I was relaxed, relieved, and had an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment without ever actually writing the story itself and it was this attitude that put me into my funk because as I was working on the draft I hit a roadblock that I hadn’t yet considered. How do these two characters, absolute strangers, become friends? Everything I was writing into it felt forced or relied too much on understanding how I felt about the characters without me actually explaining those feelings and motivations which would only create a disconnect between them and the reader. Bad news. How do people meet? How do friendships form? How do relationships develop? Okay, that last one I understand but I had been building these characters in my head for months now and each new day had some sort of revelatory experience that they were each pieces of me but never did I think to compare their situations with my own experiences. How foolish of me! I never was the guy who stopped to chat with his neighbors or make casual conversations with strangers at a restaurant. Except for my coworkers, every person I have known I met through other people. My story was lacking secondary characters. I had people in the background but they didn’t do anything but establish a setting in reality, they didn’t do anything that would move the plot forward. Life is full of secondary characters (for the record, the term “secondary” isn’t meant to sound as demeaning as it probably does. They are the main characters of their own lives much like I am a secondary in theirs.) Sometimes being trapped in my own imaginary world I forget such obvious things and take them for granted. I don’t mean to and really wish I could immediately catch myself when I do so I could instantly apologize because they are vital to my story (and by “my story” I mean my life). To not be surrounded by friends or even casual acquaintances to sometimes butt heads with life would be … well, livable but all the more dull. And without these secondary characters how would we go about creating main characters with wives & husbands, sons & daughters, families both biological and extended? Maybe side character is the wrong term. Supporting character would be a bit more accurate because we could all use a little support in our lives and we can surround ourselves with the perfect people for the job. Thats what life needs and that what my story has been missing.

I’ve Got All These Words Inside Of Me

Yup, its gonna be one of those.Sometimes God finds me when I’m not looking. One could argue that is when He finds me most and I would most likely agree. I’ve been working on a single story for the past few months and what was once a concept put to paper has since turned into an accurate depiction of my faults and weaknesses. Sometimes I get worried that it will all end up an unpublishable mess but maybe that’s what I need for this to be, working through my life’s worries one page at a time. Just the other day I was writing a conversation between two of my characters as one was beginning to recognize their faults and I was worried that this close to the end of my story that what they were saying would come off as preachy and unnatural in conversation. What I wanted was something casual that would be reassuring to the reader that these characters were beginning to understand what their lives needed to become. What I wrote instead was one person telling the other, “Are you strong enough to change when you recognize the need to?” When I wrote those words I paused and stared at my notebook. Where did these words come from? How did I get here, the opposite direction that I was wanting to go? “Are you strong enough to change when you recognize the need to?” At that moment everything I was writing was no longer about some characters I had made up in my head and started to be a story about me moving forward with my writing and my life. And with this sudden revelation everything stopped. I didn’t know what I was doing anymore. There was so much more at stake than what I write on these pieces of paper. This is about my life now. These words count for something. And I was more nervous writing this story now than I had ever been. Mistakes have bigger consequences, what I say and do matters in how I view my life. I can’t pass off unrealistically easy challenges as genuine conflict. My characters, like myself, have a long, hard road ahead of them as we work through the things that are holding us back. In that single moment God had my attention. Sometimes its staring up at the sky and watching the wind blow through the trees as the most beautiful music envelopes me, sometimes its the fear of God waking my up from a particularly vivid dream that will most definitely haunt me for the weeks to come, and sometimes its words I didn’t even know were in me come out on paper and ruin the comfortable atmosphere I’ve been living in for far too long. I have recognized the need for some time now and its time to close the gap between now and the future. I don’t necessarily know where I am going or even how I’m going to get there but at least now my eyes are open for the opportunities that will help me along the way.

Bone of My Bones & Flesh of My Flesh


“I never thought of Adam the same again. The image of the man holding the fig leaf over his privates seemed nearly crude. Rather this was a man who, despite feeling a certain need for a companion, performed what must have been nearly one hundred years of work, naming and perhaps even categorizing the animals. It would have taken him nearly a year just to name the species of snakes alone. Moses said that Eve didn’t give birth to their third child till Adam was well into his hundreds, which means they would have had Cain and Abel some thirty or so years before, which also means either it took Adam more than a hundred years to name the animals, or he and Eve didn’t have sex for a good, long, boring century. And so in my mind, I begin to see Adam as a lonely naturalist, a sort of Charles Darwin character, capturing animals and studying their hooves and heads and tails and eating habits and mating rituals. It must have been absolutely thrilling work, to be honest, thrilling and more than a little tiring.
The thing is, when Adam finished naming the animals, after all his work and effort, God put him to sleep, took a rib out of his side, and fashioned a woman. I had read that part a thousand times, too, but I don’t think I quite realized how beautiful this moment was. Moses said the whole time Adam was naming the animals, that entire hundred years, he couldn’t find a helpmate suitable for him. That means while he was naming cattle he was lonely because he couldn’t really communicate in the same with the cattle, and when he was naming fish he probably wanted to go swim in the ocean with them, but he couldn’t breathe underwater; and the entire time he could not imagine what a helpmate might look like, how a helpmate might talk, the ways in which a helpmate might think. The idea of another person had, perhaps, never entered Adam’s mind. Just like a kid who grows up without a father has no idea what having a father might be like, a guy who grows up the only human would have no idea what having another human around would be like. So here is a guy who was intensely relational, needing other people, and in order to cause him to appreciate the gift of companionship, God had him hang out with chimps for a hundred years. It’s quite beautiful, really. God directed Adam’s steps so that when He created Eve, Adam would have the utmost appreciation, respect, and gratitude … And then I thought how very beautiful it was that God had made Adam work for so long because there is no way, after a hundred years of being alone, looking for somebody whom you could connect with in your soul, that you would take advantage of a woman once you met one. She would be the most precious creation in all the world, and you would probably wake up every morning and look at her and wonder at her beauty, or the gentle, silent way she sleeps. It stands to reason if Byron, Keats, and Shelley made beauty from reflecting their muses, having grown up around women all their lives, that even these sonnets could not capture the sensation Adam must have felt when he opened his eyes to find Eve.
You probably think I am being mushy and romantic, but the first time Moses breaks into poetry in the Bible is when Adam first meets Eve. The thing about Moses was, he was the king of understatements. He could pack a million thoughts and emotions into just a few words. Here is what he said about what Adam thought when he met Eve:

Bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh’ ”

-Donald Miller from his book, Searching For God Knows What

This Guy


I used to write poetry all the time. It started in high school with these long surrealist poems that I don’t think even I understood and moved on to short and to-the-point thoughts on God and life but then I picked up a book of poems by Charles Bukowski and what I read on the first page rocketed my desire to write far beyond where it had ever been before.

There is a minuscule difference between inspiration and imitation. You can get inspiration from a variety of places to create your unique voice in whatever it is that you do but those poems that I wrote right after reading that first Bukowski were more imitation than anything. Many of them I have since tossed out but a few remain as a reminder of how not to go about writing. I did something similar after seeing Moulin Rouge for the first time. I wrote these short and overly-whimsical pieces that I’m embarrassed had even existed.

The poetry slowed once I started writing songs. I was growing sick of going over every word I wrote trying to make what I wanted to say fit with the music. I was also nervous being around whenever someone read something that I wrote and being in front of a room of twenty plus strangers reciting words that I had actually written always put me on edge. But every now and again something will come to mind that I just need to get out and a poem will be birthed and every now and again I’ll post it here but the ferocity in which I used turn out poems has been scaled back. And while I no longer agree with every part of Charles Bukowski’s writing advice I do think of this poem in the times when words are bursting out of me “in spite of everything.”

So You Want To Be A Writer by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

By Charles Bukowski, © -1, All rights reserved.

Never Forget Who You’ve Set Out To Become

Who This Be?

I’m a day dreamer. This probably isn’t much of a surprise to you but its the truth. I always have been. As a child I was always living in my own little worlds and had more fun setting up the universes in which my toys occupied than in actually playing with them. And as I grew up, as many of us do, my day dreams turned to the future. Specifically, my future. I would think of careers, families, conversations, or just situations and how I would act in them. My problem, though, was the space in between now and the daydreams. I was living life now and thinking about the future but I wasn’t doing anything to connect the two. This has been one of the things that I’ve been privately writing about recently and in doing so I’ve come to learn a lot about myself that I didn’t even know was there. While searching for the motivations of one of my characters I started inadvertently writing about myself. About things that I didn’t think I had ever thought before venturing deeper into who I am and who I have been in the past. I was always looking for shortcuts into the future. I covered something similar to this in my last post with “No one is going to step in and take charge of your life” and, as of writing this, I feel that in writing this story I may reveal more about myself than I am currently comfortable sharing. Hopefully I will grow out of this feeling soon.

I started to actively seek a change in my life to connect now and where I want to be in the future around this time last year and while I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy (we can discuss that later) I strongly respect those who not only wish to grow in their lives but even more so those who actually end up following through on that growth. So as we are heading closer and closer to that date when people start to deviate from the paths that they have taken I offer this reminder, never forget who you’ve set out to become. Whether you have decided on change for the new year or are wanting a constant change in your life always remind yourself of the reasons that you have decided to make these changes. Just today I went back and read three particular blog posts of mine to center myself on the vision I have for my life. So start a blog or, if you’re more private, write things down and leave reminders throughout your home, or, if you are more daring than myself, have a friend or mentor keep you accountable to whatever it is you have planned for your life. We should constantly be yearning for positive growth physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually … whatever, both on a personal basis and as a community. I just pray that I can accept the change that I want to see, to put aside my fears or any weariness and follow through on this path to constant growth.

Savoring Singleness & Engaging Life

I’ve been on a podcast binge lately. This comes and goes depending on how tired I get from listening to nothing but Springsteen for a week straight. And working on Sundays has me diving into the podcast marketplace even more often as I search for sermons to get me through the week. I downloaded a couple of episodes of a podcast aimed at single Christians in their 20s and 30s. Two of the three focused on marriage. How to find that special someone; how to know when you’re in love; how to overcome feelings of inadequacy when you are single, stuff like that. Now that last one I can understand being an issue needing to be addressed but most of what I heard only added to my wondering if there is anything out there for single Christians that was not advice on how to get married.

A while back I picked up the wonderfully titled book, Single And Content but what I got was four single Christians talking about their dating mistakes and again, how to meet potential spouses. These people seemed far from content with their singleness. While the book did offer some practical advice on saving money, cooking for one, the pros and cons of having roommates, and whether to rent or buy a home most of it bordered on common sense and wasn’t the kind of stuff I was looking for. What I wanted was purpose but all I found were people looking to get married as soon as possible. Now I have no problems with marriage. In fact, I would absolutely love to find that woman to share my life with but I also realize that fixating on the fact that I am not married isn’t going to move me any closer to marriage.

As I have been writing more and more these past few months I’ve found myself reaching out for little bits to help me along when I’m stuck on a story or blog post. For one, which is a story about growing up, I asked what are some important life lessons you have learned since you’ve reached adulthood or what is something you wish you knew then that you know now? And I got some pretty good responses but there was one that was exactly what both of my characters needed to hear in their different situations, “No one is going to step in and take charge of your life.”

What I have are two characters, one who is trying to relive the past and thinks of what could have been and not focusing on what she is currently doing now and the other whose thoughts and imagination are so far focused on the future that he he isn’t thinking about what he can do in the present to get him there. These are two people who I used to be and one piece of advice I wish I had heard so many years ago. And its something many people still need to hear today. Stop focusing on why you aren’t yet married and start doing things that you won’t be able to do once you are. Here’s a genius quote from a sermon by Rick McKinley called The Sacredness of Singleness & The Sacredness of Sex:

“But you have this time of freedom and the question is, ‘what will you do with it?’ Will you simply use it to create an idol out of marriage and sort of wait, and wait, and be frustrated or will you actually just give that time, give that space, give that fear and anxiety to the Lord and say, ‘I want to live a life undivided for You and I have the space to do it.'”

I’ve realized that there is so much room for me to grow in God right now that may not be there if I were married.

One of the appealing things about marriage to me is that you can be alone yet have someone there at the same time. I enjoy paradoxes like that. Yet, although this is a true statement, I should realize that the same can be said about my relationship with God. I can be alone and He is with me. What I need is for this statement to proceed the same thought involving a wife because how will I measure up as a husband if I’m not focused on God and His ways. To provide for a family, spiritually, God must come first, not my thoughts and dreams. So instead of my prayers being a longing for a relationship that could lead to marriage I must, instead, pray that God shows me the way to becoming a Godly husband and the drive to move myself further into His will, whether that involves marriage now or in the distant future.

I think the point of all of that is that instead of focusing on why we are single we should be moving forward in our lives. Driving them to a point where marriage could be a possibility all the while fulfilling God’s purpose because, despite what we desire, that should be our true goal.

And for those of you still weary in your singleness or worried that you may be called to singleness, here is an excerpt from Lauren Winner’s book, Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity, which I may never stop recommending,

“Perhaps we ought not fixate on the call to lifelong singleness. Some people, of course, are called to lifelong singleness, but most of us are called to singleness for a spell, if even a very long spell. Often, our task is to discern a call to singleness for right now, and that’s not so difficult. If you are single right now, you are called, right now, to be single – called to live single life as robustly, and gospel-conformingly, as you possibly can. The problem comes when the assumption that these are lifelong callings creeps in – panicked single folks think they must discern, at some given age on some given date, whether or not they are called to singleness forever. Again, consider professional callings. We are often called to certain vocational or professional paths for periods of time – one is called to be a doctor or a teacher or a waitress, but to discern a call to go to dental school at age twenty-four is not to assume that one will be called to work as a dentist forever. Perhaps at thirty-five, one will be called to stay home with small children. Perhaps at forty, one will be called to open a stationary store. Perhaps at sixty-three, one will be called to retire. Indeed, even calls to marriage are often not lifelong – not because of divorce, but because of death. Jane may be called to be married to Peter right now, but if Peter dies, she will find herself called, for a season, to singleness – to widowhood.”

Also, Rick McKinley’s entire Love, Sex, & God series has regular rotation in my sermon queue. Definitely something you should check out.

Related posts:

Relationships, Both Romantic And Whatever You Call The Other Kind

Oops, I Went On A Rant

Singleness For A Spell

On Moods And An Active Imagination: When A Facebook Post Turns Into A Blog Entry

When I was in junior high I would always worry that I had forgotten my locker combination over extended holidays like Spring Break or Christmas. I would be freaking out in my head on the bus ride to school and as I made the arduous walk to my locker but, sure enough, once my fingers spun that lock the numbers came naturally and I would breath a sigh of relief.

Having an overactive imagination brought about so many internal “freak out” moments over the simplest of things when I was younger. Just handing in a paper and having to make eye contact with my teachers made me nervous. But, like with the locker combination, everything would go back to normal the moment it was done.

The fact that my mood could change from the negative to the positive so quickly wasn’t something I had ever thought about before until a few days ago. I had just arrived at work which I had recently declared a “worry free zone”, a choice that had made my life increasingly better, and for some unknown reason I was in a foul mood. I replayed the day in my head but could not figure out what had put me in such a lousy mood so instead I went into a little prayer, thought about God, my family, and the upcoming three day weekend and all seemed better. I was back in my worry free state of mind and it continued throughout the night.

But what was it that put me in that situation in the first place? Why do we go from feeling great to an absolutely terrible mood with the smallest of triggers? And more importantly, what can we do to counteract them?