Monday, March 12, 2012

Identity (part 1)

Identity is a tricky thing. In the last couple of months it has been on my mind constantly, what makes up our identity and what is worthy to be identified as our identity. I work with Middle and High School students and they are constantly trying to build their identity around many different trends, people, sports, games, girlfriends/boyfriends and so on. The truth is you can’t put an age on those who struggle with the structure of identity, we all do.

When I am traveling on an airplane the question often asked after an introduction is “what do you do for a living?” For many people careers are what we build our identity on, and for me this has been my recent struggle. I am currently a Youth Director at the church I started going to in middle school. It seems at times I build too much of my identity around this position and put way to much pressure on myself to be flawless at what I do, because after all this is what defines me right? Wrong. 

Back to the students. When I was in middle school and high school we chose one major identity. Theses identities consisted of Jocks, Nerds, Music Geeks, and so on. Today students often switch from one identity to the next within silos depending on who they are around. They may be a computer geek around their computer geek friends and then go be a jock at Football practice. We live in a world that allows more choices than ever before. We have phones full of apps where we can gather information, play games, check our mail and post on Facebook in the span of 2 minutes. 

And this is how the world has changed. We have multiple identities, more than ever before. 

I tend to identity myself as: A Christian, a husband, a youth pastor, a massive Star Wars fan, a gamer, a comic book nerd, an ultimate frisbee and disc golfer, a musician, a writer, a fan of sports and much more. These identities can change daily or hourly depending on my mood, who I am around or what I am doing. 

And lets not get these confused with hobbies, sure these are all hobbies but they have each been obsessed over so much that they have become apart of my identity. 

The question then would be is this how it should be? Is it okay to have these multiple identities and is there an order of priority within these identities? And if there is how am I doing with that? 

When you look in the mirror how do you define yourself? What is the most important thing that you want to be identified or remembered as? 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Comfort for the Exiles

In my last post I wrote about organizing the busyness of life. Part of that organization for me is my relationship with God. God is at the center of my life, I am a follower of Christ. But in the midst of the busyness I let so much other stuff get in the way of this relationship and this is something that I am always battling. I think sometimes my troubles with God are when I become impatient, when I get tired of walking through life wanting answers, wanting results in my ministry, waiting for God to act. My solution is to try and work for God and this tends to get me in even more trouble.

Humility. Patience. Waiting on God. These are the things that I really need to focus on in 2012, and for the rest of my life.

I have been reading and meditating on Isaiah 40 and I love this passage and how it is there to comfort and encourage God's Exiles. I love how it comforts and encourages me to remember that God keeps his Word and that He is all powerful and in control.

So I leave you with the end of 40, the passage that has truly given me hope in times when I have been faint, weary and exhausted.

[27] Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? [28] Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. [29] He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. [30] Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; [31] but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. 

(Isaiah 40:27-31 ESV)

Monday, December 26, 2011

And we're back

I am back after a long hiatus with always trying to catch up with life and put off writing in the mean time. The truth of it all is that you really cannot be caught up with everything in life, otherwise you would have no purpose and you will be out of things to chase or to conquer. So now that I see this for what it is I know that I will never write if I don't make myself do it. I will never write on here, I will never write the two books that I have ideas for, and I will never write music anymore if I don't push myself to make time for it in the middle of life.

So instead of "waiting" to be caught up with life I am going to re-organize my life, which must happen through prioritizing different things. This of course will be items like my time with God, Work, Family and of course different creative outlets through different forms of art that keep me sane in the midst of busy. I will be making a list of things to check off daily to make sure the important things are happening first, but also making sure I leave room for the other things that are still pretty important. Things like writing, and creating.

My wife and I love books, we love to read them, we love to study them, and we love to collect them. This becomes difficult when we run out of book shelf space. And to make things even more difficult we tend to run out of room for bookshelves themselves. The picture above is a new bookshelf of ours that we recently purchased and set up in our living room. We found the perfect one that would meet our needs for making new space for organizing our books. This picture also represents my life, it is constantly filling up with new things, and I need to just find more space to carry all of these things in a more organized manner so that I can still get through life without falling over.

While I will not be sharing any of my lists on here I will say that I will try to get back into blogging more regularly after the new year.

Thats all for now, Merry Christmas!

Friday, July 22, 2011

What to do when Discouraged and Uninspired

This week has been a difficult week for me. I finally had plenty of time to get some great work done not only for work but with my writing as well and I just felt very discouraged with everything I was doing. I didn't really have the kind of inspiration I needed to in order to get great work done. I really felt locked down with everything I was doing, I kept telling myself that I am not as good as I should be and that I would never do stuff to the degree I wanted to. So then I decided to get input from folks in person and through social media outlets.

The crazy thing was most of the responses to my question about how to get motivated or inspired followed with "I don't know but please tell me when you find out"or maybe the less serious one "A boot". But in the end I still didn't find great answers from other people, so I tried some things on my own and found that they worked pretty well for me. I am no expert on dealing with motivation or inspiration but here is what helped me.

The first thing I did was open the Bible and look for help. Two key scripture references really helped lift me up.

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. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26 ESV)

The next thing I did was pray over this scripture and ask God for encouragement and inspiration.

Finally, for work I sat down and re-wrote my to do list. Then for my work items and my writing items I started with a brainstorm session. I let myself dream big and write down all of the great things I would do if I could do them and how things would be done. I found answers to some of my questions and found new inspiration on how to get some of the things accomplished. And the more I dreamed the more excited I was to keep working hard with my work and with my writing.

These tools may not work for you but I advise at least giving them a try because it really helped me out. And if these tools still do not prove to be sufficient then find something that does, but no matter what don't give in to discouragement.

A friend of mine posted a quote about writing that was encouraging and inspiring.
"If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." - Martin Luther. 

Don't give up, keep going.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Writers Block

There have been times in my life as a songwriter that I have had writers block and have had to work hard to get past it in order to write more music. Writers block has now become a lifetime disease that I cannot find the cure for. Music is no longer the only element that I am desiring to write for, I now aspire to write regularly in this blog which I have failed at, I am trying to write a book with a friend, and I am constantly writing curriculum for the Youth Ministry that I have been entrusted with. On top of this I am still writing music for two different projects.

I am now in a season of life where I just can't put the desire with the time, and when I do have the time the desire to rest overtakes the desire for creativity. Somewhere I need the hit the reset button on my priorities and schedule and try to re-write my goals and daily routine to make way for more writing. I once heard it said that "the difference between writers and everybody else is writers write". I want to be a writer. I know that my writing style and technique is nowhere where I would like it to be. But for now I must just find a way to keep writing.

So here we go at another attempt to post on here regularly along with time slotted for other forms of creating writing. Hopefully within the year I will have many of my projects completed so I can share them here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer is Almost Here

The year goes by fast and it seems like just yesterday we were hoping for snow and not getting any. Such is life in Washington, warmer winters with rain and colder summers with, you guessed it, rain. Even though this has been one of our coldest springs ever we are finally getting a break with some good spring weather, I heard we may even reach 80 degrees this weekend.

I just took this picture off of my back porch to prove that there are days when we don't have to deal with rain.

I do enjoy the summer. It isn't my favorite season but it has its perks. I like food so that means BBQ's are always a good thing that comes often with summer time. I also enjoy swimming and boating which I plan on doing much of this summer.

In the midst of my busy schedule I am hoping to find some rest this summer. My job (which I love) is one that keeps me busy almost everyday of my life. When I am not at work I am constantly thinking about work and thinking about what I am forgetting to do at work. My job also requires me to wear many hats with what I do. My title is Director of Student Ministries, but I just go by Youth Pastor. Fridays are my days off but I spent much of today making calls and sending text messages as well as planning some stuff for the summer time. So while I still have much on my plate I am going to do my best to find some time to just relax and forget about work and read some good books and try to rejuvenate before the fall hits so that I am prepared to jump into another busy ministry year.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Books, books, and more books

Books have been my life as of recent. Immediately after launching this blog page I started a Seminary class that ended up taking over my life with reading, papers, and a presentation on teaching the family. While it was a great class I am happy that I can go back to normal life again. Looking back I really should have launched this page after the class so that I would have started off with frequent consistency.

The class that I took was different than any other college course I have taken in the past. This one was a module and consisted of pre-residency reading and assignments, followed by a week long set of classes from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00p.m.. And now I am finishing my post-residency paper. I am always wanting to go back to school and continue with education, but I have a hard time with due dates and assignments. I wish I could just read and show up to class and discuss. This is my ideal version of education.

I finally got Portal 2 a week and a half ago. Portal 2 is by far the greatest puzzle video game ever made. While I was attending my week long class I used this as a reward when I got home and finished homework. Its filled with constant puzzles that consist of your character lost in a room with portal guns needing to use your portals to get out of the room and advance to the next room (more exciting than it sounds). I finished all of the rooms and am now escaping from the test center. I thought I had beaten the game, but then realized there is still a third left, which is for the better. More game equals more fun. I also had a chance to play the online multi-player mode which is also a blast. My wife even enjoys this game and she rarely plays XBOX 360, she usually keeps grounded to the Wii. I highly recommend this game to anybody who enjoys video games.

Back to the topic of books I must say I love books. I love reading. I just love getting to choose the reading that I do. I am currently building a summer reading list that I will start on June 22nd - Sept 21st. So far the list includes:

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - Tolkien
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
The Pastor - Eugene Peterson
Walt Disney - Bob Thomas
Almost Christian - Kendra Dean

And of course other reading for work.

If you have other suggestions feel free to leave a comment.

One last thing: It is my goal to post on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule from now on.